It was the moment Fox News viewers had waited for more than a year.
National Review Editor Rich Lowry, a commentator for the cable channel since 2004, admitted Monday morning that he had been wrong about Donald Trump.
Lowry said that during his first year in office, Trump had followed a traditional conservative Republican agenda, something he had not expected. While Lowry indicated he still did not think much of the president’s character flaws, overall Trump had been better than he expected.
The statement would likely have been well received on Fox News, but Lowry made the admission on MSNBC’s Morning Joe and appeared on other MSNBC programming throughout the day.
Brian Stelter, host of CNN’s media program Reliable Sources, revealed in his Monday night newsletter that Lowry is no longer a Fox News contributor.
“Lowry’s spokesperson told me that Fox chose not to renew his contract when it lapsed in October,” Stelter said.
Stelter speculated the “Never Trump” issue Lowry published at National Review in 2016 might have had something to do with the Fox News decision. Lowry has also not shown much support for the president during his appearances on various Fox programs.
The decision not to renew Lowry’s contract continues a recent pattern of removing Fox News contributors who do not sing Trump’s praises.
It was considered a major coup for Fox when it signed George Will, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the Washington Post, to appear on its programs, but Will’s appearances grew less frequent when he made his distaste for Trump clear, going as far as to renounce his membership in the Republican Party in June 2016.
Will’s contract was not renewed in 2017.
Will has been making frequent appearances on MSNBC programs.
In December, conservative radio talk show host Erick Erickson, a Fox contributor for five years, announced he and the cable channel would be going their separate ways as of January 26 and that it was a mutual decision.
While Erickson has criticized Trump, he has also praised some of the president’s decisions.
Backing Donald Trump some of the time is not good enough for some Fox News Channel viewers who have made it clear Trump is their man, and they do not want anyone who is not 100 percent “Make America Great Again.”
Fox News viewers have made their feelings well known when it comes to on-air personalities who do not back President Trump’s decisions.
Calls for the firing of long-time Fox newscaster Shepard Smith have continued for months as Smith has called the president to task numerous times on his afternoon news program.
In an interview with John Bussey of the Wall Street Journal after the publication of Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury, when Bussey said it would be hard to believe the Trump administration’s line that the book was a lie when Trump has also had problems in that area, Smith said Trump had told hundreds of lies.
Smith also recently did a segment debunking attempts to link former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton with the sale of uranium to a Russian company.
Also targeted by Trump supporters are other longtime Fox personalities: Juan Williams, co-host of the afternoon show The Five, though Williams has always been clearly labeled as a liberal commentator, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace, who has asked just as tough questions of Trump administration officials as he asks of Democrats, and Special Report host Bret Baier.
Comments posted Monday night on Twitter are typical of the kind of fervor Fox News viewers have shown for their least favorite on-air personalities.
TODAY SHEPARD SMITH LIED & GAVE FALSE NEWS AGAIN ABOUT TRUMP, STATING THAT TRUMP LIED "HUNDREDS OF TIMES" (STATED APPROX 3:15 PM). EVERYONE MUST DEMAND FOX FIRE THIS TRAITOR & DEFINITELY CONTACT ALL ALL OF HIS SPONSORS & DEMAND THEY DROP HIM & U WILL BOYCOTT THEM UNTIL THEY DO!— profcarrington (@profcarrington) January 4, 2018
Hey @BretBaier @FoxNews maybe try to contain your excitement at the possibility of an Oprah presidency. While you're at it, maybe control yourself when speaking about Pres Trump and your slant of his mental stability. You're as bad as @ShepNewsTeam— ???? Donna ???? (@my5fireflies) January 8, 2018
At this point, despite the growing clamor for the removal of on-air personalities who question Donald Trump, Fox News officials have made no moves, publicly at least, to get them in line with people like prime time hosts Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity, who have made it clear their sympathies are with Trump.