Suzanne Scott, the new chief executive of Fox News, recently urged producers to place new scrutiny on the things hosts and panelists say during various shows, as the 21st Century Fox-owned outlet has come under a microscope after a recent string of controversial statements made on air.
In a meeting with New York and Washington-based producers, Scott cautioned the group to be more mindful of “protecting the talent, protecting the brand,” according to an account by Politico, which previously revealed the recent discussion. Scott, who was named CEO in May, is the only female executive overseeing a major U.S. TV-news operation.
“As the CEO of the network, Suzanne Scott regularly leads executive and editorial meetings and she expects accountability from her senior staff, which is what all good leaders do,” Fox News said in a statement.
Fox News hosts and guests are no strangers to meting out tough talk about politics and national news, but in recent weeks, some of their remarks have sounded off-key. Scott’s meeting, said to have been held last week, took place after former Donald Trump campaign executive Corey Lewandowski dismissed on air an account of a young girl with Down syndrome being separated from her mother as part of the nation’s recent crackdown on migrants crossing the U.S. border illegally. “Womp, womp,” said Lewandowski, echoing the sad sound a horn might make.
The cable-news network has had to deal with other incidents in the recent past. Primetime host Laura Ingraham, already under scrutiny for comments she made on social media about Parkland, Florida shooting survivor David Hogg, recently fanned new reaction by likening detention centers for separated children to “summer camps.” Ingrham clarified her comments within the same hour she made them. “Laura Ingraham’s very personal, on-the-ground commitment to the plight of impoverished and abandoned children—specifically in Guatemala— speaks for itself,” Fox said in a statement at the time. ” So too does her strong belief in a commonsense, legal immigration system, which will continue to be a focus of her show.” Several advertisers have pulled their support of her program, “The Ingraham Angle,” opting instead to have commercials run in other parts of the Fox News schedule.
In a separate incident, David Bossie, another former Trump campaign staffer and Fox News contributor, on Sunday told an African-American Democratic strategist, Joel Payne that he was “out of your cotton-picking mind.” Ed Henry, the anchor at the time, pushed back on the comments, Bossie is said to have been suspended from appearing on the network for two weeks. “David Bossie’s comments today were deeply offensive and wholly inappropriate. His remarks do not reflect the sentiments of Fox News and we do not in any way condone them,” and Fox said in a statement.
The Politico report suggested the remarks about children played a major role in Scott’s decision to address producers.