Credit where credit is due: Every now and then Fox News doesn’t act like state media. It doesn’t happen often, but they will — maybe twice a month, perhaps even thrice — deviate from the president’s ever-impulsively changing whims. Sometimes, shocking though it is, they even take him to task for actions that aren’t, shall we say, presidential.
But it’s clear Trump doesn’t see their relationship that way. To the world leader who openly admires authoritarians and despots, Fox News is his very own Pravda. In the case of Fox and Friends, they’re even his semi-unwitting architects of his policies, feeding him ideas in the morning that he badly summarizes later in the day while tweet-storming from the can while stuffing his face with untold Filets-O-Fish.
Sunday morning Donald J. Trump was testier than usual, even uttering his umpteenth vague, dictatorial threat to SNL, perhaps unaware that the previous night’s episode had been a rerun. He saved some of his ire for Fox News, who he doesn’t feel are handling the Jeanine Pirro affair — in which she was suspended for saying objectively bigoted things about Rep. Ilhan Omar — all that well. (Warning: DJT thread.)
“Bring back @JudgeJeanine Pirro,” our president tweeted, then continued:
The Radical Left Democrats, working closely with their beloved partner, the Fake News Media, is using every trick in the book to SILENCE a majority of our Country. They have all out campaigns against @FoxNews hosts who are doing too well. Fox […] must stay strong and fight back with vigor. Stop working soooo hard on being politically correct, which will only bring you down, and continue to fight for our Country. The losers all want what you have, don’t give it to them. Be strong & prosper, be weak & die! Stay true […] to the people that got you there. Keep fighting for Tucker, and fight hard for @JudgeJeanine. Your competitors are jealous – they all want what you’ve got – NUMBER ONE. Don’t hand it to them on a silver platter. They can’t beat you, you can only beat yourselves!
As usual, there’s a lot to unpack here — a Finnegan’s Wake-level density that only the most erudite and patient can hope to conquer. The gyst, though, appears to be that Trump — the weekend following a massacre by an anti-Muslim extremist who praised the president in his manifesto — would never remove the platform for a bigoted public figure. If anything, it seems, now’s the time to double down on appalling statements, all while blithely denying that said statements, dog-whistled to people he’s scared into a frenzy, might have grisly real-world consequences.
Trump wasn’t done, though. He decided to offer his two cents on the small handful of Fox News staffers whose praise isn’t perpetually fulsome.
Shepard Smith, incidentally, tends to be the one Fox News anchor who stands up to the president, thereby proving that technically it isn’t always propaganda. Anyway, they should listen to him. Trump’s a reality TV vet — of a show whose staff and those who even briefly appeared on it considered him a laughing stock — so he knows ratings, alright?