After 14 years at Fox News, Greta Van Susteren is now departing because of what is being called a “financial dispute”. Van Susteren is the first host to leave the network following the Ailes sexual harassment scandal.
Fox made the announcement of Van Susteren’s departure via the following statement:
‘FOX News Channel’s (FNC) senior political analyst Brit Hume will take over as anchor of On the Record (7PM/ET) starting Tuesday, September 6th and running through the election, announced the network’s co-presidents Jack Abernethy and Bill Shine. Current host Greta Van Susteren will depart the network after 14 years.
‘In making the announcement, Abernethy and Shine said in a joint statement, “As one of the best political analysts in the industry, Brit is the ideal choice to host a nightly political program while the most dynamic and captivating election in recent history unfolds. Having Brit at the helm of this show will enable FOX News to continue on track to have it’s highest-rated year ever as the network dominates the cable news landscape.”
‘Commenting on Van Susteren’s departure, Abernethy and Shine jointly said, “We are grateful for Greta’s many contributions over the years and wish her continued success.”‘
Fox can tell whatever story they want, but because Van Susteren has been a constant presence on Fox for well over a decade, the idea that she simply left her position over a financial dispute doesn’t add up. She publicly defended Roger Ailes after the allegations of sexual harassment came out, so it seems likely that Fox’s leadership decided to get aggressive over her salary, in the interest of removing anyone still loyal to Ailes. Van Susteren is one of three Fox hosts who have clauses in their contracts that would allow them to leave the network if Ailes were to depart. The other two are Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity.
It’s become obvious that Fox News will not exit the 2016 election cycle as the same network, but few seem to have anticipated how early the mass-culling of staff would happen. Bill O’Reilly has already confirmed that retirement is well within the realm of possibility for him next year. Megyn Kelly’s contract expires in 2017. And Hannity has an out already after the Ailes departure. If Hannity and Kelly were to leave, and O’Reilly were to retire, it would mean a complete exodus of most of Fox’s top talent.
The shadow looming over everyone’s head is, of course, the threat of a Trump network. If Trump were to lose to Hillary Clinton in November, he has the savvy, connections, and name recognition to put together a Fox-killer network. He has close ties to Van Susteren, O’Reilly, and Hannity already. All three could easily end up with their Trump News shows. Should The Donald beat Clinton or decide not to launch his own network, Van Susteren has the credentials to wind up just about anywhere she chooses.
Regardless, it’s looking like the loudmouth orange comet that crashed into the Republican party will be having far-reaching effects on their news media as well. Hopefully, this signals an increase in quality reporting, too.
Featured image courtesy of Larry Busacca on Getty Images. All rights reserved. Image has been modified from its original form.