‘Fox & Friends’ Misinforms Trump While Complaining About Press Portraying Him as Misinformed

‘Fox & Friends’ Misinforms Trump While Complaining About Press Portraying Him as Misinformed

It is common knowledge that President Trump loves to get much of the information in his head from Fox & Friends, which he watches religiously every morning. This is not hyperbole. Media Matters has documented it. Journalists have reported on the show’s role in setting the day’s presidential agenda by getting Trump fired up about whatever stories the hosts talk about.

So either Geraldo Rivera is unaware of the irony of his complaining to the crew on the curvy couch about the media cross-checking everything Trump says and revealing the president to be “stupid, uninformed, or a liar,” or he is subtly chastising his fellow Fox News personalities. (The first thing, it is the first thing.)

Rivera made the complaint without noting two important factors. One, it is one of the jobs of the media to fact-check a politician and not just pass lies on to the public. Two, President Trump is the one who has kept the whole “Alabama was in the path of Hurricane Dorian” story alive with his angry tweets and lazily-altered official charts from the National Hurricane Center:

“[I]n terms of the storm hitting Alabama and then earlier in the week the president saying he probably never even heard of a Cat-5 storm, this is all clear to me, what is happening is that this president gets the worst press of any president in the history of the republic. Everything he says and does is cross-checked and scrutinized to reveal him to be stupid, uninformed, or a liar.”

Geraldo went on to make a couple of curious statements that might give Trump the wrong idea about what he has and has not done in office.

“The dirty secret with the Pentagon is, it gets over $700 billion. It’s a lot of waste, fraud, abuse, and all the rest of it.”

This is not a “dirty secret.” President Trump has made bragging about his administration increasing the Pentagon’s budget to over $700 billion a year during his presidency a staple of his rallies and speeches. But technically, Trump asked Congress for that funding, and Congress agreed to the number, as it is the branch of government that appropriates money. The president does not really fund the military, but Trump might think otherwise if Fox & Friends keeps saying it.

“The voters voted him in to build that wall.”

Trump famously lost the popular vote by 3 million, and polling has consistently shown that a majority of the public opposes his building the wall. A majority even opposed his declaring a national emergency to try and divert the funds to border wall construction, an action Rivera is actually praising him for here.

“The wall, in the critical and most vulnerable sections of the border is being built.”

Not one new mile of wall has been built during Trump’s presidency. All the sections of the wall that have been erected have been to replace existing barriers that were reaching the end of their usefulness, and all of it was approved before Trump took office. It’s maintenance work, nothing more.

When Geraldo was done, Brian Kilmeade jumped in with one last incorrect point that punctuated the miasma of incorrect information that the president will nonetheless spew at his next campaign rally:

“He’s got $700 billion. The military was starved for eight years. Nobody cared. Now every Democrat is upset with $3.6 billion.”

The military was not starved for eight years. In fact, military spending per year was actually higher during President Obama’s first term than it is now. That was at least partly due to ongoing military operations in Iraq. Once combat troops were full out of that country, military spending went down slightly.

But Trump likes to use this same talking point as Kilmeade, and hearing it on Thursday morning will only reinforce its correctness in the president’s mind.

Taken together, this was four minutes of Geraldo Rivera and the crew of Fox & Friends completely misinforming the president and handing him incorrect talking points that he will repeat to every reporter and rally crowd he can. And Geraldo did so while complaining about other media fact-checking Trump and noting he is wrong when he repeats these points.

It’s an ouroboros of misinformation, and Rivera lacks the self-awareness to realize it.

Watch the video above, via Fox News.

Gary Legum

Gary Legum has written about politics and culture for Independent Journal Review, Salon, The Daily Beast, Wonkette, AlterNet and McSweeney's, among others. He currently lives in his native state of Virginia.