On Wednesday, after weeks of bitter put-downs between the two camps following the first Republican debate, Fox News and Donald Trump officially fell out for good. Mid-morning, Trump Tweeted: "@FoxNews has been treating me very unfairly & I have therefore decided that I won't be doing any more Fox shows for the foreseeable future," effectively boycotting the largest cable news network in the United States. Fox's response, careful but clearly irritated, proves that they aren't really huge fans of Trump, either.
Fox's statement claims that Trump's tweet was sparked by the channel canceling his appearance on Thursday's The O'Reilly Factor:
At 11:45 a.m. today, we canceled Donald Trump’s scheduled appearance on The O’Reilly Factor on Thursday, which resulted in Mr. Trump’s subsequent tweet about his ‘boycott’ of FOX News. The press predictably jumped to cover his tweet, creating yet another distraction from any real issues that Mr. Trump might be questioned about. When coverage doesn’t go his way, he engages in personal attacks on our anchors and hosts, which has grown stale and tiresome. He doesn’t seem to grasp that candidates telling journalists what to ask is not how the media works in this country.
Given Fox's right-wing-leaning audience and Trump status as the leading Republican presidential candidate at the moment, this doesn't bode well for either of them. But Fox — in particular, its head, Roger Ailes — has been praised for standing up for its star journalist, Megyn Kelly, who was subjected to spiteful gender-based attacks from Trump during and after August's first Republican debate.
While the chain of events is predictable — Trump engages in merciless verbal attacks against Fox's star host, Fox goes on the offense, and Trump then overreacts — there really are no winners here. If Trump won't appear on any Fox News shows, then the network will have to rely on other outlets and sources to cover him. Trump is currently light years ahead of his opponents in the polls, so the network may face pushback from regular viewers who are keen to hear from the man himself.
Meanwhile, Trump, for his part, won't fare much better. His fanbase overlaps with Fox News' viewership, and by boycotting the entire network, he'll rob himself of the chance to speak to his supporters directly. As with Univision and NBC, Trump wastes no time cutting ties with networks that he feels don't treat him fairly. Trump has now openly opposed three major American news networks.