Monday, August 10, 2015


Donald Trump is supposed to be at war with Fox News, but I guess not:
Donald Trump and the Fox News Channel are in talks about Trump possibly appearing on Fox on Monday night, according to a source with knowledge of the talks....

It is "highly unlikely," however, that Trump would appear at 9 p.m. with host Megyn Kelly, the source said, and that's probably an understatement. Trump has repeatedly and personally insulted Kelly in recent days.

But talks are underway about a Trump interview with another prime time host, like Sean Hannity, the source said, adding that nothing had been confirmed as of Monday morning.
Chances are you've already seen this tweet:

Trump gets to negotiate the interview with the head of the whole operation? He gets to pick and choose who interviews him? Sweet deal. Some war.

I got lulled by Ezra Klein and Nate Silver posts treating this as a war. I did say yesterday that I didn't believe Fox would actually be hostile to Trump, out of fear of alienating his many fans -- Fox would merely "try to deprive Trump of oxygen." Maybe, at the behest of the Trump-averse Rupert Murdoch, that was the plan. But it can't have escaped the attention of Murdoch and Ailes that Trump is all over television, and is presumably getting great ratings for Fox's competitors. So it's time to get some of that ratings action again.

Hot Air's Allahpundit wonders about the alleged war:
Why hasn’t Fox News covered what Trump said about Kelly and blood coming out of her “wherever”? I’ve been told for the past 48 hours that Ailes, Kelly, and the rest of the network are on a mission from Reince Priebus and the RNC to sink his candidacy. Yet they’ve been handed that weapon of a soundbite and haven’t used it. How come?
As I say, I think it's because it never was all-out war. Ailes liked Trump and so his heart wasn't in it, and he knew that Trump is always ratings gold for him. (I'm not even sure the nasty questioning on Thursday night was an attempt to blow off Trump -- as I said in the aftermath of the debate, interviews of Republicans by the "serious" Fox on-air personalities often include questions that seem tough and probing, as if Ailes wants to demonstrate which Republicans can take it and which can't. Mitt Romney, famously, couldn't.)

So what's likely to happen if this interview with Hannity comes off? Hannity has to defend Kelly, but he can't be hostile to Trump or it really will be war, declared by Trump. And as Allahpundit argues, Hannity can't hit Trump very hard or his career is at risk:
As one of talk radio’s and Fox’s biggest stars, he’s caught in the middle of the war between Trump defenders on the one hand, which includes some other big radio names, and Trump critics/Fox defenders on the other. It’s unthinkable that he’d go easy on Trump over what he said about his colleague Kelly, but it’s also hard to imagine he’d risk his conservative cred -- for Donald Trump is the avatar of conservatism, my friends -- by hitting Trump too hard either.
My guess is that the key exchange will go something like this:
HANNITY: So when you said "blood from her wherever," you didn't mean anything vulgar, right?

TRUMP: No, Sean, of course I didn't.

HANNITY: But you do regret the fact that some people took it as offensive?

TRUMP: I don't regret what I said. I regret the fact that it was misconstrued.
And that'll be pretty much it.

This may be the way it goes for a while -- Fox won't be Trump's main venue, but Fox will try to bring Trump in on regular occasions for some highly promotable appointment television. I don't think Ailes can bear losing him to the competition.


UPDATE: So, yes, Ailes is trying to quell a backlash, according to New York magazine's Gabriel Sherman:
Immediately following Thursday's debate, Fox was deluged with pro-Trump emails. The chatter on Twitter was equally in Trump’s favor. “In the beginning, virtually 100-percent of the emails were against Megyn Kelly,” one Fox source, who was briefed on the situation told me. “Roger was not happy. Most of the Fox viewers were taking Trump’s side.”

Things got worse for Ailes over the weekend. In a phone conversation, Trump told Sean Hannity that “he was never doing Fox again,” according to one person with knowledge of the call. The anti-Kelly emails, and threat of a boycott by Trump, seems to have pushed Ailes to diffuse the war.
I assume that's "defuse," but there you have it.


Trump has been booked for a 7 a.m. Tuesday interview on "Fox & Friends," co-host Steve Doocy said on Twitter on Monday afternoon.

He said Trump will be talking "about his relationship with Fox News."

Trump has been lambasting Fox for days....

And Trump will also be on Sean Hannity's 10 p.m. show on Tuesday.
Is he going to attack Fox on Fox? And will his loyal Fox & Friends amen corner feel compelled to agree with him? Stay tuned.


Jim Parrett said...

It's all a sham. When the dust settles it won't be the gullible left who will be embarrassed for believing anything Trump or Fox News says but the even more gullible right wing supporters of the combed-over one. Politics doesn't play any role in this mix of ego, money and power. The show must go on.

Aunt Snow said...

Sure, they'll throw Kelly under the bus for ratings.

nonynony said...

Aunt Snow - it would be something if they felt that they had to fire Kelly to appease the rabid wingnuts.

I hope this episode puts to rest the idea that Fox News is telling anyone who to support or what to think. The wingnuts watch Fox News because it tells them what they want to hear and Fox makes a lot of money off of telling them what they want to hear. When Fox stops telling them what they want to hear, the wingnuts don't blindly nod and go along with whatever Fox says - they turn their anger at Fox itself.

Roger Ailes thought he was building a propaganda arm for the GOP but it turns out that he might just have built a propaganda arm for the Know Nothing Party. If it weren't for the damage the Know Nothings are doing to our country overall, I'd laugh.

Unknown said...

FNC isn't primarily a business operation, it's ENTIRELY a business operation.

It works the Republican / "Conservative" / Wingnut audience because they constitute the most - most in numbers, most predictably stimulated, most cohesive and most loyal - TV newsertainment & "reality" show watchers, by far.

Trump, particularly in his inane "reality" show, has been working the same waters since before FNC.

Just as FNC's personalities and Trump are alike in being buffoons to tens of millions of American voters who consume, directly or indirectly, TV newsertainment & "reality" shows even merely casually or incidentally, yet they all are media stars to FNC's loyal RCW audience and their causes and movements. They swim, eat, sleep, shit, fuck, work and play in the same medium.

Tien said...

How is this any different than the staged media fights between professional wrestlers or Jerry Springer guests? It's all a circus act for the benefit of the audience. I wouldn't be surprised if Kelly were in on the gag.

retiredeng said...

It sure looks like the tail is wagging the dog now.

petrilli said...

"The anti-Kelly emails, and threat of a boycott by Trump, seems to have pushed Ailes to diffuse the war."

Maybe Kelly will learn something from this? Sure. But not enough for her to go into her closet and throw out her Abercrombie "You Can't Sit With Us" shirt. But the experience did give her something to think about on the drive over to the Red State Gathering.

petrilli said...

Also too, "This is great news! For Donald Trump.

Sally said...

Who doesn't realize Trump is a Clinton plant?

MRjonz54 said...

This Trump/Kelly spat has all the authenticity of a pro-wrestling feud; Trump is obviously playing the "heel" in this little set piece.

Joseph Nobles said...

One of the reasons Fox isn't covering the "wherever" comment is it happened on a competitor.