Fox News Is Attacking Republicans for All the Wrong Reasons
Steve Bannon has left the White House, and with his departure, the Trump administration has lost its most visible tie to ultra-conservative publication Breitbart. However, Bannon is getting more news coverage than ever before, thanks to none other than the team at Fox News.
Although Fox discussed Trump excessively during the campaign, Fox’s coverage of Trump back then focused more on keeping things on good terms with “conventional” conservatives, rather than risk endorsing an outsider like Trump prematurely.
But now that Trump has taken the reins, the Murdoch-owned media giant is singing the praises of the president. All it seemed to take was a few jabs at CNN. However, it’s a move that could have dangerous consequences.
Trump the Maverick
It’s no secret that Donald Trump is just about the furthest thing imaginable from a conventional GOP’er. In fact, he was once a registered Democrat, with far-left views on several issues. His potential to shake things up and try new ideas was part of the platform that got him elected.
Trump doesn’t consider the long-term political implications of moves like “siding with the Democrats” to pass a debt-ceiling decision or ignoring party concerns to pass disaster relief in Texas and Florida. The reason is not that he’s a deft political negotiator, but rather the opposite.
He doesn’t think about the long-term because he has no aspirations of spending his life as a politician. He just impulsively does whatever sounds like the best idea at the time to him. The team at Fox, however, would have you believe Trump is a shrewd negotiator playing a plainspoken businessman on TV.
Speaking of Fake News
One example of the way Fox has taken Trump’s side came on Lou Dobbs Tonight. The longtime Fox anchor berated Paul Ryan with GOP-specific slurs like RINO — which apparently means “Republican in name only.” All this critique got heaped on a man who, in any other presidential administration, would be hailed as the new messiah by Fox News.
Ryan is guilty of tiptoeing around his disagreements with Trump, rather than being the firebrand lesser-known representatives wish him to be, but if you’re looking for a man who represents the core Republican cause as a whole, it’s Ryan — not Trump.
Because he’s not a career politician, Trump has much less political capital invested than anyone else in the GOP. Fox News knows that full well, but pretends it’s not true. So who are they pandering to, if not the Republican Party?
Welcome to the Trump Party
Fox is pandering to Trump himself, and to the voting base that elected him: undereducated, bigoted whites who take pride in Trump’s “shoot-from-the-hip” philosophy.
The GOP has been infighting and splintering into warring factions for more than a decade now, and Fox is betting the farm they’ll earn more attention telling Trump supporters what they want to hear than they will trying to gloss over the cave-in taking place inside Republican ranks.
Choosing to align with a new group isn’t the worst thing a news network can do on its own, but doing it by misrepresenting the actions of a president speaks volumes about the state of our news media today. Trump has created a credibility crisis, and Fox is running a quarterback sneak right up the center of it.
Expect Fox to keep “siding with Democrats” and doing other things their conventional viewership finds distasteful as long as Trump is in power. Where else are “conventional” Republicans going to get their news: CNN? Breitbart? InfoWars?
They can try to sell themselves as “fair and balanced” all day long, but Fox is sacrificing the one thing no self-respecting journalist should be willing to part with — credibility — to woo a new group of viewers. It’s a group that doesn’t flinch when you deliver a story Monday and then turn around and contradict it on Tuesday, and that’s the saddest part of this whole ordeal.