“Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter said Sunday that ousted Fox Business host Lou Dobbs was not a victim of “cancel culture.”
Stelter argued that Dobbs, who has been named in a lawsuit filed by voting company Smartmatic over continued claims of fraud in the 2020 presidential election, was not the only one on Fox’s airwaves to make such claims. (RELATED: ‘Don’t You Dare!’: A Self-Righteous Stelter Upbraided By 30-Year News Veteran In Testy Exchange Over Hunter Biden Emails)
“Let’s go behind the scenes of the ousting of Lou Dobbs,” Stelter began. “It is not cancel culture here. It is consequence culture. What are the consequences for riling up people with reckless lies about a democracy that most Americans cherish?”
Stelter argued that there had not been many consequences in the past, but that maybe the tide was about to turn. Referring to Dobbs’ show as a “pro-Trump love-in” and a “lie fest,” Stelter noted that Fox News hosts Jeanine Pirro and Maria Bartiromo were also named in the lawsuit, but that both had remained on air.
Stelter brought in NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik to discuss the issue further, asking why he believed Dobbs had been canceled.
“Well, it wasn’t ratings. I mean, the man was among the leaders for Fox Business Network,” Folkenflik began, saying that the explanation he had gotten was that it was just one of the previously planned changes.
“It happened very abruptly,” Folkenflik continued. “Not a seamless handoff.”
Folkenflik went on to suggest that Dobbs may have been thrown out as a sacrifice to see if his ouster would be enough to “cauterize the wound, to distance Fox from this feverish conspiracy theory.”
Calling Dobbs the “avatar,” he concluded, “This reminds me a little bit, to be honest, of the way scandals were handled at Rupert Murdoch’s news tabloids in London … where what they would do is throw somebody over the side and see if that was enough.”
Fox News also released a statement, saying, “As we said in October, FOX News Media regularly considers programming changes and plans have been in place to launch new formats as appropriate post-election, including on FOX Business – this is part of those planned changes. A new 5PM program will be announced in the near future.”