Despite calling journalists “lying, disgusting people”, Donald Trump seems to be hooked on their every word, repeatedly announcing policy based on what he just saw on the news.
Trump called Chelsea Manning an “ungrateful traitor” at 6am Washington time on Thursday - just 14 minutes after the conservative Fox News ran the phrase across the screen.
Trump’s presidency is less than a week old but he has repeatedly shown the same indifferent attitude to facts as he did on the campaign trail.
This led him to repeatedly clash with journalists who challenged him on his falsehoods.
Fox News’ Manning remark is not the only example of Trump’s outbursts being taken directly from the press.
Huffington Post media correspondent Michael Calderone noted that Trump’s tweet on Tuesday about gun crime in Chicago came just after a segment on it by Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly.
Trump said he would “send in the Feds” if the “carnage” in the city continued.
The Washington Post also noted that Trump’s call for an investigation into mass voter fraud - via a tweet, naturally - was made at the exact moment he was being criticised for not doing this on NBC.
The network’s chief legal correspondent Ari Melber said Trump was wrong to claim he only lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton because of up to five million “illegals”.
At 7.10am Melber said the president should call for an investigation into the debunked claim. And at that exact moment...
The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake wrote: “We’ll see if he actually follows through on either of the things he promised since Tuesday night or if they’ll fade into Trump’s news-making vortex. But if he does go forward with them, we’ll know what set it in motion.”
Trump’s behaviour started before the inauguration. In November, he tweeted that he wanted to revoke the citizenship and jail those who burned the US flag.
This was half an hour after a Fox News segment on a student at a Massachusetts college reportedly burning the flag.
Trump gets up at 6am and immediately watches cables news, The New York Times reports.
The paper said he also looks through The New York Times, tabloid The New York Post and the Washington Post before his meetings at 9am that “significantly curtails his television time”.
CNN’s Brian Stelter, one of the keenest observers of American media, said on Wednesday the media that Trump “is watching all the time” had a particular responsibility to get things right to “make sure he has the facts”.