Only reporters representing media outlets owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch were selected by President Trump to ask questions during Friday’s joint press conference with Japanese President Shinzo Abe.
The White House typically sets in advance which outlets will be called on to ask questions of the world leaders during such events, and traditionally offer the opportunities on a rotating basis.
Trump selected reporters from the New York Post and Fox Business Network, both of which are owned by Murdoch’s News Corp. No other American reporters were allowed questions during the press conference.
The Post’s Daniel Halper, who published a book in 2014 critical of Hillary Clinton, asked Trump about his reaction to a federal court’s ruling on Thursday that upheld the suspension of his travel ban. Halper also asked Abe about his reaction to Trump’s decision to opt out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a multi-country trade deal that included Japan.
Fox Business’s Blake Berman asked follow-up questions about the same topics.
This week, the Financial Times reported that Murdoch was present during Trump’s interview with The Times of London, also owned by News Corp. Murdoch has reportedly been working to build a closer relationship with Trump after skirmishes between Trump and Murdoch’s Fox News during the Republican primary.
As the GOP nominee for president, Trump regularly agreed to interviews with Fox even while his appearances on other networks dwindled.
Roger Ailes, former president of Fox News, also reportedly became a Trump campaign advisor after leaving the network amid a sexual harassment scandal.
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