Fox Business Network's Trish Regan a casualty of the coronavirus war?

Following two weeks off the air and in limbo after commenting on her Fox Business Network show on March 9 that the coronavirus pandemic is "another attempt to impeach the president," FBN prime-time host Trish Regan has left the cable network.  A terse news release from her employer on Friday, first reported by Variety, announced that "Fox Business has parted ways with Trish Regan — we thank her for her contributions to the network over the years and wish her continued success in her future endeavors."

Regan, 47, who joined FBN in 2015 after on-air work at CBS News, Bloomberg News, and CNBC, was a popular FBN prime-time host known for her support of President Trump and his policies.  She got her own live show, Trish Regan Primetime, in 2018.

Reagan, March 9, 2020.

During her March 9 program, Regan said: "The chorus of hate being leveled at the president is nearing a crescendo as Democrats blame him, and only him, for a virus that originated halfway around the world. This is yet another attempt to impeach the president."  Meanwhile, an on-screen chyron electronic graphic read, "Coronavirus Impeachment Scam."  Three days later, Regan's program was put on hiatus — ostensibly so FBN could reallocate its resources and focus on the growing coronavirus crisis.

On March 13, Regan tweeted to her 635,000 followers on Twitter that she was OK with the move. 

I want to let everyone know that Trish Regan Primetime is now on hiatus. FBN has taken prudent steps to limit staffing levels and is prioritizing its coverage during market hours. I fully support this decision — we all must to do our part to keep our colleagues safe.

The same day, striking a more moderate tone, an article with her byline was published at Fox Business dot com, "Trish Regan: Coronavirus finally gives us the bipartisanship we needed — Democrats, Republicans putting aside political differences for the good of the country."

Interestingly, March 9 was also the evening that Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity made a comment similar to Regan's during his prime-time program.  According to a variety of sources including  Vox, Hannity said:

This scaring the living hell out of people — I see it, again, as like, let's bludgeon Trump with this new hoax.

According to Vox, Hannity made the statement "during a segment in which he downplayed the risk of coronavirus to everyone except for people with compromised immune systems and older individuals.

He even cited "coronavirus hysteria" just two days after alleging a "hoax.'"

Within days, however, the politics of the conservative right as represented by Fox News's prime-time opinion hosts had shifted.  Hannity softened his critique and brought his nightly talking points more into line with the ones emerging from the Trump White House and its Coronavirus Task Force.  On March 16, according to POLITICO:

President Donald Trump on Monday acknowledged the gravity of the coronavirus pandemic, releasing strict new guidelines to limit people's interactions in an increasingly urgent bid to slow the virus in the next two weeks before U.S. hospitals are overwhelmed.

And so it has been ever since then, with both sides of the aisle more or less trying to present a somewhat less politicized and combative tone and the appearance at least of a more united front in the efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Regan has not tweeted since March 16, one day before her separation from FBN became known.  In a brief written statement on Friday, she said:

I have enjoyed my time at Fox and now intend to focus on my family during these troubled times. I am grateful to my incredible team at Fox Business and for the many opportunities the network has provided me. I'm looking forward to this next chapter in my career.

One has to wonder how it is that Regan was dealt with rather harshly, it would seem, for her alleged transgressions, while Hannity, so far, has gotten a pass.  The answer might be as simple as ratings and dollars and cents: Sean Hannity's prime-time program is consistently the highest rated show on Fox News.  Hannity himself has recently enjoyed some of the highest ratings of his 23 and a half years at the channel.  FBN, while a successful channel in its own right, has a much smaller ratings profile than its sister network, FNC.  And so it goes.

Peter Barry Chowka is a veteran journalist who writes about politics, media, popular culture, and health care for American Thinker and other publications.  Peter's website is  Follow Peter on Twitter at @pchowka.

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