A Fox News ex-talking head who wrote a 2006 book critical of George Bush reveals this week he was banned from appearing on Fox News because of it.
Call me jaded, but Bartlett, like Thomas Ricks, may be trying to jump start sales of his January 2012 book languishing at number 20,147 on Amazon’s best seller list. (See Ricks Sticks It To Fox News To Hype New Book?)
An odd claim considering Bartlett did pimp his book on Fox News in a 2006 appearance with Paul Gigot on The Journal Editorial Report. But Bartlett claims the booking wasn’t arranged by Fox News; it was through his publicist.
Bruce Bartlett‘s thesis was that Bush was a “pretend conservative” larding the budget with entitlements like Democrats. The book triggered the Reagan and Bush 41 appointee’s 2005 firing at a conservative think tank. NYT.
Bartlett in The American Conservative: I was banned from Fox News. My publicist was told that orders had come down from on high that it was to receive no publicity whatsoever, not even attacks. Whoever gave that order was smart; attacks from the right would have sold books. Being ignored was poison for sales.
I later learned that the order to ignore me extended throughout Rupert Murdoch’s empire. For example, I stopped being quoted in the Wall Street Journal.* Awhile back, a reporter who left the Journal confirmed to me that the paper had given her orders not to mention me. Other dissident conservatives, such as David Frum and Andrew Sullivan, have told me that they are banned from Fox as well.
*Gerald Seib, Washington bureau chief of the Wall Street Journal, has contacted me to say that it is flatly untrue that Journal reporters are prohibited from quoting me. I take him at his word and do not doubt his sincerity.
Bartlett’s publicist confirmed the story to the Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent:
Bartlett’s publicist at the time was Nicole Dewey, who was then at Doubleday. She is now the executive director of publicity at Little, Brown and Company, and in a telephone interview this morning, she confirmed Bartlett’s recollections. She said she’d tried extensively to get him booked on Fox to discuss the book — to no avail.
“It was surprising to me that no one would book him,” Dewey told me. ”He had been a regular on Fox News prior to that. He had been interviewed on any number of Fox News shows before that.”
Once Bartlett published the book, Dewey confirms, “I was pitching him directly to probably most of the shows that were on Fox at that point. No one would book him.” A Fox spokesperson didn’t immediately return an email for comment.
Asked directly about Bartlett’s claim that she’d been told that “orders had come down from on high” that the book was to receive “no publicity whatsoever,” Dewey said she didn’t remember precisely what reason she was given by Fox for not booking Bartlett for any appearances — it was six years ago. But she said Bartlett’s description of events “rings true to me.”
“My general sense was that they didn’t like the message of the book,” Dewey said. “Bruce’s recollection of events sounds exactly like what happened.”
In the six years since Fox gave him the big chill Bartlett has found other networks, among them MSNBC, eager to broadcast his views.