Juan Williams says there is no real separation between Fox News, Trump administration


Juan Williams, one of Fox News’ most prominent hosts, on Monday, said there is no real separation between President Trump’s White House and the Fox News Channel.

In an interview with Hill.TV, Williams, a co-host of the Fox News show “The Five,” scoffed at the idea that the public could separate where the network ends ended and the Trump administration begins.

Hill.TV host Krystal Ball pressed Williams on his network calling the “lines between Fox News and this White House blurry at best.” 

“Blurry?” Williams interjected. “I think they’re joined at … ” he responded as Ball interrupted his thought, finishing Williams’s sentence by adding, “They are joined at the hip.”

Williams agreed with the assertion.

Throughout his presidency, Trump has demonstrated that he is a devoted fan of the cable news channel, frequently quoting remarks made by its hosts and often tweeting responses to comments made by Fox News hosts. He is a particular fan of FNC’s morning show, “Fox and Friends,” watching it daily during what White House staffers refer to as “executive time.”

The president has also hired a number of prominent Fox News on-air staff to work high-level jobs in his administration, including National Security Adviser John Bolton and Department of State spokeswoman Heather Nauert. In July, former FNC co-president Bill Shine joined the White House to serve as communications director.

Some critics of the network have accused it of acting like a Republican propaganda operation with Trump in the White House.

“This isn’t just state-run TV. This is what state-run looks like under authoritarian rule,” Baltimore Sun media columnist David Zurawik wrote in May.

In his interview with Hill.TV, the left-leaning Williams, who is also a columnist for The Hill, argued that his sometimes dissenting presence on the network is “important” because it exposes Fox News viewers to viewpoints that they might not otherwise see.

“For me, it means that I’m inside that bubble,” he said. “And I think it’s so important at this juncture when we’re so politically polarized to have actual conversation.”

Williams acknowledged that he often tangled with conservative Fox personalities.

“I get to make my case. Oftentimes I get run over or, if I’m not prepared, I get crushed. But my voice is there, no one’s telling me what to say.”

Asked by Ball if he had ever expressed concern about the blurred lines between Fox News and the Trump administration, Williams said that the question was “above my pay grade.”

He added that he had free rein to criticize his fellow Fox News commentators.

“When they say things I think are wrong or even repugnant, I am clear about my feelings. It doesn’t make me the most popular boy in school,” Williams said.

Williams was formerly a commentator for National Public Radio but was fired in 2011 after he made a remark about being “nervous” about boarding an airplane with people who appear to be Muslim.

In a subsequent book about the controversy, Williams said that his appearances on Fox News Channel made him the target of left-leaning NPR executives who did not want him to associate with FNC.

A representative for Fox News did not respond to a request to comment for this story.

—Matthew Sheffield

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