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David French Blasts Fox News for ‘Killing the Conservative Movement’

”Fox has become the prime gatekeeper of conservative fame, the source of conservative book deals, and the ticket into the true pantheon of conservative influence,“ French writes

David French wrote an essay ripping Fox News Channel, saying the network is “killing the conservative movement.”

Back in June, National Review columnist French said he gave “serious thought” to running as a third-party presidential candidate to steal conservative votes from Donald Trump, but ultimately decided that he’s not the right candidate. Now he’s turning his attention to how conservatives need to succeed without leaning on Fox News.

French wrote that it’s “hard to overstate the power of Fox News for those seeking a career in the conservative movement,” and explained that despite a terrible appearance on Fox News, it helped his career simply because he can say he appeared on the network.

“I’ve seen the most accomplished of lawyers suddenly become ‘somebody’ only after they regularly appear on Fox. I’ve seen young activists leave senators or representatives languishing alone in rooms as they flood over to Fox personalities, seeking selfies. Fox has become the prime gatekeeper of conservative fame, the source of conservative book deals, and the ticket into the true pantheon of conservative influence,” French wrote.

Fox News was the most-watched cable network during the month of August, has constructed a “comfortable conservative cocoon,” French wrote.

He continued: “Conservatives gain fame, power, and influence mainly by talking to each other. They persuade each other of the rightness of their ideas and write Fox-fueled best-selling books making arguments that Fox viewers love. The sheer size of the audience lulls minor political celebrities into believing that they’re making a cultural and political difference. But they never get a chance to preach to the unconverted.”

French said that Fox News essentially has the power to keep a topic in the conservative conversation, pointing to the network’s continued coverage of Benghazi as an example.

“I’m not ascribing nefarious motives to Fox executives. They know their audience and they play to it. Conservative leaders and conservative politicians should likewise be savvy enough to know the limitations of the network’s reach: It doesn’t speak to a majority; it speaks to a bubble. But such is the allure of the community within the bubble that a person can’t help but walk through its gates,” he wrote.

French suggested that the GOP primary had so many candidates because some of them were auditioning for Fox News. French notes that the GOP hasn’t won many presidential elections since Fox News launched in 1996.

“But prior to 1996, a politician could truly succeed only by going to the American people through the media outlets they actually watched, which encouraged communication that persuaded those who weren’t true believers,” He wrote. “The conservative movement is a victim of Fox’s success. The network is so strong that conservatives who ignore it risk obscurity and irrelevance, even as it remains far too weak to truly transform the landscape.”