After a right-wing Norwegian politician nominated President Donald Trump for a Nobel Peace Prize, Trump defenders on Fox News hailed it as “great news for the country” -- even though criteria for nominators are extremely broad, at least 318 people have been nominated this year, and actual contenders for the prize are kept secret for at least 50 years.
According to the Norwegian Nobel Committee, any nomination is considered valid if brought forth by a person who fits within a broad list of categories, including any “members of national assemblies and national governments (cabinet members/ministers) of sovereign states as well as current heads of states” as well as “university professors, professors emeriti and associate professors of history, social sciences, law, philosophy, theology, and religion; university rectors and university directors (or their equivalents),” among others. The validity of a nomination is not dependent on the nominee’s merits: Past nominees have included genocidal Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, Italian fascism pioneer Benito Mussolini, and Russian President/invader of Ukraine Vladimir Putin.
Trump’s 2020 nomination -- for a recent and criticized deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates -- comes from right-wing Norwegian politician Christian Tybring-Gjedde, an anti-immigrant hard-liner who compared hijabs to Nazi outfits. Tybring-Gjedde also nominated him for the 2019 prize for his failed attempts at negotiations with North Korea.
Despite all this, Fox News pushed the largely meaningless nomination with the excitement of serious news:
- Fox News' website ran at least four different online articles about its Nobel Prize report (dubbing it an “exclusive” in two of them).
- Straight “news” show America’s Newsroom asked the White House press secretary about it, after a question on U.S. troop withdrawals from Iraq.
- The “breaking news” led all three hours of Fox & Friends' programming.
- Fox contributor Newt Gingrich speculated that if “one or two more countries” normalize relations with Israel, “at that point it’s very hard to deny President Trump the fact that he really will have earned the Nobel Peace Prize.”
- Fox contributor Sarah Sanders called Trump’s nomination “well-deserved,” as opposed to Obama’s, which she said he only won after he “unleashed destruction and chaos” with poor policies.
- Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade said it’s “great news for the country,” and Ainsley Earhardt added, “Just like it was great when President Obama got it -- for our country” -- a comment surrounded by her co-hosts’ complaints about Obama’s prize.