Sean Hannity lashes out at CBS; Breitbart denied press credentials

Fox News host Sean Hannity (left) went after CBS and veteran journalist Ted Koppel during his show last night, while conservative website Breitbart, once run by top Trump advisor Steve Bannon, was denied permanent press credentials on Capitol Hill.

Why does Sean Hannity care so much about what Ted Koppel thinks?

More than a day after Ted Koppel told Sean Hannity his brand of opinionated journalism was bad for America, the Fox News host continued to complain about the segment, which he called “edited fake news”

“You pretend to be fair and balanced — I don’t,” Hannity said of CBS and Koppel on his syndicated radio show Monday, which airs locally on 1210 WPHT. He continued the drumbeat against Koppel on his Fox News show later in the evening.

"Ted's interview with me wasn't about substance, it wasn't about getting my real opinion,” Hannity said. “I was just used as a prop to advance his narrative."

Hannity used the edited segment to reinforce a constant narrative at Fox News and other conservative media outlets that the mainstream media is out to attack conservatives, and by extension, President Trump, though he offered little evidence other than conspiracy theories involving Bill Ayers and black liberation theology to back up his claims.

“Guys like [Bill] O’Reilly and Hannity enjoy pillorying the mainstream media week after week, complaining about how the country’s press establishment is out to get President Trump,” wrote Washington Post columnist Erik Wemple. “Yet these fellows still appear to want the approval of a guy like Koppel.”

Hannity is demanding that CBS release the entire interview he conducted with Koppel, which he says lasted over 45 minutes. News networks, including Fox News, are forced out of necessity to regularly edit down interviews to fit within the time constraints forced by television programming.

CBS did not respond to a request for comment.

As CNN’s Dylan Byers noted, Hannity finds himself at a crossroads forced by several early failures of the Trump administration, including the implosion of the American Health Care Act, the Republican party’s plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. So far, Hannity remains a loyal cheerleader for President Trump, even as traditionally conservative outlets such as the Wall Street Journal and the Weekly Standard have been critical of the president since taking office.

Late Monday evening, while riding the train home from work, Hannity lashed out at Byers in a back-and-forth on Twitter.

Breitbart denied permanent press credentials on the Hill ... for now

Breitbart, the conservative website formerly run by top Trump aide Steven Bannon, has been denied permanent press credentials on Capitol Hill until questions about key contributors could be answered.

The Standing Committee of the Senate Press Gallery cited the outlet’s failure to demonstrate editorial independence from the White House and its ties to Rebekah Mercer, a member of Trump’s transition team and the daughter of hedge-fund billionaire Robert Mercer, who backed Trump’s presidential campaign.

Mercer invested $10 million into Breitbart, according to the New Yorker

In addition, the committee wants Breitbart to clarify the roles of two employees on its masthead —  senior editor-at-large Peter Schweizer and managing editor Wynton Hall — who are affiliated with the conservative nonprofit Government Accountability Institute.

The committee is expected to make a final decision on the permanent press passes when they meet again on April 25. The website is currently reporting from Capitol Hill under temporary passes.

Breitbart called out the Daily Beast’s coverage of the denial, which the website says was an attempt to “smear” their publication.

"In yet another effort to smear Breitbart News, the Daily Beast rushed out an inaccurate headline about our standing with the Senate Press Gallery," spokesman Chad Wilkinson said in a statement

President Trump to America: Watch Fox News

On Saturday, President Trump took to Twitter and urged Americans to tune in to Fox News to watch Justice With Judge Jeanine, where host Jeanine Pirro called for Speaker of the House Paul Ryan to step down.

On Tuesday morning, Trump again was pointing his followers to Fox News, only this time he encouraged everyone to tune in to a show he watches regularly, Fox & Friends.

Those who flipped over to Fox News this morning caught a segment about former Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta’s reported ties to an alternative energy firm that attracted a Russian state fund as an investor.

McClatchy, reporting on the supposed connections back in October, called the accusations “misleading” and said any ties Podesta had with Russia were “indirect.”

The report comes after the New York Times revealed on Monday that Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, had a previously undisclosed meeting with Sergey Gorkov, the head of Russia’s state-owned Vnesheconombank, which has been under sanctions since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.

Lawmakers and the FBI are investigating possible ties between the president's campaign and Russian officials and whether Russia meddled in the 2016 election.

The Fox & Friends segment aired hours after Trump’s remarks on Twitter Monday night spotlighting Podesta and debunked claims involving the Clintons and a Russian uranium deal. 

Trump is well-known to favor Fox News, often congratulating the network on its ratings and labeling its coverage of him “great.” He has said that Fox & Friends is one of his favorite programs, and he has called the hosts “very honorable people,” saying “they have the most honest morning show.”

The show has certainly enjoyed the added attention. Fox & Friends, like many cable news shows, has seen its ratings jump. Its average February audience of 1.72 million viewers was 49 percent over last year's, according to Nielsen. The show usually has more viewers than MSNBC's Morning Joe and CNN's New Day combined.

Melania Trump picks a communications director

First lady Melania Trump, last seen over the weekend at her husband's Mar-a-Lago resort, has named Stephanie Grisham as her communications director.

"Stephanie is a wonderful addition to the team," the first lady said in a statement. "She brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the job, and will be an incredible asset to my office as we build out our agenda, preserve our country's rich traditions and serve the American people."

Grisham, who currently serves in the White House as a deputy press secretary, was one of the earliest members of the Trump campaign’s press operations. Grisham said she was “honored” by the new opportunity to promote Melania Trump’s initiatives.

Other than a brief speech during an inaugural ball, the first lady has chosen to remain silent, not issuing any public remarks or statements since her husband took office back in January.