Fox hosts treated Trump's 60 Minutes interview like they just watched a child ride a bike for the first time
Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ
President Donald Trump has done something truly phenomenal, according to his faithful propagandists at Fox & Friends: He’s started publicly fielding questions from people who aren’t completely in the tank for him.
“He’s so confident,” glowed Fox Business host and Mr. Bumble cosplayer Stuart Varney this morning. “Notice how he answered any and all questions at press conferences and with Lesley Stahl last night on 60 Minutes,” Varney continued in an incredulous tone, before mimicking the president: “Come on, bring it on, give me the question, and I’ll answer it.”
“It’s a remarkable contrast between this president and any president in my lifetime,” Varney added.
Fox & Friends co-host Ainsley Earhardt agreed, saying, “Hats off to President Trump, who will go up against any journalist, even the ones who aren’t in favor of him, and answer all of the questions.”
Trump’s recent appearances are part of a new strategy in which, as The Washington Post's Greg Sargent noted, the president is using every possible avenue in the lead-up to the midterm elections, flooding the zone with lies and fearmongering to get his voters to the polls.
But while the program’s hosts are all but ready to demand a public parade in Trump’s honor, back here in the real world, every president is expected to sit down for TV interviews with journalists who aren’t avid supporters and answer their questions at press conferences, and this one hardly ever does either.
Trump has only done a handful of solo press conferences thus far in his presidency, far off the pace of his recent predecessors.
And Trump’s interview with Stahl was an exceedingly rare event; the president’s television interviews have almost exclusively been with sycophants like the hosts of Fox & Friends ever since his sit-down with NBC’s Lester Holt in May 2017. That’s when Trump basically admitted he fired FBI Director James Comey because of Comey’s handling of the federal Russia investigation, setting off a firestorm that resulted in the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller.
Fox commentators tend to treat mainstream journalists as their own mirror image. Fox acts as the communications arm of the Republican Party, and its hosts are the president’s loyal supporters and his closest advisors. Therefore, so they seem to believe, The New York Times and ABC News and the like must act the same way on behalf of Democrats.
That this isn’t actually how the rest of the media operates -- that it’s impossible, for instance, to imagine a working journalist conducting an interview with a Democratic president that serves as the warm-up event for their political rally, with the crowd cheering in the background -- is besides the point.
On Fox & Friends, as on every other day, the hats are off for Trump.