Bombshell report: Fox News rigged a debate primary, buried Stormy Daniels story before 2016 election

In an absolute bombshell report from Jane Meyer at the New Yorker, there are new details about how Sean Hannity, former (now deceased) Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, and Fox owner Rupert Murdoch have been regularly putting their finger on the scale for Donald Trump, as Fox transitioned to being the closest thing to state television this country has ever seen. 

Beginning in at least 2015, Fox News executives, including then CEO Ailes, began helping Donald Trump. Before the first Republican primary debate in 2015, they gave Trump the debate questions, including a heads-up that then-Fox News host Megyn Kelly would be asking him about his derogatory comments about women. Trump had an answer in the can and used it to “work the refs”—gaining even more favorable treatment from the network afterward to make up for the question from Kelly.

Trump has made the debate a point of pride. He recently boasted to the Times that he’d won it despite being a novice, and despite the “crazy Megyn Kelly question.” Fox, however, may have given Trump a little help. A pair of Fox insiders and a source close to Trump believe that Ailes informed the Trump campaign about Kelly’s question. Two of those sources say that they know of the tipoff from a purported eyewitness. In addition, a former Trump campaign aide says that a Fox contact gave him advance notice of a different debate question, which asked the candidates whether they would support the Republican nominee, regardless of who won. The former aide says that the heads-up was passed on to Trump, who was the only candidate who said that he wouldn’t automatically support the Party’s nominee—a position that burnished his image as an outsider.

Pathetic. But it gets so much worse. In preparation for debates with Hillary Clinton, Ailes joined Trump’s debate team. Can you imagine? But wait, as they say in late-night infomercials, there’s more. In the final weeks of the 2016 election, Fox News reporter Diana Falzone had the explosive story of Trump cheating on his wife with adult film star Stormy Daniels in 2006. Falzone had been working on the story since March and was ready to publish the salacious details in October 2016. This surely would’ve been front page news in the final days of the campaign, but a Fox News editor killed the story. 

But Falzone’s story didn’t run—it kept being passed off from one editor to the next. After getting one noncommittal answer after another from her editors, Falzone at last heard from LaCorte, who was then the head of Falzone told colleagues that LaCorte said to her, “Good reporting, kiddo. But Rupert wants Donald Trump to win. So just let it go.”

Shortly after the election, Falzone was demoted. She went on to sue Fox News, and the lawsuit was quickly settled. But, her settlement came with a nondisclosure agreement, so she cannot speak about what happened.

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