Fox News is rooting for Kevin McCarthy’s House speakership bid, while OAN airs opposition
Fox continues to assert its leadership of the Republican Party
After a lackluster Republican midterm election performance that nevertheless delivered the GOP the House majority by a slim margin, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) hasn’t yet locked up enough support within his party to ensure he’ll be elected speaker on January 3. With McCarthy’s speakership bid in jeopardy, Fox News personalities are using their influence over the GOP to throw their support behind the leader, while some on the more extreme One America News oppose his bid.
Just after the GOP secured the incoming House majority, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) announced that he refused to support McCarthy as speaker. Weeks later, Biggs made another announcement, this time saying that he is running against McCarthy for the speakership being vacated by Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Several other GOP lawmakers have also voiced their opposition to McCarthy and are working to find alternatives to him. As Fox News senior congressional correspondent Chad Pergram explained in detail on FoxNews.com, the way House speaker voting works can make it difficult for McCarthy to win if even a handful of Republicans refuse to vote for him. (In November, Biggs claimed that about 20 Republican members would vote no.)
Many conservative media outlets are covering the machinations of House GOP infighting, including Townhall, Newsmax, The Daily Wire, The Daily Caller, and Breitbart News. Breitbart pushed McCarthy ally Rep. Jim Jordan’s (R-OH) line about a delay possibly imperiling the GOP plans for their politicized investigations of the Biden family and administration. But among right-wing cable channels, it is Fox and OAN that have clearly drawn opposing sides. McCarthy has been hosted for friendly interviews by Fox at least 10 times since Election Day, according to Media Matters’ internal database. In contrast, McCarthy’s only declared opponent, Biggs, has appeared on Fox just twice during this time period.
The motive for Fox personalities to support McCarthy and quickly end the speakership race seems clear: The network has dictated the tone of sham GOP investigations in the past and is set to do it again in the new Congress. Meanwhile, OAN hosts and guests either seem determined to punish McCarthy for the poor GOP midterm performance or don’t consider him right-wing enough for their liking, even though the extremist Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) has thrown her support behind him.
Fox News is clearly supporting Kevin McCarthy for speaker
Fox News’ America’s Newsroom hosted McCarthy to make his case for the speakership on December 14.
The Story also hosted McCarthy to discuss his speakership bid on December 8.
Also on December 8, Fox anchor John Roberts repeatedly told McCarthy opponent Biggs that his challenge would hurt the Republican Party and asked how McCarthy could earn his support.
On December 9, Fox host Sean Hannity had a caller on his radio program who supported McCarthy, and Hannity warned that if House Republicans “don’t get their act together” and fully support one speaker candidate, “then they’re going to deserve everything that they get. And we’re going to be screwed because of their incompetence.”
On December 7, Fox host Mark Levin hosted McCarthy and Jordan on his radio show to criticize “five kamikaze Republicans” opposing McCarthy and talk up his candidacy.
Later during the same show, Levin held up McCarthy as the selection Republicans are rallying around and attacked his opponent, Biggs: “I don’t remember Biggs working his ass off all over the country to raise money for his fellow colleagues to get elected.”
Meanwhile, some on OAN oppose McCarthy as speaker
On December 11, In Focus host Addison Smith and The National File’s Noel Fritsch agreed that Fox’s Mark Levin is supporting McCarthy’s speakership bid because he was bought off.
Smith said on December 5 it “would have been great” to have Biggs as speaker and called McCarthy a “RINO” (a “Republican In Name Only”) who “need[s] to be purged from the GOP.”
Also on December 5, Tipping Point hosted Saurabh Sharma of the conservative organization American Moment, who justified House GOP opposition to McCarthy’s speakership bid due to the failure of a GOP blowout in the midterm elections.