President Donald Trump ranks Fox News reporters based on their perceived loyalty to him, according to a New Yorker report published Monday that details the president’s cozy relationship with the cable news network.
Trump has told confidants that he rates Fox News personalities on a scale of 1 to 10, The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer wrote in her eye-opening essay titled “The Making Of The Fox News White House.”
Trump gave Fox News host Sean Hannity, arguably the president’s loudest cheerleader in the media, a perfect 10, according to Mayer. Reportedly outshining Hannity’s allegiance with a score of 12 is Steve Doocy, a co-host of “Fox & Friends,” the morning talk show Trump seemingly loves to live-tweet as he watches.
Trump isn’t as enamored with Fox News’ chief political anchor Bret Baier though, who has been known to hold some Republicans’ feet to the fire from time to time. The president only gave him a 6, Mayer wrote.
Head over to The New Yorker to read Mayer’s full report.
The affinity between Trump and Fox News is no secret. But in her roughly 11,000-word essay, Mayer outlines how the cable news network unapologetically devolved into a platform for conspiracy theories and pro-Trump propaganda.
Trump “has something no other President in American history has ever had at his disposal—a servile propaganda operation,” Jerry Taylor, co-founder of the moderate think tank Niskanen Center, told Mayer.
As first reported by CNN in January 2018, Fox News killed a story just weeks before the 2016 election about Trump’s alleged hush money payments to Stormy Daniels, Mayer noted.
The reporter Diana Falzone, who has since left Fox News, reportedly obtained proof that Trump had a sexual relationship with Daniels in 2006. She said she confirmed the affair with Daniels through the porn star’s manager at the time and her former husband. She also obtained emails between Daniels’ attorney and Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal attorney at the time, detailing the hush money proposal, which included a non-disclosure agreement.
But Ken LaCorte, a Fox News executive until 2016, told Falzone that her story would never run because Fox’s chairman Robert Murdoch “wants Donald Trump to win.”
“Just let it go,” LaCorte allegedly told Falzone. He has denied shelving the story to protect Trump.
Trump’s knowledge of the alleged hush money payments and Cohen’s attempt to illegally conceal them as legal fees weren’t made public until The Wall Street Journal broke the news in November 2017 ― a year after Trump was elected.
According to Mayer’s report, Trump inserted his personal and political biases into media merger deals, prompting concerns from several top aides. He reportedly ordered Gary Cohn, then director of the National Economic Council, to direct the Justice Department to block AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner, which owns CNN.
Trump, during a meeting at the Oval Office, bashed Cohn for his apparent reluctance to pressure the Justice Department to file a lawsuit against the deal, Mayer reported. Following the meeting, Cohn reportedly warned John Kelly, then White House chief of staff, not to move forward with Trump’s request.
“Don’t you fucking dare call the Justice Department,” he told Kelly, according to Mayer’s report. “We are not going to do business that way.”
Trump’s critics have suggested his tweet in November 2017 blasting the deal as “not good for our country” was inspired by his overt dislike of CNN, which he repeatedly attacked as “fake news.”