Jake Tapper Slams Trump's Obama Wiretap As 'Nonsense' Conspiracy Theory

CNN’s Jake Tapper took on the latest controversy emanating from the Twitter postings of President Donald Trump — the four tweets fired off Saturday morning that accused former President Barack Obama, without any verifiable substantiation, of wiretapping Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential campaign. The postings touched off a firestorm of conjecture and speculation on social media and on the 24-hour news services, with many questioning the president’s sources but also debating the veracity and the validity of the claims. Within hours, the sources had been tracked to a trail of conservative media outlets that had been speculating on what kind of information (and how it may have been obtained) the Obama administration had on the Trump camp during the 2016 presidential campaign. “The big question, of course, where did the president get this latest conspiracy theory from?” Tapper asked, anchoring CNN’s The Lead on Monday. “As we reported,” Tapper continued, “White House officials say the president’s sources were various conservative outlets, most prominently, perhaps, radio host Mark Levin, who seemed to take three basic chunks of information and combine them into one conspiracy theory of what he calls a silent coup going on by the intelligence community and former Obama administration officials.” Tapper listed those “chunks of information”: “One, leaks from the Intelligence Committee calling out Trump administration officials for giving out inaccurate information about their contacts with the Russians and other stories. Two, news reports that the FBI is investigating possible contacts between Trump campaign advisers and Russians. And, three, unconfirmed reports in the British press that the FBI may have sought FISA warrants to monitor Trump campaign communications.” At least one unconfirmed report had come from The Guardian. The trail of conservative media that started with the Levin radio broadcast would come to included Fox News Channel and Breitbart News, the same outlet once headed by President Trump’s current chief strategist, Steve Bannon. Tapper noted that none of the conservative outlets had mentioned President Obama at all, “nor do they say wiretapping was ever approved on Mr. Trump himself.” Tapper then noted the “amazing detail” of President Trump’s accusation of then President Obama having Trump Tower wiretapped, something the president claimed as fact. “It would be bad enough if the president valued conjecture and accusations of these sources more than the facts that he has access to,” Tapper said. ” … But it’s actually worse than that. President Trump took what Levin and others were saying and made it even less tethered to fact.” Tapper said that where the media outlets had “alleged a conspiracy,” President Trump insisted it actually occurred and claimed that President Obama had ordered the wiretap. The CNN anchor brought up an earlier report that FBI Director James Comey had stated he was “incredulous” that the accusation had been made and had said it was “completely false.” But he also admitted that the President Trump had “legitimate reasons” to question the unprecedented number of leaks in his administration and the motivations behind them. But… “Keep in mind one not-irrelevant detail here for anyone trying to make sense of it all,” Tapper continued, shifting easily into commentary. “We’ve been here before, and this is not a land with much sense, or respect for facts. This is a place of conspiracy theories untethered to facts. And these theories are voiced by President Trump.” Jake Tapper of CNN’s “The Lead.” [Image by Scott Eisen/Getty Images] The anchor then listed several conspiracy theories that had been given voice by Trump, either as president or as candidate, president-elect, and/or private citizen. Barack Obama faked his birth certificate, thousands of New Jersey Muslims were on TV celebrating 9/11, Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the Kennedy assassination, vaccines cause autism, and implying that the deaths of Justice Antonin Scalia and top Clinton administration aide Vince Foster were something other than what has been officially reported. All false, he said. “It goes on and on,” Tapper said, “None of it’s true. And the people around President Trump who are enabling this nonsense, the ones who know better, you have to ask yourselves this question: Are you really serving the president? Are you really serving the American people?” President Donald Trump has accused former President Obama of having the Trump Tower in New York wiretapped while he was running for president, an accusation that has been reportedly based on unsubstantiated conspiracy theories. [Image by Drew Angerer/Getty Images] This is not Jake Tapper’s first time taking on the president and his association with conspiracy theories. Back in mid-February, President Trump, in addressing the resignation of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn (after it was revealed he had met with Russian operatives while part of Trump’s presidential campaign and not disclosed the contact), blamed the scandal and his ultimate firing on “fake news” and “conspiracy theories” in the media. Tapper was quick to point out that it was not fake news to report on sourced allegations or facts, but conspiracy theories, many of which have been espoused by President Trump himself (and which Tapper illustrated by showing video clips of Trump delving into conspiracy theories), were “nonsense.” [Featured Image by Andrew Harnik/AP Images]

ESPN Layoffs Will Affect Familiar On-Air Talent

Upcoming ESPN layoffs apparently will extend to familiar faces in front of the camera, those anchors and commentators which the media industry refers to as “talent,” according to a Sports Illustrated report, possibly amounting to about $100 million in salary cutbacks. In the summer of 2013, the self-named Worldwide Leader in Sports let go hundreds of behind-the-scenes production workers. This time evidently will be different, because viewers will know, at least eventually by their absence, the on-air personalities getting their walking papers. In the past several months, the Bristol-Connecticut-based TV/radio network has also cut ties with longtime hosts and panelists such as Chris Berman, among others. High-profile ESPN Grantland editor-in-chief Bill Simmons parted ways with ESPN in May 2015. SI claims that the layoffs are on the way through the spring and summer, as the ESPN financial model continues to struggle. “SI has learned that ESPN will have significant cost-cutting over the next four months on its talent side (people in front of the camera or audio/digital screen). Multiple sources said ESPN has been tasked with paring tens of millions of staff salary from its payroll, including staffers many viewers and readers will recognize. Those with contracts coming up would be particularly vulnerable, sources said. The company is also expected to buyout some existing contracts, which is something rare for ESPN historically beyond a few NFL talents. The cuts are expected to be completed by June. Sources within ESPN say that there is no set list of names yet and stressed that behind-the-scenes people will likely (key word) not be impacted by these cuts.” [Image by Jessica Hill/AP Images] As the Inquisitr previously reported, ESPN has become a drag on the earnings of parent company Disney as cord-cutters unsubscribe in droves. Through the end of 2016, Bristol, Connecticut-based ESPN had lost about 12 million subscribers from a 100 million high in 2011. Since ESPN collects about $7 for each cable or satellite subscriber whether they watch the sports network or not, the revenue loss is massive. ESPN, which takes in just 25 percent of its revenue from advertising unlike conventional networks, is reportedly bleeding 10,000 subscribers every day. Reacting to the news of impending layoffs, Variety noted that “The disclosure suggests ESPN has yet to right-size itself in a media economy in which more consumers have the option to pick and choose the outlets for which they pay.” Within the pro sports leagues that ESPN covers, this is often called a salary dump. Against this backdrop, in 2017 alone, the network is on the hook for $7 billion in broadcast programming rights fees to the NFL, NBA, MLB, and various college leagues. The NFL used to print money, but ratings were even down this year for the league substantially across the board, including NFL Monday Night Football on ESPN. According to CNN, in a statement, ESPN said, in part, that “we are in a continuous process of adapting to change and improving what we do. Inevitably that has consequences for how we utilize our talent.” [Image by Bob Child/AP Images] It’s unclear if Disney will be willing to subsidize ESPN moving forward as the red ink on the balance sheet grows. While this apparent collapse in its revenue stream is occurring, Fox Sports radio host Clay Travis (among others, such as former ESPN journalist Jason Whitlock who now works for FS1) insists that the formerly apolitical ESPN made the ill-advised decision to become the social justice warrior network “and only promote people who have left-leaning, liberal political beliefs, and then allow them to opine…on sports, and only cover athletes when they give left-leaning political answers, and praise them whenever they do so,” Travis declared in a Periscope transmission today embedded below. “That, my friends, is a recipe for disaster,” Travis claimed. Arian Foster vs wolf, ESPN firing dozens as network collapse continues, Trump goes Trump https://t.co/OB6C4wEOSk — Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) March 6, 2017 In December, ESPN itself seemed to acknowledge the politicization issue in a lengthy essay by its ombudsman (i.e., public editor) Jim Brady about the company’s move left that has alienated some of the viewing audience. Are you surprised that layoffs and buyouts appear to be in the future of ESPN? [Featured Image by Jessica Hill/AP Images]

ESPN Anchor Sage Steele Opens Up About Social Media Racism

Sage Steele recently opened up about the amount of racially charged comments that she receives presumably from detractors via social media. The host of ESPN SportsCenter On The Road and NBA Countdown, Steele 44, addressed the issue of racism directed at her while moderating the “Under Our Skin” forum at a Tampa, Florida, church. A few weeks ago, Steele drew strong criticism and ridicule from the social justice cohort on Twitter as well as those in her own profession for an Instagram message about the airport protests against President Trump’s temporary travel ban on seven Middle Eastern countries. While noting that she missed her flight from LAX to Houston in the run-up to the Super Bowl, Steele expressed sadness on Instagram about elderly people and parents with small children whose travel plans were similarly disrupted. During the Florida conference about the intersection of race and faith, Sage Steele addressed the subject of racism as it affects her personally, The Daily Wire reported. “There are times that I believe that we, as African-Americans, can be hypocritical, and that is to not look ourselves in the mirror when we are saying certain things and blaming other groups for one thing when we are doing the exact same thing. The worst racism that I have received [as a biracial woman married to white man], and I mean thousands and thousands over the years, is from black people, who in my mind thought would be the most accepting because there has been that experience. But even as recent as the last couple of weeks, the words that I have had thrown at me I can’t repeat here and it’s 99 percent from people with my skin color. But if a white person said those words to me, what would happen?” ESPN anchor Sage Steele claims she has experienced the ‘worst racism’ from Black folks https://t.co/san7XtKeTG pic.twitter.com/j6G11cigZ3 — NewsOne (@newsone) February 27, 2017 According to NewsOne, Steele added that “How do we, [with Christianity] as our foundation, address this honestly with each other and these communities? Because to me, if we don’t start with ourselves in any issue, how can you point the fingers at somebody else?” Former Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy and Baltimore Ravens tight end Benjamin Watson (wose book gave the conference its name) also spoke at the forum. NFL Hall of Famer Dungy said at the forum that he agreed with the sentiments expressed by Sage Steele, the Washington Times detailed. “Mr. Watson said people need to do a better job of understanding the different sides of the racial debate,” the Times added. Sage Steele’s latest comments have also prompted outrage on social media, some of which is of the vulgar variety. Several liberal websites have also condemned her allegations about black racism. “Although she was only recounting her personal experience, many Twitter users appeared to take Steele’s remarks as blaming the black community for racism in America…While Sage Steele continues to face backlash for sharing her views, she’s shown no indication that she plans to stop anytime soon,” the Independent Journal Review observed. Steele’s remarks appear to run counter to the dominant Disney-owned ESPN narrative, which through its on-air talent has gone full-on social justice warrior about politics, something that the network’s public editor (i.e., ombudsman) has acknowledged. In an essay on the ESPN website published in December 2016, Jim Brady conceded that the self-described Worldwide Leader in Sports has moved in a leftward direction, thereby alienating some viewers. For whatever reason or combination of reasons, ESPN is reportedly losing 10,000 subscribers per day. [Image by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP Images] In November, Sage Steele — whose father is a retired U.S. Army colonel and the first black player on Army’s varsity football team — criticized Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans for kneeling during the National Anthem to protest the election of President Trump. Hey @MikeEvans13_ look up definition of the word DEMOCRACY & remember this pic while kneeling/exercising your right to protest #perspective pic.twitter.com/kGruy3wEDe — Sage Steele (@sagesteele) November 14, 2016 A video of Sage Steele’s remarks at The Crossing Church in Tampa about racism has yet to surface; watch this space for updates. [Featured Image by Scott Roth/Invision/AP Images]

Jan Moir Reveals Angelina Jolie’s Dark Side, Is She Against Her?

Known for writing below-the-belt remarks and harsh comments on a number of famous celebs, Jan Moir fuels rumors on Angelina Jolie’s dark side in her recent article released by Daily Mail. Jan wrote against the well-known actress asking the question for the readers to answer, “should Angelina Jolie be idolized?” Who is Jan Moir? Jan Moir currently works for the Daily Mail as a British newspaper columnist, having previously worked for The Daily Telegraph and The Observer newspapers. She has won several awards in the journalism industry such as the “Lynda Lee-Potter award” for the outstanding woman journalist of the year and the British Press Awards “Interviewer of the Year” to name a few. [Image by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images] If some are known for having a harsh tongue, then Jan is someone who has a harsh mind. She is recognized for not sugarcoating her words and firing her blow on someone popular. Remember, that comment she made against Katherine Jenkins of being a fame-hungry attention seeker for wearing makeup while running in the London Marathon or calling the Dutch Cyclist Marianne Vos “some b**ch from Holland”? This woman is not someone that you should deal with so easily unless you want to get some third-degree burn from her. Recently, she has come under fire for Angelina Jolie’s supposedly angelic attitude and the BBC News’ lack of an outstanding interview with the actress. BBC’s not so spectacular interview with Angelina Jolie, says Jan Moir BBC News journalist Yalda Hakim had the opportunity to do a one-on-one interview with Angelina Jolie in a forest clearing in Cambodia and their meeting will be aired on Sunday’s News At Ten. The two women were barefooted as they sat cross-legged on a mattress, facing each other—not like any typical interview scene. Miss Hakim opened their discussion with Angelina’s new movie, First They Killed My Father, the first film the Hollywood star directed which is all about child abuse and the Cambodian massacre under the Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970s. Jolie then focused on her humanitarian vows and her concern for every individual’s welfare suffering from the cruelties of the world. First They Killed My Father: New Featurette – Directed by Angelina Jolie: https://t.co/2HAJFFN40D via @YouTube — Fãsde Angelina Jolie (@Fas_de_Angie) February 20, 2017 “I value human life, equally. Every single individual life,” she said in the interview. In the Daily Mail article, Jan Moir used Angelina’s statement above to point out her sour relationship with her ex-husband, Brad Pitt. Jan wrote that Angelina’s words were “snide, richly camouflaged but glancing blows which Miss Jolie landed on him during the interview.” The mother-of-six then told Hakim about her publicized divorce and tearfully added that she hopes for a stronger family despite the split. After that, the interview changes topic and focuses on Jolie’s routine in the morning. Jan Moir explicitly wrote that the interview should have just stuck with the “divorce” topic and not strayed elsewhere. The columnist mentioned that she didn’t actually blame Hakim’s lack of putting on a worthwhile interview because that attitude is “reflective of a Corporation-wide feebleness about mega-celebrities in general.” In simple words, she means that journalists are star struck when faced with highly-known celebrities. And that standards and protocol are not followed when it comes to meeting the famous. [Image by Jason Merritt/Getty Images] Putting on a show Jan gave us a new side of Angelina Jolie as she tackles in on her humanitarian work, hinting that it might all be for show as her acting career goes downhill and playing as a “victim” following the divorce. Although Jolie has done some good for the world, Jan left us a rhetorical question, “does she really deserve such worship?” The lengthy article ended with a meaningful conclusion—BBC delivers”tightly controlled interviews that put Angelina front and center as the good one…And that’s not news, it’s propaganda.” [Featured Image by Jordan Pix/Getty Images]

Andrea Tantaros Lawyer Claims Fox News Is Under Federal Criminal Investigation

The attorney representing Andrea Tantaros claims that her former employer, Fox News, is under federal criminal investigation. As yet unsubstantiated, the issue allegedly seems to be whether Fox News or its parent company, 21st Century Fox, properly disclosed sexual harassment payouts to several employees in required Securities and Exchange Commission filings or tried to hide the settlements from shareholders in an alleged violation of federal law. Tantaros’ lawyer, Judd Burstein, claims that one of his other clients, as yet unidentified, was subpoenaed to a federal grand jury as part of a supposed probe by the U.S. Attorney the Southern District of New York in Manhattan, the New York Daily News reported. “The investigation centers on whether Fox’s settlement payments to women alleging harassment were so material that they should have been disclosed to investors, according to a person familiar with the matter who declined to be named because details of the probe aren’t public,” Bloomberg explained. In a win for Fox News yesterday, a New York State Supreme Court judge ruled that Tantaros’ claims against the network will go to closed-door, binding arbitration rather than get sorted out in open court, as stipulated in her contract, which is standard in the industry. [Image by Mary Altaffer/AP Images] A Fox News spokeswoman responded to the attorney’s allegations that came up at the court hearing, the Hill noted. “The court granted FOX News’ motion to send Andrea Tantaros’ case to arbitration, where it always belonged, and rejected her counsel Judd Burstein’s histrionics. Apparently one of Mr. Burstein’s other clients has received a subpoena. Neither FOX News nor 21CF has received a subpoena, but we have been in communication with the U.S. Attorney’s office for months — we have and will continue to cooperate on all inquiries with any interested authorities.” Attorney Burstein also charges that Fox was spying on his client, according to NPR, while Fox executives asserted that the electronic surveillance allegation emerged “nearly six months after the Tantaros suit was filed and argued it was perfectly crafted to hit the company at a vulnerable time.” Burstein plans to file a separate legal complaint about the alleged snooping, USA Today detailed. Tantaros, 38, the popular ex-Outnumbered co-host, has been off the air since late April of 2016, which blocked her from providing analysis about the most unusual presidential election in U.S. history, something that in general can’t be good for any media pundit’s career or brand. The suspension also torpedoed the promotional launch of the fan favorite’s book Tied Up in Knots, a publication that figures prominently in the dispute. In August, Tantaros sued Fox News, former CEO Roger Ailes, and four other FNC defendants, claiming that the TV channel retaliated against her in the workplace for complaining to high-level executives there about alleged sexual harassment by Ailes. In legal papers, Tantaros characterized the network as a “Playboy Mansion-like cult” and also leveled accusations of misbehavior at other Fox News personalities. Part of the retaliation allegedly was in the form of a demotion from the higher-rated The Five to Outnumbered. [Image by Carlo Allegri/Invision/AP Images] Ailes and Fox have denied the allegations, and the channel insists that the suspension came because Tantaros failed to get pre-approval for her book manuscript and that Tantaros never lodged internal complaints about sexual harassment. In its response to the lawsuit, Fox also claimed that she was an “opportunist” and a “wannabe” sexual harassment victim. The network kept Andrea on the payroll, however, until October of 2016, when she appeared on Good Morning America to discuss the sexual harassment accusations, which violated a contractual confidentiality provision. Andrea Tantaros apparently has previously rejected a seven-figure settlement offer from Fox. [Featured Image by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP Images]