No conflict of interest for Guilfoyle on Fox

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There’s a good chance Republican National Committee Communications Director Sean Spicer will be named White House press secretary as early as the end of this week, according to several reports.

But an emerging dark horse in the always-speculating I-95 pundit class from New York to Washington is Kimberly Guilfoyle of Fox News.

{mosads} Guilfoyle, host of Fox News’s popular roundtable opinion program “The Five,” is a former assistant district attorney in San Francisco. She was once married to former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat.

The 47-year-old former Court TV and ABC legal analyst was seen recently at Trump Tower, which led to speculation — all unconfirmed — that she was in the running to be Trump’s press secretary.

Regardless of whether Guilfoyle lands the gig or not, it has led to some criticism of Fox News for not pulling Guilfoyle off the air immediately due to a potential conflict of interest of commenting on Trump while allegedly interviewing with his transition team.

The argument stems from a decision made in July to pull Newt Gingrich, a Fox News contributor, off the air via amicable suspension after his name was prominently bandied about as Trump’s vice presidential pick.

Trump would go with Indiana governor Mike Pence instead, and Gingrich was quickly reinstated to appear as a contributor on the network again.

So how does Guilfoyle differ in that regard?

After all, she was seen at Trump Tower recently. Then again, so were Leonardo DiCaprio, Al Gore and Kanye West.

But in the case of Gingrich, he had openly embraced being considered for VP. He didn’t deny being on a shortlist when asked. The conflict of interest was quite clear and therefore was an easy decision for Fox executives to make.

When looking at Guilfoyle’s situation, however, it’s as clear as mud. We don’t know what position she’s being considered for, if any. She’s made no comment on the matter, nor has anyone from the Trump team. And if Fox suspends her until Trump’s full cabinet is named, she better take a number when it comes to Fox employees under consideration.

One of her co-hosts of The Five, Eric Bolling, was being considered for a position in Trump’s Commerce department. Fox contributor Laura Ingraham also is being considered for the job of press secretary. Mike Huckabee was offered an Israel ambassador position. Periodic “Fox & Friends Weekend” host and contributor Pete Hegseth is reportedly a finalist to run to Department of Veterans Affairs.

K.T. McFarland and Monica Crowley, now-former Fox contributors, recently took jobs with in the Trump administration as deputy national security advisers.

So either Fox temporarily suspends the likes of Guilfoyle, Bolling, Ingraham, Huckabee and Hegseth solely on the basis on baseless speculation, or it waits until official selections are made. Going the latter route — as it has since Trump was elected — appears to be the only fair option.

One more point: Guilfoyle, like Bolling, Ingraham, Huckabee and Hegseth, are mostly on the network to offer opinions. And in the case of Guilfoyle and Bolling, for example, those opinions have been invariably pro-Trump. Nothing wrong with that, just as there’s nothing wrong with other Fox pundits being critical of the president-elect.

But with Guilfoyle, the audience already understands that she’s a supporter of Trump based on much of her commentary over the past 18 months. To say that she’s now compromised because she may or may not be interviewing for a job in his administration isn’t going the change her perspective on the administration or the guy at the top of it. If this was Bret Baier, a staff news anchor, this is a much different conversation.

Conflicts of interest are a common problem in cable news. Donna Brazile proved that recently when valuing her position at the DNC over her commitment to CNN in sharing debate questions in advance with the Clinton campaign on two occasions. In the end, Brazile basically said she chose party over network in a recent interview with Sirius XM, and should be a teaching moment moving forward around dual roles and political analysts.

The revolving door between Beltway politics and I-95 media is one that is constantly turning as a whole.

But in the case of Kimberly Guilfoyle and all the unfounded speculation around a candidacy of a position inside the Trump White House, there’s really nothing to see here regarding a conflict of interest.

Joe Concha is a media reporter for The Hill.

The views expressed by Contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.

Tags Al Gore Donald Trump Fox News Joe Concha Kimberly Guilfoyle Mike Pence Newt Gingrich
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