Accuracy in Media

Even at the National Prayer Breakfast, the mainstream media kept Stormy Daniels in the news.

According to the Raw Story, NBC News’ Kristen Welker asked the president why his lawyer, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani,  “admitted that Trump paid back Michael Cohen for the $130,000 in hush money that was paid to Daniels, even though the president had insisted that he did not know about the payment.”

Some of the attendees shouted “shame” at Walker for asking the question, the Raw Story reported.

It then quoted several reporters who supported the idea of asking about a payoff for an alleged affair with a porn star at a prayer breakfast.

“We are behind a rope,” NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell said from the White House. “This is always a delicate balance when there are scheduled events. We have a job to do, day in and day out, regardless of the subject matter of the event. We always try to calibrate the appropriateness of asking questions at a certain time.

“And when the president has made a significant change in his public statements about an event and a situation that has a real impact on his presidency, there is a responsibility to try to ask these questions. I can tell you that members that were guests here were not pleased that there were reports being done from the back of the Rose Garden or comments like questions being asked from reporters.”

This apparently was one of those cases when decorum had to be abandoned.

CNN did not lead its story with a mention of the new faith-based agenda, which, according to the White House will provide recommendations on how administration policies affect faith-based and community groups; find ways to cooperate with faith-based and community groups to fight poverty; apprise the administration should it fail in any way to protect religious liberty and reduce the burdens on the free exercise of religion.

Instead, it led with Daniels.

“Trump silent on porn star payment storm at National Day of Prayer,” its headline read.

“The fresh admission that he had reimbursed his attorney for a porn star’s hush payment did not deter President Donald Trump from heralding his commitment to religious faith in the Rose Garden on Thursday,” the story began.

“Instead, he appeared upbeat and unperturbed as he signed an executive order creating an initiative focused on religious liberty and faith-based programs.”

CNN provided the president’s key quote, that “prayer always has been at the center of American life, because America is a nation of believers,” then returned to Daniels coverage.

“Trump made no mention of the reimbursement, which he’d acknowledged hours earlier on Twitter,” it wrote. “… Instead, Trump sought to underscore his own religious bona fides, including his insistence that he’d revived the use of the term ‘one nation under God.’”

The Washington Post did not mention Daniels except in a throwaway two-graph aside deep in the body of its story on the event. But its headline read, “Amid Stormy Daniels news, Trump announces faith-based effort on National Day of Prayer.”

It did provide something other outlets didn’t – quotes critical of Trump’s efforts to work with faith-based groups to alleviate poverty and promote religious liberty.

It quoted Melissa Rogers, whom it identified as having served as executive director of the White House Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships under President Obama, who took issue with the directives.

“At the event today, President Trump should retract and apologize for his call for a ‘total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,’” she wrote to the Post in an email.

“’President Trump should also pledge to respect and vigorously protect the equal rights of Americans of all faiths and none, including the rights of American Muslims to religious freedom.’”

It also quoted a rabbi as saying, “We have already seen efforts by this administration to undermine essential rules … thereby threatening religious liberty.”

Which rules and how they threaten religious liberty were not stated.

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