Former Fox News host and current Donald Trump Jr. paramour Kimberly Guilfoyle used to prep for her appearances on highly-rated Fox roundtable show The Five by emailing a list of that day’s topics to a fervent fan of the show so he could pick out story suggestions and content for her, according to a new blockbuster story about Fox News’ descent into full-on propaganda outlet.
In her comprehensive piece for the New Yorker, Jane Mayer reports that current CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota said that during her time as a Fox & Friends host Camerota was “so troubled by the lack of standards” on the program that she wrote a novel about the “blurring of journalistic lines at a cable morning show.” Camerota further noted that then-Fox News executive (and current White House communications chief) Bill Shine would push posts from “crackpot Web sites” in order to outrage viewers in an effort to keep the audience tuned in.
Piggybacking on that, Mayer pointed out that Guilfoyle used to do show prep for The Five by relying on an unaffiliated, unpaid fan of the show to pick and choose her on-air content.
From the New Yorker:
To the astonishment of colleagues, the Fox co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle often prepared for “The Five” by relying on information provided to her by an avid fan: a viewer from Georgia named David Townsend, who had no affiliation either with Fox News or with journalism. She’d share the day’s planned topics with Townsend, and then he’d e-mail her suggested content. A former colleague of Guilfoyle’s says, “It was a joke among the production assistants—they were, like, ‘Wait till you hear this!’ She actually got research from him! It was the subject of hilarity.”
Beyond that, Townsend is a frequent user to far-right social media platform Gab, which is associated with white supremacists, anti-Semitics and far-right extremism. Gab was briefly taken offline after it was found that one of its contributors, Robert Bowers, was the gunman who killed eleven people at a Pittsburgh synagogue.
When contacted by Mayer, Townsend told her to “mind your own business” and that he’s just a “Fox fan.”
“I’m a keyboard warrior. I’m a nobody,” he added. “I’ve sent stuff to various people at Fox for years, and I don’t get a penny for it. I don’t know what tree you’re barking up but you better be careful.”
In response to the story, a former CIA analyst who now teaches at American University expressed shock that the president is being influenced by what he sees on Fox News while the on-air content is being shaped by “a guy in his underwear in Georgia.”