Flynn resignation: Fox, Breitbart focus on leaks

President Trump: Leaks are the 'real story'
President Trump: Leaks are the 'real story'

While most news outlets gave wall-to-wall coverage of the resignation of his national security adviser on Tuesday, President Donald Trump tried to draw attention to the "real story."

Why, Trump wondered on Twitter, "are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington?"

In this case, Trump was referring to the leaks to investigative journalists at the Washington Post, New York Times and other publications about Michael Flynn's ties to Russia. That reporting ultimately led to Flynn's resignation late Monday as Trump's national security adviser.

There were at least a couple of outlets, however, that gave ample coverage to what Trump described as the "real story." Fox News, in contrast to its cable news competitors, repeatedly framed Flynn's resignation as a betrayal of trust between the White House and intelligence community.

Related: How leaks and investigative journalists led to Flynn's resignation

Trump's tweet came about 90 minutes after an interview on "Fox & Friends" with conservative pundit Laura Ingraham, a Trump booster who was floated as a possible White House press secretary, about what she described as "death by a thousand leaks."

"We've seen a leak problem," Ingraham said, adding that "the left smells blood."

Co-host Steve Doocy echoed that sentiment in the same segment.

"Whatever happened to secrets in Washington?" he lamented.

Later Tuesday morning, Fox anchor Shannon Bream characterized Flynn's resignation in a similarly partisan fashion.

"The left smells blood in the water and never let up on Flynn," Bream said. "And here we are."

During the noon hour, Meghan McCain, a Fox News host and the daughter of Sen. John McCain, said the White House has a "leaking problem" that she said is "undermining the administration."

"What General Flynn did is a fireable offense... But beyond that, let's not pretend they're not trying to undermine the Trump administration," McCain said on the panel show "Outnumbered."

Appearing on the same program, Fox anchor David Asman said that Republicans "have to get ahead" of the controversy because "Democrats smell blood in the water."

Flynn himself clearly felt burned by the leaks. In an interview with the conservative website The Daily Caller prior to his resignation, Flynn decried the "crime" of classified information being provided to reporters.

"You call them leaks," he said, according to The Daily Caller. "It's a criminal act. This is a crime. It's not just a wink and a nod."

Related: How the Trump administration sidesteps tough questions

The tenor was much the same on Breitbart, a vehemently pro-Trump outlet that until August was run by Steve Bannon, now White House chief strategist.

A story published by the site late Monday said that Flynn's resignation "raises troubling questions about the role of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the intelligence services."

The story's author, Breitbart senior editor-at-large Joel Pollak, questioned "whether our nation's intelligence services were involved in what amounts to political espionage against the newly-elected government."

InfoWars, the conspiratorial right-wing outlet that has also been in Trump's corner, described the resignation as "part of an ongoing effort by the military-industrial complex to sabotage President Trump and re-assert control over foreign policy."

Fox News certainly did not ignore Flynn's resignation on Tuesday; a review of transcripts showed that it was discussed on the channel multiple times each hour since 5 a.m. on Tuesday.

fox news home page flynn

But Fox also did not treat it as the major story that virtually every major news organization did. On air, Fox anchors gave nearly as much time discussing recent raids by immigration officials that led to the arrests of more than 600 people.

And while homepages for CNN, NBC News, the New York Times and others ran large banner headlines on Flynn's resignation all morning on Tuesday,'s top story during the 10 a.m. hour had shifted to a report on potential terrain problems with the construction of Trump's proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

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By late morning, the site's top story was once again about Flynn, but with a specific focus on the leaks.

"WHO'S LEAKING INFO?," blared the top headline. "Trump, GOP hunt mole in wake of Flynn ouster."


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