Report: Fox Has 'Soft Ban' on Trump Appearances

Per Semafor, network owner Rupert Murdoch wanted to make Trump a 'nonperson' after Jan. 6
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 3, 2023 8:23 AM CST
Report: Fox Has 'Soft Ban' on Trump Appearances
Former President Donald Trump speaks at the East Palestine Fire Department in East Palestine, Ohio, on Feb. 22.   (AP Photo/Matt Freed, File)

Former President Trump has been ranting this week, among myriad things, about Fox News and owner Rupert Murdoch, accusing the network of "going in the wrong direction" and proclaiming that "viewers, and MAGA, are not happy!" What may be partially driving the former president's ire: the fact that Fox appears to be quietly quashing his appearances, despite the fact that he once "dominated" the network's broadcasts, per Semafor. "Everyone knows that there's this 'soft ban' or 'silent ban'" against Trump, says one of several members of Trump's inner circle who talked to the news outlet. "It's certainly ... indicative of how the Murdochs feel about Trump in this particular moment."

Trump's face hasn't popped up on Fox since November, when he announced he'd be running for president again; his last weekday appearance was back in September, on Sean Hannity's prime-time show. Meanwhile, the network has been effectively "[rolling] out the red carpet" to rivals, even those who aren't household names. Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, the first GOPer besides Trump to throw her hat in the ring for the 2024 nomination, has been spotted on weekday Fox shows at least seven times in just a little over two weeks, by Semafor's count, while Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who hasn't announced a run yet, "has been all over the network" of late.

Even Vivek Ramaswamy, a not-well-known fund manager who announced last week he's in the running, has had four recent showings on Fox. Trump's absence from the network is a stark contrast to just a few years ago, when he was "inseparable" from it following his 2016 run for the Oval Office and ensuing presidency, per the Guardian. That outlet notes that Trump would routinely place unannounced phone calls into his favorite Fox programs, as well as regularly tweet comments about content he'd seen on Fox or Fox Business.

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That relationship seemed to cool off following the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Per Semafor, documents tied to Dominion Voting Systems' $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox show that after the Capitol riot, Murdoch instructed an aide to make Trump a "non-person." "Other Murdoch-owned companies have been critical of Trump as well, which suggests that Murdoch is, indeed, pushing a hard pivot away from the former president," the outlet notes. Much more here. (Read more Donald Trump stories.)

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