Fox News producer behind chyron calling Biden a ‘wannabe dictator’ parts ways with network

Alexander McCaskill, the former managing editor on ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’, is said to have authored the network’s chyron branding Mr Biden a ‘wannabe dictator’ who tried to have ‘his political rival arrested’

Rachel Sharp
Friday 16 June 2023 18:25 BST
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Fox News cuts away as White House criticises their chyron calling Biden a 'wannabe dictator'

The Fox News producer behind controversial chyron calling President Joe Biden a “wannabe dictator” has parted ways with the right-wing network two days after the scandal.

Sources told The Daily Beast on Thursday that Alexander McCaskill, the former managing editor on “Tucker Carlson Tonight”, is no longer employed by the Rupert Murdoch empire.

Mr McCaskill’s name previously repeatedly cropped up in a lawsuit brought by former “Tucker Carlson Tonight” producer Abby Grossberg claiming a misogynistic and toxic culture on the show. Ms Grossberg claims that Mr McCaskill “gaslighted” her and discriminated against her because she is Jewish.

It remains unclear whose decision it was to part ways and Fox News is yet to comment on the news. The Independent has reached out to Fox News for comment.

However, Tucker Carlson – who was fired after 14 years with the network in April after it reached a $787m settlement with Dominion Voting Systems in a lawsuit over its promotion of Donald Trump’s 2020 election lies – claimed in his latest “Tucker on Twitter” video on Thursday that “the women who run the network panicked” over the chyron and then “scolded the producer who put the banner on the screen”.

“Less than 24 hours after that, he resigned. He had been at Fox for more than a decade,” he claimed.

“He was considered one of the most capable people in the building. He offered to stay for the customary two weeks, but Fox told him to clear out his desk and leave immediately.”

Mr Carlson – who continues to defy his former employer’s cease-and-desist letter over his new Twitter series – then went on to try to suggest that the claim about Mr Biden was accurate.

“Of course Joe Biden’s not a wannabe dictator. Just because he’s trying to put the other candidate in prison for the rest of his life for a crime he himself committed doesn’t mean he has a totalitarian impulse. That’s absurd!” he said sarcastically.

“It takes a lot more than jailing your political rivals to earn the title of ‘wannabe dictator.’”

Mr McCaskill is said to be the long-running producer who authored the network’s chyron during Mr Trump’s post-arraignment speech, branding Mr Biden a “wannabe dictator” who tried to have “his political rival arrested”.

The right-wing network was the only major cable news network to carry the former president’s speech from his Bedminster golf club in New Jersey on Tuesday night.

During its airing of Mr Trump’s remarks – during which he continued to make a series of unsubstantiated claims and attacks on Mr Biden – the network shocked viewers with a caption flashing across the screen.

Over a split screen, showing Mr Biden delivering a speech from the White House on one side and Mr Trump delivering his speech from New Jersey on the other, appeared the news chyron: “Wannabe dictator speaks at the White House after having his political rival arrested”.

Fox News chyron calls Biden ‘wannabe dictator’ while Trump plays down charges over mishandling nuclear secrets (Screen grab)

A day after the message was displayed on air, Fox News said in a statement: “The chyron was taken down immediately and was addressed.”

The chyron sparked uproar on social media with several viewers urging Mr Biden to sue the network while others said Fox News had proven its position as a mouthpiece for Republican propaganda.

The White House also condemned the move, with Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre responding to a question on the matter during Wednesday’s briefing.

“There are probably about 787,000,000 things that I can say about this. That was wrong,” she said – a reference to the $787m Dominion settlement.

The wild claim from Fox News parroted the words of Mr Trump who has falsely claimed his political rival is behind the federal charges he is now facing.

In his speech on Tuesday night, the former president pushed these claims once again, calling the case against him was “the most evil and heinous abuse of power” by Mr Biden.

“This day will go down in infamy and Joe Biden will forever be remembered as not only the most corrupt president in the history of our country but perhaps, even more importantly, the president who together with a band of his closest thugs, misfits and Marxists tried to destroy American democracy,” Mr Trump said.

Mr Biden has repeatedly denied any involvement in the investigation, which was headed by special prosecutor Jack Smith. Meanwhile, Mr Trump himself has a record of trying to overthrow democracy as he refused to accept his 2020 election loss to the Democrat.

On Tuesday afternoon, Mr Trump appeared for his arraignment in a Miami federal courthouse, becoming the first current or former US president ever charged with a federal crime.

He pleaded not guilty to all 37 federal charges over his handling of classified documents, including national defence information, after leaving the White House.

The indictment, which was unsealed on Friday (9 June), alleges that Mr Trump deliberately lied to and misled authorities so that he could hold onto documents that he knew were classified.

Tucker Carlson in the Fox News studio (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

On at least two separate occasions, Mr Trump then showed some of the classified documents to people not authorised to see them, the indictment alleges.

Stunning photos revealed that many of the documents were stored around a toilet, shower and ballroom at his Mar-a-Lago estate.

The charges include 31 counts of willful retention of national defense information and single counts of false statements and representations, and counts of conspiracy to obstruct justice, withholding a document or record, corruptly concealing a document, concealing a document in a federal investigation and a scheme to conceal.

Mr Trump’s longtime aide Walt Nauta was also charged with six obstruction- and concealment-related charges after he allegedly helped move boxes of documents from Mar-a-Lago to Mr Trump’s residence and then lied to investigators about having any knowledge of the handling of the papers.

The two men appeared in court together but Mr Nauta did not enter a plea as he did not have legal counsel in Florida.

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