Fox News Should Suspend Scott Brown's Contract

UPDATE 2 (3/14/14): Brown's Fox News contract was “officially terminated” on March 14 as a result of his run for office, according to executive vice president Bill Shine. 

UPDATE: The Associated Press is now reporting that according to “several” New Hampshire Republicans, Brown “is expected to launch an exploratory committee to enter the race as soon as Friday.” Fox News previously suspended the contracts of then-contributors Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum when they took steps toward forming exploratory committees.

Media Matters president Bradley Beychok issued the following statement in response to the AP report:

“Fox News should immediately suspend Scott Brown's contract. The network set this standard. To use their own words: taking steps to form an exploratory committee is a 'clear conflict.' So, what is Roger Ailes waiting for?”


The Associated Press is reporting that Fox News contributor Scott Brown's camp “has quietly begun offering paid positions to Republican operatives for a prospective New Hampshire campaign.” Fox News, which previously said it would suspend a contributor's contract if they show a “serious intention” to run for office, should suspend Brown's contract until he finally decides.

The AP report added that “Several people involved in the discussions believe that Brown has decided to run, but there remains a healthy dose of skepticism given the former Republican senator's recent track record.” CNN similarly reported on March 9 that “a number of GOP sources in New Hampshire report receiving calls in recent days from Brown or his top allies, and there's word from GOP operatives that there are conversations about building a Senate campaign staff”; CNN also wrote that activists said they won't believe Brown is running until he “makes a public statement or files candidacy papers.” Fox News host Greta Van Susteren tweeted last month she was told it is “certain” that Brown is going to run.

Fox News hired Brown in 2013 after previously boosting his Massachusetts Senate campaign with fawning coverage (during one segment, Fox hosts played with a Scott Brown action figure). Fox re-signed him to a contract last month.

Brown's status as both a potential candidate and Fox News political analyst has led to embarrassing segments for the news channel.

One recent appearance was devoted to a discussion of how Brown looked shirtless. In another, Brown attacked potential opponent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Senate Democrats over health care. He also touted his New Hampshire bona fides by boasting about how he's been a resident there for “a couple of months.” Brown's last Fox appearance was on the March 7 edition of Fox Business' Lou Dobbs Tonight, where he said “the first order of business is to take over the Senate in '14 and retain the House in '14.” He has also published columns that sound like stump speeches -- headlines include, “GOP can once again lead as the party of fiscal responsibility” and “Time to hold Democrats in Congress responsible for the mess they created.

Fox News host Howard Kurtz noted the benefits of Republicans delaying their intention to announce campaign runs, writing: “The longer candidates stay in the Fox camp, the longer they can utilize the platform of the country's top-rated cable news channel--and pad their bank accounts to boot.”