Monday, January 10, 2022

Reality TV

From the Washington Post:

Stephanie Grisham, former press secretary to President Donald Trump, remembers the challenges that came from so many Fox News hosts having the direct number to reach Trump in the White House residence.

“There were times the president would come down the next morning and say, ‘Well, Sean thinks we should do this,’ or, ‘Judge Jeanine thinks we should do this,’ ” said Grisham, referring to Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro, both of whom host prime-time Fox News shows.

Grisham — who resigned from the White House amid the Jan. 6 attacks and has since written a book critical of Trump — said West Wing staffers would simply roll their eyes in frustration as they scrambled to respond to the influence of the network’s hosts, who weighed in on everything from personnel to messaging strategy.

Trump’s staff, allies and even adversaries were long accustomed to playing to an “Audience of One” — a commander in chief with a twitchy TiVo finger and obsessed with cable news.

But text messages — newly released by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection — between Fox News hosts and former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, crystallize with new specificity just how tightly Fox News and the White House were entwined during the Trump years, with many of the network’s top hosts serving as a cable cabinet of unofficial advisers.

Lincoln has his team of rivals; counselors who disagreed with his policies but worked to keep the country alive. FDR had his “brains trust;” people he counted on to keep him listening to smart ideas on how to save the economy during the Depression and World War II. Eisenhower had his “kitchen cabinet;” similar to the others but men — and only men — who sat around drinking and helping Ike through the 1950’s. JFK had “The Best and the Brightest.”  But Trump was — and still is — being led around by the nose by a bunch of TV clowns whose only experience in foreign affairs and the international economy is the premium tickets at Disney World. They told him what to do, who to hire; basically running the country from a TV studio in New York. The White House is supposed to manipulate the press, not the other way around.

But when the folks at Fox saw that he was encouraging riots, death, and destruction, they couldn’t get him to pick up the phone.

This whole thing failed on two counts: they led him by the nose until it when horribly wrong, and then they couldn’t stop him.


One bark on “Reality TV

  1. I think it’s more Trump’s obsession with “winning the day” on cable news. The Fox critters would tell Trump what their audiences were texting / commenting, and Trump would take that as indications of what type of red meat to throw to his pack of rabid followers.

    As following the Fox critters’ advice got Trump the media headlines he craved, Trump kept taking that advice.


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