Fox News has always had a better relationship with the Republican Party than it has had with the truth. Since it launched in late 1996, the cable network has gone from being a conservative-leaning station to one that willingly lies on the GOP’s behalf when necessary. We’ve seen pushback from a few Fox pundits, but under the current administration, the network has gone a bit further than merely spinning things in a favorable light for Donald Trump and his allies.
The Hollywood Reporter recently acquired 270 pages of emails through the Freedom of Information Act that underscore a cozy relationship between Trump’s Treasury Department, Fox News and Fox Business Network. Perhaps one of the most amoral e-mail conversations uncovered by reporter Jeremy Barr was an exchange between Fox News anchor David Asman and Treasury Department spokesman Tony Sayegh, who was a former Fox News contributor. Asman insisted that Sayegh back the 2017 Trump tax cuts and promised the network would air a segment supporting the highly unpopular tax scam, hoping to gin up support.
The relationship is even more troubling when you look at how many Trump staffers are former pundits – many of whom relay messages to people at the networks they used to work for. As Fox is currently working to bury their own poll about Trump’s abysmal numbers going into 2020, we can expect this unethical pattern to continue – Fox suppressing the most negative stories about Donald Trump while actively encouraging the wildest conspiracy theories about his opposition.
As tempting as it is to cheer the unfavorability ratings for Trump and the Republicans, this story shows precisely why we cannot get complacent, and why we have a duty to fact check every story on the candidate of our choice – negative or positive – before we share it.