This reporting is featured in this week’s edition of Confider, the newsletter pulling back the curtain on the media. Subscribe here and send your questions, tips, and complaints here.
In years past, the cable network maintained a close, nearly symbiotic relationship with the Charlie Kirk-led MAGA student group, with Fox News stars regularly appearing at TPUSA events and Fox Nation livestreaming the entirety of the org’s Student Action Summit and Americafest events, including an All Access Live broadcast in 2021 hosted by Fox stars Kayleigh McEnany and Pete Hegseth.
However, as Kirk unveils his big 2023 confab for this upcoming weekend, Fox News is notably absent from the speakers roster, has done no advance hyping of the event, and will not be live-streaming it.
“Fox’s relationship with Turning Point is basically over,” a Fox News insider told Confider. “They don’t want their talent associated with them anymore.”
The inaugural Turning Point Action Conference, aka ActCon, which is hosted by TPUSA’s political advocacy arm and begins this weekend in Palm Beach, will feature a bevy of GOP presidential candidates and lawmakers along with right-wing pundits, including former Fox News hosts Tucker Carlson and Dan Bongino, both of whom exited the network in April. But not a single Fox News star is set to appear at this moment.
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Fox News, like any cable network, could very well cover a moment or two from the event should it warrant their attention, but the network’s absence constitutes a remarkable change for both parties: Over the past two years, Turning Point’s biggest annual events have been Fox-heavy affairs featuring the Hegseth and McEnany broadcasts as well as much-hyped speeches from Carlson, Jesse Watters, Greg Gutfeld, Jeanine Pirro, and Laura Ingraham. (Ingraham was the only Fox personality to speak at TPUSA’s women’s summit last month, but the group did not actively promote her speech on its website.)
So what’s behind the network apparently ghosting Turning Point? Semafor reported last week that the network is wary about letting its stars appear at conservative events with known election deniers and conspiracy theorists in the wake of Fox’s massive $787.5-million settlement with Dominion. For example, Fox has discouraged Pirro, who was prominently named in the Dominion lawsuit, from speaking at a TPUSA event and a church service to promote her latest book.
Further suggesting a link between Dominion and Fox’s break-up with TPUSA is the fact that ActCon 2023’s keynote speaker is Donald Trump, whose election lies directly led to Fox’s Dominion mess. (Trump will appear this weekend on Fox’s air, however, in a more controlled environment, via a sitdown interview with Maria Bartiromo.) Other 2020 deniers and Jan. 6 organizers scheduled for ActCon speeches include Mike Lindell, Patrick Byrne, and Steve Bannon. Furthermore, Kirk himself has been outspoken in his belief that the 2020 vote was “stolen“ from Trump.
Neither Fox News nor TPUSA responded to requests for comment.