President Trump’s relationship with Fox News isn’t as rosy as it was in their halcyon days of six months ago. Whether it’s bashing hosts Bret Baier and Martha MacAllum for the job they did moderating a town hall with Bernie Sanders, or slamming legal correspondent “Judge” Andrew Napolitano for discussing the contents of the Mueller report, the president has lately warmed to the idea of criticizing his most influential propaganda machine. On Sunday, he levied what may have been his most pointed attacks on the network yet, tweeting that watching its weekend anchors “is worse than watching low ratings Fake News @CNN.”
Despite having previously criticized the network for hosting town halls with Democratic presidential candidates like Sanders and Pete Buttigieg, on Sunday he also derided Fox News for failing to land “the very BORING Dem debates,” while alleging that it is “loading up with Democrats.”
…..Comcast (NBC/MSNBC) Trump haters, who do whatever Brian & Steve tell them to do. Like CNN, NBC is also way down in the ratings. But @FoxNews, who failed in getting the very BORING Dem debates, is now loading up with Democrats & even using Fake unsourced @nytimes as….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 7, 2019
“@FoxNews is changing fast, but they forgot the people who got them there!” Trump added.
It isn’t entirely clear what triggered the tirade, but he was back at it again a few hours later, attacking the network for hiring Donna Brazile, a decision that was announced in March. He threw in a jab at Shepard Smith, perhaps the network’s most vocal critic of Trump and thus a frequent target of the president’s tweets.
….their lowest rated show. Watch the @FoxNews weekend daytime anchors, who are terrible, go after her big time. That’s what they want – but it sure is not what the audience wants!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 8, 2019
Though Trump has shown a willingness to criticize Fox News in recent months, don’t be fooled. The president still likely spends hours every day watching the network, the programming of which plays an overlarge role in shaping his approach to governing. He loves Fox News just as much as he always has, as he will certainly demonstrate on his Twitter feed on multiple occasions this week. The network has over the past two years demonstrated such an unwavering devotion to pushing Trump’s agenda, though, that he now feels he’s in a position to demand absolute loyalty from every talking head the network throws in front of a camera.
Fox News is already deep in the bag for Trump. He’s just trying cinch off the drawstrings.