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Monday, March 25, 2019

Published with permission from Media Matters for America

Looking to make the media rounds on Tuesday morning in an attempt to clean up his Monday night debate mess, Republican nominee Donald Trump actually had only one destination on his schedule: Fox News, of course.

Calling into his allies and supporters on Fox & Friends, Trump promptly made things worse for his campaign. First, he suggested there might have been a debate conspiracy afoot to fit him with a faulty microphone, as a way to explain his shaky performance. (“My microphone was terrible.”) Then Trump got even further sidetracked from campaign messaging by fat-shaming a former winner of his Miss Universe pageant: “She was the winner, and she gained a massive amount of weight, and it was a real problem.”

For a candidate who was nearly unanimously crowned the loser of the first presidential debate (except for in unscientific online polls he and Fox News have been desperately promoting), Trump’s attempt at damage control via Fox News was like the captain of the Titanic circling around the iceberg for a second look.

But of course, they loved Trump on Fox News, even after his debate loss. “A very good night for Donald Trump,” announced Sean Hannity. And from news anchor Bret Baier: “I do think he gets credit for just being on the stage.” They also tried to spin away his debate lies and conjure up reasons for his lopsided loss.

And that’s why Trump’s campaign now resembles a Fox News cocoon, or a hermetically sealed bubble. Since the summer, Trump has basically only spoken to Fox News. Gone is the much-touted Trump media accessibility from the Republican primary. It’s been replaced with the Trump bunker strategy, where only friendly questioners are allowed and the Republican candidate is able to expound in a fact-free Fox zone.

It’s a bubble where Trump doesn’t have to explain his long-running birther pursuit, nobody cares about his tax returns, where Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, is admired for his strong leadership, and where bigotry is celebrated.

The Fox News bubble is a welcoming, comforting place for Trump, but it doesn’t reflect the reality of American politics today. And this week, that Fox-friendly strategy caught up with Trump. Reportedly uninterested in debate prep, Trump was confronted by a skilled opponent who accessed facts at will and spoke in complete paragraphs.

Meanwhile, “Trump was scattered, swaggering and stumbling,” wrote  TPM’s Josh Marshall. “Just a mix of easily demonstrable lies and nonsensical statements.”

Doesn’t that sound like another morning with Fox & Friends? Trump represents a presidential nominee who exhibits no intellectual curiosity, nor any commitment to facts. He’s the Fox News id.

And while Trump is getting pummeled from all sides for his no-show debate performance, it’s Fox News architect Roger Ailes who probably deserves a lot of the blame for the GOP’s unfolding calamity.

Not only did Ailes reportedly play a role in Trump’s disastrous debate preparation, but Ailes, of course, provided the nominee with a Fox News platform to launch into American politics back in 2011. Since then, Ailes and Trump have been inexorably linked.

Today, Fox News gifts Trump with so many softball interviews you’d think Rupert Murdoch himself were the nominee. Even Republican Sen. Ted Cruz lamented that Ailes had “turned Fox News into the Donald Trump network, 24/7” during the primary season.

What’s so astonishing today is knowing that four years ago, all the warning flags for the GOP were whipping in the wind when Mitt Romney tried to run a Fox News campaign to the White House. Romney veered hard to right and adopted the right-wing media’s contempt for the lazy “47 percent” of Americans who supposedly live off government handouts. Romney even embraced reality TV show host-turned Fox News favorite Donald Trump, who was fresh off his bogus investigation into whether the first African-American president was allowed to sit in the Oval Office.

Following the second debate in 2012, when the GOP nominee adopted Fox spin and bungled the facts of the previous month’s Benghazi terror attack, I wrote that, “Married to the conservative media and all their bogus claims and conspiracies, Romney runs the risk of coming across as badly out of touch with the truth, the way he did last night.”

Then, following the GOP’s defeat in November, which the Fox bubble never saw coming:

This grand experiment of marrying a political movement around a cable TV channel was a grand failure in 2012. But there’s little indication that enough Republicans will have the courage, or even the desire, to break free from Fox’s firm grip on branding the party.

In the wake of Romney’s defeat, some Republican operatives did vow to venture beyond the friendly confines of Fox News. And the Republican National Committee’s post-election autopsy even stressed the need for the Republican Party to “stop talking to itself.” (That’s what Fox News is very good at.)

While I knew Fox News had a vice-like grip on the GOP, and the GOP was in love with the angry rhetoric and the free media the cable channel provided, in 2012 I couldn’t have imagined four years later the party would not only embrace their failed Fox News strategy, but they’d inject it with steroids and nominate Trump. Or that the GOP nominee would then effectively barricade himself behind Fox News interviews during the general election campaign.

The punchline today? Reports suggest that in the wake of Trump’s failed debate performance, Ailes’ campaign role may be expanding. The Republican Party now appears to be trapped in a Fox News cycle that chews up GOP nominees.

Photo: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., August 31, 2016.   REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

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26 responses to “Trump Becomes Latest GOP Nominee To Get Lost Inside The Fox News Bubble”

  1. 3 items I think worth commenting on are:

    1)”And from news anchor Bret Baier: “I do think he gets credit for just being on the stage.”
    2) “Meanwhile, ‘Trump was scattered, swaggering and stumbling,’ wrote TPM’s Josh Marshall. “Just a mix of easily demonstrable lies and nonsensical statements.”
    3) “And while Trump is getting pummeled from all sides for his no-show debate performance, it’s Fox News architect Roger Ailes who probably deserves a lot of the blame for the GOP’s unfolding calamity.”

    Given #1, we can infer that the Trump myrmidons would claim Trump was victorious simply because he’s breathing, bellowing, and sneering. These are qualities that Paul Ryan would tout as showing that Trump was energetic—even being able to pass wind would be a sign of victory; as for #2, easily demonstrable lies are what so many of his myrmidons rely on so heavily to try to put together a humpty-dumpty sort of guy who fell off the wall; #3 describes accurately Trump’s appearance on the stage—he was there, but then again, he wasn’t. And good old Ailes does deserve credit for the stupor and confusion that besets Trump, but the brunt of his debacle is mainly, and foremost, due to a narcissism addiction which he refuses to address and discard.

    • Independent1 says:

      I think what we need to keep in mind is two things: 1) the online polls are probably dominated by right-wingers as I’m sure the RNC, the Heritage Foundation and other right-wing groups are recruiting the mindless minions to post on the internet sites like those we see on the NM; and 2) l’d be surprised if the polls we’re seeing today are in any way actually covering effectively the black, Hispanic and Muslim voters who are dramatically anti-Trump.

    • dpaano says:

      The man can’t take ANY kind of criticism without going over the deep end! It’s pretty sad. Someone needs to take his tweeter away from him and tell him to grow up!

  2. PrecipitousDrop says:

    Good news!
    I say, Let Trump be Trump!
    Let him cocoon himself in the delusional realm of Fox News.
    The Republican party refuses to acknowledge how limiting and ultimately fatal this will be.

    • Jon says:

      Although a number of people like what they see when Trump is Trump, I think the majority will recognize him for the lying fraud he is. I agree that his babysitters should let Trump be Trump.

  3. This latest bit of idiocy which a certain political party is engaged in should cause us to pause, look at the “carnage” wreaked by the obsessiveness of any Party to try to sabotage one of the very foundations of American Democracy—the democratic process that should define in spirit and method the election of figures for office.

    The crass ads littering the airwaves, trees sacrificed to print millions of worthless ads promoting one candidate or another filling mailboxes to the gills, annoying phone calls trying to persuade us how to vote, millions spent during the primaries on mindless debates, particularly with the circus of debates by airheads squabbling among themselves—-these are all signs of a process that has gone completely haywire and has driven a deeper wedge between members of society.

    FOX, Breitbart, the alt-right have played a uniquely pernicious role in leading us to where we are today. Although the media organs that tend to favor the Left bear a lot of responsibility, we generally get a more balanced, thoughtful, and saner read on the unraveling before us from those outlets on balance than the opposing group.

    This is the state of partisan-politics, its karma, and its final stages of decay, much like the process of the death of the Roman Empire, and of The 3rd Reich.

    • RED says:

      I challenge your assertions that media organizations favor the Left. How can 6 media companies that own all our media and are themselves own by the wealthy corporatists be leaning? Take a look at what happened to Ed Schultz or Phil Donahue? They were “left leaning” or perhaps a better would be honest, and wham they’re gone, see ya wouldn’t wanna be ya!! Out! The media is only left leaning in the sense that facts matter and in bizarro Con world facts are leftist.

  4. bojimbo26 says:

    When TrumptheTroll gives you an IOU for 30 pieces of silver …………………………….. /s

  5. I of John says:

    I can see Karl Rove again roaming from the studio at Fox ranting about poll numbers. This is what happens when you write your own reality eventually ya end up drinking the koolaid and believing your own shinola.

  6. bobnstuff says:

    Good news, Fox doesn’t have enough viewers to elect a President. Fox and Trump were made for each other, both self promoting and full of themselves. We have the fake candidate being promoted by the fake news channel.

    • jmprint says:

      You say, that, but when I travel and stop lets say McDonald, guess what’s on the TV? Foxs & Friends. I argued and showed facts to my nephew who is a staunched supporter of Cruz, and serving in the Marines, He says all I’m doing is picking on Trump. They fail to see or want to admit the facts. It boggles my mind.

      • bobnstuff says:

        I run into the true Trump people and am always amazed at how easy it is to fool them. They believe every single thing said about Clinton, my favorite one is her sleeping through Benghazi since it happened in the afternoon EST. I work with around a hundred people of which there maybe eight Trump supporters but they make enough noise that you would believe the whole store supported Trump. I don’t spend time in the break room.

      • FireBaron says:

        Unfortunately, Teflon Donnie’s fans do not want to know any facts about him. That knowledge may tarnish their image of him and expose him as the cheap painted plaster idol he is, instead of the golden idol he claims to be.

      • dpaano says:

        As a retired Army officer, I always questioned the intelligence of Marines…..but that’s just my prejudice.

  7. jmprint says:

    So what does this say about the GOP in general? To me it seems that the love of their country is not as strong as they say. When you are willing to turn over the reign to a lunatic that could very destroy our life as we know it. If they haven’t been able to teach him restrain or how to act like a decent human being.

  8. CrankyToo says:

    Fox Noise and the GOP represent a marriage made in Hell, and Agent Orange is their evil spawn.

  9. plc97477 says:

    I can’t believe the gotp. After the 08 election they did an autopsy to find out where they went wrong and totally ignored everything it showed. They are still ignoring the findings. Thank you gotp. Your insanity is going to keep drumpf out of the White House.

  10. Dan S says:

    In our household no 1 dares to turn on Fox News. It’s tabloid garbage to feed the red meat ???? crowd. Even though Chris Wallace is a registered Democrat I’m not all that certain he can be impartial when he moderates the 3rd debate.

  11. FireBaron says:

    Hmmm. I’m worried. No AgLander to decry what is obviously (to him) a liberal slam on his almighty candidate! Could it be that our least favorite unworthy troll (At least Otto gives us some laughs once in a while. Ag actually believes the garbage he spews) has decided to go where he is loved, like Brietbart or Drudge?

  12. RED says:

    It’s certainly true that Cons and Fox live in an echo chamber, their own little bubble. But what is not true is that somewhere beyond Fox there is some mythical “good” Republicans. The reason they can’t break out of the echo chamber is because they don’t want to, this is their positions and beliefs. Being a decent, rational person is antithetical to being a Con, those two traits cannot co-exist. I think people wanna pretend that if a Con is socially liberal well that’s a good Republican. Nope, their economic policies are still ignorant, ridiculous, & usually racist. The problem in this is that too often both parties agree on destroying workers and allowing and encouraging income inequality. So then the Cons don’t look as awful when the Dems are on board also.

  13. stsintl says:

    Though Rupert Murdoch never made the Time magazine’s list of most influential persons, he has been the most powerful person with his WMDs [Words of Mass Deception] over the last five decades. He has poisoned millions of minds with lies and deceptions. Fox TV was supposed to be the voice of the Republican Party, but Rupert Murdoch has turned the GOP of Lincoln and Eisenhower to be the voice of Rupert Murdoch. He and his ilk have destroyed one of the key institutions of our democracy.

  14. marion_thompson says:

    I get paid something like $6000-$8000 monthly for freelancing at home. For those of you who are eager to do simple freelance tasks for few hrs /day from ease of your home and make good salary while doing it… Then this work opportunity is for you… http://korta.nu/NDe

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