Fox News Contributor Calls for Hiring Operatives that ‘Have Killed People’ to ‘Destroy Liberals’

If the Era of Trump is known for nothing it else, it will be forever remembered as a time of bitter division and hate. In just the past week there have been a couple of widely reported incidents of politically inspired right-wing violence. First there was the “body-slamming” congressman in Montana, Greg Gianforte. He brutally assaulted a reporter who was just doing his job. Then there was the horrifying murder of two men in Portland. They were killed for trying to help a couple of Muslim women who were being harassed by a white supremacist.

Wayne Allyn Root Fox News

In light of these and other recent atrocities, the commentary by Fox News contributor Wayne Allyn Root is painfully nauseating. On his radio show (listen below), Root approached the subject of the debunked Seth Rich conspiracy theory. This is a concoction so fatally flawed that even Fox News removed it from their website (albeit without apologizing). Root went berserk because conservative liars like WorldNetDaily and Sean Hannity were being held to account for propagating fake news.

Root’s unhinged response to this was that the right had to “fight like animals.” He charged that responsible media outlets were engaging in censorship for declining to report falsehoods. Then he ranted that “We’ve got to fight back viciously” before “our lives are erased.” He related his unsupported belief that there are boiler rooms full of Soros-paid lefties all over the world. They’re allegedly writing emails and making phone calls (oh my) in an effort to destroy the right. And then he displayed his utter idiocy by complaining that there are no such operations funded by wealthy conservatives.

Root also went after Republicans. He castigated them as “lazy, cheap, wussy, country club, RINO a-holes.” Well, okay. I can’t argue with that. However, what he said next was deeply troubling:

“We need to hire an attack dog. We need to hire former CIA or NSA or FBI or Navy Seals that have been involved in counter-insurgency operations all over the world. That have killed people. That understand how to fight. That don’t bring a knife to a gunfight. That bring a gun to a gunfight. Preferably a shoulder-fired missile to a gunfight. Preferably a nuclear weapon to a gunfight.”

Given the tensions that are currently roiling the public discourse, these remarks are beyond irresponsible. They are an overt declaration of war. He even said explicitly that “it’s a war out there and they’re coming for your women and children.” If Root is worried about conservative voices like his being removed from the airwaves, it is with good reason. He is inciting the sort of violence that we’ve just seen in Portland and Montana. Even worse, Root is calling for a brigade of trained killers to launch a campaign of mayhem. And if Fox News continues to supply Root with a platform for this hate-speech, any blood shed will be on their hands as well.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

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Morning Joe Unleashes Epic Rant on GOP Liars: My Party is Going STRAIGHT TO HELL’

In the four unbearably long months that Donald Trump has been president his administration has achieved nothing but scandal and worldwide embarrassment. However, the biggest threat to Trump’s presidency and the Republican Party has always been the prospect of other Republicans abandoning him to save their own necks. Until that happens he faces only moderate risk from the criticism of Democrats.

Joe Scarborough

Well, the GOP dam is about to burst. The flood of Republicans distancing themselves from Trump is growing. For the most part that’s due to the tsunami of evidence accumulating about his unsavory connections to Russia. And his own statements that amount to confessions of obstruction of justice don’t endear him to his colleagues either. But while Russia is the most troubling of Trump’s basket of scandals, it isn’t the only one.

Friday morning a prominent Republican and MSNBC TV anchor was through with the brazen dishonesty of Trump’s brand of Republicanism. Joe Scarborough shocked his Morning Joe panel by firing off an impassioned commentary (video below). The trigger was Trump’s director of the Office of Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney. At a Senate hearing Mulvaney flatly declared that Trump’s proposed budget would not cut Medicare. That’s an assertion that is plainly contradicted by reality. Or as Scarborough out it, it’s a “certifiable lie.” And that was just the beginning.

Scarborough continued with the question that formed the basis of his righteous rant. “Why do the Republicans,” he asked emphatically, “keep looking into cameras and lie?” It would be too easy to reply that “that’s all they’ve got,” or “it’s in their blood.” Scarborough himself couldn’t come up with a satisfactory answer. But his exasperation was showing. He railed against his party pals saying that:

“You’re cutting $850 billion in Medicare for the poorest of the poor. If you want to do it, embrace it. Don’t lie about it. Stop lying about it. We know you’re lying about it. We’re not stupid. And you Republicans in the House have been lying non-stop.” […]

“It’s so maddening. This is my party. My party is going straight to hell politically. They really are. They’re going straight to hell. They have embraced the coarsening of culture where the truth means absolutely nothing.”

This is the kind political crack in the wall that precedes massive defections. And it isn’t just limited to a specific policy. Scarborough made a point of connecting the lies of the GOP with its leader. Saying that “I understand Donald Trump lies all the time,” Scarborough recognized that the fish stinks from the head. And he warned his party peers that “You are selling your soul if you just keep lying about things.”

The only question now is how long it will take for the retreat to reach a tipping point. No elected Republican is willing to lose their seat to defend a crumbling administration that is mired in accusations of criminal conduct with hints of treason. When the light of truth is switched on they will scurry to political safety like startled cockroaches. The thing that voters will need to remember is that, even in their darkened crevices, they are still cockroaches.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.


WTF: Fox and Friends Totally Ignores Their Own Fox News Crew Who Witnessed Journalist Attack

Wednesday’s news might have been been consumed by Donald Trump’s European “Embarrass America First” tour. However, a domestic news event took place that shoved the President out of the headlines temporarily. That may be beneficial to Trump who will get some relief from the tsunami of bad news that swirls around him. But the affair in Montana won’t do much to help the Republican Party’s prospects for maintaining control of Congress.

Fox News

By now most of the nation has heard about Montana’s Republican candidate for Congress, Greg Gianforte. In response to a reporter’s questions about the GOP healthcare plan, Gianforte went apeshit crazy. He attacked Ben Jacobs, a reporter with The Guardian, by body-slamming to the ground. He has since been charged with a misdemeanor assault and had the three biggest newspapers in the state retract their endorsements.

Every news outlet has put this story in frequent rotation. That includes Fox News. However, there is a noticeable difference between the reporting on Fox and that of the other networks. It’s a difference that is especially puzzling considering the circumstances. Here is how Jillian Mele of Fox and Friends covered the assault Thursday morning:

That was an unusually dry report by Fox’s standards. Ordinarily Fox News hypes up the melodrama and slathers their coverage with conflict and controversy. For some reason, in this case they delivered a rather boring recitation of “facts” that featured the defense offered by the Gianforte camp.

What they left out, though, was pretty significant. At the scene of the assault there was a crew from Fox News. Their correspondent, Alicia Acuna, witnessed the whole thing. She later wrote an account of what happened and published it on the Fox News website. She said in part that:

“Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him. Faith, Keith and I watched in disbelief as Gianforte then began punching the reporter. As Gianforte moved on top of Jacobs, he began yelling something to the effect of, ‘I’m sick and tired of this!.’ […] To be clear, at no point did any of us who witnessed this assault see Jacobs show any form of physical aggression toward Gianforte.”

According to Acuna there was no doubt that Gianforte initiated an unprovoked assault on a journalist who was just doing his job. But that didn’t make it into the Fox and Friends reporting. It would be a conspicuous omission on any other news network. But on Fox it’s perfectly aligned with their mission to defend and promote Republicans at all costs.

It wasn’t just Fox and Friends who buried Acuna’s reporting. The entire primetime lineup on Fox Wednesday night failed to mention it. Tucker Carlson, the co-hosts on The Five, and Sean Hannity all snubbed their fellow Fox reporter’s eye witness version of the take-down. It wasn’t until late Thursday morning, after Fox and Friends, that Acuna was recognized for the scoop she had. She was finally interviewed on air where she affirmed the hostile encounter just as she had previously described it.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

There can only be one explanation for a “news” network neglecting an eye witness account by their own reporter. They were trying desperately to rescue the Republican barbarian who criminally assaulted a journalist. They wanted to deprive their already ill-informed viewers of critical information, keeping them blissfully ignorant. And in the end, they were complying with the anti-media agenda of their Psychopathic Messiah, Donald Trump, who slandered the media as “the enemy of the people.” Gianforte’s behavior was the ultimate manifestation of Trump’s campaign to denigrate and dehumanize journalists. It was bound to happen sooner or later, and will likely happen again as the right gets ever more desperate.


Fox News and Hannity Walk Back Fake Story Without Admitting Fault or Apologizing

For several weeks Fox News and other right-wing media outlets have been doing what they do best. They have been flogging a thoroughly debunked story that alleges some random impropriety on the part of Democrats or liberals. In this especially repulsive case the subject concerns a murdered former staffer of the Democratic National Committee.

Sean Hannity Fox News

The conservative mythology on this is that Seth Rich was assassinated by some nefarious lefty cabal because he leaked stolen DNC documents to Wikileaks. However, there’s no evidence of any such activity, and the police have concluded that the crime was a botched robbery. But the existence of those facts didn’t stop Fox News and others from exploiting a family tragedy for their own political motives.

Now that the facts have come out, some of the rightist media are rushing to cover their asses. They don’t want to be further associated with such an obvious hoax, nor do they want to get sued. Unfortunately, the inability of some of these liars to admit wrongdoing is getting in the way of their disclaimers.

Fox News had reported on the Rich murder on their network and posted articles on their website. But apparently they only considered the website report as needing to be addressed. So they posted a statement saying that:

On May 16, a story was posted on the Fox News website on the investigation into the 2016 murder of DNC Staffer Seth Rich. The article was not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require for all our reporting. Upon appropriate review, the article was found not to meet those standards and has since been removed.

We will continue to investigate this story and will provide updates as warranted.

Notice that nowhere in that statement did Fox News admit that the content of their reporting was false. They merely said that it didn’t meet their editorial standards. That’s a pretty low bar by any objective analysis. They also reiterated their intention to pursue the story that everyone else knows is patently untrue. What they didn’t do was to apologize to the Rich family for spreading lies and denigrating the victim’s memory.

Fox also failed to offer any kind of retraction for the same reporting on their TV network. The biggest offender on Fox is without contest, Sean Hannity. He has taken a leading role in spreading the slander of Rich. But now the blowback has gotten to him, at least in part. Tuesday night Hannity made a limp statement that failed to take any responsibility for his journalistic malpractice (video below). He said in part that:

“The unsolved murder of former DNC staffer Seth Rich continues to get attention. I totally and completely understand how upset and how hard this is on this family, especially over the recent coverage of Seth’s death. […] However, out of respect from the family’s wishes for now – I am not discussing this matter at this time.”

Once again, Hannity didn’t admit that his reporting was totally unverified and debunked. Nor did he apologize. He didn’t even promise to drop the subject, only to hold off for a while. The remainder of his statement unloaded a pile of unrelated defenses of Donald Trump’s Russia scandal. And Hannity then promised to continue his assault on the Rich family and the truth:

“I want to say this to you, my loyal audience, please do not interpret what I am saying tonight to mean anything—don’t read into this. I promise you, I am not going to stop doing my job. To the extent of my ability, I’m not going to stop trying to find the truth.”

What’s more, on his radio show Hannity said “I am not Fox.com or FoxNews.com, I retracted nothing.” And he tweeted this:

Clearly, neither Hannity nor Fox News give a damn about the Rich family or their suffering. We know they don’t care about the truth because lying is integral to their business model. But anyone who gives them credit for laying off this story with their pseudo-retractions is missing the point. Fox News and Hannity are fully committed to furthering their dishonest propaganda. And they aren’t even shy about admitting it.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.


MSNBC Reaches HUGE Ratings Milestone as Fox News is dragged Down By Right-Wing Millstone

Donald Trump’s presidency continues to be the victim of an unrelenting cascade of scandalous news. At the same time, ironically, Fox News appears to be the victim of Donald Trump. As the President’s fortune’s sink ever lower, so do the ratings for Fox News. And it’s no coincidence.

Rachel Maddow

This week MSNBC hit a significant milestone. For the first time ever the network topped the weekly primetime ratings in a commanding fashion. For both total viewers and the critical 25-54 year old advertising demographic, MSNBC led all of cable news. This was a broadly based ratings win that stretched beyond the network’s powerhouse, Rachel Maddow. All In with Chris Hayes, The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, and The 11th Hour with Brian Williams all won their time periods.

Simultaneously, Fox News descended to lows that it hasn’t seen in seventeen years. They came in third in the demo in primetime behind both MSNBC and CNN. This is fairly conclusive evidence that the media landscape is shifting in the Era of Trump. MSNBC’s primetime lineup has proven to be popular as the nation seeks in-depth coverage of Trump’s floundering White House. Viewers appreciate the perspective and analysis of clear-eyed anchors and guests.

The problem for Fox News is that their entire business model works against them in this environment. The editorial practice on Fox is to hype anything and everything that reflects negatively on Democrats and liberals. Conversely, they avoid or underplay any news that harms their benefactors on the right. Since almost all of the news these days is horrible for Republicans, Fox News is trapped in a vortex of right-wing happy-talk. And worse, they are ideologically precluded from reporting what viewers are most interested in.

Every day there seems to another bombshell story related to Trump’s alleged collusion with Russian operatives. These are among the most compelling stories of any news cycle. The American people want to know whether the President engaged in potentially impeachable conduct. They want to know if he’s in cahoots with foreign enemies. In addition, there are numerous other topics that cast the administration in a bad light. They include: the much despised Republican proposal to repeal and replace ObamaCare; Trump’s tax reform that benefits the wealthy at the expense of the rest of us; the foreign and military affairs wherein Trump exposes his profound ignorance; the financial conflicts of interest by the President and his family; and the many episodes of embarrassing and/or unlawful behavior by his advisers and associates.

But Fox News won’t cover any of that. At least not in any detail. So if news consumers want to know what’s going on they have to switch away from Fox. And they are doing so in droves. MSNBC is clearly the biggest beneficiary of this. While viewers know there’s an editorial slant during the network’s primetime, they appreciate the exhaustive research and factual basis. Particularly with breakout star Rachel Maddow. CNN has also grown their ratings, but their obsession with phony balance and artificially combative debate limits their upside.

Fox is likely to continue its downward spiral. And not just because of their reporting embargo on actual breaking news. In the past year they have lost their CEO, Roger Ailes, and biggest star, Bill O’Reilly, to sex scandals. They also lost Bill Shine, the executive who replaced Ailes. They are under investigation by the New York Attorney General for financial securities violations. Among their on-air personalities they saw the departures of Gretchen Carlson, Megyn Kelly, Andrea Tantaros, and Julie Roginsky. And their only African-American anchor, Kelly Wright, is a plaintiff in a racial discrimination lawsuit along with twelve others. The list of litigants against Fox for racial and gender discrimination continues to grow.

Meanwhile, MSNBC is enjoying record audience growth. Maddow and her primetime colleagues are doing what was once considered unthinkable. They are beating Fox News. Recent reports that suggested that MSNBC might not renew the contract of Lawrence O’Donnell launched a massive outcry that may have forced the network to the negotiating table.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

The trends are decidedly in MSNBC’s favor. They have the content and the public on their side. While Fox News is struggling without leadership, star power, or news that appeals to their glassy-eyed disciples. We can expect the fates of Fox and Trump to continue to slide in sync with one another. And as they both alienate TV viewers, the nation, and the world, their influence will decline to match their dishonest and loathsome reputations.


CNN Anchor Wickedly Mocks Guest Who Said Trump Was ‘Presidential’ for Not Sounding Like a Drunk

America’s national embarrassment (aka Donald Trump) continues to be scored on a standard that is starkly different than any president that preceded him. The fact that he is universally regarded as ignorant and incompetent may be helping his media coverage. Trump has a tendency to veer off into personal invective and delusional accounts of well documented events. His erratic and ego-laden rants and tweets have set an uncommonly low bar for criticism.

Donald Trump

Consequently, we’re subjected to a president who is lauded as “presidential” simply by failing to cross his eyes or drool. This happens over and over again as the media repeatedly demonstrates its severely short-term memory. Trump can behave like a choleric, tantrum-throwing infant for weeks on end. He’ll hurl insults and lies without the slightest hint of shame. Then he’ll manage to read off a Teleprompter for half an hour and the press will go wild with acclaim.

This pattern has revealed itself several times in the four months Trump has been in office. It generally occurs following tightly staged affairs such as his inauguration speech or his address to Congress. Sometimes he can suppress his true obnoxious self long enough get through a joint press conference with a foreign leader. But the press reaction is all too predictable. They declare that Trump has finally proven that he has the mettle to hold his office. Never mind everything else he’s said and done throughout his campaign and White House residency.

The latest example of this cognitive collapse occurred Sunday night on CNN. Bob Schieffer, the former host of Face the Nation, was interviewed by CNN’s John Berman. The subject was Trump’s speech in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It was a stodgy collection of warmed over platitudes and talking points. But Trump recited the words on his Teleprompter screen without baring his teeth or convulsing. Therefore, when Schieffer was asked for his appraisal of Trump’s performance he said:

“Today, you saw a very different President Trump. He actually sounded presidential. You may agree or disagree with what he said, but he sounded like a president. He laid out his vision. He called for help from those in the Muslim world. It was a much different kind of presentation.” […]

“I think there would be very few people who would disagree with me when I say that he helped himself today. Because he didn’t sound like the guy at the end of the bar popping off. He sounded like someone who actually thought about what he was gonna say before he said it.”

You have to wonder whether Schieffer thought about what he was gonna say before he said it. There are likely very many people who would disagree with the assertion that Trump helped himself. More to the point. there are certainly many people who don’t think that avoiding sounding like a drunken souse is equivalent to sounding presidential. Berman appropriately challenged Schieffer to explain whether he was “normalizing” Trump’s malignant immaturity. “You’re saying,” Berman bagan, “that because he met this very low bar for not sounding foolish, he was in fact presidential.”

Exactly. That’s how many in the media grade Trump. But since when was “not sounding foolish” the only prerequisite for being considered presidential? It may be the best that anyone can expect from Trump, but it should not be established as the new criteria. Honest journalists need to compare Trump to historical standards for the job, not his own worst failures.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

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Donald Trump’s $110B Weapons Deal w/Saudi Arabia Brings Windfall for Ivanka Aligned Foundation

Donald Trump is currently on the first foreign trip of his presidency. The White House is portraying it as an effort to advance global cooperation and peace. His itinerary begins in Saudi Arabia, a nation with a dismal record on human rights and terrorism.

Ivanka Trump

The featured accomplishment of the trip so far is the signing of an agreement to sell $110 billion dollars of weapons to Saudi Arabia. That deal has raised concerns among foreign policy experts. They worry that the weapons could be used to further Saudi Arabia’s attacks in Yemen. Those missions have resulted in untold numbers of civilian casualties. In addition, there is concern that some of the weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists. President Obama had withheld certain categories of arms from Saudi Arabia for that reason, but Trump is permitting their sale.

Not mentioned in the Trump PR blitz is a “coincidental” financial arrangement that involves the President’s senior advisor – and daughter. Last month Ivanka Trump announced that she was working with the World Bank to start a “massive fund” to boost female entrepreneurship. The ethical dilemmas surrounding such a venture were immediately apparent. Ivanks’a role in the White House, and influence with her president father, are hard to dismiss. Consequently, the news today from the Wall Street Journal is somewhat more than troubling:

“The World Bank plans to announce Sunday at an event with Ivanka Trump, the U.S. president’s daughter and senior White House adviser, that Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates have pledged $100 million collectively toward a fund for women who own or want to start businesses, according to people familiar with the announcement.”

The advancement of women’s rights in business is unarguably an admirable pursuit. However, it is curious that Saudi Arabia is Ivanka’s premiere partner. The Kingdom is not known for its fair treatment of women. Their rights are severely curtailed, including being prohibited from independently obtaining a passport or driving a car.

Ivanka is travelling with the President this week and attending various meetings. She was at the signing of the arms deal before Sunday’s event announcing the donation. The converging optics of these two affairs are disquieting. There is an implied relationship between the donation and the arms deal. While there is no direct evidence of any quid pro quo, the perception of impropriety is inescapable. Even Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, promoted it on Twitter

This is especially notable considering how Trump castigated Hillary Clinton for far less during the 2016 election. He called the Clinton Foundation a “criminal enterprise.” Trump also raised the subject at a debate (video below), demanding that Clinton return donations made by Saudi Arabia. He posted this on Facebook last June:

“Saudi Arabia and many of the countries that gave vast amounts of money to the Clinton Foundation want women as slaves and to kill gays. Hillary must return all money from such countries!”

This is the same Saudi Arabia that Trump is now effusively praising as a “magnificent Kingdom.” It’s the same country with which he just signed a “tremendous” deal to supply billions of dollars of modern weaponry. And it’s the same country that is now giving the Ivanka aligned foundation $100,000,000.00. Does that mean Ivanka is running a criminal enterprise? Is that pay-to-play? Will Trump ever acknowledge the hypocrisy? Will the media address it? Stay tuned.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.


Trump’s Efforts to Sabotage ObamaCare Now Include Bribing Health Insurance Companies

Donald Trump made repealing the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) a key plank in his campaign platform. It became the first legislative project of his administration. But after four months of his presidency he has failed to deliver on his promises. Consequently, he is seeking other routes to force his anti-healthcare policies onto a nation that wants to keep and improve ObamaCare.

Donald Trump

Trump has repeatedly claimed that ObamaCare is dead. It isn’t. However, Trump is doing everything in his power to murder it. Just his false characterizations of it being in a “death spiral” makes insurance carriers nervous and unwilling to expose themselves to that artificially created risk.

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Trump has approached health insurance providers with an offer to put more money in their pockets. The proposal involves the funds paid by the government for the premium subsidies that make health insurance affordable for low-income Americans. These are called “cost-sharing reductions,” or CSRs. Trump has been threatening to cut off this funding in his quest to cripple ObamaCare. But his offer comes with a caveat. In exchange for continuing the CSRs, the providers must support his wildly unpopular bill to kill ObamaCare. That’s the bill that recently passed in the House of Representatives. The Senate is not expected to take it up. So offering to retain the CSRs in exchange for political support amounts to a bribe.

What’s more, Trump is effectively admitting that he is lying about ObamaCare being dead. His threat to ax CSRs undercuts the claim that insurance marketplaces are collapsing on their own. The Times notes that the more likely cause of chaos in the industry is Trump himself:

“Health insurers across the country are making plans to dramatically raise Obamacare premiums or exit marketplaces amid growing exasperation with the Trump administration’s erratic management, inconsistent guidance and seeming lack of understanding of basic healthcare issues.

“At the same time, state insurance regulators — both Democrat and Republican — have increasingly concluded they cannot count on the Trump administration to help them ensure that consumers will have access to a health plan next year. […]

“Instead, according to many officials, it is the Trump administration that is driving much of the current instability by refusing to commit to steps to keep markets running, such as funding aid for low-income consumers or enforcing penalties for people who go without insurance.”

Trump’s Medicare and Medicaid Services administrator, Seema Verma, made the politically motivated bribe in a recent meeting with providers. According to the Times she told them that Trump “would fund the CSRs if insurers supported the House Republican bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act.” But the providers were less than receptive. In fact, they later signed on to a letter sent to the Senate spelling out their concerns. The signatories include a broad array on health industry players. They include: America’s Health Insurance Plans, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Benefits Council, American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Federation of American Hospitals, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The preamble to their letter says that:

“[W]e are writing again to you as leaders in Congress to express our serious concerns about the continued uncertainty around funding for cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments. There now is clear evidence that this uncertainty is undermining the individual insurance market for 2018 and stands to negatively impact millions of people.”

In addition to using the CSRs to bribe insurance companies, Trump has used them to blackmail Congress. Politico reports that he is employing a tactic aimed at forcing Democrats to negotiate. Even though “Many advisers oppose the move because they worry it would backfire politically if people lose their insurance or see huge premium spikes and blame the White House.”

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

In any case, it’s a cynical move where the potential victims are not members of Congress, but average Americans. Trump is holding a virtual gun to the heads of citizens and telling Congress he’ll shoot if they don’t pass his bill. Between that threat and his bribery of insurance carriers, Trump’s proving that he couldn’t care less about the American people. They are merely hostages in his quest to give the wealthy tens of thousands of dollars in tax cuts. And if 24 million people lose their health insurance, that isn’t his problem.

UPDATE 5/22/17: Democrats in Congress are requesting information and documents pertaining to this attempted bribe/hostage taking by the Trump administration.


MSNBC is Finally Negotiating with Lawrence O’Donnell. Keep the Pressure on. It’s Working

The soap opera drama surrounding Lawrence O’Donnell’s contract negotiations with MSNBC is heating up. In a good way. Last week an article on the Huffington Post revealed that MSNBC was not actively negotiating to re-sign O’Donnell whose contract expires in June. That news startled his fans and the media world at large.

Lawrence O'Donnell MSNBC

O’Donnell is a core part of the team that is currently burning up cable news. MSNBC’s ratings are reaching record highs. For the past three weeks they have even bested Fox News in the critical 25-54 year old advertising demographic. That was considered unthinkable a few weeks ago. The brightest star in the network’s universe is Rachel Maddow, whose ratings have soared in sync with her stellar reporting on Donald Trump. O’Donnell has nearly matched her success and beaten Fox News perennial, Sean Hannity, on some nights.

Insider speculation has pointed to NBC News chief Andy Lack as the obstacle to O’Donnell’s renewal. Since his ascension, Lack has steered MSNBC to a decidedly more conservative slant. He hired Greta Van Susteren from Fox News. Also dinosaur conservative George Will. He gave former George W. Bush communications director, Nicolle Wallace, her own show. And he’s giving Hugh Hewitt one on the weekend. Why he thinks that any conservative viewers are going to tune in to MSNBC is a complete mystery. They have been trained for years to regard the network as something just this side of Satanic. Van Susteren’s show is already a dismal failure that brings down the programs that follow it.

Lack’s programming moves are disconcerting for several reasons. They make no sense from a business perspective. It is ridiculous to upend a schedule that is showing such success and is still growing. It alienates the core audience that is the foundation of that success. But there is also talk that Lack’s motivation is to suck up to Donald Trump. Considering Trump’s record low standing in the polls, that may be the dumbest reason of all to upset a winning formula.

Shortly after the HuffPost article, another appeared on Showbiz411 with a disturbingly declarative headline. It blared “MSNBC Ending Lawrence O’Donnell ‘The Last Word’ Show Despite Top Ratings (Exclusive).” It’s author, Roger Friedman, began by saying “I can confirm that MSNBC is ending the top rated ‘The Last Word’ with Lawrence O’Donnell.” That, unsurprisingly, created a stir among viewers. Even worse, Friedman cited sources that said “O’Donnell’s tireless criticism of Donald Trump” was the reason for the cancellation.

So here’s the good news. Friedman just published a new article that contradicts his prior exclusive. Apparently the outcry from viewers was so powerful that it pushed MSNBC to the negotiating table. Indeed, there has been a flood of angry viewers swarming Facebook and Twitter in defense of O’Donnell. The result appears to be the first serious talks between the network and its star.

It’s too soon, however, to declare victory. Until there’s a signed contract that locks O’Donnell into his current time slot, fans need to keep the pressure on. But they can do so with the knowledge that such tactics are working. You can call them at 212-664-4444 and email them at letters@msnbc.com.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

There has never been more need for honest progressive reporting on television. The Era of Trump cannot be allowed to dispense the lies and propaganda that are emblematic of that movement. And with Fox News in upheaval (having lost its CEO Roger Ailes and its biggest star Bill O’Reilly to sex scandals), this is not the time to retreat. Activists who are seeking to turn Congress and the White House blue need to recognize that the media battlefield is just as important as the electoral one. Carry on progressive soldiers – to victory.


Preparing to Deal with a Child: That’s How Host Nations View Trump’s Upcoming Visit

Friday morning Donald Trump will embark on his first trip oversees as president. He might regard his departure as a flight from the turmoil he’s created at home. A special prosecutor was just named to investigate his connections to Russia and potential charges of obstruction of justice due to his interference with, and firing of, FBI Director James Comey. Add that to a failing agenda including efforts to repeal ObamaCare, curtail immigration, tax reform, and more. This trip must seem like a vacation to Trump and his exhausted inner circle.

Donald Trump

Unfortunately for him, rest and relaxation are not in the cards. Although, lacking stamina, Trump did reportedly try to pare down his schedule. According to the New York Times he asked to shorten the itinerary from nine days to five. The Times also reported that he “expressed dread” about the trip. More to the point, the upcoming encounters with world leaders present fresh opportunities for Trump to embarrass himself and the nation. He has a disquieting habit of insulting America’s allies and embracing its foes.

From the perspective of the countries that Trump will be visiting, his hosts have a complicated task. They must find a way to be hospitable without being condescending. Given Trump’s painfully ignorant grasp of world affairs and history, that’s a tall order. Consequently, they are making special preparations:

“After four months of interactions between Mr. Trump and his counterparts, foreign officials and their Washington consultants say certain rules have emerged. Keep it short – no 30-minute monologue for a 30-second attention span. Do not assume he knows the history of the country or its major points of contention. Compliment him on his Electoral College victory. Contrast him favorably with President Barack Obama.

“Do not get hung up on whatever was said during the campaign. Stay in regular touch. Do not go in with a shopping list but bring some sort of deal he can call a victory.”

These are tactics aimed at accommodating Trump’s ego and incompetence. They recognize that he needs constant reassurance and flattery. Likewise, they are aware of his preference for “short presentations and lots of visual aids.” But one source summed up the preparations for Trump’s visit with a particularly apt analogy:

“‘It’s kind of ridiculous how they are preparing to deal with Trump. It’s like they’re preparing to deal with a child. Someone with a short attention span and mood who has no knowledge of NATO, no interest in in-depth policy issues, nothing. They’re freaking out.'”

It’s more than ridiculous. It’s unbearable that this man is representing the United States in a manner that actually invites ridicule. The world isn’t taking us seriously and are openly mocking us with these preparatory plans. Ironically, Trump told Time Magazine last week that “we were being laughed at by the world.” Then he added “They’re not laughing anymore.” Obviously he isn’t listening very closely. And if he were listening to the American people he would hear distinct whimpering.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
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