Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters
Fox News host Mark Levin headlined a campaign rally for a critical state Senate race in Virginia this week despite the network’s purported prohibition against “talent participating in campaign events.”
In early November 2018, after Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro spoke at a campaign event for President Donald Trump, Fox News lied by claiming that the network “does not condone any talent participating in campaign events.” In reality, network personalities — such as Levin — have played key roles in Republican campaign events.
Levin is a right-wing radio personality who has also hosted the weekend Fox News program Life, Liberty, and Levin since February 2018. He participated in a campaign rally on November 4 — the day before Election Day — for Geary Higgins’ Virginia state Senate campaign. Levin previously headlined a May 19 rally for Higgins. Higgins ended up losing the crucial race, which helped deliver control of the state Senate to Democrats.
On his Facebook page on Election Day, Higgins wrote: “We had a fantastic rally yesterday with many fellow patriots! Thanks to Mark Levin for his rousing speech and for coming out to support our incredible Republican ticket.” He also posted pictures of Levin at the rally.
We had a fantastic rally yesterday with many fellow patriots! Thanks to Mark Levin for his rousing speech and for coming out to support our incredible Republican ticket.
Higgins’ campaign ran Facebook ads for both rallies.
On July 14, 2018, Levin also headlined a campaign event for Florida Republican Ron DeSantis’ successful gubernatorial campaign at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida. He’s scheduled to give another speech in Florida, this time in December for the pro-Trump group Turning Point USA at the president’s Mar-a-Lago resort.
In the past year, Media Matters has documented how Fox News has inconsistently enforced its policy against “talent” participating in campaign events. For instance, at least seven GOP-aligned events featuring Pirro have recently been canceled for various reasons. Numerous Fox Nation hosts, however, have participated in campaign activities for Republican groups.
Fox News personality Lawrence Jones is also set to headline a GOP campaign event. Jones is a Fox Nation host who was recently elevated “to a regular substitute host and co-host role” with the network; Fox News host Sean Hannity has identified Jones as an “investigative reporter” and “correspondent” for the network. Jones is scheduled to keynote a February 2020 fundraising dinner for the Snohomish County Republican Party in Washington state. Fox News host Pete Hegseth spoke at the group’s 2017 fundraiser and received $5,547.60.
*This piece has been updated with additional information.