The bonds between Donald Trump and Fox News have been unmistakable from well before he even announced his candidacy for president. He had a regular weekly segment on Fox and Friends called “Mondays with Trump.” And as he transitioned from a reality TV host to an elected “leader,” Fox News grew even closer to him, performing the duties of a devoted propaganda outlet. Trump himself has inadvertently admitted that Fox is essentially an in-house media organ.
Those already close ties have just been revealed to be even tighter than previously thought. The Trump administration is full of former Foxies, including top White House aides like National Security Advisor John Bolton and Under Secretary of State, Heather Nauert. But no one is more representative of this media/politics marriage than Bill Shine, Trump’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications. Shine was previously the president of Fox News, a position he rose to after serving as Sean Hannity’s producer.
Now it has been revealed that Shine is actually being paid simultaneously by taxpayers and Fox News. The Hollywood Reporter got ahold of Shine’s financial disclosure forms which are required for White House service. In addition to their already having been amended several times, they contain this troubling information:
“Bill Shine received an $8.4 million severance package upon leaving his post as co-president of Fox News […] Shine, who officially began working in the White House on July 5, will also receive a bonus and options of about $3.5 million from 21st Century Fox both this year and next year.”
This is an unprecedented breach of the principle of independent media. To say that Fox News is “State TV” actually understates the gravity of this perverse relationship. Shine cannot be regarded as serving the public interest in his White House position if he’s still working for Fox News, the network that has become an extension of Trump’s PR machine. When Fox News defends Trump, or criticizes his opponents, it is impossible to separate that from the agenda of the White House. Even worse, Fox’s on-air shills actively promote Trump politically and give him (horrible) advice on presidential decisions.
It should not be permissible for a White House employee to be on the payroll of any other enterprise, especially one in the media. It presents an unambiguous conflict of interest. But that’s where Trump and Shine are right now.
The article in the Hollywood Reporter provides additional details about this arrangement. But what the article doesn’t say is that the reason Shine was terminated from Fox was that he covered up the sexual harassment and abuse of Fox bigwigs like CEO Roger Ailes and host Bill O’Reilly. That factoid makes it even more clear what binds Trump and Shine. In addition to their political affinities, they are both misogynistic perverts. It’s a marriage made in Hell, but the couple is honeymooning in the White House and the American people are paying for it – in more ways than one.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.