I often see mainstream reporters who are absolutely confounded and confused and bewildered by something that Donald Trump and his henchmen in Congress do or say. To these reporters, Trump and company are making weird charges or allegations that seem to come out of nowhere.
Now of course, they shouldn’t take these idiotic rantings and assume they are part of a grand strategy – they aren’t. But it is nonetheless frustrating, because it is obvious that they’re coming from Fox News (or other fevered swamps of the right, but mostly Fox).
Trump is like Bane from Batman, in that he bathed in the toxic sludge that is Fox to find his political identity. It’s where he went to peddle his birtherism and where he picked up his border wall nonsense.
Trump is not a political thinker. Similar to how his daughter outsourced her manufacturing to sweatshop workers overseas, Trump outsources his political “thinking” to Fox.
The pipeline of Fox to Trump is well documented.
But mainstream reporters don’t see it because they never turn on Fox. I’m not advocating people turn into regular Fox News watchers, but when the leader of the free world with his hand on the nuclear football takes his cues from a TV network, it’s worth it to know what’s on that network.
Mainstream reporters don’t watch Fox, which is why so many of them stupidly defend it as a real news outlet or are surprised to find out it has no ethics.
This is also why they regularly excuse the racism and sexism from the conservative movement. They genuinely believe these behaviors are outliers.
See, most mainstream reporters coming from New York City or Washington, D.C., are not interacting with knuckle-dragging conservatives.
For them “conservative” is either the elected officials they work with or their staffers or the vast array of conservative groups that surround politics.
These aren’t people that talk about “fags,” and “niggers” and “wetbacks” or “sand niggers.” They are center-right people who support conservative causes while also shopping at Whole Foods and listening to NPR.
For mainstream reporters, these are conservatives. They don’t look at Fox News and see the steady diet of hate that conservatives from coast-to-coast are fed on a daily basis. And they don’t understand, at all, where Trump and his Republican allies are getting this stuff.
So, when Trump makes an erratic boneheaded move (aka every move he makes), they assume it just came out of nowhere. But the odds are that move was motivated by something he saw on Fox & Friends or on Hannity, or one of the other Fox shows.
The network is his thinking box, and if you’re going to cover his presidency, you should turn it on or else you end up sounding like a naïve idiot.