TV shows Trump should watch in­stead of Fox News

The Washington Post Sunday - - SUNDAY OPINION - DANA MILBANK

Pres­i­dent Trump, dur­ing the cam­paign, fa­mously said that he gets his mil­i­tary ad­vice from “the shows.” He wasn’t kid­ding. Now, as leader of the free world, he gets up in the morn­ing and, long be­fore re­ceiv­ing his in­tel­li­gence brief­ing (if he re­ceives one at all), he flips on ca­ble news and starts tweet­ing. His com­ments are in the style of a guy in a La-Z-Boy shout­ing at the tele­vi­sion, ex­cept the guy in the La-Z-Boy has 26 mil­lion Twit­ter fol­low­ers and con­trols a nu­clear ar­se­nal that could de­stroy the world many times over.

Fox News’s morn­ing show flashes a graphic al­leg­ing that 122 re­leased “Gitmo pris­on­ers reen­gaged in ter­ror­ism.” Within an hour, Trump tweets from the White House: “122 vi­cious pris­on­ers, re­leased by the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion from Gitmo, have re­turned to the bat­tle­field. Just an­other ter­ri­ble de­ci­sion!” (As The Post’s Jenna John­son pointed out, 113 of the 122 were re­leased dur­ing the Ge­orge W. Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion.)

A “Fox & Friends” host calls for Trump to block fed­eral fund­ing to uni­ver­si­ties that try to “si­lence con­ser­va­tive voices,” after vi­o­lent protests at the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia at Berke­ley over a speech by con­ser­va­tive provo­ca­teur Milo Yiannopou­los. Half an hour later, Trump tweets: “If U.C. Berke­ley does not al­low free speech and prac­tices vi­o­lence on in­no­cent peo­ple with a dif­fer­ent point of view — NO FED­ERAL FUNDS?”

Fox News’s “O’Reilly Fac­tor” cites sta­tis­tics about crime in Chicago. An hour later, Trump tweets the same sta­tis­tics: “If Chicago doesn’t fix the hor­ri­ble ‘carnage’ go­ing on, 228 shoot­ings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24% from 2016), I will send in the Feds!”

Fox News la­bels Chelsea Man­ning an “un­grate­ful traitor” who had called Pres­i­dent Barack Obama a “weak leader.” Four­teen min­utes later, CNN’s Brian Stel­ter notes, Trump tweets: “Un­grate­ful TRAITOR Chelsea Man­ning, who should never have been re­leased from prison, is now call­ing Pres­i­dent Obama a weak leader. Ter­ri­ble!”

Fox News’s Tucker Carlson airs a re­port al­leg­ing that Swe­den has been try­ing to “cover up” an out­burst of vi­o­lence caused by Mus­lim im­mi­grants. The next day, Trump tells a crowd in Florida: “You look at what’s hap­pen­ing last night in Swe­den. Swe­den? Who would be­lieve this?”

Swedes have no idea what Trump is talk­ing about; an in­ter­na­tional in­ci­dent en­sues.

Trump’s vir­tual shouts at the tele­vi­sion aren’t lim­ited to Fox News (NBC, MSNBC and CNN have fired him up, too), and they have been about every­thing from Rus­sia to Oba­macare to flag burn­ing.

Clearly we are not go­ing to get Trump to turn off the idiot box and do his home­work. But per­haps some­body could change the chan­nel in the res­i­dence? This way Trump could still get his frus­tra­tions out, La-Z-Boy-style — and the Repub­lic would not have to fear that the com­man­der in chief might at any mo­ment start World War III be­cause of some­thing he just heard on Fox News.

With some guid­ance from Hank Stuever, The Post’s TV critic, I searched the prover­bial dial for shows that might prove use­ful dis­trac­tions for Trump. Fol­low­ing, with the nec­es­sary SPOILER ALERT, are ex­am­ples of how Trump could be oc­cu­pied with fic­tional drama to pre­vent him from cre­at­ing real crises.

In­stead of dire warn­ings of ter­ror­ist threats, he could tweet about Show­time’s “Home­land”: “Un­grate­ful TRAITOR Car­rie Mathi­son, whose law firm helps Rad­i­cal Is­lamic Ter­ror­ists, has daugh­ter taken away. We are al­ready win­ning again, Amer­ica!”

In­stead of threat­en­ing to tear up NAFTA and the Iran nu­clear deal, he could cri­tique HGTV’s “Fixer Up­per”: “Do you be­lieve it? Jor­dan & Rachel should not have bought the house. I could ren­o­vate for 1/2 Chip & Jo price. A ter­ri­ble deal!”

He could chan­nel per­sonal an­i­mos­ity not at Democrats but at the con­tes­tants of Dis­cov­ery’s “Naked and Afraid”: “CHOKER Ja­son, highly over­rated with 6.8 PSR, drops out on Day 11 be­cause of ‘par­a­sites.’ Weak! Too much pix­e­la­tion cov­er­ing Lacey. Sad.”

His un­nerv­ing rants about crime and vi­o­lence could find an out­let in re­cent ac­tions on CMT’s “Nashville”: “Rayna es­capes knife at­tack but then killed after car crash. Carnage stops right now!”

He might di­rect his con­spir­acy the­o­ries about rigged elec­tions into de­mand­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into how crooked Blake Shel­ton won five of 11 sea­sons on “The Voice.” His cu­ri­ous fond­ness for Rus­sia could find a healthy out­let by watch­ing FX’s “The Amer­i­cans”; ev­ery­body roots for Rus­sian spies Philip and El­iz­a­beth. And he could work through his is­sues with women and mi­nori­ties by fo­cus­ing them on HBO’s “Girls”: “Shocker! To­tal zero Lena Dun­ham gets preg­nant by the for­eign Mus­lim, Riz Ahmed.”

And — who knows? — maybe watch­ing the Weather Chan­nel now and then might get him to re­con­sider cli­mate change: “Win­ter Storm Reg­gie com­ing fol­lowed by 2 more storms — and 49 Mid­west tor­na­does. I IN­HER­ITED A MESS!”

Who wouldn’t retweet that?

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