Fox News will become more influential on Trump with each passing day, given that the House Democrats are investigating him in a formal impeachment inquiry, Zurawik argued.
According to Zurawik, Fox News and other right-wing publications are “so happy to just take talking points from the White House and not have to think,” which is now creating “cognitive dissonance and confusion,” since the White House does not seem to have settled on an impeachment defense.
The media critic explained that Trump and his closest allies have been “scattershot and inconsistent” with their impeachment defenses, constantly changing strategy, and creating a difficult situation for media outlets supportive of the president.
Initially, Zurawik explained, the Trump team questioned the legitimacy of the impeachment inquiry, then they switched to arguing that House Democrats’ case is based on hearsay, and now they are shifting blame to others.
“First it was illegitimate, then it was just hearsay, then it was wait its not Trump who should be investigated for Russian interference, it’s George Soros and the State Department and Ukraine,” he said.
Zurawik then revealed what he believes could be the most dangerous consequence of the conservative media’s loyal defense of Trump.
According to the critic, right-wing publications lead by Fox News are “seeding” the mainstream with conspiracy theories and further confusing the public.
“The most dangerous thing that the right-wing media is doing, and Fox is leading the pack on this, is seeding the mainstream media – and Fox is part of it – with these conspiracy theories,” he said, concluding that such a media environment only benefits Russia.
One of the segments I was part of today with Brian Stelter on "Reliable Sources." https://t.co/TSxteLLxMT
— David Zurawik (@davidzurawik) December 2, 2019
Trump’s relationship with Fox News is not nearly as good as it once was, reports suggest. The president has publicly lashed out at the conservative network on numerous occasions, going as far as contacting its CEO, Suzanne Scott, to complain about allegedly unfavorable coverage.
Trump has also been attacking some of the network’s most prominent figures. In October, for instance, he repeatedly slammed veteran anchor Chris Wallace for suggesting that his phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was problematic.
The commander-in-chief has reportedly been paying close attention to how conservative media is covering the impeachment investigation, recently enlisting his son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, to investigate why the right-leaning Drudge Report is becoming more critical of his agenda.