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Donald Trump Has An Ace To Play Against Fox News

Trump.

The GOP front-runner has information that could damage the cable news network if it were to be made public.

When Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump launched a crusade against Fox News and its star anchor, Megyn Kelly, last summer, many political insiders saw the move as the beginning of the end of Trump’s upstart campaign.

Why would anyone seeking the Republican presidential nomination attack a network that reaches huge swaths of the Republican primary electorate? 

One answer is that Trump was angry with Kelly and Fox News after the anchor asked him a tough question during a Republican presidential debate in August. 

But in a newly published article Sunday in New York Magazine, author and journalist Gabriel Sherman reveals how Trump came to possess ultra-insider information about Fox News and its founder, Roger Ailes, that could be damaging if it were ever to be made public.

It’s this leverage, Sherman writes, that has so far discouraged Fox News from launching an all-out war on Trump. 

Below is an excerpt from Sherman’s piece:

It was also thanks to some information he had gathered that Trump was able to do something that no other Republican has done before: take on Fox News. An odd bit of coincidence had given him a card to play against Fox founder Roger Ailes. In 2014, I published a biography of Ailes, which upset the famously paranoid executive. Several months before it landed in stores, Ailes fired his longtime PR adviser Brian Lewis, accusing him of being a source. During Lewis’s severance negotiations, Lewis hired Judd Burstein, a powerhouse litigator, and claimed he had “bombs” that would destroy Ailes and Fox News. That’s when Trump got involved.
 
“When Roger was having problems, he didn’t call 97 people, he called me,” Trump said. Burstein, it turned out, had worked for Trump briefly in the ’90s, and Ailes asked Trump to mediate.  Trump ran the negotiations out of his office at Trump Tower. “Roger [Ailes] had lawyers, very expensive lawyers, and they couldn’t do anything. I solved the problem.”  Fox paid Lewis millions to go away quietly, and Trump, I’m told, learned everything Lewis had planned to leak. If Ailes ever truly went to war against Trump, Trump would have the arsenal to launch a retaliatory strike.

Sherman’s reporting may also help to explain why Trump was so willing to drop out of a major Fox News debate in Iowa in January, a decision that might have hobbled the campaign of a typical GOP candidate.

In March, Trump participated in a Fox News debate in Detroit, where he flagrantly violated the debate rules by consulting with his campaign manager during a commercial break. Fox did not penalize the Trump campaign.

A spokeswoman for the Trump campaign declined to comment on Sherman’s report. 

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America Just Turned In Another Stellar Jobs Report

The American economy continues its march upward. 

The monthly jobs report released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that the economy created 215,000 jobs in March, slightly higher than the 205,000 expected. The unemployment rate ticked up to 5 percent from 4.9 percent. U.S. job growth has continued for a record 73 months in a row.

Some Wall Street analysts fear the U.S. economy might be slowing down, largely because of the volatility of financial markets since the beginning of 2016. But the past few jobs reports simply don’t back up that fear.

Here are the four major takeaways from this report: 

That increase in the unemployment rate is actually a good thing: The unemployment rate moved up slightly this month, largely because of an increase in what’s called the labor force participation rate. People are only considered unemployed if they are actively looking for a job. If they aren’t looking, they aren’t considered to be part of the labor force. So, when more people who have been out of work for a long time start looking for jobs, they re-enter the labor force. Because it often takes a little while to find a position, they push the unemployment rate up temporarily. But in the long term, it can be a healthy sign for the economy. 

Wages are up a bit: Average hourly earnings for private, non-farm employees increased by 7 cents in March, to $25.43. Wages are up 2.3 percent year-over-year. Wage growth is usually a huge part of an economic recovery, but has been largely missing in the past few years. Even as the economy has added jobs for 73 months, which would suggest employers might be finding it harder to attract qualified candidates and therefore need to offer slightly more money, wages just haven’t outpaced inflation by much. Last month, wages fell by 2 cents. The data month-to-month can be noisy, so it’s hard to draw a conclusion from any one month’s number. However, March’s increase is a good sign. 

The black unemployment rate is more than twice the white unemployment rate: The former is 9 percent. The latter is 4.3 percent. As good as this jobs report was, there’s still a racial divide in the American economy. This isn’t a new trend, but it’s important to remember it’s not going to go away on its own, either. 

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Jobs are growing in places where machines can’t (yet!) do the work: America’s growing industries are construction, health care and retail. Those three industries have added 301,000, 503,000 and 378,000 jobs, respectively, over the past year. While retail jobs generally don’t pay that well, construction and health care positions do. The losers are mining (-12,000 jobs in March) and manufacturing (-29,000 jobs in March). We live in a service economy now. 

 

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