Every now and then somebody on Fox News strays from the herd and does or says something critical of Donald Trump. It’s a rare event that is mostly confined to outliers like Shepard Smith or a courageous guest. In most cases it is treated as the aberration that it is and quickly buried under the rush of Fox’s typical pro-Trump propaganda.
On Wednesday, however, the criticism came from an unlikely source. Ed Henry, the chief national correspondent for Fox News, interviewed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator, Scott Pruitt (video below). In what Pruitt must have assumed would be a friendly media encounter, he was surprised by the aggressive tone of Henry’s inquiries. The questions addressed some of the most controversial scandals that have erupted during his tenure at the EPA.
Henry asked Pruitt why he went around Trump to give two top aides raises after the President refused the request. When Pruitt said that it was staffers who did that and that he didn’t know anything about it, Henry pushed back asking Pruitt to confirm that he didn’t know what was going on in the department he was supposedly running.
Henry also asked how renting a Washington, D.C. apartment at sweetheart rates from the wife of a lobbyist with business before the EPA was “draining the swamp.” Pruitt replied that there was nothing untoward about the arrangement. So Henry offered examples demonstrating that his $50.00 a night rental was way out of line with Washington rates for residences or hotels.
This appearance of actual journalism at Fox News is peculiar in general, but downright bizarre for Ed Henry.. He is one of the most squishy Trump-fluffers on Fox News. He is a frequent co-host of Trump’s favorite Fox show, Fox and Friends. There was a time in the past when Henry passed himself off as a straight-up reporter. But then he was suspended by Fox for having had an extramarital affair. When he returned to the air it was like he had been given a new mission to serve as a Trump sycophant. Perhaps it was the price of his reinstatement.
So why would Henry suddenly show some gumption and take on Trump’s EPA boss? The most plausible theory is that he was ordered to do so. And those orders could only have come from one place: Donald Trump. Fox wouldn’t independently direct Henry to go on the attack. They would have to have had instructions. And Trump has reasons to want Pruitt to look bad in public. With the scandals he has brought to the White House, including ludicrous spending for things like first-class air travel and a $40,000.00 secure phone booth in his office, Trump might be looking for excuses to fire him.
The signs are cropping up throughout the White House. When asked about Pruitt’s status Wednesday, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said it was “under review.” Deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley was similarly non-committal saying that he “can’t speak to the future of Scott Pruitt.” It sounds very much like Trump’s people are bailing on Pruitt. They would not do that without permission. Nor would Fox News. So it would be interesting to find out if there were any communications between Trump and his State-run TV network that directed Henry to filet Pruitt. He has been meeting with Fox Newsers much more in recent weeks, which suggests that their already close relationship is getting even closer.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.