Following a long-standing pattern of omitting and downplaying notable developments regarding American national security during the Trump administration, Fox News has largely glossed over White House senior adviser Jared Kushner’s security clearance being downgraded, and the network has completely ignored a subsequent report that foreign governments have discussed ways to “manipulate” Kushner through his business entanglements.
On February 27, The New York Times reported that Kushner, who has had access to some of the most sensitive classified documents including the presidential daily brief, had “been stripped of his top-secret security clearance after months of delays in completing his background check.” According to the Times, Kushner had been one of “dozens of top White House officials who had been operating on interim security clearances for many months because of issues in completing their F.B.I. background checks.”
On the same day, The Washington Post reported that foreign governments “have privately discussed ways they can manipulate [Kushner] … by taking advantage of his complex business arrangements, financial difficulties and lack of foreign policy experience.” According to the Post’s report, “Among those nations discussing ways to influence Kushner to their advantage were the United Arab Emirates, China, Israel and Mexico.”
But a Media Matters review found that Fox’s 8-11 p.m. lineup of Tucker Carlson Tonight, Hannity, and The Ingraham Angle, which reaches millions of viewers, did not mention Kushner at all. Fox’s flagship morning program, Fox & Friends, spent just 22 seconds covering Kushner’s security clearance being downgraded. And just two shows, Special Report with Bret Baier and The Story with Martha MacCallum, covered the Post’s story about foreign governments targeting Kushner for manipulation.
Jeremy Bash, former chief of staff at the CIA and the Defense Department, noted that Kushner’s lack of a top-secret security clearance “effectively means he cannot do his job as the top diplomat overseeing the Israeli-Palestinian peace process,” adding that Kushner “cannot be involved in policy making, … can’t go into the White House situation room [to] have conversations, [and] can't prepare the president for engagements with foreign leaders.” Bash also said he thought the downgrade in Kushner's security clearance was “professionally fatal for him.”
Fox’s decision to disregard the reports on Kushner follows a long-standing and glaring pattern of ignoring or downplaying major reports on threats to American national security and, specifically, the special counsel’s investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russian government during the 2016 presidential election.
Media Matters searched SnapStream for mentions of the word “Kushner” on Fox News on February 27 and 28.