One of the major enablers of the Donald Trump candidacy has been the extremely favorable treatment that he has received from the news media. In thrall to the ratings Trump brings with his appearances we’ve seen Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski palling around with Trump, yesterday we reported on how a CNN reporter let, without challenge, Trump’s campaign co-chair claim that riots are not violent. The worst offender, by far and away, is Fox News. While Bret Baier, Chris Wallace, and Brit Hume display a palapable dislike for Ted Cruz in commentary and interviews, Donald Trump’s numbskullery is given credulous attention by most of the rest of the Fox News line up.
To give the appearance that Fox News is not working as a Donald Trump super PAC, they have contrived this bizarre conflict between Megyn Kelly and Donald Trump. Even at the time, but especially in retrospect, it is difficult to view Trump’s first attack on Kelly as anything but a coordinated set up to create buzz. Now they are trying it again. First, Donald Trump:
Everybody should boycott the @megynkelly show. Never worth watching. Always a hit on Trump! She is sick, & the most overrated person on tv.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 18, 2016
There is some truth in here. Kelly is probably the most overrated personality on cable news and that is saying quite a bit. She is the logical outcome of a media operation that values pushing the brand of the on-air talent rather than the new that they purport to be gathering. Kelly’s preening during the debates is enough to make even a dog lose his dinner. And Fox has fired back:
Donald Trump’s vitriolic attacks against Megyn Kelly and his extreme, sick obsession with her is beneath the dignity of a presidential candidate who wants to occupy the highest office in the land. Megyn is an exemplary journalist and one of the leading anchors in America — we’re extremely proud of her phenomenal work and continue to fully support her throughout every day of Trump’s endless barrage of crude and sexist verbal assaults. As the mother of three young children, with a successful law career and the second highest rated show in cable news, it’s especially deplorable for her to be repeatedly abused just for doing her job.
As Mediaite notes, this has happened before. Trump complained about Kelly’s presence as a moderator at the January GOP debate:
A video posted by Donald J. Trump (@realdonaldtrump) on
And Fox fired back again:
We learned from a secret back channel that the Ayatollah and Putin both intend to treat Donald Trump unfairly when they meet with him if he becomes president — a nefarious source tells us that Trump has his own secret plan to replace the Cabinet with his Twitter followers to see if he should even go to those meetings.
The pattern emerges. Trump gets unfettered and unchallenged access to virtually all of Fox News’ line up. Trump insults Megyn Kelly. Fox News responds. The media watchers cover the “feud” between Trump and Ailes who are known to be buddies. Trump gets unfettered and unchallenged access… Wash. Rinse. Repeat.