After seeing Fox News Channel’s on-air commentators, Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro, making campaign appearances at a President Trump campaign rally held on Monday night, Fox senior executives weren’t happy.
"Fox News does not condone any talent [emphasis added] participating in campaign events," the network said in a statement on Tuesday.
"We have an extraordinary team of journalists [emphasis added] helming our coverage tonight, and we are extremely proud of their work. This was an unfortunate distraction and has been addressed."
For his part, Hannity said he was just there to cover the campaign and election. But in an impromptu bit, he leaped on stage after some Trump encouragement. He also clarified a statement about “fake news,” when he pointed to the news media covering the event. He later said he was not referring to “my journalist colleagues at Fox News.”
Yes, glad he got that right.
TV networks' "talent" taking sides is one thing. But "journalists’" doing the same? We think not. And, for its part, Fox agreed. It said things needed to be "addressed" -- although it didn’t explain exactly what or how it would be done.
As we have said before in TV Watch, not all Fox News Channel content is the same. Daytime programming is different than prime-time shows. There’s journalism, there’s opinion -- and now, opinionated "talent" doubling as campaign cheerleaders.
But ask yourself: Are media TV advertising buyers interested in any of this?
They might only ask: Are TV viewers watching this TV content, and at what scale? And what’s the price to buy in?
Ardent Fox News proponents said there is no longer any "objectiveness" to news, so what’s the problem? Hannity has said, at times, that he is not a journalist. Perhaps a clearer on-screen identification/moniker would clear things up.
Conversely, critics say Fox News has been too close to the Trump Administration, even offering suggestions and advice to the President in private meetings. Now, as a bonus, they glom on to his rally -- publicly -- getting a little extra promotion.
High TV viewing keeps the network on top of the cable TV rankings, along with growing advertising revenues. Other TV news networks also continue to rack up high revenues. But their on-screen success comes in a different formula.
Still, Fox News, NBC and CNN have one thing in common. They all rejected -- albeit late on Fox and NBC after initial airings -- a Trump Administration-backed anti-immigrant TV ad deemed “insensitive” and worse. There’s your news.