The New Yorker has a big exposé about Fox News that has generated a lot of buzz. It also generated an opinion piece at CNN about how unique the relationship between Fox News and President Trump is. There has been much handwringing in the non-Fox News press about Fox. I worked there for five years. While I do not know that it is true, a lawyer at Fox told me a few years ago that I was one of the highest paid contributors because they had to offer me something that CNN would not match due to the terms of my then CNN contract.
So let me fill you in on a few things about Fox News.
Yes, it is true, that once Bill Shine had to call me on behalf of Roger Ailes and tell me if I kept supporting Matt Bevin against Mitch McConnell that I would see my air time reduced because Elaine Chao was on the board of directors and complaining. I basically got paid to not be on TV for a while. One of the internal complaints about me was that I was too much of a critic of the GOP establishment.
After I uninvited Donald Trump from the 2015 RedState Gathering following his statements about Megyn Kelly, Roger Ailes told me I had a job for life at Fox for having the balls to do what I did. A few months later, when my contract was up for renewal, he offered me a massive, massive pay cut, but I could keep my job. I balked and we agreed to only a slight reduction.
When I announced I was not going to support President Trump, my air time on the network basically went away except when I could either be critical of the Democrats or had said something nice about the President. The only show to not care at all was Fox and Friends, which had me on frequently regardless of my opinion of the President.
Now, here are a few more things about Fox News you may not know from reading the New Yorker piece or the CNN piece or any of the other pieces.
Fox News actually has a solid news department that does real news. The hype and rage of other news outlets focuses mostly on the opinion shows at Fox and conflates them to all the others. Fox News tends to shape it stories for what people who live near an American river valley think and they ignore coastal liberals. The critics rarely talk about Shep Smith or Bret Baier. They only care about Hannity, Laura, and Tucker.
The non-Fox News media care about Hannity, Tucker, and Laura not really because they are conservative opinion shows, but because they’re beating the other networks’ shows in the ratings. Just consider how much the press corps cheers when Rachel Maddow has a good night against Fox.
What they really hate about Fox is that its quasi-alliance with Trump actually shows just how biased against the President the other networks can be.
Jim Sciutto, the anchor/reporter at CNN, worked for the Obama Administration. As an aside, don’t take that as a dig at Sciutto, who does a competent job. Let’s just consider his own network’s coverage of Fox reporters and their ties to the Trump White House.
Then there is Chris Cuomo who is a partisan Democrat and brother to the Democrat Governor of New York.
Van Jones (awesome guy by the way), has a show on CNN and he worked for the Obama Administration.
Various CNN employees are married to people who worked for Obama operatives or Clinton operatives.
While I was at CNN, I often had to talk about stories that originated from leftwing websites and never once talked about a story that had been generated by a conservative outlet — and there were many to choose from.
For the record, I prefer CNN’s news coverage to all the other networks and find, when going on networks, that CNN has some of the very best and most competent people. I think CNN has made a strategic mistake in some of their programming choices and could actually dominate Fox with some adjustments. But not a week goes by that I don’t regret leaving that network for Fox.
Don’t even get me started on MSNBC. During the Obama era, you never heard as much outrage or had as much coverage of its routine fluffing of President Obama, even though it was egregious and flagrant. But MSNBC did not have Fox’s ratings.
The media focuses on the relationship between Fox, Fox employees, and Trump, but let’s not forget Jay Carney was a reporter for Time before joining the Obama White House. Linda Douglass at ABC News left an on-air objective reporter job to be chief propagandist for Obamacare. She left the Obama Administration and went to The Atlantic. Even Sciutto of CNN was an ABC News reporter before going to work for the Obama Administration.
Shailagh Murray left the Washington Post to work for Joe Biden after Jay Carney became White House press secretary. I pointed out once that she was married to a Wall Street Journal reporter named Neil King. He objected to the implication that he could not be fair. Now he works for Fusion GPS, the Democrat opposition research firm that generated the Christopher Steele dossier.
The list goes on and on across networks.
The real uniqueness of the relationship between Fox News and this White House is that the immediate predecessor to this President had acolytes and cultists deeply embedded across news organizations and many reporters from many outlets decided to go work for him before returning to the press.
Yes, there is a pro-Trump bias at Fox News. I have seen it for myself. I more likely than not sabotaged my TV career by staying at Fox for as long as I did while never getting any air time. But the rest of the media never says jack about MSNBC’s partisan biases not because it does not have them, but because MSNBC does not have the ratings Fox News has. The media so obsessed with what Fox is and is not covering and how Fox interacts with this White House has very valid points. But they hypocritically and willfully ignore their own left leaning biases, affiliations, and intermarriages.
And that ultimately is the problem. There are so many valid criticisms to be made about Fox. But many of the same criticisms apply to the very networks raising the criticism and they get all defensive when you point it out.