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The Science Survey

We've got the news down to a science!

The Science Survey

We've got the news down to a science!

The Science Survey

Trump and Fox News

As the fame of former President Donald Trump increases each year, Fox News’ appraisal may just be a contributing factor.
During a live Fox News Channel Town Hall, Donald J. Trump is shown, happily,  listening to a question coming from the audience. (Photo Credit: The White House from Washington, DC, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)
During a live Fox News Channel Town Hall, Donald J. Trump is shown, happily, listening to a question coming from the audience. (Photo Credit: The White House from Washington, DC, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Fox News is one of the main supporters of former President Donald Trump, who rose to popularity quickly in politics and ran successful presidential campaigns. Trump’s mutually beneficial partnership with the largest conservative media outlet was and has been crucial in influencing public opinion, spreading his message, and motivated his supporters from the beginning of his political career to the summit of the Oval Office. Not only giving Trump a unique platform, Fox News fostered an avid fan base that would eventually form the core of his political base by serving as a vehicle for his nontraditional speech and nontraditional approach to politics.

It was evident that Trump and Fox News were closely aligned throughout his political campaigns. Trump’s strong relationship with Fox News was evident during both of his presidential campaigns and his time in office, with the network frequently acting as a bulwark against criticism and a megaphone for his ideas. Fox News provided Trump with consistent backing, boosting his messages while downplaying controversies and opposing voices.

The symbiotic partnership between Trump and Fox News changed the media landscape by obfuscating the distinction between advocacy and journalism and demonstrating the potency of a win-win partnership in influencing national politics and political narratives.

Fox News stood apart from the other news outlets when it came to promoting Donald Trump’s candidacy during the 2020 presidential election.

Fox News has become and is now known as the more Republican and conservative news. In other words, during the campaign Trump was Fox News’s main focus. For that reason, the question really is whether Trump would have made the impact he did if it weren’t for Fox News’s advocacy?

E.J. Dionne Jr., a communist for The Washington Post, writes that the “Fox effect” may have paved the way for Trumpism. 53% of Republicans consider Fox News to be the most accurate and trustable news source. However, even more distinct is a survey conducted by The New York Times/Siena Poll that found 91% of Fox News media consumers found that Donald Trump had not committed any serious federal crimes. Nonetheless, it is more than obvious that Fox News lures their audience at the advantage of Donald Trump.

For instance, the Fox airtime that was given to Trump’s congressional surrogates lined up outside of the courtroom in order for them to testify in favor of Trump. Jack Shafer, in Politico magazine, figures that Trump’s goal is to more or less gain control of the trial. Shaker calls it “Trump Justice,” and Fox news is merely promoting it.

Fox’s core audience responded favorably to Trump’s brazenness, outsider status, and direct communication style, which encouraged the network to cover and endorse his ideas more frequently. Important Fox personalities, including Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity, started speaking out in favor of Trump, further tying the network’s identity to his presidency.

The network’s primetime shows questioned the accusations against Trump in the trial and emphasized arguments in his favor, portraying the impeachment process as an attack by Democrats. With conservative viewers, this narrative alignment strengthened Trump’s accusations as being a “witch hunt” and bolstered his support.

The period following the election brought this relationship’s complexity even more to light. Some Fox reporting personalities, like Chris Wallace and the reporting division, adopted a more critical position, highlighting the lack of evidence for election fraud, while some hosts persisted in endorsing Trump’s allegations of fraud. This network split reflected the larger rift that exists within the Republican Party and the conservative media. Domenico Montanaro, an NPR editor, concludes that a number of Republicans, mostly previous Trump supporters,  are considering creating a new party. Several supporters enjoyed Trump’s policies but the January 6th, 2021 riots crossed the line for them.

There are numerous instances of Fox News enhancing this established relationship. Fox News, in another report of Trump’s actions, includes Trump’s words stating, “This all comes out of the White House and Crooked Joe Biden. This comes from the White House. And it’s all Biden because it’s an attack on his political opponent. That hasn’t happened in this country. It does happen in third world countries, but it hasn’t happened in this country. And it’s a shame. And the trial is a very unfair trial. It’s a very, very unfair trial. The good news is they have nothing.”

Similarly, on collecting opinions on Trump’s trial they wrote accounts which said, “‘Absolutely. The judge, obviously, the judge is biased against Trump, the district attorney is biased against Trump… the whole thing should have never been brought up in the first place.’ Another resident told Carter, however, that Trump needs to “pay the price for what he did.” “And what did he do? I don’t know what he did because I’m still trying to figure it out,’ Carter responded.” 

In both articles, Fox News does the job of reporting Trump’s trial and responses to his trial with inclusive accounts which work in a biased manner in favor of Trump. In the article reporting Trump’s “No smoking gun,” Fox News ends the article with Trump’s statement referring to Joe Biden as crooked and to the trial lacking any evidence. 

This is opposed to other newscasts like CNN, who report opinions on the conviction rather differently. CNN News reporter Stephen Collinson quotes campaign communication director Michael Tyler, who said “There is still only one way to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office: at the ballot box. Convicted felon or not, Trump will be the Republican nominee for president. The threat Trump poses to our democracy has never been greater.” CNN, unlike Fox News, provides a direct opinion that entirely differentiates from Trump advocated by depicting Trump as a threat to democracy and, realistically, a candidate no matter the outcome.

Following the trial’s verdict, Fox News pundits and hosts repeatedly brought up possible biases in the legal system and implied that Trump was the subject of a politically driven witch hunt. This framing is consistent with what Trump and his followers have said, which produces an echo chamber effect that strengthens the victimization narrative among his base — so much so that some claim Trump’s victimization during his conviction will do more good for his campaign than harm. Such reporting not only distorts public opinion but also erodes trust in the legal system by implying that it is influenced by divisive agendas.

Fox News’s editorial position is further demonstrated by the way it has chosen to highlight some aspects of the trial while downplaying or ignoring others. While damaging revelations and the prosecution’s arguments were frequently downplayed or ignored, positive testimony and evidence supporting Trump gained substantial media publicity. By presenting a more positive image of Trump, this selective reporting helps to win over more unbiased viewers and strengthens the allegiance of his fans.

The selection of witnesses and guests that Fox News covered during the trial further demonstrates this bias. For example, lawyer Alan Dershowitz has been a strong advocate for Trump on a number of legal issues. Dershowitz made several appearances on Fox News to offer analysis on the case. His observations, which emphasized alleged weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and implied that the accusations against Trump were politically motivated, frequently complemented Trump’s defense tactics. Similarly, Fox News covered the verdict of Trump’s trial with a series of reactions of Republicans. Commentators like Andy McCarthy emphasized the political nature of the trial, suggesting that the charges were a result of biased efforts by a Democratic district attorney who campaigned on targeting Trump. McCarthy argued that the trial achieved its goal of branding Trump a convicted felon ahead of the election, implying a lack of fairness in the judicial process​​. Fox News Co-Host, Jeanine Pirro, seconded these beliefs, describing the verdict as a result of a biased legal system and likening the trial to those seen in “third world countries.” She criticized the judge and the prosecutor, suggesting they were part of a coordinated effort against Trump and claimed the trial was filled with errors that should be overturned on appeal​​.

The network is still crafting a narrative that serves Trump’s objectives by portraying the trial as politically driven, reporting on the proceedings selectively, and including a preponderance of voices that support his candidacy. This pattern of biased reporting not only reinforces the views of Trump’s supporters but also contributes to the broader polarization and distrust in media and judicial institutions.

Such reporting not only distorts public opinion but also erodes trust in the legal system by implying that it is influenced by divisive agendas.

About the Contributor
Gabriela Tejeda, Staff Reporter
Gabriela Tejeda currently serves as an Arts & Entertainment Editor for 'The Science Survey.' She interprets journalistic writing as the art of telling a real-life story in its most fictional form. While many people may enjoy the plot and exhilaration of non-fiction stories, they may not always compare to the fictional style of journalism. In the field of photography, Gabriela sees a tone of voice, atmosphere, and even beauty in simple images. Photographing something is like capturing a beautiful moment that, when taken well enough, can convey that moment or feeling to the viewer. Outside of school, Gabriela is involved in Public Forum Speech and Debate, a Women In Business Leadership club, and the Business Society. Additionally, she enjoys reading comics or books that explore dramatic plots and/or romance. As she looks ahead to college, Gabriela is uncertain about her career path but is interested in the fields of medicine and neurology/pre-med. Alternatively, she may choose to major in English studies to further pursue a law degree.