Fox News fan or not, many observers are questioning the move by the cable news leader to suspend Judge Jeanine Pirro over comments she made about Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) that some deemed to be controversial.

The two-week suspension is not only unjust, as Pirro was simply doing what she was hired to do, but it is also dangerous. Fox has drawn a line in the sand for those who provide commentary on its network. Cross that line and you'll be punished. Commentators must have the freedom to express their views without fear of retribution by their employers provided, of course, their remarks are not libelous or defamatory.

How can Fox expect to get the best out of its commentators as long as it holds an ax over their heads? There will always be the temptation to hold back just a bit.

At the same time that Fox put Judge Jeanine in time out, it announced the hiring of former DNC chair Donna Brazile. Brazile is an extremely vocal advocate for the other team and even went so far as to cheat to benefit Democrat presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton by providing her camp with debate questions in advance.

Most Fox viewers enjoy a well-rounded discussion on the issues, but Brazile's views are easy to find on most other news outlets, broadcast and print, while Judge Jeanine's are not. Why would Fox News sanction Pirro for stating her views while at the same time elevating Donna Brazile? Many longtime Fox viewers smell a rat and they don't like it.

Fox has lost credibility and trust over its handling of Judge Jeanine. Credibility and trust are two things that are very difficult to earn back once they've been compromised.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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