The Trump Cult Marches On As His Disciples Obey Their Master’s Call

The latest round of Republican primaries has returned the results that pretty much everyone expected. Donald Trump prevailed in the northeast corridor over his hapless GOP rivals who are only competing to challenge Trump at an open convention in July. The fact that Trump continues to pull out victories like this is evidence of how low the Republican Party has sunk into blind obedience to the overlord of reality TV celebrity worship. It’s behavior that they have learned faithfully from being loyal devotees of Fox News for so many years.

Fox Nation vs. Reality

Trump’s disciples don’t care that he is a flagrant racist who has demonstrated his prejudice against African-Americans, Latinos, Muslims, and women. They aren’t put off by his promises to commit war crimes against women and children in Syria and Iraq. They let slide that he isn’t bothered by being compared to Hitler. And no matter how much he lies they just brush it off and keep applauding like slap-happy seals (See the Trump Bullshitopedia) They even applaud when he insults them as mindless baboons or threatens to incite riots.

It is that sort of unquestioning devotion that forms the foundation of every successful cult. And those components were built into Fox News from its inception. In an effort to document this phenomenon, News Corpse published a collection of articles that highlighted the deception, propaganda, and outright lies disseminated by the Fox News community website, Fox Nation. The second volume of this series was dubbed “Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult Of Ignorance.” Every chapter is fully verified by reputable sources and exposes the website for its shameful dishonesty and lack of ethics. It reveals the concerted effort by wealthy and powerful media fabulists that is aimed at crippling the intelligence of the willfully dimwitted. It is a great resource for proving to your Fox-deluded friends and family what a den of deceit it is. Here is an excerpt from the introduction:

“Since then Fox Nation has evolved into an even more sheltered environment that has taken on many characteristics of culthood. It is a pattern they adopted from their parent, Fox News, where the slogan “fair and balanced” was an implicit condemnation of all other news sources as being neither. Recognizing that the prime directive of a cult is to convince your followers that your version of reality is the only true version and that all others are agents of deception, Fox segregated their disciples to prevent them from being contaminated by impure thoughts, otherwise known as facts.”

Stay to to News Corpse for more insights into the media and its incestuous intersection with politics. Be sure to like us on Facebook. And here is where you can get your copy of Fox Nation vs. Reality:

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


Watch: How The Media Is Falling For Donald Trump’s Pretend Presidential Persona

Last February I wrote an article that detailed the gross perversion of presidential demeanor exhibited by Donald Trump. The article began by stating that…

“It is safe to say that Donald Trump is the most profane, classless, cretin who ever ran for president. He is an embarrassment to his party and to the nation. His remedial English, hollow policy pronouncements, and incessant boasting, are cartoonish in nature. Even Fox News mogul, Rupert Murdoch, agreed when he tweeted ‘When is Donald Trump going to stop embarrassing his friends, let alone the whole country?’

Donald Trump

Trump’s own answer to that question came during a February interview on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace when he offered the vague response, “Pretty soon.” Now, following the New York primary, the media appears ready to accept that Trump is changing his tune and preparing to put on a show by acting presidential. The key word there is “acting.” Trump does not believe that a presidential bearing is a component of one’s character. Rather it is a role one plays like a contestant on a reality TV show.

The naivete of the media’s new appraisal of Trump’s allegedly softer tone is based solely on his victory speech in New York last night. Indeed the speech was shorter than the windy, rambling marathons that he usually makes people suffer through, and it was devoid of the standard insults that routinely pepper his tantrums on the stump. Consequently, the media declared that there has been a major attitude adjustment by Trump.

There is something of a Stepford quality to the uniformity of opinion by so many reporters after a single speech that had no visible elements of newsworthiness. Nevertheless, the lock-step march of the media to advance a false narrative that Trump is suddenly a composed and diplomatic figure is in full swing. Never mind that today, just a few hours after the New York speech, Trump was in Indiana mouthing off about “Lyin’ Ted” Cruz and “Crooked Hillary” Clinton (he said nothing about “Dogshit Donald” Trump). He couldn’t even go twenty-fours without reverting to his revolting self.

Donald Trump is a vulgarian by birth. His parents shipped him off to military school in his youth because they couldn’t cope with his belligerent behavior. He grew up to become a bully who uses lies and threats to achieve his selfish goals. He isn’t going to become a diplomat overnight by virtue of his herculean will.

For supposedly intelligent and skeptical journalists to believe that Trump could stop being what he has been his whole life is a sad testament to the state of the media. They would not only have to dismiss his entire biographical history, but also what they’ve seen with their own eyes for the past ten months. They need to realize that, even if Trump behaves like a princess at high tea for the next few months, it is just an act and that he will revert to form when he no longer needs to pretend.

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

It is bad enough that there are voters who are so delusional that they can’t see through Trump’s deceit and hypocrisy, but the media, who have been among the targets of Trump’s hostility, should know better and be better prepared to present a realistic analysis of the political environment. So the question is: After rushing to air commentaries about Trump’s alleged affability following the speech in New York, will they correct the record following his bile-filled speech in Indiana? Don’t hold your breath. The media has already admitted that ratings are more important than journalistic ethics or the welfare of the nation. They aren’t going to abandon that stance to be honest about the fact that Trump has never been presidential, and he never will be.

Extra Bonus: See how Ralph Wiggum of the Simpsons predicted the Trump campaign back in 2008.

Morning Joe, Fox News, And The Curse Of Dumb Glenn Beck Comparisons

There is nothing more embarrassing than a public figure so desperate for attention that he uncorks painfully shallow op-eds that only demonstrate why he gets so little attention. That’s the situation that MSNBC’s Morning Joe Scarborough finds himself in now after he penned a column for the Washington Post with unsolicited advice for Megyn Kelly of Fox News. The column is headlined “Megyn Kelly, Fox News, and the Curse of Glenn Beck.”

Morning Joe Scarborough

Scarborough’s column purported to be a stab at career guidance for Kelly, Fox’s trending primetime star anchor. He made note of her recent comments regarding her future with Fox News. Kelly said that, while she is happy at Fox, it also causes “brain damage,” and that she has not decided what she will do when her current contract expires.

Scarborough thinks that Kelly would be making a terrible mistake were she to leave Fox News, the network that built her into a household name for news junkies. He may be right, but not for the ludicrous reason he floated:

“If Kelly wants to leave Fox News for family reasons, good for her. But if Kelly is thinking of escaping Roger Ailes and Fox News because she thinks she has outgrown the man and his star-making machinery, I humbly offer a friendly suggestion: Call Glenn Beck.”

First of all, calling Glenn Beck for advice on anything is never a good idea. Beck would sell you worthless gold coins and replace your health insurance with prayer. Beck is the man who thinks that God speaks to him about political matters and has told him the world is ending so many times that either God is a pathological liar or he is hilariously fucking with Beck.

More to the point, Scarborough’s suggestion is based on the catastrophe that Beck’s career has become since leaving Fox and, therefore, Kelly should avoid a similar disastrous fate. But Scarborough has completely misread the disparate media landscapes facing Beck and Kelly.

Glenn Beck was fired from Fox News with no place else to go in cable or broadcast media. His dismissal was the result of his outlandish and offensive behavior on his show that resulted in an advertiser boycott that stripped the program of any significant revenue. He was cast aside as damaged goods and had few prospects other than the Internet’s wingnut underground and his remaining radio fans.

Megyn Kelly, by contrast, is the jewel in Fox’s primetime lineup. She frequently beats Bill O’Reilly’s ratings and is featured regularly in magazine profiles that are pure puffery. More importantly, she is in demand by every network who would leap at the opportunity to steal the popular and rising star from Fox to bolster their own networks and to deprive Fox of a proven ratings draw. None of this is a reflection on the quality of Kelly’s work, which is sorely lacking in credibility and ethics. It is just a real world observation of her success on a conservative network that rewards blind loyalty to rightist partisanship.

In short, Kelly is contemplating a departure from Fox at a time when her stock is valuable and rising. Beck left Fox as a loser who was dumped for being too insanely right-wing for the avowed centerpiece of right-wing media. But Scarborough thinks that these two situations are comparable and that Kelly should be nervous about becoming the next Beck. That’s nonsense.

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

Scarborough is once again illustrating why he is such an inferior analyst. He can’t see past his own biases. In this case his leanings are to genuflect before the divine Roger Ailes, whom Scarborough repeatedly praises in this article. It’s hard to see this column as anything other than Scarborough posting his resume in a public plea for Fox to hire him. And it comes complete with a pledge of loyalty that he wouldn’t abandon them the way that traitor Kelly is threatening to do, and that he gladly take her time slot. That would probably help MSNBC more than it would help Fox.

Fox News Is At The Cliff’s Edge And Donald Trump May Push Them Over

Gabriel Sherman has been writing about Fox News for many years and has been the source of several major scoops. He is the author of a biography of Fox CEO Roger Ailes (The Loudest Voice in the Room), and his sources are deeply embedded in the organization and are generally reliable. His columns for New York Magazine have exposed the inner workings of the network such as one of the possible reasons that Fox kowtows to Donald Trump (he has dirt on Ailes).

Donald Trump Roger Ailes

In his most recent column, Sherman addresses the discovery that Fox’s Megyn Kelly visited Trump at Trump Tower to try to cool his burning animosity toward her and to perhaps get him to appear on her special for the Fox Entertainment Network next month. It’s an interesting read, but one part of it diverges from the main topic to present an even juicier dilemma for Fox.

In the course of unraveling the melodrama in progress between Fox, Trump and Kelly, Sherman makes an observation about Fox’s primetime programming that deserves further analysis:

“Fox’s lineup is more in flux than it has been in years. According to sources, Sean Hannity is the only prime-time personality who has recently reupped for another term. O’Reilly, who turns 67 this year, has yet to commit. If Ailes were to lose Kelly and O’Reilly, Fox’s evening schedule — the source of most of its advertising revenue — would collapse. ‘There’s not much of a bench,’ one veteran Fox executive says. And CNN is already nipping at Fox’s lead in the key advertising demographic of 25-to 54-year-olds (though Fox still has more total viewers).”

Indeed, Fox would be up a creek if it lost O’Reilly and Kelly. Needless to say, the suits will try everything they can to avoid that doomsday scenario, but with O’Reilly getting way past his expiration date, and Kelly getting money and opportunity thrown at her from all directions, Fox may not have any say in the matter.

So how would Fox fill the void left by its two biggest stars? They have traditionally promoted from within, but as Sherman’s source notes, “there’s not much of a bench.” They surely couldn’t elevate their morning “curvy couch potatoes” (Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade, Ainsley Earhardt) to primetime. Their afternoon roster is dominated by Neil Cavuto (who is also anchoring a show on Fox Business Channel and serves as Exec VP of business for both networks), Shepard Smith (whose portfolio is breaking news), and Bret Baier (who is the networks version of a “legitimate” nightly news anchor), so none of them would slide easily into a nightside opinion format.

There are minor players among the contributor class at Fox who simply don’t have the gravitas to pull off the promotion. They include people like the terminally lightweight Eric Bolling, the smug Tucker Carlson, and the perpetually angry Kimberley Guilfoyle. None of them have either the appeal, the depth of knowledge, or the broadcasting skills to carry their own show.

However, there is one person on the roster who, at any other network, would be on the short list for a primetime slot. Juan Williams has been with Fox for nearly twenty years. He has appeared on virtually all of their programs as a guest, as well as a co-host for some including the currently running The Five. He has also filled in as host on The O’Reilly Factor. There’s just one problem: Williams is considered to be the “liberal” on Fox News (although I would dispute that characterization), and despite their claim of fairness and balance, they would never hand over an hour of primetime to someone who wasn’t a committed conservative. Oh, and there’s one other thing that might be an obstacle for Fox: He’s black.

So Fox is either going to have to hand over some valuable TV real estate to one of their pedantic, third rate seat fillers, or go outside the family to bring on a radio nutcase like Mark Levin or Laura Ingraham. Or they could snag a bona fide cable star like Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson. And since most of the contracts in question will expire after the 2016 election, they might also consider from among the losers of that race. As I wrote a few months ago, Roger Ailes was asked about this and indicated an interest in Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina.

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

But I thought Ailes was missing the obvious choice, and someone with experience hosting a vapid television show that was comprised mainly of fakery: Donald Trump would be a promising choice to fill the whole primetime schedule all by himself (which he would probably insist upon). He has everything Fox News requires: He will shamelessly lie to advance right-wing propaganda. He will engage in childish fights with his guests. He will completely mutilate the news into an unrecognizable heap of bullshit. It’s pretty much what Fox’s primetime stars do now. And he has plenty of experience having been on Fox more than most of its regular anchors over the last ten months, so viewers won’t notice much of a change. And the last thing Fox wants to do is startle their audience into perhaps waking up.

Fox News Freak Out: Sesame Street Introduces Afghan Girl Muppet

This week the venerable PBS children’s program, Sesame Street, made a historic addition to its cast of lovable characters. For the first time in its decades long run an Afghan girl will join the Muppets for its broadcast in the Afghanistan version of the show. Zari is six years old and is excited about the opportunities she will have to learn and make new friends. But not everyone feels the same way.

Fox News Sesame Street

The news of Zari’s debut has produced the all too predictable rash of bigotry that we’ve all come to expect from the conservative hate mongers who believe that all Muslims are terrorists. Apparently this also applies to cloth puppets of children on educational TV. What they are afraid of was announced by the producers in this press release and video:

“Sesame Workshop unveiled today its first Afghan Muppet, Zari, a curious and eager six year-old girl, who will make her debut in season five of Baghch-e-Simsim—the local co-production of Sesame Street. Zari, whose name means “shimmering,” will be featured in new, locally produced segments that focus on curriculum topics like girls’ empowerment, national identity, physical health, and social and emotional well being.”

Sounds terrifying, doesn’t it? What’s more, Sherrie Westin, Executive VP of Sesame Workshop, told reporters that Zari “is modeling for young girls that it is wonderful to go to school and that it’s OK to dream about having a career.” In a country where girls are often discouraged, or even forbidden, to attend school, this should be welcomed as progress toward a more inclusive society. It’s an example of American media having a positive influence on some of the more oppressive cultural aspects of other countries.

Unfortunately, the hatred that infects the right-wing in this country is at least as oppressive as the Taliban. A few of the headlines generated by conservative media include knee-jerk condemnations like “Sesame Street Uses New Muslim Muppet, Zari, To Indoctrinate Kids,” “Sesame Street Goes Halal, Incorporates Sharia Law & Islam Into New Episodes,” and “Sesame Street Afghanistan Gets New Female Muslim Puppet: ‘Asalaam Alaaikum'” Of course, much what they allege is simply untrue. Zari is identified as Afghan, not Muslim. And there is no indication that religion or Sharia Law will play any part in the character’s role on the program.

Some of the more heated criticisms of Zari are centered on what the wingnuts regard as hypocrisy for having a girl represented on the program despite the sexism that exists in that part of the world. This is an utterly absurd argument. First of all, if they were really worried about the place of women in Afghan society they should be thrilled that a TV show is working to improve the situation by advocating for more education and opportunity for girls and women. Secondly, it’s the wingnuts who are the hypocrites. They are as dismissive of women as many of the Muslims they castigate. Take a look at the type and tone of complaints they level at American women in politics, including Hillary Clinton. For the record, a ranking of the proportion of legislative seats held by women in 213 countries puts Afghanistan at 49. The United States is 94th – below Kenya (93), Saudi Arabia (92), and Pakistan (83), to name a few.

Nevertheless, the rightist bigots are flying off the rails with vile insults directed at a make-believe character in the form of an adorable puppet. They make insinuations about her being fitted with a suicide vest or preparing to engage in a jihad. This sort of xenophobic zealotry was particularly notable at the home of brain-dead bias, Fox Nation. As usual, the commenters there spoke for the community of American bigots with their customary flare for blind hatred (see The Collected Hate Speech Of The Fox News Community).

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

Fox Nation Sesame Street Comments

Oblivious Alert: Megyn Kelly Slams Media Coverage Of Fox News Darling Donald Trump

There is something terribly fishy frying at Fox News. Their star primetime anchor, Megyn Kelly, has been making the media rounds and hinting at a possible separation between herself and her current employer. The rift first showed up in an interview wherein she said that she is not sure whether she will renew her contract at Fox. While Kelly says that she believes that Fox has backed her up during some recent controversies, she nevertheless is ambiguous about her future with the network. She told Variety that…

“I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’ve had a great 12 years here, and I really like working for Roger Ailes. I really like my show, and I love my team. But you know, there’s a lot of brain damage that comes from the job.”

Donald Trump Megyn Kelly

Brain damage? That’s a peculiar way to characterize her work experience. Is she referring to her colleagues Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity? That would be understandable. Or is she addressing what Fox has called Donald Trump’s sick obsession with her? Or is that how she feels after having to spew right-wing propaganda incessantly? She went on to say that she loves covering the news but that “I just don’t think that’s the perfect thing for me.”

Perhaps not. Judging from a subsequent interview with Katie Couric at the 2016 Women in the World Summit in New York City (video below), she seems to have some serious problems with the unprofessional conduct of her media peers, specifically with how they have covered Donald Trump. Although Kelly never directly indicts Fox News as being guilty of journalistic wrongdoing, what she describes as the failings of the press in general sound more like Fox than any other network.

For example, Couric referenced reporting that estimated the value of Trump’s free media coverage at nearly two billion dollars. She alluded to the “hand-wringing” going on at various media outlets over their responsibility for the excessive attention lavished on Trump and the impact it’s had on the race. Couric even noted comments by media executives who excused their fetish by saying that Donald Trump is good for business,” and asked Kelly if that bothered her. Kelly answered that “It does bother me, and I don’t think it’s right.” She described some of the early coverage and then related a conversation she had with her executive producer:

“I could see all of the other media starting to do it, and I said when the post mortem is done on the coverage of Donald Trump, wherever this race goes, let’s make sure we’re on the side of the angels.”

I’m afraid that cloud has blown away. From there Kelly set about absolving herself of any of the Trump-worship that infected just about every news outlet. She said that “our show has not taken those pressers,” and that “We won’t wallpaper the show with a Donald Trump campaign event.” because “we also have to worry about our souls and journalism.” She noted that “it’s not fair” and that they “don’t do that for the other candidates.”

The problem with Kelly’s assessment is that it simply isn’t true. Donald Trump’s press events and stump speeches have been broadcast during the Kelly File’s time period. Perhaps that wasn’t a decision made by her or her producers, but she is not an innocent bystander in this. What’s more, no network has been more solicitous to Trump than Fox News. Kelly’s protestations are lame attempts to pretend that Fox didn’t create Trump. And she makes those excuses even while laying blame at her competition for making similar excuses.

“Now other journalists are trying to defend themselves by saying ‘Well we asked Ted Crux and he doesn’t say yes, we ask Donald Trump and he says yes.’ OK, that’s fine when it comes to interviews. That doesn’t explain all the phoners that the Sunday shows allow Trump and not the other candidates. Phoners! Fox News Sunday hosted by Chris Wallace is the only Sunday show that from the beginning said we’re not doing it.

Actually, Fox News Sunday did allow Trump to conduct interviews by phone, however they were the first Sunday show to put an end to it. But Kelly conveniently leaves out the fact that virtually every other program on Fox continues to this day letting Trump phone it in. Fox & Friends, Neil Cavuto, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, etc., all take Trump’s calls. Fox News Sunday is just one hour a week and it isn’t even on the Fox News Channel (its first run is on the Fox Entertainment Network). But Kelly isn’t through yet.

“And not only that, we’re talking about the campaign events. When have you ever seen news stations take campaign events? We don’t do that for anybody. We don’t do that for Hillary. We don’t do that for Cruz. We never did it for Rubio or Scott Walker. Only one candidate. And the media would sit there and say ‘It’s amazing how the polls are just up, up…’ It’s like you’re putting your thumb on the scale.”

Excellent points, Kelly. It has been patently obscene watching the media slobber all over Trump and helping him to realize his narcissistic dreams. But serious media critics have been making these points for months. Where have you been all this time? And even as Kelly says all the right things in this interview, her network is still doing all of the wrong things about which she is complaining. She seems to be totally oblivious to her own criticisms.

Fox News crafted Donald Trump from the raw clay of their partisan ideology and their desire to manipulate the news to achieve their political goals. Kelly has been an integral part of the plan from the beginning of her tenure at Fox. Now she is suddenly denouncing the business model in which she has been so much a part. And by extension she is denouncing her colleagues who continue to engage in the shoddy behavior she is railing about. They are gonna love that.

The fact that Kelly is being so openly critical of the unprofessionalism of the people she works with and for, while at the same time is glaringly vague about her intentions to remain at the network, suggests that she has other ideas. Most likely she is dreaming of being the next Barbara Walters or Oprah, and she isn’t worried about burning a few bridges behind her on the way to that destination. Unfortunately, in the process she and most of the rest of the media have saddled America with the closest thing it has ever had to a fascist leading a major political party.

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

Note To Hillary Clinton: Megyn Kelly Is NOT A Superb Journalist

In recent weeks Megyn Kelly has received an abundance of media attention thanks to Donald Trump’s sick obsession with the Fox News host. Regardless of her strident biases and disregard for journalistic ethics, the personal attacks on her by Trump are unwarranted and offensive. They demonstrate Trump’s inbred misogyny and unfitness for any public office. Even though Kelly herself has exploited her sex appeal to boost her ratings (and income), that is no excuse for Trump’s vile chauvinism.

Megyn Kelly

This morning Hillary Clinton appeared on “The View” (video below) and addressed this topic with some potent and well-deserved criticism of Trump. She astutely pointed out that throughout his campaign he has “insulted everybody” and “demeaned everybody,” and has generally engaged in behavior that is divisive and rife with “hateful rhetoric.” She said in part…

“You know, he started, on his very first day, saying that all Mexican immigrants were rapists and criminals, right? And then he moved on to attack people with disabilities. He attacked John McCain, who’s a friend of mine, and said he wasn’t really a war hero. And then, of course, going after American Muslims and really drawing these lines.”

That’s a pretty good summary of Trump’s stump speech bigotry so far. Although she left out some significant moments like his embrace of the white supremacists who endorsed him, his acknowledgment that he isn’t bothered by being compared to Hitler, and his more recent position that women should be punished for having abortions. But Clinton should have left it at that. Unfortunately, she went on to say…

“And his attitude about, and what he has said about, so many women – the way he treated Megyn Kelly, who is a suburb journalist, right?”

No, that’s not right. Not by a long shot. Megyn Kelly is one of the most dangerous propagandists on a network that is crawling with them. She is brazenly partisan and shamelessly prejudiced. She is a more visually compelling version of conspiratorialist Glenn Beck. The stories she features are a collection of partisan tripe and manufactured outrages that have little basis in fact. From her near-obsession with the irrelevant New Black Panther Party, to her defense of an anti-Islam filmmaker as a “patsy” of the Obama administration, Kelly has been a non-stop, gushing flow of disinformation and gossip.

Kelly has, in fact, been especially vicious in her coverage of Clinton. She has spent countless hours asserting, without foundation, that Clinton lied about Benghazi. She aired numerous fact-free segments alleging that Clinton’s emails would land her in jail. She even went after Clinton on trivial pop culture matters like her interview with Lena Dunham. For more examples:

  • Kelly promulgated false accusations against then-Pennsylvania senate candidate Joe Sestak
  • Kelly asserted that Americans have “gotta get a little squeamish” about the prospect of being killed by drones.
  • Kelly told her colleague Bill O’Reilly that pepper spray used against student protesters was just “a food product, essentially.”
  • Kelly moderated a discussion that was based on a series of “Fox Facts” that were cribbed directly from a Republican National Committee press release.
  • Kelly featured a disreputable reporter with a history of violence (who was later arrested for sexually assaulting a four year old girl) in her frequent attacks on the funders of the Islamic Center that Fox derisively referred to as the “Ground Zero Mosque.”
  • Kelly misrepresented the results of a Fox News Opinion Dynamics poll to argue that Democrats are defying the will of the people.
  • Kelly helped to cover up the extra-marital affair of GOP senator John Ensign and failed to disclose her personal involvement in the story.

There is nothing wrong with Clinton holding Trump accountable for his noxious comments and ludicrous political positions. She is totally justified in castigating him for the pattern of hatred he exhibits toward women and others. However, it was completely unnecessary to throw a solicitous compliment to Kelly that she so clearly does not deserve. Clinton could easily make the point that Trump is a sexist pig without boosting the profile of a professional right-wing purveyor of disinformation. Would Clinton defend Sarah Palin from a sexist attack by praising her as a superb governor? We can only hope not. And while neither Palin nor Kelly should be subject to gender-based insults, neither should they be showered with false flattery in the process of defending them against jerkwads like Donald Trump.

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

Blackmailing Fox News: Does Donald Trump Have Dirt On Roger Ailes?

Ever since Donald Trump entered the Republican contest for the party’s nomination for president he has been a constant presence on Fox News. Studies of the distribution of airtime have shown that Trump’s allocation has far exceeded every other candidate. The estimated value of this gift to Trump’s candidacy is in excess of thirty million dollars through December 2016. The question is why has Fox been so generous to this one particular candidate?

Donald Trump Roger Ailes

The conventional wisdom response to this question would be that Trump is simply good business for Fox News (and pretty much every other network). He is a proven ratings draw, in the same manner as a high-speed police chase or a Kardashian wardrobe malfunction. Audiences are enrapt because of the possibility that at any time Trump might burst a blood vessel in his neck or slap an immigrant orphan. In addition to the financial incentive, Fox shares most of the political agenda articulated by Trump, even the batshit crazy stuff like Mexican border walls, dismantling NATO, and his latest absurdity that he would eliminate the national debt in eight years.

Now there is a new explanation for why the self-described “most powerful name in news” got rolled and began doling out huge portions of their valuable airtime to what otherwise might be considered a joke candidate. Gabriel Sherman, the National Affairs Editor for New York Magazine and the author of a biography of Fox CEO Roger Ailes (The Loudest Voice in the Room), just published a fascinating and in-depth story about the composition of Trump’s campaign team. But it also includes an account of how Fox Executive VP Brian Lewis got fired under mysterious circumstances (which News Corpse covered here). In the course of telling this story, Sherman revealed this startling bombshell:

“It was also thanks to some information he had gathered that Trump was able to do something that no other Republican has done before: take on Fox News. An odd bit of coincidence had given him a card to play against Fox founder Roger Ailes. In 2014, I published a biography of Ailes, which upset the famously paranoid executive. Several months before it landed in stores, Ailes fired his longtime PR adviser Brian Lewis, accusing him of being a source. During Lewis’s severance negotiations, Lewis hired Judd Burstein, a powerhouse litigator, and claimed he had ‘bombs’ that would destroy Ailes and Fox News. That’s when Trump got involved.

“‘When Roger was having problems, he didn’t call 97 people, he called me,’ Trump said. Burstein, it turned out, had worked for Trump briefly in the ’90s, and Ailes asked Trump to mediate. Trump ran the negotiations out of his office at Trump Tower. ‘Roger had lawyers, very expensive lawyers, and they couldn’t do anything. I solved the problem.’ Fox paid Lewis millions to go away quietly, and Trump, I’m told, learned everything Lewis had planned to leak. If Ailes ever truly went to war against Trump, Trump would have the arsenal to launch a retaliatory strike.”

If this is true, then Fox News is essentially paying off Trump, with millions of dollars of airtime, to buy his silence. Under these circumstances Fox should not be covering Trump at all. If Trump is blackmailing Fox with threats of dumping damaging information there is no telling what he might have demanded. He isn’t limited to free airtime. He could also insist on positive coverage from influential hosts like Bill O’Reilly. He could force the network to hit his opponents with dishonest smears. He could dictate the network’s narrative on the progress of the campaign, the battle for delegates, and even the reactions to his numerous controversial remarks.

One thing is certain: This would explain how Trump has gotten away with his brutal treatment of Fox News. Ordinarily, any Republican candidate would be conscious of the sway that Fox holds over the party and the fate of anyone hoping to rise up in it. But Trump, with an apparently reckless lack of concern, has spent much of the last nine months mercilessly battering the network and its staff. He said of Megyn Kelly that she “is the worst” and has a “terrible show.” He called Karl Rove a “total fool” and “a biased dope.” He said that George Will is a “broken down political pundit” and “boring.” Chris Stirewalt was deemed “one of the dumbest political pundits on television.” Trump laughed off Charles Krauthammer as “a totally overrated clown,” “a loser,” and “a dummy.” And wrapping up the whole network for his disapproval, he tweeted that he was “having a really hard time watching Fox News.” Then he called on his followers to boycott the network. He even went after one of the major shareholders of the Fox’s parent corporation. I can’t say that I disagree with much of that, but then I’m not seeking the GOP nomination for anything.

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

This is behavior that only seems plausible if Trump somehow knows that he will not suffer any consequences for it. At the very least, Fox News needs to respond to these allegations. And if their response is anything less than an unambiguous denial (for which they would have to supply evidence), then they need to come clean by disclosing the blackmail bait themselves. Then they need to conduct a public review of their past coverage of Trump to provide an accounting of their time allotment and any possibility of reporting bias. What’s more, the other candidates, including those who dropped out, have a right to some answers on how they were covered and if Trump’s tactics adversely affected their campaigns. Will Fox act responsibility on this? Well, why should they start now since they haven’t for the last twenty years.

Fox News Hires Duck Dynasty’s Donald Trump Fluffer

If you thought that the Republican presidential primary has had the intellectually vacant stench of a reality TV show, then you have obviously been paying attention. The past nine months have been a virtual Survivor-like season with enemies and alliances and losers literally getting voted off.

Starring in this parade of idiocy is the actual host of a real life reality game show, Donald Trump. And he has milked the genre for all its worth. Trump’s demeanor has exhibited all of the juvenile melodrama that epitomizes the worst of an already pedantic television format – insults, anger, ignorance, betrayal, pandering, and transparent phoniness.

Fox News Dick Dynasty

Recognizing the tone of the campaign, Fox News has decided to give up on news entirely and adapt by reinforcing their staff with the sort of experience that is best suited to the shallowness of the GOP and their constituents. To that end they just hired Willie Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame as a contributor. I guess Honey Boo Boo must have turned them down. Still, Fox News could not have made a better choice to affirm their utter disrespect for journalism and their audience.

Robertson, of course, has no reporting credentials whatsoever, so he is no less qualified for the position on Fox than the rest of the crackpots on the network. His ultra right-wing Christianist dogma will fit in nicely with his new colleagues. And his endorsement in January of Trump makes him an ideal representative of Fox’s notorious unfairness and imbalance. As an added bit of tabloid conflict, Willie’s father Phil endorsed Ted Cruz. All of this adds up to Fox’s abandonment of journalism in favor of low-grade entertainment, a devolution that News Corpse has described previously:

“Fox News has redefined television journalism by fundamentally transforming it from an information medium to an entertainment medium. They dress up their pseudo-news segments in the same melodramatic packaging that entertainment outlets use: conflict, scandal, mystery, and hyper-charged emotions including hero worship and fear. Fox employs flashy graphics and attention-grabbing audio whooshes and gongs to decorate their reports that are presented as “ALERTS” regardless of the news value. And always there is sex. Fox’s roster of hosts has more former beauty pageant contestants that journalists. And they aren’t shy about putting their “talent” in revealing clothes and camera angles. In fact, Fox CEO Roger Ailes demands it. As for news, Fox’s concentration on tabloid thrill-fiction like Benghazi and Obama’s birth certificate is the news equivalent of porn.”

I can’t wait to see Robertson’s contribution to the circus atmosphere that is the Republican Party’s Presidential Apprentice contest. But you have to hand it to Fox News who, rather than bolstering their team with seasoned professionals as the campaign approaches the general election phase, chose to snag a duck call huckster to bring his unique insight to American democracy and to pitch for the Storm-Trumpers.

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

If Only: WSJ Says Obama Is Six Months Away From Destroying The Republican Party

The Wall Street Journal just published an editorial that might have been dismissed as an April Fool’s joke, except that it was published on March 30. It is the sort of delusional crackpottery to which conservatives resort when their denial overpowers what little common sense they have.

Obama Destroys GOP

The article by Dan Henninger, the paper’s Deputy Editorial Page Director and a Fox News contributor, is fretfully titled Obama’s Greatest Triumph: He is six months away from destroying both the Republican Party and Reagan’s legacy.” While the claim is one that stirs the promise of hope in every liberal, Henninger may be giving Obama more credit than he deserves. The truth is that the Republican Party may indeed be six months from destruction, but Obama has had little to do with it.

Henninger is employing the venerable rightist tactic of blaming Obama for anything that they deem undesirable. For instance, wingnuts on the right have blamed Obama for the bombing in Brussels, California’s drought, Ebola, and even Hurricane Katrina. He is blamed for high gas prices that hurt consumers, as well as for low gas prices that hurt oil companies. In the warped minds of conservatives there is no way that Obama can win.

And now the disintegration of the Republican Party is just another disaster caused by a president that the right believes is both an evil genius and a lazy incompetent. He’s working determinedly to destroy America while doing nothing but playing golf. The editorial begins with the premise that…

“Barack Obama will retire a happy man. He is now close to destroying his political enemies—the Republican Party, the American conservative movement and the public-policy legacy of Ronald Reagan.”

And how does Henninger arrive at this conclusion? By observing that the GOP has withered into a hollow shell of a party and that…

“With no party spokesman for conservatism, an ideological vacuum existed. Freelance operators filled it.”

The freelancers identified by Henninger are otherwise known as some of the leading figures of their party, including presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. Henninger doesn’t explain the dastardly scheme that Obama used to get Republicans to elevate these fruitcakes to their current status, but rest assured, it must have been as diabolical as it was brilliant. But that was only the beginning. Obama’s plots conspired to turn the Republican Party against itself, even utilizing reliably right-wing think tanks and media to do the dirty work.

“They also included a movement to purge and cleanse conservatism, led by groups such as Heritage Action and by talk radio hosts. Together they conjured an internal enemy—the Republican Establishment.”

Once again there is no explanation for how Obama managed to get the ultra-rightist Heritage Foundation, Rush Limbaugh, et al, to turn their fire at the so-called “Republican Establishment,” which in reality is no different than what is regarded as the Republican outsiders like the Tea Party. They are all of the same hive mind politically, and advocate for exactly the same agenda.

Nevertheless, Henninger’s proposition that the turmoil in the GOP was brought about by some wizardry on the part of Obama was made even more devious by the President’s ability to keep his fingerprints off of the plan. As Henninger describes it…

“With his Cheshire Cat grin, Barack Obama faded into the background and let the conservatives’ civil war rip. […] The anti-establishment offensive created a frenzy faction inside the Republican base. And of course, it produced Donald Trump.”

Now that is the ultimate praise from the conservative columnist. Taking credit for saddling Republicans with Donald Trump would be a feather in the cap of any Democrat. It would be like threading the Deathstar needle in an X-Wing Starfighter to blow it to smithereens. Obama must truly be a Jedi Master.

All kidding aside, the desperation in this editorial to indict Obama for crimes against the GOP is hilariously obtuse. Responsibility for the Republican Party’s destruction lies solely with GOP politicians, pundits, and voters, who encouraged the foolishness of the Tea Party malcontents to screech their unfocused and incoherent anger at anyone who sought to behave reasonably or to conduct the work of government. It wasn’t Obama who unseated the GOP House Majority Leader. And it wasn’t Democrats who primaried veteran Republican members of Congress. And any clear-eyed observer knows that Donald Trump was the inevitable consequence of their festering rage.

Henninger whines that the GOP’s “bizarre” response to the Obama administration produced a result wherein “the Republicans decided to destroy each other.” That’s true, but it wasn’t Obama who got them to become so bizarre. That’s an honor that they can only award to themselves. And now that most of them are horrified by the prospect of Donald Trump becoming their standard bearer, they are struggling to avoid accountability and to lay the blame at the feet of the President who has been the most consistent victim of their madness. But that is only more proof that they are still suffering from an acute case of denial. And there is no sign that a cure is on the horizon.

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

The Republican Party may very well be six months away from being destroyed. And if it is, the credit belongs to the party and the conservative media that has been deceiving their constituents for the past eight years (or more). At least RNC Chairman Reince Priebus was honest about it when he said that “Republicans don’t exist as a national political party if we do not win in 2016.” To which America is saying “You promise?”