Fox News Trump Fluffer Sean Hannity Kicks Off a Crackpot Crusade Against Rachel Maddow

The signs of desperation by Fox News in general, and Sean Hannity in particular, are becoming ever more apparent. Their increasingly deranged creation, Donald Trump, ventures farther from reality every day. The bizarre antics on Fox News are reaching epic levels. Perhaps they feel unfettered since having abandoned their “fair and balanced” tagline. Not that it was ever taken seriously to begin with.

Sean Hannity Maddow

This is especially true of Sean Hannity, whose ranting is more unhinged now than ever. He is rapidly approaching levels of lunacy that would make Glenn Beck or Alex Jones proud. Take Wednesday night’s episode for example (video below). Hannity began by saying:

“Tonight we continue to expose the biggest black helicopter, tin foil hat, conspiracy in the Destroy Trump Media: NBC’s Rachel Maddow. This is off-the-hook out of control. And if it wasn’t so serious, it’s actually fully.”

And with that, Hannity launches into a fiery diatribe on what he regards as a major conspiracy theory expose. Would it be on par with the Obama birtherism which he promoted for many years? Or the tragic death of Seth Rich, which Hannity attributes to a cabal of murderous Hillary Clinton associates? Well, hold on to your hats folks. Sean Hannity thinks that Rachel Maddow is behind a dastardly campaign asserting that Jon Ossoff’s election was foiled by the weather. He declares with astonishment that “You can’t make this stuff up.” Which is ironic, because that’s exactly what he’s doing.

The basis for Hannity’s charges of conspiracy theorism is that Maddow asked her colleague, Steve Kornacki, if rain on election day might have depressed turnout in certain areas. Of course, it’s simply reality that inclement weather can have an impact on any election. So without drawing any conclusions, Maddow asked Kornacki if he thought it might have had any impact Tuesday night. She never blamed the weather for the final results or even expressed an opinion on it. She only asked a question. But in Hannity’s cartoon brain she was raving wildly that Mother Nature had purposely sabotaged the Georgia Democrat.

Then Hannity takes up his post as Fox News’ most devoted Trump defender. He complains about Maddow’s frequent (and thoroughly factual) reporting on the allegations of connections to Russia by Trump and/or his campaign. Like many right-wing Trump-fluffers, he insists there is no evidence of any such thing:

“The night cannot go by without Maddow floating some sort of Trump/Russia collusion conspiracy theory, even though nobody says it. Nobody believes it. It’s been debunked. To date there is zero evidence of Trump/Russia collusion. Nothing whatsoever. It’s been a farce, a total fabrication, eleven months of lies and conspiracies made up by people just like Maddow. But despite these facts today, Rachel, she was at it again. Whipping up a new crackpot theory involving President Trump, the mob money, money laundering, and even Vladimir Putin made it into the mix.”

There is so much wrong with that it’s hard to know where to begin. Let’s start with the absurdity that nobody is talking about, or believes, that Trump & Co. have unsavory connections to Russia. Rather than being a debunked, fabricated, farce, it is a fact that has been grudgingly admitted by the very people involved. They include Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, and Jeff Sessions to name a few. In many cases their relationships were hidden and denied until discovered by the press. What’s more, Seventeen independent intelligence agencies agree that Russia engaged in deliberate actions to interfere with the election. Apparently Hannity thinks they are all lying as part of this massive conspiracy.

As for his charge that Maddow is “whipping up” a new conspiracy regarding Trump and mob money, he’s giving her too much credit. It was veteran reporter and executive editor Tim O’Brien who broke this story for Bloomberg News. He wrote a detailed and documented article on “Trump, Russia and a Shadowy Business Partnership.” All Maddow did was cover the subject and interview the author. Hannity never mentioned that or even bothered to cite any actual flaws in the story.

Hannity’s obsession with Maddow ignores the fact that she generally relies on established news sources. He demonstrates this by running a video montage of what he calls “Maddow’s craziest Trump/Russia conspiracy theories.” However, every one of the stories originated from other sources like Reuters or even government agencies like the FBI. And that’s the strategy behind Hannity’s baseless attacks. Even though Maddow gets her information from well researched and vetted journalists, her coverage of it makes it all her invention.

Of course, the real problem Hannity has with Maddow is unrelated to his ludicrous charges. He has a two-fold inspiration for attacking her. First, she effectively covers Donald Trump’s tsunami of scandals. She explains the often complex issues clearly and backs up her explanations with facts. Secondly, Hannity is scared to death because Maddow has overtaken Fox News in the television ratings. Her show is frequently the number one program on cable news. Hannity isn’t used to getting beaten in the ratings, but it is now fairly routine.

Consequently, he is coming out swinging, and swinging wildly, against a superior competitor. And the fact that he isn’t landing any blows must be making him all the more enraged and obsessed. Expect that pattern to continue playing out because Hannity doesn’t have the intelligence or the facts to support his positions. All he has is a drooling frenzy and a shrinking audience of Fox News cultists and Trump loyalists. That, in the end, isn’t going to get him very far, and he knows it.

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

Trump White House Sinks Into a Bunker Mentality to Avoid Answering Questions from the Press

There’s a lot going on in Washington these days. Perhaps more of a serious nature than at any time in modern history. Donald Trump has demonstrated ineptitude across a broad array of issues and responsibilities. He’s under investigation for obstruction of justice and unsavory connections to Russia as they sought to interfere with the election. Add to that the President’s improper financial dealings that may violate the Constitution. Then throw in the floundering Republican agenda to repeal ObamaCare, reform taxes, build walls, and defeat ISIS. What you have is a super-heated goulash of White House controversies boiling over.

Trump Bunker

All of these matters are of critical importance to the American people. And the institution that keeps the public informed is the press corps whose freedom is guaranteed by the First Amendment. That makes this a bad time for the White House to build a wall between the President and the people. But that’s exactly what Trump’s White House is doing. In a bold move to silence the media, the White House Press Office has cut back on briefings. And when they hold them, they are prohibiting the use of cameras or recording devices. On Monday, CNN’s Jim Acosta expressed some of his frustration on the air (video below):

“The White House press secretary is getting to a point where he’s just kinda useless. If he can’t come out and answer the questions, and their not gonna do this on camera or on audio, why are we even having these briefings or gaggles in the first place?”

Acosta went on to lament the “stonewalling” by the White House that has refused to answer questions even after promising to do so. Left dangling are queries into whether the President has secret Oval Office tapes, and if he believes in climate change. And so much more:

“I don’t know what world we’re living in. We’re standing at the White House and they bring us into the briefing room here at the White House and they won’t answer these questions on camera or let us record the audio. I don’t know why everybody is going along with this. It just doesn’t make any sense to me.

“And it just feels like we’re slowly but surely being dragged into what is a new normal in this country where the President of the United States is allowed to insulate himself from answering hard questions. He hasn’t had a full blown press conference since February.”

That’s four months of cowering the bunker for the embattled and frightened President. Concluding that the briefings conducted in this manner were “pointless,” Acosta reiterated his surprise that the press corps goes along with the administration’s tactics. He complained that “this isn’t how we do things in this country.” But Acosta may not have factored in how this country does things under a wannabe tyrant like Donald Trump. He did however note in a tweet that:

To make matters worse, Trump’s press team may be looking to shake things up. According to Politico they have interviewed Laura Ingraham as a replacement for Sean Spicer as press secretary. That would put a Fox News contributor in front of a press corps that is already being lied to on a daily basis. This must be what they call “winning.”

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

Sean Hannity’s ‘Deep State’ Derangement Put’s Him at the Front of Conspiracy Crackpot Parade

The shooting in Virginia on Wednesday has renewed the debate over civility in public discourse. Predictably, Republicans exploited the opportunity to blame Democrats and liberals for the violence directed at their colleagues – this time. Even their pleas for consideration and respect are peppered with partisan attacks.

Sean Hannity Fox News

A perfect example occurred Thursday morning on Fox and Friends. Conservative agitator Michelle Malkin spent over eight minutes with her Fox News pals pretending to seek comity while throwing jabs at “the extreme left.” At one point, the on-screen graphic read “Violent Threats Sent To GOP Lawmakers.” The tone of the whole segment reflected that bias. At no time did they mention the recent threats against Democrats. Two Democratic candidates actually had to withdraw from their races due to death threats from right-wingers. And then there was the Republican candidate who literally assaulted a reporter who was just doing his job. That candidate, Greg Gianforte, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault, won his race, and is now a U.S. congressman.

Sadly, the heated rhetoric that engulfs today’s political scene is viewed by some as an opportunity. Donald Trump notably abused his opponents whether Republican or Democrat. He fantasized about punching critics in the face. He promised to pay the legal fees of supporters who beat up protesters at his rallies. No wonder that, as president, he continues to associate with drooling barbarians like Alex Jones, Michael Savage, and Ted Nugent.

Perhaps those relationships are what is eating at Sean Hannity. He was the most vocal and devoted Trump-fluffer at Fox News during the campaign. His program featured Trump more than any other on television. And he literally endorsed Trump prior to the election, breaching every ethical standard for a news network. However, his access seems to have been curtailed. Trump hasn’t granted him an interview in over five months. In the meantime, fringe characters from Breitbart News and Infowars got passes to White House Press briefings.

This festering jealously might be inspiring Hannity to venture further out onto the crazy cliff’s edge. That seems to be the best way to get Trump’s enfeebled attention. So Hannity abandoned fear (and reason) on Wednesday night’s program to rant about the frightful “Deep State” that is plotting to destroy Trump (video below). The segment dwells on Hannity’s objection to reports that Trump is being investigated for obstruction of justice. Some choice excerpts follow:

“Tonight, and over the next few days, when the media predictably is gonna breathlessly and hyperventilate all kinds of reports and brand new black helicopters and tin-foil hat conspiracy theories to you the American people as they lie again, remember they have zero credibility left.”

Amazingly, he said that all in one breath. However, surveys show that the American people trust the media far more than they trust Trump. And credible news outlets document their stories, unlike what Hannity is doing in this tirade. He continues to deny the reports that Trump is under investigation:

“It’s only a matter of time before this too will be debunked like everything else they’ve reported in pretty much the last eleven months.”

So Hannity is asserting that for the past year “everything” that’s been reported by the media has been debunked. That’s some pretty spicy nutball delusion. Then he launches into what he says are the real crimes. He accuses James Comey and Robert Mueller of conspiring to undermine the President, despite the fact that they are both lifelong Republicans. And naturally, the biggest criminal of all is Hillary Clinton.

“We know Hillary Clinton committed felonies with her email private server scandal. If Democrats wanna talk about collusion, great. Let’s talk about it and take a look at collusion with Vladimir Putin. Uranium One. Twenty percent of the foundational material to make nuclear weapons, while serving as Secretary of State. She signed off on a waiver giving twenty percent of that uranium to Putin, to the Russians. All while people involved in that deal were funneling millions of dollars back to the Clinton Foundation.”

And all of that is total bull crap. Clinton did not sign any such waiver. There was a deal for Russia to acquire certain facilities (not actual uranium) that required the unanimous approval of nine separate government agencies. The State Department alone could not approve the deal. And the donations to the Clinton Foundation all occurred before Clinton was even nominated for the cabinet post. All of this information is publicly available and Hannity has known about it for years. Nevertheless, he persists in spewing information that he knows is false. It’s all part of his “Deep State” saga aimed at convincing his dim-witted audience that a covert, pseudo-government is working behind the scenes to destroy Trump.

Hannity closes with a call to arrest and jail the anonymous sources who talk to the media. He asserts that they are guilty of disseminating classified data. What’s peculiar about that charge is that he also claims the information they provided is false. But he can’t have it both ways. If the data is false, then nothing classified was revealed, no laws were broken, and no arrests are warranted. If the data is true, then Hannity has to concede that Trump is being investigated for obstruction of justice which Hannity rejects as fake news.

By spinning so furiously that his brain is scrambled, Hannity hopes to return to the high place he held with Trump prior to the election. He appears to think that he has to compete with the likes of Jones and Savage for the President’s affections. And he is probably right. Trump’s choice of friends and advisers is driven by their Insanity Quotient. The question is, can Fox News continue to allow a lying conspiracy kook to host a primetime program on their network? Well, why not? He’s been there for twenty years.

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

Fox News Succumbing to Reality? Network Ditches Their ‘Fair and Balanced’ Slogan

The past year has seen some profound changes in the conservative world. And it’s not just the election of Donald Trump. Although that was a tectonic shift that put a novice political enigma with no discernible principles at the helm of the GOP (Greedy One Percent). And as if that wasn’t earth-shattering enough, the party of family values fell in line behind an adulterous, irreligious, walking contradiction machine. Somehow Republicans were able to embrace a narcissistic, wannabe dictator who spent years insulting them.

Fox News

In the right-wing mediaverse, Fox News has also undergone an upheaval. They lost their founder and CEO, Roger Ailes, and their biggest Star, Bill O’Reilly, to sex scandals. The same improprieties resulted in several other notable Foxies leaving the hen house. They include Megyn Kelly, Greta Van Susteren, Gretchen Carlson, Andrea Tantaros, and Bill Shine, the executive who replaced Ailes. While Rupert Murdoch is still the lord master of Fox, it’s his kids who are the operational managers now.

As if to finish off the old era of Fox News, it was just revealed that they are abandoning their long-time slogan, “fair and balanced.” Of course, they never lived up to that or even tried. It was just a marketing scheme to disparage all other news networks as being hopelessly biased. Fox used it to corral their disciples into the cult, where only the cult leader is to be believed. Veteran Fox-watcher, Gabriel Sherman of New York Magazine had the scoop:

“As Fox News moves further into the post–Roger Ailes era, the network is shedding one of its most iconic elements. According to network executives, Fox News has abandoned the marketing slogan ‘Fair & Balanced.’ The decision was made last August after Ailes’s ouster by Fox News co-president Jack Abernethy, because the phrase had ‘been mocked,’ one insider said. Another executive explained that the tagline was ‘too closely associated with Roger.’ Fox executives have been instructed by management to market the network by its other tagline: ‘Most Watched. Most Trusted.'”

Cutting ties to disgraced former management is a generally a good idea. Ailes, who died last month, has become a figurative leper. Even the Ohio University scholarship in his name was discontinued. The same embarrassment of association occurs with the ousted Bill O’Reilly. Megyn Kelly, who resigned to take a new job with NBC, is already showing signs of weakness. Her Sunday night program debuted to meager ratings. And it got worse from there. The second episode dropped by forty-two percent and a 60 Minutes rerun beat it with twice as many viewers. Now there are advertiser boycotts stemming from her decision to interview conspiracy theory kingpin, Alex Jones.

Perhaps the funniest part of this decision to drop the “fair and balanced” lie is that they are replacing it with another lie. The new slogan is “Most Watched. Most Trusted.” Neither of those assertions are true. For the past few months MSNBC has been beating Fox in primetime with the most valued viewer demographic. Rachel Maddow is leading the way, often placing as the highest rated program on all of cable news. And as for “trusted,” Fox News isn’t even in the top twenty according to a survey by Pew Research. It falls well behind all three broadcast networks, CNN, New York Times, Washington Post, and MSNBC.

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

So Fox is continuing in their tradition of deceiving their audience with blatant falsehoods. And regardless of what their slogan is, we can depend on them to be true to their mission of lying. Despite all of the changes taking place at Fox, what is not changing is their intention to serve the propaganda of the right generally, and to always exalt Trump in particular. Some things will never change.

Conservatives Really Do Hate Facts – Study Shows ‘Striking’ Partisan Divide On Fact-Checkers

The rancorous tirades thrown by Donald Trump about “fake news” have had a profound impact on the public’s perception of the media. Prior to his entry into politics, the press was already regarded suspiciously in certain quarters. But Trump has escalated that to a visceral hostility that has even led to violence.

Donald Trump

This animosity toward the media extends to what is supposed to be the most neutral and independent sector of journalism. Fact-checking entities exist to to review statements by public figures for accuracy. Of course, like any other analytical exercise they can be mistaken or slanted by political bias. However, the most prominent fact-checking sites have generally proven to be – let’s say – fair and balanced. And that’s precisely what outrages right-wingers who dispute their findings.

A new study was just completed by The Reporters’ Lab at Duke University. They analyzed hundreds of references to fact-checkers by critics from both liberal and conservative perspectives. What they found was that conservatives were overwhelming antagonistic toward fact-checking and took every opportunity to disparage it. Liberals, on the other hand, demonstrated that they were not afraid of being fact-checked. The study’s findings revealed that:

“Beyond the use of Pinocchios and Pants on Fire ratings to win the daily skirmishes, fact-checkers have seen anecdotal evidence that conservatives and liberals have different views. Some of the harshest criticism of fact-checking has come from conservative media outlets that say the sites have a liberal bias. By contrast, liberal publications have often seemed more positive about fact-checking – or at least less critical.” […]

“The partisan divide was striking: 86 percent of the negative references appeared on conservative sites, while only 14 percent appeared on liberal sites. By contrast, almost 85 percent of the positive statements came from liberal sites, while 15 percent came from conservative sites.”

This perceptual difference is emblematic of the right’s aversion to truth-telling in the Era of Trump. Our president has imbued his base with a robotic tendency to spurn anything observed in the “mainstream” media as fakery. As a result, the characterization of fact-checking by conservatives is most often dismissed as the product of liberal bias. Never mind the documentary evidence supplied by the fact-checkers to support their analyses.

These views aren’t especially surprising considering that they are fully in sync with the diatribes spouted by Trump. Our president has shown repeatedly that he is unconcerned with dispensing known falsehoods, even after he has been corrected. This is, after all, the administration that invented the notion of “alternative facts.” It is also the administration whose chief White House strategist is former Breitbart News boss, Stephen Bannon. A few years ago Bannon’s website giddily declared that the “Era of Media Fact Checkers Intimidating Republicans Is Over.” In another article they ranted that “When Not Outright Lying, Fact-Checkers Make Fools of Themselves.”

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

It is that attitude that permits Republicans and other conservatives to casually dismiss fact-checkers. The documentation provided by these specialized journalists never sink into the heads of tunnel-blind wingnuts. And that, the study notes, can have “serious consequences for the nation’s fact-checkers.” It demeans the credibility of impartial observers attempting to bring some legitimacy to otherwise partisan arguments. And it obscures the very nature of the truth. But that’s very likely the purpose of the attacks from the right. When their entire agenda is riddled with lies, truth is anathema and fact-checkers are the enemy.

Fox News Host Exposed as Running a Scam Charity That Received Funding from Trump

The journalistic fraud that is Fox News is well known. It’s a network that was contrived as a right-wing spin factory, but dishonestly marketed as being “fair and balanced.” They have a revolving cast of scripted characters who alternately play politicians and pundits. Often the same person in both roles. Their commitment to partisan deceit is rooted deeply in the foul culture nurtured by its founders Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes.

Tucker Carlson Fox News

However, a new investigation proves that ideological fraud is not the only unethical practice employed by Fox News. Following the scandal-driven departures of Ailes and Bill O’Reilly, a new cretin was crowned as the top Foxie. Tucker Carlson was awarded O’Reilly’s prized time slot that anchors the network’s primetime lineup. Never mind that Carlson has a record of failure on the three previous networks foolish enough to hire him. Fox News put all their faith behind Carlson. And he soon proved that he was totally undeserving. Last month, for the first time in seventeen years, MSNBC’s primetime beat Fox News.

Now it has come to light that Carlson is more than just a terrible TV host. The Center for Media and Democracy conducted an exhaustive investigation into the stewardship of his website, The Daily Caller (TDC). Carlson launched the site six years ago and it quickly became a staple of wingnut propaganda. The Washington Post published CMD’s findings with this summary of the scam:

“Most of the roughly 50 journalists who produce content for the Daily Caller actually work for the Daily Caller News Foundation, a tax-exempt organization with 501(c)(3) status that is ostensibly separate from DailyCaller.com. The two entities share the same floor of the same Washington office, however, and virtually everything produced by the foundation — which accepted $3 million in donations in 2015, according to an IRS filing — appears on the for-profit website, which sells advertising on the articles.

In short, TDC takes in tax-free donations to finance their for-profit newsroom. Then they use the articles written by foundation authors to populate a commercial website that receives advertising revenue. The Post cites legal experts that describe this an obvious tax dodge:

“‘It’s a huge rip-off for taxpayers if the Daily Caller News Foundation is receiving revenue that it doesn’t pay taxes on, to produce stories that are used by the for-profit enterprise, which then makes money on the stories through ads,’ said Lisa Graves, a deputy assistant attorney general in the Clinton administration who now serves as executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy.”

The unscrupulous business practices that Carlson employs are part of an established pattern. TDC was first bankrolled by Republican stalwart and notorious climate change denier, Foster Friess. He laid out $3 million to get the site off the ground. The Koch brothers were also generous with Carlson’s new venture. They contributed over $800,000 to the effort.

More recently, Carlson enjoyed the benevolence of an even more prominent financier. During the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump sought out Carlson’s help to reach out to conservative voters. Trump purchased the use of TDC’s mailing list to solicit both votes and contributions. The CMD estimates that Carlson took in about $150,000 for his services.

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

So Carlson was feverishly promoting Trump, hosting his surrogates, and even interviewing him on Air Force One after the inauguration. However, he failed to inform his audience that he was paid substantial sums of money by Trump. It’s an unambiguous lapse of ethics that calls into question Carlson’s integrity and motives. Furthermore, Fox News is equally unprincipled for allowing Carlson to go on the air under these circumstances. But in neither case would anyone familiar with the Fox code of ethics be surprised. It’s just standard operating procedure for a network that was born to deceive.

They’re BAAAACK: Fox News Phony ‘Security Moms’ Suck Up to Trump While Denying Reality

Fox News (aka Donald Trump’s State-Run Propaganda Network) is at it again. The Trump-fluffing cable “news” distortion outfit is running interference on behalf of the treasonous White House mole they planted in the Oval Office. As the evidence of Trump’s collusion with Russian operatives mounts, Fox News ramps up their pitifully sycophantic defense squads.

Fox News

The falsehood factory at Fox has reassembled what they call their panel of “Security Moms.” In reality they are four pre-selected pro-Trump mouthpieces who shamelessly defend the President’s most heinous behavior. Last March they were brought in to try to hold back the flood of bad news regarding Trump and Russia. They failed so spectacularly that Fox brought them back Tuesday for an encore (video below).

In the latest episode of Security Moms, host Ainsley Earhardt dived straight into the controversy with a pointedly leading question:

“Well, the Democrats can’t stop talking about Russia, but is this really the issue that American families care most about? […] Do you care about Russia, and if not — I know you’re gonna say no.”

So Earhardt interrupted her own question to admit that she already knew the answers her mom panel would give. And the question itself was dripping with bias. Democrats aren’t the only ones talking about Russia. And polls show that significant majorities of voters care very much about the issue. Even the most recent Fox News poll. But that didn’t stop the moms from spinning furiously, just as they were recruited to do. For example:

Security Mom 1: All Americans care about foreign bodies hacking into our systems or tampering with our elections, but none of us think that that’s happened in this case.
Security Mom 2: And after seven months we still have no credible evidence, so I think it’s time to move on. What we’re experiencing is that it’s too much and unbalanced. […] Instead of Democrats, and most in the mainstream media, acting like adults and coming to the table with real solutions, they’re behaving like crazed animals.
Security Mom 3: This narrative the mainstream media is talking about – mentioning our President of the United States – it just needs to stop.
Security Mom 4: A lot of it, I really think, has to do with with left over election bad feelings. And this is kind of the catalyst going forward.

So these ladies are entirely oblivious to the mountains of evidence connecting Trump and his associates to Russian operatives. They believe that all of it should be ignored and the country should move on blissfully unaware of potential traitors in the White House. After all, they’re convinced that it’s just the ravings of crazed Democrats as they plead “it just needs to stop.”

Security Mom 3 also made an astonishingly incoherent and unrelated claim. She asserted that Fox News was the only station that had continuing coverage of the Manchester terrorist attack. To which Earhardt mustered her most sincere Stepford attitude to reply “We were. You’re right about that.” This is a demonstration of something far worse than bias. It’s delusional. But it’s totally aligned to the themes that Fox News dispenses every day. Their perverse world view was summed up nicely in this comment that combines diversion with Fox’s taste for victimization:

Security Mom 1: Most Americans believe that this is the typical left reaction. They lost the election. They’re a bunch of big babies. They’re crying about it. And now this is a big distraction. “We lost the election, but now we’re gonna distract you with this Russian collusion nonsense. And on top of that we’re gonna try to take Trump down by all means necessary, somewhat, probably, illegal.

Oh the horror. Our President is being attacked by factual evidence of his own criminality. And the most powerful man on Earth is defenseless against the “big babies” of the left. The enraged mom never bothered to say what illegal means were being employed to take Trump down. But then, why would she? If Fox’s viewers were interested in facts they would be clamoring for impeachment hearings like the rest of the country.

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

Uh-Oh: Rachel Maddow is Under Attack by Sean Hannity and Right-Wing Propaganda Groups

The conservative media machine is marshaling its forces to launch an all-out assault on journalists and pundits who fail to kowtow to Donald Trump. It’s a reactionary campaign in response to the success of the honest reporting by Rachel Maddow and other progressive voices. In recent weeks, Maddow has taken the lead in primetime programs from the previous ratings chart topper, Fox News. The rest of the MSNBC lineup has seen a similar surge in popularity. This massive shift in dominance is mainly driven by the strength of their straightforward reporting about Trump and Russia.

Maddow Hannity

Consequently, those on the right have begun shaking in their boots as their hammer lock on the ratings is broken. The last year has been dreadful for Fox News. Their CEO, Roger Ailes, and top star, Bill O’Reilly, were both terminated in disgrace due to sexual harassment scandals. They are being sued for gender and racial discrimination. And the New York Attorney General is investigating the network for securities violations.

The latest Fox News host to suffer as a result of his own sleazy misconduct is Sean Hannity. He has been pushing a widely debunked conspiracy theory about Seth Rich, a murdered Democratic National Committee staffer. Despite the absence of any facts, and pleas from the family to back off, Hannity has persisted. Even Fox News took down their report on the subject.

The determination of Hannity to spread this phony story has prompted Media Matters to post a list of his advertisers. The purpose was not to start a consumer boycott, but to alert the advertisers to what sort of program they were sponsoring. Then they could decide if it was in their best interest to continue.

Apparently, the desperate losers on the right were not pleased. So they have initiated their own campaign against Maddow and others whom they now refer to as “liberal fascists.” According to Politico:

“The groups plan to pressure advertisers for left-leaning shows like Maddow’s on MSNBC, in hopes that the sponsors will pull their ads. They charge that Maddow and other liberal hosts are peddling conspiracy theories and smearing conservatives with personal attacks.”

“They cited reports of alleged coordination between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian agents as an example of the smears.”

Notice what they’ve chosen as their example of a conspiracy theory. It’s a fact-based report that is affirmed by seventeen U.S. government intelligence agencies. No independent observer disputes that the Russians interfered with the 2016 presidential election to help Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton. And the allegations of collusion are based on numerous reports connecting Trump and his associates with Russian operatives. Many of those connections were hidden by the participants until disclosed by persistent reporters.

The groups involved in the attack on Maddow et al are well known in the conservative hack community. The Media Research Center has a long history of smearing liberals in the press. They favor common right-wing talking points and exploiting lefty “villains” like George Soros. The Media Equality Project is a new entity headed by two former conservative radio talkers, Melanie Morgan and Brain Maloney. They both appeared on Hannity’s program Tuesday night to defend his campaign of slander and promote their anti-Maddow efforts. [Video below]

So far there is no discernible impact from the wingnut brigades. That may be because Maddow’s reporting is wrapped up tighter in facts than anything produced by Hannity and his ilk. The Media Equalizer’s told Hannity last night that they are getting millions of people supporting them. However, their Facebook page has fewer than 5,000 followers and they have even less on Twitter.

But let’s not get cocky. Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, and Lawrence O’Donnell need the continued support of Americans who appreciate honest news analysis. MSNBC still hasn’t signed a contract renewal for O’Donnell. Meanwhile they have hired or promoted the likes of Greta Van Susteren, Hugh Hewitt, and George Will.

The right has a built in advantage with the media because every media owner is a giant corporation whose interests are not aligned with the average American. We have to make sure they know that their financial well being is dependent on serving the public interest. In the meantime, it’s satisfying to see Hannity and his trolls floundering as they try to muddy the waters with their self-serving lies. But we can only expect that to make them more aggressive and repulsive. Stay tuned and stay strong.

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

Urgent (and hilarious) Update: Hannity is now so desperate that he’s threatening to go after Stephen Colbert. And that’s something Colbert — would absolutely LOVE.

So NOW Trump LOVES Anonymous Sources Leaking Pro-Trump BS to Fox News

Donald Trump’s endless assault on the free press has been an ever present fixture of his presidency. He broadly classifies all news as “fake” simply because it isn’t blindly flattering. He can’t say “New York Times” without prefacing it (falsely) as “failing.” Never mind that polls show that most Americans trust the media more than they trust him.

Donald Trump

Trump’s favorite complaints often concern the use of unnamed sources. [Note: There is a difference between unnamed and anonymous sources. The identity of an anonymous source is unknown to the reporter. In most cases, journalists cite sources they know who decline to be named]. The President has frequently condemned the use of any source that doesn’t have a name attached to it. He did so most recently last Sunday:

First of all, Trump’s logic wouldn’t stand up to heavy sigh. He starts out complaining about leaks from the White House. But then accuses reporters of making up their sources. In which case there weren’t any leaks. But if there were leaks, then the sources were real. So Trump is raving about imaginary leaks from fake news who make up sources that actually exist. Are you following any of this? Me neither.

What throws this hilariously over the edge is what Trump tweeted Tuesday morning:

Recent reports have alleged that Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and top advisor, had discussed setting up a covert communications channel with Russian operatives. The ramifications of that are horrifying and could even lead to charges of espionage. So naturally Trump has to mitigate the harm by denigrating the credible journalists who uncovered the story. And now he’s trying to override it with a competing story from Fox News.

Let’s just set aside the inescapable reality that Fox News is the Trump administration’s state-run TV outlet. Of course they will scrape up some positive rebuttal to any story that reflects poorly on this president. What makes this so glaringly ludicrous is that Fox’s story is based entirely on a single unnamed source:

“During the meeting the Russians broached the idea of using a secure line between the Trump administration and Russia, not Kushner, a source familiar with the matter told Fox News. That follows a recent report from The Washington Post alleging that Kushner wanted to develop a secure, private line with Russia.”

So an unnamed “source familiar with the matter” tells Fox News something that exonerates Kushner. How convenient. Perhaps that source is Donald Trump, or his alter-ego, John Barron. Or maybe it’s Reince Pribus or Sean Spicer or Kellyanne Conway, or – you get the idea. There is nothing in the Fox News account that gives any context to the source or its potential ulterior motives for coming forward with this leak. However, it does provide a hook for the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends to regurgitate the same self-serving remarks on their program:

Brian Kilmeade: So there was contact, and the Russians did want a back channel contact […]
Ainsley Earhardt: Everyone is so upset about this. It’s like let him speak, let the investigation go on. If you have questions about what really happened, ask Jared, hear from Jared, and then we’ll discuss it. […]
Pete Hegseth: Well yeah. You want to turn to the The Washington Post and the failing New York Times and say can I have my edition back? Can I have my news back? Because I’m having to read about this every single day. […] There’s no sourcing. It’s all innuendo. It’s all rumor.

Actually, the Fox Friends are making some news themselves here. Prior to this they had not acknowledged that there were discussions of “back-channel” talks. Now they are conceding the point. Also, they had not previously supported the investigation of these matters. But now they are asking that the investigations go forward. Unfortunately, they still don’t grasp that their story is sourced to a single unnamed person when they whine about innuendo and rumor.

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

As for Trump, if he expects people to take him seriously when he condemns the use of unnamed sources, he ought not to use them himself. But expectations of consistency are way out of bounds when it comes to Trump. His hypocrisy quotient is far above that of mere mortals. What’s immensely troubling is how many people blissfully accept whatever flaming nonsense emits from the Trump-hole. It’s a frightening case of mass hypnosis or maybe cult worship gone terribly bad.

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

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

Fox News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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