Fox host Dan Bongino calls out network for editing his Trump interview on YouTube

Conservative pundit Dan Bongino, who rose to prominence during the Trump administration as a pugilistic defender of the president and high-energy slayer of his critics, has hosted his own weekly Fox News show for only two months. But he has already found reason to call out his employer over the way an interview he conducted with Donald Trump was repackaged for publication on YouTube.

Bongino interviewed the former president for the most recent episode of his Saturday-night show, "Unfiltered With Dan Bongino." The interview was standard fare for post-White House Trump. He attacked the media, disparaged athletes for being "woke," complained about immigration at the southern border and bragged about his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. At one point, Trump called himself "the king of governors."

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But Trump apparently waded into dicier territory when he called the 2020 presidential election a "fake election" that had "voter abuse" and "voter fraud like nobody's ever seen before."

Bongino didn't push back on that allegation during the interview, and it aired on Fox in full - on air and on the network's website. But when Fox uploaded the interview to its YouTube channel, Trump's "fake election" comment was audibly cut out from the clip just after the nine-minute mark, with Trump picking back up again when talking about how Democrats are "destroying our country, whether it's at the border, whether it's on crime." The rest of the interview aired on YouTube verbatim.

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The edit was quickly picked up on by Trump spokeswoman Liz Harrington, who wrote Sunday afternoon on Twitter that "Fox News EDITED and CHANGED what President Trump said, censoring out 45 accurately describing the Fake Election. . . . This is just as bad as Big Tech. They are putting President Trump's honest statement, and the concerns of tens of millions of Americans, down the Memory Hole."

Harrington initially took aim at Bongino, a reliable supporter of the former president, writing of his show: "I guess it's FILTERED after all, @dbongino."

Bongino defended himself on Twitter, writing that he "was not made aware of ANY edits made to my interview with President Trump on the Fox News YouTube account." He said he was "looking into" the situation and "will provide a full account of what happened."

He expressed bewilderment at Harrington's critique, and assured the public, "I've been a staunch ally to President Trump from the beginning, even when others sold him out."

Former Trump campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis also came to the host's aide, writing in a testimonial that he "is one of the FEW that is principled above anything else."

Harrington relented - but only to re-target her ire at Fox. "This had nothing to do with @danbongino," she wrote on Sunday evening, "the interview happened to be on his show. Dan is a great friend of America First. It was @FoxNews who cut out President Trump's statement about the Fake Election, just like they have cut out coverage of election fraud ever since."

Bongino told listeners of his radio show Monday that he felt "betrayed by a lot of people." As a result of the edit and the controversy that followed, Bongino said, members of the public had questioned his integrity and patriotism, calling him a "traitor" and a "sellout."

The Fox News public relations department has not commented on why the YouTube upload was edited and did not respond to The Washington Post's request for an explanation. Bongino said he was told that Fox edited the clip "to comply with YouTube rules." Under YouTube's content policy regarding "U.S. presidential election integrity," the platform warns users not to publish "content that advances false claims that widespread fraud, errors, or glitches changed the outcome of any past U.S. presidential election" - a policy Trump's comments would have violated.

Fox has been on the defensive about claims of election fraud since two election technology companies - Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic - sued the network for billions of dollars this year. The companies accused Fox of airing baseless accusations that they were involved in fixing the 2020 election. Earlier this month, Fox ran a disclaimer alongside footage of Trump's speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, when he repeated his fraud claims.

That context did not seem to factor into Bongino's thinking.

"It's not acceptable at all," Bongino said Monday of the edit. "I won't accept it. And I promise you a definitive resolution that I'm working on now. What it is, we'll have to find out. But I promise you a definitive resolution. And if you think I'm just going to forget about it and pretend, 'Oh, it'll blow over' - you clearly haven't listened to my show through the years."

Fox did not respond when asked about Bongino's comments Monday.

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