In another sign of the changing of the guard at Fox News, Tomi Lahren, the “Internet sensation” who just turned 25, has been hired as the channel’s latest high-profile political contributor. The official announcement was made on Wednesday August 30 and generated major publicity. That same evening, Lahren made her debut as a member of the Fox family of contributors (who earn between $50,000 and mid-six figures a year) for two brief comments during an appearance with Geraldo Rivera on Sean Hannity’s prime time show.
Lahren’s hiring and the channel’s high hopes for her future come as the Fox News Channel (FNC) is cleaning house of its stable of prominent veteran on-air male talent, including conservatives Eric Bolling and Charles Payne and center-right independent Bill O’Reilly. O’Reilly, 67, was fired outright last April less than three weeks after the publication of a negative story about him in the New York Times. Bolling, 54, and Payne, 56, hosts of their own daily shows (Payne’s was on the Fox Business Network but he was a frequent guest and fill-in host on FNC), have been on suspension for much of the summer and are not expected to return. All three, according to the media, were alleged to have been responsible for instances of sexual harassment. All three have vigorously denied the reported allegations and at this time none of them has been found guilty of or responsible for doing anything illegal.
Lahren describes herself as a conservative and, after originally endorsing Marco Rubio and continuing to support him through the bitter end of his campaign, she jumped on the Donald Trump bandwagon. Many of her positions, however, are more closely in sync with her fellow Millennials. She achieved her highest moment of name recognition after she appeared on the ABC morning chat show The View last March. At the time, Lahren was hosting a nightly program on TheBlaze, the conservative cable and Internet subscription media channel founded by Glenn Beck. Lahren surprised the predominantly liberal hosts and audience of The View by expressing her support for abortion. According to Beck, she had previously said she was pro-life, as is Beck. After making her pro-choice comments, Lahren was suspended from her show on the BlazeTV and later sued the channel for wrongful termination. Details of a subsequent settlement have not been disclosed.
A uniquely short internship
A whiz at promoting herself on social media and posting clips from her shows that have the potential of going viral, Lahren had a meteoric rise to a modicum of instant fame, aided as well by her classic good looks and quick-witted repartee. A month after gaining a B.A. in broadcast journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas at age 21, Lahren, who had applied for an entry level job as an intern at the One America News Network, was instead hired immediately to host her own nightly show on the channel. This ascent to prime time, albeit on a fledgling cable and Internet channel, may represent the quickest rise to the top of the food chain in the history of modern media. A year later, Glenn Beck, always on the lookout for new talent to help his struggling independent media empire, hired Lahren to host a prime time show. And now, after a series of guest appearances on Hannity’s FNC program, she’s a regular on Fox, where her star seems to have the potential of shining very brightly.
High hopes for her new venture
A news release from the Fox News PR department bright and early on August 30 announced Lahren’s hiring.
Lahren will have a signature role on an FNC digital product currently in development and will also offer political commentary to the network’s opinion programming, primarily Hannity…. With more than 4.4 million Facebook followers, Lahren is well-known for her “Final Thoughts” videos, where she offers commentary on everything from politics to pop culture.
In addition to new, young, primarily female talent like Lahren coming to the fore at Fox News (Eboni Williams, Kat Timpf, Jessica Tarlov, Marie Harf, and a raft of fellow non-conservatives are other examples from 2017), the individuals with growing influence behind the scenes at Fox – both 21st Century Fox and the Fox News Channel – are the “Murdoch Boys.” James and Lachlan Mudoch, the two 40-something scions of the international media empire created by Rupert Murdoch, who is 86, have been gradually remaking the look and the ideological direction of the previously reliably fair and balanced conservative news outlet. Unlike their conservative old man, the Murdoch Boys and their high-powered, influential wives are unabashed liberals. Numerous published articles, as well as several confidential sources, and James Murdoch’s wife Kathryn’s Twitter feed, have confirmed that fact. A more thorough examination of the political leanings of the Boys and their wives – and their impact on the future of Fox News – can be read here.
Peter Chowka is a widely published author and journalist. He writes most frequently these days for American Thinker and The Hagmann Report. His Web site is AltMedNews.net. Follow Peter on Twitter. Peter’s latest wide-ranging one hour conversation with Doug and Joe on The Hagmann Report on August 28 can be watched here.