On Monday, Fox Business host Stuart Varney marked 10 years as the host of Varney & Co., presently the most-watched market program in business news for 3 years running.
Varney spoke with Mediaite about his program and the economy during the Trump era.
This is the 10 year anniversary of Varney & Co. What in your decade of hosting it has changed? And where does the show stand today?
Well, what we’ve tried to do is to change the way news about money and business and the economy is communicated. We came on the air 10 years ago, right around the time of the crash. And it occurred to me then that, you know, a lot of people just couldn’t understand what was happening. All that jargon about collateralized mortgage obligations. All that kinda thing — the jargon prevented a clear understanding on the part of the public about what was really going on. And so I thought, look, why don’t we have a new approach to money and communicating about money? Why don’t we concentrate more on issues like taxes, like spending, like employment, unemployment, economic growth. And what about these brilliant and huge American technology companies, which really have dominated the world of technology and dominated the market for so long. I wanted to put out a broadcast that reached over the jargon and straight to people in the most declarative fashion I could find. That’s what we’ve tried to do. And I think to some degree we’ve succeeded.
You helped launch CNN, Ted Turner brought you on in 1980 and you stayed at the network until 2001. What do you think of CNN now?
Well, CNN took a turn in the mid-1990s when I was still there and became more political. Yet back in the day when I was first with CNN, and I was the first person to broadcast with CNN from New York in 1980. But we were just trying to get the news out there. We were just trying to stay on the air. But in the mid-1990s, I think we took a political turn. And I don’t think it did as much good. They progressively kept up with that political turn. And as you know, they’re vigorously anti-Trump and I don’t think it’s going down well with the audience. They seem to have lost a lot of ground, which is, it’s unfortunate. I feel it’s very unfortunate because I remember back in the day when we were the best and biggest, best game in town. And we lost that position. I think that’s unfortunate — because a lot of good people work there. A lot of good people.
Varney went viral last year for claiming that Pres. Trump had never lied to the American people, despite the fact that Washington Post has been keeping a de-facto lie tracker, and has him at ~16,000 false or “misleading claims” during his presidency.
The FBN host was also asked to address this episode:
One exchange I wanted to bring up that you had this year. You were speaking with Joe Walsh, the Republican presidential candidate. You said you don’t believe President Trump has ever lied to the American people. The Washington Post fact checker just clocked in president’s false and misleading claims at 16,000. Do you stand by that assertion?
It was a very heated interview. I think perhaps it got a little out of hand. That’s my answer.
Do you stand by that assertion? That the president doesn’t lie?
As I said, it was a very heated interview.