David Folkenflik

Can you rely on what White House officials say on behalf of the U.S. government to be true?

The answer, even by the account of President Trump himself, is no.

Of all the crises and controversies consuming this White House, perhaps none is more fundamental than the collapse of its credibility. And a close look at some of the administration's policies, statements and controversies suggests chief responsibility of that collapse can be laid at the feet of the man who works in the Oval Office.

Sinclair Broadcast Group, based outside Baltimore, announced Monday it had struck a $3.9 billion deal to obtain dozens of local television stations by acquiring Tribune Media.

The move, seen as likely to win approval of federal regulators with only modest concessions, would further propel consolidation in the industry. It would also offer a greater reach for one of the nation's most conservative media companies.

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Fox News co-President Bill Shine has resigned and will leave the network within a few weeks, Fox News announced Monday afternoon.

Shine's departure is part of the aftershocks of the sexual harassment scandal that has gripped the network since last summer, leading to the departure of former Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes last July and of star host Bill O'Reilly last month.

Updated at 5:19 p.m. ET

A new lawsuit filed Monday by a suspended Fox News host accuses the network and senior executives of arranging to have her private communications spied on as part of a campaign of intimidation.

In forcing out its top-rated star, Bill O'Reilly, the Fox News Channel sought to contain the damage inflicted by a spreading sexual harassment scandal less than a year after the network's chairman was ousted in the face of similar accusations.

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On Fox News the other night, Bill O'Reilly said he was going on a long, planned vacation.


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Fox News Channel is once more under siege, facing several concurrent scandals and legal challenges scattered across different courtrooms, and casting a pall over the network's executive suites.

Fresh and harsh scrutiny cast on star host Bill O'Reilly over allegations that he sexually harassed multiple women has given major corporations pause about associating themselves with the top-rated figure in cable news.

A lawsuit filed on Monday morning by a paid political commentator for the Fox News Channel alleges the network's past chairman, Roger Ailes, made unwanted sexual advances while holding out the possibility of a big promotion.

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Updated at 1 p.m. ET

A lawsuit filed on Monday morning by a paid political commentator for the Fox News Channel alleges the network's past chairman, Roger Ailes, made unwanted sexual advances while leading her to believe that a big promotion would follow.

The suit says Ailes encouraged Fox News contributor Julie Roginsky to date older, married men, repeatedly praised her looks and sought to get her to join him for drinks, even in his office, away from prying eyes that could get them "into so much trouble."

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Could the U.S. Justice Department prosecute reporters for publishing stories based on classified material? That once-tangential question briefly took center stage during Monday's House Intelligence Committee hearing.

As several Republican lawmakers stressed the possible criminality of leaking to the press about the activities of President Trump's advisers and associates, South Carolina GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy went a step further, asking, "Is there an exception in the law for reporters who want to break a story?"

FBI Director James Comey demurred.

For the first time in a decade, the classic children's television show Sesame Street will introduce a new Muppet on the air.

Updated at 4:05 p.m. EDT

The Trump era has opened with the promise of a White House foothold for media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

It looks to be the kind of warm and solicitous reception in the corridors of presidential power that he has long enjoyed abroad.

Murdoch has told close associates that the nation's 45th president calls to confer frequently — as often as multiple times a week — and that he has visited the White House to meet with Trump more than once.

President Trump's repeated and unsubstantiated claims over the weekend that then-President Barack Obama had him wiretapped at Trump Tower at the height of last year's election season set off alarms in the corridors of power and also a constant refrain from lawmakers, former spymasters and journalists:

Where's your proof?

Attacked on national TV for supposedly serving up "fake news." Shut out of a White House press briefing in retribution. Accused by a new president of "anger and hatred" and serving as the opposition to his administration.

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The White House on Friday barred reporters from numerous major media outlets from participating in a regularly scheduled press briefing, triggering charges of retaliation from news executives.

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