Are President Donald Trump's tweets part of an elaborate plot to distract the American public from the numerous scandals confronting his administration -- or is the reality even more terrifying?
Media Matters researcher Matt Gertz has written a lengthy analysis of Trump's tweeting habits in Politico that claims that there is no grand plan in the tweets.
Instead, the president is mostly reacting viscerally to whatever he happens to be watching on Fox News.
"After comparing the president’s tweets to Fox coverage every day since October, I can tell you that the Fox-Trump feedback loop is happening far more often than you think," Gertz writes. "There is no strategy to Trump’s Twitter feed; he is not trying to distract the media. He is being distracted."
What makes this particularly disturbing, says Gertz, is that the president doesn't seem to learn about global events from his own intelligence agencies, and instead relies primarily on "Fox & Friends" as his morning intelligence briefing.
More broadly, Gertz writes that this Fox-to-Trump feedback loop is an incredibly powerful tool for conservatives because it forces the mainstream press to cover the topics Fox wants them to talk about -- while at the same time forcing them to at least mention Fox's framing of particular issues.
"The network’s partisan programming gets validation from the president, and forces the rest of the press to cover Fox’s obsessions whether they are newsworthy or not," he writes.