Fox News internal war widens with Mark Levin challenging Ed Henry
A second front in the internal war at Fox News that is pitting news and opinion personalities against one another broke out into the open on Sunday. Unlike the first on-air skirmish last week, in which Tucker Carlson and Shepard Smith went at it — each attacking the other on his own show — this time, the conflict pitted two Fox News personnel against each other in a hostile exchange live on the same program.
The venue was Sunday's early morning weekend edition of its Fox & Friends program. Mark Levin, the conservative author, attorney, and radio talk show host whose own program, Life, Liberty & Levin, airs Sunday evenings on Fox News, appeared live from his Levin TV studio to comment on the Democrats' rush to impeach President Trump. Soon after the interview started, Levin got into it with one of the show's three co-hosts in New York, Ed Henry, who used to work at CNN. Henry recently returned to work at FNC after taking several months of medical leave after donating part of his liver to his critically ill sister, who needed an organ transplant.
The 13-minute segment began on an upbeat note, with program co-host Pete Hegseth introducing Levin as "the great one" — a nickname given to Levin by Sean Hannity. Levin then took five minutes to lay out his case criticizing the Democrats' efforts to impeach the president based on the infamous July 25 phone conversation between Trump and Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky.
It was then Ed Henry's turn to ask Levin a question. Henry, it should be noted, is considered a Fox News news, as opposed to Fox opinion, person. His challenge to Levin, repeated twice, appeared to provoke Levin.
Henry: "So you're okay with a president asking another president to dig up dirt on a candidate?"
At that point, Levin let loose with a comment directed at Henry:
First of all, your question is not honest. So I don't give yes or no answers [Crosstalk]. Let me finish, Ed. You have all morning. I have two minutes. It's not an honest question. Show me in the [July 25] transcript where the president [Trump] said that.
Henry: I don't have it in front of me.
Levin: Nowhere. Nowhere. ... If you guys in the media would do your damn job and ask Joe Biden what the hell's going on, maybe the president wouldn't have to raise the issue.
Ed Henry (left) and Mark Levin (right) debate on Fox & Friends, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019.
At the 9-minute point in the segment, co-host Hegseth posed a question and Levin, with his usual intense focus that has won him legions of fans on talk radio and television, deftly summarized his points. Levin:
Let me tell you what the press has done. They lied about a quid pro quo. They lied about the president raising this eight times. They lied about the president asking for a favor, trying to tie it to Joe Biden when he was asking about the 2016 election. The American people detest the media, not because they oppose freedom of the press but because they love freedom of the press. The media have taken sides here. And what I'm saying is this is an utterly corrupt, partisan, political process. And it's about time we had some real reporters who would try to get to the bottom of this. That's it.
Things calmed down during the rest of the segment as co-host Jedediah Bila asked Levin a question.
After the segment ended, Hegseth commented, "More Fox & Friends ahead — we'll try to top that, but probably not."
In the aftermath, President Trump tweeted references to the Fox & Friends segment over a dozen times, including links to several video clips from it (as in this one), while for his part, Ed Henry used his Twitter to defend his questioning of Levin.
Fox & Friends Sunday co-hosts Ed Henry, Jedediah Bila, and Pete Hegseth are all smiles after the appearance of Mark Levin on Sept. 29, 2019.
As an obsessive viewer of Fox News since its launch in 1996, I do not recall a previous program on the news channel where two Fox on air personnel — in this case, Levin and Henry — went at it directly on the same program.
A video of the entire 13-minute segment currently resides at this URL.
Peter Barry Chowka writes about politics, media, popular culture, and health care for American Thinker and other publications. Peter's website is http://peter.media. Follow him on Twitter at @pchowka.