The Trump-Fox News Feedback Loop was on full display Wednesday morning when President Donald Trump’s favorite morning show backed his patently absurd claim that liberals want to change the name of Thanksgiving—an idea he obviously got from Fox’s recent round-the-clock “War on Thanksgiving” coverage.
At his Tuesday night campaign rally in Florida, the president insisted that “some people” want to change the name of the holiday and “don’t want to use the term Thanksgiving,” likening this supposed anti-Thanksgiving sentiment to another infamous right-wing media invention.
“And that was true with Christmas. Now everybody is using Christmas again. And remember I said that,” Trump declared. “Now we’re gonna have to do a little work on Thanksgiving. People have different ideas on why it shouldn’t be called Thanksgiving. Everybody here loves the name Thanksgiving and we’re not changing it!”
During Wednesday morning’s broadcast of Fox & Friends, the hosts appeared to give credence to the president’s conspiracy, all while sidestepping the role their network had in planting the idea in his head.
“Last night, the president was talking about somebody who was apparently talking about changing the name of the holiday,” co-host Steve Doocy noted while airing a clip of the president’s remarks.
“I don’t think there’s a huge push to change the name of Thanksgiving, is there?” Brian Kilmeade wondered aloud.
“You know, in 2015 there was a rumor Obama wanted to change the name but that was debunked,” Doocy responded, referencing a Snopes fact-check of a viral email campaign from a few years ago. “So, perhaps what he is talking about is just all these stories about your carbon footprint and the amount of energy you use to travel over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house.”
In recent weeks, Fox News’ opinion shows have run countless segments insisting that liberals and progressives want to “cancel” the holiday and fight a “War on Thanksgiving,” tying it all to a single HuffPost opinion piece about the environmental impact of Thanksgiving dinner. The article, while providing readers with steps to reduce their carbon footprint, never called for the holiday to be abolished or even for Americans to stop celebrating it.
Later in the segment, fill-in co-host Emily Compagno accepted the president’s premise that there was a concerted effort to change the name of Thanksgiving, providing a counterargument to these imaginary critics.
“I think the issue that a lot of people have to—with potentially changing that name—is the fact that in that name we’re expressing gratitude and whatever historical connotations we can acknowledge,” she said. “It still doesn’t take away from the fact that this is the day that we are to give thanks and gratitude for our loved ones and blessings.”
In its news recap of the president’s remarks, meanwhile, the network framed Trump’s baseless claim with the following headline: “Trump vows not to change the name of Thanksgiving despite cries from the ‘radical left’”. Interestingly, there was no reference to Fox’s consistent coverage of the “War on Thanksgiving” in the piece.
This isn't the first time that Fox News has taken a single HuffPost piece to accuse the left of trying to "cancel" something holiday-related. Last year, the network's digital site published several articles while its opinion shows ran multiple segments denouncing liberals' supposed complaints that Christmas classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was "seriously problematic," all based on a largely satirical HuffPost video.