A Kansas City area radio station can broadcast Russian state-owned media programming, the type that U.S. intelligence called a “propaganda machine,” for six hours a day through a lease agreement struck by a local radio operator, the Kansas City Star reports.
Aaron Rupar: “By almost any standard, President Trump’s rally on Tuesday evening in Milwaukee was a bizarre affair. The president went on a lengthy tirade about lightbulbs, toilets, and showers; touted war crimes; joked about a former president being in hell; and said he’d like to see one of his domestic political foes locked up.”
“I tried to capture some of the speech’s disconcerting oddness in my write-up of the event. In many ways, the remarks the president made were typical of him. And that provides the media with a challenge: Describing Trump as he really is can make it seem as if a report is ‘anti-Trump’ and that the reporter is trying to make the president look foolish.”
“But for media outlets that view themselves as above taking sides, attempts to provide a sober, ‘balanced’ look at presidential speeches often end up normalizing things that are decidedly not normal.”
Vox: “The core challenge we’re facing today is information saturation and a hackable media system. If you follow politics at all, you know how exhausting the environment is. The sheer volume of content, the dizzying number of narratives and counternarratives, and the pace of the news cycle are too much for anyone to process.”
“One response to this situation is to walk away and tune everything out. After all, it takes real effort to comb through the bullshit, and most people have busy lives and limited bandwidth. Another reaction is to retreat into tribal allegiances. There’s Team Liberal and Team Conservative and pretty much everyone knows which side they’re on. So you stick to the places that feed you the information you most want to hear.”
“It was distilled almost perfectly by Steve Bannon, the former head of Breitbart News and chief strategist for Donald Trump: ‘The Democrats don’t matter. The real opposition is the media. And the way to deal with them is to flood the zone with shit.'”
Lev Parnas, the indicted former colleague of Rudy Giuliani, will be interviewed by Rachel Maddow on MSNBC tonight at 9 p.m. ET.
Roll Call: “When the articles of impeachment are delivered to the Senate, a procession full of pomp and circumstance, just one video camera and no still photographers will be allowed to document the historic moment. No audio recording at all will be permitted, leaving radio reporters empty handed.”
“During the trial, a single press pen will be set up on the second floor of the Senate, where lawmakers enter and exit the chamber. Reporters will be confined to the pen, unable to move with senators. No movement will be allowed outside of the corrals and reporters and photographers will need to be escorted to and from the pen.”
Roll Call: “The Senate sergeant-at-arms and Capitol Police are launching an unprecedented crackdown on the Capitol press corps for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, following a standoff between the Capitol’s chief security officials, Senate Rules Chairman Roy Blunt and the standing committees of correspondents.”
Abby Huntsman announced that she’s leaving “The View” to help run her father Jon Huntsman Jr.’s campaign for governor of Utah, ABC News reports.
“Allies of President Trump are pursuing an effort to acquire right-leaning news channel One America News Network, in a bid to shake up a conservative media market that has been dominated by Fox News,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“The investment firm Hicks Equity Partners is looking to acquire the channel and is pitching other wealthy GOP donors to arrange a bid of roughly $250 million for the channel’s parent company, the people said. The firm is owned by the family of Thomas Hicks Jr., co-chairman of the Republican National Committee and a close friend of Donald Trump Jr.”
Playbook: “We are 298 days until the election. Are you at all convinced that impeachment will remain as poignant a political issue as it is now? Republicans feel confident they’ve put red-district Democrats in a bad spot for supporting impeachment — but they’re equally confident it will be very difficult to keep them in that bad spot for the next 10 months, and privately concede the issue might soften over time.”
“Think about the last week in politics: The U.S. killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, allies got nervous, the world wondered if Iran would strike back, Iran did, President Trump said he wouldn’t escalate further, Speaker Nancy Pelosi was in the middle of holding the impeachment articles, now she’s at the end of holding them, and you have to wonder: What else will happen between now and November that will make impeachment seem like ancient history?”
“This is some back-of-the-napkin math, but bear with us: If impeachment starts next week, you should expect it to end in late January. That leaves nine full months between the end of impeachment and Election Day. In this environment, that’s at least 270 news cycles.”
CNN: “Once upon a time, Lindsey Graham was a Republican senator who was not afraid to exit the Fox-verse and appear on other networks. But, in recent months, Graham has been appearing almost exclusively on Fox. In fact, he’s become a regular fixture on the president’s favored network.”
“Since September 1, 2019, Graham has appeared at least 36 times on either Fox News or Fox Biz. He has appeared twice on CBS News in that time frame. We couldn’t locate any other interviews he has sat down for on other networks.”
CNN: “Sean Hannity opened his Fox show on Monday night, spouting off on Iran in a nearly 10-minute monologue full of bluster. But what was really interesting was the detail Hannity offered about the US’ strategy toward the regime. Hannity, for one, insisted that the US ‘won’t be going with boots on the ground in Iran. That’s not going to happen.'”
“And then Hannity proceeded to list some targets the US might hit if Iran retaliates for the killing of Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani.”
Said Hannity: “They got three major oil refineries and we know where they are. They have nuclear facilities, we know where they are. We know Iran’s terrorist network — maybe even the mullah’s themselves.”
The Rush Limbaugh Show will continue well into the new decade, CNN reports.
Limbaugh, whose contract was due to expire later this year, has renewed his deal.
“On Friday afternoon President Trump praised Tucker Carlson along with other conservative Fox News stars,” CNN reports.
“A few hours later Carlson tore into Trump’s decision to authorize the US airstrike that killed Iran’s top general Qasem Soleimani. While he mostly refrained from criticized Trump directly, Carlson condemned ‘chest-beaters’ who advocate for foreign interventions.”
A former reporter at Fox News claims that Donald Trump told her how hot she was over the phone before he became president — and urged her to come to his office so he could kiss her, the New York Daily News reports.
Courtney Friel, who occasionally worked on Fox & Friends, made the allegations in her memoir Tonight At 10: Kicking Booze and Breaking News.
Writes Friel: “I passed.”
“Fox News averaged 2.5 million viewers per night in 2019, the most in its 23-year history, making the network the most-watched channel on basic cable,” The Hill reports.
An editor at The Christian Post has abruptly quit the publication after it aligned itself with Donald Trump as part of a spiraling evangelical Christian civil war, the Washington Post reports.
John Harris: “This bias is marked by an instinctual suspicion of anything suggesting ideological zealotry, an admiration for difference-splitting, a conviction that politics should be a tidier and more rational process than it usually is.”
David Leonhardt: “The bias caused much of the media to underestimate Ronald Reagan in 1980 and Donald Trump in 2016. It also helps explain the negative tone running through a lot of the coverage of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders this year.”
“Centrist bias, as I see it, confuses the idea of centrism (which is very much an ideology) with objectivity and fairness. It’s an understandable confusion, because American politics is dominated by the two major parties, one on the left and one on the right. And the overwhelming majority of journalists at so-called mainstream outlets — national magazines, newspapers, public radio, the non-Fox television networks — really are doing their best to treat both parties fairly.