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Trump criticizes Fox News as the government reopens

Posted January 28, 2019 1:33 a.m. EST

— A version of this article first appeared in the "Reliable Sources" newsletter. You can sign up for free right here.

The ultimate test of Trump's reality distortion field

The end of the shutdown is a big let-down for some of the president's biggest boosters in the media. I wrote about their reactions over the weekend. So will Trump be able to maintain his support while figures like Lou Dobbs and Ann Coulter are chastising him? That was our lead story on Sunday's "Reliable Sources..." I said I think this is the biggest test yet of Trump's "reality distortion field." For the past two years he's been able to claim that it's sunny when it's raining, sometimes literally. But will his techniques work now, on an issue so central to his campaign?

>> Trump relies on an "echo chamber," Jess McIntosh said... "Conservative media is totally split among this," Shelby Holliday pointed out...

>> Is Trump betting on the public's short-term memory? Oliver Darcy said Trump has "kicked the can down the road for three weeks." Watch the rest here...

Trump talks to WSJ

The weekend started with Ann Coulter labeling Trump the "biggest wimp" ever to be president... And it ended with Trump's response, via this interview with Peter Nicholas of the WSJ.

When asked about Coulter, Trump said, "I hear she's become very hostile. Maybe I didn't return her phone call or something."

Trump turns on... Fox?!

All weekend long, Trump tweeted positive quotes from Fox shows... But on Sunday night, he snapped at correspondents John Roberts and Gillian Turner:

"Trump turning on Fox News feels like a pretty good read on his frustration level about how the end of the shutdown is being portrayed across the media landscape," The AP's Jonathan Lemire wrote...

Haberman's insight

About Trump's tweet: "In times of great stress and when things are beyond his control, POTUS tends to burrow down into something narrow and comparatively small that he feels like he can control, such as one-off news accounts or people making comments about him that he doesn't like..."

About that poll claim...

As for Trump's comment about his poll #'s — "up 19% with Hispanics" — I unpacked that claim on "Reliable Sources" earlier in the day. Pollster Ann Selzer explained that Trump was "cherry-picking" within one specific poll. Watch...

It's about the lying

Josh Dawsey summed it up so well in this tweet: "They lied to the public for months before Donald Trump was elected — and then after he won. They lied to Congress as lawmakers sought to investigate Russia's attack on American democracy. And they lied to the FBI, even when they knew lying was a crime." Read his story, co-bylined with Rosalind S. Helderman and Matt Zapotosky...

FOR THE RECORD

-- Emily Jane Fox's latest for VF: "Hope Hicks, West Wing alum, begins her second act on the West Coast..."

-- On "Reliable," Olivier Knox discussed the W.H. press briefing drought...

-- BTW, still no word on whether POTUS will sit down for a Super Bowl Sunday TV interview on CBS...

-- And still no word about a rescheduled State of the Union, either...

-- Read more of the "Reliable Sources" newsletter... And subscribe here to receive future editions in your inbox...

-- From Saturday: "A British magazine has issued an apology to first lady Melania Trump for an article it published last week which included several inaccuracies..."

AOC's reaction to our "Reliable Sources" segment

One minute, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is criticizing Fox News and challenging fact-checks. The next minute, she's defending journalism. I asked Charlotte Alter: "Is there something Trumpian, at all, about her journalism critiques?" Alter said it's "really important to make a distinction" between Trump's "enemy of the people" attacks and AOC's tweets: She's "walking this line by pointing out some of the biases that we DO have in the media, and also supporting the media as an institution, as an industry."

AOC's reply to me after the show: "I think we use social media very differently as well. He's got more of an 'man yells at cloud' thing going on"

>> Watch the full segment, with Alter and Jess McIntosh and Laura Bassett's insights, here...

AOC blasts Big Tech after newsroom layoffs

Donie O'Sullivan emails: Ocasio-Cortez has a knack for amplifying issues through social media -- now she is turning her focus on the companies themselves. Big Tech's "current monopoly trend is societally and economically unsustainable," she wrote Saturday. With increased scrutiny of the platforms, particularly Facebook, on everything from election interference and the radicalization of homegrown terrorists and mass-shooters, to data breaches -- the future of Silicon Valley could become a major talking point in the 2020 race...

(Read O'Sullivan and Greg Kreig's full story here...)

Howard Schultz's trying the coffee

He launched a book tour on "60 Minutes" on Sunday night. The NYT published his interview with Andrew Ross Sorkin around the same time. Sorkin: Schultz "said he planned to crisscross the country for the next three months as part of a book tour before deciding whether to formally enter the race."

The backlash is already fierce. The Daily Beast says Schultz's 2020 flirtation is being "brutalized on Twitter." The headline on Caitlin Huey-Burns' piece for CBS says "Democrats to Howard Schultz: Don't do it."

The logic behind the Harris 2020 launch

Kamala Harris went on a book tour earlier this month, sitting down for several TV interviews to increase her visibility. Then she entered the 2020 race on MLK Day, when the news cycle was relatively quiet, resulting in lots of coverage. And she held her first official event in her hometown of Oakland, California, on Sunday afternoon.

The speech timing was a "smart move," NBC's Geoff Bennett tweeted. "It allows her to draw a large local crowd ... and with little else dominating the news today, MSNBC, CNN and Fox are all taking her speech live and in its entirety."

→ Nearly 200 reporters were credentialed for the Oakland event...

→ Rolling Stone DC bureau chief Andy Kroll: "Of the 2020 rollouts thus far, Harris' is the best. Hat's off to her campaign..."

What I noticed about her speech

She used the word "truth" 21 times by my count. "Fight for the truth," she said. And: "Let's speak some truth." And: "I will speak the truth." Politico's Christopher Cadelago said Harris "sounds like Jimmy Carter post-Watergate." Interesting parallel...

→ CNN will hold a town hall with Harris, moderated by Jake Tapper, Monday at 10 p.m. ET...

The most diverse Dem field, ever

"The 2020 Democratic presidential field is still developing, but it's already the most diverse in modern political history," Harry Enten wrote for CNN.com Sunday.

Of the eight candidates who are at least half in, "four are women (a record), one is an Asian man (Andrew Yang), one is a Hispanic man (Julián Castro) and one is a gay man (Pete Buttigieg). All told, seven of the eight Democratic candidates are non-white, women or identify as LGBT, or some combination of the three." Read on...