‘Stupid Questions,’ Rarer Briefings, No Holiday Party: Trump’s Year With the Press

‘Stupid Questions,’ Rarer Briefings, No Holiday Party: Trump’s Year With the Press

He gave 30 interviews in October and November alone, not counting a pair of formal news conferences before and after the midterm elections. At the first of the two, Mr. Trump referred to a Kurdish journalist as “Mr. Kurd” and questioned the character of George Washington, musing, “Didn’t he have a couple things in his past?”

The president’s preferred venue, however, remained Fox News, whose prime-time and morning shows amounted to a Trump cheering section beamed into millions of homes. The cable network secured 18 interviews with the president this year; Fox Business had three more.

Journalists there have grumbled about the blurred line between the administration and some of the network’s star commentators. On the eve of the midterm elections, Sean Hannity rallied onstage with Mr. Trump in Missouri, high-fived the White House deputy chief of staff, Bill Shine — himself a former Fox News co-president — and jeered reporters in the auditorium as “fake news.” In 2010, Mr. Hannity was chastised by Fox News executives, including Mr. Shine, for scheduling an appearance at a Tea Party fund-raiser.

Fox News called the Missouri episode an “unfortunate distraction.”

Mr. Hannity also failed to tell viewers that he and Mr. Trump shared a lawyer, Michael D. Cohen. And this summer, the host campaigned in Florida for a candidate for governor, Ron DeSantis, a frequent guest. Mr. DeSantis’s campaign manager, Brad Herold, boasted that Mr. Hannity would rally the crowd.

“I’m concerned, with Hannity and DeSantis at the same event, that Fox News may have to cancel its prime-time programming tonight,” Mr. Herold joked in an interview in July.

Other presidents sparred with the press. Mr. Trump makes it personal.

He called April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks a “loser”; replied to Abby Phillip of CNN by saying, “You ask a lot of stupid questions”; dismissed a query from Yamiche Alcindor of PBS as “racist”; and told Cecilia Vega of ABC News, “You’re not thinking — you never do.” All four reporters are women of color.

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