Fox News cut away on Friday from a White House briefing when Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany showed footage of violent demonstrations in Portland, Oregon, because the video included images of profane graffiti on a federal courthouse.
“We were not expecting that video, and our management here at Fox News has decided we will pull away from that at this time,” said anchor Harris Faulkner.
Video from my reporting and others on the #PortlandRiots were shown at the White House press conference today. Some of the content is so extreme that Fox News cuts away. #antifa #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/B1nVDtXjE8
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) July 24, 2020
FCC guidelines normally prohibit profanity between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. on television when “there is a reasonable risk that children may be in the audience.” Because Fox News is a cable service, it is exempt from the profanity rule, but cable news stations’ internal policies routinely bar swear words. Two Fox News contributors were suspended for using profanity on air in 2015, CNN Money reported at the time.
CNN and MSNBC did not air the news briefing live.
Faulkner returned to airing the briefing once McEnany started taking questions from the press corps. At the end of the hour, Faulkner said the network had not been aware McEnany planned to show the video. Faulkner suggested she preferred to be given a heads up for violent and profane content.
Democrats have maintained that the riots in Portland were “peaceful protests.” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti claimed Thursday that the rioters in Portland represented “the best of our democratic ideals.”
Update: Fox News issued a statement: “FOX News was not provided with any advance warning that a video using profanity would air during this afternoon’s White House press briefing. Once it aired, FOX News made the decision it was inappropriate for a daytime audience and temporarily dropped out of coverage.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.