Pro-Trump media sweeps Stormy Daniels story under rug

Stormy Daniels shared her story in 2011
Stormy Daniels shared her story in 2011

President Trump might be facing a period of stormy news coverage over allegations he paid to cover up an affair with a porn star, but it's mostly clear skies in the conservative media universe.

Stephanie Clifford, whose stage name is Stormy Daniels, made national headlines earlier this week when she filed a lawsuit against Trump alleging he never signed a non-disclosure agreement that prevented her from speaking out about their alleged sexual relationship. Trump has denied the alleged affair, but on Wednesday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders conceded the existence of a non-disclosure agreement when she said arbitration had been won "in the President's favor."

The revelations ricocheted through the mainstream press. It was on the front page of Thursday's edition of The New York Times and given prominent placement in the Washington Post. Both CNN and MSNBC spent ample time discussing it on air.

Things were starkly different in the right-wing media world on Thursday morning. There was not one article about the latest Stormy Daniels developments featured prominently on the Fox News homepage. A search in TV Eyes, a media monitoring search engine, returned only two segments in which the unfolding drama was discussed on the network Thursday morning.

On the web, there was a similar blackout. The Drudge Report, a highly-trafficked conservative news website from which the right-wing press frequently takes its editorial cues, featured zero stories on the matter.

Breitbart, the pro-Trump website previously headed by Steve Bannon, the former White House chief strategist, had a pair of stories on its homepage, but they were not given prime placement.

Similarly, there was one story on the homepage of The Daily Caller, a conservative news website founded by Fox News host Tucker Carlson, but it was buried under a slew of other stories.

Representatives for Fox News and Breitbart did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Daily Caller's editor-in-chief Geoffrey Ingersoll told CNN in an email that "every Stormy story has been on our front page," and that their front page is a "combination of competition and editor choice."

"We typically reserve the top spot for our own reported out scoops, so we have something different to offer our audience," he said.

It's not uncommon for outlets favorable to Trump to sweep stories critical of his administration under the rug. It has become a pattern for the right-wing media to focus on stories more palatable to its base instead of those that could reflect poorly on the president

Last month, Fox News mostly ignored a scandal that engulfed the White House for several days when Rob Porter, the former staff secretary, resigned amid allegations he physically abused two ex-wives. When Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and a senior White House adviser, had his security clearance downgraded later in February, it was the top story on nearly every major news outlet except Fox News.

It should be noted that some of these outlets did cover the Stormy Daniels story with more fervor on Wednesday after Sander's press briefing. But considering the salacious allegations made by Clifford, and the White House's acknowledgment of a non-disclosure agreement, it is somewhat surprising the story isn't continuing to receive more attention from the conservative media.

--CNN's Hadas Gold contributed reporting to this story.


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