While in office, former President Trump often turns to Fox News for comfort. There were differences from time to time, and Trump occasionally made headlines by stalking figures on Fox – most famously Megyn Kelly during the 2015 GOP presidential primary debate.
But for the most part, Trump, a frenzied news watcher, can tune in to find Fox News hosts praising him and his administration while lashing out at his political critics and enemies.
Trump still has his supporters online, but the dynamic between a former president publicly flirting with another White House candidacy and media hotspot Rupert Murdoch is definitely changing.
For one thing, Fox focuses more on President Biden, the subject of prime-time relentless attacks, than Trump, and the network did not broadcast Trump’s speech this week in Washington, D.C., even when it aired part of an earlier one. Tuesday speech by former Vice President Mike Pence.
“Trump’s superpower gets all the coverage. It doesn’t happen anymore. So it seems that Fox is not covering it 24 hours a day,” said Daniel Cassino, a media expert who wrote a 2016 book about the network’s impact on American politics. It leads to frustration because he didn’t control Fox the way he did before.”
That tension worsened this week, when Trump blasted Fox and its flagship morning show, “Fox and Friends,” after two of the show’s longtime hosts threw cold water on the ballot, suggesting that young voters felt Trump was the better choice for Republicans. Looking to take back the White House.
Other Murdoch-owned media properties, separately, have launched editorials critical of Trump in the wake of the devastating revelations from the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol.
“The character is in crisis, and Mr. Pence has passed his trial on January 6,” the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board wrote last week. “Mr. Trump has totally failed in his country.
“Mr. Trump has sworn an oath to defend the Constitution, and it was his duty as Commander in Chief to protect the Capitol from the mob attacking it in his name,” the Senate declared.
The New York Post, also owned by Murdoch, rips off Trump in a separate editorial.
“It is up to the Department of Justice to decide whether this is a crime. But as a matter of principle, and personally, Trump has proven unworthy to be the CEO of this country again. His sole focus has been to find any way — damned by the consequences — to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power.” There is no other explanation, as well as no defense, for his refusal to stop the violence.”
Trump complained in a statement on Tuesday that Fox, the Journal and the Post had “always been against me until I won.”
News Corp., which owns and operates the three outlets, declined to comment on Trump’s recent attacks.
A representative of Trump did not respond to a request for comment on suggestions that he had been unpopular with Murdoch.
The differences between Trump and Murdoch’s conservative media empire are unheard of.
The former president was outraged by the enforcer’s decision to call Biden on election night in Arizona and feuded with one of its former chief broadcasters, Chris Wallace, before the election on a number of occasions.
Several prominent Fox figures also criticized Trump after the 2020 election.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ recent rise to the national spotlight has given Murdoch’s news outlets a new face to present to millions of viewers and readers as a potential successor to Trump as the leader of the Republican Party and conservative movement.
British analyst Piers Morgan, who was recently hired by Murdoch to host a show on UK-based TalkTV, wrote an op-ed in the Post earlier this summer explicitly urging conservative voters in the United States to “ditch Trump” and throw their support behind DeSantis.
“I think Trump frankly represents a heavyweight for Fox and Murdoch,” said AJ Bauer, a professor at the University of Alabama who researches and analyzes trends in conservative media. “He’s done a lot of useful work for them, he’s bolstered them for four, five, six years, but they’re not loyal in the way he expects and the way he needs to in order to turn his political winds around.”
Some say that if Trump wins the Republican presidential nomination again, Murdoch and the former president can put aside their public feud, as they did in previous years.
“If Trump runs for president in 2024 and buries the field, there will be plenty of time for Murdoch to do what he traditionally does: place his bet on the leading pony,” veteran media writer Jack Schaeffer said in a column in response. To the editorials of the newspaper and the post this week. “Like a pair of powerful gangsters squabbling over how to divide the spoils, Murdoch and Trump will reconcile if they decide that it is in their mutual interest.”
Trump also still gets plenty of prime-time Fox coverage that he loves.
Host Laura Ingraham responded Tuesday night to the Justice Department news including Trump in its ongoing investigation Jan. 6 by calling it “a political vendetta to prevent anyone from running for office and succeeding and winning the presidency again for millions and millions of Americans.”
Fellow primetime host Sean Hannity, a longtime personal friend of Trump, routinely denounced the January 6 commission as a “witch hunt” that lacked merit.
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