Fox News is actually punishing employees who gave a scandal-plagued Trump official special treatment: report
On Tuesday, The Daily Beast reported on a set of emails showing Fox News employees fed a script to an aide to President Donald Trump's disgraced ex-EPA administrator Scott Pruitt ahead of an interview on "Fox & Friends." According to the emails, which were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act by the environmentalist Sierra Club, Fox employees, including a producer, allowed Pruitt's staff to effectively pre-approve aspects of the interview ahead of time and get advanced notice of the questions they would be asking.
Even for a network notorious for its blind defense of Trump and his administration, this report was an embarrassment for Fox News. According to the Associated Press, Fox News shortly announced they would be disciplining the employees involved in the email exchange, although the network declined to give details on who the responsible people were.
"This is not standard practice whatsoever and the matter is being addressed internally with those involved." said a Fox News spokesperson to The Daily Beast.
Fox News has an increasingly intimate relationship with the White House. Former Fox News co-president Bill Shine, who stepped down in May 2017 amid allegations he covered up sexual harassment at the network, was tapped by Trump to be White House communications director in June. Meanwhile, it is an open secret that Trump watches Fox News incessantly, as he frequently repeats right-wing talking points from the network and responds to what he sees on it with angry tweets and occasionally even major policy decisions.
Pruitt, a former attorney general of Oklahoma whose sole qualification to lead the EPA was his experience repeatedly suing it, was arguably one of the most corrupt, scandal-plagued cabinet members in the history of the American presidency. In his year and a half at the White House, Pruitt blew taxpayer money on first-class plane tickets, security detail for personal vacations, and a soundproof phone booth in his office; abused a provision of the Safe Drinking Water Act to give his friends massive raises; retaliated against agency employees who questioned his spending; accepted a cut-rate condo rental in D.C. from a lobbyist for companies who had business before the EPA (and overstayed his lease); tried to use his office to get his wife a Chick-Fil-A franchise; and made his government aides improperly run personal errands for him including procuring a used mattress and Ritz-Carlton hotel lotion.
By the time he finally resigned this summer, Pruitt was facing over a dozen different audits and investigations by the EPA Office of the Inspector General, the Government Accountability Office, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, and the House Oversight Committee.
The impulse of "Fox & Friends" to defend Pruitt, to the point that they would actually feed him their interview script to make sure it was enough of a softball, is not surprising. But it is revealing the depths to which conservative media will go to protect their own side.