The fight between the GOP establishment and its much crazier conservative base has been epic so far during the 2016 presidential primaries, but the fights have bled out into all their institutions, including Fox News as well. I've never seen a Republican candidate take on Fox News which such disdain like Donald Trump has and it's only strengthened his position among his followers. And what also has followed these disagreements is a lot of truth telling exposed by conservative agents, which they normally would never reveal on such a public platform.
Fox News, to any open-minded person, is the conveyor of conservative wisdom and never hides that fact from its constituents, but has done a good job of passing of the "fair and balanced" lie to the beltway media. There are many reasons why most of the media let them get away with that nonsense, but that's the way it has been since Fox News began.
Digby has a good piece up about why Donald Trump is terrifying to Fox News and she's correct.
As it turns out, Roger Ailes himself pushed Trump over the edge with his own troll tweetlike statement:
"We learned from a secret back channel that the Ayatollah and Putin both intend to treat Donald Trump unfairly when they meet with him if he becomes president," Fox said. "A nefarious source tells us that Trump has his own secret plan to replace the Cabinet with his Twitter followers to see if he should even go to those meetings."
That broke the proverbial camel's back and Trump has pulled out of the Fox News debate. This is a gamble for the reality star gasbag since he's been nastier to Megyn Kelly than even Jeb Bush in the last few months. To his supporters they believe it shows real strength, but in a general election, it won't play out the for Donald with the same results. (By the way, I agree with Fox to support Kelly against Trump's wishes to have her removed.)
Ann Coulter, an avid Trump supporter agreed that Fox News acted like idiots on Hardball yesterday.
Coulter said she thinks Trump has established himself as the “real alpha dog” in the race, before saying Trump has shaken up the idea that Fox News is “our” network.“Monopolies can get arrogant and there does seem to be a little bit of arrogance here,” she said. “It’s not just that it’s smart alecky in how it treats Trump. It’s really insulting to voters.”
But this fight has not only forced sides to coalesce around either Fox or Trump, it's also forced some conservative pundits to admit what they usually try to hide to everyone outside their spheres of influence.
On my C&L Gmail email, (yes, it rhymes) I receive Republican strategist and TV pundit Alex Castellanos' notes and he gets really honest about the power Fox News has in conservative circles.
What is the most powerful Republican institution in contemporary American politics? Most of us would admit, “Fox News.” It’s the stage on which Republicans play. Fox is also a news network, of course, and a good one, providing needed balance. The evidence is their ratings. Millions of americans leave their sets turned to Fox as their news source throughout their day.
Primarily, however, Fox is a political platform. It is the Republican Party in the electronic world. National Review and William F. Buckley created the platform in the age of print, an ideological rolls royce for conservative elites. Since then, the world has been connected and democratized by new technologies. Now, Fox is the Republican Party for the masses, a gop hyundai with extra cup holders and synthetic leather. It’s conservatism for screens instead of pages.
We could say Fox’s power is undeniable, but this week, undebatable may be a better word. Most Republican candidates kneel before it, supplicants hoping to sip airtime from its chalice.One GOP candidate doesn’t. Donald Trump has informed Fox News he does not need their debate and won’t attend. Trump has dismissed Fox News like ashes from a fine cigar. It’s a display of confidence and strength.
I doubt Trump’s boycott will be received, as some suspect, as a petulant candidate ducking a debate. Who believes Donald Trump is afraid? Instead, they see Trump confidently taking a risk no other Republican would consider.
This is an astute and honest observation for Ailes, who has been as bombastic as any other TV pundit in the past, but these fights are forcing conservative agents to come clean about many of their hidden beliefs.
Fox News is a political platform for the GOP and that should not be hidden from the general public.