Trump versus CNN

President Trump has continued in his praise of Fox News and his condemnation of CNN, via Twitter of course, and just after his Justice department filed a lawsuit to block AT&T’s merger with Time Warner, which owns CNN.

Huffington Post: Fox News Is ‘Much More Important’ Than CNN, Trump Tweets

Donald Trump’s favorite news network is “much more important” than the often critical CNN, the president tweeted Saturday.

Just days earlier, Trump’s Justice Department filed a contentious lawsuit to block AT&T’s purchase of CNN’s parent company, Time Warner. The action raised concerns that the federal government is trying to silence CNN’s critical coverage of the president, rather than fears about a powerful media monopoly.

The tweet, and a response from CNN:

In a meeting before the lawsuit was filed, sources told The New York Times that the Justice Department had warned AT&T that either CNN’s parent, Turner Broadcasting, or DirecTV would have to be sold before the federal government would allow the planned $85.4 billion merger. CEO Stephenson has said he has no interest in selling CNN.

Earlier this year, Trump adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner met with Time Warner executive Gary Ginsberg and said that 20 percent of the CNN staff should be fired because they were so “wrong” about the Trump campaign, sources told The Wall Street Journal. A White House official said the comments were not intended to be taken seriously, but they rattled Time Warner, the Journal reported.

The Justice Department says it is taking legal action because the combination of AT&T and Time Warner would create one of the biggest media monopolies in American history.

Jake Tapper noted that the timing of Trump’s tweet about CNN coincided with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s signing of a law that allows American media outlets in Russia to be registered as “foreign agents.” The law is in retaliation for the U.S. government’s request that the American office of the Russian TV network RT be registered as a foreign agent.

Norm Eisen, ethics chief for the Obama White House:

Friends of Trump:

Trump depicts violence against CNN

Donald Trump’s feud against media has raised to a bizarre level with yet another tweet:

That’s appalling.

There’s certainly plenty to find fault in the media – the media that played a large part in enabling Trump’s election victory, initially by giving him an extraordinary amount of free publicity, and then when they woke up to the possibility of a Trump success by effectively campaigning against him, which helped his campaign.

But should be growing concerns over Trump’s attacks on the media – especially when they depict violence like this.

He isn’t attacking all media – Fox News seems to still be on his side in his battle. Like this:

CNN have responded to Trump’s tweet:

 

Kathy Griffin way over the line

As has been discussed here yesterday, the photo of Kathy Griffin with a bloodied Trump mask was way over the line of decency and acceptability.

President Donald Trump:

Yes, it was a shameful thing for Griffiths to do.

First Lady Melania Trump:

I agree that it was a disturbing photo, but questioning the mental health of Griffiths is going too far. It was certainly a stupid thing to do, but it may be no more than poorly considered attention seeking.

Of course Griffin had the right of free speech and expression, but that doesn’t rule out consequences.

An over reaction, or fair enough?

CNN response to Trump ‘fake news’ accusations

In his first media conference as president-elect Donald Trump slammed CNN for publishing ‘fake news’ and refused to answer questions from a CNN reporter.

Trump had earlier tweeted:

CNN have responded:

Also at CNN’s response to Trump’s accusations of false reporting

Meanwhile from the BBC:

 

US mess gets murkier

Claims have surfaced that Donald Trump has potentially been compromised by Russians. These are unverified, and not surprisingly Trump  tweeted “FAKE NEWS – A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!”

CNN broke this story: Intel chiefs presented Trump with claims of Russian efforts to compromise him

Classified documents presented last week to President Obama and President-elect Trump included allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump, multiple US officials with direct knowledge of the briefings tell CNN.

The allegations were presented in a two-page synopsis that was appended to a report on Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The FBI is investigating the credibility and accuracy of these allegations, which are based primarily on information from Russian sources, but has not confirmed many essential details in the memos about Mr. Trump.

One reason the nation’s intelligence chiefs took the extraordinary step of including the synopsis in the briefing documents was to make the President-elect aware that such allegations involving him are circulating among intelligence agencies, senior members of Congress and other government officials in Washington, multiple sources tell CNN.

These senior intelligence officials also included the synopsis to demonstrate that Russia had compiled information potentially harmful to both political parties, but only released information damaging to Hillary Clinton and Democrats. This synopsis was not an official part of the report from the intelligence community case about Russian hacks, but some officials said it augmented the evidence that Moscow intended to harm Clinton’s candidacy and help Trump’s, several officials with knowledge of the briefings tell CNN.

The two-page synopsis also included allegations that there was a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government, according to two national security officials.

The raw memos on which the synopsis is based were prepared by the former MI6 agent, who was posted in Russia in the 1990s and now runs a private intelligence gathering firm.

His investigations related to Mr. Trump were initially funded by groups and donors supporting Republican opponents of Mr. Trump during the GOP primaries, multiple sources confirmed to CNN. Those sources also said that once Mr. Trump became the nominee, further investigation was funded by groups and donors supporting Hillary Clinton.

Spokespeople for the FBI and the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment. Officials who spoke to CNN declined to do so on the record given the classified nature of the material.

Some of the allegations were first reported publicly in Mother Jones one week before the election.

New York Times: Trump Received Unsubstantiated Report That Russia Had Damaging Information About Him

The memos suggest that for many years, the Russian government of Mr. Putin has looked for ways to influence Mr. Trump, who has traveled repeatedly to Moscow to investigate real estate deals or to oversee the Miss Universe competition, which he owned for several years. Mr. Trump never completed any major deals in Russia, though he discussed them for years.

The memos describe sex videos involving prostitutes with Mr. Trump in a 2013 visit to a Moscow hotel. The videos were supposedly prepared as “kompromat,” or compromising material, with the possible goal of blackmailing Mr. Trump in the future.

The memos also suggest that Russian officials proposed various lucrative deals, essentially as disguised bribes in order to win influence over Mr. Trump.

The memos describe several purported meetings during the 2016 presidential campaign between Trump representatives and Russian officials to discuss matters of mutual interest, including the Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee and Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman, John D. Podesta.

This is all unverified.

The former British intelligence officer who gathered the material about Mr. Trump is considered a competent and reliable operative with extensive experience in Russia, American officials said. But he passed on what he heard from Russian informants and others, and what they told him has not yet been vetted by American intelligence.

Whatever the Russians have done deliberately or inadvertently, they appear to have played a significant role in the election, and what is emerging is highly embarrassing to the United States.

It has become a murky mess, and it’s quite likely to get worse.

Journalists or political activists?

This wee exchange on Twitter is a bit concerning.

O’Donnell is host of  on MSNBC.

Retweeted by Tim Murphy (New Zealand journalist):

Brian Stelter Retweeted Lawrence O’Donnell

Addendum to this: Journalists will be asked, and will ask themselves, “Are you proud of the way you covered Trump?”

Stelter is CNN’s host of and senior media correspondent. Formerly , and Top of the Morning

I’m not a fan of Trump at all and have serious concerns about what him as US President would mean to the world.

But the implication I get from this is that journalists should be actively trying to influence the presidential election. That also seriously concerns me.

At least Trump is getting democratic support and will be chosen (or not) by democratic vote.

Journalists should be giving unbiased accounts of the democratic process, and they should not be trying to manipulate and influence it in one direction.

If journalists want to be proud of defeating Trump they should become political activists and stop pretending to be journalists.

Or are the admitting the created a Trump monster through biased favourable coverage that enabled Trump’s rise?

Trump has big lead in CNN poll

Donald Trump has a big lead in the latest CNN poll for Republican presidential nominee, with 39% compared to the next highest, Ted Cruz on 18% and then Ben Carson and Marco Rubio on 10% each.

CNNRepublicanPollDec15

Trump is probably getting far more than 39% of the media coverage.

Based on the same sample of Republican or Republican leaning voters Trump was even further ahead on “best able to handle” questions.

Regardless of who you are voting for, which Republican candidate do you think can best handle…

  • The economy – Trump 57%, Cruz 8%
  • Illegal immigration – Trump 55%, Cruz 15%
  • ISIS – trump 47%, Cruz 21%

Trump fans will be very pleased with this but many will despair at what US politics has become, on the right at least.

A big unknown is what will happen when the field narrows – will the not-Trump preferences accumulate for the remaining candidates? Another poll question may give some insight.

Do you think Republicans have a better chance of winning the presidency in 2016 if Donald Trump is the party’s nominee or do they have a better chance of winning with someone else as the party’s nominee?

  • Better chance with Donald Trump 46% (up 8 from August)
  • Better chance with someone else 50% (down 8)
  • No opinion 4%

There’s other interesting poll results: http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2015/images/12/22/cnnpoll.pdf