Live coverage of Trump rallies disappears

Et tu, Fox News?

The de facto state media is getting White House scrutiny after the network didn’t air President Trump’s recent rallies live in prime time on the network.

That’s a switch for Fox News which covered June’s Trump rally in Duluth live — the only network to do so — and then suggested a nefarious motive for why other networks didn’t.

The president’s rally in Iowa on Tuesday was not aired on any major cable network, and even C-SPAN cut away.

Wednesday night, the president’s rally in Erie, Pa., lost out to Hurricane Michael coverage.

Fox News is still providing online coverage of the rallies, but Politico claims the White House is concerned that the president is losing an important megaphone.

One senior White House official was unsure why the network would decide to cut away from presidential rallies, saying officials planned “to look into that” and wouldn’t be surprised if White House communications director Bill Shine, a former Fox News executive, was in touch with former colleagues about the trend.

The loss of national coverage is equally, if not more, concerning to the candidates on whose behalf Trump is traveling the country.

“It exposes us to a national audience that we normally don’t get to,” a Senate Republican campaign staffer said of the coverage of Trump rallies. “We tend to see lots of new sign-ups and small-dollar donations. There’s obviously folks streaming [rallies] online, but being able to be onstage with the president in front of a prime-time audience is huge for a campaign trying to reach conservatives across the country who will open up their wallets.”

A source close to Trump described the declining coverage as a “huge loss on the state and local level for Republicans because they’re certainly not going to get any of that on other cable networks.”

That’s probably overselling the effect. The president still gets a ton of airplay for whatever he utters at the rallies, with little fact checking. And he got around Fox News’ snub last evening by simply calling the network after his rally. They put him on live.

And apparently people weren’t watching that much anyway, at least not as much as they would when Sean Hannity or other FoxNews hosts are on the air.

At the end of the day, it’s still all about ratings and money.