Former Fox exec. Raj Shah has no Congressional experience but it’s no surprise that coup-leader Speaker Mike Johnson thinks Shah has the right credentials to run his communications team.
From Media Matters’ Matt Gertz:
As a senior vice president at Fox, Shah reportedly “worked closely with Tucker Carlson’s team and was trusted by the prime-time hosts as a vigilant defender against critics.” Indeed, his duties reportedly included launching and overseeing an internal unit aimed at discrediting Media Matters and other Fox foils. In his new job, Shah will serve as Johnson’s chief spokesperson and “help run messaging for House Republicans,” Politico reported Tuesday.
Shah is one of numerous apparatchiks to use the revolving door between Republican politics and its top propaganda outlet, having joined Fox after serving as a GOP operative and doing a stint in the Trump White House.
Four years later, he left Fox in disgrace.
The disgrace Gertz refers to is Shah’s role in promoting election lies, as exposed in the Dominion defamation lawsuit filings. “As head of its ‘Brand Protection Unit,’ he regularly warned other executives that the network was endangering its ratings by providing accurate information about the election, the Dominion filings show,” Gertz writes.
For example, via CNN’s Oliver Darcy:
When a Fox News reporter later fact-checked a press conference held by Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and ally Sidney Powell, Shah angrily texted a colleague.
“This is the kinda s—t that will kill us,” he wrote, according to legal filings. “What a f—king mess. We cover it wall to wall and then we burn that down with all the skepticism.”
Gertz also writes that emails showed that Shah "plugged the idea of ‘some sort of public mea culpa for the AZ call,’ or ‘some programming that’s focused on hearing our viewers grievances about how we’ve handled the election.’”
In other words, Shah can be counted on to put MAGA politics, propaganda and tribalism over truth and democracy.
Why, that’s just like Johnson! The Brennan Center for Justice described him as “the congressional architect of the effort to overturn the 2020 election, advocating an interpretation of the Constitution so outlandish that not even the Supreme Court’s conservative supermajority could swallow it.” The Brennan Center called Johnson’s failed coup plot “his only significant accomplishment in his few years in Congress.”
Punchbowl News points out that despite the busy and highly consequential agenda for the House, Speaker MAGA Mike has chosen a surprisingly inexperienced leadership staff. “Unlike previous speakers who sought seasoned hands in such roles, Johnson has mostly eschewed experience in favor of political allies and fellow conservative travelers,” Punchbowl’s Jake Sherman wrote. Some might say Johnson chose loyalists over competence. Sound familiar?
More from Sherman:
Unlike previous communications directors for speakers such as Nancy Pelosi, John Boehner, Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarthy, Shah has never worked on Capitol Hill, where 535 members and their countless aides feed a hungry press corps news and gossip. The speaker’s communications director typically relies on years-long relationships with Hill reporters to help limit the damage when the majority inevitably fails on something.
Whether Johnson lasts long enough to try to overthrow the 2024 election remains to be seen. But if he does, there’s every reason to believe he’ll at least try to make another go at it – that is only if President Joe Biden is re-elected.
So long as there’s no person or entity that can credibly sue Fox News for pushing another coup, you can best believe the network will do its best to promote whatever its former top exec is selling, no matter on what terms they parted.