Farmers seeking government assistance knew where to make their case: on Fox News, in TV ads with tractors and corn stalks designed to snag the attention of President Donald Trump.

U.S. airlines, opposed to subsidies for foreign competitors paid by Qatar, took the same broadcast route to the viewer-in-chief, urging him to oppose “trade cheating.”

While the ads generate a small portion of the network’s income -- many are local spots airing only in Washington -- the phenomenon points to the unusual symbiosis between a conservative president and conservative news programs that boosted his political fortunes. Trump’s penchant for sharing his viewing habits with regular tweets to his millions of followers in turn helps drive viewers to the shows.

“When it comes to reaching President Trump or communicating a message to him, it might be more effective to buy ads on Fox News than it would be to have an actual conversation with him,” Nick Everhart, president of Republican ad firm Content Creative Media, said in an email.

Advertisers long have sought to reach influential people, such as legislators and their staff, for instance by running ads on Sunday TV talk shows that are viewed by the political class, said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

What’s new is the certainty that a president would be watching a program such as "Fox & Friends," Jamieson said.

“The underlying problem isn’t that these folks have figured out to buy ads targeted to the president,” Jamieson said in an interview. “The problem is that the president gets his information from these shows.”

The National Biodiesel Board is among groups buying ads aimed directly at Trump. The group wanted Trump’s backing in a fight

“We ran our ad on Fox television for one week and online for two because we are aware that the president watches that channel and often reacts to it,” said Paul Winters, a spokesman for the board.

Oil industry advocates on the other side of the issue shot back with their own ads, with the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers purchasing time on Fox programming in Washington, D.C. The ad featured smiling refinery workers in hard hats and said, “President Trump, only you can fix this.” At issue was whether to give refineries exemptions from requirements to buy fuels made from corn and soybeans.

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