President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office have been defined, in part, by his administration’s hostility to the press. As Media Matters has documented, Trump has attacked the press well over 100 times to date. As Trump vilifies the press, Fox News hosts, contributors, and guests help cheer him on by supporting, enabling, and condoning his attempts to discredit mainstream media outlets.
Trump Administration Has Attacked The Press More Than 100 Times In First 100 Days
The Trump Administration Has Launched Over 100 Attacks On The Press Since Inauguration Day. Media Matters has compiled a comprehensive list of attacks that President Donald Trump and his administration have made on the press since January 20. Our data show more than 100 distinct attacks on reporters, news outlets, and the media as a whole. [Media Matters, 2017]
Trump Attacked The Media At Least 30 Separate Times In One Press Conference. During a spontaneous press conference on February 16, Trump attacked, blamed, and mocked reporters and media and their coverage of his administration in at least 30 separate instances. In what was described as a “combative, grievance-filled press conference,” Trump claimed that reporters “will not tell you the truth” and speak “not for the people, but for the special interests.” He attacked individuals including CNN reporter Jim Acosta and CNN’s CEO, Jeff Zucker, and told a reporter that she was going to ask a “bad question” before she even asked it. Trump also called various unfavorable stories “fake news,” “a joke,” and “disgraceful.” [Media Matters, 2/16/17]
Here’s How Fox News Hosts, Contributors, And Guests Have Defended, Justified, And Contributed To Trump’s War On The Press
Newt Gingrich Claimed There Was “A Real War” With The Press And Urged The White House To “Kick Some Of The [News] Organizations Out.”
When asked how he would advise Trump on dealing with the media, former speaker of the House and Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich said, “If I were in his shoes, I would kick some of the organizations out. I would flood the White House press corps with lots of people,” adding that Trump should recognize “this is a real war.” In other appearances on Fox, Gingrich dismissed any news coverage and reporters critical of Trump, calling them “propagandists for the left,” and urged the Trump administration to retaliate against reporters who ask tough questions by ignoring them and their news organizations. From the February 24 edition of Your World with Neil Cavuto:
NEIL CAVUTO (HOST): If you had to advise him on this subject -- taking on the media, dealing with this, singling out people from a gaggle, you know the drill -- what would you do?
NEWT GINGRICH: Well, I would tell him to basically recognize -- you and I may disagree about this. I think this is a real war. I think the people on the other side, whether they're the demonstrators at the rally, or the college professors, or they’re many of the senior reporters, they are the other team. Some of the stuff that's been done, CNN's total miscoverage of the FBI relationship was crazy. Look at this stuff. You think to yourself, The New York Times' continual misrepresentation of fact just borders on propaganda of the worst kind. So I think this is a president that understands he's in a long game. That part of that long game is to make sure that his half of America understands how bad much of the news coverage is, because what the newspaper are trying -- what the news media is trying to do is establish a storyline which makes Trump hopeless. And what he has to do is establish an alternative, competing storyline which makes them false. And I don't think he has a choice. If I were in his shoes, I would kick some of the organizations out. I would flood the White House press corps with lots of people. I would go to Skype a lot more. And I would go to local reporters from all over the country. I would take the old Washington establishment head on and be pretty cheerful about it. [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 2/24/17; Media Matters, 1/23/17, 2/23/17]
Eric Bolling On Trump’s Repeated Attacks On The Media: “They Were Asking For This.” Eric Bolling, then co-host of Fox News’ show The Five, approved of Trump using his mid-February press conference to repeatedly attack the press, saying reporters “were asking for this.” Later, on The O’Reilly Factor, Bolling defended Trump’s tweet that declared mainstream news outlets “the enemy of the American people” by arguing that more voters would see it as true if Trump labeled media outlets “an enemy” of the American people rather than “the enemy.” From the February 16 edition of The Five:
ERIC BOLLING (CO-HOST): The president stayed at the podium for more than an hour and took literally dozens of questions from the full spectrum of media. Broadcast, cable, print, bloggers. The room, at times, looked like a WWE arena with the mainstream media having fits about being called out for their unfair reporting of the Trump administration. This is vintage Trump, though. It was campaign Trump. Donald Trump was in his element and it was awesome to watch. K.G., it was almost like, you know that whack-a-mole game? One stands up, boom, he gets smacked down, the next one stands up, boom, he gets smacked down. They were asking for this. [Fox News, The Five, 2/16/17; The O’Reilly Factor, 3/8/17]
Kimberly Guilfoyle On Trump’s Press-Bashing News Conference: “I Thought It Was Good.” The Five co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle said she thought Trump’s February 16 press conference, in which he repeatedly attacked media outlets and figures, was “wildly entertaining.” From the February 16 edition of The Five:
KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE (CO-HOST): He was like Edward Scissorhands, and he had 10 arms and was whacking all over the place. Anyway, it was very funny. When I was watching it, I was thinking to myself, wow, this is wildly entertaining. Then I thought to myself, wait a second, this is supposed to be a news conference and answering the questions. But I think he had also come through a tough week and with everything that happened with Flynn, and he was like, enough already and laid down the law.
But what was interesting to me is there was a little bit of a convivial atmosphere and when he said, “I'm changing the name: very fake news,” even Jim Acosta, we didn’t show the rest of that clip, laughed, and the rest of the place laughed. It loosened it up a little bit, and there was kind of an understanding like, OK, this is how it's going to be. But guess what? He answered all the questions. He was up there for over an hour and great. I thought that was good. It reminded me a little bit of the free accessibility when he was out on the campaign, and everybody was there and able to ask what they liked. So, I don’t know, I enjoyed it. [Fox News,The Five, 2/16/17]
Dana Perino On Trump’s Press Conference: “He Has Made Journalism Great Again” Through His Attacks On Reporters. The Five co-host Dana Perino declared that Trump “has made journalism great again” through his repeated attacks on the press, as outlets are seeing increased subscriptions. From the February 16 edition of The Five:
GREG GUTFELD (CO-HOST): Juan, he is the -- he is the Fox News president. Everything that he says, we've said.
JUAN WILLIAMS (CO-HOST): Yeah, yeah, yeah -- that's right.
GUTFELD: It's amazing, it's like I go, “I think I heard that --”
DANA PERINO (CO-HOST): But here's the thing about the opposition party, if it's the media, he is -- a rising tide lifts all boats. Subscriptions are up across the board for all mediums, from internet websites that require a subscription, hard copy newspapers, Fox News --
GUTFELD: The New York Times is not failing.
ERIC BOLLING (CO-HOST): The failing New York Times --
PERINO: Everybody is doing better, so he has made journalism great again. [Fox News, The Five, 2/16/17]
Ed Henry: “We Saw A Human Side Of The President” At The Press Conference. Fox News correspondent Ed Henry praised Trump for lashing out at a Jewish reporter when he was asked what his administration would do to stop a trend of anti-Semitic incidents throughout the country since his inauguration. Henry stated that by acting the way he did, Trump showed his “human side.” From the February 16 edition of Tucker Carlson Tonight:
ED HENRY (HOST): James, another point I was fascinated by: We saw almost a human side of the president when he was asked, yet again, about allegations of anti-Semitism either on his part or on the part of people close to him, and he kind of opened up.
JAMES ROSEN: He did. On the one hand, people who know Donald Trump for many years will tell you that he’s thin-skinned, that he overreacts to even the slightest criticism. On the other hand, this is a man who has endured criticism of an American president like no other probably, including these charges of anti-Semitism, and he opened up on that score in his news conference today. [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 2/16/17]
Sean Hannity Claimed Much Of Trump Coverage “Has Been Totally, Completely Fabricated” And Said NBC Is Waging “Corporate Jihad” Against The President. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Hannity declared, “Journalism in America is dead. I think a lot of the reporting on Donald Trump has been totally, completely fabricated, dishonest.” A month after Trump was inaugurated, Hannity celebrated a Trump speech during his show in a segment titled “Propaganda Media Versus America.” Hannity laid into the media, saying, “The alt-left propaganda media is getting worse every single day. They’re now at war with you, the American people.” Nearly a month later, Hannity responded to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow’s reporting on two leaked pages of Trump’s 2005 tax return by declaring that NBC News is waging “corporate jihad” against the president. From the March 14 edition of Hannity:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): The other issue we got to address tonight is the corporate jihad being waged by NBC News against President Trump. Now, as I said earlier, they're the leaders of this alt-left propaganda, destroy-Trump-at-all-costs media and now releasing his 2005 tax return. It proves that they will do anything, spin any conspiracy to destroy the commander-in-chief including working with people, clearly that have broken the law. [...] HANNITY: Do they want to question if the moon landing actually occurred? This is The Twilight Zone. Let me get this straight. Russia knew in 2005 that Trump would be president in 2016 but if you watch the tape on election night, even up to the last minute, NBC News didn't think it was possible that Donald Trump would become president. This is The Twilight Zone, so tonight, let's set the record straight. NBC is not news, it is deep state Obama propaganda television. [The Hollywood Reporter, 1/26/17; Fox News, Hannity, 2/20/17, 3/14/17]
Tucker Carlson: Trump “Is Probably Right To Be Mad” About Media Coverage Of His Presidency. Fox News host Tucker Carlson excused the attacks on the press Trump made during a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), saying, “I think he’s probably right to be mad” at the news coverage of his administration. From the February 26 edition of MediaBuzz:
HOWARD KURTZ (HOST): At CPAC, President Trump really went after the media on Friday, and he talked about anonymous sources and that he thinks that they’re made up and they shouldn't be allowed. And of course, anonymous sources are overused in my opinion but, at the same time, can be crucial to investigative reporting. Shouldn’t be allowed? What message is the president sending about that?
TUCKER CARLSON: Well let me just say, I think it's very frustrating, probably, if you're Trump, and you’re steeped -- I think Trump consumes more media than any president probably ever, I think that’s fair to say.
KURTZ: By a lot.
CARLSON: He's very up on what the press are saying about him, and I think it enrages him, and I understand why. And I think he’s probably right to be mad. I would say just as a journalist, anonymous sources are really helpful. They’ve been really helpful to me. The question is not whether the person is anonymous, the question is whether the information is accurate.
CARLSON: And so I have used anonymous sources and I will continue to. I had lunch with one of them today. But Trump may be saying something different, which is that they are saying things that are untrue, and I think you can prove that.
KURTZ: That's a better argument, I think. And also there has been a lot of leaking of classified stuff, and I can see the president being upset about that. [Fox News, MediaBuzz, 2/26/17]
Bill Hemmer: “Some In The Media … Want [Trump] Destroyed.” After MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow obtained an exclusive partial copy of Trump’s 2005 tax return, Fox anchor Bill Hemmer, in discussing the report, said, “Some in the media … want him destroyed.” [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 3/16/17]
Jesse Watters: “The Press” Is “The Official Democratic Party Opposition Now.” Fox’s Jesse Watters accused the mainstream media of “teaming up” with leakers in Trump’s White House, saying the press had become “the official Democratic Party opposition.” From the March 31 edition of The O’Reilly Factor:
JESSE WATTERS: Ric [Grenell], let me ask you a quick question because we are kind of tight for time. The Democrats have no power. The House, the Senate, the White House, it's all Republican now. It seems to me that these leakers are now teaming up with the press. They're the official Democratic Party opposition now. [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, 3/31/17]
Shannon Bream Claimed It’s “Objectively True” That Media Coverage Of Trump Is More Critical Than Any Coverage Of Democrats Would Be. In response to a guest saying that the press corps is hostile to the Trump administration, America’s Newsroom co-host Shannon Bream declared, “That’s objectively true.” Bream went on to chide news organizations for fact-checking Trump. From the January 25 edition of America’s Newsroom:
SHANNON BREAM (CO-HOST): It seems like whatever the Trump White House puts out, whatever he tries to say, is immediately parsed, fact-checked. There are networks that want to fact-check him with lower thirds, these little banners you see down here, while he’s talking on the air. They are making a game of it. [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 1/25/17]
Steve Doocy Dismissed Idea Of Trump Engaging In Truce With Media: “The Reality Is, They Want To Destroy Him.” After co-host Brian Kilmeade suggested on Fox & Friends that Trump should try for a truce with the press so he can focus on getting his agenda through Congress, co-host Steve Doocy said, “That would be great. But the reality is, they want to destroy him, for the most part, because they didn’t like him. Look, nobody in the mainstream media for the most part predicted or wanted Donald Trump to win. He won, ha ha, he would go, and now, look, it’s the state of journalism today.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 2/16/17]
Michelle Malkin: “Steve Bannon Is Absolutely Right: The Media Is The Opposition Party.” During a Fox & Friends segment that focused on criticizing media coverage of Trump and comparing it to that of former President Barack Obama, Fox’s contributor Michelle Malkin said, “Steve Bannon is absolutely right: The media is the opposition party. I gotta get that on a bumper sticker.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 2/16/17]
Fox & Friends Hosts Defended Trump Declaring Media “The Enemy Of The American People.” Fox & Friends co-hosts Doocy, Kilmeade, and Ainsley Earhardt all attempted to justify a tweet from Trump that labeled several mainstream media outlets “the enemy of the American people.” From the February 21 edition of Fox & Friends:
STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): Everybody is talking about the president tweeting out about fake news and about how the media, “the enemy of the American people.” I think maybe “enemy of people on the political right” might be more accurate, or “the opposition party.” Yesterday, given that, the mainstream media pretty much said that Donald Trump had declared war on the mainstream media. And in fact, you look at some of the things they’ve done recently, you just have to wonder, are they being fair, or are they leaning way to the left?
BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): A lot of people are saying, “Listen, you need a balanced press. You need the press out there telling the story, it’s an important part of democracy.” That's true. However, what if the press has a point of view and is drilling that point of view to the American people? Are they doing their job?
KILMEADE: They’re inflicting their vision on the American people, and the American people are doing 90 million different things.
AINSLEY EARHARDT (CO-HOST): Is it really a free press if they’re so overtly liberal?
KILMEADE: Yeah. Absolutely.
DOOCY: Well, we need an objective and adversarial press. But because the press for the most part lean so far to the left, they’re not really objective. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 2/21/17]
Lisa Boothe Defended Trump’s Attacks On The Press: “What Is He Supposed To Do?” Fox contributor Lisa Boothe used polling to justify Trump’s attacks on the press, then asked “what is he supposed to do” about negative press coverage besides attacking the media. From the February 26 edition of Fox News Sunday:
LISA BOOTHE: I think that President Trump actually has a lot of room to run. Because if you look at polling, Democrats are really the only group of voters that trust the media. You look at the most recent Gallup poll regarding the media, only 14 percent of Republicans trust the media. Only 30 percent of independents.
CHRIS WALLACE (HOST): But to a certain degree, that's beside the point. He's not going to, as I said in my conversation with Corey Lewandowski, he can bash the press all he wants -- it doesn't create jobs.
BOOTHE: It doesn't create jobs, but what it does do -- but OK, so, but also what is he supposed to do? You look at the general election, 91 percent of the coverage was negative towards him. You look at the fact that --
WALLACE: He's president.
BOOTHE: I understand that --
WALLACE: Forget it.
BOOTHE: I know, but this coverage has carried into his administration as well. There's been a lot of completely blatantly false stories out there regarding made-up meetings between Steve Bannon and General Kelly. There has been information surfacing the dossier, which every publication said is unsubstantiated, unverified. There's been numerous reports that have not been true. And I think John Dickerson was correct when he said that the media ruined their reputation on their own. So I think there's a general lack of distrust with the information that has surfaced. [Fox Broadcasting Co., Fox News Sunday, 2/26/17]
Bill O’Reilly: Media Are Trying To Delegitimize Election By Linking Trump To Russia. Then-Fox host Bill O’Reilly criticized media outlets for relying on anonymous sources in negative stories about Trump, accusing them in late February of trying to undermine the election. Following a Trump rally in March, O’Reilly said he expected Trump to continue attacking the press because they are “anti-Trump media,” and said the press and Trump “truly despise each other.” From the March 15 edition of The O’Reilly Factor:
BILL O'REILLY (HOST): There is no question that if the national media does not like your politics, it will try to hurt you, even if you are deceased. Anyone denying that is a deceiver. Of course, the Trump administration is well aware of this. It knows the media is desperately trying to link the Trump campaign to Russia and will use anonymous sources to drive that narrative in the hope the election will be perceived as invalid. By the way, we do not -- do not use anonymous sources here. I have been told plenty of bad stuff about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, but without attributions, it is not going to be reported. [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, 3/15/17, 2/27/17]
Pete Hegseth Adopted Trump Administration Label Of Media As “The Opposition Party.” Fox contributor Pete Hegseth criticized the press as “the opposition party, the left-stream media, the legacy media, whatever you want to call them” for highlighting White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s multiple gaffes when invoking Hitler and the Holocaust during a press briefing. Hegseth said, “What they've done is they continue to expose themselves because they can't hold back on their dedication to tearing down any single member of the Trump administration.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/12/17]
Lou Dobbs: “We Don’t Need To Call Them Liberal Media Any Longer” -- “It Is Fake News.” Fox Business host Lou Dobbs excoriated journalists for how they question Spicer. From the March 16 edition of Hannity:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): He's keeping his promises. Why do they not believe him at this point?
LOU DOBBS: I think it’s important we talk about who they are. And it is fake news. It is the national left-wing media. We don't need to call them liberal media any longer. I mean, these guys have moved so far -- watching Sean Spicer today, contending with that group of quote-unquote, air quotes all around it, “journalists,” it should have been embarrassing to those people. [Fox News, Hannity, 3/16/17]
Stuart Varney Whined That The “Dishonest” Media Does “Not Report News That Is Favorable To President Trump.” Fox Business Network host Stuart Varney accused “the establishment media” of being dishonest by refusing to report on “one of the great stories of our lifetimes, which is the exploding growth in wealth creation” since Trump’s election. From the February 27 edition of Fox & Friends:
STUART VARNEY: How can you not report this? How on earth can the establishment media just miss out one of the great stories of our lifetimes, which is the explo--
STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): Stuart.
VARNEY: I know
DOOCY: You know the answer.
VARNEY: You see the most explosive growth in wealth creation in America since the election in a generation. ...There is optimism on all fronts, and the economy is beginning to show growth. But look, this is the Sunday New York Times business section. Nowhere! Absolutely nowhere in this entire section or on the front page of The New York Times -- not mentioned.
DOOCY: But you know Stuart, if the mainstream media were to run with that story about how people are feeling optimistic that we’re at record highs in the stock market, people would then go, “Well, maybe this Trump thing is working out,” which they don’t want.
VARNEY: The media will not report news that is favorable to President Trump. Now that's being dishonest. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 2/27/17]