David French wrote an essay ripping FOX News Channel, saying the network is "killing the conservative movement."
Back in June, National Review columnist French said he gave "serious thought" to running as a third-party presidential candidate to steal conservative votes from Donald Trump, but ultimately decided that he's not the right candidate. Now he's turning his attention to how conservatives need to succeed without leaning on Fox News.
French wrote that it's "hard to overstate the power of Fox News for those seeking a career in the conservative movement," and explained that despite a terrible appearance on Fox News, it helped his career simply because he can say he appeared on the network.
"I've seen the most accomplished of lawyers suddenly become 'somebody' only after they regularly appear on Fox. I've seen young activists leave senators or representatives languishing alone in rooms as they flood over to Fox personalities, seeking selfies. Fox has become the prime gatekeeper of conservative fame, the source of conservative book deals, and the ticket into the true pantheon of conservative influence," French wrote.
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Host Megyn Kelly prepares for her Fox News Channel show 'The Kelly File' in New York September 23, 2015. Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump has announced in a tweet Wednesday morning that he has decided not to appear on Fox shows in the "foreseeable future" as he believes he has been treated unfairly. After Trump's criticism of Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly and the show "The O'Reilly Factor" in his tweets on Monday and Tuesday, Fox News cancelled Trump's scheduled Thursday appearance on the show. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Fox News Channel host Bill O'Reilly poses on the set of his show "The O'Reilly Factor" in New York March 17, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT MEDIA)
Fox News Channel anchor Sean Hannity poses for photographs as he sits on the set of his show "Hannity" at the Fox News Channel's studios in New York City, October 28, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES - Tags: MEDIA POLITICS ENTERTAINMENT)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JUNE 12: Fox News Channel Host Gretchen Carlson speaks onstage during a 'Fireside Chat on Persecuted' at Variety's Purpose: The Family Entertainment and Faith-Based Summit in association with Rogers And Cowan at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills on June 12, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for Variety)
U.S. President Barack Obama participates in an interview with Chris Wallace (R), anchor of "Fox News Sunday", in the Blue Room of the White House in Washington September 9, 2013. REUTERS/Pete Souza/The White House/Handout via Reuters (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS MEDIA) ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 22: TV Anchor Steve Doocy at Fox & Friends All-American Concert Series at FOX Studios on May 22, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/WireImage)
From left, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Bob Beckel, Eric Bolling, Dana Perino, Greg Gutfeld and Andrea Tantaros co-hosts of Fox News Channel's "The Five" pose for a portrait in studio following a taping of the show Monday, Jul. 1, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Carlo Allegri/Invision/AP Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 10: Fox News anchor Shepard Smith on the set of 'Studio B with Shepard Smith' at Fox News studios in New York. Fox News Channel celebrated its 15th anniversary on the air on October 7th.
"Fox Business Morning" correspondent Jenna Lee discusses the day's financial news during the debut of the Fox Business Network in New York October 15, 2007. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (UNITED STATES)
DES MOINES, IA - JANUARY 28: Moderators Martha MacCallum (R) and Bill Hemmer (L) wait for the beginning of the first forum of the Fox News - Google GOP Debate January 28, 2016 at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa. Residents of Iowa will vote for the Republican nominee at the caucuses on February 1. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
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Fox News was the most-watched cable network during the month of August, has constructed a "comfortable conservative cocoon," French wrote.
He continued: "Conservatives gain fame, power, and influence mainly by talking to each other. They persuade each other of the rightness of their ideas and write Fox-fueled best-selling books making arguments that Fox viewers love. The sheer size of the audience lulls minor political celebrities into believing that they're making a cultural and political difference. But they never get a chance to preach to the unconverted."
French said that Fox News essentially has the power to keep a topic in the conservative conversation, pointing to the network's continued coverage of Benghazi as an example.
"I'm not ascribing nefarious motives to Fox executives. They know their audience and they play to it. Conservative leaders and conservative politicians should likewise be savvy enough to know the limitations of the network's reach: It doesn't speak to a majority; it speaks to a bubble. But such is the allure of the community within the bubble that a person can't help but walk through its gates," he wrote.
French suggested that the GOP primary had so many candidates because some of them were auditioning for Fox News. French notes that the GOP hasn't won many presidential elections since Fox News launched in 1996.
"But prior to 1996, a politician could truly succeed only by going to the American people through the media outlets they actually watched, which encouraged communication that persuaded those who weren't true believers," He wrote. "The conservative movement is a victim of Fox's success. The network is so strong that conservatives who ignore it risk obscurity and irrelevance, even as it remains far too weak to truly transform the landscape."