Is the romance truly gone?

Trump has a sad about his old buddy Fox.

Fed up with the coverage on his favorite cable news station, President Trump decided late this summer that a direct intervention was needed. So he telephoned the chief executive of Fox News, Suzanne Scott, and let loose.

In a lengthy conversation, Mr. Trump complained that Fox News was not covering him fairly, according to three people with knowledge of the call.

By “fairly” he must mean “adoringly.”

Irked by their reporting, he taunted the Fox News anchor Shepard Smith, who resigned from the network on Friday, and its chief national correspondent, Ed Henry. He declared that the Fox News pollsters “suck” after they found majority support for impeachment and openly pined for the network’s “good old days.”

“@Fox News doesn’t deliver for US anymore,” Mr. Trump tweeted last week.

In other words he thinks Fox News shouldn’t be News at all but rather trumpstate propaganda.

That tensions exist at all between Mr. Trump and the home of Sean Hannity and “Fox & Friends” has prompted incredulity inside the network and out. Fox News’s star commentators — including Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham and Jeanine Pirro — are among the president’s most vociferous media defenders, providing a punditry firewall that Mr. Trump arguably needs more than ever as an impeachment inquiry looms and the 2020 campaign intensifies.

But the president has rarely been satisfied with the adulation he receives from the network’s prime-time and morning opinion shows. Instead, he often fixates on any hint of criticism, deeming the network ungrateful for the high ratings that he attributes to himself.

So…he thinks they owe him constant reliably flattering coverage, in exchange for his generation of high ratings via his flamboyantly gruesome behavior. What a cynical transaction.

When Mr. Henry, interviewing the pro-Trump commentator Mark Levin on a segment of “Fox & Friends” in September, suggested that Mr. Trump’s phone call with the Ukrainian prime minister could be problematic, the president retweeted more than 20 posts from other Twitter users calling Mr. Henry names like “fake news.” Mr. Trump had sat for an interview with Mr. Henry less than two weeks earlier.

He reminds me of someone…

Image result for henry viii

Trump-friendly hosts receive periodic reminders that the president is keeping tabs. At a rally in Minnesota last week, Mr. Trump ticked off the names of his favorite Fox News stars like an announcer at an all-star game. (“Sean’s got the No. 1 show,” he said. “And Laura Ingraham’s knocking them out of the park.”) But he also had a subtle warning for Brian Kilmeade, the “Fox & Friends” co-host who recently questioned Mr. Trump’s decision to remove troops from Syria.

“Brian has gotten a lot better, right?” Mr. Trump asked the crowd. “Brian was a seven, and he’s getting close to 10 territory.”

In cajoling and bullying his closest media allies, Mr. Trump is wielding the total-loyalty litmus test that he has used to keep close associates in line.

And doing it in public, where we can all see him. It’s grotesque.

At the Fox News headquarters in Manhattan, the closeness has brought unease, with the reporting staff and the opinion hosts increasingly at odds over how to cover Mr. Trump and the impeachment inquiry.

Chris Wallace, the “Fox News Sunday” host, has conducted tough interviews with administration players like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. But last month, a guest on Mr. Carlson’s show heckled Andrew Napolitano, the network’s legal analyst, calling him a “fool” for saying that Mr. Trump may have committed a crime. The next day, on his 3 p.m. news program “Shepard Smith Reporting,” Mr. Smith called the guest’s comment “repugnant”; Mr. Carlson fired back with the suggestion that Mr. Smith had a liberal bias.

On Friday, Mr. Smith, the network’s chief anchor and managing editor of its breaking news unit, who had once called out Mr. Trump for “lie after lie after lie,” revealed that he had had enough. In a surprise announcement, he said he would leave the network after 23 years; friends said he was dismayed at the in-house deference given to Mr. Trump’s prime-time cheerleaders.

Such is the scrutiny on Fox News that a theory sprang up on social media tying Mr. Smith’s departure to a meeting last week between Rupert Murdoch and the attorney general, William Barr. In fact, Mr. Smith had been considering an exit for weeks. (It remains unclear what the Barr-Murdoch meeting entailed; aides to both men have declined to elaborate, and the president claimed, in comments to reporters on Friday, that he was unaware of what they discussed.) Still, the Barr-Murdoch meeting hinted at the unusual closeness between a news network and a presidential administration.

Which, to some observers, makes Mr. Trump’s recent gripes all the more inexplicable.

“Blasting Fox, which is one of his last redoubts of a lot of support, makes no sense strategically,” said Mike Murphy, a veteran Republican strategist who has opposed Mr. Trump. “But when he sees a show or comment he doesn’t like, he just reflexively attacks that personality or that journalist.”

Because he’s that narcissistic and childish and out of control.

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