For the first two years of his presidency, Donald Trump rarely let a chance to praise Fox News go by.
“Was @foxandfriends just named the most influential show in news,” he tweeted in December 2017. “You deserve it – three great people! The many Fake News Hate Shows should study your formula for success!”
In February 2018, he was back at it: “Thank you to @foxandfriends for exposing the truth. Perhaps that’s why your ratings are soooo much better than your untruthful competition!”
And at a rally late last month in Michigan, Trump praised Fox for its “through-the-roof” ratings before running through a list of “great, great friends in the media” that included, among others, Fox News anchors Laura Ingraham, Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt, Tucker Carlson and Jeanine Pirro.
All of which makes Trump’s tweets about Fox News over the last 24 hours all the more notable.
“So weird to watch Crazy Bernie on @FoxNews,” Trump tweeted of the town hall featuring the Vermont senator that ran on Fox News Monday night. “Not surprisingly, @BretBaier and the ‘audience’ was so smiley and nice. Very strange, and now we have @donnabrazile?”
Later in the day, Trump was at it again: “Many Trump Fans & Signs were outside of the @FoxNews Studio last night in the now thriving (Thank you President Trump) Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, for the interview with Crazy Bernie Sanders. Big complaints about not being let in-stuffed with Bernie supporters. What’s with @FoxNews?”
Let’s deal with the facts first. According to the Allentown Morning-Call, the local paper for the town of Bethlehem, where the town hall was held, the audience was composed of “various political and local groups in the area” and an assortment of public requests made after the town hall was announced.
There were some pro-Trump people protesting Sanders outside the town hall, but the Morning-Call also quotes a Trump supporter who attended the town hall.
So, there’s zero evidence for Trump’s insinuation that Fox News purposely packed the town hall audience with Sanders’ supporters and barred pro-Trump voices from being let in. Zero.