Trump and Fox News are pushing the same story line — designed to win the marketing war and boost their own ratings the same way.
Some of the story is by now familiar: Liberals have opened America to hostile forces — unauthorized immigrants, Muslims, Chinese traders, criminal gangs, drug dealers, government bureaucrats, coastal elites (Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi), North Korea, Iran and “political correctness” in all its forms.
Trump intends to protect America from these forces.
The new twist to the story — requiring the recent purges and a united front — is that these forces are conspiring with the FBI to oust Trump from the presidency.
The membrane separating Trump’s brain from Fox News has always been thin, but in the coming battle it’s likely to disappear entirely.
Trump has made Bolton his national security adviser not because Bolton has valuable insights about foreign affairs, but because Bolton — for years an on-air fixture at Fox News — is a showman who knows how to sell big lies and crazy ideas, and can thereby help Trump in the looming battle.
As undersecretary of state for arms control and international security in the George W. Bush administration, Bolton did more than anyone else to market the lie that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. During his year-and-a-half at the United Nations, Bolton was so outspokenly critical of the organization that he gained the devotion of xenophobic conservatives.
Even before Trump became president, he was so pleased with Bolton’s performance on Fox News that he named Bolton one of his sources for national security advice.
It hasn’t hurt that Bolton has sucked up to Trump since then. Describing Trump’s address to the United Nations last year, Bolton swooned that “in the entire history of the United Nations, there has never been a more straightforward criticism of the unacceptable behavior of other member states.”
Kudlow isn’t a Fox News pundit, but he’s been the next-best thing: a right-wing CNBC contributor known for his sharp wit, salesmanship and simplistic “trickle-down” economic views.
How can a television presidency be dangerous? Because it is solely about marketing Trump. Its only goal is to win. It is unconstrained by truth, reason or the Constitution. It doesn’t give a fig about the public.
When the occupant of the White House and the sycophants surrounding him are prepared to use anything, including real-world battles — trade wars and hot wars — to win a political battle at home, nothing and no one is safe.