Everybody who follows President Donald Trump on Twitter knows full well that he's a Fox News viewer, and a vocal and enthusiastic one at that. But there's been less attention paid to how people inside the conservative media outlet feel about him ― in other words, how Fox News feels about Trump, now that one of its biggest boosters and longtime guests is sitting in the Oval Office.
However, a new report by Gabriel Sherman in Vanity Fair has given a tiny glimpse into how people at Fox News headquarters in Manhattan feel about the commander-in-chief. From a programming standpoint, of course, the prevailing sentiment is clear: Fox News generally covers Trump in a more positive light than other news outlets. In particular, its back-to-back evening lineup of Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson have been vociferous pro-Trump voices, and have given mainstream platform to some increasingly caustic, far-right, and even conspiratorial views.
But for the rank and file within Fox News, perceptions of Trump may not always be so lofty. Rather, as one producer told the magazine, many people inside the building aren't exactly in his thrall. "He’s sort of viewed as this crazy person who calls all the time," the producer told Vanity Fair.
It's no secret that Trump spends a lot of time watching his favorite cable news channel. Reports suggest that he spends upwards of four hours a day ingesting cable news programming ― and occasionally topping eight hours ― with Fox News ranking as his preferred channel. He sometimes reportedly watches MSNBC's morning show Morning Joe, although given the channel's strongly anti-Trump bent, it seems a safe bet he doesn't venture much deeper into their broadcast lineup than that.
The Fox News show he's perhaps most openly affectionate towards is Fox and Friends, where he was a regular weekly phone-in guest for years prior to entering the world of elected politics. Co-hosted by Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt, and Brian Kilmeade, Trump has frequently encouraged the public to watch Fox and Friends from his Twitter account, even since becoming president.
He also occasionally simply tweets quotes or statements at the show's Twitter account, missives you wouldn't typically expect to see from the most powerful, and ostensibly busiest, man on Earth.
Now, thanks to Sherman's report for Vanity Fair, it's also clear that some Fox News employees don't regard him quite as seriously as you'd expect they would most presidents.
It's also true that Trump's relationship with Fox News is unusual as compared to any past administration. Former president Barack Obama didn't spend his mornings glowingly tweeting at MSNBC. Nor did former president George W. Bush ― who was president well before Twitter became the platform it is today ― release White House statements praising Fox News.
Observers of the White House have also noted that some of Trump's explosive tweets often come immediately following Fox News segments on similar topics, raising the distinct possibility that domestic and international politics are being shaped and swayed by the cable news channel. Last week, Matthew Gertz detailed this trend for Politico, describing what he calls "the Trump-Fox feedback loop."
It seems likely that Trump's intense affinity for Fox News will continue, considering that it's one of the few safe havens for more of less totally positive coverage of his administration. Whether the relationship will ever sour or change in any meaningful way remains to be seen. But as things stand now, it appears the president and his favorite cable news channel will continue to be simpatico, regardless of how he might be viewed by some within the halls of Fox News.