Everyone knows there’s a ‘special’ relationship between Fox News and Donald Trump.
The Rupert Murdoch-owned cable channel has long been one of Trump’s biggest cheerleaders, and Trump has rewarded it by giving it exclusive interviews, comments and access to him and his administration.
Fox News host Sean Hannity has a particularly close bond with The Donald, who has singled him out for praise thanks to his favourable coverage of the president.
Hannity’s also been one of Trump’s biggest defenders through the coronavirus pandemic, despite criticism from other parts of Fox News (that Trump has reacted badly to) on his handling of the crisis.
Which is perhaps why Hannity was so shocked when he welcomed a guest onto his show who proceeded to lay into Trump in the strongest possible terms.
Mark Cuban, a billionaire who owns the Dallas Mavericks, was Hannity’s Wednesday night guest.
Hannity introduced Cuban by saying that one of things that he liked about Cuban was his ability to “call it as it is”.
His enthusiasm for this trait quickly faded.
Cuban started off following Hannity’s line by saying that Democratic nominee Joe Biden “scared him” but followed the comment up by adding that Trump scared him in “more areas right now”.
“Donald doesn’t put the best people in place any longer,” said Cuban, on Trump’s choices for his administration.
“Now he just wants people that are loyal to him and that’s a problem. It’s created more problems in this pandemic”.
He didn’t end there.
While Cuban then praised Trump for his previous economic record, he also said “those days are behind us now,” before launching into an excoriating attack where he accused Trump of “playing the victim”.
This is what really bothers me about the president: He's the most powerful man in the world, and he always plays the victim card: 'The Dems are out to get me, the media is out to get me.'
You've got to be the leader. You've got to be the strongest man in the game, and he just hasn't shown that strength.
A shocked Hannity then remonstrated with Cuban saying, “Mark, they spied on the guy”.
“Who cares?” replied Cuban. “He’s the most powerful man in the world”.
He's supposed to be the world's best counterpuncher. He hasn't been able to knock anybody out. He just plays the victim.
The man has got to be leader and he just hasn’t shown that yet.
At this point Hannity no longer seemed pleased with Cuban’s penchant for “telling it like it is”.
It provided some entertainment for people used to seeing Hannity interviews go one way though.
A rich and powerful man criticising Donald on his favourite TV channel?
Cue a stream of furious Trump tweets in three…. two… one.