WTF: Fox and Friends Totally Ignores Their Own Fox News Crew Who Witnessed Journalist Attack

Wednesday’s news might have been been consumed by Donald Trump’s European “Embarrass America First” tour. However, a domestic news event took place that shoved the President out of the headlines temporarily. That may be beneficial to Trump who will get some relief from the tsunami of bad news that swirls around him. But the affair in Montana won’t do much to help the Republican Party’s prospects for maintaining control of Congress.

Fox News

By now most of the nation has heard about Montana’s Republican candidate for Congress, Greg Gianforte. In response to a reporter’s questions about the GOP healthcare plan, Gianforte went apeshit crazy. He attacked Ben Jacobs, a reporter with The Guardian, by body-slamming to the ground. He has since been charged with a misdemeanor assault and had the three biggest newspapers in the state retract their endorsements.

Every news outlet has put this story in frequent rotation. That includes Fox News. However, there is a noticeable difference between the reporting on Fox and that of the other networks. It’s a difference that is especially puzzling considering the circumstances. Here is how Jillian Mele of Fox and Friends covered the assault Thursday morning:

That was an unusually dry report by Fox’s standards. Ordinarily Fox News hypes up the melodrama and slathers their coverage with conflict and controversy. For some reason, in this case they delivered a rather boring recitation of “facts” that featured the defense offered by the Gianforte camp.

What they left out, though, was pretty significant. At the scene of the assault there was a crew from Fox News. Their correspondent, Alicia Acuna, witnessed the whole thing. She later wrote an account of what happened and published it on the Fox News website. She said in part that:

“Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him. Faith, Keith and I watched in disbelief as Gianforte then began punching the reporter. As Gianforte moved on top of Jacobs, he began yelling something to the effect of, ‘I’m sick and tired of this!.’ […] To be clear, at no point did any of us who witnessed this assault see Jacobs show any form of physical aggression toward Gianforte.”

According to Acuna there was no doubt that Gianforte initiated an unprovoked assault on a journalist who was just doing his job. But that didn’t make it into the Fox and Friends reporting. It would be a conspicuous omission on any other news network. But on Fox it’s perfectly aligned with their mission to defend and promote Republicans at all costs.

It wasn’t just Fox and Friends who buried Acuna’s reporting. The entire primetime lineup on Fox Wednesday night failed to mention it. Tucker Carlson, the co-hosts on The Five, and Sean Hannity all snubbed their fellow Fox reporter’s eye witness version of the take-down. It wasn’t until late Thursday morning, after Fox and Friends, that Acuna was recognized for the scoop she had. She was finally interviewed on air where she affirmed the hostile encounter just as she had previously described it.

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

There can only be one explanation for a “news” network neglecting an eye witness account by their own reporter. They were trying desperately to rescue the Republican barbarian who criminally assaulted a journalist. They wanted to deprive their already ill-informed viewers of critical information, keeping them blissfully ignorant. And in the end, they were complying with the anti-media agenda of their Psychopathic Messiah, Donald Trump, who slandered the media as “the enemy of the people.” Gianforte’s behavior was the ultimate manifestation of Trump’s campaign to denigrate and dehumanize journalists. It was bound to happen sooner or later, and will likely happen again as the right gets ever more desperate.

Fox News and Hannity Walk Back Fake Story Without Admitting Fault or Apologizing

For several weeks Fox News and other right-wing media outlets have been doing what they do best. They have been flogging a thoroughly debunked story that alleges some random impropriety on the part of Democrats or liberals. In this especially repulsive case the subject concerns a murdered former staffer of the Democratic National Committee.

Sean Hannity Fox News

The conservative mythology on this is that Seth Rich was assassinated by some nefarious lefty cabal because he leaked stolen DNC documents to Wikileaks. However, there’s no evidence of any such activity, and the police have concluded that the crime was a botched robbery. But the existence of those facts didn’t stop Fox News and others from exploiting a family tragedy for their own political motives.

Now that the facts have come out, some of the rightist media are rushing to cover their asses. They don’t want to be further associated with such an obvious hoax, nor do they want to get sued. Unfortunately, the inability of some of these liars to admit wrongdoing is getting in the way of their disclaimers.

Fox News had reported on the Rich murder on their network and posted articles on their website. But apparently they only considered the website report as needing to be addressed. So they posted a statement saying that:

On May 16, a story was posted on the Fox News website on the investigation into the 2016 murder of DNC Staffer Seth Rich. The article was not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require for all our reporting. Upon appropriate review, the article was found not to meet those standards and has since been removed.

We will continue to investigate this story and will provide updates as warranted.

Notice that nowhere in that statement did Fox News admit that the content of their reporting was false. They merely said that it didn’t meet their editorial standards. That’s a pretty low bar by any objective analysis. They also reiterated their intention to pursue the story that everyone else knows is patently untrue. What they didn’t do was to apologize to the Rich family for spreading lies and denigrating the victim’s memory.

Fox also failed to offer any kind of retraction for the same reporting on their TV network. The biggest offender on Fox is without contest, Sean Hannity. He has taken a leading role in spreading the slander of Rich. But now the blowback has gotten to him, at least in part. Tuesday night Hannity made a limp statement that failed to take any responsibility for his journalistic malpractice (video below). He said in part that:

“The unsolved murder of former DNC staffer Seth Rich continues to get attention. I totally and completely understand how upset and how hard this is on this family, especially over the recent coverage of Seth’s death. […] However, out of respect from the family’s wishes for now – I am not discussing this matter at this time.”

Once again, Hannity didn’t admit that his reporting was totally unverified and debunked. Nor did he apologize. He didn’t even promise to drop the subject, only to hold off for a while. The remainder of his statement unloaded a pile of unrelated defenses of Donald Trump’s Russia scandal. And Hannity then promised to continue his assault on the Rich family and the truth:

“I want to say this to you, my loyal audience, please do not interpret what I am saying tonight to mean anything—don’t read into this. I promise you, I am not going to stop doing my job. To the extent of my ability, I’m not going to stop trying to find the truth.”

What’s more, on his radio show Hannity said “I am not Fox.com or FoxNews.com, I retracted nothing.” And he tweeted this:

Clearly, neither Hannity nor Fox News give a damn about the Rich family or their suffering. We know they don’t care about the truth because lying is integral to their business model. But anyone who gives them credit for laying off this story with their pseudo-retractions is missing the point. Fox News and Hannity are fully committed to furthering their dishonest propaganda. And they aren’t even shy about admitting it.

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

CNN Anchor Wickedly Mocks Guest Who Said Trump Was ‘Presidential’ for Not Sounding Like a Drunk

America’s national embarrassment (aka Donald Trump) continues to be scored on a standard that is starkly different than any president that preceded him. The fact that he is universally regarded as ignorant and incompetent may be helping his media coverage. Trump has a tendency to veer off into personal invective and delusional accounts of well documented events. His erratic and ego-laden rants and tweets have set an uncommonly low bar for criticism.

Donald Trump

Consequently, we’re subjected to a president who is lauded as “presidential” simply by failing to cross his eyes or drool. This happens over and over again as the media repeatedly demonstrates its severely short-term memory. Trump can behave like a choleric, tantrum-throwing infant for weeks on end. He’ll hurl insults and lies without the slightest hint of shame. Then he’ll manage to read off a Teleprompter for half an hour and the press will go wild with acclaim.

This pattern has revealed itself several times in the four months Trump has been in office. It generally occurs following tightly staged affairs such as his inauguration speech or his address to Congress. Sometimes he can suppress his true obnoxious self long enough get through a joint press conference with a foreign leader. But the press reaction is all too predictable. They declare that Trump has finally proven that he has the mettle to hold his office. Never mind everything else he’s said and done throughout his campaign and White House residency.

The latest example of this cognitive collapse occurred Sunday night on CNN. Bob Schieffer, the former host of Face the Nation, was interviewed by CNN’s John Berman. The subject was Trump’s speech in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It was a stodgy collection of warmed over platitudes and talking points. But Trump recited the words on his Teleprompter screen without baring his teeth or convulsing. Therefore, when Schieffer was asked for his appraisal of Trump’s performance he said:

“Today, you saw a very different President Trump. He actually sounded presidential. You may agree or disagree with what he said, but he sounded like a president. He laid out his vision. He called for help from those in the Muslim world. It was a much different kind of presentation.” […]

“I think there would be very few people who would disagree with me when I say that he helped himself today. Because he didn’t sound like the guy at the end of the bar popping off. He sounded like someone who actually thought about what he was gonna say before he said it.”

You have to wonder whether Schieffer thought about what he was gonna say before he said it. There are likely very many people who would disagree with the assertion that Trump helped himself. More to the point. there are certainly many people who don’t think that avoiding sounding like a drunken souse is equivalent to sounding presidential. Berman appropriately challenged Schieffer to explain whether he was “normalizing” Trump’s malignant immaturity. “You’re saying,” Berman bagan, “that because he met this very low bar for not sounding foolish, he was in fact presidential.”

Exactly. That’s how many in the media grade Trump. But since when was “not sounding foolish” the only prerequisite for being considered presidential? It may be the best that anyone can expect from Trump, but it should not be established as the new criteria. Honest journalists need to compare Trump to historical standards for the job, not his own worst failures.

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

MSNBC is Finally Negotiating with Lawrence O’Donnell. Keep the Pressure on. It’s Working

The soap opera drama surrounding Lawrence O’Donnell’s contract negotiations with MSNBC is heating up. In a good way. Last week an article on the Huffington Post revealed that MSNBC was not actively negotiating to re-sign O’Donnell whose contract expires in June. That news startled his fans and the media world at large.

Lawrence O'Donnell MSNBC

O’Donnell is a core part of the team that is currently burning up cable news. MSNBC’s ratings are reaching record highs. For the past three weeks they have even bested Fox News in the critical 25-54 year old advertising demographic. That was considered unthinkable a few weeks ago. The brightest star in the network’s universe is Rachel Maddow, whose ratings have soared in sync with her stellar reporting on Donald Trump. O’Donnell has nearly matched her success and beaten Fox News perennial, Sean Hannity, on some nights.

Insider speculation has pointed to NBC News chief Andy Lack as the obstacle to O’Donnell’s renewal. Since his ascension, Lack has steered MSNBC to a decidedly more conservative slant. He hired Greta Van Susteren from Fox News. Also dinosaur conservative George Will. He gave former George W. Bush communications director, Nicolle Wallace, her own show. And he’s giving Hugh Hewitt one on the weekend. Why he thinks that any conservative viewers are going to tune in to MSNBC is a complete mystery. They have been trained for years to regard the network as something just this side of Satanic. Van Susteren’s show is already a dismal failure that brings down the programs that follow it.

Lack’s programming moves are disconcerting for several reasons. They make no sense from a business perspective. It is ridiculous to upend a schedule that is showing such success and is still growing. It alienates the core audience that is the foundation of that success. But there is also talk that Lack’s motivation is to suck up to Donald Trump. Considering Trump’s record low standing in the polls, that may be the dumbest reason of all to upset a winning formula.

Shortly after the HuffPost article, another appeared on Showbiz411 with a disturbingly declarative headline. It blared “MSNBC Ending Lawrence O’Donnell ‘The Last Word’ Show Despite Top Ratings (Exclusive).” It’s author, Roger Friedman, began by saying “I can confirm that MSNBC is ending the top rated ‘The Last Word’ with Lawrence O’Donnell.” That, unsurprisingly, created a stir among viewers. Even worse, Friedman cited sources that said “O’Donnell’s tireless criticism of Donald Trump” was the reason for the cancellation.

So here’s the good news. Friedman just published a new article that contradicts his prior exclusive. Apparently the outcry from viewers was so powerful that it pushed MSNBC to the negotiating table. Indeed, there has been a flood of angry viewers swarming Facebook and Twitter in defense of O’Donnell. The result appears to be the first serious talks between the network and its star.

It’s too soon, however, to declare victory. Until there’s a signed contract that locks O’Donnell into his current time slot, fans need to keep the pressure on. But they can do so with the knowledge that such tactics are working. You can call them at 212-664-4444 and email them at letters@msnbc.com.

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

There has never been more need for honest progressive reporting on television. The Era of Trump cannot be allowed to dispense the lies and propaganda that are emblematic of that movement. And with Fox News in upheaval (having lost its CEO Roger Ailes and its biggest star Bill O’Reilly to sex scandals), this is not the time to retreat. Activists who are seeking to turn Congress and the White House blue need to recognize that the media battlefield is just as important as the electoral one. Carry on progressive soldiers – to victory.

UPDATE (5/31/2017): Lawrence O’Donnell affirmed that he’ll be continuing on his program for the next couple of years. VICTORY!

LMFAO: Fox News Must Wish They Waited Before Lauding Trump for Not Tweeting About Russia Leak

True to form, Donald Trump took to Twitter after the Washington Post revealed his reckless disclosure of classified information to Russian officials. This occurred at a White House meeting with Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The fallout from the story has driven new demands for independent investigations of Trump’s unsavory connections to Russia. Trump’s tweets were typically self-serving and lacking relevant detail and substance:

Donald Trump

These tweets also contradicted previous responses from the White House dismissing WaPo’s story. First the administration claimed the story was false. Now Trump himself has abandoned that tack. He’s admitting that he divulged information, possibly classified, but that he’s allowed to do so. But even that is a transparent dodge. The problem here isn’t whether the President is acting legally with regard to classification status. It’s whether he’s acting prudently with regard to national security. Divulging information that could advantage hostile foreign nations (i.e. Russia), and alienate allies, could violate other laws.

Following the story’s publication, Fox News went into Emergency Trump Defense Mode. The memo must have gone out to demean the Post and the contents of its story. Because everyone on Fox had the same message. They disputed the Post’s reporting and absolved Trump of any wrongdoing. But the pinnacle of flagrant Trump fluffing occurred, as usual, on Fox and Friends.

The “Curvy Couch” potatoes ridiculed any notion that Trump had misspoken as mere hyperbole from the hysterically anti-Trump media. They began with a video from Tucker Carlson’s show wherein he complained that Trump’s critics “regard him as the single greatest threat to Western civilization since atomic weapons.” And then co-host Brian Kilmeade let this nonsense loose:

“The also thing to keep in mind too is, Donald Trump didn’t tweet out last night. I thought that shows an additional discipline. Let’s listen, let my guys handle it and Dina Powell handle it. They were there, they can walk it back.”

As we already know, Trump did tweet about this. And it was only about an hour after Kilmeade lavished praise on him for not doing so. If Kilmeade thought Trump’s Twitter silence was evidence of his discipline, what does he think now? Will he correct the record on Wednesday’s program? Will he concede that Trump is lacking discipline? Even Carlson said it was fair to consider Trump “undisciplined and impulsive” before returning to his robotic exaltation.

This is the problem that all Trump defenders have to face. Even after they come to his aid, he is likely to shift gears in a way that makes them look like fools. That’s always a risk of doing business with Trump. He is so erratic and focused solely on his own welfare that you stand to get run over by a fleet of buses. And if you pivot to avoid it, you’ll just get hit again when he shifts into reverse. So good luck, suckers.

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

Whaaa? Trump Wants to Cancel All Press Briefings Because ‘The Ratings Are So High’

Last week Donald Trump floated a proposal to cancel all future press briefings. The comment was made during an interview with Jeanine Pirro on his favorite “news” network, Fox News. He followed that up with a tweet affirming his desire to silence the White House press office.

Donald Trump

Trump’s casual suggestion that he might just cancel all future press briefings reflects his tendencies toward fascist authoritarianism. The presidency is not his fiefdom. It is a position of service to the people. Press briefings are the method by which the people’s intermediaries in the media have opportunities to hold national leaders accountable. They cannot be replaced by written press releases. What’s more, Trump’s anger is entirely misplaced. He’s mad at the press because he and his staff are incompetent.

But Trump went even further with his hostile proposal to wrap his presidency in a soundproof cocoon. And his reasoning sunk even deeper into an illogical rant that exposes his deranged thought processes:

“These press conferences are like the biggest thing on daytime television, OK. You see the ratings. They’re blowing away everything, on just about, I think, everything, on daytime television. What I’d love to do is stop them.”

So Trump is now intent on stopping pressing briefings because – – – they are too popular? Trump is actually right, for once, about ratings. The Sean Spicer Show (Fibby Spice) does pull in an audience. And ratings reflect what America’s TV viewers want to see. Apparently they are anxious to see the media holding the President accountable and forcing his administration to explain its actions.

So obviously Trump wants to put an end to that. Ironically, three weeks ago Trump cited those same ratings as the reason he would never part with Spicer. He told the Washington Post that “I’m not firing Sean Spicer. That guy gets great ratings. Everyone tunes in.” Now insiders are hinting that Spicer will soon be replaced, possibly by Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle.

So what happened between then and now that made him so scared of the ratings? Could it possibly be that he’s incapable of justifying his unethical actions and comments with regard to the firing of FBI Director James Comey? Does he recognize that he’s confessed to impeachable acts and needs to shut down the press before the country finds out? Clearly his motivation, at least in part, includes a desire to punish the media. He said so himself:

“They will be very unhappy, because the ratings are so high that I don’t know what these networks are going to do. They’re going to start to cry. They get free ratings because of me and yet they don’t treat us fairly.”

Setting aside Trump’s authoritarian tendencies to clampdown on the press, his concept of their purpose is painfully ignorant. He is not there to produce ratings for the media. And to the extent that he does it’s a reflection on the public’s interest in government, not his popularity. But the kicker is that Trump thinks the media owes him positive coverage because of the ratings that he claims are his doing. Donald Trump can’t stop acting like a reality TV game show host long enough to be president. And that, along with his narcissism, paranoia, and general incompetence, makes him an imminent threat to the nation.

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

WTF is Going On at MSNBC? Recent Hires Have a Distinctly Fox News Flavor

Three months into Donald Trump’s administration there is more cause than ever for critical analysis of Washington politics. But much of the press is having trouble countering Trump’s “Reality TV” dramatization of news. They attempt to achieve a false balance by presenting opposing views, even if one side is truthful and the other is lying.

Rachel Maddow

Having a president who’s suspected of colluding with Russians to steal an election is hardly the time to go soft. It is not the time to appease those in power or pander to wingnuts who will never tune in anyway. Yet that’s exactly the direction that MSNBC appears to heading.

In recent weeks they have hired or promoted some decidedly right-wing personalities. Former Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteren now has her own show on MSNBC. Former communications director for George W, Bush, Nicolle Wallace, also just premiered a new program. Likewise conservative pundit Hugh Hewitt. This week MSNBC announced that it has hired old-school conservative George Will away from Fox News.

These roster changes are especially puzzling at this time. MSNBC has built a brand that appeals to a more progressive audience. Despite having a former Republican anchoring three hours in the morning (Joe Scarborough), and a generally straight news profile during the day, their prime time lineup leans openly to the left. Chis Hayes, Rachel Maddow, and Laurence O’Donnell are not shy about expressing their liberal opinions.

More importantly, that programming slant has paid off handsomely for MSNBC. They are enjoying their highest ratings in years. Maddow is actually beating her competition on Fox News in the key advertising demographic of 25-54 year olds. Not too long ago Fox News was considered unbeatable. But now Adweek’s TVNewser reports that:

“The network also continues to post more year-over-year prime time audience growth than both Fox News and CNN: +82 percent in total viewers and +61 percent in the prime time demo versus April 2016.”

It’s a surprising and inspiring success story. Any network would be turning cartwheels and striving to replicate that success across its dayparts. So why is MSNBC going out of their way to bolster a winning lineup with right-wing losers? None of the new “talent” has demonstrated any appeal to MSNBC’s audience. Van Susteren, in fact, is an obvious hole in the schedule, dipping noticeably between her lead-in and lead-out. And the viewers that might be interested in these new faces are genetically averse to ever tuning in to the radical socialists at MSNBC. Why should they when they can get all the wingnuttery they desire on Fox News? And if it’s caterwauling debates that they want, CNN already has the market cornered on that.

There is no shortage of liberals who could be brought into the MSNBC family. Joy Reid already has a Saturday morning show that gets more viewers than many weekday shows on CNN and Fox. They could have moved her into the time slot they gave to Van Susteren or Wallace. Even Keith Olbermann was in talks to return to MSNBC. His last stint with the network was the last time they challenged Fox. But according to Olbermann, they told him he would have to refrain from his “fiery” commentaries. That was an untenable restraint, so he walked.

It’s hard to know what the suits at MSNBC are thinking. There is clearly an appetite for news commentary that counters the powerful elite in Washington. It’s a programming niche that is unfilled elsewhere. Plus, it’s a necessary defense against the dangerously erratic Trump administration’s assault on America. Where else can we go to get reality-based news about climate change? Who else is covering voter suppression and gerrymandering? Which other network is allotting time to racial and gender discrimination? And what about our President’s potentially treasonous connections to unsavory figures in Russia?

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

Fox News deliberately downplays any unflattering news about Trump. CNN reports it, but puts on crackpots who disseminate absurd justifications. That leaves MSNBC as the one network that honestly covers Trump’s dark side. For that reason alone they should not be adding to the pro-Trump voices in the media. We already have plenty of that and far too little truthful common sense and compassion.

UPDATE: There are rumors that MSNBC may not renew the contract of Lawrence O’Donnell despite the fact that his ratings are at a record high. He is beating CNN, and challenging Fox News. This would be good time to let MSNBC know that we demand they keep O’Donnell and stop sucking up to the right. You can call them at 212-664-4444 and email them at letters@msnbc.com.

Scandal Plagued Fox News Boss Rupert Murdoch is Now Advising Trump on a Daily Basis

The partnership between Fox News and Donald Trump has evolved into an unprecedented fusion of government and media. It is nothing less than an implementation of state-run TV that rivals anything built by the former Soviet Union.

Rupert Murdoch Donald Trump

The Fox News schedule is plastered with unabashedly pro-Trump anchors and guests. Its prime time lineup is fully devoted to Trump advocacy and suppression of any dissenting opinions. The incidental presence of a progressive viewpoint is allowed only as a foil for right-wing attacks or a phony pretense of balance. Obedience to the Fox Doctrine is strict and unwavering. Joseph Goebbels would be proud.

Now New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman is reporting that Fox News chairman Rupert Murdoch is talking to Trump on a daily basis. He is advising the President on matters ranging from the domestic economy to foreign policy. So while Trump was known to be shaping his agenda by watching Fox and Friends, he is now taking his cues straight from the horse’s ass.

There are several serious legal and ethical problems with this relationship. first of all, Fox News is currently under investigation by the Justice Department. DOJ attorneys are probing whether the network violated securities laws by not disclosing settlements with women who reported sexual harassment at Fox. That investigation has recently broadened to include allegations intimidation and invasions of privacy. Murdoch’s contacts with Trump could be used to gain favor and influence the conduct of those inquiries. When Bill Clinton met briefly with then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Fox News portrayed it as scandalous. Now the head of the criminally suspect Fox News is fraternizing regularly with the Attorney General’s boss.

Then there are the pending regulatory issues that have a direct effect on Murdoch’s businesses. He is seeking to expand his ownership of both television stations and newspapers across the country. There are currently caps on the percentage of access any one media entity can control. For Murdoch to expand those caps would have to be raised or eliminated. Trump’s FCC is responsible for setting those standards. If Murdoch can persuade Trump to alter the regulations to his liking, he stands to add significantly to his fortune and influence. And another feather in Murdoch’s monopoly would be the scuttling of the merger between competitors AT&T and TimeWarner. That’s actually a good idea, but not for the selfish reasons Murdoch harbors.

It’s fair to say that Murdoch would not be coming to these deals empty handed. Murdoch can offer Trump nearly unlimited positive coverage by the media outlets he controls. That includes in part Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, and the Fox Business Network. Add to those Murdoch’s international media enterprises and Fox’s digital media. What’s more, Murdoch would not be limited to pro-Trump propaganda. He could just as easily blanket the mediaverse with anti-Democratic fake news and slander.

For his part, Trump isn’t limited either in the ways he can pay Murdoch back for favorable treatment. Trump is already acting as a PR agent for Fox News. He frequently praises the network and encourages his followers to tune in. Simultaneously, he bashes every other media outlet as liars and purveyors of fake news. The estimated value of his free advertising for Fox on Twitter alone goes into the multimillions.

The blatantly improper nature of the relationship between Murdoch and Trump on legal grounds is not the only problem. There is also the ethical dilemma of an alleged news operation having such close proximity to a notable newsmaker. How can Fox News report independently on someone who is being advised by their chief executive? While Murdoch is helping Trump to form opinions on world affairs, his network will be covering and analyzing that advice. Will Fox be able to criticize a policy articulated by Trump knowing that it came from Murdoch?

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

This kind of incestuous liaison makes all parties to it less credible. And it doesn’t help that Trump is also linked to Fox News personalities Sean Hannity, Steve Doocy, Tucker Carlson, Eric Bolling, and others. And speaking of incestuous, Ivanka Trump is close friends with Wendy Wong, Murdoch’s ex-wife and Vladimir Putin’s current girlfriend. Let that sink in.

A Fox News Host Tells the Truth About GOP Healthcare Bill – Gets Slammed By Co-Hosts

The Republican bill to repeal ObamaCare squeaked by Thursday in the House of Representatives. Not surprisingly, it received no votes at all from Democrats determined to protect access to healthcare. The independent analyses of the legislation are virtually unanimous that it will result in higher premiums and fewer services. The projected number of people covered by insurance would decline by twenty-four million or more. Virtually every consumer healthcare advocacy group has come out against the bill. Rep. Jim Cooper compiled a list of fifty such groups that include AARP, AMA, American Cancer Society, and Families USA.

Fox News Juan Williams

Of course Fox News still leans decidedly toward the Republican view. Their reports are unabashedly anti-ObamaCare. Since the House vote, Fox News has been portraying it as a major victory for Donald Trump. Never mind that it still has a long and arduous path to becoming law. The Senate is already predicting that the House bill will not even be brought up. Instead, they will draft their own legislation, which will likely be unacceptable to House conservatives.

In the midst of the debate, one of the co-hosts of The Five on Fox News managed to get worked up about the misinformation surrounding coverage of the bill (video below). Juan Williams broke from the mandatory Fox orthodoxy to unleash a stream of truth-telling not often seen on Fox. He began by declaring that GOP bill was “a fraud.” He continued with criticisms aimed directly at Trump:

“This is a guy who didn’t get anything done. No legislative accomplishments the first 100 days. Desperate for something that he can call a victory.”

At that point Williams was interrupted by co-host Meghan McCain. She wondered “Then why are Democrats so hysterical today if nothing happened?” Williams ignored her question, but the answer was pretty obvious. Democrats, and most Americans, are outraged by the efforts of the GOP to throw millions off of their healthcare plans. Just because Republicans haven’t yet achieved success doesn’t mean that the attempt isn’t reprehensible. But Williams kept his stride saying that:

“Here’s the details you have not heard about, America. Uninsured, more uninsured people. … If you’re a senior in this country, so many older people voted for President Trump. Guess what? Now you can be charged five times more for your medical coverage. … Hospitals are going to pay more for Medicare. … What about the poor? Paying more for premiums and deductions. It’s a fraud!”

And that’s about as far as Williams was allowed to go. He was pounced on by the other four conservative panelists on the program. (That’s why every panel on Fox News is heavily over-weighted with wingnuts). The subsequent shouting and cross-talk made everyone unintelligible, thereby suppressing Williams’ arguments.

The last thing Fox News wants is for reasonable presentations of progressive policies to get on the air. And if they manage to slip through, they must be squashed with all due haste. Even if that means devolving into childish tantrums that prevent any meaningful discussion. That tactic works for Fox because it silences views they oppose while titillating their drama-hungry viewers. It’s the Fox way.

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

WATCH: The Lie-Riddled, Pro-Trump, 100 Days Propaganda Video Produced By Fox News

The consensus of the reality-based community is that Donald Trump’s first 100 days have been a dismal failure. He is under investigation by the FBI for possible collusion with Russian agents to steal the election. Several administration appointments have been withdrawn or resigned under clouds. Federal courts have ruled some of his his flurry of executive orders unconstitutional. He’s spent more time (and money) away from the White House than any of his predecessors. Almost none of the promises he made during his campaign have been fulfilled. The only achievement about which he can brag is having the lowest approval rating of any first quarter president ever.

Donald Trump Fox News

That, of course, hasn’t stopped Trump from declaring that he’s had the most successful first 100 days in history. It’s not unlike his claim that more people attended his inauguration than any before it. Or that President Obama wiretapped him. He’s just plain delusional.

Thank goodness he has Fox News to affirm his hyperactive, ego-stroking imagination. Fox News has officially taken on the mantle of state-run TV to a degree that would make Russia blush. And now it’s putting on a full-court press to shore up the President’s flagging record and public disappointment. The latest glaring example of Fox’s Trump-fluffing PR is a video celebrating his hundredth day in office. It’s a production of such brazen suck-up you’d have to assume it came straight from Breitbart Films. In conjunction with Kellyanne Conway’s Alternative Facts Studios. (Video below)

The video is montage that runs the gamut from fawning exaltation to shameless disinformation. It begins with the stridently vague declaration that “Trump signed an executive order to ease the burden of Obamacare.” Because millions of Americans having access to affordable healthcare is such a heavy burden. Then the video boasts about Trump’s efforts to advance the Keystone XL pipeline. That’s a project that risks severe environmental damage while failing to create jobs or economic benefits.

The next “achievement” is Trump’s initiative to put restrictions on former government officials becoming lobbyists. However, he has already given waivers to people who served in his nascent administration to accept lobbying positions. The video then touts a memorandum to the Pentagon to come up with a plan to defeat ISIS. Apparently Trump thinks that the Pentagon hasn’t already developed several such plans. In any case, Trump hasn’t implemented any of them. The best the video can do is note that Trump fired some missiles at a Syrian air base that did little damage, and dropped the “Mother of All Bombs” on a stretch of Afghan desert.

Moving on, the video notes that Neil Gorsuch was confirmed to take a seat on the Supreme Court. But it doesn’t note that the Senate had to ditch its own rules in order to secure the confirmation. And that’s hardly an achievement of the President anyway. Then the video applauds Trump’s unveiling of a “tax plan with cuts for corporations and Americans.” First of all, it’s more of a press release than a plan. However, it does mainly benefit corporations and Americans with high incomes.

Finally, the video cites two more executive orders that accomplish precisely nothing. One is aimed at making Veterans Administration employees accountable. It doesn’t say how it would do that or even what “accountable” means. The other notes Trump’s travel ban that is not now, and will never be, in effect.

In addition to the video, Fox linked to a web page that was equally slathered in Trumpism. It purported to itemize everything he’s accomplished in 100 days. But it’s a total joke. Many of the items were nonsense like “Had lunch with Treasury Secretary Mnuchin.” Or “Left on Air Force One for Mar-a-Lago.” And “Held listening session with ObamaCare ‘victims.'” Plus, it posted a bunch of his inane tweets. Sadly, in the World of Trump, these are accomplishments.

Given all of the resources of Fox News, it’s startling that this is the best they could do. The video is a document of Trump’s failures. Granted, they had so little to work with you have to give them credit for trying. And in the end, the brainwashed, information-challenged, sycophantic, Trump cultists won’t care that there is no truth or substance to the video’s claims. If Trump told them that the border wall had already been built, they could actually travel down to the Rio Grande and would see it clear as day.

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

Fox News knows their audience, and knows that they will believe whatever Trump or Fox put in front of them. And that’s why Fox produces these hollow and transparently biased videos. They are doing the work of the White House Politburo and nothing more.