The New York Times once called the show the most influential program in America — because it included in its audience the most powerful person in the country. Trump offered his praise for that accolade on Twitter.
It’s even more influential now than it was when he used to, for years, have a weekly interview on the program. Trump and “Fox and Friends” have long had a symbiotic relationship, and, now that he’s president, he hasn’t left his friends behind. Of course, he loves the show primarily because it is unfailingly sunny in its coverage of Trump’s presidency — and more than willing to push his political position even at the expense of the Republican Party generally. This, of course, is why other outlets haven’t “stud[ied] your formula for success.” The formula for becoming the “most influential” show ran through being the most obsequious.
Don’t believe us? We have the receipts.
The Internet Archive has a project in which it catalogues the closed captioning from news programs each day, including “Fox and Friends.” They were kind enough to share with The Post the captioning for every day of Trump’s presidency through Thursday. We went through it and isolated each time a speaker mentioned Trump, Hillary Clinton, the Democrats (as a group) or the Republicans and picked out what was being said about each.
Without further ado, and before we pick out interesting things to look for, here’s what was said. Some benchmarks to keep in mind:
- January 2017: Trump is inaugurated. Acting attorney general Sally Yates is fired after refusing to uphold the immigration ban.
- February: Michael Flynn resigns as national security adviser.
- March: Republicans unveil their proposal to repeal Obamacare.
- May: FBI Director James B. Comey is fired. Trump takes his first overseas trip.
- July: The Senate tries and fails to repeal Obamacare. Donald Trump Jr. is revealed to have met with a Russian lawyer during the campaign.
- August and September: Hurricanes strike Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.
- September: Trump pledges to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
- October: Indictments against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates are revealed.
- December: Flynn pleads guilty to lying to the FBI. Trump signs a tax reform bill into law.
(Because these are closed-captioned, we’ve turned all-caps text into legible sentences — meaning we may have missed some capitalization changes.)
What did Trump hear about Hillary Clinton when he tuned into “Fox and Friends”? That she’s throwing mud. Irrelevant. Looking to continue to fight against him. Under investigation. That she refused to accept the election results.
What did he hear about the Democrats? They are obstructionists who are good at resistance. (This highlights one nifty feature of the Trump-“Friends” relationship: They often would echo his own rhetoric, sometimes by directly reading his tweets.) They’re vulnerable; they’re panicking. They’re starting to turn on the Clintons. They’re trying to regroup. They’re pushing the Russia narrative. That black and Hispanic Americans are skeptical of the party.
About the Republicans? When Republicans agreed with and stood by Trump, they were praised. When they bucked Trump, they were pilloried. Never-Trump Republicans should be primaried. That they weren’t governing. That they were fighting one another instead of the Democrats.
And what did Trump hear “Fox and Friends” say about him? You should be so lucky as to find someone in your life who says such nice things about you.
He shoots from the hip. He’s not racist. He’s a businessman, not a politician. A dealmaker. Working even during his vacation. Always on the brink of following through on his important campaign promises. Willing to buck his own party to get things done.
That he’s a victim of the terrible, nasty media and the Democratic effort to take him out. That he’s a genius who we are lucky — blessed! — to have as president. It’s enough to make anyone want to tweet their appreciation.
Mind you, the commentary wasn’t uniformly positive. But you can see for yourself. The tool above includes every actual caption including the words “Trump is” — unless they were difficult to decipher or mentioned another Trump. This is what Trump hears when he turns on his TV in the morning.
As the least popular president in modern history, it must feel like an oasis in a desert. No wonder he spends so much time resting there.