Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple says he believes Donald Trump has the upper hand in his ongoing feud with Fox News. Responding to the Republican front-runner saying he will not take part in Thursday night’s Fox News debate, Wemple tells Yahoo News and Finance Anchor Bianna Golodryga that, “I think Donald Trump might have a leg up because he’s gotten Fox to respond. They have issued more corporate statements to Trump then they have to their shareholders.”
He went on to say that Fox News, the No. 1 cable network in America, is badly losing the public relations war with Trump: “I do believe that the whole Fox strategy of responding, just merely responding to all of these Trump outbursts, was ill-advised. If you are a journalistic organization, you cover the candidate. You don’t sit there and have a public spat with him.”
Wemple agreed with reports that Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes was behind the Tuesday press release mocking Trump for his refusal to take part in a debate moderated by Fox News’ Megyn Kelly: “You can see Roger Ailes’ handiwork in all of those statements.”
In a twist, Trump is scheduled to appear Wednesday on the Fox News show “The O’Reilly Factor,” a development that Wemple did not find surprising.
“This isn’t a boycott of the whole network, [Trump will] go on ‘Fox & Friends,’ he’ll go on ‘Hannity,’” said Wemple. “In a week from now, we’re not going to be talking about it anymore, and Trump is still going to be lighting up Fox’s airwaves, and CNN, and anywhere else he can get on. He’s a narcissist.”
What Trump’s plans are for Thursday night are still unclear, but he has said he will host an event in Iowa to raise money for Wounded Warriors. Wemple believes that any network that carries a Trump event will be acting ethically: “This is the Republican frontrunner. Whatever he does is news, and the past six, eight months have really shown that.”