Trump bashes ‘Morning Joe,’ cable networks for ratings dip after Mueller conclusion

President Donald Trump chided the MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Thursday for ratings that he claimed have dropped in the wake of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report to the attorney general, crowing that “fake news never wins.”

Mueller, charged with investigating allegations of collusion between the president’s 2016 campaign and the Russian government, delivered to the Justice Department last week a report that said his team was unable to establish that such collusion occurred. Mueller wrote in his report that he was unable to conclude whether Trump obstructed justice, although Attorney General William Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein wrote in their summary it was their conclusion that the president was innocent of those allegations as well.

“Wow, ratings for ‘Morning Joe,’ which were really bad in the first place, just ‘tanked’ with the release of the Mueller Report,” Trump tweeted about the show — hosted by two of his former friends, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski — where he was once a regular guest. “Likewise, other shows on MSNBC and CNN have gone down by as much as 50%. Just shows, Fake News never wins!”

The former reality TV star frequently harps on ratings, often praising friendly networks like Fox News while pouncing on CNN and MSNBC for their less flattering coverage of him when their ratings dip.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that MSNBC programs saw their ratings plunge after Barr’s announcement. Ratings for host Rachel Maddow’s show, on which the Russia investigation earned breathless coverage nearly every night, dipped 19 percent from their average for the year the night after Barr made his announcement. The next night, her ratings fell slightly once again.

On Fox, meanwhile, Maddow’s time slot competitor Sean Hannity saw his ratings go up by 32 percent over his average. Hannity, a close friend of Trump and one of his greatest media allies, interviewed the president at length on Wednesday’s show.

Maddow had only recently overtaken Hannity in the ratings fight for the first time, likely buoyed at least in part by her relentless focus on the Mueller investigation. Cable news ratings are prone to news-related dips, as viewers are more likely to tune in when there are developments that align with their political views and less likely to tune in for less favorable developments.

Trump and his aides have pummeled the media for its coverage of the Russia investigation in the wake of Barr’s letter to lawmakers about Mueller’s findings. Earlier Thursday, the president tweeted that media outlets “have ZERO credibility or respect” as a result of their Russia probe coverage and have “never been more corrupt” than in this point in time.

On Monday, his reelection campaign sent out a memo to TV producers urging them to think twice before having certain guests on who had asserted there was a strong likelihood that Trump or his campaign conspired with Russian operatives in the 2016 presidential election.

Barr’s summary of the Mueller report, released Sunday, has prompted a wave of hand-wringing across the media universe, though many in the media have been quick to point out that much of the reporting done on Trump’s ties to Russia over the past two years has been borne out by developments in Mueller’s investigation.

[Politico]

Trump slams media for coverage of investigations into ‘all time favorite duly elected President’

President Trump tore into the media over its coverage of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, which concluded without sufficient evidence that the president’s campaign had colluded with Russia during the 2016 election. 

“The Fake News Media has lost tremendous credibility with its corrupt coverage of the illegal Democrat Witch Hunt of your all time favorite duly elected President, me! T.V. ratings of CNN & MSNBC tanked last night after seeing the Mueller Report statement. @FoxNews up BIG!” Trump tweeted Tuesday evening. 

Trump and his conservative allies on Capitol Hill and in the media seized on Attorney General William Barr’s announcement that Mueller found no evidence of collusion, using it to slam mainstream outlets for what they said was speculative reporting that implied Trump’s guilt.

“The Mainstream Media is under fire and being scorned all over the World as being corrupt and FAKE. For two years they pushed the Russian Collusion Delusion when they always knew there was No Collusion. They truly are the Enemy of the People and the Real Opposition Party!” Trump tweeted early Tuesday morning. 

The president has long had an acrimonious relationship with the press, often hammering outlets that reported negative news of the White House as “fake news” and at times even speculating whether he should revoke the press credentials of certain publications’ employees.

Fox News, a staunch defender of the president in its primetime hours, saw a boost in its viewership in the aftermath of the Mueller news, more than quadrupling CNN’s ratings.

[The Hill]

Trump’s Pick for Fed Board Criticized As a Pro-Trump Partisan Hack

Yet again President Donald Trump has named someone to a top government post based on a commitment to toe the Republican line—and more specifically, to echo Donald Trump—rather than on sound policy goals.

On Friday, Trump picked his former campaign adviser and CNN commentator Stephen Moore to fill a seat on the Federal Reserve’s board of governors. Since then, it’s been difficult to find an actual expert in economics who thinks it’s a solid move.

Trump reportedly chose Moore, who was an economic pundit at Fox News before CNN recruited him, after the president was shown a March 13 op-ed Moore co-authored for The Wall Street Journal that echoed Trump’s criticisms of the Fed’s monetary policies, the Journal reported.

Trump has repeatedly criticized Fed Chairman Jerome Powell over interest-rate hikes by the central bank last year.

“The only problem our economy has is the Fed. They don’t have a feel for the Market, they don’t understand necessary Trade Wars or Strong Dollars or even Democrat Shutdowns over Borders. The Fed is like a powerful golfer who can’t score because he has no touch – he can’t putt!” Trump tweeted in December.

The same month, Moore said in an interview with the Journal that Powell should resign. “He’s totally incompetent,” Moore said. “If he’s not responsive to the president, then who’s he responsive to?”

book Moore co-authored with fellow Trump campaign adviser Arthur Laffer, called Trumponomics, was “over-the-top” in its “enthusiasm for U.S. President Donald Trump’s sketchy economic agenda,” Harvard economics professor Greg Mankiw wrote.

Mankiw noted:

…Moore and Laffer apparently learned the importance of flattering the boss. In the first chapter alone, they tell us that Trump is a “gifted orator” who is always “dressed immaculately.” He is “shrewd,” “open-minded,” “no-nonsense,” and “bigger than life.” He is a “commonsense conservative” who welcomes “honest and fair-minded policy debates.” He is the “Mick Jagger of politics” with a contagious “enthusiasm and can-doism.”

Trump apparently was pleased, nominating Moore for a position that’s supposed to maintain a nonpartisan approach to policy. And the president, once again, has selected someone who hasn’t been thoroughly vetted, although he will need Senate confirmation.

Bloomberg reported the potential consequences of Trump’s pick:

Under the threat of constant second-guessing by the president, and potentially soon working with a Trump cheerleader inside the building, Fed officials may find it increasingly difficult to stay focused on keeping the institution at a distance from politics. That’s important because investors who purchase U.S. Treasuries trust the Fed to ignore the wishes of politicians and do what it thinks is best for the economy in the long run.

Some critics were a bit more direct:

In making the announcement (on Twitter, of course), Trump called Moore “a very respected economist.”

Gertz, a senior fellow at Media Matters for America, added that Moore “is the latest in a long line of TV news pundits to catch the president’s eye and garner a nomination to a powerful federal post.” He noted that Moore was a harsh critic of the Obama administration, calling at the time for tight monetary policy. Yet with Trump in office, Moore now has the opposite opinion and is calling for loose monetary policy, citing nonexistent deflation. This cherry-picking of facts seems to be a trend with Moore, who also is a visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation.

Others strongly disagreed:

Reading between the lines, several observers already have pointed out that Trump’s move likely was made with a view to claiming a strong economy, at least on cable news shows, heading into the 2020 presidential election. It’s part of his “win at all costs” strategy to get re-elected.

That’s one way of putting it.

Here’s Moore in December 2017, arguing in favor of the Republican tax scam for corporations and billionaires. Moore said the plan would help middle-income Americans and small businesses:

[Splinter]

Trump Touts CNN Poll With 71% Saying the Economy Is in Good Shape: ‘Is CNN Becoming a Believer?’

President Donald Trump regularly denounces CNN as “fake news,” but this afternoon he touted a poll released by the network this week showing a notable positive result for him.

The poll, released yesterday, finds 71 percent of people saying the economy is in good shape, “the highest share to say so since February 2001, and the best rating during Trump’s presidency by two points.” (26 percent say it’s “very good” and 45 percent say “somewhat good.”)

51 percent approve of Trump’s handling of the economy and his overall approval rating is at 42 percent.

[Mediaite]

Trump Blasts ‘Lowest Rated’ Shepard Smith and Other Fox Anchors: ‘Should Be Working’ at CNN

President Donald Trump lashed out at several Fox News anchors Sunday, writing in a tweet they “should be working” at CNN.

In a day packed with Twitter missives, Trump’s latest attack takes aim at Smith, a weekday anchor, and Leland Vittert and Arthel Neville, both weekend anchors at the president’s favorite network.

“Were @FoxNews weekend anchors, @ArthelNeville and @LelandVittert, trained by CNN prior to their ratings collapse?” Trump wrote. “In any event, that’s where they should be working, along with their lowest rated anchor, Shepard Smith!”

Trump’s attack on the hard news side of Fox News comes hours after he called for Jeanine Pirro — the opinion host suspended by the network for suggesting a congresswoman’s hijab meant she was anti-American — to be brought back on air.

[Mediaite]

Sarah Sanders Goes After CNN: They ‘Attack Anyone Who Supports’ Trump, Including Military

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is hammering CNN for reporting that military protocol might’ve been violated when President Donald Trump met with U.S. forces in his travels abroad.

During the president’s meetings with soldiers in Iraq and Germany, various members of the military were spottedas they took photos with Trump, displayed his paraphernalia, and asked him to sign MAGA hats.

Typically, U.S. troops are asked to conduct themselves in an apolitical manner, so CNN reported that some of yesterday’s interactions with Trump might’ve broken Defense Department rules on “partisan political activities.”

As critics from CNN and other outletsaccuse Trump of using his troop visits as a political exercise, Sanders is slamming the network by saying they will “attack anyone who supports President Trump.”

[Mediaite]

Trump Unleashes on Bob Corker: ‘Poll Numbers TANKED When I Wouldn’t Endorse Him’

President Donald Trump unleashed on Sen. Bob Corker in a tweet Sunday, blasting the Tennessee Republican preparing to retire from office in the new year.

“Senator Bob Corker just stated that, ‘I’m so priveledged [sic] to serve in the Senate for twelve years, and that’s what I told the people of our state that’s what I’d do, serve for two terms.’”

Trump continued: “But that is Not True – wanted to run but poll numbers TANKED when I wouldn’t endorse him.”

In a second tweet, Trump blamed Corker for the Iran Nuclear Deal and accused the senator of badmouthing him.

“Bob Corker was responsible for giving us the horrible Iran Nuclear Deal, which I ended, yet he badmouths me for wanting to bring our young people safely back home. Bob wanted to run and asked for my endorsement. I said NO and the game was over. #MAGA I LOVE TENNESSEE!”

Corker appeared on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday morning for an interview with Jake Tapper in which he criticized the president’s decision to withdraw troops from Syria.

[Mediaite]

CNN offices evacuated in bomb scare just as Trump tweeted ‘ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE’ about media he doesn’t like

Donald Trump launched his latest attack on the media just as the offices of CNN, frequently the target of his anger, were being evacuated following a bomb threat.

Police searched the broadcaster’s New York newsroom after a caller claimed five explosives had been placed inside the building. Officers later gave the all-clear.

Moments after the threat, which CNN said came just before 10pm, the president wrote on Twitter: “FAKE NEWS – THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”

There is no suggestion he had seen reports of the evacuation when he posted the tweet, which followed posts in which accused the FBI of pursuing a “witch hunt” against him.

But the apparent coincidence is likely to reignite concerns about Mr Trump’s anti-media rhetoric.

Earlier this year, CNN and several high-profile critics, including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, were targeted with mail bombs allegedly sent by a Trump supporter.

New York Police Department said the latest threat against the broadcaster on Thursday night proved to be hoax.

Police said they received an emergency call about the threat at 10.07pm local time (3.07am GMT), a minute before Mr Trump’s tweet.

Staff evacuated the Time Warner Centre and Don Lemon’s CNN Tonight was taken off the air as officers searched the building with a bomb squad on standby.

The network broadcast pre-recorded programming for about 30 minutes before Mr Lemon’s show resumed live from the street outside.

No bombs were found inside the building.

[The Independent]

Trump suggests creating U.S. ‘worldwide network’ to compete with CNN

President Donald Trump on Monday suggested the United States should create a “worldwide network” to combat the “unfair” way the country is treated by the media, saying CNN doesn’t have enough competition overseas.

“Throughout the world, CNN has a powerful voice portraying the United States in an unfair….” the president tweeted. “….and false way. Something has to be done, including the possibility of the United States starting our own Worldwide Network to show the World the way we really are, GREAT!”

CNN has both a domestic and international network.

The U.S. government currently funds Voice of America, an international radio broadcast source. Congress in 2017 eliminated the board of directors for the organization, with a new CEO position created, which is appointed by the president.

Trump has had a tense relationship with the press, including a brief legal battle with CNN after the White House revoked reporter Jim Acosta’s press pass.

[Politico]

White House Tells CNN They’ll Revoke Acosta’s Press Credential Once Restraining Order Passes

CNN’s Brian Stelter reported in Sunday night’s Reliable Sources newsletter that the White House intends to revoke the Press Credential of CNN’s White House correspondent Jim Acosta at the end of the month.

Judge Timothy J. Kelly ordered, on Friday, that Acosta’s “hard pass” be returned immediately. Kelly found that Acosta’s First Amendment rights superseded the White House’s right to hold orderly press conferences.

The ruling only represented a temporary “victory” for CNN and Acosta according to Stelter’s reporting (emphasis his):

After CNN won a temporary restraining order on Friday, forcing the White House to restore his press pass for 14 days, White House officials sent Acosta a letter stating that his pass is set to be suspended again once the restraining order expires.

From the looks of the letter, the W.H. is trying to establish a paper trail that will empower the administration to boot Acosta again at the end of the month.

CNN responded with this statement on Sunday: “The White House is continuing to violate the First and 5th Amendments of the Constitution. These actions threaten all journalists and news organizations. Jim Acosta and CNN will continue to report the news about the White House and the President.”

Acosta’s press credential had been revoked, reportedly at the direction of President Donald Trump, after a contentious White House press conference in which the CNN reporter persisted in asking follow-up questions and refused to give up a microphone despite Trump’s direction.

Supporters of Trump’s banning of Acosta believe that his disruptive behavior flouted accepted standards of White House decorum, while CNN and Acosta supporters point out disruptive questions are a time-honored journalist tradition. Or put another way, “Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed; everything else is public relations.”

So it seems the ongoing war over First Amendment rights versus accepted standards of behavior will feature another battle, which will bring another distracting topic for cable news pundits to discuss at length. It’s almost as its a designed distraction from stories that paint the Trump administration in a less than flattering light?

UPDATE: CNN has responded by filed a status report asking for the Court to intervene. BuzzFeed News’ Zoe Tillman reports:

[Mediaite]

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