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Devin Nunes' Trumpian media strategy

"You know the rules," U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes told reporters on Monday, "we don't talk about committee...

Posted: Feb 7, 2018 11:54 AM
Updated: Feb 7, 2018 11:54 AM

"You know the rules," U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes told reporters on Monday, "we don't talk about committee business."

But Nunes does talk about his work -- with hand-picked interviewers from President Trump's favorite media outlets.

The House intelligence committee chairman has granted three interviews to Fox News since the release of his one-sided memo alleging that the FBI abused its surveillance authority.

While some of the memo's main assertions have been disputed, Trump has embraced it as evidence of a plot against his presidency.

Nunes is telling people to stay tuned, promising more revelations to come -- but he's really only speaking to Trump's base. He has declined non-Fox interview requests and avoided opportunities to speak with the Capitol Hill press corps.

He briefly spoke with The Weekly Standard to clear up something he said on Fox last Friday. And he called into Rush Limbaugh's conservative talk show on Monday. Other than that, it's been all Fox, according to transcript searches.

A spokesman for Nunes did not respond to requests for comment from CNN.

The congressman's media strategy seems to be focused on the conservative echo chamber, rather than the public at large. This suggests his goal is affirmation -- reinforcing preexisting beliefs on the right -- rather than persuasion.

Two media outlets friendly to the White House, Fox News and the Washington Examiner, received advance information about the memo's contents before the document was officially released last Friday.

Hours later, Nunes gave his first interview to Bret Baier, the widely respected Fox News evening anchor.

Nunes said the memo was only "phase one," triggering lots of headlines about the possibility of more to come.

In the days since, skeptics have poked holes in some of the Republican memo's assertions and demanded the release of the Democrats' competing memo.

But Nunes has only granted interviews to shows that are openly supporting his position. He was on "Fox & Friends" on Monday morning, Limbaugh in the afternoon, and Sean Hannity's Fox show on Monday night.

In some ways he's taking a page from the president, by seeking out sympathetic interviewers.

Much of his conversation with Limbaugh was about his dissatisfaction with the news media.

"Almost every story is fake news," he said. "Almost every story that runs about me is fake."

He said he ignores some journalists because "all they'll do is take whatever I say and take it out of context."

On Hannity's show, Nunes claimed "the mainstream media is totally uninterested" in covering his allegations of surveillance abuse.

"It's crickets from the media," he said, even though the memo fight has been one of the top stories in the country for the past week.

In recent days, Nunes has sarcastically used the slogan of The Washington Post, "democracy dies in darkness," to claim his findings are being ignored.

"I mean, democracy does die in darkness. The problem is the darkness is emanating from the mainstream media themselves. I mean, they refuse, they absolutely refuse to cover the truth," he told Limbaugh.

On Tuesday, when CNN's Manu Raju asked Nunes if the White House had any role in the memo -- as has been widely suspected -- the congressman responded, "Democracy dies in darkness, my friend. Get to work."

On the radio, Limbaugh urged Nunes to give more interviews -- not to journalists, but to sympathetic ears like his own.

"The more the public can hear from you, the better. Unedited," he said.

At the end of the call, Nunes said, "Hey, thanks a lot, Rush, and I'd love be to be on again."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 91935

Reported Deaths: 2780
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds6903153
DeSoto532153
Harrison368771
Jackson334367
Madison318086
Rankin313473
Lee254066
Jones236078
Forrest231069
Washington215671
Lafayette203039
Lauderdale1984123
Bolivar177465
Oktibbeha173749
Lamar156633
Neshoba1524103
Panola140926
Sunflower138543
Lowndes138457
Warren136650
Leflore134380
Pontotoc120416
Pike120148
Monroe117665
Scott115925
Copiah115433
Coahoma110927
Holmes108458
Marshall106714
Grenada104535
Lincoln104453
Yazoo103429
Simpson100142
Union96524
Tate94537
Leake93535
Adams89135
Wayne87121
Pearl River84850
Marion83633
Covington79321
Prentiss78617
Alcorn75310
Newton74722
Itawamba74121
George73913
Tallahatchie73418
Winston71919
Tishomingo65035
Attala63625
Chickasaw63524
Tippah63516
Walthall58925
Clay56216
Hancock55420
Noxubee54015
Jasper53615
Clarke52538
Smith51714
Calhoun50612
Tunica47213
Montgomery45020
Claiborne44916
Lawrence42212
Yalobusha41314
Perry39016
Humphreys36915
Quitman3625
Stone34611
Greene33516
Webster32813
Jefferson Davis32211
Carroll30812
Amite30710
Wilkinson30117
Kemper28515
Sharkey25812
Jefferson2359
Benton2151
Franklin1863
Choctaw1775
Issaquena1033
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 128818

Reported Deaths: 2284
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson18648332
Mobile12949288
Montgomery8560170
Madison736573
Tuscaloosa7015112
Lee558259
Shelby550149
Baldwin502148
Marshall376342
Etowah326344
Calhoun321139
Morgan312925
Houston260621
Elmore247547
DeKalb230119
St. Clair218134
Walker217780
Talladega199925
Limestone191919
Cullman180017
Franklin172728
Dallas172526
Russell16912
Autauga162424
Lauderdale159231
Colbert157224
Escambia154324
Blount150413
Jackson146610
Chilton143325
Dale128042
Covington127027
Coffee12388
Pike11329
Tallapoosa112483
Chambers110642
Clarke104417
Marion91428
Butler90238
Barbour8097
Marengo69319
Winston68512
Lowndes64327
Pickens62214
Bibb6179
Hale60828
Bullock58514
Randolph58512
Lawrence57620
Monroe5708
Washington54513
Geneva5404
Perry5356
Wilcox52911
Cherokee52816
Clay5187
Conecuh51611
Crenshaw51531
Macon46619
Henry4524
Sumter41719
Fayette4128
Choctaw34212
Lamar3302
Cleburne3116
Greene29915
Coosa1573
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