A hilarious quote from a former TV newsman turned-journalism educator was embedded somewhere in the middle of an Associated Press story this week about President Trump's apparent displeasure with Fox News.
“I think he takes 'Fox & Friends' literally, that they’re supposed to be friends,” said Frank Sesno, a former long-time anchor and on-air presence at CNN who is now director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University.
Prof. Sesno's assessment of the president's current position of pique aimed at Fox News Channel, over various slights only this president could ever perceive, seems right on the money.
It is incredible how public figures -- and Trump is far from the first one to exhibit this ignorance -- believe the news media, even those that lean their way far more often than not, are there to serve their interests.
Although few who oppose Fox News Channel would ever concede this, there are times when FNC simply reports the news without the usual Trump cheerleading the world has come to expect from the news channel.
It is a problem that afflicts other news channels as well. On all of them -- FNC, MSNBC and CNN -- their bread and butter are the opinionated, personality-driven talk shows they air in prime time.
These are their highest-rated shows and most visible personalities. So it is inevitable that most people will perceive Fox News Channel as the Sean Hannity channel that loves Trump, or MSNBC as the Rachel Maddow network that hates him.
Despite the high regard in which Fox News apparently holds him, Trump took issue over the weekend with stories the channel aired on the living conditions at the immigrant camps the U.S. is managing (or not managing, as the case might be) on the border with Mexico.
Fox News apparently did stories in which an in-depth story on the camp conditions on the front page of the Sunday New York Times was cited as a primary source.
This appeared to be the catalyst for a Twitter diatribe that Trump then unleashed. As far as the TV Blog can determine, this Twitter attack on Sunday consisted of five consecutive tweets that all seemed to tumble from his fingertips (or just his thumb tips) to connect into one “thought” – a disjointed “thought” that bordered on incoherence at times, but a “thought” nonetheless.
“Watching @FoxNews weekend anchors is worse than watching low ratings Fake News @CNN, or Lyin’ Brian Williams (remember when he totally fabricated a War Story trying to make himself into a hero, & got fired. A very dishonest journalist!) and the crew of degenerate......,” read the first tweet from the president’s Twitter account, @realDonaldTrump.
“…..Comcast (NBC/MSNBC) Trump haters, who do whatever Brian & Steve tell them to do. Like CNN, NBC is also way down in the ratings. But @FoxNews, who failed in getting the very BORING Dem debates, is now loading up with Democrats & even using Fake unsourced @nytimes as….,” he continued, leading into tweet No. 3 below.
“…a “source” of information (ask the Times what they paid for the Boston Globe, & what they sold it for (lost 1.5 Billion Dollars), or their old headquarters building disaster, or their unfunded liability? @FoxNews is changing fast, but they forgot the people who got them there!” thundered the president of the United States.
But wait, there's more -- two more, as a matter of fact. “Impossible to believe that @FoxNews has hired @donnabrazile, the person fired by @CNN (after they tried to hide the bad facts, & failed) for giving Crooked Hillary Clinton the questions to a debate, something unimaginable. Now she is all over Fox, including Shep Smith, by far ….,” he wrote in tweet No. 4.
“….their lowest rated show. Watch the @FoxNews weekend daytime anchors, who are terrible, go after her big time. That's what they want - but it sure is not what the audience wants!” asserted the president, and one-time TV showman, in his final Twitter salvo at Fox News on Sunday.
The president does cover a lot of ground in these Twitter bursts -- Brian Williams, Shepard Smith, Hillary Clinton, Donna Brazile, the Times’ real estate holdings and deal-making, the TV ratings and on and on and on. The man does seem to have a lot on his mind.
The TV Blog believes (and hopes) that the President's current feelings toward Fox News will soften in the days and weeks ahead. It is just terrible to witness such a public falling out between old friends.
Photo courtesy of ABC: Donald Trump being interviewed on “Good Morning America” in 2016.