At this point in 2021, the Republican Party may as well merge with right-wing media like Fox News, Newsmax and OAN because the two are constantly feeding into each other, Washington Post's Phillip Bump wrote Tuesday.
He noted that in 2015, Fox News was forced to suspend its relationship with then-candidate Donald Trump because he was announcing his candidacy for president. Fox can't pick favorites in a Republican primary. Technically they shouldn't do it in any election without reporting it as an in-kind donation to the campaign.
"The relationship between the right's favorite cable news network and the right's soon-to-be favorite politician was obviously more significant than it seemed at the time," wrote Bump. "Trump had reinvented himself as a TV star with 'The Apprentice' and had begun to dip his toes into the political world largely by echoing narratives that were popular in right-wing media: questions about Barack Obama's birthplace, alarmism over the Ebola virus, the dangers of immigration. The Fox News gig established him firmly in both worlds at once."
While Trump wasn't allowed to be a commentator while running for office, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) was. So was Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. "Hannity endorsed Trump in 2016 and later helped fundraise for the Republican Party," the Post column recalled. "Jason Chaffetz (who left Congress to work at Fox) will soon headline a Republican fundraiser in Texas, as Media Matters reported Tuesday." Since Trump left, office his daughter-in-law and his former press secretary have been hired by Fox News.
Axios reported that Gaetz is considering giving up his House seat to pursue something else, likely a right-wing media career that could be far more lucrative than his meager Congressional salary at just under $200,000 annually.
Right-wing media was also part of the ongoing support of the lie that Trump actually won the 2020 election. That lie helped promote the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol that shocked the nation. Only since networks have been sued by Dominion Voting Systems have they provided minor fact checks.
Bump argued that with all the back and forth, what's the point of even trying to follow campaign finance laws.
"If Lara Trump does decide to run for the Senate in North Carolina, it will be interesting to see if Fox even bothers to kick her off the air," he closed.