In the flurry of news on his tax returns, his troubled healthcare plan and his suspicion that his phones were bugged, it was easy to miss one of President Trump’s most startling comments Wednesday night on Fox News.

Trump was griping about the coverage he gets on every major television network except right-leaning Fox News, and he singled out NBC as a prime offender. After all the money that NBC made on his reality-TV franchise, Trump suggested, it owed him more favorable coverage of his presidency.

“I made a fortune for NBC with ‘The Apprentice,’” he told Fox anchor Tucker Carlson. “I had a top show where they were doing horribly, and I had one of the most successful reality shows of all time. And I was on for 14 seasons. And you see what happened when I’m not on. You saw what happened to the show was a disaster. I was very good to NBC, and they are despicable — they’re despicable in their coverage.”

What do NBC’s profits on “The Apprentice” have to do with the way its journalists cover Trump?

Why would he see any relationship between the former and the latter?

Should NBC show the president gratitude by shaping its reporting more to his liking?

“It’s pretty astonishing, this idea of a quid pro quo,” said Suzanne Nossel, the executive director of PEN America, a group that seeks to protect free expression for writers around the world.

Trump’s remarks, she said, were revealing about how he views the motives of TV networks and other major news outlets.