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How the Fox News feedback loop is responsible for ‘every bad decision’ Donald Trump makes

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Fox News is responsible for “every bad decision” President Donald Trump makes, writer Matthew Gertz argues in a Daily Beast column.

Gertz’s argument opens with what Trump did the morning after he gave in on the government shutdown he forced in a standoff with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi over funding the border wall that he promised voters Mexico would pay for in the 2016 election. After ending the shutdown, Trump turned on Fox & Friends and tweeted about what he saw.

This is very typical, Gertz writes.

“For more than a year, I’ve studied this Trump-Fox feedback loop, the president’s habit of live-tweeting his favorite shows on the right-wing cable news network,” he writes.”Fox helped build Trump’s political brand and fuel his electoral rise, and in recent years has remade itself as a propaganda outlet in support of his presidency. Trump, in turn, has long been obsessed with the network. His worldview and decision making are shaped by the former network personalities with whom he has stocked his administration.”

Because Fox and Trump are so simpatico, the network wields immense influence over the national conversation. Which turns “the network’s particular fixations into national news.”

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One example is Tucker Carlson’s outrageous claims about whites suffering South Africa, which the evening host had to walk back after Trump took him too seriously, potentially prompting an international incident.

Gertz says the shutdown standoff, in which Trump was humiliated by having to face reality while remaining defiant, shows the feedback loop at its most dangerous.

“Trump’s incessant craving for validation from the network’s conservative commentators,” caused the standoff, “but there is no evidence Trump has learned anything from the crushing defeat, suggesting that he will continue trying to make policy with respect to the wall and other issues, on the basis of whether it pleases Fox hosts.”

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Gertz says the same loop is likely to lead to Trump declaring a national emergency to fund the wall, even as Republicans in Congress tell Trump it’s a “terrible idea.”

“We’ve seen how this played out before,” Gertz writes. “The president will continue to wallow in Fox’s programming, as night after night its hosts tell him that the declaration is his only way to win. And eventually, he will listen.”

Read the full column here.


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Jeffrey Epstein’s IT consultant reveals he saw girls who ‘couldn’t have more than 15 or 16’ on private island

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ABC News broke a story just after midnight Thursday about a former IT consultant of Jeffrey Epstein's who resigned because he couldn't take some of the things he was seeing on Epstein's private island compound.

The island, which has been called "pedophile island" by locals, had "topless women everywhere.

"There were photos of topless women everywhere," said contractor Steve Scully, who began working for Epstein in 1999 and continued for six years. "On his desk, in his office, in his bedroom."

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‘Names are going to start coming out’: New report says more elites will be exposed in the Epstein case — and ‘DC is on edge’

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Will other powerful people — presumably men — get taken down as a result of the sex trafficking case against Jeffrey Epstein?

That’s the hope of many closer followers of the story, but it’s far from clear what, if any, fallout there will be. Epstein’s connections to Presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump have raised suspicions about potential evidence of their wrongdoing, such suspicions remain unproven. Alan Dershowitz has already faced accusations of being involved in Epstein’s crimes, though he denies the charge vigorously.

But a new report from Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman says that “DC is on edge” over the Epstein case, and any elites who have run in his circles could be involved. Dozens of girls, if not more, are believed to be involved in his alleged sex trafficking, and lawyers for some of the women who have accused Epstein are strongly suggesting that other high-profile figures will be implicated.

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‘It’s so un-American’: Internet scorches Trump supporters for racist chants of ‘Send her back!’

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The ignoble highlight of President Donald Trump's rally in Greenville, North Carolina on Wednesday was when his fans doubled down on his racist attacks on four Democratic congresswomen of color and targeted Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), chanting "Send her back! Send her back!"

Political commentators of all stripes were gobsmacked by the crowd's naked racism — and buried them in condemnation:

The crowd at Trump’s rally chanting “send her back” after the President viciously and dishonestly attacked Ilhan Omar is one of the most chilling and horrifying things I’ve ever seen in politics.

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