A new book that examines the relationship between President Donald Trump and Fox News is set to be released Tuesday. The book’s title says it all: “Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News, and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth.” It was written by CNN media analyst Brian Stelter, and today it’s already #1 on Amazon (based on pre-orders). In writing the book, Stelter reportedly spoke with over 250 current and former Fox insiders, to piece together “the twisted story of the relationship between Donald Trump and Fox News.”
The book managed to do what is rarely done in TV news, bring a personality from one network onto another. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow interviewed Stelter Friday night. Mediaite called it a “rare cable news crossover” saying:
Maddow opened with a segment reading selections from Stelter’s book, with particular emphasis on the coronavirus, what Trump was hearing from Fox Newsers early on, and claims Trump himself made early on, like that the virus would go away in April with the warmer weather.
Stelter said to Maddow he’s heard from “so many sources” inside Fox lamenting the direction the network has taken, and said that comments from some hosts on Fox about the coronavirus may have “lulled [Trump] into a false sense of complacency.”
Maddow is a direct competitor in the 9pm cable news spot with one of the main figures in the book, Sean Hannity. This excerpt released via Vanity Fair goes into extensive detail about the close relationship between Fox News’ #1 star and the president:
“Hannity played his part masterfully. But his friends told me he was burnt out for long stretches of the Trump presidency. Being the president’s “shadow chief of staff,” as he was known around the White House, could be a thrill, but it was also a serious burden. Hannity counseled Trump at all hours of the day; one of his confidants said the president treated Hannity like Melania, a wife in a sexless marriage. Arguably, he treated Hannity better than Melania…
Hannity chose this life, so no one felt sorry for him, but the stress took its toll. “Hannity would tell you, off-off-off the record, that Trump is a batshit crazy person,” one of his associates said. Another friend concurred: “Hannity has said to me more than once, ‘he’s crazy.’”
But Hannity’s commitment to GOP priorities and to his own business model meant he could never say any of this publicly. If one of his friends went on the record quoting Hannity questioning Trump’s mental fitness, that would be the end of the friendship.”