It’s been a long week for Fox News.
Between President Trump’s leaking of classified information to the Russian ambassador and the memo from former FBI Director James Comey suggesting Trump may have tried to obstruct the investigation into Michael Flynn, Fox is in major damage control mode. The network has worked tirelessly to downplay the significance of both scandals and deflect attention from Trump’s actions.
And though the Russia leak and Comey memo stories are different, Fox handled them both in strikingly similar ways. In both cases, Fox’s first response was to raise doubts about the story -- echoing the White House’s talking points, describing the stories as “fake news” or conspiracy theories, and generally expressing disbelief about damaging reporting. The network attacked the sources, describing the Washington Post as part of the “destroy-Trump media” and painting Comey as a vengeful, unreliable “drama queen.” It fixated on the government sources who leaked damaging information to reporters, describing them as a threat to national security. And when all else failed, Fox personalities dismissed the scandals as silly, suggesting that other news networks were overreacting.
Fox News’s dedication to defending Trump might help explain why his popularity with his supporters hasn’t waned much since the start of his presidency. Trump supporters rely heavily on Fox News as their primary source of information, which means even well-sourced, powerful reporting about Trump’s mistakes likely won’t penetrate the Fox News echo chamber.
Watch the video above to see Fox News’s five steps for shutting down a Trump scandal.