OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
If you were wondering why you haven’t seen former President Donald Trump on any Fox News host’s program in weeks, there is a reason for that.
Apparently, the former president has effectively been banned from the network.
On Friday, The New York Times reported that Trump has not been seen on any network program for more than 100 days because it is part of a wider push to downplay him as the primary figure within the Republican Party:
The network, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch and boosted Mr. Trump’s ascension from real estate developer and reality television star to the White House, is now often bypassing him in favor of showcasing other Republicans.
In the former president’s view, according to two people who have spoken to him recently, Fox’s ignoring him is an affront far worse than running stories and commentary that he has complained are “too negative.” The network is effectively displacing him from his favorite spot: the center of the news cycle.
On July 22, as Mr. Trump was rallying supporters in Arizona and teasing the possibility of running for president in 2024, saying “We may have to do it again,” Fox News chose not to show the event — the same approach it has taken for nearly all of his rallies this year. Instead, the network aired Laura Ingraham’s interview with a possible rival for the 2024 Republican nomination, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida.
DeSantis appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show not long after, scoring two prime-time appearances on the top-rated network’s top-rated prime-time shows within a span of five days.
The Times went on to report that the former president believes that the network’s strategy to shun him is part of a wider push “effectively displacing him” from the news cycle, which will then de-emphasize his role atop the GOP.
The decision to ignore Trump was made at “the highest levels” of Fox News’ parent company, the Times added, and is supported by billionaire owner Rupert Murdoch as well as his son and company CEO, Lachlan Murdoch, both of whom are Republicans said to want to replace Trump as the titular head of the party.
Newsmax adds: “Earlier this month, the Murdoch-owned newspapers the New York Post and The Wall Street Journal published harsh rebukes of Trump’s actions regarding Jan. 6 while strongly opposing a Trump bid for president in 2024.
“The Times said Trump’s failure to accept the 2020 election result was at the root of the Murdochs’ criticism of the former president, a view shared by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky,” the outlet continued.
Trump has recently criticized the network on his Truth Social platform, accusing the “Fox & Friends” morning show of being “terrible” and having “gone to the dark side.” He has also suggested that former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who now sits on the board of directors for Fox Corp. and owns Fox News, of being behind the shadow ban.
The Times also noted that Fox News recently aired a ‘man-on-the-street’ with Trump “supporters” who unanimously did not want him to run again in 2024, preferring DeSantis instead.
“I spent 11 years at Fox, and I know nothing pretaped hits a Fox screen that hasn’t been signed off on and sanctioned at the very top levels of management — especially when it has to do with a presidential election,” Newsmax TV host Eric Bolling noted in a monologue this week.
Dick Morris, a former top political adviser to then-President Bill Clinton and former Fox News analyst now with Newsmax, said the developments at the rival network don’t really surprise him.
“Lachlan Murdoch and the network’s leadership wants Fox to be more like CNN,” Morris said.
“The Fox ban of Trump is a politically motivated decision, not based on news value, because Trump completely dominates the Republican Party and is still the biggest newsmaker in politics,” Morris added.
Recent polling still shows Trump wiping out all potential GOP competitors. Newsmax, in particular, cited a Harvard-Harris poll showing Trump receiving 56 percent of the vote against seven other rivals including DeSantis, who came in at 16 percent.