MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Donald Trump is a grand conductor of manipulating media coverage on Twitter. His tweets send messages to his base, attack accusers, create contrived controversies, divert attention from personal scandals and missteps, and disseminate his "presidential" statements. On July 4, he even used Twitter to air video remarks on Independence Day that emphasized the victory of George Washington and his army over the British.
For communicating with his base, Trump also mainlines his messaging through Fox News. In fact, Trump almost exclusively does news interviews with Fox anchors. It also is the case that Fox television "personalities" give advice to Trump. Sean Hannity is the most noted "Trump whisperer." A New York Magazine article from May provides some background:
The call to the White House comes after ten o'clock most weeknights, when Hannity is over. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, Sean Hannity broadcasts live at 9 p.m. on Fox News, usually from Studio J in midtown, where the network is headquartered, but sometimes from a remote studio on Long Island, where he was raised and now lives....
Their chats begin casually, with How are yous and What’s going ons. On some days, they speak multiple times, with one calling the other to inform him of the latest developments. White House staff are aware that the calls happen, thanks to the president entering a room and announcing, "I just hung up with Hannity," or referring to what Hannity said during their conversations, or even ringing Hannity up from his desk in their presence.
Trump and Hannity don't usually speak in the morning, which the president spends alone, watching TV and tweeting.
Trump's interdependence with Fox is further illustrated by his snatching of Larry Kudlow from the network to become director of the United States National Economic Council.
It should come as no surprise then that Trump reached out again to a former Fox administrative fixture to become his new director of White House communications. As the Washington Post reported on July 5:
Former Fox News Channel executive Bill Shine is joining the White House as assistant to the president and deputy chief of staff for communications, the White House announced Thursday.
The long-anticipated move follows weeks of speculation that the former Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network co-president was a front-runner for the job, which has remained vacant since former communications director Hope Hicks announced her resignation in February.
Shine will be the fifth person to fill the role of communications since Trump became president.
The Post notes that not only does Shine have a Sean Hannity connection, he also looked the other way during the sexual harassment rein of the late Roger Ailes at Fox:
Shine, who started his two-decade-long career at Fox News as a producer for the show "Hannity & Colmes," was ousted from his role as co-president last year after lawsuits suggested he enabled alleged sexual harassment by the network's late chairman and chief executive, Roger Ailes.
The hiring of a White House communications director accused of overlooking sexual harassment at Fox is an action one has come to expect from a misogynist president. Tellingly, Shine will be filling a role formerly filled by Hope Hicks, who was dating Trump aide Rob Porter when she resigned amidst a scandal involving Porter. It was revealed at the time that two of Porter's former wives accused him of domestic violence during their marriages to him. Porter resigned, but Trump praised him for his work.
In fact, The New York Times repoted in March that shortly after Porter resigned, Trump was considering having him return to the White House in another position:
President Trump has stayed in touch with Rob Porter, the former White House staff secretary who stepped down after allegations that he had abused his two former wives came to light, according to three people familiar with the conversations, and has told some advisers he hopes Mr. Porter returns to work in the West Wing.
Trump's fondness for Porter is emblematic of his general misogyny and dismissal of women's concerns -- as well as his sexual aggression toward them. After all, this is a president whose denigration and degradation of women is widely documented, mostly recorded from his own statements and conduct. It also did not bother Trump that failed Alabama US Senate candidate Roy Moore was accused of being a lecher with teenage girls before being married.
These are just some of the examples of Trump's contemptible attitude toward women when it comes to strengthening his ties to Fox through Shine. Today, Chris Cillizza noted on CNN that more concern should be raised in the press about Shine's appointment:
The news, when it came, couldn't have seemed more humdrum....
But none of that changes the fact that this is a very big story -- and not for the reason you probably think. ...
The real story here -- and why this should be a very big deal -- is the fact that Shine resigned last year after being accused of covering up a series of sexual harassment scandals involving on-air talent at the network over the last several decades. When Shine was elevated to the co-president in the wake of Ailes' 2016 resignation in the wake of accusations of inappropriate sexual behavior with co-workers, there was grumbling within the network.
In a 2017 article, before Shine resigned from Fox, a New York Magazine article reported, "Shine’s continued leadership has angered many Fox News employees, especially women, who view him as a product of the misogynistic Ailes culture."
It's pretty clear that Shine will fit right in at the White House.