Fox News host Harris Faulkner apologized on Thursday to Newt Gingrich for an on-air incident the day prior in which multiple hosts interrupted the former House speaker as he repeatedly attempted to peddle a right-wing trope about philanthropist George Soros, saying it was “not ideal” and that Gingrich is “beloved and needed to be allowed to speak.”
To recap: Gingrich, a Fox News contributor, claimed on Wednesday that the main cause of violence at protests is the “George Soros-elected, left-wing, anti-police, pro-criminal district attorneys who refuse to keep people locked up.” That remark prompted Outnumbered host Melissa Francis to interject: “I’m not sure we need to bring George Soros into this.”
Soros, who is Jewish, has been the focus of anti-Semitic tropes for years, including by many Fox News personalities and guests—mainly dabbling in the Soros-as-political-puppeteer conspiracy theory long popular in far-right circles.
After Gingrich defended his comments about the right-wing bogeyman, and liberal Fox News pundit Marie Harf cut the ex-speaker off to express her agreement with Francis, Gingrich grumbled: “So, it’s verboten?”
A long awkward silence followed, featuring Faulkner staring directly into the camera before she eventually broke the tension and ended the segment: “OK, we’re going to move on,” she finally said.
The moment quickly went viral on social media, and while many observers applauded the hosts for cutting off Gingrich’s near-conspiratorial rantings, Fox News viewers and conservative pundits were furious that the network seemingly cowed to a liberal mob.
“This is the power of #GeorgeSoros,” tweeted Glenn Beck, the right-wing TV star who, during his Fox News tenure, often ranted about Soros accompanied by a chalkboard with frenzied lines connecting various political entities to the philanthropist. “This is how the media and now Fox News bows down at his feet. Everything said here is public record. Have you ever seen Fox come to a complete halt like this? Why?”
And so during Thursday’s broadcast of Outnumbered, Faulkner addressed the issue in a standalone segment, seemingly looking to quell the anger that had bubbled up among the network’s conservative base viewership.
“So, we had a little incident on the show yesterday that was not smooth,” she began. “While I was leading that segment, we had interruptions, and I sat silently while all of that played out. Also not ideal.”
“Our guest, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who is beloved and needed to be allowed to speak with the openness and respect that the show was all about, was interrupted,” Faulkner continued. “Do we debate with fire here? Yes. But we must also give each other the space to express ourselves.”
The Fox News host wrapped up her monologue by noting that as “the only original member of the six-year-old amazing daytime ride known as Outnumbered,” she wants to “rock-and-roll with every voice and perspective” on the panel.
“We don’t censor on this show, and that’s why we are winning weekdays at noon,” she concluded, giving a Trumpian nod to the show’s ratings—the metric Fox News often uses to excuse any potential ethical or journalistic misgivings.