Fox News War Mongering EXPOSED: Former Exec Confesses ‘My Job Was To Sell The War’ In Iraq

The flagrantly right-wing bias of Fox News is no longer in doubt by anyone with even a passing acquaintance with the network’s aggressive propagandizing. Most of the network’s anchors, contributors, and guests lean so far to the right that Joseph Goebbels would have been proud to be associated with it. And yet, their own pride of ideological leaning is carefully hidden under a veil of phony fairness and balance.

Fox News

That’s why it was surprising to find a public admission of political spin from a high level Fox insider buried in a story on a completely different subject. Last week Gabriel Sherman of New York Magazine published another article in his investigative series that contributed to the downfall of Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes. Sherman is also the author of the Ailes biography The Loudest Voice in the Room.

The sexual harassment scandal that led to the humiliating ouster of the most powerful man in media had been steadily escalating. Dozens of women came forward to tell their painful stories of abuse. One of those women was Laurie Luhn who worked for Fox News for more than twenty years. The circumstances of her harrowing experience are spelled out in excruciating detail in Sherman’s article. But little noticed was this paragraph buried deep withing the article that revealed something unrelated to the abuse:

“As she was promoted through the ranks at Fox, Luhn worked harder and harder to please Ailes. She zealously promoted the network’s right-wing agenda. ‘I was very proud of the product. I was very proud of how we handled 9/11. Very proud of how we handled the run-up to the Iraq War,’ she said. ‘My job was to sell the war. I needed to get people on the air that were attractive and articulate and could convey the importance of this campaign. It was a drumbeat.'”

As the Director of Bookings for Fox News, Luhn saw her job as “selling the war” in Iraq. And she clearly recognized the benefits of seeking attractive, articulate salespeople to move the product. The “drumbeat” to which she refers was evident every day as the network hammered its advocacy of a war that had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11. This was much more than a typical news slant to sway public opinion. This was a blatant effort to steer the nation into an international conflict that has had disastrous results from which we are still suffering today.

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

These revelations turn the Luhn story into a much more complex affair. While she was on a daily mission to help her employer embroil the country in an immoral and illegal war, she was also a victim of unconscionable behavior from her despicable boss. There is no excuse for what Ailes allegedly did to her and the many other women making similar allegations against him. But there is a strange and sad irony that these heinous acts resulted in Luhn providing one of the most potent examples of how Fox News deliberately deceived the American people and unleashed an era of war, terrorism, and misery on the world.

Is This Treason? What Donald Trump Just Said Undermines American Democracy

It may be an Olympic-grade understatement to say that Donald Trump has done some god-awful things in his quest for the presidency. From mocking the disabled to ripping off veterans to insane proposals with regard to Muslims and immigrants. But he may just have outdone himself.

In a press conference this morning, Trump was asked about reports that Russia was responsible for the hacking of DNC emails. He has previously dismissed the charges as Democratic efforts to distract from the content of the stolen emails, despite the fact that it is the FBI and other intelligence agencies who identified Russia as the likely culprit.

Trump Putin

His response to today’s inquiries, however, introduced a new and deeply disturbing tactic on Trump’s part. He offered, without prompting, his interest in further exploiting the email theft to his advantage. In a direct response to a question on whether he would condemn the hacking he said “No, it gives me no pause,” and that:

“If Russia or China or any other country has those emails I mean to be honest with you, I’d love to see em.”

Let that sink in for a minute. Donald Trump, the nominee of the Republican Party for President of the United States, is affirmatively endorsing the notion of revealing private information that was stolen from Americans by a foreign and hostile government. That is an untenable and unpatriotic position that undermines the country’s interests as well as the principles of personal privacy and information security. But it gets even worse. Trump went on to say:

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.”

In that statement Trump is literally soliciting Russia to commit cyber-crimes and espionage against fellow Americans. How is that not treasonous? He continued with a thinly disguised reference to Russia being “rewarded mightily” for their hacking. Is that an offer to compensate Russian hackers and spies for their efforts? Or is Trump simply implying that Russia would benefit from a Trump presidency and that he would make it worth their while were they to sabotage the campaign of Hillary Clinton? Either way he is taking up sides with an international foe against his own country. Now what is it that we call that?

In the press conference Trump flatly denied having any connection to Russian politics or business. That’s a lie. Has he already forgotten his Miss Universe Pageant he held in Moscow just three years ago? But his Russian ties go much deeper than that. As reported by Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo:

“At a minimum, Trump appears to have a deep financial dependence on Russian money from persons close to Putin. And this is matched to a conspicuous solicitousness to Russian foreign policy interests where they come into conflict with US policies which go back decades through administrations of both parties.”

Marshall’s article goes into extensive detail of Trump’s connections to Russian oligarchs and politicians. He makes the case that Trump’s chumminess with Putin is not coincidental. Marshall’s documentation is thorough and somewhat frightening. And if anyone wonders why Putin would favor Trump, look no further than Trump’s recent denigration of NATO and his reluctance to honor the agreement. That would be a huge advantage for Putin whose expansionism would be made much easier if he didn’t have to worry about the U.S. defending its NATO allies.

Another Trump lie in the press conference was his assertion that “I never met Putin, I don’t know who he is. He said one nice thing about me.” It is true, of course, that Trump never met Putin (although he once claimed to know him very well because they both appeared on “60 Minutes” in separate interviews, thousands of miles apart). But what are we to make of his claim that he doesn’t know who Putin is? Folks, we are treading dangerously close to mental incapacity here.

Trump’s VP, Mike Pence, issued a statement that appeared to distance himself from Trump’s perfidy:

“If it is Russia and they are interfering in our elections, I can assure you both parties and the United States government will ensure there are serious consequences.”

Pence might want to confirm that with his boss who is promising that the perpetrators would be rewarded mightily. And contrary to his suggestion that both parties will ensure that there are consequences, the Republican Party has yet to make any public statement repudiating Trump’s remarks or even the more general issue of the hacking of the DNC. Contrast that with the statements from the Democratic side including:

Hillary for America Senior Policy Advisor, Jake Sullivan: This has to be the first time that a major presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent. […] This has gone from being a matter of curiosity, and a matter of politics, to being a national security issue.

Former CIA Director Leon Panetta: “I find those kinds of statements to be totally outrageous because you’ve got now a presidential candidate who is in fact asking the Russians to engage in American politics. I just think that’s beyond the pale. […] I think that kind of statement only reflects the fact that he truly is not qualified to be president of the United States.”

It is incomprehensible that a candidate for the nation’s highest office is articulating activities that amount to aiding and abetting foreign enemies. Trump’s comments should be investigated by the FBI and his connections to Russian economic and political players should be thoroughly examined. As for Trump’s supporters, they need to reassess their allegiance to him, because if he can’t be trusted to act in the best interests of the nation, he surely should not get the vote of any patriotic American.

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

Fox ‘News’ Boss Roger Ailes Is FIRED As His Creation Donald Trump Takes GOP Nomination

Tonight Donald Trump will be making his HUGE speech to accept the Republican Party’s nomination for president of the United States. It’s ironic, therefore, that the man most responsible for his victory over seventeen other Republican hopefuls just got his ass booted out the door.

Ailes Trump

Roger Ailes, Chairman and CEO of Fox News, has accepted a separation agreement that is effective today. It was only three days ago that the strange saga of Ailes was first reported. The unusually rapid progress of events that resulted in Ailes’ surprise termination followed the filing of a lawsuit by former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson alleging that Ailes sexually harassed her and then retaliated after she reported prior incidents of harassment and gender discrimination. The suit alleges that Ailes told her “I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago.” Shortly after Carslson’s lawsuit hit the press several other women came forward with similar complaints.

Ailes released a statement saying in part, “I am proud of our accomplishments and look forward to continuing to work with you as a consultant in building 21st Century Fox.” Fox sources, however, say that he will not be an official consultant, but will be available to informally advise his old pal Rupert Murdoch, CEO of the Fox News parent corporation 21st Century Fox.

Ailes’ long history of exploiting sex in the workplace has been well documented. The environment at Fox is known for making inappropriate demands on female staff, including wearing revealing clothes and engaging in other provocative behavior on-air. Gabriel Sherman wrote in his biography of Ailes, “The Loudest Voice In The Room,” that Ailes has repeatedly given direction to his staff regarding the display of female body parts.

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

As Donald Trump takes the stage tonight at the Republican National Convention, the propaganda machine that made it possible is undergoing a severe upheaval. There is no clear line of succession in the executive ranks. Rupert Murdoch will be temporarily assuming the role of interim CEO. And as the dust settles it will be Murdoch’s kids who will be calling the shots and filling the vacancies. There are likely to be other shoes dropping in coming weeks, so stay tuned for further developments.

Donald Trump Has A Frightening Plan To ‘Reform’ Government That He Won’t Tell You Tonight

One of the most persistent criticisms of Donald Trump is that he’s been running for president for over a year and has failed to articulate a single policy in any detail. His platform is made up entirely of vapid slogans (“Make America Great Again”), simplistic one-liners (“Build a Wall”), and childish insults (“Crooked Hillary”). Rest assured that as he accepts the Republican Party’s nomination for president tonight he won’t be any more forthcoming about how he intends to achieve his vaguely stated goals.

RNC Trump

Consequently, we should be grateful that his surrogate, Gov. Chris Christie, is shooting his mouth off in private meetings with GOP donors. It is in these settings that Republicans often reveal their true intentions as they seek to squeeze funds from their wealthy benefactors. Yahoo news is reporting that:

“If he wins the presidency, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump would seek to purge the federal government of officials appointed by Democratic President Barack Obama and could ask Congress to pass legislation making it easier to fire public workers, Trump ally, Chris Christie, said on Tuesday.

Christie, who is governor of New Jersey and leads Trump’s White House transition team, said the campaign was drawing up a list of federal government employees to fire if Trump defeats Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in the Nov. 8 presidential election.

“As you know from his other career, Donald likes to fire people,” Christie told a closed-door meeting with dozens of donors at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Chris Christie is in a position to know what he’s talking about. He is a leading candidate to assume a prominent role in a Trump administration, i.e. Attorney General or Chief of Staff. And he shares Trump’s visceral hatred of President Obama, so he would be anxious to erase any remnants of his historic presidency.

Government purges are a tactic that has been popular with fascist regimes for decades. It is a means of consolidating power, imposing ideological conformity, and insuring loyalty. But it is grossly undemocratic and contrary to the principles of a free society. In the United States the concept of “career” employees has been valued because it results in decisions being made on merit rather than political partisanship. Even the threat of political purges can sway agency staffers to adopt positions that are overtly harmful in order to please their current bosses rather than the public whom they serve.

The last notable example of this type purge occurred during the administration of George W. Bush. He took the wholly unprecedented and unethical action of firing staff attorneys at the Justice Department and replacing them with lackeys who would do his bidding. That led in part to an email scandal that dwarfs anything Hillary Clinton has been accused of.

The purge that Christie spoke of goes far beyond what Bush did at the Justice Department. Under a President Trump every agency of government would be at risk. The Environmental Protection Agency could be stuffed with pro-coal and oil shills who would obliterate regulations that have proven to be effective in cleaning the air and water in America. Health and Human Services could become the headquarters for dismantling ObamaCare. The Department of Labor could be restructured to serve corporations and diminish the influence of unions. The Department of Education could begin to kill off public schooling in favor of vouchers and faith-based alternatives. And just imagine the harm that could be done with extreme hawks populating the Homeland Security and Defense departments.

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

This is just another of Trump’s secret agendas that make him an existential threat to the nation – and the world. Some of what he is plotting isn’t known because he refuses to disclose anything significant about policy, or even personally (such as his ultra-secret tax returns). Some of it isn’t known because he has no idea what he believes to begin with. What we do know about his governing philosophy we’ve learned by his inadvertent slips of the tongue to the press. For instance, yesterday he said that he would not necessarily honor our mutual defense agreements under the terms of the NATO treaty. Revelations like the one Christie has provided helped to torpedo Mitt Romney’s campaign in 2012. And that’s why the press needs to aggressively seek out information that the candidates strive to conceal. Democracy depends on it.

Speechwriter Exposes Trump Camp’s Lies About Melania’s Plagiarized Speech

The controversy over Melania Trump’s plagiarized speech at the Republican National Convention stubbornly refuses to go away. Following the initial revelation that several passages were blatantly lifted from a 2008 speech by Michelle Obama, Donald Trump’s defenders mobilized to deny reality and try to convince America that they could not believe their own eyes and ears.

Michelle Obama/Melania Trump

The Trump campaign manager, Paul Manafort, dismissed it as being a coincidental collection of commonly used words. That was after he baselessly blamed it all on Hillary Clinton. Chris Christie excused it because only part of it was plagiarized. Trump spokesperson Katrina Pierson complained that Michelle Obama thinks she “invented the English language.” RNC Spokesman Sean Spicer turned it back on Michelle Obama saying that she plagiarized My Little Pony. Trump Communications Director Jason Miller reduced it to “included fragments that reflected her own thinking.” The Trump people simultaneously said that Melania wrote the speech herself (which she told NBC’s Matt Laurer), but that any problems were the fault of her team of writers.

Today the speechwriter came forward with a totally new account of what happened. She released a letter on Trump Organization stationary (image below) taking the fall for the whole affair:

“My name is Meredith McIver and I’m an in-house staff writer at the Trump Organization. I am also a longtime friend and admirer of the Trump family.”

“In working with Melania Trump on her recent First Lady speech, we discussed many people who inspired her and messages she wanted to share with the American people. A person she has always liked is Michelle Obama. Over the phone, she read me some passages from Mrs. Obama’s speech as examples. I wrote them down and later included some of the phrasing in the draft that ultimately became the final speech. I did not check Mrs. Obama’s speeches. This was my mistake, and I feel terrible for the chaos I have caused Melania and the Trumps, as well as to Mrs. Obama. No harm was meant.”

So it turns out that the lines were indeed lifted from Obama’s speech after all. And it was Melania who did it. McIver is taking responsibility for not checking Melania’s work. However, everyone on the Trump team who vociferously denied any remote possibility of plagiarism, even ridiculing the notion, are now exposed as either liars or fools.

McIver went on to say that she offered Trump her resignation, but that he refused to accept it saying that “people make innocent mistakes.” This was an “innocent mistake” that made Melania look awful in her national coming out, and resulted in two days of distractions from the whatever messages Trump was hoping to convey at the convention. (That may be a blessing in disguise considering the fright-fest that Trump put on yesterday). And in the end, Trump thinks it was all a positive development:

Almost as significant as the admission that the speech was plagiarized is the discovery that Michelle Obama is “A person [Melania] has always liked.” That may not sit well with a crowd that regards the Obamas as foreign interlopers bent on destroying America. For the record, Donald Trump was also a big fan of Obama at one time, as he wrote in his book “Think Like A Champion.”

Apparently Melania et al couldn’t find any Republican women who expressed the same values that Michelle did. But stealing lines from a historic speech is a funny way of showing your admiration. And that’s why this episode remains significant. It demonstrates that Trump’s fabled management skills are just another fraudulent PR scam. This speech would have to have been reviewed by numerous people before allowing the candidate’s wife to take it out onto the stage. But they couldn’t handle something as simple as sourcing a speech. And Trump’s want’s us to trust him with the nuclear codes?

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

McIver Letter

Melania Trump’s RNC Speech Was Blatantly Plagiarized From Michelle Obama’s 2008 DNC Speech (Video)

On the first day of the Republican National Convention there was plenty of drama and controversy to roil the Trump campaign. A vote on the convention rules blew up with many delegates disgusted by the Trump team’s bullying tactics. Some early speakers took harsh and negative tones that were contrary to the theme of unity and inclusion.

Melania Trump

But the most striking misstep came when Donald Trump’s wife Melania delivered a speech that contained several passages that were obviously plagiarized from the speech that Michelle Obama gave at the Democratic National Convention in 2008. This rhetorical larceny was first noticed by by Jarrett Hill on Twitter. Here are some of the nearly identical phrases that appeared in both speeches:

Michelle Obama, 2008 Melania Trump, 2016

Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say you’re going to do; that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don’t know them, and even if you don’t agree with them. And Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values, and pass them on to the next generation.

From a young age, my parents impressed on me the values that you work hard for what you want in life: that your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise; that you treat people with respect. They taught and showed me values and morals in their daily life. That is a lesson that I continue to pass along to our son, and we need to pass those lessons on to the many generation to follow.

The similarities here are too close and too numerous not to be recognized as deliberate theft. And the fact that Melania was allowed to go out on stage to deliver that speech is an indictment of the entire Trump operation. Surely she did not write the speech. But it was written by people on Trump’s staff who were trusted enough to put his wife’s fate in their hands. And it had to have been reviewed by by everyone from Trump’s communications managers to Trump himself.

This is going to be tough to explain away. And it will be an indelible stain at the worst possible time for a convention – on the opening night. It’s just downhill from here.

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

Update: The Trump campaign responded with this statement from Trump communications director Jason Miller:

“In writing her beautiful speech, Melania’s team of writers took notes on her life’s inspirations, and in some instances included fragments that reflected her own thinking. Melania’s immigrant experience and love for America shone through in her speech, which made it such a success.”

It’s hard to tell what part of that statement is a response to this matter. I think it’s the part where they say that “some instances included fragments that reflected her own thinking,” in effect, blaming Melania.

YOU’RE FIRED: Fox News CEO Roger Ailes To Be Canned For Alleged Sexual Harassment, Sources Say

The continuing saga of Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes just took a leap off a cliff. Longtime Ailes watcher and biographer, Gabriel Sherman of New York Magazine is reporting that:

“Roger Ailes’s tenure as the head of Fox News may be coming to an end. Rupert Murdoch and sons Lachlan and James — co-chairmen and CEO, respectively, of parent company 21st Century Fox — have settled on removing the 76-year-old executive, say two sources briefed on a sexual-harassment investigation of Ailes being conducted by New York law firm Paul, Weiss.”

Roger Ailes Fox News

Sherman’s sources say that the Murdochs are torn between waiting to pull the trigger until after the Republican National Convention, or giving Ailes a choice to quit now or face being fired.

Ailes was recently named in a lawsuit by former Fox host Gretchen Carlson for sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and retaliation for reporting those abuses. The suit alleges that Ailes told her “I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago.” And shortly after Carlson’s suit was filed numerous other women came forward with similar accounts of improper conduct by Ailes.

Roger Ailes long history of exploiting sex in the workplace has been well documented. The environment at Fox is known for making inappropriate demands on female staff, including wearing revealing clothes and engaging in other provocative behavior on-air. Sherman wrote in his biography of Ailes, “The Loudest Voice In The Room,” that Ailes has repeatedly given direction to his staff regarding the display of female body parts. 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.”

In addition to Gabriel’s reporting, NPR’s media correspondent David Folkenflik was told that Fox News, on Ailes instructions, made use of a “Leg Cam” that “goes directly for the legs.” And when host Megyn Kelly was interviewed by GQ (with an accompanying, and revealing, pictorial), 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.

If these reports are correct then Ailes’ days at Fox are numbered. His role in creating the network, and serving as its chief executive for twenty years, could end in disgrace and humiliation. And for that to happen just as Fox News is covering their biggest GOP event of the year, it could have serious political ramifications for Donald Trump’s campaign as well. The Murdoch kids who are assuming control of the company are not likely to be as supportive of Trump as Ailes. This story is still unfolding, so stay tuned.

And the plot thickens: “Kelly has told investigators that Ailes made unwanted sexual advances toward her about ten years ago when she was a young correspondent at Fox.”

Fox News Host Rants About Clinton Emails – Was Bush Shill When 5 MILLION Emails Vanished

With the conclusion of the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails, clearing her of legal wrongdoing, partisans on both sides are spinning this issue to their respective advantage. While FBI Director James Comey said plainly that there was no “evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws,” Republicans chose to malign his reputation during nearly five hours of questioning in a congressional hearing that proved nothing.

George Bush Dana Perino

Throughout this matter, one of the most vocal critics of Clinton was a Fox News co-host of The Five, Dana Perino. She embarked on an extended Twitter tirade yesterday beginning with an introduction to a multi-tweet rant:

That was the opening for another twenty or so tweets about how dearly she appreciated the opportunity to work for the White House and how seriously she took her job. Each tweet contained an implied swipe at Clinton who she cast as not sharing her respect for the position. Perino sought to paint herself as having no political biases, she was just there to serve America:

That, of course, was utter bullcrap. She was the press secretary for a starkly partisan administration that sharply divided the America people. There was a sentiment within the Bush realm that “you are either with us or you are with the terrorists.” Then Perino herself baselessly accused Comey of having a partisan double standard wherein he would have indicted a Republican under the same circumstances.

However, the most absurd part of this diatribe came when Perino referenced the time when she had to defend the Bush administration from charges of a cover up when they disclosed that two years of emails – more than five million – had been forever lost.

First of all, socks notwithstanding, Perino neglected to actually refer to any prior explaining rant. Secondly, if the emails were found (and that has not been established) it wouldn’t prove that there was no intent to deceive, only that the attempt at deception might have failed.

Flashback to April of 2007. The Bush administration was in the midst of dual scandals regarding: 1) the outing of Valerie Plame, a covert CIA agent whose identity was deliberately compromised as payback for her husband’s criticism of the Bush lies that led to the invasion of Iraq, and 2) the unethical firing of eight federal attorneys for politically ideological reasons. Additionally, there were questions about Karl Rove improperly using a Republican National Committee e-mail account that the White House later said disappeared.

So contrary to her assertion that it wasn’t the same, virtually every element of it is matched perfectly, There is classified information that was compromised, albeit in this case it was deliberate and it endangered the lives of covert CIA operatives. There were also improper political motivations in attempting to clean the Department of Justice of any attorneys left over from prior Democratic administrations. And there was an intent to hide official communications by using the RNC’s email servers instead of those at the White House as required by law. On top of all of that, there were millions of emails that were never recovered. And the explanation given was that it was just a computer glitch. Which is funny because Perino mocked any suggestion that any of Clinton’s missing emails might have been inadvertently deleted by tweeting:

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

What makes this even worse is that Perino just happened to be Bush’s press secretary at the time. That’s right, she was not a pundit, she was the President’s spokesperson. And this was the White House itself (not some home server) that lost millions of emails (not only 30,000) that were then being requested by investigators. And it was Perino who defended this blatant malfeasance. Here she is downplaying the matter in a report on CNN by Ed Henry (now at Fox News, but off the air because he was caught having an adulterous affair):

Perino actually used the defense that “there’s no indication the emails were intentionally lost,” which she dismisses as a defense for Clinton whom she believes should be prosecuted regardless of lack of intent. Now that’s a double standard. And it is astonishing that Perino could be so rattled by the FBI’s report when she herself was so intimately involved in spinning an identical controversy when she worked for Bush. Of course, now that she’s at Fox News, she’s still spinning for the same right-wing gang.

Gretchen Carlson Sues Fox News CEO Roger Ailes For Sexual Harassment, More Women Coming Forward

If anyone was wondering where Fox News host Gretchen Carlson has been for the past few weeks, the mystery has now been solved. Without any public notice or explanation she was fired last month and removed from the air. Now the reasons have been made clear. According to The Hollywood Reporter

“Gretchen Carlson, a broadcast veteran, claims in a sexual harassment lawsuit that she was let go from Fox News on June 23 as retaliation for rebuffing Roger Ailes’ sexual advances.”

Fox News

Carlson is alleging both sexual harassment by Ailes and retaliation for reporting discriminatory behavior prior to that by her Fox colleagues. Her complaint says in part that…

“When Carlson met with Ailes to discuss the discriminatory treatment to which she was being subjected, Ailes stated: ‘I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago and then you’d be good and better and I’d be good and better,’ adding that ‘sometimes problems are easier to solve’ that way. Carlson rebuffed Ailes’ sexual demands at that meeting, and nine months later, Ailes ended her career at Fox News.”

Carlson had been with Fox News for eleven years and was hosting her own daytime program “The Real Story” which was number one in its time period. She was previously a co-host on Fox & Friends where she says was subjected to “severe and pervasive sexual harassment” from her co-host Steve Doocy. The Hollywood Reporter notes that…

“In 2009, Carlson says she complained to a supervisor that Steve Doocy, one of her co-hosts on Fox & Friends, ‘had created a hostile work environment by regularly treating her in a sexist and condescending way, including by putting his hand on her and pulling down her arm to shush her during a live telecast..”

It was in response to those and other incidents that Carlson met with Ailes in September of 2015. Carlson alleges that her complaints were not taken seriously at that meeting and she was further harassed by Ailes with more explicit demands for sex. After her refusal she charges that she was punished with a cut in salary and other retaliatory measures including slashing her appearances on the network, and being denied social media and public relations support.

Roger Ailes has a long history of exploiting sex in the workplace. He has required his female anchors and contributors to wear revealing clothing and engage in other provocative on-air behaviors. Gabriel Sherman wrote in his biography of Ailes, “The Loudest Voice In The Room,” that Ailes has repeatedly given direction to his staff regarding the display of female body parts. 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.”

Furthermore, NPR’s media reporter David Folkenflik was told by knowledgeable sources about the Fox News “Leg Cam” that “goes directly for the legs.” And when host Megyn Kelly was interviewed by GQ (with an accompanying, and revealing, pictorial), 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. O’Reilly has had his own problems in this area. A few years ago he paid a multi-million dollar settlement to his former producer, Andrea Mackris, for sexual harassment. Also, when Gretchen Carlson was tapped to replace Megyn Kelly in daytime, she revealed that “pants were not allowed on Fox & Friends,” and teased viewers with the prospect that on her new show “I might forget my clothes the first day.”

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

Additionally, there is another mystery surrounding a different female host at Fox News. Andrea Tantaros was a regular member of the panel on Fox’s “Outnumbered.” She disappeared in April with the only explanation being that it was “a contract issue.” While there were incidents of sexually improper conduct with regard to Tantaros as noted above, there is no evidence at this time that her departure is related to that.

It remains to seen if Roger Ailes will be held accountable for what appears to be a pattern of inappropriate and unprofessional behavior. But this complaint is a major breakthrough that took courage for Carlson to file and is likely to result in further revelations. The male-dominated culture at Fox News, conspicuously known for its abundance of blondes, could produce many more examples of sexist conduct and discrimination. We may just be at the tip of the iceberg.

UPDATE: CNN’s Brian Stelter is reporting that “In the hours since the lawsuit was announced, ‘at least ten’ other women have contacted the law firm, wanting to speak about Ailes’ treatment, according to a spokesman for the firm.” That didn’t take long.

Donald Trump Eavesdropped On Staff And Guests At His Florida Resort, Sources Say

The multitude of ethical lapses exposed during Donald Trump’s campaign for president could fill the Mariana Trench. From his fraudulent Trump University, to his charity scams, to his bankruptcies, to his pathological lying, Donald Trump has repeatedly proven that he has little use for the morality that guides most decent people, much less what would be required of a national leader.

Donald Trump

Now Buzzfeed is reporting that Trump may have engaged in a deplorable act of privacy invasion at his exclusive Mar-A-Lago resort in Florida. The report details the accounts of former Mar-A-Lago employees who witnessed Trump listening in on the phone calls of his staff and guests:

“At Mar-a-Lago, the Palm Beach resort he runs as a club for paying guests and celebrities, Donald Trump had a telephone console installed in his bedroom that acted like a switchboard, connecting to every phone extension on the estate, according to six former workers. Several of them said he used that console to eavesdrop on calls involving staff.”

Four of the former staffers who revealed Trump’s bedroom phone follies spoke to Buzzfeed on the condition of anonymity due to their having signed non-disclosure agreements. Trump is famously obsessed with binding his associates with such gag orders. His recently fired campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, was similarly restrained from commenting about Trump (which, for some inexplicable reason, didn’t stop CNN from hiring him as a commentator). One source said he had “direct knowledge that Trump ‘could pick up the phone in the bedroom and listen to any conversation that was going on.'”

Not surprisingly, Trump’s spokesperson, Hope Hicks, denied that he had ever eavesdropped on anyone saying simply that “This is totally and completely untrue.” Another Trump supporter who rejected these charges was his former butler, Anthony Senecal, who may be better known for a Facebook posting calling for President Obama to be shot, and adding that he would personally participate in a hanging.

For anyone who may be reluctant to accept that Trump would behave this atrociously, it should be noted that this isn’t the first time that Trump has been suspected of tapping the phones of his staff. Just last month, following the dismissal of his national political director, the New York Times reported that…

“A sense of paranoia is growing among his campaign staff members, including some who have told associates they believe that their Trump Tower offices in New York may be bugged, according to three people briefed on the conversations.”

There appears to be a disturbing pattern forming. Trump is displaying the combination of authoritarianism and paranoia that was emblematic of the Richard Nixon White House. Nixon, of course, was notorious for recording his conversations with White House staff and guests, a breach of ethics that eventually led to his downfall. And if past is prologue, this an ominous portent of the future should Trump manage to emerge victorious in November.

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