Verdict On Trump Trial So Far With Brian Stelter On The ElectionLine Podcast; Also, ‘Civil War’ & The Great American Divide

Editors note: Running until the final general election results come in, the Deadline ElectionLine podcast spotlights the 2024 campaign and the blurred lines between politics and entertainment in modern America. Hosted by Deadline’s political editor Ted Johnson and executive editor Dominic Patten, the podcast features commentary and interviews with top lawmakers and entertainment figures. At the same time, you can follow all the news in the Biden & Trump rematch and more on the ElectionLine hub on Deadline.

“In the event of a Trump loss …he’s going to yell, and scream, and kick and moan, I know that, and Fox will do the same, perhaps, unless Rupert Murdoch or Lachlan intervene and say let’s get back to reality,” postulates Brian Stelter of what America may wake up to the day after the election in November with a win for Joe Biden.

“But maybe nothing really happens,” the Network of Lies author says – as you can hear above in this week’s Deadline ElectionLine podcast.

Stelter, a proudly self-confessed “news junkie” and occasional Fox News punching bag, joins us today for a wide-ranging discussion. With a full jury just selected, there’s a bit of the topical with Donald Trump’s hush money trial and Stormy Daniels. There’s some of the dominant with the divisions in America and the media barricades up around the country. There’s also something existential with Trump fatigue, and the potential blast radius to year’s Biden/Trump rematch results.

There’s all that, but Trump’s trial over the attempts to hide the $130,000 paid to porn star Daniels just before the 2016 election was certainly front and center — at least the way it has been playing out since jury selection started on April 15.

“I think when it comes to this criminal trial, Yes, newsrooms have to think very carefully and most of them are about how much to share about the jury,” Stelter noted of the dilemma many journalists and outlets find themselves already struggling with out of just the first days of Trump’s NYC trial as it blankets cable newsers.

Among several cases he is facing in various jurisdictions, Trump is up against 34 counts of falsifying business records in this case from Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg. A case that has already started to turn toxic in and out of court.

“If the New York Times and CNN and AP and ABC and Reuters and NBC are incredibly responsible, incredibly careful, and incredibly restrained, incredibly thoughtful, how much does that really matter when there’s this MAGA media propaganda machine that also exists that is probably going to spread all the details about the jurors,” the Vanity Fair special correspondent added of the likes of Fox News’ Jessie Walters and other conservative outlets.

On Thursday, seated Juror #2 dropped out of the trial because of worries her identity was about to be revealed with all the details, such as her employer, that had been made public. Juror #4 was also excused after he said he was worried about had already become publicly had been made known about him.

“I say that not to let the mainstream media off the hook, but to acknowledge that there’s an Earth One, where the three of us are, and there’s also an Earth Two, and what happens on Earth Two is often times dangerous and you know, undermining the rule of law in this case,” Stelter continued.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg – – and there’s a Taylor Swift “Blank Space” reference in there too.

(L-R) attorney Todd Blanche, Donald Trump, and attorney Emil Bove Credit: Getty

Curtis Means-Pool/Getty Images

To that end, a 12-person jury of seven men and five women was seated late Thursday in Donald Trump’s hush money trial, but already, the former president and his allies have been trying to discredit not just the prosecutors and the judge in the case, but those who will render a verdict. The prohibition on camera and audio coverage also has given Trump a bit of an attention advantage, as media outlets cover his frequent rants about the case during courtroom breaks, while the judge and jury will say nothing and prosecutors have said little.

(L-R) Bob Iger, Lachlan Murdoch & David Zaslav

Getty Images

Also, we look at how two Democratic lawmakers, Jerry Nadler and Joaquin Castro, are raising competition concerns about the planned new sports streaming app from Disney, Fox Corporation and Warner Bros. Discovery. While it’s up to the Justice Department, and not Congress, to enforce antitrust laws, their April 16 letter to Bob Iger, Lachlan Murdoch and David Zaslav reflects a weariness of corporate consolidation, with the Biden administration much more willing to challenge transactions than previous antitrust enforcers.

Take a listen.

Stick with ElectionLine all the way to Election Day: Subscribe to the Deadline ElectionLine podcast on Spotify, Apple Music, iHeart, and all podcast platforms

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