Fox Facing Internal Conflict Over Trump
Trump’s reaction to Megyn Kelly has raised some internal issues at the network and could very well challenge the idea that Fox is a right wing outlet, or that Republican candidates can challenge Fox in their presentations and orientation.
One clear sign of the gravity of tonight’s development is the sense of confusion that is swirling throughout Fox. The network is split between Kelly’s allies like Brit Hume and conservative anchors that are furious that Kelly — who graces the cover of Vanity Fair this month — has become the face of the network.
An anchor fumed that Kelly hosted Michael Moore on her program tonight and the lefty filmmaker defended her against Trump. “That would be like Rachel Maddow laughing along with Charles Koch as he trashed Hillary Clinton!” the anchor said. One producer speculated that Fox could go “National Review” on Trump and start attacking him.
According to one Trump source, Trump was not taking Ailes’s calls after announcing the boycott. Trump advisers are privately telling people that he will only deal with Rupert Murdoch to resolve the dispute. Having Murdoch dragged into the mess could be a serious problem for Ailes. The CEO earned Murdoch’s trust because Fox generates $1 billion in profit, but also because he was always in control.
But in recent months Murdoch has been attending news meetings at Fox in the wake of a health scare that forced Ailes to take an extended leave of absence. Succession planning at Fox is very much on Murdoch’s agenda. If Ailes loses his grip on the Trump situation — and right now it looks like he is — Murdoch will have another reason to worry about the stability of his most valuable asset.
All of this will play out Tuesday night, but the repercussions will be longer lasting. And Trump continues to surprise. When he makes an outrageous comment or does something like this boycott, the common wisdom would be that it would damage his image cause him to lose support, but he seems to rise above that.
Will that strength extend to the voting booth?
It remains to be seen, but the political pundits have been predicting his downfall for months, and with each “misstep” Trump seems to rise higher in the polls and attract more followers. Perhaps the voters are simply tired of the political correctness and the disappointments from career politicians that they have experienced over the last several years. The reality, however, is that in spite of what almost anyone thought back in 2015, by November of this year we may actually have a chief executive in the White House by the name of Donald Trump.