Fox News spent nearly three hours last month promoting its interview with Viktor Shokin and his conspiracy theory that he had been fired as Ukraine’s prosecutor general due to “corruption” by then-Vice President Joe Biden over Biden’s son, Hunter. But the network’s hosts and anchors have yet to mention that in a Saturday interview on one of its programs, former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said the claims were false and described Shokin as a “completely crazy person.”
Fox News has spent more than four years pushing the baseless conspiracy theory that Joe Biden forced Shokin’s removal to halt a probe of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy company that had placed Hunter Biden on its board. In reality, Vice President Biden was following U.S. policy when he pushed for the firing of Shokin, who was viewed as unwilling to prosecute corruption by U.S. diplomats, foreign governments, international bodies, and Ukrainian anti-corruption groups, and his office had not been actively investigating Burisma at the time Biden sought his removal.
Fox reignited this long-debunked disinformation last month when host Brian Kilmeade interviewed Shokin, who alleged that “Poroshenko fired me at the insistence of the then Vice President Biden because I was investigating Burisma” and accused Biden of “a case of corruption.” In a matter of days, the network devoted nearly three hours of airtime to teasing, airing, and analyzing the interview, running at least 50 segments across 19 different programs.
Kilmeade returned to the story on Saturday during an interview with Poroshenko. The host aired portions of Shokin’s allegations and asked, “Is that why he got fired, because of the billion dollars and the former vice president, now president?”
“First of all, this is the completely crazy person,” Poroshenko replied. “This is something wrong with him. Second, there is no one single word of truth.”
Poroshenko went on to say that Shokin had “played [a] very dirty game, unfortunately,” and had been terminated due to his own actions.
Kilmeade had made big news by getting Poroshenko on the record denouncing the conspiracy theory and the person spreading it, drawing coverage from news outlets including The Washington Post. But he and his own network promptly buried it — Poroshenko’s interview has not been mentioned a single time on Fox since it aired, according to a Media Matters review. That silence includes the three-hour morning show Fox & Friends, which features Kilmeade as a co-host and previously spent 20 minutes on his Shokin interview.
Fox is once again revealed as a right-wing propaganda channel with little interest in actually informing its viewers. But the network has captured the GOP, and its Shokin conspiracy theory is nonetheless poised to become the core of House Republicans’ argument as they seek Biden’s impeachment.