centralmarylandphoto / Flickr the president and unofficial vice president...
centralmarylandphoto / Flickr

We know Donald Trump and Republicans have a preference for Fox News. While the connections between Fox News and the Republican party have long been prevalent, the creep toward becoming state television is taking a dangerous new turn. For example, did you know that Sean Hannity and Donald Trump speak nearly every single night? With Melania keeping a separate residence within the White House, apparently Trump unwinds on the phone with Hannity. From New York Magazine:

On the phone, he and the president alternate between the “witch hunt!” and gabbing like old girlfriends about media gossip and whose show sucks and who’s getting killed in the ratings and who’s winning (Hannity, and therefore Trump) and sports and Kanye West, all of it sprinkled with a staccato fuck … fucking … fucked … fucker. “He’s not a systematic thinker at all. He’s not an ideologue,” one person who knows both men said of Hannity. “He gives tactical advice versus strategic advice.”

The talks may be more important for Trump than for Hannity in a therapeutic sense, even if it’s nearly impossible to accept what we’re seeing from the president reflects any kind of therapy. “He doesn’t live with his wife,” one person who knows both men said of Trump, explaining that he lacks someone “to decompress” with at the end of the day. When they spoke a few hours before Trump welcomed home the newly freed Americans who’d been held hostage in North Korea, he and Hannity told each other how proud they were, how happy the news made them. “You can’t function without that,” this person said, adding that Hannity “actually likes him” even though “he knows how nuts he is. He’s decided that you’re all in or you’re not.”

Hannity unofficially played a big role in Trump’s campaign as well, even going so far as to lend his private plane to Trump so that Newt Gingrich could be flown to Trump’s side for a VP audition. During the campaign, Hannity defended himself against criticism by saying it was his private business.

In another troubling sign, staffers at the FDA report they have been ordered to tune their televisions in to Fox News and Fox News alone. From CBS News:

CBS News has confirmed an email was sent to researchers at the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research responding to apparent efforts to change the channel on internal television screens. The email from “[White Oak] Digital Display” sent on Wednesday, May 3, was sent to inform the researchers of the “reason for the change from CNN to Fox.” White Oak is the name of the FDA’s campus.

The email goes on to inform employees that the decision came from the Trump administration.

“The reason for the change is that a decision from the current administration administrative officials has requested that all monitors, under our control, on the White Oak Campus, display FOX news,” the email reads.

A screenshot of the email quickly went viral and according to the Wall Street Journal, admins quickly reversed course.

The FDA’s TV monitors typically have split screens, with half announcing FDA news such as upcoming scientific or regulatory lectures. The other half showed CNN, at least until a week ago, when the hallway monitors were switched to Fox.

Friday morning, after an image of the email explaining the shift to Fox News was tweeted, monitors were switched back so that some displayed CNN and some Fox News, FDA doctors said.

None of this is normal.

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