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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."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 480845

Reported Deaths: 6511
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin997381576
Ramsey42744796
Dakota35818383
Anoka33010383
Washington21862253
Stearns18683200
St. Louis14655262
Scott13119107
Wright12414114
Olmsted1170088
Sherburne866373
Carver756340
Clay683686
Rice664291
Blue Earth587235
Kandiyohi576674
Crow Wing514780
Chisago493644
Otter Tail479470
Benton441390
Winona414248
Mower400231
Douglas390768
Nobles385347
Goodhue383368
Polk341062
McLeod336349
Beltrami335350
Morrison321846
Lyon311543
Itasca308545
Becker307841
Isanti303453
Carlton298544
Steele297611
Pine280616
Freeborn276823
Nicollet252341
Todd244030
Brown240737
Le Sueur230520
Mille Lacs225747
Cass218124
Waseca206917
Meeker205534
Martin186728
Wabasha18543
Roseau178317
Hubbard159740
Houston156414
Dodge15124
Renville147340
Redwood146327
Fillmore13648
Chippewa135735
Cottonwood133520
Wadena128120
Pennington127016
Faribault121716
Aitkin117833
Sibley116410
Rock115513
Watonwan11518
Kanabec106719
Pipestone100724
Yellow Medicine97617
Murray9418
Jackson92510
Swift87218
Pope7885
Marshall76815
Stevens7378
Lake72617
Clearwater71514
Lac qui Parle68216
Wilkin66510
Koochiching61711
Big Stone5123
Lincoln5032
Grant4888
Norman4648
Mahnomen4377
Unassigned43668
Kittson40721
Red Lake3544
Traverse3015
Lake of the Woods2131
Cook1190

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 359747

Reported Deaths: 5357
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk57625545
Linn20536311
Scott18203205
Black Hawk16187286
Woodbury14875211
Johnson1374173
Dubuque13480194
Dallas1123790
Pottawattamie10716140
Story1012945
Warren550271
Clinton540783
Cerro Gordo531080
Webster515686
Marshall493772
Sioux491568
Buena Vista469736
Des Moines455059
Muscatine446789
Wapello4261107
Jasper406865
Plymouth393377
Lee373551
Marion356969
Jones293854
Henry292535
Carroll284048
Bremer276554
Crawford272035
Boone258230
Washington253145
Benton250454
Mahaska223145
Jackson220438
Dickinson216338
Tama211564
Kossuth206954
Clay192925
Hamilton191641
Delaware188539
Winneshiek186926
Fayette184033
Buchanan183630
Page181619
Hardin179638
Wright179131
Harrison178969
Cedar175522
Clayton168153
Butler165731
Floyd162439
Mills162420
Cherokee153535
Madison153418
Poweshiek153429
Hancock146529
Lyon145441
Iowa143823
Allamakee143644
Appanoose138447
Grundy138230
Jefferson137532
Winnebago137530
Calhoun133010
Cass132448
Mitchell130040
Louisa127941
Union125931
Chickasaw124613
Sac123718
Emmet120740
Shelby119933
Franklin118319
Humboldt116725
Guthrie116028
Montgomery104036
Palo Alto103921
Howard102421
Clarke99220
Keokuk97529
Unassigned9300
Monroe92628
Adair91626
Ida90732
Pocahontas85419
Davis82223
Monona81525
Greene76610
Lucas73121
Osceola70014
Worth6907
Taylor66312
Fremont5869
Decatur5729
Van Buren55818
Ringgold51416
Wayne48621
Audubon4839
Adams3244
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