Setting the agenda

By now it should be frighteningly clear that Trump’s knowledge of history, current events, foreign policy, and just about everything else comes directly from FoxNews, which he watches religiously. Or Breitbart, if the situation requires. When asked early in the campaign what his foreign policy and military expertise was, he said “I watch the shows”.

If he sees Tucker Carlson interview some guy who wrote a book on how Sweden is dealing with problems caused by its liberal immigration laws, the next morning he gives a speech about terrorism and says “look at what’s happening last night in Sweden”.  Of course, he’s so inarticulate that this phrasing leaves plenty of room for clarification and deniability, and his surrogates must fan out the next morning to put out the fires.

If Trump sees Herman Cain on FoxNews talking about how the deficit decreased by $12 Billion in Trump’s first month vs. an increase of $200 billion in Obama’s first month, the next day the man-baby is tweeting about how the Fake News Failing New York Times isn’t covering this wondrous achievement. No point in mentioning how meaningless the statistic is and how Cain could just as easily have noted that the deficit increased under Trump.

From this piece:

Using the same logic, for example, you could claim that after four days in office Trump increased outstanding public debt by more than $10 billion, and that Obama had reduced it by $6 billion.

But there is no need for Trump to vet anything with advisers or experts, no need to think about the implications of his response, no need to moderate his interpretation or language. It was on FoxNews and that’s good enough for the man-baby. Let the tweets fly and the devil take the hindmost.

All during the Obama administration, Fox, Breitbart and other”news” outlets excoriated Obama and then Hillary Clinton for not using the words “radical Islamic terrorism” when talking about the threats we face. It was their daily mantra, meant to show how soft and misguided liberals and democrats were. Obama answered the criticism by correctly pointing out that it wouldn’t help solve the problem to use those words, and would almost surely exacerbate it.

But Fox and Breitbart are all the man-baby needs. He’s all about “radical Islamic terrorism” now. The problem is, there are people around him that know Obama was right all along, including his new National Security Adviser, H.H. McMaster. It just isn’t helpful to talk that way.

We’ll see how long McMaster lasts or whether Trump just ignores him. This much is certain: when FoxNews says it would be better to use different language, Trump will use different language.

Given the direct and almost instantaneous path from Trump’s favorite media outlets to his Twitter, can anybody seriously argue that Fox and Breitbart are not setting the national agenda at this point?

 

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