The Trump Phenomenon: Thank Fox News


From the film Ghostbusters: Fig Newton Gingrich in the role of Gozer The Traveler *

Here we go again. Back in August, we posted Trumpenstein, in which we laid the creation of the Trump Phenomenon squarely at the feet of Fux News:

His political persona is as much a creation of the political arm of the GOP, Fux News, as it is one of his own devising. Prior to the first, now infamous, 2016 Republican presidential debate, Trump was a regular weekly guest on Fux’s morning program, Fux and Friends, which gave him a long-running, high profile forum to build his political persona. A marriage made in heaven for an extreme narcissist and a cable network, both seeking maximum public attention and approval,

Now comes this. Here’s Charlie Pierce‘s account of an interview Fux and Friendsa did with the Newtster a couple of days ago:

DOOCY: Well they are uncomfortable with Trump, the GOP establishment. You talk to the GOP establishment, I mean, you’re part of it for the most part. What—this is their nightmare scenario. What are they trying to do?

GINGRICH: Oh, I think they live in a fantasy land right now. Donald Trump is tapping into something that’s real …

KILMEADE: Well what’s interesting is that Mitt Romney, one of his great advantages was money, and that’s why a lot of you guys couldn’t keep up. This time, the billionaire is spending the least amount of money and running away with this thing—

GINGRICH: Well, that’s because of you guys.


Charlie comments:

Doocy’s face at this point is already worth the price of admission. But it continues:

GINGRICH: That’s because of you guys. Donald Trump gets up in the morning, tweets to the entire planet at no cost, gets on the phone, calls you, has a great conversation for about eight minutes, which would have cost him a ton in commercial money. And meanwhile, his opponents are all out there trying to raise the money to run an ad, and nobody believes the ad.

KILMEADE: People make decisions. Mitt Romney made a decision: for three months, he wouldn’t do us at all. People decide—for a while, Jeb Bush wouldn’t hop on any television at all. Hillary Clinton didn’t do anything in the beginning. Donald Trump from day one made himself available to big and small.

It doesn’t seem to occur to Kilmeade that they at Fox & Friends are also making decisions, like the decision to prioritize feeding the ratings beast with largely uncritical Trump interviews. But then Doocy chimes in:

DOOCY: Plus, he’s invented scenarios where suddenly he’s got all this free media. That Pope thing at the end of the week—who wasn’t talking about that?

Again, there’s a sense that somehow no editorial decisions are being made at Fox, and the Trump coverage just sort of appears on-screen, unbidden. Gingrich remains unimpressed:

GINGRICH: Look. You could say Trump is the candidate Fox & Friends invented. He was on your show more than any other show—

Then, proudly:

DOOCY: Every Monday.

It’s almost like they can’t hear themselves speak. At the very least, Doocy struggles to connect the logical dots from one sentence to the next. But while Gingrich is right about Fox & Friends‘ role in Trump’s rise, the Fox News morning crew is not alone. The Age of Trump has exposed the inability of cable news in particular to cover presidential campaigns in a responsible way. When the campaign to elect the leader of the free world is made into a kind of carnivalized gladiatorial bloodsport to be exploited for its entertainment value, the best entertainer is likely to succeed.

[H/T: The Daily Beast]

You can’t make this stuff up.


* From Ghostbusters:

[Egon is running tests on Louis, who has been possessed by Gozer and is now the Keymaster]

Dr. Egon Spengler: Vinz, you said before you were waiting for a sign. What sign are you waiting for?

Louis: Gozer the Traveler. He will come in one of the pre-chosen forms. During the rectification of the Vuldrini, the traveler came as a large and moving Torg! Then, during the third reconciliation of the last of the McKetrick supplicants, they chose a new form for him: that of a giant Slor! Many Shuvs and Zuuls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the Slor that day, I can tell you!

Gozer: The Choice is made!

Dr. Peter Venkman: Whoa! Ho! Ho! Whoa-oa!

Gozer: The Traveler has come!

Dr. Peter Venkman: Nobody choosed anything!

[turns to Egon]

Dr. Peter Venkman: Did you choose anything?

Dr. Egon Spengler: No.

Dr. Peter Venkman: [to Winston] Did YOU?

Winston Zeddemore: My mind is totally blank.

Dr. Peter Venkman: *I* didn’t choose anything…

[long pause, Peter, Egon and Winston all look at Ray]

Dr Ray Stantz: I couldn’t help it. It just popped in there.

Dr. Peter Venkman: [angrily] What? *What* “just popped in there?”

Dr Ray Stantz: I… I… I tried to think…

Dr. Egon Spengler: LOOK!

[they all look over one side of the roof]

Dr Ray Stantz: No! It CAN’T be!

Dr. Peter Venkman: What is it?

Dr Ray Stantz: It CAN’T be!

Dr. Peter Venkman: What did you DO, Ray?

Winston Zeddemore: Oh, shit!

[they all see a giant cubic white head topped with a sailor hat, Peter looks at Ray]

Dr Ray Stantz: [somberly] It’s the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

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