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FNC Expands Baier to Cover Bannon Exit

Fox News Channel's Special Report With Bret Baier will expand to two hours Friday night (5-7 p.m.).

That comes on the news that White House chief strategist Steve Bannon has been ousted.

FNC anchor Shepard Smith and commentator Charles Karuthammer have been among those calling out the President for his comments in the wake of the Charlottesville violence.

Bannon, who was named a top advisor shortly after the November election, had been the executive chairman of conservative web site Breitbart News. He joined the Donald Trump campaign in August as chief executive officer. He also had a show on Sirius/XM radio.

Related: Trump Approval Rating Ticks Down

There had been increasing pressure from activist groups and others for the departure of Bannon, whose alt-right-facilitating background at Breitbart was increasingly jarring in the wake of the white supremacist rally in Virginia that resulted in three deaths.

It didn't help that in an interview with the American Prospect magazine, Bannon suggested there was political hay to make out of Charlottesville. “The Democrats,” he said, “the longer they talk about identity politics, I got ’em. I want them to talk about racism every day. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats.”

Bannon is just the latest exit in an Administration seeing a lot of turnover, including the national security advisor, chief of staff, FBI director, press secretary, and communications director (two of those).

"Reports that Steve Bannon will be leaving the White House are welcome news, but it does not absolve Donald Trump of his problems," said Neera Tanden, CEO of the Center for American Progress. "Long before Bannon was a member of the administration, Trump was calling Mexicans rapists. Before Bannon, Trump spent years pushing his racist birther narrative. It will be easy for people to give Trump credit for pushing Bannon out, but it is praise he doesn’t deserve. Bannon should have never held a position in the administration, and the fact that Trump saw no problem associating with him speaks volumes as to what Trump’s priorities truly are."

Breitbart News was reporting that Bannon had submitted his resignation Aug. 7. Other reports had him being asked to leave, and the White House reportedly said it was mutual.

John Eggerton
John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.