Fox News exiles George Will and other contributors
Television is a brutal business, and so is politics. Both can be great for the winners, but for the losers, humiliation, financial stress, and worst of all, obscurity beckon, like a career version of the Grim Reaper.
The upheaval of the 2016 election is being matched by the turmoil in cable news. Among the punditry, one the biggest losers is George Will, the syndicated political commentator who openly hoped for a 50 state sweep by Hillary Clinton, so obnoxious in his eyes was Donald Trump. His post-election appearances as a Special Report panelist have been awkward enough that Fox News made what seems like an inevitable decision. Via Joe Concha of The Hill:
Fox News has declined to renew contributor contracts for longtime political commentator George Will, Republican strategist Ed Rollins and actress Stacey Dash, according to a network spokesperson.
Will, 75, is a Pulitzer-winning conservative columnist who was with ABC from 1981-2011 before coming to Fox in 2013.
In June of 2016, he declared he was leaving the Republican party because of Donald Trump, a decision the then-nominee appeared to embrace.
George Will, one of the most overrated political pundits (who lost his way long ago), has left the Republican Party.He's made many bad calls— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 26, 2016
But Will has also been involved in heated disputes with the network’s reigning Bigfoot, Bill O’Reilly:
In 2015 and 2016, Will had periodically feuded with the network's highest-rated host, Bill O'Reilly, with Will once stating that O'Reilly's best-selling book, "Killing Reagan" was "nonsensical" and "The Factor" host calling Will "a hack" in a subsequent interview.
For the Fox executives (as opposed to the on-air talent) in the post-Ailes era, I suppose the famous line from the Godfather applies: “Nothing personal – it’s just business.”
That also applies to the others whose contracts are now lapsing. A certain amount of churn is necessary in the faces available to viewers. Other faces not returning to the Fox air:
Veteran journalist Marvin Kalb, 86, and syndicated columnist and radio commentator Cal Thomas, 74, also did not have their contracts renewed by the network.
Rollins, Kalb, and Thomas are all men of an earlier era, well versed in the political applecart that has been tipped over by Donald Trump. I suppose that the executives believe that in the new political environment, their experiences are less apposite than commentators versed in the populism, of the day:
On Friday, Fox announced the signing of former U.K. Independence Party leader Nigel Farage as a contributor.
Farage is a major backer of Brexit and outspoken supporter of President Trump.
I take no pleasure in the misery of the commentators out of work, but I do welcome Farage’s voice as a new addition