Jared Kushner | Media Matters for America

Jared Kushner

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  • Fox & Friends spent 22 seconds this week covering Jared Kushner. Here is what it covered instead.

    Since February 28, Fox & Friends has spent just 22 seconds covering Kushner’s downgraded security clearance, ignoring three other bombshell reports

    Blog ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    President Donald Trump’s favorite morning show, Fox & Friends, has all but ignored multiple noteworthy stories regarding potential criminal conduct by senior White House adviser Jared Kushner. Since the morning of February 28, Fox News’ flagship morning show has spent a grand total of 22 seconds discussing Kushner’s downgraded security clearance while entirely avoiding three other bombshell reports about him.

    On February 27, The New York Times reported that Kushner, who has had access to some of the country’s most sensitive classified documents, including the presidential daily brief, had “been stripped of his top-secret security clearance after months of delays in completing his background check.” According to the Times, Kushner had been one of “dozens of top White House officials who had been operating on interim security clearances for many months because of issues in completing their F.B.I. background checks.”

    On the same day, The Washington Post reported that foreign governments “have privately discussed ways they can manipulate [Kushner] … by taking advantage of his complex business arrangements, financial difficulties and lack of foreign policy experience.” According to the Post’s report, “Among those nations discussing ways to influence Kushner to their advantage were the United Arab Emirates, China, Israel and Mexico.”

    On February 28, The New York Times published a report that Kushner’s family real estate company had secured millions of dollars in business loans from Citigroup and Apollo Global Management after Kushner, a senior adviser to the president of the United States, met with the leaders of both companies at the White House. According to the Times report, while meeting with Joshua Harris, the founder of Apollo, “the two men discussed a possible White House job for Mr. Harris,” though a “job never materialized.”

    Finally, on March 2, The Intercept reported that Kushner’s family business “made a direct pitch to Qatar’s minister of finance in April 2017 in an attempt to secure investment in a critically distressed asset in the company’s portfolio.” According to the report, “The failure to broker the deal would be followed only a month later by a Middle Eastern diplomatic row in which Jared Kushner provided critical support to Qatar’s neighbors.”

    While Fox & Friends failed to spend significant time on any of these stories, the hosts managed to find time to fit in segments about:

    A pamphlet at Kennesaw State University in Georgia

    “Mega Morning Deals” on items including an oil-less fryer, Bluetooth beacons, and cashmere scarves

    Uncle Jack’s steak empire expanding!

    A congressional candidate who smoked marijuana in a political ad

    People complaining about The View host Joy Behar

    Funny videos captured by home security cameras

    An actor starring in a new faith-based movie

    Two Fox News anchors going skydiving

    And Tomi Lahren complaining about Jimmy Kimmel

    Methodology

    Media Matters searched SnapStream for mentions of the word “Kushner” and "Jared" on Fox News' Fox & Friends between February 28 and March 2.

  • Fox & Friends ignores report that foreign governments viewed Kushner as vulnerable to manipulation

    Carlson, Hannity, and Ingraham also failed to report that Kushner's security clearance was downgraded, and Fox & Friends spent just 22 seconds on it

    Blog ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Following a long-standing pattern of omitting and downplaying notable developments regarding American national security during the Trump administration, Fox News has largely glossed over White House senior adviser Jared Kushner’s security clearance being downgraded, and the network has completely ignored a subsequent report that foreign governments have discussed ways to “manipulate” Kushner through his business entanglements.

    On February 27, The New York Times reported that Kushner, who has had access to some of the most sensitive classified documents including the presidential daily brief, had “been stripped of his top-secret security clearance after months of delays in completing his background check.” According to the Times, Kushner had been one of “dozens of top White House officials who had been operating on interim security clearances for many months because of issues in completing their F.B.I. background checks.”

    On the same day, The Washington Post reported that foreign governments “have privately discussed ways they can manipulate [Kushner] … by taking advantage of his complex business arrangements, financial difficulties and lack of foreign policy experience.” According to the Post’s report, “Among those nations discussing ways to influence Kushner to their advantage were the United Arab Emirates, China, Israel and Mexico.”

    But a Media Matters review found that Fox’s 8-11 p.m. lineup of Tucker Carlson Tonight, Hannity, and The Ingraham Angle, which reaches millions of viewers, did not mention Kushner at all. Fox’s flagship morning program, Fox & Friends, spent just 22 seconds covering Kushner’s security clearance being downgraded. And just two shows, Special Report with Bret Baier and The Story with Martha MacCallum, covered the Post’s story about foreign governments targeting Kushner for manipulation.

    Jeremy Bash, former chief of staff at the CIA and the Defense Department, noted that Kushner’s lack of a top-secret security clearance “effectively means he cannot do his job as the top diplomat overseeing the Israeli-Palestinian peace process,” adding that Kushner “cannot be involved in policy making, … can’t go into the White House situation room [to] have conversations, [and] can't prepare the president for engagements with foreign leaders.” Bash also said he thought the downgrade in Kushner's security clearance was "professionally fatal for him."

    Fox’s decision to disregard the reports on Kushner follows a long-standing and glaring pattern of ignoring or downplaying major reports on threats to American national security and, specifically, the special counsel’s investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russian government during the 2016 presidential election.

    Methodology

    Media Matters searched SnapStream for mentions of the word “Kushner” on Fox News on February 27 and 28.

  • Sunday political talk shows completely ignored Trump White House officials' use of private email accounts

    ABC’s This Week, CBS’ Face the Nation, CNN’s State of the Union, Fox’s Fox News Sunday, and NBC’s Meet the Press all failed to mention Jared Kushner and other Trump officials used private email accounts

    Blog ››› ››› GRACE BENNETT

    The October 1 editions of all the Sunday political talk shows failed to discuss the news that several White House officials in the Trump administration used private email accounts to conduct official government business, making themselves vulnerable to espionage from foreign entities.

    On September 25, The New York Times reported that at least six White House advisors, including Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus, had used personal email accounts to conduct official government business. The Times’ story followed a Politico report that Jared Kushner, a senior advisor and President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, had used a private email account to conduct correspondence related to White House matters. Even though the story that White House advisors used personal email accounts for official business was reported several days ago, ABC’s This Week, CBS’ Face the Nation,  CNN’s State of the Union, Fox Broadcasting Co.’s Fox News Sunday, and NBC’s Meet the Press all failed to discuss it during their Sunday morning broadcasts.

    As the Times notes, “Officials are supposed to use government emails for their official duties so their conversations are available to the public and those conducting oversight.” According to Politico, the National Security Agency (NSA) had “warned senior White House officials in classified briefings” against the “improper use of personal cellphones and email,” as it “could make them vulnerable to espionage” by foreign entities. By failing to discuss the news of the officials’ use of private accounts, Sunday political talk shows ignored a significant story and failed to inform their audiences of yet another example of the lack of transparency that has been an endemic in the Trump administration. The Sunday shows’ failure to report on officials’ use of personal email accounts is particularly shocking given the media’s obsessive focus on Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her time as Secretary of State throughout the 2016 election.

    Methodology: Media Matters searched SnapStream for mentions of “emails,” “private email server,” “personal email,” and “private server” on the October 1 editions of ABC’s This Week, CBS’ Face the Nation, CNN’s State of the Union, Fox Broadcasting Co.’s Fox News Sunday, and NBC’s Meet the Press.

  • How a 2014 story about Russia went from a fringe blog to Fox News in just a few days

    Blog ››› ››› ALEX KAPLAN


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    A 2014 article about then-President Barack Obama’s behind-the-scenes efforts to work with Russia has been widely disseminated among right-wing media in the past 48 hours in an attempt to defend President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, who allegedly asked for back-channel communications with Russia during Trump’s transition. The article seems to have initially re-emerged on fringe blogs and two Twitter accounts that could be bots.

    Trump and his administration have come under scrutiny after The Washington Post on May 26 reported that in December 2016, Kushner had discussed setting up a secret communications channel between Trump’s presidential transition team and the Kremlin. Former intelligence and national security officials have called the move naive, “bizarre,” “very concerning,” “indicative of espionage activity,” and “possibly even illegal.”

    In the early morning hours of May 27, the day after the Post ran the story, Twitter account TheTruthIsOutThere posted, “#BROMANCE Inside Obama’s secret outreach to Russia, including a Kissinger offensive.” The tweet linked to a 2014 article from Josh Rogin, then of Bloomberg, reporting that Obama was “working behind the scenes for months to forge a new working relationship with Russia.” Seemingly hours later, fake news purveyor Before It’s News published a link to a fringe blog highlighting the Bloomberg article. The following evening, slightly before 9:30 p.m., a second Twitter account linked to the article. About two hours later, at around 11:46 p.m., the Drudge Report highlighted the article at the top of its page. About an hour later, many Twitter accounts started to highlight the Bloomberg article without adding much accompanying text. Rogin, the author of the 2014 Bloomberg piece, noted the Twitter activity, writing, “This article of mine from 2014 has been tweeted hundreds of times today, all exactly the same way. #bots.”

    Meanwhile, likely thanks to Drudge, the article exploded into fringe right-wing media, eventually making its way to Fox News on May 29 and on Trump’s favorite morning show, Fox & Friends, on May 30, which cited the article to suggest hypocrisy by the “fake, left-leaning, mainstream” media for focusing on Kushner. This despite the fact that Obama’s effort came during his presidency, not during his presidential transition.

    If a fake news purveyor and bots did play a role in disseminating this claim into more traditional right-wing and mainstream media, it would not be the first time. Former FBI official Clint Watts testified before the Senate in March that Russian bots spread fake news during the 2016 election and beyond, and the FBI is investigating Russian bots pushing pro-Trump articles from conservative websites. The fake news outlet involved in this recent incident, Before It’s News, has also repeatedly pushed claims that support the Kremlin's agenda, such as spreading the dubious charge that the Syrian chemical attack in April was a “false flag” operation and pushing a fake news story from Russian state media. The site is part of the “alt-right”/fake news ecosystem that has disseminated misinformation to the public before.

  • Kushner's proposal for secret communications with Russia alarms former intelligence officials; right-wing media shrug

    Former acting CIA director on Kushner’s “bizarre” conduct: “It’s a proposed secret channel through the government that is probably the most active government in the world in carrying out espionage against the United States”

    ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    While former national security and intelligence officials expressed alarm over reports that President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner proposed using Russian diplomatic facilities to set up a secret communications channel with the Kremlin during the presidential transition period, conservative media figures attempted to downplay the major news story by drawing inaccurate comparisons to back-channel situations from previous administrations.