Herewith another in an interminable series of posts surfacing transcripts from the proceedings on “Fox & Friends,” the Fox News program that hews most closely to state-run media among significant national media outlets.
On Tuesday night, President Trump held a rally in Phoenix in which he, again, showcased his unhinged and dangerous conduct. Hurting for policy victories and lacking, as always, in familiarity with the issues, the president put more oomph than usual into his anti-media message, slamming the New York Times, CNN and the entire industry dedicated to holding his White House accountable. The nadir came when he voiced his belief that journos don’t “like our country.”
Considering that “Fox & Friends” is part of a news network, you might suppose that such rhetoric would chill the program’s co-hosts. Or at least prompt some neutral coverage of such a contention. But no way: Wednesday’s program started with the upbeat tune “R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.” by John Mellencamp, providing a nice little segue for the discussion of Trump’s Phoenix performance:
Co-host Steve Doocy: Rocking down in Phoenix last night — that’s what the president was.
Co-host Ainsley Earhardt: Watched the whole thing. He spent like the first — what do you say, 30 minutes, maybe, 15, 20 minutes — talking about fake news, spinning his message and he gave several examples.
Doocy: Sure, you know what he is trying to do — he’s trying to recharge his base after 10 days of withering criticism after what happened in Charlottesville. He talked last night about the importance of unity as we are a nation of many races. If you missed it, we boiled down about a 1:42 of the good stuff. Listen to this.
“I’m here tonight to send a message. We are fully and totally committed to fighting for our agenda and we will not stop until the job is done…And we are building a wall on the southern border, which is absolutely necessary…Now, the obstructionist Democrats would like us not to do it but, believe me, if we have to close down our government, we’re building that wall…The media can attack me, but where I draw the line is when they attack you, which is what they do. When they attack, the decency of our supporters…It’s time to expose the crooked media deceptions and to challenge the media for their role in fomenting divisions…These are truly dishonest people. And not all of them. Not all of them. You have some very good reporters. You have some very fair journalists. For the most part, honestly, these are really, really dishonest people and they’re bad people and I really don’t think they like our country. I really believe that.”
Co-host Brian Kilmeade: The president last night saw the tell teleprompter and looked elsewhere. He actually ad-libbed his way almost through the entire thing. I’ve talked to people who say he will sometimes give four speeches in a day and every speech will be different. And last night he felt he was in his element. I thought also must be heartening to him is that [they were] supposed to have 3,900 of one protest group. The other one had 2,700 of another group. Another promised 1,100 would show up. There weren’t that many protesters on the outside — they were basically in control. I think the other networks were dying for the protesters to be the story. Instead, the president was himself.
We won’t dispute Kilmeade’s conclusion. “Himself,” after all, means questioning the patriotism of the U.S. media. Or “good stuff” in the judgment of the “Fox & Friends” franchise. It’s this brand of sycophancy that has so impressed Trump. In the rally on Tuesday night, the president cycled through assessment of various media outlets, including this bit: “‘Fox & Friends’ in the morning is the best show and it’s the absolute most honest show and it’s a show I watch.”
For whatever reason, “Fox & Friends” didn’t include that endorsement in its highlight reel.