A version of this article first appeared in the "Reliable Sources" newsletter. You can sign up for free right here.
President Trump began his day with a complaint that Fox News "doesn't deliver for US anymore." Via Twitter, he criticized Andrew Napolitano, Shep Smith, and Donna Brazile. He said the network "is so different than it used to be." And he added, "Oh well, I'm President!"
Fox declined to comment on Trump's latest jabs. Maybe the network was banking on that old aphorism, "If you don't like the weather, just wait a few minutes." Because on Thursday night, during a rally in Minneapolis, Trump praised his Fox friends in detail.
He started with the morning show: "Ainsley and Steve and, by the way, Brian's gotten a lot better. He was a 7, he's getting close to a 10 territory." Then he brought up Pete Hegseth and Jesse Watters. Folks in the crowd shouted Tucker Carlson's name. "Tucker's been very good," Trump said. Then: "The legendary Sean Hannity!" He praised Hannity's ratings. Then it was Fox Business Network's turn. He gave Maria Bartiromo a shoutout. And "the great Lou Dobbs."
"And many more!" he said. I think he was worried about forgetting someone. "How about Greg?" he said, talking about Greg Gutfeld of "The Five" on Fox News. "Greg used to hate me, now he's good!" He mentioned one more host: "I would be in such trouble if I forget Judge Jeanine!"
Remember what prompted his complaint...
Trump's Thursday morning gripe grew out of Fox's polling showing a majority of the American people support impeachment. "From the day I announced I was running for President, I have NEVER had a good @FoxNews Poll," Trump tweeted, even though he used to promote Fox's poll. "Whoever their Pollster is, they suck," he said, even though the head of Fox's polling unit is widely respected in the industry. "But @FoxNews is also much different than it used to be in the good old days," he added.
This contrast — Trump complaining about Fox's polling unit in the morning and praising the opinion hosts in the evening — says it all...
Sad scenes at the Trump rally
Yahoo's Hunter Walker tweeted about a father who walked toward the press pen with his child: "This guy is teaching his young son how to boo the press. 'Boo ... bad media ... thumbs down,' he said."
AND SPEAKING OF FATHERS AND SONS...
Will this abhorrent chant at Trump's rally even get attention on Friday morning?
On the same day Giuliani's associates were indicted, Eric Trump talked about Biden and said "maybe 'Lock her up' goes to 'Lock him up.' I don't know." Soon the crowd chanted: "Lock him up."
Conservative commentator Erick Erickson tweeted: "We're all properly denouncing the NBA kowtowing to China, meanwhile the son of the sitting President is leading a crowd in a chant of 'lock him up' about his father's political rival's son. There's something third world and kleptocratic about that." Yes...
CNN's Daniel Dale reports: "The president told reporters today that "we have no soldiers in Syria." The US has 1,000 soldiers in Syria. This is extreme, up-is-down deception. It'll get very little coverage." Here's his full fact-check...
Notes and quotes
-- James Fallows' tweet during the rally: "The father of Donald Trump Jr, Ivanka, and Eric, and father-in-law of Jared Kushner, is on extended ridicule-rant about under-qualified kids of politicians using family name for profit. Trump himself can't register what's wrong here. The 53 GOP Senators know. (Or most of them.)" (Twitter)
-- A timely headline from Noah Bierman and Chris Megerian: "Trump's children take in millions overseas as president slams Biden's son..." (LA Times)
-- The AP's Nicholas Riccardi writes: "A simple yes-or-no question keeps tripping up Senate Republicans: Should the president ask foreign countries to investigate political rivals?" (AP)
Murdoch and Barr's meeting...
"Attorney General William P. Barr met privately Wednesday evening with Rupert Murdoch, the media mogul who is one of President Trump's frequent confidants but whose Fox News is viewed by the president as more hostile toward him than it used to be," the NYT's Maggie Haberman and Katie Benner scooped. "The meeting was held at Mr. Murdoch's home in New York, according to someone familiar with it. It was unclear if anyone else attended or what was discussed." And no one is sharing details.
>> Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti tweeted: "Why is the Attorney General of the United States meeting with the owner of a television news network?"