LONDON: American conservative news broadcaster Fox News has placed former US President Donald Trump under a “soft ban,” according to Trump’s inner circle.
Fox News, however, continues to invite other Republican supporters to discuss next year’s presidential election on a daily basis, news website Semafor reported.
Relations have cooled recently between Trump and his once-favorite news channel. The former president was last seen on Fox News when he announced his presidential bid in November, and his last weekday appearance on the network was in September with host Sean Hannity.
During that interview, Trump said a president could declassify documents “by thinking about it.”
Meanwhile, Trump’s rivals for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, including former governor of South Carolina Nikki Haley, are frequent guests on the network.
Even the relatively low-profile right-wing activist and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, who threw his hat into the ring last week, has appeared four times on Fox, according to Media Matters' internal database of cable news appearances.
But Trump plans to push for appearances on Fox in the coming months as the campaign ramps up, one Trump official told Semafor.
Another unnamed source “close to Trump” told the news startup: “Everyone knows that there’s this ‘soft ban’ or ‘silent ban.’ It’s certainly — however you want to say it; quiet ban, soft ban, whatever it is — indicative of how the Murdochs feel about Trump in this particular moment.”
A third Trump aide said they have heard first-hand from Fox staff about the “soft ban.”
“The understanding is that they’re not to have Trump on for an interview, because the Murdochs have made it pretty clear they want to move on from Trump… Fox is showing that by not having him on,” a Republican operative familiar with Trump’s campaign added.
But the former president’s aides have found that the ban was less strictly enforced on Fox’s website, where Trump is often featured in exclusive articles.
Other Murdoch-owned companies have been critical of Trump as well. The New York Post, for example, pitilessly covered Trump’s announcement at the end of last year with the headline — on page 26: “Florida Man Makes Announcement.”
Fox’s recent aversion to Trump comes while the news network battles a $1.6bn lawsuit from the voting machines manufacturer Dominion.
Dominion sued Fox News Networks and parent company Fox Corp. in March 2021 and November 2021 in Delaware Superior Court, alleging the cable TV network amplified false claims that Dominion voting machines were used to rig the 2020 election against Trump, a Republican who lost to his Democratic rival, current US President Joe Biden.
According to a court filing, Fox Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch acknowledged last Monday under oath that some Fox hosts “endorsed” the notion that the 2020 US presidential election was stolen.
In turn, Trump has vented his anger at his former media friend. This week he posted a rant on his social media platform Truth Social in which he accused Murdoch himself of peddling “fake news” after the Fox chief was revealed to have said in a deposition that he did not believe the stolen election lie from the beginning.
“If Rupert Murdoch honestly believes that the presidential election of 2020, despite massive amounts of proof to the contrary, was not rigged and stolen, then he and his group of Maga-hating globalist Rinos (Republicans in name only) should get out of the news business as soon as possible,” Trump wrote.
There is no evidence that the election was rigged, as numerous top officials, including Trump’s own former US attorney general Bill Barr, have attested.