Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed all-star panelist Clint Brewer to the studio.
During the third hour, Brewer gave his take on the future of Fox News and where the top commentators will be by 2021’s year’s end. He added that he didn’t see the network heading in a downward spiral after a Trump era and predicted they would be eager participants to critique a Biden presidency.
Leahy: We are in the studio with our good friend and all-star panelist Clint Brewer. By the way, you are a public affairs specialist, and I won’t go into the details, but whenever I ask you for public affairs and business advice just looking back, we’ve had conversations about business. You’re always spot on.
Brewer: Well, thank you.
Leahy: I mean your advice is very very good. When I ask for it I listen to it and I almost always follow it because it’s very good. It’s just, you know, just about your background and professional skills. I do want to add before we get to Fox News, you are laughing because you know what I’m going to say here. It’s like a moth drawn to a light. We were talking about traffic in Nashville. I’m going to ask you this. Do you think that people are driving crazier during this COVID-19 pandemic?
Brewer: Yeah, particularly on the interstate because there are so few people out it’s like Nashvillians are conditioned to try to get everywhere they can get as fast as possible because there’s always so much traffic.
Brewer: And now that there’s no traffic you see a wide-open lane and you immediately throttle down to 90 and go.
Leahy: In theory, people do that. You of course never do that. You of course always follow the speed limit.
Brewer: No. I follow the speed limit.
Leahy: All the time.
Brewer: I follow all laws.
Leahy: Every law. Every single law.
Brewer: But I do think people are driving faster and kind of crazy.
Leahy: Okay. Well, we could as you pointed out talk about national traffic forever, but this is a political show. So we’ll shift gears and I have another interesting thing to talk to you about. What on earth is going on with Fox News? Where does Fox News go in the future? And who among the hosts there that we like who have a conservative perspective, who survives? Tucker Carlson. Sean Hannity. Laura Ingraham. Maria Bartiromo. Lou Dobbs. Let’s say those five strong conservatives. Are they going to be with the network in a year?
Brewer: I think they will. I mean, I think they are the brand. I don’t think they have deviated from the brand. Because they’re more commentators, right?
Leahy: Yeah. They aren’t the news.
Brewer: They are the pundits and not the talking heads. The news staff have been the ones who have in their reportage departed from the sort of you know, cheerleader-esc coverage that we’ve seen typically on Fox of President Trump. And here’s going to be Fox News‘s path. If President Trump and it appears he has lost the election..
Leahy: Parenthetical. That’s your view. My view is the fat lady hasn’t sung yet.
Brewer: Well, he has by all other accounts.
Leahy: Mainstream media.
Brewer: He’s got a brand of maintaining a movement to maintain. The question is will he continue to be relevant after office and be on Twitter? And you know, if he can do that and maintain this sort of populist conservative movement and there’s a source of ongoing pressure against Fox News for this divide in their own newsroom between the commentators and the journalists then you know, yeah, they could continue to face some headwinds with their base.
But in the absence of that movement being maintained and I think there’s a pretty fair chance it won’t be simply due to what we’ve always seen from President Trump, which is a lack of discipline. I think that the Trump era eventually kind of melts into history Fox News has the opportunity to reassert itself. And guess what if they have a Democratic President that’s going to be the best thing in the world for Fox News because then they’ll all be in their newsroom be singing from the same page again. So everybody will be happy to hear the criticism of President Biden.
Leahy: This will shock you.
Brewer: You disagree with me.
Leahy: I pretty much just disagree with you and I’ll tell you why. I think Fox News has gone left.
Brewer: The whole network? Or just part of it?
Leahy: The whole network at the executive level because Rupert Murdoch has passed it down to his, you know, whiny liberal kids. And they hate the base. They just despise the base. They want to punish the base. They want to punish the 74 million, 73 million people who voted for Donald Trump because they think they’re troglodytes and not worthy of them and they need to repent as Raphael Warnock said down in Georgia. I think they’re going to change the entire network to be accommodating to the Joe Biden crowd. That would be my guess. And at some point, I think it’s unlikely that those five that I talked about will stick around.
Brewer: I just can’t see that happening. It would be commercial suicide.
Leahy: You mean like CNN? MSNBC?
Brewer: Why would you go be like the rest of the field?
Leahy: But they already are like the rest of the field except for those evening shows that I’ve talked about. Let me give you an example.
Brewer: Go ahead.
Leahy: Let’s take a look at Arizona. Now Arizona this kid Arnon Mishkin who is their decision desk guy, let me say this. I know Michael Barone. He’s no Michael Barone. Michael Barone the great writer Washington Examiner had run the decision desk for many years when Roger Ailes was there. So this Mishnick character gets in and he calls Arizona for Joe Biden about an hour after the polls close with 70 percent in. And right now as we speak there’s an 11,000 vote differential. Biden up. Trump down. But you know 11,000 possible recounts.
All that sort of stuff. It’s still in doubt in Arizona and yet they called it. The other thing that Fox News did which is by the way gone down into a memory hole when they called on election night. I don’t do we talked about this before? election night you of course, we’re here at command central providing your analysis of the Senate races here with Crom Carmichael, Michael and Laura Baigert, and Ben Cunningham. Had a fun time that night. I was with my much bigger whiteboard than Karl Rove has. (Laughs)
Brewer: We are in a whiteboard measuring contest now folks.
Leahy: Yes. But I had to make some adjustments after we left at midnight because of all the surprise 100,000 ballots. But Fox News called the House of Representatives race like you know why we were here at about nine o’clock at night. Brett Bair sat there and said Fox News can now project that Democrats will maintain the House and gain five seats. Only they didn’t gain five seats. They’re going to lose about 10.
Brewer: I don’t know that that’s so much partisanship or leaning left as it is just incompetence. I mean you’re assuming conspiracy when it could just be bad work. I’m not defending them.
Leahy: You are not defending Arnon Mishkin? (Laughs)
Brewer: I’m not defending him but what he’s probably guilty of is professional incompetence. Not skewing things for an agenda.
Leahy: You are a very kind person.
Brewer: I’m a pragmatist. Usually, the simplest answer is the right one.
Leahy: Occam’s Razor. So I’m going to take Occam’s Razor and I’m going to look at it and to me the simplest answer is this Arnon Mishkin character picked by the Murdoch scions who are far lefties has a mission. And the mission is to skew things to the left as much as possible. And that’s why in my view he prematurely picked Arizona an hour after the polls closed. And it’s still in doubt now. What are we two weeks later? And then his error in the House.
Brewer: Somebody that works for a media organization got something wrong.
Brewer: That’s shocking. Shocking.
Leahy: I know. Shocking.
Listen to the full third hour here:
– – –
Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Fox News Studio” by Inside Cable News. CC BY 2.0.