By Thomas Madison
In an interview with Steve Malzberg, Gabriel Sherman of New York Magazine provided an insightful view of the Donald Trump/Fox News feud that has rocketed Trump to a commanding lead in the GOP presidential race, and has left Fox News licking its wounds. While doing all he can to keep a pretty face on the fracas, Fox news chief Roger Ailes is clearly lost, having never dealt with an adversary as formidable as Trump.
It is inconceivable that Fox News did not suffer significant damage from what many debate viewers considered a shameless attack on Donald Trump. Fox had a hardcore conservative audience prior to the debate. They miscalculated horribly, grossly underestimating Trump’s popularity, especially among Fox’s own audience, and believing that they could take him down and suffer no damage themselves.
I am in touch with hundreds of thousands of conservative voters on a weekly basis. Many have stopped watching Fox News altogether. I am one of those, and I don’t miss it a bit. OAN and Newsmax are doing a splendid job filling the void.
According to Sherman, “In the days after the debate all of the emails and messages that FOX News was getting from their viewers were pro-Trump emails. Roger Ailes and his executives at Fox were shocked at the volume of the response. And, they really didn’t know what to do because their audience loves Trump. And yet Fox by all measures really hammered him…. he (Roger Ailes) has never really faced an adversary like Donald Trump. Donald Trump is not predictable. And Roger Ailes is used to Republicans coming to kiss his ring. They all bow down to Fox News, but Donald Trump does not play by those rules.”
When asked by Malzberg why Megyn Kelly had decided to take the “high road” and not fire back at The Donald for his post-debate criticism, Sherman revealed this bombshell: “I don’t think she wants to get down in the weeds…. she also wants to go mainstream. You know, there was some talk…. that she was flirting with CNN to kind of jump from Fox to CNN. I think she wants to leave all options on the table.” Hmmmmm, trouble in paradise?
I have another theory. Kelly didn’t escalate the feud because she fully understands the danger of sticking her head in a lion’s mouth. Trump has left a sea of critics in his wake. The odds of beating Trump at anything are simply not good.