Fox News’ Primetime Lineup Spent A Grand Total Of One Minute Covering Scott Pruitt’s Resignation

Fox News’ Primetime Lineup Spent A Grand Total Of One Minute Covering Scott Pruitt’s Resignation

It has long been observed that Fox News’ primetime opinion programming, much like morning staple Fox & Friends, is a veritable safe space for President Donald Trump and his supporters. The three-hour block of Tucker Carlson Tonight, Hannity, and The Ingraham Angle provides a nightly dose of pro-Trump comfort food — a mixture of Trumpist propaganda, mainstream and liberal media criticism, softball interviews of Trump allies and officials, and hardcore anti-immigrant rhetoric.

Even with that caveat firmly in place, it was still a bit jarring to see Fox’s primetime lineup virtually ignore a significant news story impacting the Trump administration last night. Thursday afternoon brought the resignation of embattled EPA chief Scott Pruitt, who had spent months fighting off ethical scandal after ethical scandal and is the subject of over a dozen investigations. The president announced Pruitt’s ouster via Twitter, stating that the former Oklahoma attorney general had done as “outstanding job” leading the agency.

Kicking off Fox’s primetime programming, host Tucker Carlson — the only regular Fox News primetime host on air last night during this holiday week — began his program warning his viewers that the Democrats were plotting a “coup” through immigration policy. Meanwhile, the other cable news networks led off their primetime coverage with the Pruitt story.

Carlson not only didn’t hit the EPA chief’s resignation at the top of the hour, he completely ignored it throughout the show. He didn’t even rely on a newsbreak from a network correspondent to deliver a basic report on a Cabinet member calling it quits amid heavy controversy. Just a total ‘nothing to see here’ approach. Instead, Tucker spent his time talking to longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone, giving Alan Dershowitz a platform to complain about his Martha’s Vineyard shunning, complaining about how the Democratic Party has gone off the deep end, and something about Facebook and hate speech.

We put together this little montage of everything Tucker hit on last night:

The following hour, Hannity — which was guest-hosted by former Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) — also ignored the Pruitt resignation completely. Just like Tucker Carlson Tonight, the scandal-ridden EPA administrator’s name was not mentioned once during the entire hour. Rather than discuss Pruitt, Chaffetz and his guests focused on Maxine Waters, Trump’s upcoming Supreme Court pick, FBI agent (and favorite Deep State boogeyman) Peter Strzok, and Democrats calling to abolish ICE.

The 10 PM hour normally would have looked like one that would have led off with the Pruitt news considering regular host Laura Ingraham’s public calls for the head of the EPA to get kicked to the curb over his ethics issues. Ingraham, however, had the night off and guest host Pete Hegseth instead spent the majority of the program talking about immigration, ICE, the Supreme Court, and how the Democratic Party was “killing itself.”

Towards the end of the program — and the end of Fox’s highly-rated primetime block — Hegseth brought up Pruitt’s resignation during his conversation with MediaBuzz host Howard Kurtz. With their discussion close to conclusion, Hegseth told Kurtz he needed to get his comment “on a big development today,” asking the Fox News media analyst how much he felt Pruitt’s departure was “driven by the media hysteria” and if the press was “playing on oversized hand.”

“There is no question that he made a lot of mistakes,” Kurtz responded, adding that there was “no question that the mainstream media didn’t like his policies at the EPA — pruning and changing direction and regulations and all that.”

After Kurtz noted that all of the stories had reached a point where anyone else would have been gone months ago and highlighting Ingraham’s own position, Hegseth slyly asked the Fox News media critic if he said the “mainstream media had policy positions.”

“Well, not overtly,” Kurtz declared as Hegseth exaggeratedly laughed. “But let’s just say there’s not a lot of tears being shed for Scott Pruitt’s departure in many newsrooms.”

“You’re probably right — in Manhattan and Hollywood right now,” Hegseth said from his New York studio.

You can see the whole exchange below:

And there you have it. Fox News’ primetime programming, which occasionally attracts the combined audience of CNN’s and MSNBC’s, spent a grand total of one minute and 13 seconds discussing the Pruitt resignation, and only at the tail end of the block. Viewers that only tuned into its 8 PM and 9 PM shows would have had no idea that the EPA administrator was out. And even in the brief moment Hegseth did cover it, it was mostly an effort to paint the mainstream news coverage of Pruitt as overblown, hysterical and biased.

Meanwhile, the following morning, Fox & Friends took the same approach. As highlighted by Mediaite’s Aidan McLaughlin, the three-hour morning opinion program barely covered the news, with the three hosts not mentioning Pruitt’s name once. When Jillian Mele brought it up during the “Headlines” portion of the show, she framed the story along the lines of Pruitt’s replacement — deputy administrator Andrew Wheeler — already facing attacks from the left.

Justin Baragona

Justin Baragona

Justin Baragona is the founder/publisher of Contemptor and a contributor to The Daily Beast. He was previously the Cable News Correspondent for Mediaite and prior to starting Contemptor, he worked on the editorial staff of PoliticusUSA. During that time, he had his work quoted by USA Today and BBC News, among others. Justin began his published career as a political writer for 411Mania. He resides in St. Louis, MO with his wife and pets.