President Donald Trump’s allies in conservative media on Monday moved to dismiss or ignore a bombshell Washington Post article, which CNN has confirmed the main points of, reporting that he shared classified information with Russian officials last week.
“Looks like more ‘fake news,'” tweeted Fox News host Sean Hannity, a strong supporter of the president, after seeing the report that Trump had given the information to the Russian foreign minister and Russian ambassador during a meeting.
Other hosts on Fox News, the cable news network which provides the most favorable coverage to Trump, also appeared to downplay the story. During the shows hosted by Martha MacCallum and Tucker Carlson, several segments strayed from the bombshell news and were instead devoted to controversies on college campuses, an unusual editorial decision given the magnitude of the Post’s story.
On the Fox News website, the news was buried low on the homepage. After seeing the outlet’s online coverage, a longtime Fox News employee even reacted in shock, with a single word: “Wowza.”
But while Fox News may have moved at least initially to sweep the story under the rug, Trump’s most vocal supporters in far-right media went on the offensive.
“DEEP STATE STRIKES,” blared a headline on Breitbart, the far-right website previously led by White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, “Leaks Classified Info to Washington Post to Smear Trump.”
“MORE LEAKS SMEAR PRESIDENT,” declared a headline on the Drudge Report, the highly-trafficked conservative news destination whose founder has reportedly visited with Trump in the White House.
The Gateway Pundit, a far-right website whose stories have been shared by Trump on Twitter, dismissed the report as a “crap WaPo hit piece.”
And self-described “New Right” media personalty Mike Cernovich, who has had a handful of scoops related to the White House since Trump took office, appeared to attack the individuals who leaked the story to the Post.
“The ‘intelligence community’ is so outraged by Trump’s alleged opsec breach that they leaked the breach to WaPo?” he rhetorically asked in a message sent to CNN. “Seems legit!”
CNNMoney (New York) First published May 15, 2017: 9:51 PM ET