A day after two of Fox News’ so-called “hard news” anchors remained silent while a network contributor baselessly accused Democrats of coordinating with The New York Times on its bombshell Trump tax story, Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum floated that same conspiracy on air.
In a blockbuster report published on Sunday afternoon, the Times revealed that President Donald Trump had only paid $750 in federal income taxes during his first year in the White House. The story also shows that Trump paid no taxes in 10 of the previous 15 years, citing massive business losses and various business expenses, such as $70,000 in hairstyling for television.
Right-wing figures and Trump officials, meanwhile, soon latched onto a theory that the campaign of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden colluded with the Times on the story, pointing to the campaign capitalizing on the report with an online ad. The simple ad, dropped five hours after the Times story hit, featured stock images and simple text highlighting the average annual tax rates of various occupations.
During Monday’s broadcast of panel show Outnumbered, pro-Trump Fox News contributor Mollie Hemingway asserted that the paper “quickly coordinated with the Biden campaign,” despite it largely being unremarkable that a campaign’s rapid response team would be able to produce a simple campaign ad in that amount of time. Hemingway’s claim went unchallenged by both chief political anchor Bret Baier and Harris Faulkner, another of the network’s news side anchors.
Joining the Outnumbered panel on Tuesday, MacCallum weighed in on Republicans’ call for a probe into the Times’ source for the president’s tax records. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) has demanded an investigation, saying it’s possible a “felony crime was committed by releasing the private tax return information of an individual.”
After saying that Brady will “hopefully” get to the bottom of the Times’ sourcing, she turned to the political impact of the report, saying most Trump supporters won’t be “troubled” by it.
MacCallum then insisted there were "questions" over how the Biden campaign's social media and rapid response teams could have an ad ready in a few hours.
“I don’t know how much traction it will have on the Biden side,” she continued. “They did come out with some really glossy ads within hours of this story hitting, which raises questions whether or not they had knowledge about the story coming out that show firefighters and teachers and the amount of taxes that they pay.”
MacCallum has regularly been touted by the network as a key member of the network’s straight news division, which Fox News has continuously insisted is separate from the channel’s Trump-boosting opinion side. The veteran anchor has been a regular fixture during the network’s primary and election coverage, generally co-anchoring alongside Baier.
A spokesperson for The New York Times later hit back against her claims: “Her speculation is completely false. The article was independently reported and there was no contact with the Biden campaign at any point, either before or after it published.”
Baier, meanwhile, also took some online heat on Tuesday for seemingly lending credence to another Trumpworld conspiracy about Biden. After it was reported that the Trump campaign wanted Biden to be searched for secret listening devices and earpieces, Baier said he found it “interesting” that the Biden camp hadn’t agreed to Trump’s demands.
“As far as the listening devices and the Biden campaign’s response to that, I think that's interesting,” he said. “We’re going to have to follow that through the day to, you know, what comes out of that.”
In response to the criticism, the Fox News anchor denied that he was floating a conspiracy theory, claiming he had merely “noted” that the Biden campaign had denied the Trump request.