David Van Drehle argues in today’s WaPo that Trump’s fate is in the hands of Fox News because Fox is what Trump’s base swears by.
However, those Fox News viewers punch far above their weight in one regard: They are the core of any hard-right primary challenge that might be waged against an incumbent Republican senator. I believe based on conversations with knowledgeable Republicans that Trump is neither popular nor admired among the Senate majority, but he is feared, therefore tolerated. The fear stems from his firm grip on that Fox News-viewing core and the belief that he could turn the core into an incumbent-crushing machine.
Van Drehle points out that not only is Murdoch turning over control to his eldest son (reportedly less of a true-red fanatic), but that Fox has added former Speaker Paul Ryan to its board:
Arguably, Ryan was the face of the GOP’s future, but after just two years of carrying water for Trump, the budget-busting boor shredded Ryan’s credibility as a fiscal hawk and dented his reputation for decency. In 2018, he declined to run for reelection.
So Ryan has clear eyes regarding the fates of any who linger too long in the Trump embrace. Vanity Fair magazine’s resident Fox News-watcher, Gabriel Sherman, quoted an unnamed executive at the channel as saying: “Paul is embarrassed about Trump, and now he has the power to do something about it.”
I suggest it’s more than embarrassment; it’s revenge.
A Trump identity crisis at Fox as Hannity frets, Lachlan Murdoch prepares for a post-Trump future, Paul Ryan whispers in Rupert’s ear, and Shep Smith and Tucker Carlson trade blows. (emphasis added)
with even Sean Hannity worrying that the whistleblower thing looks “really bad.”