Donald Trump’s Relationship With Fox News Is Hanging by a Thread
Donald Trump’s deteriorating relationship with Fox News has officially reached a new low. Coming off a weekend in which he railed against the “freaks, neocons…and fools” who ruled the Republican Party of the past, Trump extended the same gesture to Fox Corporation boss Rupert Murdoch on Monday for discounting his election fraud theories.
“How does Rupert Murdoch say there was no election fraud when 2000 Mules shows, on government tape, that there were millions of ‘stuffed ballots,’” Trump, referring to Dinesh D’Souza’s election denial film, asked over Truth Social. The former president also blasted Murdoch’s media empire for bucking his fraud claims, when “Elon Musk released the FBI/Twitter Files, where pollsters say that the silencing of information made a 17% difference in the Vote.”
Trump’s blistering comments come on the heels of last week’s Conversation Political Action Conference, a Washington-area gathering where Fox came under attack. Leading the charge was former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, whose apparent declaration of war on the network received a standing ovation. “Murdoch, you’ve deemed Trump’s not going to be president,” he said, speaking from the convention’s main stage on Friday. “Well, we’ve deemed that you’re not going to have a network because we’re going to fight you every step of the way.”
Bannon also noted during the event that Fox’s ongoing legal battle with Dominion Voting Systems—which stems from the network’s coverage of Trump’s election lies—has provided a rare glimpse into how higher-ups in the Murdoch empire really feel about their audience. “They don’t respect you. Read the depositions,” said Bannon, an apparent reference to private comments from Fox hosts expressing doubt about election fraud claims. “They have a fear, a loathing, and a contempt for you.”
Fox News, which declined a request for comment, did carry Trump’s nearly two-hour speech at CPAC on Saturday.
But the network appears to be waging a quiet counteroffensive, having placed Trump under a “soft ban,” according to Semafor. “Everyone knows that there’s this ‘soft ban’ or ‘silent ban,’” one Trumpworld source told the outlet. “It’s certainly…indicative of how the Murdochs feel about Trump in this particular moment.”
Ever since the reported ban took effect, the network has given ample airtime to Trump’s presidential rivals. Former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley has appeared on Fox at least seven times since launching her 2024 campaign last month, according to Semafor. At the same time, Vivek Ramaswamy, a lesser-known conservative businessman, has logged several Fox appearances of his own since signaling his plan to run for president. And on Sunday, former secretary of state Mike Pompeo saturated Fox’s airwaves with claims that Trump is not a “true conservative” while promoting his own presidential ambitions.
Meanwhile, adding insult to injury, Fox made Governor Ron DeSantis, Murdoch’s presumptive 2024 favorite, the subject of a glowing documentary on its streaming service last month. The Florida Republican also appeared on the main network last Sunday evening for a fawning 40-minute interview with Mark Levin, and granted a rare print interview to The Times of London, Murdoch’s UK flagship. (DeSantis has yet to launch an official presidential bid but is polling the highest among non-Trump options.