What Trump watches on TV

The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE - By Philip Bump

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.

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