Donald Trump: A Fox News President
CNN/Stylemagazine.com Newswire | 3/20/2017, 1:15 p.m.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Donald Trump's presidency is shaped by Fox News.
Trump doesn't just watch the channel, he peddles information he hears from it, citing Fox in his defense while standing alongside the leader of one of America's most important allies.
Trump tweets about stories he sees on Fox. He uses Fox graphics to advance his agenda. And he gives his TV interviews to Fox — five of the seven he's sat down for since moving into the White House.
Trump hires former Fox staffers. He promotes Fox as "fair" and attacks its rivals as "fake." And now he's dealing with an international incident provoked by a Fox commentator.
On Day 58 of the Trump presidency, none of it is surprising anymore. But it still is extraordinary.
"It's hard to think of a similarly close relationship between a president and a single outlet," historian Jon Meacham told CNN. "Politicians have always had favored reporters to whom they leaked, but I really think you would have to go all the way back to the overtly partisan press of the 19th century to find a parallel."
It seems like Trump "listens to Fox News and other cable news shows as if they were his advisers," RealClearPolitics reporter Rebecca Berg said on CNN's "The Situation Room."
Trump has 26.6 million followers on Twitter and has been called a social media president. He's also been called a cable news president. Lately, however, he has earned a more specific title: a Fox News president.
Opinion shows like "Fox & Friends" and "Hannity" seem to influence the president. In mid-February, for instance, the president ignited a furor by citing a non-existent terror attack in Sweden after seeing a "Tucker Carlson Tonight" segment about "refugee violence in Sweden."
And the president has tweeted or retweeted about Fox segments a dozen times so far in March.
Trump's three most recent TV interviews have been with Fox interviewers. Fox's Jesse Watters — a Bill O'Reilly sidekick who now has a Saturday night show — joked around with Trump and asked him about Alec Baldwin and Snoop Dogg, among other subjects. At the end of the interview, Trump praised Watters, said he "should be making good money" at Fox, and added, "honestly, you've been so nice to me."
On Instagram, Watters posted a picture with Trump on Air Force One, with both men flashing thumbs-up to the camera. Fox stars like Sean Hannity have also been giving Trump a big thumbs-up on a daily basis.
While the channel's highly-rated opinion shows feature both liberal and conservative guests, the shows are a rather consistent source of support for the president's agenda -- a morale booster of sorts amid skeptical coverage on other channels.
Detractors say that Trump and his aides, by relying too heavily on the conservative media echo chamber, are closing themselves off to the kind of debate and flow of information that governing requires.
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