Jane Mayer of the New Yorker is out with a lengthy story about the relationship between Fox News and President Trump that revolves around a question stated in the headline: "Fox News has always been partisan. But has it become propaganda?" Here are three nuggets generating early attention:
- Debate questions: Three sources (two from Fox, one close to Trump) tell Mayer that Roger Ailes, the late network honcho, told candidate Trump in advance of a question about harassment that Megyn Kelly would ask him during a 2015 debate. Trump also allegedly was told that the candidates would be asked about whether they would support the GOP nominee, no matter who won. Trump alone said he might not, which helped his image as an outsider, notes Mayer. "These claims are hard to evaluate: Ailes is dead, and they conflict with substantial reporting suggesting that the rift between Trump and Fox was bitter" at the time, writes Mayer.
- Stormy Daniels: Fox reportedly killed a story about Daniels in the home stretch of the 2016 election. Reporter Diana Falzone got proof of an affair between Daniels and Trump, writes Mayer, along with emails about hush payments. The story never ran. Then Fox executive Ken LaCorte reportedly told Falzone, “Good reporting, kiddo. But Rupert wants Donald Trump to win," referring to Fox founder Rupert Murdoch. "So just let it go." The network similarly killed a Falzone story about how the National Enquirer helped Trump with a "catch and kill" policy, writes Mayer. The Wall Street Journal reported on the policy after Trump became president.
- The rankings: Trump ranks the loyalty of reporters on a scale of 1 to 10, according to the piece. Fox News' Bret Baier gets a 6, while Sean Hannity scores a 10. Hannity doesn't win this particular competition, however. "Steve Doocy, the co-host of Fox & Friends, is so adoring that Trump gives him a 12," writes Mayer.
Read Mayer's full piece here
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