Ailes’ dying wish? Ted Cruz says Fox News went all in for Trump in 2016, and he doesn’t know why

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Screen capture … Donald Trump and Ted Cruz during a 2016 debate … Credit: Fox News

In a PBS interview aired on Saturday, Sen. Ted Cruz admitted he believes that Fox News and Roger Ailes were determined to help get Donald Trump elected President in 2016. “I think Fox News went all in for Trump,” he said. “That was the decision they made.”

“There is a new book called ‘American Carnage’ that’s out,” said “Firing Line” host Margaret Hoover to Cruz. “And it has described the attitude of Fox News towards you as pugnacious. It quotes you as saying that Roger Ailes, who was the founder of Fox News, that you believed his dying wish was to help elect Donald Trump as President. Is that true?”

“I think Fox News went all in for Trump,” Cruz said as he shrugged. “That was the decision. I didn’t know Roger well, but I think it is clearly what he wanted to do.”

Hoover asked why Trump was preferred over the other Republican candidates.

“I have no idea,” said Cruz. “I can’t tell you that, but I can tell you that starting about March of 2016 they went all in for Trump. They made a decision. That was a decision made at the network level reflected on every show.”

Video by PBS

Ailes was forced out as Chairman and CEO of Fox News in July 2016 over sexual misconduct allegations and he died the following year.

There have been multiple observers who have indeed credited Ailes with not only building Fox News into the country’s most watched cable news channel, but also with helping to pave the way for Trump to reach the White House.

“It’s hard to really overestimate the influence he had on the media and the political landscape,” said Betsy West, a professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, and former senior vice-president at CBS News and an executive producer at ABC News. “In many ways, it’s a straight line to our very polarized news landscape today, where people on either ends of the political spectrum can’t agree on basic facts,” she told The Guardian in a May 2017 interview.

Before the launch of his candidacy in 2016, Trump met with Ailes for lunch, according to Gabriel Sherman who is an Ailes biographer. His book “The Loudest Voice in the Room,” implying the two came to some sort of agreement.

“There’s no question there’s tremendous carryover from the Fox News audience base to supporters of Donald Trump,” Kerwin Swint, author of “The Influential Career of Legendary Political Operative and Fox News Founder Roger Ailes,” told the Guardian. “Trump was able to tap into that eager Fox News consumer that really bought into a lot of the things he said in the campaign.”

The 2016 Republican primary season was memorable for many reasons, including the personal acrimony between Cruz and Trump. Trump hung the label “Lyin’ Ted” on the Senator and Cruz refused to endorse Trump at the party’s national convention.

In spite of that, Cruz has since become an ardent Trump supporter and voted with the White House 92 percent of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight.



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