Former Fox executive Bill Shine joins White House as communications chief
WASHINGTON — Bill Shine, a former Fox News Channel executive, is joining the White House as assistant to the president and deputy chief of staff for communications. The job has been vacant since Hope Hicks resigned in February.
The White House said Shine ‘‘brings over two decades of television programming, communications, and management experience to the role.’’ He will be tasked with establishing the broader message and tone of the president’s agenda.
Shine, who started his two-decade career at Fox as a producer for the show ‘‘Hannity & Colmes,’’ was ousted from as copresident last year after lawsuits suggested he had enabled alleged sexual harassment by the network’s late chairman and CEO, Roger Ailes.
Shine had recently been seen at the White House and has met with President Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. He was spotted Thursday getting into Trump’s motorcade, according to CNN.
With Thursday’s announcement, Shine becomes the fifth communications chief since Trump took office nearly 18 months ago. Before Hicks, Anthony Scaramucci served 10 days. He was preceded by Mike Dubke and Sean Spicer.
The move will bolster the White House’s messaging operation ahead of what is shaping up to be a fierce partisan battle over Trump’s choice for a successor to retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, set to be unveiled next Monday. It also comes ahead Trump’s trip next week to Europe, where one of the most closely scrutinized items on the agenda will be the president’s one-on-one summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Yet the appointment is also likely to open the White House to attacks regarding Shine’s record at Fox, as well as the Trump administration’s response to allegations of sexual misconduct against officials within its own ranks. During his time at Fox, Shine helped to build the network into the media juggernaut it is today. But much like his mentor and patron, Ailes, Shine had a long tenure that was clouded by unsavory allegations and associations with darker chapters in the network’s history.
Ailes died in May 2017.
Trump himself has been accused of sexual harassment and improper behavior by more than a dozen women, claims he denies. And earlier this year, White House staff secretary Rob Porter resigned amid reports he had physically and emotionally abused his two former wives.
For decades, the daily ‘‘message’’ was Ailes’s job at Fox, and Shine was his dutiful lieutenant. While Ailes focused on the big picture — how to frame the day’s events, whom to attack or support — Shine managed the details of running the network.
He also managed some of Fox’s biggest stars, most notably primetime star Sean Hannity, a confidant with whom Shine sometimes vacationed. The primetime host set Shine on his path to the top at Fox; it was Hannity, too, who helped broker Shine’s White House job, said people familiar with the discussions.
The presidential appointment reunites Trump with Shine, who gave the then-businessman and reality TV star copious airtime on Fox to opine on a range of subjects. Among them was a regular slot on ‘‘Fox & Friends,’’ on which Trump often promoted his false claim that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States. The weekly appearances helped burnish Trump’s political credentials, at least with more than a million viewers of the morning program.
Shine spent 14 months off the public grid after Fox ousted him. He briefly succeeded Ailes as the network’s top executive after Ailes was driven out by sexual harassment allegations, including a lawsuit by former host Gretchen Carlson, which Fox’s parent company settled in mid-2016 for $20 million.
Shine was never directly accused of harassment at Fox. But his latter years there were pockmarked by his association with Ailes. Shine has consistently denied any wrongdoing.
Brit Hume deletes tweet on Democrats’ patriotism
NEW YORK — Fox News analyst Brit Hume has deleted a Fourth of July tweet that suggested Democrats ‘‘sure don’t love’’ America.
He referred to a Gallup poll that said 47 percent of respondents were ‘‘extremely proud’’ to be Americans, the lowest in 18 years. Among Democrats, 32 percent said this.
Hume had linked to an article about the poll in a conservative blog titled ‘‘Why do Democrats hate America?’’
‘‘Hate may be too strong a word but they sure don’t love it,’’ Hume wrote. He later wrote that some people thought that wasn’t a fair conclusion from the poll. ‘‘I agree and thus the deletion,’’ he said.