Donald Trump’s first year as President of the United States has been a story of Twitter and TV news, at least according to his social media activity.
More than a third of Mr Trump’s tweets were sent before 10am, when he is most likely to tweet about topics which get his supporters agitated, according to new analysis of the president’s Twitter feed by the Press Association.
Of the 2,267 tweets posted, almost 40% fall between 6am and 10am, when Mr Trump is famously rumoured to regularly watch the Fox News channel’s breakfast show Fox And Friends.
And while there is a noticeable dip in his social media activity between mid-morning and mid-afternoon, Mr Trump is often back on Twitter before 4pm.
Two-thirds of all Mr Trump’s tweets mentioning Russia or Hillary Clinton were sent between 6am and 10am, compared to only a third of his tweets about himself or America. Similarly, more tweets about the New York Times (65%), CNN (62%) and Mexico (62%) were sent in the earlier hours of the president’s day than at other times.
Tweets about himself and the country he leads, by comparison, are spread out across the day, only hitting the same volume by mid afternoon.
Four out of five of the president’s most popular tweets from the year were published in this morning period. The only outlier came when he boasted about having “a much bigger & more powerful” nuclear “button” than North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un 10 minutes after Fox News’s evening news hour reported similar statements from Kim.
Much has been made of the president’s daily Twitter routine over the last year and his relationship with Fox News.
Matthew Gertz, a research fellow at Media Matters for America, has spent months tracing the parallels between the president’s Twitter feed and Fox’s programming schedule, noting the feedback loop between the network, Mr Trump and his supporters.
“My conclusion has been that he is literally live tweeting episodes of Fox And Friends, which he appears to watch most days,” Mr Gertz told the Press Association.
Mr Trump’s mentions of Fox certainly fit that pattern, appearing in his tweets more than any other news organisation and Gertz suggested that Fox is feeding the president’s feuds with their competitors.
“So the president is seeing Fox And Friends segments and responding to those in real time and it is fuelling his fights with the rest of the media.”
The same would explain Mr Trump’s seemingly scattergun choice of subject matter in the mornings, as Mr Gertz says he follows the broad range of material covered by the breakfast show.
“One fact I find alarming about this is the way that Trump’s tweets are inherently newsworthy,” Mr Gertz continued.
“So the way he mimics Fox means that the rest of the media ends up chasing the obsessions of the Fox network. It changes the news cycle dramatically and very quickly.”