Donald Trump vs. Fox News: An Educational Timeline of TV's Greatest Feud

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Egregious billionaire Donald Trump is seeking the presidency on the Republican ticket, and currently leads his 57-or-so primary opponents in every measure known to man. He’s also a camera-magnet and a one-man ratings giant—that rare personality who draws supporters and haters to the TV in equal measure. You’d think the combination of those two facts would make him a Fox News darling—they love viewers, and they love Republicans.

Amusingly, that is not the case. Starting at the first GOP debate, the previously harmonious relationship turned sour, and it’s only gotten worse in the month and change since. And by worse, I mean “more entertaining.”

Some people insist that Fox News, in its capacity as the propaganda arm of the GOP, has made it a network mission to discredit Trump so that the eventual winning candidate actually stands a chance in the general election. Others think it’s pure circumstance that has led to the divide. Whatever you believe, let’s educate ourselves by constructing a timeline of TV’s greatest feud, from the debate where the first blows were exchanged up to the present.

Aug. 6, 2015

As you’ll see in the video below, Fox News’ Megyn Kelly came out firing in the first big GOP debate, questioning Trump on his “temperament” by listing out every insult he’s ever made against women—and they were bad. Behold this exchange:

Kelly: You’ve called women you don’t like fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals—

Trump: Only Rosie O’Donnell.

Crowd goes wild

Kelly’s question was a fair one—are you fit to be president, considering your rampant misogyny? Trump’s answer was a dodge, but an expert one. He blamed America’s PC culture for an atmosphere of hypersensitivity, knowing it would be red meat to his dogs, and he re-framed the question to make himself sound like the only winner who could defeat Mexico and China by scowling at them.

To many, this was edifying on two fronts. First, it showed that Fox News was desperate to shame Trump into failure. Second, it showed that Trump was beyond shame—he didn’t care what anyone said, and America, or at least his America, didn’t care right along with him. Even when he borderline threatened Kelly toward the end of his answer, the audience could only howl at his audacity. He looked, for all intents and purposes, immune.

Aug. 7, 2015

Trump had this to say to CNN about Kelly in a phone interview:

“She gets out and she starts asking me all sorts of ridiculous questions. You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever. In my opinion, she was off base.”

Again, fairly despicable. Again, nobody really cared. The outrage machine failed to indict Trump, and he spun his way out of it, claiming he was referring to her nose.

Meanwhile, he continued his assault on Kelly on Twitter, and his supporters flooded Fox News with pro-Trump emails. Kelly later claimed that she received death threats.

Aug. 10, 2015

Gabriel Sherman, reporting at New York Magazine, learned that Fox news CEO Roger Ailes had spoken with Trump on the phone that morning. Trump prompted the call when he told Sean Hannity that he wouldn’t appear on Fox News anymore, and Ailes was getting bombarded with anti-Kelly emails and social media posts, to the point that he thought it might prove a legitimate threat to the network. He even instructed his hosts not to mention Trump’s comments about Kelly’s “nose.”

Trump went on a tour of other stations in the ensuing days, and that was enough to make Ailes capitulate. During that call, the two men brokered a kind of peace.

Aug. 11, 2015

Trump ends his mini-boycott and appears on Fox News with Sean Hannity.

Aug. 24, 2015

Upon returning from a vacation, Megyn Kelly learned that there was no real escape from Trump:

Sept. 21, 2015

Dissent grows, as Trump takes issue with the channel's coverage (just as he takes issue with any coverage that isn't glowing):

Sept. 22, 2015

More anger:

Sept. 23 2015

After a month of relative peace, Rich Lowry, editor of The National Review, frequent Fox News contributor, and longtime GOP apparatchik, appeared with Megyn Kelly to discuss the Trump vs. Fiorina scuffles in the second Republican debate. He didn't mince words:

“Carly cut his balls off with the precision of a surgeon, and he knows it. He knows it. He's insulted and bullied his way to the top of the polls, no one was able to best him ever, except for this tough lady on that stage. And it must kill him.”

Trump's response was immediate:

Lowry wasn't cowed:


This from Trump, last night:

But not so fast! According to a Fox News statement, they boycotted him:

“At 11:45am today, we canceled Donald Trump’s scheduled appearance on The O’Reilly Factor on Thursday, which resulted in Mr. Trump’s subsequent tweet about his ‘boycott’ of FOX News. The press predictably jumped to cover his tweet, creating yet another distraction from any real issues that Mr. Trump might be questioned about. When coverage doesn’t go his way, he engages in personal attacks on our anchors and hosts, which has grown stale and tiresome. He doesn’t seem to grasp that candidates telling journalists what to ask is not how the media works in this country.”

And that’s where we stand today—an uneasy truce has collapsed into bitter animosity, and it can only get better from here! I only wish the Jan. 2016 Fox News debate was happening next week…

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