Fox and Friends has quickly become the most powerful news show on cable television – mainly because they have the president’s ear and they know it. But that doesn’t stop them from saying things off-the-wall enough to be removed from a whole country.
In the wake of 13 indictments against Russians issued by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Fox and Friends host Brian Kilmeade suggested that Trump should interfere with Russia’s elections as a form of payback.
Reading this Mueller indictment..our biggest problem Russians don’t fear or respect us @realDonaldTrump has to change that..they have an election coming up..payback time?
— Brian Kilmeade (@kilmeade) February 17, 2018
Normally, a news show would not garner this much attention, but Fox and Friends has because of its seemingly special relationship with the president. He’s been known to spend an inordinate amount of time watching them, include them in his tweets, and regurgitate their talking points, often word-for-word.
Further, the tweet is noteworthy because Trump and his acolytes, despite overwhelming evidence, insist that no meddling happened, let alone any collusion by the Trump campaign.
According to Vox, Fox and Friends “want[s] to be Trump’s BFF.” After analyzing 17 months of Fox and Friends coverage, they noticed marked changes in the way that Fox and Friends addressed their powerful audience of one. They write:
“It seems as though the show’s primary goal is no longer to talk to an audience — but rather to talk to the president. Before Trump, Fox & Friends would often attribute arguments to “some people” as a way to create straw men or make an anecdotal argument.”
In light of this understanding of the new way Fox and Friends leverage their position to influence the president, Kilmeade’s tweet reads with much more sinister overtones than a simple joke. If we understand them as they understand themselves, we understand them as people who know they have the president’s trust, and who can count on him to thoughtlessly take direction and replicate their talking points.
It’s a responsibility they are clearly still learning how to handle.