With Nothing To Pin On Hillary Clinton, Fox News Furiously Spins The Benghazi Panel’s Pointless Report

After two years and seven million dollars, the Republican Committee on Politicizing Benghazi finally issued a report on their findings. And, to no one’s surprise, the result of this lengthy and expensive charade reveals absolutely nothing of significance that wasn’t already known or reported by one of the seven other congressional committees that wasted taxpayer dollars on this transparently political witch hunt.

Almost immediately following the release of committee’s report Fox News shifted into offense in an effort to hurl mud at Clinton. The absence of anything substantive to report didn’t deter them from their mission. As an indication of how the media reported this news event, take a look at the on-screen graphics of the three cable news networks:

Fox News

Both CNN and MSNBC correctly reported that committee failed to deliver on their promises of criminality by Clinton. Fox News, on the other hand, tweaked their reporting to refer to the GOP’s press conference rather than the contents of the actual report. So their graphics faulted the Obama administration because that’s what the Republicans at the press conference were predisposed to discuss. Never mind that their own committee’s report did not support their criticisms. Even the Fox News crawl, during this segment, noted that “Clinton never personally denied requests for added security.”

Fox News spent much of the day slandering Clinton with innuendos that had nothing to do with the report. On Outnumbered Jedediah Bila said that “It doesn’t bother her that people died.” Fox’s national security analyst, K.T. McFarland, said that Clinton has “blood on your hands.” Dana Perino of The Five inexplicably called for yet another Benghazi investigation. Notice that none of these comments addressed any of the report’s actual findings, preferring instead to fling insults and malicious opinions.

Republicans had long ago exposed themselves as the perpetrators of a partisan assault on Hillary Clinton in advance of her campaign for the presidency. Their Speaker-in-Waiting, Keven McCarthy, bragged about his anti-Clinton plot to Sean Hannity saying that “Everybody thought that Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today?” Well, since you asked, Clinton’s numbers today put her twelve points ahead of Donald Trump, and McCarthy was bumped from his speakership path and replaced by Paul Ryan.

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

The Benghazi investigation lasted longer than any previous congressional investigation, including the JFK assassination, the Nixon Watergate affair, and 9/11. It’s budget exceeded that of the House Intelligence Committee and the Veterans Committee combined. Yet it found not a single bit of evidence of any wrongdoing by Clinton or the Obama administration. So Fox News chose to ignore the report’s conclusions and instead engage in ad hominem smear tactics. That is, after all, what they were created to do.

Donald Trump Dines With Fox News Boss: Just Two Billionaire Plutocrats Chewing The Fat?

While in Scotland pimping his golf course and making idiotic statements about the United Kingdom quitting the European Union (#Brexit), Donald Trump set aside time to meet with the patriarch of the Fox News empire, Rupert Murdoch, for dinner. The dinner date was reported by Katy Tur of NBC in deliciously snarky tweet: “His eyes twinkling and a smile cracking his lips, Trump slowly mouthed the word Ruu-Pert when he told me he was dining with @rupertmurdoch.” (Cue the violins).

Donald Trump

Under other circumstances this might be just another opportunity for a couple of wealthy elitists to chow down and laugh at the tribulations of the little people. But, make no mistake, what happened here is unprecedented and ominous. The extraordinary nature of this high society supper becomes apparent by asking a couple of simple questions: 1) What other presidential candidate has Murdoch met with during this campaign? (None). And 2) What other media mogul has dined with any presidential candidate during this campaign? (None).

It is unseemly for anyone in the news business to have such cozy relations with candidates for high office. And it is particularly sleazy when those relations are blatantly one-sided. The “journalists” who work for Murdoch are keenly aware that their boss is signaling his preferences and that can have a chilling effect on how their reporting is conducted. Fox News is already heavily slanted with a starkly pro-Trump, anti-Clinton bias. By making such a public display of partisanship, Murdoch is making matters worse by dropping the full weight of his authority onto the weak-willed minions he employees.

Murdoch’s opinion of Trump has not always been so positive. Last year Murdoch tweeted this question that is still relevant today: “When is Donald Trump going to stop embarrassing his friends, let alone the whole country?” Without ever answering that question, Murdoch let it be known that he is supporting Trump anyway. And he must have struggled mightily with that endorsement considering how fiercely Trump has maligned Fox News over the course of his campaign.

For example, Trump has burned just about everyone on the network. He said of Megyn Kelly that she “is the worst” and has a “terrible show.” He called Karl Rove a “total fool” and “a biased dope.” He said that George Will is a “broken down political pundit” and “boring.” Chris Stirewalt was deemed “one of the dumbest political pundits on television.” Trump laughed off Charles Krauthammer as “a totally overrated clown,” “a loser,” and “a dummy.” And wrapping up the whole network for his disapproval, he tweeted that he was “having a really hard time watching Fox News.” Then he called on his followers to boycott the network. And for good measure, Trump took a swipe at the Fox family’s newspaper saying that the writers at the Wall Street Journal are also “dummies.”

I can’t argue with much of that, but then I’m not coming out in support of someone who has been so disparaging toward my most cherished business enterprise. Murdoch either has the forgiveness of a saint (unlikely), or he is so obsessed with defeating his good friend Hillary Clinton that he is willing to ignore these childish tantrums and embrace Trump, warts and all. There is one other intriguing possibility: Trump has some damaging information on Murdoch, Roger Ailes, or Fox News generally, and is blackmailing them. That would explain a lot.

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

In any case, it remains inappropriate for a media mogul Big Cheese to be feasting with The Big Cheeto. Their secret conversation is of far greater concern than anything that might have been said by Clinton in a speech to Wall Street. The potential for coordinating a media strategy between Fox News and the Trump campaign should make every American suspicious – and not a little nervous.

WTF Are They Thinking? CNN’s New Hire Is Trump’s Ex-Manager And Press Abuser

Donald Trump has been boasting about his ability to create jobs despite never having explained exactly how he would do so. Well, now it appears he may have created one at CNN for the campaign manager that he fired just a few days ago.

CNN

Corey Lewandowski was escorted out of Trump Tower by security guards when the campaign decided that his services were no longer needed. He was criticized for the campaign’s negative and hostile tone, for failing to raise money, for not building a campaign infrastructure, and for infighting between various factions within the Trump camp. Recent polls showing Trump losing to Hillary Clinton also weighed on Lewandowski’s shoulders as he battled with the Trump kids and strategist Paul Manafort for control of the campaign.

Now CNN has rewarded Lewandowski with a job and a paycheck as a political commentator for the network. It’s not as if CNN didn’t already have a stable of partisan Trump sycophants on the air every day. Jeffery Lord, Scottie Nell Hughes, Kayleigh McEnany, among others have been shilling for Trump on CNN for months. And that’s in addition to the frequent appearances by Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson and Trump himself.

There are few, if any, examples of a news network scooping up a high-level campaign operative in the midst of an election, particularly one with the resume of Lewandowski. This is the first campaign that Lewandowski has ever managed, if you want to call it that. None of the traditional trappings of a campaign were evident in his work. He maintained a tiny staff of insiders and relied on free media for attention. He presided over a candidate who avoided substantive debate while resorting to childish insults and name-calling to bring down his opponents.

Lewandowski also had a terrible relationship with the press. While Trump was calling them sleazy and scum, and fantasizing about killing them them, Lewandowski was herding them into pens like cattle and threatening them if they were disobedient. He revoked the press credentials of people or organizations he didn’t like, including the Washington Post, BuzzFeed, the Huffington Post, Fusion, Univision, the Des Moines Register, and the New Hampshire Union Leader.

Lewandowski was the subject of an unprecedented meeting between the television news networks (including CNN) to address what they considered “harsh and restrictive behavior.” In one case Lewandowski told another campaign staffer “Hey: Tell Noah [Gray of CNN], get back in the pen or he’s f—ing blacklisted.”

And then there was the incident when Lewandowski was alleged to have physically assaulted a reporter from the conservative Breitbart News website. Michelle Fields claimed that Lewandowski had grabbed her by the arm and nearly threw her to the ground. He was briefly under indictment for the assault, but the authorities decided not to prosecute.

This is the caliber of man that CNN has just chosen to provide analysis of the election. He is overtly hostile to the press of which he is now becoming a part. His peers in the business are both stunned and outraged that CNN would grant this cretin one of a very few on-air positions available.

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

What’s worse, it is well known that Donald Trump requires his people to sign a nondisclosure agreement that prohibits them from saying anything negative about Trump, his businesses, or his family. So how can CNN justify hiring a commentator who is contractually bound to bite his tongue if anything unflattering to Trump occurs during the campaign? He’s a commentator who can’t comment. What does that say about a free press at CNN?

Update: The backlash is growing as a “near revolt” at CNN is reportedly under way:

“CNN is facing a near internal revolt over the Corey hiring,” said a TV insider, who described many in the newsroom as “livid.” “Female reporters and producers especially .?.?. They are organizing and considering publicly demanding” that Lewandowski be let go.

Watch In Disbelief As ABC News Paints Homophobe Donald Trump As Pro-Gay

The debate over the causes of the Orlando massacre last week have run the gamut from radical Islamic terrorism, to the availability of military-style assault weapons, to violent homophobic extremism. The reality from the available facts is that there are elements of all three contributing to the madness of the shooter. But the media isn’t helping matters when they introduce absurdities into their analysis that blatantly contradict the truth.

Donald Trump

Yesterday on ABC News (video below), their Chief White House Correspondent, Jonathan Karl, promoted Donald Trump’s delusional pronouncement that “LGBT is starting to like Donald Trump very much lately. I will tell you.” Neither Trump nor Karl offered any evidence of that, and polling shows that Trump has a dismal favorability rating with LGBT people of only 18 percent. By contrast, Hillary Clinton is viewed favorably by 54 percent of the LGBT community.

Nevertheless, Karl continued to hype Trump’s stumping on the issue by running clips of Trump criticizing Clinton for accepting donations to the charitable Clinton Foundation from Saudi Arabia or other countries with poor records on human rights for gays and women. But both Trump and Karl neglected to put that claim in context by disclosing that Trump has many business relationships with people and businesses in the same countries that are not charitable in the least, but from which he will personally profit.

Karl closes the segment with a conclusion that can only be described as deranged. He said that…

“When it comes to gay rights, it’s Hillary Clinton who supports gay marriage, not Donald Trump. But even so, there is little doubt, David, that Trump is the most pro gay rights Republican presidential candidate that we have ever seen.”

WTF? Donald Trump cannot be portrayed as pro-gay rights by any stretch of the imagination. He has a long history of insulting remarks and hostile positions aimed at the LGBT community. He has publicly committed to appointing Supreme Court Justices who would overturn marriage equality. He has promised to sign the First Amendment Defense Act, which codifies discrimination against gays in commerce, employment, and housing. He meets with, and panders to, anti-gay hate groups like the Family Research Council. His solicitous embrace of anti-gay, evangelical extremists has been a core strategy of his campaign.

Karl might have been on firmer ground if he had merely suggested that Trump was less anti-gay than other Republicans who blame them for natural disasters and advocate stoning them to death. But only slightly firmer since many of Trump’s friends and allies (i.e. Jerry Falwell, Jr., Tony Perkins, and Alex Jones) proudly hold those views. But to put the words “pro” and “gay” in the same sentence as “Donald Trump” is a deliberate bastardization of the political reality that defines him. It is also a breach of journalistic principles that require adherence to honest representations of news events and figures.

Donald Trump’s cynical play for support from people whom he openly seeks to harm is a sinkhole of lies that no one should be so naive as to fall into. And it’s particularly reprehensible that he is using the tragedy in Orlando to fish for votes among people still in shock over what happened. Karl’s reporting on Trump only makes things worse by his failure to live up to his professional obligation to inform the public with facts and reason and coherent analysis. Karl failed miserably on all three counts.

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

Donald Trump Bagged Nomination Due To Media’s Lust For Ratings, Harvard Study Reveals

The 2016 primary campaign for the Republican nomination for president has been accurately portrayed as a circus. It included seventeen candidates, most with little experience, but an abundance of ego, bluster, and a determination to divide the American people. The ringmaster of the show was Donald Trump, who was given the vast majority of media coverage virtually guaranteeing his victory.

Donald Trump

Now a study by Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politic, and Public Policy has certified conclusions that were fairly obvious even to casual observers. The study’s authors open with a summary of their findings:

>”The report shows that during the year 2015, major news outlets covered Donald Trump in a way that was unusual given his low initial polling numbers—a high volume of media coverage preceded Trump’s rise in the polls. Trump’s coverage was positive in tone—he received far more “good press” than “bad press.” The volume and tone of the coverage helped propel Trump to the top of Republican polls.”

The study notes that “media exposure is arguably the most important” indicator of success for primary contestants, and Trump received more than his fair share of it. What’s more, his coverage came despite the fact that he had not earned it by the conventional methods of attracting media attention for politicians: standing in the polls and fund raising. So why did the press lean over backwards to focus on Trump at a time when he plainly didn’t deserve it? According to the study:

“The answer is that journalists were behaving in their normal way. Although journalists play a political brokering role in presidential primaries, their decisions are driven by news values rather than political values. Journalists are attracted to the new, the unusual, the sensational—the type of story material that will catch and hold an audience’s attention. Trump fit that need as no other candidate in recent memory. Trump is arguably the first bona fide media-created presidential nominee.”

Donald Trump had bewitched the media with his celebrity from having hosted a TV game show for fourteen years. In addition to that he had a tendency to fly off the handle without notice. You could never be sure when he might start screaming the “N” word or slap an immigrant orphan across the face. He had that “train wreck” allure that the media craves but fails to acknowledge:

“Journalists seemed unmindful that they and not the electorate were Trump’s first audience. Trump exploited their lust for riveting stories. He didn’t have any other option. He had no constituency base and no claim to presidential credentials. […] The politics of outrage was his edge, and the press became his dependable if unwitting ally.”

The study found that the advertising equivalent value of the media coverage Trump received from the outlets they reviewed came to about $55 million. They acknowledge that this number was an underestimate of Trump’s total take if the rest of the media were included. In that case the number would be closer to two billion dollars. Also, this calculation only included coverage that was either positive or neutral. And on that measure the study found that “Across all the outlets, Trump’s coverage was roughly two-to-one favorable.”

Concurrent with the media infatuation for Trump, the nation’s press was taking a diametrically opposite stance toward the likely Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton. The study found that “Clinton had by far the most negative coverage of any candidate,” which drove the increase in her unfavorable poll ratings. She addressed this recently and was mocked for pointing out the obvious. But there was indeed an unmistakable bias that was evident across the board, and most prominently at Fox News (big surprise).

“Whereas media coverage helped build up Trump, it helped tear down Clinton. Trump’s positive coverage was the equivalent of millions of dollars in ad-buys in his favor, whereas Clinton’s negative coverage can be equated to millions of dollars in attack ads, with her on the receiving end. Of the eight news outlets in our study, Fox News easily led the way. Clinton received 291 negative reports on Fox, compared with only 39 positive ones, most of which were in the context of poll results that showed her with a wide lead.”

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

So the next time you hear someone complain that the media is liberal you’ll understand what a load of bull that is, and always has been. When the facts are compiled, and dispassionately examined, the truth is revealed. This study by Harvard should become mandatory reading for everyone in journalism school and, more importantly, everyone in journalism. And don’t forget the confession of Les Moonves, the CEO of CBS, who said of the Trump effect that “It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS.” That is where their loyalties lie.

Return Of The Reverse Beetlejuice Doctrine: Say ‘Radical Islamic Terrorism’ Three Times

Radical Islamic Terrorism. Radical Islamic Terrorism. Radical Islamic Terrorism.

There, I said it three times. Is it gone yet?

In the childish imagination of American conservatives the only reason that terrorism still exists is that President Obama and other Democrats have failed to utter the magical incantation “Radical Islamic Terrorism.” The Wingnut Republican Tabernacle and the Pharisees of Fox News have devoutly concluded that this mantra is the key to defeating groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS. They believe that it is rhetorical kryptonite to terrorists. And then they wonder why we think they’re stupid.

Beetlejuice

What we have here is the widespread adoption of the fabled “Reverse Beetlejuice Doctrine” wherein you shout “Radical Islamic Terrorism” three times and ISIS disappears. It’s clearly an obsession with these strategery geniuses. What’s more, they are convinced that babbling a few words of sorcery is a more effective weapon in the fight against terrorists than actually fighting terrorists. So even though as Commander-in-Chief President Obama disposed of Osama Bin Laden and eliminated thousands of terrorist operatives, including many of their leaders, he can’t possibly be serious about the mission until he chants that sacred three-word spell. Never mind the reports from the real world about actual military progress:

The Pentagon says it has killed about 26,000 ISIS fighters altogether, cut into the group’s cash flow, and driven the terrorists out of 40 percent of the land the organization once controlled. The population living under ISIS’s brutal reign has dropped from 9 million to 6 million people. U.S. strikes have killed several top ISIS strategists, and there are reports that ISIS fighters are retreating wherever they’re attacked, rather than fighting as fiercely as they once did.

And yet, draft dodgers like Donald Trump, who have no experience whatsoever in national security or counter-terrorism, continue to insist on adherence to a vapid slogan they’ve elevated to scripture. In a tweet shortly after the Orlando massacre was reported Trump asked:

“Is President Obama going to finally mention the words radical Islamic terrorism? If he doesn’t he should immediately resign in disgrace!”

Those are the sort of deep thoughts that populate the mind of a man who when asked who he speaks to for advice on foreign policy responded that “I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things.” It’s the same man who immediately after hearing the news of the gruesome shootings rushed to Twitter to congratulate himself – twice (here and here) for being right about his proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the country. Apparently his “very good brain” missed the fact that the shooter was an American citizen born in New York.

And set aside the fact that Trump is a confirmed birther who believes that Obama should resign in disgrace for being a Kenyan who faked his American citizenship. Now his first response to the worst mass shooting in american history is to taunt the President for not saying “Radical Islamic Terrorism.” I can’t help but wonder what Trump and his ilk think would change if the President humored them and said the three little words (which used to be “I love you”). Would there be even one more life restored or one more terrorist removed from the battlefield? Of course not. Yet Trump spent the majority of his first post-Orlando speech preaching the “Radical Islamic Terrorism” gospel as if it had some relevance to solving the problem.

On the other hand, there are concrete reasons for declining to say “Radical Islamic Terrorism” or to otherwise refuse to associate the entire Muslim faith with the acts of violent extremists. We have legitimate concerns regarding our ability to form coalitions with the Muslim nations in the Middle-East whose cooperation is required to prevail against ISIS. That objective is not helped by demeaning their faith. But it’s more than that. By accepting the terms and definitions of the terrorists, Republicans, Fox News, et al, are acting as the PR department for the terrorists who desperately aspire to be regarded as the legitimate voice of Islam. Why are people like Trump insisting on granting the terrorists that victory?

When you look at who is for or against directly tying the terrorists to Islam you’ll discover a set of alliances that is enlightening. Those is favor of connecting those dots are the terrorists themselves, Fox News, and the Donald Trump faction of the Republican right. On the other side is President Obama, religion and terrorism experts, and the vast majority of the world’s Muslims who, we must not forget, are also the vast majority of the victims. So the real question here is why is Donald Trump, the GOP, and Fox News on the same side as the terrorists in an effort to brand their heinous activities?

Conceding that terrorism is the way of Islam amounts to an acceptance of the terrorists demands. It is a form of appeasement that rewards them with precisely what they seek: religious legitimacy. And the Trump Crusaders are playing into their hands. They are, in effect, supporting the goals of the terrorists.

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

One of the arguments frequently proffered to assert that Islam and terrorism are inseparable is that the terrorists call themselves Muslims. By that logic they would also have to argue that Christianity and terrorism are inseparable because right-wing militias, the KKK, and abortion clinic bombers call themselves Christian. But don’t expect to hear that from tunnel-blind right-wingers. Their only interest is in spreading irrational hatred and employing fear to gain power. Sounds something like terrorism, doesn’t it?

The Heinous Political Opportunism Of Fox News On The Orlando Massacre

The sad reality of having to cover yet another incident of mass gun violence in America is made all the worse by the revolting political opportunism of the knee-jerk hate mongers at Fox News. In the early hours of Sunday morning in Orlando, Florida, a gunman entered a nightclub with an AR-15 and other weapons and murdered fifty innocent people, wounding more than fifty others. It’s a tragedy that calls for the uniting of all Americans against the insanity that produces these maniacs.

Fox News

However, instead of seeking the unity and solace that the nation so desperately needs at times like this, Fox News ventured off into a flagrantly biased political diatribe against President Obama (video below). Fox and Friends co-host Tucker Carlson was interviewing an author and alleged expert on terrorism when he asked the following question:

“Doesn’t the politicization of all of this, the relentless lying by the administration about the Islamic terror threat we face make it harder for people to want to step forward and say what they see?”

Carlson’s question is so rife with hypocrisy and hatred it is difficult to know where to begin. First of all, it is Carlson who is responsible for “the politicization of all of this.” Most of the people in positions of authority are withholding comments until more facts are known. The only statement from the administration was an acknowledgement of the horror of terrorism, committment to its defeat, and expressions of condolences. Carlson’s question is itself political in nature and aimed at maligning the president he hates.

Secondly, there is absolutely no evidence of “lying by the administration about the Islamic terror threat we face.” That’s a scurrilous fabrication straight from the warped mind of an anti-Obama bigot. The Obama administration has forthrightly addressed the terrorist threat and has done more to combat it than any other president in history. Under his direction the American military has killed or captured hundreds of terrorist leaders and operatives, including Osama Bin Laden, a task that President Bush was unable to achieve for seven years.

For the host of an alleged “news” network to make such reprehensible comments, only hours after the slaughter, while the victims and their families are still grief-stricken, is not unusual for Fox News. They have engaged in similar politicization of tragedies as disperse as Benghazi, Paris, Aurora, Newtown, and San Bernardino. It didn’t make any difference if the crimes were related to terrorism or not. They were always somehow the fault of President Obama.

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

Fox News is brazenly catering to the hatred of their audience. This is all to common for Fox as documented in The Collected Hate Speech of the Fox News Community. All it takes is brief glance at the comments on Fox’s website to see that the political obsessions and biases expressed by Fox anchors is mirrored by their viewers. These are just a few of the vile outbursts on their Orlando article:

foxnews-comments-orlando-terror

Watch Tucker Carlson and his nauseating friends on Fox News:

Is Fox News Shielding Donald Trump From Release Of Damaging Courtroom Video?

News organizations generally favor having access to as much information as possible. It is, in fact, their mission to compile as much raw data on a subject as they can in order to present a complete account to the public. It is almost unheard of for a media company to decline to advocate for access to relevant information, particularly from a government or legal entity. And yet, that is exactly what Fox News is doing.

Trump News Channel

A motion filed Friday with the U.S. District Court in San Diego is petitioning for the release of video depositions of Donald Trump made in connection with the fraud case against him and his defunct Trump University. And, yes, that’s the same court presided over by Judge Gonzalo Curiel who Trump has been attacking in a baseless and racist effort to smear the judge as unfair.

The videos referenced in the filing have the potential to reveal a more accurate representation Trump than the one he carefully crafts with his media and public appearances. The motion was filed on behalf of every major television news network (ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN), as well some of the most prominent newspapers (New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune).

Well, make that “almost” every major television news network. There are a couple of conspicuous holdouts who have not joined this filing, most notably Fox News. Along with Fox, the Wall Street Journal, another cog in Rupert Murdoch’s media machine, did not participate in the filing. This raises questions as to whether Fox News is deliberately abstaining so as not to harm the electoral prospects of the candidate they openly support, or to avoid aggravating Trump and thus lose access to his frequent and profitable appearances on the network (he has boycotted Fox News in the recent past). Another more fanciful theory is that Trump has dirt on Fox News, and/or its CEO Roger Ailes, and is steering clear for fear of retaliation.

The motion filed by the press succinctly describes the argument in favor of releasing the videos. It’s an argument that rests on the public’s right to know and the importance of transparency during a presidential campaign. The opening paragraphs say…

“For many years, Defendant Donald J. Trump has been at the center of an ongoing controversy over his namesake, Trump University (“TU”). This lawsuit – one of several actions alleging that TU defrauded its customers and encouraged their participation in the volatile late-2000s real estate market – drew significant public attention even before this year’s Presidential election.

“Now, Defendant is the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, and has made his business acumen an important element of his campaign. Thus, this lawsuit not only raises important questions about Defendant and his organization, it has become a prominent electoral issue. Opposing candidates have pointed to the allegations in this case in criticizing Defendant’s qualifications for the presidency; Defendant has cited TU as an example of his business success, and made this litigation itself a campaign issue.

“Given the undeniable and substantial public interest in these proceedings, the need for transparency could not be greater.”

Trump’s legal team is, predictably, opposing this motion, although they have not yet laid out the details of their rebuttal. But it’s one thing for Trump’s lawyers to argue against releasing material that will prove detrimental to his case and reputation. It’s their job to insulate him from legal jeopardy. However, it is not the job of Fox News, or any media enterprise, to protect Trump from embarrassing disclosures and to help him keep such information from the public.

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

By their conspicuous absence as plaintiffs in this filing, Fox News is signaling both their allegiance to Trump and their contempt for a free press. While they often feverishly complain that President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and other Democrats lack transparency, Fox is demonstrating that their “fair and balanced” slogan is nothing more than a phony marketing gimmick. If the court rules in favor of this motion Fox News will almost certainly air the videos that become available. But look for them to air along with vigorous defenses of Trump and attempts to dismiss their relevance and malign his critics. It’s the Fox News way.

Fox News Inspired Terrorist Gets Probation For Plotting To Massacre Muslim-Americans

In May of last year a radical Christian extremist was arrested for plotting a terrorist attack on a community of peaceful Muslims in upstate New York. Robert Doggart, an ordained minister in the Christian National Church, pleaded guilty to a detailed plan to kill people and destroy buildings, churches and schools. Fox News, however, failed to report this story because any terrorist who isn’t Muslim or otherwise dark-skinned isn’t worthy of coverage.

Fox News

Doggart, whose original guilty plea was rejected by the judge (who filed new, more serious indictments against him), has been free on bond ever since and his case is still pending. However, a comrade in arms, William Tore Tint, has just pleaded guilty to crimes stemming from the same activities as well as lying to FBI investigators. Tint was recorded plotting with Doggart to kill people and burn down buildings. Following his plea Tint was sentenced to only three years probation.

Neither of these stories were reported by Fox News. That in itself may not be surprising as Fox doesn’t regard any terrorism committed by white Christians, or anyone other than Muslims, to be newsworthy. In fact, they don’t even regard it as terrorism. What makes this extraordinary is that Fox News likely served as an inspiration for the crime.

You have to ask where Doggart and Tint got the groundless notion that the residents of Islamberg were jihadists in training. In January of 2015 Bill O’Reilly hosted Ryan Mauro, a “national security analyst” who claimed that Muslims were forming “no-go zones” in the United States where they would train and launch domestic attacks. These claims were never substantiated by credible sources in law enforcement, and the organizations to which Mauro belonged were well known anti-Islamic propagandists. These views were repeated on Fox News by other anchors and pundits across the Fox schedule for weeks.

This is not the only time that Fox News has inspired terrorism. Last year a San Diego man pleaded guilty to a charge of making a criminal threat directed at the offices of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. His lawyer offered a defense that included the claim that he had problems with alcohol, anxiety and depression and had just finished watching a week of Fox News coverage on the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris. Two years ago an Indiana man pleaded guilty to arson for having set fire to an Islamic Center in Toledo, Ohio. When the judge asked him if he knew any Muslims or what Islam is he said “No, I only know what I hear on Fox News.”

If any of these criminals were dark-skinned Muslims Fox News would be running video of terrorist training camps in Afghanistan non-stop. They would be ratcheting up the Islamophobia across every program on the network. And they would be frightening their viewers with unfounded generalizations about imminent doom. Of course Donald Trump would be tweeting up a storm and blaming it all on President Obama. But since these were white Christians it wasn’t even worth a mention between segments on summer barbecues and Hooters.

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

Terrorist Color Chart Fox News

Fox News Is Ramping Up Their Flagrant, Dishonest Smearing Of Hillary Clinton

This week saw Hillary Clinton become the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party for president of the United States, an historic achievement as the first woman to do so. She also got the endorsement of President Obama and other party leaders. These events affirm that the 2016 general election has officially commenced. And with that. Fox News is rolling out its quadrennial blitzkrieg of smears and lies aimed at all things Democrat, and specifically Hillary Clinton.

Yesterday on Fox & Friends, the Curvy Couch Potatoes latched onto an interview Clinton gave to Scott Pelley of CBS New wherein she was asked the sort of tough question that Fox insists the lamestream media never ask her:

“It’s possible that your biggest obstacle is not your opponent but yourself. Fifty-two percent of the American people who participated in our CBS news poll have an unfavorable opinion of you. That is the highest negative impression of anyone ever nominated by the Democratic party since we started asking that question in 1984. Do you bear any responsibility for that?”

The Fox Newsers then spent several minutes lambasting Clinton for her answer which they portrayed as refusing to accept any responsibility. To them it was further proof of her arrogance and dishonesty. The only problem with that is the substance of her actual answer (video).

Fox News

Oh, I’m sure I do, but I think when I was secretary of state and serving our country, I had an approval rating of 66 percent, and I think it’s fair to ask, ‘Well, what’s happened?’ And what’s happened is tens of millions of dollars of negative advertising and coverage that has been sent my way.”

So right up front Clinton explicitly acknowledged that she bore responsibility for the public’s perception of her. The fact that she went on to cite other contributing factors doesn’t diminish what she said. And the ability of the media to influence public opinion is something that conservatives are usually the first to complain about. However, that criticism of the press is apparently off-limits to Clinton. The same subject, with the same dishonest spin, was also discussed later on Fox’s Outnumbered.

Today, another Fox News distortion of reality was broadcast following a White House press briefing. Fox News told their gullible viewers that Press Secretary Josh Earnest had confirmed that the FBI probe into Clinton’s email is a “criminal” investigation.

Fox News

Once again, there is a small problem with that characterization: It isn’t remotely true. Fox was referring to this exchange between Earnest and Fox’s correspondent, James Rosen:

Rosen: So when a career prosecutor or an FBI agent who’s working on the Clinton investigation hears this President speak openly of how he wants Hillary Clinton to succeed him, you don’t think that that career prosecutor or that FBI agent takes that as some indication of how the President wants to see this case resolved?
Earnest: No. I think that those career prosecutors understand that they have a job to do, and that that job that they’re supposed to — which is to follow the facts, to pursue the evidence to a logical conclusion — that that is a job that they are responsible for doing without any sort of political interference. And the President expects them to do that job. […] That’s why the president, when discussing this issue in each stage, has reiterated his commitment to this principle: that any criminal investigation should be conducted independent of any sort of political interference.

Clearly Earnest was not referring to the Clinton case in that response. He was articulating a general principle of judicial propriety that is practiced by any White House. Had he been referring to the Clinton case he would have said “this criminal investigation,” rather than “any criminal investigation.” His statement was meant to be taken more broadly as a principle, just as he described it.

What’s more, Rosen’s question was downright stupid. The notion that a president expressing support for another candidate from the same party is not exactly a revelation. If investigators were susceptible to such pressure, they wouldn’t need Obama to announce his support in order to know that he backs Clinton. That should be obvious to anyone who isn’t desperately trying to construct a dishonest narrative. So it can be assumed that the investigators were already aware of Obama’s position with regard to Clinton. If Rosen had evidence that they had any bias toward Clinton, he would have presented it. Instead, he just floated some wild conspiracy theories. And even after that, Fox still felt they needed to lie about the answer given by Earnest.

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

Expect much more of this to come as the campaign proceeds toward November. Fox knows that all they have is lies and they will pour them out by the buckets full for the next four months. This says something about the dearth of negative information held by Fox. If they had anything truthful with which to skewer Clinton, they wouldn’t have to lie so badly or so frequently.