Chris Cillizza

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  • Three Missteps To Avoid When Reporting On Clinton Email "Quid Pro Quo"


    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and other Republicans are trying to use newly released FBI documents from the agency’s closed investigation into Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server as secretary of state to generate a scandal around a purported “quid pro quo” between the FBI and State Department, raising new issues for political journalists who have records of getting the facts wrong on email stories. In one such case, Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post’s The Fix politics blog made a series of missteps regarding who issued the proposed “quid pro quo,” whether it occurred, and the meaning of a classification marking.

  • The Guide To Donald Trump's War On The Press (So Far)


    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has an extensive history of attacking the media, and his campaign and supporters have joined in the fight throughout the election. The nominee, his surrogates, and his supporters have called media outlets and reporters across the spectrum “dishonest,” “neurotic,” “dumb,” and a “waste of time,” and until recently, the campaign had a media blacklist of outlets that weren’t allowed into campaign events.

  • A History Lesson On Abraham Lincoln And Adoption Of The 13th Amendment


    Media attacked as “ridiculous” Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s citation of Abraham Lincoln during the second presidential debate in explaining why she said during a 2013 speech that politics can require taking different public and private positions. According to The Associated Press, Clinton was correct that she was talking about Lincoln in her 2013 remarks, and according to Time magazine, Clinton accurately characterized Lincoln’s actions in her debate answer.

  • There Is No Evidence Terror Attacks Help Donald Trump

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza is claiming that terror attacks like the weekend’s explosions in New York and New Jersey and stabbings in a Minnesota mall will benefit Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump because they are “external events [that] affirm his diagnosis of the current state of politics,” and thus his message “hits home” under those circumstances. But Cillizza presents no actual evidence of his claim, and polling following terror attacks in San Bernardino, CA; Paris, France; Orlando, FL; and Nice, France undermine his claims.

    Cillizza writes that Trump’s message is “politicians are failures,” and that “To get voters to sign onto that message and, more challengingly, that messenger, Trump needs external events to affirm his diagnosis of the current state of politics — that it is an utter failure and, not only that, but that the failures of politicians have made the average person less safe.” He concludes in his September 19 post:

    Most people — Democrats and Republicans — share Trump's alienation from politics and politicians. They are convinced, as Trump is, that politics is broken, and none of the people in office right now have any idea how to fix it. Given that, when they turn on the news and are presented with the chaos we have seen over the past three days, the Trump message — "We have to make a change. No choice." — hits home in a way that it wouldn't if most people feel safe and secure.

    The most basic dynamic of this race is [Hillary] Clinton as safe, capable and status quo, and Trump as risky, unpredictable and change. The more chaos people see in the country and the world, the more they are willing to throw over Clinton's experience and swallow their doubts about Trump's readiness for office. He truly is the chaos candidate.

    Cillizza cites no polling data to support this contention; he is simply dressing up his gut opinion as savvy analysis. A review of actual data shows no evidence to back his suggestion that Trump does better than Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton following unpredictable events such as terrorist attacks.

    Here's the RealClearPolitics poll average for the two weeks after the June 12 terrorist shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando. Trump’s support was static while Clinton’s increased:

    Here’s the poll average for the two weeks after the December 2 mass shooting in San Bernardino. Trump’s support fell slightly while Clinton’s increased by several points:

    The RealClearPolitics average showed almost no movement in the two weeks after the November 13 terrorist attacks in Paris:

    And while the average shows an increase in Trump’s support following the July 14 attacks in Nice, that period overlapped with the Republican National Convention:

    If Cillizza had consulted data, rather than trying to tell a story that validates his own opinions, he would have found that terror attacks are at worst a wash for Clinton and that they may actually improve her standing with voters.

  • Norm Ornstein Takes On The Media’s Election Coverage Failures

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    American Enterprise Institute scholar Norm Ornstein pointed to the flawed news judgment of political editors and cable news producers when it comes to election coverage in a series of email exchanges with The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, stating that coverage of Hillary Clinton stories related to the Clinton Foundation and her private email server have been “way overdone” while too much of the coverage of Donald Trump has focused on “his campaign and its tactics” rather than following up on the GOP nominee’s “deep conflicts of interest.”

    Ornstein, long a prominent centrist intellectual, has since 2012 been a leading voice calling out the increasing radicalism of the Republican Party. He has been a harsh critic of the media’s coverage during this election cycle.

    Several Media Matters studies and reports support Ornstein’s contention that the press has devoted substantial resources to flawed but negative stories about Clinton while failing to follow through on investigations into Trump.

    In a series of exchanges with Cillizza, Ornstein criticized what he termed the “stupid” coverage of Clinton, which he said has focused too much on the Foundation and email stories to the exclusion of reporting on her tenure in government:

    I think the coverage of Clinton has been stupid — an obsessive focus on press conferences, on the Clinton Foundation, on emails, the latter legitimate stories but way overdone, with almost nothing on her major policy proposals. There, it is the Times and AP, who are the serious actors.


    You and your colleagues make value judgments about what you want to cover, based often on the stories' importance (see "Spotlight") but also what brings readers and eyeballs and clicks, and what brings recognition and prizes, and on gut judgments. The coverage of Clinton emails and the Foundation, measured not just in number of stories but in placement, allocation of resources and column inches (again, not WaPo) and in lead stories, minutes on air, is in my view over the top. And the fact that many stories have been wrong, in some cases because of a reliance on leaks from Republican staffers and members of the Benghazi Committee, or a rip and read of a Judicial Watch press release, makes it much worse.


    Yes, her performance as secretary of state is a good, perhaps the best, indicator of how she would govern. And somehow, you and your colleagues in the media have decided that the emails and the Clinton Foundation are the be-all and end-all of her judgment and the indication of how she would govern. Not how she ran the State Department, how she structured and dealt with the team of people around her, how she interacted with the president, the secretar(ies) of defense, the national security advisers, the DNI, etc. Not what she accomplished and did not accomplish. Not her judgments on policy or other leaders. I should add, not all of those stories would be flattering or laudatory. I don't have the time or resources to count up the column inches since the nominations were decided that have been devoted to email and the Foundation, compared to the other issues above, but I would wager the ratio is, as they say, huge. The Post has been better than its competitors, but as I recall, even you, for example, bit on the ridiculous AP story making something sinister out of the meeting with Mohammed Yunus. The need to go on the Web immediately, the new world of traditional print journalism, has its own pathologies built into it.

    He wrote that by contrast, coverage of Trump has disproportionately focused on his campaign’s strategy and tactics, to the exclusion of sustained reporting on his conflicts of interest and other important stories that would more directly speak to what his presidency would look like:

    On Trump, The Post is a model. I have no doubt that the fact that other outlets, from the Times and AP to the TV channels, network and cable, have largely ignored what Fahrenthold has done is the usual professional jealousy. But it is bad and unprofessional. When stories have been done about Trump's behavior as a businessman, or in cutting off the health coverage out of spite for his grand nephew with cerebral palsy, they tend to be one-offs, no follow up and no other outlets picking up on the story. Trump has gotten plenty of negative coverage, but it is different in nature and tone from that of Clinton. And so much of the coverage, including especially the nattering on cable news chat shows, has been about his campaign and its tactics. Now we have Kurt Eichenwald's deep and chilling piece about Trump's relations with Russia, China and others in his business empire, and the implications for his governance — and the nets, cable and most print people did nothing and focused on Dr. Oz and Clinton's health.


    The stakes are really, really high. The relentless search for the pivot that will show [Trump] is presidential, behaving "normally," is classic horse-race nonsense and takes up much of the bandwidth of his coverage. The real traditional stories about his campaign, including bringing in Bannon — a celebrant and megaphone for the alt-right, including its anti-Semitism and white nationalism— and Ailes, his continued reliance on Roger Stone, get short shrift.


    On Trump, we started this dialogue with my comment that "you guys," meaning the print and television world, were being played like a Stradivarius by Trump and his people, drawn like moths to the flame (excuse the mixed metaphors, I could add in Pavlovian dogs) to the back-and-forth machinations and pronouncements of Trumpland, using most of the bandwidth of coverage of Trump instead of covering two major stories about his fitness to be president: the corruption of the Trump Foundation, and even more, the insidious foreign dealings reported in Kurt Eichenwald's deep piece in Newsweek. Again, I give kudos to David Fahrenthold, the role model of this campaign, and leave out The Post from criticism on the Foundation story. But there has been almost nothing on Trump's deep conflicts of interest — and the reporting by Fahrenthold strongly suggests that if Trump were faced with a choice between pursuing America's national interest or protecting his family assets, he would go with the latter.

    Ornstein concludes that cable news and print editorial story selection and emphasis has been poor throughout the election and has led to readers and viewers receiving coverage that lacks proper context:

    On the latter point, cable news, which features a lot of print reporters (including The Post's) and which is on in many newsrooms around the clock, which is a major source of news and cues for our opinion leaders, does matter. It can skew news in a fashion that has lots of Americans believing something that is simply false — a good example, Fox News regulars believe that unemployment is up and the stock market is down since Obama became president. And the other cable networks can leave lots of viewers believing, for example, that scientists are evenly split on whether climate change is real, because most discussions pit a climate change believer against a denier.

    But I don't want to leave this as just a problem of cable news. There are major prestigious newspapers and other news sources that matter enormously. And they matter not just in what stories they run, but how much they cover more than one story, where the story is placed, how much emphasis they give, how careful they are at getting facts straight, how sensitive they are to where leaks are coming from and whether they are accurate or slanted. Here, by the way, I wish you and the Times, as examples, would announce that any anonymous source who gives you false or misleading information will be outed — the privilege of anonymity extends only to provision of accurate information.

    The real forces here are the editors, at the top and all the way down, deciding what to cover, what goes on the front page, what goes above the fold, what the headlines are, how to allocate scarce resources, how to respond to errors, how to deal with rumors. And I see increasing and troubling evidence, less in The Post than in others, of a rush to get stories out there because of the demand for eyeballs and clicks, fewer safeguards at the managing editor and below, less tolerance of criticism. The Post, the Times, the AP matter more than a slew of local papers, because they both set the standard and provide the feeds used across the country and abroad.


  • After Clinton Feels Overheated At 9/11 Event, Media Issue “Special Reports” And Continue To Mainstream Health Conspiracies

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    NBC News Special Reports have usually been about significant international issues like the terrorist attack in Nice, France, the attempted coup in Turkey, the reopening of the U.S. embassy in Cuba after being closed for over fifty years, or significant events like the arrival of the Pope, the death of singer Prince, and reports of mass shootings.

    On September 11, the network issued two special reports because Hillary Clinton felt overheated at a memorial event.

    While attending the memorial service commemorating the 15th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Clinton left early after feeling “overheated,” according to campaign spokesman Nick Merrill. In a statement, Merrill said, “Secretary Clinton attended the September 11th Commemoration Ceremony for just an hour and thirty minutes this morning to pay her respects and greet some of the families of the fallen. During the ceremony, she felt overheated, so departed to go to her daughter's apartment and is feeling much better.”

    A few hours later, Clinton left Chelsea Clinton’s apartment. She was filmed waving to the crowd and told the press assembled outside, “It’s a beautiful day,” and said she was “feeling great.” She then posed for a photo with a young girl.

    In addition to NBC’s Special Reports, the media took the incident as an opportunity to continue to legitimize conspiracy theories about Clinton’s health that have circulated in the conservative media.

    Fox’s Sean Hannity has perhaps been beating the drum the loudest, claiming that “coughing fits” from Clinton are signs of a serious medical condition, while also claiming that it is possible that she had a “stroke.” Rush Limbaugh, along with the Drudge Report, Alex Jones’ conspiracy theory website Infowars, and others recently pushed an internet survey from a fringe conspiracy group to claim that Clinton’s health disqualifies her from the presidency. Trump campaign surrogates have also promoted baseless health conspiracies in appearances on cable news.

    At the same time, reporters who have been in frequent contact with Clinton on the campaign trail have said that the allegations and conspiracies are baseless.

    Despite this background, several media outlets used news of Clinton’s overheating to give the conspiracy theories more oxygen.

    On Meet the Press, NBC News Special Correspondent Tom Brokaw referenced the “very vigorous campaign both aboveground and belowground” by Republicans to “raise questions about her health,” and said he thought Clinton should “go to a hospital” and “see a neurologist and get a clean report if it’s available to her.”

    The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza wrote a piece headlined, “Hillary Clinton’s health just became a real issue in the presidential campaign.” He said the episode had “changed the conversation in the race about Clinton’s health” and would “catapult questions about her health from the ranks of conservative conspiracy theory to perhaps the central debate in the presidential race over the coming days.” Cillizza went on to claim, “Taking the Clinton team's word for it on her health -- in light of the episode on Sunday morning -- is no longer enough.”

    New York Times Los Angeles bureau Chief Adam Nagourney tweeted that it “Feels like a good day for Clinton to release her medical records and call on Trump to do same.”

    During CNN’s coverage, correspondent Jeff Zeleny said, “You have to wonder: Will they be sort of forced to release more medical records here because she is being criticized by her opponents here. The questions have been out there: Is she healthy?”

    Both Zeleny and NBC’s Chuck Todd noted in their reporting that Clinton has released more of her medical information than Donald Trump has. Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter noted the media “should not give oxygen to” conspiracy theories about Clinton’s health that have appeared online and in supermarket tabloids, but made the distinction that “there are legitimate questions” to be asked by reporters about Clinton’s health.

    Baltimore Sun media critic David Zurawik told Reliable Sources the possible implications of inaccurate reporting on the topic would be “awful” and “on something like this, Brian, you wait until you have at least two sources you’re comfortable with.”

  • Even The Media Is Getting Sick Of The Trump “Pivot” Narrative


    Following Donald Trump’s heavily anticipated immigration speech, media figures have finally concluded that there will be no so-called “pivot” from the Republican presidential nominee. They are urging people to never “speak of Donald Trump pivoting ever, ever again” and claiming that talk of a Trump pivot needs to “be put in a lockbox.”

  • How The Media's Obsession With “Optics” Is Ruining Campaign Journalism

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Joining a long list of concerned media voices, The New York Times' editorial page this week linked up with the Beltway chorus to express alarm over the Clinton Foundation and the “question” it presents for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

    Surveying the well-trampled ground of supposed conflicts of interest and insinuations that Clinton sold State Department access to donors, the Times announced a pressing “need for major changes at the foundation now, before the November election.”

    As part of its declaration, the newspaper dutifully noted, “‘Pay-to-play’ charges by Donald Trump have not been proved.” But the Times, like so many other lecturing voices, was quite clear in claiming that the Clintons have to address concerns about optics even if that means shutting down their landmark global charity. That’s how important it now is for the do-good foundation to be spotless and pure: Optics trump humanitarianism.

    Or, there’s no proof anybody did anything wrong, therefore drastic actions must be taken to fix the problem.

    The meandering foundation story has become a case study for the Beltway media’s double standard: holding Clinton to a higher mark that’s based on optics, not on facts. Unable to prove misconduct or anything close to it (just ask the AP), the press relies on the comfy confines of “optics” and the “appearance” of conflict to allow them to attack Clinton and the foundation. 

    For Clinton, it’s a can’t-win proposition. If the press says the story looks bad, even if there’s nothing to suggest it actually is bad, she gets tagged with an optics problem. And because journalists are the only ones handing out the grades, they get to decide how bad it looks.

    But the journalism malpractice doesn’t end there. It extends to the fact that the press doesn’t apply the same visual test to Republican nominee Donald Trump, whose far-flung business dealings would represent an actual, even historic, conflict of interest were he to be elected president.

    Also, note that high-profile Republicans have run foundations in the past, accepted big donations, and never been hounded by the press regarding supposed optics violations.

    What’s so strange about the current “appearance” phenomenon is that the narrative often runs right alongside media concessions about the lack of evidence proving Clinton wrongdoing.

    “Let’s be clear, this is all innuendo at this point. No pay for play has been proven. No smoking gun has been found,” announced NBC’s Chuck Todd. “But like many of these Clinton scandals, it looks bad.”

    A recent NPR report also perfectly summed up the media’s working equation:

    There's no question the optics are bad for Clinton and the Clinton Foundation. But no proof has emerged that any official favors -- regulations, government contracts, international deals -- were curried in exchange for donations or pledges.

    On and on the parade marches: “Even if they’ve done nothing illegal, the foundation will always look too much like a conflict of interest for comfort” (Boston Globe). “At the very least, there is an appearance of a conflict of interest for the foundation” (CNN’s Anderson Cooper).

    Perhaps the strangest presentation came from a Times news report that claimed “the potential for real or perceived conflicts of interest” was causing problems for Clinton. Think about that for a minute. Not only is Clinton being graded on perceived conflicts of interest, but also on potential perceived ones.

    The media’s emphasis on optics when relating the foundation story represents a giant tell in terms of how soggy the supposed scandal really is. As Matthew Yglesias noted at Vox:

    It’s natural to assume that where there’s smoke, there’s fire. But the smoke emanating from the Clinton Foundation is not a naturally occurring phenomenon. It is the result of a reasonably well-funded dedicated partisan opposition research campaign, and of editorial decisions by the managers of major news organizations to dedicate resources to running down every possible Clinton email lead in the universe.

    It also seems like journalists aren’t even sure what they’re trying to accuse the Clintons of doing. Optics violations can be confusing like that.

    From Slate: [emphasis added]

    But you don’t need to believe the Clintons are guilty of intentionally engaging in quid pro quo (though it’s not crazy to think they may have) to know that there is something wrong with a dynamic where it is nearly impossible to prove that they did, or even that they didn’t.

    It’s not possible to prove any Clinton Foundation wrongdoing, therefore the Clinton Foundation must be “shut down.” In fact, the charitable outpost should’ve been closed “yesterday.”

    Slate continued:

    Even if Hillary were somehow able to completely separate the donations -- to say nothing of her and her husband’s speaking fees, which have often come from many of the same corporations who fund their family foundation -- from her official decision-making, she simply has no way of preventing the appearance of pay for play. And the mere perception of access matters, both in the financial marketplace and the political one.

    That is, frankly, a bizarre and impossible standard: Clinton must eliminate even the “perception” of special access. I mean, people realize every member of Congress accepts money from donors, right? Therefore, every donor who gives money instantly creates the possibility of purchased access. When is Slate going to cross-check schedules for every member of Congress to see how many donors they meet with and then demand each member eliminate even the “perception” of access?

    Meanwhile, all of this optics policing unfolds while Clinton’s Republican opponent serves as an executive on more than 500 companies. So why the relative media silence about Trump’s boulder-sized conflicts of interest? Where are the litany of editorials demanding he take preventive action to fix the optics?

    I’ve seen some good coverage in the business press about Trump’s massive conflicts (“Donald Trump's 500 Businesses Would Pose 'Unprecedented Ethical Dilemma'”), but little attention from the Beltway media, especially as compared to their relentless obsession with alleged Clinton conflicts.

    Lastly, the media’s ceaseless hand-wringing over the Clinton Foundation represents a brand new way of covering charities run by famous political figures. The media allegation that wealthy donors give to the Clintons simply to cash in favors at a later date represents a cynical narrative that simply did not exist in previous Beltway foundation coverage.

    Note that Colin Powell founded a charity, America’s Promise. Then he became secretary of state under President George W. Bush.

    What happened to the charity? From Yglesias at Vox:  

    Well, Powell’s wife, Alma Powell, took it over. And it kept raking in donations from corporate America. Ken Lay, the chair of Enron, was a big donor. He also backed a literacy-related charity that was founded by the then-president’s mother. The US Department of State, at the time Powell was secretary, went to bat for Enron in a dispute the company was having with the Indian government.

    Did donors send big checks to Powell’s family foundation in order to gain access to him, to his son Michael, who was then commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission, or to other Bush administration officials? We don’t know, in part because the press never turned the issue into an “optics” obsession.

    The press also didn’t seem relentlessly interested in finding out whether big donors were sending checks to the American Red Cross in 1996 while Sen. Bob Dole (R-KS) ran for president. At the time, Dole’s wife, Elizabeth, ran the charity.

    Today, “optics” has become the go-to campaign theme for journalists who can’t find evidence of Clinton malfeasance. That’s not what campaign reporting is supposed to be, but the misleading craft is thriving. And in this election cycle, the flimsy, malleable standard only seems to apply to her.

    And the examples listed above are just a small sample of media figures obsessing about optics recently. Some others:


    The meetings between the Democratic presidential nominee and foundation donors do not appear to violate legal agreements Clinton and former president Bill Clinton signed before she joined the State Department in 2009. But the frequency of the overlaps shows the intermingling of access and donations, and fuels perceptions that giving the foundation money was a price of admission for face time with Clinton.

    Washington Post's Chris Cillizza:

    It just plain looks bad. Really bad.


    To be clear: I have no evidence -- none -- that Clinton broke any law or did anything intentionally shady. But, man oh man, does this latest news about the Clinton Foundation cloud her campaign's attempts to paint the charity group and her State Department as totally separate and unconnected entities.

    LA Times:

    There is not an ounce of proof suggesting criminality or racketeering, no indication that Secretary Clinton performed special favors for foundation donors.


    Nevertheless, there are plenty of Clinton allies who are troubled by her ties to the foundation because it simply looks bad.


    Appearances are important, even if intentions are pure.

    USA Today:

    No, it is not “the most corrupt enterprise in political history,” as Donald Trump is calling it, nor is there enough evidence of potential criminality to warrant appointment of the special prosecutor Trump is seeking. But the only way to eliminate the odor surrounding the foundation is to wind it down and put it in mothballs, starting today, and transfer its important charitable work to another large American charity.

    The Atlantic:

    Even if every one of the meetings that Secretary Clinton had with foundation donors was a meeting she would have had anyway, the impression that one can pay to play means that there’s no tidy way to wall the two off.


    If she didn’t do anything wrong, why won’t she defend herself? By avoiding taking responsibility, Clinton only exacerbates the perception she is dishonest and untrustworthy, the primary hurdle on her path to the White House. Optics matter when the issue is transparency.

    Tampa Bay Times:

    We can all readily agree that the optics of Clinton granting audiences to deep-pocketed swells who had sent tens of millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation are not good.

    WSJ's James Taranto:

    The Clinton Foundation and the appearance of corruption.


    And the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized a “compelling government interest”—which can justify restrictions of the fundamental right to free speech—in avoiding even the appearance of corruption. The “quid” and the “quo” are enough, even if the “pro” can’t be proved.

    Media Matters researcher Tyler Cherry contributed research to this post. 
  • 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.

  • Media Slam The Republican Leaders Disavowing Trump’s Feud With Khans But Not Rescinding Their Endorsements

    ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    Media figures are criticizing Republican leaders, including House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), for refusing to rescind endorsing Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump while condemning his attacks on the Khans, an American Muslim family whose son was killed in action in Iraq in 2004. They are calling the statements refusing to flat-out disavow Trump “acts of cowardice,” “less than worthless,” and “empty words.”

  • Here's Who's Defending Melania Trump's Plagiarized Speech And Who's Calling It Out


    Media figures, including some in right-wing media, criticized the Trump campaign following revelations that Melania Trump’s Republican National Convention speech plagiarized parts of Michelle Obama’s 2008 Democratic National Convention speech. However, several conservative media figures still defended the speech, claiming that “nobody owns” those words and that the speech “actually applies to her life.”