President Trump is leveling some criticism at Fox News Channel again. This time his ire is aimed at late-night show host Shannon Bream. Bream interviewed Rep. Eric Swalwell last night and the president isn’t happy about that.
Impeachment inquiry hearings of the day were a topic for the show, as you would expect. Bream brought on Eric Swalwell to talk about it from the Democrat viewpoint. His presence wasn’t at all unusual to regular viewers, though, because he is frequently a guest on the network. He does a lot of interviews on FNC. Swalwell sits on the House Intelligence Committee and is a participant in the hearings.
Fox News Channel is known for its Trump-friendly coverage. President Trump has come to rely on the friendly environment – liberals take note and the more snarky ones refer to the cable news network as one that is nothing but state-run propaganda. Shannon Bream’s normal beat is coverage of the Supreme Court as well as her own show, Fox News at Night. She’s really quite vanilla in her reporting style. She’s not at all bombastic or controversial. So, Trump’s attack on Wednesday night was surprising.
Swalwell went through the usual Democrat talking points. As Bream focused on the testimony from Ambassador Sondland, the most controversial testimony of the day, Swalwell insisted that Sondland nailed President Trump with a clear quid pro quo. Sondland did say that he thought President Trump spoke as though he was delivering a quid pro quo – a meeting between Trump and Zelensky would be arranged after Trump was reassured that Ukrainian corruption would be investigated. But, Sondland was quick to say the quid pro quo didn’t extend into a condition of military aid. Sondland confirmed that, in fact, the Ukrainians didn’t even realize that military aid was held up briefly.
While speaking on Fox News, Swalwell adamantly pushed back against Republicans’ argument that a quid pro quo didn’t take place because Ukraine eventually received the security aid.
“The president got caught. The only reason the aid was released was because the whistleblower came forward,” Swalwell said, referencing a government whistleblower complaint that led to the launch of the impeachment inquiry.
Swalwell also emphasized new statements from Laura Cooper, the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Russia and Ukraine, who testified that her staff received questions from the Ukraine embassy about “security assistance” on July 25. That is the same day Trump urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a phone call to open investigations.
This week’s favorite accusation against Trump is that “he got caught” and that is why the military aid was released. The implication being that Trump was performing a nefarious act. It is not unusual for a president to hold up foreign aid, as it happens. The Orange Man is bad, though, so everything is different now.
Trump did as he does – he tweeted out his displeasure of Bream’s choice of guests.
Trump also insisted he and the Republicans had a great day.
Fox News hosts have come under fire from Trump this year as the impeachment process continues. Swalwell is a frequent guest on Martha MacCallum’s show. She came under fire from Trump in July. Trump brought up the fact that Swalwell had recently dropped out of the 2020 Democrat nomination race. Trump said, “he was just forced out of the Democratic Presidential Primary because he polled at ZERO.” “Fox sure ain’t what it used to be.”
Trump has a friendly relationship with some of the Fox anchors, including Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham. Chris Wallace found himself on the wrong side of Trump on Sunday after an interview with Steve Scalise aired.
While Trump has enjoyed a cordial relationship with many of Fox News’s opinion hosts, he’s also shown a willingness to target some of its news anchors. Earlier this week, he blasted “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace as “nasty” and “obnoxious” over an interview in which he persistently grilled House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) about the implications of the impeachment inquiry.
Trump claimed that the “dumb and unfair interview would never have happened” in the past, prompting a rebuttal from Wallace’s colleague Neil Cavuto.
“The best we can do as journalists is be fair to all, including you, Mr. President,” Cavuto said on Fox News on Monday. “That’s not fake doing that. What is fake is not doing that. What is fake is saying Fox never used to do that. Mr. President, we have always done that.”
Democrats are smart to appear on FNC. The cable network consistantly has the highest ratings. The anti-Trump networks, all the other networks except OANN, have all suffered with lower ratings during the Trump years. There is no room for anything but groupthink on the other networks. FNC leans conservative, that is true, but there are a variety of voices on display each day. Swalwell understands the advantage to appearing on the shows at FNC. Even Bernie Sanders does interviews there now and then. As a matter of fact, many Democrat candidates have appeared on FNC during this election cycle.
Kamala Harris criticized Tulsi Gabbard during the Democrat debate Wednesday night for her appearances on Fox. That is a mistake. Gabbard, too, frequently does interviews on FNC. Harris and her ilk who boycott FNC and then complain about the divisiveness in the country are seen as hypocrites. They should take a cue from other Democrats and appeal to the largest number of potential voters available. Independent voters make up a large part of FNC’s viewing audience. It’s silly to think only conservatives watch the network.
President Trump may prefer the always Trump-friendly coverage on OANN but that network doesn’t have nearly the viewership numbers that FNC has. It’s not available on all cable carriers, including my current carrier. As a side note, sadly, for viewers like me, there wasn’t the added bonus of something Swalwell is blamed for during an interview earlier this week. That would have made it all worthwhile.