Trump rages that Fox News has “changed” as network hosts praise Michelle Obama's “great speech”

“She really flayed, sliced and diced Donald Trump," Fox News host Chris Wallace says

By Igor Derysh

Managing Editor

Published August 18, 2020 2:17PM (EDT)

Donald Trump | Fox News logo (Photo illustration by Salon/Alex Wong/Getty Images/Fox News/Salon)
Donald Trump | Fox News logo (Photo illustration by Salon/Alex Wong/Getty Images/Fox News/Salon)

President Donald Trump lashed out at Fox News on Monday over its coverage of the Democratic National Convention despite appearing on the network just hours earlier.

Trump on Sunday complained that the network's weekend news hosts were "not watchable" and "worse than Fake News @CNN." He doubled down on his criticism on Monday, despite appearing on "Fox & Friends" that very morningcriticizing the network's decision to air the Democratic Convention like every other news network.

"Fox will broadcast them more than they broadcast us. You know that," Trump claimed during a speech in Minnesota, even though the network's primetime lineup has been compared to North Korean state TV by critics for its fawning praise of the president and the hosts' close ties to him.

Trump predicted that the network would "go down the tubes" if he is not re-elected.

"They have certainly changed a lot. Fox has changed a lot," Trump said. "They're probably turning off right now as I speak, but I don't care. I tell the truth. One of the biggest differences between this year and four years ago is Fox. Fox is from a different planet — and too bad."

Though the network's primetime opinion hosts have continued to echo Trump's talking points and attack his opponents, Trump's relationship with the network's "news" side hosts has been strained, especially after a contentious interview last month with host Chris Wallace.

That dynamic was on full display Monday during the network's convention coverage as Wallace and other hosts praised former first lady Michelle Obama's speech tearing into Trump.

"Whenever we look to this White House for some leadership, or consultation or any semblance of steadiness, what we get instead is chaos, division and a total and utter lack of empathy," Obama said, adding that Trump was "the wrong president for our country."

"He has had more than enough time . . . He is clearly in over his head," she said. "He cannot meet this moment. He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us."

Echoing Trump's response to the number of coronavirus deaths on his watch, she added: "It is what it is."

The Fox panel, which did not include the network's Trump apologists, hailed the speech.

"She has the ability to connect with people through the screen. You got the sense when you talk about authenticity. She has it in spades," host Dana Perino said. "She has that voice, she has clarity and she knows what she is out there wanting to do. She was trying to get everybody to really focus. And then she had a call to action: Ask for your ballot tonight. I think that the DNC, if they look over the course of the night, the first virtual convention of our history  I think they would say that Michelle Obama stuck the landing."

Wallace agreed that Obama made a "heck of a contribution" to Biden's campaign.

"She really flayed, sliced and diced Donald Trump, talking about the chaos, and confusion and lack of empathy, especially coming from this president and from this White House," he said.

Analyst Juan Williams praised Obama's "great speech." Conservative pundit Brit Hume added, "For someone who doesn't like politics, she certainly is good at it."

Later in the broadcast, anchor Bret Baier explicitly pushed back on Trump's criticism.

"Listen, I just want to say, Fox News has not changed," he said. "We have covered both parties' conventions from the beginning of this network fully and fairly from all sides  and we will continue to."

By Igor Derysh

Igor Derysh is Salon's managing editor. His work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald and Baltimore Sun.

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