The Fox News Channel’s efforts to promote the presidential candidacy of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) are not working out so well, according to the Fox News Channel’s own polling.
Rubio is at just nine percent, according to the latest Fox News poll, trailing GOP frontrunner billionaire Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson by a significant margin. Trump has 26 percent according to the new Fox News poll, and Carson has 18 percent. Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina is tied with the struggling Rubio’s nine percent, while Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) comes in next with eiht percent.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is at seven percent, while New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is at five percent, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich is at four percent. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is at three percent, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is at two percent, and former New York Gov. George Pataki is at one percent. Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum don’t register in the poll.
That means, combining the establishment voters that Bush and Rubio would get—according to Fox’s own polling—means that just 16 percent of Republican voters think they are acceptable candidates for the presidency. Even if one adds in the establishment-leaning Kasich and Christie, the GOP establishment garners just 25 percent. That means Trump, individually, crushes Rubio, Bush, Kasich, and Christie by himself with 26 percent.
Add Trump’s numbers up with the other non-politicians Carson, Cruz, and Fiorina, and the anti-establishment voters that are unlikely to ever support Rubio after his “Gang of Eight” amnesty experience, where Rubio worked alongside future Senate Democratic leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and those numbers are a significant majority of the Republican base at 61 percent.
The Fox News Channel has promoted Rubio’s presidential campaign aggressively, touting him as somehow the new face of the GOP.
“The Republican candidates who articulate solutions will start to rise,” O’Reilly Factor host Bill O’Reilly said on Jimmy Kimmel Live this week. “You see Marco Rubio, now, the senator from Florida—his poll numbers are going up now. Slowly, but they’re going up. And once the Trump phenomenon diminishes—and it has to, you can’t stay that high—“
Kimmel interrupted O’Reilly at that point to note that he doesn’t “think Marco Rubio could beat Donald Trump.”
“I don’t think any of these—there’s only one person that I think can beat Donald Trump and I think it’s you,” Kimmel told O’Reilly. “Actually, I do.”
The Fox News team has been aggressively seeking to push Rubio’s presidential candidacy on Americans, going so far as to suggest that he’s getting a “2016 boost from debates” in recent polling.
This week, Special Report anchor Bret Baier hosted Rubio on his program, where he discussed with him the Pope’s visit to America, and Rubio criticized Pope Francis for his involvement in political issues. Speaking about the Pope for more than three minutes on Fox News’ flagship evening news program, Baier didn’t once ask Rubio about the Pope’s highly controversial stance on immigration.
The Pope, of course, supports open borders immigration policies and believes the United States should grant amnesty to illegal aliens. Baier allowed Rubio to criticize the Pope for his anti-capitalism viewpoints, his pro-environmentalism viewpoints, and to rip Cuba for its handling of the papal visit. But Baier never asked Rubio about the Pope’s immigration stance, which Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)—the intellectual leader of the Republican Party on immigration and trade policy who is wildly popular with the voting public—has criticized. Sessions has a diametrically opposite viewpoint on immigration from Rubio. Sessions believes that immigration policy in America should serve the national interest. Rubio, meanwhile, has demonstrated that he believes immigration policy should serve the interests of immigrants both legal and illegal and the interests of beneficiaries economic, political, or otherwise of open borders policies instead of benefitting Americans.
“He’s said things close to open borders, which I think is wrong, and his opinion is no more persuasive to me than the Wall Street Journal’s. I don’t agree with either one,” Sessions said in an interview with Roll Call this week about the Pope. “It’s always dangerous for church leaders to start opining on complex matters of which they haven’t had a chance to learn over the years. I mean, we’ve been wrestling with immigration for 30 years. That’s a lot of knowledge. So the Pope is not invested in that.”
Sessions went on in his criticism of the Pope by citing Scripture back at him.
“It’s all right for him to call on us to establish an immigration law that serves the national interest and assists people, but how that’s done, I think he probably is not sufficiently informed, and I would say that despite some of the biblical things, Nehemiah went back to Jerusalem and the Lord commanded him to build a wall,” Sessions said. “So, [there are] many references in the Old Testament about the legitimacy of nations or countries or tribal areas, deciding who goes in and through and who does not. So that’s part of it.”
Baier’s decision to completely ignore the Pope’s immigration viewpoint—ironically, which is very similar to Rubio’s—in his interview with Rubio about the Pope is telling about the network’s viewpoint on asking tough questions of the junior Senator from Florida. During the early August Fox News Channel debate that Baier, the Kelly File’s Megyn Kelly, and Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace moderated, the moderators asked not one question of Rubio about his decision to work alongside Schumer and other Democrats like Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Bob Menendez (D-NJ)—a Democrat who’s now been indicted on federal corruption charges—and pro-amnesty liberal Republicans like Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to push an amnesty bill through Congress. Getting that “Gang of Eight” amnesty bill—which would not have secured the border but would have guaranteed not just amnesty for all the illegal aliens in America but would have also massively increased immigration levels to the point where the population of the United States would look drastically different in just a decade—is Rubio’s only signature legislative accomplishment since his election to the U.S. Senate. It’s curious why the Fox News Channel never asked him about it then and continues to act like it never happened.
While the network has repeatedly and consistently refused to ask Rubio about his only accomplishment in Congress, it has been frequently feuding with billionaire and GOP frontrunner Donald Trump. The feud, which started before the debate, when Megyn Kelly rushed on air a completely unverified article from the Daily Beast that falsely alleged Trump raped his ex-wife Ivana—an article that Ivana herself shortly thereafter completely debunked—became even more exacerbated when Kelly crossed the line from being a journalist to being an opinion maker during the Fox News Channel debate in Cleveland. From there, Kelly—who was forced into taking an unannounced 10-day vacation off the air—and Trump have consistently feuded, as has Trump with the rest of the network.
The feud has erupted again this week, with Trump vowing to stay off the high-rated cable news network after more unfavorable coverage this week.
Fox News, Trump Tweeted, “has been treating me very unfairly & I have therefore decided that I won’t be doing any more Fox shows for the foreseeable future.”
In response, Fox News said that they pulled the plug on Trump before he pulled the plug on them.
“At 11:45am today, we canceled Donald Trump’s scheduled appearance on The O’Reilly Factor on Thursday, which resulted in Mr. Trump’s subsequent tweet about his ‘boycott’ of FOX News,” a Fox News spokesperson said. “The press predictably jumped to cover his tweet, creating yet another distraction from any real issues that Mr. Trump might be questioned about. When coverage doesn’t go his way, he engages in personal attacks on our anchors and hosts, which has grown stale and tiresome. He doesn’t seem to grasp that candidates telling journalists what to ask is not how the media works in this country.”
Trump’s team said in response to that that he stands by what he previously said.
“Mr. Trump stands by his statement made earlier today,” the Trump campaign said in a release. “As a candidate for President of the United States and the definitive front runner in every poll, both nationally and state wide, including the just released poll in the state of Florida, Mr. Trump expects to be treated fairly. All you have to do is look at the tremendous ratings last night from the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, where Mr. Trump was the guest, or the ratings from both debates, to fully understand the facts.”
What’s interesting here is that Fox’s justification for its treatment of Trump is that they are acting like journalists asking tough questions—but they have not asked a single tough question of the junior senator from Florida, Rubio. Perhaps that’s because Rupert Murdoch, the founder, chairman, and CEO of Fox News Channel parent company News Corporation, weighed in after the second debate to promote Rubio’s candidacy.
“Watching Republicans from Beijing fascinating,” Murdoch said, according to the Washington Examiner. “Many did better, but Rubio most of all. Polls will tell, but still months to go.”