It’s well-known that Fox News’ morning show Fox & Friends is somewhat friendly to President Trump and his administration. Trump is known to watch the show religiously, sometimes even live-tweeting what is said by its hosts.
According to a new report, Fox & Friends has gone even further than previously thought in its defense of the president. The Daily Beast’s Maxwell Tani reported Tuesday that when Scott Pruitt, then the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under the Trump administration, made a series of appearances on Fox & Friends, Pruitt’s team “chose the topics for interviews, and knew the questions in advance.” The report also stated that Pruitt was “taken aback” when he appeared on the show and a guest host, Ed Henry, asked him surprisingly pointed questions.
The practice was discovered following a Freedom of Information Act request from the environmental group The Sierra Club, which The Daily Beast obtained. In one document, Pruitt’s press secretary agreed to send a Fox producer “pre-interview questions on the agreed upon topic, the new direction of the EPA, and helping communities that were poorly served by the last administration.” Producers would also request “talking points” that Pruitt would be discussing while appearing on the show. The suggested scripts were followed when the segments aired.
May 2017: Pruitt's staff set up an interview to discuss how he was interested in helping communities "poorly served by the last administration."
When the segment aired the next day, "Fox & Friends" stuck to the government-approved script https://t.co/2sDjYvgXOO
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) November 27, 2018
Also in the Beast story, it is revealed that Pruitt’s team worked hard to book him for exclusive segments on Sean Hannity’s Fox show, at one point even offering to “fly Hannity in a private jet with Pruitt to Oklahoma to meet a rural family to discuss the Obama administration’s water policy,” but the primetime host was uninterested in having him as a guest.
Fox News replied to the Daily Beast with a statement.
“This is not standard practice whatsoever and the matter is being addressed internally with those involved.”
The piece also quotes journalism professors who agree that the practice is considered unethical.
Pruitt, the former state attorney general in Oklahoma, resigned as EPA administrator in July after 18 months after he was implicated in an unusually long list of scandals for a public official who had been in his position for such a short time. Pruitt was accused of everything from having received a sweetheart lease on a Washington condo to expensive travel arrangements to unusual favors for friends and family members. Pruitt was also frequently criticized during his tenure for his rejection of the scientific consensus on climate change.