Thursday, July 27, 2017

What did Donald Trump do today?

He gloated about the "failing" New York Times calling Fox News "powerful," without realizing why they said that.

Last week, Fox & Friends claimed, with no apparent evidence, that the NYT had published a story in 2015 that allowed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to evade capture by the United States. Trump immediately repeated the accusation on Twitter, suggesting (as is frequently the case) that he was watching and uncritically reacting to what he had just heard on television. The NYT, which received Pentagon approval before publishing the story in question, subsequently demanded an apology from Fox News.

Trump, who frequently retweets Fox News programs (and was still seething from the political damage he did to himself in a recent NYT interview), waded back into the debate with a tweet after Fox News ran an ad in the NYT quoting the NYT itself calling Fox & Friends "the most powerful TV show in America." 

Trump apparently didn't realize he was calling attention to an article by NYT television critic James Poniewozik that compared him to a distracted toddler and Fox & Friends to the kind of children's show like Romper Room where the hosts speak directly to the children they know are watching. 

Why does this matter?

  • A president who uncritically accepts whatever he hears in friendly media is being manipulated by that media.