Fox News may be enjoying large audiences right now, partly because of its close relationship with the president, but the network is taking a real risk — both to itself and to our democracy — by peddling falsehoods and making the president’s political enemies its own. Given those risks, the network’s eagerness to take on a role normally occupied by state media in strongman regimes, up through its current attempts to discredit special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation, is surprising.
This disturbing situation, however, has been long in the making. From 2011 onward, Fox News promoted Trump’s presidential ambitions (Sean Hannity had, he told The New York Times, played an informal advisory role in 2016) and spread Trump’s false claims and conspiracy theories, including his “birther” crusade against then-President Barack Obama. So it was not entirely unexpected that Fox gave him the most air time of any Republican candidate, nor that Trump rewarded the network’s loyalty with special shout-outs to Hannity and “Fox and Friends” that continue to this day.
The authoritarian leanings that Trump has shown make his relationship with Fox News especially problematic now that he’s president, however.
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