Dear Commons Community,
Fox News has not responded to President Trump’s tweet that “Fox isn’t working for us anymore.” Trump cried out on Wednesday that news anchor Sandra Smith offered “zero pushback” in an interview with Democratic communications director Xochitl Hinojosa. Trump tweeted:
“The new Fox News is letting millions of great people down,” he wrote. “We have to start looking for a new News outlet. Fox isn’t working for us anymore.”
In the past few days, however, Fox personalities Brit Hume, Bret Baier, and Juan Williams have fired back.. As reported by The Washington Times:
“That’s so scary that the president of the United States thinks that a media organization is his,” said Juan Williams, the commentator called on to give a liberal point of view, on a Fox radio program. “You know, that’s not good.”
Fox’s elder statesman Brit Hume tweeted in response to Trump on Wednesday : “Fox News isn’t supposed to work for you.”
It’s worth noting that even as Trump has attacked Fox, he still seeks its audience more than any other outlet. He gave an interview Thursday to Fox’s Brian Kilmeade.
Fox News is routinely the most watched cable network, with an average of 2.33 million viewers in prime time last week.
Williams is among the few at Fox to directly answer a Trump attack through a column he wrote this week for The Hill . Trump last week called Williams “pathetic,” ”nasty” and “wrong,” yet “he couldn’t be nicer as he asked to take a picture of him and me for his family.”
Williams said that when Trump was a candidate, he and Fox’s Ed Henry ran into him in the lobby of the network’s Manhattan headquarters. A Fox maintenance man asked if he could get a picture with Trump, and Williams took it. The man then offered to reciprocate by taking a picture of Williams and Trump; Williams said he never asked for it or brought his family into the conversation.
Bret Baier, on his show last week, defended Fox’s pollsters from attacks. “Fox has not changed,” Baier said. “We have a news side and an opinion side.”
After one hostile tweet, Shep Smith addressed one viewer Wednesday by looking at the camera and saying, “Good afternoon, Mr. President. It’s nice to have you with us.”
To a certain degree, responses like Baier’s make a network comment unnecessary, said Alex Conant, a Republican communications consultant. Fox can also perversely benefit from certain Trump attacks – they make the point that there’s more to the network than Hannity’s unabashed love, he said.
“This could be an opportunity for Fox to boast,” said Carl Cameron, a longtime Fox News Washington reporter who’s left the network. It would help the morale of its remaining news reporters if Fox took out an ad highlighting times that news reporters had gotten under the president’s skin. “That’s what news divisions are supposed to do,” he said.
“Silence sends a message of its own,” Cameron said.”
If Trump does not have Fox News in his corner, he is toast in 2020.
After I posted the above, Neil Cavuto added commented on Trmp’s attack on Fox News.
Earlier this week, Trump complained about his coverage on the network and griped that “Fox isn’t working for us anymore!” He even encouraged his supporters to change the channel.
But Cavuto fired back with a declaration of independence.
“First of all, Mr. President, we don’t work for you. I don’t work for you,” he said on Thursday. “My job is to cover you, not fawn over you or rip you. Just report on you ― call balls and strikes on you.”
Both Fox News and Fox Business feature numerous opinion shows where hosts routinely shower Trump with praise. But the networks also have news operations that report on his plunging poll numbers, his failure to keep campaign promises and his many lies.
Cavuto shared some of those falsehoods on Thursday:
“I’m not the one who said tariffs are a wonderful thing. You are. Just like I’m not the one who said Mexico would pay for the wall. You did. Just like I’m not the one who claimed that Russia didn’t meddle in the 2016 election. You did. I’m sorry if you don’t like these facts being brought up, but they are not fake because I did. What would be fake is if I never did.”
Then, Cavuto told Trump that he was not going to get a free pass in the network’s news coverage.
“Hard as it is to fathom, Mr. President, just because you’re the leader of the free world doesn’t entitle you to a free pass,” he said. “Unfortunately, just a free press.”