On The New Abnormal, Matt Gertz explains why the Pence story got swept under the rug: Fox News is a “Trumpian propaganda outlet”

On The New Abnormal, Matt Gertz explains why the Pence story got swept under the rug: Fox News is a "Trumpian propaganda outlet"

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Citation From the March 24, 2024, edition of The New Abnormal

ANDY LEVY (HOST): Last Friday, Donald Trump's former vice president, Mike Pence, announced he would not be endorsing his old boss in 2024. Pence said this during a live interview with Martha MacCallum on Fox News, but since then, the network has barely mentioned it. Here to discuss is Media Matters senior fellow, Matt Gertz. Matt, thanks so much for being here. 

MATT GERTZ (MEDIA MATTERS): Thanks for having me back. 

LEVY: Let's start with numbers. How much airtime did Fox give to letting its viewers know about what Pence said? And then, I guess, compare that to CNN and MSNBC. 

GERTZ: Sure. So, Fox News gave it four minutes of airtime. CNN gave an hour, 19, and MSNBC clocked in at an hour and 14 minutes. A tiny, tiny fraction of what the other networks provided. Just to stress this, Mike Pence made this statement that he would not endorse Donald Trump during an interview on Fox News. It was their exclusive that they were burying. They made the news and decided that their viewers didn't need to hear it.

LEVY: Yeah. I guess, at the risk of being super obvious, explain why this matters.

GERTZ: I think it's pretty clear that the reason Fox News decided not to cover this story is because they believe it is bad news for Donald Trump. If you think of Fox News as a conservative network, as a network that has deep principles that it is espousing, this is the sort of thing that would make no sense. Right? I mean, Mike Pence, longtime conservative leader, someone that Fox News liked quite a lot for years, but here he is saying that Donald Trump, the person under whom he served in the White House for four years, will not have his support in the election.

You could imagine different people at Fox having different reactions to that, in which some of them might agree with him, some of them might disagree with him, but instead, largely what happened is the whole thing got swept under the rug. And I think the reason for that is that Fox News is not, in fact, a conservative network. It does not have an ideologically conservative position and angle on the news. It is a Trumpian propaganda outlet. It is an outlet that thinks first and foremost about how the news would impact the political efforts of Donald Trump and the Republicans who support him. And viewed from that angle, covering Mike Pence would be a betrayal of Donald Trump and the Republican Party, and so they decided not to mention it virtually at all.