It just hasn’t been a good past few months for Fox News. Sure, they struck ratings gold in August due to human sweet potato Donald Trump’s participation in the first GOP debate. And they’ve maintained their first place perch among cable news networks. However, they’ve seen their credibility and influence take a nosedive over that time. Whether it is Trump making the network his bitch over and over, or Rupert Murdoch sending unfortunate tweets, or SCOTUS rulings not going in conservatives’ favor despite Fox acting as the GOP’s PR firm, or the passing of the Iran Deal — well, the list just goes on and on.
Therefore, Fox chief Roger Ailes likely wasn’t in much of a mood for even more bad news. With the one-two punch of the Benghazi Committee being exposed as a Hillary-bashing political operation and the Democratic debate being a raging success for both Clinton and the party, it would be safe to say that Thursday’s revelation surrounding Wayne Simmons couldn’t have come at a worse time for Fox and conservatives. It was reported that the frequent Fox News commentator and so-called “terrorism analyst” had been arrested by the feds for falsely claiming he had worked for the CIA as an operative.
Per Media Matters, Simmons had appeared on Fox dozens of times since 2004. During his appearances, he was regularly labeled as a former CIA operative. After the 2012 Benghazi attacks, his appearances became more frequent, and he was generally referred to as an expert on terrorism and counterintelligence. On his website, Simmons stated that he was an analyst for Fox News and during an April 22nd appearance on Brian Kilmeade’s radio show, he was called a Fox News contributor.
However, in response to CNN, Fox News immediately stated that Simmons was not a paid contributor of the network and merely served as “an unpaid guest.” Mmm-hmmm. Sure. That’s why he appeared dozens of times and was utilized many times by Sean Hannity and Fox & Friends, usually to provide criticism of President Obama regarding the handling of Benghazi. It was especially helpful to them that he was part of a group called Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi which issued a ‘report’ that Fox News praised various times. I’m sure they also loved that he called the Obama Administration the “worst ever” and Nancy Pelosi a “pathological liar,” among other inflammatory things.
Fox can pretend they never had any real association with the crackpot (who was apparently lying to gain federal security clearance) but it is pretty apparent that he was someone they called regularly, if not paid as a contributor. They can act like they are just as surprised as anyone else and that they are victims of Simmons’ ongoing fraud. But the fact remains that they wanted credibility behind their Benghazi witch hunt, and they were willing to take anyone who sounded legit to throw shit at the screen. This is what happens when you go that route.
Fox News made this bed. They have to sleep in it now.
Image via Fox News