In every campaign cycle, right around this time of year, Republican-aligned media rolls out a closing argument against the Democrats. In 2014: Ebola. 2016: "Her emails." 2018: The "caravan." This year, it's an echo of 2016 – it's about HIS emails...
Fox News is a key player in this rollout every two years. In my essay on today's @ReliableSources, I quoted from this recent @emilyvdw piece, "How Fox News molds reality into a serialized TV drama"…
Pro-Trump media outlets careen from conspiracy to conspiracy. Newest example: On the same morning that the @washingtonpost front page said "'Unmasking' probe concludes without charges," the @NYPost front page promised "BIDEN SECRET EMAILS." On to the next!
"The strategy is to deflect attention, to attack the opponent, and the same propaganda pipeline is there all the time," Yochai Benkler said on today's show…
Whataboutism is like a glue that holds the base together. Ask about the Trump family's swampiness, and they say "what about Hunter Biden?" Raise Trump's legal exposure, and they say "what about Obamagate?" Suggest that Trump is compromised, and they say Biden is compromised.
Whataboutism is also a key ingredient for hours and hours of right-wing TV drama. Stay mad and stay tuned!

So on today's @ReliableSources, we offered an anatomy of the "Biden secret emails" story... emphasis on the word story...…
In 280 characters: A tip from Steve Bannon and a hard drive dump from Rudy Giuliani led a former producer for Sean Hannity's show to write a cover story for the NYPost. Fox hyped it for days, helping out Trump, who calls this "the second biggest political scandal in our history"
But: "Unlike previous 'closing argument' stories, the media world has largely ignored the Post's Hunter Biden story," @apbenven wrote.

A key reason: "US authorities are investigating whether the emails are part of an ongoing Russian disinfo effort."…
Last word goes to @anneapplebaum: "Nothing that Hunter Biden is accused of doing, fraudulently, is worse than what the Trump family themselves do." She assumes the focus on Hunter is meant to distract from the Trump family's "own misuse & abuse of office."…

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More from @brianstelter

14 Oct
Alright, who's in the mood for a #thread about the DUELING TOWN HALLS problem?
First things first: TV networks are always competing to host town halls. It's not primarily about "ratings." Trump's town hall on ABC only had 3.8 million viewers! News divisions are proud of these events, proud to connect voters with the candidates, etc. It's in the TV news DNA.
NBC produced a town hall with Biden last week. Trump was offered the same opportunity. Even though he attacks NBC so much that some journos have been placed in danger... even though he calls it "Concast..." even though he lies incessantly... tenets of journalistic fairness apply.
Read 13 tweets
10 Oct
On almost every stop of my book tour for, I've been asked about the future of Fox News. And I've talked about the battle for control of Fox that will erupt in the event of Rupert Murdoch's death. Time for a #thread...
Rupert's four adult children all hold power through their shares in the Murdoch Family Trust. In HOAX, I outlined a theory: Could James "partner with his sisters to wrest control of Fox Corp" from brother Lachlan, who currently runs the company?
On Page 313 I wrote, "sources said that Elisabeth would surely side with James, and Prudence likely would as well—three votes against one. Was this a serious possibility, or just a liberal fantasy? 'Time will tell,' a source said." It all hinged on the passing of the patriarch.
Read 7 tweets
7 Oct
Today is Fox News Channel's 24th birthday. Time for a #thread about how much has changed since Fox's founding on October 7, 1996...
Fox was #3 behind CNN and MSNBC. In a high school yearbook, it would have been voted "least likely to succeed." But as I write in, Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes converted the jeers into fuel. Ailes vowed that Fox would become #1.
Here's how CNN covered Fox's launch day:

"For Murdoch, Fox News is the culmination of a long-held ambition -- building a U.S-based global television-news network."…
Read 13 tweets
29 Sep
Is this a "Fox News debate?" Well, no, because it is live on EVERY big channel and website tonight. But in a broader sense, yes it is. #Thread time...
Tonight's moderator, Chris Wallace, stands alone at Fox. His Sunday program primarily airs on broadcast, not Fox News. He has his own producers. He has said that he doesn't regularly watch the right-wing talk shows that make Fox #1 in the cable ratings.
But here's the thing: Everyone at Fox is affected, in some way, by the Trump-Fox merger. Everyone "feels" it. The pressure from the audience, the pressure from management, the expectation that Fox will be "fair" to Trump – and I don't mean "fair" in the good faith definition.
Read 8 tweets
29 Sep
I'm up next on @JohnKingCNN's program with headlines from my interview with Dr. Fauci... 📺
Fauci said he is concerned about misleading info getting to President Trump – "that sometimes things are said that are really taken either out of context or actually incorrect."…
Fauci reiterated the basics... the info that can't be repeated often enough... "Masks are critically important in preventing the transmission and acquisition of SARS coronavirus 2." Also: "We're nowhere near herd immunity as a nation."
Read 5 tweets
22 Sep
4 weeks since HOAX came out — and today I discovered it in the front window at Barnes & Noble Union Square — best surprise of the month. Right behind RAGE, appropriately! ImageImage
A book tour is like... well, I was going to say it's like a roller coaster 🎢 , but when the experience is entirely virtual from your home studio, that doesn't make much sense. But I'll tell you the best part...
The best part: Digesting the reviews and emails and comments from 📚 readers. Even the supremely critical ones. I learned things *about Fox and Trump* by reading the reviews. Gained ideas for future stories too.
Read 5 tweets

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