Donald Trump appeared on The O'Reilly Factor tonight in what must have marked appearance (including all of the times he has dialed in) number 9,374,384 since last June when Trump announced he was going to seek the GOP Presidential nomination. The Fox News Channel, above all other television stations, including cable and network stations, has been the biggest pimp to Trump's whoredom since he got into the race.
Fox News didn't just provide Donald Trump a lot of coverage. The personalities who host Fox News shows were happy to throw out any pretense of fairness they had, instead becoming Fox News groupies in the process, fawning over him the way girls did The Beatles when they were on the Ed Sullivan show. What's more hilarious, is Trump would actually complain about Fox News and in fact, at one point, boycotted the network for several weeks.
Did that help? Not at all. Fox News welcomed him back like the mother who insists her crack addicted son who just murdered three people in cold blood is a "good boy." In doing so, Fox News became the very caricature liberals and others on the left claim they've been for the last 20 years.
Trump often brags how he has to spend almost no money on ads. I've said that Donald Trump is an idiot, but he's not stupid. And he has played the media like a fiddle, garnering free ad time by just appearing on the networks. Politico looked at this in January:
Trump’s new 30-second spot, released Monday morning, was played in its entirety 40 times on the cable news networks between Monday and Tuesday morning, according to POLITICO’s count. Using hour-by-hour prices provided by ad tracking firms for 30-second ads on CNN, Fox News and MSNBC, POLITICO estimated that the 40 airings would have cost Trump $330,000.
But that number doesn't even include the many times all the major channels aired large chunks of the ad. Significant portions of the spot were played at least 20 times in the same period across the cable networks in that same 24-hour period. Though none of the broadcast networks played the full ad in either their blockbuster morning shows or evening news programs, all of them, from NBC’s “Today" to CBS' “Evening News,” dedicated multiple segments to it, often airing 10- to 15-second clips.
MSNBC and Fox News each played the ad 14 times in its entirety between Monday and Tuesday morning. CNN played the ad 12 times in the same time period. On Fox, which dominates the cable ratings, that would amount to about $200,000 in free ad time. The ad, if aired in full during the morning shows and nightly newscasts, would have cost hundreds of thousands more.
Trump hasn't been shy in boasting about his ability to drive media coverage, often tweeting about how his frequent appearances boost TV ratings, while benefiting from unfiltered livestreams of his campaign events.
"I've spent zero on advertising because you and Fox and all of the others — I won't mention names, but every other network, I mean they cover me a lot, to put it mildly," he told Fox News host Neil Cavuto in October. "And in covering me, it's almost like if I put ads in on top of the program, it would be too much. It would be too much Trump."
There are a number of people who can be called out by name, but I will focus on a few, who have been egregious in their Trump Love (while at the same time denying it):
Eric Bolling - The King of Trump Fandom - Bolling has been a complete embarrassment. The worst part about Bolling is that while some hosts are willing to admit they're aboard the Trump Train, Bolling continues to deny it, claiming he's being objective the entire time in assessing GOP candidates. It's a joke. Greg Gutfeld, one of the few Fox News personalities who has not sipped the Kool Aid called out Bolling back in December after Bolling defended Trump's use of the word "schlonged" towards Hillary Clinton. Watch:
Andrea Tantaros - In the dictionary under Trump Fangirl there is a photo of Andrea Tantaros. The only reason she's not the top rated Trump fan is because she doesn't have a show all of her own the way Bolling does. There is nothing that escape her lips about Donald Trump that is not positive and once laughingly claimed there were men in this country who saw Trump as their final hope to rescue their manhood.
Bill O'Reilly - He of the "No Spin Zone" routinely allows Trump on his show to make completely outrageous claims to which O'Reilly only tepidly responds when if it was any other person, he'd explode in a fit of rage at the thought of somebody trying to BS him. Trump does just that and it's not hard to imagine O'Reilly sitting their with a fork and a napkin tucked into his shirt enjoying a nice big bowl of Trump's BS.
Fox & Friends - I would say Steve Doocy is the biggest culprit, but it was hard to turn on Fox & Friends at any point (well, it's hard to watch regardless) since last summer and not hear Donald Trump on the air. From what I have heard (and I haven't confirmed) is Trump is one of only a handful of people who is allowed to call in to the station to do interviews. Anybody else must be in studio or tied into a remote in order to appear. Trump would normally hit Fox and Friends after one his many disastrous debates or after saying something particularly stupid in order to try and save face. Naturally, he wasn't challenged.
Sean Hannity - I let Andrea Tantaros take second chair to Eric Bolling's crown as King Fanboy for Trump because I didn't want to be sexist, but nobody has ruined their reputation more than Hannity in all of this. Hannity has been a fixture at the Fox News Channel since it launched. 'Hannity and Colmes' was one of the shows I always used to watch and it was depressing watching him quickly sink into the Trump bog without even putting up a fight. The best part was watching Hannity, who has been a fixture in Republican (not conservative) circles for the last 20 years, talk about "the establishment" and the "ruling class" as if he was only hatched in June of 2015 as a populist. Trump's appearances on Hannity's show became so common, people had betting pools on how many times per week Trump would appear.
As I mentioned before, Greg Gutfeld is one of the handful of Fox News personalities and news people who are not afraid to call out Trump's nonsense. Dana Perino is another as is Megyn Kelly. Bret Baier is one of the best journalists on television and has always provided well rounded coverage of Trump. But for the most part, Fox News has lost its way.
The Fox News Channel has prided itself on being a network they say is "fair and balanced." Roger Ailes was a genius for using this term and he explained once it was absolutely true. He said Fox News was network that pushed down on the media scales in order to even things out. The media for too long was controlled by Democrats and liberals. Fox News was there to bring some balance to the landscape.
Unfortunately, since last June they have slowly morphed into what everybody said they were: hacks.