Megan Kelly and her boss Roger Ailes were all smiles following the huge ratings the Fox network garnered from the Republicans’ first debate last Thursday, Aug. 8 in Cleveland. But the smile probably didn’t last long on Ailes’ countenance as conservative viewers of Fox deluged the network with emails and tweets expressing disgust with the job Kelly and her supporting crew of Bret Baier and Chris Wallace did of moderating the debate.
To many conservatives, who are the backbone of Fox’s audience and ratings, it appeared the debate was between the moderators and the 10 Republican candidates. There were a few exchanges between those who would be president, but the most incendiary attacks were made by the trio of moderators on the GOP candidates. Who would have thought it? Fox is allegedly the network of the Republican Party, according to liberals.
But it was the Democrats who were jubilant with Kelly’s performance this time around. The left-leaning Salon publication even ran a story devoted to defending Kelly’s attack on Donald Trump and the other Republicans. Somewhere Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were probably taking down notes about the bombs Kelly and her partners were dropping on the candidates. The Fox crew certainly provided the Democrats’ nominee with plenty of talking points in the general election.
For once, the Democrats were not making sarcastic remarks about Fox being “fair and balanced” in its political views. The article in Salon exhorted its liberal readers to support Kelly from attacks by the conservatives. How did this strange turn of events come about?
Kelly pretty much accused Donald Trump of being the Anti-christ concerning his views about women. And Baier landed a left hook to The Donald’s head as to whether he would promise to not run for president as an Independent.
Jeb Bush, who in the past has talked favorably of Common Core, was asked what he thought about the controversial educational program. He said during this debate he doesn’t think the federal government should be involved in the creation of content or curriculum.
He was asked another negative question by the moderators as to whether or not he “thinks those who oppose common core “constitute a fringe group of critics.” He responded, “No, I don’t.”
A Fox insider reportedly admitted Ailes was dismayed by the fact almost 100 per cent of the emails were anti-Kelly. The worrisome aspect for Ailes was that these disenchanted people were conservatives who are the core of the Fox audience. Then The Donald said he would not be doing any more appearances on Fox in retaliation for the way Kelly had treated him during the debate.
That’s when Ailes began to realize his protege’s hostile treatment of Trump and the other candidates might damage his network. Several reports indicated Ailes and Trump reached a peace treaty.
But the disccontent with Fox continues with its conservative base. Even icons Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin were critical saying Kelly and Fox were trying to take Trump out of the race rather than moderate. How often does one hear those two conservative giants attack Fox?
Twenty-five thousand members of the Fox audience signed a petition to have Kelly removed, according to Right Wing News.
Trump tweeted that Ailes called him in the wake of the debate to assure him Fox News would cover him fairly in the future, according to an article in Crooks and Liars. But The Donald still refused to go on a show with Kelly. Instead he’s opted this week to appear on rivals such as NBC and CNN.
Ailes is president of Fox News and chairman of Fox Television Stations Group. Before ascending to that position he served as media consultant to Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Rudy Giuliani. He was born in Warren, Ohio on May 15, 1940. He has anointed Kelly as the “face of Fox News.”
The Washington Post has called Kelly the “It Girl” and wondered if she has become too big for Fox News.