Media Structures & Regulations

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  • Media Matters President Bradley Beychok Responds To Report That Fox Sought Our Reporter’s Phone Records

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Fox News sought the phone records of Media Matters senior reporter Joe Strupp through “legally questionable means” in order to identify his anonymous network sources, according to a new report.

    New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman reported in his September 2 cover story on the fall of Fox News chairman Roger Ailes:

    Fox News also obtained the phone records of journalists, by legally questionable means. According to two sources with direct knowledge of the incident, Brandi, Fox’s general counsel, hired a private investigator in late 2010 to obtain the personal home- and cell-phone records of Joe Strupp, a reporter for the liberal watchdog group Media Matters. (Through a spokesperson, Brandi denied this.) In the fall of that year, Strupp had written several articles quoting anonymous Fox sources, and the network wanted to determine who was talking to him. “This was the culture. Getting phone records doesn’t make anybody blink,” one Fox executive told me.

    Media Matters president Bradley Beychok responded to the report:

    From what we witnessed with Rupert Murdoch and News Corp's prior phone hacking scandal, it's critical for an immediate investigation of Roger Ailes and any other current or former Fox News employees who may have been involved in this illegal practice.

    Roger Ailes and Fox News broke the law by hacking into the phone records of Media Matters employees. Anyone involved in the illegal hacking should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and we are considering all legal options.

  • Trump Flies To Mexico, Trump's Traveling Press Corps Left Behind In America

    Trump's Campaign Manager Used The Trip To Bash Clinton's Accessibility To The Press

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Media figures criticized Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's "distressing" decision to leave his traveling press corps in the United States as he travels to Mexico to meet with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. Trump's "alarming" treatment of the press throughout his presidential campaign has included revoking entire outlets' press credentials, taunting and insulting the press at campaign rallies, and promising to "open up our libel laws" if elected.

    The Trump campaign's decision to leave their press behind is inconsistent with campaign manager Kellyanne Conway's claim that a joint press conference she said Trump would hold with Peña Nieto during the trip should be looked at "in direct contrast" to Hillary Clinton. (It was later reported that Trump was "not expected to take questions in Mexico, despite his campaign manager insisting this morning he would.)"

    According to Politico's Hadas Gold, "reporters were 'seething'" on a call with the Trump campaign because "the campaign is leaving the press behind on its big trip to Mexico on Wednesday":

    Just one day after a traveling print pool was put in place for Donald Trump's campaign, the campaign is leaving the press behind on its big trip to Mexico on Wednesday.

    The last-minute trip to meet with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto was announced on Tuesday. And while there is a charter plane for the press traveling with Trump, their plane was directed to Phoenix where Trump will later give an immigration speech.


    On the daily call with Trump communications director Jason Miller, reporters were "seething," one source on the call, who asked not to be named because the call is off the record, told POLITICO. According to the source, the campaign only told the five-network television pool about the opportunity to cover the meeting around 3 a.m. While some reporters were weighing chartering their own plane to Mexico, they decided against it partly because the campaign did not indicate there would be a press availability until Conway's comments this morning.

    This post has been updated.

  • Megyn Kelly Defends Rush Limbaugh After Radio Host Says He Never Took Trump Seriously On Immigration

    Kelly: "Some In The Republican Party Want To Demonize" Rush Limbaugh And Sean Hannity "For Getting Behind Trump"

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    From the August 30 edition of Fox News' The Kelly File:

    MEGYN KELLY (HOST): Listen, there's been a lot of finger pointing, right, in the GOP and a lot of what feels like a civil war between the people who support Trump in the party and the people who don't. And that was just a reflection of some of that. Your thoughts?

    BRENT BOZELL: Exactly. This isn't about Rush. This is about the fractured nature of the Republican Party, and the fractured nature of the conservative movement. Look, anything Rush says is going to trigger a reaction from someone calling himself a conservative, saying that Rush Limbaugh has betrayed the conservative movement. This is the nature of the politics this year.

    That caller -- if Rush were that impactful in this crazy year, when Rush Limbaugh said that Ted Cruz was the single most conservative candidate in the race, then Ted Cruz would have won the nomination. Look, the Trump people, Rush is absolutely right. The Trump people are lock step with Trump, and the people who aren't with Trump, I think they're going to be with Trump. But right now, like this caller, they're having a very hard time. Rush is caught in the crosshairs.

    KELLY: You tell me -- I mean, there's no question Rush is incredibly powerful and incredibly successful, but he -- he's not omnipotent, and he's not all -- you know, he can't do it all. I know Rush rather well. Back in 2008, he was behind John McCain. Back in 2012, he was behind Mitt Romney. It didn't carry them over the finish line.

    You know, I mean I think some in the Republican Party want to demonize, let's say Rush, or Hannity, or whoever it is for getting behind Trump, or not condemning Trump, just the same as, you know, it's happening the other way as well. People want to condemn the never-Trumpers for not getting behind a party nominee who's obviously extremely controversial.

    BOZELL: And if Rush were to say something critical about Trump, then there would be the furious backlash in the opposite direction about how he is costing the Republicans the election by going after the nominee. This is what I mean, you can't win this year. It is the craziest year ever. And I think what people have to do is take a deep, deep breath and understand Rush was advocating conservative principles long before any caller was calling him.

    KELLY: Mm-hmm. And he is a broadcaster. I mean that's what he is at heart. He's not a campaign manager who needs to get a non-Trumper elected. He's a broadcaster. In any event, the recriminations have only just begun.


    Hannity v. The World: Here Are The People Sean Hannity Has Attacked To Defend Trump (So Far)

    BEDLAM: Hannity, National Review, WSJ Editor Go To War Over Donald Trump

    Hannity: Glenn Beck Is On "A Holy War" Against Me For Supporting Trump

    Sean Hannity Has Given Donald Trump $31 Million In Free Publicity

    Hannity Praises Trump For Using A Teleprompter After Years Of Demonizing Obama For Using Them

  • ABC Reports Corey Lewandowski “Is Back In The Fold” With Trump Campaign While Remaining Paid CNN Contributor

    Blog ››› ››› BRENDAN KARET

    ABC News reports that Corey Lewandowski is “still involved” in Trump’s campaign, highlighting CNN’s ongoing ethical nightmare in hiring Lewandowski as a paid contributor.

    “Lewandowski is back in the fold,” according to a report released by ABC News from campaign sources that describe Lewandowski’s relationship with Trump as “stronger than ever.” Despite his contract with CNN Lewandowski talks with and advises Trump “almost every day,” according to a “senior level campaign staffer”:

    As Donald Trump arrived in Manchester, New Hampshire, for a rally a week ago, he stepped out of his motorcade and was greeted by a familiar face: Corey Lewandowski.

    Lewandowski had been fired in late-June after serving as Trump’s first campaign manager. Given the internal fighting, Trump’s losing ground in the polls, and the candidate’s and his family’s alleged lack of confidence in Lewandowski, the campaign cut him loose June 20.


    Now, a few weeks and a lucrative cable network contract later, Lewandowski is back in the fold, according to multiple campaign sources. They describe Lewandowski’s relationship with the candidate as “stronger than ever.”

    Each day, Trump wakes up, usually in his Fifth Avenue penthouse, and has a routine round of calls, sources say, that includes his campaign leadership (which has changed in recent weeks), his children, some close allies and someone else quite frequently: Lewandowski.

    CNN has been roundly criticized for ethical issues surrounding the hiring of Lewandowski and the subsequent nightmare he has caused the network. CNN has given Lewandowski a platform to defend Trump at every turn, while Lewandowski travels with the Trump campaign and receives paid severance from Trump , while having a non-disclosure agreement with the Trump campaign.

    And despite persistent calls for CNN to cut ties with Lewandowski, the network has stood by him as a contributor.

  • Fox’s Sunday Shows Ignore Reports That Former Chief Roger Ailes Is Advising Trump

    Blog ››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT

    Fox News Sunday and MediaBuzz failed to cover new reporting that Fox News’ former chairman and CEO Roger Ailes has assumed an advisory role in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. According to The New York Times, Ailes successfully urged Trump to change his campaign’s leadership and offered guidance on his first series of television campaign ads.

    On August 19, the Times reported that an irate Trump “hastily convened” a group “of paid and unpaid advisers including the pollster Kellyanne Conway, Roger Ailes, the ousted Fox News Chairman, and Stephen K. Bannon, the chairman of Breitbart News” to address concerns the candidate had with then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort. The report, which detailed Manafort’s ouster from the “chaotic presidential campaign,” noted that during the August 14 meeting, Ailes “urged Mr. Trump to reconfigure the campaign’s leadership.” Bannon and Conway formally joined the campaign as its chief executive and manager, respectively, on August 17, and Manafort exited just two days later.

    The Trump campaign had previously denied Ailes’ advisory role after reports that Ailes was assisting Trump with preparation for the upcoming presidential debates, and Conway told CNN’s Dana Bash this morning that Ailes “has no formal or informal role with the campaign,” but acknowledged that Trump “speaks to many different people.”

    But while CNN’s State of the Union host asked Conway directly about Ailes’ role in the campaign, and CNN’s Reliable Sources also discussed Ailes’ burgeoning role, Fox News’ Sunday shows ignored this development concerning their departed chairman and CEO. A Fox News Sunday panel discussion, and two MediaBuzz segments, all discussing the shake-up in Trump’s campaign leadership team, failed to even mention Ailes. A SnapStream transcript search of Fox News for “Ailes” showed no results from any other shows on the network from today.