Media Structures & Regulations

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  • The Trump Sycophants Praising His Hiring Of Breitbart News’ Steve Bannon As Campaign CEO

    ››› ››› KATIE SULLIVAN

    Trump’s staunchest supporters called the hiring of Breitbart News chairman Steve Bannon as the new chief executive for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign “an inspired choice” and “fantastic news” after the move was reported. Elsewhere, the decision has been called “insanity,” with former Breitbart News employees disparaging the relationship between Trump and Breitbart News as “pathetic and disgusting.”

  • “Insanity”: Media Appalled After Trump Campaign Hires Breitbart Executive And Political Commentator

    ››› ››› JARED HOLT

    Media figures across the political spectrum expressed shock after reports that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump hired Breitbart News executive Stephen Bannon and political commentator Kellyanne Conway to head his campaign. Media said the hire makes the relationship between Trump and Breitbart “official” and labeled the move “insanity.”

  • Latino Advocacy Organization Calls Out Trump For Denying Access To Hispanic Media

    Trump Has Ignored Hispanic Media For Over A Year

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LOPEZ

    Latino Victory, an organization that advocates for Latino representation in politics, launched an online petition calling out Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for ignoring Hispanic media, highlighting that “Since June 2015, the most interaction Trump has had with Hispanic media has been to deny them access and attack them.”

    The petition asks Trump to “give Hispanic news organizations the respect they deserve” and pointed out that, while he’s ignored Hispanic media, “In June, he spent over three hours being interviewed by Fox News.” The most prominent anchors in Hispanic media -- Telemundo’s José Díaz-Balart and Univision’s Jorge Ramos -- have issued multiple interview requests that Trump has continued to ignore, deepening his disconnect with Latino audiences.

    Trump responded to Ramos’ first request by making the journalist’s personal information, including his phone number, public, and on another occasion by sending him a “personal” letter containing a campaign bumper sticker and a donation request. In addition, the candidate has shut down Diaz-Balart at a press conference, had Ramos ejected from another presser by security personnel, and denied press credentials to Univision correspondent Lourdes del Río.

    Trump has a record of lashing out at media that features critical coverage of him: he revoked The Washington Post’s press credentials and threatened to do the same to The New York Times, saying the Times “is going to hell.” Trump and his supporters have also suggested they might use government power to retaliate against media. More than one hundred Univision journalists signed on to an open letter to Trump criticizing his threats to the free press -- which reflect a worrying trend in Latin America -- and decrying his practice of “obstruct[ing] coverage by denying press organizations access to campaign events.”

    Trump has recently retreated to Fox News, a network that houses his defenders and sycophants.

  • A NY Times Article Highlighted Trump’s Campaign Struggles, So He Responded By Threatening The Free Press

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LOPEZ

    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump threatened to revoke The New York Times’ press credentials after the Times suggested “his approach seems to be sputtering” and that the campaign's "effort to save Mr. Trump from himself has plainly failed.” Trump’s threat, which came after the candidate said the Times “is going to hell,” is only the latest of Trump’s now-routine attacks on the media.

    An August 13 rally in Fairfield, CT, -- during which Trump also leveled disparaging remarks at CNN -- was described by ABC’s John Santucci as a “bash the media event for Trump.” Trump’s tirade against the media was reportedly triggered by a New York Times piece that highlighted the Trump campaign’s “failing mission to tame Donald Trump’s tongue.” In the August 13 article, the Times reported on efforts by Trump’s advisers to make him “stick to a teleprompter and end his freestyle digressions and insults, like his repeated attacks on a Hispanic federal judge.” According to the Times, “nearly two months later, the effort … plainly failed,” and his advisers reportedly secured his agreement to “get on track” again, just hours before his “explosive comment about ‘Second Amendment people’ taking action” if he loses:

    Joined by his daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, a cluster of Mr. Trump’s confidants pleaded with him to make that day — June 20 — a turning point.

    He would have to stick to a teleprompter and end his freestyle digressions and insults, like his repeated attacks on a Hispanic federal judge.

    [...]

    Mr. Trump bowed to his team’s entreaties, according to four people with detailed knowledge of the meeting, who described it on the condition of anonymity. It was time, he agreed, to get on track.

    Nearly two months later, the effort to save Mr. Trump from himself has plainly failed. He has repeatedly signaled to his advisers and allies his willingness to change and adapt, but has grown only more volatile and prone to provocation since then, clashing with a Gold Star family, making comments that have been seen as inciting violence and linking his political opponents to terrorism.

    [...]

    Mr. Trump’s advisers believe he is nearly out of time to right his campaign. On Tuesday, hours before his explosive comment about “Second Amendment people” taking action if Mrs. Clinton is elected, his brain trust reassembled again at Trump Tower in a reprise of their stern meeting in June.

    [...]

    Mr. Trump, people briefed on the meeting said, digested the advice and responded receptively.

    It was time, he agreed, to get on track.

    Trump continued his anti-media tirade at the CT rally with a series of tweets on August 14, doubling down on his attacks against the Times, denying that he told advisers that he would change, and claiming the “disgusting and corrupt media” doesn’t cover him honestly. He also justified his threats against a free press by claiming, “It is not ‘freedom of the press’ when newspapers and others are allowed to say and write whatever they want even if it is completely false”:

    If Trump goes through with revoking the Times’ credentials, the paper would join The Washington Post and many other outlets he has blacklisted from covering his events. Trump’s “war against the First Amendment” includes plans to “open up our libel laws” and threats of using governmental power to retaliate against media outlets -- something that the Post’s executive editor Marty Baron said in May reminded him of “Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.”

    Trump’s rhetoric against the media and his practice of singling out journalists by by name to attack them personally and publicly has already had dangerous consequences: MSNBC’s Katy Tur had to be escorted to her car by the Secret Service after Trump supporters verbally harassed her at a rally in December. Many other journalists assigned to cover the Trump campaign say they’ve been targeted and verbally attacked during the nominee’s rallies where his supporters have followed Trump’s lead, telling them they “hate” them and called them “liars” and "traitor[s]."

  • Report: “Existential Crisis” At Fox News As Sexual Harassment Investigation Spreads Beyond Ailes

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Vanity Fair reported that Fox News staffers have expressed growing fears about the network’s future following allegations that former Fox News CEO and current Rupert Murdoch “consultant” Roger Ailes sexually harassed at least 20 women.

    In July, former Fox host Gretchen Carlson filed a lawsuit that alleged Ailes fired her after she declined his sexual advances. Since Carlson filed the suit, at least 25 additional women, including Fox host Megyn Kelly and former host Andrea Tantaros, have made similar claims against the former CEO. On July 21, Ailes was forced to resign his position amid an investigation into the claims by parent company 21st Century Fox. Ailes is currently working as a consultant to News Corp. Executive Co-Chairman Rupert Murdoch during a “transition period.”

    An August 8 article by Vanity Fair’s Sarah Ellison reports that Fox News staffers fear the network’s future is facing “an existential crisis” following Ailes departure and that employees are “anxious to distance themselves” from their former boss, despite the fact they may soon lose their jobs. Ellison reports that sources say some women alleging sexual harassment claim the issue spread to “individuals beyond Roger Ailes” who were “nonetheless enablers.” From Vanity Fair:

    One staffer expressed to me an even greater fear: that, without [Roger] Ailes, Fox News’s future is in an existential crisis.

    [...]

    A sale of Fox News, which generates some $1 billion in annual profit, seems unlikely. A massive culture change, however, seems probable. Some Ailes loyalists who remain affiliated with Fox News find themselves in a particularly difficult spot. They are anxious to distance themselves from him, even as they anticipate their own ouster from the network, a Fox source told me. Several of them, who worked for Ailes in a personal capacity but were on Fox’s payroll, were dismissed last week, according to one senior Fox employee.

    But perhaps the biggest object of curiosity in the newsroom these days is the internal investigation currently being conducted by the law firm Paul, Weiss. The investigation originally focused exclusively on Ailes, but as allegations from at least 20 women have mounted—including Gabriel Sherman’s revelation that Fox paid Laurie Luhn, a former booker, $3.15 million in a settlement agreement—it has expanded to other Fox News executives. “A number of the women raised serious issues about individuals beyond Roger Ailes, who, while not as crass as Ailes, were nonetheless enablers,” said one individual briefed on the investigation. “There can be fairly raised a question: whether the atmosphere at Fox is welcoming to women absent wholesale changes in senior leadership.”

  • Fox's Media Critic Wants The Press To Be Tough On Trump Until The Moment They Are

    Blog ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY

    Fox News media critic Howard Kurtz believes that if Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump “makes misstatements, if he gets involved in self-destructive fights, if he appears to be ignorant on certain issues,” then journalists should “go after that aggressively.” But recently Kurtz has criticized his media colleagues for doing just that.

    Kurtz railed against the "obvious distaste, bordering on disgust, that many journalists as well as commentators have for Donald Trump,” pointing to “the last 10 days” of allegedly negative news coverage of Trump as evidence that “it’s almost like the press put out a mob hit on Donald Trump.” He added that the “imbalance is so overwhelming on almost every media site and outlet that it can no longer be denied.” From the August 8 edition of Fox News’ America’s Newsroom:

    But Kurtz also conceded that “if Trump makes misstatements, if he gets involved in self-destructive fights, if he appears to be ignorant on certain issues, then you go after that aggressively.”

    Trump’s last 10 days have featured a number of stumbles and unforced errors that even conservatives have called out, including his multi-day feud with a Gold Star family, his suggestion that women who are sexually harassed at work should change jobs, and his claims that the 2016 election is “rigged.”

    Accordingly, media have, at least for now, dropped the typical “Both Sides” style of journalism that is often peppered with false equivalencies and instead have begun to routinely fact-check Trump and spotlight the disarray in his campaign.

    Though Kurtz said on August 7 that Trump “has made mistakes and those should be covered,” he nonetheless criticized journalists for Trump “getting hammered for just about everything.”

    On August 1, he highlighted the “enormous media attention” paid to Khizr Khan’s speech denouncing Trump, claiming that the media's negative attitude about Trump's proposed Muslim ban "seems to show in the coverage” of Khan's speech.

    And on Kurtz’ own August 7 show, he repeatedly referenced a “titanic tidal wave of negative coverage” and asked panelists if they saw a “flat-out media bias” in the coverage of Trump failing to endorse Paul Ryan, saying he always wanted a Purple Heart, and feuding with the Khan family.

    But if Kurtz believes that Trump’s “misstatements,” “self-destructive fights” and ignorance “on certain issues” warrant aggressive media coverage, why did he spend a week sneering at his media colleagues for providing just that sort of reporting?