Tea leaves: What do the departure of both Juan Williams and Donna Brazile portend for FNC?

Tea leaves: What do the departure of both Juan Williams and Donna Brazile portend for FNC?
Donna Brazile Juan Williams (Image: Fox News Channel)

Two days after Juan Williams, the argumentative, eye-rolling Democrat seen weekdays on Fox News Channel’s “The Five,” announced that he was leaving the show, a second bombshell rocked the cable news world. The Daily Beast has reported that former DNC Chairwoman Donna Brazile, Fox’s other hardline liberal, was also headed for the door.

There is some dispute over the reason for Williams’s departure. On Thursday’s show, his last, he claimed that his decision was based on Fox’s own to begin broadcasting from its New York studios again now that the pandemic has died down. Williams, who lives in the D.C. area, said he was no longer interested in making the daily commute. An article in Salon, however, asserts that Williams had been forced out by co-host Greg Gutfeld.

Brazille’s story is more clear-cut. She is headed to ABC, where she worked previously as a commentator. Although she insists that “all is good” between her and Fox, according to the Daily Beast, the article emphasizes that her “time at Fox was … marked by several heated and tense on-air moments, most notably when she lashed out at Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel for weighing in on the 2020 Democratic primary. ‘Stay the hell out of our race!’ Brazile shouted, adding: ‘So, Ronna, go to hell!’”

The departure of Williams and Brazile, both of whom are black (Brazile is also a woman for those playing the identity politics game at home), is sure to be exploited by FNC’s biggest critics, CNN, as further evidence that the conservative network is racist.

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As for Fox, one has to wonder how this latest shakeup will play in Peoria. The network took a drubbing over several unfortunate incidents shortly after the 2020 election. One came when host Neil Cavuto cut away from a live White House press conference that dealt with several ongoing investigations into voter fraud cases, insisting that the claims were “unsupported.”

The network has also witnessed incursions into its ratings by upstart rivals Newsmax and OAN, which likely gave the network brass some pause.

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.

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