Both Dan Rather and Chip Reid have floated the possibility that the feud between Donald Trump and Fox News is staged. I have three words that sum up why I don’t think that’s the case: Megyn Kelly’s vacation.
On The Rachel Maddow show this week, Rather noted that reporters such as himself get paid to be skeptical. Therefore, he was skeptical of the brouhaha between Trump and Fox.
RATHER: I'm a little suspicious, without very much evidence, I'm a little suspicious of this battle between Trump and Fox.
What we do know is that Trump is really smart. As I said when he started this run, don't underestimate him. And (Fox CEO) Roger Ailes, whether you agree with his politics or not, another smart guy.
Whether they've gotten together and planned this out or not, it works to their mutual benefit right now. Fox can argue, listen we don’t give sweetheart deals to every Republican candidate, and Trump can say, "I tell you, I'm independent. When I say I’m independent, I'm really independent, ‘cause look at - even Fox."
The day before, in the wake of the last dustup and Ailes’ wimpy request for an apology from Trump, Reid said on CBS: “(S)ome critics are wondering if the debate between Fox and Trump is manufactured. You might recall that after the first phase of the fight, Trump went on Fox and the ratings went through the roof. Some people are wondering if that is going to happen again.”
I wouldn’t put something like past Ailes or Trump but here’s why I don’t think that happened.
Megyn Kelly’s vacation timing
Kelly’s 11-day vacation came shortly after the presidential debate that set off Round One of Trump Vs. Fox. Whether it had been preplanned or not, if Fox wanted to gin up ratings and a fake feud, she would have stuck around for some more of Trump’s rage, and milked it.
Kelly’s vacation announcement
Kelly’s unusual and unusually long vacation announcement hinted that she was going away because of the dustup. But if she were milking the ratings, wouldn’t she have more explicitly stated that Trump had caused her to take a vacation? Or announced something combative such as, “I’m leaving for a long-overdue vacation but I’ll be taking on The Donald when I get back!”
Kelly’s return from vacation
Last week, Kelly’s first full week after vacation, The Kelly File was somewhat critical of Trump (thus launching Trump’s latest round of attacks) but hardly the kind of provocation of someone looking for a fight. Or even enough to make it look that way. In other words, she did nothing to milk the feud.
There’s a few more reasons:
Roger Ailes' behavior
It wasn’t until Round Two, when Trump broke the supposed truce that had been brokered, that Ailes finally spoke out in Kelly’s defense. But when Trump was slut shaming Kelly and saying such awful things as suggesting that her behavior during the debate was due to having her period, Ailes kept quiet publicly. If this was play-acting, wouldn't he have done something to keep the fires going?
Ailes distanced himself from the debate questions
After the now-infamous debate, Ailes (dubiously) claimed he had nothing to do with the planning of the questions. If he wanted a fight, why did he flee from one?
Kelly did not respond to Trump’s second wave of attacks
Although it seemed like nearly everyone on Fox News echoed Roger Ailes in telling Trump to quit attacking Kelly, she remained quiet. Again, if this was just for show, wouldn’t Ailes have wanted more show?
And finally, as a bonus point...
Trump has not appeared on The Kelly File
Perhaps this is coming but if Kelly and The Donald are secret reality-show buds, wouldn’t a rematch have been arranged by now? Or at least teased? Kelly could ask legitimately tough questions and Trump could sulk or counter-attack or whatever. The fact that this has not happened nearly a month after the debate suggests the issues between them are real.
Although he didn’t address the question, Cenk Uygur, of The Young Turks, has an excellent analysis of Fox News’ “Trumpenstein” that further validates my own call.
Watch it below, along with Dan Rather’s suspicions on The Rachel Maddow Show on August 26.
Like Billy said, Ailes is very protective of his mouthpieces. He had to choose between supporting Kelly, or bowing down to Trumpster.
Trumpster’s supporters have turned against Kelly by not watching her show. Fox “News” allies Newsmax, Breitbart, Ninja, and Drudge also have turned against the Foxies. Some Fox viewers are going else where for news like Newsmax, One American News Network, and other networks.
Watch the Foxies’ ratings.
I have noted this before but it deserves repeating: Fox needs Trump — and he doesn’t have to do an interview on their station. Trump doesn’t need Fox but he finds them quite useful. So they use each other and the rest of the field can only grumble about it.
None of the others in the crowded clown car have caught fire like T-Rump. Jeb “not Dumbya” Bush, Scottie Koch-Walker, Teabagging Ted Cruz and Gomer Huckabee are all in a downward spiral.
Uncle Ben Carson’s token candidacy will soon go the way of prior tokens Alan Keyes and Herman Crazy-Train Cain.
Jabba knows that T-Rump cannot win a general election. He has to hope that somehow T-Rump will self-destruct and that either Kasich or Rubio will step in.
“On The Rachel Maddow show this week, Rather noted that reporters such as himself get paid to be skeptical.”
Alas Ellen, don’t forget that being skeptical also cost Dan Rather his job at CBS a little more than ten years ago — and his lawsuit against Sumner Redstone (who was then head of Viacom, the parent company of CBS at the time) and his faithful toady Les Moonves (now head of CBS Corporation) was ultimately THROWN OUT by the New York State Court of Appeals, the highest court in New York State.