Trump’s CPAC Speech: Narcissistic Blather And Incoherent Attacks On The Media

The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) for 2017 is currently in progress. And on Friday it featured its star attraction, President Donald Trump. Trump could have stayed home and just delivered a video from any of his campaign stump speeches. His speech (transcript) was entirely devoid of any new thoughts he might have had after being president for a month. Of course, that’s presuming he ever has any new thoughts.

Donald Trump CPAC

Trump began with a familiar topic: himself. He rambled aimlessly for several minutes about whether he had just received a standing ovation. And of course he rattled off false statistics about his allegedly record setting electoral achievements. Then, after a few minutes of right-wing boot-licking, he bragged about how much he is loved by the CPAC crowd. One of his boasts concerned how well he did in polling after his previous CPAC speeches. The truth, however, is that he lost most of the CPAC straw polls bigly. In 2015 he registered a pathetic eigth place finish with only 3.5 percent of the vote. Last year, with the presidential campaign in full swing, he finished a distant third with 15 percent.

Trump did manage to stuff in the usual conservative issues and wingnut applause lines. He promised to fight terrorism, repeal ObamaCare, deport Mexicans, cut taxes, and build a wall. And he would preside over the biggest military buildup ever, and spend a trillion dollars on infrastructure, while eliminating the national debt. As usual, he provided no details as to how he would accomplish any of those fantastical goals.

Much of the speech was focused on his infamous hatred for the free press, or as he calls it, the “fake news.” He opened this part of his address with a manic declaration. “I want you all to know,” he ranted, “that we are fighting the fake news. It’s fake. Phony. Fake.” Then he elaborated:

“A few days ago I called the fake news the enemy of the people. And they are. They are the enemy of the people. Because they have no sources, they just make ’em up when there are none. I saw one story recently where they said, ‘Nine people have confirmed.’ There’re no nine people. I don’t believe there was one or two people. Nine people. And I said, ‘Give me a break.’ Because I know the people, I know who they talk to. There were no nine people. But they say ‘nine people.’ And somebody reads it and they think, ‘Oh, nine people. They have nine sources.’ They make up sources.”

Indeed, Trump railed about the media as the enemy of the American people. That’s a phrase that maligns the First Amendment, and has its roots in Mao’s China. But his mad ravings about the “nine sources” is especially puzzling. That’s because he’s referring to a story in the Washington Post about his former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn. The Post reported that they had nine sources affirming that Flynn had inappropriate discussions with Russian agents during the campaign. As a result of that story, Trump fired Flynn. Is he now contending that he fired his top national security aide because of a fake story with no sources? Who knows? And it doesn’t get any more comprehensible from there:

“They’re very dishonest people. In fact, in covering my comments, the dishonest media did not explain that I called the fake news the enemy of the people. The fake news. They dropped off the word ‘fake.’ And all of a sudden the story became the media is the enemy. They take the word ‘fake’ out. And now I’m saying, ‘Oh no, this is no good.’ But that’s the way they are.” […]

“They shouldn’t be allowed to use sources unless they use somebody’s name. Let their name be put out there. Let their name be put out. ‘A source says that Donald Trump is a horrible, horrible human being.’ Let ’em say it to my face. Let there be no more sources.”

Huh? First of all, without any sources there wouldn’t be any stories. And anonymity is necessary at times when the source is threatened professionally, financially, or physically. And, of course, Trump’s administration has its own anonymous sources that pass information to the press. Will he identify them all now? The only part of that that made any sense was the part about him being a “horrible human being.”

As for Trump’s assertion that he specified only fake news as the enemy of the people, he’s right. But his assertion that reports left that word out is nonsense. In most cases cases they quoted his tweet verbatim and showed it on screen or in print. Furthermore, his tweet accusing the media of fakery was pretty broadly stated. He explicitly cited the New York Times, NBC, ABC, CBS, and CNN. Apparently, Trump regards only Fox News, Infowars, the National Enquirer, and Breitbart News as non-fake. And he still isn’t through:

“They say that we can’t criticize their dishonest coverage because of the First Amendment. You know, they always bring up the First Amendment. And I love the First Amendment; nobody loves it better than me. Nobody. I mean, who use it more than I do? […] So just in finishing, I say it doesn’t represent the people. It doesn’t tell the – never will represent the people. And we’re going to do something about it because we have to go out and have to speak our minds and we have to be honest.”

Who ever said that he can’t criticize the media? Are the voices in his head shouting louder than the Fox News blowhards on his TV? And for someone who claims to appreciate the First Amendment, he has a funny way of showing it. Friday afternoon his press secretary explicitly banned several news organizations from an informal briefing. After admitting right-wing propaganda outfits like Breitbart and the One America News Network, Sean Spicer shut the door. He refused entry to CNN, the New York Times, Politico, The Hill, BuzzFeed, the Daily Mail, BBC, the Los Angeles Times, and the New York Daily News. This is in direct contradiction of a promise he made last December that he would “absolutely not” ban any credentialed journalists. So much for fairness and transparency in the Trump press office.

So just in finishing, WTF does Trump mean when he says that the media “doesn’t represent the people” and that he’s “going to do something about it?” What exactly does he have in mind? And does he think it’s the job of the president to make the media represent the people, as he defines it?

This CPAC speech was another in long line of embarrassingly maniacal orations that have come to epitomize the Trumpian sermonizing. They are filled with lies, exaggerations, boasting, and malice toward many. And to the extent that they can be comprehended, they are almost entirely lacking in substance. Yet somehow, his glassy-eyed followers cheer wildly as if he said something that wasn’t gibberish. That may be the saddest – and scariest – part of the Era of Trump.

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

Watergate’s Carl Bernstein Says Donald Trump Is ‘More Treacherous’ Than Nixon

Fallout from Donald Trump’s brazenly anti-American attack on the press continues to spread. Last Friday he posted a comment on Twitter that has been universally assailed for its hostility to the Constitution and one of its most cherished principles: A free press. He tweeted:

The reaction to this nauseating tweet was immediate and profound revulsion. Needless to say, Democrats have been united in condemning these remarks. And the response from the Twitter community was a flood of disgust, along with examples of heroic journalists under the hashtag #NotTheEnemy.

Carl Bernstein

However, offense was not taken solely by Democrats and liberals. Trump’s Republican colleague, John McCain, noted that “That’s how dictators get started.” His own Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, disagreed with the “enemy” rhetoric. And in an interview with White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, Chris Wallace of Fox News said that Trump had “crossed the line.” “We don’t have a state-run media in this country,” Wallace told Priebus. “That’s what they have in dictatorships.”

In addition to these stinging rebukes, there was one that might pack an especially painful wallop. Carl Bernstein was half of the renowned pair of journalists, Woodward and Bernstein, that uncovered the Watergate scandal. Their investigative reporting culminated in the resignation of disgraced former president Richard Nixon. The whole story was as intriguing as any spy thriller. Nixon’s crimes included electoral corruption, perjury, pay offs, and cover ups. So it’s pretty significant when Bernstein appears on CNN and says this (video below):

“Trump’s attacks on the American press as ‘enemies of the America people’ is more treacherous than Nixon’s attacks on the press.”

Having been an eyewitness to one of America’s most notorious political scandals, Bernstein has credibility with this issue that is unparalleled. He is plainly disturbed by the language emanating from this president. If Nixon’s crimes warranted impeachment, than what does that say about Trump’s “more treacherous” behavior? Bernstein had more to say about it himself:

“It’s a demagogue’s statement.” […] “We’ve never seen in an American president such open authoritarian moves and rhetoric. This is a terrible time we’re living in.” […] “We are not enemies of the American people. In fact we’re the last resort of the American people to a dictatorial and authoritarian-inclined president.”

Trump’s slander of the media as an “enemy of the American people” is just the latest unhinged swipe he’s taken at the press. His previous assaults were castigated by groups like the Committee to Protect Journalists, who warned that “A Trump presidency would represent a threat to press freedom in the United States.” Yet he continues to escalate a dangerous dialog that could incite violence against reporters. After all, his rabid followers take very seriously anything that he tells them. And when he tells them that the press is the nation’s enemy, to what lengths might they go to “protect” their country?

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

NOT THE ENEMY: Twitter Pounds Trump’s Anti-American Attack On The Free Press

On Friday Donald Trump posted one of his most offensive tweets to date. And that’s saying something. The Twitter president continues to use the social media site as a means of lashing out against his critics. His latest tweet sinks to a new low by calling some of those critics “enemies.”

To be clear, Trump is referring to the people who practice the only profession explicitly protected in the Constitution. He is maligning thousands of dedicated truth-seekers who gave their lives to expose corruption, brutality, and deception. For all its flaws, and there are many, the press is an indispensable component of liberty in a democratic society. The toxic repulsiveness of his comment cannot be understated.

Donald Trump

The fundamental value of the media is something that Donald can never understand. Either that or he understands it all too well, which explains his hostility toward it. His repulsive tweet stirred responses from Twitizens who were justifiably outraged. Here a re few of those responses aggregated under the trending hashtag #NotTheEnemy:

Nuff said.

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

Trump’s ‘Enemy Of The American People’ Is A Direct Threat To The Free Press

From the outset of Donald Trump’s campaign he has made the media a target of his attacks, insults and retribution. He has called them liars and sleazy and horrible people. Keeping them penned up at his rallies was common, as was expelling those he especially disliked.

Donald Trump

Organizations that advocate for the welfare of journalists have expressed their concerns with justifiable anxiety. The Committee to Protect Journalists issued a warning that “A Trump presidency would represent a threat to press freedom in the United States.” The National Press Club released a similar statement condemning Trump’s anti-press tactics as “unacceptable and dangerous to our democracy.”

Now Trump has taken his abuse a step further into an ominous future. He posted on Twitter a message that reeks of an authoritarian stranglehold on one of America’s most cherished principles. The Free Press. He tweeted:

Trump’s characterization of the press as “the enemy of the American People!” has roots in some of the most oppressive historical dictatorships. It goes back to ancient Roman times. However, it has been used as recently as the 1950’s by China’s Chairman Mao Tse-tung to suppress freedom. Trump’s usage is particularly repulsive because of the overtly violent overtones that infect so much of his rhetoric. Is he deliberately fomenting violence against the press now? As an aside, it’s curious that he thinks the media is the enemy of the American people, but that it isn’t his enemy.

In the United States, disgraced former President Richard Nixon made an almost identical statement in private. He said that “The press is the enemy, the establishment is the enemy, the professors are the enemy.” Sound familiar? But Trump is saying it very publicly. It’s also notable that Nixon’s Watergate scandal and Trump’s current transgressions have similar beginnings. The Republican operatives who broke into Democratic offices at the Watergate were called the “Plumbers” because their purpose was to plug up leaks. And that’s exactly the focus of Trump’s complaints.

The “enemy of the people” theme is likely the handiwork of Trump’s alt-right, white supremacist aide, Stephen Bannon. In 2012 his Breitbart News website featured a commentary by Trump supporter Pat Caddell. In it Caddell said that “The press’s job is to stand in the ramparts and protect the liberty and freedom of all of us from a government and from organized governmental power,” So far, so good. However, he continued to say that they have “desert[ed] those ramparts” and “made themselves the enemy of the American people.”

Mao, Nixon, Breitbart. Is there a pattern forming? Trump would be thrilled to discredit the media that he regards as the “opposition party.” Then he could rant relentlessly with his “alternative facts” and outright lies without restraint or objective scrutiny. He could rely on disreputable “news” manglers like Breitbart, Infowars, the National Enquirer, and Fox News to lead his campaign of disinformation.

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

This needs to be taken seriously. Trump is not kidding when he says the free press is the enemy. Last October he complained that “Our press is allowed to say whatever they want and get away with it.” Trump is actually appalled that the press can say whatever they want. It’s a freedom that he would eagerly undo given the opportunity. That would leave us with his factless accounts of a delusional world that exalts him and maligns his critics. He must be stopped by any (legal) means necessary.

Reuters Editor Warns That Covering Trump’s America Is Like Covering China, Russia

The increasing hostility toward the press from Donald Trump and his staff has resulted in a deteriorating relationship. Not that it was ever particularly healthy. Trump spent most of his campaign insulting reporters and demonizing the media in general. It got so bad that the Committee to Protect Journalists issued a warning that “A Trump presidency would represent a threat to press freedom in the United States.” The National Press Club released a similar statement condemning Trump’s anti-press tactics as “unacceptable and dangerous to our democracy.”

Donald Trump

Since the election things have not improved. Trump is still maligning mainstream news organizations as “fake news” and punishing reporters that he regards as insufficiently adoring. His press secretary, Sean Spicer, has upended the White House briefing by adding fringe “news” outlets. He is reportedly considering granting press credentials to Infowar’s Alex Jones, a notorious conspiracy theorist and Trump supporter. Meanwhile, the Trump press team has revoked press credentials for the Washington Post and other legitimate news enterprises. What’s more, they have refused to provide spokespeople to CNN for several weeks in an attempt to isolate them.

In this environment, Reuters Editor-in-Chief Steve Adler wrote a memo to his reporters to guide them on how to cover Trump. The memo begins by describing the current conditions that the media face:

“The first 12 days of the Trump presidency (yes, that’s all it’s been!) have been memorable for all – and especially challenging for us in the news business. It’s not every day that a U.S. president calls journalists “among the most dishonest human beings on earth” or that his chief strategist dubs the media “the opposition party.” It’s hardly surprising that the air is thick with questions and theories about how to cover the new Administration.”

Indeed, Trump has led an unprecedented assault on the free press. His attacks have been severe and personal. And in every case he is flailing wildly without offering much in the way of a rebuttal. He is only concerned with any negative impression of him, and that results in a furious temper tantrum. Adler’s approach to this behavior is to remind his reporters that they have experienced similar challenges in the past. And he provides examples to make his point:

“I am perpetually proud of our work in places such as Turkey, the Philippines, Egypt, Iraq, Yemen, Thailand, China, Zimbabwe, and Russia, nations in which we sometimes encounter some combination of censorship, legal prosecution, visa denials, and even physical threats to our journalists.”

So the secret to covering Trump is to apply the experience gained from covering dictators in regimes that have little respect for a free press. His advice is to be prepared for legal harassment and physical threats. Both of those are tactics that Trump has already deployed. He has said that he wants to “open up our libel laws” so that he can sue the media. And on at least one occasion a reporter required secret service protection following a Trump rally due to overt threats.

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

It’s fair to assume that the Trump administration will continue to foment discord with the media. Trump’s “malignant narcissism” and tendency to bully others is not likely change any time soon. Hopefully the media will have the courage and integrity to stand up to whatever is thrown at them. They are the last line of defense against the kind of tyranny that Adler warns about in his memo.

SPLIT: Trump’s Personalities Have A Love/Hate Relationship With Fox News (w/Hysterical Kimmel Video)

Donald Trump recently told a gathering at CIA headquarters that he has a “running war with the media.” That may be the first true statement he’s made as president. Throughout his campaign he has attacked the press in the most virulent terms. Advocates for journalists published a statement declaring him to be “an unprecedented threat to press freedom.” His animosity toward the First Amendment is often chaotic and downright dangerous. For instance, on Wednesday he tweeted this:

The spectacle of a sitting president complimenting a news enterprise for its ratings success is both unprecedented and unethical. In a nation that honors a free press, the government is not supposed to be taking sides in these matters. Nor is it appropriate for a president to insult the millions of viewers of CNN by implying that they are stupid.

What’s more, Trump went further with his unprincipled remarks to lambaste CNN as “fake news.” That term is already beginning to lose any meaning as conservatives apply it to any news with which they disagree. However, Trump’s use of it is blatantly vengeful. He reserves his animus for those who have the audacity to criticize him. His purpose is to delegitimize the media in general so that he can disseminate his “alternative facts” (aka lies) with impunity. As a result, he is frequently at odds with himself.

Trump Split 2

Trump has not always been so fond of Fox News. During the campaign he frequently lashed out them when they were not sufficiently complimentary. For instance:

Further more, Trump said of Megyn Kelly that she “is the worst” and has a “terrible show.” He called Karl Rove a “total fool” and “a biased dope.” Chris Stirewalt was deemed “one of the dumbest political pundits on television.” He said that George Will is a “broken down political pundit” and “boring.” And Trump laughed off Charles Krauthammer as “a totally overrated clown,” “a loser,” and “a dummy.”

That, however, is all behind us now. At least until the next time Fox News manages to muster up a worthy criticism. In the meantime, Trump will surely persist in castigating CNN and others for doing their job. His administration is proving to be the most hostile toward reporters in modern times. It is a troubling trend that threatens not only the press, but democracy.

On the other hand, Donald Trump is the gift that keeps on giving to the world of comedy. His ignorant rants and obsessions with ego-driven trivialities are the basis for an endless stream of jokes. He has spent most of his first week as president whining about the turnout at his inauguration. It is eating him alive that it was so much lower than President Obama’s. That preoccupation with his hurt pride led to the infamous introduction of the absurd term alternative facts.” And when he was fixating on that he was revisiting his embarrassing loss of the popular vote.

Jimmy Kimmel is not one to let a good satire of Trump get away. Consequently, Tuesday night he put together a mock trailer for a sequel to M. Night Shyamalan’s hit movie “Split.” The story revolves around a character with multiple personalities and a decidedly hostile attitude toward women. Sound familiar?

In Kimmel’s sequel the star is Donald Trump. The clip contains several instances of Trump saying one thing, then contradicting himself. It also borrows from the real film with a psychologist confronting Trump to ask “Twenty-three identities live in Donald Trump. To whom am I speaking with now?” The answers in voice-over suggest Trump, Vladimir Putin, and Rosie O’Donnell. Later the female victims plot to escape their tormentor with one proposing that “The only chance we have is if all three of us go crazy on this guy.” Then it cuts to Trump saying “I have no idea who these women are.”

The parallels to real life are a little scary. However, the hilarity falls apart when a voice is heard worrying “What will happen when he unlocks the potential of his brain?” We know that Trump himself thinks that he has “a very good brain [because] I’ve said a lot of things.” That’s also his excuse for refusing to attend national security briefings. He told Chris Wallace of Fox News that such meetings were unnecessary because “I’m, like, a smart person.”

Unfortunately, while comedians are going to be celebrating a renaissance of humor, the rest of the nation is going to be get more and more depressed. Which, ironically, will create a greater need for comedians. So in light of that, enjoy Kimmel’s version of Trump in Split and try to carry on.

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

SRSLY? 34,000+ Tweets Later, Donald Trump Says ‘I Don’t Like Tweeting’

Donald Trump gave Fox News an interview Wednesday and it went pretty much like you might expect. Ainsley Earhardt tossed a few softballs at him, and he dodged them anyway. However, there were a couple of responses where he made news despite himself (video below).

Trump Twit

First of all, Trump was asked about his obsession with Twitter. He responded in a way that contradicts everything he’s done for the past couple of years:

“Look, I don’t like tweeting. I have other things I could be doing. But I get very dishonest media, very dishonest press. And it’s my only way that I can counteract.”

For someone who doesn’t like tweeting, he sure devotes an awful lot of time to it. And his tweets often address significant issues, including trade, and foreign relations. Of course, just as often he’s merely bragging about himself or insulting others. But if he has other things to do, then why isn’t he doing them?

Trump’s excuse for tweeting so frequently is that it’s the only way to counteract all the dishonest press he gets. That’s got to come as a surprise to anyone who owns a television. Trump has been the recipient of more uninterrupted airtime than any other candidate – or human. The media broadcast his campaign stump speeches in full and took his phone calls on the air. When he wants press time he only has to ask for it and the networks oblige. If there is any lack of Trump on TV it’s his own doing. Until last week he didn’t hold a press conference for seven months.

Clearly, there are many ways for Trump to counter what he regards as dishonest press. That includes friendly venues like Fox News, talk radio, and wingnut blogs like Breitbart. He obviously prefers Twitter because it doesn’t require much critical thought. There isn’t much of substance you can say with 140 characters. What’s more, it doesn’t open him up to questions he can’t answer or hold him accountable for his lies.

The other notable remarks from the Fox News interview concerned the controversy over the White House briefing room. Last week Trump’s incoming press secretary, Sean Spicer, floated the notion that the briefings might be moved to another location outside of the White House. That didn’t sit well with the journalists who would be evicted. Jeff Mason, president of the White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) later met with Spicer and issued this statement shortly thereafter:

“The White House Correspondents’ Association has always advocated for increasing access and transparency for the benefit of all news outlets and the public. I emphasized the importance of the White House press briefing room and noted that it is open to all journalists who seek access now. I made clear that the WHCA would view it as unacceptable if the incoming administration sought to move White House reporters out of the press work space behind the press briefing room. Access in the West Wing to senior administration officials, including the press secretary, is critical to transparency and to journalists’ ability to do their jobs.’

Trump told Fox’s Earhardt that, due to the negative reaction, he didn’t think the briefing room would be moved for now. However, he also announced a new and unprecedented control over access to the briefings:

“Some people in the press will not be able to get in because there’s just too many people … we have so many people who wanna go in so we’ll have to just pick the people who go into the room. I’m sure other people will be thrilled about that.”

Currently the non-partisan WHCA is responsible for assigning credentials to reporters who seek admittance to the briefings. The politicians in the White House have no say. That insures that the room isn’t stacked with sycophants and propagandists as is done in dictatorial regimes. Apparently Trump favors the dictator’s methods. That may also be why his Washington, D.C. hotel just announced that it is banning all media during the inauguration. So much for a free press.

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

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.

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 Latest Tweet Threatens The Media (And Press Freedom) For Doing Their Job

Friday morning Donald Trump took another step toward the totalitarian dystopia he yearns to rule. He’s spent months disparaging the intelligence community on which he must rely. At the same time he has defended Russia from charges of hacking that has now been proven beyond question.

Trump Baby

And now he is proposing concrete actions to punish the free press that he so blatantly abhors. This is what he tweeted this morning while waiting to be briefed on the Russian hacking report:

The frightening aspects of that cannot be be understated. Trump is proposing an investigation of a news organization that did precisely what is expected of it. NBC utilized its sources to acquire government information that is relevant to all citizens. And contrary to Trump’s frantic accusation, there is no indication that any of it was top secret. The government was going to release a public version of the report anyway. NBC just scooped them.

What is apparent is that Trump is more concerned about NBC getting info that’s about to be released anyway, than he is about Russians hacking American citizens and political organizations. He is distracting from the far more significant news that Russia had helped him achieve his tainted victory. They even celebrated and congratulated themselves for their successful effort.

It’s important to note the distinction between what Trump’s allies in Russia did and what NBC did. The hackers stole private information from individuals and organizations. That data was not public property. Russia, WikiLeaks, et al, were not revealing government secrets that the people had a right to know. NBC, on the other hand did just that. The Intelligence reports they previewed were paid for by taxpayers for their benefit. So NBC was performing a public service, while Russia/WikiLeaks was invading privacy. But only the privacy of Democrats so as to assist their favored candidate, Donald Trump.

Trump doesn’t care about Russians hacking an American election. He has defended them, and his BFF Vladimir Putin, from the start. Even worse, he has maligned the dangerous work of American patriots serving their country. Under the circumstances, one has to wonder why any intelligence operative would risk their life for Trump during his administration.

Trump has also been a constant foe of the free press. He has called reporters “sleazy” and “dummies” and “liars” and worse. Respected journalists had their credentials revoked to prevent them from covering his rallies. Organizations that represent the interests of journalists have condemned him as a “threat to press freedom unknown in modern history.”

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
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That condemnation is playing out bigly today with this new attack on the press. And Trump has still never called for a congressional investigation of the Russian hacking. His whining about NBC sharing intelligence before he has seen it rings hollow. After all, it’s easy to get intelligence before Trump sees it when he doesn’t even bother to take intelligence briefings.

UPDATE: As it turns out, about six hours before Trump’s tweet WikiLeaks posted a tweet that is eerily similar:

That tweet also falsely states that the information NBC reported was “Top Secret.” And it makes the point that NBC received the info before Trump. Considering the similarities it is likely that Trump simply copied the contents of the WikiLeaks tweet for his own. And that’s just more proof that they are working together.

It’s also astonishing that WikiLeaks is complaining about “leaks” to the media. That’s their whole friggin’ reason for existing. But those dishonest hypocrites go nuts when someone else disseminates information acquired through legitimate journalistic means (as opposed to hacking and theft) if it is adverse to their partisan agenda.