Is this a "Fox News debate?" Well, no, because it is live on EVERY big channel and website tonight. But in a broader sense, yes it is. #Thread time...
Tonight's moderator, Chris Wallace, stands alone at Fox. His Sunday program primarily airs on broadcast, not Fox News. He has his own producers. He has said that he doesn't regularly watch the right-wing talk shows that make Fox #1 in the cable ratings.
But here's the thing: Everyone at Fox is affected, in some way, by the Trump-Fox merger. Everyone "feels" it. The pressure from the audience, the pressure from management, the expectation that Fox will be "fair" to Trump – and I don't mean "fair" in the good faith definition.
In, I wrote that Wallace, Bret Baier and Shep Smith "felt they were working from the inside to preserve some space for news as Trump and Hannity gained power at Fox." There IS still space for news – but year by year Fox's news has turned Trumpier, too.
In February Wallace was asked "Do you ever think that Fox News is using the quality of your work to truth-wash prime time?" Wallace insisted there's a "firewall" between news and opinion. But I saw the wall come down brick by brick. So did the Fox insiders who told me about it 👇 ImageImageImageImage
Despite all we know about Trump, Fox's news leaders still largely treat him like any other GOP prez, giving him the benefit of the doubt, assuming the best, excusing the worst. This tilts the scales big time, treating lies and crazy talk like it is legit, aiding the propaganda.
So, with all this in mind, a few days ago I said to one of Wallace's friends, is this a "Fox debate?" They said "it's a Chris Wallace debate, and his esteemed masterful moderating record speaks for itself." Wallace DOES have an impressive moderating record. But...
This is a "Fox debate" because Fox has shaped the political and media environment in ways that help Trump – for example by letting the news-opinion wall come down. Watch tonight: Will Fox rigorously fact-check the candidates right after the debate? Let's see. /end

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More from @brianstelter

16 Nov
When Barack Obama and his editors at Crown picked this week to publish the first volume of his memoirs, they hoped that the election results would be clear, that Biden would be busy with transition work, and that there wouldn't be any widespread unrest. Correct on all 3 counts...
Tuesday is a wide-open launchpad for "A Promised Land," which is expected to be the best-selling book of 2020, just as Michelle Obama's "Becoming" was in 2018. The book tour is doubling as a warning about a "deeply divided" media landscape. Short #thread…
In every interview, Obama is talking about media. When @GayleKing asked about the 72 million people who voted for Trump, he said, "The power of that alternative worldview that's presented in the media that those voters consume, it carries a lot of weight."…
Read 9 tweets
12 Nov
Trump just retweeted a dozen Twitter users who are trashing Fox News and promoting Newsmax. Here's my new story about Newsmax + a thread about what is going on...…
On Newsmax, voter fraud innuendo is everywhere. Conspiracy theory chatter is constant. And perhaps most importantly, Joe Biden is NOT president-elect. They say they haven't called the race. (They don't have a decision desk.) They're tapping into a real vein of rage on the right.
Before election day, Newsmax and OAN were just annoying flies on the Fox elephant's back. But something dramatic has happened: Newsmax's audience has BALLOONED. Final week of October, the channel averaged 65,000 viewers. Election week: 182,000. Monday: 347,000. Tuesday: 437,000.
Read 6 tweets
10 Nov
Thread of @jaketapper's reporting: "I spent some time today talking to Republican officials on both ends of Pennsylvania Ave, and what they say is, no one out there should worry that our democracy is in actual jeopardy..."
"They say this is all part of walking President Trump through this process emotionally and that they assume that while he may never concede, he will leave. There will be, they say, a peaceful transition of power to the Biden-Harris administration on January 20. They say that."
"But they say it on background," @jaketapper added, "because they don't want to upset President Trump and they don't want to get death threats from his supporters. You may or may not find that reassuring."
Read 4 tweets
6 Nov
While we wait, let's take a look at some of Friday's front pages from newspapers across the country and around the world...
In the UK, the Daily Star tabloid says "GRUMPY TRUMPY SET TO LOSE BIGLY." Metro: "BIDEN HIS TIME."
Via the Newseum website, here are battleground state front pages – the @AJC's headline about Biden "nearly" pulling even with Trump in Georgia is already out of date
Read 5 tweets
2 Nov
The main reason 2020's election night is going to be different "is because it takes longer to count those mail-in ballots." Here's a thread with what CNN DC bureau chief @SamFeistCNN told me...
Could the networks project a winner on Tuesday night? If "we know the results and there is a clear winner in FL and NC and AZ – these are all states that are likely to finish their count on Election Night – we could very well know a winner." But if it comes down to PA, then no.
Feist noted that we'll know the results of mail-in and early votes in FL and NC early on Election Night. But in other key states -- like PA and WI -- "it's going to take them a while." There could be red shifts in some states, blue shifts in others. Watch:
Read 5 tweets
2 Nov
Thread: Right now Fox News viewers are being misled about Trump's chances of winning the election in the following ways...…
Fox is so chock full of pro-Trump commentary and rally coverage that viewers come away with the impression that this race is a whole heck of a lot closer to 50/50 than it actually is. The prime time narrative: "BIG ENTHUSIASM FOR TRUMP." "MASSIVE." "TRUMP CLOSING THE GAP..."
The network's talk shows are constantly suggesting that a minority of people are actually the "silent majority." Example: Voters-in-diners segments. Sunday's AM show featured Trump voter after Trump voter at a diner in Asbury Park, NJ. Not at all representative of a blue state.
Read 7 tweets

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