The rift between the GOP frontrunner for POTUS and Fox News continues to widen. After Trump vowed to skip the most recent Republican Primary debate, Fox released reports stating Trump is lying about its debate ad rates.
The direct attack against Trump is evidence of Fox’s interesting and somewhat unprecedented position: declared adversary of its party’s leading candidate. Some are calling it a public relations nightmare for the news company, a no-win situation with no end in sight. If Trump loses the nomination, he will always have Fox to blame, and his supporters will never forgive them. If he wins, well, you don’t want to be the news agency the President has a personal vendetta against.
Trump followed through on his threat to skip the event, going so far as to host a competing event on another network. Trump detractors said The Donald is just trying to feed his insatiable ego. Trump supporters could not care less – here was another example of their guy sticking it to The Man. The fact that Trump is, for better or worse, a prime example of The Man, who has freely admitted to buying and selling politicians at will, is totally lost on his supporters.
Trump piled on, tweeting out a missive that claimed Fox’s advertising rates were plummeting, falling like a rock. This set off a round of totally unfounded rumors circulating among Trump’s followers that some advertisers had actually bailed out on the debate. However, judging by the number of commercial breaks, that seems highly unlikely. Plus, there’s the simple fact that advertising rates for events the likes of POTUS debates are set well in advance, often months in advance. Networks don’t need to offer discounts, and you can expect they don’t give refunds.
But the Trump supporters spreading such unfounded rumors are not interested in substance. They are more enamored by style. They don’t care if a message is accurate, as long as it sounds good and they feel good repeating it. Confirming this, a Fox spokesperson told the media the “debate is completely sold out…no rates have changed, and there are no advertisers who have backed out.”
Fox didn’t say how much they were getting for a 30-second spot, but they did confirm nobody was getting a price break. So, while Trump continues to trumpet his value in the race at rallies, now it’s not his opponents calling him out. This could get very interesting.