Fox Host Melissa Francis attacked the USA Today editorial board for taking a position on the presidential election and calling the Republican nominee, Donald Trump, “unfit for the presidency.” While the USA Today editorial board did not endorse any candidate in the election and has never previously taken sides in any presidential races, it is a common practice for newspaper editorial boards to make endorsements in elections. From the September 30 edition of Fox News’ America’s Newsroom:
MELISSA FRANCIS (CO-HOST): Tony, you know, I picture the intellectual elite editorial board sitting around there with smug looks on their face taking a vote and raising their hands and saying, “He unfit to be president,” and I don't know how many people that inspires to vote one way or the other or to cancel their subscription to the paper or how many people even read the editorial in USA Today. What do you think?
TONY SAYEGH: So look, any newspaper editorial board, as liberal as they may be, has the right to endorse a candidate for president. That’s not the issue here. The quote that you put up is the precise problem. They’re not really endorsing somebody, they’re trying to make a judgment to disqualify a major party candidate that was selected by the largest number of people who participated in a Republican primary process in history, and that’s the height of the arrogance that you see amongst these editorial boards -- not that they have a left-leaning or in some, very few, cases right-leaning opinion -- and it will backfire and this is what we have seen time and time again with people from the establishment, frankly both sides, who’ve played into Donald Trump's dynamic that he has set up, which is the “us” -- the people, the populace -- against the elites, and to be a card-carrying member of the elite these days, you have to insult or at least express your fierce opposition to Donald Trump, but the people don't buy it.
FRANCIS: Well, I mean and Hillary Clinton as well -- Krystal, I’ll ask you -- this is what they had to say about Hillary Clinton: “Nor does this editorial represent unqualified support for Hillary Clinton, who has her own flaws (though hers are far less likely to threaten national security or lead to a constitutional crisis). The editorial board does not have a consensus for a Clinton endorsement.” So basically they’re saying to all of you readers out there who are holding this newspaper right now or looking at us online, if you voted for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, you’re in idiot and we wouldn’t join you in doing that. Is that smart?
KRYSTAL BALL: I don’t think that’s quite what they said in the editorial. I mean, they lay on a very lengthy argument against Donald Trump. That’s hard to deny, frankly. I mean, they pointed to instances where he’s trafficked in prejudice. They point to the fact that he’s been a serial liar--
FRANCIS: So let’s isolate that. Hang on, let’s isolate that. Hang on, hold on. Stand by, please. Let’s isolate that. If they say to their readers, to those of you who are dumb enough to vote for Donald Trump, you're an idiot.
KRYSTAL BALL: That is not what they say, though. That’s not even remotely what they say.