Fox News has implemented a 'soft ban' on Donald Trump and is avoiding putting him on air, report says

Donald Trump speaks at rally
Former President Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, on November 5, 2022.Win McNamee/Getty Images
  • Members of Trump's inner circle claim that Fox News has put a "soft ban" on him, a report says.

  • Trump has not appeared on Fox News once since he announced his presidential bid in November.

  • Trump and the network were once closely intertwined, but the relationship has soured.

Fox News has implemented a "soft ban" on Donald Trump and is avoiding putting him on air, four members of his inner circle claimed to news startup Semafor.

"Everyone knows that there's this 'soft ban' or 'silent ban,'" one source close to the former president told the outlet. "It's certainly — however you want to say, quiet ban, soft ban, whatever it is — indicative of how the Murdochs feel about Trump in this particular moment."

While Trump has not had a single weekday appearance on the network since he announced his presidential bid in November, many of his political rivals have been appearing regularly.

The network had featured at least seven appearances from Nikki Haley, who is the only other GOP candidate to have declared their candidacy, according to Media Matters.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is Trump's fiercest political rival and is widely expected to run, has also appeared on the network several times.

Even Vivek Ramaswamy, a lesser-known right-wing activist who has also declared his plans to run, has appeared four times on weekday shows.

While Trump and Fox News were once firm allies, the relationship has since soured, and the network has appeared to try and distance itself from him following his election loss.

The understanding is that Fox News is not to have Trump on for an interview because "the Murdochs have made it pretty clear they want to move on from Trump. Fox is showing that by not having him on," a GOP operative familiar with Trump's campaign told Semafor.

One unnamed Trump aide told Semafor that they've heard about the "soft ban" directly from people at Fox.

They said that while some prime-time Fox hosts have reached out to book Trump, as they tend to operate independently from the network's leadership, these appearances have not materialized.

"You've disrespected Donald J. Trump long enough"

steve bannon manhattan supreme court
Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon points as he leaves New York Supreme Court after a hearing in New York City, U.S., January 12, 2023.REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Steve Bannon, a former White House strategist and right-wing provocateur who remains a firm ally of Donald Trump criticized Fox News on Friday for disrespecting the former president.

"You've disrespected Donald J. Trump long enough," Bannon said at the Conservative Political Action Conference at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland.

"Murdoch, you've deemed Trump's not going to be president," Bannon said. "Well, we've deemed that you're not going to have a network. Because we're going to fight you every step of the way."

The network has recently been under fire as it fights a $1.6bn defamation lawsuit from the voting machines company Dominion, which alleges that the network knowingly aired conspiracy theories about the company helping to rig the 2020 election.

In a deposition in connection with the lawsuit, Murdoch acknowledged that several Fox News hosts fuelled the stolen election narrative, and said that he "would have liked us to be stronger in denouncing it in hindsight."

Fox News did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

Correction, February 5, 2023: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that CPAC was held in Washington, DC. It took place in National Harbor, Maryland.

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