Theoretical “president” Donald Trump hasn’t shut non-Fox News networks out completely, in 2019, but it’s coming darn close.
Trump’s tendency to favor Fox channels for interviews has increased dramatically in 2019. So far this year, 11 out of 12 of the president’s national TV interviews — 92% — have been on Fox News or Fox Business, an increase from 2017-2018 when 67% were given to Fox-affiliated channels. Since lashing out on March 17, Trump has given seven interviews to Fox News or Fox Business.
There’s likely no underlying plans or strategies here. Donald Trump has always insisted on deferential, fawning treatment; as his business “genius” is revealed as utter fraud and as he faces unindicted co-conspirator status, charges of tax dodging, obstruction of justice charges and a growing likelihood of an impeachment trial he has fled from all but the most toadying of audiences. If it takes the likes of a groveling Sean Hannity to provide a glowing, rally-like atmosphere in which Donald can still claim whatever he likes without challenge, a groveling Sean Hannity will get that gig.
Like all bullies, the man is ruled by cowardice. The White House ended the practice of daily briefings rather than subject Trump to having to watch reporters ask non-deferential questions about his claims and policies; they have now culled the ranks of those reporters in a further effort to restrict coverage that might offend the blustering rage-monster. There is no staff plan more substantive than “avoid sending Donald into another rage,” and with every passing week the task keeps gettin harder.
By the time Congress pries loose Trump’s tax returns or an unreacted Mueller report, the man may have sealed himself up tight in a gilded box with only his phone and his Diet Coke button for company. If we’re lucky.