MSNBC's Chris Hayes Explains How Donald Trump Uses Fox News' Tactics To Attack The Media

MSNBC's Chris Hayes Explains How Donald Trump Uses Fox News' Tactics To Attack The Media

NPR's David Folkenflik: "You Would Say The Student Has Become The Master, But Donald Trump Has Been Mastering The Media For Quite A Long Time"


From the February 26 edition of MSNBC's All In with Chris Hayes:

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CHRIS HAYES (HOST): Moments like that one today are becoming a standard part of Donald Trump's stump speech. Trump points to the cameras and reporters assembled in the back of the event hall, and invites the audience to cast their scorn at them, turn around and boo them. It's both one of the most effective, and one of the most unnerving devices of his unorthodox campaign -- and it comes straight out of a conservative media playbook that goes back decades. For years, right-leaning outlets like Fox News and talk radio have been telling their audience, day after day, that any information coming from outside of conservative media is not to be trusted. It's has been an ingeniously effective way to consolidate their own influence, and insulate themselves from any external criticism. 

Not only has Trump adopted that tactic, attacking usual suspects like The New York Times and The Washington Post, but he's turning it back on the conservative media who invented it in first place. After starting a blood feud with Fox News, something no Republican presidential candidate has dared to do before, Trump seems to have successfully undermined the network in the eyes of its core audience -- with perception of the Fox News brand among Republican adults hitting its lowest point in three years, according to a new YouGov survey. And after being asked about his tax returns at last night's debate, Trump initially dodged the question by insulting moderator Hugh Hewitt, using Fox News' favorite method of taunting, ratings. 


HAYES: Joining me now, NPR media correspondent David Folkenflick, and David you've covered Roger Alies, who has run Fox News since its inception. You had to have the same reaction I did watching that, that was just pure Roger Ailes. No substantive response, just "No one watches you, your ratings are terrible," stick your fingers in your ear. 

DAVID FOLKENFLIK: Well you know, you would say the student has become the master, but Donald Trump has been mastering the media for quite a long time. I mean, I think that it absolutely out of the playbook started by -- you got to go back to Nixon, and Roger Ailes was there during that 1968 first presidential run for Dick Nixon and Spiro Agnew. And I think he's using it against the press effectively indeed. He's saying these guys are out, these guys are against us. And you know, it's not for nothing Trump. who himself has had some very high unfavorable ratings, is distrusted by a significant amount of the population, and even a significant amount of the Republican voting electorate is more trusted than the media right now, and is trusted even as the media can show all kinds of unfavorable things to present to the public, based on public interviews and public record. 

HAYES: I had crazy experience when I was talking to voters at the Nevada caucus the other night in Vegas. Voter after voter after voter, these are Republican, you know primary voters, caucus-goers saying "I don't listen to Fox anymore, I can't trust Fox anymore, I'm over them." And these were all Trump supporters, who he had successfully sort of pried their trust, away from the thing they have been trusting for years. And now, when Megyn Kelly says something about him they just dismiss it, because it's not -- It's all considered the source. It's not evaluating the information on its own, it's just consider the source. 

FOLKENFLIK: Well think about this. Based in to the Fox Success, and the Fox formula from the outset, from the very beginning, was the idea that "We're fair and balanced", and the implication was then that nobody else is, and that the establishment is out to get us, and we, at Fox, are identifying with you, the people who are upset with the media and the elites and the establishment. Fox has effectively become the establishment. Fox has you know, during non-election years, really tended to out-flank the Republican Party in many ways in its conservatism, and yet sort of lists back a little bit towards the -- let's say the right center establishment type figures, in part because Rupert Murdoch, who is Ailes' ultimate boss over at 21st Century Fox, is a bit more pragmatic and a centrist than Ailes himself, but also that Ailes is ultimately a pragmatist who wants people elected.


FOLKENFLIK: Ailes is very conservative but very pragmatic. Well, what Trump has done, even though he is not the most conservative figure in this race, is he's turned the playbook against conservative thought leaders who are opposed to him. And if that means Fox News is in his way, then though he has a rapport with Ailes, then he's going to go after some of Fox's figures if they're not treating him sympathetically. And he's very attuned to individuals. If they're coming after him in that moment, he's going to go after him hard.


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