Following the release of a thorough and at-times disturbing New Yorker exposé on Fox News’ cozy relationship with President Donald Trump, Washington Post media reporter Margaret Sullivan called the cable news network an “American plague” and a “shameless propaganda outfit” in a scathing column published Thursday.
In the piece, titled “It’s time — high time — to take Fox News’s destructive role in America seriously,” Sullivan wrote that the cable news network “specializes in fearmongering and unrelenting alarmism.” She added that it was reasonable for the Democratic National Committee to announce it would not ask Fox News to host any Democratic primary debates following the release of the New Yorker piece.
“It was not censorship as some bizarrely claimed, merely a decision not to enter into a business relationship,” she wrote.
Trump’s intimate relationship with Fox News has been unlike any other between a U.S. president and news outlet, The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer reported. She described how the network has gone from airing partisan coverage to peddling conspiracy theories, promoting pro-Trump stories and killing at least one story damaging to the candidate during the 2016 campaign.
Among other revelations, Mayer reported that Trump rates Fox News hosts on a scale of 1 to 10 based on their loyalty to him.
Sullivan also lambasted the network for failing to uphold basic journalism practices and for seeming to operate without clear guidelines on standards and ethics that should steer the network’s reporting.
The last point is likely of particular outrage to Sullivan, who served as the New York Times’ public editor for 3 1/2 years before joining the Post as a media columnist. In her role at the Times, she regularly wrote about reader concerns and the newspaper’s journalism, often interviewing editors and reporters and providing reader feedback on their coverage.