On the first night of Donald Trump’s boycott of Fox News, he was, unsurprisingly, watching Fox News to see what they said about him.
And Trump didn’t like what he saw, especially when National Review editor Rich Lowry said that former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina had “cut [Trump's] balls off with the precision of a surgeon” at last week’s Republican debate, “and he knows it.”
Ten minutes later...
For years now, politicians have been using social media to get around the filter of the establishment media, making announcements that, in years past, would’ve first appeared in print or on TV news. Trump similarly utilizes social media to reach millions directly, making statements on policy matters, like immigration. Unlike most politicians, Trump's Twitter feed also serves as a repository for his running grievances with the media, even as he has enjoyed more exposure than any candidate this election cycle and as TV networks continue making unprecedented efforts to accommodate him.
Through Twitter, the former reality star is able to feed the media beast even while attacking it. Dozens of news outlets quickly covered his vow Wednesday afternoon to freeze out Fox News, a tweet that became fodder for his lengthy phone interviews Thursday morning with a couple of cable news competitors.
Trump's Twitter spat with Lowry came up Thursday morning when the real estate mogul called in to MSNBC's "Morning Joe." When host Joe Scarborough asked Trump why he doesn’t just ignore pundits, Trump suggested he won't let such criticism go unchallenged and that he has the social media megaphone to respond in real time.
“I have this thing called Twitter and Facebook, which is amazing actually,” Trump said. “It’s like owning The New York Times without the losses.”
“You’re able to fight back,” he went on. “In the old days, you didn’t have that. What would you do, call a press conference to announce that somebody lost control of his mind on television last night and made a total fool of himself?"
Trump said that “with one tweet, 140 characters, you can knock somebody out.”
But Twitter is a two-way conversation. And anyone who gets punched can also punch back, as Lowry did in a series of tweets Wednesday night. Lowry noted on Twitter -- as did many other conservatives -- that Trump's response in calling on the government to fine him doesn’t sound like a very conservative position, especially for a Republican candidate who frequently rails against political correctness.