Just when we thought we had heard the last of the Trump administration’s most shameless dirtbag, former EPA head Scott Pruitt, The Daily Beast got ahold of emails sharing advance interview questions between Fox & Friends producers and Pruitt’s team.
The fact that the conservative news network’s morning show already acts as a glorified public relations outlet for the White House is nothing new, but the revelation that the network’s producers colluded with a then-embattled government official to script flattering interviews in advance seems especially damning. According to emails obtained via the Freedom of Information Act by the Sierra Club and published by The Daily Beast, Pruitt’s office was allowed to receive the questions the former EPA head would be asked on air and in some instances, his team was allowed to approve the show’s script prior to air, insulating the comically corrupt Pruitt from tough questions. Although this sounds par for the course for a network that openly cheerleads for the president, it’s an affront to anyone with the slightest familiarity with journalistic ethics.
One of the more egregious instances occurred in May 2017 when Fox producers promised EPA press secretary Amy Graham “pre-interview questions on the agreed upon topic, the new direction of the EPA, and helping communities that were poorly served by the last administration.” Fox & Friends producer Diana Aloi ended up sending along a flattering script that preceded the softball interview. From The Daily Beast:
“Would this be okay as the setup to his segment?” producer Diana Aloi asked.
“There’s a new direction at the Environmental Protection Agency under President Trump—and it includes a back-to-basics approach. This after the Obama administration left behind a huge mess more than 1,300 super-fund sites which are heavily contaminated—still require clean-ups. So why was President Obama touted as an environmental savior if all these problems still exist?”
The EPA comms shop was pleased.
“Yes — perfect,” Graham replied.
As you can see from this clip, the segment ran as scripted.
Perhaps this is why Pruitt became so flustered when Fox & Friends guest host Ed Henry asked the disgraced EPA head tough questions about his misuse of public funds, his shady rental of a townhouse owned by an energy lobbyist, and other grifts in an April 2018 interview. It was possibly the first time Pruitt wasn’t given the questions in advance. Pruitt was ousted from the EPA a few months later following multiple scandals involving misuse of taxpayer money for lavish travel and a 24-hour security detail.
“This is not standard practice whatsoever and the matter is being addressed internally with those involved.” a Fox rep told The Daily Beast. Spin reached out to Fox News for additional comment and we will update if we hear back.