A “longtime Fox News producer” has told DCReport that not only is Donald Trump unpopular at the network, but that “people are getting bolder about saying so.” However, I would argue that represents a growing chasm there more than an official change of purpose or direction, at least at this point.
The intriguing quote appeared in a recent DCReport article:
“I can’t tell you how unpopular Trump is here,” a longtime Fox News producer told DCReport, “and people are getting bolder about saying so.”
It does seem that some people at Fox are becoming more outspoken in their criticism. When host Shepard Smith recently lambasted Trump for his lies about Hurricane Dorian and Alabama, Smith tied that into a larger pattern of Trump deception: “He decries fake news that isn’t and disseminates fake news that is,” Smith said, then cited several other examples. A less-emboldened Smith could have simply fact checked Trump on Dorian and Alabama.
Host Neil Cavuto similarly called out a constellation of Trump lies in his scorching clapback to Trump’s complaint that Fox is “not working for us anymore.”
But clearly, that is far from a universal view at Fox. Sean Hannity lied to viewers in service of defending Trump’s dishonesty about Dorian and Alabama. Hannity’s remarks were made in a pre-scripted commentary - which means that a senior Fox producer approved them.
And let’s not forget that this particular set of Trump lies were designed to cover up his misinformation about the impact of a Category 5 hurricane – which potentially affected matters of life and death. Yet even Fox News’ Special Report downplayed that issue in its first report on “Sharpie-gate,” Trump’s amateurish and illegal altering of an official weather map.
Just two days ago, Fox Business host Lou Dobbs offered some of the most jaw-dropping pro-Trump propaganda we have ever heard - that is since host Stuart Varney insisted Dear Leader had never lied to the American people about two weeks before:
DOBBS: A lot is happening in Washington and all across this great country of ours, and it's because we have a president who is a true leader, in my opinion. One I happen to believe will be regarded as one of this country's greatest presidents, indeed, our greatest.
At every level, on every floor, this White house is energized. There's sunshine beaming throughout the place, and on almost every face.
So while I do not doubt that Trump is unpopular at Fox and that his detractors have become more audacious, it’s also true that his supporters are sticking by him as strongly as ever, if not more so.
In other words, Fox News civil war. Grab the popcorn!