Conor Powell, a prominent Fox News foreign correspondent, resigned after nine years at the network. Though Powell himself did not cite his reasoning, sources inside the newsroom reached by The Wrap, stated that Powell was “uncomfortable with the direction of the news organization in recent months. Fewer news shows. More opinion shows. Less resources for reporters to report.” As Fox becomes increasingly defined by Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham, it isn’t hard to understand his frustration.
The resignation conjures memories of the military analyst Ralph Peters’ departure earlier this year. Peters spoke specifically about the transformation into a Trump propaganda operation over a news network. Though Peters was in no way any sort of moderate, indeed he spoke inexcusably about President Obama, he did leave for history a priceless quote about Fox’s role in today’s media scene: “Today, I feel that Fox News is assaulting our constitutional order and the rule of law, while fostering corrosive and unjustified paranoia among viewers,”
It is kind of hard to look back and appreciate the transformation that Fox has undergone, because from a progressive standpoint, Fox always seemed to be right-wing propaganda and fact free news. But, again, that presupposes a ready-made view. Of course, it was always conservative, but conservative didn’t always mean Trump, indeed, at first it meant nearly anyone but Trump. In the first few debates, with all those candidates stretched across the stage, we have to concentrate now to remember that much of Fox was actually hostile to Trump. None other than Megyn Kelly, used the very first question in the very first debate to go right after Trump’s greatest weakness, the fact that he has at least 20 credible accusers of sexual harassment, including his first wife (who once claimed rape in the divorce and then retracted it). Trump went on the attack afterwards with his famous “bleeding from something,” comment. For a while, Trump hated Fox.
Furthermore, even though Fox was always conservative, it was not always propaganda for conservatives, indeed it would criticize conservative leaders, like George W. Bush, for taking positions that were not conservative or not conservative enough. Whereas now, Trump can become a protectionist, imposing tariffs (anathema to conservative doctrine) who attacks American law enforcement, indeed the world’s finest law enforcement agency, the FBI, (ditto) and get applause from the Hannitys, Ingrahams, and Carlsons.
I cannot recall where I first heard the quote, but someone within the Republican party once said that Nixon would have survived Watergate had there been a Fox News propaganda server around. There wasn’t, because back then there was no cable, and the public airwaves were subject to the Fairness Doctrine, meaning any radio station wanting to broadcast a 3 hour Rush-type program needed to broadcast a three hour Rachel Maddow program, as well. (Reagan did away with the Fairness Doctrine, and the Rush is Right movement was born, and America began its descent into intractable polarization).
Can Trump survive with his state TV in place? When he fires Mueller upon seeing indictments against his son and immediately pardons Don Jr., will Trump survive? He will have a propaganda machine like Fox telling his hard base that it all makes perfect sense, a logical response to the globalist leftists (Robert Mueller, lifelong prosecutor and Republican, a leftist globalist) are attempting to impose a coup. It is the only reasonable response, right?
One thing we know, we will find out soon enough.