How Donald Trump Lost Powerful Media Conservatives

Former President Donald Trump appears to be losing the support of some of the most prominent figures in conservative media despite the fact he may be preparing for another White House run.

Conservative media, and in particular outlets owned by billionaire mogul Rupert Murdoch, have long been broadly supportive of the former president but there have been signs of moving away from Trump in recent weeks.

Just this week both Fox News host Laura Ingraham and Infowars host Alex Jones signaled they had distanced themselves from Trump, though Jones was more direct in endorsing one of Trump's potential political rivals.

Jones said during a live stream on Wednesday that he had been "persecuted" for his support of Trump and "that made me kind of pigheadedly support him a few years ago even though I disagreed with his Warp Speed," referring to the Trump administration's COVID-19 vaccination program.

Donald Trump, Rupert Murdoch and Alex Jones
In this combination image, Former U.S. President Donald Trump (L) leaves Trump Tower in New York City on August 10, 2022. Rupert Murdoch (R) is seen at The Plaza Hotel in NYC on November 19, 2019. Infowars host Alex Jones (inset) is photographed in Austin, Texas on August 3, 2022. Murdoch and Jones, along with other conservative media figures, appear to have moved away from supporting Trump. Getty

"But that said, I am supporting DeSantis. DeSantis is just gone from being awesome to being unbelievably good...He's getting red-pilled more and more each day...I'm a DeSantis guy," Jones said.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is considered a rising star in the Republican Party and a potential rival if Trump chooses to seek the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, as the former president has repeatedly hinted he will.

Jones' change of heart appeared to be based on Trump's support for the vaccine.

Ingraham, one of the most well-known Fox News hosts, told The Truth with Lisa Boothe podcast this week that she had doubts about Republicans backing Trump if he ran again and said the country was "exhausted by the battle" involved in supporting Trump.

"They may believe that, well, maybe it's time to turn the page if we can get someone who has all Trump's policies, who's not Trump," Ingraham said.

She suggested that candidates who supported the same policies as Trump might be a better option for voters.

"The other problem is that it's really not about Trump," Ingraham said, but rather "the views that Trump now brought to the floor for the Republican Party."

Fox Corporation chief executive officer Lachlan Murdoch has privately criticized Trump, according to a CNN report on August 10 citing sources familiar with the matter.

Murdoch also reportedly freely criticized the former president's behavior and said that it would be bad for the country if he were to run for office again.

Lachlan Murdoch's father, Rupert Murdoch, is co-chairman of the Fox Corporation and executive chairman of News Corp, which owns the New York Post and The Wall Street Journal. There have been multiple reports that the elder Murdoch has criticized Trump.

Both newspapers took aim at the former president in July as a result of the hearings of the House of Representatives Select Committee investigating the events of January 6, 2021.

The New York Post wrote that Trump's actions on January 6 were a matter of "eternal shame," while The Wall Street Journal said that Trump had "utterly failed" the test on January 6, which former Vice President Mike Pence had passed.

Those editorials may have been an indication that Murdoch was attempting to break with the former president.

The January 6 hearings also prompted a harsh rebuke from the Washington Examiner, a prominent conservative outlet, following the testimony from former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson.

The outlet declared Trump "unfit for power" in an editorial on June 29.

"Trump is a disgrace. Republicans have far better options to lead the party in 2024. No one should think otherwise, much less support him, ever again," the editorial said.

The former president has not formally declared his intention to run for the White House again in 2024 but he has repeatedly hinted at it during public appearances.

It remains to be seen how that campaign might be affected by prominent conservative media figures moving away from Trump or whether they will rally around him if he wins the GOP nomination again.

Newsweek reached out to former President Trump's office for comment.