Years ago the Wall Street Republican establishment decided to go after disaffected Whites as its winning edge. Thus was created Fox News and its subsidiaries, conservative talk radio.
Behind a smokescreen of conservative orthodoxy, the plan was to dog whistle to Whites an anti government anti minority message, so that undereducated, working class Whites would reflexively vote Republican, unaware of how they were serving Wall Street special interests.
The election of a mixed race Obama as president was a bonanza for both Fox ratings and its propaganda aims. All Fox needed to do was to keep up a steady drumbeat about how this Black man was out to destroy America as “we” know it, and its disaffected viewers would eat it up. But then along came one Donald J. Trump to mess everything up for Fox and the Republican establishment.
The purpose of Fox was to have its loyal followers serve Wall Street special interests without them noticing that they were. When Trump, however, made his play for Fox’s audience, the Republican base, he was under no such handicap. His interests and the base’s interests were one and the same. There was no hidden agenda with which he needed to grapple.
To further complicate matters was the ego of Fox News’ CEO, Roger Ailes. For many years Roger has been orchestrating the Republican message. Each morning he issues taking points that are then echoed throughout the halls of Congress and conservative media.
Ailes saw Trump as a dangerous rival. Thus began an on and off war between these two dominant personalities, even though in many ways each needs the other. To counter Trump running away with the Republican base, Ailes allied himself with Marco Rubio, the designated representative of the Republican establishment. This infuriated Fox’s natural audience, putting Ailes and Fox between the proverbial rock and a hard place.
Ailes needs to protect his creator, the Wall Street establishment, but if he does he risks losing the heart of his audience. By the looks of things he is trying to split the difference. His regular daytime programing, watched by Fox’s main audience, has started pandering to Trump’s supporters, while during the more broadly viewed evening presidential debate, Ailes had his minions take a harder stance against Trump. It is a complicated and dangerous game that Ailes is trying to play. But, then again, he is a master deceiver. So how all of this is going to pan out as the Republican civil war rages on is anybody’s guess.