Let Trump’s love of Fox News work for us
If you’ve wondered how to get the president’s attention on issues near and dear to you, just ask United Auto Workers Local 1112 President Dave Green or former Ohio Sen. Capri Cafaro. They seem to have figured it out.
Here’s a hint: Fox News.
You know by now that President Donald Trump launched into a Twitter storm last weekend attacking Green by name and lambasting him to “get his act together and produce.”
When I first read the social media post, I was dumbfounded. All I could think was: “Why?”
Trump’s tweet said: “Democrat UAW Local 1112 President David Green ought to get his act together and produce. G.M. let our Country down, but other much better car companies are coming into the U.S. in droves. I want action on Lordstown fast. Stop complaining and get the job done! 3.8% Unemployment!”
The tweet was so random — or so I first thought. But then the pieces started to come together. The first clue was the president’s next tweet, this time focusing on Fox News weekend anchors.
Using their Twitter handles, Trump wondered publicly via his favorite form of social media if they “were trained by CNN prior to their ratings collapse?” He went on: “In any event, that’s where they should be working, along with their lowest rated anchor Shepard Smith.”
Now, I’ve read reports about the amount of time Trump spends watching TV news — specifically Fox News — but it never before hit so close to home.
National media has indicated that Trump often spends at least four hours a day watching television — much of it national news shows on Fox and other networks. In 2017, The New York Times reported people close to Trump said he begins each day around 5:30 a.m. by turning on TV news, sometimes watching more left-leaning shows because it gets him fired up.
(Oh, I so hope that’s true. It sure would be satisfying to know the No. 1 most vocal hater of media today relies so heavily on, yes, the media to get his day going. But I digress.)
I soon found out that Green had appeared on Fox News that day, sharing his thoughts on the future of the Lordstown GM plant and commenting on things like the impact of the president’s policies and whether he thought Mahoning Valley voters’ support of Trump was waning. During his appearance, Green said Trump’s 2018 tax cut incentivized imports and a few other things that may have triggered Trump’s Twitter tirade.
Green previously had written two letters to the president seeking help after the plant’s idling was announced. He received no response to those letters.
So, while it may not have been exactly planned, Green’s appearance Sunday on Fox News may just have gotten the attention he had been hoping for with his letters. (Not necessarily the attack on Green by name, that is, but the president’s follow-up tweet indicating he called GM CEO Mary Barra Sunday afternoon to discuss the Lordstown plant.)
In the days following, Trump continued his barrage of tweets about GM-Lordstown.
Former local Ohio Sen. Capri Cafaro ,who now serves as a Fox News opinion columnist and television commentator, also now is hoping to capitalize on Trump’s apparent addiction to Fox News by writing a Fox News online column telling the president we need his help.
I can say with all certainty that all the social and national media attention seems to be keeping our plant on Barra’s mind. In fact, it’s been so intense that when Barra visited the Orion, Michigan, plant on Friday to announce a large investment and expansion there, she wasn’t just talking about Michigan. From the podium, she specifically mentioned the Lordstown facility, referring to all the recent national news coverage.
In the end, will it all help? Only time will tell, but it certainly can’t hurt.
Brenda J. Linert is the editor of the Tribune Chronicle of Warren, a sister newspaper of the Salem News in the Ogden Group.