George Will is no longer on the Fox News Channel payroll.
Fox declined to renew the contract of the Washington Post and syndicated political columnist who is a member of the #NeverTrump contingent in the Republican establishment, The Hill reported.
The 1977 Pulitzer Prize winner was a longtime panelist on ABC This Week on Sunday mornings before joining up with Fox News in 2013. Will often provided political commentary on Fox News Sunday and Special Report with Bret Baier, but won’t be doing that any longer, as it were.
Fox News just added Brexit mastermind Nigel Farage to its roster of pundits.
In June 2016, Will — who is also known for his baseball writing — announced that he was switching his voter registration from Republican to unaffiliated because of his opposition to now-President Trump’s candidacy and the populist agenda that Trump was advocating. “Make sure he loses. Grit their teeth for four years and win the White House,” Will declared in a Federalist Society speech, PJ Media detailed. “This is not my party,” he added.
George Will, one of the most overrated political pundits (who lost his way long ago), has left the Republican Party.He's made many bad calls
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 26, 2016
George Will has not changed his tune about the new president, describing the Trump inauguration speech as “the most dreadful inaugural address in history” as well as characterizing him as the “waterbeetle of American politics.”
Fox also cut ties with Clueless actress Stacey Dash, who often flew in from California to New York to appear on Outnumbered, and who regularly sparred with the social justice cohort on Twitter and fellow Hollywood celebrities over her conservative politics.
Others whose contributor contracts weren’t renewed include pro-Trump political strategist Ed Rollins, who nonetheless appeared at his usual spot this morning on Maria Bartiromo’s show Sunday Morning Futures, and veteran journalists Marvin Kalb and Cal Thomas, neither of whom were currently active on the channel.
“The upheaval of the 2016 election is being matched by the turmoil in cable news…For the Fox executives (as opposed to the on-air talent) in the post-Ailes era, I suppose the famous line from the Godfather applies: ‘Nothing personal – it’s just business,'” the American Thinker quipped.
The status of popular ex-Outnumbered co-host Andrea Tantaros, who is in a bitter legal struggle with Fox News over alleged sexual harassment and retaliation, is still unresolved.
In the O’Reilly Factor video embedded below, George Will and Bill O’Reilly engaged in a contentious debate over the accuracy of O’Reilly’s best-seller Killing Reagan. Setting aside the merits over the dispute, butting heads with the anchor of the top-rated show on the network may not have been the best approach to secure a contract renewal.
As “Sundance” of the Conservative Treehouse theorized, “an honest review of what drives such media decision-making, vis-a-vis money, leans toward the conclusion the internal feud between George Will and Fox’s #1 rated pundit Bill O’Reilly over content within O’Reilly’s Killing Reagan book was more than likely a larger part of the corporate decision.”
Last month, in his “Talking Points Memo” editorial, Bill O’Reilly accused George Will, 75, of being among those trying to undermine the Trump presidency, RealClearPolitics chronicled.
“Will despises Trump, feels that he is an intellectual inferior and even left the Republican Party because of Trump’s nomination. Now it is certainly George Will’s right as both an American and a journalist to criticize not only Donald Trump, but any powerful person. We have no beef with that. What is troubling, however, is that much of Will’s negative analysis is driven by personal animus. And it is here that he does his readers and viewers a disservice…”
Although Fox News prime-time anchors O’Reilly, Megan Kelly successor Tucker Carlson, and Sean Hannity are typically in the pro-Trump camp, the network still employs #NeverTrump talent on the right and the left.
Separately, Fox News fared well on inauguration day, according to AdWeek/TV Newser, particularly at the expense of CNN and MSNBC.
“CNN, the No. 1 cable news channel for Inauguration Day coverage in 2013, and in 2009, ranked No. 2 across cable news this time around. Almost 11.8 million viewers watched Pres. Trump take the oath and give his inaugural address on Fox News. That’s a +794 percent improvement from the network’s coverage of Barack Obama’s second inaugural address, and a +114 percent improvement from Obama’s first inaugural address in 2009. Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum anchored the coverage for Fox News. CNN saw an +8 percent rise in total viewers this year compared to 2013, but the network posted a -60 percent drop from 2009. MSNBC’s coverage of the oath of office and the address was -35 percent from 2013 and -52 percent from 2009.”
Added the AP about the Inauguration Day ceremony: “Fox News Channel was by far the most-watched network of all, cable or broadcast, with 8.43 million viewers. Cable rivals CNN had 2.46 million, and MSNBC had 1.35 million.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, Trump-driven cable news viewership is not abating “an expected post-election downturn in cable news ratings hasn’t happened. Ratings leader Fox News is up 24% this month compared with January 2016, when the presidential primary season was kicking into high gear. CNN has gained 15% in viewership, while MSNBC has increased 36% during the same time period, according to Nielsen data.”
A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 respondents in early January claims that of likely U.S. voters, “42% say Fox News is the channel they generally watch, compared to 35% who turn to CNN and 19% who prefer MSNBC…Among cable news network viewers who watch Fox News most often, 50% say they trust the political news they are getting. That compares to 43% of MSNBC viewers and just 33% who tune in mostly to CNN.”
[Featured Image by J. Scott Applewhite/AP Images]