NY Times Hypocrisy: Chiding Fox News For ‘Coziness…Outright Advocacy’ For Trump

Posted on Mon 07/02/2018 by

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By Clay Waters ~

New York Times media reporter Michael Grynbaum thinks he’s found a case of media collusion in the “friendship” between President Trump and Fox News: “Fox and Trump: It’s a Friendship Without Equal.” But he conveniently skipped over the decades of “friendship” between the broadcast networks and CNN with Democratic presidents — not to mention that the other TV news outlets provide a safe space for the anti-Trump resistance and Democratic figures. But those facts don’t make the front page of the Sunday Times [emphasis mine]:

In 2011, Fox News announced that a new guest would appear weekly on “Fox & Friends,” its chummy morning show. “Bold, brash, and never bashful,” a network ad declared. “The Donald now makes his voice loud and clear, every Monday on Fox.”

It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Seven years later, the symbiosis between Donald J. Trump and his favorite cable network has only deepened. Fox News, whose commentators resolutely defend the president’s agenda, has seen ratings and revenues rise. President Trump views the network as a convenient safe space where he can express himself with little criticism from eager-to-please hosts.

Now, the line between the network’s studios and Mr. Trump’s White House is blurring further. Bill Shine, a former Fox News co-president who helped create the look and feel of the channel’s conservative programming, is expected to be hired as the president’s new deputy chief of staff, overseeing communications.

….

Presidents have long cultivated influencers in the media: Lyndon B. Johnson sought Walter Lippmann’s policy advice, and John F. Kennedy was family friends with Benjamin Bradlee, who covered his administration for Newsweek (and occasionally enjoyed flights on the president’s plane). Barack Obama held dinners with political columnists and had his preferred interlocutors: Steve Kroft of “60 Minutes” interviewed him 17 times.

The Trump-Fox connection, though, extends beyond friendship and flattery to outright advocacy. The president is the beneficiary of a sustained three-hour block of aggressive prime time punditry, which has amplified his unfounded claims and given ballast to his attacks on the news media as the “enemy of the American people.”

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The prime-time rallying cry of “fake news,” in particular, has led some veteran journalists in the Fox newsroom to publicly chastise their opinion-side counterparts: Chris Wallace, the host of “Fox News Sunday,” recently dinged his network’s commentators for “bashing the media,” calling it “bad form.” But the attacks have apparently pleased the president, who as of Sunday had granted 23 interviews to Fox News and Fox Business Network — roughly two-thirds of his television interviews since Inauguration Day.

To sputter at Trump for calling out “fake news” is petulant, considering the term first circulated in the mainstream press to denote truly made-up stories designed to help Trump. Only now, when the definition has changed in the public mind from a criticism of Trump to an insult of the anti-Trump press are reporters acting hurt:

The coziness has angered critics who label Fox News “state TV,” a sobriquet — lobbed by rival TV news leaders like Jeff Zucker of CNN and Andrew Lack of NBC — that Fox News executives emphatically reject.

Speaking of media coziness with presidents…left unmentioned by Grynbaum is the revolving door during the years of Democratic presidencies. (Here’s Brent Baker’s tally for the Obama administration.)

To name a very, very few, there was George Stephanopoulos, the Clinton spokesman and senior adviser turned ABC News omnipresence (and undisclosed Clinton foundation donor). There was Linda Douglass, who went from CBS News to the Obama administration. And it’s no secret that CNN as a whole is at perpetual war with the administration:

At the time, Mr. Trump was a white male in his 60s, squarely in the network’s core audience, and his unfussy patriotism and keen sense of aggrievement made him a natural fit for the Fox News aesthetic. And when it came time for President Trump to build out his administration, he knew where to turn.

Clay Waters was the director of Times Watch a former project of the Media Research Center .

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