The Fox Corporation, which owns and operates the Phoenix TV station, has made the decision to effectively erase its more than 20-year connection with the media-bashing, rabble-rousing, and election-lie-supporting Arizona gubernatorial candidate.
The fact that Lake was a longstanding anchor at the station is not mentioned in recent on-air coverage of her campaign, according to CNN. Additionally, recent web media has downplayed that reality. When Lake first announced her candidacy, Fox 10 only recently brought up the fact that she had previously worked there.
But a key aspect of Lake's story is her 22-year tenure at Fox 10. She exploited the impressive platform at one of the state's top stations to establish herself as a household name. Lake used the influence the organisation placed upon her to launch what might wind up being a successful campaign for the state's highest office, much like how former President Donald Trump used his celebrity as a television personality to win the White House.
A significant omission from the neighbourhood channel, Fox 10's failure to disclose its close relationship with Lake, has not gone overlooked. A representative representing Lake's rival in the race, Katie Hobbs, informed me that their team had noticed this glaring lack of information. The Hobbs campaign believes that while Fox 10's day-to-day coverage has generally been fair, the larger themes that have been promoted throughout the campaign have been unfair to their candidate, the Hobbs spokeswoman continued.
Political campaigns occasionally criticise media coverage, of course. However, it would be wise for the station to be overtly honest about its prior affiliation with Lake when reporting the campaign due to the sense of bias. Additionally, the station should let its viewers know what actions it has made to ensure that both candidates are treated fairly.
Particularly considering that John Hook, the Fox 10 anchor who for years co-anchored Lake in delivering the news, spends a large portion of his time on Twitter challenging and frequently criticising views on topics like climate science, renewable energy, gun safety laws, Covid vaccine data, and other topics that seem to have been lifted directly from a Fox News primetime script.
More generally, it is crucial for news organisations to be open and honest with their readers in a time when media trust is at an all-time low. Lack of information creates a climate where distrust grows and confidence declines.
"Fox 10 KSAZ-TV is very satisfied with our political coverage leading up to the election and stands by its newsgathering and editorial practises," a Fox 10 representative said in a one-sentence statement. In other words, the station is more than happy to gloss over the possibility that a right-wing hardliner it helped mainstream and popularise may be the state's next governor.
The station could be handling the problem better, according to Bill Grueskin, a well-known professor at Columbia Journalism School, and doing so would not be difficult. Grueskin stated, "It's a simple thing to do," and added, "Anytime a news outlet is writing about a former employee, it has an obligation to disclose its affiliation, especially one who had such a high-profile function as Lake's and one who is running for such an important post as governor."