Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI
Fox News continues to employ contributor Walid Phares while Donald Trump's campaign pays him $13,000 a month. Phares regularly appears on the network to boost Trump on foreign policy issues.
Two weeks ago, Fox News suspended the contributor contract of Newt Gingrich “due to the intense media speculation about Gingrich’s potential selection” as Trump’s running mate and “to avoid all conflicts of interest that may arise.” It does not appear to be concerned with any “conflicts of interest that may arise” with Phares.
Fox News states on Phares' biography page that he “joined Fox News in January 2007 and serves as Middle East and terrorism expert.” Trump’s monthly Federal Election Commission report shows that the campaign paid Phares $13,000 in both May and June for “policy consulting.”
Phares frequently appears on Fox News, where he is introduced as a Fox News analyst and Trump adviser.
“The Obama administration, unfortunately, has not accepted the principle that we're fighting an ideology,” Phares said on the July 14 broadcast of On the Record with Greta Van Susteren (via Nexis). “That is what Mr. Trump is talking about. Now, to find a policy he needs to be in government not just a candidate.”
During a June 17 appearance on Hannity, Phares called for an investigation into the Clinton Foundation’s finances and said Clinton’s foreign policy “concerns me.” While guesting on the June 23 edition of Fox Business’ Varney & Co., Phares responded to developing news about a German theater attack by claiming that if the shooting was “politically motivated terrorism,” it will benefit Trump because it will prove that “terrorism is active in Europe.”
Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski is still receiving severance from the Trump campaign while serving as a CNN analyst. While Lewandowski no longer holds an official spot with the campaign, he “has been pitching his own super PAC to donors,” he has served as a Trump New Hampshire delegate, and he is reportedly still giving advice to Trump. Media ethicists have harshly criticized CNN over Lewandowski’s hiring.
UPDATE: A spokesperson for Phares responded to this piece by acknowledging that he is compensated by both Fox News and the Trump campaign. The spokesperson denied that there is any conflict of interest with him simultaneously doing work for a news organization and the Trump campaign, and criticized Media Matters for allegedly “misleading the public.” The statement is below:
In a Media Matters blog post entitled, “The Trump Campaign Is Paying A Fox News Analyst $13,000 A Month,” Eric Hananoki wrote that the Trump campaign is paying Dr. Walid Phares, "a Fox News analyst," clearly implying that the sum was being paid in order to influence Dr. Phares’ opinion in the US Presidential election.
Dr Phares has been a "contractor" not a staff member at Fox News since 2007. Fox News doesn't pay his taxes. Contractors are not part of the company's body and can be of different political backgrounds. Fox News contracts contributors from Republican, Democratic and Independent affiliations.
Dr Phares was also an advisor to Presidential candidate and nominee Mitt Romney in 2011-2012. He appeared as a Fox News contributor and his title was announced properly when his position was publicized. He was appointed by Donald Trump as one of his advisors in March 2016. Fox News has been announcing his title every time he appeared since his appointment precisely to inform the audience that he is a Trump advisor. There is no conflict of interest. Fox News employs numerous people to represent Mr. Trump’s and his opponents’ position on various issues as do the other networks.
Mr. Hananoki's insinuations are baseless and uninformed and aim at misleading the public. Dr Phares can have both statuses as long as it is announced. He has the right to be compensated as are all contributors and all contractors in all campaigns.