Fox News basically ignored the newsjust like Trump would have wanted

Virginia Governor-elect Ralph Northam greets supporters at an election night rally Nov. 7, 2017 in Fairfax, Virginia. Northam defeated Republican candidate Ed Gillespie.
Image: Getty Images

Republican strategist Rick Wilson summed it up on Tuesday night, as elections in Virginia, Maine, and other states went broadly for Democrats.

As Republicans suffered a variety of electoral setbacks—including a historic turn in the Virginia statehouse—Fox News chose to insulate its viewers, barely mentioning the evening’s events. The coverage stands as the best indication yet that Fox News has not only moved to embrace Trump but also to entirely coddle its viewership (Trump included) by moving beyond a conservative slant and into an entirely alternate reality when necessary.

No news, it turns out, is the way to good Trump news.

FNC’s evening shows, which the channel says are not news programs, focused on everything but the elections. Tucker Carlson did devote the first half of his show to the election, but then focused on stories around the Texas church shooting, Harvey Weinstein, and the Democratic National Committee’s relationship with Hillary Clinton. 

By the time it got to Sean Hannity, FNC viewers were firmly in the warm cocoon of Trump TV.

In the handoff between Hannity and Carlson, Hannity downplayed the news and then never spoke of it again. Hannity’s show focused on Trump’s visit to South Korea, offering lavish praise for his diplomacy.

FNC commentator Monica Crowley was evidently scheduled to appear to discuss the election, but that never happened. Instead, Hannity’s entire show was focused on Trump, even airing more than 30-straight minutes of the president’s speech with no interruption. 

After that, Laura Ingraham focused on stories from the church shooting in Texas, as did the “news” show following Ingraham.

The morning wasn’t any better. Fox & Friends somehow discussed everything but the election, including a Trump election victory lap. It reportedly dedicated an entire minute to the elections.

Image: Foxnews.com screenshot

The website of Fox News, often more focused on current events than its television arm, downplayed the news as well.

Fox News isn’t entire alone here. Most of Breitbart’s front page on Monday morning was a celebration of Trump’s election victory exactly a year ago. Same with GatewayPundit and The Daily Caller. 

The biggest exception was the Drudge Report, still an important part of the conservative media world. “DEMS BORN AGAIN,” its homepage blared, with the Democratic party’s Donkey in blue and red.

Image: Drudgereport.com screenshot

Fox’s willingness to ignore the biggest day of elections since Trump took office shows just how far the channel has moved in the past two years. When Trump first ran for office, the channel veered toward the #NeverTrump movement, including a public conflict with Megyn Kelly, then FNC’s second-biggest star behind Bill O’Reilly. 

FNC’s own problems—a sexual harassment and assault scandal that took down founder Roger Ailes and top personality Bill O’Reilly—provided the vacuum necessary for pro-Trumpers to take hold. Carlson, Hannity, and Ingraham now make up a decidedly Trump-centric core, with Fox & Friends adding its own rosy picture of Trump’s America.

Together with the rest of the pro-Trump media, FNC has helped create an alternate history of Trump’s reign. This isn’t entirely new for FNC or for any other media on that tend to cater to the left or the right. More recently, however, FNC has entered new territory that risks completely separating itself from dealing with current events. 

Tuesday night ended up being another big step in that direction. FNC wasn’t just spinning the news. It ignored it entirely. Just like Trump would have wanted.

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