SO LIKE TRUMP: Spokesman Can’t Defend Trump’s Lies – So He Lies Even More

The stunning spectacle of President-Elect Donald Trump continuing his midnight tweet tirades is a harbinger of a surreal future. He’s the first American president to sink to such juvenile 140 character trash-talk.

Trump Baby

In response to the effort to recount votes in three battleground states, Trump disgorged a stream of ludicrous tweets. They contained both delusional fiction and stark contradiction. He led off with a claim that the recount was a scam that wouldn’t change the election results. But then he flipped to asserting that there were indeed “millions of illegal votes.” That should be justification for a recount. He never bothered to reconcile his disjointed logic.

Monday morning Trump’s communications director, Jason Miller, held a conference call with the press. Tamara Keith of NPR brought up Trump’s tweets asking:

KEITH: I am hoping that you could point to the evidence of millions of people who Mr. Trump claims voted illegally and also any evidence you have of election fraud that he claimed on Twitter happened in New Hampshire, Virginia and California.

MILLER: You know, one of the things I’d say just, kind of, on the front end that I really do think that it’s been ridiculous that so much oxygen’s been given to the recount effort where there’s absolutely no chance of any election results changing. […]

You know, with regard to, you know, additional — you know, but I think it’s also important to point out that if so much time and attention is gonna be given to recount issues and some of the other things that Jill Stein has been bringing up, it’s important to talk about some of the other concerns that are out there with regard to voting.

For some reason, Miller drifted off into Palin-speak. Perhaps she is advising the campaign on how to be incomprehensible in order to avoid tough questions. Then he returned to the topic and gave an answer that defies credibility:

In particular, I’d point to the 2014 Washington Post study that indicated more than 14 percent of non-citizens in both the 2008 and 2010 elections indicated they were registered to vote, and that Washington Post story is important.

I’d also point out some of the other examples that we had raised during the campaign. Some numbers include the Pew Research study that said approximately 24 million, or one out of every eight, voter registrations in the United States are no longer valid or significantly inaccurate. And in that same Pew Research study, the fact that 2.5 million people have registrations in more than one state.

First of all, the Washington Post study to which Miller referred was from 2014 and had nothing to do with this election. Secondly, it was debunked by fact-checkers and the Washington Post itself. In fact, WaPo added a preface to their own article saying that “the findings were biased and that the author’s data do not provide evidence of non-citizen voting in U.S. elections.”

Similarly, the Pew study (from 2012) had no bearing on 2016 presidential voting. And both studies involved only voter registration. Neither one made any claims with regard to illegal voting or voter fraud. Even the registration issues didn’t indicate any fraud. They were mainly due to voters dying, moving or otherwise not updating their registration status. That includes immigrants who showed up on voter rolls after they became citizens, but who were still identified in other government databases as non-citizens. The studies did not allege that any of these mis-registered people ever improperly voted. Nevertheless, Miller insisted that he had uncovered bona fide examples of election fraud:

So all these are studies and examples of where there have been issues of both voter fraud and illegal immigrants voting. So if this much attention and oxygen’s gonna be given to a completely frivolous, throwaway fund-raising scheme by someone like Jill Stein, then there should be actual substantive looks at the — the overall examples of voter fraud and illegal immigrants voting in recent years. And so that’s — that’s the — the broader message that I think should be taken away here.

No, these are plainly not examples of “voter fraud and illegal immigrants voting.” However, if Miller really believes that they are, he should join Stein’s effort to call for an even more expansive recount of the 2016 election. Recount the whole country. How can he argue that there’s rampant fraud that undermines our democracy, but that we shouldn’t do anything about it? We welcome him to the fight for fair and honest elections. Let’s root out these imaginary ne’er do wells once and for all.

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

Tweet-aholic Trump Pours Out His Frantic Fear Of Vote Recount (Millions Voted Illegally?)

As the Trump team continues to stitch together their administration, efforts to certify the election results are also progressing. In an unprecedented display of support, Green Party candidate Jill Stein has raised over six million dollars for recounts. That’s enough for Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, and Michigan will require only a million more.

Donald Trump

Not surprisingly, Donald Trump is aghast at the potential challenge to his Electoral College victory. And consistent with his juvenile temperament, he is once again taking to Twitter to whine about the burdens of democracy. Terrified of being exposed as a loser, crybaby Trump is lashing out at Hillary Clinton for doing exactly what he planned on doing himself. The tweet-storm began Saturday afternoon and continued through Sunday afternoon. He began with this:


Trump’s characterization of the recount as a scam is not supported by any evidence. It’s just him swinging wildly. And who knows what he means by “impossible recounts.” This is surely possible and even routine. As for “badly defeated” Dems, maybe his handlers haven’t told him that Clinton got over two million more votes than he did. And if they were demoralized, raising six million dollars is a funny way of showing it. Next up was this:


An important distinction here is that Clinton, unlike Trump, never said that she wouldn’t accept the results of the election. She isn’t even saying that the recount is aimed at changing the result as called on election night. Both Clinton and Stein are saying that this is being done to insure election integrity. In the face of mounting evidence that nefarious players (i.e. Russia) may have interfered with voting, it is imperative that a review be done to preserve confidence in the system. Why is Trump afraid of that?

The next few tweets were merely his recounting of Clinton’s election night comments:

Trump is chastising Clinton for wanting nothing more than to have certainty that the election was conducted fairly. He refers to her remarks about “respecting the results,” which is, and has always been, her position. However, that was not his position. He said repeatedly during the campaign that the election was rigged. And he stated that as fact despite having no proof of it. Therefore, he wasn’t prepared to accept the results – unless he won.

Clinton is still prepared to accept the results, but wants to put to rest the discrepancies that have been uncovered. If the results show that she is the actual winner, all the better. But if they don’t, she isn’t contesting the election. That’s the difference between her ethical review and Trump’s deranged, baseless accusations. But he still isn’t through:


This is just plain delusional. Trump’s Electoral College margin of victory was a mere 36 votes. That would easily be exceeded by the the three states that are being recounted. Plus, there is zero evidence of even a single person voting illegally, much less millions. The discrepancies being reviewed in the recount are for other irregularities, not fraudulent voters. And if Trump really believes there were millions of illegal votes, that actually makes a recount even more important. He should donate to Stein’s effort.


These tweets make no sense whatsoever. What three or four states is he referring to? Surely not the most populace states (California, New York, Illinois) where Clinton obliterated him. And, of course, there is no way to affirm his boastful speculation.

Late Addition: Idiot Trump makes another case FOR a recount. Even though he still provides no evidence:

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

Another benefit of a recount is that we will have a more accurate record of the vote totals. That would be useful in the fight to eliminate the Electoral College. It is an anachronism that only serves to distort democracy. When the candidate that received over two million more votes is not the one sworn in as president, there is a serious problem. It affirms the fundamental unfairness of the system. And that may be why Trump is so scared of an accurate recount. He is relying on that unfairness to secure his victory, whether deserved or not.

Amanpour Drops Truth Bomb On Trump Era Press: ‘I Believe In Being Truthful, Not Neutral’

This week CNN’s chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, received the Burton Benjamin Memorial Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists. It is awarded at the International Press Freedom Awards for “extraordinary and sustained achievement in the cause of press freedom. Her acceptance speech was an inspiring appeal to “recommit to robust, fact-based reporting” in the Age of Trump. [Video below]

Amanpour Trump

Right from the start Amanpour addressed the serious challenge posed by Donald Trump’s rancid rhetoric. She recognized the risks created by a candidate whose words literally incited violence toward reporters:

“I never thought in a million years that I’d be standing up here, after all the times I’ve participated in this ceremony, appealing, really, for the freedom and safety of American journalists at home.”

That is indeed a sobering realization on the current state of media relations as practiced by Trump and his campaign. Even so, Amanpour expressed optimism that after the election Trump would moderate his hostility toward the press. Unfortunately, he did no such thing:

“I was chilled when [Trump’s] first tweet after the election was about professional protesters incited by the media.” [Because as we all know] “First the media is accused of inciting, then sympathizing, then associating. And then suddenly they find themselves accused of being full-fledged terrorists and subversives. And then they end up in handcuffs, in cages, in kangaroo courts, in prisons, and then who knows what.

On this Amanpour may be a little behind the curve. The right-wing media has been denigrating the press for years with charges of being “in the tank” for Obama or Clinton or whoever the current object of their hatred is. And as for accusing them of being terrorists, that was already done on Fox News by their “strategic analyst,” Lt. Col. Ralph Peters. In an unhinged rant he assaulted the media saying:

“Rejecting the god of their fathers, the neo-pagans who dominate the media serve as lackeys at the terrorists’ bloody altar. […] Although it seems unthinkable now, future wars may require censorship, news blackouts and, ultimately, military attacks on the partisan media.”

Imagine that. Fox News actually pays that guy to advocate for military assassinations of American journalists. No wonder Amanpour is chilled. She goes on to explain why the media needs to stand firm in defense of facts and not fall into the trap of false equivalencies. What follows are some selected quotes:

“[It’s time to] recommit to robust, fact-based reporting, without fear or without favor, on the issues. Don’t stand for being labeled or called ‘lying,’ or ‘crooked,’ or ‘failing.'”

“Much of the media was tying itself in knots trying to differentiate between balance, between objectivity, neutrality, and crucially, the truth. We cannot continue the old paradigm. We cannot, for instance, keep saying, like it was over global warming. When 99% of the science, the empirical facts, the evidence, is given equal play with the tiny minority of deniers.”

“I learned a long, long time ago…never to equate victim and aggressor. Never to create a false moral or factual equivalence…So I believe in being truthful, not neutral. And I believe we must stop banalizing the truth. We have to be prepared to fight especially hard right now for the truth.”

“[Donald Trump] did a very savvy end run around us and used it to go straight to the people. Combined with the most incredible development ever, which is the tsunami of fake news, aka lies.”

“I feel that we face an existential crisis, a threat to the very relevance and usefulness of our profession. Now, more than ever, we need to recommit to real reporting across a real nation, a real world in which journalism and democracy are in mortal peril. Including by foreign powers like Russia who pay to churn out and place these false news articles, these lies, in many of our press. They hack into democratic systems.”

“I was shocked because very few ever imagined that so many Americans conducting their sacred duty in the secret ballot box, using their ballots, would be angry enough to ignore the wholesale denigration of these values. The vulgarity of language, the sexual predatory behavior, the deep misogyny, the bigoted and insulting views.”

Amanpour closed by declaring that “We must fight against the normalization of what is unacceptable.” By that she means the way the media has begun to treat neo-Nazis and racists and anti-Semites as if they were just another place-setting on the table of ideologies. They are not. And Trump’s “alt-right” Chief Strategist, Stephen Bannon, is a good example of what is unacceptable, but is getting a pass from the press.

This is not the first time that Trump has been rebuked for placing the First Amendment in Jeopardy. In October the Committee to Protect Journalists released a statement calling him “an unprecedented threat to press freedom.” And the National Press Club condemned his anti-press tactics as “unacceptable and dangerous to our democracy.” Hopefully these warnings, and Amanpour’s words, will be heeded and applied as the next administration prepares to execute its abhorrent agenda.

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

Trump’s Cabinet May Be The Most Inexperienced Ever – And That’s Actually Good News!

As the administration of President-Elect Donald Trump takes shape, there is one characteristic that is inescapable. Most of his appointees so far are utterly incapable of performing the jobs for which they have been chosen. There seems to be a deliberate effort to select people who lack the necessary skills to be successful.

Donald Trump

This could be due to an old Republican strategy of purposeful failure. The objective of this strategy is to insure that government operations fail. Then they can later point to the failure as proof that government doesn’t work and justify cutting every program.

However, it could also be due to simple incompetence on the part of Trump who hasn’t the foggiest notion what he’s doing. Remember when he said that he knows all the best people and would surround himself with unparalleled talent? Apparently all of those people are busy, so Trump has resorted to names familiar to everyone who watches Fox News.

The Huffington Post noticed this deficiency and reported on it with some key perspectives from people with real experience. HuffPo’s Ryan Grim wrote that:

“Trump’s roster of key White House advisers and Cabinet officials could, in the end, rank among the least experienced in recent presidential history.

“Steve Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, headed right-wing news site Breitbart News before chairing the president-elect’s campaign. Reince Priebus, Trump’s chief of staff, previously ran the Republican National Committee. And Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, a key presidential campaign strategist who is now being discussed as a White House adviser, ran his family’s real estate business before entering politics.

“None of those individuals has worked in government.”

Add to that Nikki Haley whose role as governor of South Carolina gave her none of the foreign policy experience needed for being the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. Then there’s Dr. Ben Carson whose medical skills won’t help him develop housing policy as HUD Secretary. And Betsy Devos as Education Secretary has never held any position in teaching or school administration. Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III was an attorney and a prosecutor. But he was also rejected for a judgeship because of his public racist outbursts. That hardly seems appropriate for the Attorney General’s post who oversees civil rights enforcement. And let’s not forget that Trump wants to install his fatally unqualified kids into official government posts.

There may, however, be a positive side to this. Since Trump and his people will be so ignorant and inept, they will have to rely on the career bureaucrats in each department. These are people who are more likely to be concerned with efficiency rather than ideology. Some of them have been there for decades and were hired during the administrations of presidents from both parties. That means there is some diversity of opinion and workplace camaraderie. They will likely cooperate on ongoing projects and on keeping the department’s routine operations functional. They may not be particularly anxious to help wingnut bosses execute foolish plans.

Consequently, as Trump’s lieutenants attempt to implement policy, they will run headlong into obstacles which they cannot overcome. Then they will either defer to the experts or try to force their vision into place. If they choose the former, then business will proceed as usual. If they choose the latter, they will likely fall flat on their fannies. In any case, it will be difficult for them to shepherd any real reform through a bureaucracy they can’t comprehend.

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

So let’s hear it for inexperience. Three cheers for incompetence. As long as someone as dangerously clueless as Donald Trump is in the White House, the best the American people can hope for is that he and his minions perform as terribly as we all expect them to. Of course there’s a downside to this as well, but that’s another, more depressing, subject.

Trump Punks America: 15 Broken Campaign Promises Since Election Day

Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump was in a frothing rage against what he insisted was making America a Hell hole. But for all the anxiety he caused, his post-election transformation may indicate it was all a ruse. The blustery ranting about immigrants, ObamaCare, and his despised rivals and critics, has melted into a sappy stew of acceptance.

Donald Trump Stupid

To illustrate that, Politico has put together a collection of “15 Trump Flip-Flops in 15 Days.” Some of these reversals are mind-boggling and sure to send his Deplorables into hysterics (see Politico for more details and supporting links):

On President Obama

During the campaign Trump called Obama the worst president in history and the founder of ISIS, among other things. Now he has “great respect” for him and looks forward to his counsel.

On Protesters

In overnight tweets Trump went from maligning protesters as “professionals” “incited by the media,” to loving their “passion for our great country.”

On ObamaCare

There were few more highly charged demands for Trump than his call to repeal and replace ObamaCare. Now he is cozying up to many of the provisions that define the program. For instance, mandating coverage for people with preexisting conditions and allowing children to remain on their parents’ policies.

On The Border Wall

Trump was unyielding in his insistence that an actual wall be constructed along the Southern border (paid for by Mexico). Then on 60 Minutes he conceded that he would be satisfied with a plain old fence.

On Gay Marriage

Before the election Trump told Fox News he would appoint judges who would reverse the recent decisions on marriage equality. After the election he told CBS that the matter was settled law and he was “fine with it.”

On Hillary Clinton

Who can forget Trump’s assertion that he would appoint a special prosecutor to go after Clinton and throw her in jail? Or his rallies where he led the crowd in chants to “Lock her up?” Now he’s telling the New York Times that he doesn’t want to hurt the Clintons. “I really don’t,” he said. “It’s just not something that I feel very strongly about.”

On Immigrants

Prior to election day Trump was adamant that all 11 million undocumented residents would be rounded up and deported. Post election day he is saying that his deportation force will only target a couple of million criminals (who are already being targeted by Obama’s DOJ).

On Fighting ISIS

Trump once demeaned the military and famously claimed that he knew more about ISIS than the generals. More recently he has changed his tune to tribute saying “We have some great generals.” Although he later reversed that as well, saying that they aren’t getting the job done.

On Nuclear Proliferation

This isn’t so much a reversal as it is an outright lie. During the campaign Trump advocated for countries like Japan and Saudi Arabia to defend themselves with their own nukes. After taking heat for that foolishness, he tried to pretend he never said it.

On The Electoral College

In another flip-flop-flip, Trump denounced the Electoral College as a “disaster.” Then praised it as “genius.” Then went back to saying that he was “never a fan of the electoral college.”

On Trump University

Trump steadfastly refused to settle with his former students who said they were victims of fraud. Until after the election when he settled for more than $25 million.

On Climate Change

Here is something that Trump once called a hoax created by China. And in any event it wasn’t caused by anything humans have done. Now he says that “I think there is some connectivity. Some, something.” You have to admire his articulate analysis of the science.

On The Paris Climate Agreement

In the same vein, last May Trump declared that he would pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement. But last Tuesday he told the New York Times that “I have an open mind to it.”

On Torture

Trump has long held that torture was an effective tool for fighting terror and that he supported waterboarding and even tactics that were “much stronger.” But he is backpedaling on that position after having met with General Mattis, a candidate for Secretary of Defense who opposes such measures.

On The New York Times

Along with many other media outlets, Trump castigated the Times as liars who were bent on destroying him. He rarely said their name without attaching the prefix “failing.” But in his meeting with them Tuesday he called them “a world jewel” for whom he has “great respect.”

Conclusion

After reviewing these stunning reversals, the inescapable conclusion is that Donald Trump has no moral core. Despite his brash rhetoric on the campaign trail, he is clearly not committed to any ideological agenda. You might expect his supporters to be disappointed upon learning that he isn’t planning on keeping his word. However, if the past is any indication, they are probably too wrapped up in hero worship to care.

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

It would be interesting to know how he would have fared if he ran on retaining ObamaCare, letting undocumented residents slide, and expressing his respect for Clinton and Obama. That we will never know. But going forward it would be premature for Democrats to get excited about Trump’s policy reversals. He could just as quickly shift back to his previous positions. The only thing that can be expected from him is inconsistency, hypocrisy, and the selfish pursuit of his own best interests.

Trump Gives A Big F.U. To The Media And The Public With A Virtual Press Blackout

Donald Trump was declared the winner of the presidential election two weeks ago. Since that time he has failed to hold a press conference to address the nation he will be representing. This is the longest period a president-elect has gone without a post-election press conference in forty years. But it’s worse than that because he actually hasn’t had a formal press conference since July. Do you suppose there might be a reason for that?

Donald Trump

Speculation could start with the fact that Trump has been more openly hostile to the media than any politician in recent memory. At his rallies he has called them dummies, losers, sleazy, liars, and more. He has not been the least bit shy about expressing his white-hot hatred for the Fourth Estate. He overtly threatened the press with lawsuits and other retribution. That included revoking the press credentials of media outlets he felt were too critical of him. In return, media advocates condemned his reckless behavior as “an unprecedented threat to press freedom.”

However, there are more substantive motives for Trump avoiding press scrutiny. The swarming torrent of scandals swirling around him pose serious risks to his nascent presidency. It begins with his election that is tainted by allegations of voter suppression and his loss of the popular vote. It continues with at least a dozen women who are charging him with sexual assault. Then there are his unsavory connections to Russia and its efforts to interfere with the election.

And that’s not all. Just a few days ago Trump agreed to pay $25 million to settle a lawsuit to compensate the fraud victims of his phony Trump University. His cabinet and administration appointees are affiliated with radical racist organizations. And he has a growing list of ethically compromising conflicts of interest. There has never been a president who has more brazenly used the office for personal gain.

No wonder Trump is avoiding the media. By going four months without taking questions from the press corps, Trump has evaded scrutiny over these and other issues. This may benefit his efforts to silence criticism, but it is a disservice to citizens and to democracy.

Sadly, the media seems to be all too willing to go along with him. Even after the atrocious way that Trump treats the press, they continue to cater to his whims. Very little mention is made of his extended refusal to face the media. That is decidedly different from the treatment that Hillary Clinton received when she went a few weeks without holding a press conference. Even though she did conduct hundreds of interviews with individual reporters, she was hounded and criticized. Fox News displayed a running clock of the days since her last press conference. And there was rampant insinuations of her having something to hide. Where is that criticism for Trump, who is no longer merely a candidate, but president-elect?

When asked when he might hold his first post-election press conference, his spokesperson, Kellyanne Conway, would say only “Soon.” She dodged any more specific answer saying that he was too busy with his transition activities. Does she expect him to be less busy when he’s the leader of the free world? What’s more, he wasn’t too busy to convene a private, off the record meeting with the heads of the major media corporations and some leading news anchors. The New York Post revealed some of what took place in that meeting, and it wasn’t pretty:

“It was like a f–ing firing squad,” one source said of the encounter.

Trump started with [CNN chief] Jeff Zucker and said “I hate your network, everyone at CNN is a liar and you should be ashamed,” the source said.

The meeting was a total disaster. The TV execs and anchors went in there thinking they would be discussing the access they would get to the Trump administration, but instead they got a Trump-style dressing down,” the source added.

A second source confirmed the fireworks.

To be sure, that account was from the notoriously bombastic New York Post. Some other reports described the get together with less intensity. But while the Post may lean toward melodrama, the others may be more interested in preserving access to the administration. All things considered, the Post’s account sounds more like the Trump we have all come to know.

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

The old fallacy of the “liberal” media is further undermined by these events. Trump is getting far more favorable treatment than Clinton did under similar circumstances. More importantly, he is getting away with suppressing coverage of his scandalous activities. The media is supposed to hold politicians to account, but they are failing to do their job. If this keeps up for the next four years America will be buried in tabloid irrelevancies. Trump’s improprieties will be state secrets. And the National Enquirer and Breitbart News will become the dominant media and serve as America’s Pravda.

Trump Shill: Pay No Attention To That Man Behind The Corruption Of The Presidency

It’s been less than two weeks since election day and Donald Trump is proving what many of his critics have warned about. His determination to exploit the presidency for personal gain becomes clearer with each passing day.

Donald Trump

Already the President-elect has met with business partners from India where he has pending projects. In a congratulatory call from the the president of Argentina, Trump asked for his help in facilitating building permits. He let his daughter Ivanka sit in on a meeting with the Prime Minister of Japan. The Washington Post reported that about 100 foreign diplomats gathered at Trump’s hotel in Washington to ingratiate themselves to the incoming president. And that is just a sampling of the potentially impeachable offenses that Trump is shamelessly rubbing in America’s face.

What makes this all the more galling is the response to these ethical breaches from within the Trump camp. His senior advisor, Kellyanne Conway, was on Fox News Monday morning where she waived off any concerns as distractions. She characterized Trump’s “sacrifices” as being more noteworthy:

“It’s a unique situation to have such a successful a businessman that has so many holdings ascend to the oval office. But I also want people to see what a sacrifice it is. He has invested tens of millions of dollars and other deals have had to wait, because he’s doing this. But his adult children are right there. They’re already his colleagues. He’s already been their mentor and they’re already chief executives there.”

It’s difficult to see any evidence of sacrifice on the part of Trump. He is blatantly promoting his own financial self-interests. And Conway’s description of the role his children are playing just makes matters worse. She is conceding that they have been groomed to represent his business objectives. It’s a veritable confession of self-dealing – a felony under federal law.

The fact that Trump’s children are officials in both his business and his presidential transition team is worrisome. It sends a message to those seeking favor with the President that they can please him by patronizing his far-flung enterprises. The Trump administration is now a wholly owned subsidiary of the Trump Organization.

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

Conway is now making the rounds to friendly media to portray the appearance of corruption as irrelevant or an illusion. This can only lead to the wholesale commercialization of the presidency, or the next constitutional crisis. Either way it damages our country’s reputation and integrity. And it affirms the sad truth that electing Trump will be the biggest embarrassment this nation has ever suffered.

Getting Rid Of Fake News? Start With Fox News!

For the past few days there has been a big furor over the spread of fake news online. Much of the criticism hinges on what impact it might have had on the election. A BuzzFeed analysis revealed that fake news stories “generated more engagement than the top stories from major news outlets” such as the New York Times, NBC News, etc. What’s more, the study shows that Trump supporters were far more likely to be taken in by fake news than others:

“Of the 20 top-performing false election stories identified in the analysis, all but three were overtly pro-Donald Trump or anti-Hillary Clinton.” [and that] The research turned up only one viral false election story from a hyperpartisan left-wing site…The other false viral election stories from hyperpartisan sites came from right-wing publishers, according to the analysis.

Social media sites are taking steps to mitigate the problem. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg announced plans to address it saying that “we take this responsibility seriously.” However, if that’s true there is one very prominent producer of fake news that would have to be included in any purge.

Fox News has been creating a veritable cornucopia of disinformation for most of its twenty year existence. The volume of demonstrably false stories that it publishes dwarfs any of the fake sites that BuzzFeed studied.

Fox News Lies

So this might be a good time to provide some examples of why Fox News is the unchallenged leader in bullshit. These are all real headlines from Fox News:

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

Each and every one of those stories are patently false. They are not merely differences of opinion, but verifiably untrue. The question is, could any of this type of fiction have swayed the election? Who knows? But it certainly doesn’t help. And the fact that the gullibility of news consumers is slanted so heavily to the right is an alarming revelation. These types of stories may not move average voters, but Donald Trump’s voters are prime targets for such deception. Obviously they aren’t interested in truth or they wouldn’t be Trump voters (see the Trump Bullshitopedia).

Even President Obama took notice of this “breakdown” in the media:

“If we are not serious about facts and what’s true and what’s not, and particularly in an age of social media where so many people are getting their information in sound bites and snippets off their phones, if we can’t discriminate between serious arguments and propaganda, then we have problems. Then democracy will break down.”

Trump Whines When Pence Is Booed By ‘Hamilton’ Audience – Then Tweets Lies About It

Friday night Vice-President-elect Mike Pence attended a performance of the musical “Hamilton” on Broadway. Judging from the audience reaction, his presence in the theater was not particularly welcome. There was noticeable and sustained booing. It’s a response that is consistent with the anger expressed by much of the country since Donald Trump’s unexpected victory. Protests are still being held on a nearly daily basis in cities nationwide.

Mike Pence Hamilton

After the play, cast member Brandon Dixon stepped forward to read a statement prepared especially for Pence. It was written collaboratively by the show’s creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, the producers, and the cast. Here is the full transcript of Dixon’s remarks (video below):

We have a guest in the audience with us this evening. Vice-President-Elect Pence, I see you’re walking out, but I hope you will hear just a few more moments. There’s nothing to boo here, ladies and gentlemen. There’s nothing to boo here. We’re all here sharing stories of love. We have a little message for you, sir. We hope that you will hear us out.

Vice President-elect Pence, we welcome you, and we truly thank you for joining us here at “Hamilton, American Musical.” We really do. We, sir, we are the diverse America, who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights. But we truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us. ALL of us.

Again, we truly thank you for staying for the show. This wonderful American story told by a diverse group of men, women, of different colors, creeds and orientations.

Pence did stay to hear the message. Then left without creating any kind of scene. Unfortunately, his running mate was not so gracious. Saturday morning Trump took to his Twitter machine and belched out a couple of typically boorish expressions of disapproval:

Trump’s interpretation of Dixon’s comments as “harassment” is patently absurd. Dixon was respectful and welcoming. The audience may have been explicit in expressing their opinion (which they still have the right to do in America), but that isn’t the cast’s fault. In fact, Dixon even asked them to refrain from booing. For that Trump accuses the entire cast of harassment. Then Trump followed that up by tweeting:

Actually, the theater must always be a place that honors creative freedom and free expression. Once again, without any justification, Trump charges the cast with behaving rudely and demands an apology. Seriously? This is the same man who regularly calls people pigs, dummies, losers, sleazy, pussies, etc.

Trump hardly has the moral authority to label anyone else rude. What’s more, he is notoriously averse to apologies himself. He has still never offered any after calling Mexicans criminals and rapists. Or for disparaging John McCain’s war heroism. Nor for insulting the Gold Star parents of a slain soldier. Or for boasting about committing sexual assault, accusing a political rival’s father of participating in the plot to assassinate JFK, encouraging violence against protesters at his rallies, mocking a disabled reporter, and so much more.

Late Addition: Trump posted another tweet in his thin-skinned obsession with Hamilton. This one not only falsely maligned the cast, but also insulted them, despite being totally ignorant on the subject. Clearly he will be taking his juvenile boorishness into the White House.

Trump’s reaction to the heartfelt and undeservedly polite commentary at the play is further proof of his lack of presidential temperament. He only registers anger and hostility when he perceives criticism. And he lies in order to cast aspersions on his critics. Then he responds by proposing censorship and suppression of free speech. It’s been less than two weeks since election day and Trump is already proving to be a national embarrassment.

Update: In a statement, Pence contradicted Trump’s crybaby histrionics saying that there is no need to apologize and that the audience’s expression of disapproval was “what freedom sounds like.” For the record, here is how Lin-Manuel Miranda responded:

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

Watch the Hamilton statement here:

Fox News ‘White’ Washes Racist Past Of Trump’s Attorney General Nominee

The Trump transition marches on with another name being floated for a prominent role. This time it’s Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III (R-AL) who is reportedly being tapped for Attorney General. Jeff Sessions would join white nationalist Stephen Bannon and religious bigot Michael Flynn in Donald Trump’s inner circle.

Jeff Sessions

The choice of Sessions is perfectly aligned with Trump’s well-documented record of prejudice and division. But it’s not particularly suited for leadership of the Justice Department which is responsible for enforcing civil rights laws. Prior to his senate service, Sessions was a U.S. attorney and attorney general in Alabama. He was nominated by President Reagan for a seat on the federal bench, but failed to receive confirmation from a majority Republican senate. Among the reasons were his criticisms of the NAACP as un-American and communist-inspired. He also referred to a black lawyer as “boy,” and called white attorneys who defended black clients “race traitors.” No wonder former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke tweeted his support saying:

Ordinarily, this sort of behavior would be disqualifying for a high profile government post. But in the Age of Trump there are no depths too low for an aspiring public figure to sink. Trump himself has engaged in the most abhorrent forms of hate-speech aimed at African-Americans, women, Muslims, and others. And throughout it all, Fox News was there to tidy up his bigotry and re-frame it as bold, straight talk.

That’s exactly what happened Friday morning on Fox & Friends when guest host Ed Henry interviewed Trump advisor Brad Blakeman. Predictably impressed, Blakeman said that Trump “couldn’t pick a better candidate” than Sessions. He lauded the Senator as:

“…a guy who is steeped in the law, got an excellent reputation, was appointed by Ronald Reagan in 1981 to be the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, served for more than a decade, then became the attorney general thereafter of Alabama, and then the U.S. Senator. So he’s got a stellar record.”

Henry deftly dodged the substance of Blakeman’s glowing tribute to Sessions. Instead, he diverted to unrelated questions about Republican frustration with Democratic AG’s Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch. But for some reason Henry ignored the glaring omissions in Blakeman’s revisionist history.

An ethical journalist would have pointed out that Sessions was rejected for a judgeship due to blatantly racist behavior. That information is directly relevant to the duties of the Attorney General who has jurisdiction over the federal justice administration. But on Fox News it is potentially damaging to their mission of right-wing propaganda. Consequently, it’s left out of the discussion and their viewers remain blissfully ignorant. So even in the Age of Trump, some things never change.

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