IS THE ROMANCE OVER?

If you have nothing better to do on weekends than pore over the voluminous and increasingly unhinged tweetstorms emanating out of Washington DC, perhaps you have come to the same conclusion that “The Washington Post’s” Sarah Ellison and Paul Farhi have.

The honeymoon between Mr. Trump and Fox News appears to be experience some sourness these days.

In addition to more of the “SNL” obsession, and hatred for a senator who died months ago, Mr. Trump took off after Fox News weekend news anchors Leland Vittert and Arthel Neville, as well as well as Shepard Smith, the anchor who regularly swims against the Fox tide on weekdays and who has long been critical of many Trump claims.

The president also seemed to want to play network programmer on Sunday, urging Fox News to stand by hosts Jeanine Pirro and Tucker Carlson, both of whom are under fire for controversial comments. Fox has supported Carlson but suspended Pirro for suggesting that Rep. Ilhan Omar’s hijab was, by definition, anti-American.

The weekend rage-tweeting caught the attention of “Post” columnist Jennifer Rubin, a conservative of no small reputation who is distinctly NOT a fan of the current White House occupant.

On one level, one can see this as another bizarre test of his cult’s loyalty. It cannot just cheer him; it must loathe and slander a deceased war hero, John McCain.

Kellyanne Conway cannot just lie for Trump 24/7; she also must go along with Trump’s trashing of her husband.

So, too, with Fox News: It’s not enough for the network to run hours of propaganda, indulge conspiracy theorists and demonize immigrants; it also must banish all remotely independent voices

However, the outbursts also reveal Trump’s underlying weakness and fear.

If truth trickles onto the screens of his low-information base, might he lose these voters’ unwavering loyalty?  

Might his lies not carry him through the next scandal?

For him, that would be disastrous.

The point of Rubin’s column is that Mr. Trump, in the end, needs Fox News to continue to be a megaphone for anything he says and, in turn, feed him red meat for his Twitter feed.

Somehow, she thinks that former House Speaker Paul Ryan’s elevation to a seat on the Fox corporate board will somehow enable an alliance between Ryan and new chairman Lachlan Murdoch that will transform huge chunks of the Fox News primetime schedule into something more useful than InfoWars Lite©.

Don’t count on it as long as the money rolls in.

More News from Thursday, March 21, 2019