‘Stay strong and fight back': Trump urges Fox News to dig in on Carlson and Pirro – POLITICO
President Donald Trump seemed to adopt the role of programmer in chief on Sunday, firing off a series of tweets that singled out for solidarity and scorn various anchors at his favorite network, Fox News, and suggested that federal regulators should bear down on “Saturday Night Live” and NBC.
The president’s posts directed at Fox News followed a particularly bruising week for the conservative cable outlet. Last Sunday, audio clips surfaced of misogynistic comments that prime-time host Tucker Carlson made on a Florida shock jock’s radio show from 2006 to 2011, and fellow talking head Jeanine Pirro was roundly rebuked the same weekend for appearing to question the patriotism of a Muslim-American member of Congress.
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Fox News did not air Pirro’s weekly program, “Justice,” on Saturday night, and CNN reported Sunday that she has been suspended from the network. The president made clear that he was no fan of the unannounced lineup change.
“Bring back @JudgeJeanine Pirro,” Trump said in a tweet Sunday. “The Radical Left Democrats, working closely with their beloved partner, the Fake News Media, is using every trick in the book to SILENCE a majority of our Country. They have all out campaigns against @FoxNews hosts who are doing too well.”
In another message, the president wrote that Fox News “must stay strong and fight back with vigor.” Framing the public relations fracas in gladiatorial terms, Trump advised the network to “continue to fight for our Country” and “[s]top working soooo hard on being politically correct, which will only bring you down.”
“The losers all want what you have, don’t give it to them,” the president wrote online. “Be strong & prosper, be weak & die!”
Trump regularly tweets segments of Fox News shows and offers praise and promotion for its on-screen talent. But the president’s screed on Sunday marked perhaps his most forceful demand yet to the network on which the White House often relies for interviews, messaging to Republican voters and generally favorable coverage of the administration’s directives.
Trump’s unsolicited counsel to the television executives also conformed to his personal brand of yield-no-ground crisis management and underscored the political nature of what conservative allies have branded as a partisan pressure campaign against Fox News. Neither Carlson nor Pirro has apologized for their controversial remarks.
“Stay true … to the people that got you there. Keep fighting for Tucker, and fight hard for @JudgeJeanine,” Trump wrote online. “Your competitors are jealous — they all want what you’ve got — NUMBER ONE. Don’t hand it to them on a silver platter. They can’t beat you, you can only beat yourselves!”
The tough love didn’t stop there. Roughly 4½ hours later, the president aimed his Twitter feed at three anchors from the network’s news division, including Shepard Smith — whose daily afternoon broadcast is widely viewed as one of Fox News’ more even-handed hours of TV.
“Were @FoxNews weekend anchors, @ArthelNeville and @LelandVittert, trained by CNN prior to their ratings collapse?” Trump tweeted. “In any event, that’s where they should be working, along with their lowest rated anchor, Shepard Smith!”
Earlier in the morning, Trump had indicated for the second time in two months that government officials should scrutinize “Saturday Night Live,” the satirical sketch show that airs weekly on NBC, for potential abuses.
“It’s truly incredible that shows like Saturday Night Live, not funny/no talent, can spend all of their time knocking the same person (me), over & over, without so much of a mention of ‘the other side,’” the president tweeted. “Like an advertisement without consequences. Same with Late Night Shows.”
“Should Federal Election Commission and/or FCC look into this?” Trump wrote in a separate post. “There must be Collusion with the Democrats and, of course, Russia!”
In February, the president questioned how NBC and other networks with programming critical of the White House “get away with these total Republican hit jobs without retribution.”
He tweeted: “Very unfair and should be looked into. This is the real Collusion!”