Are The Obama Haters At Fox News TRYING To Look Stupid?

Yesterday President Obama and French President Francois Hollande held a joint news conference at the White House to address the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Paris. They presented a united front against terrorism and each delivered opening statements that virtually mirrored one another. The gist was that, as Obama said…

“This barbaric terrorist group — ISIL, or Daesh — and its murderous ideology pose a serious threat to all of us. It cannot be tolerated. It must be destroyed.”

It was a forthright statement of unequivocal determination to prevail over evil and nothing Hollande said surpassed it in tone or substance. Nevertheless, Obama’s critics in the American media snarled predictably about what they viewed as the weakness of his remarks, as compared to Hollande, without citing a single instance of how they differed. For example, Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post (and Fox Nation website) disparaged Obama in a headline article as being “dangerously nonchalant about ISIS threats.”

However, where they went cascading overboard was with their wildly absurd misinterpretation of comments both leaders made about the upcoming United Nations Climate Conference in Paris. For the record, here are the excerpts from each opening statement that addresses the conference:

Obama: Next week, I will be joining President Hollande and world leaders in Paris for the global climate conference. What a powerful rebuke to the terrorists it will be when the world stands as one and shows that we will not be deterred from building a better future for our children.

Hollande: There is no greater symbol than holding this conference on climate in Paris with some 150 heads of state and government. Never before did France host so many leaders of the international community. They’re coming to sort out the climate challenge, and again, to work and to find the right agreement so that we can limit greenhouse gases emissions and make sure that our children and our grandchildren live better, or simply can live.

What is plainly obvious is that both men were declaring their resolve to forge ahead with the conference despite the attempt by terrorists to stir panic and to disrupt the lives of free people in Paris and everywhere else. It was a proclamation of their commitment to proceed with life’s affairs without being hobbled by fear. But the Fox News crowd is either to stupid to recognize that, or they are deliberately twisting it to arrive at a ludicrous conclusion that fits their anti-Obama narrative. Here is a sampling of their mindless exercises in disinformation:

Fox News

  • Rudy Guiliani: You know, you know, I really feel very stupid. I consider myself somewhat of an expert on law enforcement, terrorism, cybersecurity, security, and I never thought of the fact that if we just waged war on global warming we could defeat ISIS, and that’s really going to shake them up. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything more absurd from a president.
  • K.T. McFarland: President Obama thinks that climate change is the greatest strategic and geological and existential threat to our future. You know, here we are — and the irony, if it were not so tragic it would be funny — here we have ISIS, which is attacking with suicide vests and Kalashnikovs and potentially chemical weapons in the French water supply. What are we doing? We’re going to fight ISIS. We’re going to have windmills. We’re going to have solar panels. We’re going to show them. It’s just really — all it does is it gives encouragement to the terrorists who feel that they have been selected and chosen by Allah to establish the caliphate and kill everybody who disagrees with them.
  • Eric Bolling: At the White House news conference alongside the leader of France today, President Obama really stuck it to the terrorists by reminding them he’ll be attending a weather summit soon.
  • Kimberly Guilfoyle: Wow, we’re going to stick it to the terrorists when we start talking about climate change.
  • Jesse Watters: He’s saying we need to fight terror by using a poem on the Statue of Liberty. OK, I don’t even know what that means. And then he’s going on and saying the biggest rebuke to terrorism is to talk about the weather. […] I don’t think Americans care if we rebuke the terrorists. I think we should be nuking the terrorists.
  • Andrea Tantaros: Obama: wait til they get a load of us at the Climate Summit in a few wks….”a rebuke.” Because nothing scares jihadists like the weather.
  • Peter Johnson: I think the people join me at home today on this in being confounded and astounded … by that statement that the President of the United States, Barack Obama, the most potent weapon in his arsenal against ISIS, against al-Qaeda, against all of these terrorists, is somehow convening a conference on global warming, on climate change.

These maroons actually believe that Obama was arguing that Climate Change reform was his response to terrorism. They are so intellectually feeble that they could not grasp that he was talking about proceeding with the conference, rather than canceling or rescheduling it, as the “rebuke” in that it demonstrated that the terrorists could not upset our lives with their barbarous tactics. We will persevere no matter what they do, they cannot force us to retreat into bunkers. It is a message of strength. And even though the Fox dimwits directed their insults at our president, while praising Hollande, they completely ignored the fact that Hollande said exactly the same thing.

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

This is what happens when people allow themselves to become so consumed with hate that they can’t hold a coherent thought in their diseased brains. It exposes them as frauds who have only their own narrow interests at what remains of their heart. But most of all it signals an innate idiocy and inability to engage in critical thinking. Which may be a good thing for Fox News pundits. Because their audience is even less able to understand simple concepts or process information in any logical manner. Fox knows who they’re playing to, and their audience appreciates being talked down to – and even lied to.

GOP Debate On FBN To Be Moderated By The Glenn Beck Of Business News

The Republican candidates for president are preparing for their next televised debate tomorrow on the Fox Business Network. It is rather peculiar that FBN was selected as a debate host considering that their program ratings are so low that Nielsen doesn’t even publish them. This debate was a gift from the Republican National Committee to their benefactor and overlord, Rupert Murdoch, who is desperate for anything that might goose the numbers.

Neil Cavuto

In the wake of the last GOP debate on CNBC, FBN is facing certain challenges to their production. The candidates were so outraged at what they regarded as unfair treatment that they banded together in a show of unity to force all the subsequent debate hosts to bend to their will. Embarrassingly, they couldn’t even manage that protest and eventually dropped their demands.

Still, there will be competing pressures on FBN and their moderators, Neil Cavuto and Maria Bartiromo. Candidates will watching to see if they are hammered with “gotcha” questions (which to Republicans are any questions they can’t answer). But if the moderators go soft they will be pilloried as stooges for the GOP who didn’t have the cojones to address serious issues or differences between the candidates. It will be interesting to see how they walk that tightrope.

There may be some surprises, but for the most part this debate will shun controversy. What can be assumed with some confidence is that the moderators will avoid anything that might reflect badly on the candidates. They will skew closely to the Fox News bias in favor of electing Republicans. Questions will framed as how the GOP will differ from the commies in the other party. And leading that parade will be Neil Cavuto, the Glenn Beck of business news.

Cavuto’s presence on Fox News and Fox Business (where he is the Senior VP and Managing Editor) is a relentless barrage of hyper-partisanship and crackpot conservatism. His commentaries are boorish assaults on Democrats and liberals. He is a serial interrupter of anyone who holds a different opinion than his. And his analysis always manages to put progressive policies and achievements in a negative light. For instance, he was fond of calling the historic market gains that occurred in Obama’s first term as a “bear market rally.” And that was when he wasn’t calling it the “Bush recovery.”

For your entertainment pleasure, the list below demonstrates some of his more outlandish pronouncements:

  • On the Iran nuclear deal Cavuto said that “We are helping the very folks that may have had a hand in 9/11.” But there is no evidence that Iran had any role in the Al Qaeda attack.
  • Cavuto opined that if Benghazi had happened on George W. Bush’s watch he would have been impeached. However, there were thirteen deadly attacks on diplomatic facilities during Bush’s presidency, but no impeachment, no hearings, not even any notable criticism.
  • Cavuto demeaned people who received government aid as lazy moochers who believe that “as long as Uncle Sam’s got my back I can lay back.”
  • Cavuto slammed efforts to raise the minumum wage because when he worked at a fast food restaurant in his youth he considered it a great learning and growth opportunity. But when adjusted for inflation, he was earning $2.22 more than the current minimum wage.
  • In one of his tirades against Climate Change he railed that “it is freezing across the entire globe.” Of course, only an idiot would say such a thing, particularly when almost every year for the past decade ranks as among the hottest ever.
  • His report on ObamaCare featured high grade fear mongering and a title warning about “National Healthcare: Breeding Ground For Terror?” That’s right. In Cavuto’s world health care equals terror.

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

This is the sort of fringe crackpottery that is right at home on Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze or Alex Jones’ InfoWars. But Cavuto practices it on both his Fox News and Fox Business shows. He invites guests to appear with equally outlandish conspiracy theories with which he generally agrees. He engages in non-stop, brazenly partisan, propagandizing on behalf of the conservative agenda of his network bosses, Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch. Cavuto is a Tea Party boosting, climate science denying, harbinger of economic Armageddon. And tomorrow night he will moderating a Republican primary debate. Should be fun.

Racists On Fox News Are OUTRAGED At People Protesting Donald Trump’s Racism

Barring any last minute surprises, a couple of days from now Donald Trump will take to the stage of Saturday Night Live to engage in an evening of carefree hilarity. The program’s network and producers have so far shown no inclination to respect the millions of Americans who are offended by Trump’s undisguised bigotry, which to them is no laughing matter.

Donald Trump SNL

The opposition to Trump’s hosting gig has grown significantly with petition drives (here and here) that have gathered over 350,000 signatures. Nevertheless, NBC doesn’t seem to be the least bit dissuaded from permitting Trump to host their iconic comedy program even while Trump is the leading advocate for boycotting NBC/Telemundo’s Republican primary debate (the only GOP debate with a Latino sponsor).

The SNL controversy has been played out across the media spectrum including, of course, Fox News where the audacity of people protesting the repackaging of hate as comedy would not be tolerated. For example, this morning on Fox’s Outnumbered they did a segment about the protests that featured one of the hosts, Katie Pavlich, making a determined effort to outdo Trump’s own racism.

Pavlich: If these protesters spent just as much time protesting the illegal alien rapists and murderers who make their own community look bad, maybe Trump wouldn’t be saying the things that he is about their community.

Pavlich led off by regurgitating Trump’s repulsive insult to millions of peaceful, hard-working undocumented American residents, saying that they are rapists and murderers. Furthermore, she seems to believe that there are no Latino activists working every day on the issues related to crime and violence in their communities. And based on that ignorant assumption, Pavlich blames Latinos for the horrible lies that Trump tells about them. But she wasn’t finished.

Pavlich: (Con’t) So I suggest that if they don’t want that stereotype, if they don’t want the truth to be told about the fact that illegal immigration does bring with it a huge criminal element that we have to deal with in this country, they should spend there energies getting out the criminals in their own communities, then we can have a discussion about the people that remain here that haven’t committed those heinous crimes.

First of all, what Pavlich characterizes as both a stereotype and “the truth” is actually patently false. Studies have proven that immigrants are less likely to be criminals than the native-born. So maybe it is people like Pavlich that should stop shooting off their mouths until they rid their communities of criminal activity. Also, the notion that nobody can protest an injustice until every shred of any other bad behavior is eliminated, whether related to the protest or not, is just plain idiotic. Were that the standard, no one could ever protest anything.

So Pavlich made a compelling case for racists who want to distort the facts and spread fear and prejudice. And her co-hosts on the program unanimously agreed with her hate mongering. It was a nauseating display of unity for shameless bigots, but not surprising for Fox News. And when confronted with this sort of assault aimed at people exercising their constitutional right to protest, there is only one reasonable response, and it was made by these enlightened kids:

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

Fox News Continues To Donate Millions Of Dollars Of Airtime To Donald Trump

The one thing that people will remember most from the Republican primary campaign of 2016 is going to be the fantastical story of a megalomaniac billionaire named Donald Trump. And the reason that he is going to be remembered is because Fox News contributed untold millions of dollars worth of valuable airtime to his campaign. Well, that and his penchant for being a boorish, conceited, loudmouthed, ignoramus.

Donald Trump News

It’s somewhat ironic that the richest man in the race (in history) to run for the presidency is being given so much advertising time for free. After all, he can afford to pay for it. And yet, month after month Fox News has made a gift of their time to the wealthy candidate. In their latest analysis of time distribution to Republican candidates, Media Matters shows that, once again, Trump has been the recipient of more of Fox’s generosity than any other candidate.

The unfairness and imbalance of the airtime differential is, as Trump might say, “Huuuuge.” He was featured on Fox for a total of four hours and twenty-seven minutes in October. Coming in at a distant second was Rand Paul with a comparatively measly one hour and forty-four minutes, or less than half of Trump’s time. Everyone else, of course, scored even less than that.

To put the distribution of time in perspective, Trump actually got more airtime than the combined total of nine of his GOP rivals (Bush, Cruz, Kasich, Graham, Santorum, Fiorina, Jindal, Pataki, and Gilmore). With that kind of promotion he could outsell Coca-Cola. And since there is no equal time provisions for news organizations, Fox can continue to blanket their air with Trump while burying his opponents.

One of the ways Fox pushes Trump to their audience is by airing most of his public addresses live in their entirety [Fox is not the only network guilty of this, as noted here]. They do this despite the fact that there is rarely, if ever, anything newsworthy about them. And they pointedly refuse to do this for any other candidate. Can you imagine the response if Hillary Clinton insisted that Fox air her speeches in full every day?

Another interesting observation is that Trump has achieved this status as Fox’s most frequent flier even though he has been embroiled in a series of very public and hostile feuds with the network. He has viciously insulted Megyn Kelly (whose show he still has not been on since their break up), and encouraged his supporters who expressed their intention to boycott Fox. Yet the network still keeps their nose a dark shade of Trumpish Brown. Just think how much more he would have been on if they were on good terms the whole time.

This past week there was a mini-tsunami by the GOP candidate club over what they thought was ill-treatment by CNBC during a debate they sponsored. Their anger resulted in a meeting to unite the candidates against the media overlords who were oppressing them. One of the outrageous demonstrations of brazen unfairness regarded the unequal time allotted for questions to each candidate. But if they were so disturbed by CNBC not giving each of them equal time during that one debate, then why aren’t they the least bit bothered by Fox News favoring one candidate over all the others for months on end? Shouldn’t they be holding meetings to castigate Fox News and to reform the way Fox News treats them all?

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

That’s not likely considering that the post-debate meeting they held to reform the debate process produced a letter to the networks with a list of demands that explicitly excluded Fox because “people are afraid to make Roger [Ailes] mad.” And so the status quo will flow on without interruption. And Trump will continue to get special treatment while his opponents grin nervously, beg for scraps, and beam their gratitude for whatever they get.

MSNBC’s Scarborough Has On-Air Mental Breakdown Over Liberal Media Myth

The resident Republican blowhard on MSNBC, Joe Scarborough, has staked out his post as the network’s voice of rightist disinformation. He commands his three hour block of airtime like a junta leader, ordering the topics of discussion and interrupting his guests incessantly.

MSNBC Joe Scarborough

This morning Scarborough appeared to have a severe cognitive collapse during a segment about the Republican Party’s debate-o-phobia (video below). Like most of his ideological allies, he is suffering from the delusion that the American media, owned by a handful of megalithic, multinational corporations, is dominated by liberals. Scarborough set off on a rant about the absence of conservatives on nightly news programs, Sunday shows, and in the executive suites. He badgered his guests to come up with examples of Republicans in those roles, and insisted that they could not do it.

Scarborough: Outside of Brit Hume, who has been a conservative in the mainstream media in the past 30 years who you’ve worked for? Outside of Brit Hume, who has held a powerful position at ABC, NBC or CBS News on the air? […] Name the single Republican that has hosted a Sunday show, that has been an anchor of a news network for the big three networks over the past 50 years. You cannot do it.

Setting aside the fact that Scarborough conveniently leaves out Fox News, the most watched, and therefore mainstream by default, cable news network, he repeatedly spits out this challenge to his colleagues, who are not particularly well informed on the subject. For instance, Mark Halperin, the senior political analyst for MSNBC, responded sheepishly saying “Joe, I agree with you 100%.” No one else on the panel was able to take up Scarborough’s challenge either.

For their future reference, they may want to note that Chris Wallace, now the anchor of Fox News Sunday, hosted NBC’s Meet the Press for year. Tony Snow, who went on to serve as press secretary for George W. Bush was the first host of FOX News Sunday. Diane Sawyer anchored ABC’s World News Tonight for five years after serving as a press aide to Richard Nixon. So Scarborough’s sweaty insistence that no one can name such people is demonstrably false.

Scarborough kept switching from asking for on-air-personalities to executives in charge of the news operations. On that front there are right-wingers like David Rhodes, the current President of CBS News who had the a similar position at Fox for fifteen years. Ken Jautz, the head of CNN, is the man who gave Glenn Beck his first job on television. NBC is now owned by Comcast, whose Roberts family owners are notorious righties.

There are certainly more conservatives in television newsrooms, but it’s hard to pin them down with proof. That’s because most career journalists are careful to avoid any open expression of partisanship. So people like CBS’s Scott Pelley, or NBC’s Chuck Todd, and many more, may have distinctly conservative views, but they have never worked for a GOP senator or made a donation to any political campaign, or even registered with a party, so there is no hard evidence. And the same is true for journalists who are accused of being liberals. That doesn’t mean they aren’t there. And it doesn’t warrant the loony outburst that Scarborough let loose today. If anything, the fact that no one at the table could cite any of the people mentioned above is proof that the media is conservative, and blind to their bias.

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

What We Learned From The GOP’s Trainwreck Debate On CNBC: Republicans Hate The ‘Liberal’ Media

In the best of circumstances, a political debate should be illuminating in a manner that allows voters to assess the fitness of candidates for public office. However, the best that can be said about the Republican primary debate on CNBC (transcript) is that it illuminated the rabid opportunism of the candidates and the penchant for provocation on the part of the moderators.


While there was an attempt by the moderators to inject some substance into their questions, they inexplicably capped their queries with an inappropriate zinger that only left them wide open for criticism. For example, John Harwood constructed a perfectly legitimate question for Donald Trump that called on him to explain how his wall building, tax slashing, immigrant deporting policies could be achieved without wreaking havoc on the economy. But then Harwood finished off with “Is this a comic book version of a presidential campaign?” Regardless of the aptness of the imagery, the only conceivable purpose for that framing would be to give Trump something to complain about. This pretentious strategy was repeated throughout the debate.

And the complaints veritably gushed from debaters who were eager to hear some reasonable questions and avoid answering them (which they did all night). The backlash directed at the media and the moderators easily became the dominant feature of the debate, and it was almost the only thing that was discussed in the post-debate analyses. The most replayed moments included Marco Rubio tagging the mainstream media as a SuperPAC for the Democrats, and Ted Cruz lamenting that “The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don’t trust the media.” Consequently, the only takeaway from this debate was that Republicans hate the media, something everybody already knows.

Cruz went on to argue that the media treated Democrats differently, “fawning” over “Which of you is more handsome and wise?” That characterization of the Democratic debate is wholly inconsistent with reality. From the transcript of their CNN outing, moderator Anderson Cooper asked Democrats the following questions:

  • [To Clinton] Plenty of politicians evolve on issues, but even some Democrats believe you change your positions based on political expediency. […] Will you say anything to get elected?
  • [To Sanders] A Gallup poll says half the country would not put a socialist in the White House. You call yourself a democratic socialist. How can any kind of socialist win a general election in the United States?
  • [To O’Malley] Why should Americans trust you with the country when they see what’s going on in the city that you ran for more than seven years?
  • [To Clinton] Russia, they’re challenging the U.S. in Syria. According to U.S. intelligence, they’ve lied about who they’re bombing. You spearheaded the reset with Russia. Did you underestimate the Russians?

Those were not fawning, softball questions by any stretch of the imagination. But Republicans only retain information that comports with their preconceptions. Therefore, the liberal media is invariably portrayed as fiercely pro-Democrat and virulently anti-Republican. What’s more, the conservatives never apply the same standards to their benefactors at Fox News, to whom they still suck up despite the tough questioning they got when Fox hosted their debate.

One of the more shameful exchanges of the CNBC debate was when Becky Quick posed this query to Trump: “You had talked a little bit about Marco Rubio. I think you called him Mark Zuckerberg’s personal senator because he was in favor of the H1B.” Trump interrupted to insist that “I never said that. I never said that.” So Quick quickly apologized. The problem is that Trump actually says exactly that on his own website. When the debate came back from a commercial, Quick noted that fact but never challenged Trump’s denial. And to make matters worse, this segment of the debate was discussed on Fox News the next day and host Jon Scott falsely asserted that it was Quick who was wrong, saying that “it seems that the research was not necessarily done.” This was after he already knew that she was correct and had cited her source during the debate.

In addition to that, the debate featured a couple of statements that were highly significant, but are not likely to garner much attention. First, Carly Fiorina said that “There is no Constitutional role for the Federal Government to be setting minimum wages.” Apparently ignorant of the Commerce Clause, Fiorina boldly came out in favor of ditching the minimum wage. Secondly, Carl Quintanilla directed a question to Trump with the preface that the site of the shootings at Umpqua Community College in Oregon “was a gun-free zone,” Trump readily agreed. But not only is that untrue, there were actually people there with guns who did not engaged the shooter.

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

So aside from all of the misinformation, the inter-party hostilities, and the failings of the moderators, the one thing that will persist as the defining characteristic of this debate is the intense loathing that Republicans have for the media. It is that rancorous acrimony that will supplant any useful knowledge that might have been gained about the candidates. And since everyone already knew that Republicans hate the press, the whole affair was a complete waste of time.

Good Timing: Media Now Says Donald Trump Can Win, Just As His Polling Is Collapsing

When Donald Trump began jaw-flapping about becoming president a few months ago, the media quite properly regarded his delusions as a joke, and a bad one at that. Most were reluctant to take him seriously due to his utter ignorance of governing and the issues that impact the nation. Add to that his clumsy, racist, boorish rhetoric and childish insults, and why would anyone with a functioning brain stem consider him viable?

Fox News Donald Trump

News Corpse was among those ridiculing Trump and his lunatic, unachievable aspirations. I explained then that the only reason Trump was leading in the polls was that the field of candidates was so large that it diluted all of the opposing support between more than a dozen non-Trump candidates. I wrote that

“…there is a demographic in the Republican electorate that can best be described as batshit insane. And Trump has managed to secure a near monopoly on that addle-brained GOP faction. […] Trump’s confederacy of dunces is sufficient in numbers to rise above his rivals, so long as there’s a lot of them. That’s because when you divide the remaining Republicans who are not wacko-birds (h/t John McCain) among the fifteen other candidates, there aren’t enough of them left to surpass the Trump/crazy constituency. That does not mean that Trump has a commanding lead. It means that there are way too many players on the field diluting the results for each of them. As they whittle down to a more manageable number, the 82% of non-Trump supporters will disperse to other candidates who will then tower over his paltry flock.”

Nothing has substantively changed since then. Now, however, the political pundits that were dismissing Trump as the clown that he is, are beginning to warm up to the notion that he is electable. They generally propose that, despite their prior skepticism, the duration of his poll-leading candidacy requires them to reconsider and concede that he is a plausible contestant in the reality show of GOP politics. For example:

  • Joe Scarborough, MSNBC: The Republican establishment for the first time saying, off the record, this guy could win.
  • Alex Castellanos, GOP strategist: The odds of Trump’s success have increased and been validated in the past few weeks.
  • Brit Hume, Fox News: His nomination now becomes something everybody has to say is possible.
  • Ed Rollins, GOP strategist: Trump is a serious player for the nomination at this time.
  • Chris Wallace, Fox News: I am beginning to believe he could be elected president of the United States.

On Fox News’ MediaBuzz, host Howard Kurtz devoted a segment to the media’s new found faith in Trump’s viability with a graphic reading “Media admit Trump could win after months of being in denial.” First of all, the media aren’t “admitting” anything. They are altering their previously held position. And secondly, they were not in “denial” at the outset. They were uncharacteristically correct in assessing Trump as unserious.

The only problem with this rush to anointing The Donald’s campaign as realistic is that it comes just as his poll numbers are sinking like a stone. There have been several polls in the past week that show him trailing Ben Carson in early primary states, and one showing him behind Carson nationally (not that Carson should be taken seriously either). On top of that, a new poll shows that the Tea Party, whose dying remnants have morphed into Trumpers, has dropped to its lowest level of support ever recorded.

Leave it to the media to crumble and adopt a lazy analysis about an alleged Trump rise to legitimacy just he is being rejected in ever-growing numbers. All of the reasons for treating Trump’s candidacy like a farce headed by a fool are still in place. He still caps out at about a quarter of the GOP vote in a field that is still crowded with rivals. Since when is a candidate considered serious when 75% of those polled choose someone else?

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

The myopic view that suddenly Trump is worthy of being called plausible runs contrary to all the evidence available. He is still what he has always been – a joke who most Americans hate and who can’t corral anything near majority. There are only two places where the Plausible Trump Theory resonates: 1) in his own party where “seven in 10 Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters say Trump could win in November 2016 if he is nominated.” And 2) in the media that has been seduced by a hostile, immature, intellectually lightweight, bigoted, celebrity candidate. You think that their assessment of Trump has anything to do with their ratings?

How Fox News Proved That Hillary Clinton Won The Benghazi Games

The long awaited battle between Hillary Clinton and the Republican’s Committee to Politicize Benghazi is now in the history books. It was a marathon eleven hour affair that featured the top names in partisan propaganda as they tried in vain to wear down Clinton and force an error.

Trey Gowdy Hillary Clinton

The details are hardly relevant because even the committee’s chairman, Trey Gowdy, admitted that nothing new was learned from the inquisition. When asked by reporters what the hearing had achieved, he said that “In terms of her testimony? I don’t know that she testified that much differently today than she has the previous times she testified.”

In other words, this committee has been just as incapable of manufacturing a scandal as the seven other committees before it. And even though Gowdy, in his opening statement, vilified his fellow Republicans on prior committees by repeatedly maligning their efforts as not being “serious and thorough,” he was unable to achieve anything more than they did, by his own admission.

Meanwhile, Clinton held up impressively well for the entire hearing, even though she was the only person involved who had to be aware and engaged throughout. The committee members all got to rest between each of their five minute question periods, but Clinton had no such relief. Kinda puts into perspective Donald Trump’s wimpy whining about standing for a three hour debate where he would only be required to speak for about fifteen minutes.

But the real indication that this hearing was a total bust for the Republican scandal machine was that Fox News cut out long before it was over. Both CNN and MSNBC covered the eleven hour hearing wall-to-wall, but Fox News bailed after only seven hours, when they flipped back to their regularly scheduled programming (The Five). So they left out fully one-third of the proceedings. Do you think they would have done that if they thought that Clinton was bombing? Of course not. They were more worried that she looked strong, confident, knowledgeable, and (gasp) presidential. That was something they didn’t want their viewers exposed to, so the decision was made to ditch the live hearings and return to their panel of wingnut pundits on whom they could rely for continued Clinton bashing.

To underscore the significance of this editorial cowardice, we must remember that Fox News has always been the network most obsessed with Benghazi. They even celebrated their own reporting, and particularly their CEO Roger Ailes, for being the “driving force” pushing to “keep Benghazi alive.” After devoting that much effort to turn a tragedy into political theater, Fox wouldn’t even stick with the live broadcast of the headlining act.

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

What viewers who watched the whole session would come away with is that GOP inquisitors were mainly concerned with emails from Clinton friend Sidney Blumenthal (whose transcripts the GOP committee members voted not to release), and the administration’s references to an anti-Muslim video following the attacks in Benghazi. Both of those were purely political subjects and neither could possibly shed any light on how the attacks occurred or what could be done to prevent similar attacks in the future.

So Gowdy and his cohorts can cite at least one thing that this hearing succeeded in achieving: That Republican House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy was correct when he said that the committee’s purpose was to bring down Hillary Clinton. And they even failed on that score. Congratulations.

Fox News Propagandist Caught And Arrested, Charged With Fraud

Wayne Simmons has been a frequent guest on Fox News for many years, providing what they said was expert analysis of intelligence and military issues from an experienced professional. Fox often relied on his commentary to inform their audience about serious national security issues as they arose in the news. But as it turns out, Simmons had lied on resume to the federal government when seeking employment and contracts, and now he is under indictment for “major fraud against the United States, wire fraud, and making false statements to the government.”

Fox News

The FBI arrested Simmons and released a statement alleging his unlawful conduct, including misrepresenting his experience in the CIA and other intelligence services. From the FBI statement:

“According to the indictment, Simmons falsely claimed he worked as an “Outside Paramilitary Special Operations Officer” for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from 1973 to 2000, and used that false claim in an attempt to obtain government security clearances and work as a defense contractor, including at one point successfully getting deployed overseas as an intelligence advisor to senior military personnel. According to the indictment, Simmons also falsely claimed on national security forms that his prior arrests and criminal convictions were directly related to his supposed intelligence work for the CIA, and that he had previously held a top secret security clearance. The indictment also alleges that Simmons defrauded an individual victim out of approximately $125,000 in connection with a bogus real estate investment.”

Simmons’ appearances on Fox News were fairly routine bits of rightist propaganda, exactly the sort of thing you would expect to see on Fox. In one of his most recent bookings he was on “Your World with Neil Cavuto” where they had this paranoid exchange:

Simmons: We’ve got at least nineteen paramilitary Muslim training facilities in the United States. Are you kidding me? What are they gonna do, go hunt deer during deer season? No! They’re using paramilitary exercises to plan and execute these type of operations all over the United States. And when it happens it’ll just be you and I saying “I told you so.”
Cavuto: Well, I hope you’re wrong my friend, but you’ve been uncannily prescient on a lot of this stuff.

Simmons went on to assert that…

“We are in a global war against an Islamic jihad. Until they get rid of these ‘no-go zones,’ you go out and put razor wire around them, turn off the water, and catalog them as they come out.”

Simmons probably loved the WWII Japanese interment camps, too. Of course, there weren’t any “no-go zones” in the U.S., but his remarks were delivered shortly after another Fox News “expert,” Ryan Mauro, had made similar false assertions about no-go zones on Bill O’Reilly’s show. Simmons even mentioned Mauro’s claims in his discussion with Cavuto. Those same claims were later cited by a domestic terrorist who was arrested for plotting an attack against a community of peaceful Muslim-Americans in upstate New York.

And while we’re on the subject of no-go zones, yet another Fox “expert,” Steve Emerson, charged that they were rampant in Paris. For that the network was forced to retract the claim and apologize. And all of it was hilariously skewered by a French TV program. However, they never retracted or apologized for the claims that nearly got a Muslim-American community massacred.

Other noteworthy appearances on Fox News saw Simmons referring to Obama’s election as “the coronation of the boy king;” claiming that the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 had to be a sophisticated state sponsored attack; calling the Obama administration the worst administration this county will ever have known; saying that the best thing that could happen for this administration and State Department is that we are attacked because it takes all of the decision making away from Obama.

Really? The “best” thing that could happen is for us to be attacked? Sadly, that’s not the only time a Fox News guest suggested that. But perhaps the most ironic appearance Simmons made was on the November 15, 2007, episode of The Big Story with John Gibson and Heather Nauert. The segment was about a CIA/FBI agent that had just been found guilty of fraud and deception. Simmons said that …

“This has exposed the raw nerve, if you will, of a flaw in the background check, and without a background check, without knowing who we’re hiring, and who we are employing to protect our nation, we are in big, big trouble.”

No kidding, Sherlock! How Simmons could have the gall to comment on that matter knowing what he knew about himself is mind-boggling. It is the behavior of a sociopath. Keith Olbermann called it right when he made Simmons the Worst Person in the World.” way back in 2006 for using a hoax to justify government spying on American citizens.

What’s frightening about the revelation that Fox News was relying on an impostor to provide analysis of national security is that the phony analysis he provided may have been exactly what Fox News intended. That’s because Simmons was identified as a participant in the Pentagon Military Analyst Program – an initiative developed during the Bush administration to dispatch retired officers, and other alleged experts, to the media in order to push their agendas in Iraq and elsewhere. The program was revealed in a Pulitzer prize-winning article by David Barstow for the New York Times. Barstow wrote that…

“To the public, these men are members of a familiar fraternity, presented tens of thousands of times on television and radio as “military analysts” whose long service has equipped them to give authoritative and unfettered judgments about the most pressing issues of the post-Sept. 11 world.”

“Hidden behind that appearance of objectivity, though, is a Pentagon information apparatus that has used those analysts in a campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the administration’s wartime performance.”

“The effort, which began with the buildup to the Iraq war and continues to this day, has sought to exploit ideological and military allegiances, and also a powerful financial dynamic: Most of the analysts have ties to military contractors vested in the very war policies they are asked to assess on air.”

So Simmons was a covert asset in the Bush campaign to spread war propaganda. And he remained a Fox News regular long after Bush was gone. Now he’s been arrested as a fraud. In that regard he isn’t much different than anyone else at Fox News. Virtually their entire roster is engaged in the same partisan deception on behalf of an extremist right-wing agenda. They all tell the same lies and they all work hard to disinform the American people.

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

Now that one of their veteran liars has been caught, Fox News has not bothered to report on it at all. Which is not surprising. They surely don’t want people to know that one of their favorite commentators has been feeding them BS for years. Because once they do that, the rest of the dominoes will fall.

[Update:] Fox’s Bret Baier addressed the Simmons arrest on Special Report. In a thirty second segment he said…

“Government contractor and occasional Fox News guest Wayne Simmons has been charged with lying about his supposed career with the C.I.A. Prosecutors say Simmons broke the law by lying about his credentials on applications for consulting work. Simmons made appearances on Fox as a national security and terrorism expert. However, he was never employed by the channel and was never paid by Fox.”

Whether or not Simmons was on Fox’s payroll is irrelevant. He was a regular source of tainted information on serious subjects for which he pretended to be qualified. The glaring omission in Baier’s comment was that he did not apologize to viewers for repeatedly presenting a fraud on the air, nor did he officially retract anything that Simmons said. Baier seems to think the lack of a paycheck is absolution for engaging in disinformation. And it begs the question: If Fox wasn’t paying him, who was?

Headline Of The Year: Rupert Murdoch Is Deviant Scum (Rolling Stone)

Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi has penned a thought provoking article that examines the fading glory of one of the world’s most prominent media barons, Rupert Murdoch. He begins above the fold with a no-holds-barred headline declaring that Rupert Murdoch Is Deviant Scum.” And he has the reasoned analysis to back it up.

Murdoch Trump

Taibbi carefully constructs a case for how Murdoch is losing either his empire or his mind, or both. At the outset is the observation that his crown jewel, Fox News, is at risk of being strangled by its own monstrous creation, Donald Trump. He notes that Murdoch “must be petrified at the prospect of losing his hard-won viewership at the end of his life.” The public feuding that has been ongoing between Fox and Trump threatens to sap the network of its previously loyal viewer base. Trump’s followers are incensed by what they feel is unfair treatment of their superhero and have pledged to boycott the network. Or as Taibbi deliciously puts it…

“Donald Trump is the fallen angel in the Fox story, a traitor who’s trying to tempt away Murdoch’s lovingly nurtured stable of idiot viewers by denouncing their favorite ‘news’ network as a false conservative God.”

Taibbi proposes that Murdoch’s fear of mogul emasculation is the impetus for his ludicrous tweet extolling Ben Carson, another former Fox News contributor, as potentially “a real black President who can properly address the racial divide?” And who could be a better gauge of real blackness that old Rupert? [For the record, along with Trump and Carson, the current GOP field of candidates includes three more ex-Fox employees, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, and John Kasich.] But it’s Obama’s suspect blackness, in Murdoch’s view, that Taibbi focuses on. He notes that Fox’s standard profile of Obama is one of “a mongrel, a kind of Manchurian President, raised in madrassas and weaned on socialism, who hates white people and yearns to euthanize them.” Or when race was a part of the discussion, Obama was reduced to being a “secret street hood,” or a “skinny, ghetto crackhead.” Taibbi summarizes saying that…

“Rupert Murdoch has spent seven to eight years finding every conceivable way to say that Barack Obama isn’t one of us. The president is forever described as a kind of malevolent animal, unable to control his irrepressible urge to take and redistribute the white man’s property.”

The whole article is well worth the read. It contains rational insight, pertinent facts, and luminous prose. And I find it particularly relevant in light of an article I wrote three years ago positing that Murdoch was even then showing signs of losing it. On several pressing issues there were emerging stark difference between the powerful Murdoch of the past and the more impotent version of the present. On gun control, immigration, and climate change mitigation, all of which he viewed favorably, Murdoch’s views were contradicted by his Fox News subordinates. He was also being supplanted as the GOP kingmaker by his lieutenant Roger Ailes, CEO of Fox News. As I wrote at the time…

Politicians around the world were once obliged to pay their respects to the “Dirty Digger” if they hoped to succeed electorally. […] However, in recent months the Murdochian monarchy seems to have been sapped of its power. There has been none of the reverential genuflecting to the man whose anointment was once compulsory. There has been scant evidence of his presence in the political backrooms where influence is administered.

The usurpation of the Fox News agenda is obvious and disturbing. Roger Ailes is installing himself at the top of the pile in opposition to his boss on some of the most important issues of the day. This can only lead to trouble. Visceral, personal, gut-wrenching, back-stabbing, explosive trouble. In other words: FUN!

Suffice to say that it hasn’t gotten better for Murdoch since then. And Taibbi’s profile illustrates just how much his situation has deteriorated. He notes that Murdoch “senses his beloved audience of idiots drifting away.” It becomes a question of whether Murdoch is willing to sink as low as Trump in order to get them back. It’s a tough call, but if anyone can descend to the most putrid levels of human indecency it’s Rupert Murdoch – the man whose British newspaper hacked the phone of a murdered schoolgirl. Let Trump top that.

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