Fox News Seemingly Cut To Commercial When Guest Links Poway Synagogue Shooting To Election Of Trump

Scene outside Poway Chabad center.
David McNew / Getty Images

Editor’s Note: Fox News did invite Joel Rubin back to continue the conversation after the break. See below for details.

Following Saturday’s horrific anti-Semitic shooting at a southern California Jewish center, Fox News seemed to suddenly ended a discussion that connected anti-Semitic hate crimes to the public statements of Donald Trump, cutting to a commercial for pain reliever as former Obama administration official Joel Rubin stated his view linking the 2016 election of Trump to a rise in the United States anti-Semitism. The sudden cutaway was first discovered and posted online by Twitter user Glenn Kubish.

The Poway, California, shooting at a Chabad synagogue on the final day of the eight-day Jewish holiday of Passover happened one day after Trump refused to back down from his 2017 comments in which he appeared to compliment anti-Semitic demonstrators in Charlottesville, Virginia — demonstrators who chanted “Jews will not replace us!” — as “very fine people.” On Friday, Trump told reporters outside the White House that he felt he had responded to the Charlottesville ultra-right-wing rally “perfectly,” according to Newsweek.

But when Rubin mentioned Trump’s Friday remarks about Charlottesville and noted that a rise in anti-Semitism coincided with the election of Trump, Fox News anchor John Scott began to talk over him, saying, “Joel — Joel — Joel…” until the network, without any notice or transition, switched to a commercial for Salonpas, a topical pain reliever, as seen in the video below.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story suggested that Rubin did not appear again after the commercial break. Rubin, however, did return to the broadcast, though not immediately, as he noted on Twitter. According to Rubin, the cutaway occurred at about 6:55 p.m., while the next segment in which he appeeared commenced at about 7:10 p.m.

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Rubin is a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the administration of President Barack Obama and is “a leading national security, foreign policy, and congressional expert,” according to his Democracy Partners biography.

As Media Matters noted, the sudden cutaway from the discussion of a link between Trump and anti-Semitism occurred not on one of Fox’s highly-rated, prime-time opinion programs, but on a straightforward news segment — and “Fox executives like Lachlan Murdoch are arguing that ‘straight news’ programs like this one are not pro-Trump propaganda like Fox opinion shows,” Media Matters writer John Whitehouse said.

Doamld Trimp walks.
A Fox News guest connected the election of Donald Trump to the rise of anti-Semitism. Pete Marovich / Getty Images

In fact, Scott himself, despite occupying a “straight news” anchor position, had previously stated views on the network that could be construed as anti-Muslim. “Just an aside to the Muslim community, if you don’t want to be portrayed in a negative light, maybe don’t burn people alive and set off bombs and things like that,” Scott said in a 2017 broadcast as quoted by Media Matters.