Under similar justifications, a subpoena approved by Eric Holder implicated Fox News reporter, James Rosen , as a possible co-conspirator under the Espionage Act of Investigators gained access to the times of his phone calls, and two days of Rosen's emails. These investigations provoked considerable criticism from major news organizations, and precipitated the revision of media guidelines at the Department of Justice.
On May 13, , the Associated Press announced telephone records for 20 of their reporters during a two-month period in had been subpoenaed by the Justice Department. AP reported the Justice Department would not say why it sought the records, but news sources noted the US Attorney's office for the District of Columbia was conducting a criminal investigation into a May 7, Associated Press story about a CIA operation which prevented the Yemeni terrorist Fahd al-Quso 's plot to detonate an explosive device on a commercial flight.
The AP claimed these acts were a "massive and unprecedented intrusion" into news-gathering operations. The US Attorney's office in Washington responded that federal investigators seek records from news outlets only after making "every reasonable effort to obtain information through alternative means.
Debra Lewis, Verizon Wireless spokeswoman, said the company "complies with legal processes for requests for information by law enforcement. On May 17, , the Washington Post reported the Justice Department had monitored reporter Rosen's activities by tracking his visits to the State Department , through phone traces , timing of calls and his personal emails in a probe regarding possible news leaks of classified information in about North Korea. Some analysts have described the Justice Department's actions as "aggressive investigative methods"   that have a chilling effect on news organizations' ability to play a watchdog role.
Fox News contributor Judge Andrew Napolitano commented: "This is the first time that the federal government has moved to this level of taking ordinary, reasonable, traditional, lawful reporter skills and claiming they constitute criminal behavior.
An editorial board of the New York Times wrote: "With the decision to label a Fox News television reporter a possible 'co-conspirator' in a criminal investigation of a news leak, the Obama administration has moved beyond protecting government secrets to threatening fundamental freedoms of the press to gather news. Dana Milbank of the Washington Post stated: "The Rosen affair is as flagrant an assault on civil liberties as anything done by George W.
Days prior on May 15, , Attorney General Holder had testified under oath in front of the House Judiciary Committee that he had recused himself from the leak investigations to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest. Cole , was in charge of the AP investigation and would have ordered the subpoenas. The Justice Department defended their decision and spoke about a balance between protecting national secrets and the 1st Amendment , stating: "After extensive deliberations, and after following all applicable laws, regulations and policies, the Department sought an appropriately tailored search warrant under the Privacy Protection Act.
House Committee members sent an open letter to Holder, saying: "It is imperative that the committee, the Congress, and the American people be provided a full and accurate account of your involvement. Members of Congress and media figures have questioned the motivations behind the Justice Department's actions, and if they were even warranted: "For five days, reporters at the Associated Press had been sitting on a big scoop about a foiled Al-Qaeda plot at the request of CIA officials. Then, in a hastily scheduled Monday morning meeting, the journalists were asked by agency officials to hold off on publishing the story for just one more day.
The CIA officials, who had initially cited national security concerns in an attempt to delay publication, no longer had those worries, according to individuals familiar with the exchange. Instead, the Obama administration was planning to announce the successful counterterrorism operation that Tuesday. AP balked and proceeded to publish that Monday afternoon. The Hollywood Reporter obtained financial-disclosure forms revealing that Fox has been paying Shine millions of dollars since he joined the Administration.
Last year, he collected the first half of a seven-million-dollar bonus that he was owed after resigning from Fox; this year, he will collect the remainder. Shine is only the most recent Fox News alumnus to join the Trump Administration. McFarland to be his deputy national-security adviser.
McFarland resigned after four months. Trump recently picked the former Fox News anchor Heather Nauert to be the Ambassador to the United Nations, but she soon withdrew herself from consideration, reportedly because her nanny, an immigrant, lacked a work permit. Several others who have left the Trump White House, including Sebastian Gorka, a former adviser on national security, regularly appear on Fox.
Other former Fox News celebrities have practically become part of the Trump family. Guilfoyle left the network mid-contract, after a former Fox employee threatened to sue the network for harassment and accused Guilfoyle of sharing lewd images, among other misconduct; Fox and the former employee reached a multimillion-dollar settlement. Sean Hannity has told colleagues that he speaks to the President virtually every night, after his show ends, at 10 P.
There is no ordinary policy-development system. He thinks anything on Fox is friendly. But the problem is he gets unvetted ideas. It is hardly unprecedented for American media barons to go beyond their pages to try to influence the course of politics. Kennedy selected Lyndon Johnson as his running mate. But now a direct pipeline has been established between the Oval Office and the office of Rupert Murdoch, the Australian-born billionaire who founded News Corp and 21st Century Fox.
Multiple sources told me that Murdoch and Trump often talk on the phone. He speaks to him the same way he would have five years ago.
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But Murdoch, arguably the most powerful media mogul in the world, is an invaluable ally to any politician. Well-informed sources say that Kushner, an increasingly valued White House adviser, has worked hard to win over Murdoch, showing him respect and asking him for advice. Kushner has regularly assured Murdoch that the White House is a smooth-running operation, despite many reports suggesting that it is chaotic.
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Kushner now has an almost filial status with Murdoch, who turns eighty-eight this month, and numerous sources told me that they communicate frequently. Roger Ailes, during his final days at Fox, apparently warned Murdoch of the perils. Trump became famous, in no small part, because of Rupert Murdoch. In private, Murdoch regarded Trump with disdain, seeing him as a real-estate huckster and a shady casino operator.
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But, for all their differences, the two men had key traits in common. They both inherited and expanded family enterprises—an Australian newspaper; an outer-borough New York City real-estate firm—but felt looked down upon by people who were richer and closer to the centers of power.
Trump and Murdoch also share a transactional approach to politics, devoid of almost any ideology besides self-interest. Murdoch, who had been a U. After the meal, Murdoch led him outside to take in the glittering view of the Los Angeles Basin, and confided that he planned to launch a radical new television network. Unlike the three established networks, which vied for the same centrist viewers, his creation would follow the unapologetically lowbrow model of the tabloids that he published in Australia and England, and appeal to a narrow audience that would be entirely his.
His core viewers, he said, would be football fans; with this aim in mind, he had just bought the rights to broadcast N. He was going to carve out a base—what would become the Trump base.
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Blair Levin, at that time the chief of staff at the F. Buckley, Jr. By , Fox had displaced CNN as the highest-rated cable news network, and it has remained on top ever since. Murdoch was going to make a Trump exist.
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Until then, the network had largely mocked birtherism as a conspiracy theory. Its coverage of the Benghazi debacle —a tragic embassy ambush not unlike others that had claimed American lives in previous Administrations—devolved into a relentless attack on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In certain instances, however, Fox executives enforced journalistic limits. At the height of the Tea Party rebellion, Ailes reprimanded Hannity for violating the line between journalism and politics.
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Hannity had arranged to tape his evening Fox show at a Tea Party fund-raiser in Ohio. When Ailes learned of the plan, only hours before the event, he demanded that Hannity cancel his appearance. Such niceties no longer apply.
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In November, Hannity joined Trump onstage at a climactic rally for the midterm elections. That was an egregious mistake. It was way over the line. Although Ailes paid occasional lip service to journalistic integrity, Fox News was hardly fair and balanced under his leadership. Sherman has reported that, when the network hosted the first Republican Presidential debate, in August, , in Cleveland, Murdoch advised Ailes to make sure that the moderators hit Trump hard.
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