President Trump and “Fox & Friends” hosts, from left, Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt and Brian Kilmeade. (Left: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post; Right: Getty Images)
Media critic

New York Times op-ed columnist Charles M. Blow writes, “In a way, America is being governed by the dimmest of wits on the most unscrupulous of networks. The very thought of it is horror-inducing.”

The Erik Wemple Blog offers one key edit: Delete “in a way.” The folks at “Fox & Friends” are very much governing the thoughts and impulses of President Trump. And there’s no hyperbole in invoking “horror” as a means of describing this spectacle. As Matthew Gertz of Media Matters for America has argued in a Politico Magazine piece, the feedback loop between the president and Fox News is “crazier than you think.”

The loop often traffics in trivialities, like this one:

Yet other times, “Fox & Friends” sparks riffs from Trump on more consequential topics, like crime and justice, the budget and other stuff. His famous boast about his nuclear endowment vis-à-vis that of North Korea’s Kim Jong Un appeared to have been inspired by a different Fox News program.

Looking at this extraordinary working relationship from the exterior, you have to wonder: What’s holding it together? Why is the president so high on “Fox & Friends”? And why is “Fox & Friends” so high on the president? The answer lies in the time they’ve spent together. This man and this impossibly foolish television program have been propping each other up for years and years. Even before Trump started his weekly Monday call-ins to the program in 2011, he was a frequent guest on “Fox & Friends.” The appearances, which the Erik Wemple Blog has been scrolling back to in recent weeks, established a tone from the early going and have never particularly changed. They have always involved extensive deference to this dashing and accomplished alleged billionaire, not to mention the barely coherent political views that he tosses into the mix, along with promotions for his company, beauty pageant business and the like.

“This would all be silly trifle if in January the show didn’t mark its 195th month as the number one morning cable news program and if the president of the United States wasn’t taking cues from it,” writes Blow in his op-ed.

With “Fox & Friends” and Trump, however, it’s sometimes hard to determine who originates the cues. Back in October 2010, for instance, Trump was on “Fox & Friends” talking about the U.S. economy. “We don’t have our talented people….I do a lot of business with China….You try doing business….Problem is we don’t make anything anymore. We make it in China and other countries,” said Trump. Two months later, in December 2010, there he was again on “Fox & Friends,” talking about how China was “booming” and making “all of our products.” Co-host Steve Doocy jumped right in and said, “We don’t make anything anymore.”