The Daily Beast reported Tuesday that Fox News' "Fox & Friends" let former EPA administrator Scott Pruitt approve questions and scripts before he appeared on that show for interviews.
What are the details?
The Sierra Club submitted FOIA requests to the Environmental Protection Agency to gain access to emails between that agency and "Fox & Friends." These were then reported by the Daily Beast. The emails show that Pruitt was given scripts and questions ahead of time for multiple interviews on the morning show.
In one case, the exact wording of an opener for a "Fox & Friends" interview was run by Pruitt's office. “Yes — perfect,” EPA press secretary Amy Graham responded. The opener was then used to introduce Pruitt nearly verbatim the next day.
Fox News producer Diana Aloi reportedly asked Pruitt's office for “talking points” and things “that Mr. Pruitt would like to discuss specifically” on multiple occasions. Pruitt's relationship with the show was reportedly so close that when he had to cancel a "Fox & Friends" interview, he asked for the hosts' addresses and had his staff send them personalized apologies.
It's not uncommon for guests to get a heads-up regarding questions that might be discussed on the air. Interviewees are often given this information so that they can prepare information on whatever topic they were being brought on air to discuss. However, this is more unusual when it comes to a government official.
A spokesperson for Fox News told the Daily Beast, “This is not standard practice whatsoever and the matter is being addressed internally with those involved.”
What about Trump?
President Donald Trump is known to frequently watch and tweet about "Fox & Friends." In 2018 alone, he has tagged the show in at least 45 different tweets. On Feb. 5, he praised them in a tweet, saying: “Thank you to @foxandfriends for exposing the truth. Perhaps that’s why your ratings are soooo much better than your untruthful competition!”
Thank you to @foxandfriends for exposing the truth. Perhaps that’s why your ratings are soooo much better than your untruthful competition!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1517833077.0
Pruitt resigned from his post as EPA administrator in July amidst questions about potential ethics violations. Trump defended Pruitt even after he had accepted his resignation, saying that he believed Pruitt had done an “outstanding job.”