In her column for the conservative Bulwark, the former speechwriter for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) explained that once upon a time, the Fox News network and its primetime hosts were cheerleaders for Republican lawmakers but now they call the shots knowing they can make or break conservative politicians by offering or withholding access to the network.
According to Amanda Carpenter, the symbiotic bond between GOP lawmakers and the popular conservative news network resembles the creepy relationship between a parasite and its host.
"Cymothoa exigua is a terrifying creature. The parasite enters a fish through its gills, attaches to its tongue, consumes the tongue, and then becomes a sort of new tongue. For the rest of the fish’s life, it swims around with the 'tongue-eating louse,' as the isopod is known, operating its mouth," she wrote to explain her analogy.
As she sees it, the prime time hosts on Fox were once happy to promote whatever the Republican Party wanted but, as their influence with Donald Trump grew -- with the president often parroting their talking points -- they discovered they could set the agenda for the country.
Writing, "...they saw an opportunity to burrow deep inside the GOP and wield real power. It worked. So well that the GOP, as an institution, no longer controls its tongue and its craven media parasites are the only thing keeping it alive," she added that no longer do the leaders of the Republican Party call the shots.
"It’s not whoever the Republican National Committee will nominate as its next chairman. It’s not Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell or House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, for God’s sake. It’s the Fox News primetime lineup, the large galaxy of radio and digital outlets clamoring to place their personalities and stories on Fox News, and their vast array of fringy lower-tier knockoffs," she explained before elaborating on how they go about wielding their power.
"All day, every day, these talkers, writers, producers, and editors set the party agenda. They act as the Republican party’s 'war room.' They give favored politicians airtime to solicit donations from their viewers. They go negative on their political enemies. Their stars even headline campaign events to rev up the base and get out the vote," Carpenter wrote.
According to the conservative, Fox's influence has impacted the GOP in a negative way where lawmakers keep their names at the forefront by spending their days making outrageous claims and trolling for likes and followers on Twitter instead of doing their jobs.
Case in point: outgoing President Donald J. Trump.
"Where is Trump without the glow of the TV camera and his Twitter handle? Nowhere. Long before he announced his candidacy in 2015, Fox primed the GOP base for a candidate like him .... Knowing this dynamic within the GOP, it’s no wonder that (to name just one ambitious pol) Sen. Ted Cruz has adopted the posture of an online Twitter troll instead of the constitutional scholar-turned-statesman of the biggest, most Republican state in the union," she wrote before adding, "... the Fox primetime hosts have only one primary function now: Keep Trump’s GOP alive, no matter what. They feed themselves and feed the political machine at once. And, without them, the GOP in its current form will wither and die. The propaganda is the party and the party is propaganda. Sink or swim."
You can read more here.