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Fox News says Trump’s ‘boycott’ of the network came after they canceled his Thursday night appearance

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Republican candidate has vowed not to appear on Fox in near future over ‘unfair treatment’, but network says his version of events is misleading

Donald Trump has restarted his flame war with Fox News, saying he will no longer appear on the news network because it is too tough on him.

But Fox hit right back against Trump on Wednesday, saying that it was a decision by the network to cancel a Trump appearance that led to Trump’s so-called boycott – and not the other way around.

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Trump’s pronouncement came after Fox host Bill O’Reilly featured guests deemed by the business mogul and Republican frontrunner to be too critical of him . He tweeted:

In Trump’s view, O’Reilly compounded the offense by failing to cite a poll that demonstrated how far ahead Trump seemingly is. “ @oreillyfactor was very negative to me in refusing to to post the great polls that came out today including NBC. @FoxNews not good for me!” the presidential candidate concluded.

On Wednesday morning, Trump decided he had had enough, tweeting:

But that’s not the way things really happened, said a spokesperson for Fox News in a statement.

“At 11:45am today, we canceled Donald Trump’s scheduled appearance on The O’Reilly Factor on Thursday, which resulted in Mr. Trump’s subsequent tweet about his ‘boycott’ of FOX News,” the statement said.

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“The press predictably jumped to cover his tweet, creating yet another distraction from any real issues that Mr. Trump might be questioned about. When coverage doesn’t go his way, he engages in personal attacks on our anchors and hosts, which has grown stale and tiresome. He doesn’t seem to grasp that candidates telling journalists what to ask is not how the media works in this country.”

Anyone doubting whether Trump’s absence represents a blow for Fox might glance briefly at the viewing figures for the candidate’s appearance on CBS’s Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Tuesday night.

With Trump in the guest’s chair, the show notched up its highest rating since its premiere, jumping 61% in viewership week-over-week and leaving the competition in the dust.

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If Trump finds Fox News to be increasingly hostile territory, he seemed to have had a pretty nice time on the Colbert set, where he encountered little confrontational questioning .

Trump’s animus for Fox, as expressed on the mogul’s favorite social media platform, grew over Monday and Tuesday night.

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He singled out O’Reilly and host Megyn Kelly, whom he last tangled with last month, for special criticism.

The tweets (there’s more where those came from ) signalled a rekindling of a firefight that last flared up in August, when Trump trashed Kelly for asking him a question at the first presidential debate about his past comments disparaging women’s appearance.

At the time, Trump retweeted a commenter calling Kelly a “bimbo”. He also said in a statement that Kelly was “off her game” and not “a quality journalist”, and remarked that she had “blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever”, while questioning him during the debate.

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The name-calling culminated in a phone call to Trump by Fox news chief Roger Ailes, who asked Trump to apologize. Kelly disappeared from the air, for a planned vacation, the network said.

Fox News did not reply to a request for comment on Wednesday.

Trump never apologized to Kelly, but said he had “a great relationship with Roger Ailes” and “it’s absolutely fine”.

Not any more.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2015

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