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A Fox News guest, conservative radio host Lars Larson, became the first person to name the suspected Ukraine whistleblower live on any of the top broadcast or cable television networks.
Larson made the comment during a Thursday afternoon segment on Outnumbered Overtime, which is hosted by Harris Faulkner. The host pushed back on a comment Larson made about “pronouns,” but did not respond to his mention of the person’s name.
When asked why he named the suspected whistleblower live on television, Larson told The Hollywood Reporter: “I named him because the American people deserve to know the name of the man making the accusation that the Democrats hope to use to remove an American president.”
As recently as Tuesday, Fox News has said publicly that it has not confirmed the whistleblower’s identity. “We have read some reports that give a name,” the network’s Brit Hume said on air. “We haven’t confirmed it, so we’re not saying it.”
Asked on Thursday about the admission, the network said in a statement: “Fox News has not confirmed or independently verified the name of the whistleblower,” the network said in a statement on Thursday. (As a guest, Larson is not paid or employed by the network.)
When asked by THR if Fox News spoke with him about naming the whistleblower, Larson replied, “As for the network, they didn’t say a thing.”
Asked for comment on Larson’s appearance, a lawyer for the whistleblower directed to THR to a previous statement he’s made about media speculation on his client’s identity.
“Members of the media have a similar role in protecting those who lawfully expose suspected government wrongdoing,” he and attorney Mark Zaid have said. “Disclosure of the name of any person who may be suspected to be the whistleblower places that individual and their family in great physical danger. Any physical harm the individual and/or their family suffers as a result of disclosure means that the individuals and publications reporting such names will be personally liable for that harm. Such behavior is at the pinnacle of irresponsibility and is intentionally reckless.”
According to a CNN report, Fox News issued guidance to staff on Oct. 31 instructing them not to name the whistleblower because the network had not “independently confirmed [the] name or identification of the anonymous whistleblower.” Production staffers were told to “NOT fulfill any video or graphic requests.”
The suspected whistleblower’s name has not been used on CNN, MSNBC, NBC News, ABC News or CBS News.
THR reported on Wednesday that MSNBC and NBC News are not naming or identifying the whistleblower until or unless he or she identifies themselves publicly.
James Rosen, a former Fox News reporter who now works for Sinclair Broadcast Group, also mentioned the suspected whistleblower’s name this week on host Eric Bolling’s show, America This Week.
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