OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Former President Donald Trump continues to use his frontrunner status atop the 2024 GOP primary field to pressure media outlets he sees as being deferential to his main rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Friday morning, the 45th president fired off an all-caps post on his Truth Social platform accusing Fox News of “pushing” DeSantis. The prior evening, Trump appeared at a town hall-style event moderated by legacy host Sean Hannity.
He even gave his MAGA supporters a new nickname – “MAGADONIANS.”
Trump wrote: “FOX SHOULD EMBRACE MAGA. THEIR PRIMETIME VIEWERSHIP IS DOWN 37% FROM JUST A YEAR AGO, ALL BECAUSE THE VERY SMART, EVEN BRILLIANT, MAGADONIANS KNOW THAT, DESPITE ALL THE FAKE LIP SERVICE, FOXNEWS IS PUSHING RON DESANCTUS, OR ANYONE ELSE FOR THAT MATTER, BECAUSE THEY HATE THE GREATEST ‘AMERICA FIRST’ PRESIDENT TO EVER PUT ON A SUIT AND TIE, ME. THEY ARE ALL GLOBALISTS, AND GLOBALISTS WILL NEVER, MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!!!”
He followed up that post with another all-caps declaration: “WE ARE MAGADONIANS, WE ARE VERY SMART, WE STICK TOGETHER AS ONE, WE FOLLOW TRUTH SOCIAL, WE PUT ‘AMERICA FIRST,’ AND WE WILL MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!'”
During the same event, Hannity was booed by the Trump-friendly crowd when he suggested that some GOP voters want the former president to “tone it down” a bit in order to be more appealing to Republican-leaning voters or moderates.
“People ask me, ‘Why does he have to fight so hard? Why doesn’t he pick his fights a little more? Why does he have to call people names?’ And the only reason I think this is an important question is because these… I think everyone here tonight is likely voting for you, right?” Hannity said.
“The 2024 presidential election would come down to those people that maybe are in the middle a little more who want Trump to just tone it down a hair, stop a little of the name-calling,” he added.
That is when the boos began.
“I said it’s their question. Leave me alone,” Hannity quipped to the crowd in response, adding that doing so “might help you with swing voters that are needed for you to get over the finish line.”
But Trump dismissed the suggestion out of hand and then explained why.
“From the day I got in I was under siege by people that had been in Washington for many years, put in there by many different presidents, in most cases, people that were against me. They spied on my campaign. They did all sorts of things.” Trump said.
“I was under investigation and under siege, and so were my people. And if I wasn’t tough, I wouldn’t be here right now,” Trump continued. “I guarantee you that. If I didn’t fight back, I wouldn’t be here.”
As for Hannity, his primetime show is feeling the heat since popular host Tucker Carlson was ousted from the network.
The show, which got up to 1.9 million last week, fell to a 1.3 million average this week. Hannity’s total viewers dropped by roughly 600,000 to 1.3 million.
“Fox fired Carlson, its most-watched on-air presence, last month following a steady string of controversies and dwindling participation in his primetime show by premium advertisers. Fox News’ rating performance declined around 50% in the key adults 25-54 audience demo in the immediate aftermath of Carlson’s final April 21 show,” AdWeek reported.
Despite the fallout from ousting Carlson in April, Fox News remained the most-watched network in all of cable news in May. “The Five” was the highest-rated show on cable news with 2.6 million average total viewers and 267,000 average demo viewers.
“Fox News still swept the competition, marking its 27th straight month beating both MSNBC and CNN in total day and prime-time viewers,” Mediaite added.