The announcement yesterday that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will not run for president represents the latest Fox News failure in its attempt to put its stamp on the Republican primary season. Having turned itself into a purely political operation, and one that unapologetically works towards a partisan goal, Fox News and its chief Roger Ailes want very much to play the kingmaker role this election cycle and anoint, at least unofficially, a Fox News Candidate in 2012.
But it seems every time Fox News sets its collective sights on a possible Republican candidate (preferably one with a Tea Party flavor), he or she implodes, or in the case of Christie, refuses to get in the race.
Christie's bowing out is just the latest in a string of setbacks for Fox. It comes on the heels of campaign disappointments from Sarah Palin, Donald Trump and Rick Perry. At one point this year, Fox News embraced each one, showering them with potent bouts of glowing coverage, only to watch their electoral fortunes slip away. (Perry's polling fall from grace has been less dramatic than Palin's and Trump's, but has still been pronounced in recent weeks.)
There's no doubt that Fox News/Ailes wanted Christie to run for president. Indeed, the cable channel for much of the year doubled as the Chris Christie Fan Club. (And yes, that meant obediently ignoring embarrassing Christie stumbles.)
Among the gushing highlights:
Off-camera, Ailes enjoyed a close working relationship with the Jersey governor and reportedly urged him to run for the White House. (Ailes later denied the claim.)
Poor Roger Ailes. He wants to play kingmaker, he's just having trouble finding a viable king.
Crossposted at County Fair, a Media Matters blog.