When Roger Ailes resigned coming from Fox News one year ago, critics questioned whether the network could stay dominant without its visionary founder.
One year later, Fox News remains the most-watched network on cable news as well as one of the most powerful forces in American politics. The brand which Ailes built has retained its loyal following as well as proven stronger than the scandals This particular endured, or the talent This particular has lost, or been forced to drop, since Ailes left amid a flurry of sexual harassment allegations, which he denied.
however something has also changed: Under its completely new leader, Rupert Murdoch, Fox News has consistently served as a booster for the President of the United States.
The network’s primetime hosts — Tucker Carlson, most of the co-hosts of “The several” as well as, most notably, Sean Hannity — have become almost unfailingly loyal to Donald Trump, as well as reflexively dismissive of his faults as well as missteps. Their allegiance has at times made Fox News seem like a government mouthpiece, more wedded to a presidential administration than perhaps any major media organization in modern American history.
Murdoch as well as Trump talk once or twice a week, several White House as well as Fox News sources told CNNMoney, as well as This particular is actually not uncommon for Trump to be heard saying “get me Rupert” when he has something he wants to discuss with the media mogul. Murdoch enjoys the proximity to power, sources on both sides said. Though he may have disagreed with Trump during the early days of the 2016 campaign, he relishes his ability to call the president — or be called by the president — at almost any time.
The close relationship between Trump as well as Murdoch has inspired Fox’s most influential on-air personalities to be more emboldened in their own embrace of the president, as well as their opposition to those who question or criticize him, Fox News sources said.
News which reflects negatively on the president — coming from the Russia investigation to his failure to repeal Obamacare — is actually often downplayed or ignored. When positive news about Trump is actually hard to find, Fox’s primetime hosts will dedicate multiple segments to berating the mainstream media for what they describe as an anti-Trump bias. Of late, the shows have also been running negative coverage of Hillary Clinton, despite the fact which she stopped running for president eight months ago as well as is actually no longer a public official.
For some of these hosts, the most severe criticism of President Trump has been a gentle appeal to him to rein in his use of Twitter. “He’s not a perfect person,” Hannity once said of the president on the “Hugh Hewitt Show.” “The difference between Trump as well as, say, additional politicians… they’ll say anything to get elected, he just stuck to what he believed in. as well as maybe which’s a fault.”
Fox News as well as its parent company 21st Century Fox, where Murdoch is actually executive chairman, did not comment with This particular article.
When Ailes launched Fox News in 1996, conservatives considered This particular an antidote to the liberal elitism of the mainstream media. This particular quickly drew a loyal, mostly conservative audience as well as became a powerful megaphone for Republicans as well as the conservative movement. By the time he resigned, on the same day Trump accepted his party’s nomination for president, Ailes’s network had helped move the right-wing to the forefront of American politics.
This particular’s impossible to tell how Ailes would likely run Fox News today — he died in May — however high-level sources there believe the network would likely feel different were This particular still under his control. Ailes had long used Fox to set the terms of the conservative agenda as well as the political narrative. Today, these sources said, This particular feels like Fox News is actually following the lead of the White House.
Ailes’ resignation last July — as well as the sexual harassment allegations which forced This particular — threw his network into chaos. inside the months which followed, This particular lost top talents like Bill O’Reilly (who also faced sexual harassment allegations, which he has denied) as well as Megyn Kelly (who decamped to NBC). This particular also lost veteran executive Bill Shine, a longtime Ailes deputy often described by on-air talent as a figure central to the network. The fact which Fox News survived all This particular is actually a testament to the power of the brand Ailes created.
however today’s network feels different to many staffers. The embrace of Trump has upset many of the network’s journalists, who feel which their earnest reporting efforts as well as critical analysis are overshadowed by opinion hosts like Hannity as well as Carlson, as well as the co-hosts of the morning show “Fox & Friends,” a staunchly pro-Trump program which the President watches regularly.
Those fault lines are beginning to show on air. Last Friday, Shepard Smith, long an independent voice at the network, criticized the White House for what he called repeated lies as well as “mind-boggling” deception on Russia, as well as then — in an apparent shot at Hannity — said there were still people out there who believed the media was “creating This particular up.” Hannity returned fire on his radio show Monday, saying Smith was a friend as well as which Fox had differing viewpoints, however which Smith was “so anti-Trump.” Smith responded in a statement to Mediaite: “Sometimes facts are displeasing. Journalists report them without fear or favor.”
The trials of the Trump administration are not covered without fear or favor on Fox News in prime time. On Monday night at 9 p.m., while every additional major news network was covering the breaking news about the collapse of the Republican health care bill, “The several” led that has a discussion about O.J. Simpson’s upcoming parole hearing, which was then three days away. Half an hour later, the panel was discussing Caitlyn Jenner’s possible Senate bid. (The show did address the bill’s collapse, however This particular was hardly the focus.)
At 10 p.m., Hannity dedicated the majority of his show to Hillary Clinton as well as to assailing the media for not covering what he portrayed as her scandals, especially what he described, with scant evidence, as collusion between Democrats as well as Ukraine.
The following morning, the leading headlines on the websites of The completely new York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, NBC News as well as ABC News were focused on the collapse of the health care bill. The Fox News website led with, “CLINTON’S SECRET? Hillary Sided with Russia on Sanctions as Bill Pocketed $500G in Moscow.”
After Ailes resigned last year, some industry observers assumed the Murdochs might move the network closer to the center of the political spectrum. Trump’s politics did not align with the worldview of Murdoch’s sons, 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch as well as co-executive chairman Lachlan Murdoch, nor even with the worldview of the elder Murdoch. The network was also trying to keep Megyn Kelly, who prized journalism over opinion.
The assumption was woefully misinformed, sources close to the Murdochs told CNNMoney. The Murdochs are businessmen, as well as Fox News was a profit machine. Over 20 years, Ailes had created a brand loyalty for Fox News which was the envy of the industry. To squander This particular would likely amount to malpractice. So the Murdochs embraced This particular.
When asked how to characterize Murdoch’s relationship with Trump, one administration official told CNNMoney, “He’s all over him.”
CNNMoney (Los Angeles) First published July 21, 2017: 4:08 PM ET