President Donald Trump was reportedly upset with the way cable news outlets were covering his unprecedented decision to fire FBI Director James Comey, who had been overseeing an investigation into whether the president’s associates had colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election. This morning, his favorite morning news program, Fox & Friends, tried to make it up to him, with an utterly propagandistic show that championed the president’s actions.
The Trump administration claims that the president made his decision based on recommendations from the Justice Department, which had criticized Comey’s deeply flawed handling of the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server. This argument does not remotely pass the smell test, and reporting suggests that the DOJ was ordered to come up with a pretext to fire Comey because the president was angry with his handling of the Russia investigation.
But on Fox & Friends, which the president has frequently praised for its fawning coverage of his actions, the Trump administration’s arguments were taken at face value. Co-hosts Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade, and Ainsley Earhardt repeatedly laughed off concerns about the timing of Comey’s firing and savaged Democrats and the media for criticizing the president. The show booked a host of pro-Trump favorites, including former campaign aide David Bossie and close confidant Newt Gingrich, to provide the administration's line. Every single guest the show hosted to discuss the events agreed that Trump had made the right decision.
Here is Fox & Friends’ propagandistic take on Trump firing Come, presented via the show’s captions.
Claiming Comey cleared Trump
According to Trump’s letter firing Comey, the FBI director had repeatedly told him that he was not the target of the FBI investigation. If true, that would be extremely irregular.
Following the party line on Trump’s firing
Trump’s claim that he fired Comey because the FBI director was too unfair to Clinton is an obvious lie, but the program backed him to the hilt and cheered on his actions.
Attacks on Democrats and the press
Among the program’s top priorities was delegitimizing all criticism of Trump’s actions. Fox & Friends repeatedly highlighted that Democrats had previously criticized Comey and pointed to what they termed media “hysteria.”
The program pointed to conservative favorites including Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke as possible Comey replacements, while portraying John Pistole, a former deputy director of the bureau and close friend of Vice President Mike Pence’s, as the purported “bipartisan possibility.”