Sunday, May 9, 2021

Fox News speaks with the former White House press secretary

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Fox News held talks with Kayleigh McEnany, the former White House press secretary, about an on-air job with the network, a sign that the Murdoch media empire will stay close to the most prominent advocates of Donald Trump even as some conservatives turn against them.

The Murdoch-owned cable news center had conversations with Ms McEnany after the November election, but those talks are on hold, people familiar with the matter say. Fox is ready to hire him in the future because the network “does not tolerate the cancellation of the crop,” said a person familiar with the thinking of the company.

The potential hiring comes after Rupert Murdoch, the octogenarian founder of Fox News and News Corp, launched an attack on “cancellation culture” over the weekend and warned of the dangers of what he has described as a “wake-up call”.

Fox, alongside other U.S. news companies, is entering a new political era after Trump’s chaotic presidency fueled a gripping news cycle, fueling record TV ratings and an explosion in newspaper subscriptions in recent years.

Observers have questioned how Mr. Murdoch would position his influential media properties during a Biden presidency, after widespread condemnation of Mr. Trump’s role in inciting Deadly Capitol Riots.

Some of the former president’s supporters swore at Fox News in the wake of the November election, when the network called for a vote in favor of Joe Biden even as Trump refuted the results. This led to a breakup of the conservative audience, as some Trump loyalists flocked to niche media broadcasters such as Newsmax.

In recent days, comments and coverage of Mr Murdoch in his media suggest he is determined to solidify the family media empire’s position as a shameless hotbed of US conservative politics, with a host list. Fox who appeal to the Trump base.

Accepting the Australia Day Foundation non-profit ‘Lifetime Achievement’ award this weekend, Mr Murdoch, 89, said: ‘I am far from done.’

“For those of us in the media, there is a real challenge. . . a wave of censorship that seeks to silence the conversation, ”he said in a pre-recorded video.

“Too many people have fought too hard in too many places for freedom of speech to be suppressed by this awful awakened orthodoxy,” Murdoch said.

On Monday, the New York Post, owned by Murdoch, featured an opinion column by Josh Hawley, the Republican senator who tried to overturn the election results even after the Capitol riots in Washington. “It’s time to take a stand against muzzling America,” read the headline on the front page.

Mr Hawley adopted a tone similar to Mr Murdoch’s, arguing that his challenge to the election results was a matter of free speech. Simon & Schuster this month canceled the planned publication of Mr Hawley’s book, citing its “responsibility as citizens” and its role in “what has become a dangerous threat”.

Fox has had close ties to the White House for much of Mr. Trump’s tenure as president, with a two-way flow of staff including Hope Hicks and longtime Fox News executive Bill Shine . Sarah Huckabee Sanders became a paid Fox contributor after leaving the White House.

Fox announced Tuesday that it has hired Larry Kudlow, the Trump administration’s top economic adviser, as a commentator and host of a weekday show on its Fox Business channel.

Ms McEnany, a former CNN commentator turned spokesperson for the Republican National Committee, was hired by Mr Trump last year. During her time in the White House, she appeared often on Fox, where, in recent months, she echoed Trump’s unsubstantiated allegations of massive voter fraud in elections.

A Fox News spokesperson said, “Kayleigh McEnany is not currently an employee or contributor to Fox News.”

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