If you were an alien who just landed on Planet Earth during the latest round of UFO sightings, you could be forgiven for thinking the Fox News Channel is some sort of left-wing outlet marching in lockstep with elite legacy media. After all, Fox has all but ignored Donald Trump since he announced his third presidential bid in November, and Trump in turn has been ramping up his attacks on Fox with a ferocity he previously reserved for leftists, RINOs, and “fake news.”
The political equivalent of divorce proceedings between these longtime allies famously commenced on Election Night 2020 with FNC’s early call of Arizona for Joe Biden, and has since gotten much uglier. You can almost hear the simmering frustration welling up in the former president in his latest headline-inducing Truth Social post on Monday aimed at the head of Fox News: “How does Rupert Murdoch say there was no election fraud when 2000 Mules shows, on government tape, that there were millions of ‘stuffed ballots,’ & Elon Musk released the FBI/Twitter Files, where pollsters say that the silencing of information made a 17% difference in the Vote.” Days earlier, Trump had posted, “Too many incompetent RINOS at FoxNews!” and described Murdoch and his fellow Fox executives as a “group of MAGA Hating Globalist RINOS” who should “get out of the News Business as soon as possible.”
Fox News and Trump: Headed for MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction)?
Since that Election Night which will live in infamy, Fox has essentially issued a “soft ban” or virtual blackout on Donald Trump. Not only does the channel pointedly refuse to interview him anymore, but it does so while repeatedly showcasing Trump’s expected chief rival, Ron DeSantis, and also while providing airtime to announced presidential candidates Nikki Haley and the relatively obscure Vivek Ramaswamy. Live coverage of 45’s announcement, and his subsequent rallies and appearances – a staple in previous years – has ceased.
Meanwhile, Fox personalities like Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson, regulars at the vaunted CPAC conference in recent years, were notably absent at this year’s Trump-centric event over the weekend. And former Trump advisor Steve Bannon, who inexplicably split with the former president after leaking like a sieve during his days in the White House, has now returned to the reservation as an attack dog, unleashing a blistering verbal assault on Fox at the event, and drawing loud applause from the crowd of MAGA diehards. “Murdoch, you’ve deemed Trump’s not going to be president,” Bannon thundered from the CPAC podium, “but we deem that you’re not going to have a network, because we’re going to fight you every step of the way.”
So, as the relationship between Trump and Fox heads ever closer to the boiling point – or even the point of no return – how is it in the interests of either Trump or Fox to carry on this family feud?
What happens in the event Trump wins his third straight Republican presidential nomination but continues to receive a frosty reception from his singular source of past support among big corporate media? Can Trump really expect to land back in the White House without the same explicit and enthusiastic backing from FNC that was crucial to his election in 2016?
But the converse must also be considered. What will happen to Fox’s ratings if it continues to give Trump the cold shoulder? The vast majority of the Fox audience still loves the former president; even those who believe he is no longer electable are grateful for his break-the-mold presidency. Scores of viewers swore off Fox after the 2020 election, and while many have returned because of an absence of palatable alternatives, anything less than a full-throated defense of the former president, if he captures the GOP presidential nomination, would likely crater FNC’s viewership for years.
Donald Trump is behaving like a jilted lover. He must be hoping his Fox friends are just having a whirlwind romance with DeSantis, and will eventually return to their senses and go all-in again for him. Fox in turn has taken its toys and gone home, acting as if it, not Trump, is the abused party. But this feud not only serves no constructive purpose for either side – it is deeply damaging to both. And if the bombastic billionaire who overcame impossible odds to capture the White House and the outlet that helped elevate him to the highest office in the land can’t ultimately put their raging feud in the rearview mirror, there will be no winner. They will both be the losers.
All opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Liberty Nation.
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