Last year an opposition research document compiled by a respected British intelligence operative surfaced that is still generating news. Known now as the “Steele Dossier,” it contained a wealth of information about Donald Trump that was both substantive and disturbing. And a small bit of it that was rather salacious. So guess which part drove Trump to distraction?
The findings that Christopher Steele included in his dossier placing Trump in a Moscow hotel with prostitutes have assumed an undue prominence in much of the press. No one should be surprised by that in a society that made Kim Kardashian a pop culture phenomenon. Fox News is no exception, as they frequently hyped up reports of hookers urinating on the bed in Trump’s hotel room as he watched from safe distance. Especially Sean Hannity, who can’t seem to keep his mind off of it (see video below).
Despite their own perverse complicity, Fox News is boldly calling out CNN for reporting on the very same subject. In effect, they are whining that their own salacious reporting isn’t doing as well as the salacious reporting by their competitors. Their media reporter, Brian Flood, is asserting that this “puts CNN coverage in the toilet.” He doesn’t say where it puts Fox’s coverage.
His arguments are strained, to say the least. He leads off by swinging at CNN boss Jeff Zucker, who he says “continues to focus on adult film stars and lurid claims about President Trump’s alleged activities in a Moscow hotel room.” In the same opening paragraph Flood baselessly claims that the “pornographic video probably does not exist.”
Flood disgorges the familiar Fox News talking points that the dossier is unverified (that’s not true) and that it was the basis for warrant to spy on Trump’s campaign (also untrue). Then he goes on to cite the number of times that the “pee tape” was mentioned on CNN over a finite period of time. Those stats came from the ultra-rightist media bashers at the Media Research Center.
The conclusion that Flood draws from his overtly biased sources and analysis is that CNN’s ratings have been severely damaged by their attention to this undeniable newsworthy story. He says that:
“The result of Zucker’s strategy has been a president of the United States who often refers to CNN as ‘fake news’ on a regular basis, while the network regularly loses to MSNBC when it comes to ratings.”
Of course, Trump called CNN, and the rest of the media that is appropriately critical, fake news long before this story broke. It has been a part of his public diatribe dating back to his campaign and his assertions that the media is the “enemy of the American people.” And CNN’s ratings, while trailing MSNBC and Fox, have never been better. So that doesn’t square with Flood’s claim that this story has hurt CNN.
What’s more, Flood completely ignores the fact that MSNBNC does similar reports on Trump’s “pee tape” escapades. And MSNBC is regularly beating Fox News in the ratings war. Especially Rachel Maddow who has taken the lead as the number one cable news program, leaving Sean Hannity without a pot to piss in.