Trump's 'hostility' toward Fox News displayed by Carlson interview

August 25, 2023

Ever since he first entered politics full-time in 2015, former President Donald Trump has had a rollercoaster-like love/hate relationship with Fox News, and that relationship is currently at a definite low ebb.

That was thoroughly evidenced this week when Trump skipped the Fox News-hosted first Republican primary debate and instead sat for an interview with former top-rated Fox News host Tucker Carlson that was broadcast as counterprogramming against the debate, according to The Hill.

Trump critiques Fox News' decision to sideline Carlson

At one point during the 46-minute discussion, former President Trump criticized Fox News for its still not fully explained decision in April to take its then-top-rated primetime host, Tucker Carlson, off the air, even as the network's most popular star reportedly remains under contract.

"I think it was a terrible move getting rid of you," the former president told the former network host.

"You’re No. 1 on television and all of a sudden we’re doing this interview, but we’ll get bigger ratings doing this crazy forum that you’re using than probably the debate," he added in reference to Carlson's new variation on his old show that, rather than air on a cable network, is posted directly to the X social media platform that was previously known as Twitter.

To be sure, social media impressions and video views don't directly translate in comparison with TV viewership ratings, but it is impossible to deny that Carlson remains incredibly popular and his posts on X are seen and engaged with by millions of users.

Trump and Carlson have a "shared hostility" toward Fox News

The BBC reported on the "shared hostility" toward Fox News of both Trump and Carlson, albeit for different reasons, and how it has made them "strange bedfellows" with a "complicated relationship" that is nonetheless bolstered by their coming together in defiance of a mutual enemy.

Carlson, of course, is undoubtedly justified in holding a grudge against the network that abruptly removed him from its broadcast schedule with no real explanation, though the timing of that move in the immediate aftermath of the network's massive $787.5 million defamation lawsuit settlement with Dominion Voting Systems appears more than coincidental.

As for Trump, his on-again/off-again relationship with Fox News dates back to the 2016 election cycle and his complaints that the network and certain hosts had treated him unfairly and were favorably biased toward his rivals in their coverage of the Republican primary -- a complaint that has once again come to the forefront in the current election cycle.

Some of Trump's surrogates denied entry in "spin room" following Fox News debate

Meanwhile, The Hill reported separately that former President Trump's top surrogates, including his eldest son Don Jr., have accused Fox News of attempting to "censor and silence Trump supporters" in the aftermath of Wednesday's Republican primary debate by blocking their access to the so-called "spin room," where candidates and their surrogates can speak with the media after the debate.

It is true that Trump Jr. and other surrogates of the former president were blocked by security from entering the post-debate spin room, which is largely due to a last-minute rule change -- which nobody has taken full credit for -- that only allowed the surrogates of candidates who participated in the debate to access the spin room without a direct invitation from a media outlet.

In fact, the report indicated that a flier was even passed around the spin room that featured the names and images of some of Trump's top surrogates who were essentially barred from entry, though Trump Jr. himself was reportedly not included on that flier.

And, The Hill noted, several of Trump's surrogates were ultimately allowed to enter the spin room and speak with reporters following the debate when, as the last-minute rule change had indicated, they were granted an invitation by a specific outlet for an interview.

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