In his tweet, the president makes explicit the subtext at which he’s hinted in the past, when offering complaints about how Fox had “forgotten the people that got them there” — meaning, of course, his and the network’s shared base of conservatives and Republicans. Previously, he had chastised Fox for allowing Democratic voices on the airwaves without articulating the other side of the coin. Here, he’s just saying it: Fox isn’t helping to elect Republicans, which, it clearly follows, they ought to be doing.
To the extent that Fox still needs to deal with the fallout from Trump’s temperamental criticisms, the president’s explicit link between the network and electing Republicans will not make things easier. It needs to get advertisers to pay money for ad blocks, something that’s been trickier in recent years in the aftermath of relatively effective boycotts targeting hosts Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham after their controversial comments. If a fabric softener’s marketing team is trying to decide where to buy 30 seconds of airtime, how enthusiastic will they be about doing so on a channel that the president thinks should be in the business of electing members of his own political party?
The irony of this, of course, is that Fox News has clearly been effective at helping to bolster Trump’s chances in November.
The evidence of that is overwhelming. Pew Research Center polling breaks out responses to questions based on media diets. Asked last November how they felt about Trump, more than half of respondents overall said they were cold toward him. Among Republicans, 71 percent said they felt warmly about the president. Conservative Republicans were even more positive: 83 percent said they felt positively.
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