In a conversation on Saturday with anchor Fredericka Whitfield, CNN media critic Brian Stelter called out Donald Trump’s fact-free “Fox News presidency,” in which the president is basing policy moves on unsubstantiated rumors and commentary he hears on the network and accepts as fact.
Whitfield said she found it odd that Trump tried the shift the blame for his “wiretaps” scandal on to Fox News commentator Andrew Napolitano, given the “rather cozy relationship” the president enjoys with the network.
“It’s the president’s favorite network,” Stelter said, “but it’s not often you hear any president say, ‘Oh, go talk to that cable channel. This is their issue, not mine.'”
The problem isn’t that Trump does not seem to be able to distinguish between commentary and actual reporting, Stelter said. Napolitano presented the information in both news and commentary formats and stated it as established fact.
Trump quoted Naplitano’s assertions about U.K. spy agencies being tasked to surveil Trump Towers as fact and sparked an international incident.
“What this all comes down to is that Pres. Trump is in some ways a Fox News presidency,” Stelter said. “He watches Fox a lot, he tweets about Fox, he gives most of his interviews to Fox. He hires former Fox staffers, he peddles information from Fox, so he’s in this feedback loop with one particular outlet and he’s especially getting information from the opinion programs on the network, which clearly skew to the right. They skew conservative.”
Trump became an international punch line after he alluded to a terror attack that took place in Sweden. The program he mistook for footage taken in the wake of a terror attack was actually a Tucker Carlson interview with an anti-immigrant filmmaker who was promoting his new movie.
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