Most of us on the right side avoid networks like MSNBC, CNN, NBC, ABC, PBS and CBS. That just about leaves Fox News.
It was very disappointing, then, to see Fox News become hyper politicized during the primaries and presidential election.
It became apparent at the first debate. First, Bret Baier asked all the candidates if they would support the eventual winner. It was aimed right at Trump. While the others promised, he hesitated and that caused much consternation. (It’s fascinating, isn’t it, that as it turned out the others reneged on their promise?)
Then Megyn – or Me-again Kelly as her coworkers refer to her – launched a question at The Donald that was really an indictment of his treatment of women. It wasn’t just an accidental question. Read this from New York magazine published in August 2015:
[…] Murdoch was not a fan of Trump’s and especially did not like his stance on immigration. (The antipathy was mutual: “Murdoch’s been very bad to me,” Trump told me in March.) A few days before the first GOP debate on Fox in August 2015, Murdoch called Ailes at home. “This has gone on long enough,” Murdoch said, according to a person briefed on the conversation.
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. “Donald Trump is going to be the Republican nominee,” Ailes told a colleague around this time. But he didn’t fight Murdoch on the debate directive.
On the night of August 6, in front of 24 million people, the Fox moderators peppered Trump with harder-hitting questions. But it was Kelly’s question regarding Trump’s history of crude comments about women that created a media sensation. He seemed personally wounded by her suggestion that this spoke to a temperament that might not be suited for the presidency. “I’ve been very nice to you, though I could probably maybe not be based on the way you have treated me,” he said pointedly.
The article goes on to cite the book deal made by Lachlan Murdoch for Megyn Kelly – a $6 million advance.
Then it was learned that Bill Sammons, a former reporter for Fox now bumped up to network vice president, also had a motive. His daughter was campaign manager for Marco Rubio. Here’s an interesting picture:
It was after this onslaught that I stopped watching Bret Baier’s Special Report. I had watched it faithfully for years. However, the bias was evident. It was stocked with Never Trumpers such as Brit Hume, Stephen Hayes, Charles Krauthammer, Bill Kristol, George Will, Jonah Goldberg, Ben Shapiro, Rich Lowry, Glenn Beck, Dana Loesch, Katie Pavlich, Chris Stirewalt and Guy Benson. Their candidate casino, a feature that they did every Friday night, failed to have one panelist even giving Trump a 25% chance. It only showed how completely out of touch they are.
Nuff said. I got it and stopped watching.
Brit Hume was a disappointment, too. He seemed to have an insider’s understanding of how DC works. It was precisely that insider status that showed his hand. If you followed him on twitter, you saw a constant negativity towards Trump – hardly the non partisan journalist he pretended to be. Here’s just a sample:
“Trump so far seems overshadowed in this substantive, even wonkish debate. He seems out of his depth. Probably because he is.
Carly Fiorina rattling off specifics on foreign policy/mideast. Sharp contrast to Trump’s blustering generalities.
This is quite an achievement –> Donald Trump is now the least popular American politician in three decades.\
Vintage Trump: all about him, never gracious.
Great slogan idea! “Vote for Trump. He’s new garbage.”
I was amused that as election night wore on and it appeared that Trump would be the next president, people on websites commented that Hume’s facial expression looked like he was sitting on a pineapple.
Another reason not to watch Fox were the polls. I had remembered from previous elections how wrong Fox’s polls were. In a year and a half of coverage they almost always had Clinton in the lead. Shocking, right? When you look into the people behind them you find that many had donated or supported other candidates or had deep ties to Murdoch’s business interests. Then there was Larry Sabato and Frank Luntz, who believed up until almost midnight election night that Hillary would be No. 45.
Some shows were Trump friendly – Hannity and Fox and Friends. Steve Doocy seemed to think Trump had a chance, but the others were day after day hand wringers who had nothing but speculation and hysteria to offer viewers.
Fox Business – and particularly Lou Dobbs – was the only channel worth watching. Dobbs never waivered in his belief that Trump would win. Vindication must have been sweet.
We’ll see how Fox does in covering the Trump administration. But in subsequent elections, I will not pay much attention to what they say. They blew it. Yuuge.