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Jane Mayer On The ‘Fox News White House’ : NPR

Jane Mayer On The 'Fox News White House' : NPR

President Trump listens as Fox News host Sean Hannity speaks during a rally Nov. 5, 2018, in Cape Girardeau, Mo.

Carolyn Kaster/AP


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Carolyn Kaster/AP

President Trump listens as Fox News host Sean Hannity speaks throughout a rally Nov. 5, 2018, in Cape Girardeau, Mo.

Carolyn Kaster/AP

In July 2018, former Fox News co-President Bill Shine joined the White Home employees as deputy chief of employees for communications and assistant to President Trump.

He wasn’t the primary — or solely — Fox News character to align with the president. In November, Fox News host Sean Hannity, who reportedly speaks to Trump “almost daily,” confronted criticism after joining Trump onstage throughout a rally. And New Yorker journalist Jane Mayer studies that 21st Century Fox Chairman Rupert Murdoch speaks to Trump on a weekly basis and that Fox Enterprise Community anchor Lou Dobbs has been “patched into” Oval Office meetings.

“In past White Houses there have been favored members of the press, but nothing where someone is so close in that they are coordinating on a daily basis with the president,” Mayer tells Recent Air.

She provides: “A few of the people who find themselves nonetheless hosting exhibits on Fox are seen by most of the people who find themselves in and around the White Home — including a number of the White Home employees — as principally being a ‘shadow cabinet.’ “

Mayer’s latest New Yorker article, “The Making of the Fox News White House,” describes the methods by which the network has bolstered the president — and vice versa. One of the stories she uncovered includes Trump’s try and get the Justice Division to stop AT&T from buying Fox News rival CNN’s father or mother, Time Warner.

Mayer additionally stories that Fox News had the Stormy Daniels story before the 2016 election — and killed it because it might have harm Trump’s probabilities of profitable. In this respect, Mayer says, the community is “not a regular news organization. … What its critics say is that Fox is an arm of the White House. It’s a mouthpiece for Trump.”

Interview Highlights

On reporting that President Trump tried to order the Justice Division to file a lawsuit to stop AT&T from buying Time Warner

This was within the late summer time of 2017, and Trump ordered Gary Cohn, who was then the top of the Nationwide Financial Council — so the top financial adviser in the White House — he ordered him to get the Justice Department to file go well with and cease the deal. It was an Oval Office meeting. Trump stated, “Block that deal. I want it blocked. I’ve told you 50 times. We need to get that suit filed.” So you possibly can see that the president was truly making an attempt to intrude within the Justice Department’s determination about one of many largest deals involving billion-dollar corporations that should do with information organizations. …

Gary Cohn turned to John Kelly, who had simply grow to be chief of employees, on the best way out. The two of them have been strolling out of the Oval Workplace and he turned to Kelly and stated, “Don’t you dare do that. This is not how we’re going to do business.” However what was fascinating to me, additionally, was just a couple of months later, the Justice Division did intervene in that case, filed a go well with and tried to dam the deal. And it’s since lost that case, however they really did get into it. [Editor’s note: In her article for The New Yorker, Mayer reported that a spokesperson for Cohn declined to comment, and Kelly did not respond to inquiries.]

On what that story exhibits concerning the Trump White Home’s relationship to Fox News

It’s an example of a pattern you could see, which is that many choices that need to do with regulatory issues appear to favor Fox News and its chairman Rupert Murdoch. And that was one of many offers that befell that seemed to favor Rupert Murdoch. … The purpose is that Time Warner owns CNN and CNN is the rival of Fox News. They both have cable news operations, and so by blocking that deal when the Justice Department received in, it really tried to harm Time Warner and CNN by doing that. It value them a whole lot of hundreds of thousands of dollars by filing that go well with. So it was a matter that was very helpful to Rupert Murdoch, and it additionally was very hurtful to CNN, who President Trump has been very open about disparaging. …

I feel it will be very fascinating to have an investigation here. It’s arduous, as a reporter, to ferret out all the knowledge, but my sense is they might discover that there’s more there. This specific anecdote that I used to be capable of get, that captures Trump ordering any person … very high up on this administration to dam the deal and get the Justice Department to get in, is in itself quite eye opening and an abuse of energy, I feel many would say. But when, actually, it affected what the Justice Department did, and influenced it, I feel it’s an extremely critical matter.

On how Fox News had the Stormy Daniels story before the election — and killed it

This was in October 2016, so proper before the election. A reporter at FoxNews.com had the story of the truth that the president was using his lawyer to repay a porn star with whom the president had had an affair, and that they have been making an attempt to silence this porn star, Stormy Daniels, by paying her off, and that there was an precise contract, which the reporter noticed.

The reporter, whose identify is Diana Falzone, had first caught wind of this in March, and she or he had been reporting all the best way up by way of October, and she or he was pushing to get her story in print or on the web site at Fox, and she or he stored getting a runaround from her editors there. Ultimately, she was getting increasingly more annoyed and apprehensive; the election was approaching, she thought it was something voters should at the least have the ability to think about, and she or he reached the editor answerable for the website, a person named Ken LaCorte, and in accordance with what she informed her associates and colleagues at the time — and I’ve interviewed them — Ken LaCorte stated to her, “Good reporting, kiddo. But Rupert Murdoch wants Donald Trump to win — so just leave it alone.” And that was the top of the story. It was shelved. [Editor’s note: In her article for The New Yorker, Mayer reports that LaCorte denies ever saying this and denies shelving the story to protect Trump.]

On reporting that Trump was tipped off about Fox News host Megyn Kelly’s question before the Republican presidential debate in August 2015

This can be a report that’s based mostly on several Fox insiders who recommend that they’ve the knowledge from an eyewitness who noticed Roger Ailes tip off Trump previous to the large Republican presidential debate in 2015.

It was August 2015. All eyes have been on Trump to see whether or not he might hold his own, and he was given a famously robust query by Fox host Megyn Kelly, who asked him about the best way he had disparaged ladies and supposedly mistreated ladies. It was a really robust query. And Trump dealt with it quite nicely. He broke the audience up in laughter with a fast one-line rejoinder where he stated the only ladies that he spoke poorly of was simply Rosie O’Donnell, and the hall just blew up in laughter.

Everyone thought that was an instance of how Trump might assume shortly on his ft, and infrequently flash some appeal and survive virtually any type of assault from the press. However based on a few individuals I interviewed who have been insiders at Fox, and in addition anyone in the Trump campaign, they say that Trump had gotten advance discover of this question. … Several individuals say that Roger Ailes was overheard telling Trump himself that he should prepare for that query.

On how White House communication has changed beneath Bill Shine

Individuals would argue that it’s turn into increasingly troublesome to get info from every day briefings. [White House press secretary] Sarah Huckabee Sanders has just about shut down a lot of the day by day briefings for the press, and that as an alternative, she began showing quite regularly on Fox News, the place she gets softball questions. So numerous Trump administration officials, together with Sanders, have started popping up on Fox News moderately than being out there to the press corps at giant. …

Sean Hannity has now had something like 44 interviews with President Trump himself. That’s as compared with simply 10 combined for all the other television networks. And CNN, which President Trump doesn’t like, has been given no interviews.

The other thing that you could see easily is that Fox News has develop into very a lot the favored go-to network for the Trump administration officers, together with Trump himself. Sean Hannity has now had one thing like 44 interviews with President Trump himself. That’s as compared with just 10 mixed for all the other tv networks. And CNN, which President Trump doesn’t like, has been given no interviews. That is very unusual. I’m going again to masking the White Home within the Reagan days they usually they all the time tried to type of play truthful and distribute the interviews evenly. However you’ve really received one community that’s virtually inside the White House.

On the origin of Trump and Murdoch’s relationship

[Lawyer Roy Cohn] thought that there was an incredible type of deal that these two might strike where Trump would develop famous, get superstar from [Murdoch’s newspaper] the New York Publish, his exploits might run on Page Six, the gossip part of the New York Publish, and Trump was type of a well-known playboy and it will increase his public picture. And Rupert Murdoch, who was simply really launching Page Six on the New York Publish, would have great copy, might promote copies of his paper and earn money off the thing. So that was kind of the origin of the connection between these two men. … It goes method back to the ’70s.

On how Murdoch has disparaged Trump behind his again prior to now, seeing him as a “real estate huckster and a shady casino operator”

Trump, from what I perceive — and I did tons of reporting for this piece –however Trump is aware of that Rupert Murdoch has typically disparaged him behind his again, that Rupert Murdoch loves to dine out on tales about inane things that Trump has stated, and Rupert Murdoch shares it together with his pals at dinner parties. Michael Wolff, in his ebook on the Trump White House [Fire and Fury], truly quoted Murdoch as describing Trump as a “[expletive] idiot.”

And so definitely President Trump knows that Rupert Murdoch just isn’t all the time worshipful of him, however what I was informed was that Trump is OK with it. He has made his peace with that, and I feel partially it’s also because Trump really wants Murdoch. Trump actually wants Fox, and Murdoch is an extremely powerful determine within the media world at this point, and his viewers is the Trump base. So it’s incredibly useful to President Trump to have a superb relationship with Murdoch, it doesn’t matter what Murdoch is saying.

Sam Briger and Mooj Zadie produced and edited the audio of this interview. Bridget Bentz and Molly Seavy-Nesper adapted it for the Net.