The same day, Fox Business invited new network contributor Sarah Sanders to opine on the matter, given her stellar credibility. She criticized the Times as well as CNN and Politico, saying that “all of the media needs to take a hard look at how they put the news out.” That’s happening, actually: “All of the media” has been struggling for four-plus years with the difficulty of reporting on people who lie, all the time.
Example: CNN was criticized on Wednesday for an interview by Alisyn Camerota with Corey Lewandowski, the former Trump campaign manager who in Tuesday congressional testimony averred that he has no “obligation” to be honest with the media. How to deal with such a fellow? Media Matters’s Matt Gertz ripped the network for this “catastrophe,” noting that CNN had formerly employed Lewandowski — a really bad idea — and that viewers gained nothing from Camerota’s interview. We dissent on that second point: Lewandowski is a newsmaker, and news organizations interview newsmakers, especially lying ones. Camerota, too, doggedly pressed Lewandowski on his self-confessed mendacity.
Regardless, the point is that editors and producers are taking a look at how they process news. There was even a hearty debate about whether news outlets should broadcast the White House news briefings hosted by Sanders herself, before she triggered their extinction. The Mueller report documented how Sanders lied to reporters about the circumstances following the May 2017 firing of then-FBI Director James B. Comey. That came on top of her other lies and nonstop evasions. The best minds in journalism have scratched their heads over how to deal with such an official.
Fox News chose a less anguished option, placing Sanders on its payroll following her departure from the White House. It’s a strange spot for someone who believes opinion needs a haircut: “Fox & Friends” provides three hours of highly rated opinion programming in the morning; the noon program “Outnumbered” is all hot takes, with three or four right-leaning commentators clobbering a liberal for an hour of lunchtime fun; late afternoon features opinionated stuff from host Neil Cavuto and the decidedly non-neutral roundtable show “The Five.” After a couple hours of supposed “straight news” coverage, Fox News roars through the prime-time block with “opinion” hosts — Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham — who do a disservice to that appellation.
None of this is to say that the non-opinion programming on Fox News is some Swiss model of neutrality. As this blog has written before, it is not.
So Sanders has some nerve going on TV to decry opinions. That, after all, is what she’s being paid to provide to Fox News. “I thought Corey did a great job dealing with the circus that has become that committee,” she said in her Fox Business appearance. Those liars — they stick together.