Fox News Will Do Anything to Avoid Talking About the Latest Jared Kushner Scandal
If you get your news from either Fox News’ top-rated prime-time lineup of conservative hosts or the network’s influential Fox & Friends morning show, you remain blissfully unaware of the series of scandals that have consumed Jared Kushner, a top White House aide and President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, over the past two days.
On Tuesday, Kushner’s temporary security clearance was reportedly downgraded following months of delays in obtaining a permanent one, impeding his access to classified information; The Washington Post reported that officials from at least four countries had discussed ways in which they could use Kushner’s tangled business interests to manipulate him; an ethics group alleged that Kushner had violated the Hatch Act’s restrictions on political actions by executive branch officials; and the White House communications aide who served as his spokesperson announced plans to resign. Wednesday brought bombshell reports that Kushner’s family real estate business received large loans from companies whose executives had met with Kushner in the White House to discuss official business and that New York’s banking regulator had asked three lenders for details about their interactions with Kushner and his family’s business.
This ream of dire headlines led to calls for removing Kushner, whose portfolio of responsibilities in the Trump administration seemed comically broad early in the administration before reportedly shrinking in recent months. Some have speculated that the news of last few days indicates a growing divide between the president’s family and White House chief of staff John Kelly, who has reportedly questioned the role Kushner and Ivanka Trump play in the administration.
But the president’s top allies at Fox have been silent about the Kushner dilemma.
On Tuesday, Fox’s 8-11 p.m. lineup of Tucker Carlson Tonight, Hannity, and The Ingraham Angle did not mention the story. The next night, Laura Ingraham’s show again did not mention Kushner, while Tucker Carlson’s and Sean Hannity’s programs limited the discussion to a news update about communications director Hope Hicks leaving the White House in which correspondent Ed Henry commented that “Kelly may also be trying to ease out Jared Kushner, senior advisor and presidential son-in-law, after a series of leaks about his security clearance troubles.”
On Wednesday morning, Fox & Friends limited its coverage to a 22-second news brief on Kushner’s security clearance being downgraded; the program ignored the Kushner revelations altogether on Thursday.
Other programs on the network have given the Kushner headlines more attention, though at times Fox personalities have sought to cast doubt on the validity of the reports. “It's unclear who they're getting this from,” Fox’s David Asman said on Wednesday afternoon of the Post’s story that foreign governments had sought to manipulate Kushner through his business ties. “It may be another one of these fake news stories,” he added, before suggesting that the allegations were less damning than reports about the Clinton Foundation during the 2016 presidential campaign.
The network's website also buried the Kushner revelations.
https://t.co/coMvrIzJ3S right now: 1) A judge ruled for Trump 2) Vet teacher mistreated 3) Watchdog to investigate… https://t.co/hNbAxQF6hm— Matthew Gertz (@Matthew Gertz)1519770486.0
The Jared Kushner stories are missing from https://t.co/coMvrIzJ3S. https://t.co/JZeJGo8D1S— Matthew Gertz (@Matthew Gertz)1519917263.0
Fox’s highly rated prime-time and morning programs reach an audience of millions, with Trump himself often watching Fox & Friends and tweeting about it in near-real time. And the hosts of those programs, several of whom are closely tied to the president, don’t seem to want that audience to find out about what his son-in-law has been up to in the White House.