State TV scripted interviews with Trump administration officials. Surprised?

State TV scripted interviews with Trump administration officials. Surprised?

by digby

The Daily Beast reports that Fox and Friends scripted interviews with corrupt Trump administration official Tom Price in a shockingly blatant fashion:

Former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt was clearly taken aback last year when occasional Fox & Friends fill-in host Ed Henry grilled him about a number of ethical scandals facing his administration.

And Pruitt had a good reason to be surprised. In past interviews with President Trump’s favorite cable-news show, the then-EPA chief’s team chose the topics for interviews, and knew the questions in advance.

In one instance, according to emails revealed in a Freedom of Information Act request submitted by the Sierra Club and reviewed by The Daily Beast, Pruitt’s team even approved part of the show’s script.

They have the goods. It's a stunner.

Steve M at NMMNB notes that this isn't the first time and likely is anything but unusual:

Here's an example from my archives: In 2015, the ISIS magazine Dabiqidentified some U.S. political figures as enemies of the caliphate. One was former senator Rick Santorum. Santorum subsequently appeared on Fox & Friends, where he had this exchange with host Steve Doocy. (Apologies for the wingnutty tweet below, but it's the only working source I could find for the video.)

DOOCY: You know, it's one thing if The New York Times quotes you, or we quote you on Fox, but when ISIS quotes you, what did you think?

SANTORUM: Well, the difference is ISIS actually quoted me accurately, composed -- compared to The New York Times, which is sort of a remarkable comment on the state of the media today.
Notice how Santorum slips and says "composed" before correcting himself and saying "compared." That's not a mistake you'd make if you had a brain freeze and couldn't remember the word you meant to use. It's not a mistake you'd make if you stumbled over the pronunciation of the word "compared."

It is, however, a mistake you might make if you were momentarily misreading a scripted line from a Teleprompter.

An an interview by a real journalist, the interviewee isn't supposed to know the questions in advance, and is expected to answer spontaneously. But this was clearly a prepared exchange. And it's a classic Fox exchange -- the story is about ISIS, but Doocy and Santorum make it about the right's real enemy, the non-conservative part of America, specifically the hated American "liberal media."

I suspect this happens a lot at Fox.


There was also this instance, from Megyn Kelly:

Then, the day before the first presidential debate, Mr. Trump was in a lather again, Ms. Kelly writes. He called Fox executives, saying he’d heard that her first question “was a very pointed question directed at him.” This disconcerted her, because it was true: It was about his history of using disparaging language about women.

She doesn’t speculate where the leak came from. (She reports. You decide.) But that’s another unambiguous takeaway from this book: Parts of Fox — or, at the very least, Roger Ailes, the network’s chairman until July, when he was given the boot after several allegations of sexual harassment were made against him — seemed to be nakedly colluding with the Republican presidential nominee.

I do think the one fallacy of most analysis about this issue is the idea that Trump is running Fox News as his personal propaganda outfit. The truth is that Fox is running the White House. In the end it's impossible to know where one begins and the other ends but since Trump gets all his inormation from the network, they are the ones who are really in the driver's seat.