Following Megyn Kelly’s announcement that she will be leaving Fox News for NBC, the network moved quickly to install pro-Trump host Tucker Carlson into her prime-time slot. Fox’s move cements its ongoing audition to serve as Trump’s go-to network for spreading his agenda, which has included the network devoting disproportionate airtime to his candidacy, then-Fox News CEO Roger Ailes advising Trump, and network figures shielding and defending him from negative coverage. Trump also retreated to the network toward the end of the campaign, and since his election he has considered or selected a number of Fox News figures to serve in his administration.
New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman: Rupert Murdoch Is Turning Fox News Into Trump TV
New York Magazine: “Murdoch Is Pushing Fox News In A More Pro-Trump Direction.” New York magazine's Gabriel Sherman reported that Megyn Kelly’s departure from Fox News was “another sign that Murdoch is pushing Fox News in a more pro-Trump direction.” Sherman wrote that Murdoch “has been intent on forging a tight relationship with Trump since his victory” and “seems intent on turning up Fox’s support to a new level.” From the article:
Rupert Murdoch moved swiftly and unexpectedly to fill the void opened up by Megyn Kelly’s departure for NBC. Thursday morning, Fox News announced Tucker Carlson is taking over Kelly’s 9 p.m. slot. Carlson’s ascension to prime time is significant in several ways, the most crucial being this: It’s another sign that Murdoch is pushing Fox News in a more pro-Trump direction.
Carlson’s promotion is one sign of just how much Murdoch wants to appease Trump, Fox insiders say. Murdoch has been intent on forging a tight relationship with Trump since his victory, sources close to both men tell me. One longtime Murdoch confidante told me the two speak by phone at least three times per week. As I reported Tuesday, at Mar-a-Lago over the holidays Trump criticized Roger Ailes and lavished praise on Murdoch. And Murdoch has told Fox executives that Trump asked him to submit names for FCC commissioner. (A Trump spokesperson denied that.) Murdoch has allowed Sean Hannity to turn his 10 p.m. show into de facto infomercials for Trump.
People close to Murdoch are surprised by how fast Fox has fallen into line with the Trump administration. This morning, Bill Kristol, a longtime Fox contributor, criticized Hannity’s fawning interview with Julian Assange. “I’m old enough to remember when Fox News was pro-American soldier not pro-anti-American leaker,” Kristol tweeted. During the GOP primary, Murdoch veered from neutral to openly hostile to Trump’s candidacy. One Murdoch associate told me that over the years Murdoch spoke of Trump as a buffoon. Murdoch was also turned off by Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric. But in the general election, Murdoch came around to backing Trump (after a détente brokered by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner). Now he seems intent on turning up Fox’s support to a new level. [New York magazine, 1/5/17]
Fox News Has Pushed Pro-Trump Agenda On Network Since He Announced His Run For President
Fox News Devoted Disproportionate Time To Covering Trump
Fox News Gave Trump Nearly $30 Million In Free Airtime During The First Leg Of The Republican Presidential Primary Campaign. From the time Trump announced his presidential candidacy to early January 2016, Fox News gave Trump more than 24 hours of airtime, worth nearly $30 million.
[Media Matters, 1/12/16]
Fox News Granted Trump More Than Double The Airtime Of Any Other GOP Presidential Candidate In 2015. Trump led every other Republican presidential candidate in interview airtime on Fox News during the second half of 2015. Trump's 22 hours and 46 minutes of airtime by the end of 2015 was more than twice as much as any other candidate and more than Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), former Gov. Jeb Bush, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) combined. [Media Matters, 12/23/15]
By The End Of The Republican Primary, Trump Had Tallied More Than Double The Fox News Airtime Of His Closest Opponent, Ted Cruz. Trump garnered more than 49 hours of interview airtime on Fox News, more than twice as much as second-place finisher Cruz. [Media Matters, 5/5/16]
Disgraced Former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes Reportedly Advised Trump On Campaign
CNN: Ailes “Regularly Offered” Trump Advice While Working At Fox News. CNN reported that Fox News CEO Roger Ailes “regularly offered [Trump] advice over the course of the primaries” and met with Trump “in person several times between June 2015 and June 2016 -- almost always at Fox News headquarters -- and spoke frequently on the phone” with him during the Republican presidential primary. The report stated that Ailes was “one of the most influential voices in the room” as Trump prepared to debate Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and attempted to “sharpen Trump's message” and “come up with memorable one-liners that will stay in voters' minds, drive headlines, and perhaps even turn the tide in Trump's favor.” [CNN.com, 9/8/16]
Numerous Fox News Figures Have Been Chosen Or Considered To Serve In Trump's White House
Fox Contributors Pete Hegseth And Scott Brown Used Airtime To Promote Themselves For A Position In Trump’s Administration. Fox News gave its contributors Pete Hegseth and Scott Brown platforms to publicly audition to be Trump’s secretary of veterans affairs, a position for which they are both reportedly being considered. [Media Matters, 12/16/16]
Trump Cabinet Pick Mike Flynn Was A Regular Fox Guest Whom Presidential Candidates Sought Out His Advice Because Of His TV Appearances. Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn frequently appeared as a guest on Fox, where he pushed anti-Islamic views. Politico reported that his frequent Fox appearances resulted in several Republican presidential candidates reaching out to him for advice throughout the presidential campaign. Trump named Flynn as his pick as a national security adviser on November 18. [Media Matters, 11/18/16]
Fox News Host Eric Bolling Was Considered For A Position In The Commerce Department. Eric Bolling, who was reportedly in discussion with the Trump team for a position in the Department of Commerce, currently works as one of the co-hosts of Fox’s The Five. He previously had his own show on Fox Business, and he has frequently pushed racism, anti-Muslim views, and conspiracy theories on Fox and Fox Business. [Media Matters, 11/21/16]
K.T. McFarland Worked As A Fox Analyst For Years And Will Now Work For Trump. K.T. McFarland, whom Trump named as his deputy national security adviser, was a national security analyst for Fox, where she repeatedly pushed for war with Iran. [Media Matters, 11/26/16; Deadline Hollywood, 11/25/16]
Elaine Chao Worked As A Fox Contributor After Serving In The Bush Administration And Is Now Trump’s Transportation Secretary Pick. Elaine Chao, Trump’s pick to run the Department of Transportation, was a Fox contributor after serving as President George W. Bush’s secretary of labor. [FoxNews.com, 11/29/16]
Trump Considered John Bolton For Secretary Of State After He Had Been A Fox Contributor For Years. John Bolton, who was reportedly under consideration to be Trump’s secretary of state and deputy secretary of state, is a longtime Fox contributor who also repeatedly pushed for war with Iran and considered using his TV platform to run for president himself in early 2015. On December 11 and 12, Bolton aided Trump’s efforts to undermine a CIA assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election on Trump’s behalf by repeatedly suggesting the hacking of the Democratic National Committee could be a “false flag operation.” [Media Matters, 11/16/16, 1/23/15, 12/12/16; NBC News, 12/11/16]
Rudy Giuliani Is A Frequent Fox Guest Who Served As A Trump Surrogate And Was Considered To Be Secretary Of State. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who was also considered for the secretary of state position under Trump, served as a media surrogate for Trump during the presidential election and has been a frequent Fox guest for years, where he often made anti-Muslim statements. On December 9, Giuliani reportedly removed himself from consideration for Trump’s secretary of state. [The New York Times, 11/24/16; Media Matters, 5/11/16, 6/14/16; USA Today, 12/9/16]
Monica Crowley Was A Longtime Fox Contributor, A Washington Times Columnist, And Almost Trump’s Press Secretary. Monica Crowley, who was reportedly being considered for press secretary by Trump, was named his deputy national security adviser for strategic communications on December 15. Crowley was previously a Fox contributor who frequently pushed conspiracy theories on air. She also works as a Washington Times columnist. [Media Matters, 11/28/16; The Hill, 11/25/16]
Kimberly Guilfoyle Co-Hosts Fox’s The Five And Was Considered For Press Secretary. Kimberly Guilfoyle, reportedly had multiple meetings with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team about possibly serving as his press secretary, currently works as a co-host for Fox’s 5 p.m. show The Five, and like Trump, has expressed admiration for Putin -- even once calling for him to be president “for 48 hours.” [Media Matters, 12/15/16]
Trump Asked Rupert Murdoch For Possible FCC Nominees. Trump has even asked Rupert Murdoch, chairman of Fox News’ parent company, News Corp., to submit the names of possible nominees for Federal Communications Commission chairman, according to a report from New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman. Trump’s FCC will be positioned to roll back regulations that have kept Murdoch from buying up newspapers and television stations across the country. [Media Matters, 1/4/17]
Fox News Repeatedly Shielded Trump From Negative Press Coverage
Fox News Figures Defended Trump From Criticism During Numerous Campaign Scandals During His Candidacy. Fox figures repeatedly downplayed and defended Trump’s scandals during his candidacy. After Trump called Mexican immigrants “rapists” and criminals while announcing he would run for president, Fox host Sean Hannity asserted that Trump was correct because immigrants crossing the United States’ southern border wouldn’t be leaving their home countries “if they’re so successful.” After Trump drew widespread criticism for accusing Judge Gonzalo Curiel of being biased against him because of his Mexican heritage, Fox host Bill O’Reilly supported Trump and said Curiel should recuse himself “to eliminate any doubt as to motivation in court rulings.” When multiple women came forward to claim Trump sexually assaulted them, Fox host Jon Scott raised doubts about the claims on Trump’s behalf, and speculated that the allegations seemed “a little coordinated” and “a little too convenient.” When audio leaked of Trump bragging about being able to sexually assault women because he was famous, Fox frequent guest Gina Loudon downplayed the significance of the tape and told Hannity “no one was raped, nobody has died.” And after the Klu Klux Klan endorsed Trump for president, Fox host Tucker Carlson attacked media discussing the topic and accused those reporters of “playing the hardest racial politics” and being “truly divisive.”
Fox News Repeatedly Defended Trump’s Policy Proposals
Fox & Friends Defended Trump’s Infeasible “Trickle-Down” Tax Plan. Fox & Friends attempted to defend Trump's budget-busting tax plan by pushing the discredited claim that his proposed tax cuts for the rich and for corporations would stimulate economic growth. But according to multiple reports and economic experts, tax cuts do not always create economic growth and can even discourage growth by undermining economic incentives to invest. [Media Matters, 10/11/16]
Fox Hosts Defended Trump Team’s Proposed Muslim Registry, Claiming “Whatever They Decide” Will Be Constitutional. Hosts on Fox News’ The Five defended Trump’s proposed registry for immigrants from predominantly Muslim countries, claiming that Trump was “still working out the details.” One host justified the registry by claiming the Muslim faith was “connected to extreme, apocalyptic violence.” [Media Matters, 11/17/16]
Fox’s Geraldo Rivera Endorsed Trump’s “National Stop-And-Frisk” Proposal. Fox contributor Geraldo Rivera told Hannity that he supported Trump’s “national stop-and-frisk proposal” because it “helped end the awful contagion of violence in New York City.” [Media Matters, 9/21/16]
Trump Retreated To Fox News At The End Of His Campaign
Fox News Became Trump’s Safe Space. CNN’s senior media correspondent Brian Stelter highlighted Trump’s strategy of “saying ‘yes’ to Fox News almost every day but saying ‘no’ to most other major networks” in a September 19 article. Stelter explained that this decision to avoid mainstream news outlets and limit general press accessibility “limits the candidate’s exposure to hard-hitting questions.” [Media Matters, 9/19/16]