White House comms aide Bill Shine on banned CNN reporter: Ask her if we ever used the word "ban"

What is he suggesting? That the yesterday’s episode is some sort of misunderstanding?

If it’s a misunderstanding, Shine’s own office seems to be under the same misunderstanding:

Unless they’re being very lawyerly with the phrase “not welcome to participate,” she was banned. Did Shine tell her, maybe, that he would “prefer” — hint hint hint — that she not attend Trump’s presser with Jean-Claude Juncker without specifically threatening to remove her if she tried? Her network needs to maintain basic White House access; if the new comms guy “advised” her to stay away and she had defied him, a real and more comprehensive ban on CNN might have been laid down.

Or does he mean to say that while Collins personally was banned, CNN wasn’t?

I don’t understand why he’s hedging. From Trump’s perspective, you can’t be too hostile to CNN:

On the first couple’s recent trip overseas, Melania Trump’s television aboard Air Force One was tuned to CNN. President Trump was not pleased.

He raged at his staff for violating a rule that the White House entourage should begin each trip tuned to Fox — his preferred network over what he considers the “fake news” CNN — and caused “a bit of a stir” aboard Air Force One, according to an email obtained by The New York Times…

At the end of the email chain, officials confirmed that tuning the TVs to Fox would be standard operating procedure going forward. On Wednesday, Mrs. Trump’s spokeswoman issued a statement to CNN saying that the first lady watches “any channel she wants.”

It was less than two weeks ago that Trump refused a question from Jim Acosta at a press conference with Theresa May. The obvious play for Shine was to kiss up to his new boss by doubling down: “Damn right I banned ‘fake news’ and I’ll do it again!” Trump would have loved that. I assume that Shine hedged because he’s caught between his new job and his old friends at Fox News, who are siding with Collins and CNN on this. Remember, she wasn’t just representing her own network yesterday; she was the pool reporter, assigned to follow the president around for the day and keep *all* news bureaus up to speed on what he was doing. In a sense she was Fox’s reporter too, which is why “Collins was banned but CNN wasn’t” doesn’t really answer the charge. And the questions she shouted at Trump earlier were anodyne, just news-of-the-day material about Michael Cohen and the tapes that any reporter would ask. It’s rude to shout questions at someone, to be sure, but it’s standard industry practice. And Trump sometimes answers those questions. Why be offended this time?

The Weekly Standard calls Trump’s obsession with cable news’s third-place also-ran “CNN Derangement Syndrome.” It *is* weird. He rarely has a harsh word to say about the MSNBC crew that hammers him day and night but he’ll tangle with Acosta, ban Collins, snipe at Tapper at Twitter, and on and on. My pet theory is that it all comes back to Jeff Zucker. Zucker was the president of NBC Entertainment when Mark Burnett pitched the network on a reality show called “The Apprentice.” He helped make Trump a TV star, then he left NBC for CNN and helped make Trump a viable presidential candidate by deluging him with free airtime in 2015 and 2016. Now his network attacks Trump ’round the clock. Trump probably considers it a personal betrayal by a “friend.” That’s why he can’t let it go.

Here’s poor Lou Dobbs, a guy who shills for Trump every bit as hard as Hannity but remains overshadowed by his Fox News counterpart, breaking from his network’s stance yesterday and calling Collins “disrespectful.” Various reporters are noting on Twitter that righties were A-OK with journalists shouting uncomfortable questions at the president when Neil Munro did it for the Daily Caller at Obama’s expense in 2012. “That’s what reporters do, try to get their questions answered,” said the Caller’s then-boss, Tucker Carlson, at the time. “And that’s what politicians do, try not to answer questions. They come out and make a statement and run back into their fortress. Why should we play along?” (Fun fact: Collins’s last media job before joining CNN was at … the Daily Caller.) True enough, right-wing attitudes are different this time — but so are left-wing attitudes, as you may recall from the media grumbling that followed Munro’s exchange with Obama. It’s just tribalism, nothing more.

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