Today’s Reliable Sources discussed the "Fox News presidential primary" and how it has “rejiggered “ the American political and media landscape.
Fox continues to insist it is a “fair and balanced” news outlet.
But everyone else, including the Republican National Committee’s chief strategist and the GOP presidential candidates, recognizes that it’s one of if not the communications arm of the Republican party.
Host Brian Stelter implied this right in his introduction.
STELTER: There really is no disputing Fox’s power in influencing the GOP. So far, every Republican candidate to declare – that’s Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio – they’ve immediately made Fox’s San Hannity their first TV pit stop on their road to the White House. And in a rather bizarre twist on Friday, we saw Mike Huckabee announce that he’s planning to announce something about the presidency on (Fox’s) Special Report with Bret Baier.
…The question for us as we enter the real primary season is how has this development rejiggered the landscape of both American politics and the media?
Guest Hadas Gold, of Politico, said conservatives get their news from many fewer outlets than liberals do. Therefore Fox News is the most important because it’s the “central place where all the conservatives are going to. …Whoever they put on the screen more than others is going to have a higher name recognition amongst conservatives and is going to get a better reliability, relatability to all of these voters, especially in those important primary states.”
When asked which candidates are being favored, Gold replied, “Ted Cruz is a big popular one. Scott Walker got a lot of attention recently.” But she said that Marco Rubio “is starting to gain a little bit more favor.” She noted that Rush Limbaugh has praised him for having “more general electability.”
Gold also said that her sources have told her that if you want to know what Roger Ailes and Murdoch “care about,” watch Sean Hannity.
But I’d argue that while Hannity may be personally in synch with them, his is not necessarily the agenda Fox will follow. I’ve already written about the subtle cues of disapproval Fox has given about Cruz, e.g., whom Hannity loves.
RNC Chief Strategist Sean Spicer, the next guest, said that given Hannity's reach on television and radio, going on Hannity is “Marketing 101” for GOP candidates. He argued that going to other news outlets would just engender “gotcha questions” at the same time that he also insisted Hannity asks “tough questions that are on the minds of GOP voters.”
“Somewhat soft-gloved, wouldn’t you say?” Stelter suggested.
No, Spicer insisted, Hannity is tough but fair.
Tough but fair if you have the same mindset as Hannity, that is.
And that’s really the point, in my view. It’s not just that Republicans go on Fox because of the GOP audience share. They go there because it’s GOP TV, by Republicans for Republicans.
Watch it below, from today's Reliable Sources.