Fox News operates “more like an extension of” President Donald Trump’s administration than a typical news network and behaves “like state media,” according to current Fox employees quoted in a new report from The Daily Beast.
The Beast story reports that recent Fox layoffs were concentrated in the network’s “straight-news” ranks. Its fact-checking and research division, known internally as the “Brain Room,” was hit particularly hard, reportedly “losing around one-fourth of its 30-person staff along with two supervisors.” Those cuts, Fox staffers told the Beast, speak volumes about what the network’s executives prioritize and value.
Since Trump took office in 2017, Media Matters has documented Fox News’ transformation from a right-wing cable news network to an arm of his administration that pushes disinformation on his behalf. We have described Fox hosts as the president’s personal propagandists and the network as something more akin to a state TV outlet in an authoritarian state. We have pointed out that the network’s much-touted “straight news” division is a cog in the propaganda machine, bolstering the network’s brand while largely advancing stories that provide fodder for the bigoted and conspiracy-minded pro-Trump “opinion” hosts who dominate the place.
Those are strong characterizations, albeit ones we’ve scrupulously supported. And some of the people who work there apparently agree with us.
Here are some quotes from the Daily Beast report, all of which are attributed to current Fox employees:
- “Fox has acted like state media for a long time. This is just one small element to it.”
- “As an employee, I have had concerns about how close Fox has become with the White House and the administration. I don’t think I’m the only person there who has these concerns.”
- “With these layoffs in multiple news departments coming just a few weeks before the election, it looks like Fox is more like an extension of this administration, instead of a news network.”
- “The opinion team appears to have won the internal battle” with the news side.
- The leaders of the Fox News website “are not interested in facts. They are obsessed with pitching ‘on-brand’ stories that include Blue Lives Matter, anything antifa-related, anyone who has suffered during BLM protests that can put the protestors in a negative light, anything that threatens Christianity, and anyone who is a Trump supporter who has somehow been wronged.”
- “The Brain Room, in their research, came up with facts that were not used in Fox reports or were in contradiction to what Fox aired. I have to imagine that kind of tension has always existed there, between the fact-checkers and what is often reported.”
- Top Fox executives have “long been unsupportive of real, unbiased reporting. They do not see themselves as a real news operation in the sense that people are doing original work, trying to break stories and get to the bottom of things, wherever the chips fall.”
These quotes from Fox employees align with Trump’s own view of the network. In May, he criticized Fox for “doing nothing to help Republicans, and me, get re-elected on November 3rd.” That remark demonstrated that he sees Fox not as an independent news channel, but as a propaganda network devoted to the electoral success of Republicans like himself.
The Daily Beast report follows a similar July story which quoted Fox insiders dismayed with how network executives had “created a white supremacist cell inside the top cable network in America, the one that directly influences the president.” Media Matters has documented how Fox hosts like Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham have used their prime-time shows to peddle white nationalist talking points to huge audiences.
Fox News is exactly what we said it is. Just ask the people who work there.