Trump’s CPAC Speech: Narcissistic Blather And Incoherent Attacks On The Media

The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) for 2017 is currently in progress. And on Friday it featured its star attraction, President Donald Trump. Trump could have stayed home and just delivered a video from any of his campaign stump speeches. His speech (transcript) was entirely devoid of any new thoughts he might have had after being president for a month. Of course, that’s presuming he ever has any new thoughts.

Donald Trump CPAC

Trump began with a familiar topic: himself. He rambled aimlessly for several minutes about whether he had just received a standing ovation. And of course he rattled off false statistics about his allegedly record setting electoral achievements. Then, after a few minutes of right-wing boot-licking, he bragged about how much he is loved by the CPAC crowd. One of his boasts concerned how well he did in polling after his previous CPAC speeches. The truth, however, is that he lost most of the CPAC straw polls bigly. In 2015 he registered a pathetic eigth place finish with only 3.5 percent of the vote. Last year, with the presidential campaign in full swing, he finished a distant third with 15 percent.

Trump did manage to stuff in the usual conservative issues and wingnut applause lines. He promised to fight terrorism, repeal ObamaCare, deport Mexicans, cut taxes, and build a wall. And he would preside over the biggest military buildup ever, and spend a trillion dollars on infrastructure, while eliminating the national debt. As usual, he provided no details as to how he would accomplish any of those fantastical goals.

Much of the speech was focused on his infamous hatred for the free press, or as he calls it, the “fake news.” He opened this part of his address with a manic declaration. “I want you all to know,” he ranted, “that we are fighting the fake news. It’s fake. Phony. Fake.” Then he elaborated:

“A few days ago I called the fake news the enemy of the people. And they are. They are the enemy of the people. Because they have no sources, they just make ’em up when there are none. I saw one story recently where they said, ‘Nine people have confirmed.’ There’re no nine people. I don’t believe there was one or two people. Nine people. And I said, ‘Give me a break.’ Because I know the people, I know who they talk to. There were no nine people. But they say ‘nine people.’ And somebody reads it and they think, ‘Oh, nine people. They have nine sources.’ They make up sources.”

Indeed, Trump railed about the media as the enemy of the American people. That’s a phrase that maligns the First Amendment, and has its roots in Mao’s China. But his mad ravings about the “nine sources” is especially puzzling. That’s because he’s referring to a story in the Washington Post about his former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn. The Post reported that they had nine sources affirming that Flynn had inappropriate discussions with Russian agents during the campaign. As a result of that story, Trump fired Flynn. Is he now contending that he fired his top national security aide because of a fake story with no sources? Who knows? And it doesn’t get any more comprehensible from there:

“They’re very dishonest people. In fact, in covering my comments, the dishonest media did not explain that I called the fake news the enemy of the people. The fake news. They dropped off the word ‘fake.’ And all of a sudden the story became the media is the enemy. They take the word ‘fake’ out. And now I’m saying, ‘Oh no, this is no good.’ But that’s the way they are.” […]

“They shouldn’t be allowed to use sources unless they use somebody’s name. Let their name be put out there. Let their name be put out. ‘A source says that Donald Trump is a horrible, horrible human being.’ Let ’em say it to my face. Let there be no more sources.”

Huh? First of all, without any sources there wouldn’t be any stories. And anonymity is necessary at times when the source is threatened professionally, financially, or physically. And, of course, Trump’s administration has its own anonymous sources that pass information to the press. Will he identify them all now? The only part of that that made any sense was the part about him being a “horrible human being.”

As for Trump’s assertion that he specified only fake news as the enemy of the people, he’s right. But his assertion that reports left that word out is nonsense. In most cases cases they quoted his tweet verbatim and showed it on screen or in print. Furthermore, his tweet accusing the media of fakery was pretty broadly stated. He explicitly cited the New York Times, NBC, ABC, CBS, and CNN. Apparently, Trump regards only Fox News, Infowars, the National Enquirer, and Breitbart News as non-fake. And he still isn’t through:

“They say that we can’t criticize their dishonest coverage because of the First Amendment. You know, they always bring up the First Amendment. And I love the First Amendment; nobody loves it better than me. Nobody. I mean, who use it more than I do? […] So just in finishing, I say it doesn’t represent the people. It doesn’t tell the – never will represent the people. And we’re going to do something about it because we have to go out and have to speak our minds and we have to be honest.”

Who ever said that he can’t criticize the media? Are the voices in his head shouting louder than the Fox News blowhards on his TV? And for someone who claims to appreciate the First Amendment, he has a funny way of showing it. Friday afternoon his press secretary explicitly banned several news organizations from an informal briefing. After admitting right-wing propaganda outfits like Breitbart and the One America News Network, Sean Spicer shut the door. He refused entry to CNN, the New York Times, Politico, The Hill, BuzzFeed, the Daily Mail, BBC, the Los Angeles Times, and the New York Daily News. This is in direct contradiction of a promise he made last December that he would “absolutely not” ban any credentialed journalists. So much for fairness and transparency in the Trump press office.

So just in finishing, WTF does Trump mean when he says that the media “doesn’t represent the people” and that he’s “going to do something about it?” What exactly does he have in mind? And does he think it’s the job of the president to make the media represent the people, as he defines it?

This CPAC speech was another in long line of embarrassingly maniacal orations that have come to epitomize the Trumpian sermonizing. They are filled with lies, exaggerations, boasting, and malice toward many. And to the extent that they can be comprehended, they are almost entirely lacking in substance. Yet somehow, his glassy-eyed followers cheer wildly as if he said something that wasn’t gibberish. That may be the saddest – and scariest – part of the Era of Trump.

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

Trump Shill Kellyanne Conway Banned From Morning Joe Because She ‘Makes Things Up’

One of the many abhorrent things that the Era of Trump will be remembered for is the emergence of “Fake News.” The term’s definition has become fuzzy, but within Donald Trump’s circle it is defined as anything with which he disagrees. However, everywhere else it is more accurately defined as news that is deliberately contrived for financial or political gain.

Kellyanne Conway

The Trump Team has demonstrated its prowess in this new field of fictionalized reporting. Starting from the the top with Trump notching a record number of “Pants-On-Fire” lies on PolitiFact. And his press secretary, Sean “Fibby Spice” Spicer valiantly defends his boss with equally dishonest press briefings.

Another member of the Liars Brigade is Kellyanne Conway, the originator of “alternative facts.” However, her star may have fallen a bit in recent days. She was staggeringly out of the loop on the Michael Flynn resignation. Just a few hours before he was sacked she was still insisting that he had the President’s full confidence. And she has recently been called out for not making sense or for plugging Ivanka’s fashion line. The U.S. Office of Government Ethics has called on Trump to investigate and discipline her for the latter.

Wednesday morning Conway got some more bad news. The hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe have decided to ban her from future appearances. Both Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski assailed her record of inventing stories just to enhance her bookings. Brzezinski came out swinging with a biting question: “How many times does she go out and say things that are not true?” She continued:

“We know for a fact she tries to book herself on this show. I won’t do it because I don’t believe in fake news or information that isn’t true. Every time I’ve ever seen her on television something’s askew, off or incorrect.”

Scarborough agreed saying that Conway’s commentaries were “blatantly false.” But he went further to assert that she is ill-informed because she isn’t even invited to the meetings of Trump’s inner circle. Consequently, she is “a spokesperson in the White House [who] actually goes out and makes things up.”

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

This is good first step for the media. Next Conway should be shunned by every show on MSNBC. Following that, every other network should decline to book her. And if they really want to make a statement honoring truth in politics, they should do the same to Spicer. At the very least they need to stop airing his daily briefings live. By delaying the broadcast they can deny him a platform for his unfiltered propaganda and conduct a fair fact-checking. The public would be surely be better off. And the media could learn from Brzezinski’s example as she declares that:

“Kellyanne Conway does not need to text our show. At least as long as I’m on it. Because it’s not happening here.”

Fibby Spice: Sean Spicer Is Congenitally Incapable Of Telling The Truth

The Trump administration is crumbling at a rate unheard of in modern times. The latest brick to fall is the “resignation” of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn after only 24 days on the job. Flynn’s downfall was the result of his covert discussions with the Russian ambassador about U.S. sanctions. He later failed to disclose these talks to Vice-President Mike Pence and other Trump officials.

This is a blatant violation of both protocol and national security. Flynn may have violated several laws in addition to demonstrating a complete lack of ethics. Nevertheless, Donald Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, rambled aimlessly at Tuesday morning’s daily briefing. He sought to downplay and divert from the serious issues at hand while exalting the dangerously lazy response by Trump.

Fibby Spice Sean Spicer

Spicer insisted that Trump was “unbelievably decisive” despite waiting nearly a month after he was first advised of the breach. That remark might have been the most ludicrous of the whole briefing until he later said that “The irony of all this has been the president has been incredibly tough on Russia.” WTF? Anyone who has been paying attention knows that Trump has been tougher on Meryl Streep and Nordstrom’s than he has on his BFF, Vladimir Putin.

Among the brazen lies uttered throughout the briefing was that Trump fired Flynn by asking for his resignation. However, the day before Flynn’s hurried exit the administration insisted the opposite was the case. Both CNN and Fox News reported that Trump did not fire Flynn, and that he voluntarily resigned.

Furthermore, Spicer’s explanation made was wholly illogical. His contention that Flynn had done nothing illegal or inappropriate begs the question: Then why did he lie to Pence and his other colleagues? For practice? Spicer’s account suggests that Flynn risked his reputation and career for no reason whatsoever.

Spicer also laid out a timeline that put Trump in front of the whole affair with full knowledge and managerial control. But Friday Trump told reporters that he was unaware of the allegations and said he would look into it. If that’s accurate he could not have known weeks ago as Spicer indicated. Nor could he be portrayed as being on top of it and decisive. Spicer tried to explain this away as Trump merely saying that he was unaware of the allegations as reported in the Washington Post. But that wasn’t the question that he was asked, and the Post wasn’t brought into it until later.

So both Trump and Spicer are weaving dubious tales of how the Flynn affair unfolded. The most likely scenario would be that Trump knew about Flynn weeks ago, but can’t admit it. It would make him appear weak and even compromised with regard to the illegal discussions with Russia. Consequently, Spicer had to bobble his responses to keep from admitting Trump’s failures. If Trump actually was ignorant of Flynn’s dealings, that would be equally as troubling. It would mean that his staff had kept him out of the loop for weeks while a possible national security breach had occurred.

There is simply no good way to spin this. But Spicer is giving it the old college try. Unfortunately, he’s way short of the mark. Even Trump has had to intercede with a distraction via Twitter He tweeted that the real story isn’t the security breach, but the leaks that made the public aware of it. Because we certainly can’t have the American people finding out that the President is conspiring with hostile foreign countries.

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

OOPS! Fox News Pushes Starbucks Boycott For Hiring Refugees, Not Veterans – Check Again Fox

Last week Starbucks announced an initiative to hire 10,000 refugees around the world. In a heartfelt post to the Starbucks website, CEO Howard Schultz wrote that the plan was in response to Donald Trump’s attempt to ban immigrants from majority-Muslim countries. “We have all been witness,” he said, “to the confusion, surprise and opposition to the Executive Order President Trump issued.” The statement continued:

“There are more than 65 million citizens of the world recognized as refugees by the United Nations, and we are developing plans to hire 10,000 of them over five years in the 75 countries around the world where Starbucks does business. And we will start this effort here in the U.S. by making the initial focus of our hiring efforts on those individuals who have served with U.S. troops as interpreters and support personnel in the various countries where our military has asked for such support.”

This is a prime example of the sort of social responsibility that all corporations ought to exercise. It demonstrates empathy for people who have suffered greatly and depend on the compassion of others for their survival.

Sadly, there are some who don’t share these values. Immediately following the announcement, conservative groups began organizing boycotts to express their opposition. For the most part they echoed the Trump administration’s fear mongering of terrorists posing as refugees. However, among the justifications was the argument that Starbucks should be providing this assistance to American veterans instead. Good idea!

In fact, it’s such a good idea that Starbucks thought of it three years ago. Also posted on their website was this 2013 announcement that they would hire 10,000 veterans:

“Company to build a pipeline of talent focused on veterans and active duty spouses, including infrastructure to support at least 10,000 hires in five years” […]

“Veterans and military spouses represent one of the most underutilized talent pools in our country and, without the proper career path, will continue to go untapped. Companies like Starbucks recognize this opportunity and are moving swiftly and aggressively to match the jobs they will create in the future with the talent returning to America over the next several years.”

Updates on the program show that Starbucks is ahead of schedule. They currently have 8,800 veterans on the payroll as result of this initiative. But that news hasn’t seeped through to the right-wingers who are determined to punish Starbucks unfairly. Nor has it seeped through to their media of choice: Fox News.

Fox News

Last week Fox News aired a segment that overtly supported the boycott effort. Their story featured graphics that promoted a #BoycottStarbucks hashtag and the message “Refuge Hiring Plan Sparks Online Outrage.” At no time did they point out Starbucks’ program for hiring veterans. And Tuesday morning Fox & Friends continued the Starbucks bashing. They hosted the proprietor of Black Rifle Coffee Company, a wannabe Starbucks competitor. He told the “Curvy Couch” potatoes that he plans to hire 10,000 veterans. That’s an admirable goal, especially for a company that currently has only six employees (according to BuzzFile). He may have overly optimistic growth projections. Or maybe he’s just a con artist looking for a quick buck with Fox’s help.

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

Once again, Fox News never disclosed that Starbucks implemented a veterans hiring program three years ago that’s actually hiring thousands of veterans. It doesn’t fit their anti-refugee agenda and pro-Trump propaganda. Consequently, they left it out of their broadcast, deceiving their viewers and feeding their hatred. These are lengths to which Fox will go to advance their agenda of bigotry and lies. In the process they are actually hurting an American company that’s helping our vets. Nice work, Fox.

Bill O’Reilly (!?!) SHREDS Trump On Factless Voter Fraud Claim – Trump Whines ‘We’re Babies’

Bill O’Reilly’s Super Bowl interview of Donald Trump will be broadcast in part on Sunday. The remaining segments will be aired on consecutive episodes of the The O’Reilly Factor next week. Saturday night an excerpt was released that featured Trump defending Vladimir Putin and his habit of murdering his political opponents. Even worse, he claimed without evidence that the same thing is done in the United States.

Donald Trump

Sunday morning another excerpt was released with another outrageous and unsupported assertion by our Liar-In-Chief. And this time O’Reilly didn’t sit still for the blatant dishonesty (video below). Witness this startling exchange:

O REILLY: Is there any validity to the criticism of you that you say things you can’t back up factually? And as the President, if you say for example, there are three million illegal aliens who voted, and then you don’t have the data to back it up, some people are gonna say that it’s irresponsible for a president to say that. Is there any validity to that?

TRUMP: Well, many people have come out and said I’m right. You know that.

O’REILLY: Yeah, but you’ve gotta have data to back that up.

TRUMP: When you see illegals, people that are not citizens and they’re on the registration rolls. Look Bill, we can be babies, but you take a look at the registration. You have illegals, you have dead people, you have this. It’s really a bad situation. It’s really bad.

Trump initially tried to rationalize his spreading of known falsehoods by clinging to phantom people who agree with him. Outside of his glassy-eyed disciples and inner circle sycophants, there are no credible sources that corroborate his fantasies. This is no different than his years-long obsession with President Obama’s birth certificate. And it is no less dishonest.

Surprisingly, O’Reilly followed up by insisting that more was required than a mere consensus of crackpots. He needed actual data. Of course, Trump couldn’t supply any of that. So he rambled aimlessly about “illegals” and zombie voters that he still could not document. And he sought to demean anyone who challenged his nonsense as “babies.” An ironic insult considering how relentlessly he whines.

For the record, Trump’s repeated voter fraud allegations have no basis in reality. They are “alternative facts” that reside only in his dementia. Experts have thoroughly debunked the claim. Yet that hasn’t stopped him from doggedly espousing it.

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

Whistleblower’s Rights Supersede Trump’s Gag Orders – Says U.S Office Of Special Counsel

The past week has seen Donald Trump attempt to suppress the free speech of scientists and analysts within the government. The departments of the Interior, Agriculture, and the Environmental Protection Agency were ordered by the White House to clam up. The prohibition on communications applied to website posts, press releases, and social media such as Twitter.

Donald Trump

These gag orders were mainly directed at agencies providing information related to healthcare and climate change. Trump has made it a priority of his administration to halt any progress on those issues. Even worse, he aims to roll back whatever was done during the Obama administration. But his path may not be all that clear.

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) is charged with protecting government employees who report malfeasance within federal offices. Whistleblowers often come forward to reveal official corruption or misrepresentation at significant personal risk. However, they are protected by statute from retaliation. It is the responsibility of the OSC to enforce those laws.

Consequently, the OSC responded to the news reports about Trump’s efforts to silence federal employees working on the affected issues. They released a memorandum reminding the administration, and the employees, that certain rights exist that cannot be denied. It’s title is “OSC’s Enforcement of the Anti-Gag Order Provision in Whistleblower Law” and says in part:

“The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) is releasing information on its enforcement of the anti-gag order provision in the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA). The WPEA, passed unanimously in both the House and Senate in 2012, strengthened anti-retaliation protections for federal workers. Under the anti-gag provision, agencies cannot impose nondisclosure agreements and policies that fail to include required language that informs employees that their statutory right to blow the whistle supersedes the terms and conditions of the nondisclosure agreement or policy.”

This is a direct swipe at Trump’s attempts to muzzle those working on climate science and healthcare projects. It also anticipates his penchant for shackling his employees with burdensome non-disclosure agreements. The memo reminds everyone concerned that the WPEA:

“…explicitly shields employees for blowing the whistle on any effort to ‘distort, misrepresent, suppress’ or otherwise censor any government ‘research, analysis, or technical information’ that the employee reasonably believes could, among other things, pose a substantial and significant threat to public health or safety or constitute a violation of law, rule, or regulation.”

And that:

“Nondisclosure agreements and policies can chill would-be whistleblowers from coming forward. These orders must clearly state that federal employees have a right to make disclosures of wrongdoing.”

So going forward, the Trump team has been put on notice that any further attempts to suppress communications from protected parties is expressly prohibited. Furthermore, any orders that address such communications must also contain language that informs the employees of their rights.

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

It seems unthinkable that a reminder like this is necessary. But in the Era of Trump there is much that would have previously been considered unthinkable. It’s good to know that there are still some dedicated public servants protecting the interests of the federal workforce and, by extension, the American people and the democracy upon which free expression relies.

SPLIT: Trump’s Personalities Have A Love/Hate Relationship With Fox News (w/Hysterical Kimmel Video)

Donald Trump recently told a gathering at CIA headquarters that he has a “running war with the media.” That may be the first true statement he’s made as president. Throughout his campaign he has attacked the press in the most virulent terms. Advocates for journalists published a statement declaring him to be “an unprecedented threat to press freedom.” His animosity toward the First Amendment is often chaotic and downright dangerous. For instance, on Wednesday he tweeted this:

The spectacle of a sitting president complimenting a news enterprise for its ratings success is both unprecedented and unethical. In a nation that honors a free press, the government is not supposed to be taking sides in these matters. Nor is it appropriate for a president to insult the millions of viewers of CNN by implying that they are stupid.

What’s more, Trump went further with his unprincipled remarks to lambaste CNN as “fake news.” That term is already beginning to lose any meaning as conservatives apply it to any news with which they disagree. However, Trump’s use of it is blatantly vengeful. He reserves his animus for those who have the audacity to criticize him. His purpose is to delegitimize the media in general so that he can disseminate his “alternative facts” (aka lies) with impunity. As a result, he is frequently at odds with himself.

Trump Split 2

Trump has not always been so fond of Fox News. During the campaign he frequently lashed out them when they were not sufficiently complimentary. For instance:

Further more, Trump 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.” Chris Stirewalt was deemed “one of the dumbest political pundits on television.” He said that George Will is a “broken down political pundit” and “boring.” And Trump laughed off Charles Krauthammer as “a totally overrated clown,” “a loser,” and “a dummy.”

That, however, is all behind us now. At least until the next time Fox News manages to muster up a worthy criticism. In the meantime, Trump will surely persist in castigating CNN and others for doing their job. His administration is proving to be the most hostile toward reporters in modern times. It is a troubling trend that threatens not only the press, but democracy.

On the other hand, Donald Trump is the gift that keeps on giving to the world of comedy. His ignorant rants and obsessions with ego-driven trivialities are the basis for an endless stream of jokes. He has spent most of his first week as president whining about the turnout at his inauguration. It is eating him alive that it was so much lower than President Obama’s. That preoccupation with his hurt pride led to the infamous introduction of the absurd term alternative facts.” And when he was fixating on that he was revisiting his embarrassing loss of the popular vote.

Jimmy Kimmel is not one to let a good satire of Trump get away. Consequently, Tuesday night he put together a mock trailer for a sequel to M. Night Shyamalan’s hit movie “Split.” The story revolves around a character with multiple personalities and a decidedly hostile attitude toward women. Sound familiar?

In Kimmel’s sequel the star is Donald Trump. The clip contains several instances of Trump saying one thing, then contradicting himself. It also borrows from the real film with a psychologist confronting Trump to ask “Twenty-three identities live in Donald Trump. To whom am I speaking with now?” The answers in voice-over suggest Trump, Vladimir Putin, and Rosie O’Donnell. Later the female victims plot to escape their tormentor with one proposing that “The only chance we have is if all three of us go crazy on this guy.” Then it cuts to Trump saying “I have no idea who these women are.”

The parallels to real life are a little scary. However, the hilarity falls apart when a voice is heard worrying “What will happen when he unlocks the potential of his brain?” We know that Trump himself thinks that he has “a very good brain [because] I’ve said a lot of things.” That’s also his excuse for refusing to attend national security briefings. He told Chris Wallace of Fox News that such meetings were unnecessary because “I’m, like, a smart person.”

Unfortunately, while comedians are going to be celebrating a renaissance of humor, the rest of the nation is going to be get more and more depressed. Which, ironically, will create a greater need for comedians. So in light of that, enjoy Kimmel’s version of Trump in Split and try to carry on.

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

WTF? Alternative Facts: The Women’s March On Washington Was Actually Pro-Trump?

In the the post-truth era ushered in by the Trump administration, respect for facts is taking a much smaller role in political discourse. These are, after all, the folks who brought us “alternative facts,” otherwise known as fiction. And the chief dispenser of the official White House falsehoods is press secretary Sean Spicer.

Donald Trump

On Monday Spicer held the very first press briefing of the Trump presidency. It was a peculiar affair that included fierce denials of what he said just two days before. However, Spicer was consistent on the subject of Trump’s much larger inauguration crowd – which wasn’t true. He also continued waging what Trump called his “running war with the media.” Spicer was dismayed by the “negativity” of the press and how it was demoralizing to the President and his team. Poor babies. Everyone knows the role of the press is to bolster the President’s morale.

Perhaps Spicer’s most preposterous assertion came in a response to a question about the Women’s March on Washington. This event drew unprecedented crowds to the nation’s capital as well cities across the country and around the world. It was a massive repudiation of Trump and his alt-populist agenda. Yet Spicer’s representation of his boss’ reaction to the protest was overtly delusional:

“I think he has a healthy respect for the First Amendment and this is what makes our country so beautiful, is that on one day you can inaugurate a President, on the next day people can occupy the same space to protest something. But he’s also cognizant to the fact that a lot of these people were there to protest an issue of concern to them and not against anything.”

Yeah, that’s the ticket. These millions of protesters weren’t actually protesting at all. In fact, in Trump World, they were only there for the shopping and sightseeing. Or as Spicer suggested, “there were people that came to the mall as they do all the time, sometimes in smaller numbers.”

At this rate it won’t be long before Spicer declares that the march was actually in support of Trump. Never mind all the “pussyhats” and signs expressing decidedly anti-Trump views. The Trump team’s “alternative fact” emerging from Saturday’s historic public demonstration is that it was a non-partisan gathering of typical Washington residents and tourists. The factual fact (a newly required redundancy) is that millions of Americans poured into the streets to renounce Donald Trump. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that he is honest enough to accept it. Sad!

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

ALTERNATIVE FACTS? The Trump Team’s War On The Media – And Reality

It didn’t take long for Donald Trump and his press team to fulfill the most dire predictions made regarding his hostility toward the media. During his campaign, alarmed press advocates called him out as “an unprecedented threat to the rights of journalists.” His treatment of reporters covering him was brazenly antagonistic and insulting. And now that he has been sworn in as president, he hasn’t moderated his animosity in the least.

Kellyanne Conway

At a hastily assembled appearance at CIA offices, Trump spoke mainly about his “running war with the media.” He made a point of disparaging them as “the most dishonest human beings on earth.” Why he thought that was an appropriate subject for this audience is a mystery. But it was also the theme of the day for his staff.

Press Secretary Sean Spicer called the White House press corps together to deliver a statement. What transpired was shocking and unprecedented. For his first showing in the White House briefing room, Spicer unleashed a torrent of invective and lies which he read awkwardly from prepared notes. He lied about things for which there is video proof. He elevated a tangential issue above far more important matters in the news. His ranting reflected Trump’s thin-skinned narcissism and ego-drive obsession with approval. His angry and partisan insults were disrespectful and somewhat fascistic as he instructed reporters on what they should cover. He clearly doesn’t understand his role as a conduit for informing the public. And he concluded by stomping out with taking a single question.

Worst of all, Spicer’s complaints were a collection of verifiable lies. Among the falsehoods he sought to disseminate are these, which were all proven to be untrue by PolitiFact:

  • “This is the first time in our nation’s history that floor coverings have been used to protect the grass on the Mall.”
    FALSE: They were used in 2012 for Obama’s second inauguration.
  • “This was also the first time that fencing and magnetometers went as far back on the Mall, preventing hundreds of thousands of people from being able to access the Mall as quickly as they had in inaugurations past.”
    FALSE: The Secret Service, who are responsible for these matters, refutes this.
  • “No one had numbers, because the National Parks Service does not put any out.”
    FALSE: While the Parks Service doesn’t put out numbers, other parties do.
  • “We know that 420,000 people used the D.C, Metro public transit yesterday, which actually compares to 317,000 for president Obama’s last inaugural.”
    FALSE: The D.C. Metro actually provided different numbers that show Obama’s attendance were substantially higher.
  • “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period. Both in person and around the globe.”
    FALSE: Obama’s first inauguration drew 1.8 million people (seven time more), and the television audience was 38 million (seven million more).

Spicer spoke about his intention to “to hold the press accountable.” However, it remains unclear what he means by that. Sunday morning, Trump’s senior advisor, Kellyanne Conway, told NBC’s Chuck Todd that “our press secretary, Sean Spicer, gave alternative facts.” As Todd pointed out, another term for “alternative facts” is falsehoods.

Trump’s chief of staff, Reince Priebus, also commented on this subject. He said that “The point is not the crowd size. The point is the attacks and the attempt to delegitimize this president.” Priebus is asserting that an honest presentation of the facts “deligitimizes” his boss. He may have a point.

All of this is reminiscent of remarks made by another Trump surrogate during a radio interview in December. Scottie Nell Hughes declared that “There’s no such thing unfortunately, anymore, as facts.” That viewpoint is an admission that they can’t possibly persuade anyone to support them if they have to rely on reality. Consequently, they resort to creating their own reality and sucking the weak into it.

Finally, on a peculiar side note, the video below is from CNN. That’s because the video on the all-new White House website is something of a digital monstrosity. It’s about an hour and forty-seven minutes long. However, the first hour and thirteen minutes is just silence with a blue card saying the statement is “Beginning Shortly.” That’s followed by about twenty minutes of an empty podium in the briefing room. Then we get to the actual six minute statement by Spicer. And finally, the video closes with another eight minutes of a blue card saying “Just Concluded.” Either they don’t have anyone who can edit a video, or they meant to bury the six minute statement in nearly two hours of nothing. Given what he had to say, that might be a pretty reasonable strategy. Unfortunately, we may be in for another four years of this obfuscation and incompetence.

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

The American Carnage: Donald Trump’s Bleak Vision Of The Disunited States

Anyone listening to Donald Trump’s inauguration speech must have thought he was talking about a different country. His description of the United States was dripping with the horror of a nightmarish, dystopian society. He actually used the phrase “American Carnage” to illustrate his vision of the state of the nation he’s inheriting from President Obama.

Donald Trump

In order to have such a depressing perspective, Trump needs to severely distort reality. By any objective measure the country is currently in remarkably healthy condition. It recovered from a near depression in 2008, and is now experiencing broad-based prosperity. The economy is firing on all cylinders with a stock market that has tripled in the past eight years. The unemployment rate dropped from a high of 10.1 percent to a historically sound 4.9 percent. Bankruptcies and foreclosures have declined precipitously. More people are covered by health insurance than ever before.

That’s not to say that there aren’t still some stubborn problems that need to be resolved. There will always be room for improvement. But Trump’s speech portrayed the country as a hell hole that was barely livable. Some of the rhetoric he disgorged can only come from an aberrant imagination:

  • “…national effort to rebuild our country…”
  • “…the jobs left, and the factories closed…”
  • “…there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.”
  • “…the very sad depletion of our military …”
  • “Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities…”
  • “…rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation…”
  • “…the crime and gangs and drugs…”
  • “This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.”
  • “…the wealth, strength, and confidence of our country has disappeared over the horizon.”
  • “We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth.”

Where did Trump get this view of America? Is it something he sees from his 5th Avenue penthouse atop Trump Tower? Did he watch Batman: The Dark Knight Rises and think it was a documentary? Is he just incapable of muting his divisive campaign bluster even after being inaugurated?

And it isn’t just disappointed Democrats who noticed Trump’s downcast oratory. Immediately following the speech, the Fox News panel anchoring their coverage was taken aback. For the most part they wallowed in praise for the POTUS they helped to create, but it wasn’t easy. Brit Hume said that Trump “painted this dark landscape of circumstances in this country.” Chris Wallace observed that “This wasn’t just a transfer of power, but Donald Trump seizing power.” And Tucker Carlson noted, with some satisfaction, that “His election itself is a repudiation of the Obama presidency.” Nevertheless, Trump tweeted a thank you to Fox.

Perhaps the nation expected Trump’s celebration to be something of a downer. They stayed away in droves. The attendance in Washington was estimated to be about 250,000. By comparison, Obama drew 1.8 million in January of 2009 (seven times more). And as obsessed with performance and ratings as Trump is, he surely will not like seeing scenes like this on the Parade route from the Capital to the White House:

As NBC’s Katy Tur noted, entire stands were empty and the crowd noticeably thin. Somehow Trump will declare that the photos and videos were all rigged and that “some said” more millions showed up than ever before. That’s the way he maintains his fictionalized outlook on the world. Everything he does is extraordinary, and anything he criticizes is dreadful.

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

Thus we have Trump lauding his inauguration as spectacular, and denigrating America as carnage. There is surely a psychological diagnosis for such delusions. But for now we leave him and Melania at the first Inaugural Ball dancing to what may be theme of the Trump Era. Frank Sinatra’s narcissistic ballad “My Way” exalts a dying man’s belief in himself. So everybody sing along: “And now, the end is near…”