On Thursday, Vanity Fair documented “management bedlam” at Fox News as a Tucker Carlson guest attacked legal analyst Andrew Napolitano as a “fool” for backing impeachment of President Donald Trump, Shepard Smith criticized Carlson for not standing up for a colleague, and the network admonished Smith — all while Sean Hannity is privately wringing his hands about the whistleblower scandal and former House Speaker Paul Ryan is advising Lachlan Murdoch to prepare the network for a post-Trump political landscape.
As the Hollywood Reporter’s Jeremy Barr noted on Friday, that situation has not gotten any better in the subsequent hours. Hannity publicly blasted the Ukraine investigation as a “never-ending, unceasing, hysteria, lies, hoaxes, conspiracy theories,” and “a real, clear, present danger to this republic,” while news reporter Chris Wallace blasted the “astonishing” and “deeply misleading” narrative that right-wing defenders of Trump have been crafting to excuse his behavior.
All of this, Barr wrote, is exacerbating the long-simmering tensions between the news and opinion side of the network — both of which have a right-wing slant, but the former of which has at least a modicum of fact-checking and traditional investigative journalism.
“There’s always been a gap between the network’s news and opinion wings, but people who appear on Fox News tell THR that the chasm has recently been growing,” wrote Barr. “Carl Cameron, who spent 20 years at Fox News and left as the network’s chief political correspondent, said he used to take the brunt of the opinion wing. ‘I was routinely roughed up by the primetime hosts,’ he said. ‘It was clear that the entertainment side was at odds with the news department only if you lived in the middle of it.'”