New York CNN Business  — 

It is as if Kari Lake never worked at Fox 10.

The Phoenix TV station, owned and operated by Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Corporation, has chosen to effectively forget its more than two decades-long history with the rabble-rousing, election lie-supporting, media-attacking Arizona gubernatorial candidate.

Recent on-air coverage of her campaign that CNN reviewed makes no mention that Lake was a longtime anchor at the station. And recent online coverage has ignored that fact, too. It was only eons ago, when Lake first declared her candidacy, that Fox 10 mentioned she had worked at the station.

But Lake’s 22-year history at Fox 10 is a crucial part of her story. She used the mighty platform at one of the highest-rated stations in the state to become a household name. Much like how former President Donald Trump leveraged his celebrity as a television star to win the White House, Lake harnessed the influence the institution bestowed upon her to launch what very well could end up becoming a successful bid for the state’s highest office.

Fox 10’s lack of disclosure about its deeply connected history with Lake is a glaring omission from the local channel that has not gone unnoticed. A spokesperson for Katie Hobbs, Lake’s opponent in the race, told me that their camp has certainly observed this conspicuous lack of disclosure. The Hobbs spokesperson added that while the Hobbs campaign believes Fox 10’s day-to-day coverage has mostly been even, the broader themes pushed during the race have been unfair to their candidate.

Of course, it’s not uncommon for political campaigns to be critical of media coverage. But the perception of bias is precisely why it would be prudent for the station to be overly transparent about its previous relationship with Lake when covering the campaign. The station should also inform its audience about the steps it has taken to make sure both candidates are being treated equally.

Especially when John Hook, the Fox 10 anchor who delivered the news alongside Lake for years, spends much of his time on Twitter questioning — and often attacking — climate science, renewable energy, gun safety laws, Covid vaccine data, and other issues that sound as though they were ripped straight from a Fox News primetime script.

More broadly speaking, in an age when media trust is hitting new lows, it is important — necessary — for news organizations to be transparent and direct with their audiences. A vacuum of information is an environment in which mistrust thrives and confidence sinks.

In a single-sentence statement, a Fox 10 spokesperson only told me, “Fox 10 KSAZ-TV is very satisfied with our political coverage leading up to the election and stands by its newsgathering and editorial practices.” In other words, the station is more than comfortable eliding over the fact that the state’s next governor could be a right-wing hardliner it helped mainstream and popularize.

Bill Grueskin, a renowned professor at Columbia Journalism School, argued that the station could be handling the situation better — and it would not be hard. “Anytime a news organization is writing about a former employee — especially one who had such a high-profile role as Lake’s, and one who is running for such an important job as governor — it has an obligation to disclose its relationship,” Grueskin said, adding, “It’s a simple thing to do.”