roger ailes flickr cc
For some weeks now it has been alleged in media circles and trumpeted by Donald Trump that FoxNews has something of a crush on Marco Rubio. For instance:

Since Jeb Bush’s departure from the race last month, Rubio has become the favorite of Republican establishment donors and lawmakers, and many said Fox was purposely giving him favorable coverage and easy interviews in order to boost his campaign.

I don't know that it is true. The only real pattern I see is that FoxNews personality, Sean Hannity, is deeply in the tank for Donald Trump and has been since August and Chris Wallace reacts to Ted Cruz much like the Devil reacts to Holy Water but with pettiness thrown in. Brit Hume is pretty much like Wallace:

And Rubio gets a pass on making ridiculous and counterfactual statements like “You don’t win the nomination by how many states you win,” when anyone else would have been hooted off the air, and rightfully so.

Now New York Magazine reports that Roger Ailes has officially given the word that he no longer thinks Rubio can win.

In his role as the donor class's darling, Marco Rubio has enjoyed support from the Republicans' media arm, Fox News. Throughout the primary, Fox provided Rubio with friendly interviews and key bookings, including the first prime-time response to Barack Obama's Oval Office address on ISIS. Many of the network's top pundits, including Stephen Hayes and Charles Krauthammer, have been enthusiastic boosters. Bill Sammon, Fox's Washington managing editor, is the father of Rubio's communications director, Brooke Sammon.

But this alliance now seems to be over. According to three Fox sources, Fox chief Roger Ailes has told people he's lost confidence in Rubio's ability to win. "We're finished with Rubio," Ailes recently told a Fox host. "We can't do the Rubio thing anymore."

This is sort of sad as it confirms a lot of the left's worst characterizations of FoxNews as a propaganda outlet. It is particularly dishonest to have this kind of a policy absent an official endorsement of a candidate as it leads viewers to think they are being informed when they are actually being instructed. Ordinarily, I'd pass this off as concern trolling

Ailes was already concerned about Rubio's lackluster performance in GOP primaries and caucuses, winning only one contest among the 15 that have been held. But the more proximate cause for the flip was an embarrassing New York Times article revealing that Rubio and Ailes had a secret dinner meeting in 2013 during which the Florida senator successfully lobbied the Fox News chief to throw his support behind the "Gang of 8" comprehensive immigration-reform bill. "Roger hates seeing his name in print," a longtime Ailes associate told me. "He was appalled the dinner was reported," the source said.

What this refers to is a NYT story in which it was revealed that Marco Rubio had personally pitched Roger Ailes, Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Sean Hannity, etc., on either supporting the Gang of Eight bill or muting their criticism.

Fox's corporate support of Rubio has also been a growing source of tension with the network's more conservative talent. Sean Hannity was furious that the Times article reported how he went along with Rubio's immigration proposal. During an interview with Trump on Monday, Hannity barely defended Fox while Trump trashed Rubio backers like Hayes. "He shouldn't be on the air," Trump said. The best Hannity could muster was to change the subject. "Have you ever watched MSNBC?" he said. "They suck."

And speaking of Sean Hannity, yesterday he went totally bonkers defending Trump and attacking Rubio. The initiating event was this tweet from a POLITICO writer named Marc Caputo

Hannity was having none of it:

(as an aside, it seems like Donald Trump referring to Ted Cruz as a "pussy" was the death knell of any remaining semblance of good breeding in American political life.)

And, being an objective reporter, Caputo had to return fire

Ailes is now back to searching for a candidate the channel can rally behind. "He's thinking, What do we do about the whole damn thing?" one of the news executive's friends said.

Keep that in mind the next time you watch FoxNews cover the presidential race.