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: 589527

Reported Deaths: 7333
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1221311726
Ramsey51028871
Dakota45667448
Anoka41421437
Washington26724281
Stearns22139221
St. Louis17682302
Scott17201124
Wright15943139
Olmsted1319098
Sherburne1160286
Carver1044945
Clay812792
Rice8014106
Blue Earth746141
Crow Wing660988
Kandiyohi652083
Chisago592551
Otter Tail572978
Benton565997
Goodhue475772
Douglas464674
Mower464032
Winona452950
Itasca432254
McLeod421658
Isanti417364
Morrison417360
Nobles407248
Beltrami392458
Steele384915
Polk382468
Becker378850
Lyon359850
Carlton344153
Freeborn341129
Pine326722
Nicollet323843
Brown304640
Mille Lacs302452
Le Sueur289222
Todd280632
Cass269628
Meeker254340
Waseca236522
Martin229831
Roseau207919
Wabasha20483
Hubbard187141
Dodge18373
Renville178943
Redwood172936
Houston171515
Cottonwood164321
Fillmore155510
Wadena155122
Pennington153619
Chippewa151838
Faribault151319
Kanabec143424
Sibley142510
Aitkin134236
Watonwan13219
Rock128019
Jackson121711
Pipestone115126
Yellow Medicine113820
Pope10956
Murray10609
Swift104918
Stevens90211
Marshall88017
Clearwater86416
Koochiching81715
Lake80819
Wilkin80712
Lac qui Parle75022
Big Stone5984
Lincoln5773
Grant5678
Mahnomen5459
Norman5399
Unassigned48793
Kittson48522
Red Lake3957
Traverse3685
Lake of the Woods3223
Cook1610

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 366197

Reported Deaths: 5929
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk57488623
Linn20814334
Scott19960240
Black Hawk15785308
Woodbury15121228
Johnson1445783
Dubuque13355209
Dallas1116198
Pottawattamie11091168
Story1059248
Warren575888
Clinton554393
Cerro Gordo538089
Sioux513874
Webster512193
Marshall482175
Muscatine477499
Des Moines454366
Wapello4297122
Buena Vista424540
Jasper418672
Plymouth400680
Lee375055
Marion361775
Jones298157
Henry291137
Carroll285452
Bremer283960
Crawford265840
Boone263934
Benton256055
Washington253950
Dickinson247843
Mahaska229951
Jackson221242
Clay215325
Kossuth215264
Delaware209240
Tama209271
Winneshiek196934
Page192622
Buchanan190731
Cedar189423
Hardin184943
Fayette184841
Wright184336
Hamilton179449
Harrison179373
Clayton169256
Butler164634
Mills161722
Madison161519
Floyd160342
Cherokee158738
Lyon157741
Poweshiek154733
Allamakee151151
Iowa148324
Hancock147634
Winnebago141731
Calhoun138113
Cass137954
Grundy136233
Emmet134040
Jefferson132435
Shelby130737
Sac130119
Union128133
Appanoose128049
Louisa127849
Mitchell126042
Chickasaw123915
Guthrie121030
Franklin119321
Humboldt118826
Palo Alto112523
Howard104522
Montgomery103338
Clarke99924
Unassigned9770
Keokuk95631
Monroe95129
Ida90334
Adair86432
Pocahontas85322
Davis82824
Monona82830
Osceola78516
Greene77610
Lucas77123
Worth7438
Taylor65712
Fremont6229
Decatur6089
Van Buren55618
Ringgold55524
Wayne53723
Audubon50810
Adams3384
Rochester
Clear
60° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 60°
Mason City
Clear
58° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 58°
Albert Lea
Partly Cloudy
61° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 61°
Austin
Partly Cloudy
59° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 59°
Charles City
Clear
° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: °
Gradual warm-up this week
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events