Media Buzz

Trump Schedules Rally on Same Night as Reporter Gala

President Trump announced his intention to hold a “big rally” in Pennsylvania next Saturday, a date which marks his 100th day in office, and coincides with the White House Correspondent’s Dinner—an event he previously declined to attend, CNBC reports.

Axios: “Holding a newsworthy rally the same night as the WHCD essentially forces White House reporters to either skip the annual event for the rally, or attend the dinner and risk the backlash for wearing fancy clothes, rubbing elbows with celebs, and laughing along with a comedian who has a history of ridiculing Trump.”

Fox Executives Fear There’s More to Come

Vanity Fair: “The move to dethrone O’Reilly, once unimaginable, crystallized over the past week, as advertisers continued to flee his show, more women came forward, and, perhaps most important, Fox News management came to realize that there was no way to stem the possibility that more accusers might surface, anonymously or not, and that O’Reilly would be a liability for the company as long as he stayed on at the network.”

“The most unsettling feeling among some at Fox News, however, is that Wednesday’s events are only the beginning. ‘There’s more to come,’ one Fox News insider told me, suggesting that there are more women with stories of harassment who have not come forward publicly. This estimation was affirmed by two people who heard such stories directly.”

CNN: What will Bill O’Reilly do now?

Fox News Has Decided Bill O’Reilly Has to Go

Gabriel Sherman: “The Murdochs have decided Bill O’Reilly’s 21-year run at Fox News will come to an end. According to sources briefed on the discussions, network executives are preparing to announce O’Reilly’s departure before he returns from an Italian vacation on April 24. Now the big questions are how the exit will look and who will replace him.”

“Wednesday morning, according to sources, executives are holding emergency meetings to discuss how they can sever the relationship with the country’s highest-rated cable-news host without causing collateral damage to the network.”

Murdochs Turn Against Bill O’Reilly

Gabriel Sherman: “With only six days remaining in Bill O’Reilly’s vacation, the pressure on the Murdoch family to decide the embattled commentator’s fate is intensifying. Three sources with knowledge of the discussions said that, while no final decision has been made, the Murdochs are leaning toward announcing that O’Reilly will not return to the air. Sons James and Lachlan have been arguing that O’Reilly needs to go, say these sources, though their father, Rupert, has resisted that outcome.”

Alex Jones Lawyer Claims ‘He’s Playing a Character’

“At a recent pretrial hearing, attorney Randall Wilhite told state District Judge Orlinda Naranjo that using his client Alex Jones’ on-air Infowars persona to evaluate Alex Jones as a father would be like judging Jack Nicholson in a custody dispute based on his performance as the Joker in Batman,” the Austin American-Statesman reports.

Said Wilhite: “He’s playing a character. He is a performance artist.”

“But in emotional testimony at the hearing, Kelly Jones, who is seeking to gain sole or joint custody of her three children with Alex Jones, portrayed the volcanic public figure as the real Alex Jones.”

Comey Warns of ‘Troll Farms’ Pushing Fake News

FBI Director James Comey said Americans “should be aware of foreign efforts to undermine confidence in U.S. elections and mindful of the possibility that what they’re reading might be part of an organized disinformation campaign,” the AP reports.

Said Comey: “The most important thing to be done is people need to be aware of the possibility that what they’re reading has been shaped by troll farms looking to push a message on Twitter to undermine our confidence.”

O’Reilly Goes Off Air at Fox News

Gabriel Sherman: “Embattled Fox News host Bill O’Reilly announced tonight that he is taking a vacation. O’Reilly’s decision to go off the air in the midst of a sexual harassment scandal and advertiser boycott arguably has the appearance of a suspension, but O’Reilly worked to dispel that notion. He announced that he’d scheduled his trip ‘last fall’ — well before the New York Times reported he paid $13 million to settle harassment claims. A Fox News source told me O’Reilly plans to return to his show on April 24.”

“But according to four network sources, there’s talk inside Fox News that tonight’s show could be his last.”

Also interesting: “Two highly-placed Fox News sources say 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch would like O’Reilly to be permanently taken off the air, while his father Rupert and older brother Lachlan are more inclined to keep him.”

A General Pleads to Save PBS Funding

Stanley McChrystal: “I like to say that leadership is a choice. As our leaders in Washington confront tough decisions about our budget priorities, I urge them to continue federal funding for public broadcasting. Public broadcasting makes our nation smarter, stronger and, yes, safer. It’s a small public investment that pays huge dividends for Americans. And it shouldn’t be pitted against spending more on improving our military. That’s a false choice.”

“This might seem like an unlikely position for me, a 34-year combat veteran. But it’s a view that has been shaped by my career leading brave men and women who thrive and win when they are both strong and smart. My experience has taught me that education, trusted institutions and civil discourse are the lifeblood of a great nation.”

Trump Weighed Giving Fox News Exclusive to Inauguration

From a New York Times profile on CNN President Jeff Zucker:

Shortly before Trump was sworn in, Zucker heard that he was considering giving Fox News exclusive rights to televise the inauguration and that Kushner was in the process of brokering a deal with Rupert Murdoch, whom Kushner once courted as a mentor. Zucker called Trump. “Bottom line is that I said, ‘This is crazy,’ ” Zucker recalls. “You’re just going to give your inaugural coverage to your base of support? It makes no sense.”

Trump Less Trusted Than the News Media

A new Monmouth poll finds 81% of the public believes President Trump has a worse relationship with the media than past presidents had. Just 4% say his relationship is better and 12% say it is about the same.

Trump is also trusted less than three television news sources that received the highest and lowest credibility ratings in a recent Morning Consult poll.

“Only 28% of Americans are more likely trust Trump as an information source compared to ABC news while most (53%) say they would tend to trust ABC more, with 15% saying they would trust both sides equally. When pitted against MSNBC, 33% trust Trump more while 47% trust the liberal leaning cable channel more, with 15% trusting both about equally. When pitted against Fox News, only 17% trust Trump more while 37% trust the politically conservative news outlet more, with 36% trusting both about equally.”