Throughout the 2020 presidential campaign, Donald Trump has affirmed his cowardly approach to the media. The vast majority of his interviews have been reserved for the Fox News Trump-fluffers that he knows will be gentle with him. He has virtually sealed himself in a Fox News bunker. But despite his tedious and impotent repetition of Stalinist inspired catch phrases like “fake news” and “the media is the enemy of the people,” Trump, as he recently admitted, spends hours watching Fox every day.
Trump's reliance on glassy-eyed disciples like Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson, Lou Dobbs, and Maria Bartiromo, is further evidence of the cult-like nature of his following. And no one can plausibly deny that Fox News isn't fulfilling its role as Trump's Ministry of Disinformation. It's the same sort of mutually beneficial relationship that parasites enjoy with their willing hosts.
On Tuesday morning Trump visited once again with the network's “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends. The “interview” was typical of the slobbering tongue baths that Trump is accustomed to on the network. The adoring hosts smiled vacantly as Trump accused Joe Biden of using drugs during previous debates and public appearances. They declined to follow up after he asserted that the governor of Nevada is going to rig the ballots in his state. They fawned over his phony “peace” agreement that entirely excluded the Palestinians. They valiantly kept straight faces when Trump blamed wildfires on “exploding trees.”
However, there was a moment of melodrama when Trump seemed to reveal a secret agreement that he made with his Fox News benefactors. It went something like this…
Trump: It's good to be here. It's great to be with my friends. I think we're gonna do this, we've agreed to do it once a week in the morning, and I look forward to it. Like the old days.
Steve Doocy: I haven't heard that. Well, that's an exclusive.right there.
So Trump just broke the news of a programming agreement between him and Fox. Trump was also fondly recalling his pre-presidential days when he had a weekly segment on Fox and Friends called “Mondays with Trump.” However, now that he resides in the White House, such an arrangement would be wholly inappropriate for both Trump and Fox News. It was so improper that when Trump repeated the news later in the program, Doocy – probably on orders from producers in the control room – shot it down in this awkward exchange:
Trump: We’re going to do it every week. Every Monday, I think they said. And if we can’t do it on a Monday, we’ll do it on a Tuesday like we did today.
Doocy: You may want to do it every week but Fox has not committed to that. We’re going to take it on a case-by-case basis. And Joe Biden, as well, is always welcome to join us for 47 minutes like we just did with the president.
Note that Trump had already hung up by the time Doocy issued his denial that an agreement had been reached. But Trump was not expressing some vague desire to have a weekly segment. He explicitly said that “we've agreed to do it,” and referred to what “they said” about his new regular Fox gig. Of course knowing Trump, that could have been either a lie, a figment of his imagination, or the truth that was supposed to be confidential.
No matter, Trump's casual acceptance of such a flagrantly unethical deal reveals how comfortable he is with embracing blatant propaganda. It also tells us that he has an hour available to chat with with his Fox friends every week. That's important because it would significantly cut into his other primary duties: golfing, tweeting, and watching other programs on Fox News.
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