DES MOINES, Iowa — Fox News has now resorted to censoring itself.
In the Wednesday morning broadcast of America’s Newsroom, guest anchors Heather Childers and Gregg Jarrett—along with reporter John Roberts, who was live in Des Moines—trimmed the controversial parts of an anti-Donald Trump statement the network issued on Tuesday evening.
The segment opened with Childers asking Roberts about “all the buzz” about Trump, the billionaire 2016 GOP presidential frontrunner, backing out of the Thursday evening Fox News Channel debate here.
“Gregg was talking about Donald Trump fighting a war with Ted Cruz, but he now seems to be fighting a two-front war: One with Cruz and one with Fox News,” Roberts said. “He’s been trying since last week to have our Megyn Kelly removed as one of the debate moderators. Fox News wasn’t about to give in to that so it was Donald Trump who last night decided he was going to take a walk.”
It then shifted to video of Trump’s Tuesday evening remarks in which he announced that he wouldn’t be participating in the debate.
Then, Roberts edited his own network’s full statement to make it sound better.
“In a statement, Fox News last night held its ground saying ‘we’re not sure how Iowans are going to feel about him walking away from them at the last minute, but it should be clear to the American public by now that this is rooted in one thing – Megyn Kelly, whom he has viciously attacked since August and has now spent four days demanding be removed from the debate stage,’” Roberts said as part of the quote appeared on screen.
“In that statement, Fox News also said that Trump is still welcome in tomorrow night’s debate, and they will hold a place for him—though Trump may have poisoned the well a little bit this morning Heather with a nasty Tweet that he sent out about Megyn Kelly,” Roberts said.
From there, Roberts and Childers shifted into analysis of the news events.
But what’s clear here is that even the Fox News Channel is unwilling to air its entire statement on this development—which was filled with venomous attacks on not just Trump but on Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski too.
“As many of our viewers know, FOX News is hosting a sanctioned debate in Des Moines, Iowa on Thursday night, three days before the first votes of the 2016 election are cast in the Iowa Caucus,” the full Fox News Channel statement reads.
Donald Trump is refusing to debate seven of his fellow presidential candidates on stage that night, which is near unprecedented. We’re not sure how Iowans are going to feel about him walking away from them at the last minute, but it should be clear to the American public by now that this is rooted in one thing – Megyn Kelly, whom he has viciously attacked since August and has now spent four days demanding be removed from the debate stage. Capitulating to politicians’ ultimatums about a debate moderator violates all journalistic standards, as do threats, including the one leveled by Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski toward Megyn Kelly. In a call on Saturday with a Fox News executive, Lewandowski stated that Megyn had a ‘rough couple of days after that last debate’ and he ‘would hate to have her go through that again.’ Lewandowski was warned not to level any more threats, but he continued to do so. We can’t give in to terrorizations toward any of our employees. Trump is still welcome at Thursday night’s debate and will be treated fairly, just as he has been during his 132 appearances on FOX News & FOX Business, but he can’t dictate the moderators or the questions.