It’s hard to believe, watching Fox News programming lately, that President Donald Trump skipped a debate last year during a feud with the conservative network.
Even other conservative media figures — including Trump friend and Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy — are surprised by Fox News’ utter fealty to the president, whose Twitter feed reflects his enjoyment of the network’s programs, reported Politico.
“Newsmax is very supportive of the president, but we also will publish things that are critical of him time to time,” Ruddy said. “Fox seems to have decided to become very closely aligned, which seems unnatural, and it doesn’t seem consistent. It’s just bizarre — and I think they lose their credibility as a news organization.”
Fox News remains the top cable news network, but other conservative media ventures — such as Newsmax TV and Sinclair Broadcast Group — are cutting into their share.
Sinclair is working to finalize a $3.9 billion takeover of Tribune Broadcasting that would put its free programming into nearly three-quarters of American households, and Newsmax TV recently completed a deal with DISH Network.
The Fox News prime-time lineup features hardcore Trump backers Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson, who amplify the White House agenda on their nightly programs, and “Fox & Friends” does the same each morning — to the president’s obvious delight.
“It’s quite a significant pivot,” said Charlie Sykes, a conservative radio broadcaster now on MSNBC. “For people who believe Fox has always been pro-Trump, they miss the significance of how hard the shift has been in the last 18 months. Fox is really turning itself very self-consciously into virtually a house organ of the Trump administration.”
Sykes pointed to the network’s hyping of previously debunked reports suggesting Hillary Clinton — and not Trump — colluded with Russia to steal the election she lost as evidence of the profound shift at Fox News.
“There’s nothing about conservative ideas,” he said. “This is not about the size of government, this is not about tax cuts. This is about defending the regime against legal attack.”