Rob Porter, a White House staff secretary who was in change of the flow of paperwork coming into and out of the Oval Office, resigned from his position on Wednesday after both of his ex-wives accused him of abuse — but not before White House Chief of Staff John Kelly released a statement praising Porter and ignoring the abuse allegations and his alleged victims.
Fox News, however, is pretending the scandal doesn’t exist.
Questions have since been raised about what top White House officials knew and when they knew it. Bloomberg reports that “senior White House aides” had “heard of domestic violence allegations against President Donald Trump’s staff secretary before reports published on Tuesday and Wednesday that led to his resignation.” According to CBS, “the FBI informed the White House in November about the domestic abuse allegations against Porter. It’s unclear how the White House responded to this information.”
These revelations have raised concerns about Porter’s involvement in sensitive White House matters.
“Allegations of domestic violence can be grounds for the government to deny security clearances to aspiring officials,” Bloomberg reports. “Yet Porter had sat in on meetings of the National Security Council where top secret matters were discussed, according to three people familiar with the situation.”
Kelly’s initial statement about Porter was not well received. So late Wednesday, the White House chief of staff released a second one feigning surprise about the Porter accusations, and denouncing domestic violence.
New statement from CoS Kelly pic.twitter.com/A0zPXOvRnf
— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) February 8, 2018
From Wednesday afternoon to Thursday morning, the White House domestic abuse came up dozens of times both on CNN and MSNBC. Kelly’s shifting statements about Porter on Wednesday got “breaking news” treatment on both networks.
But if you think any of that would warrant so much as a mention on Fox News, think again. According to transcripts of the network’s broadcasts, Porter’s name wasn’t mentioned a single time on Fox News’ programming from the 6 o’clock hour on Wednesday until the 9 o’clock hour on Thursday morning.
That means that Porter’s name didn’t come up a single time on Fox News’ primetime programming or on Thursday’s edition of Trump’s favorite show, Fox & Friends. Instead, hosts found to instead discuss allegations that Hillary Clinton colluded with Russia, to chastise anyone opposed to Trump’s plan to have a military parade in D.C., and to criticize Justin Trudeau for correcting “mankind” to “humankind” at a town hall event.
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway joined Fox & Friends for an interview, but wasn’t asked about Porter. Hosts instead teed up a question for her about the Eagles’ Super Bowl win.
Conway also worked with hosts to push a “scandal” about text messages sent between two FBI agents, claiming President Obama exerted influence in the Hillary Clinton email investigation. Despite the fact that the story was debunked on Wednesday, Fox News has continued pushing it.
While Fox News decision to ignore the White House domestic abuse scandal is particularly egregious, the network has routinely downplayed bad news for Trump, while pushing misleading stories that discredit Trump’s opponents and the institutions tasked with overseeing his administration.
In return, the president has effusively praised the network while attacking its competitors.
Thank you for all of the nice compliments and reviews on the State of the Union speech. 45.6 million people watched, the highest number in history. @FoxNews beat every other Network, for the first time ever, with 11.7 million people tuning in. Delivered from the heart!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 1, 2018
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 25, 2017
As of Thursday morning, it remains unclear exactly when Porter will stop working in the White House.