Viewers tuning into Fox News over the past two days may have come away with the belief that defeated 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is absolutely ramping up a 2024 White House run.
But finally, on Thursday, that reality-free bubble was deflated a bit on-air when Fox News contributor Richard Fowler tossed cold water on the fantasy, calling it “ridiculous” and saying it “made no sense.”
Citing a farcical Wall Street Journal op-ed written by two Trump-supporting political operatives urging Clinton to run as a “change candidate,” Fox News has run wild with the fanfic that the ex-secretary of state seeks a political comeback amid President Joe Biden’s sagging poll numbers.
The column itself, as critics noted, is hard to take seriously, largely due to its authors and their motives for writing the piece. Doug Schoen, a former Clinton adviser, currently serves as a contributor for far-right Newsmax and, in 2016, said he couldn’t support Hillary due to the James Comey letter. He’s also written numerous pieces speculating that Clinton may run for president again—something that’s been described as “concern-trolling Democrats.” (Schoen was previously a Fox News contributor, often branded a “Fox News Democrat” because of his penchant for bashing the party’s agenda while being labeled on-air as a Democratic consultant.)
The other co-author, Andrew Stein, is a former Manhattan borough president who supported Donald Trump in 2016 and published his endorsement in the Wall Street Journal’s opinion pages. Stein, who was convicted of tax evasion, wrote a similar op-ed in 2018 claiming “Hillary Will Run Again,” insisting she’d “easily capture the 2020 nomination.” (Clinton, of course, never came close to entering the 2020 race.)
And yet—and perhaps unsurprisingly—as of Thursday afternoon, the network had run no less than 19 different segments on the notion that Clinton—a key focus of Fox News programming and right-wing outrage for decades—is gearing up for a 2024 run.
At the same time, some Fox News personalities seemed to give away the game.
“A lot of people say the reason that Donald Trump became president, he would not say it, but it was a vote against Hillary Clinton,” Fox News anchor John Roberts said Wednesday.
“I love it,” MAGA-boosting host Jeanine Pirro later blared. “Because what a good time I might have!”
During the second day of Fox’s round-the-clock coverage of Hillary-watch, Fox News anchor Harris Faulkner unironically reported that “speculation over a possible third White House bid by Hillary Clinton” was “gaining steam.”
The “steam,” of course, was Fox’s repeated coverage of a single speculative opinion piece. Nevertheless, Faulkner added, “I can’t even believe we’re saying this.”
After airing a clip from Fox News host Tucker Carlson telling viewers that you can’t dismiss the possibility of Clinton once again running for president because “she is not boring,” Faulkner turned to her guests for reaction. Both of them, for vastly different reasons, rejected a potential Clinton comeback out of hand.
“I can tell you one thing, there is no way the Democrats will run Hillary Clinton,” former Trump advisory board member Jason Meister said. “Not for the reasons that I think Tucker said, actually. I think she is radioactive for a very specific reason,” he added, citing her role in funding the Steele dossier.
Faulkner then turned to Fowler, one of the network’s resident liberal pundits who has worked as a Democratic political activist. “Richard, has your party run out of people in politics to run for the White House?” the host asked.
“No, we haven’t,” he chuckled. “I read the op-ed that got this all started in the Wall Street Journal, by Schoen and Stein, and I thought it was utterly ridiculous and the arguments made absolutely no sense. You can’t say Hillary Clinton’s the most experienced candidate and a change candidate at the same time.”
Fowler continued: “Which is why I give this argument little to no credence, not to mention the fact that Hillary Clinton is having a great time writing fiction novels and I’m pretty sure she enjoys doing that and doesn’t want to be on the campaign trail. And I’m actually somebody in the Democratic Party who has credentials.”