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Fox News’ Bret Baier called his on-air opposition to the White House’s banning of a CNN reporter last week a “no-brainer” in an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Thursday night.
The Special Report With Bret Baier host was the first to deliver Fox News’ statement that it would join CNN in condemning the action on July 25. “Fox News firmly stands with CNN on this issue,” Baier said on air.
“It was a no-brainer. I’m on the news side of the house. You have to stand for access,” Baier told host Jimmy Kimmel on Thursday of his statement. Baier then invoked former ABC News reporter Sam Donaldson: “I wrote a book on [Ronald] Reagan. Sam Donaldson was yelling questions at Reagan, and the White House never [banned him then].”
Baier also credited Fox News for acting quickly after CNN issued a statement about the ban, which read, “This decision to bar a member of the press is retaliatory in nature and not indicative of a free and open press. We demand better.”
When Kimmel asked if Baier had previously experienced press exclusion like that, the anchor said that during Barack Obama’s presidency in 2009, the White House had tried to bar Fox News from participating in a round-robin interview. “And CNN stood up and said, ‘If Fox is not doing it, we’re not doing it.’ Being part of the White House press pool is something, and we have to stand up for that,” Baier said.
The ban occurred after CNN press pool reporter Kaitlan Collins asked two questions of President Trump during a media appearance on July 25. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and White House deputy chief of staff for communications Bill Shine subsequently revoked her invitation to a media appearance with Trump and the president of the European Commission in the Rose Garden later that day. CNN maintained that Collins asked questions the president didn’t like, while the White House claimed that Collins was “shouting.”
Also during his Live! appearance, Baier said he knows that Trump watches his show because during panel discussions Trump will tweet about the discussion at hand, and then the panel will have to respond to the tweet. However, he said, he believes Trump likes the “opinion” shows more than his news-focused show.
Kimmel then pressed Baier on the distinction he was making between the news and opinion divisions of the Fox News Channel. “Here’s the thing. We’re one team, we’re one company, we’re two business entirely. Most people would say that people who are critical of Fox News have not watched [my show].”
Baier was on Kimmel’s show to promote his new book Three Days in Moscow: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of the Soviet Empire.
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