Rapprochement, or escalation? Less than a day after firing off dueling and hyperbolic press releases, Donald Trump and Fox News Channel will reunite, at least for a few minutes. The Hollywood Reporter’s Ryan Parker broke the news of a big scoop from Fox anchor Bill O’Reilly in getting Trump on The Factor:
The billionaire businessman will be on ‘The Factor’ a day after dropping out of the primary debate.
Donald Trump will appear on Bill O’Reilly’s show on Wednesday amid a reignited feud between Fox News and the mogul.
The candidate’s campaign spokeswoman and a rep for the cable network confirmed the appearance to The Hollywood Reporter. No additional details were given.
The news comes a day after Trump said he would not be a part of the network’s latest debate after it mocked him in a statement.
Mediaite has also confirmed this latest twist in the tale. CNN’s Brian Stelter notes that this was scheduled prior to the flame war yesterday:
This intw was scheduled before Trump spurned the debate. I wondered: would Fox cancel? Campaign says it's still on p https://t.co/csBqF2GbOS
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) January 27, 2016
This might be serendipitous to both sides in the WWE-style slapfight. O’Reilly takes a calculated above-the-fray position on his show, which sometimes comes across as an affectation but may well be authentic on this issue. Sean Hannity offered to mediate the dispute last night as things were escalating, but O’Reilly might be a better middleman, given Hannity’s favorable treatment of Trump in the past. He might push Trump a little harder than Hannity, but also might be inclined to criticize his own network a little more at the same time — and it’s certainly earned some criticism over the last two days.
On the other hand, this might begin to look like a big put-on, a circus in which both sides are winking at each other while their publicists build tension for a showdown tomorrow night. Even without going that far, though, it’s difficult to imagine that either side can sustain their outrageous outrage for very long. Odds were already good that both sides would declare victory, and Trump would show up for the debate, and this appearance only makes that outcome more likely. But why be cynical? Let’s celebrate this potentially healing development properly: