Government & Communications

Attempts by governmental bodies to improve or impede communications with or between the citizenry.

Conservative outlets get more official seats in White House briefing room

More conservative outlets now have official seats in the White House briefing room according to a new seating chart the White House Correspondents' Association unveiled June 30. Conservative television networks Newsmax and One America News now have seats, though One America News' is shared with the BBC. Other changes enacted since the last time the seating chart was adjusted in 2015 include the Daily Mail's US website getting a seat, as well as the Huffington Post and the Spanish-language television network Univision getting shared seats. While the first row remains the same, populated by the major television networks and wires, USA Today has moved up to the second row, switching spots with AP Radio. For the past two administrations the WHCA, not the White House, has determined the seating in the briefing room, though White House officials have previously suggested they may seek to make changes in the future.

President Trump appears to promote violence against CNN with tweet

A day after defending his use of social media as befitting a “modern day” president, President Donald Trump appeared to promote violence against CNN in a tweet. President Trump, who is on vacation at his Bedminster (NJ) golf resort, posted on Twitter an old video clip of him performing in a WWE professional wrestling match, but with a CNN logo superimposed on the head of his opponent. In the clip, Trump is shown slamming the CNN avatar to the ground and pounding him with simulated punches and elbows to the head. Trump added the hashtags #FraudNewsCNN and #FNN, for “fraud news network.” The video clip apparently had been posted days earlier on Reddit, a popular social media message board. The president's tweet was the latest escalation in his beef with CNN over its coverage of him and his administration.

President Trump locks heads with news media in a social-media first

President Donald Trump, who has reveled in his confrontational style with the news media, sparked fierce debate July 2 over whether he is inciting violence against journalists by posting a doctored video clip showing him bashing the head of a figure representing CNN. President Trump’s latest provocation in his war with the media brought denunciations from Democrats, and some Republicans, who warned that the president’s conduct could endanger reporters as he seeks to undermine public trust in reporting about his administration.

“Violence & violent imagery to bully the press must be rejected,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) wrote in one of the many comments from elected officials posted on Twitter. Presidential historians suggested that Trump’s social media attacks are lowering the bar on what constitutes appropriate presidential conduct in fighting perceived media enemies. HW Brands, a historian at the University of Texas, said Republican President Richard Nixon also felt mistreated, but “Nixon didn’t air his grievances as publicly as Trump does. We’ve never seen anything quite like the ongoing performance of President Trump.” Meanwhile, White House aides and supporters defended the president’s Twitter post as a pointed but harmless barb at what he sees as a hostile press corps. Some said the reaction demonstrated the inflated self-regard of reporters and their inability to take a joke.

Twitter says President Trump tweet doesn't violate its rules

As President Donald Trump faces growing backlash for tweeting a video attacking CNN, Twitter told the network that the president's tweet did not violate the social media platform’s terms and conditions. President Trump tweeted an old video clip on July 2 of him beating up an individual at a wrestling event, with a CNN logo superimposed over the man's face. Twitter told CNN it had reviewed the tweet. The video is the latest in a series of attacks on the media by the president made on Twitter. Earlier this week, Trump issued a highly personal and graphic attack on MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski, in which he called her “crazy,” “low I.Q.” and referenced her allegedly bleeding from a facelift.

Media reaps dividends from President Trump attacks

Cable news outlets are pulling huge ratings and reporters are becoming overnight celebrities as the attacks between President Donald Trump and the media enter strange new territory. The White House has agitated for the fight, believing that every day it spends feuding with the media exposes further press bias and energizes the conservative base. But Trump’s claim that MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski was “bleeding badly from a face-lift" unified the media, with anchors from Fox News to CNN expressing outrage at the president’s tweets and pointing to them as evidence that the press should not treat Trump like a normal president.

The White House is playing a game of chicken with the media

It seems clear, at this point, that the White House would prefer not to hold regular press briefings. But President Trump and his aides do not want to be the ones to pull the plug. They want journalists to do it. , making the briefing situation so untenable that reporters might bail first. If successful, Team Trump will achieve its desired outcome while avoiding the blame. The apparent strategy has three prongs: Turn off the cameras; Stop answering questions; Show the media at its worst.

Safe is the Word for Trump's FCC, Thankfully

[Commentary] The newly constituted Federal Communications Commission is conservative and deregulatory, but in a way you would expect had any of the establishment Republicans won the White House last November. When Trump won, I worried that he would stack the FCC with nut-job loyalists so that he could follow through with his threats against the media. Luckily, that didn't happen.

Should Journalists Have the Right to Be Wrong?

[Commentary] In hindsight, it’s easy to say CNN shouldn’t have gone with such a flimsy, improperly vetted story. Unfortunately, journalism isn’t a hindsight business. Journalism happens in real time, against a deadline clock, and in a competitive atmosphere. Only ombudsmen, press critics and libel attorneys get to second-guess what they do. As the Supreme Court noted in the landmark libel case Times v. Sullivan, the First Amendment is of little use unless we provide “breathing space” for controversial reports that end up containing unintentional mistakes—like the CNN story—as long as they’re made without malice.

'Morning Joe' hosts: White House threatened us with tabloid story

The hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” made the startling allegation that senior White House officials threatened them with a negative story in the National Enquirer unless they called President Trump and apologized. Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, who are engaged to be married, revealed the alleged threat in an op-ed in The Washington Post that was published the morning after President Trump attacked Brzezinski in two widely condemned tweets.

"This year, top White House staff members warned that the National Enquirer was planning to publish a negative article about us unless we begged the president to have the story spiked. We ignored their desperate pleas," they wrote. Brzezinski and Scarborough detailed the alleged blackmail attempt during June 30's episode of "Morning Joe." “We got a call that, hey, the National Enquirer is going to run a negative story against you guys, and it was, Donald is friends with — the president is friends with — the guy that runs the National Enquirer,” Scarborough said.

Audio shows President Trump threatened to sue CNN at private fundraiser

President Donald Trump told supporters he wanted to sue CNN at a private fundraiser. “Boy, did CNN get killed over the last few days,” the president said, referring to a retracted story that linked Trump ally Anthony Scaramucci to a Russian investment fund, triggering resignations at the outlet. “It’s a shame what they’ve done to the name CNN, that I can tell you,” continued Trump, who frequently refers to the network as "fake news." “But as far as I’m concerned, I love it. If anybody’s a lawyer in the house and thinks I have a good lawsuit — I feel like we do. Wouldn’t that be fun?” he said. The president’s comments come as tensions have flared between the administration and the media.