This morning, Donald Trump appeared on Fox & Friends to discuss his photo op/pizza dinner with fellow reality TV star Sarah Palin.
The Fox & Friends crew spent much of the time prodding Trump over whether he might consider stepping back into the presidential race (Trump will "make a determination some time into the future"); if he'd consider "teaming up" with Palin (they didn't discuss it, but Palin supposedly would "love" for Trump to get back in the race); and what was discussed at their dinner (breaking: "she loves this country").
During the interview, Trump discussed his decision to stick with hosting Celebrity Apprentice instead of formally entering the GOP primary. Trump said that NBC was begging him to continue his show, and it was a difficult decision because he had "great poll numbers."
This is a nice story, but it's not true. Of course, in keeping with their role as Trump's de facto PR team, the crew at Fox & Friends didn't object.
Back in April, Trump spent weeks making the media rounds and hyping the absurd conspiracy theory about President Obama's birth certificate. Led by Fox News, conservative media outlets happily cheered Trump on and used him as a conduit to talk incessantly about the pressing issue of whether President Obama -- who had already proved beyond any doubt that he was born in Hawaii -- was hiding something about his long-form birth certificate.
In mid-April, Public Policy Polling released a somewhat shocking poll showing that Trump's birther obsession had helped catapult him to the top of the Republican primary field. Of course, Fox subsequently used these poll numbers as an excuse to continue hyping Trump.
Unfortunately -- and quite embarrassingly -- for Trump, President Obama released his long-form birth certificate on April 27. Trump's polling numbers promptly collapsed.
Under the headline "Trump collapses," PPP, the same outlet that had Trump leading the previous month, wrote that Trump "has had one of the quickest rises and falls in the history of Presidential politics," and explained that he had tumbled all the way from garnering 26% of the Republican primary vote down to 8% (placing him in a tie with Ron Paul). PPP added that the more time Trump spent in the media spotlight, the more Republicans "decided they flat don't like him." They added, "only 34% of GOP voters now have a favorable opinion of Trump to 53% who view him in a negative light."
Shortly after his poll numbers plummeted, Trump ducked out of the race.
Fox's coverage of Trump's embarrassing foray into presidential politics has been bizarre. Despite the fact that he made a very public fool of himself over the issue, conservatives (and several Fox contributors) declared Trump the "winner" when Obama released his long-form birth certificate.
After Trump declared he would not run, Fox & Friends hosts Brian Kilmeade and Steve Doocy blamed the "mainstream media" for going after Trump with the "long knives."
Now, a few weeks later, the fact that Trump turned himself into a national laughingstock (something that was reflected in his hemorrhaging poll numbers) has been completely whitewashed by the Fox &Friends crew.
In addition to prodding him over whether he might get back into the race and letting Trump pretend that he had "great poll numbers," Gretchen Carlson expressed surprise that he trashed Paul Ryan's Medicare plan, because Trump is someone who "tells it like it is." Kilmeade asked if Trump might consider serving in the cabinet of someone else's administration.
I'd hate to see what someone would need to do to lose credibility among Fox's morning team.