Fox News’ Soft Ban on Trump: Will It Work?
Donald Trump’s inner circle is claiming Fox News is enforcing a “soft ban” on the former president. As Fox executives began to stamp out skepticism of Trump in the network’s coverage, they also grew disillusioned with the increasing amount of “crazy” on their airwaves. Rupert Murdoch, Fox News’ co-founder and the chair of its parent company, even admitted in a deposition given in January that he knew some Fox hosts were endorsing lies about the election being stolen from Trump yet he chose not to stop them.
This is a stark contrast to Fox’s other Republican presidential hopefuls like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, and Vivek Ramaswamy who have made numerous appearances on the network. Fox has also released a new poll of Republicans that found Trump leading the Republican field over Fox’s new favorite, DeSantis.
Fox's struggles following the 2020 election are indicative of the crisis that the entire Republican Party is currently facing. As Trump remains extremely popular with Republicans and is leading the 2024 Republican primary, he has been lashing out at Fox and Murdoch on his Truth Social platform, perhaps in retaliation for the “soft ban.”
Recent court filings from the ongoing defamation suit from Dominion Voting Systems have revealed internal emails at Fox, including some from Murdoch himself, that show Fox knew Trump's election claims were nonsense, but the hosts discussed them anyway in order to keep viewership up. The emails show a calculating, morally bereft Republican establishment desperate to escape Trump, fully aware that he is a charlatan and liar and probably crazy, but not sure that it can win without him. Ignoring him is the current plan. But will this strategy work? Only time will tell.
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1. “Fox Leaders Wanted to Break From Trump but Struggled to Make It Happen” Yahoo! Voices, 1 Mar. 2023, https://www.yahoo.com/news/fox-leaders-wanted-break-trump-125632806.html
2. “Fox Divide Grows as Donald Trump Lashes Out Over News Pal Sean Hannity was ‘Disgusted' by Him” CelebMagazine, 28 Feb. 2023, https://celebmagazine.com/donald-trump-lashes-out-fox-murdoch/
3. “Donald Who?: Fox, the Dominion Case, and the Perils of Pivoting from Trump” The New Yorker, 3 Mar. 2023, https://www.newyorker.com/news/letter-from-bidens-washington/donald-who-fox-the-dominion-case-and-the-perils-of-pivoting-from-trump
4. “What the Dominion filings tell us about a Fox News “soft ban” on Trump interviews” Media Matters for America, 2 Mar. 2023, https://www.mediamatters.org/fox-news/what-dominion-filings-tell-us-about-fox-news-soft-ban-trump-interviews
5. “Newsmax host: “Trump is still easily the most popular conservative candidate and is again running for president and …” Media Matters for America, 2 Mar. 2023, https://www.mediamatters.org/newsmax/newsmax-host-trump-still-easily-most-popular-conservative-candidate-and-again-running