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The Open Society Foundations, which bills itself as “the world’s largest private funder of independent groups working for justice, democratic governance, and human rights,” is calling on Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott to ban lawyer Joe diGenova from appearing on her networks as a guest.
The request for both an “on-air retraction” and a full ban comes after diGenova appeared on Lou Dobbs’ Fox Business Network show Wednesday night and alleged that Open Society Foundations founder George Soros “controls a very large part of the career foreign service of the United States State Department.” DiGenova, who appeared with his wife, Victoria Toensing, also said that Soros “controls the activities of FBI agents overseas who work for NGOs.”
“This is beyond rhetorical ugliness, beyond fiction, beyond ludicrous,” Open Society Foundations’ president, Patrick Gaspard, said in the letter to Scott. “It’s patently untrue; it is not even possible. This is McCarthyite.”
Referencing past commentary about Soros on the Fox News Media networks, Gaspard said: “I have written to you in the past about the pattern of false information regarding George Soros that is routinely broadcast over your network. But even by Fox’s standards, last night’s episode of Lou Dobbs’ show hit a new low.”
Gaspard referenced the network’s handling of an inflammatory comment made by another Dobbs guest, Judicial Watch head Chris Farrell, back in October 2018, in which he said that Soros funded caravans of immigrants. Farrell was banished from appearing again on Fox News or Fox Business and a network executive said at the time: “We condemn the rhetoric by the guest on Lou Dobbs Tonight. This episode was a repeat which has now been pulled from all future airings.”
On Thursday, Gaspard said: “This situation demands no less.”
The Anti-Defamation League joined the Open Society Foundations in calling for diGenova’s removal. “Invoking #Soros as controlling the State Dept, FBI, and Ukraine is trafficking in some of the worst anti-Semitic tropes,” wrote ADL C.E.O. Jonathan Greenblatt. “@FoxNews won’t have Chris Farrell on for making similar remarks, and they should hold the same standard for @JoeDiGenova.”
A Fox News spokesperson has not yet responded to a request for comment.
In emails to The Hollywood Reporter, diGenova shared three opinion columns written by now-Fox News contributor John Solomon that he claims back up his commentary.
DiGenova, an unpaid guest commentator, was also at the center of a controversy that played a role in the sudden departure of Fox News anchor Shepard Smith last month. Appearing on Tucker Carlson’s primetime opinion show, diGenova called Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano “a fool,” which Smith derided as a “repugnant” remark.
On Wednesday night, Dobbs did not push back on diGenova’s allegations about Soros’ influence.
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