Trump Lawyer Situation: The New York Times VS. CNN

This past weekend President Trump’s top legal representatives in the Russia investigation ended up quitting on him. The topic of debate amongst journalists is figuring out why Mr. Trump has not been able to hire any new lawyers. Although media sources are covering the same story they all have been speculating differently. In this article, I briefly compare and contrast two articles (The New York Times and CNN) using the media concepts of framing and priming.

The New York Times headline reads “At a Crucial Juncture, Trump’s Legal Defense is Largely a One-Man Operation” This article attributes the recent departure of Trump’s Legal representatives and his failures to find replacements to his unpredictable behavior. The authors frame Trump in a negative light by using priming to judge President Trump’s character by attacking his sociability and competence. The authors begin by calling Trump a “Mercurial client who often ignores his advisor’s guidance,” they go to explain that Trump now only has one more lawyer. The authors then go on to reference John Dowd who quit after determining that Trump was not willing to listen to him. By highlighting this event the authors are depicting Trump as an uncooperative individual, discrediting his character in the process. Later, the author’s then referenced Roger Cossack, a legal analyst, who stated Trump to be a client who clearly thinks he has a better idea of how things should work than his lawyers. This example critiques Trump’s competence and character by depicting him as a know it all. In addition, the authors claim, “Mr. Trump, only trusts few people and considers himself his best lawyer, spokesperson, and strategist,” by pointing out Trump’s uncooperative nature and incompetence primes viewers to judge his character negatively. If these claims are true then the journalists are partaking in good journalism, but I think they should refrain from using harsh words to make their point.

The CNN article focuses more on reporting the events than priming Trump’s character. The authors start by explaining Trump’s struggles to find new attorneys and discusses John Dowd resignation from Trump’s legal team. The authors then go on to list a few lawyers that approached the Trump administration, but none of them ended up representing him because it conflicted with their other client’s schedules. Next, the authors mention Trump wanting to hire lawyer couple Joseph diGenova and Victoria Toensing, but he decided not to pursue any further because Toensing represented a client in Trump Tower case. The authors close by mentioning Toensing representing Sam Clovis the former Trump campaign chair. The authors use priming in a different way compared to the New York Times article. CNN decided to focus only on events while leaving out some of the lawyers’ comments. The choices CNN makes influence the reader by informing them of the situation as compared to judging Trump’s character.

In conclusion, The New York Times and CNN both covered the same event, but managed to frame it differently.  The New York Times judged Trump’s character, while CNN listed the events Trump has taken since losing his lawyers. The New York Times readers would most likely interpret Trump as an individual that is unable to cooperate with others. While the CNN readers would further understand Trump’s search in finding replacement lawyers to represent him in the Russian Probe lawsuit. The New York Times article is concerned because they should inform readers of the situation, but at the same time, it is also important to be critical of the president’s actions. As for the CNN article they should have been more skeptical as to why Trump’s lawyers decided to quit on him. Both articles are good, but they each need to improve on informing their readers.


Trump Lawyer Situation: The New York Times VS. CNN

Media Diary

John Rodriguez Media Diary 2/11/18-2/17/18

This past week I kept a log of what news sources I used to stay politically and economically informed. Overall, I consider myself to be highly informed politically and economically, but I fall short when it comes to pop culture. I rely heavily on a few news sources that are both moderate and politically/economically based. Below is a semi-detailed list of where I got my news for the week.

  • Sunday: I spent most of my time reading about stocks from Bloomberg, Kiplinger’s, Yahoo Finance, Marketwatch, and CNBC. I read articles on ETFs that were trending up and the recent stock market drop.
  • Monday: I almost spent the entire day reading about the Federal Government raising rates this March on Yahoo finance. I also read some information on the potential demand for natural gas on CNBC. Foreign Policy Class, talked about the issues with sanctions and the recent deployment troops to Afghanistan.
  • Tuesday: Read an article from CNBC on the recent demand in the Lincoln Navigator potentially increasing Ford’s stock price.
  • Wednesday: Read an article from CNN on the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. I also read a few articles on the “Top ETF’s for the month of March” from Marketwatch. Foreign Policy Class, talked about North Korea
  • Thursday: Read a CNN article on the New South African President after President Zuma steps down
  • Friday: Did not read or watch the news anywhere. Watched some youtube videos on video games and practiced for Overwatch.
  • Saturday: Watched some Fox Business to see what commodities are trading up for this coming week. Friend talks to me about pop culture and sports
  • Sunday: I read an article about the Supreme Leader of Iran issuing an apology to Iranian people for not cracking down on justice and improving the nation’s economy

I tend to only stick to these news sources because most of them are politically centralized and talk about investing. Reflecting on this week I noticed I don’t take as much of an interest in domestic politics as I do foreign politics.I should also note that I don’t have social media or look up trending pop culture topics because I don’t consider them to be important. The only time I receive any type of information on pop culture is through my friends. Next, I noticed that I have most of my app notifications set to “important world and economic issues,” which could also be linked to my ideological biases. For the most part, when it comes to public policy I read articles that are both positive and negative. Bloomberg has a politics view section where a viewer can be exposed to both sides of the argument. I find this rather informative, but I try to stay away from it. I would rather read the “iron core news” than read/watch advocacy news. I will admit on the outside most of my news sources seem to solely be based on economics and business, however, the websites are full of both political and economic news.

Furthermore, I would have to say these sources do reflect my personal points of view. Because I consider myself to be politically centralized I regularly read CNN and Bloomberg. I try to read as much traditional news as possible, but it is increasingly getting more difficult. Another reason why I might use these sources is that I’m focused on buying and selling stocks. If I didn’t trade stocks I would only stay informed through my Political Science classes. The overarching bias I have towards all news is solely ideological. In my opinion, most news sources are either based on advocacy or entertainment. I do feel like I could do a better job finding more traditional articles, but it is very time-consuming. Finally, I could start paying attention to more social and cultural issues because those factors contribute to governmental changes.

Media Diary

Fox News V CNN

Is Russia Laughing at us?

By: John Rodriguez

This past Sunday, President Trump posted several tweets regarding Russian involvement in the 2016 Presidential election. Specifically, the President tweeted a dismissal of any collusion between his administration officials and the Russians.  He also laid blame and pointed the finger at previous government officials to include President Obama for lack of action.  President Trump’s “hottest tweet” was about the Russian’s possibly “laughing their asses off” at the U.S. government’s failure to contain and eliminate the Russian security breach. In this article I will compare how two popular news sources (CNN and Fox News) provided coverage of the Trump “laughing their asses off in Moscow” tweet, to determine if there are biases in media.

The CNN article titled “Trump: They are laughing their asses off in Moscow over Russia investigation” focused on Trump’s behavior toward the Russian situation and Rep. Adam Schiff comments on both Trump and Obama. Maegan Vazquez frames the news article to be more of a traditional news by stating complete facts, but it eventually becomes an advocacy when she indirectly offers her own opinion. Had she just posted Trump’s tweets and provided background information on them it would have been labeled as traditional. However, Vazquez picked and chose tweets that labeled Trump as unknowing and having bad intuition. For example, Vazquez makes it a point to disprove one of Trump’s old tweet where he claimed Russian involvement was a “hoax” (Vazquez, 3). Vazquez then states, “Trump took Vladimir Putin’s word that Russia did not interfere in the election,” not sure how this is related to his tweet about Russia laughing their asses off (Vazquez, 3). Another example of this article is an advocacy instead a traditional news source is when Vazquez quotes other leaders thoughts and ideas. For example, Vazquez refers to Rep. Adam Schiff comments on Trump’s State of the Union address which state, “The President claims vindication anytime someone sneezes,” (Vaquez,3). Again, not sure how this relates to Trump’s tweets on Russia, but one can assume that to pander to all viewers CNN had to also attack the opposing side. She also briefly refers to Rep. Schiff older comments on the Obama administration not placing enough sanctions on Russians for the breach in security. By picking and choosing different quotes from different people means there is a framing going on. Because the article attacks both the right and the left one can assume the news network takes a more centralized stance. I would argue Vazquez’s article is a little more biased against Trump because there is an uneven amount of critiques for both sides. It would make the most sense to stick to an even amount of critiques or eliminate all advocacy altogether if CNN wants to remain “moderate”.

The Fox News article titled “Trump says Russians ‘laughing their a—s off’ over US collusion probes,” focused on Trump dismissing any collusion with Russia, Trump criticizing Rep. Schiff, and mocking journalist A.F. Brandco. Joseph Weber attempts to frame the news article to be a traditional news source by only stating complete information on the 13 indicted Russian nationals and Trump’s tweets (Weber, 2). However, Weber later turns the article into an advocacy by defending Trump’s claim that he had not colluded with Russia as opposed to quoting Trump’s tweets and leaving it at that. For example, Weber refers to General McMaster comments on Crooked Hillary colluding with Russians and Trump not being involved (Weber, 5). General McMasters quote clearly has nothing to do with Trump’s tweet on the Russians “laughing their asses off”. It would appear the quote is meant to discount any possible doubt in Trump not colluding with Russia. Another example that demonstrates this article is an advocacy news article is the fact Weber supported Trump’s retweet, mocking CNN report A.F. Brandco (Weber, 3). By picking and choosing references and quotes to defend Trump’s actions and not simply state the tweets themselves makes this article an advocacy. Based on Weber’s choice of quotes a reader could assume Weber is pandering toward the more right-leaning citizens because he does not critique any of Trump’s tweets. But Weber takes it a step further and mentions Trump’s retweet mocking Bradnco.

Now, both news sources attempted to provide objective news but eventually turned to advocacy news. This can be attributed to news networks being as Alex Jones states “businesses,” meaning that these companies need to maximize profit to increase shareholder value. For example, CNN’s viewer base is mostly moderate with a lean to the left, therefore, they must create articles that pander to these viewers to make a profit and keep their base. FOX News instead, panders toward more conservative viewers to make a profit and must do the opposite. Another comparison I drew between these articles is that they both read the same tweets but reported differently on them. Trump’s tweet on Adam Schiff blaming the Obama administration for Russia meddling in the 2016 election was depicted as a satire toward Adam Schiff by FOX. While CNN saw Trump’s tweet as a direct attack against the Obama administration but allowed it because it was based on fact. Both news media sources used this tweet to help further their framing, but in different ways. If media is to improve and be more “objective” meaning 100% fact with few biases or “Iron core” as Alex Jones calls it, journalist need to put aside personal beliefs and profit motives to make the news more traditional.



Vazquez, Maegan (2018). Trump: They are laughing their asses off in Moscow’ over Russia


Retrieved from

Weber. Joseph (2018). Trump says Russians ‘laughing their a—s off’ over US collusion probes.

Retrieved from




Fox News V CNN