Trump doesn’t understand that when the President of the United States tweets Fox News fake news about Sweden (and on Presidents Day), all of Sweden lets us know it’s fake news
(02-22-2017, updated 07-12-2018) We spent Presidents’ Day weekend in a cabin without Internet, so gloriously Trump-free. When we came back not much had changed; it was the weekend after all, so the president had been mostly spending the taxpayers’ money golfing in Florida.
One thing our fibbing Fox fan-in-chief did do was mention something that happened in Sweden. Correction: something that didn’t happen in Sweden. He thought something happened there because he was watching Fox News and someone on the screen mentioned Sweden, perhaps right around the time his daughter walked by. And when you’re Trump, and you’re, like, really smart, why would you get your information from your topnotch intelligence community when you can watch Fox News instead, which doesn’t involve any, like, reading?
Yeah, that was snarky, but wouldn’t it be ironic if the biggest fan was actually the one to prove to all those other Fox fans out there that what Fox provides is usually at best marginally factual? If Trump–who has called the mainstream media “the enemy of the people“, always making an exception for Fox–would unwittingly, stupidly, bring down the only news network that’s been mostly in favor of him?
After all, the reason people believe what Fox and right-wing talk shows tell them is that they all support one another, all bouncing around and feeding off one another in the right-wing echo chamber. Other news stations can point out falsehoods and fact-check Fox fables until they’re blue in the face, but the folks who watch Fox News don’t watch or read the reporters who do the fact-checking. Or, if they do and they don’t like what they hear or read, they can discard it as “fake news“.
Now that Trump is in the picture, however, things have gotten more complicated. He re-tweets and shares in his self-congratulatory yell sessions everything he sees on TV, and since he’s the president of the United States of America (cough), people pay attention. Like, all over the world. He mentions fake news about Sweden and it’s not just that homo Anderson Cooper on the Devil’s own CNN claiming that nothing happened–the entire country of Sweden claims nothing happened. That’s pretty hard to ignore. Try telling yourself that that’s fake news.
I predict that there’s going to be more of this. Like King George says in the musical Hamilton (in a completely different context, but I just happen to have Hamilton on the brain):
“They’re going to tear each other into pieces,
Jesus Christ, this will be fun!”
(This post was first published on the blog Resident Alien: Being Dutch in America, under the title: “Trump and Fox, Good Luck!”, 02-22-2017)