With a choice between standing behind its own reporting that Donald Trump ordered the firing of special counsel Robert Mueller or going with Trump’s denial that it was fake news, you can probably guess which option Fox “News” chose.
As Media Matters’ Lis Power noted, Fox repeatedly confirmed last night the New York Times report that Trump ordered Mueller's firing in June but backed down after White House counsel Donald McGahn threated to quit. On The Ingraham Angle, host Laura Ingraham announced, “Fox News can now confirm that President Trump ordered the firing of special counsel Robert Mueller last June but he backed down after White House counsel Don McGahn and others convinced him not to.” Fox’s chief national correspondent Ed Henry announced, “Source close to the White House telling Fox the New York Times is accurate.” Henry said what could not be confirmed was whether or not McGahn threatened to resign. Even Sean Hannity grudgingly acknowledged the confirmation.
Inconveniently for Fox, Trump subsequently denounced the Times report as “fake news.” So, even though two other news outlets had also confirmed the Times’ reporting, Fox tossed aside its own reporting in order to bolster the cred of Dear Leader Trump, almost certainly the lyingest person ever to inhabit the Oval Office.
Not surprisingly, by this morning, Fox & Friends seemed to have developed a case of amnesia about Fox’s report. Could be the same bug going around the Trump administration officials who have met with Russians.
“Typical New York Times,” Fox & Friends cohost Pete Hegseth sneered. “All of this reporting based on four people who are told of the matter.” Hegseth tried to paper over the Fox News double talk by saying, “We heard back in June that there were talks of the president wasn’t happy with Bob Mueller, what would he do? But some new details that may or may not actually be true.”
But that’s not at all what Fox’s own chief national correspondent reported last night.
“Tough journalist, not in the tank for Trump” Ainsley Earhardt did her part for the cause. "Alright, well, the president says it’s fake news that happened last June. Do you – you know, it’s something we have to tell you about ‘cause it is a headline in The New York Times. What do you think about that? Do you even care?"
Later, chief White House correspondent John Roberts, in Davos with Trump, reported, “I’m told that the president never told McGahn to fire Mueller and McGahn never threatened to quit over it. So, obviously, some competing stories here.” Roberts did not say who told him or how credible his sources were compared to whatever source or sources Henry spoke to.
I’m sure that by tonight, all the talking-point ducks will all be aligned for Trump Prime Time.
Meanwhile, watch Fox discredit its own work in favor of making Trump look good below, via Media Matters’ mashup.
During the 9, 10, and 11pm Fox shows, the network confirmed the NYT's reporting -- "Fox News can now confirm that President Trump ordered the firing."— Lis Power (@LisPower1) January 26, 2018
By this morning, after Trump decried the report as 'fake news,' Fox started walking it back https://t.co/h7WFCh0HUc pic.twitter.com/QkK7jXf4nj