A connection has become increasingly apparent in recent days between President Donald Trump’s more provocative statements on Twitter and recently aired Fox News segments.
As CNN’s Brian Stelter pointed out on Thursday, Trump dubbed former army intelligence official Chelsea Manning an “ungrateful traitor” who made former President Barack Obama look like a “weak leader.” The tweet came just minutes after “Fox & Friends Early” ran a segment characterising Manning in those exact terms.
Obama commuted Manning’s sentence shortly before leaving office, saying she “served a tough prison sentence” longer than most other major information leakers.
Separately on Tuesday, Trump threatened to “send in the Feds” to Chicago. He quoted the same statistics and language from an “O’Reilly Factor” segment about the topic slightly after it aired.
The tweets follow a pattern for Trump. Trump’s Fox News viewership is part of a fairly routine media diet.
Trump generally eschews online articles in favour of hard copies of the The New York Times and The New York Post. He also frequently tunes into cable TV — most notably MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and NBC’s “Meet The Press” — and will watch aides and surrogates during high-profile interviews.
Many top policymakers have taken notice of Trump’s viewership habits. They have even attempted to get their message to the president via his favourite TV programs.
During an interview on “Morning Joe” on Wednesday, host Joe Scarborough asked Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings about how he would work with Trump on lowering prescription drug costs. The congressman responded by addressing Trump directly.
“Joe, I want to thank you all for giving that opening, and to the president, I know you’re watching, so I’m looking forward to meeting with you,” Cummings said.
Shortly after the segment aired, Trump called Cummings to talk drug prices.
14 minutes apart: Fox says “ungrateful traitor,” Trump says “ungrateful traitor,” Fox says “weak leader,” Trump says “weak leader.” pic.twitter.com/f7urTOUG1L
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) January 26, 2017