Will Mollie Hemingway still have a job at Fox News after naming the whistleblower on live TV Sunday?
Fox News contributor Mollie Hemingway, senior editor at The Federalist and a highly regarded independent journalist, created a stir during a panel discussion on FNC's Sunday morning program Media Buzz, hosted by Howie Kurtz. At 11:19 A.M. E.T., as the program was being broadcast from Washington, D.C. without a delay, the topic of the "whistleblower," who set the ball rolling on the move to impeach the president because of the July 25 Trump-Zelensky phone call, came up.
Mollie Hemingway: The New York Times did all but reveal his name in September and (unintelligble) all the details. . .
Howie Kurtz: The New York Times was the first, to basically half out the whistleblower by saying he's a CIA officer who had been assigned to the White House.
Hemingway: And Real Clear Investigations has identified a man named Eric Ciaramella as the whistleblower. So it's already out there. We could be talking about this reporting, or could be talking about whether it's accurate or not. So I feel a little bit confused about why we're pretending that it hasn't already been (unintelligible).
Kurtz: I don't know that that's the person —
Philippe Reines (political advisor to Hillary Clinton and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Strategic Communications when Hillary had the top job at State): That's the first time that the name has been mentioned on Fox News!
Kurtz: I just want to clarify. I don't know whether this is the person or not, and I don't want to speculate about that.
Understandably, video clips of this exchange are not easy to find. At press time early Monday morning, two 45-second clips were still available at YouTube — here and here — but probably not for long. The Federalist Twitter account tweeted about Hemingway's outing the whistleblower with the video clip Sunday at 2:54 P.M. E.T. A direct link to the video clip is here.
Mollie Hemingway and Philippe Reines at the decisive moment on Media Buzz, Fox News Channel, Nov. 10, 2019.
Whether Hemingway planned to drop the name or not, it ran afoul of Fox News's order to anchors and hosts to not name the whistleblower. As CNN reported on November 6:
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 Sunday night wound down, Hemingway's comment on Media Buzz was clearly a serious matter, with articles about it popping up in a variety of media, both in the MSM and elsewhere. As a measure of its gravity, the scheduled replay of Media Buzz at 3 A.M. E.T. this morning was pre-empted by an unplanned second replay of a Fox News Sunday night special program, "Modern Warriors: A Veteran's Day Special," which had had its first replay only two hours earlier (1–2 A.M. E.T.)
It will be interesting to see if Hemingway is suspended or perhaps even fired as a Fox News contributor for her naming of the whistleblower.
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.