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FOX News Forced Donald Trump To Show True Colors

August 7, 2015

Lots of insightful articles today following the first GOP presidential debate.  Perhaps the most telling about the motives of FOX news comes from Justia and written by John Dean.

Surely this was carefully plotted by Roger Ailes, who knows as much about presidential campaigns as he does about television. But if there was any doubt that Ailes wanted to force Trump to be Trump, that was addressed in the first question to Trump from moderator Megyn Kelly. It was a mean question—the kind of question that would make you dislike Carly Fiorina because she would never have pulled it off, but Megyn looked gutsy going after Donald. Was it presidential for him to call women by ugly and vicious names, “You’ve called women fat pigs, dogs, slobs, disgusting animals? Your Twitter account has several—” Trump cut her off before she could finish. “Only Rosie O’Donnell,” he quipped, causing the audience to erupt in laughter, as well as the other candidates. Trump had stolen the first headline of the event, hooking the audience as Ailes wanted to do, by creating precisely the theater of the absurd the Fox News organization had worked so hard to produce. It only got better when Trump started threatening Megyn.

This first prime time debate was about one thing for Fox News—ratings, which means money. In fact, lest anyone forget that commercials were more important than the debate, as the event proceeded, commercials were actually running over the resumed debate, so the television audience was unaware of questions, like when Jeb Bush was being asked about abortion. This was a pure television spectacle, using Trump’s predictable behavior to pump up ratings. The only thing that is surprising is that Trump, who had to know how he was being used, did not demand a cut of the action from Fox News. Now that Trump has played the role that Ailes needed, no one should be surprised to see his poll numbers start to slip. While authoritarians might like Trump in the White House, fortunately there are not enough of them for that to happen.

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