America’s bombastic, and usually lying, president complains over and over that Fox News no longer works for him.
“Fox isn’t working for us anymore,” Donald Trump says in one of his usual tsunami of Twitter “tweets.”
“We have to start looking for a new News outlet,” he adds. “The new Fox News is letting millions of great people down.”
The response by Fox?
“I don’t think Fox cares about Trump’s attacks,” Republican communications consultant Alex Conant, tells the Associated Press. “They just care about their audience.”
Some say this could be just another dog and pony show by Trump and Fox.
“Not for nothing was Donald Trump inducted into the WWE wrestling hall of fame in 2013. The man knows how to stage a fake fight—like his current brawl with the Fox News Channel,” says media writer Jack Shafer of Politico.
It’s possible that Trump is once again laying the groundwork to start his own, Foxier than Fox TV channel or conservative news website—annoyed to have his 2016 campaign plan interrupted by a presidency. But it’s far likelier that this is all make-believe.
Trump so adores Fox that he’s peppered his administration with former Fox News staffers, and five of his former employees have moved on to jobs at Fox or its parent company. Just recently, former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, among the most loyal of all Trumpies, took a job as a Fox News contributor.
Trump’s faux-fight with Fox is designed 1) to add drama and excitement to where there is none; 2) make him the primary focus of events; and 3) temporarily complicate the storyline so viewers keep watching. Fox benefits from Trump’s periodic attacks (remember when he boycotted one of Fox’s 2016 presidential debates because it wouldn’t dump Megyn Kelly from the broadcast). They make the channel look like it’s standing up to the president, and Fox ends up looking more independent and credible.
Is is possible to make Fox look either independent or credible?
We doubt either is possible. Watch the Showtime series, “The Loudest Voice,” about how Roger Ailes took time from molesting female staffers to turn Fox into a right-wing shill operation that is better called “faux news.”
It depicts Ailes for what he was: An obnoxious pig who knew that lies could become “facts” when presented as news. He fed the birtherism fantasies of Donald Trump, lied outright when it served his purpose and turned cable news into a carnival of misinformation fed to a cult like audience.
During my time on the dark side of political activity, I worked with Ailes on campaign spots for GOP candidates in the 1986 elections. He was a pig then.
“One time he asked me if I was wearing underwear, and was he going to see anything ‘good,’” a former Fox News employee told investigators who were hired by Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch to look into Ailes’ behavior. “It’s happened to me and lots of other women… He’s a disgusting pig.”
Other staff members said Ailes judged a female news anchor’s talent by the amount of skin she was willing to display on camera. One said he ran Fox News “like his personal fiefdom The about showing lots of bare legs on screen was not a secret. It was open company policy.”
Gretchen Carlson, the fired news anchor whose lawsuit started Ailes’ journey to the exit door at Fox, said Ailes wanted sex on his terms and whenever he felt he needed it.
Randi Harrison, a segment producer hired by Ailes, asked for a higher salary.
If you agree to have sex with me whenever I want I will add an extra hundred dollars a week.
“I was in tears by the time I hit the street,” she said.
One woman, who was 16 at the time, described Ailes cornering her in a locked room, pulling down his pants and demanding that she kiss his genitals. “They were red like raw hamburger,” she recalled.
“You know if you want to play with the big boys, you have to lay with the big boys,” Ailes allegedly told another woman, before soliciting oral sex.
It took more than two years after reports of Ailes’ behavior reached Murdoch before the network fired him in 2016.
After leaving Fox News, Roger Ailes became a campaign confident to Donald Trump, advising him on debates with Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. He died on May 18, 2017 in Palm Beach, FL.
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