Fox News Claims "Not Standard Practice" After Script Pre-Approval Revealed
In May 2017, a Fox News Channel producer ran a script by a spokesperson for the EPA.
Fox News Channel said Tuesday morning that "the matter is being addressed internally with those involved" after The Daily Beast reported that a network producer asked an official with the Environmental Protection Agency to approve a script for an interview with then-administrator Scott Pruitt.
"Would this be OK as the setup to his segment," the producer wrote on May 16, 2017, to two EPA officials coordinating Pruitt's interview on the morning show Fox & Friends. The emails were disclosed in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the environmental advocacy group The Sierra Club and provided to The Hollywood Reporter.
The network quickly clarified that it does not condone script approval. "This is not standard practice whatsoever and the matter is being addressed internally with those involved," a spokesperson said.
Amy Graham, who served as deputy associate administrator for public engagement (and has since left the agency), said the script was "perfect."
The network also provided Pruitt's team with "pre-interview questions on the agreed-upon topic, the new direction of the EPA and helping communities that were poorly served by the last administration." In addition to sending the EPA logistical details, the network included three topics that would be covered in an April 2017 interview with the administrator.
When the May 2017 segment aired, Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade did not read the script word-for-word, though he incorporated some of the agreed-upon themes.
The EPA has not yet responded to a request for comment on the agency's media interview practices.