After acting as a revolving door for the Trump administration, not to mention acting as unofficial policy advisers, Fox News is suddenly very concerned about the far fewer cable news figures going into the Biden administration.
The hypocrisy began with Special Report anchor Bret Baier sneering that the Biden administration will look “very familiar to connoisseurs of various cable news stations.” He brought on “media analyst” Howard Kurtz “with that story.”
Kurtz began the false equivalence by saying, “the revolving door between media and politics is spinning once again.” He named Biden’s pick for Secretary of State, Tony Blinken and Jen Psaki from CNN and MSNBC’s Rick Stengel (“on his second go-round”) and Barbara McQuade from MSNBC. Kurtz gratuitously showed clips of most of them criticizing Trump.
“Sometimes the connections are less visible,” Kurtz continued, as with NBC and MSNBC’s Jon Meacham, “who praised Biden’s victory speech” and was dropped from the payroll after it turned out Meacham had “helped” Biden with that and other speeches.
Kurtz then played up the conservative/Trump/Fox victimhood.
HOWARD KURTZ: At least two dozen journalists joined the Obama team including Times' Jay Carney and ABC's Linda Douglas. That musical chairs tradition is widely viewed as routine, but Fox News drew criticism for those who moved between the network and the Trump administration, including John Bolton, Heather Nauert, Bill Shine and Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Larry Kudlow also joined the president from CNBC. When political players turn into pundits, they can bring an insider's perspective, but more of them seem to move between the media, where they can resemble a government in exile, and Democratic administrations such as the one now taking shape.
I’m not saying it’s a good thing for pundits to move back and forth from the media to the White House. But Kurtz vastly undercounted the number of Fox News personnel moving in and out of the White House and, more importantly, he downplayed the role of hosts working as unofficial advisors.
Media Matters has a comprehensive review of the Trump/Fox revolving door, updated in September.
Twelve current Trump administration officials previously worked at Fox, while eight more officials worked at Fox before joining the administration but have since left. Five current employees of Fox or its parent company served in the administration. Three people have made full rotations of the revolving door, from Fox to the Trump White House and back to Fox or from the Trump White House to Fox and back to the Trump White House.
Trump’s affinity for staff with a Fox pedigree extends outside the administration. He hired Jay Sekulow to join his legal team because the president liked the way Sekulow defended him on Fox, and he nearly added the similarly credentialed Joseph diGenova and Victoria Toensing to the group as well. Then there’s Kimberly Guilfoyle, who left her job co-hosting a Fox show and became the vice chairwoman of a pro-Trump super PAC the next week (she is also dating Donald Trump Jr.).
Trump also consults with a “Fox News Cabinet” of current network employees. He reportedly speaks frequently with Rupert Murdoch. And Fox hosts including Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs, Jeanine Pirro, Tucker Carlson, and Pete Hegseth all reportedly influence Trump not only through their programs, but advise him privately as well.
I’ll bet there will be quite a few more turns of the Fox/Trump revolving door in the near future.
Meanwhile, you can watch Kurtz's selective memory below, from the November 24, 2020 Special Report, via Media Matters.
I would argue that a “revolving door” between working as a pundit and working in government is, per se, nowhere near as questionable as the typical reference to revolving door, which is about moving between a government job regulating or legislating over a given industry and working in that industry (e.g. Trump’s EPA chief),
The issue with Fox News personalities moving into government is not so much the revolving door but rather the quality—and as Ellen points out, the quantity— of the people, the relevance of their experience, the fact that Trump appears to discover so many appointments from watching Fox, and that it seems that the best way to get a job under Trump is to sing his praises on Fox. Such praise from the lips of Bolton outweighed the fact that Bolton helped initiate one of the ‘endless wars’ that Trump hates!
Re: the criterion of quality, let’s compare Biden’s nominee for Secretary of State, Tony Blinken, to Fox’s K.T. McFarland. Before his analyst role on CNN, Blinken had worked for Biden and was Deputy National Security Advisor and then Deputy Secretary of State. McFarland’s highest government post before Trump, whom she had probably never met or at least never worked with, was Principal Deputy to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs under Reagan. After Trump nominated her for Deputy National Security Adviser, even some Republican Senators couldn’t support her.