Far be it from me to beat up on insular, east coast elites. But the insular, cross-partisan east coast media elite hasn’t grasped how the politics of resentment are fueling Donald Trump’s campaign or why gang ups from Fox News just don’t matter.
I don’t want to beat up on Josh, but seriously: is there anyone who doesn’t already get this? Maybe I’m just reading the wrong people, but among the folks I read this is the conventional wisdom by miles. Trump is basically a more experienced and media-savvy version of Sarah Palin. His appeal is anchored in simple answers, an insistence that politicians are all corrupt idiots, a disdain for political correctness, and an affirmation that ordinary folks are getting screwed.
But this doesn’t mean that gang-ups from Fox News don’t matter. It all depends on how personal the attacks get. If Trump starts to lose the support of the prime-time blowhards with a personal following—Bill, Greta, Sean, etc.—then it becomes a question of who the tea partiers trust more: Donald Trump or Bill O’Reilly? Donald Trump or Sean Hannity? This is a battle Trump can lose, and that’s why it’s in his best interest to cool it on the Fox News front. But it can also do damage to the personal following of the Fox prime-time crew, so it’s in their best interest to cool it too. In other words, let’s call a truce:
And there you have it. The support of Fox News really does matter, and Trump knows it. Likewise, support of Trump matters, and Roger Ailes knows it. Why? Because they’re just different versions of the same thing: media impresarios that feed on the conservative culture of resentment and grievance. Of course they matter to each other.