The dysfunction at conservative favorite Fox News is deeper than the public may have suspected after a new report disclosed the infighting between senior leadership at the network regarding Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch holds former Fox boss Roger Ailes personally responsible for the rise of Trump, according to New York Magazine. Murdoch blames Ailes for giving Trump, his very old friend, access to the network at an unprecedented level. For months Ailes allowed Trump to call-in to the network and espouse his dangerous political beliefs on programs like “Fox & Friends.” The backscratching between the two goes much farther than that, as Trump offered Ailes legal advice on how to handle his sexual harassment charges; something with which Trump is intimately aware of how to handle. Trump even went so far as to recommend a lawyer to Ailes.
The feud between Trump and Murodch is long standing. In March Trump said of Fox’s owner, “Murdoch’s been very bad to me.” Trump’s review of Murdoch is not entirely untrue as the NYmag’s report found:
Murdoch told Ailes he wanted Fox’s debate moderators — Kelly, Bret Baier, and Chris Wallace — to hammer Trump on a variety of issues. Ailes, understanding the GOP electorate better than most at that point, likely thought it was a bad idea.
Murdoch’s tactics had their desired impact at the time, as Trump performed poorly during the Republican primary debates. However, FOX’s tough treatment of Trump did not stop him from winning the Republican nomination for president. Now if Trump wins, how will Fox handle his presidency? They will have to change their entire business model of attacking Democrats and whitewashing Republicans, to a more nuanced viewpoint. Neither their viewers, nor their advertisers, will appreciate this change. Due to Murdoch’s attacks on Trump he has placed his network in a no-win situation.