When Fox News Loved That Trump Controlled Debate Terms By Threatening Not To Participate

››› ››› ALEX KAPLAN

Fox News is criticizing Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump's decision to boycott its upcoming presidential debate due to the network's refusal to meet Trump's demands over one of its moderators. However, in October 2015, Fox praised Trump's negotiating prowess after he convinced CNBC to "cave" to his demands for the network's presidential debate format by threatening to boycott.

Donald Trump Says He Will Not Participate In Fox News Debate

Trump Announced His Refusal To Take Part In Fox News' Republican Presidential Debate. On January 26, Donald Trump's campaign told reporters that he would not be participating in the January 28 Republican primary debate in Iowa out of anger with debate co-sponsor Fox News. Trump told reporters that he was irritated that, according to Reuters, "Fox News planned to leave in place as a moderator the anchor Megyn Kelly, whose questioning of Trump at a debate last August angered him." From Reuters:

U.S. Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump withdrewon Tuesdayfrom a debate with party rivals this week out of anger at host Fox News (FOXA.O), leaving the last encounter before Iowa's pivotal nominating contest without the front-runner.

Trump's campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, told reporters after a combative news conference held by the candidate that Trump would definitely not be participating in the debate scheduled for Thursday in Des Moines, Iowa, and co-hosted by Google (GOOGL.O).

During the news conference before he addressed a large crowd in Marshalltown, Iowa, Trump expressed irritation that Fox News planned to leave in place as a moderator the anchor Megyn Kelly, whose questioning of Trump at a debate last August angered him.

He also expressed displeasure at a Fox News statementon Mondaynight saying Trump would have to learn sooner or later that "he doesn't get to pick the journalists" and that "we're very surprised he's willing to show that much fear about being questioned by Megyn Kelly."

[...]

Trump has been engaged in a public spat with Fox News since the network hosted the first debate and Kelly asked Trump about his treatment of woman, prompting a stream of insults from the candidate. [Reuters, 1/27/16]

Fox News Previously Praised Trump For Controlling CNBC's Debate Terms By Threatening Not To Participate

New York Times: CNBC Gave In "To Donald Trump On Details Of The Debate." On October 16, 2015, CNBC announced changes to its October 28 Republican presidential debate format, shortening the originally scheduled three-hour debate to "two hours, including commercial breaks," and allowing candidates opening and closing statements, both of which were accommodations Trump demanded. As The New York Times reported at the time:

CNBC will allow the Republican presidential candidates 30-second opening and closing statements at a debate this month, bowing to the demands of Donald J. Trump and other leading candidates that they be allowed to introduce themselves.

The Oct. 28 debate at the Coors Events Center in Boulder, Colo., will last two hours, including commercials, another accommodation to Mr Trump, who was unhappy with a three-hour debate last month in California.

[...]

Mr. Trump and Ben Carson, who are leading in many polls of the Republican field, led the push on the opening statements and time limit, threatening to boycott the forum if their demands were not met.

"The campaigns have figured out if they act collectively they can effect change," said one top strategist to a Republican hopeful. [The New York Times, 10/16/15]

Steve Doocy: CNBC's Move "Just Proves [Trump's] Core Principle, Which Is 'I Am A Great Negotiator.'" On the October 16, 2015, edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy said CNBC's move proves Trump's "core principle, which is 'I am a great negotiator'":

STEVE DOOCY: You know, this is all hypothetical because, according to Charles Gasparino, he has tweeted out that his sources inside CNBC say they will cave to Trump and it's simply based on the fact that they would prefer to have two hours with Trump than three hours without Trump.

ELISABETH HASSELBECK: Of course. If they're smart they'll do two hours with Trump and Carson.

DOOCY: Here's the other thing regarding Donald Trump -- this just proves his core principle, which is 'I am a great negotiator.' He just negotiated the presidential debate from three hours to two hours. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 10/16/15]

Fox Contributor Judith Miller: "Now We See What Donald Trump Would Be Like In Negotiation With Vladimir Putin." On the October 16, 2015, edition of Fox News' Happening Now, Fox contributor Judith Miller applauded Trump's ability to influence CNBC, saying this provides an example of "what Donald Trump would be like in negotiation with Vladimir Putin":

JON SCOTT (HOST): Judy, we should mention CNBC has not officially commented on this at all. But Trump says that they folded, that they wanted a three-hour debate. He said, "If it's longer than two hours, I'm going to walk." So give us your take. Is it good for the country that Donald, that the media are caving in or are giving way to the candidates' demands, or should there be more debate, more time on air?

JUDITH MILLER: Well, I'm not necessarily convinced that more time leads to a more scintillating or enlightening debate. I mean, you can get past two hours and not only are the candidates really tired standing up, but so is the audience. On the other hand, of course CNBC wanted a three-hour debate if they could sell advertising at $150,000 for a 30-second clip, that's the Wall Street Journalestimate. But now we see what Donald Trump would be like in negotiation with Vladimir Putin. And I can just tell you that it appears that CNBC needed Trump more than he needed them and that gives you leverage and perhaps it shouldn't be that way, but this is the marketplace and the marketplace has spoken and Trump has won. [Fox News, Happening Now, 10/16/15]

Gretchen Carlson: "If People Are Wondering Why Donald Trump Is On The Top Of The Republican Side Right Now, You Just Got To Look At This." On the October 16, 2015, edition of Fox News' The Real Story, host Gretchen Carlson lauded Trump, saying that "if people are wondering why Donald Trump is on the top of the Republican side right now, you just got to look at" CNBC's decision. Guest Mike Gallagher agreed, calling Trump "a deal-maker":

GRETCHEN CARLSON: Let's move on to this now, though. Donald Trump claiming a victory over CNBC, as we're hearing the network may have scaled back its plans for a three-hour debate after he and Dr. Ben Carson threatened to boycott it. Let's bring back in our panel, Mike Gallagher and Alan Colmes. Wow. I mean, if people are wondering why Donald Trump is on the top of the Republican side right now, it's kind of -- you just got to look at this, right?

MIKE GALLAGHER: People called my radio show all day today saying, "He can get a network to acquiesce to his demand that this debate be two hours or less?" This is exactly why he's so popular. He's a deal-maker. Everybody's saying, and certainly his supporters are saying -- and there are more and more every day it seems -- "He gets it done." And CNBC looks terrible on this. [Fox News, The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson, 10/16/15]

Greta Van Susteren: Trump "Scoring A Huge Win" By "Beating CNBC." During the October 16, 2015, edition of Fox News' On The Record, host Greta Van Susteren claimed Trump was "scoring a huge win" by "beating CNBC" and said that the network is now "caving after Trump, the current G.O.P. frontrunner, had vowed to boycott the CNBC Republican debate":

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN: Tonight, Donald Trump scoring a huge win, beating CNBC. The network now caving after Trump, the current G.O.P. frontrunner, had vowed to boycott the CNBC Republican debate.

The Donald complained that CNBC was just out for money by making it three hours long with no opening and closing statement. So today CNBC caving in, reversing course, saying the debate will be as Trump insisted two hours long with closing statements. [Fox News, On The Record, 10/16/15, via Nexis]

Eric Bolling: Trump "Scored A Huge Win" With CNBC Caving To His Debate Demands. During the October 16, 2015, edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, guest host Eric Bolling called CNBC's decision to acquiesce to Trump's demands a "huge win" for Trump:

ERIC BOLLING: In the "Back of the Book" segment tonight, Donald Trump in the no-spin zone today. The Donald scored a huge win announcing that CNBC, the host of the next republican debate on October 28 had caved to Donald's demands capping the debate time at two hours and allowing for opening and closing statements. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 10/16/15, via Nexis]

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