On August 10, 2015, Donald Trump might have done the impossible: fight Fox and win. The leader in the Republican presidential primary opinion polls, Trump, has been warring the most powerful arm of the Republican Party, Fox News, for four days. The fight was dividing the whole conservative internet—there were accusations of unmanliness and political correctness and straight-up pay for play. Trump tweeted Sunday night, “It amazes me that other networks seem to treat me so much better than @FoxNews. I brought them the biggest ratings in history, & I get zip!” Obviously, “zip” wasn’t quite accurate. In the last three months, Trump got more Fox airtime and appearances (31!) than any other Republican candidate. Fox had created the Trump monster it was now trying to kill. But in a twist on Frankenstein, the mob that appears at the end carrying pitchforks and torches is rooting for the monster.
The recent intramural war was shocking becuase conservative media usually easily unites around partisan memes. Mitt Romney’s 47 percent comment was a version of an idea popularized by RedState editor and talk radio host Erick Erickson, who created a blog titled “We Are the 53%.” In 2009, shortly after President Obama’s inauguration, Karl Rove created the meme that Obama had conducted an international “apology tour” for America’s sins, and it’s never died. Mitt Romney titled his 2010 campaign book No Apology; in May, Mike Huckabee announced he was running for president and declared, “I will never, ever apologize for America!” But Donald Trump, a sort of living meme, has caused conservative media to turn on itself.