election farce

The presidential campaign of billionaire businessman Donald Trump is wreaking havoc with Fox News’ plans to host the first GOP presidential debate August 6.

Looking for a way to eliminate Trump, who tops the polls but is having a public feud with Fox founder and media czar, Rupert Murdoch, Fox executives plan to change the cut-off criteria for inclusion in the debate and one change under consideration is body cavity searches, according to Fox sources and a memo from Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, obtained by Like The Dew.

FOX News Debate Cast
FOX News Debate Cast: Competition for the number ten spot (DonkeyHotey)

Originally, Fox said it would pare down the field of 18 GOP presidential candidates to the top 10, according to political polls. But all that changed when Trump jumped into the race with both feet and a very loud mouth.

“We’re not sure what Trump thinks about being subjected to a body cavity search, but we can make a pretty good guess,” a Fox News source told Like The Dew. “The problem we’re having is the cavity search requirement could chase off the entire field — or at least 16 of them.”

The source, who declined to elaborate, emphasized that the body cavity search option is an “extreme case scenario” that emerged from brainstorming sessions with top Fox News executives.

“We were just kind of sitting around spit balling ideas, you know,” said the source. “Somebody pointed out that all the GOP candidates are pretty much asinine and a guy jumps up and screams ‘body cavity searches!’”

The Ailes memo to the Fox News staff details the difficulties and frustration Ailes and his network are facing, caught in the crossfire as they are between Trump and Murdoch.

At the same time, the network knows including Trump in the debates will be a huge spur to ratings because he is the kind of loose cannon who could turn the stodgy debate format into good entertainment.

Murdoch has publicly denounced Trump for accusing Mexico of “bringing drugs, crime and rapists” to the U.S., and for questioning the “heroism” of Senator John McCain who fought in the Vietnam War and was imprisoned and tortured in a POW camp for almost six years.

Murdoch wrote on Twitter: “When is Donald Trump going to stop embarrassing his friends, let alone the whole country?”

A Fox source said Murdoch has been working hard behind the scenes to make sure the network appears completely above board in hosting the debate while, at the same time, he’s made his wishes quite clear.

“‘Throw Bozo off the train’ are his exact words,” said a Fox source.

For Ailes, who has long claimed absolute autonomy in running Murdoch’s television news division, eliminating Trump is no easy task given a good sized chunk of his audience are Trump supporters and, in eliminating him, he has to preserve the network’s appearance of being, as it has always boasted, “fair and balanced.”

“It’s no secret Rupert is miffed,” Ailes wrote in his memo to the staff. “So make no mistake about it: this is a go. We’ve got to come up with new criteria that will make sure Mr. Trump is not in this debate. I don’t think I need to remind any of you that if we don’t pull this one off, my ass — and your asses — are soon going to be turning on an Aussie barbecue spit.”

The brainstorming sessions quickly produced obvious criteria that would cut Trump from the field: number of failed marriages; number of failed businesses; number of bankruptcies. But those are so obvious Fox executives fear it would destroy the network’s credibility, said sources.

Another obvious elimination criteria was to pick on Trump’s Bozo the Clownish appearance and play on the birther idea that maybe — in the way that Trump claimed Obama is not really American, but was born in Kenya — maybe Trump isn’t really HUMAN.

“We thought, how about as an eliminator, ‘Your hair can’t appear to have been transplanted from another species,’” said a Fox source.

But Ailes, who loved the cross-species hair idea in the brainstorming session (he jumped up and screamed “this rocks so hard it’s Paleozoic!” said a source), backed off in his memo.

“Trump’s hair is a well-established punch line,” Ailes wrote. “A little too obvious. We’d be accused of piling on. Another problem, according to anthropologists I’ve talked to, is there is no consensus in the scientific community about exactly what hair looks like when it has been transplanted from one species to another. We could be talking about Rand Paul.”

Ailes also argued that similar criteria could be used to eliminate other candidates.

“Have you ever noticed Scott Walker’s head from a certain angle, the way his head is shaped? It’s catawampus. But is ‘catawampus head’ a fair and balanced criteria for eliminating Scott Walker from the debate? I don’t think you can make that case.”

With the debate just days away, Fox executives are grasping at almost anything to eliminate Trump and still appear fair.

“We thought about a three-legged sack race with the first five finishing pairs making it to the debate,” said a source who was in on the brain-storming session.

“Everybody is at the starting line, everybody has an equal chance,” said the source. “We figured, OK, Trump is pretty fat, Trump is pretty old and Trump is pretty slow. So, you know, Trump is pretty toast.”

But Ailes killed that idea at the end of his 12-page memo.

“I doubt anybody would want to get into the sack with either Chris Christie, or Carly Fiorina — any sack, under any circumstance, for obvious reasons,” he wrote. “So, here again we have strayed into collateral damage, we are eliminating candidates we want to keep in the debate.

“My patience is wearing thin guys.  Do I have to keep reminding you that there’s just one guy we want to eliminate from this debate and he’s a guy who is pretty easy to spot because he’s the only one who looks like he’s wearing a hairpiece from Yerkes Primate Center?

“Godspeed.

“Kindest Regards.

“Roger.”

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Image: FOX News Debate Cast: Competition for the number ten spot by DonkeyHotey via his flickr photo stream and used under a Creative Commons license.
Jeffry Scott

Jeffry Scott

Jeffry Scott is a former staff reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution where, over the course of 24 years, he covered two of the biggest trials in the city's history -- the racketeering trial of former mayor Bill Campbell, and the trial of courthouse shooter, Brian Nichols -- and wrote features on travel, food, politics, movies, TV and advertising, and covered breaking news on the metro desk. He left the paper two years ago and is living, quite happily, in St. Petersburg, Fla., as a freelance writer.