If you’re even a casual observer of Donald Trump, then you’re already well aware that the president is fond of watching television, in particular Fox News’s morning show “Fox and Friends,” and then tweeting about the things he sees on the screen. Countless articles have chronicled this habit.
As well-established as it is that Trump tweets at Fox News a lot, we were still surprised to find out just how much he does it, once we dug into the research. That’s why we thought it might be valuable to make an all-encompassing compilation of every single instance we could find, so that you the viewer could feel what it’s actually like to consume and tweet about that much “Fox and Friends”… while you’re president.
First, a note about parameters: Trump tweets a lot, and he watches a lot of TV. So for the sake of our sanity, we decided to focus exclusively on the tweets corresponding to “Fox and Friends,” or occasionally the network’s preceding early-morning show “Fox & Friends First” or the weekend versions of the show.
Second, we decided to limit the time period to post-presidential election. (We figured it’s not that big a deal to do a lot of TV-tweeting as a private citizen, even one who's running for president. But to TV-tweet once you actually win and assume the highest office in the land… well, that’s kind of a different story.)
Now then, you’re probably wondering about methodology. How could we possibly have determined that each of these tweets definitively corresponds to a "Fox and Friends" segment? Well, if you follow the Twitter account of Media Matters’ Matt Gertz, you’ll learn that matching Trump’s tweets to TV is part art, part science. Sometimes he makes it easy—he just writes @foxandfriends in the tweet. But the majority of the time, you have to dig deeper by matching up the timing of the tweet, or series of tweets, to the timing and order of “Fox and Friends” segments.
Of course, Trump almost never watches the show live but rather uses a DVR to tune in late, start from the beginning, and then fast-forward his way through. And then there’s the time it takes to compose the tweet. So it can get tricky. But the bottom line is, when he actually fires off that tweet, he’s usually not more than a half hour or so behind the time of the segment he’s responding to.
Once you’ve been Trump tweet-TV matching for long enough, you start to get a feel for recognizing them. Was it between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 a.m.? Did it have to do with Hillary Clinton, James Comey, Russian collusion, or the NFL anthem protests? Or was it a seemingly totally random topic that he wouldn’t otherwise have been thinking about as leader of the free world?
So, can we say with 100 percent certainty that each and every one of these tweets was inspired by watching "Fox and Friends"? No. But we frankly spent way more time than is probably healthy trying to match these up, and let’s just say that the metric we used for inclusion was “I’d be shocked if this wasn’t a ‘Fox & Friends’ tweet.”
There were plenty of iffy ones that we left on the cutting-room floor. And to be sure, there are plenty we missed because we lacked the research bandwidth to comb through every single day of Trump’s Twitter account. The more we looked, the more we found, so at a certain point, we had to cut ourselves off.
So this is a conservative accounting of Trump’s habit. But this is what we came up with: 15 minutes worth of tweets, just to “Fox and Friends,” and just since November 8, 2016.