James Poniewozik writes in the New York Times:
Donald J. Trump, who has made the ratings rain for network after network, gave Fox News an ultimatum: dump Thursday-night debate moderator Megyn Kelly, whom he has called unfair (and worse) since Fox’s August debate, or he takes his viewers and goes home. (Or he goes to his own event that other networks may broadcast.) Fox refused — answering him with a dose of his own snark — and as of now, it will be putting on cable news’ biggest serial without its breakout antihero.
Fox News has gotten away with pushing back more, which says as much about its special place in Republican politics as its journalistic principles. (See also Fox News’ August debate, which was easily as tough as CNBC’s but somehow generated complaints only from Mr. Trump.) The channel is run by Roger Ailes, the former Republican political consultant who has not been shy about influencing politics in general and primary politics in particular. In the last primary, Republican candidates courted the network (and Mr. Trump, too).
So Mr. Trump’s war on Fox News isn’t just a media spat. It’s part of a war for control against the power structure of the G.O.P. — whose appeals to cultural anxieties he has hijacked and dialed up to 11 — and thus against Fox as an extension of it. (The bizarro-world possibility of a Fox News at odds with the Republican nominee, should Mr. Trump win, would be one more weird twist in a campaign full of them.)
Read the rest here.