If Gabriel Sherman’s investigative report is to be believed, Fox News didn’t just blink first, but in the parlance of prison yards everywhere, Fox just got punked out by Donald Trump. Love him, hate him, or indifferent towards him, Trump has struck a nerve with more than a few voters. As noted by the Daily Intelligencer’s Gabriel Sherman, it turns out that The Donald also has the ability to make the head honcho of the number one cable news network actually scramble for much needed damage control.
In a two-part New York Magazine investigative report published on Aug. 10, 2015, and also on Aug.11, 2015, Sherman claims to have insider information of the behind the scenes fall out regarding the very public feud between multi-billionaire and presidential contender Donald Trump and Fox News program hostess Megyn Kelly. In a nutshell, in an attempt to mend fences, Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes contacted Trump with a peace offering, offering Trump the opportunity for a full hour interview conducted by Kelly in prime time. Trump not only flatly refused, but was as described by an anonymous source, “Donald was sufficiently pissed off that there was no way that was happening.”
In the course of the recent Fox News hosted Republican Candidates Debate – which drew a record smashing 24 million viewers – Trump considered a number of questions asked of him by Kelly not only to be unfair, but crossed the line into the realm of personal attacks. As it turns out, she also managed to alienate and enrage enough loyal Fox News viewers that the Chairman of the Board had to get personally involved to stop, as Sherman phrased it, a “rare moment of weakness” for the Fox News giant from turning into a full fledged disaster.
As reported, “In the beginning, virtually 100 percent of the emails were against Megyn Kelly,” one anonymous Fox source, who was briefed on the situation, informed Sherman. The same source also relayed, “Roger was not happy. Most of the Fox viewers were taking Trump’s side.”
Taking the situation from bad to worse for Ailes, Trump told Fox News personality Sean Hannity that “‘he was never doing Fox again,’ according to one person with knowledge of the call.” It looks as if the threat of a Fox News embargo wasn’t just Washington-style hot air.
On Sunday, Trump called in to the four other viewer-heavy public-affairs shows, ignoring Fox News. Tuesday morning, Trump gave interviews to NBC’s Today show and MSNBC’s Morning Joe. Broadcast TV weren’t alone in adding to Roger’s woes. Both the Drudge Report and Breitbart News carried pro-Trump headlines.
According to another anonymous source who Sherman claims was briefed on the negotiations, Ailes phoned Trump “multiple” times during the morning of Aug. 10 “begging” him to tweet out that a peace agreement has been reached. While The Donald supposedly refused initially, he finally did take to Twitter that he and Ailes had made nice. “Roger Ailes just called,” he tweeted at 10:35 a.m. Monday. “He is a great guy & assures me that ‘Trump’ will be treated fairly on @FoxNews. His word is always good!”
Since the two smoked the figurative peace pipe, Trump has agreed to not only appear on the Fox and Friends morning show, but will also appear on two different episodes of the Hannity show. Both will be aired in prime time.