Fox News gives a clinic in how not to interview the new U.S. ambassador to Russia

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Friday’s edition of Fox & Friends featured an interview with the new U.S. ambassador to Russia, Jon Huntsman, that was incredibly soft even by Fox News’ standards.

The interview was conducted by Huntsman’s daughter, Abby. The new ambassador fielded questions from his daughter about how he manages to rise above politics, the morale of U.S. diplomatic staff in Russia, his language skills, and whether he worries about America losing its “sense of service.”

But at no point over the span of two segments was Huntsman asked about Russia’s interference in American politics, including the cyber campaign Russian operatives waged on behalf of now-President Donald Trump.

The interview concluded with the new ambassador, his wife Mary Kaye Huntsman, and Abby professing their love for each other, while Jon kissed Abby’s forehead.

Fox & Friends has consistently tried to downplay stories related to Russia’s interference in the election. Hours ahead of then-FBI Director James Comey’s much-anticipated congressional testimony in March, Fox & Friends framed the whole question of Trump’s ties to Russia as a nothingburger that American families don’t care about. The next day, the show was back at it, informing viewers who missed a hearing during which Comey confirmed that Trump is under FBI investigation that they “didn’t miss much.”

As explosive news about President Trump sharing highly sensitive intelligence with Russian officials dominated other networks in May, Fox & Friends devoted multiple segments to salacious coverage of the unsolved July 2016 murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich — the subject of unsubstantiated far-right conspiracy theorizing since the summer of 2016. Fox News later retracted its coverage of the Rich story, though Fox & Friends hosts never apologized for featuring flawed reporting so prominently.

That same month, the show amplified a dubious, unbylined Fox News report in a desperate attempt to downplay reports that White House senior adviser Jared Kushner sought to set up a secret back-channel means of communication with the Kremlin before Trump’s inauguration.

In June, the show recklessly conspiracy-mongered about Comey’s visit to the New York Times building even after it had been reported that Comey was there to support a children’s charity that has nothing to do with the Times. The next month, hosts went to absurd lengths to justify Trump’s incoherent tweet about how “everyone” at the Group of 20 summit in Germany was “talking about why John Podesta refused to give the DNC server to the FBI and the CIA.” And in late July, the show refused to apologize for falsely suggesting a New York Times article helped Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi escape capture by reporting on U.S. military intelligence. (The show’s misleading coverage was quickly used by Trump to attack the Times on Twitter.)

It’s perhaps no wonder, then, that Fox & Friends is Trump’s favorite show.

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