Fox News Once Gave Trump a Perch. Now It’s His Bullhorn.

Fox News Once Gave Trump a Perch. Now It’s His Bullhorn.

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Mr. Shine is also not the first Fox News figure to join a White House in a high-ranking role: Tony Snow, the original host of “Fox News Sunday,” became George W. Bush’s press secretary in 2006.

There was a time when Fox News commentators were more willing to criticize Mr. Trump.

In July 2015, Mr. Trump, then a long-shot candidate, derided Senator John McCain’s captivity in Vietnam. “If Eric Holder had said this — Fox News, we’d be covering it 24-7,” Greg Gutfeld, co-host of “The Five,” said on the show. “We would be demanding resignations and investigations, which is why we need to hold Donald Trump to the same standards.”

Roger E. Ailes, the channel’s late chairman, said it was “disturbing” after Mr. Trump suggested that Megyn Kelly had asked tough questions during a primary-season debate because she was menstruating. And Bill O’Reilly, while still the No. 1 anchor on Fox News, challenged Mr. Trump over his sympathies for Vladimir Putin.

Ms. Kelly has since left Fox News for NBC, and Mr. O’Reilly was ousted after a sexual harassment scandal. They were replaced in prime time by Ms. Ingraham and Mr. Carlson, who frequently draw bigger audiences than their predecessors.

Those higher ratings have kept Fox News ahead of MSNBC and CNN in the Nielsen charts, and the network recently celebrated its 197th consecutive month — that’s 16 years, 5 months — as the most-watched cable news network in prime time and over the 24-hour broadcast day. It generates more than $1 billion in annual advertising revenue for Rupert Murdoch’s media empire.

People inside Fox News say that with Mr. Ailes out of the picture, the network’s producers and hosts have more leeway. These days they intuit what their viewers want and adjust their programming accordingly.

Ralph Peters, a retired lieutenant colonel in the United States Army with an expertise in United States-Russia relations, recently quit his job as a Fox News analyst, calling the network a “propaganda machine.” In an interview, he said that during his final months at the network, “I was asked ever less frequently to speak about anything that touched Trump and Russia.”

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