March 21, 2017 Last Updated 8:22 am

FBI confirmation of Trump-Russia investigation is front page news for many editors, but many papers in the South bury story

Morning Brief: While many US papers choose to only run national news inside their sections, dedicating the front page to local and state reporting, a large number of papers appeared to decide that the news did not fit their world view

The confirmation yesterday that the FBI was conducting an investigation into the possible coordination between Kremlin and Trump campaign during last year’s election was front page news in many newspapers across the country this morning. But while if you believe every editor thinks the biggest thing going on yesterday was the hearing on Capitol Hill I am afraid you would be wrong.

Just as a week ago, when most papers thought the just released CBO report on Trumpcare was front page news, many newspaper, especially in the South chose to bury the news – or at least not use their front page to play it up. The same is true again this morning.

There are reasons for this, to be sure. Some newspaper, as a policy, run their national news inside the A section, or at the front of the next section. But this rule is broken all the time when the editor thinks the news is important enough. That some editors don’t that the Comey story rose to that level is astonishing.

In fact, several papers went out of their way to run stories favorable to the president this morning. The Louisville Courier-Journal covered the president’s visit to Louisville yesterday and today is running three stories favorable to the president. Nowhere on the front page, or the home page online, is the story about yesterday’s hearing.

The Arizona Daily Star (Tucson) dedicates a small box on its front page to Comey’s testimony, but sticks to more local news on the rest of the front page.


As you might expect, when it came to newspapers across the globe, the Comey revelation was front page news only occasionally. In Canada, both The Globe and Mail and National Post, both national papers, featured the story on their front page this morning.

Quite a number of newspapers in Europe featured the Congressional hearing as front page news, but things were more complicated in Europe. Yesterday, Prime Minister Theresa May set the date when Article 50 will be triggered, formally beginning the Brexit process. That news dominated many newspapers. In France, candidates for president debated yesterday, clearly the most important thing going on the country. In Germany, however, Comey’s admission that the FBI was investigating the Trump campaign was featured on many of the major newspapers.


There likely would not have even been a House hearing had not the president tweeted that he believed President Obama order the bugging of Trump Tower, an idea he got into his head thanks to Breitbart News, which was repeating a claim made by a radio personality. It was a stupid idea, but the president tweeted about it, nonetheless, then doubled down on the claim when met with resistance.

The president then made it worse by bringing up a theory proposed by Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano who claimed that the network had heard that it was the Brits. No, Fox News had not heard that, but the president made a point during his public remarks made with visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel of mentioning Napolitano’s claims.

The president tweets what he reads on Breitbart or sees on Fox News, making the job of the editors at both outlets a little more difficult. Both are used to throwing out nonsense, designed to stir up their readers or viewers, to reinforce certain beliefs. But what if the president reads or views that content?

In the case of Napolitano, his claims were so over the top that it forced Fox News to immediately walk them back, though not before the president had repeated them. In response, it appears that Napolitano will be taking a break from Fox News appearances.

But The Washington Times (see below) has decided to double down on Napolitano’s claims, essentially saying that he is right. They better hope the president is not reading or they will be having to do a public walk-back, as well.

Los Angeles Times, Stephen Battaglio:

Fox News pulls Judge Napolitano over his Trump wiretap claims

Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano is being kept off the air indefinitely amid the controversy over his unverified claims that British intelligence wiretapped Trump Tower at the behest of former President Obama…
People familiar with the situation who could speak only on the condition of anonymity said Napolitano is not expected to be on Fox News Channel any time in the near future. Napolitano was not available for comment.

On March 4, President Trump first tweeted the accusation that Obama ordered his “‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory.”

“Nothing found,” Trump tweeted. “This is McCarthyism!”

The tweet has been widely discredited, but last week, Napolitano heightened the controversy — and caused a major embarrassment for Fox News — when he presented a scenario on several programs that backed the accusation.

The Washington Times, Cheryl K. Chumley:

Fox parts with Napolitano amid wiretap fizzle

And on March 16, Napolitano doubled down on the claims in a penned piece for FoxNews.com, that went like this:

“The question of whether former President Barack Obama actually spied on President Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign and transition has been tantalizing Washington since President Trump first made the allegation nearly two weeks ago. Since then, three investigations have been launched — one by the FBI, one by the House of Representatives and one by the Senate. Are the investigators chasing a phantom, or did this actually happen? … Sources have told me the that the British foreign surveillance service, the … GCHQ, most likely provided Obama with transcripts of Trump’s calls. … So by bypassing all American intelligence services, Obama would have had access to what he wanted with no Obama administration fingerprints.”

…Napolitano’s not been on Fox since last Thursday. But count on this: He won’t be long gone from his pundit position. Napolitano, through the years, has been a consistent voice for the Constitution, from a limited government point of view, and a no-nonsense analyst with a talent for slicing through the bull pushed by the far left. On top of that, his wiretap discussions weren’t borne of thin air — they were actually based on intelligence sources and carefully worded viewpoints. Put it this way: Fake news, he ain’t.

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