Jane Mayer brings us news regarding the nexus between Trump and Fox News and how FOX has finally reached State TV status. Ailes gave Trump debate questions in advance, FOX buried the Stormy Daniels story before the 2016 election and they also use NDA’s to force people working there into silence. According to Mayer’s reporting things at FOX have become worse since Ailes departure. Without Ailes, the star talent is running the place with no restraint. It seems power went from Ailes > Shine > Hannity. And perhaps the scariest part of all is how Trump’s Justice Dept is catering specifically to FOX/Murdoch’s interests.
Hannity had warned that it would be “the total end” of Fox News if his friend Shine were ousted. But, with O’Reilly and Kelly gone, Hannity was in his strongest position yet: he was now Fox’s top-rated star, and Trump’s highest-profile promoter. He’d taken Kelly’s 9 p.m. slot and was getting even higher ratings—some three million viewers a night. Two months after Shine left Fox, Hannity became a matchmaker, arranging a dinner with the President at the White House, attended by himself, Shine, and Scaramucci, at that time Trump’s communications director. Hannity proposed Shine as a top communications official, or even as a deputy chief of staff. A year later, Shine was both.
The story is superbly written and worth the read. Please support The New Yorker for this reporting. Mayer ties a lot together in this piece and leaves me wondering how corporate sponsors can keep running ads on FOX.
The Making of the Fox News White House
Fox News has always been partisan. But has it become propaganda?
Hannity was treated in Texas like a member of the Administration because he virtually is one. The same can be said of Fox’s chairman, Rupert Murdoch. Fox has long been a bane of liberals, but in the past two years many people who watch the network closely, including some Fox alumni, say that it has evolved into something that hasn’t existed before in the United States. Nicole Hemmer, an assistant professor of Presidential studies at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center and the author of “Messengers of the Right,” a history of the conservative media’s impact on American politics, says of Fox, “It’s the closest we’ve come to having state TV.”
Hemmer argues that Fox—which, as the most watched cable news network, generates about $2.7 billion a year for its parent company, 21st Century Fox—acts as a force multiplier for Trump, solidifying his hold over the Republican Party and intensifying his support. “Fox is not just taking the temperature of the base—it’s raising the temperature,” she says. “It’s a radicalization model.” For both Trump and Fox, “fear is a business strategy—it keeps people watching.” As the President has been beset by scandals, congressional hearings, and even talk of impeachment, Fox has been both his shield and his sword. The White House and Fox interact so seamlessly that it can be hard to determine, during a particular news cycle, which one is following the other’s lead. All day long, Trump retweets claims made on the network; his press secretary, Sarah Sanders, has largely stopped holding press conferences, but she has made some thirty appearances on such shows as “Fox & Friends” and “Hannity.” Trump, Hemmer says, has “almost become a programmer.”
Trump has made the debate a point of pride. He recently boasted to the Timesthat he’d won it despite being a novice, and despite the “crazy Megyn Kelly question.” Fox, however, may have given Trump a little help. A pair of Fox insiders and a source close to Trump believe that Ailes informed the Trump campaign about Kelly’s question. Two of those sources say that they know of the tipoff from a purported eyewitness. In addition, a former Trump campaign aide says that a Fox contact gave him advance notice of a different debate question, which asked the candidates whether they would support the Republican nominee, regardless of who won. The former aide says that the heads-up was passed on to Trump, who was the only candidate who said that he wouldn’t automatically support the Party’s nominee—a position that burnished his image as an outsider.
For years, Ailes had been the focus of liberal complaints, and so when Fox pushed him out many people thought that the channel would change. They were right. The problem, Fox’s critics say, is that it’s become a platform for Trump’s authoritarianism. “I know Roger Ailes was reviled,” Charlie Black, the lobbyist, said. “But he did produce debates of both sides. Now Fox is just Trump, Trump, Trump.” Murdoch may find this development untroubling: in 1995, he told this magazine, “The truth is—and we Americans don’t like to admit it—that authoritarian societies can work.”
By the time Trump was elected, Murdoch had adeptly improved ties with him. In the summer of 2016, he and his fourth wife, Jerry Hall, joined Trump for a visit to Trump’s golf club in Scotland. Murdoch appears to have been wise in securing a rapprochement. Telecommunications is a highly regulated industry, and under Trump the government has consistently furthered Murdoch’s business interests, to the detriment of his rivals. Hundt, the former F.C.C. chairman, told me that “there have been three moves that have taken place in the regulatory and antitrust world” involving telecommunications “that are extremely unusual, and the only way to explain them is that they’re pro-Fox, pro-Fox, and pro-Fox.”
much, much more at the link:
Lots of news in latest from @JaneMayerNYer: the killing of the Stormy Daniels story before the election; ordering Gary Cohn to pressure DOJ to file lawsuit to block AT&T-Time Warner deal; possible tipping off Trump on debate question; more. https://t.co/lXCwppOGbb
— Michael Luo (@michaelluo) March 4, 2019
New from me: Fox News HAD the story of Trump's hush money payoffs to Stormy Daniels BEFORE the election but killed it because the reporter said she was told, "Good reporting Kiddo, but Rupert Murdoch wants Donald Trump to win. So set it aside." Reporter sued, is bound by an NDA. https://t.co/md9B4fLm1i
— Jane Mayer (@JaneMayerNYer) March 4, 2019