As I mentioned yesterday, and as first reported by TheWrap, FOX News announced that it would not be renewing the contract of Todd Starnes, the conservative outrage machine whose articles frequently appeared on their website and whose radio show had moved to the subscription-based FOX Nation. (He had also been a guest on many FOX News shows.)
That’s good news for anyone who understood Starnes was a conspiracy theorist whose only value to FOX was confusing gullible right-wing viewers by spinning stories of alleged Christian persecution before they heard all the facts.
Still, it also raises a question of why this happened. Why now?
A lot of people online — and headline writers everywhere — attributed it to comments made on his show earlier this week by Pastor Robert Jeffress that Democrats worship the child-sacrificing demon-God Moloch.
But that’s hardly the worst thing Starnes has said — or, in this case, allowed to go unchallenged. There’s just no way that was the straw that broke his bosses’ backs given all the horrible things he’s said in the past.
As I suggested yesterday, my guess is their decision to part ways has far more to do with a lack of return on their investment than anything in particular that he said. If his radio show wasn’t bringing in subscribers, and his columns weren’t generating pageviews or other revenue, there’s no real need to keep him on the payroll. It’s not like they have a shortage of ignorant conservatives willing to offer the dumbest possible takes on any given controversy.
The Washington Examiner, a conservative outlet, said the decision to terminate Starnes had been made before this week.
Starnes also had an exit strategy worked out. Within hours of the announcement, he was promoting his next big thing:
Speaking to Faithwire, the conservative firebrand described his 15 years at Fox News as “amazing” and announced the launch of his newest venture, Starnes Media Group, which he described as “a multi-faceted broadcasting and digital company focused on delivering authentic conservative news and commentary.”
Faithwire has also learned Starnes Media Group has been in negotiations for the past two months to purchase a news radio station.
It’s multi-faceted! I guess that means he’ll be spewing lies, distortions, and conspiracy theories.
Starnes is still scheduled to appear with Robert Jeffress at his Texas church this Sunday.
— First Baptist Dallas (@firstdallas) October 2, 2019
I have no doubt Moloch will come up again.