What Trump watches on TV
Donald Trump is probably Twitter’s dream user. Lots of followers, lots of engagement, and lots of tweeting about #brands — particularly TV shows that he’s in the process of watching. Second-screen engagement! Twitter’s engagement team salivates.
Trump took offense at a “Saturday Night Live” sketch from last week that made fun of his habit of tweeting off the cuff, so he tweeted off the cuff about it. He’s done this a few other times about SNL this year, and tweeted a number of times about the show when he was on it. It struck us: Trump’s Twitter feed might give us a good sense of what he watches on television and how he feels about it. Sure, Trump’s tweets are largely performative, but, unlike most politicians, he’s often happy to dash of a critique without moderating his views.
We went back to the beginning of his campaign for the presidency and isolated tweets referring to things he was watching on television. We excluded plugs for interviews and retweets of his fans.
In total, Trump has tweeted about shows he’s watching more than 250 times. Often, he tweets about the same show repeatedly; we only counted one tweet per show. And he tweets about no network more than Fox News.
Most of the time, you will not be surprised to learn, Trump is tweeting about his displeasure with what’s on his TV. With some regularity, though, he also tweets out praise for his surrogates, thanking CNN’s Kayleigh McEnany multiple times, for example.
By network, his attitudes about what he saw on Fox News were largely ambivalent (for reasons we’ll get to in a second).
He feels mostly negative about everyone else, except Fox Business, which he didn’t tweet about that much.
Why the ambivalence on Fox? We isolated the particular shows he was watching where we could, either because he mentioned it or a guest on the show, or simply by noting the time of the tweet and what was on at the same moment.
The three shows he tweeted about the most were “The Kelly File,” “Fox & Friends” and “The O’Reilly Factor.” All are Fox News shows. He mostly watches political news shows, but not exclusively.
The split on how he feels about those shows, though, is dramatic.
Trump’s views of “Kelly File” host Megyn Kelly are famously negative. Shows that have been generally more positive to him — “Fox & Friends,” “Hannity” and “O’Reilly Factor” — get more positive reviews from Trump. His praise for Don Lemon’s show on CNN mostly stems from his enthusiasm for surrogates that appeared on the program.
Trump has tweeted about “Saturday Night Live” three times since he began running for president. When he ain’t on it, he ain’t into it.