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Is It Time for 'Fox & Friends' to Rebrand Itself as 'Fox & Our Friend Donald'?

By Published on .

Ad Age "Media Guy" columnist Simon Dumenco's media roundup for the morning of Tuesday, June 6:

Today's theme is friendship -- between the U.K. and the U.S. (see No. 4, below), between the White House and the Kremlin (No. 3), between a senator and an embattled HBO star (No. 6), and between the president and "Fox & Friends" (No. 5). It's all so, you know, heartwarming. Anyway, let's get started ...

1. The New York Times sent out a "Breaking News" alert last night (it arrived in my inbox at 9:15 p.m. ET) titled "A contractor faces espionage charges for giving a classified report about Russia to the news media, the first leak case of the Trump era." The story by Charlie Savage that it links to tells the remarkable story of a rather simple cat-and-mouse game:

The Justice Department announced the case against the contractor, Reality Leigh Winner, 25, about an hour after the national-security news outlet The Intercept published the apparent document, a May 5 intelligence report from the National Security Agency. ... An analysis of the file showed it was a scan of a copy that had been creased or folded, the affidavit said, "suggesting they had been printed and hand-carried out of a secured space." The N.S.A.'s auditing system showed that six people had printed out the report, including Ms. Winner. Investigators examined the computers of those six people and found that Ms. Winner had been in email contact with the news outlet, but the other five had not.

2. ICYMI: Here is the blockbuster story that The Intercept published Monday afternoon; it was team-reported by Matthew Cole, Richard Esposito, Sam Biddle and Ryan Grim ... with, apparently, a little help from Reality Leigh Winner (though of course she's not named in the piece). It begins,

Russian military intelligence executed a cyberattack on at least one U.S. voting software supplier and sent spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials just days before last November's presidential election, according to a highly classified intelligence report obtained by The Intercept.

3. Because of course: "Trump Aides' Idea: Help Russia, Ask for Nothing Back" (subhead: "Weeks after dumping the national security adviser over his Russian contacts, White House officials were still looking at ways to do business with Moscow"), per The Daily Beast.

4. "Responding to criticism from President Trump on Twitter after the London Bridge killings, London Mayor Sadiq Khan says he doesn't have time to respond to his tweets," per Britain's Channel 4 (the public-service broadcaster's Cathy Newman interviewed him Monday night) in a post titled "Sadiq Khan: 'We shouldn't roll out carpet to Trump.'" Here's the mayor's key quote:

I don't think we should be rolling out the red carpet to the president of the USA in the circumstances where his policies go against everything we stand for. I think one of the things when you have a special relationship, it's not different, no different, to when you've got a close mate. You stand with them in times of adversity but call them out when they're wrong -- and there are many things about which Donald Trump is wrong."

To see Mayor Khan let out an exasperated sigh -- in response to the question "What do you think he's [Trump] got against you?" -- jump to the 4:14 mark in the Channel 4 video.

5. Speaking of President Trump, he retweeted both of the Fox News "Fox & Friends" tweets shown below and directly tweeted at the show -- all within the last 24 hours:

Maybe it's time for "Fox & Friends" to rebrand itself as "Fox & Our Friend Donald"?

6. Speaking of friends, "Al Franken bows out of 'Real Time' after Bill Maher slur," per USA Today, which quotes the senator's spokesman Michael Dale-Stein: "Senator Franken believes that what Bill Maher said was inappropriate and offensive, which is why he made the decision not to appear on the next episode of Real Time. He was glad to see Bill -- who the Senator considers to be a good friend -- apologize and express sincere regret for his comment."

7. And finally, "The Daily Show" took on former Fox Newser Megyn Kelly in a segment last night reacting to Kelly's NBC News Vladimir Putin interview; it also posted the clip on YouTube under the title "Vladimir Putin & Megyn Kelly: Slimy Public Manipulators." The key part starts at the 2:03 mark, when host Trevor Noah asks "Daily Show" correspondent Michelle Wolf for her thoughts and she says,

You know what, Trevor? Seeing someone so conniving trying to manipulate the American public was disgusting ... I'm not talking about Putin. I'm talking about Megyn Kelly. ... Last night on her new show, she acted like she didn't spend the last 12 years of her life as a soldier in Fox News' culture war. ... Oh I'm sorry, now we're supposed to be friends? Now that you're at NBC you're acting all peaceful like some sort of Mahatma Blondie? Because let's not forget, before she was NBC News' Megyn Kelly, for over a decade she was Fox News' Megyn Kelly: basically a pretty, race-baiting puppet who Roger Ailes kept trying to put his hand up.

Thank you to Ann-Christine Diaz, Laurel Wentz and Chen Wu for their roundup suggestions.

Simon Dumenco, aka Media Guy, is an Ad Age editor-at-large. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.

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