100 Days: Hannity Asks ‘What is Trump’s Biggest Accomplishment?’ Twitter Hands Him His Ass

Sean Hannity is having a bad year. Fox News is falling apart with the loss of its CEO Roger Ailes, and its biggest star Bill O’Reilly. Now Ailes’ replacement, and close Hannity ally, Bill Shine is also facing a possible ouster. So Hannity is taking to Twitter for solace with a question aimed at sucking up to his friend in the White House, Donald Trump. What could possibly go wrong?

Sean Hannity Fox News

The answers Hannity got were probably not what he expected. There were very few replies that could be taken seriously. Many responses exhibited the brain dead detachment of Trump’s cult followers by saying merely “Everything,” or “Beating Hillary.” A fair number thought the seating of Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court represented a Trump achievement. But that’s only true if you regard submitting a name to the Senate that couldn’t get confirmation without changing the rules (the Nuclear Option) an achievement.

Far more interesting, and entertaining, were the responses from Twitter’s reality-based community. They recognized that the question itself was absurd and treated it with the disrespect it deserved. Even so, they were more accurate and substantive than Hannity’s army of Trump fluffers. So if you’re looking for examples of Trump’s biggest achievements in his first 100 days, read on:

Trump has embarked on a “100 Days” ego-stroking tour that includes a campaign style rally in Pennsylvania and at least two appearances on Fox News. He’s spewing the utterly deranged notion that his first 100 days has been more productive and successful than any other president in history. The disastrous reality, however, is that he has not achieved a single one of his promised goals. What’s more, his administration riddled with allegations of corruption and complicity with Russian election tampering. Given the circumstances, it was awfully foolish of Hannity to even ask his question.

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

LMFAO: A New Fox News Promo for Tucker Carlson Portrays Him as a Major D*ck

Now that Bill O’Reilly has been exiled to sexual harasser’s purgatory, Fox News is pouring on the coals to heat up his replacement, Tucker Carlson. The story of Carlson’s career is one of a silver spoon elitist failing upward for years until he found a home at Fox. He has had programs canceled at PBS, CNN, and MSNBC before supplicating himself to his Fox masters.

Tucker Carlson Fox News

Fox News is clearly worried that their new prime time lineup isn’t going to hold up without O’Reilly anchoring the effort. Carlson’s record of failure continued even at Fox where he was losing to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow prior to his move into O’Reilly’s slot. So Fox put their marketing department into action to create a promotional video that they plastered all over Twitter the day after his premiere. Befitting the subject, it’s a festival of fail they call “Eight Reasons to Watch Tucker Carlson” (video below).

The video consists of eight soundbites from Carlson’s program that Fox seems to think will excite viewers into making his show appointment television. In reality, the video showcases what is most obnoxious and repellent about him. It’s a chronicle of what made his programs on other networks so unwatchable. Each clip is just a brief, but abrasive, remark that only succeeds in making Carlson look like a jerk. Let’s break down the eight reasons here:

  1. “You’re just repeating dumb liberal talking points.”
    Carlson spit this out at a Northeastern University student, Elan Axelbank, wearing a “Socialist Students” t-shirt. And the best argument that he could could muster was a vacuous insult that ignored the segment’s topic.
  2. “So much of this you don’t know. You pretend that you know, but you don’t know.”
    Carlson aimed this empty rant at Science Guy Bill Nye, a recognized expert in science and education. Those are two of the many fields about which Carlson is painfully ignorant.
  3. “If you want to make America great again, you’ve gotta make work cool again.”
    This was actually spoken by Carlson’s guest, Mike Rowe, a reality TV host of Dirty Jobs. And it manages to regurgitate Donald Trump’s airhead slogan with a Soviet style platitude intended to keep workers docile and productive.
  4. “You’re incapable of writing a clear sentence…I couldn’t understand any of them.”
    This was Carlson’s response to George Ciccariello-Maher, PhD., a Drexel University Associate Professor in the Department of Politics, Global Studies and Modern Languages. No wonder Carlson couldn’t understand him.
  5. “This is performance art. I’ve never had an interview like this in my life. Nobody’s getting anything out of this.”
    Here we see Carlson bragging that he can’t conduct an interesting interview. I’m sure his puzzled guest, Newsweek author Kurt Eichenwald, felt the same.
  6. “You have no principles…All the things you’ve been saying for the last eleven minutes are totally untrue.”
    Once again Carlson seems proud to have wasted eleven minutes of his viewers’ time. And New York University grad student Kouross Esmaeli must have been wondering what principles Carlson was demonstrating, other than being a dick.
  7. “I want to believe that the U.S. government is not secretly collecting information on me and then use it against me for political ends. That is what they have done. You’re fully aware of that.”
    Actually, Rep. Jim Hines (D-CT), was only aware that Carlson had ventured completely off the subject of Trump’s ludicrous tweet that accused President Obama of wiretapping him. Carlson had entirely ceased to address the subject, or make any sense.
  8. “The idea that people take a crackpot like you who would throw something out there with no evidence is distressing, and shame on the Huffington Post for promoting garbage. The interview is over, Alex. Done!”
    That’s how Carlson abruptly cut off his guest, Alex Mohajer of the Huffington Post, without allowing him to respond. It’s typical of Carlson’s style wherein he insults people, strays from the subject, and then kills any substantive discourse.

That’s what Fox News considers compelling television. It’s the cream of their programming crop. At Fox News mindless conflict and yelling is their idea of journalism. Although in the first promos for Carlson they posted ads on the Fox News website that labeled the show “entertainment,” not journalism. So maybe I’m expecting too much.

You’ll notice that not a single clip in the promo shows Carlson exhibiting any signs of intelligence or integrity. It’s just a montage of a bullheaded, petulant preppy lashing out like a cornered rat. Yet Fox thinks so highly of this sort of bombastic bellowing that they devoted the whole promotional video to it. They think these are affirmative reasons to watch their loathsome successor to O’Reilly. But then, in that context, Carlson seems like a good choice to follow The Factor. He should easily slide right into O’Reilly’s clown shoes.

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

The End of Rush Limbaugh? His Radio Syndicator is on the Brink of Bankruptcy

The presidency of Donald Trump is running an obstacle course of speed bumps and potholes. He has failed to achieve anything of note during his first 100 days in office. And that’s according to his own published benchmarks. There is no repeal of ObamaCare, no defeat if ISIS, no tax reform, and no Mexican border wall. The only success he has had is breaking the record for the lowest popularity of any first-quarter president in history.

Rush Limbaugh

Along with Trump’s sagging fortunes, much of the right-wing establishment is similarly floundering. The Republican Party is worried about maintaining their majorities in Congress. And the GOP’s PR division, Fox News, recently lost its CEO (Roger Ailes) and its biggest star (Bill O’Reilly). Both were terminated after scandals involving sexual harassment.

With Trump still driving the public angst, the carnage is far from over. The talk radio empire of Rush Limbaugh is now said to teetering on collapse. Salon’s Matthew Sheffield is reporting that:

“The parent company of iHeartCommunications [formerly Clear Channel], which syndicates programs by conservative talk-show hosts Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, appears to be headed toward bankruptcy.

“In a statement filed last week with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the federal agency charged with regulating companies that offer investments to the public, iHeartCommunications’ parent company, iHeartMedia Inc., said that it had ‘substantial doubt’ that it would be in business by the middle of next year.”

Sheffield noted that the radio industry in general has been under pressure from other advertising platforms including new media. But the problems facing Limbaugh’s syndicator went deeper than that:

“The ad challenge is made worse for iHeartCommunications since many of its stations feature a conservative talk format whose audience is literally dying off. According to industry figures, the age of a talk show listener is about 67. Further complicating things for the company has been that its top host, Limbaugh, has immersed himself in several controversies in recent years, such as the time he called a liberal activist [Sandra Fluke] a ‘slut’ on the air.”

Indeed. Limbaugh’s repulsive and misogynistic insults cost him dearly. A leaked memo from his distributor, Premiere Networks, revealed that he lost more than 140 advertisers as a result of his rancid ranting. And the exodus didn’t end with Limbaugh. The same advertisers also requested that their ads be removed from other right-wing programs including Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and Michael Savage.

Exacerbating these problems, Limbaugh has also lost favor with some of the top affiliates in the country. His show has been dropped from WABC in New York, WRKO in Boston and KFI in Los Angeles. In desperation, he switched to some weaker stations in those and other markets just to have a presence on air.

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

It remains to be seen whether iHeartCommunications will manage to stay afloat. But even if it does, they will have to make severe cuts in order to service their crushing debt. That means that Limbaugh, Hannity, et al, will either have to agree to renegotiate their contracts downward or say goodbye to their audience. They may still survive online, but they should ask Glenn Beck whether that’s a viable option. Since losing his Fox News megaphone he has been bleeding cash and his public awareness has shrunk to near irrelevance. So that’s good news all around. And maybe we should send Donald Trump a thank you note.

Former FOX NEWS Anchor Reveals That Roger Ailes Demanded Submission Sexually AND Politically

The culture of sexual harassment at Fox News has been well documented in the past few months. The most notorious consequences have been the staggering dismissals of Fox’s CEO Roger Ailes and its ratings leader Bill O’Reilly. However, the whole story has still not been told. More women are said to be coming forward with more allegations aimed at more of Fox News’ abusive personnel.

Roger Ailes Fox News

Sunday morning on CNN’s Reliable Sources another victim of Fox’s depraved work environment told her story. Alisyn Camerota, currently an anchor on CNN, worked for sixteen years at Fox News. She was interviewed about her experience by Brian Stelter. Her story was disturbing, but not unlike the stories of many other women who suffered harassment at Fox. [Video below]

Stelter began the segment by noting that “The culture of harassment at Fox News came from the top down. It came from Roger Ailes.” Then he pointedly asked Camerota if Ailes had ever sexually harassed her. She replied “Yes. Roger Ailes did sexually harass me.” She continued:

“He was often grossly inappropriate with things that he would say. And I think that many of us experienced that. He would talk about body parts. He would say ‘give me spin.’ He’d want to be greeted with a hug.”

Then Camerota unveiled a more salacious incident in detail. She said that Ailes told her that in order to advance her career she would have to “work with him.” They would have to get to know each other better, and that would have to be done away from the office in a hotel. Then he asked suggestively, “Do you know what I’m saying?” Of course she did.

Camerota then goes on to describe what happened following her refusal to comply with Ailes’ sexual demands. And while not as personally repulsive, his behavior illustrates something else that makes Fox News a wholly disreputable source of journalism. Camerota confirms that the network’s “fair and balanced” pretense is a sham. “In Roger’s world view,” she says, “there was no other side. Liberals were always wrong, conservatives were generally right, and that’s what he felt that we should be reflecting on the air.” Ailes aimed his insistence on political bias directly at Camerota:

“Roger Ailes ruled with an iron fist. He wanted us all to fall in line and have his world view and say the things that he wanted us to say on Fox News. And he targeted me because he sort of figured out early on that I didn’t share his world view. He said, ‘You’re not saying the conservative things that I want you to say. You could be a real model and you could be a real star if only you could sound conservative.'”

The evidence of the ultra rightist slant at Fox News is readily visible on the air everyday. But there aren’t very many personal accounts of the pressure people were under to conform to its conservative orthodoxy. Camerota’s first-hand account is a valuable contribution to the case against Fox News. And the fact that her experience transverses from the lurid to the professional makes it that much more compelling.

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

Fox News Gets Schooled By Nebraska Farmer on Dangers of the Keystone XL Pipeline

Today is Earth Day and there are tens of thousands of people around the world attending the March for Science. Meanwhile, on Fox News, host Sandra Smith is interrogating a mild-mannered farmer from Nebraska about why he and ninety others are opposing the Keystone XL pipeline. (Video below)

Fox News Keystone XL

Art Tanderup represents a group of family farmers whose land and businesses would be put at risk by the pipeline. His appearance on Fox News was rather risky as well considering the network’s blatant support for the fossil fuel industry. Smith began the segment with a question that focused on an overtly partisan premise:

“President Trump has argued that the pipeline construction would bring new jobs. But the whole thing is now in the hands of a state regulatory board […] What is you goal here?”

Trump’s support for Keystone rests on a foundation of disinformation. Independent analysts agree that the the project would create about thirty-five permanent jobs. But even if it created more, that wouldn’t justify destroying communities and the livelihoods of private citizens.

Nevertheless, Tanderup responded to the question without addressing the political overtones. He said that the goal is to “leave the tar sands in the ground and move more rapidly to renewable fuels.” Elaborating on that he continued:

“After we learned how destructive the chemicals and the tar sands are, we have come to realize that this type of fossil fuel should not be happening. It doesn’t matter where it’s at. We need to look for other sources of renewable energy.”

But Fox’s Smith was undeterred. She continued using the President as wedge for her questioning. Or perhaps to remind her viewers that this farmer is contradicting their commander-in-chief.

“Those that support the Keystone XL pipeline, like the President, say that this is the best economic and the best solution for the native plants and animals of these areas. Considering that it’s a lot less dangerous than transporting this fuel by rail. What do you say to that?”

Tanderup was prepared for that angle and unbothered by the presidential name dropping. He noted that often underground pipeline leaks are not discovered for years. Consequently, they produce more damage over time than more visible rail accidents. So Smith changed directions and asked a leading question about energy independence. That led to this exchange:

Smith: We all want to achieve energy independence in this country. This was an effort and a step in that direction. How do you achieve that?”
Tanderup: Well first of all, this is not American oil, and it is going across America…
Smith: “But it’s coming from Canada, rather than the Middle East, would be the argument.”
Tanderup: “That’s true, but it’s going across America to be refined and exported, which is not for America’s use.”

Notice that Smith was fact-checked live about her contention that energy independence had anything to do with this. It doesn’t. But even then she attempted to imply that Canadian oil was the same as American. It’s not. And Tanderup’s obvious knowledge of the subject left her floundering.

This brief segment is a profound summary of the whole Keystone XL debate. The pipeline does not create the jobs that supporters claim. The oil is not American, so it doesn’t contribute to energy independence. And the refined oil is intended for export to Europe and Asia. So it isn’t helping to reduce American fuel imports. And if this Nebraskan farmer can get it right, so can Fox News. Which is the best evidence that Fox is deliberately getting it wrong to advance their right-wing political agenda.

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

Rachel Maddow’s Brilliant Reporting on Trump and Russia Has Upset the Snowflakes at Fox News

For the past several weeks Rachel Maddow has been enjoying record ratings for her MSNBC program. Not only that, in the Key 25-to-54 demographic, Maddow is beating her direct Fox News competition, Tucker Carlson. The surge in viewers can be attributed to the “gift” of endless atrocities and absurdities courtesy of Donald Trump & Company.

Rachel Maddow Donald Trump

As a result of the program’s accelerating success, Fox News is exhibiting signs of anxiety and desperation. This week Fox News lashed out to criticize Maddow by featuring an analysis of her coverage published by The Intercept. Fox’s headline complained “Report Calls Out Just How Much Time MSNBC’s Maddow Spends on Trump & Russia.”

Oh my. We certainly can’t have that. In addition to beating Fox in the ratings she’s bringing attention to the most damaging scandal of the Trump administration. No wonder Fox is worried. It’s bad enough to be losing to a liberal network, but they’re also failing to protect their boss in the White House. A boss who regards the whole Russia thing as fake news.

The criticism that Maddow is spending too much time on Trump and Russia is ironic. It’s exactly that coverage that is propelling her ratings growth. Clearly there is an audience that’s thirsty for the truth on this subject. And Maddow is well aware of that. In a recent interview she told the Hollywood Reporter that:

“We’ve put a lot of effort into the Russia scandal and I don’t regret that, and I intend to be as aggressive as I possibly can on that story because here is a scandal that is of transcendent, historic importance and is existentially about whether or not this presidency should exist or whether it is the product of a crime.”

The article in The Intercept is actually a well researched and written examination of Maddow’s choice of topics. And reasonable readers can agree or disagree with its conclusions. While it does fault her for overdoing the Trump/Russia story, it does so from the perspective that other stories important to progressives were getting short shrift. For example immigration, the Obamacare repeal effort, and Trump’s Muslim ban.

That’s probably not the same position Fox News is coming from. After all, it’s unlikely that Fox wants Maddow to forgo Russia and spend more time on Trump’s other failures. Fox’s only interest is in bashing Maddow and taking back their ratings crown. That may be why Fox left out The Intercept’s acknowledgement that “Maddow’s focus on Russia has helped her ratings, which are at their highest level since 2008.” Or that Maddow is “A supremely gifted journalist who Vanity Fair has dubbed ‘the smartest person on TV.'”

That Fox News would cherry pick bits of this article that they could frame negatively is evidence of their nervousness. They obviously have little to support their position and are stretching for ways to disparage their competition. But linking to an article that’s largely complimentary in order to squeeze out a mild rebuke is a desperation move. Look for more of that going forward as Trump continues to be a fountain of material for Maddow and other liberal journalists. At the same time Fox is having to deal with the fall of serial sexual harasser Bill O’Reilly. The fate of the network’s star attraction is currently hanging by a thread.

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

Here’s a sample of some of the Trump/Russia coverage that Maddow has been doing so well:

Fox News Pushes for Inhumane Treatment of Immigrants in Detention Facilities

Fox News has broadcast another of their signature demonstrations of callous disregard for human life. On a segment of Friday’s episode of Fox and Friends, the “Curvy Couch” potatoes addressed the subject of detention facilities for undocumented immigrants. The gist of the story was that the detainees had it way too easy and deserved much harsher treatment.

Fox News

The Fox News segment was in response to Donald Trump’s plans for tougher immigration rules. As reported in the New York Times:

“For more than 15 years, jails that hold immigrants facing deportation have had to follow a growing list of requirements: Notify immigration officials if a detainee spends two weeks or longer in solitary confinement. Check on suicidal inmates every 15 minutes and evaluate their mental health every day. Inform detainees, in languages they can understand, how to obtain medical care. In disciplinary hearings, provide a staff member who can advocate in English on the detainee’s behalf.

“But as the Trump administration seeks to quickly find jail space for its crackdown on illegal immigration, it is moving to curtail these rules as a way to entice more sheriffs and local officials to make their correctional facilities available.”

The Fox and Friends co-hosts couldn’t have been more thrilled by the prospect of making immigrants suffer more. Brian Kilmeade took the lead in advocating for more cruel conditions:

“The party is over for illegal criminals in jail. Get this: They’re enjoying seven hours of outdoor activity. Who gets that anymore? Fresh sheets, and absolutely — I don’t get that. No need to learn English. I was born with that. But the Trump administration vowing a new plan to cut back on perks in their immigration crackdown, saying, expect a far less detailed set of regulations — maybe even dirty sheets — including no translation services, so learn English.”

Let’s break down what is so upsetting to the Fox News crew. First of all, they think it’s outrageous that detainees are allowed to go outdoors. Still in prison, just not confined to a cell. Who ever heard of such luxury for prisoners? They also think that clean sheets are too extravagant for these “criminals.”

Perhaps the most disturbing of Trump’s reforms is the elimination of translators. Kilmeade says that he was born with English. That, of course, isn’t true. He was born without any language whatsoever. The fact that his birth took place in the United States to English speakers was an accident of fate. And in his arrogance he can’t comprehend the plight of people in legal detention. Not being able to defend themselves or consult with counsel is against every moral principle of justice.

In a later segment, Kilmeade’s co-host, Ainsley Earhardt, concurred with Kilmeade on every point:

“Seven hours of outdoor activity, freshly washed sheets, and absolutely no need to learn English. That’s the easy life of an illegal immigrant inside American jails. But now, the Trump administration says the party is over.”

Only an elitist who has lived a life of privilege could suggest that life in detention is “easy.” And the notion that it’s a party is both delusional and heartless. This is especially true when considering that these detainees are not the criminals that Fox News keeps describing. Most of them are parents and children fleeing poverty and violence. They are doing what any frightened and responsible family would do under those circumstances.

The truth is that many of the immigrant detention facilities are poorly maintained and managed. Detainees are routinely subject to illness and abuse. ThinkProgress has documented some of the despicable conditions that have led to prolonged hunger strikes. This is the reality that Fox News is trying to subvert in an effort to demonize vulnerable immigrants. And don’t forget that it is Trump’s policies that are the root cause of the suffering.

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

OH LORD: CNN’s Trump Fluffer Calls Trump ‘The Martin Luther King Of Health Care’

Last month Donald Trump watched impotently as the healthcare bill he championed went down in flames. The House of Representatives, certain of failure, didn’t even bring it up for a vote. Perhaps the fact that only seventeen percent of the American people were in favor of the GOP’s efforts to ditch ObamaCare had something to do with it.

CNN Jeffrey Lord

Now Trump is pretending that he didn’t fail at all. Contrary to reality, he contends that his plan is still being negotiated. As part of the alleged negotiations Trump threatened to withhold subsidy payments from millions of low income Americans. That would effectively cancel their insurance. So he is using these citizens as hostages to force Democrats into capitulating and voting against ObamaCare.

That was the subject of a debate on CNN Thursday morning (video below). Host Alisyn Camerota opened the discussion with a quote from Trump explicitly spelling out his attempt at blackmail:

“President Trump is considering making a drastic move to try to get Obamacare repealed. He is threatening to withhold billions of dollars in subsidies that the poorest Americans rely on. President Trump telling The Wall Street Journal, ‘Obamacare is dead next month if it doesn’t get that money. I don’t want people to get hurt. What I think should happen and will happen is the Democrats will start calling me and negotiating.'”

The tone of Trump’s message is reminiscent of a Mafioso ultimatum. “That’s a nice healthy family you got there. I don’t want people to get hurt. So you better do as I say.” Sen. Chuck Schumer shouldn’t be surprised if he wakes up next to severed horse’s head. Democratic commentator Symone Sanders observed the callousness in Trump’s threat and responded:

“The president sees millions of people that are benefiting from health insurance that are on the ACA [Affordable Care Act]. But he sees bargaining chips. He doesn’t see lives. He doesn’t see that he’s putting people in danger.”

Trump’s inclination to use sick people as human shields is an amoral negotiating tactic. It would hurt innocent people who have no direct voice in the negotiations. Nevertheless, the tactic was defended by CNN’s Jeffrey Lord. And he chose perhaps the most offensive line of defense imaginable:

“Think of President Trump as the Martin Luther King of health care. When I was a kid, President Kennedy did not want to introduce the civil rights bill because he said it wasn’t popular. He didn’t have the votes for it, etc. Dr. King kept putting people in the streets in harm’s way to put the pressure on so that the bill would be introduced. That’s what finally worked.”

First of all, no sane person could compare Trump’s efforts to deny health for millions with King’s movement to bring about equality for all. Secondly, Trump isn’t asking people to voluntarily take to the streets in protest. He’s holding a knife to their throats while demanding obedience from Democrats. A fair analogy would be if King threatened to harm African-Americans if Congress didn’t accede to his demands. Try to imagine King putting a gun to the head of a citizen and saying “Pass the Civil Rights bill or the black guy gets it.” That’s the equivalent of what Trump is doing to health insurance recipients. Lord’s argument was preposterous on its face, and Sanders wasn’t having it:

“Jeffrey, you do understand that Dr. King was marching for civil rights because people that looked like me were being beaten? Dogs were being sicced on them. Basic human rights were being withheld from these people merely because the color of their skin. So let’s not equate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a humanitarian and Nobel Peace Prize winner, to the vagina-grabbing President Donald Trump.”

That pretty much says it all. By attempting to compare Trump with Dr. King, Lord only succeeded in making the differences between them more apparent. But he isn’t doing any worse than the rest of the Republican haters. None of them have any coherent arguments to support their heartless agenda, so they resort to these absurd mischaracterizations. And that makes it all the more puzzling that CNN would give someone like Lord a platform to disseminate his lies.

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

Fox News Links French Nazi Presidential Candidate Favorably With Trump

John Moody, Executive Vice President and Executive Editor for Fox News, is boldly defending France’s Marine Le Pen. She’s a French candidate for president who represents a political party that has openly identified with Germany’s Nazis. What’s more, Moody is favorably associating Le Pen with Donald Trump. He calls her “France’s Trump” and “the candidate closest to Trump in ideology.” It’s unclear why he regards this as positive linkage. But he not only applauds their similarities, he laments their common “mistreatment” by the press when they do or say offensive things.

Donald Trump Marine Le Pen

For example, Le Pen was recently taken to task for her painfully insensitive comments about France’s behavior during World War II. The nation was under German occupation, but its government, and many of its citizens, collaborated with their occupiers. Moody described it this way:

“Marine Le Pen, the presidential candidate of the National Front, touched an old but still open wound among Frenchmen this week, when she said her countrymen should stop feeling guilty about rounding up French Jews who were sent to their deaths during World War II, when France was under Nazi occupation.”

Well, that’s thoughtful of her. Le Pen doesn’t want the long suffering people of France to feel guilty. After all, it was their grandparents who shamefully capitulated to the Nazis and handed over innocent Jews to their murderers. And that was a long time ago, so let’s just forget about it already.

For the record, what Le Pen said – and what Moody thinks was just an off-hand remark – is that “generally speaking if there are people responsible, it’s those who were in power at the time. It’s not France.” That’s like saying that the United States wasn’t responsible for the internment of the Japanese. It was just those who were in power at the time.

What both Le Pen and Moody are missing is that no one is asking the French to feel guilty. However, they are expected to take responsibility for the atrocities committed at the time and to never forget what happened. That’s the only sure way to keep it from happening again. It has long been a goal of neo-Nazi groups to persuade people that the crimes of the past were either fake or not serious enough to memorialize. And that also appears to be the goal of Le Pen and Fox News.

Moody makes that very point later in his commentary. He starts by acknowledging that Le Pen’s “National Front” began with her father’s overtly anti-Semitic agenda of Holocaust denial, Moody buys into the lie that it’s not the same party today. He says that:

“The National Front’s founder, Jean-Marie Le Pen – Marine’s father – was an anti-Semite and a Holocaust denier. But since Marine took over leadership of the party, she has successfully softened its image, while still calling for stronger borders, fewer immigrants and a hard look at France’s participation in the European Union.”

See? Everything’s fine now. The rough edges of Nazism have been smoothed over by the daughter of the party’s bigoted founder. And even though the party’s agenda is unchanged, all should be forgiven and forgotten. Moody argues that a new generation of French patriots have a completely different point of view. Well, actually he argues that they have an ignorant point of view:

“But what they, and the French political establishment are forgetting is this. Not many Frenchmen living right now were born during World War II. And the youngest French voters – in their late teens and 20s – have no connection to the Holocaust except what they have read or been told.”

And there you have it. Since the young folks in France don’t know anything about World War II, none of it matters anymore. Why hold them accountable for maintaining a future of tolerance and peace when they don’t even know about their nation’s genocidal past? We certainly wouldn’t want to educate them. That might be make them sad. Or worse, produce a sense of commitment to avoiding the same mistakes of their forefathers.

Moody closed by continuing to trivialize the past and Le Pen’s characterization of it. He called Le Pen’s repulsive remarks about the Holocaust “inelegant,” and complained that they “stirred up the usual outrage.” And you wouldn’t want anyone outraged by a candidate soft-pedaling genocide. Then Moody sought to put the past in its place as merely historical details that have little significance to modern folks.

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

As Executive Vice President and Executive Editor for Fox News, Moody’s opinion can be said to represent the network. It is surely aligned with that of most of its right-wing hosts and commentators. And if there is one thing he got right it’s that Le Pen and Trump are ideological partners. Le Pen gushed at Trump’s election saying that it gave her “reason to rejoice.” We’ll see. The first round of the French presidential election is April 23.

Trump vs. ISIS? Wingnut Video On Fox News That Mocks Harvard Students Backfires Terribly

One of the favorite stunts that conservatives use to try to shame liberals is the “man on the street” interview. Generally they purposefully skew the presentation to reflect their preconceived prejudices. Any responses that fail to advance their point of view are left on the editing room floor. Then they release a video with six people who agree with them, but never tell viewers that there were sixteen others who disagreed but were cut out.

fox news trump

This week on Fox and Friends they featured a “reporter,” Cabot Phillips, from the ultra right-wing organization Campus Reform. He visited Harvard University in an effort to expose the alleged liberalism of the students and faculty. The question he asked was “Who is more dangerous to Americans, Donald Trump or ISIS?” Of course, he fully expected to find students who selected Trump, whom he would then try to make look foolish.

Surprise! He found just what he expected. Then, after showing the video (posted below) on Fox News, Phillips sought to explain what could possibly cause these students to have such radical and shocking opinions. He said that:

“It’s from President Obama, who they all look up to. Who for so many years said, “Well, ISIS is the J.V. team. They’re not this real threat. And also it’s from professors and the media who are again constantly saying “Look, Donald Trump is the real threat here,” and trying to shield their eyes from actual threats.”

That analysis was wholly constructed from his over-active imagination. Nowhere in the video did any student attribute their views to either Obama or their professors. And Phillips didn’t bother to interview any of the faculty to ascertain their views. What’s more, while Obama did once try to marginalize ISIS as a J.V. team, he also spent years outlining precisely the peril they pose. More importantly, he attacked them relentlessly, killing thousands of their operatives, including many of their leaders.

However, what was most conspicuous about the video was the fact that the students who said Trump was more dangerous had good reasons for thinking so. One of the students spelled it out saying that:

“Do I think ISIS is going to cause a threat to me living my everyday life? Not really. Do I think the rhetoric that Donald Trump is using and empowering these folks hidden in a corner for a long time with hateful views … do I think that’s more of a threat than ISIS? Yes.”

Indeed, Trump has done more for hate groups in America who espouse prejudice and violence than any President before him. It is not coincidental that the KKK and white supremacists uniformly endorsed Trump and worked to get him elected. Trump’s rhetoric during his campaign and presidency has encouraged America’s bigots and increased the number of hate crimes. African-Americans, gays, Muslims, Latinos, and Jews have all been victimized in greater numbers in the Era of Trump.

The harassment and assaults that Trump has inspired have a much more direct impact on the safety of Americans. That doesn’t diminish the horror of terrorist activity by ISIS. It’s just a fact. It is not, therefore, the least bit surprising that people consider Trump more to be dangerous with respect to their personal lives.

A study by the CATO Institute last year revealed the relative dangers of common occurrences. Death by foreign terrorists came in 34th out of forty-eight items. Activities more likely than terrorism to be fatal included walking, choking on food, and police encounters. You are 260 times more likely to be struck and killed by lightning than by terrorists. You’re 129,000 times more likely to die in a gun assault.

Not mentioned in this video were risks posed by Trump’s actual policies. The president’s erratic behavior makes him a poor choice to be in charge of the nuclear codes. And his anti-environment stance could result in millions of lives lost due to famine, drought, extreme weather events and war.

Taking a logical approach to the question, it’s clear that Trump is potentially far more dangerous to America and the world than ISIS. He commands a much bigger military with far greater resources. The video is a blatantly partisan sham by conservative activists. Campus Reform is a project of the uber-rightist Leadership Institute that receives much of their funding from the Koch brothers. Their alumni includes hacks like Mitch McConnell, James O’Keefe, Ralph Reed, Karl Rove, and even Vice-President Mike Pence. That’s a fraternal order that speaks volumes as to their political and ideological mission. And it’s why Fox News devotes segments to their lies on a regular basis.

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