What Are Friends For?

screen shot 2016-02-17 at 10.29.41 amCable Gamer Erik Wemple at the Post wrote up a bit of a to-and-fro between Donald Trump and the Wall Street Journal over a poll that didn’t happen to have Mr. Trump in the #1 spot. The article dealt with a Trump interview where he railed at the WSJ, Roger Ailes, and tossed in Fox News for good measure:

On his broader treatment in the media, Trump said that Fox News gives him the most trouble. “The worst treatment I get is from Fox,” said Trump, citing the negative reviews from Karl Rove (“moron”) and Charles Krauthammer. “[Fox News chief] Roger Ailes won’t lift his finger to help me,” said Trump.

Wemple served up the delights of a resurgent Trump/Fox feud, then wrapped with a favorite flourish: a swipe at Fox & Friends:

…what a self-centered ingrate Donald Trump has proved himself. Doesn’t he appreciate all those sweet appearances on “Fox & Friends” over the years?

Wemple’s link goes to one of his many posts railing against Fox & Friends for being sycophantic, stupid, or just plain “awful.” But why?

It wasn’t a troublesome WSJ poll that triggered this recent string of Trump zingers. Trump was already unloading on Fox News Wednesday at 9:49 am:

What had gotten Trump’s nose out of joint at that hour? Maybe it had something to do with the appearance he made on Fox News just minutes earlier. Mr. Wemple didn’t mention it, but Business Insider did:

Fox News hosts grill Donald Trump in tense interview about his George W. Bush criticism: In a tense exchange, the hosts of “Fox & Friends” grilled Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump…

On the question of lying about WMD’s Brian Kilmeade challenged Trump:

[Former Secretary of State] Madeleine Albright said they were there, [former President] Bill Clinton said they were there, [former French President] Jacques Chirac said they were there, the Portuguese prime minster said they were there, [former Egyptian President] Hosni Mubarak said they were there.

And more:

Host Steve Doocy jumped into the fray. He brought the conversation back to immigration by pointing out that a “number of people in this country” have overstayed their visas. Trump said if his proposed policies had been in effect, the 9/11 attackers would not have been able to get into the US. “In nine months you would have swept up every person overstaying their visa?” Doocy asked incredulously.

The Inquisitor traced the after-effects of this on-air confrontation:

The friction generated during the live interview remained stuck in Trump’s craw well into Thursday morning, when the outspoken and social media savvy candidate took to Twitter for an airing of grievances. While he also took a shot at the Wall Street Journal, the main subject of his disdain was Fox News. “[Fox News] is changing their theme from ‘fair and balanced’ to ‘unfair and unbalanced,’” Trump tweeted.

This is why The Cable Gamer finds it odd that Mr. Wemple brought up yet again how “awful” and “sycophantic” Fox & Friends is. Why reiterate an old, familiar narrative about the “sycophantic” Fox & Friends when it clearly did not apply? Wouldn’t a “tense” confrontation that arguably sparked Trump’s latest salvos at Fox be more pertinent than an off-target meme? Yet the fractious encounter was ignored so Fox & Friends could again serve its purpose as a columnist’s favorite pincushion.

Fasten your seat belts, Ainsley. If Erik Wemple is still on his anti-Fox & Friends bender, you are in for a bumpy ride.



  1. Michael Bennett

    I smiled at Rupert Murdock’s tweet in response to Trump’s assertion.

    Trump blames me for WSJ poll, fights FoxNews. Time to calm down. If I’m running anti-Trump conspiracy then doing lousy job!

    On that point I can name at least 10 mainstays (contributors & hosts) who are reliably uncritical (or rarely critical) of Donald Trump.

    The F&F tense exchange with Trump was certainly and example of this. They have been some of the most reliable Trump fans on all of Fox News.


  2. notfoxy

    Wemple’s point is that Fox spent years building the Trump political brand on Fox & Friends, but I agree he picked an odd time to mention, especially while excluding that F&F was the program Trump was mad at. It’s sloppy enough to make me think Mr. Wemple didn’t do the research about what Trump was reacting to.


  3. Michael Bennett

    “Especially while excluding that F&F was the program Trump was mad at.”

    Not according to Wemple who wrote, “‘The worst treatment I get is from Fox,’ said Trump, citing the negative reviews from Karl Rove (“moron”) and Charles Krauthammer.”


  4. Michael Bennett

    I should add that I agree with TCG that the timing of Trump’s tweet suggests he was upset with the F&F 9/11 grilling — but that’s not what was said during the radio interview — the main topic of Wemple’s article.


    • notfoxy

      At any rate, Trump’s accusations against FNC are ludicrous. They promoted him in house as a conservative thinker for years, and he still gets plenty of support on various opinion shows. This ‘shouting at Fox’ thing is a game, and Roger Ailes knows it.


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