President Trump’s 52nd interview on a Fox network Thursday night marked a new milestone: He has conducted four interviews over the past seven days on either Fox News or Fox Business Network, the most he has conducted on Fox in a single week since becoming president, according to a Fix analysis of Factba.se’s database of Trump’s interviews.
It’s a sign of Trump’s increasing reliance on Fox to reach voters, even as the White House communications team goes months without daily news briefings, is rife with contradictions and dismisses presidential statements that backfire as jokes.
Since April 2018, Trump has not gone more than a month without doing at least one interview on Fox. Sometimes he will do a spurt of them, as when he did three Fox interviews over two days in July.
Eleven of Trump’s 20 interviews this year have been conducted on Fox News or Fox Business Network. In 2018, just over one-fifth of Trump’s 99 interviews were conducted on Fox, and in 2017 Trump appeared on the Fox networks for roughly one-third of his 52 interviews.
During that time, Trump conducted nine interviews with ABC, CBS and NBC and none with CNN or MSNBC. The Washington Post, New York Times and Wall Street Journal have interviewed Trump a combined 15 times.
Trump’s affinity for Fox is well-documented: He live-tweets Fox segments, hires Fox personalities for his administration, dials Fox anchors into White House meetings and uses Fox interviews to kick off his rallies. (As president, Trump has conducted four Fox interviews while surrounded by rallygoers.)
For their part, Fox anchors routinely compliment Trump, tee up softball questions, allow him to air conspiracy theories and guide him through interviews, examples of which you can watch in the video above. If Trump talks for too long, Fox hosts will interject. (This week, Fox’s Maria Bartiromo tried to end a long-winded Trump interview five times in five minutes.)
Some of Trump’s extended Fox interviews can likely be attributed to the format: On average, Trump utters 1,100 more words when interviewing via phone than when he interviews in person.
Fox anchors often feed Trump compliments instead of focusing on news events. Four days after firing FBI Director James B. Comey, Fox’s Jeanine Pirro began an interview with Trump by asking how his week went. (“I think it was great,” Trump said.)
Fox Business’s Lou Dobbs kicked off his only interview with Trump in October 2017 by praising Trump’s accomplishments, one week after Trump said he would not “blame” himself for his stalled agenda.
And Fox’s Sean Hannity praised Trump after he refused to back U.S. intelligence conclusions on Russian election interference during a news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in July. (“You were very strong at the end of that news conference,” Hannity said.)
Other times, Fox’s interviews with Trump seem to more closely resemble a running “Last Week Tonight” segment of “60 Minutes” anchors eliciting sound bites from guests.
“You’ve got a nice place,” Fox’s Steve Doocy told Trump during a February 2017 interview.
“It’s a good place,” Trump replied.