Republicans Have Fallen Out Of Love With Fox News – Thanks To Donald Trump

Hurricane Trump has been battering the Republican Party for more than a year now. The devastation it leaves behind is all too apparent as GOP candidates evacuate the low lands in a desperate attempt to avoid getting blown away. There is no precedent for the rush to safety that is taking place. Sixteen Republican senators refuse to endorse their party’s nominee for president. And pundits from across the conservative political spectrum – from the right to the far right – are renouncing Donald Trump and his inept campaign.

Megyn Kelly

Not satisfied with destroying the Republican Party, Trump can also take pride in demolishing the party’s PR division, Fox News. The BrandIndex survey regularly assesses major American commercial enterprises and ranks them according to their popularity with the public. It also breaks the findings out by political affiliation.

The most recent listing shows a precipitous decline by a former top performer. Fox News has fallen to a negative fifty amongst Republicans. As AdAge reports: “In 2014, Fox News was the brand 10th best-perceived by Republicans […] In 2015, Fox News slipped to No. 15.” For 2016, Fox News fell off a cliff dropping another thirty-five points to 50 below.

The most likely explanation for this involves the same destructive force that is roiling the GOP. Donald Trump was created by Fox and promoted throughout the election season. He received far more airtime and positive coverage than any other candidate. However, at the same time he was merciless in his criticism on those rare occasions when someone on Fox was less than adoring.

No one can forget the bitter feud that developed between Trump and Megyn Kelly after she had the audacity to ask him about some things he actually said. Trump later accused her of being overly harsh with him because of PMS (“Blood coming out of … wherever”). He then backed out of Fox’s broadcast of a GOP primary debate in order to avoid Kelly.

And that was just the beginning. Trump has spewed a steady stream of invective at the network that brought him to life. He said of 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.

Funny, but I can’t disagree with much of that. However, now that Trump is getting his ass handed to him by Hillary Clinton, his vitriol is accelerating. His protests that the election is rigged are neatly dovetailed with complaints that the media is rigged. And he doesn’t exclude Fox. Not surprisingly, his legions of glassy-eyed disciples are all too happy to obediently shun Fox News. They now consider the right-wing propagandists to be in cahoots with the liberal establishment. It’s all a big conspiracy.

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

The result is that the Fox News brand is becoming toxic to a certain segment of those who were once its core audience. The only question is whether they will come back to Fox after Clinton is inaugurated and begins confiscating their guns, forcing them to get gay-married, and have abortions under the new Sharia law.

Top 10 Things That PROVE That Fox News Is NOT A News Network

Last month Fox News celebrated its twentieth year of broadcasting blatantly biased propaganda on behalf of Republican partisans. They have reveled in advancing lies and disinformation that has led to unnecessary and illegal wars, economic meltdowns, and a rise in racism and hate crimes.

Fox News

However, there is one thing that they have utterly failed to do: gain credibility as a bona fide news network. Their reporting consistently distorts facts, if it bothers to address them at all. Their anchors mainly serve as props to introduce slanted analyses and shallow guests. And there is more evidence that the network, by design, was never intended to produce honest journalism. What follows are the top ten examples of that evidence proving, once and for all, that Fox News is not now, nor ever was, a news network:

  1. Fox frames their pseudo-news segments in the same melodramatic packaging that entertainment outlets use. Like most fiction, it is focused on conflict, scandal, mystery, and hyper-charged emotions including hero worship, fear, and always sex.
  2. Fox employs flashy graphics and attention-grabbing audio whooshes and gongs to decorate their reports that are presented as “ALERTS” regardless of the actual news value.
  3. Fox’s roster of hosts has more former beauty pageant contestants than journalists. And they aren’t shy about putting their “talent” in revealing clothes and camera angles. In fact, they demand it.
  4. Fox’s obsession with tabloid thrill-fiction like Benghazi, Obama’s birth certificate, and Clinton’s email, is the news equivalent of porn.
  5. Fox acts as a mouthpiece for the GOP. For instance, Megyn Kelly presented GOP talking points from a Republican National Committee memo as independently sourced news.
  6. Several Fox hosts openly support Trump. Sean Hannity endorsed him, turned over hours of his airtime, and appeared in his campaign commercial.
  7. By their own account Fox regards their news day as the hours between 9:00am to 4:00pm, and 6:00pm to 8:00pm. That’s nine hours. Therefore, the other fifteen hours (the majority) are NOT news. And that presumes that the hours they call “news” aren’t also infested with right-wing bias.
  8. Fox News caters to their audience that is overwhelmingly white, Republican, conservative, and virulently anti-Obama.
  9. Fox News PR has been creating and posting pro-Trump/anti-Clinton memes on Twitter. There are about three dozen so far.
  10. Finally, Roger Ailes, the now disgraced sexual harasser and former Fox News CEO, admitted that the network isn’t news.

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

This list could easily be expanded to twenty or thirty or four hundred examples of how Fox News debases journalism. But this collection is a pretty good representation of the perversion that Fox has made of the once respected profession. They dress up their programs like entertainment and market their hosts like celebrities. Then they run stories that stimulate their audience in a manner perfected by daytime soap operas. And by keeping their devotedly right-wing fans engaged with similarly conservative views, Fox has become their source for comforting affirmations disguised as entertainment.

UNBELIEVABLE: Trump Offers Serial Liar As His ‘Witness’ To Refute Sexual Assault Charges

Everyday there seem to be more women coming forward with credible stories that they were sexually assaulted by Donald Trump. In his defense he has resorted to maligning the accusers as liars and condemning the press for reporting their allegations. He even asserts that they must be lying because they aren’t attractive enough for him.

Donald Trump

Trump promised to provide proof that his accusers’ stories are false. He told followers at his rally that “We already have substantial evidence to dispute these lies, and it will be made public in an appropriate way and at an appropriate time – very soon.” However, the “proof” that he spoke of has turned out to be something less than credible. In fact, it’s downright preposterous.

Trump is citing a report by the New York Post (a Rupert Murdoch publication) that a witness has come forward to refute Jessica Leeds, who claims that Trump groped her on a plane. Anthony Gilberthorpe is an Englishman who says that he was on the same flight with Trump and Leeds, but saw none of what Leeds asserted. In fact, Gilberthorpe alleges that Leeds was the aggressor and that she confessed to him her desire to marry Trump.

However, Judd Legum of ThinkProgress did some digging on this claim and found it to be riddled with logical holes. Beginning with the fact that Gilberthorpe is 54 years old, which means that he was about eighteen at the time. The likelihood that a thirty-eight year old woman would confide this to an eighteen year old boy she didn’t know is a bit of a stretch. What’s more, Gilberthorpe has no explanation for why he was flying first-class on an American domestic flight. Neither does he have any evidence of it.

Furthermore, what Legum reports about Gilberthorpe’s past brushes with tabloid fame is most revealing:

“In 1987, for example, he told newspapers in England that he was engaged to fashion designer in California named Miss Leah Bergdorf-Hunt. ‘Both our families are delighted,’ he told The Gloucester Express. It was later revealed that he was not engaged. Also there was no Miss Bergdorf-Hunt. He invented the whole thing.”

And that:

Gilberthorpe also contends that, as a young man, he was ‘paid to recruit underage rent boys for orgies attended by ministers from Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet.’ There is no evidence to support his salacious claims.

Another accomplice in this deception is Fox News and its related enterprises. The New York Post, which published the first Gilberthorpe story, is a corporate cousin to Fox News. Fox News also had its own story on Gilberthorpe. And Fox’s website, Fox Nation, plastered the Post’s story to the top of their home page. It was a coordinated effort to advance the Gilberthorpe mythology across the Fox news platforms. And in none of these accounts were the facts about Gilberthorpe’s past reported, nor his motivations explored.

It’s apparent that Trump and Fox News are working cooperatively to promote an alleged witness with serious credibility problems. In conjunction with that they are seeking to disparage the women who have had the courage to come forward. No wonder women are often reluctant to tell their stories. When they do they are assaulted again with insults and attacks on their reputation.

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

As for Trump, he is resting his defense on the word of a publicity-hungry, pathological liar. Well, at least they have something in common. But the desperation that this shows on Trump’s part only makes his denials less believable. Either he and his campaign did nothing to vet Gilberthorpe’s story, or they were complicit with his fabrications. We report, you decide.

Hate Mongering Fox ‘News’ Anchor Tweets Trump Victim’s Home Address And Phone

The continuing saga of Donald Trump’s sexually predatory behavior is emboldening more victims to come forward with harrowing tales. Consequently, Trump’s apologists in the media are taking bolder steps to excuse his indefensible misogyny. When Fox isn’t maligning them as liars, they are insulting them as too ugly to assault. This is precisely what to expect from a network that was founded and run for twenty years by Roger Ailes. Ailes, you recall, was forced to resign this year after numerous accusations of sexual harassment by his staff and others.

Lou Dobbs

Now we may have a new low from Fox’s Lou Dobbs. He is the host of a prime access program on the Fox Business Network. Yesterday Dobbs re-tweeted the address and phone number of Jessica Leeds, one of Trump’s groping victims. Ironically, the text of his tweet said:

“This is the Dirtiest Campaign in our History: #MAGA #TrumpPence16 #AmericaFirst”

— Lou Dobbs (@LouDobbs) October 13, 2016

Indeed it is. Mainly due to cretins like Dobbs whose irresponsible actions can literally endanger the lives of innocent people. The tweet to which Dobbs linked has since been deleted, but not before it was re-tweeted over 800 times. Dobbs own Twitter account has more than 799,000 followers.

The tweet that contained Ms. Leeds’ personal information was filled with false accusations. It asserted that she was connected to the Clinton Foundation and shared the same phone number. Neither of which were true. Which raises the question: Why would a prominent Fox host attest to the authenticity of something so easily proven to be false? The answer, of course, is that this is the standard practice for news gathering by Fox News. Accuracy is never as important as partisan propaganda.

According to Talking Points Memo, Dobbs later tweeted an apology saying:

My Retweet,My Mistake,My Apology to Jessica Leeds Lou Dobbs tweets Trump accuser’s address and phone # #MAGA #Dobbs

— Lou Dobbs (@LouDobbs) October 13, 2016

However, that “apology” tweet has also been deleted. What’s more, the sincerity of an apology in which Dobbs includes Trump’s campaign slogan #MAGA (Make America Great Again) has got to be questioned. At the very least it’s tone deaf and insensitive to promote the accuser while pretending to apologize to his victim.

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

Dobbs is purported to be a financial expert on Fox, but somewhere along the way he assumed the role of an immigrant basher. He is also a proponent of the racist notion that all terrorists are Muslim. And to sweeten the pot, Dobbs joined the Birther Brigade by repeatedly demanding that President Obama produce his “real” birth certificate. In light of that, his “accidental” tweeting yesterday just seems like business as usual for the business network host. Anything that is harmful to Democrats or liberals is fair game, whether or not it’s true. And any defense of conservatives is acceptable, no matter who it hurts.

That Time Fox News Punished An Analyst For Calling Obama A P*ssy

The video that revealed that Donald Trump is a repulsive, misogynistic, sexual predator has upended his campaign. While many people already knew this, the visual evidence has caused some Republicans (but not nearly enough) to finally accept the obvious and repudiate their nominee. The spectacle of having a major party candidate talk about “grabbing the pussy” of random women at will is as nauseating as it is unprecedented.

For Fox News however, the profane language has been made the focus of their coverage. That isn’t nearly as disgusting as the behavior it described, but it’s Fox’s way of diminishing the episode on Trump’s behalf. The problem for Fox is that even the language was considered indefensible last December when their military analyst, Ralph Peters, used it to insult President Obama. Apparently this language is unacceptable for Fox News, but just fine for the presidency. This is what happened at that time and the punishment dealt out.

Fox News Ralph Peters

December 7, 2015

Foul-Mouthed Fox News Obama-Hater Is Given Time-Out By Puppet/Anchor

The seething hatred of President Obama by Fox News came gushing out this morning by one of the network’s most notorious hatchet men. Lt. Col Ralph Peters (whose name translates to “vomiting penises” in Slanglish) appeared on Stuart Varney’s Fox Business program to discuss/bash Obama’s Oval Office speech on terrorism last night.

Peters was virtually spitting teeth (video below) as he was unable to control his most primitive tendencies. In an otherwise mundane response to Varney’s inquiry as to “What was your commentary as the President’s speech unfolded?” Peters launched into a profane rant that barely addressed anything about the speech itself.

Peters: Well, first of all, he keeps speaking about “We can’t give in to our fears. Don’t be afraid.” Look Mr. President, we’re not afraid. [shouting] We’re angry. We’re pissed off. We’re furious. We want you to react. We want you to do something. You’re afraid. I mean this guy is such a total pussy it’s stunning.

Really? The President who presided over the capture and execution of Osama Bin Laden; who as Commander-in-Chief as ordered more than 8,000 airstrikes against ISIS; whose military missions have dropped more than 20,000 bombs on enemy targets; who has killed thousands of ISIS fighters, including many of its leaders; this president is a pussy? What Peters, and every right-winger, are too ignorant to acknowledge is that Obama has been executing a plan that has had much success. Yet his critics keep blathering about irrelevancies. Is it because he refuses to send more Americans onto a battlefield where they would become sitting ducks for a guerrilla insurgency? Or because he expects the people of the region to take responsibility for the ground war against an enemy that is murdering them?

Peters goes on to lambaste Obama in the fashion that birthers have long used to “otherize” him as an alien creature saying that “The American people, whom he does not know in any sort of intimate manner,” want action. He then rattles off s a series of assertions that the President cares more about our enemies than ourselves. Eventually, Varney steps in to daintily scold Peters for his potty mouth.

Varney: I can tell you are super-angry, and I asked you what your reaction was, but I gotta call you, you can’t use language like that on the program. OK. I’m Sorry.

He’s sorry? What for? Peters comes completely unglued with an offensive rant and Varney apologizes for chastising him, while excusing the outburst due to Peters’ anger. What makes this even more ridiculous is that Varney allows Peters to continue for a bit and then…

Varney: Ralph, I’m sorry. I’ve got to interrupt again. You used some very strong language there about the President of the United States, and I’m the anchor of Varney & Co. and I have to ask you, either you should apologize for that or take it back.

Peters chose only to apologize. But you have to wonder what happened in between Varney’s first redress of the foul language and his subsequent request for an apology. It seems likely that someone in the control room pulling Varney’s strings gave him a directive to force a more formal atonement. While Fox’s audience likely shares Peters’ crude disgust for all things Obama, the network may have to tread lightly so as not to offend their glassy-eyed, Christianist viewers.

For the record, Peters has proven to be one of the most repugnant individuals to ever appear on Fox News (and that’s saying something). The Ralph Peters Story is one of truly nauseating notions that include: advocating military strikes on the American media; that there aren’t enough civilian casualties in war; that the U.S. should be more like ISIS; that the Taliban should have been allowed to execute an American soldier; and many more horrendous pronouncements. Consequently, this frothing tirade is not particularly surprising. And it is typical of the irrational loathing that is broadcast on Fox News every day.

Fox News later issued a press release stating that Peters has been suspended for two weeks due to his “inappropriate and unacceptable” comments.

This is hardly an isolated event. On another occasion Fox News posted an article on their Fox Nation website with the headline “Press Pussies Soft On Obama.” And Donald Trump called Ted Cruz a “pussy” at one of his rallies. But you can count on Fox to adjust their outrage meter so that it goes off the scale when they are afraid of offending their wingnut audience, but barely registers when it might harm their candidate for president. It’s called hypocrisy, and Fox has got it down to a science.

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

LOCK HER UP: Fox News Stands Alone With Praise For Aspiring Dictator Donald Trump

The second presidential debate is now a part of history, and that’s not just a figure of speech. In a campaign that has set ugly precedents and breached common standards of decency from its inception, Donald Trump has once again lowered the bar. He has let his inner dictator emerge in full view of millions of viewers and citizens.

Donald Trump Hillary Clinton

During a debate wherein Trump engaged in free-range falsification of reality, there was one moment that stood out. It was an exchange in which Trump took the extraordinary position that as president he would instruct his Attorney General to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton.

TRUMP: “I didn’t think I’d say this but I’m going to say it, and I hate to say it, but if I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation.
CLINTON: It’s just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law of our country.
TRUMP: Because you’d be in jail.

The “situation” to which Trump referred has to do with Clinton’s emails and the private server she used. Never mind that an extensive investigation was already completed by the FBI. While they found some room for criticism, they concluded that there were no actionable violations of the law.

Trump, however, doesn’t care about the law as evidenced by his prejudgment to jail Clinton before any investigation or trial. It’s a position that stands in stark contrast to every legal precept in a democracy. Former Attorney General Eric Holder noted that in a statement saying “In the USA we do not threaten to jail political opponents.” George Bush’s press secretary Ari Fleischer agreed saying that “Winning candidates don’t threaten to put opponents in jail. […] Trump is wrong on this.”

For the most part the media recognized the aberrant legal analysis that Trump was proposing. Like much of what he says on any subject, he demonstrated his pitiful lack of knowledge or even basic understanding. Here are a few examples of how the press views Trump’s ludicrous threat.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN: We got an excellent moment right now to discuss something I’ve never heard in any of these debates before between two presidential candidates […] One candidate says not only is he going to put forward a special prosecutor to investigate his rival, but he’s going to put her in jail if he’s elected president of the United States. That’s pretty extraordinary.

DANA BASH, CNN: What makes this country different from countries with dictators in Africa or Stalin or Hitler or any of those countries with dictators and totalitarian leaders is that when they took over, they put their opponents in jail.

JOY REID, MSNBC: We need to not speed past the point that an American candidate for president threatened to jail his political opponent. […] This happens in Malaysia, this happens in Uganda. This does not happen in the United States of America.

VAN JONES, CNN: A line was crossed that I don’t know has been crossed in my lifetime, maybe ever. He threatened to jail his opponent. […] He threatened to jail Hillary Clinton if he became president of the United States. That is something that I think is a new low in American democracy.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: Donald Trump also said, in one of the most provocative comments of the evening, he said that if he was president, he would jail his political opponent. He would put Hillary Clinton in jail. That is the sort of thing that we usually decry in other countries, in authoritarian countries.

PAUL KRUGMAN: Let’s be clear: a candidate for president promised to put his opponent in jail if he wins. Everything else is secondary.

JAKE HOROWITZ, MIC: A few politicians who have jailed their political opponents: Putin, Erdogan, Chavez, Mugabe, Pinochet. Noriega.

DAVID FRUM, speechwriter for George Bush: Who would consent to serve as Attorney General to a president who believed he could direct prosecutions of his political opponents?

By contrast, Fox News presented a somewhat different perspective. Their primetime star Bill O’Reilly gushed that “That’s the smartest thing he did all night because that, just that, coalesced his base back together.” And contributor Scott Brown said that “It was the line of obviously, I think, the election, the debate process. […] it was a home run. I thought he won the debate.” Nowhere on the “fair and balanced” Fox News was there a contrary opinion like that expressed by Clinton’s campaign spokesman Brian Fallon:

“That is the comment of a dictator that you expect to hear in a banana republic — the idea of jailing your political opponents.”

And that pretty much sums it up. Trump has presented himself as a narcissistic authoritarian from the outset of his campaign. His racist proposals to ban immigrants on the basis of religion; his incitement of violence toward protesters; his proclamations that “I alone” can defeat ISIS, or reform the tax code, or repeal ObamaCare, or end street violence. These are all indications of Trump’s belief that as president he can act unilaterally and impose his will the nation. And let’s not forget his open hostility to the media upon whom he promised to seek revenge.

These are the thoughts and actions of a budding tyrant. Anyone who can contemplate putting Trump at the head of the U.S. government and military is playing with fire. Trump has shown us who he is, and it’s a frightening picture of autocratic oppression. If he were to become president, Hillary Clinton would not be the only opponent he would throw in his gulag. Guantanamo would be packed with his critics and any random liberals who offend him.

Racist Fox News Stooge Jesse Watters Gets SCORCHED By The Daily Show (VIDEO)

Generally when a rabidly bigoted Fox News host makes headlines it’s safe to guess that the subject is Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity. However, a lesser known figure is challenging the network’s chumpians for dipshit supremacy.

Jesse Watters

Jesse Watters is a producer for The O’Reilly Factor and hosts his own Watters World that purports to be funny. He’s also the closeted editor of the ultra-conservative and lie-riddled Fox Nation website (see Fox Nation vs. Reality). His exploits have drawn some attention in the past primarily for their rank stupidity. Stephen Colbert roasted Watters deliciously on his old Colbert Report.

This week Watters outdid himself with a blatantly racist trip to New York’s Chinatown (video below). He managed to fire off every offensive stereotype in the book. The repulsive segment has been universally condemned by Asian-American groups and journalists. Watters issued the standard non-apology apology blaming those who were offended for their own pain.

Well, Watters isn’t getting off that easy. Daily Show correspondent Ronnie Chieng saw the piece and had a little something to say about it. He got the righteous rant rolling by responding to a question that Watters asked a Chinatown resident. The question: “Is this the year of the dragon?” Chieng’s reply: “No, it’s the year of “Go F*ck Yourself!” That set the stage for the rest of the segment. Chieng played a few clips from the piece with a look that melded outrage and confusion leading to this comment:

“What the hell was that? How was that on the news? In fact, how was that even on TV? Where the (bleep) did this come from? I mean, everyone’s been wondering who’ll be the target of 2016’s worst racism. I didn’t even know Asians were in the running.”

Chieng chastised Watters for taking advantage of innocent people and making them look foolish for not responding to him. Of course the reason for their silence was that he deliberately harassed people who didn’t speak English. Watters was ridiculing people (mostly seniors) who were unable to defend themselves. So Chieng gave him a taste of his own medicine. In a forum where Watters could not respond, Chieng asked “Hey douchebag, why do you look like a guy who carries around a bag of roofies just in case?” And it just gets worse from there – much worse.

The bigotry that is so commonplace on Fox News in their reporting has also crept into their alleged comedy. And the hate-filled campaign of Donald Trump was hatched and nurtured on the network. Their 99 percent white audience could hardly care less about disparaging others. So expect more of the same sort of prejudice and insults in the future from Fox News. Not to mention their home-brew hate machine, Donald Trump.

Right-Wingers Freak Out Over Claim That Obama is ‘Banning’ Fox News

Oh Noes! The Obamabots are at it again. Remember when they confiscated all of our guns, set up concentration camps, and handed Alabama over to ISIS? Well now they have a new plot to outlaw free speech and suppress the patriots at Fox News.

Fox News

The conservative InterTubes are afire with paranoid panic over remarks by a member of the Federal Election Commission. Democratic commissioner Ellen Weintraub wrote a memorandum to her colleagues with the subject “Revised Proposal to Launch Rulemaking to Ensure that U.S. Political Spending is Free from Foreign Influence.” To anyone not suffering from Obama Derangement Syndrome, this would appear to be responsible election oversight. Which is the mission of the FEC. However, to hysterical right-wingers this is an assault on free speech. The offending paragraph from the memo simply asks:

“Given the ban on direct or indirect foreign national spending in U.S. elections. should any limits be imposed on corporate spending based on the percentage of the corporation’s foreign ownership?”

It is already illegal for foreign nationals and corporations to donate to U.S. candidates and political referendums. The reasons are obvious. Nobody wants hostile nations to be able to interfere with American elections. Russia or China should not have the ability to plant their operatives in our Congress. The rulemaking proposal by Weintraub is only meant to close any loopholes and to secure the integrity of our political system. The memo states exactly that:

“The FEC needs to address the real threat that foreign individuals, corporations, or governments may seek to manipulate our elections through domestic corporations they own or control. Given everything we have learned this year. it blinks reality to suggest that that there is no risk of foreign nationals taking advantage of current loopholes to intercede invisibly in American elections. This is a risk no member of the Federal Election Commission should be willing to tolerate.”

This could not be more clear cut. Weintraub is plainly seeking to prevent our enemies from corrupting our elections. So leave it to Fox News to create a controversy where none would otherwise exist. To that end, the hosts of Fox & Friends barreled headlong into the phony squabble with Brian Kilmeade introducing senior correspondent Ed Henry:

Kilmeade: Oh, in case we didn’t mention it, Fox News could be banned from covering politics. That is if Democrats on the Federal Election Committee (sic) get their way.
Henry: Democrats on the Federal Election Commission targeting Fox and other media companies who have even a tiny bit of foreign ownership, saying they should not be allowed to engage in any ‘electioneering communication.’ This could be used to muzzle free speech and it was offered by a Democratic commissioner on the FEC, Ellen Weintraub.

The segment went on to assert that the commission was enacting a regulation that “could ban Fox and others from endorsing or covering” politics. Although there is nothing in the memo that even alludes to that. In fact, the memo never even mentions the media. What’s more, it isn’t enacting anything, it is merely opening a dialog. And the dialog is wholly focused on corporations that are owned by foreign nationals or governments. The actions addressed are strictly identified as electioneering, not reporting, endorsing, or any other function of journalism. Weintrab even reiterated that in an official statement:

Did that ease the irrational fears of the conservative outrage machine? Of course not. On the Internet there were frantic tweets from the usual fringy suspects. In addition, the Media Research Center (the ultra-right watchdog group and home of Newsbusters) published an article with a headline that shrieked “FEC Attempting to Kill Fox News, WSJ, NY Post Political Coverage.” Their lede was a false and feverish declaration that “The propaganda machine inside the federal government is in full swing to squelch any conservatives or dissenting views.”

As is apparent from the original memo and the appended affirmation, none of that is true. It’s just another fit of hysteria from right-wing conspiracy kooks. These are the same folks who thought that military exercises in Texas were a prelude to invasion. They worried that Obama was deliberately infecting America with Ebola. Before long these fruitcakes will be clamoring for Hillary Clinton’s impeachment due to her covert lizard identity. In the meantime, Fox & Friends’ Ainsley Earhardt is showing her grit by standing up to the infidels:

“If they want the government to control the media then they can move to North Korea, or Russia, or China. It’s not happening here. No one’s telling us what we can and can’t say.”

Well, no one except for the Fox News executives and the Republican National Committee. It is no accident that there is a uniformity of opinion on Fox. They are presently serving as the Trump PR office. And this latest imaginary atrocity will just be another of their excuses after they lose in November.

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

UPDATE: The real threat to freedom of the press is Donald Trump:

“Mr. Trump, especially given the positions he’s staked out … would represent a really significant threat to the tradition of an independent free press in the United States,” says David Barstow of The New York Times.

“I think Donald Trump represents a clear and present danger to the liberties of the people, to the idea of the First Amendment,” agrees David Cay Johnston, now a columnist for The Daily Beast.

SNL’s Trump Mockery Causes Fox News Clowns To Freakout: ‘Should Comedy Shows Take On Politics’?

There has been a meme circulating around the InterTubes for some time saying that “I get my news from Comedy Central and my comedy from Fox News.” It’s a concise way of articulating the reality that programs like The Daily Show are far more reliable sources for information than Bill O’Reilly or Fox & Friends. Expanding on that theme, Fox & Friends did a segment this weekend that asked perhaps the dumbest question of the year: Should comedy shows take on politics?

Fox News

Are they Kidding? Politics has been a staple of comedy for centuries. The desire to mock our governments and leaders is pretty much an element of being human. But from Fox’s point of view it’s easy to understand their comic anxiety. First of all, they are terrible at it. Second of all, they are thin-skinned whiny babies who can’t take a joke. The F&F segment was a preemptive strike against last night’s Saturday Night Live season debut featuring Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump.

[What follows is a reprise of an article first published last year]
But something that seems to have been developing without much notice is that Fox News is actively reshaping their programming to be more like an actual comedy network. Alone among cable news broadcasters, Fox News is airing actual comedy shows. Already on the schedule is their late night entry Red Eye. Earlier this year they premiered The Greg Gutfeld Show, spinning off the former Red Eye host. And they just recently introduced a new show starring Bill O’Reilly stalker/producer and Fox Nation editor, Jesse Watters, that will expand on his Watters’ World segments from The O’Reilly Factor. [See this epic smackdown of Watters by Steven Colbert]

Setting aside the fact that there is scarce evidence of actual humor in any of these programs, what is interesting is that Fox News is investing so much of their airtime in a form of entertainment that literally makes a mockery of their pretense to being journalists. And considering their epic failure in this genre back in 2007, the execrable “Half-Hour News Hour,” they have some measure of courage to attempt it again. For a network that whines so often about not being taken seriously as reporters, this trend will do little to enhance their already tattered reputation.

Making matters worse is the fact that Fox News has been so fiercely derisive of comedy programs that deign to direct their barbs at news subjects. Over many years there has been a constant drumbeat of outrage from Fox aimed at comedians whom they regard as unqualified to have worthwhile opinions on the news or the talent to find humor in it.

And no one has taken more abuse from Fox than Jon Stewart. Sean Hannity called him “a sanctimonious jackass.” Megyn Kelly said that “He was not a force for good.” Bill O’Reilly labeled him “a key component of left-wing television.” O’Reilly also went after Stewart’s audience saying that he has “stoned slackers watching your dopey show every night.” And this anti-Stewart doctrine comes straight from the top. Fox News CEO Roger Ailes publicly scolded Stewart saying that “He hates conservatives. He’s crazy.”

Fox News generally demeans anyone in the entertainment field who speaks out about politics, unless it’s Ted Nugent or Dennis Miller, but then it’s a stretch describing them as entertaining. If George Clooney or Sarah Silverman exercise their rights as citizens, Fox News considers it an abomination and unleashes a rancid stream of unreserved hostility. Fox contributor Laura Ingraham even wrote a book titled Shut Up and Sing,” to advocate for silencing show biz folk who want to participate in American democracy.

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

So after disparaging entertainers, and especially comedians, for engaging in the centuries old art of satire, it is rather odd to find Fox News devoting a significant amount of time and money to doing what they hate so many others for doing. But while it is common for comedians to take on political topics, it is unheard of for news networks to commit whole programs to comedy. Certainly a news network can interview a comic or report on a humorous news story, but Fox has just launched their third comedy show. And they still want people to take them seriously as journalists? Well, that ship has sailed. If anything, Fox could continue to debut new comedy programs until they fill the schedule. Then, at least, people will be laughing at Fox for the right reasons.

Fox News Is Still Using ‘Nonsense’ Polls Despite Memo Warning Not To

Within hours of the conclusion of the Clinton/Trump debate Donald Trump was touting his “triumph” over Hillary Clinton. Although he would have been bragging even if he had lapsed into Mickey Mouse impressions doing sieg heil salutes.

Fox News Donald Trump

The main problem with Trump’s victory lap is that it was based solely on the result of unscientific online polls. These are polls that invite web users to cast votes, but are not managed to produce a representative sample of the electorate. Anyone who feels like it can cast a vote and, in many cases, as many votes as they want. There are even reports that devoted StormTrumpers organized online armies to game the polls. That’s why they are generally dismissed as being “for entertainment purposes only” and no professional takes them seriously.

Consequently, the pathologically narcissistic Trump believes they are proof of his universal appeal to a nation that ravenously adores him. He posted at least twelve tweets promoting his supremacy in these bogus polls, beginning with this one:

Note: The CNN poll, which he lost bigly, was the only one that adheres to scientific polling standards. The other polls appeared on a variety of websites that use them to engage readers. They include Drudge, Breitbart (a wholly owned subsidiary of the Trump campaign), Time, Fortune, CNBC, and more. Trump also boasted about his win on the CBS post-debate poll – which was a true achievement since CBS didn’t run a post-debate poll.

Now, among the critics of these silly surveys is Fox News. A leaked memo from Dana Blanton, VP of public opinion research for the network, had a warning for her colleagues. She said that such unscientific online polls “do not meet our editorial standards.” The first question this raises is: Fox News has editorial standards? Blanton wrote that:

“News networks and other organizations go to great effort and rigor to conduct scientific polls — for good reason. They know quick vote items posted on the web are nonsense, not true measures of public opinion.”

Apparently that missive was not sufficient for certain Fox News hosts. After the memo went out Sean Hannity continued to cite online polls as evidence of Trump’s huuuge win over Clinton. It was Hannity that provided Trump with his list of polls that included the non-existent one from CBS. Then this morning the “Curvy Couch” potatoes at Fox & Friends did the same. That earned them a thank you tweet from The Donald:

Additionally, A headline on the Fox News website heralded the phony polling saying that “Online votes declare Trump debate winner, despite media consensus for Clinton.” The article did concede that the online polls were not scientific, but it also implied that they are somehow better than professionally conducted polls. Fox argued that the number of votes cast was an indicator of their value as predictors of public opinion. Never mind that many of those votes are fakes and/or duplicates, or that the sample is self-selected.

On Fox’s Your World with Neil Cavuto, the host did a segment discussing the online polls with an obvious preference for their pro-Trump results. An on-screen graphic read “Snap Polls Suggest Disconnect Between Public And Mainstream Media Over Who Won Debate.” But they only suggest that to people willing to believe that the snap polls have any legitimacy. Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich made the same argument elevating pro-Trump online polls saying that:

“It is worth looking at a list of online polls to understand the gap between the elites and the vast majority of Americans. [… and how] willfully out of touch and dishonest the Intellectual Yet Idiot class is.”

No, it is not useful to look at sham polls. Since they are nonsense, they tell us nothing about alleged gaps between elites and other Americans. However, arguing that they are superior does show how willfully out of touch and dishonest Gingrich, Fox, et al are.

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

There is something else we learn from Fox News continuing to push fake polls even after they are notified of their fakeness. It tells us is that the alleged editorial standards at Fox News are also “for entertainment purposes only.” Blanton’s memo seems to have had no effect on the propagandists bent on promoting Trump. It’s further proof that Fox has fully transformed into the Trump News Network. And nothing is going to interfere with their politically partisan mission.