Jane Mayer’s thorough article on the entanglement of Fox News with Trump is a depressing exposé, but not a surprising one. The airheads on Fox are shaping government policy.
Other former Fox News celebrities have practically become part of the Trump family. Kimberly Guilfoyle, a former co-host of “The Five,” left Fox in July; she is now working on Trump’s reëlection campaign and dating Donald Trump, Jr. (Guilfoyle left the network mid-contract, after a former Fox employee threatened to sue the network for harassment and accused Guilfoyle of sharing lewd images, among other misconduct; Fox and the former employee reached a multimillion-dollar settlement. A lawyer who represents Guilfoyle said that “any suggestion” that she “engaged in misconduct at Fox is patently false.”) Pete Hegseth and Lou Dobbs, hosts on Fox Business, have each been patched into Oval Office meetings, by speakerphone, to offer policy advice. Sean Hannity has told colleagues that he speaks to the President virtually every night, after his show ends, at 10 p.m. According to the Washington Post, White House advisers have taken to calling Hannity the Shadow Chief of Staff. A Republican political expert who has a paid contract with Fox News told me that Hannity has essentially become a “West Wing adviser,” attributing this development, in part, to the “utter breakdown of any normal decision-making in the White House.” The expert added, “The place has gone off the rails. There is no ordinary policy-development system.” As a result, he said, Fox’s on-air personalities “are filling the vacuum.”
Axios recently reported that sixty per cent of Trump’s day is spent in unstructured “executive time,” much of it filled by television. Charlie Black, a longtime Republican lobbyist in Washington, whose former firm, Black, Manafort & Stone, advised Trump in the eighties and nineties, told me, “Trump gets up and watches ‘Fox & Friends’ and thinks these are his friends. He thinks anything on Fox is friendly. But the problem is he gets unvetted ideas.” Trump has told confidants that he has ranked the loyalty of many reporters, on a scale of 1 to 10. Bret Baier, Fox News’ chief political anchor, is a 6; Hannity a solid 10. Steve Doocy, the co-host of “Fox & Friends,” is so adoring that Trump gives him a 12.
It’s all a big joke. These people at Fox are corrupt, incompetent, rat-fucking idiots. For example, look at how they do “research”.
To the astonishment of colleagues, the Fox co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle often prepared for “The Five” by relying on information provided to her by an avid fan: a viewer from Georgia named David Townsend, who had no affiliation either with Fox News or with journalism. She’d share the day’s planned topics with Townsend, and then he’d e-mail her suggested content. A former colleague of Guilfoyle’s says, “It was a joke among the production assistants—they were, like, ‘Wait till you hear this!’ She actually got research from him! It was the subject of hilarity.”
Townsend is a frequent contributor to the fringe social-media site Gab, which Wired has called a “haven for the far right.” (He has promoted the idea that “physically weak men” are “more likely to be socialists,” and has argued that it is not anti-Semitic to observe that “the most powerful political moneybags in American politics are Zionists.”) The server company that hosts Gab removed it from the Internet temporarily after it was revealed to have posted hate-filled rants by Robert Bowers, the gunman who killed eleven people at a Pittsburgh synagogue, last October.
Remember the FCC’s Fairness Doctrine that regulated the media and required them to be honest and balanced, and that was thrown out by the Reagan administration? Bring it back. Its absence is what has allowed Fox to flourish.
Jeez, but Murdoch has been a malignant influence on the world. I’ll be partying when he kicks the bucket.
Reginald Selkirk says
I wouldn’t be too sure about that. Maybe it’s like the Trump administration: whenever somebody terrible finally gets fired, he is replaced by someone even worse.
Lynna, OM says
Cross posted from the Political Madness All the Time thread.
Jane Mayer’s piece in the New Yorker, in which Trump’s symbiotic relationship with Fox News is discussed reveals another aspect of the story, and that’s Trump’s attempts to prevent the corporate merger of AT&T and Time Warner. The official White House line is that the merger was stopped because of anti-trust laws. However, as Mayer points out, Trump probably was against the merger because he hates, (obsessively hates), CNN, which is owned by Time Warner.
Trump was blatantly abusing the power of his office.
When then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions was asked if Trump had intervened in the merger, Sessions did not answer.
Rudi Giuliani later spilled the beans by saying that Trump “denied the merger.” Giuliani then walked that back.
From an older Talking Points Memo report:
Expect Democrats in the House to investigate.
FoxNews doesn’t have a broadcast license, so the fairness doctrine wouldn’t have applied to them, anyway.
So… Guilfoyle leans on fan mail as a source of her programming, and Trump is an avid viewer and easily swayed by what he sees there… This random Townsend guy is essentially a Trump adviser.
Also, the majority of Australia is looking forward to Murdoch’s death.
Lynna, OM says
More fallout from Jane Mayer’s article in The New Yorker:
So Fox News had the Stormy Daniels story before the election, but they did not air the facts because they were protecting Trump.
So The Rupert spiked the Stormy Daniels story before the election.
Bring out the stake and mallet, it is time for some serious spiking.
I’ve always thought that it would make more sense if the “News” in Fox News were intended ironically. Then again, conservatives are not known for their grasp of irony.
Doubt it. People work for his organization, and they’ve conditioned an entire culture to view things in terms of one caricatured abstraction pitted against another caricatured abstraction. He’s legitimized playground behavior as a political model and peddled the methamphetamine version of intellectual laziness.
Hannity is still on the air? I thought he got sacked a few years back when he finally committed the only unforgivable sin a FAUX Noise employee can: causing advertisers to pull out.
Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says
No, that was chalkboard guy.
It’s easy to get confused. There are just so many.
Pierce R. Butler says
Murdoch’s sons (& presumptive heirs) reportedly don’t like False Noise very much – but just what will they be able to do about it when their time comes?
Any attempt to reprogram the network away from its current delusionary approach seems certain to drive its audience into the arms of Sinclair, Beck, and their rabid ilk – while failing to attract viewers from “mainstream” corporate venues. Can they afford to sacrifice their reportedly most-profitable cash cow for a probably-ineffectual anti-fascist gesture?
I’m pretty sure the withered old liche has been dead for years. What he needs is banishing.
The Murdochs have been meddling in politics a long time. Rupert’s father, Keith Murdoch worked hard at trying to remove the power and reducing recognition of Sir John Monash (arguably Australia’s greatest wartime leader)
Sir John Monash familiar with the brushoff 100 years ago
So did Don Jr. divorce his wife so he could date a former Fox news celebrity? What the ever-loving fuck?
The Murdoch family should be seen as a foreign state influencing our democracy and treated as such.