The one thing Fox News hates above all else is to be challenged—even when the one challenging the network is one of its own commentators.
New York Magazine first reported that Karl Rove, along with fellow pundit Dick Morris, has been officially sidelined by the cable news outlet, following his wildly off-base Election Night charge that the network had reported President Obama’s reelection in error, a claim that was instantly shot down by Fox News’ own team of fact-checkers and exit pollsters. While Rove and Morris were regular Fox News fixtures leading up to Election Day, they’ve only made scattered appearances since, presumably reflecting concerns about their continued credibility. And now, programming director Bill Shine, a deputy to network head and all-around demigod Roger Ailes, has given orders that producers must not ask Rove, or fellow pundit Dick Morris, to appear on future programs without asking permission from Shine or Ailes first.
A rep for Fox News has confirmed to Hollywood.com that the New York Magazine report is true and says that the reason for the policy change regarding Rove and Morris is that “the election’s over.”
This would have been unthinkable before Election Day, when Rove was still considered the right’s greatest electoral strategist. But after his American Crossroads SuperPAC poured $300 million into nationwide Republican congressional campaigns, of which only 1% proved victorious, many started to think Rove had lost his mojo. That night he rankled the feathers of the Fox News brass with his repeated charge that the networks’ election team was wrong about President Obama winning the critical swing-state of Ohio. At one point host Megyn Kelly even asked Rove, “Is this just math that you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better? Or is this real?” Following Obama’s reelection, “Mad Karl Rove” became a mini meme, with video of his on-air meltdown seen by critics of Fox News as indicative of a pundit who’d lost all touch with reality. Morris, meanwhile, appeared to take pride for weeks in ignoring the work of statisticians leading up to the election and sunnily maintaining throughout it all that Romney would win by a landslide.
Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt
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