The Trump-Murdoch merger continues as Hope Hicks heads to Fox

Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

Hope Hicks used to manage President Donald Trump’s communications strategy. In her new job, she’s running public relations for the propaganda network deeply entwined with the president’s operations.

21st Century Fox announced Monday that Hicks will be executive vice president and chief communications officer for the new Fox, the portion of Rupert Murdoch’s empire that will be spun off after the Disney merger is complete. Fox will be headed by Murdoch’s shrewd elder son Lachlan; its assets will include the right-wing networks Fox News and Fox Business.

Hicks, who served as press secretary on the 2016 campaign and as communications director and director of strategic communications in the White House, has been one of Trump’s closest confidantes.

Her move to Fox is a sign that the company will continue to strengthen its already close ties to the White House. Fox has always been a deeply partisan network that functioned as the Republican Party’s communications arm. But now, the Murdoch and Trump empires have all but officially merged.

Hicks isn’t the first former White House aide to receive a soft landing at Fox. When Sebastian Gorka was fired last year, he got a cushy sinecure from the network.

The revolving door turns the other way as well --Trump’s administration is filled with Fox figures. The president’s secretary of housing and urban development, his national security adviser and White House strategic communications director, the spokespeople at his State and Treasury departments, his ambassadors to Poland, Germany, New Zealand and Samoa, and his personal aide all did stints at Fox News. Hicks’ hiring comes just months after Bill Shine, former co-president of Fox News, replaced her as White House communications director.

Then there’s the small army of Fox propagandists whom the president regularly consults -- a veritable shadow cabinet of cable news stars. And the durable feedback loop created by Trump’s habit of watching hours of the network’s programming each day, taking advice from its on-air personalities, and responding on Twitter has vastly increased the network’s power.

Fox isn’t a news network. It’s a propaganda machine whose singular focus is preserving the president’s power, and now it has a new executive whose last job was doing exactly that.