ECLECTIC RANT: Trump-Fox News Symbiosis

Ralph E. Stone
Friday December 14, 2018 - 04:11:00 PM

President Trump recently picked Heather Nauert, the State Department’s spokeswoman and former breaking news anchor at Fox & Friends, as the next ambassador to the United Nations.  

Nauert is the latest Fox News alumni to join the Trump team. She joins National Security Adviser John Bolton a former Fox News talking head; 

communications adviser Mercedes Schlapp and Treasury Department spokesman Tony Sayegh former Fox commentators; and this month the former Fox News executive Bill Shine, who was pushed out at Fox over his handling of sexual harassment scandals at the network, was named the White House deputy chief of staff for communications. On-air Fox personalities Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham are favorites of the president, who often speaks to them privately. 

Remember when Hannity appeared on stage as a “special guest” along with conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh at Trump’s final rally in Missouri before the midterm elections? An example of the cozy relationship between Trump and Fox News

Fox News is not, and never has been, a legitimate news network. They began as a project by right-wing propagandist Rupert Murdoch and Republican media strategist Roger Ailes (May 15, 1940 – May 18, 2017) to spread disinformation and promote GOP politicians. (Ailes, as you may remember, resigned in 2016 from Fox News amid allegations of sexual misconduct.) 

Ailes, the late Fox News chairman and CEO, once confessed that his network, despite its name, is not actually in the news business, once stating: “We’re competing with TNT and USA and ESPN.” In short, Ailes regarded channels that are plainly entertainment and sports as Fox News competition, not other news outlets. 

Given the influence of Fox News in this administration, the recent release of Alexis Bloom’s documentary Divide And Conquer: The Story Of Roger Ailes is certainly timely. 

Now Fox News provides Trump and the GOP with a television channel to distribute their “alternative facts” to entertain their loyal followers. How do we distinguish real news from fake news, speculation, and rumor mongering that seem to proliferate our lives? Perhaps we should start by heeding Ailes’ advice and look to Fox News only for entertainment, if that’s your idea of entertainment, but look to other reputable news outlets for actual factual news.