In News Coverage of Paul Ryan, Fox News Repeatedly Fails to Disclose He Is Board Member

Inset: Astrid Riecken/Getty Images; Breitbart News Edit
Spencer Platt/Getty Images; Inset: Astrid Riecken/Getty Images; Breitbart News Edit

Fox News and Fox Business have repeatedly failed to disclose in media coverage that Paul Ryan is a member of the Fox Corporation Board of Directors.

The failure to disclose Ryan’s board position is notable because it is a common media practice to disclose conflicts of interest.

Ryan, a board member since March 2019, serves as the chair of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee at the Fox Corporation. Ryan was selected as a board member after stepping down as 54th Speaker of the House in 2019. Critics of Ryan say he left Congress and joined the board after the Republican Party was successfully reformed from the antiquated establishment Bush/Cheney years into the Trump-era of American First against Ryan’s wishes and political aspirations.

Since Ryan’s career transitioned to the Fox Cooperation, his board position influence over Fox News and Fox Business has been pervasive. According to Fox Corporation, Ryan’s authority as chair of the Nominating Corporate Governance Committee includes establishing “broad corporate policies,” setting “strategic direction,” and overseeing “management identification and management of risks.”

His broad network influence has raised questions as to why Ryan’s prominent position is not disclosed to viewers during Fox News and Fox Business media coverage about Ryan’s political opinions.

In the last 45 days, Fox News has written three articles about Ryan’s political views without disclosing Ryan’s management role at its parent company. On October 15, Fox News published the title, “Paul Ryan predicts Trump will not be 2024 Republican nominee.” No disclosure was provided of Ryan’s position of power. In two articles on November 10 and November 16, Fox News again failed to disclose Ryan’s membership on the board.

In all three articles, former President Donald Trump was cast in a negative light, a consistent political position of Ryan’s personally held views incorporated within Fox News’ “We report, you decide” platform.

The conflict of interest also extends to Fox Business. When it comes to on-air mentions without disclosing Ryan’s conflict of interest, Fox Business host Stuart Varney has omitted Ryan’s network oversight at least four time in the last 30 days. While Varney has disclosed Ryan’s conflict a few times, he has failed to mention Ryan’s attacks on Trump without disclosing Ryan’s position on the Fox Corperation Board.

At least four times since the midterm election, Varney’s Fox Business show reported Paul’s negative comments about Trump’s political future without disclosing Ryan’s membership on the board:

November 11

“A lot of Republicans are starting to say that [Trump can’t win]: Paul Ryan, Mike Lawler who just won in New York. He took out Sean Patrick Maloney, the head of the DCCC.”

Fox Business

November 11

“The feud between Paul Ryan and Donald Trump, it is back. The former Speaker says, ‘Trump kinda a drag on the Republican ticket.’ Question: Is it time for the GOP to ditch Trump?”

Fox Business

November 17

“Former House Speaker Paul Ryan says Trump is costing Republicans elections and he won’t be able to beat Biden in 2024.”
Fox Business

November 17

“Former Speaker Paul Ryan was asked who could beat Biden. He replied, ‘Anyone not named Trump.'”

Fox Business

It remains to be seen if Fox News and Fox Business will rectify this issue in future coverage with disclosure of Ryan’s board position at the company.

A spokeswoman for Fox News did not respond to a request for comment.

Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø. He is the author of Politics of Slave Morality.


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