Bill Shine Is Bringing a Producer’s Sensibility to the White House

By A.J. Katz 

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The Washington Post’s Sarah Ellison and Philip Rucker profile former Fox News co-president-turned White House deputy chief of staff for communications Bill Shine, who joined the administration just over a month ago. They note how Shine’s experience in TV production, along with “working for one guy” (meaning the late Fox News chief Roger Ailes) give the Trump presidency “a fresh perspective.”

They write:

“Shine learned from Roger Ailes that two things get media attention: pictures and problems,” senior White House official. “He looks at things visually, which is how Trump sees things.”

At Fox News, “he was kind of running the thing, but he had someone bigger to serve,” said Sean Spicer. What Shine did for Ailes, Spicer added, is “kind of what he’s doing now.”

Shine – who left Fox News in May 2017 at the tail end of several other high-profile FNC departures – managed high ego, high maintenance on-air (and off air) TV newsers for decades, first as a producer and later as an executive.

“For 20 years, Shine worked under Roger Ailes – a mercurial, headstrong, conspiratorial, and punishing boss with a long trail of sexual harassment allegations…And now he’s working for another, Trump.”

Elison and Rucker write about how some White House staffers say Shine is POTUS’s Michael Deaver, “who as deputy White House chief of staff orchestrated some of the iconic moments of Ronald Reagan’s presidency, and they joke admiringly that he is the ‘lighting guy’ because of his eye for production details.”

This included when Pres. Trump announced his pick of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court in a highly-rated prime time special. Shine’s TV production experience stood out.

Trump had long been frustrated that the lighting quality of White House events looks cheap compared with the shows he watches on television. Finally, he had an aide who knew how to fix it. Shine presented him three lighting options, the president picked his favorite, and Shine then dutifully toyed with the podium position, microphone height and backdrop until he achieved what Trump felt was the perfect camera angle.

Ellison and Rucker also write that Shine is poised to make significant changes on the communications side. This includes potential adjustments to the daily press briefings and the recruit of new staffers in the comms department.

But Shine has also made some controversial moves since arriving at the White House, including banning CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins from attending an open-press Rose Garden event after she asked Trump a barrage of questions earlier that day during his meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

Juncker had asked Trump about Collins’ questioning, which had apparently embarrassed the president. Shine and Sarah Sanders took what many deemed drastic action by banning Collins from attending the event. (though Shine doesn’t like the word “ban.”).

Even Shine’s former Fox News colleagues didn’t support the move. But that was the mandate from a demanding boss.

 The president said he wanted to do something, and Bill did it,” said one Shine confidant.

“He couldn’t care less what Kaitlan Collins or the press think of him,” said another. “He’s working for one guy.”