All of the pro-Trump coverage is allegedly causing problems inside Fox News. There are conflicts brewing between reporters, producers, advertisers, and others with a stake in the direction of the conservative news network.
Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman reports that Fox’s Corporate CEO Lachlan Murdoch has quite the task on his hands to keep Donald Trump and the White House satisfied with regards to loyalty and coverage. They also have to keep advertisers happy. Lachlan also has to deal with the internal conflicts between Fox’s rank and file journalists and the prime time hosts who are the faces of the network.
A senior Fox staffer says of the situation:
“Reporters are telling management that we’re being defined by the worst people on our air.”
Producers are reportedly echoing that sentiment, but the management at the network says that the Sean Hannity types “make the money” and that is what matters. Marianne Gambelli, who heads up Fox’s sales department with regards to advertising says:
“Advertisers know the value of our loyal and engaged audience and we expect no change in our business going forward.”
However, advertising boycotts of primetime hosts such as Tucker Carlson, Jeannine Pirro, and Laura Ingraham are making some Fox insiders think twice about some of the content that seems to be so popular with Trump’s base and the White House. One person familiar with the situation says:
“Executives are very worried ‘Fox & Friends’ will be next. If advertisers start bailing on them, they’re screwed.”
This is true. Advertising is where networks make their money. If advertisers feel that a certain personality is hurting their brand, they will publicly disassociate, and do so quickly. In the current climate, there cannot be even a hint of bigotry. That will cost a company money due to boycotts, which defeats the entire purpose of advertising.
Perhaps a sign of Fox’s internal content battles is the fact that Sean Hannity, who is one of Trump’s favorites on the network, is planning to vacate his place at Fox News upon the expiration of his contract in 2021.
A Hannity staffer revealed the host’s thinking on the matter:
“Sean doesn’t feel supported,. He has no relationship with Lachlan. Sean thinks, Wait a second, I was hired to get ratings and I get ratings, but now people are embarrassed about me? He feels Fox spends a lot of time supporting Shepard Smith but his show makes no money. That’s annoying to him.”
Perhaps Lachlan is thinking of what he wants Fox to be in the post-Trump era. After all, it might not feel like it now, but there is life after Donald Trump. Fox News has to decide now what they want that to look like.
What's Your Reaction?
Shannon Barber is a progressive queer feminist and budding political scientist. She is passionate about issues of social justice, including but not limited to racial equality, criminal justice reform, pro-Black politics, and LGBTQ equality. She hopes to change the world, one mind at a time.