Conservative media exhibit split reactions to reopened government

The longest government shutdown in U.S. history ended last week and the media is still debating the repercussions. One of the most interesting results of the shutdown has been the apparent divide that has formed in right wing media circles.  

Some outlets condemned Trump’s choice to reopen the government after 35 days, seeing it as a sign of weakness. Perhaps most surprising has been the Fox News reaction to the end of the shutdown and resulting twitter argument with the President.

Lou Dobbs of Fox Business stated Trump “got rolled,” while Tomi Lahren, anchor on Fox Nation, tweeted that “[Trump] just allowed Nancy to walk all over him.”

Trump lashed out at Fox News anchors over twitter, claiming that John Roberts and Gillian Turner have “even less understanding of the Wall negotiations than the folks at FAKE NEWS CNN & NBC!” The specific incident which sparked this tweet is unclear.

In response, Fox News anchor Julie Banderas rebuked Trump, tweeting a defense of her coworkers. “This is NOT right. I stand by my colleagues @johnrobertsFox and @GillianHTurner They don’t deserve this. No reporter does. They are doing their jobs and reporting the facts.”

In another tweet she described the dangerous effect of Trump’s attack. “@realDonaldTrump is putting a target on their backs. In turn his followers will then attack @johnrobertsFox and @GillianHTurner in support on Twitter.”

Even some of Trump’s strongest supporters rebuked the move.

In an interview for “The Late Show” on Wednesday, former New Jersey governor Chris Christie claimed “the President blew it” when asked about his thoughts on the government shutdown. “…he shut the government down with no plan on how to reopen it” said Christie. For the past 15 years Christie has been an ally for Trump.

Not all right wing opinion leaders have rebuked Trump, instead praising the move.

After claiming during the shutdown that Trump was “going to” get his money for the wall, Fox News anchor Sean Hannity shifted the blame off of Trump, targeting “weak-kneed Republicans” and Democrats for the failure. “He right now holds all the cards — he will secure the border one way or another,” said Hannity.

Host of “America First” radio show and frequent guest on Fox News, Sebastian Gorka, called Trump a “GENIUS” and his move to reopen the government a “masterstroke.” Former Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly tweeted in support of Trump, calling the reopening of the government “a good thing” and “reasonable.”

The right wing media coverage of the shutdown’s end is strikingly different from anything seen before during the Trump Administration. No controversial tweet or rumor of Russian collusion has so divided the party’s media stalwarts or sparked this level of condemnation.

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