It's All Over: Fox Submits To Trump While DeSantis Whines

It's All Over: Fox Submits To Trump While DeSantis Whines
Court Document Shows Trump Knew He Lost 2020 Election
Former President Donald Trump

Monday brings the first votes of the 2024 presidential election cycle, as Iowa Republicans hold their caucuses. But on Fox News, the primaries are all but over as the right-wing propaganda network wraps up its surrender to former President Donald Trump.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who owes his career to fawning treatment from Fox, has spent what seem like the final days of his presidential primary campaign criticizing the network’s soft handling of Trump. He used a Thursday appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe to lash out at Fox for letting Trump engage in what he called “massive gaslighting” about his record with “no pushback” during a town hall the previous night.

But when DeSantis appeared on Sean Hannity’s prime-time Fox show that night, he skipped any critique of Fox for supporting Trump in the primaries. In fact, neither he nor Hannity mentioned Trump at all.

Just days before the Iowa caucuses, Hannity talked with DeSantis about the cold weather in the state, the importance of Iowa for the primary race (DeSantis replied by attacking former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley), and criticism of Florida from Democrats in New York state. But the former president — currently leading in the polls in the state by a whopping margin — went utterly unmentioned.

Hannity’s unwillingness to ask DeSantis about the candidate dominating him in the primaries makes their interview yet another example of Fox pivoting back to its role as Trump’s personal propaganda organ.

Rupert Murdoch may have dreamed of making the former president “a non-person” after the depravity of his actions leading up to the January 6 insurrection. But fears of losing viewership led the network back to the barricades for Trump, and its support for the former president cut off potential avenues of attack for his primary opponents. Three years later, Murdoch’s network has submitted to Trump before a single vote has been cast in the Republican presidential primary.

Fox anchors Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum signaled the network’s capitulation during Trump’s Wednesday town hall — timed to clash with a Haley-DeSantis debate by Trump’s own demand. The pair are theoretically the highest-profile members of Fox’s “news” side. But as critics noted, their “subservient” performance did not include fact-checking his most egregious lies and made the event “an advertisement for Donald Trump.”

Trump himself praised their performance, saying on his Truth Social platform, “Thank you to Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum for doing a really professional job.” (Given Trump’s expectations for sycophantic press coverage, that isn’t much of a compliment.)

Thursday brought more signs that Fox’s interest in continuing the GOP primaries is minimal.

Baier contrasted debate clips of DeSantis and Haley squabbling against what he called the “general election back and forth” between Trump and President Joe Biden. Influential prime-time hosts Jesse Watters and Laura Ingraham did not mention any of Trump’s opponents in the presidential primaries, but they offered up plenty of praise for the former president.

Greg Gutfeld, meanwhile, hosted Vivek Ramaswamy — theoretically a GOP primary candidate but one who regularly praises Trump — who spent part of the interview spinning a theory in which shadowy forces are playing “a trick” to narrow the field between Trump and “a puppet who they can control, then to eliminate Donald Trump from contention and trot in their puppet to the White House.”

Fox helped ensure Trump’s likely cakewalk to the GOP nomination. Now the network will try to secure his path back to the White House.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

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