On Thursday morning, incoming White House Communications Director Bill Shine defended the Trump administration’s decision to bar CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins from a public event at the White House by making a fuss over the exact language he used during the meeting in which he informed Collins of his decision.
During a brief interaction with reporters, the former Fox News executive admonished reporters to ask Collins “if we ever used the word ‘ban.'”
“What word would you use, Bill?” a reporter asked him.
“When you ask her if we ever used the word ‘ban,’ then I will answer that question,” Shine replied. “You ask her — focus now — you ask her if we ever used the word ‘ban.'”
It’s unclear why Shine is placing such importance on the precise words he used when he called Collins into his office on Wednesday and, as the Daily Beast puts it, “told her she was ‘disinvited from the press availability in the Rose Garden today’ because she had ‘shouted’ questions he and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders deemed ‘inappropriate.'”
CNN enhanced audio of the questions Collins tried to ask Trump that led to her banishment. Each of them had to do with whether the president is concerned that his longtime lawyer and fixer seemingly turning on him increases his legal jeopardy.
Shine recently joined the White House after being pushed out of Fox News for his mishandling of the network’s myriad sexual harassment scandals.
Vox put together the following overview of Shine’s tenure at FNC:
Shine’s name runs through all the threads of the sexual harassment saga at Fox. He’s been named in multiple lawsuits by women who say he was involved in covering up or otherwise aiding in their abuse, particularly by [former Fox New CEO Roger] Ailes.
In a case settled in December (the dollar figure is under wraps), Shine was accused of retaliating against a woman who declined to have a sexual relationship with Ailes. In another lawsuit, a woman who complained to Shine about Ailes’ behavior said he told her that he was “a very powerful man” and that she “needed to let this one go.” A third woman, who said she was psychologically tortured by Ailes for 20 years, was, at one point sent to live in a hotel for six weeks where senior leaders at Fox could “monitor” her. She claims that Shine reviewed all of her emails, which he denies.
All of this behavior was meant to keep the powerhouses, the “talent,” at Fox in place, and to keep Fox making money — at nearly any moral cost. Business is business. O’Reilly’s contract was even extended after they found out he’d personally paid a woman $32 million to keep quiet about accusations that they, themselves, knew about. Their reason, The New York Times reported: “he was the biggest star in cable TV.”
CNN, the White House Correspondents’ Association, and even Fox News’ president put out statements expressing support for Collins, and denouncing the White House’s treatment of her.