Hysterical TV Listing Compares Trump Inauguration To A Nightmarish Twilight Zone

With less than a week until Donald Trump is sworn in to office, the world is still incredulous. Many wonder how a vulgar, thin-skinned, racist, pathological liar, with countless conflicts of interest, and unsavory ties to Russia, ever got to this point.

Trump TV Listing

However, a television writer in Scotland may have had the best reaction to this unsettling state of affairs. Damien Love writes the program synopses for Scotland’s Sunday Herald. In this week’s listings he described the Trump inauguration in a uniquely troubling way:

President Trump: The Inauguration

4pm, BBC One/ STV

After a long absence, The Twilight Zone returns with one of the most ambitious, expensive and controversial productions in broadcast history. Sci-fi writers have dabbled often with alternative history stories – among the most common is the “What If The Nazis Had Won The Second World War” setting – but this huge interactive virtual reality project, which will unfold on TV, in the press, and on Twitter over the next four years, sets out to build an ongoing alternative present. The story begins in a nightmarish version of 2017 in which huge sections of the US electorate have somehow been duped into voting to make Donald Trump president. It sounds far-fetched, and it is, but as it goes on it becomes more and more chillingly plausible. Today’s feature-length opener concentrates on the gaudy inauguration of President Trump, and the stirrings of protest and despair surrounding the ceremony, while pundits speculate gravely on what lies ahead. It’s a flawed piece, but a disturbing glimpse of the horrors we could stumble into, if we’re not careful.

Love’s satire perfectly captures some very real concerns. This is indeed “a nightmarish version of 2017” and “a disturbing glimpse of the horrors we could stumble into.” And the fact that other countries perceive the new American government this way forecasts a worrisome decline in respect for the nation. This snarky TV listing is, unfortunately, just a preview of what’s to come.

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

Trump TV

SRSLY? Rudy Giuliani Says Media-Hater Trump Will ‘Get Us Back To A Free Press’

Rudy Giuliani appeared on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program Friday in a successful attempt to certify his reputation as a mush-brained old coot. This pair of Donald Trump fluffers were in awe of The Donald’s performance at his press conference harangue on Wednesday. Watching Trump berate a CNN reporter for daring to ask a question struck Giuliani as respectful of a free press.

Rudy Giuliani

The exchange between Giuliani and Hannity revealed just how deranged the former mayor has become. His comments lauded Trump as a breath of fresh air and a champion of journalistic ethics. No, seriously. Take these actual excerpts for example:

Giuliani: “It is refreshing and it is very good for our democracy that we have a president that is trying to get us back to a free press.”

Unfortunately, most journalists would vehemently disagree with Giuliani’s worshipful remarks. In fact, the Committee to Protect Journalists called Trump “an unprecedented threat to the rights of journalists.” Their lengthy press release also included these criticisms:

“Since the beginning of his candidacy, Trump has insulted and vilified the press and has made his opposition to the media a centerpiece of his campaign. Trump has routinely labeled the press as ‘dishonest’ and ‘scum’ and singled out individual news organizations and journalists.

“He has mocked a disabled New York Times journalist and called an ABC News reporter a ‘sleaze’ in a press conference. He expelled Univision anchor Jorge Ramos from a campaign press conference because he asked an ‘impertinent’ question, and has publicly demeaned other journalists.”

In addition to that, the National Press Club put out a statement condemning Trump’s anti-press tactics as “unacceptable and dangerous to our democracy.” So the people most concerned about the welfare of journalists don’t regard Trump as either refreshing or good for democracy.

Giuliani: “[Trump] may actually reestablish journalistic ethics.”

Giuliani didn’t bother to elaborate on how Trump would do that. He must think that revoking the press credentials of reporters who don’t lavish him with praise advances ethical journalism. Among the news organizations Trump has muzzled are the Washington Post, BuzzFeed, Politico, Huffington Post, Daily Beast, and Univision.

Even worse, he said that CNN’s reporting about him was in some way similar to what the Nazis did. However, he never explained what the similarity was. It’s bad enough that he would trivialize the very real horrors that millions suffered. But he descends further into the unspeakably vile by claiming that he’s the victim.

Giuliani: “He’s an honest man. So they’re not gonna catch him in some kind of lie.”

This may be the best indication that Giuliani has totally lost his mind. Donald Trump is the most notoriously pathological liar that has ever run for president. He ranks at the bottom of PolitiFact’s scoring of all the presidential candidates for the 2016 cycle. See for yourself with this collection of fully documented lies: The Trump Bullshitopedia.

Giuliani was just named by Trump to lead his cybersecurity team, a position for which he is woefully unqualified. But he is even less qualified as a spokesman for journalists or the best interests of a free press. Especially if he thinks that someone with as much contempt for the First Amendment as Trump has shown could ever have a positive influence on it.

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

Fox News Is NOT News: Network’s Own Ads Label Its Programming As ‘Entertainment’

Most Americans don’t need Fox News to inform them that the network is a rabidly partisan, right-wing propaganda machine. However, it’s nice of them to admit it from time to time, and to provide incontrovertible proof.

The latest public confession by Fox came when they posted promotions for the premiere of Tucker Carlson Tonight. Carlson is the Trump-loving, ultra-conservative, knee-jerk GOP mouthpiece tapped to fill Megyn Kelly’s stiletto heels. On the Fox News website they posted ads to draw viewers to the new primetime program under an unusual category heading: Entertainment.

Fox News Tucker Carlson

That’s right. Even Fox News doesn’t consider their programs to be news. That has been readily apparent to anyone who has watched the network for more than five minutes. But from Fox’s perspective it has been a key part of their business model from the start. As reported previously by News Corpse:

“Fox News has redefined television journalism by fundamentally transforming it from an information medium to an entertainment medium. They dress up their pseudo-news segments in the same melodramatic packaging that entertainment outlets use: conflict, scandal, mystery, and hyper-charged emotions including hero worship and fear.

“Fox employs flashy graphics and attention-grabbing audio whooshes and gongs to decorate their reports that are presented as ‘ALERTS’ regardless of the news value. And always there is sex. Fox’s roster of hosts has more former beauty pageant contestants that journalists. And they aren’t shy about putting their ‘talent’ in revealing clothes and camera angles. In fact, Fox CEO Roger Ailes demands it. As for news, Fox’s concentration on tabloid thrill-fiction like Benghazi and Obama’s birth certificate is the news equivalent of porn.”

This isn’t the first time that Fox has been so candid about their intention to be perceived as an entertainment medium. In a 2015 profile in the Hollywood Reporter the now-disgraced former CEO of Fox made it clear what field of broadcasting he was interested in playing on. He told the trade mag that CNN and MSNBC were not on his radar:

“In fact, Ailes, 74, no longer views those networks as rivals. ‘We’re competing with TNT and USA and ESPN,’ he says.”

So the boss admits that channels that are plainly entertainment and sports are his competition, not other news outlets. There’s a good reason for this. Entertainment routinely trounces news in the ratings. By dressing up the more staid genre of journalism as a sexier breed of programming, Fox hopes to attract larger, more loyal audiences.

Another Fox source confirmed this tactic, ironically in the form of criticism of rival news networks. On Bill O’Reilly’s show, former CBS reporter Bernie Goldberg sought to explain why CNN and MSNBC were losing to Fox. His reasoning was that “Liberal news media violate the cardinal rule of all media. They’re not entertaining.” His point being that Fox had solved that “problem” by abandoning journalistic ethics and playing to their audience’s emotions.

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

Now, with Fox’s own promotions of a new primetime show, they have finally abandoned any pretense of being a news operation. If a network characterizes itself as entertainment, you might as well take their word for it. Wouldn’t they know? And in the Era of Trump a network populated by faux journalists fits neatly into the latest media trend: Fake News.

You Are Not Alone: New Poll Reveals America’s Deep Disapproval Of Donald Trump

With only one week remaining until Donald Trump’s inauguration, the mood of the American people has descended into an unprecedented funk. Trump has succeeded in making history as the most disliked President-Elect on record. And at a time when new presidents enjoy a honeymoon period, Americans seem more inclined to seek a divorce.

Lawrence O'Donnell MSNBC

On Thursday’s “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell,” the MSNBC host revealed the results of a brand new Quinnipiac Poll. Suffice to say that Trump will not be retweeting it, except to call everyone involved losers and liars. The poll shows how deeply dissatisfied the nation is with The Donald. In virtually every question posed by the pollsters Trump was seriously underwater. For instance:

  • On Trump’s cabinet nominees: Disapprove: 40%, Approve 30%.
  • On AG nominee Jeff Sessions: Disapprove: 34%, Approve 29%.
  • On Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson: Disapprove: 35%, Approve 23%.
  • On confidence that Trump will make things better: Not very/At all: 53%, Very/Somewhat: 44%.
  • On whether Trump will unite or divide the country: Divide: 54%, Unite: 40%.
  • Can you relate to Trump: No: 68% (including 35% of Republicans), Yes: 30%.
  • Is Trump honest: No: 53%, Yes: 39%.
  • On handling PEOTUS responsibilities: Disapprove:51%, Approve:37%.
  • On Trump’s job approval: Unfavorable: 51%, Favorable: 37%. A decline since the election.
  • On keeping his personal Twitter account: No: 64%, Yes: 32%.
  • On whether Trump will be a better president than Obama: Worse: 45%, Better 34%.
  • On what kind of president Trump will be: Bad/Not so good: 52%, Good/Great: 42%.

In every instance Trump not only fared poorly, he underperformed his election results. And as we know, he lost the popular vote by a historic margin of nearly three million votes. By comparison, the poll asked about President Obama’s job approval which stands at 55% favorable and 39% unfavorable. That’s a seven year high for Obama in this poll.

This poll makes clear that Trump has utterly failed to coalesce the country around his agenda of division and hate. His preliminary steps as PEOTUS have only further alienated the public. Rather than draining the swamp, Trump is stocking it with alligators from Goldman Sachs, celebrities from Fox News, and arch-conservatives from congress and business. And news about his unsavory associations with Russia aren’t helping either.

The conclusion drawn by O’Donnell is that “You are not alone.” Americans who have been grieving for their country and the state of its democracy are in the majority. Trump’s administration will begin without any hint of a mandate. Consequently, there is opportunity for the resistance to obstruct his agenda. But for that to happen, people need to be motivated, informed, and active. For more on that see the Indivisible Guide.

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

UH-OH: DOJ Inspector General To Probe FBI’s ‘Improper’ Handling Of Clinton Investigation

When reviewing the most consequential events of the 2016 presidential election, one strikingly inappropriate action comes immediately to mind. Less than two weeks before the nation voted, FBI Directer James Comey violated a long-held principle of law enforcement. He released confidential and unsubstantiated data concerning an in-progress investigation of Hillary Clinton.

Comey Trump

Comey’s action gave Donald Trump’s campaign a jet-propelled boost at a time when it needed it most. And it left little time for Clinton’s campaign to respond or recover from the political harm. As it turned out, there was nothing of significance in the additional analysis that Comey initiated, but the damage was done.

Thursday morning the Inspector General’s office of the Department of Justice announced that it will be reviewing these events. Requests from member of Congress, outside organizations, and members of the public, spurred the IG to commence this review. According to the Huffington Post, the review will address several specific topics, including:

  • Allegations that Department or FBI policies or procedures were not followed in connection with, or in actions leading up to or related to, the FBI Director’s public announcement on July 5, 2016, and the Director’s letters to Congress on October 28 and November 6, 2016, and that certain underlying investigative decisions were based on improper considerations;
  • Allegations that the FBI Deputy Director should have been recused from participating in certain investigative matters;
  • Allegations that Department and FBI employees improperly disclosed non-public information;
  • Allegations that decisions regarding the timing of the FBI’s release of certain Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents on October 30 and November 1, 2016, and the use of a Twitter account to publicize same, were influenced by improper considerations.

These are the most salient issues that desperately need to be resolved. Comey’s behavior was suspiciously beneficial to one political candidate, and this investigation should explore any and all motivations. The IG’s review is being careful not to engage in further partisanship. Consequently, it’s also examining allegations that an assistant AG improperly disclosed non-public information to Clinton’s campaign.

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

It remains to be seen what conclusions will be drawn when the review is complete. There could be consequences for Comey, or it could be swept under the FBI’s rug. Timing will also be critical. If this stretches too long into the Trump administration, and his anticipated purges at the DOJ are effected, then nothing of significance will result. Trump’s people will surely protect him and his allies in the FBI, including Comey. So stay tuned as this developing story continues to unfold.

Trump Likens CNN To Nazis But Shepard Smith Of Fox News Isn’t Having It

This is how bad it’s getting for Donald Trump. An anchor on Fox News chastised him Wednesday for doing something he has been doing for months: Attacking the media.

Shepard Smith Fox News

Shepard Smith responded to comments Trump made at his first press conference in seven months. The Donald was very upset over reports that Russia might have compromising information about him. Trump was informed of this during one of the few national security briefings he bothered to attend. However, his response was not to direct anger at the Russians asserting salacious behavior and financial impropriety on Trump’s part. Nope, he was angry with BuzzFeed and CNN for doing their job and informing the public.

TRUMP: I think it was disgraceful, disgraceful that the intelligence agencies allowed any information that turned out to so false, and fake, out. I think it’s a disgrace. And I say that. And that’s something Nazi Germany would have done and did do.

First of all, Trump implying that he’s a victim of Nazi tactics is not only false, it’s nauseating. He is trivializing the real horrors that took the lives of millions. Jewish groups have condemned his remarks and called for him to apologize.

Back to the main topic: Trump called BuzzFeed a “failing pile of garbage” who would “suffer the consequences.” Then turned to CNN, who he blamed for “building it up.” When CNN’s White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, attempted to ask a question, Trump repeatedly refused to recognize him. He told Acosta to be quiet and to stop being rude. Then, as an explanation for why Acosta was being shunned, Trump said that “You are fake news.”

Shepard Smith addressed this exchange on his afternoon broadcast. He began by distinguishing CNN’s reporting from that of BuzzFeed, who merely published the source documents from the intelligence briefing that everyone was already talking about. Then he mounted a full-throated defense of CNN:

SMITH: “Though we at Fox News cannot confirm CNN’s report, it is our observation that its correspondents followed journalistic standards. Neither they, nor any other journalists, should be subjected to belittling and delegitimizing by the President-Elect of the United States.”

Coming from Fox News, that’s a strong vote of confidence for the network that Trump so fiercely despises. What’s more, it’s important symbolically for other news organizations to rally behind CNN, or any network, whose First Amendment rights are threatened. Trump has a long history of resorting to blacklisting news enterprises that he perceives as insufficiently adoring. And it goes beyond simply calling them names. He has revoked their credentials and prohibited them from covering his events. Now he has taken to calling any news he doesn’t like “fake news.”

This makes Trump’s “Nazi” rhetoric all the more curious and disturbing. He is literally engaging in the sort of suppression of the press that was common in Germany in the 1930’s and 1940’s. His attacks on CNN, and other media he dislikes, is intended to damage their reputation and even destroy their business viability. That is clear in his post-press conference tweet falsely maligning CNN’s ratings and credibility. Trump is on a mission to silence his critics and friendly media. In fact, shortly after brushing back Acosta, Trump called on Breitbart News, an actual, documented source for fake news.

However, Trump’s assertion that he is the victim of Nazi tactics is ludicrous on its face. When did Nazi-run media ever release intelligence data intended to hurt the German leader? Trump is casting himself in the role of Hitler and asserting that his own spies are out to get him. The absurdity of that is glaringly apparent. In the Nazi era it would have been suicide for the media to publish anything critical of the Fuhrer. And aside from being historically inaccurate, it’s a precarious analogy to apply to oneself. Never mind the temptingly appropriate parallels. Furthermore, Trump has been asked about comparisons to Hitler in the past, and in a chillingly ominous response he said that it doesn’t bother him. That response should bother every other American.

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

Trump’s Press Conference Was An Unholy Mess of Lies And Defensive Evasion

Most government ethics experts regard President-Elect Donald Trump as a walking violation of the Constitution. Some regard his pending inauguration as the moment he becomes subject to impeachment. Despite numerous promises, Trump put off explaining how his widespread business concerns will not result in actionable conflicts of interest. In fact, Trump hasn’t held a press conference on any subject since last July. That’s an unprecedented period of self-imposed muzzling that also deprives citizens of critical answers and information.

Donald Trump

The Donald’s Twitter feed records the history of his obfuscation and delay. It goes back to November 30, 2016, when he unleashed a multi-tweet declaration stating that:

[1] “I will be holding a major news conference in New York City with my children on December 15 to discuss the fact that I will be leaving my … [2] great business in total in order to fully focus on running the country in order to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! While I am not mandated to [3] do this under the law, I feel it is visually important, as President, to in no way have a conflict of interest with my various businesses.. [4] Hence, legal documents are being crafted which take me completely out of business operations. The Presidency is a far more important task!

Less than two weeks later Trump cancelled that “major news conference” and tweeted the much more vague:

No reason was offered for the cancellation, nor was a new date provided. Then, on the day he had originally promised the press conference he tweeted:

If it’s so simple, then why didn’t he just meet the press, explain it, and get it over with? His own comments hinted at the answer to that by describing the work that his lawyers were going through in preparation for the press conference. Then, on January 3, 2017, he finally tweeted a new date for the unveiling of his business plans. However, now the press availability was designated as having a general purpose, rather than one to specifically address the looming conflicts of interest:

Wednesday Trump finally held the long-promised press conference. Unfortunately, he failed to adequately address the outstanding issues that have accumulated while he sheltered himself in a media-free bunker. Among the issues that he avoided while hiding on Twitter were the persistent allegations of voter suppression. His loss of the popular vote. Charges by at least a dozen women who claim he sexual assaulted them. Payment of $25 million to settle a lawsuit to compensate the fraud victims of his phony Trump University. His white supremacist (aka alt-right) cabinet and administration appointees.

For the most part Trump repeated his standard stump speech and put up a self-serving defense without providing any new information. He assailed his critics and accused the media of smearing him. Here is some of what we “learned” in the hour long affair:

  • We stopped giving [press conferences] because we were getting a lot of inaccurate news.
    So that’s a reason to refrain from speaking to the press yourself?
  • Hacking is bad and it shouldn’t be done. But look at what we learned from the hacking.
    In other words, he’s praising the hacking that he says was bad. Maybe because it was only bad for Clinton.
  • If Putin likes Trump, that’s an asset.
    To whom? Certainly not to the nation that his naivete is putting at risk.
  • I’m also very much of a germophobe. Believe me.
    Thanks for sharing.
  • Trump’s still using the excuse of an IRS audit to refuse to release his tax returns.
    Someone tell him that as president the IRS reports to him.
  • The Trump Organization now has an Office of Chief Compliance Council to insure that it operates at the highest levels of integrity.
    He never had this before? Not surprising, really.
  • Trump was asked to affirm that he and his campaign had no contact with Russia.
    He didn’t even bother to answer the question, veering off into an unrelated subject.

Finally, Trump had a heated exchange with CNN’s Jim Acosta. When Acosta attempted to ask a question, Trump repeatedly refused to recognize him. Acosta tried to argue that since Trump had attacked his network, he should allow a question. Trump just said that he was “fake news” and turned away.

So now Trump is applying the term “fake news” to one of the premiere national news networks in the world. Whatever one thinks of CNN, it is entirely different from the miscreants who fabricate false stories for profit. For instance, The National Enquirer, which Trump hails as a reputable news organization. But CNN, for the time being, has been blacklisted by Trump.

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

Having watched this press conference, it is apparent that we didn’t miss much during Trump’s seven month evasion from the media. He is still providing the same hollow and defensive answers to questions that he is comfortable addressing, and ignoring everything else. This is pretty much what we can expect for the next four years, if he lasts that long.

Publisher Pulls Book By Trump’s National Security Nominee Due To Plagiarism

Last week reports surfaced alleging that Monica Crowley had plagiarized significant parts of her 2012 book, “What The (Bleep) Just Happened.” Ironically, that title poses a good question considering that her publisher just announced that it’s pulling the book from publication:

“The book, which has reached the end of its natural sales cycle, will no longer be offered for purchase until such time as the author has the opportunity to source and revise the material.”

Monica Crowley

Donald Trump recently nominated Crowley to be the strategic communications director of the National Security Council. She was previously a contributor for Fox News. CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski identified more than fifty instances of text that was lifted in whole or in part from other sources. The “borrowed” words came from newspapers, magazines, websites, and even from a colleague at Fox News. After publication of the expose, Trump’s transition team called it a politically motivated attack and said they stood by Crowley.

Now the publisher, HarperCollins, has concluded that the allegations have merit. It should be noted that HarperCollins is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. Murdoch is also the owner of the parent company of Fox News. CNN reached out to Trump’s team again for an updated response but did not immediately receive one.

In addition to this news, the Trump people have to deal with allegations that Crowley also plagiarized portions of her doctorate dissertation. According to Politico:

“An examination of the dissertation and the sources it cites identified more than a dozen sections of text that have been lifted, with little to no changes, from other scholarly works without proper attribution. In some instances, Crowley footnoted her source but did not identify with quotation marks the text she was copying directly. In other instances, she copied text or heavily paraphrased with no attribution at all.”

With the removal of Crowley’s book from publication it seems impossible for Trump to continue to dismiss this as partisan. Rupert Murdoch’s publishing company isn’t part of a Democratic cabal. Crowley’s fate would be sealed in any other political context. But Trump’s operation has been rife with impropriety, dishonesty, and a determination to double down when faced with adversity. So it’s anyone’s guess where Crowley will be tomorrow. After all, Trump’s wife Melania was also caught in a plagiarism scandal, and she’s still around.

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

Sexual Harassment Claim Against Bill O’Reilly Secretly Settled By Fox News

The den of misogyny and debasement known as Fox News has suffered another blow to its reputation for family values. It’s only been a few months since Fox fired Roger Ailes, their founder and CEO, due to allegations of sexual harassment. About a dozen women lodged complaints against him, most notably Gretchen Carlson, who won a multimillion dollar lawsuit.

Bill O'Reilly Megyn Kelly

On Monday a new report revealed that Fox’s top star, Bill O’Reilly, has also been the target of harassment allegations. Former anchor Juliet Huddy made the complaint over charges stemming from her employment in 2011. She asserted that O’Reilly made unwanted advances and sexually explicit phone calls wherein he appeared to be masturbating. Additionally, he threatened to adversely affect her career and retaliated when she proved to be an uncooperative victim. The complaint also named Jack Abernethy, the newly appointed co-president of Fox who replaced Ailes.

The news reports indicate that Fox News paid a substantial amount to settle with Huddy. Both Fox News and O’Reilly, however, deny the charges. The settlement was arranged in secret and stipulated that Huddy refrain from disclosing its terms. According to the report:

“LawNewz.com has confirmed the settlement with three separate sources including a former Fox News executive with direct knowledge of the matter. In addition, we obtained a draft of the intent to sue letter which was sent or handed to Fox News and listed the allegations of sexual harassment against both men. While we weren’t able to confirm the exact amount of the settlement, our sources tell us the amount paid out was in the high six figures. Neither Abernethy, nor O’Reilly paid any money out personally and, we are told, Abernethy and O’Reilly strongly denied all of the charges made against them by Huddy from the start.”

This isn’t the first time that O’Reilly has undergone scrutiny for such misbehavior. In 2004 he paid a multimillion dollar settlement to a former producer, Andrea Mackris, who alleged that he harassed her. Plus, he has been accused by his own children of physically assaulting his ex-wife, an act for which he lost custody of his kids.

There appears to be an environment at Fox News that allows for the toleration of this sort of abuse. It’s part of a pattern of behavior where women are exploited and on and off camera. In the Ailes era female anchors were forbidden to wear pants on sets without desks. To say nothing of the infamous “leg cam” that was deployed to feature the assets of their mostly young, blonde presenters. Ailes biographer Gabriel Sherman documented some of the techniques Fox employed to satisfy their largely male audience in his book “The Loudest Voice In The Room.” For instance:

  • When the view of reporter Kiran Chetry was obstructed, Ailes called the control booth to demand that they “Move that damn laptop, I can’t see her legs!”
  • Ailes complained about host Catherine Crier’s attire saying that “I did not spend x-number of dollars on a glass desk for her to wear pant suits.”
  • The casting of The Five included one particular co-host because “I Need The Leg. That’s Andrea Tantaros.”

Even former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly got reeled in. She recently revealed her own experiences with sexual harassment by Ailes and left Fox to join NBC News. But in a revealing pictorial for GQ Magazine a few years ago, her appearance was very much a part of Fox’s marketing. She was asked about her own “glass table that shows off your legs.” She responded that “Well, It’s a visual business. People want to see the anchor.” That must be why Bill O’Reilly wears those low-cut blouses.

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

Rich And Entitled Fox News Host Is ‘Annoyed’ By The Rich And Entitled In Hollywood

Sunday night’s broadcast of the Golden Globe Awards produced one of the most stirring speeches ever delivered at such an affair. As the Cecil B. DeMille Award winner for lifetime achievement, Meryl Streep was clearly disturbed by the crudeness and vulgarity of President-Elect Donald Trump. She devoted most of her acceptance speech to chastising The Donald for mocking a disabled reporter. And she defended American citizens in the arts who speak out on important issues.

Tucker Carlson Fox News

That speech set up Fox News to launch a full court press against one of their favorite targets: Hollywood. And it began early in the morning on Fox & Friends with special guest, Tucker Carlson. Carlson’s appearance was surely scheduled, at least in part, to promote his brand new primetime program “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” The segment kicked off with clips from Streep’s speech, including her opening line:

“All of us in this room belong to the most vilified segment in American society right now. Think about it. Hollywood, foreigners, and the press.”

The truth of that cannot be denied by anyone with an honest perspective. Conservatives have had an insatiable Hollywood bashing obsession for decades. Likewise, foreigners have been a convenient target to blame for every social problem for which conservatives have no solution. Trump has elevated xenophobia to new heights of hatefulness. And the press, never particularly well-liked, has taken more heat in the past eighteen months than ever.

While Streep’s opening line was true, it was intended as joke and it got the laugh that she expected. However, Carlson took it as some sort of high-minded social philosophy that deserved critical analysis. He told his pals on Fox that:

“Here you have a rich and entitled person describing herself as an outsider, an outcast, a pariah. […] What I was so struck by is she was telling a crowd exactly what they wanted to hear. She was saying things that are totally uncontroversial within the context she was speaking. That’s the least courageous thing you can do.”

First of all, Streep never cast herself as an outcast. That was Carlson’s way of preemptively dismissing everything she had to say. But more troubling is his criticism of Streep for allegedly pandering to her Hollywood audience. He was “annoyed” at her lack of courage for saying exactly what her audience wanted to hear.

Really? That is what Fox News does all day, every day. It is a 24/7 pandering operation for right-wing propaganda. Where is the courage in that? And Carlson himself is the perfect symbol for Fox’s partisan fawning. He just replaced Megyn Kelly, who while affirmatively conservative, has had differences with Trump. Now the entire Fox News primetime lineup is composed of Trump fluffers and friends.

As for the “rich and entitled,” Carlson could be their mascot. Tucker Swanson McNear Carlson was born into wealth in the heartland city of San Francisco, California. He is the son of a television executive who later became ambassador to the Seychelles. Now he splits his time as a TV pundit between New York City and Washington, D.C. When you drain the swamp, what you’ll find is scads of slimy Tucker Carlsons flopping around in the muck.

Carlson is so in touch with mainstream America that he recently confessed that he doesn’t even watch movies. In an interview with TheWrap he said “Who watches movies? Who would? Not me. I wouldn’t cross the street to watch a movie for free.” That comment came following his rebuke of the industry that he thinks is “crumbling.” In fact, the film business is enjoying record profits. Last year box office earnings exceeded 11.3 billion dollars.

Not to be outdone, Trump also commented on Streep’s remarks. True to form, he descended into his typically childish taunting. He tweeted:

So one of the most admired and honored actors of this, or any, generation is “over-rated” in Trump’s feeble mind. [Update: In 2015 Trump was asked about his favorite actors and said “Meryl Streep is excellent; she’s a fine person, too.”] And he’s aghast that she would have an opinion of him without knowing him. But he doesn’t hesitate to express his utterly ignorant opinion of her. Of course, he is suggesting that nobody, not any citizen, has a legitimate right to criticize him without having some kind of personal relationship. That’s a bastardization of democracy. For comparison, here is what Obama’s press secretary, Josh Earnest had to say about Streep’s speech:

“Meryl Streep delivered a thoughtful, carefully considered message. It seemed to me to be a fairly straightforward exercise of her First Amendment rights as a citizen of the United States.”

That’s the statement of a statesman. It’s also precisely the opposite of the attitude that Carlson projects. To him the only people who are permitted to hold and share opinions are those with whom he agrees. Ill-informed Tea Party crackpots can say whatever they want about President Obama. And celebrities like Clint Eastwood and Ted Nugent are considered virtual Rhodes Scholars. But artists who speak their minds outside of the right-wing echo chamber are condemned for their impudence. Worst of all, wealthy, trust-fund babies like Carlson get primetime shows on Fox News where they lambaste the rich and entitled.

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