How Trump is Outfoxing Murdoch’s “News Channel” by Snubbing Republican Debate

I can’t wait to see the overnight debate ratings when they come out Thursday.

Fox News Channel is now the Bud Light of cable television.

Donald Trump ruined their phony-baloney debate with his announcement Friday afternoon that instead of going to Milwaukee, he may be doing a one-on-one sit down Wednesday night with Tucker Carlson.

Think about how that’s going to play out.

Fox’s bid to escape its post-Tucker ratings plunge is now wrecked. Instead, it becomes a vice presidential debate, a sour-grapes hiss-fest, Paul Ryan’s worst nightmare.

And Fox & Friends can’t even discuss it, because then they would have to mention the other T word – Tucker. And that cardinal sin gets even members of Congress banned from any future guest appearances.

How embarrassing is the Trump-Tucker online interview going to be for Fox?

Well, in August 2015, at this same point in the election cycle, Fox ran a GOP debate featuring Donald Trump and got an audience of 24 million.

In January 2016, just before the Iowa caucuses, Trump became irritated with Fox over what he called “a wise-guy press release.”

“I said ‘Bye bye,’” he told reporters. “Fox is playing games. They can’t toy with me like they toy with everybody else. Let them have their debate. Let’s see how they do with the ratings.”

Minus Trump, Fox got 12.4 million viewers – half as many as with Orange Man. I predict the falloff will be greater next week.

Trump’s decision is also a major blow to the Republican National Committee, which has been fundraising off Trump since he came down the escalator on Fifth Avenue in 2015. It’s the RNC’s little debate he’s blowing off – it was a co-production of the two leading RINO-Uniparty-GOPe-Soros Light outfits, Fox and the RNC.

The RNC is run by Willard Mitt Romney’s niece, Ronna McDaniel. For some reason, Trump has always tolerated Ronna, despite the string of electoral disasters she’s presided over.

But then, right after shoving Fox and the RNC under the bus, Trump’s campaign issued a new statement Friday afternoon.

“Team Trump Unveils New ‘Seal of Approval’ to Protect Loyal Donors from Scammers.”

It’s an attempt to put the flim-flam artists who raise millions off the MAGA brand on notice. It’s bad enough that fake Republicans can get rich claiming to fight Trump — for example, the Lincoln Project and all the RINO’s on state-run media.

But there’s also a different class of con artists – Republican phonies who have publicly reviled Trump yet now try to leech off his loyal followers.

To that point locally, on Friday it was announced that the 2024 Trump campaign chairman in Massachusetts would be former Bristol County sheriff Tom Hodgson, a longtime loyalist.

Hodgson, a MAGA guy from day one, was picked over crackpot former state GOP chairman Jim “Jones” Lyons. Lyons desperately wishes to reclaim his old state-party job (and $100,000 salary), so he can finish off the total demolition of the local GOP that he began in 2019.

The problem was, Lyons was a rabid anti-Trumper in 2016. He was a Ted Cruz delegate to the national convention. During the primary campaign that year, Lyons ran Massachusetts for Cruz, about as successfully as he’s run every other campaign of his, which is to say, he lost in a landslide.

Since then, though, Jim Jones Lyons has been promoting himself, chameleon-like, as a Trumpster. It’s what political grifters do. It’s no fun being unemployed, especially with the spigot of PPP funds cut off and you’re being sued by UPS.

Massachusetts of course no longer matters much in national Republican politics (thanks largely to Lyons’ incompetence and perfidy).

Nonetheless, Trump’s people made the effort to sniff out the duplicitous take-over ploy by Lyons and his equally hapless loser stooges, Geoff “DoorDash” Diehl and DoorDash’s patron, Rick Green.

Green, by the way, may have even worse political instincts than his two destitute pals, Lyons and Diehl. In 2016 he swooned over John Kasich. This year Green has a case of puppy love over Ron DeSantis. Of course, he thought Diehl was going to win the governorship last year too.

These are the type of conniving political parasites Trump must keep at arm’s length, in all 50 states. And that’s why his sharp elbow to Fox and the RNC was such a good start.

I even liked that he leaked the story to the New York Times. Despite everything rotten she’s written about him over the years, Trump has always favored Maggie Haberman (she used to work for Murdoch). And so he gave Maggie another scoop.

Strange as it is to say, Trump usually gets a fairer shake in the Times than in the Washington Post, which has printed even more fake news stories about him than the Old Gray Lady.

As for Fox, I suppose Trump could still change his mind and show up in the Beer City.

But if not, where does Fox go from here? Like Transheuser Busch, they’ve run off their own base.

Maybe it’s time for Fox to come out of the closet, as it were, and just officially admit that they are just another organ of state-run media.

Then Paul Ryan et al. could go the full Target route, and declare Fox Pride Month. Bring back Shep Smith and Judge Andrew Napolitano. Stream all this year’s failed Disney movies on Fox Nation.

Fox could tell Chris Wallace and Geraldo Rivera to come back – all is forgiven, comrades. It’s too late to bring back Megyn Kelly. She and Trump have kissed and made up. They’re pals again.

Tubby Karl Rove would salute his employer’s evolution and growth. Axios and the Atlantic would discover strange new respect for Fox’s careerist anchors. The Murdochs could keep sticking pins in their Tucker Carlson voodoo dolls.

And Fox’s ratings would fall even further into the toilet behind MSNBC.

I can’t wait to see the overnight debate ratings when they come out Thursday.

It would take a heart of stone not to laugh.

(Pre-order Howie’s new book, “Paper Boy: Read All About It!” at today and save 20 percent by using code Howie at checkout.)

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