Fox News Channel officials have said they "do not condone" the actions of its host Sean Hannity when he spoke from the stage of U.S. President Donald Trump's final midterm election rally on Monday night.
Initially, Hannity and the network said that Hannity would simply air his show from the rally venue in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and follow that with an interview with Trump.
Both Hannity and his fellow Fox personality Jeanine Pirro took the stage at Trump's campaign rally in Cape Girardeau, Missouri last night, in Hannity's case after promising he'd do no such thing.
Fox, controlled by Trump ally Rupert Murdoch and often praised by the president, said it was wrong for one of its journalists to become part of a political event.
Officials also called the issue a distraction and said it "has been addressed".
Hannity, who had said earlier Monday that he would not appear on the campaign stage, tweeted that he was "surprised, yet honored" by the president's request that he come up on stage.
And to add insult to injury, Hannity referred to media in the room - including Fox News employees - as "fake news".
"It disturbs me to my core", another senior Fox staffer said.More news: Melbourne Cup winning jockey Kerrin McEvoy pre-race promise to wife
Hannity said he had no idea he would be would be speaking, although the Trump campaign had said Saturday he would be a "special guest".
A Fox News spokesperson offered a similar message to CNN and other news organizations, insisting Hannity would only be at the rally in Missouri to broadcast his show and cover the event for the network.
Fox News journalists were in the press pen he pointed toward.
White House reporter Maggie Haberman of The New York Times tweeted: "Still can't get over Hannity denying he would be on stage the whole day, getting brought up by Trump, and then pointing to actual news reporters and calling them fake".
But Monday night's appearance at Trump's rally was one of the clearest examples to date of Hannity's growing invincibility at the network.
National Security Adviser John Bolton, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow, and current White House Communications Director Bill Shine all had careers at Fox News before joining the administration.
According to the Daily Mail, someone in the crowd yelled, "Mr. President, thank you for putting God first".