President Donald Trump’s remarks Tuesday on the protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, shocked a lot of Americans. But the comments probably wouldn’t have been surprising to anyone who watched Fox News in recent days.
In the video above, Media Matters compared Trump’s comments with what Fox News pundits and guests said in the days before. Here are a few examples:
- Trump on getting the facts right: “I wanted to make sure, unlike most politicians, that what I said was correct — not make a quick statement. I want to know the facts.” Fox News host Jesse Watters: “Perhaps the president was thinking, ‘You know what, I don’t have all the facts.’”
- Trump on violence on “both sides”: “You had a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. I think there’s blame on both sides, and I have no doubt about it.” Newt Gingrich on Fox News: “So we have a two-sided violence problem, not just a one-sided violence problem.”
- Trump on the alt-left: “What about the alt-left that came charging the, as you say, the alt-right?” Fox News host Sean Hannity: “Republicans need to do their job and also be ready to fight back, because you got the alt-left — they cannot stand this president.”
- Trump on Confederate statues coming down: “Was George Washington a slaveowner? So will George Washington now lose his status? Are we going to take down … statues to George Washington? How about Thomas Jefferson?” Fox News host Martha MacCallum: “You could make an argument for Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. Are you going to change the name of the Washington Monument?”
We know Trump watches Fox News a lot. According to the Washington Post, Trump watches cable news an average of five hours a day. In fact, some of Trump’s aides reportedly try to get on cable news just to communicate to Trump.
So it’s quite possible Trump picked up much of what he said from Fox’s conservative commentators and hosts.
That may seem innocent enough. But it’s a bit alarming that one news outlet can have so much sway about what the president — potentially the most powerful man in the world — believes and says.