On the same day that Fox announced Jeanine Pirro’s producer was taking over weekend news, Leland Vitter, one of the newsier hosts (a low bar at Fox), was officially gone, the result of a “mutual” decision, according to the network.
Vittert is probably best known for having been assaulted during a George Floyd protest in front of the White House last year. He was no liberal mouthpiece but he was no Trump propagandist either. While Trump was still a candidate, e.g., Vittert showed some surprising toughness hammering a surrogate over the Trump Foundation. (In 2019, New York's attorney general announced the foundation was shut down and Trump was "forced to pay more than $2 million in court-ordered damages to eight different charities for illegally misusing charitable for political purposes.")
Vittert’s lack of fealty to Trump made him a target of Dear Leader. Vitter was singled out for attack after he dared to question Trump's declaration of a national emergency in order to take money from the military and build the border wall, after Congress refused to provide the funds. Trump also whined that watching Fox’s weekend anchors was “worse than watching” “Fake News” CNN or “Lyin’ Brian Williams.”
Vittert mysteriously disappeared from Fox in January, according to a Mediaite post on Friday.
When reached for comment, Fox News confirmed his departure: “We have mutually and amicably parted ways with Leland Vittert.”
Rumors have circulated for months regarding the professional fate of Vittert, since he disappeared from the air at Fox News in January. His Twitter account has been dormant since Jan. 13.
I'm going to guess that Vittert didn't want to promote the Big Lie about the presidential election nor sugarcoat the January 6th insurrectionists.
Also on Friday, Fox announced that the executive producer of the very Trumpy “Justice with Judge Jeanine” and “The Next Revolution with Steve Hilton” shows will now “oversee weekend daytime news.” Vittert anchored weekend daytime news.
Although Vittert and Fox may have “mutually” decided to part months before the network put a Trumper in charge of weekend news, it’s pretty clear the two events are related.
Good for Vittert for refusing to go along. At this point, there is no excuse for any decent person to remain at Fox. None. This is especially true of Democrats on the payroll.
Meanwhile, I hope Vittert will speak out, on the record, about the disinformation and propaganda he was probably pressured to spread.
(Vittert image via screen grab)
Updated 5/2/21 (see my comments in the comments section)
As for Shepard Smith, he has scruples (he famously bucked Sean Hannity during Hurricane Katrina) but he generally toed the company line. I know because I watched his old Fox Report show for Outfoxed in 2004 and was absolutely shocked at the bias I saw. It probably came mostly from reporters but Shep went along.
My real point is as you stated, “His falling out of favor with the Trump crowd just indicates how much farther over the threshold of lunacy the Right Wing has gone in the past 4 years.”
You could be right that he just ticked off Fox by being obnoxious and that he’ll keep his complaints to himself. But he seems to have some scruples and that gives me at least some hope that he may speak out at some point, probably depending on what kind of job he wants or gets.
I will note that Carl Cameron, though always more serious, was a staunch Foxy during the Ailes, pre-Trump years. Ditto for Shepard Smith.
His falling out of favor with the Trump crowd just indicates how much farther over the threshold of lunacy the Right Wing has gone in the past 4 years. It doesn’t suddenly mean that Vittert isn’t who he is. Any more than the disastrous Pence White House suddenly transforming W into anything other than the dangerous and incompetent warmonger he was and is.
Fox News is in panic mode as their viewership has dropped off, with many of them transferring over to even more rabid sites like OANN and Newsmax, who are doing their worst to drive discourse completely into the gutter. So Fox News is doing its best to try to throw more red meat to that audience, to try to stop the bleeding. I have a feeling Vittert has also ruffled feathers within the Murdoch organization, given his odd behavior on camera in trying to provoke conflicts and then being shocked, shocked when his antics backfire.
I doubt that Vittert will come out like Carl Cameron did, or like some others have done at different times. It’s more likely that he’ll find another Right Wing outlet, or just slink into obscurity.