CNN: “Is Cable News Shaping Trump's U.S. Policy?”

From the January 27 edition of CNN's CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin:

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BROOKE BALDWIN (HOST): Question. Is cable news, cable news shaping U.S. policy? It’s a good question considering what we’ve seen during President Trump’s first week. Listen to the trend here. Over on Fox News Bill O’Reilly did a story on Chicago, laying out the crime statistics, calls for federal aid. Shortly after that show, this tweet from the President of the United States: “If Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible ‘carnage’ going on, 228 in 2017 with 42 killings, I will send in the feds.” And then the next night on ABC, watch what happened.

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DONALD TRUMP: That speech was a home run. That speech -- if you look at Fox, OK I'll mention your network -- read, see what Fox said, “they said it was one of the great speeches.” You and other networks covered it very inaccurately. I hate to say this to you and you probably won’t put it on, but turn on Fox and see how it was covered. You and a couple of other networks tried to downplay that speech and it was very very unfortunate that you did.

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BALDWIN: Exhibit B. The following morning Fox aired a segment about Chelsea Manning’s critique of former President Obama. The graphic on the screen described Manning as a quote and “ungrateful traitor,” fifteen minutes later, this tweet from the president. “Ungrateful traitor Chelsea Manning, who should never have been released from prison is now calling President Obama a weak leader. Terrible!” We got to talk about this. Bill Carter is with me, CNN media analyst and Kristen Soltis Anderson, columnist with the Washington Examiner and Republican strategist and pollster. So great to have both of you on. Bill, to my points, I don’t think the timing is a coinkydinky, obviously he watches a lot of TV, obviously he watches a lot of Fox, thus, is U.S. policy being shaped by cable news?

BILL CARTER: Well, it may not be shaped but there is clearly some influence going on because he’s clearly reacting to it. It’s not unusual, I mean, Mr. Trump has always been sort of brought into what he feels is people talking about him. In New York, we always knew, when we covered things about Donald Trump, you were likely to hear from him because he paid close attention to people talking about him.

BALDWIN: He’s always been like that.

CARTER: I used to write pieces and he have handwritten notes sent back to me on the actual clip. So he pays very close attention. And Fox is very friendly territory for him. So he’s going to be on there watching a lot and when they make a point that he thinks is a valid point he tweets it out, then people read the tweet, and then people sort of follow that up in some fashion. It will be interesting to see if he then takes action. It’s one thing to say “I’ll send in the feds” --

BALDWIN: To tweet about it.

CARTER: But will he actually to send in the feds?

BALDWIN: But then to follow through. Kristen, same question. What do you think?

KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON: I mean I think when it comes to Fox or any media outlet there are lots of different voices within any particular media outlet. Within say Fox, you’ve got people like Sean Hannity, who’s extremely friendly to President Trump, I think was informally advising him at one point during the campaign, extremely friendly turf. But there are other folks within that network who I think shoot pretty straight and I think are doing hard news journalism and trying to cover the real story. So I always hesitate to cast any particular network itself as pro or anti, because I think there are individuals within. But it certain does put a lot more pressure, if you are someone who is a guest on a program, if you are just an average pundit who that now, because the president’s news consumption diet is so cable news heavy and the fact that he’s kind of learning on the fly what it is that he thinks about different issues and sort of, very impulsive, willing to act very quickly, it sort of puts a lot of pressure on anyone who’s on TV to know that the president could be watching you on Air Force One and making policy as a result.


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