Now Fox News Is Citing Sleazy InfoWars As Source To Smear Hillary Clinton

After years of pretending to be fair and balanced while shilling for Republicans, Fox News has completed a frightening metamorphosis. This morning they took a giant leap into the black hole of crackpot conspiracy theory. It’s a development that illustrates the lengths they will go to promote their home-brewed presidential candidate, Donald Trump.

Fox News/InfoWars

On Fox & Friends First, co-host Heather Childers introduced a segment alleging that Google is “trying to sway the presidential election.” Their evil plot consists of manipulating search results to suppress evidence of the trail of dead bodies left by Bill and Hillary Clinton. Cheryl Casone of Fox Business Network took the handoff to report that:

“Google is being accused of hiding negative stories about Hillary and her campaign by changing its algorithm to bury stories like the ‘Clinton body count’ story. That’s according to website InfoWars.”

Seriously? So Fox News is now associating itself with the utterly delusional ravings of Alex Jones and his InfoWars conspiracy site? This is the same InfoWars that claimed that the massacre of twenty children in Newtown, CT, was a government plot to confiscate the guns of American citizens. It’s the same InfoWars that has been the leading light of the 9/11 Truther movement. Not to mention the wingnut’s goto source for Birther BS. And, by the way, it’s also the same InfoWars that has endorsed Donald Trump for president and given him a platform on their webcast.

It is also interesting to note that Fox believes there is a “Clinton body count” story to be buried. And why not? They have been reporting that Obama is a secret gay Muslim from Kenya who founded ISIS for years. So what is Fox News and InfoWars so worked up about today?

“If a Google user types in ‘Clinton body,’ they get car repair shop results instead of a story that talks about a list of people tied to the Clintons who have died under mysterious circumstances over the last three decades.”

Oh my heavens. Bring me the smellin’ salts, Margaret. Apparently Google is participating in the cabal to suppress the Clintons’ thirty year murder spree. Fox and InfoWars believe that Google’s biased search results need to be corrected. Instead of intelligently curated data, they should highlight slanderous fables from the diseased minds of right-wing hate mongers.

It’s impossible to ignore the connection to Donald Trump’s campaign. He has been a frequent guest on InfoWars. Plus, his new campaign chair (Stephen Bannon of Breitbart News) is cut from the same soiled cloth as Alex Jones. There is an unmistakable trend toward the bonehead breed of pseudo-journalism that is sprouting up around Trump and his media advocates. His stump speeches are now almost entirely read from TelePrompters pre-loaded with talk radio style bombast. These include charges that Clinton is a felon, a traitor, and is about to drop dead.

These sort of screwball ideas are not surprising from InfoWars. They are, in fact, their reason for being. But for Fox News to reach down into that cesspool of idiocy is a new low, even for Fox. What is the limit of their debasement of journalism if it isn’t aligning with InfoWars? Fox has allowed such nonsense to bubble up into their reporting in the past. But this may be the first time they have explicitly attributed their story to InfoWars. That might be more honest, but it is a bad sign nonetheless. It means they are comfortable mainstreaming the likes of Alex Jones.

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

Can Fox News, ‘A Playboy Mansion-Like Cult’, Cover Hillary’s Historic Run Fairly?

The wires are burning up this morning as another lawsuit is filed against serial sexual harasser Roger Ailes. You recall that Ailes was ousted as Fox News CEO after Gretchen Carlson, and a couple dozen other women, leveled charges against him.

Fox News/Playboy

The new suit was filed by Andrea Tantaros, the absent co-host of Fox’s Outnumbered. She alleges that Ailes engaged in repeated instances of sexual harassment, and that her complaints were ignored or belittled. Buzzfeed’s report on this contained a colorfully worded statement from Tantaros’ attorney:

“In the lawsuit, Tantaros’s attorney Judd Burstein describes Fox News as a ‘a sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult, steeped in intimidation, indecency, and misogyny’ and describes Ailes as a ‘sexual predator’ who ‘did not act alone.’ Tantaros alleges Ailes retaliated against her for rebuffing his advances by removing her from The Five and ordering the Fox News media relations department to turn against her.”

There have been many observations that Fox News has all the markings of a cult, including one by this author ( see: Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance). But a “sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult” is even more troubling than your standard, garden variety cult.

In addition to Ailes, Tantaros identified several other Fox big wigs who “made unwanted sexual comments or advances” toward her. They include Fox’s biggest star, Bill O’Reilly, as well as senior national correspondent John Roberts. Former Sen. Scott Brown and former Superman Dean Cain, both Fox contributors, were also named, but not cited as defendants.

Efforts to stop the inappropriate behavior were met with indifference by Fox News management. Particularly executive VP Bill Shine. According to the lawsuit Shine dismissed Tantaros, warning that Ailes was a powerful man and that she needed to “let this one go.” Shine was later promoted to co-president of Fox News after Ailes was terminated.

The blatant discrimination against women by Fox in their workplace is reflected in their election coverage. Even Megyn Kelly has had to admonish her colleagues on the air when they demonstrated insensitivity to women’s issues. That sort of prejudice taints the network in a year when the leading candidate for president happens to be a woman.

Already there have been distinctly misogynistic reports from Fox during the campaign. No candidate other than Clinton has been chastised for fashion faux pas, tone of voice, or physical stamina. And her critics on Fox have also railed against the alleged use of the fabled “Woman’s Card” in her policy positions. A male candidate would not have been similarly attacked for supporting Planned Parenthood or child care.

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

Descriptions of Fox News as “a sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult” make it difficult not to notice how it impacts coverage of Hillary Clinton. After all, she is the first female nominee of a major party to be president of the United States. There is no question that any Democratic candidate would be on the receiving end of Fox’s vitriolic political biases. However, Clinton’s gender is not an insignificant factor and is clearly playing a role in Fox’s coverage. Every viewer needs to keep in mind the heinous activities that go on behind the scenes at Fox News. Because it cannot be separated from the insulting remarks and story angles that actually make it to the air.

The Trump For President Hour: Brought To You By Sean Hannity And Fox News

The Republican shills at Fox News are becoming increasingly unhinged as their anointed candidate falls farther behind in the polls. Donald Trump’s new “presidential” persona isn’t helping him attract voters. In fact, his appeal to African-Americans actually offended many with his stereotyping of them as poor, unemployed, and uneducated. Not to mention his backhanded slam that they are gullible waifs being duped by the evil Democrats.

Trump Hannity

So what is a blatantly biased GOP PR machine to do when their electoral messiah falls off the cross? Nail him back up, of course. And that’s what Fox is doing with yet another primetime special produced and hosted by their Senior Trump Fluffer, Sean Hannity. Last week Hannity held a Trump infomercial in Milwaukee that was billed as a town hall. Following that The Donald’s ship hit another iceberg as his campaign staff fell apart. The leadership void was filled by the chairman of Breitbart News, Stephen Bannon, a favorite of the American white nationalist movement.

All of that bad news took some of the punch out Hannity’s promo. Consequently, he’s scheduled another town hall for tomorrow night in Austin, TX, to make up for it. Apparently this is a new weekly series offered by Fox News featuring the wingnut duo “Donny and Seany” (Marie is busy selling diet shakes). On the nights when Trump is not a guest, he will still be the main attraction. Hannity already spends every episode reciting love poems to Donny and attacking his nemesis, Hillary Clinton. And he’s getting lots of help from Fox News on that score.

UPDATE: This is even worse than I thought. The town hall in Austin will a two night affair (Tuesday and Wednesday).

Hannity’s involvement with Trump’s campaign is growing more complex. He’s always been the top provider of airtime to Trump, and now reports say he is also serving as an adviser. Media analyst Jim Rutenberg writes in the New York Times that:

“Mr. Hannity uses his show on the nation’s most-watched cable news network to blare Mr. Trump’s message relentlessly — giving Mr. Trump the kind of promotional television exposure even a billionaire can’t afford for long.

“But Mr. Hannity is not only Mr. Trump’s biggest media booster; he also veers into the role of adviser. Several people I’ve spoken with over the last couple of weeks said Mr. Hannity had for months peppered Mr. Trump, his family members and advisers with suggestions on strategy and messaging.”

Sean Hannity has already announced on the air his endorsement for Trump and intention to vote for him. Now it appears that he is also working for the campaign as a political operative (along with his ex-boss Roger Ailes). And Fox News permits this flagrantly biased behavior. There is no precedent for a news network turning over so much of its schedule to one candidate. It is wholly inappropriate and a breach of journalistic ethics. As noted previously, if the Federal Elections Committee had any integrity they would cite Fox for violating campaign finance laws. They should be forced to declare this an in-kind contribution to Trump’s campaign.

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

Many people are speculating that Trump’s presidential ambitions have been a scam from the start. Media watchers from Vanity Fair to the New Yorker say that his real goal is to launch his own cable network. That may be true, and he has been assembling a team (Ailes, Bannon, Hannity) that could serve as a starting roster. However, there is a far greater likelihood of failure than success for such a venture, as I detailed here two months ago. Trump would just be adding to the list of his business debacles should he attempt this. Therefore, he has my blessing.

Regrets My A$$: Lovesick Media Swoons At Trump’s Phony Non-Apology

For several months there has been breathless anticipation that the boorish and offensive personality of Donald Trump would vanish in a puff of smoke as he revealed his true graciousness and diplomacy. And the same people who believe that are still waiting for Santa to deliver their unicorn.

Donald Trump

In a speech in Charlotte, N.C., Trump recited the TelePrompted views that were prepared for him by the new regime managing his floundering campaign. For the most part it was typical Republican dogma with one new wrinkle. Reversing months of stubborn insistence that he has nothing to regret, Trump conceded that he does, indeed, feel some pangs for unspecified occasions when “you don’t choose the right words or you say the wrong thing.” But even he expressed skepticism of this new found contrition by prefacing his regrets with “believe it or not.”

Anyone who thinks that Trump is actually sorry has not been paying attention. He has unabashedly insulted Latinos, veterans, women, African-Americans, and the disabled. His rebukes of fellow Republicans during the primary were painfully immature. You can’t behave like that for nearly a year and then just turn around and issue a wishy-washy regret that was written by hired hacks. He never bothered to actually apologize or even show respect for those he demeaned by identifying them or what he said that was wrong. It’s fair to say that the only thing he really regrets about his comments is the extent to which they have hurt him.

What’s most disappointing about this is the ease with which the media is falling for Trump’s bad playacting. They seem to think that his “pivot” is a material transformation of his personality on the scale of a spiritual rebirth. In reality it’s a desperate political ploy to avoid a humiliating landslide loss in November. Is the media really so dense that they don’t see that?

Here are some examples compiled by Media Matters of how the press has taken up Trump’s narrative without a lick of critical analysis:

On Fox & Friends, host Steve Doocy said of Trump’s address that it was “one of the best speeches Donald Trump has ever given.” That was seconded by correspondent John Roberts who added that “he completed his pivot to the general election campaign.”

MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Scarborough exclaimed “Wow. You have the reset button ready? Reset.” Guest reporter Katty Kay agreed saying “Yeah. That’s the kind of Trump that will make the Clinton campaign wake up.”

Christine Romans of CNN’s New Day marveled that it was “something I think six months ago we never thought we would have seen.”

On CBS This Morning host Margaret Brennan said “it may indicate a change in approach.” Her colleague Dean Reynolds called it “almost startling.” That was after he highlighted Trump’s “promise never to lie to voters.” They may want to take a look at the Trump Bullshitopedia to see the dozens of documented lies that are already on record.

Back on Fox, Chris Stirewalt declared it “a signal moment.”

The Washington Examiner’s Byron York gushed that we are seeing a “Very new Trump.”

The Daily Caller’s Vince Coglianese seemed relieved saying that “if we’ve been waiting for a pivot, this week is the one you should mark on the calendar.”

On NBC’s Today Hallie Jackson reported that this was “something we’ve almost never heard from him,” and that Trump sounded “strikingly more humble.”

These people are either terminally naive or too gullible to be living outside of an institution. The only sane response to Trump’s disingenuous attempts to appear remorseful is to throw right back at him the innumerable abusive and slanderous remarks he has unleashed and make him answer for each one individually. Short of that he deserves no praise for pasting a band-aid over the scars he has left on so many innocent people. And he certainly should not be taken at his word that he is regretful after all the times he swore to the contrary, even saying that “I like not to regret anything.” Here is some of the evidence in a four-video YouTube playlist:

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

UPDATE: The Clinton campaign weighs in with an awesome video on this subject: No Regrets. It’s a MUST see.

Fox Nation Hypes ‘Scoop’ On Clinton Charity Scandal That Turns Out To Be Totally Bogus

On Friday Hillary Clinton released her tax returns for 2015, making this the thirty-eighth year she has done so. While Republicans try to tarnish her reputation for honesty, her four decade long record of transparency proves that she has nothing to hide. In addition, it proves that nothing untoward has ever been discovered from making her personal finances abundantly public.

Fox Nation

Contrast that with Donald Trump’s refusal to make even a single year of tax returns available for voters to assess his fitness for office. What is he hiding? Could it be that he has paid little or no income tax for many years? Or has he had unsavory relationships with Russians or other foreign entities? Maybe he isn’t as rich or generous as he pretends to be. Clearly he has determined that he has less to lose from the bad publicity of concealing his records than he does from revealing them.

The absence of any legitimate problems with Clinton’s taxes has driven Fox News to invent problems that don’t exist. On their community website, Fox Nation, they posted an article sourced to the ultra-conservative Daily Caller, a pseudo-news site run by Fox News host Tucker Carlson. The Daily Caller’s story alleged that “92 Percent Of Hillary’s Charitable Donations In 2015 Went To Clinton Foundation.” The article alleged that the Clinton’s engaged in a corrupt scheme to claim charitable tax write-offs for funds that they funneled back to themselves, saying that:

“Hillary Clinton and her husband Bill deducted $1,042,000 in charitable contributions last year – $1 million of which went to their own Clinton Foundation.” […]

The documents show that the power couple earned $10,745,378 last year, mostly on income earned from giving public speeches. Of that they gave just over a million to charity. But the contributions can hardly be seen as altruistic, since the money flowed back to an entity they control.”

What’s more, the Daily Caller associated the donations with unfounded charges directed at the Clinton Foundation by right-wing media and activist groups such as Judicial Watch. The problem with that reporting is that the donations itemized in the Clinton’s tax returns did not go to the well known Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation that has been the target of the right’s smear campaign. The donations actually went to the private vehicle used by the Clinton’s to disburse their philanthropic gifts, the Clinton Family Foundation. This is a common method of aggregating funds for charitable gift giving used by many high-income families.

After being shamed by Media Matters for their journalistic sloppiness, the Daily Caller added a correction to their story to indicate that the two foundations were separate entities. They did not, however, alter their tawdry conclusions, even though they no longer make sense. And Tucker Carlson still went on Fox & Friends this morning to say that “If I give money to my own foundation is it really charity?” Apparently he doesn’t care that his own website now says didn’t happen. Making matters worse, Fox Nation didn’t even bother to make note of the correction. The headline, which is now known to be false, remains unchanged and utterly untrue.

This is nothing new for Fox Nation, which has a history of brazenly misrepresenting the truth with poorly sourced articles (as documented in the book Fox Nation vs. Reality). Fox Nation is also known for re-posting stories from disreputable conspiracy mongers and conservative propagandists. Their editor, Jesse Watters, makes certain that every day the site is filled with fresh attacks on Democrats, especially Hillary Clinton, who is routinely assaulted with lies that are vicious and defamatory. Very much like the one exposed here.

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

Fox News And Sean Hannity Are Now Producing Donald Trump’s Campaign Events

No one is going to be shocked to discover that Fox News is working feverishly to elect Donald Trump president of the United States. They are pulling out all the stops to make excuses for his outrageous statements: His insults to the Gold Star parents of a slain soldier; his dog-whistle calls to assassinate Hillary Clinton; his insane accusation that President Obama “founded” ISIS.

In addition, Fox is obsessively covering anti-Clinton non-stories that have already been debunked by ethical journalists: GOP allegations that ISIS intelligence was altered; Clinton emails tying her aides to charity work for the Clinton Foundation; ludicrous “investigations” into Clinton’s health.

Reality is beginning to warp the judgement of both Trump and his PR division at Fox News. Every recent poll is showing Trump falling further behind, particularly in states that were never considered plausible for Democratic candidates. Consequently, the right-wing network is taking a more hands-on approach to Trump’s candidacy by sponsoring campaign events on his behalf. This advertisement was tweeted today by Fox:

Hannity-Trump Townhall

Make no mistake, this not a news event. Sean Hannity has already announced on the air his endorsement for Trump and intention to vote for him. This is a flagrantly biased political appearance that Fox News is producing as a gift to Donald Trump. If the Federal Elections Committee had any integrity they would cite Fox for violating campaign finance laws and force them to declare this an in-kind contribution to Trump’s campaign.

It makes sense that Hannity would announce this scam just as Trump is making excuses for why he might bail out on the debates with Hillary Clinton. Trump would suffer irreparably from the perception of his cowardice if he fails to show up for the debates. But fake “town halls” like this would be his way of discounting that criticism. Never mind that they will be obviously stage-managed farces that are no more informative than a Trump infomercial.

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

Right-wing partisanship has been the mission of Fox News since its inception. However, this exceeds even their most blatantly prejudiced propaganda by a long shot. Having an avowed Trump fluffer like Hannity host an hour of political theater like this ought to remove any lingering doubts that the network is a Republican shill factory and should not be taken seriously as a news enterprise by the public or their peers.

LOOK! Sitting Behind Trump At Rally Is An Ex-GOP Rep Who Hit On Teenage Congressional Pages

Conservative media has been spending the last couple days hyperventilating about a man in the audience at a rally for Hillary Clinton. Seddique Mateen, the father of the shooter who murdered fifty people at an Orlando night club had come to the public event and was seated behind the stage. Clinton had nothing to do with it and later made it clear that she disavowed his support.

In the meantime, Donald Trump, Fox News, and other right-wing press, turned this into a major flaw that, in some unexplained way, reflected on Clinton. They insisted that there was a correlation between Mateen’s attendance and her administrative competence.

Well, this has now come back to bite them in the ass “big league.” In a rally today a man was spotted sitting behind Donald Trump’s stage who was also recognized by the media. His name is Mark Foley. He was a Republican congressman from January 1995 to September 2006. What makes his presence notable is the reason he left Congress.

Donald Trump Mark Foley

Foley resigned from Congress after he was caught sending sexually explicit instant messages and emails to teenage boys serving as congressional pages, for whom he was the House administrator. Ironically, Foley was coerced into resigning by GOP Speaker Dennis Hastert who last year pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges involving concealed payments to a man whom he had sexually abused decades earlier. Hastert admitted to being a serial child molester, but the cases had exceeded the statute of limitations so he could not be charged with those crimes. In any case, Hastert certainly knew what he had done years earlier when he was forcing Foley out of Congress.

While on stage, Trump was specifically calling out Clinton over the incident with Mateen being in her audience along with 3,000 other people she didn’t know. However, Trump made the whole thing more personal with regard to his own audience (video below). He began by congratulating the people sitting behind him because they were going to be famous as a result of being seen on TV in the background of his speech. He continued:

Wasn’t it terrible when the father of the animal that killed the wonderful people in Orlando was sitting with a big smile on his face right behind Hillary Clinton? And by the way, including a lot of the people here – how many of you people know me [Foley raises his hand]? A lot of you people know me. When you get those seats you sort of know the campaign. So when she said “Well we didn’t know…” They knew.

How did you like that picture? Him sitting – forty-nine people killed – other people will never, ever, ever, be the same. And that guy is sitting back there. And of course he likes Hillary. Because Hillary won’t even say the words “radical Islamic terrorism.”

And all the while, a notorious pedophile was sitting in plain view behind Trump with a big smile on his face. In addition, according to Trump, Foley got that seat because they know each other. Foley confirmed this later saying:

“I’ve been a friend of Mr. Trump’s since 1987. I’ve admired so much of what he’s done. He’s a different breed of leader and a different breed of candidate.”

It will be interesting to see how Trump explains this away, if he can be made to address it all. Will he change his story and say he didn’t know Foley? Will he disavow him? It will also be interesting to see how the media cover this incident. They obsessed over the audience member at Clinton’s rally. Will they spend two days doing the same over Trump’s?

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

Health Scare: Hillary Clinton Is At Death’s Door, According To Desperate Fox News ‘Experts’

The desperate rightists and Donald Trump sycophants at Fox News are continuing to seek a way out from under the political catastrophe they helped to create. They are now suffering with the consequences of having directed Trump’s path to the GOP nomination. While Trump makes thinly veiled assassination threats, the folks at Fox watch dolefully as his poll numbers crater and his lunatic rhetoric becomes ever more unhinged. So Fox News is embarking on a frantic effort to drag down Hillary Clinton instead.

Hillary Clinton

On Fox & Friends today, the “Curvy Couch” potatoes assembled members of their “Medical A-Team” to revel in what they portrayed as Clinton’s sickly prognosis. They rattled off a series of only seven mostly minor incidents dating back nearly two decades. Among these alleged medical crises were a stomach virus and a fractured elbow. Not exactly the sort of dire emergencies for which you would wake up the undertaker. Then they showed a photo where Clinton was being assisted walking up some stairs as if she were feeble. What Fox failed to note was that the stairs were coated with a layer of ice and her aides were merely being cautious.

Nevertheless, these were the foundation for a segment in which the Fox panel exhibited their disingenuous concern for the elderly former Secretary of State. They used their shallow research to assert that Clinton should be required to make available her full medical records. Much of the segment was spent claiming that there was a double standard that favored Clinton. As an example they referred to John McCain’s campaign in 2008. However, McCain was older than Clinton when he ran and had four separate bouts of skin cancer. More worrisome was the fact that Sarah Palin was his vice-presidential running-mate.

While complaining about this supposed double standard, there was scant mention of Donald Trump’s health status or demands for his medical records. He is also older than Clinton. The only medical information he has released was a glowing one page appraisal from a doctor who described Trump’s health as “extraordinary.” He might have added “tremendous, big league” and “the best health of anyone ever, believe me.” (Is anyone else reminded of the time Trump pretended to be his own PR man?). Not mentioned was the fact that Trump had such serious health problems in the past that they resulted in a 4F medical exemption from the draft.

The Fox News medical “experts” are quite right. There is a double standard. And the beneficiary is clearly Donald Trump. Despite the evidence of some severe psychological problems (narcissistic personality disorder, pathological lying, dementia, memory loss, delusions of grandeur, and a peculiar form of Tourette’s Syndrome where he shouts out stupid and/or violent remarks uncontrollably) no one on Fox News has set aside time for segments devoted to his medical transparency. Demands for his medical records are made faintly, if at all. Not that he would provide them. He is still refusing to release his taxes as every presidential candidate has done for more than half a century.

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

It is obvious that Fox News is raising this issue because they have little else of substance to talk about. All of the pseudo-scandals they have promoted (or invented) have fizzled under the light of honest scrutiny. And with Trump being his own worst enemy every time he opens his mouth, Fox is forced to engage in blatant muckraking in order to try to turn the tide against Clinton. Unfortunately for them, they just succeed in making themselves look even more pathetic and desperate. And Unfortunately for us, that won’t stop them from continuing to do it through November and well into the Clinton administration.

WTF: Fox News Media Critic Says ‘The Press Put Out A Mob Hit On Donald Trump’

There is always an unmistakable moment when desperation sets in for people or organizations that are undergoing difficult times. That moment came yesterday for Fox News and their advocacy of Donald Trump. The evidence is the commentary by their media correspondent (video below), Howard Kurtz, who hosts Fox’s MediaBuzz, has been a consistent proponent of Trump from the outset of his campaign.

Godfather

Kurtz was interviewed on Fox Monday by Abby Huntsman who introduced the segment by asking “what is going on here” with the media bias against Trump. Kurtz responded fervidly that he had “never seen anything remotely like this, and I have been saying this for months.” He was visibly roused about what he perceived as an unusually shrill display of partisanship by the press. Continuing on that path he ranted about:

“The obvious distaste, bordering on disgust, that many journalists and commentators have for Donald Trump – he was able to defeat that during the primaries – but it’s been going on for quite a while. In the last ten days it is almost like the press put out a mob hit on Donald Trump. The imbalance is so overwhelming on almost every media site and outlet that it can no longer be denied.”

Is he freakin’ serious? First of all, there is only one person responsible for the media coverage of Donald Trump and that’s Donald Trump. Granted, the last ten days has been a veritable shitstorm for Trump. But no one in the press forced him to insult the grieving parents of an American hero. He wasn’t coerced by some reporter to lie about having seen palettes of cash being unloaded from a plane. His whining about “rigged” elections didn’t come from the media. Calling Hillary Clinton the devil was his idea. Declaring his affection for Vladimir Putin and his animosity for NATO can only be attributed to him. Absolutely none of that is the fault of the media, and covering it is not an expression of distaste or disgust. It’s actually called journalism.

Secondly, the general chaos and disunity of a Republican Party led by a self-absorbed bigot was not invented by a twisted journalist obsessed with destroying Trump. It was the predictable consequence of putting a pitifully ignorant and thoroughly unhinged narcissist at the helm of the GOP. If anything, the reporting on Trump has been insufficiently critical. Reporters too frequently resort to timid descriptions of Trump as merely being wrong or mistaken when in reality he’s a pathological liar. Likewise, they characterize his frothing, infantile insults as simply negative opinions.

For Kurtz to assert that reporting on the offensive and ludicrous behavior of Trump is in any way analogous to a mob hit is not only dreadfully out of bounds, it reveals Kurtz’s own partisan prejudices. He has been serving as The Donald’s chief fluffer for over a year now. Clearly his role at Fox News is to carry forward Trump’s hostility to the press from the inside. And Trump has returned the favor by largely limiting his press availability to Fox News.

Finally, Kurtz’s assertion of an overwhelming imbalance that can’t be denied is downright delusional. It is especially troubling for someone who professes to be a media expert. The truth is that Trump received far more coverage, and more favorable coverage, than any of his opponents, including Hillary Clinton. This was proven by a study conducted by Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy. What’s more, this is a study that any reputable media analyst would be aware of. So Kurtz’s failure to address it marks him as either disreputable or dishonest (or both). Which makes him the perfect media correspondent for a disreputable and dishonest network like Fox News.

UPDATE: Consistent with the right’s inclinations toward violence, Donald Trump was speaking today about the prospect of Hillary Clinton nominating Supreme Court justices. He complained that there was nothing that could be done about that if she were president. Then he added that “the Second Amendment people” could stop Clinton. It was a blatant call for someone to assassinate her. I really don’t know how his campaign survives crap like this.

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

Fox News Airs Phony Footage Of Iran Funds Flight – And Donald Trump Falls For It

The Wall Street Journal recently published a story alleging to have uncovered a secret $400 million payment from the United States to Iran. Never mind that the payment was disclosed by the administration last January and was a settlement of a long standing financial dispute. The WSJ ignited a firestorm of frenzied conservatives falsely asserting that the money was a ransom paid to secure the release of Americans imprisoned in Iran.

Fox News

Among the right-wing media spinners that rushed to wield this story as a cudgel against President Obama and Hillary Clinton was, of course, Fox News. They aired a report that parroted the WSJ (also owned by Rupert Murdoch) along with video that Fox implied was of the transfer of American cash to the Iranians. There’s just one problem. The video was actually of a group of prisoners being released in Switzerland.

Not one to let a fake Fox News story go to waste, Donald Trump took to the stage in Daytona, Florida, to address the matter (video below). But he veered even further into a world of delusion as he unfolded a fable of espionage to which he alone was privy:

“I’ll never forget the scene this morning. Remember this: Iran – I don’t think you heard this anywhere but here – Iran provided all of that footage, the tape of taking that money off the airplane. Right? $400 million in cash. How does the President do that? How do you do that? We’re gonna send $400 million in cash, this is in cash, in currency.”

No, Donald, That’s not right. Iran didn’t take any of that footage, which was shot in Switzerland. And there was no cash in it at all. In fact, the claim that the U.S. loaded shipping palettes with cash was utterly false. Due to economic sanctions, the U.S. has no banking relationship with Iran. Therefore, the money was transferred to Swiss banks where it was converted by the them to currencies that they sent to Iran. Trump continued:

“Now, here’s the amazing thing: Over there, where that plane landed, top secret, you don’t have a lot of paparazzi. You know, the paparazzi doesn’t do so well over there, right? And they have a perfect tape, done by obviously a government camera, and the tape is of the people taking the money off the plane. Right? That means that in order to embarrass us further, Iran sent us the tapes. Right? It’s a military tape, it’s a tape that was a perfect angle, nice and steady, nobody getting nervous because they’re gonna be shot because they’re shooting a picture of money pouring off a plane.”

Once again, that is entirely wrong. Iran didn’t send us the tape, and it’s not from their military. So there was no attempt on their part to embarrass the U.S. There was no top secret landing since the entire affair was publicly disclosed by the government. This whole story is as fictional as Trump’s claim to have seen thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the fall of the World Trade Center towers. That never happened either.

So Trump invented a tale of intrigue wherein he observed a non-existent top secret video of Iranians receiving piles of cash from a clandestine American flight. And just to be clear, his spokesperson, Hope Hicks, was asked by the Washington Post if the video to which he was referring was the one that aired on Fox News. She responded “Yes,” it was “merely the B-roll footage included in every broadcast.” And since we know that that video was not shot in Iran, we also know that Trump’s entire account is pure fiction. Which makes it consistent with pretty much everything else that Trump says (see the Trump Bullshitopedia). and, for that matter, most of what appears on Fox News.

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

UPDATE: Trump has now admitted that he never saw the video he claimed at least twice to have seen. He gave no explanation for why he falsely claimed to have seen a video that doesn’t exist.