By Thomas Madison
Fox News has been watching and listening closely to We the People and our reaction to the dust up involving Megyn Kelly’s blatant attack on Donald Trump, accusing him of poor temperament and misogynistic conduct towards women he doesn’t like. And the power team at Fox doesn’t like what it is seeing! It isn’t simply my opinion that Kelly was a hatchet assassin Thursday night. Fox has been flooded with phone calls, emails, tweets, and possibly a message or two by carrier pigeon, nearly all declaring their complete disgust with Fox’s treatment of The Donald during the first GOP presidential debate.
The most interesting part of Fox News’ capitulation in the Donald/Megyn drama is the promise that Ailes made to Trump promising fair treatment from now on, which is an obvious admission that Trump has not been treated fairly by Fox thus far. Trump has agreed to two interviews on Fox.
I am not so sure that Ailes’ concession is going to be enough to stem major damage to the Fox brand. Fairness is critical in journalism. Without it intelligent readers/viewers will seek their news elsewhere. And despite what Bimbo Kelly claims to be “good journalism,” her shameless ambush on Trump Thursday night proved an agenda few Fox devotees could have imagined. But there it was, on live TV, for the world to see, a relentless bushwack of a presidential candidate, ostensibly to drive voter support away from him. How could Fox not see this coming? A horrible miscalculation! We the People will decide who our President will be, NOT Megyn Kelly or Fox!
Compounding Fox’s problem is the fact that the carefully chosen, carefully worded questions the moderators had planned for the field of GOP candidates were certainly reviewed and approved by editors and upper management. Given the import of the event, Ailes himself should have personally reviewed and approved the questions. Thus, it is clear that the “Kill Trump” agenda was not simply a Megyn Kelly agenda, but a Fox News agenda.
Sorry, fool me once, shame on me. Fox will not get a chance to fool me twice. I am finished with Fox! I have not watched Fox since debate night when Charles Krauthammer was crowing gleefully at what he apparently believed was the funeral of Donald Trump. And I will never watch Fox again. Far too much confidence has been lost.
I know The Donald is busy right now, but he should seriously consider starting a conservative news network to compete with Fox.
Roger Ailes just called. He is a great guy & assures me that “Trump” will be treated fairly on @FoxNews. His word is always good!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 10, 2015
From Gabriel Sherman, New York Magazine
Until Thursday’s GOP debate, Fox News chairman Roger Ailes and Donald Trump had been executing one of the most successful examples of media synergy in recent memory. But the Trump-Ailes alliance — which helped generate a record debate audience of 24 million — has been in tatters ever since Fox’s debate moderators peppered Trump with critical questions onstage in Cleveland. From the moment Trump faced reporters in the post-debate “Spin Room,” he’s been attacking the network’s treatment of him, with special venom reserved for Megyn Kelly.
Now, it appears both sides want peace. This morning, Trump tweeted that Ailes called to assure him that Fox will cover him “fairly” going forward. According to two high-level Fox sources, Ailes’s diplomacy was the result of increasing concern inside Fox News that Trump could damage the network. 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, seem to have pushed Ailes to defuse the war. One Fox personality told me that Fox producers gave instructions to tell in-house talent not to bring up Trump’s controversial comments that Kelly had “blood coming out of her wherever” during the debate. According to one count, Fox only aired Trump’s comment once since Friday, while CNN mentioned it at least 50 times.
In recent days, Ailes got a glimpse of what a Trump-less Fox News would look like. On Sunday, Trump called in to the four other public-affairs shows; this morning he gave interviews to Today and Morning Joe. Inside Fox, this was alarming. “This thing with Megyn got way ahead of Roger and bigger than he must have thought,” one Fox personality said. “Roger wants this to blow over,” another source added. “He’s upset that conservatives are mad at Fox.” Online, Ailes also took flak. Both the Drudge Report and Breitbart News carried pro-Trump headlines.