Concerned that their fledgling all-news network is trying to make itself into a mini-Fox News after it was disclosed that former Fox executive Bill Shine had been working as a consultant there for more seven months, NewsNation is facing a revolt, with two senior staffers resigning since February 1st, the New York Times reports.
Shine was forced out of Fox News after it was revealed that he enabled the network’s culture of sexual harassment and abuse to flourish, protecting the perpetrators and punishing accusers. After exiting Fox News, Shine joined the Trump Administration as Deputy White House Chief of Staff, a position he held for nine months.
NewsNation, the rebranded WGN America, announced September 1, 2020, that it was going to an all-news format, leveraging the 80 million households to which the Chicago-based network was broadcast.
Sandy Pudar, a highly respected news producer at WGN Chicago who was brought on to NewsNation as news director, suddenly resigned February 2nd, the day before Shine’s involvement became public. Managing editor Richard Maginn, a veteran of news organizations around the country, resigned earlier this month.
In a February 5th staff meeting, Sean Compton, the NexStar executive overseeing NewsNation, told the NewsNation staff that the programming of the network–middle-of-the-road “friendly, vanilla news” “was not working” in the ratings, which haven’t broken 100,000 primetime viewers since the format change.
The NewsNation staff started to realize concerns about the emerging bias at the network when conservative pundit and Fox News regular guest Bo Dietl was brought on to comment about the February murders of two FBI agents during a raid in Florida. Asked by host Joe Donlon about the cause of ongoing violence, Dietl responded, “It’s very simple: It’s the political liberal Democratic values that are being forced upon us.” That baseless statement went unchallenged by Donlon.
NewsNation’s Donlon has also hosted former Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis, who is skipped over most news programs due to her consistent false claims about the 2020 election. Just last week–long after the election results have been certified and recounts confirmed the results–Ellis said, “President Trump is absolutely correct that the election results are in doubt.” Again, the false statement went without significant challenge.