Fox News isn’t exactly a bastion for political journalism. Partisan hosts who receive most of the network’s attention undermine the opinions and work of regular staffers and reporters. And when those lines get crossed up, it leaves the network looking more foolish than ever.
Reports surfaced yesterday that Fox News passed on first crack at the Hunter Biden email story run by the New York Post over “credibility concerns.” But that didn’t stop some Fox hosts from playing up the story to make it seem like a full-blown political scandal, including Jesse Watters, who played up the network’s clear connections to the Post (both of which are owned by Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp and operate in the same building).
Here Jesse Watters repeatedly references to Fox's relationship with the NY Post in order to lend more credibility to the story. pic.twitter.com/4FEi0GslNh
— nikki mccann ramírez (@NikkiMcR) October 15, 2020
As Media Matters’ Nikki McCann Ramirez tweeted, Fox is laundering the story. It doesn’t matter that some of the network’s more serious anchors like Chris Wallace and Brett Baier have agreed the sourcing is dubious and called the story “sketchy.” Nor does it appear to matter that the Post reporter behind the story apparently refused to have his name attached to it. Fox’s big name anchors like Watters and Tucker Carlson have taken the story and run with it at Trump’s behest, ignoring potential foreign disinformation or the fact that Rudy Giuliani is a gutless political operative whose attempts to find dirt on Joe Biden led to the president’s impeachment.
Fox News’ credibility problem isn’t new, obviously. The journalistic integrity of a show like Fox and Friends, which just this morning had the president call in and beg Attorney General William Barr to open an investigation on Hunter Biden, isn’t even calculable. Their entire network model has changed because of Trump, whose regular complaints about the network are outnumbered only by his appearances.
"The attorney general has to act" — Trump pleads with Bill Barr to do something to hurt Joe Biden pic.twitter.com/Bco8fTveEf
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 20, 2020
Many staffers have expressed displeasure with Fox’s high profile personalities’ outwardly championing and advising Trump. Now, they can complain about their network amplifying and laundering a dubious story they refused to publish themselves because of lack of credibility.