Matt Gaetz Says Fox News 'Isn't What It Used to Be' and Blames Paul Ryan

Representative Matt Gaetz criticized Fox News and claimed it is "not what it used to be" in the first episode of his new podcast on Thursday. He appeared to place the blame on former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.

Gaetz, a Republican who represents Florida's 1st congressional district, took aim at the network in the premiere episode of his podcast Firebrand and praised former Fox Business Network host Lou Dobbs, whose show was canceled in February.

The congressman focused much of his criticism on Ryan, who was speaker of the House from 2015 and 2019 and became a member of the Fox Corporation's board of directors two months after leaving Congress.

Gaetz, who has been a frequent guest on Fox News, said: "I appreciate the platform Fox News gave me for years."

"It allowed me to get key information to the country. I have many friends still at Fox News and I enjoy our discussions, whether they're on air or off air," he said.

"That said, Fox News isn't what it used to be. It probably has something to do with their corporate board member, Paul Ryan."

Gaetz then discussed Lou Dobbs' cancelation from the Fox Business Network earlier this year. Dobbs had hosted a show on the network, Lou Dobbs Tonight, from 2011 to February 2021.

The decision to cancel his show came a day after voting technology company Smartmatic filed a $2.7 billion defamation suit against the Fox Corporation alleging it had been "irreparably harmed" by on-air claims that the 2020 presidential election was rigged. Dobbs was named as one of the individual defendants in the suit.

"One of my favorite shows on the Fox platform was Lou Dobbs Tonight. Sweet, sweet Lou, like America's angry uncle, politically incorrect sometimes, red in the face and usually right about stuff," Gaetz said.

Gaetz then showed a montage of clips from Dobbs where the former Fox Business Network host criticized Ryan, including one where Dobbs says Ryan "betrayed" the Republican Party.

"Now that Paul Ryan has concentrated power at Fox News, Lou Dobbs is no longer on air," Gaetz said. "He can't guide the populist right away from the invade everywhere, invite everyone version of Republicanism that sells out to K Street and abandons Main Street."

"Paul Ryan never used his considerable power as speaker for Trump's wall or other key immigration reforms, but he was able to use his power at Fox News to cancel the great Lou Dobbs," Gaetz went on.

At the time Dobbs' show was canceled, the Fox Business Network said: "Plans have been in place to launch new formats as appropriate postelection, including on Fox Business."

"This is part of those planned changes," the network said.

Fox News Media, which operates Fox News and the Fox Business Network, defended its coverage of the 2020 election, and Fox News has asked that Smartmatic's suit be dismissed. The matter will be considered by the New York Supreme Court on August 17.

"FOX News Media is proud of our 2020 election coverage, which stands in the highest tradition of American journalism, and will vigorously defend against this baseless lawsuit in court," a spokesperson said in a statement to Newsweek on March 26.

Newsweek has asked Fox News for comment.

Matt Gaetz Speaks at a Trump Resort
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) speaks during the "Save America Summit" at the Trump National Doral golf resort on April 09, 2021 in Doral, Florida. Gaetz criticized Fox News on Thursday and took aim at corporate board member Paul Ryan. Joe Raedle/Getty Images