mykeystrokes.com

"Do or Do not. There is no try."

“Out Bullying The Bullies”: The Donald Trump Vs. Fox News Clusterfuck, Explained

A quick recap of the tumultuous, on-again/off-again relationship between Fox News and Republican frontrunner Donald Trump:

Trump has an ally in Fox News.

Trump doesn’t like Megyn Kelly.

Trump irons things out with Roger Ailes.

Trump is boycotting Fox News.

Trump is no longer boycotting Fox News.

Trump spends New Year’s Eve with Fox News.

Trump might not show up at Fox News’ GOP debate.

Trump is kind of a chicken for ducking Fox News’ debate.

Trump is “definitely not” going to the debate.

Why can’t these two frenemies just get along?

Like the bickering Sam and Diane duo from Cheers sitcom fame, Trump and Fox News obviously belong together (they like all the same things!), but they just can’t get past their stubborn differences.

Thursday night’s Fox-hosted primary debate on the eve of the Iowa caucus has now been completely overshadowed by the roiling feud between friends/enemies Trump and Fox, as the two institutional bullies lock horns. Is the current impasse a lasting one, or will the harsh words be papered over in the days and weeks to come the way previous Trump vs. Fox skirmishes ended in handshakes and smiles? It’s too soon to tell.

What’s so strange about the discord is that Trump is practically the living personification of the Fox News id: He’s a bigoted nativist who wallows in Islamophobia and thrives on dividing Americans and insulting President Obama as an un-American radical.

After the traditionally nice campaign of Mitt Romney in 2012, you’d think Fox News would be loving the insult-throwing Trump, a candidate who, like so many Fox anchors and hosts, isn’t afraid to make stuff up. Trump mirrors the often-tasteless brand of divisive rhetoric that Ailes helped hallmark at Fox.

But the truth is, Trump seems to hold Fox in the same general contempt that he holds the rest of the press. Meaning, from the Trump worldview, Fox doesn’t operate on a similar plane as him. Fox is subservient to Trump and — in his mind — should be in the business of touting his campaign. If and when it does not, Trump loses his cool because he doesn’t like to be second-guessed by “lightweight” journalists.

This represents a whole new world for Fox, which has controlled the conservative debate, and in turn controlled Republican politicians, for more than a decade. Fox sets the parameters. Fox picks the agenda. Fox grooms a handful of Republicans for right-wing media stardom. That’s why I can’t recall anyone ever picking such a public fight with Fox News from inside the GOP tent the way Trump has. It’s simply not done. And Fox’s frantic, off-key corporate response to Trump’s jabs has confirmed that executives there have very little practice fighting intramural skirmishes.

Forget that Fox cemented Trump’s right-wing celebrity status in 2011 when it handed over uninterrupted airtime for him to unfurl his misguided birther campaign against President Obama. Forget that Sean Hannity’s basement is probably lined with Trump for President posters.

Without Fox News’ exaggerated generosity over the years, and without Fox providing endless free airtime in the form of promotional blitzes to tout Trump as a possible presidential player, it’s unlikely Trump today would be perched atop the Republican field.

Trump this week is exercising a power play, pure and simple. (He knows he’s the reason Fox likely sold ads for the debate at a sky-high rate.) Bottom line: Roger Ailes is finally facing someone who’s willing, and eager, to out-bully him. And do it in public.

Of course what makes all this angry back-and-forth so funny is that one combatant is supposed to be a news organization. News organizations aren’t supposed to have bizarre, on-going public spats with one party’s leading candidate. Anchors on a news channel aren’t supposed to plead with candidates to show up at debates. And the head of a news channel doesn’t usually try to patch things up by directly phoning powerful politicians. But this is Fox News, so all the normal rules go out the window.

Indeed, the underlying truth here is that if Fox News conducted itself as an ethical news outlet, these kinds of messy spats and hurt feelings wouldn’t be an issue. Instead, Fox is often run as a Republican National Committee marketing arm, or a GOP clubhouse, raising expectations from Republicans in terms of how they’ll be treated. Trump clearly senses a weakness there and is now trying to exploit it.

In August, I suggested that Fox News, via the unwieldy Trump charade, had “eaten the Republican primary season” and that the “slow-motion fiasco is only going to get much, much worse for Republicans.”

Boy, has it. Democrats are likely pointing and laughing this week.

 

By: Eric Boehlert, Media Matters for America, January 28, 2016

January 29, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Fox News, Roger Ailes | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Trump’s Palin-Like Word Salad About Tonights Debate”: Trump And Sarah Palin Had The Same English Teacher In School

As of this writing, it looks like Donald Trump will not participate in tonights Republican presidential debate hosted by Fox News. I qualify that because – knowing the two sides involved in this battle – it wouldn’t surprise me to see further developments throughout the day. But here is Trump answering questions about all this yesterday at a press conference.

What struck me as I listened to it was that – based on his sentence structure – I’m guessing that he and Sarah Palin had the same English teacher in school. They both seem to have an appetite for the same kind of word salad.

The best I can make of Trump’s diatribe was that he has three problems. The first, of course, is that he doesn’t like Megyn Kelly. He also talks repeatedly about how “they” should donate money to Wounded Warriors. Those sound like excuses to me. What he really didn’t like is the statement Fox News issued when one of his spokespersons issued this threat.

In a call on Saturday with a FOX News executive, Lewandowski stated that Megyn had a ‘rough couple of days after that last debate’ and he ‘would hate to have her go through that again.’ Lewandowski was warned not to level any more threats, but he continued to do so.

Here is the Fox News response that Donald is so upset about:

We learned from a secret back channel that the Ayatollah and Putin both intend to treat Donald Trump unfairly when they meet with him if he becomes president — a nefarious source tells us that Trump has his own secret plan to replace the Cabinet with his Twitter followers to see if he should even go to those meetings.

That last part has to do with the fact that Trump asked his twitter followers to weigh in on whether or not to participate in this debate. But what it comes down to is that Trump tried to bully Megyn Kelly and the folks at Fox News made him the brunt of their joke.

What seems clear to me about all of this is that the best way to get under Trump’s skin is to challenge his “testicular fortitude.”

I don’t offer that as any serious political commentary – after all, when it comes to a battle between Donald Trump and Fox News, I don’t have a dog in that fight. But it is a perfect example of just how dumbed-down this whole spectacle has become.

 

By: Nancy LeTourneau, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, January 28, 2016

January 28, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, GOP Primary Debates, Sarah Palin | , , , , , | 4 Comments

“The Fun Never Ends”: Fox News Statement Taunting Trump Was ‘100 Percent’ Roger Ailes

As the war between Fox News and Donald Trump ratchets up, Roger Ailes is fighting off criticism from his senior executives over his handling of the crisis. According to one highly placed source, last night, Ailes sent out the now-famous statement mocking Trump as being scared to meet with the “Ayatollah” and “Putin” if he became president. “That was Roger 100 percent,” the source explained. “A lot of people on the second floor” — where top Fox executives work — “didn’t think it was a good idea.”

Fox executives are also troubled that Ailes’s principal adviser right now is his longtime personal lawyer and Fox & Friends contributor Peter Johnson Jr. “He wrote the statement with Peter,” the source explained. “Peter is running the war room,” another Ailes friend told me. Fox executives are worried that Ailes is relying on an attorney with scant communications experience as the network is reeling from the biggest PR crisis in recent memory. Historically, during a crisis like this Ailes would have huddled with his veteran communications guru Brian Lewis. But Ailes fired Lewis in 2013 over his concerns that Lewis had been a source for my 2014 Ailes biography. Since Lewis’s ouster, Johnson has taken on the role of media counselor.

Fox spokesperson Irena Briganti did not return a call. When asked about his role advising Ailes, Johnson responded to me with an ad hominem statement. “If you were ever actually fair, any semblance of integrity was swamped by your reaction to the failure of your critically panned hit job on Fox and Ailes,” he said. “Just like your latest tweets and articles, your questions today are based on your own malicious fabrication.”

New signs emerged today at just how frantic Ailes has become to get Trump back to the table. The two men have not spoken since yesterday, sources told me. This morning, Joe Scarborough reported that Ailes called Trump’s daughter Ivanka and wife, Melania, to get through to the GOP front-runner. But Trump is saying he’ll only talk to Rupert Murdoch directly. In a further challenge to Ailes’s power, Bill O’Reilly is scheduled to host Trump. Last night, Ailes directed Sean Hannity to cancel Trump’s interview. O’Reilly’s refusal to abide by a ban adds a new dynamic to the clash of egos. For O’Reilly, this is an opportunity to take back star power from Kelly. Sources say O’Reilly feels he made Kelly’s career by promoting her on his show, and he’s been furious that Kelly surpassed him in the ratings.

Meanwhile, Fox producers are scrambling with the practical matter of how to program the debate without Trump. “Right now, it is about how the moderators handle Trump,” one producer said. “They do not want to be seen either directly criticizing him since he’s not there, and they don’t want to seem like they are drumming up criticism by letting the candidates attack Trump rather than stake out their own positions and debate one another. For all the talk of the optics right now, the bigger issue is how to program a debate without the front-runner. Remember, Fox may be a political machine, but it is still a damn good television programmer.”

For Ailes, the internal dissent over his handling of the crisis would seem to only weaken his grasp on the helm of Fox News. Rupert Murdoch has become more hands-on at Fox since questions about Ailes’s faltering health have been raised. Now Murdoch has to wonder why Ailes, who runs the most valuable asset at parent company 21st Century Fox, is getting PR advice from a lawyer Ailes personally pays.

A spokesperson for Murdoch did not return a call.

 

By: Gabriel Sherman, Daily Intelligencer, New York Magazine, January 27, 2016

January 28, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Fox News, Roger Ailes, Rupert Murdoch | , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Trump Bullies The Press — And The Press Yawns”: Same Press Corp That Writes Endlessly About Hillary Clinton’s Relationship

“I’m warning you, tread very fucking lightly.” Trump attorney Michael Cohen threatening a reporter.

It’s sad that Donald Trump is normalizing so many unsavory traits with his presidential push this season. He’s normalizing bigotry and xenophobia in the campaign arena, for instance. He’s also mainstreaming the manhandling of the press.

Just ask Trip Gabriel.

The New York Times reporter was tossed out of a Trump event in Iowa last week. He was thrown out by a Trump staff member and a local police officer who suggested he was following the orders of Trump’s Iowa campaign chief. (Days earlier, Grabriel had written a piece that raised questions about Trump’s ground game in Iowa.)

On the surface, that’s a shocking event: the Republican frontrunner’s campaign singling out a Times reporter and having him physically ousted. But since last summer, this type of bullying behavior has become quite common, and the media’s response has become nearly mute. Indeed, Gabriel’s ejection was noted in the media but didn’t seem to set off any loud alarm.

Covering Trump today means being confined to metal barrier press pens at events. It means rarely being allowed to ask the candidate questions and being the target of vicious insults from the candidate and his fans. (One CBS reporter covering a rally was recently asked by a Trump supporter if he was taking pictures on behalf of ISIS.)

Trump and his campaign push the press around at will and they pay no real price. If anything, Trump gets showered with more press attention despite calling out reporters as “scum”; despite denouncing them as liars and cheats at his campaign rallies.

On and on the bullying goes and the pushback remains minimal. This is a profound embarrassment for the national press corps. It’s a profound embarrassment for editors and producers in positions of influence who have voluntarily acquiesced their power in order to bow down to Trump and his campaign road show.

The gleeful bullying of the press meshes with the bullying that often goes on at Trump rallies, where violence percolates. Like those thug rallies, we’ve certainly never seen this kind of behavior from a major party’s political frontrunner.

But like the Trump rallies, where’s the indignation over the constant press intimidation? Where are the outraged editorials? Where are the endless, handwringing TV panel debates about what Trump’s hatred of the press really means; what it tells us about his possible character flaws, and his would-be presidency.

It’s possible the press doesn’t want to make itself the story, that it wants to maintain its role as observers and not newsmaker and that’s why it has refrained from turning Trump’s bullying into a big story. That theory takes a hit though when you consider the same press corps has written endlessly about Hillary Clinton’s relationship with the press and has stressed over and over what a central role reporters play in her White House push.

It’s true that last November, representatives from several news networks banded together and held a call to discuss “how embeds and reporters from outlets are being treated” by the Trump campaign.

But as Huffington Post‘s Michael Calderone recently reported, the Trump campaign seems uninterested in the press complaints: “In recent weeks, journalists have again been ordered not to leave the press pen by campaign staffers and volunteers and even Secret Service agents, according to reporters who were granted anonymity to speak candidly. Journalists also said they were not allowed to approach the candidate to ask questions after events.”

Journalists: We think you’re treating us badly.

Trump campaign: We don’t care what you think.

Consider:

*At a recent Trump rally, a Huffington Post reporter noted, “that a Secret Service agent stepped up to help when a Trump campaign staffer tried to interfere with his reporting.”

*Trump bashed Fox News host Megyn Kelly as “bitter” and “overrated,” called NBC’s Chuck Todd “pathetic,” and announced most journalists are “absolute scum.”

*Asked about allegations from a 1993 book that Trump had sexually assaulted his then-wife Ivana Trump (she later recanted the claim), Donald Trump’s attorney threatened a Daily Beast reporter: “So I’m warning you, tread very fucking lightly, because what I’m going to do to you is going to be fucking disgusting. You understand me?”

*At a South Carolina rally, Trump mocked and mimicked a New York Times reporter who suffers from a chronic condition called arthrogryposis, which limits the movement of his arms.

*His campaign barred a BuzzFeed reporter from attending an event in Newton, Iowa, denied Des Moines Register and Huffington Post reporters press credentials to campaign events, and barred reporters from Fusion from covering a Trump event in Doral, Florida.

*Univision anchor Jorge Ramos was physically removed from a Trump press conference.

*A security guard at an Iowa rally threatened to eject any reporter who interviewed Trump supporters: “You talk to people and you leave.”

*At a South Carolina event, Trump derided NBC’s Katy Tur as “Little Katy, third-rate journalist.” Trump fans then rained boos down on Tur, according to the Daily Beast.

One more, from the Washington Post:

After CNN reporter Noah Gray left “the pen” to document a group of protesters who unveiled a sign reading “Migrant lives matter,” Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski turned to campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks and said: “Hey: Tell Noah, get back in the pen or he’s f***** blacklisted,” according to a recording of the incident.

This type of behavior is completely unprecedented. If a leading Democrat were guilty of any of the above transgressions, there would be a roiling Beltway media revolt that would denounce the Democratic campaign continuously. Uninterrupted.

But the Trump campaign has committed all of the above offenses. So why is it mostly crickets from the same press corps?

 

By: Eric Boehlert, Senior Fellow, Media Matters for America, January 20, 2016

January 25, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Washington Press Corp | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

“Below Par”: Donald Trump’s Ardent Courtship Of Bill And Hillary Clinton

Nobody should be surprised that the Washington press corps, perennially obsessed with Bill Clinton’s real and imagined private life, would seize upon any chance to revisit that favorite topic, especially if that means mimicking Donald Trump. They’ve never quite gotten over the departure in disgrace of their favorite pornographer, the former independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr.

What the political press mostly fails to explore is the overall absurdity of Trump’s new Bill-bashing gambit. They may wonder aloud how a misogynist bully can accuse anyone else of “sexism” or “abusing women,” but if Trump got the same treatment as Clinton, the media would remind us every day of his vile attacks on Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, his distasteful remarks about his suppressed desire to “date” his daughter Ivanka, and his alleged battering and marital rape of his former wife Ivana.

Like so much of Trump’s loud talk, his disparaging remarks about Bill and Hillary Clinton have scant credibility, at least to anyone who knows anything about him. Whatever he claims to think of them now, he has spent years sucking up to the Clintons in the most abject way. His one-sided courtship of the former First Family goes well beyond Trump’s ridiculous insistence that they attend his wedding to his third wife in Florida.

Although he now claims to deplore Bill Clinton’s misbehavior, Trump awarded the former president a free membership at his Trump National Golf Club, just a few miles from the Clinton home in Westchester County. Still a member to this day, Clinton has long enjoyed all kinds of special privileges at the club, where he maintains a locker in a special VIP section near those of former Yankees manager Joe Torre and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Not only has Trump boasted repeatedly about Clinton’s membership and displayed pictures of them together, but on Clinton’s 65th birthday a few years ago, he cleared the course so that the Clintons, including Chelsea and her husband, could play a leisurely foursome there.

Gullible wing-nuts who admire Trump and hate Clinton won’t like hearing any of these facts, of course. But the impeccably far-right Washington Free Beacon told the story not so long ago, illustrating it with fun photos. (Evidently the Beacon story was designed as a “racist” smear of Clinton, but that fizzled.)

This silly episode illustrates once more why only the very dimmest Americans believe that Trump “tells it like it is” and “says what he really thinks.”

 

By: Joe Conason, Editor in Chief, Editor’s Blog, Featured Post, The National Memo, January 2, 2015

January 3, 2016 Posted by | Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

%d bloggers like this: