This just arrived in my inbox from a Fox News spokesperson in reply to the earlier Trump/Fox post this afternoon. As the poet Aretha Franklin famously said: Who’s zoomin’ who?
“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.”
They don’t say why they canceled his O’Reilly appearance but the implication, I think, is that they were punishing him for dumping all over O’Reilly and Megyn Kelly on Twitter on Monday night. In other words, they decided to boycott him before he decided to boycott them. Whoever started it, it’s worth noting that Fox didn’t break into their usual coverage this afternoon to air his speech in North Charleston. If that’s the sign of a new policy, eliminating all coverage of Trump that isn’t absolutely required for news purposes, we’ll soon have an answer to the question that’s hovered over the Trump/Fox bickering since it began, namely, does he need them more than they need him or vice versa? He’ll still have his megaphone at CNN and on broadcast news outlets but he won’t have the same pipeline to a Republican audience without FNC. And if his polls start to slip and/or Fox’s ratings show no signs of weakening without him, it’ll undercut one of the core parts of his appeal, that he’s immune to normal political forces. Ace:
Trump took a big drop in support after the second debate, falling from 32% to 24%, according to one poll. That would be a bad thing for anybody, but it’s particularly bad on a candidate who relies so heavily on the idea that because he is #Winning, he deserves to win. Take that away, and he’s only got an immigration plan for back-up…
Speaking for myself, Trump’s nigh-invulnerability to conventional attacks made him a much more appealing candidate — after all, how many times have you seen a candidate that the media just couldn’t scratch? That’s a powerful appeal — it’s just an extraordinary thing you’d like to see more of…
But Trump seems to have had not actual invulnerability, but just a fearsome amount of armor and resistance (I can’t help putting this in D&D/videogame terms). And he seems to be on the brink of exhausting that.
Trump’s the Green Lantern. Who wants to read a comic book about the Green Lantern once he’s lost his superpowers?
We’ll see what happens. O’Reilly, if not Kelly, will probably have something to say about this tonight. In the meantime, CNN might seize this an opportunity to boost ratings by luring in Trump fans with even more coverage of him — assuming that’s humanly possible. In lieu of an exit question, here’s a photo from Trump’s North Charleston event that’s being passed around on Twitter right now. Proof that Trumpmania is starting to break or just proof that it’s hard for anyone to fill a room in the middle of a weekday?
Crowd has maybe filled out a bit more? pic.twitter.com/ze5nJiyFlX
— Rosie Gray (@RosieGray) September 23, 2015
Update: The press-release ping pong continues.
Update: A reader points out that today’s event is actually part of the annual meeting of the Greater Charleston Business Alliance and South Carolina African American Chamber of Commerce, which is likely to be a tough draw for any Republican.
Update: The same reader follows up to note that Trump will be Sen. Tim Scott’s guest at a town hall in South Carolina tonight at 6 p.m. Will Fox News cover it? Will CNN?