Airing softball interviews with Trump isn't the only way Fox News runs interference for the White House. It has also reportedly banned reporters from digging into the Russia story.
A former Fox News reporter testifying before a parliamentary committee in London on Monday claimed that she was barred by the network from pursuing the blockbuster story of Donald Trump’s connection with Russian surrogates.
"You can’t do in-depth reporting if you’re not there," said Jessica Golloher, a former Fox Radio correspondent told U.K lawmakers. "Fox didn’t let me go to Moscow to dig into Trump’s Russian connections, even when I offered to pay my own way."
She added, "Fox is just buying what the White House is selling."
There’s little doubt about that, which is why Fox News has become Trump’s safe space this year, and why in the last six months it’s become virtually the only television outlet to which Trump will grant softball interviews. Constantly trying to shift the focus away from the widening Russia scandal (most often by trying to criminalize Hillary Clinton), Fox News has done everything this year to minimize the scandal storyline.
And now according to Golloher, that includes barring their own reporters from traveling to Moscow to pursue the simmering story.
Golloher worked as a Fox News Radio correspondent in the Middle East and North Africa. She sued the company for age discrimination and unjust retaliation in May.
In the wake of the Roger Ailes sexual predator scandal at Fox News last year, the company hired an independent investigator to look into outstanding allegations of harassment and discrimination inside the network. Golloher claims that 24 hours after she reached out to that team to air her complaints about the company, she was told her contract was not going to be renewed.
Golloher was in London to testify before the British Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which is digging into Fox News’ past as regulators try to determine if its parent company, the Rupert Murdoch-owned 21 Century Fox, is ethically sound.
Murdoch is trying to engineer a $15 billion purchase of the pay TV giant Sky, but critics insist Murdoch runs a dirty shop and should not be allowed to amass that much television firepower. Regulators could scuttle the deal if 21st Century Fox is seen as unfit and not meeting acceptable broadcast standards.
Last month, Media Matters for America submitted a lengthy report to the CMA, detailing Fox News’ long history of abhorrent behavior and warning against the damage Murdoch would do to the British media landscape if he’s able to secure the powerful Sky outlet. Specifically, the Media Matters report stressed that "21C Fox and the Murdochs have yet to demonstrate a serious commitment to broadcasting standards."
More and more British critics seem to agree. As one local activist told regulators on Monday, "Fox’s takeover is deeply threatening to U.K. news and democratic values, and should be stopped."
Considering the network wouldn't even allow its own employees to cover one of the biggest stories in modern political history, that sentiment seems worryingly accurate.