Fox News must be a strange place to work these days. While the network’s coverage of president Trump has been steadfastly supportive, there are a few rogue journalists and presenters who have deviated from Rupert Murdoch’s script. Shep Smith, Judge Napolitano, Neil Cavuto, and Chris Wallace have, at times, offered balanced, reasonable critiques of the president (ie. they’ve called him out for his non-stop lying). This took a rather more serious turn today, when Cavuto provided a rundown of some of Trump’s most egregious lies in the wake of the Rudy Giuliani/Stormy Daniels catastrophe.
Cavuto pulled no punches and brutally laid into Trump for being the ultimate source of the “Fake News” he rails against.
“You didn’t know about the $130,000 payment to a porn star, until you did,” said Cavuto. “The time you said the Russians didn’t interfere in the 2016 election, until a lot of Republicans had to remind you they did. You came back months later and you said, ‘Well, I never said that Russia didn’t meddle in the election,’ when in fact you had—a lot … You claimed your tax plan was the biggest in U.S. history, when it wasn’t. Or that the bill you signed to make it all happen would cost you a fortune, when it turns out it is going to help you make a bigger fortune.”
Discussing Trump’s recent acknowledgement that he knew about the payments that went to Daniels, Cavuto went for the jugular:
“You insist that money from the campaign or campaign contributions played no role in this transaction,” he said. “Of that you’re sure. The thing is, not even 24 hours ago, sir, you couldn’t recall any of this.”
The criticisms Cavuto is leveling at Trump are serious and they undermine the narrative at Fox News that the president is the victim of a liberal media witch hunt. Cavuto, who is extremely conservative, is clearly fed up with having to listen to Trump’s non stop lying and is going out of his way to highlight them. Cavuto is no dummy, and he knows a powerful clip like this will be spread far and wide. So what exactly is going on?
It occurs to me that many of the presenters and journalists at Fox News are beginning to see the writing on the wall. The president is embroiled in multiple scandals, all of which could take his presidency down. His legal defense team is falling apart, and he has resorted to hiring tired hacks like Rudy Giuliani, who has proven to be a more disastrous pick in a shorter space of time than Anthony Scaramucci was for press secretary. Trump deals with this by lying, and then having his people clean up the lies with more lies. Those lies then land him in even bigger trouble, and Trump begins the whole cycle again. This might be a good political strategy in the modern media age when people’s attention spans last no longer than a couple of days, but when it comes to courts of law, facts and truth matters. And more serious conservatives are beginning to understand this.
Paul Ryan has been busy warning Republicans that should they lose the House in November, covering up for Trump will end. This is frightening the life out of the GOP, and many are moving to distance themselves from the president as his political future becomes ever more precarious.
Trump can’t staff his administration properly because no one is willing to sign up for a job that will last a couple of months at best, and could eventually lead to prison. As his staff morale continues to plummet, the vaguely competent people will continue leave, creating a death spiral Trump won’t be able to escape from. Fox News is now beginning to see this, and they are jumping ship before they go down with him.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.