NEW YORK — Fox News had a Newt Gingrich problem — and it just announced a solution.
The cable news channel is suspending its ties with Newt Gingrich since Gingrich is on Donald Trump’s vice presidential short list.
Gingrich has been a Fox News contributor since last October. He appears frequently on the channel to give political commentary. But he is increasingly a subject of news coverage as well.
On Tuesday afternoon, a statement from the network said, “Fox News Channel has mutually agreed to suspend its contributor agreement with Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich effective immediately.”
“Due to the intense media speculation about Gingrich’s potential selection as Donald Trump’s vice presidential candidate, we felt it best to halt his contributor role on the network to avoid all conflicts of interest that may arise,” executive vice president for news Jay Wallace said.
Trump has repeatedly praised Gingrich and hinted that he could choose Gingrich to be his running mate.
Some Fox hosts, notably the 10 p.m. host Sean Hannity, have promoted their colleague as the best choice for Trump.
“I wouldn’t be happy with anyone but Newt,” Hannity said Monday night.
Gingrich’s role at Fox has received relatively little scrutiny in recent months. But the conflicts were obvious to some observers.
“He’s got a set of competing loyalties,” Poynter Institute media ethicist Kelly McBride said in an interview with CNNMoney earlier Tuesday. “He has his loyalties to Fox and he has his loyalties to himself, to his ambitions to be veep. Those two things can’t coexist.”
Trump’s vice presidential pick is believed to be imminent. Trump has said that if Gingrich is not selected, he will have some other role in a Trump administration.
Gingrich’s relationship was suspended with Fox once before — back in 2011 — when he was contemplating a run for president.
After an unsuccessful bid, Gingrich joined CNN in 2013 as a co-host of “Crossfire.” He was a CNN political commentator until joining Fox last year.