Fox News is reaping what it sowed with Donald Trump's rise

Consider the Fox News debate as Donald Trump fans experienced it. Wouldn’t you wager that Kelly, Chris Wallace and Bret Baier all believe that Trump’s candidacy is a joke and that his supporters are naive and misguided? Didn’t their questions seem to imply that Trump is obviously unfit to be president?

Meanwhile, hasn’t Fox News spent years conditioning viewers to believe that journalists belong to a condescending class of decadent elites which engages in barely-concealed conspiracies to destroy anyone who tells it like it is to real Americans? For years, Roger Ailes broadcast everything that Glenn Beck wrote on a chalk board! Surveying America for individuals whose insights he would broadcast to the masses, he settled on Sarah Palin as a person whose analysis he would amplify. It is no accident that a chunk of the Fox News audience is now inclined to side with Trump over Kelly. With Trump’s rise, the network is reaping what it has sown.

Of course, I agree with the Fox anchors about Trump, assuming I’m reading them right. I think he is unqualified to be president; that his supporters are naive and misguided; and that they would abandon him immediately if they knew what was good for them. But there’s one sense in which I’ll show Trump supporters more respect than many in the media. I won’t pretend to think that they should stop supporting Trump because of his remarks about Rosie O’Donnell or John McCain or Megyn Kelly. Sure, in every case, I find the man’s comments beyond distasteful, but let’s be honest: If he’d never said any of those things, I’d still be horrified by his rise to the top of the Republican field, and so would the vast majority of his media critics.