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Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott is clamping down on what hosts and guests say on air, NBCNews has confirmed.
Scott, who was named chief executive in May, held a meeting with top staff in the past few days and read from prepared notes, telling producers of the channel’s biggest shows that they would be held responsible for what their guests — and even what the hosts — say on air, according to a source who confirmed an earlier report by Politico.
Fox News has had to respond to a growing number of offensive and insensitive statements by hosts and guests. Producers in the meeting included Tommy Firth, who is the executive producer of “The Ingraham Angle,” whose host, Laura Ingraham, faced backlash after she described detention centers where migrant children are being held as “summer camps.”
Ingraham later qualified her statement, acknowledging that she had upset a lot of people. She said viewers should spend time in Central America with a view to adopting children.
But one source familiar with the situation at Fox who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear of professional retribution said it can be difficult for producers to control what hosts say.
“The idea that a 32-year-old producer can control what Laura Ingraham says live is not realistic,” the source said.
Fox News also reportedly suspended David Bossie, who had served as President Donald Trump’s deputy campaign manager, from appearing on air after he told a black guest, “You’re out of your cotton-picking mind.”
Fox News, which remains the most-watch network on basic cable, has also come under fire for its recent coverage of the president’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, which had included separating children from their families. The coverage pushed some entertainment talent associated with 21st Century Fox, which owns Fox News — including Seth MacFarlane, creator of “Family Guy” — to say they’re “embarrassed” to work for the same parent company.
A Fox News spokeswoman said in a statement: “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.”