Fox News guest names whistleblower on-air after network tells hosts not to identify him

November 8, 2019

A guest on Fox News broke the network’s rule against naming the so-called “whistleblower.”

Radio host Lars Larson mentioned on-air on Thursday the alleged name of the CIA officer whose complaint is at the basis of the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, the Washington Examiner reports. Fox has told its hosts not to name the whistleblower, even though several of its pundits have gone to war for Trump against the Democrat-led “coup” effort.

“Fox News has not confirmed or independently verified the name of the whistleblower,” Fox said in response to the incident, noting that Larson was a guest and not an employee.

Out in the open

A controversy has raged all week over the whistleblower’s identity amid calls from President Trump and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) to unmask the CIA officer. Donald Trump, Jr. vastly expanded the drama with a tweet identifying the whistleblower — who reportedly worked in the Obama and Trump administrations — and a contentious appearance on The View defending his decision.

Meanwhile, Fox News has joined the mainstream liberal media in censoring the whistleblower’s name, even though it has been called an “open secret” in Washington. The network sent out a letter this week to its hosts and technicians telling them not to mention or display the whistleblower’s name on-air.

But in an appearance on Outnumbered Overtime with Harris Faulkner, Larson casually dropped the whistleblower’s name during a heated back-and-forth about impeachment.

“The fact is, Nancy Pelosi, six weeks ago, was telling us, ‘I have what it takes to impeach the president,’ and now we’re saying, ‘We’re investigating to find out if there’s anything there that justifies impeachment.’ And the more [we] learn about it, about Eric Ciaramella [the whistleblower] and his attorney who said ‘The coup begins now,’ and the fact that we’re hearing things second- and third- and fourth-hand,” Larson said.

Larson was referring to tweets that remerged this week that were sent by the whistleblower’s lawyer, Mark Zaid. Zaid boasted about seeking a “coup” against President Trump and said that “impeachment will follow,” according to Fox.

Establishment frenzy

It appears that Larson is the first person to use the whistleblower’s name on cable television, according to media reports. Larson told the Hollywood Reporter that he named him because “the American people deserve to know the name of the man making the accusation that the Democrats hope to use to remove the American president.”

Republicans have suggested that the whistleblower is an anti-Trump partisan and that his lawyer’s tweets prove that the impeachment is a political operation. For his part, Trump has said that the impeachment should be shut down immediately, in light of Zaid’s tweets.

For weeks, the mainstream media, Democrats, and the whistleblower’s lawyers have argued that the whistleblower is protected from retaliation by law and is entitled to permanent anonymity. The whistleblower’s defenders have likened efforts to out his name as a form of inciting violence, prompting jeers from Trump allies who speculate that he would be rewarded financially by the anti-Trump media.

Trump Jr. has argued that his Wednesday tweet naming the whistleblower was justified because the law does not bar private citizens or journalists from naming whistleblowers.

Meanwhile, Big Tech giants have also joined the effort to keep the whistleblower’s name out of the media: Twitter has reportedly suspended users who named the whistleblower, and Facebook has committed to removing posts that mention his name, according to CNBC.

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Matthew Boose

Matthew Boose is a staff writer for Conservative Institute. He has a Bachelor's degree from Stony Brook University and has contributed to The Daily Caller and The Stony Brook Press.