That reaction, or lack thereof, underscores a growing understanding among Fox News executives, the staffers and those with ties to the network said: When it comes to their relationship with the president, the executives have the leverage. It is perhaps a singular dynamic—a private entity comfortable in the knowledge that the leader of the free world needs its favor more than it needs his. Much of this stems from the network’s peerlessness in the world of right-wing programming. Fox speaks directly to Trump’s base, a core constituency that the president must keep intact if he is to win reelection. And while other outlets may be somewhat more reliably pro-Trump, such as the cable channels One America News Network and Newsmax, none comes close to matching Fox’s massive reach…

The person who’s spoken with Scott recently told us that if the CEO is sensitive about anything, it’s the criticisms of the network as propaganda—not Trump’s complaints. Scott started at Fox as a production assistant at the network’s inception in 1996, led the launch of Greta Van Susteren’s primetime show On the Record in 2002, and went on to become network executive producer and executive vice president of programming. Before becoming the network’s first female CEO, she oversaw some of Fox’s most popular opinion shows, including Fox & Friends, The Five, and Hannity. But what limited public profile she had was largely negative: After Ailes was publicly accused of sexual harassment and abuse at the company in 2016, she was alleged to have helped cover up the misbehavior. She and Fox have since moved to dismiss the suit, and she has claimed that she had “no clue on what was going on” in Ailes’s office…

At this point, the president is likely the one with more to lose. As Trumpworld sees it, Fox is an essential corrective to a cable-news ecosystem that masquerades as objective while plotting to sink his presidency. He needs Fox to counter the media criticism coming his way, and if the network wobbles, it’s trouble. Trump barely won in 2016, and any defections inside his base could potentially doom his prospects.

Update: Fox emails to note that Scott started there in 1996, working as an executive assistant to the head of programming, not as a production assistant.