It’s widely known that Fox & Friends is President Donald Trump‘s favorite morning show. Why? Friday’s episode provides an answer. For after yet another Trump cabinet official was ousted, following a massive pile-up of bizarre scandals which roiled his leadership for months, the show barely even mentioned it.
The story isn’t a small one: EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt finally “resigned” after months of scandals over his spending and behavior at the agency (spurring at least 13 federal investigations), marking the departure of yet another Trump administration official. It was further evidence of deeply chaotic mismanagement within the administration, and another ding to Trump’s farcical “Drain the Swamp” rhetoric.
Nonetheless, the story went mostly unacknowledged on the top-rated cable news morning show. Its three main hosts didn’t mention Pruitt’s departure once. It was confined to the “headlines” portion of the show — sandwiched in between stories about ICE and wildfires.
The Pruitt resignation was briefly covered by Jillian Mele, who cast the story with a — shall we say — inventive angle:
“New EPA chief Andrew Wheeler hasn’t been on the job for 24 hours and already being attacked. The left going after Wheeler’s ties to the coal industry after celebrating Scott Pruitt’s resignation. Massachusetts Democratic Senator Ed Markey tweeting, ‘About. Damn. Time. With Pruitt out and Andrew Wheeler at the helm, the EPA Administrator will no longer be #BigOil’s right hand man, it’ll be King Coal’s best lobbyist.’”
The Pruitt story is one of of heinous government excess and insider dealing that would have been wonderfully juicy Fox & Friends fodder during the Obama administration. In the Trump era, it’s confined to a throwaway headline, mentioned only to highlight Democratic opposition to the administration. The scandals got so out of control that Pruitt was condemned by Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, and the network’s other programs covered his ouster. Fox & Friends less.
A reminder: Pruitt somehow survived in his position leading the Environmental Protection Agency for months, despite a steady flow of whistleblowers revealing his bizarre practices and absurd expenditures, which included sending staffers to pick up a used mattress at Trump Hotel and his favorite lotions from the Ritz; trying to use his position to get his wife a series of jobs, including one as a Chik-fil-A franchisee; spending $40k on a phone booth, $3k on “tactical pants,” $1.5k on fountain pens and $120k on a trip to Italy where he dined with a Catholic Cardinal abused of sexual abuse. The list goes on.
[image via screengrab]