Listen to Media Matters' Matthew Gertz explain the Trump/Fox News loop on WAMU's 1A

From the April 5 edition of WAMU's 1A:

JOSHUA JOHNSON (HOST): We have a number of listeners who both listen to 1A and watch the Fox News Channel, including this one who left a note in our inbox.

CALLER: Hello, my name is David, I'm a conservative. I watch Fox News about 20 to 30 minutes a day, maybe up to 45. And what I think draws most people to it is that the majority of the other news stations consistently make people feel bad about their decision to be a Republican, or a Trump supporter, or a conservative. And I think it works vice versa: If you are a liberal or a Democrat, and you watch Fox News, you may feel bad about being a liberal or a Democrat just because the narratives are driven that way to bash ideologies.

JOHNSON: Hey Matthew, thanks for calling -- David, thanks for calling in. Matthew, what do you think?

MATTHEW GERTZ (SENIOR FELLOW, MEDIA MATTERS): I think that this is basically the reason why President Trump watches so much Fox News. He is constantly being besieged by all the rest of the media who are accurately reporting on the various misdeeds of his administration. If he goes to Fox News, he doesn't hear any of that. He hears about what a great job he is doing, and he hears about how his political enemies are terrible, terrible people. And that's sort of the feedback loop that we see, the president going to Fox News more and more in order to hear positive stories about himself and then sort of parroting that back.


JOHNSON: It seems, in a way, like Fox News -- I wonder if you see it this way -- is a mirror, maybe not a perfect mirror, but at least a depiction of what millions of Americans feel and what millions of Americans connect with?

GERTZ: I think to some extent you can say that. And certainly when I am watching Fox News, which I do several hours every day, I'm often trying to figure out OK how is this intersecting with the political world, how is it altering or reflecting back people's beliefs. So, to some extent, yes, but to another extent, the issue is that they are shaping the beliefs of the conservative audience that they service. That they move them further and further to the right, they make them more and more angry and resentful of people of color, of Muslims, of LGBT people. And so it's sort of a two-way street, I'd say.


JOHNSON: You have been tracking the relationship between Fox News and the president's tweets, and have found not just a correlation, but some causal relationships between what we see on the channel and what -- on the Fox News channel and then what we read in @realdonaldtrump's Twitter channel.

GERTZ: Absolutely. So, the president does these early morning hyperaggressive tweet storms. They tend to cover four or five different topics when he does them, he skips from topic to topic. And people have been trying for some time to figure out what was going on. Was he attempting to distract the media? Is he somehow mentally unstable? What I determined was that actually what is happening is that the president is watching his favorite show, Fox & Friends, and he is tweeting in reaction to what he sees. And so when he is attacking NFL players for protesting, or claiming that “crooked Hillary” is involved in this Uranium One scandal, he is basically reflecting back what he is seeing in real time on that network.

To listen to the full interview, click HERE. 


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