Aug 28, 2019

Trump breaks with Fox News

Trump participates in a debate sponsored by Fox News in 2016. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump publicly turned against Fox News on Wednesday, tweeting that the conservative-leaning cable network "isn't working for us anymore" and that "[w]e have to start looking for a new News Outlet."

Be smart: The words "us" and "we" presumably refer to the most loyal supporters that make up Trump's base, whom the president hopes will help him pressure Fox into elevating pro-Trump coverage leading up to the 2020 election.

Yes, but: It's unlikely that his administration will shy from Fox News as a go-to outlet for interviews and access.

  • It's long been clear that Trump is an avid viewer of Fox, as much of his morning tweets are driven by what he sees on "Fox & Friends."
  • According to progressive think tank Media Matters, 92% of Trump's nationally televised interviews this year have been with Fox News or Fox Business, as of May 2019.
  • That cozy relationship extends to Trump's Republican allies in Congress as well.

The big picture: The president has suggested for the past few months that Fox News has wavered in its loyalty to conservative coverage by elevating left-leaning voices on its network and by publishing news polls that show his support slipping.

  • He's also gone after Fox News daytime anchor like Shep Smith, compared to Fox News' primetime hosts and Trump loyalists Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson. Trump on Wednesday reiterated a familiar attack on Smith, claiming he has "low ratings."

Meanwhile, Trump has planted seeds of support for other conservative networks, like One American News Network (OANN), Newsmax and Sinclair Broadcast Group.

Between the lines: The president often goes after Fox News for giving airtime to Democratic analysts and contributors, specifically ones of color.

  • Among his favorite targets are Fox News analyst and The Hill columnist Juan Williams and Fox News contributor and former Democratic National Committee interim chairperson Donna Brazile. Last week, the President tweeted that Williams was "pathetic" and "always nasty and wrong." On Wednesday, he mentioned both Williams and Brazile in his tweets attacking the network.

The bottom line: Trump has been hinting at a Fox News breakup for a while, but it's hard to see a world in which the president actually wants the biggest and most influential conservative-leaning cable news network to turn against him. The tweets are most likely intended to pressure Fox into giving more favorable coverage ahead of a crucial election campaign.

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 5,410,228 — Total deaths: 345,105 — Total recoveries — 2,169,005Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 1,643,499 — Total deaths: 97,722 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,915Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil, coronavirus hotspot in Southern Hemisphere Over 100 coronavirus cases in Germany tied to single day of church services — Boris Johnson backs top aide amid reports that he broke U.K. lockdown while exhibiting symptoms.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks headed into Memorial Day weekend Report finds "little evidence" coronavirus under control in most statesHurricanes, wildfires, the flu could strain COVID-19 response
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Public employees brace for layoffs.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
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U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

The CDC is warning of potentially "aggressive rodent behavior" amid a rise in reports of rat activity in several areas, as the animals search further for food while Americans stay home more during the coronavirus pandemic.

By the numbers: More than 97,700 people have died from COVID-19 and over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Over 366,700 Americans have recovered and more than 14.1 million tests have been conducted.

World coronavirus updates

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Japan's economy minister outlined plans on Monday to end the nationwide state of emergency as the number of new novel coronavirus cases continues to decline to fewer than 50 a day, per Bloomberg. Japan has reported 16,550 cases and 820 deaths.

By the numbers: Over 5.4 million people have tested positive for the virus as of Monday, and more than 2.1 million have recovered. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world (over 1.6 million from 13.7 million tests). The U.K. is reporting over 36,800 deaths from the coronavirus — the most fatalities outside the U.S.