Fox News hosts take Trump to task after Putin summit

President Donald Trump usually turns to Fox News and the Fox Business Network when he wants to hear pundits defend his policies and behavior, but he probably would not have liked what he saw on Monday following his joint press conference with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Directly after the press conference, Fox Business host Neil Cavuto, who also hosts a daily show on Fox News, called Trump’s performance “disgusting.” Referring to Trump’s refusal to side with US intelligence agencies and his own Department of Justice over allegations that Putin ordered a Russian interference scheme in the 2016 elections, Cavuto said Trump “is essentially letting the guy get away with this and not even offering a mild criticism. That sets us back a lot.”

“Putin won," said Cavuto’s guest, Mark Weinberg, a former Reagan administration official. "Trump missed the opportunity to call [Russia] out in no uncertain terms. He Continue reading “Fox News hosts take Trump to task after Putin summit”

Trump opens a rift in press corps as he disses CNN as ‘fake’ and Fox News as ‘real’

President Donald Trump’s attack on CNN as “fake news” and his quick pivot during a news conference in Britain to “real network” Fox News opened a rift among the press corps, with some journalists saying Fox should have come to the defense of the rival news outlet.

During the news conference alongside British Prime Minister Theresa May, when CNN’s Jim Acosta attempted to ask a question, Trump responded, “CNN is fake news. I don’t take questions from CNN.”

Over Acosta’s protestations, Trump then called on Fox’s John Roberts, instead.

“John Roberts from FOX, let’s go to a real network,” Trump said.

Acosta could be heard saying, “Well, we’re a real network, too,” as Roberts began to ask his question.

Some reporters on Twitter criticized Roberts for allowing Trump to move on so easily after steamrolling CNN. (Despite Trump’s assertion that he does not call on CNN, he had called Continue reading “Trump opens a rift in press corps as he disses CNN as ‘fake’ and Fox News as ‘real’”

New Fox chief cracks down on inflammatory statements

Amid growing backlash to inflammatory statements by Fox News commentators, network CEO Suzanne Scott summoned top show producers to a meeting last week and delivered a clear message: They need to be in control of their hosts and panelists.

Scott told the producers that they would be held accountable for anything said on their air, and that it was their job to head off any inappropriate remarks, according to two people with knowledge of the meeting. Appearing via video conference from Washington, D.C. to the group in New York, which also included programming executives, Scott read from a prepared script, explaining that she wanted to make sure she communicated her message precisely.

“She said, you are responsible for protecting the talent, protecting the brand,” one of the people aware of the meeting said. “She said, you are responsible as the producers. You have to protect the talent and the Continue reading “New Fox chief cracks down on inflammatory statements”

At least one major advertiser drops Fox News’ Ingraham over migrant comments

At least one major advertiser has dropped Laura Ingraham’s Fox News show in the wake of her comments on Monday about immigrant children separated from their parents. With advertising time on the conservative daily talk show down since Monday night, it’s possible that other companies have also bailed on “The Ingraham Angle.”

The media and internet company IAC will no longer be running ads for HomeAdvisor or Angie’s List on the show, an IAC spokesperson confirmed on Thursday. The day after Ingraham’s statements, David Hogg, a survivor of the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, called on advertisers, including IAC, to boycott Ingraham, a reprise of the highly successful boycott campaign he launched against her in April, after she insulted him on Twitter.

During her show on Monday night, Ingraham described the detention centers for immigrant children separated from their parents on the Mexican border as “essentially like summer Continue reading “At least one major advertiser drops Fox News’ Ingraham over migrant comments”

‘The tension in the briefing room has been building for months’

The relationship between the White House and the reporters covering it has grown more tense than at any point in the last 50 years, according to White House press corps dean Tom DeFrank, who began covering Washington in the Johnson administration.

This week marked a new low, he said.

“There’s not a lot of good will,” said DeFrank, a contributing editor at National Journal, who also spent years at Newsweek and the New York Daily News. “I think basically they have no use for us and, for the media’s part, there’s a feeling that we’ve been misled for a long time on many different subjects. I know a little bit about adversarial relationships and it will always be an adversarial relationship and it should be, but this relationship is more adversarial than any I can remember.”

Tension has been growing for weeks between the White House and reporters. In Continue reading “‘The tension in the briefing room has been building for months’”

FoxNews.com readers put ‘head in the sand’ on family separations

The child immigrant crisis at the border may be the biggest story in America, but readers at FoxNews.com don’t want to hear about it.

Traffic on the story has been low, according to a Fox insider, leading the website to give it significantly less play than most other news outlets, for which it has been a dominant narrative for many days.

The decisions by FoxNews.com – increasingly a barometer of feelings of Trump supporters – reflect the ambivalence of many on the right on the issue: Even as President Donald Trump has refused to back down from his false claim that separating families is the product of laws hoisted upon him by the Democrats, members of the GOP are increasingly ill at ease with the situation.

“When there’s a topic like this, which is very uncomfortable for a certain segment of the audience, they just are looking the Continue reading “FoxNews.com readers put ‘head in the sand’ on family separations”

Breitbart traffic declines for seventh straight month

Breitbart’s traffic declined in May for the seventh straight month, according to comScore metrics, bringing the site to its lowest level of readership since January 2015, and half of what it was a year ago.

Since the ouster of former executive chairman Steve Bannon in January, the site has been forced to search for a new identity, and, like other ideological publishers, has been pinched by changes to Facebook’s algorithms in January. Its current slide began in November, though, three months after Bannon was forced out of his top advisor role in the White House, but two months before he left Breitbart.

In May, Breitbart registered 6.4 million unique visitors, according to comScore, compared to 12.1 million in May 2017 and 13.7 million as recently as November.

Breitbart spokesperson Alexandra Preate said that the site’s traffic is actually up recently: "Over the last month, our traffic is Continue reading “Breitbart traffic declines for seventh straight month”

Tensions escalate between Sanders and reporters

Weeks of escalating strain between press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and reporters boiled over in the White House briefing room on Thursday, as press members tussled with Sanders over immigration issues, she insulted the intelligence of one reporter, and another interrupted the proceedings with a dramatic outburst.

Reporters have been growing frustrated with Sanders over the lack of briefings and their short length. In addition, Sanders repeatedly refused to discuss her past denials that President Donald Trump had dictated a false statement about why his son met with a Russian lawyer—since contradicted by the president’s lawyers—prompting reporters to openly question her credibility. Swirling in the air on Thursday was a CBS News report saying that Sanders is planning to leave the White House by the end of the year, which Sanders has pushed back on.

“Credibility issues are just getting more obvious and reporters are getting really frustrated with it Continue reading “Tensions escalate between Sanders and reporters”

Armstrong Williams got ‘sweetheart’ deal from Sinclair

Conservative commentator Armstrong Williams, the longtime confidant of Trump Cabinet member Ben Carson, is set to get what he called “a good deal” — three local television stations from Sinclair Broadcasting Group for just a fraction of the market price.

Williams is acquiring the three stations — in Seattle, Salt Lake City and Oklahoma City — for $4.95 million. That’s some $45 million to $55 million less than what Justin Nielson, a senior research analyst who tracks the broadcast sector for the data and research firm Kagan, said he would have expected.

And while Sinclair is shedding stations in hopes of improving its chances of obtaining approval for its mega-purchase of Tribune Media, the company’s recent moves to offer favorable deals to friendly buyers is raising further questions about how much control Sinclair is truly planning to cede, and whether the company is trying to skirt federal rules.

“I Continue reading “Armstrong Williams got ‘sweetheart’ deal from Sinclair”

White House limits number of U.S. journalists at Trump-Kim meeting in Singapore

The number of American journalists allowed to witness the one-on-one meeting between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un in Singapore on Tuesday was limited to seven — a smaller group than would usually be present for such a summit, and one that excluded representatives from the major wire services.

The size appeared designed to match the number of North Korean “journalists” present, according to a press pool, and led to tension between U.S. media and White House officials on the ground in Singapore.

Under normal circumstances, the American pool at this type of event would consist of about a dozen representatives from print, radio and TV, including reporters from The Associated Press, Bloomberg and Reuters. After being excluded earlier, reporters from those wire services were added for coverage of the expanded bilateral meeting that followed Trump’s and Kim’s first meeting, though the pool size remained tight.

“We have Continue reading “White House limits number of U.S. journalists at Trump-Kim meeting in Singapore”

Pence and McCain laud Krauthammer

Politicians, including an ailing John McCain, offered words of prayer and support for Charles Krauthammer after the conservative commentator announced in a brief but poignant note that he is facing the end of his life, as the abdominal cancer he has been fighting has aggressively returned.

“My doctors tell me their best estimate is that I have only a few weeks left to live,” he wrote. “This is the final verdict. My fight is over.”

Krauthammer announced the news in a column for The Washington Post, where he has been a columnist since 1985. A regular on the D.C. commentator circuit, Krauthammer is also known for his appearances on Fox News. The 68-year-old Krauthammer, who became paralyzed from the neck down in his first year at Harvard Medical School, finished his studies and became a psychiatrist. But he rose to prominence as a neoconservative writing for The New Continue reading “Pence and McCain laud Krauthammer”

‘There is reason for significant First Amendment concern’

First Amendment advocates erupted in outrage and concern in response to the news that the Department of Justice had seized years’ worth of email and phone records from a New York Times reporter as part of an investigation into government leaks — and wondered how many other journalists may be under similar surveillance.

“Anytime the government begins to prowl through journalistic emails, there is reason for significant First Amendment concern. This may or may not be the only instance that this administration has done this,” renowned First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams, who represented the Times in the Pentagon Papers case, told POLITICO.

Abrams said he is particularly concerned that the records of the reporter, Ali Watkins, were seized without her knowledge, or giving her a chance to challenge their seizure in court. The Obama administration aggressively pursued leak cases, prosecuting more than all previous administrations combined, but Attorney General Jeff Continue reading “‘There is reason for significant First Amendment concern’”

Will Trump stand up for free press in Singapore?

When President Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore, it will mark the coming together of perhaps the world’s most sealed-off and press-hostile autocrat with a president who frequently rages against the media, all in a country known for its repressive views on free speech.

Needless to say, journalists are concerned over what access will be granted at the historic meeting.

“These things are tightly scripted; they keep the press at arm’s length,” said Washington Post reporter John Hudson, who was in Singapore last week covering the meetings between U.S. and North Korean officials to plan the summit. From the American side, Hudson said he expected the summit would be similar to other foreign trips by the president. “The X-factor,” he added, “of course is going to be North Korea.”

Another X-factor may be the host country. Last Wednesday, Hudson was chased out Continue reading “Will Trump stand up for free press in Singapore?”

Wall Street Journal staffers express relief over editor change

When Gerard Baker was named editor-in-chief of the Wall Street Journal in 2012, owner Rupert Murdoch poured Champagne on his head during a lively newsroom celebration, with News Corp. chief Robert Thomson giddily clapping along.

The news Tuesday that Baker was stepping down, to be replaced by executive editor Matt Murray, was low key. Many staffers learned about it when the press release dropped. There were no similar newsroom festivities.

Nonetheless, it was an emotional moment for a newspaper that has struggled with a staff exodus and lack of confidence in its leadership. The dominant feeling in the Journal newsroom wasn’t Champagne-popping jubilation but relief. The elevation of Murray, a Journal mainstay for almost a quarter century, was greeted favorably among staff after a dramatic past couple years that’s included frustrations over Baker’s perceived unwillingness to go after Donald Trump boiling over publicly, along with high-level departures in New York Continue reading “Wall Street Journal staffers express relief over editor change”

MSNBC stays silent as Joy Reid comes under more scrutiny

Pressure on MSNBC and its star host Joy Reid grew on Thursday, as embarrassing posts from her old blog—on which she has expressed anti-gay views and promoted 9/11 conspiracy theories—continued to surface.

All the while, Reid has remained on the air, weighing in on topics like Roseanne Barr’s racist tweet and the cancellation of her ABC sitcom.

“This is not new,” Reid said on MSNBC Tuesday about the type of racism in Barr’s tweet. “If you’re able to think of people as somehow less a person than me, it makes it a lot easier to then take that next step and say this person shouldn’t be in this space.”

Conservatives have pounced on the irony of Reid commentating on offensive online comments, and attacked MSNBC for allowing to her remain on the air.

On Tuesday, Fox News ran a headline, “Tone-deaf MSNBC slammed for bringing on Joy Reid Continue reading “MSNBC stays silent as Joy Reid comes under more scrutiny”

How Trump turned a racist tweet into a media attack

The White House rarely misses an opportunity to attack the media, but efforts by President Donald Trump and his press secretary Sarah Sanders to turn racist comments by Roseanne Barr into a battering ram against the press left even some journalists taken aback.

Despite Sanders’ declaration on Tuesday that the president was too busy with other topics to focus on ABC’s canceling of “Roseanne,” Trump tweeted on Wednesday morning, “Bob Iger of ABC called Valerie Jarrett to let her know that ‘ABC does not tolerate comments like those’ made by Roseanne Barr. Gee, he never called President Donald J. Trump to apologize for the HORRIBLE statements made and said about me on ABC. Maybe I just didn’t get the call?”

In the White House press briefing Wednesday afternoon, Sanders picked up on that theme. When asked why Trump addressed Iger’s apology but not the content of Barr’s tweets, she Continue reading “How Trump turned a racist tweet into a media attack”

Why ABC had to no choice but to dump Roseanne

ABC and its parent corporation, The Walt Disney Company, had no choice, industry experts say: Roseanne had to go.

From the moment the sitcom star hit send on a racist tweet Monday night, Disney and ABC found themselves caught between two of the strongest forces of the Trump era: the type of social media-fueled outrage that has powered everything from the #MeToo movement to advertiser boycotts against Fox News, and the looming threat of the president himself, one of Barr’s biggest fans, turning the company into a target.

In the end, though, the fallout of a damaging social media campaign or advertiser boycott could do far more harm than Trump to a company as large as Disney, experts said.

“She’s a pimple on the tushy of The Walt Disney Company and they lanced it,” said Preston Beckman, a former network executive at NBC and Fox who is now chairman of Continue reading “Why ABC had to no choice but to dump Roseanne”

Fox hosts amplify Trump’s ‘spygate’ line

The feedback loop between President Donald Trump and Fox News hosts has gone into overdrive in the last week, with the president and the hosts working themselves into an ever-greater fervor over Trump’s unsubstantiated claim that the FBI, under the Obama administration, spied on his presidential campaign.

Fox & Friends’ coverage of the issue Wednesday morning seems to have inspired the president to fire off a tweet-storm on the “Criminal Deep State” and allege a “SPY scandal the likes of which this country may never have seen before!”

While the connection between Fox News’ opinion hosts and the White House has long been noted, the extent to which Trump and the hosts appeared to be feeding off each other, with Trump following up the hosts’ comments with tweets and the hosts incorporating Trump’s language into their own, struck some observers as extraordinary.

David Gomez, a former FBI agent who Continue reading “Fox hosts amplify Trump’s ‘spygate’ line”

Murdoch embraces liberal approach to curb Facebook, Google

Rupert Murdoch is aligning himself with some strange bedfellows — ivy tower academics and policy wonks — in calling for strong regulation of companies like Facebook and Google.

Murdoch is famous for his conservative views on regulation, but as the owner of Fox News, The Wall Street Journal and many other publications, he has frequently criticized social-media companies for not adequately compensating news publishers, even as the platforms benefit from their content.

Robert Thomson, the CEO of Murdoch’s company, News Corp., took a step beyond criticism last week in an investor call, when he advocated the creation of an “algorithm review board,” which would essentially regulate the secret formulas platforms use to determine, among other things, what news is shown to which people.

“I find myself surprisingly applauding them for calling for this kind of accountability,” said Mike Ananny, a professor of communication at the University of Southern California Continue reading “Murdoch embraces liberal approach to curb Facebook, Google”

Fox News appoints first female CEO

Fox News named Suzanne Scott as its new CEO on Thursday, marking the first time a woman has led the cable news network. Scott, who as president of programming oversaw the opinion side of Fox’s lineup, will also run Fox Business Network.

Scott’s appointment comes after a string of sexual harassment complaints cost the network its founding chairman and CEO, Roger Ailes, and its most visible personality, Bill O’Reilly. It also marks a potential victory for the network’s opinion hosts, who dominate cable ratings at night with their largely pro-Trump views, but who have clashed at times with the network’s news side.

The move was announced by Lachlan Murdoch, who one day earlier was named as chairman and CEO of the new Fox company that will emerge, should Disney’s deal for several major 21st Century Fox assets go through. Rupert Murdoch, his father, will serve as co-chairman of the Continue reading “Fox News appoints first female CEO”