FNC Ices Napolitano…With a “Zakaria Out” Looming On The Horizon.
The Wall Street Journal’s Joe Flint writes about FNC benching Andrew Napolitano over his as still unsubstantiated claims that the Obama had the British wiretap Donald Trump…
Fox News is temporarily benching its legal analyst Andrew Napolitano, a former New Jersey Superior Court Judge, over his unconfirmed report last week that British intelligence had wiretapped Trump Tower for President Barack Obama, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Usually a frequent contributor, Mr. Napolitano hasn’t appeared on Fox News since Thursday, when he made the comments.
The commentary was cited by the White House as it continues to make the case that President Obama was trying to sabotage the Trump campaign. The British intelligence agency GCHQ, which rarely makes public statements, said last week the assertion by Mr. Napolitano was “utterly ridiculous.”
Fox News also attempted to distance itself from Mr. Napolitano’s remarks with anchor Shepard Smith saying on-air Friday that the channel could not confirm the commentary and “knows of no evidence of any kind that the now-president of the United States was surveilled at any time, in any way, full stop.”
FNC had little choice in the matter and in benching Napolitano the network probably did enough given the state of cable news where Fareed Zakaria can still have a job at CNN. So I’m not too interested in any choruses of “FNC should fire Napolitano”.
Of course I think FNC should fire him. He brought FNC’s journalism wing into the crosshairs with his sketchy antics by invoking Fox News by name in his reports when he was the one who sourced it. The correct course of action is to cut him loose. But why should FNC do the right thing and invite further scrutiny and another round of headlines when it can just ice Napolitano for a few days and then bring him back and call the matter “closed” ala CNN and Zakaria?
CNN established the standard here for journalistic transgressions. FNC will now probably follow suit and get away with it because CNN got away with it. I hope I’m wrong here. But I probably won’t be.