Fox News' Neil Cavuto Hosts 17 Hours Of Live TV A Week Despite Physical Challenges

May 17, 2018
Originally published on May 17, 2018 6:31 pm
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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Fox News host Neil Cavuto recently did something Fox News hosts rarely do. He called out President Trump for repeatedly saying things that weren't true.

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NEIL CAVUTO: Now, I'm not saying you're a liar. You're president. You're busy. I'm just having a devil of a time figuring out which news is fake.

SHAPIRO: Cavuto has been with Fox since the network's inception and a reliable champion of capitalism and free trade. He now hosts 17 hours of live television a week for Fox and its Business Network, and he does it despite daunting physical challenges. NPR's David Folkenflik has this profile of Neil Cavuto.

DAVID FOLKENFLIK, BYLINE: Between the chipper Trumpiosity of "Fox & Friends" and the bankable bellicosity of Fox primetime, the network leans heavily on Neil Cavuto - two hours daily on Fox Business...

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CAVUTO: I know when I say this, you don't believe me. You know, he has an agenda. I'm about the green. It's not red or blue. And I'm telling you we're going to lose a lot of green. You're going to pay a lot more green for a lot of...

FOLKENFLIK: ...And an hour daily on Fox News. On the day I visited, he held quick meetings with staffs of all of his shows.

CAVUTO: Thanks, guys, I guess.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Thanks.

CAVUTO: They're petrified of me, as you can see.

FOLKENFLIK: Earlier this year, he added two live hours on Fox News every Saturday.

CAVUTO: We had four taped business shows on at the time. And they were constantly getting blown out by breaking news. It's the nature of the beast. So I finally came to the conclusion, well, I might as well interrupt myself.

FOLKENFLIK: That's a lot, especially for a guy whose health problems make it very hard for him to read scripts off a teleprompter.

CAVUTO: I don't have a safety net to fall on. I will have notes. Usually they're color-coded if my vision's particularly bad. The red stuff means you really want to mention that, Neil.

FOLKENFLIK: The Trump era presents a particular problem.

CAVUTO: Tweets are the death of me, too, 'cause they require you to read them. And I have to - (laughter) I get it, so they give it to me in large point type.

FOLKENFLIK: Let's walk through some of the 59-year-old host's daunting health challenges. Cavuto has survived cancer - stage 4 Hodgkin's lymphoma.

CAVUTO: They radiated my lung - that area around my lung. And so half my lung is out. So I get pneumonia quite easily, or my - bronchitis will happen. My voice will get really compromised.

FOLKENFLIK: He also has MS, multiple sclerosis, a degenerative disease that also affects his voice and his muscles, impairing his ability to walk, as it did during my visit with him. Additionally, two years ago, one of Cavuto's coronary arteries closed completely, requiring open-heart surgery.

CAVUTO: Not to use that for an excuse for pity, although I welcome both.

FOLKENFLIK: Cavuto's corner office used to belong to his former colleague Bill O'Reilly but not for him the bombast of O'Reilly. Cavuto allows guests to make their points, especially if they disagree.

CAVUTO: I think there are always loud voices in a room or at a network. I don't have a particularly loud voice. I don't shout people down. I just encourage I hope will be adult-like debate and leave it at that.

FOLKENFLIK: And yet when he wants to, Cavuto can make sure his voice is heard.

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CAVUTO: So let me be clear, Mr. President. How can you drain the swamp if you're the one who keeps muddying the waters? You didn't know about that $130,000 payment to a porn star until you did, said you knew nothing about how your former lawyer, Michael Cohen, handled this until acknowledging today you were the guy behind the retainer payment that took care of this.

FOLKENFLIK: Cavuto recently spent four minutes dissecting Trump's credibility on claims on everything from alleged affairs to phantom fraudulent voters.

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CAVUTO: I guess you're - been too busy draining the swamp to ever stop and smell the stink you're creating. That's your doing. That's your stink. Mr. President, that's your swamp.

FOLKENFLIK: A lot of Fox's biggest names don't just take Trump's side. They call him with advice, including Rupert Murdoch, Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro. Cavuto is at odds with the president many Fox viewers like. Cavuto says he's at peace with that. He says he's at peace with a lot of things.

CAVUTO: I have a progressive disease. I'm not naive about it. It can compromise your voice. The nerve endings that feed your esophagus on up will close. I can't worry about it. I mean, I'll know when I know. And I - you know, someone - they even said, here, well, you tell us when it can't happen or when you can't do it. And I will.

FOLKENFLIK: Until then, you'll find Cavuto on the air six days and 17 hours a week. David Folkenflik, NPR News, New York. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.