Fox News has been a bedrock of support for US President Donald Trump, but that might be changing as the impeachment inquiry in Washington, DC gathers steam.

With Trump tweeting about a coup and talk of a looming civil war, there are signs of an in-house civil war at the influential broadcaster.

The complaint at the centre of the impeachment story, filed by an anonymous whistle-blower, alleges Trump abused his powers by asking the government of Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden, a possible opponent in next year's presidential election.

"Donald Trump leveraged his power over a Ukrainian leader and that's, very simple. You can explain that to, to almost anyone and once you explain to them that it's illegal, it will be very easy for them to understand that," says Luke O'Neil, a contributing writer for the Guardian US.

There were some signs, before the Ukraine story, of dissent at the network on where Fox should draw the line in its support of Trump. But this story has laid bare divisions like never before. On the air, hosts argue with each other reflecting a deeper split among Fox executives and within the network's owners, the Murdoch family.

And as Fox's best-known viewer, it is not like Trump has not noticed. Some of those angry tweets he used to reserve for CNN and the New York Times are now heading Fox's way.

Alayna Treene, White House reporter for Axios, a US news and information website, says Trump has recently been calling into question some of the more conservative Fox media hosts as well as the network itself for not always coming to his defence.

"The president expects Fox to be in his corner," Treene says. "He expects people on those shows to come to his defence and when they don't necessarily, at least in his eyes, there is some tension there."

But Treene points out that Trump's relationship with Fox News is unlikely to change.

"He may criticise certain people within Fox but his relationship with the network as a whole is still very strong. He needs Fox in a way that they really get to his base. They get to the people who vote for him and will, he hopes, vote for him again."

In 1974, Richard Nixon became the only US president to ever resign from office, after facing the Watergate scandal revealed by the Washington Post.

"If you read about Watergate, a lot of the big revelations that occurred in the Washington Post during the Watergate hearings, there wasn't this kind of this right-wing infrastructure spinning it immediately into tens of millions of people every night," Aaron Rupar, associate editor of Vox, says.

He adds: "I do think that it's likely that Nixon would have survived Watergate had he had something like Fox News spinning the Watergate hearings highlighting Democrats looking bad during moments where they were questioning witnesses that sort of thing. You know it kind of provides a whole different way of interpreting news events."


David Folkenflik - media correspondent, NPR News and author of Murdoch's World: The Last of the Old Media Empires

Aaron Rupar - associate editor, Vox

Alayna Treene - White House reporter, Axios

Luke O'Neil - contributing writer, the Guardian US and author of Welcome to Hell World: Dispatches from the American Dystopia

Source: Al Jazeera News