The president’s sway over the party has been considerable. Once-fierce critics of Trump — Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) — turned supine once he won the presidency. Those who didn’t, like former Sens. Bob Corker (R-Ten.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), soon found themselves on the outs with the party. Even die-hard loyalists who showed a little bit of independence, like former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, found their careers wrecked.
Trump’s power over the Republican Party appeared nearly complete.
But he has never quite subdued Fox News. The network has mostly acted as an appendage to the GOP in general and the Trump campaign specifically. But Fox’s journalists — as opposed to the opinion-show hosts — have also occasionally frustrated Trump with their independence. The president has regularly complained about stories he didn’t like and network polls that showed him with less-than-stellar support. Trump has regularly lamented the absence of Roger Ailes, the late and disgraced former network chairman — and onetime political operative — who oversaw Fox for most of its history.
That independence makes sense, though, if you understand that Murdoch — through Fox News — makes and breaks Republican politicians. They serve his interests, not the other way around.