Former New Jersey Superior Court Judge Andrew Napolitano was once a ubiquitous presence on Fox News as the network’s senior legal analyst.
However, that era may be at an end. A recent review revealed that the judge’s air-time on Fox networks has been reduced, coinciding with a noticeable shift in the judge’s attitude toward President Donald Trump.
The Wrap reported that over the past eight weeks, Napolitano made appearances on the Fox News Channel or Fox Business Network some 123 times.
Those 123 appearances, however, were 18 percent fewer than the 150 appearances he made over the same time period in 2018, proving he has received less air-time in recent months.
Is this a sign that Fox is slowly pushing Napolitano off the network? His petty attacks on the president certainly grate on Fox’s conservative viewers — and the bosses know it.
But Napolitano hasn’t been wholly dropped by the network … yet. Insiders told The Wrap that the judge is a “beloved” figure behind the scenes who remains on solid ground with network executives and other employees.
In fact, Napolitano was recently granted his own program — “Liberty File” — on the network’s new online streaming service Fox Nation, and hosts a digital show on FoxNews.com known as “Judge Napolitano’s Chambers
Change of tune
The judge’s decline in air-time coincided with an increase in his sharp rhetoric toward President Trump, particularly with regard to the special counsel’s Russia investigation and the final report from Robert Mueller.
Some Fox viewers actually began to notice a change in Napolitano’s attitude toward Trump as far back as 2017, when the judge was briefly suspended from the network for floating the then-dubious theory that British intelligence had aided the Obama administration in spying on Trump’s campaign in 2016. (That “theory” has since been confirmed as true.)
Despite that eventual vindication, Napolitano nevertheless has shifted from being a staunch Trump supporter during the 2016 election — the two men have been personal friends for decades — to becoming a harsh critic.
Evidence of rejection?
A pair of tweets from President Trump in April may have shed some light on that shift. Trump claimed Napolitano had asked for — and been rejected — a nomination to the Supreme Court … an assertion that Napolitano has dismissed as being a misunderstood joke.
Whatever the reason for Napolitano’s changed opinion of the president, his reduced air-time on Fox has been most noticeable during the prime time programs, where his legal analysis is often replaced by the likes of Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz.