It has been a week since the raid on Mar-a-Lago, and one would have expected former President Donald Trump to have had a heavy presence on Fox News. But so far, it is nothing but crickets. Political and media observers are starting to notice an apparent erosion of goodwill between Trump and the Murdoch network, a subject Liberty Nation wrote about a while ago. Now leftist media outlets are exploring this strain between the two powers and analyzing how it will affect the upcoming 2024 GOP primary contest. This is not beneficial for either, and there is much to consider.
The Fox News Factor
It wasn’t that long ago the former president laid to waste one of the cable network’s signature programs, Fox & Friends, for its discussion of poll numbers. It was a loud and noticed beat-down of the program, which, by his own admission, Trump used to watch every day and applaud. “Fox & Friends just really botched my poll numbers, no doubt on purpose. That show has been terrible – gone to the ‘dark side,’” Trump posted on Truth Social.
No doubt things began to erode on election night 2020, and, of course, Fox News is still trying to battle its way through a billion-dollar lawsuit filed by Dominion Voting Systems. Still, it seems the rancor is ratcheting up – and this will not be good news for Trump when he officially throws his hat in the ring for a second term.
Like it or not (and many on the right do not), Fox is the big kahuna when it comes to giving Republicans airtime. There are others in the conservative cable news field, but their reach does not compare. This is not to belittle any outlet; it is simply a fact. Trump turning on the largest media purveyor with a conservative bent is not a healthy campaign strategy. Cable news is where campaigns are fought in the 21st century, and candidates have learned to play nice in the sandbox with them.
This is not to say that the former president does not have enough political strength to muscle through a GOP primary – with or without Fox – and win. He does. But it certainly would be much easier to do with mountains of free airtime from the only major network willing to give GOP candidates fair treatment.
Climbing The Hill
On Monday, Aug. 15, The Hill entered this discussion and outlined how Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida and Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Tim Scott (R-SC) are soaking up gobs of airtime in the house that Murdoch built. In the meantime, it pointed out that Fox did not provide wall-to-wall coverage of President Trump’s recent speech in the nation’s capital.
This situation will only worsen as more of the leftist media home in on the simmering trouble between the former president and the “fair and balanced” news outlet. Baseball fans might harken back to the old quarrel between Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez. With each story, television package, and column inch describing their squabble, the media rubbed salt in the wounds of the players and wrung that story desert dry. What could be more fun for them than to talk endlessly about Fox distancing itself from Trump? Already the left is counting the number of times Fox names DeSantis versus 45.
Whether Trump supporters agree or not, the reality is Fox News will play a significant role in the upcoming GOP presidential primaries. The network still employs several prime-time hosts – such as Sean Hannity – who remain stalwart supporters of the 45th president. Those who have Trump’s ear would be wise to guide him away from making Fox an enemy and leave all that free airtime to others seeking the Republican nomination. Nothing can be gained by a public spat between Donald Trump and Fox News, and plenty of good things can happen if the two sides make an effort to get along.
*Since the writing of this article, Fox News Digital has published an interview with former President Trump, but he has yet to be interviewed on the Fox News TV channel.