Donald Trump gave Fox News an interview Wednesday and it went pretty much like you might expect. Ainsley Earhardt tossed a few softballs at him, and he dodged them anyway. However, there were a couple of responses where he made news despite himself (video below).
First of all, Trump was asked about his obsession with Twitter. He responded in a way that contradicts everything he’s done for the past couple of years:
“Look, I don’t like tweeting. I have other things I could be doing. But I get very dishonest media, very dishonest press. And it’s my only way that I can counteract.”
For someone who doesn’t like tweeting, he sure devotes an awful lot of time to it. And his tweets often address significant issues, including trade, and foreign relations. Of course, just as often he’s merely bragging about himself or insulting others. But if he has other things to do, then why isn’t he doing them?
Trump’s excuse for tweeting so frequently is that it’s the only way to counteract all the dishonest press he gets. That’s got to come as a surprise to anyone who owns a television. Trump has been the recipient of more uninterrupted airtime than any other candidate – or human. The media broadcast his campaign stump speeches in full and took his phone calls on the air. When he wants press time he only has to ask for it and the networks oblige. If there is any lack of Trump on TV it’s his own doing. Until last week he didn’t hold a press conference for seven months.
Clearly, there are many ways for Trump to counter what he regards as dishonest press. That includes friendly venues like Fox News, talk radio, and wingnut blogs like Breitbart. He obviously prefers Twitter because it doesn’t require much critical thought. There isn’t much of substance you can say with 140 characters. What’s more, it doesn’t open him up to questions he can’t answer or hold him accountable for his lies.
The other notable remarks from the Fox News interview concerned the controversy over the White House briefing room. Last week Trump’s incoming press secretary, Sean Spicer, floated the notion that the briefings might be moved to another location outside of the White House. That didn’t sit well with the journalists who would be evicted. Jeff Mason, president of the White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) later met with Spicer and issued this statement shortly thereafter:
“The White House Correspondents’ Association has always advocated for increasing access and transparency for the benefit of all news outlets and the public. I emphasized the importance of the White House press briefing room and noted that it is open to all journalists who seek access now. I made clear that the WHCA would view it as unacceptable if the incoming administration sought to move White House reporters out of the press work space behind the press briefing room. Access in the West Wing to senior administration officials, including the press secretary, is critical to transparency and to journalists’ ability to do their jobs.’
Trump told Fox’s Earhardt that, due to the negative reaction, he didn’t think the briefing room would be moved for now. However, he also announced a new and unprecedented control over access to the briefings:
“Some people in the press will not be able to get in because there’s just too many people … we have so many people who wanna go in so we’ll have to just pick the people who go into the room. I’m sure other people will be thrilled about that.”
Currently the non-partisan WHCA is responsible for assigning credentials to reporters who seek admittance to the briefings. The politicians in the White House have no say. That insures that the room isn’t stacked with sycophants and propagandists as is done in dictatorial regimes. Apparently Trump favors the dictator’s methods. That may also be why his Washington, D.C. hotel just announced that it is banning all media during the inauguration. So much for a free press.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.