Tag Archives: fox

Kelly: Trump coverage was like ‘television crack cocaine’

Megyn Kelly says Donald Trump tried unsuccessfully to give her gifts, including a free stay at one of his hotels, as part of what she called his pattern of trying to influence news coverage of his presidential campaign.

In her memoir Settle for More, to be released today, Kelly says Trump may have gotten a pre-debate tip about her first question, in which she confronted him with his critical comments about women.

Her book also details the insults and threats she received after Trump’s tirades objecting to her reporting.

The Associated Press obtained an advance copy of the book over the weekend.

Kelly, host of Fox News Channel’s The Kelly Report, said Trump routinely attempted to gain favorable treatment from other journalists and commentators.

“This is actually one of the untold stories of the 2016 campaign: I was not the only journalist to whom Trump offered gifts clearly meant to shape coverage,” Kelly said. He also attempted to woo them with praise, she said, adding, “This is smart, because the media is full of people whose egos need stroking.”

“Trump tried to work the refs, and some of the refs responded,” she said.

When it became obvious that some reporters were “in the tank” for Trump, she alleges in one chapter, “certain TV hosts” would work with the candidate in advance on occasional Trump criticism so they would appear unbiased. She didn’t identify them by name or media outlet.

Resisting Trump’s attempts to buy her goodwill with an offer to comp her “girls’ weekend” stay at his downtown New York City hotel or fly her and her husband to visit his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida was an easy ethical decision, Kelly wrote.

More difficult was rejecting the ratings bonanza the colorful GOP contender could deliver with his “unscripted, unguarded” approach that made for great TV but was the equivalent of “television crack cocaine,” Kelly wrote.

She and her producer agreed they had to provide balance and be judicious in their coverage, asserting this was not a “directive to cover Trump negatively or to ignore him.”

It was at the first GOP primary debate last August that Kelly questioned Trump about derogatory comments he’d made about women. The day before, Trump had called Fox News executive Bill Sammon to say he had heard that Kelly’s first question would be a pointed one aimed at him, she wrote.

““How could he know that?’ I wondered,” Kelly said, not answering the question but clearing her Fox colleagues on the debate team of any suspicion of leaking it to him. Trump was agitated out of proportion in the phone call, she wrote, calling it “bizarre behavior, especially for a man who wanted the nuclear codes.”

Kelly was cast by Trump as his nemesis after the first GOP debate in which she asked him about labeling women as “fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals.” In an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon, Trump called her questions ridiculous, adding, “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her wherever.”

Before another Fox debate, Kelly recalled being backstage with her family and getting an unsettling insight on how her children were being affected by the harsh rhetoric.

“I’m afraid of Donald Trump. He wants to hurt me,” she quoted her 5-year-old daughter, Yardley, as saying. When Kelly told her that wasn’t so, the child replied, “Well, he wants to hurt you, so he wants to hurt me too.”

Scully, Mulder, paranoia return in ‘The X-Files’ reboot

“The X-Files” creator Chris Carter is pleased to update the original template with his 21st-century unease. Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny are glad to be playing opposite each other again as Scully and Mulder.

And admirers likely will do a happy dance to the Fox TV drama’s eerie theme music as it returns with a six-episode limited run.

The two-part opener is scheduled to air at 10 p.m. EST Sunday, immediately after the end of the NFL’s NFC championship game on Fox, and at 8 p.m. EST Monday. Subsequent episodes also air at 8 p.m. Monday EST.

Will the reboot retain the dark magic of the original TV series, which in its 1993-2002 lifespan offered a wildly entertaining blend of government conspiracies, otherworldly suspense and black comedy that was placed in the hands of two unknown but charismatic actors?

Creator and executive producer Carter offers assurances, but with the caveat that he insisted on more than an exercise in nostalgia for the franchise that included two big-screen movies.

“Someone said to me, ‘Great, a victory lap,”” when the new project was announced, he said. “That’s the opposite of why we came back. We didn’t want to do something that reworked old material or was just a sequel to what we’d done before. I wanted to make something fresh and original.”

Current events and figures proved helpful, Carter said, citing National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and eroding personal privacy as examples.

“These are interesting and heady times, and perfect for telling ‘X-Files’ tales,” he said, promising a series more directly topical than the original. “We deal with fear in a lot of different ways. … The fact that we’re being spied on and don’t seem to be raising any protest is a frightening prospect for me.”

One tricky aspect is balancing the interests of “X-Files” devotees and potential newcomers.

“We have to be respectful of people who are familiar with the show so we don’t beat them over the head with things they know,” Carter said. “I think our approach is artful in what it gives fans and what it will provide non-fans.”

He’s joined in the cause by members of the creative team that helped make the first series a sensation, with Darin Morgan, Glen Morgan and James Wong splitting writing and directing duties with Carter on the new episodes.

Also back are Mitch Pileggi, who played FBI assistant director Walter Skinner in the original series; William B. Davis as the shadowy Cigarette Smoking Man; and, despite their deaths, the beloved conspiracy-theory geeks known collectively as the Lone Gunmen.

“No one is every truly dead on ‘The X-Files,’” Carter said, drolly.

Newcomer Joel McHale is onboard as Tad O’Malley, a news anchor.

In the first go-round, FBI agent Fox Mulder was driven to prove the government was hiding evidence of aliens on Earth. Fellow agent Dana Scully was his initially skeptical colleague.

In the reboot, new evidence reunites them in the quest to uncover the truth. It’s personal as well, Anderson said.

“There’s something that’s missing in Scully’s life, and that thing is clearly Mulder. Both of them feel disconnected from the world and themselves because they’re missing a limb,” she said.

She and Duchovny have moved on to a variety of on-screen and other projects, including writing (both have published novels), and, in Duchovny’s case, music. But they said returning to the “X-Files” fold, with Carter again in charge, felt right.

“Chris is a serious person and an artist. And if he says he’s got a way to make it work, I trust that,” Duchovny said.

Said Anderson: “There were aspects of it that felt ridiculously familiar and kind of felt we never left. Some elements were much more challenging — running in heels,” she added, laughing.

Last summer’s taping in Vancouver, Canada, was arranged around her London-based family life. But she brought part of it with her: daughter Piper, who is studying production design, was on the set to gain work experience and ended up contributing to the series, Anderson said.

Whatever work-related tension that existed between the stars, the by-product of churning out some two-dozen episodes a season and becoming instant stars, is long gone, Duchovny said.

“Put any human being in that situation, working the amount that we worked and going through the ride from obscurity to global (fame), it’s just crazy-making,” he said. “It’s a natural human emotion to have enough of one another in that situation. Now it’s quite the opposite, it’s respect and love and gratitude.”

On the Web

http://www.fox.com/the-x-files 

Sarah Palin endorses Donald Trump

Donald Trump, the reality television star-turned-politician, was endorsed by Sarah Palin, the politician-turned-reality TV star, in his front-running bid to be the next Republican U.S. president, his campaign said on Tuesday.

To voters, it may seem a natural fit. Though she never made it to the White House after becoming the party’s vice presidential pick in 2008, Palin’s style, which showed a candidate could be popular by eschewing policy minutiae in favor of plain-speaking, is seen as a precursor to Trump’s recent success.

“I’m proud to endorse Donald J. Trump for president,” Palin said in a statement provided by his campaign.

Trump said he was “greatly honored” by the endorsement, according to his campaign’s announcement. “She is a friend, and a high-quality person whom I have great respect for,” his statement said.

Palin was due to join Trump later on Tuesday at a campaign event in Ames, a city in central Iowa, the first state in the nation to vote for the Republican and Democratic parties’ nominees in two weeks.

Trump is in a tight contest with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas for the support of Iowa Republicans, who lean conservative and whose evangelical Christians comprise a major voting bloc.

Palin was in her first term as governor of Alaska in 2008 when U.S. Senator John McCain of Arizona, the Republican nominee in that year’s presidential election, picked her as his running mate.

She liked to suggest there were no fiercer fighters for conservative values than a small-town “hockey mom.” She was a former beauty-pageant winner who professed a love of hunting with guns and thought it more important that the United States increase drilling for oil than fret about climate change.

Trump is a real estate billionaire from New York City who has taken to vigorously insulting politicians in both parties while demonizing Muslims and some Mexicans, an unusual approach in U.S. presidential politics. He has been polling as the voters’ favorite on the Republican side for months, with Hillary Clinton, a former U.S. secretary of state, the leading Democratic candidate.

McCain and Palin lost the 2008 election to Barack Obama and Joe Biden, but by then Palin’s transformation from a little-known politician to national celebrity was complete. 

In 2009, she resigned as Alaska’s governor, and has since worked as a conservative political commentator and as the producer and star of lightly staged television shows about her large family enjoying Alaska’s rugged landscapes.

But even some onetime admirers wondered if her moment had passed, saying they found a speech she gave a year ago before conservative voters in Iowa to be unintelligible at times.

Joe Brettell, a Republican strategist in Texas, said he thought Palin would not help Trump much “beyond a jolt in the news cycle.”

Lindsey Graham – a Republican senator from South Carolina who last month ditched his own effort to become president and has endorsed former Florida Governor Jeb Bush for the nomination – said in an interview with CNN that he liked Palin.

Still, he added, “Sarah Palin can’t save Donald Trump from being crazy,” referring to some of Trump’s proclamations, such as a plan to ban Muslims from entering the country, which Graham said made Trump unelectable.

Christie, Huckabee bumped from main stage at Milwaukee GOP debate

Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee have been bumped from the main stage at the GOP presidential debate in Milwaukee on Nov. 10.

George Pataki and Lindsey Graham have been cut from the lineup altogether. 

Debate sponsor Fox Business Network announced the moves earlier this week, dealing a blow to Christie and Huckabee as they struggled to stand out in the crowded Republican field amid signs of momentum in states where the first primary contests will be held.

The decision underscores concerns about the pivotal role that national opinion surveys have been playing in shaping the contest for the GOP nomination. Statistically, pollsters say, there is no significant difference between candidates lumped together near the bottom of the pack in national polls, which typically have a margin of error of 3 percentage points or more.

“I tell people, ‘Ignore the national polls and just follow those early states,”’ said Republican pollster Frank Luntz, who argues that early opinion surveys are notoriously unreliable. “Except that now national polls drive the debates, and debates drive the polling.”

According to debate criteria issued by Fox Business last week, candidates must score 2.5 percent or higher in an average of the four most recent major polls conducted through Nov. 4 to be featured in the prime-time debate. They must hit the 1 percent mark to qualify for an undercard debate airing before the main event.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry provides a cautionary tale of the potential impact. Fundraising dollars dried up after Perry was relegated to the undercard debate earlier in the year.

Pataki, the former New York governor, and Graham, a South Carolina senator, already faced a tough road to the GOP nomination. Their omission even from the undercard debates will make it even harder for them to convince voters — and donors — they have a viable path to the nomination.

“It is ironic that the only veteran in the race is going to be denied a voice the day before Veterans Day,” Graham campaign manager Christian Ferry said in a statement. “In the end, the biggest loser tonight is the American people and the Republican presidential primary process that has been hijacked by news outlets.”

Pataki spokeswoman Alicia Preston said the focus on national polling undermined candidates’ efforts in the early-voting states where they spend much of their time.

“National news networks are doing the job that has always been left to the people in individual states like New Hampshire,” she said. “It’s the voters’ right and responsibility to choose candidates. This national focus diminishes the significance of the Primary process.”

Laverne Cox to star in ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ remake

Laverne Cox has signed to star in a remake of the The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the 1975 cult classic flick that’s still shown in midnight screenings throughout the English-speaking world. A twisted homage to B-grade sci-fi and horror films, Rocky Horror is the longest running movie in history.

Cox, best known for her role as Sophia Burset on Orange Is the New Black, will take on the lead role of Dr. Frank-N-Furter, self-described in song as a “sweet transvestite from transsexual Transylvania.” Actor Tim Curry originated the role, and the film also brought a young Susan Sarandon to fame.

According to the Hollywood rumor mill, the lead role in the new production was first offered to Lady Gaga and Adam Lambert.

Emmy-nominated for her work in OITNB, Cox recently co-starred in Lily Tomlin’s feature film Grandma. She’s also guest starred in a number of TV series, including Law & Order, The Mindy Project and Bored to Death. She produced and starred in the VH1 series TRANSform Me.

Cox is also a widely respected and much-honored activist for LGBT rights activist. Among her laurels is an award from GLAAD. She appeared on the June 14, 2014 cover of Time magazine.

Fox 21 Television Studios is co-producing the Rocky Horror reboot, and Lou Adler, who produced the original, is one of the executive producers. The show will air on Fox as a two-hour special next fall.

CBS News releases video referenced in O’Reilly dispute

CBS News this week released video from four stories it aired about the Falklands War in 1982, all part of a dispute involving Fox News Channel host Bill O’Reilly and his subsequent statements about covering the war.

None of the stories mentions O’Reilly, then a young CBS reporter, or makes any specific reference to a CBS crew member being hurt.

The television time travel was prompted by a Mother Jones article last week calling into question O’Reilly’s claims he reported in a “war zone” or “combat zone” during the brief conflict between Britain and Argentina. Few reporters made it to the front of the war, some 1,000 miles from the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires.

O’Reilly has said that he covered an anti-government demonstration in Buenos Aires that turned violent and that a photographer he was working with was knocked to the ground and was bleeding. Describing the events two years ago, O’Reilly said he “dragged off” the photographer from danger.

Former CBS News correspondent Eric Engberg, who also was covering the event, characterized O’Reilly’s account as “dishonest” and “completely nutty” during a Huffington Post interview. Engberg said none of the camera operators working the night in question remembers any colleague being injured. The camera person who was said to be hurt has not spoken publicly about the matter.

During one of the CBS reports, then-anchor Dan Rather said that several television crew members were knocked to the ground and that North American television crews were “jostled.”

An Engberg report, also released by CBS, said police fired guns with tear gas and plastic bullets. He said in the report it was unknown how many people were hurt but at least some were seriously injured.

An Associated Press account of the demonstration said that police officers charged a group of about 50 journalists, beating some and trampling others.

“Two news photographers were reported injured by rubber bullets fired by police,” said the June 16, 1982, account by AP writer Douglas Grant Mine.

The release of the videos, while providing more detail about the situation O’Reilly faced 33 years ago, did not resolve the issue of whether his retellings of the experience have been completely factual. 

O’Reilly, on his program Monday night, showed portions of the CBS video and said it proved the event was no “walk in the park.” He interviewed Don Browne, a former NBC News Miami bureau chief who supervised the network’s Falklands coverage, who also described the situation. No mention was made in O’Reilly’s report about any CBS News personnel being hurt.

The Mother Jones piece was printed shortly after NBC News anchor Brian Williams was suspended for misrepresenting his experiences in the Iraq War. O’Reilly, long the most popular prime-time figure in cable news, has called the piece a political hit job.

“I want to stop this now,” O’Reilly said. “I hope we can stop it, I really do.”

Feminists cheer as bare breasts disappear from British tabloid

Feminists are rejoicing at the disappearance of bare breasts from the British tabloid The Sun — though the newspaper is not confirming whether the decision to ditch its infamous “Page 3 girls” is permanent.

The Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid has featured topless models on its third page for almost 45 years, but none has appeared in the paper since Jan. 16.

The Sun has declined to comment on the change, but the Murdoch-owned Times of London reported this week that the feature had been dropped from the paper’s print edition. It said the Sun website would continue to feature topless models.

Labour Party lawmaker Stella Creasy said she was glad to see the end of a feature that told women “that what mattered, frankly, were our breasts, not our brains.”

Republican presidential debate to be held in Wisconsin

One of the nine Republican debates for the 2016 presidential candidates will be held in Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports the debate will be in November but the Republican National Committee didn’t immediately announce a location.

Gov. Scott Walker is thinking about entering the race. Congressman Paul Ryan, from Janesville who was the 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee, has said he would not run.

RNC chairman Reince Priebus grew up in Kenosha.

Other RNC debates will be held in Ohio, California, Colorado, Nevada, Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida.

The debates feature presidential candidates sanctioned by the RNC and will take place between August and March 1, 2016. The Wisconsin broadcast partner will be Fox Business.

Star-studded TV show to help needy dogs find homes

Oscar winner Hilary Swank is unleashing some serious star power to help rescue dogs get adopted by families who want to make a difference on Thanksgiving — or those who just want to watch terriers instead of touchdowns on TV.

“Fox’s Cause for Paws: An All-Star Dog Spectacular” will air on Nov. 27 and feature a slew of celebrities aiming to find thousands of needy dogs a home by Black Friday.

Hosted by Swank and “Glee” actress Jane Lynch, the two-hour program crams in dog stories, viral videos, musical tributes, a fundraiser, contests and glitterati galore.

It ranks among the many telethons to which celebrities have lent their fame to benefit everything from breast cancer research to Hurricane Katrina victims, but the program is believed to be the first televised effort to raise money for rescue dogs and get the animals adopted.

Though much more high-profile, the show comes amid a flurry of campaigns by rescues, shelters and animal welfare groups to get at-risk pets loving homes, from local adoption events to social media blitzes such as “muttbombing,” digitally altered images that insert a needy dog into a photo of a celebrity.

“More than 9 million animals end up in shelters every year and only half of them make it out,” said Swank, who has won Academy Awards for “Boys Don’t Cry” and “Million Dollar Baby” and is a co-executive producer of the show. The program running 8-10 p.m. is partnering with Petfinder.com to help pet seekers nationwide find a dog or cat in need, she said.

Actors Scarlett Johansson, Betty White, Josh Duhamel and Kristen Bell as well as singers Fergie, Miranda Lambert, Paula Abdul, LeAnn Rimes and Kesha will be on hand to help the animals and, hopefully, turn the event into an annual affair, Swank said.

“We’ve seen the entertainment industry come together for so many worthwhile causes benefiting people, now it’s time for them to rally for man’s best friend,” co-executive producer Michael Levitt said.

The show will star 35 adoptable pooches and feature a performance by the 10 flipping, twirling Olate dogs, past million-dollar winners of “America’s Got Talent.” There will be contests for cutest puppy, best celebrity lookalike, best licker, smartest dog and best viral dog video.

All the dogs on the show will be from rescues — animals that have been saved from shelters but still need homes, Levitt said. Until then, they are in foster care or kennels.

There will be segments devoted to spay-and-neuter awareness, the live-saving role of fostering and the joys of adopting senior or special-needs dogs.

“Rescue dogs are not broken animals,” Levitt said. “They are the victims of bad circumstances, but most are loving and most grateful creatures.”

If all the dogs on hand are placed, viewers will be urged to visit Petfinder.com to look at other adoptable dogs in their areas. Celebrities will also solicit donations to help support participating rescues.

Rica Powell’s Smiling Dog Rescue in Tucson, Arizona, will bring a dog to the telethon. The group she founded in 2007 specializes in pit bulls, the breed that accounts for 70 percent of dogs in rescues.

Powell said the dog she’s bringing is “a fabulous boy. I know we are going to get hundreds of applications for that dog.”

Also up for adoption from rescues nationwide will be three-legged great Dane, a pooch that weighs just 4 pounds and a Chihuahua who uses a tiny wheelchair, among others.

The show’s biggest competition on Thanksgiving will be football.

“We think we are amazing counterprogramming,” Levitt said.

Before rape joke, ‘Family Guy’ had critics

This weekend’s crossover episode of Fox’s “Family Guy” and “The Simpsons” has received criticism for a scene where a character uses rape as a punchline for a joke.

The line appears in a scene in which Bart Simpson is instructing Stewie Griffin in the art of the prank phone call. Bart dials the owner of Moe’s Tavern and asks whether there is anyone there with the last name Keybum, first name Lee. When Moe calls out to his patrons, asking for a “leaky bum,” everyone gets a laugh.

Stewie thinks that’s cool, and asks to make his own prank call.

“Hello, Moe?” he says. “Your sister’s being raped.”

Tim Winter, president of the advocacy group Parents Television Council, said he’s a longtime fan of Matt Groening, creator of “The Simpsons,” and sought out the trailer when it was released.

“I was blown out of my shoes when I saw the scene with the rape joke in it,” Winter said. “It really troubled me.”

He said he found it particularly offensive in the context of stories about sexual assaults on college campuses and, most recently, talk about abusive treatment of women by some players in the National Football League. He said when rape is accepted as a punch line for a joke in entertainment, “it becomes less outrageous in real life.”

Winter said he wrote to Groening, “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane and Fox in August, asking that the joke be removed when the episode is shown on television. He said he received no reply.

MacFarlane brought up the line during a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, predicting he will get attacked for it in the media. “But in context,” he said, “it’s pretty funny.”

Winter said he didn’t think the subject was worth joking about, and said he was particularly concerned about its exposure to younger viewers who may be fans of “The Simpsons,” but are not familiar with the “Family Guy” style of comedy.

It’s not the first time the animated “Family Guy” has gotten its creators in hot water. Here are some other examples:

• Fox declined to air an episode, “Partial Terms of Endearment,” during the 2009-10 season when family matriarch Lois Griffin contemplates an abortion. She was acting as a surrogate for a couple killed in an auto accident before the baby was born. Fox executives said it was fragile subject matter at a sensitive time. The episode was later released on DVD.

• The episode, “When You Wish Upon a Weinstein” was criticized as anti-Semitic by The Forward, a newspaper that spotlights Jewish issues. In it, the character Peter sings a song titled “I Need a Jew.” Fox initially declined to air it, and it was shown first on Adult Swim on the Cartoon Network in 2003. Fox then aired it the next year.

• Advocates for people living with AIDS criticized a 2005 episode in which Peter was part of a barbershop quartet that dressed in red vests and danced around a man’s hospital bed singing a song titled, “You Have AIDS.”

• Sarah Palin called the show’s writers “heartless jerks” for a 2010 episode in which the character Chris dated a girl with Down syndrome. When Chris asked what her parents did, she replied: “My dad’s an accountant, and my mom is the former governor of Alaska.” Palin, who had resigned as Alaska governor months earlier, has a son with Down syndrome.

Fox’s entertainment division, through a spokeswoman, said it would not comment on the criticism or whether there are any second thoughts about the joke in the episode scheduled to air later this week.