President Donald Trump on Sunday reused talking points from Fox & Friends after the conservative morning show blasted MSNBC host Rachel Maddow over a story about the killing of four U.S. service members in Niger.
The hosts of Fox & Friends began their 7 a.m. ET hour by lambasting Maddow for a theory linking the Trump administration's travel ban to the lack of support for Sgt La David Johnson and three other troops killed in Niger. Maddow suggested that Chad had pulled a large contingent of forces out of Niger recently in response to Trump's ban on travel from the nation.
"If you lean forward and you use your pen and you pause and you look thoughtful into the camera, then you must be saying something substantive," co-host Pete Hegseth joked in a jab at Maddow. "Or maybe you're widely [sic] spinning a conspiracy theory as the leader of the left."
"This is what's dangerous," co-host Abby Huntsman opined. "It's dangerous when the media starts having conversations about this and putting in their own theories that are completely unrelated to what actually happened. It's dangerous, not only for us in terms of figuring out what did happen. But it's dangerous to the families that lost loved ones over there because they're the ones who should be the focus of this conversation and somehow we go down these roads oftentimes and it's such a distraction and it's such a disservice to this country and what our job is in the media."
"We all have to be vigilant," she added. "Do your job well, and if there is some connection, then talk about it and help people understand. But these conspiracy theories, that it where it gets completely, completely dangerous."
"That's why people tune it out," Hegseth said. "And President Trump calls it fake news and you saw that poll from Politico where 46 percent think the news just makes up stuff about President Trump, 17 percent unsure.
Huntsman agreed: "I can't tell you how many of my friends I talk to, it's like, they have no idea where to go to figure out what's actually going on. I hear that from my family, my friends, people I just talk to on the streets. The American people are frustrated because it used to be you could just tune in to the media and get at least a bit of a sense of what's going on and now -- this is a perfect example that you can't."
Within minutes, Trump tweeted, citing the very same Politico poll quoted by Hegseth and echoing the hosts' attack on the "fake news" media.
It is finally sinking through. 46% OF PEOPLE BELIEVE MAJOR NATIONAL NEWS ORGS FABRICATE STORIES ABOUT ME. FAKE NEWS, even worse! Lost cred.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 22, 2017