The rules Fox News plays by

Brian Stelter reports that Fox News head Roger Ailes and Donald Trump held a series of phone calls in which they reached a formal agreement to stop criticizing each other.

Trump said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that he thought Kelly should apologize to him.

“This was the final straw for Roger,” according to a source close to the situation.

Ailes’ office called Trump’s office. We “can resolve this now,” Ailes said to Trump, “or we can go to war.”

As we all know by now, war was averted. There is mutual respect between the two master negotiators. Trump has stopped criticizing Kelly. And Fox has stopped ignoring Trump on its shows.

But if this is a truce, it’s a tenuous one. In recent days Trump loyalists have leaked unflattering claims about Ailes, and Fox staffers have privately likened Trump to a crazy person.

If Hillary Clinton reached a formal agreement with a major news organization to get it to stop criticizing her, wouldn’t everybody go apeshit? Like let’s say a story leaked that Hillary Clinton had phone calls with the head of CNN and they agreed to lay off each other. Wouldn’t that discredit both parties for basically the rest of their careers? Yet Fox News gets to live in this alternate universe in which it gets to play by whatever rules it wants. It can criticize other media organizations (which it does repeatedly), all while excusing itself from the very rules it’s using to pummel others. But it’s become so accepted within political and media circles that the lead media reporter for CNN can write an article about such an agreement without even noting how unusual it is for a news organization to enter such a pact or how it basically violates every tenet of journalism.

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