Gabriel Sherman's latest revelations at Vanity Fair about how Fox News functions as an arm of the White House are both frightening and predictable.
In the report, he describes an outright war between the news division (Shep Smith, Chris Wallace, et al) and the nighttime opinion crew which exists to pander to Trump: Ingraham, Carlson and Hannity, with a dollop of Lou Dobbs.
But a sequence of events around Jeanine Pirro's suspension shows how much clout Trump has. Even though Lachlan Murdoch is the head of Fox News now, Rupert Murdoch has Trump's ear, and he uses it.
According to Sherman and his sources, staffers thought Jeanine Pirro would be fired, but Trump intervened, calling Rupert Murdoch to complain about her suspension. Instead of firing her, Sherman reports that Fox allowed Pirro to return to the air, but took out her opening monologue where she rants and stirs a froth of anger with viewers. That prompted Trump to complain to Rupert again, which caused a compromise to be forged where she could deliver an abbreviated version of her monologue.
“Trump called Rupert, and Rupert put pressure on the executives,” a source told Sherman.
Just like that!
As for Hannity, he's feeling miffed that he gets no support from the powers that be. “Hannity told Trump last year that the Murdochs hate Trump, and Hannity is the only one holding Fox together,” a source who heard the conversation told Sherman. Hannity has shared his intent to leave Fox when his contract expires in early 2021, according to the report.
“Sean doesn't feel supported,” a staffer close to him said. “He has no relationship with Lachlan. Sean thinks, Wait a second, I was hired to get ratings and I get ratings, but now people are embarrassed about me? He feels Fox spends a lot of time supporting Shepard Smith but his show makes no money. That's annoying to him.”
Oh, well. Poor, poor Sean Hannity. I suspect his antics with regard to Seth Rich, his hatemongering, and his outright lying about topics to run cover for Trump are just too much exposure for the mucky-mucks to handle. Perhaps One America News Network will be more to his liking.
Meanwhile, this is reason zillion and two for why NO DEMOCRAT should ever appear on Fox News with a goal to wooing the two blue collar white dudes who aren't sure they're going to vote for Trump in 2020.