Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Rough Day for Fox

It's two biggest ratings grabbers -- the Bundy Brothers and Donald Trump -- have pulled out.  It was the Bundy Brothers ill-fated decision to attend a rally that led to their arrest.  There was a brief shootout.  How could it end otherwise, but unlike the television show Fargo there was surprisingly very little blood.  One of the gang is dead and Brother Ryan took a bullet in the shoulder for the cause.  All were apprehended in separate raids.  This brings to an end the month-long standoff that had most conservatives perplexed as they weren't sure how to address it.  Trump remained surprisingly quiet, as did all the GOP presidential candidates, waiting to see how it played out.  No doubt, LaVoy Finicum will be made into a martyr for this lost cause.

Trump shockingly pulled out of Fox's Thursday GOP Presidential Debate, citing "wise guy press releases" on the part of Fox.  It seems the Donald doesn't like to be taunted and that is what he felt Roger Ailes was doing through his surrogates.  Trump had renewed his attacks on Megyn Kelly when it was learned she would be moderating the debate, and this erupted into a full fledged twitter war, which the Donald usually regales in.  However, with the Iowa caucus just around the corner it is clear he is protecting his lead in the polls.  No need to be forced into answering unwanted questions that might puncture his electoral balloon.

Happier Times
For Fox News, these are two big blows, as it had been milking the Bundy gang for television ratings and was relying on Trump to give them another big ratings boost in their next Presidential Debate.  Now, it seems Fox is part of the "establishment," with over 50,000 persons signing a petition to have Megyn Kelly removed so that Trump would participate in the next debate.  Fox stood behind Megyn.  Anything less would have been seen as capitulating to Trump, who has been pretty much running the GOP primaries since he announced his candidacy back in June.  Ailes has been reduced to a periphery figure, with Megyn as his proxy in this war of words.

The good news is that it opens up a podium for Rand Paul, who was in danger of being left off the main stage again.  He was quite upset the last time around, feeling he had been wrongly diminished in stature.  Needless to say, his boycott didn't generate anywhere near the same anxiety at Fox as does the Trump pullout.

It just shows what a farce the GOP debates have become.  It has looked more like a political version of Celebrity Apprentice with ratings determining who participates from one week to the next.  A format that very much favored Trump.  The question have not been particularly hard hitting, aiming more at personal issues than national issues, such as when Megyn Kelly accused Donald Trump of being a misogynist, which is what got this Trump-Fox twitter war going.  When Trump later made a reference to Megyn's menstruation, many thought this was the end of the Donald, but as it turned out his support grew.  Seems Megyn wasn't quite the darling of the conservative right wing that Fox thought.

Many blame Fox for the rise of Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, the Bundy Gang and other right wing persons and factions, as they have actively promoted them at one time or another.  Now, it seems they are coming back to haunt them.  Fox fired Sarah back in 2013, but she's back and as unruly as ever, thanks to Donald Trump.  I wouldn't be surprised to see Donald embrace Cliven Bundy at this point, whose two boys are now in FBI custody.  This is the same type of right wing fringe group the Trump campaign has been reaching out to, hoping to create as much political unrest as it can on the campaign trail.  It turns out Trump is better at it than Fox News, and no doubt this irks Roger Ailes.

I think they have all been watching too much House of Cards, making a mockery of this Presidential election year that makes Frank Underwood look good by comparison.  With Season 4 around the corner, there well may be a petition for Underwood for President.

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