If the role of television in the life of Trump was once a means of distraction and relaxation, it no longer serves that function. Today, television provides no escape. It’s as though the president is in an endless episode of “The Twilight Zone” (a series he likely would have watched when young) or “Black Mirror” (a recent series he likely hasn’t). Anywhere he clicks on cable news, he’s all anyone is talking about. For someone with Trump’s limitless ego needs, how gratifying; for someone with Trump’s exquisite sense of offense, how enraging. Because, unless he is docked at that island of constant praise that is Fox, he’s bound to encounter someone saying something disparaging of him. Trump keeps vowing he has stopped watching any show that criticizes him, but the Washington Post notes he often “hate watches” his perceived enemies. Perhaps it’s an evolutionary need: If there are predators closing in, better to be on the alert and vanquish them with a weapon our hominid ancestors could not even conceive: the tweet.
At the same time, despite all his bluster about “fake news,” Trump is “very trusting of what he learns on TV,” Marc Fisher says. Many television viewers have a sense that they know the people they regularly watch on screen, but now that Trump is president, he actually does know them. “When he knows people, he trusts their information,” Fisher says. “‘Fox & Friends’ are part of his family. That was true for ‘Morning Joe,’ and that’s why he feels so spurned and betrayed.”