Fox News ‘still fetishizing’ Trump but election lies are still keeping him off the network: report
Donald Trump at a campaign rally at the Giant Center in 2019. (Evan El-Amin / Shutterstock.com)

Fox News continues to prop up Donald Trump as the leader of the Republican Party, but he hasn't appeared on the network for months.

The conservative network has been giving two potential 2024 challengers, Mike Pence and Ron DeSantis, plenty of airtime, including two recent prime-time interviews, although coverage of the former president remains overwhelmingly positive, reported The Guardian.

“You were allowed to attack Donald Trump during the primaries in 2015 and 2016 on Fox News," said Angelo Carusone, Media Matters’ president and chief executive. "That doesn’t happen now, at all -- ever."

The media watchdog conducted a recent study that found Fox News continues to talk about Trump far more than any of his potential rivals -- 8,556 mentions of Trump from January to July, with 1,083 for DeSantis and 589 for Pence -- but the network has been less willing to carry his speeches live to avoid the sort of false election claims that got them served with a $1.6 billion lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems.

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“The debate among the liberal media on this topic is the very reason Fox News exists and is the most watched cable news channel in the country with more viewers of every political persuasion than any other network," said a network spokesperson.

Although the twice-impeached former president hasn't been interviewed on Fox News for more than 100 days, the network's hosts still daydream about how Trump would handle various challenges and praise his record in office.

“They’re still fetishizing and fantasizing, it’s just that there’s no longer an audience of one,” Carusone said. “There are other people in the audience that they care about.”