As he presided over Saturday’s vote in the Senate to confirm Brett M. Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court justice, Vice President Pence made several appeals to the sergeant at arms to bring order to the gallery. That’s because there was disorder in the gallery, as anti-Kavanaugh protesters made clear their position on the nominee. “I will not consent,” they shouted. There were more than a dozen arrests.
Protests from the gallery clearly had an impact on folks. They were written up in coverage and got their share of pass-around on social media. One fellow, Todd Starnes, had this to say:
That’s not just any guy. It’s part of the roster for the new web-streaming platform Fox Nation, a subscription service offered up by the folks at Fox News. Alongside prime-timers like Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson, Starnes, a star of Fox News Radio, will be providing his free-of-varnish opinions to what Fox News hopes is a large and lucrative Internet audience.
“We are thrilled to announce that our most popular hosts and contributors from FOX News will be among the key talent involved in FOX Nation. FOX News has an incredibly loyal audience and we are confident our super fans will enjoy exclusive content helmed by the personalities they know and trust, which they will have access to watch anytime and anywhere,” said John Finley, Fox News’s senior vice president of development and production, in a release on Fox Nation.
Which is to say, a guy like Starnes is the future of Fox News. Is his commentary on “screaming animals” the sort of commodity that Fox News is dangling before potential web subscribers? How does this sort of tweet jibe with the culture in a workplace that has ousted key personnel in recent years in response to a sexual-harassment crisis? Does advocating the tasering of these folks — who are mostly women — square with the network’s guidelines, whatever they are?
We asked Fox News that last question and haven’t gotten an answer.
Over the summer, Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott told producers that it fell to them to head off “any inappropriate remarks” on Fox News. The directive came after a rash of dumb and insensitive remarks on the network. That’s an impossible mission, though it’s hard to knock Scott for holding her people accountable. And in late September, Fox News fired a contributor for some awful comments about sexual-assault victims on Twitter.
Stripping protesters of their standing as human beings apparently doesn’t trigger the same level of response, even for a fellow who has racked up a miserable record over the years. Maybe Fox News is really fired up for Fox Nation.