According to a report from CNN Business on Thursday, hosts, reporters, and pundits who appear on Fox News have been instructed by management not to identify the Ukraine whistleblower who lit the fire that started the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
Despite the whistleblower’s name (Eric Ciaramella) being known to literally anyone who cares to know it, Fox News bosses have reportedly been warning commentators like Sean Hannity not to jump on the bandwagon. It is the latest (but not the first) warning that Fox News may slowly be morphing into something that will ultimately be unrecognizable to its loyal viewers.
On October 31, a Fox executive sent an email to staffers that said the network had not “independently confirmed [the] name or identification of the anonymous whistleblower.” A copy of the email was obtained by CNN Business.
The executive further advised production staffers to “NOT fulfill any video or graphic requests” related to the whistleblower’s identity.
Such guidance has been extended to Fox’s prime time talk shows, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. Hosts like Sean Hannity have been told not to name the person they believe to be whistleblower on the air.
Some of the hosts have alluded to this guidance while on Fox. “Justice” host Jeanine Pirro said last Friday that the network’s hosts “apparently can’t say” the person’s name. And Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo said last week that they were “not naming” the person on Fox.
Hannity said on Monday that he had “confirmed independently” the identity of the whistleblower, but stopped short of naming the person on air.
“But you know what, I will play the game for a little bit,” Hannity said. “And I will take the lawyer’s threats that they’re going to sue me, it wouldn’t go anywhere.”
As of Thursday morning, Fox News was still not reporting on the name of the whistleblower despite his identity suddenly becoming an even more exposed open secret than it was a week ago. After Donald Trump Jr. tweeted a Breitbart report prominently naming Ciaramella, the idea of keeping the whistleblower’s identity secret is an exercise in absurdity. We might as well start pretending we don’t know who Caitlyn Jenner used to be.
This has been a shameful period for the mainstream news media, and it’s doubly shameful to see Fox News take the same position as CNN and the NY Times and the rest of the liberal press. There’s no reason on earth to keep this guy’s “secret identity.” Indeed, it is of imminent public interest for Ciaramella to be identified, interviewed, and investigated. It’s too bad the management at Fox doesn’t get that.