How egregiously does Donald Trump have to screw up in order to get chewed out by Fox News? We began to see that answer earlier this month, after Trump’s press conference with Vladimir Putin was such a treasonous embarrassment, several Fox News hosts felt they had to publicly condemn him for it. And after Trump tried to punish a CNN reporter today for doing her job, Fox News threw Trump all the way under the bus.
CNN announced this afternoon that its White House pool reporter Kaitlan Collins had been banned from Donald Trump’s press conference. Why? Collins had dared to throw a probing question at Trump in the Oval Office, which is considered standard practice. This naturally led various CNN reporters to slam Trump for it; Jake Tapper called it “absolutely disgraceful behavior.” Other news outlets agreed, with Steven Portnoy of CBS News – who was in the Oval Office at the time – calling it a “stunning outrage.” But then came Fox News.
Fox News pool reporter Bret Baier, who is generally a Donald Trump ally, decided that he’d had enough of Trump’s antics. He tweeted “As a member of the White House Press pool – Fox News stands firmly with CNN on this issue and the issue of access.” Baier then went on-air on Fox News and read a lengthy statement which concluded with “This decision to bar a member of the press is retaliatory in nature and not indicative of an open and free press. We demand better.”
Certain Fox News personalities, specifically Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro, have such a close personal relationship with Donald Trump that they’ll likely never turn against him. But on the whole, Fox News is first and foremost a for-profit business. Even though its viewers are on the far right and tend to lean in Trump’s direction, the network has to retain credibility in their eyes. When Trump does something so horrifying that Fox feels it has to throw him under the bus in order to protect its own backside, the network will do so. Whether you want to give Fox News any credit for this is up to you – but it’s a sign that Trump is quickly veering out of frame.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report