Former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather wondered Wednesday if the ongoing rift between Fox News and Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump was more fraud than feud. “I’m a little suspicious, with not much evidence,” he told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, “I’m a little suspicious of this battle between Trump and Fox News.”
Rather suggested the Trump and Fox might have “gotten together and planned this,” since “it works to their advantage, to their mutual benefit right now. Fox can argue, look we give sweetheart deals to every Republican candidate, and Trump could say, “I’m independent, I’m really independent, look even from Fox.”
The idea that Roger Ailes would put Megyn Kelly–in whom he has invested greatly as his next great star talent–into the middle of a manufactured but highly personal feud will make little sense to many who are familiar with Ailes or the workings of his news network.
But it wasn’t just Rather making floating conspiracy theory. On CBS This Morning Tuesday, correspondent Chip Reid attributed to “critics” the very same idea:
“The reason Trump says Kelly should apologize to him is that he says her questions in the debate were very unfair. By the way, some critics are wondering if the debate between Fox and Trump is manufactured. You might recall that after the first phase of the fight, Trump went on Fox and the ratings went through the roof. Some people are wondering if that is going to happen again.”