In an interview with AdWeek about his move from CNN to Fox, Ed Henry comments about the network’s perceived conservative bias and the White House Press Corps reaction to his questioning of the Obama administration.
Were you concerned about moving to a news organization that has a reputation for a conservative bias?
I know what people say about Fox and about what they say is a tilt to the right. Meanwhile, the reporters I know, like Bret Baier, are right down the middle and are tough on everybody.
Any challenge in preserving your reputation as a straight shooter since moving to Fox?
I asked tough questions of the Bush White House when I was at CNN. I asked tough questions of the Obama White House when I was at CNN and nobody freaked out. I start asking tough questions at Fox and everybody freaked out. If I was a shrinking violet at CNN and was meekly sitting in the corner and occasionally raising my hand and then went to Fox and on Day 2 started asking really tough questions, I think the case would be stronger that I had some sort of bias. I was asking tough questions at CNN, I’ll be asking tough questions at Fox.
No one at Fox is telling you to ask one question or make certain talking points?
Absolutely not. My first day at Fox, President Obama gave a prime-time address to the nation. That would have been a great chance for Roger Ailes or someone to say, “Hey, Ed, there is going to be a lot of people watching tonight, maybe you should hit Obama on this or that.” I didn’t get a phone call from anyone. I didn’t get an email from anyone. But what I did get was, we want you to be front and center tonight. I was on with Bret Baier, not Sean Hannity or some of the opinion anchors we have. Next morning ratings came out, and Fox had about 4 million viewers. CNN had about 2 million.
As Henry said, he was asking tough questions when he was at CNN and no one paid any attention. But as soon as he started doing the same thing at Fox, he was accused of being biased against the Obama administration.
The real bias is from the other members of the White House Press Corps who can’t bring themselves to ask tough questions, as a way to protect the Obama administration. Many of them may as well show up to the White House press briefings wearing Obama campaign shirts.
Here’s a look at Henry’s first press briefing after moving to Fox.