Trump Blasts Fox News in New Video

Our commander-in-chief is ranting away at his daily press show, insisting over and over that he acted earlier on the coronavirus than anyone in the whole world. He keeps yelling January 17th! as if it’s some kind of talisman. January 17th! No cases! No deaths! And you think I should have shut down the country?

I’m not sure why he picked January 17 as his magical date, and needless to say, no one was suggesting he should have locked down the country on January 17. Lots of people are suggesting that he should have used, say, the month of February to prepare for a spreading pandemic by stockpiling supplies; using the bully pulpit; and taking the whole thing seriously. Instead, even at the end of February, he was still minimizing the likely spread of the virus: “When you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that’s a pretty good job we’ve done.”

This, of course, is just more of the usual. But in a new low—they just keep coming, don’t they?—Trump used his press briefing to air a campaign video that defended his response and instead laid the blame at the feet of . . . the press:

This is bad enough. But here’s the weird part: the clips of the media “minimizing the risk” are all from Fox News. And it’s certainly true that Fox dutifully followed Trump’s lead during February by downplaying the pandemic risk. But why pick on Fox? Trump certainly could have found at least a clip or two from the other cable nets as well. This was very clearly a deliberate choice.

But what does it mean? Is it a shot across the bow at Fox News? Or what?

UPDATE: I see that I misread the “Fox News” clips. They are actually all clips from an episode of Hannity in which Sean Hannity plays clips from other networks downplaying the pandemic. This is an odd choice, but obviously Trump’s intention was to buddy up with Hannity and blame the non-Fox media for minimizing things. This is breathtakingly dishonest, of course, but that’s Trump for you.

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate