Fox News ‘Reporter’ Exalts White Supremacist Killer in Charlottesville as a ‘Vigilante’

It’s been three days since the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. The deliberately hostile affair claimed the life of Heather Heyer, a counter-protester, and injured dozens more. Donald Trump distinguished himself as a Nazi-sympathizer by refusing to condemn the hate groups that organized the event in his first public comments. It took him two more days to say anything remotely critical of the perpetrators of the violence.

Fox News

In the meantime, Fox News went to work covering for the callousness of the President. They made excuses that stretched the limits of credulity. Fox and Friends worked overtime to portray Trump as calm and restrained during his first non-comment, and bold and decisive after the second. Trump-fluffers Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson labored to turn him into a statesman who embodied harmony and fellowship.

For his part, Trump maintained his well-known posture of arrogance and bigotry. He posted tweets blaming the media for the public’s repudiation of his insensitivity. He also retweeted a comment by a known alt-right conspiracy monger that sought to shift the debate to evil black folks. And to top it off, he retweeted another Fox and Friends story (the 18th time this month). This one was about his consideration of a pardon for the racist former Arizona sheriff, Joe Arpaio.

It’s no secret that Fox and Friends, Hannity, et al, are opinion-based programs masquerading as news. But Fox’s Washington D.C. correspondent, Doug McKelway, seeks to present himself as an actual journalist. Which makes his report on Tuesday all the more troubling (video below). The segment began as a story about activists taking down statues that honored confederate traitors. But it quickly derailed into propaganda of the worst sort. McKelway’s commentary completely twisted the narrative into right-wing bullshit juxtaposing…

“…those who find the system of slavery to be so abhorrent that we should have no memories of it whatsoever to those who believe that what their great-great-great-great granddaddy did in the Civil War should be remembered and preserved.”

Is McKelway arguing that slavery was not really that abhorrent after all? Also, he apparently thinks that commemorative statues are the only way to record history. Maybe he should read a book. No one is suggesting that the memory of slavery be wiped out. Just that the memory be held in the context of its inhumanity, rather than being honored in bronze. And if anyone wants to preserve what their confederate forefathers did, let it be preserved as the treason and brutality it actually was.

But McKelway wasn’t through. It wasn’t enough that he wanted to remember the civil war slave states fondly, he implied that any other recollection was a communist plot:

“And then, this ventures into the area of airbrushing of history. A tactic of totalitarian governments, a common practice in the former Soviet Union where people who fell into disfavor in the government were literally airbrushed out of history.”

Again, no one is airbrushing anyone out of history. Patriotic Americans very much want to maintain the historical record of the civil war. Including the parts that document the barbarous agenda of the South. But to smear those who advocate an accurate retelling of history as totalitarians and commies is just plain nauseating. In fact, it is a tactic of totalitarians and commies. McKelway believes that slave owners have simply been unfortunate to have fallen out of favor. Poor babies.

And if you thought that was the end of McKelway’s atrocities, you’re not giving him and Fox News the credit they deserve. He closed the segment with a note regarding the funeral service for Heather Heyer. But in doing so he elevated her murderer to a status that is utterly offensive:

“We’ve also learned when the funeral service will be held for Heather Heyer, the young woman, the 32 year old that was killed by the white vigilante who mowed down people in downtown Charlottesville on Saturday.”

Vigilante? For the record, a vigilante is someone who has decided to take the law into his own hands. It is itself against the law. It is generally undertaken when the perpetrator believes that legal authorities are deemed inadequate or unresponsive. And the victim is someone who is thought to be guilty of a crime, at least in the eyes of the vigilante. It’s wrong and indefensible in civil society, and often leads to innocents being targeted and harmed. But some crackpots believe that it’s justifiable and romantic.

That said, what crime does McKelway think that Ms. Heyer committed that would make her fair game for a vigilante? The driver of the car that killed her, James Alex Fields, had only one motive: To do harm to innocent people who opposed his racist ideology. That is not a vigilante. It’s a cold-blooded murderer and a radical right-wing terrorist. McKelway really needs to adjust his definitions, as well as his heinous biases as a person and a so-called reporter.

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

Donald Trump Has a ‘Fox and Friends’ Fetish That Should Frighten Every American

There is something terribly wrong when an American president is obsessively dialed into propaganda that regularly contradicts reality. It’s bad enough when Donald Trump manufactures his own exaggerations, deflections, and lies. But lately he has taken to acting as the de facto publicist for the spin machine at Fox News. Especially one program that is best known as a haven for Trump-fluffing, sycophantic bullshit: Fox and Friends.

Donald Trump Fox News

On Wednesday morning, Trump’s sunrise Twitter tirade included five retweets from the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends. They spanned a variety of subjects, but shared a common theme of world disorder and imminent catastrophe. The messages that Trump sought to magnify and adopt as his own included:

In those communiques Trump covered, respectively, the crisis he just created with North Korea, his racist preoccupation with Mexico and a border wall, more saber-rattling over Korea, alleged terrorism in France, and Fox News’ presentation of his “fire and fury” speech/threat to his North Korean twin. And while those are all topics of some significance, it’s peculiar that Trump used a single source to address them.

Apparently, all Trump does each day is watch Fox News. It’s where he gets his intelligence data, despite being in charge of the world’s best spy agencies. It’s how he affirms his self-worth with the relentlessly flattering suck-ups disgorged by his Fox friends. In fact, the show might consider changing its name to “Fox and Friend” (singular), because they are really only broadcasting to an audience of one.

As he has repeatedly made clear, Trump hates the media. He called it “the enemy of the American people.” Never mind that polls show that the American people trust the media far more than they trust him. And he can’t seem to go more than a few hours without insulting CNN or the New York Times. His protestations of “fake news” every time his babysitters mistakenly allow a negative story to reach his desk are pathetic. But they exemplify his deranged world view and dependence on ultra-positive reinforcement.

However, Trump’s compulsive regurgitation of Fox and Friends is more than just a tribute to his favorite TV show. There has never been a political leader who so obsessively promoted a single media outlet. It’s almost as if Trump is working for Fox News as the public relations man in charge of advancing the interests of Fox and Friends. In addition to his five tweets Wednesday morning, he has tweeted about the program ten times already this month. And the Trump Twitter Archive shows 118 such tweets since he announced his candidacy in June of 2015.

It is also notable that Fox and Friends is often the trigger for Trump’s tweets. Brian Feldman of New York Magazine collected a bunch of examples of Trump tweeting something that appeared to be random. As it turned out, Trump’s tweets often followed – sometimes by minutes – a segment on the subject on Fox News. Plainly he was watching in his pajamas with his phone in hand and couldn’t help himself. This is a phenomenon that rarely occurs with any other news network.

Prior to running for president, Trump had a regular call-in spot on Fox and Friends called “Mondays with Trump.” He was also a frequent guest on other Fox News programs like The O’Reilly Factor and Your World with Neil Cavuto. His relationship with Fox News had some rocky points during the campaign, but he always supported his “Friends.”

The problem with this is that it makes the doofuses on Fox and Friends the equivalent to his national security team. They seem to have at least as much influence over him as his closest advisers. More, if you consider that he “meets” with them every day and never argues with them. He quotes them far more frequently than he does any of his cabinet or staff. And while he will bash his Attorney General and other high ranking officials, he has never had a bad word to say about his Friends on Fox. He almost holds them in as high esteem as his Russian friend Vladimir.

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

What’s troubling about this is the utter lack of qualifications of the aforementioned couch potatoes. Co-hosts Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt, and Brian Kilmeade are not experts in government, economics, defense, or anything else. They are happy-talk presenters on a propaganda network. Yet their counsel is getting the highest priority in Trump’s White House. That’s something that should make all Americans – and non-Americans for that matter – afraid for the fate of the world. Trump literally ignores his professional intelligence advisers in favor of a trio of giggling airheads. And, for the record, they are all in for a a war with North Korea. Are you scared yet?

Could Trump Be Prosecuted for Leaks Under New Department of Justice Directive?

The still nascent presidency of Donald Trump is rife with controversies and scandals. His financial conflicts of interests and unsavory connections to Russia have dominated his short tenure in office. Additionally, he has produced no legislative accomplishments. Most notably, the failure of his efforts to kill ObamaCare went down in flames. He has made no progress on immigration, taxes, terrorism, or his lame-brained border wall.

Rod Rosenstein Fox New

However, Trump regularly signals what issues are of most importance to him. And judging by the frequency of his tweets, it has little to do with matters critical to the nation. Rather, he is variously obsessed with either the media, last November’s election, or the torrent of White House leaks. Most experts agree that leaks occur when an organization is in disarray. But in Trump World it is blamed on a shadowy conspiracy of “deep state” saboteurs.

On yesterday’s edition of Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace interviewed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (video below). Much of the segment specifically addressed the question of leaks and what the Justice Department intends to do about them. Wallace sought to follow up on remarks made last week by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Those comments sparked some controversy for implying that journalists could be targeted for prosecution. Rosenstein walked that back a bit in the following exchange:

Wallace: Some of the people who engage in leaks, I don’t have to tell you, are not the members of the so-called ‘deep state’ or faceless bureaucrats inside intelligence agencies. They are White House officials. They are members of Congress. If you find any of them have committed these leaks – have disclosed classified information – will you prosecute?
Rosenstein: “What we need to look at in every leak referral we get, we look at the facts and circumstances. What was the potential harm caused by the leaks? What were the circumstances? That’s more important to us than who it is, than who is the leaker. So if we identify somebody, no matter what their position is, if they violated the law and that case warrants prosecution, we’ll prosecute them.
Wallace: Including White House officials and members of Congress?
Rosenstein: Including anybody who breaks the law.

If Rosenstein can be taken at his word, Donald Trump may be in even more trouble than previously thought. Leaks from any administration are made for a variety of reasons. It may be because someone is genuinely concerned about a course of action and has no other recourse to alter it. Sometimes a leaker is angling for position or acting out of vengeance. And sometimes leaks are deliberate attempts by the White House to disseminate information that it wants disseminated.

For example, Anthony Scaramucci, Trump’s short-lived communications director, recently outed his boss as a leaker. During an interview on CNN, Scaramucci defended Trump’s reluctance to concede that the Russians were responsible for hacking during last year’s election. He even offered “evidence” by way of an anonymous insider:

“You know, somebody said to me yesterday — I won’t tell you who — that if the Russians actually hacked this situation and spilled out those e-mails, you would have never seen it.”

That, of course, is grade AAA bullshit. Professional spies may be good at what they do, but they are not infallible. Scaramucci is suggesting that the Russians are so superior in their clandestine operations that their American counterparts are helpless yokels, incapable of facing off against the almighty Ruskies. But more important was what Scaramucci said next. After CNN’s Jake Tapper challenged Scaramucci’s hypocritical use of an anonymous source, the Mooch spilled the beans:

“How about it was – how about it was the President, Jake? I talked to him yesterday. He called me from Air Force One.”

So here we have a White House official admitting that the President was the source of a leak that disclosed inside information. Trump’s observations about the capabilities of Russian intelligence ought to be regarded as top secret. But this business was aired on national television at the behest of Donald Trump. On another occasion, Trump leaked classified data to Russian diplomats visiting the White House. This leak may have put intelligence assets of an ally at risk of discovery or termination.

Who knows what else the President might have leaked. Handing out information that advances the administration’s interest is an ago-old tactic. Dick Cheney did it to plant the lie that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. And Trump has his own media operation headquartered in the White House and led by Breitbart News chairman, Stephen Bannon. Remember, this is the same guy who used to call newspapers and pretend that he was a publicist working for, well, himself.

So if Trump is later found to be the source of leaks to the media, will the Department of Justice keep their word and prosecute him? That’s an open question for the time being. They have not been especially anxious to pursue criminal investigations of the President. And, of course, Trump remains poised to fire anyone he thinks is getting too close to the truth. In the end, it may only be possible to obtain justice with a truly independent counsel, or a Democratic congress. Stay tuned.

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

STOP HANNITY: Movement Begins to Shame Advertisers on the Trump-Fluffing Fox News Program

The rapid decline of Fox News over the past year has been an awesome spectacle. It began with the allegations of sexual harassment against CEO Roger Ailes. He was later fired and, shortly thereafter, died following a fall in his home. Then Bill O’Reilly was also terminated after numerous allegations of sexual misconduct.

Sean Hannity Fox News

Additionally, some executives were likewise dismissed for their own inappropriate behavior. And Fox News lost their rising star, Megyn Kelly, who joined NBC where her program is a ratings failure. Greta Van Susteren, also quit Fox for a show on MSNBC that has already been canceled. Most recently, Eric Bolling, host of two Fox News programs has been suspended for allegedly sending lewd pictures to network colleagues.

Fox’s reputation for being a brazenly biased mouthpiece for Republican politics is morphing into one of perversion and misogyny. But don’t worry – their mission of right-wing propagandizing is still being pursued in earnest by many remaining shills. Chief among them is Sean Hannity, who has escalated his efforts to promote Donald Trump. His program has become an unabashed platform for exalting and defending Trump no matter the circumstances.

Hannity has been performing some wild rhetorical acrobatics to that end. He has whirled from insisting that Trump was totally innocent of any collusion with Russia, to arguing that such collusion wouldn’t be such a bad thing after all. More offensive are his ventures into conspiracy theories. Hannity has made a project of promoting the totally debunked story about Seth Rich. This fake news asserts that Rich, a former DNC staffer, was murdered for his involvement in hacking the Clinton/Podesta emails and sending them to Wikileaks. It’s a fascinating story that would be even more compelling if any of it were true.

As Hannity has ramps up the crazy on his show, he is beginning to attract some push-back from proponents of ethical journalism. Media Matters has initiated a campaign to “Stop Hannity” from further staining the airwaves with his lies and hate. They have previously engineered similar campaigns that targeted Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly. Both of them were eventually booted from their perches at Fox and now languish in near obscurity. It’s safe to say that Hannity is nervous. The Stop Hannity home page spells out how Media Matters intends to hold him, Fox News, and their advertisers accountable:

“Spreading misinformation is Hannity’s business model, and now he’s doing it on behalf of the Trump administration. His propagandizing has become so odious that he was condemned by some of his coworkers, who reportedly told The Daily Beast that the host was ’embarrassing’ the network and that ‘some people need to be fired.’

“It’s past time for Hannity to go. If Fox won’t fire Hannity, then advertisers should run as fast as they can, or else they run the risk of being complicit in his deceit and recklessness. Advertisers will get burned if they continue to associate with Hannity — plain and simple.”

This movement has only just begun, but it is already showing progress. Most notably, ultra-conservative pundits and websites are rising up in anger about this grassroots activism. The Daily Caller, Newsbusters, Western Journalism, and YoungCons have all posted stories labeling Media Matters a far-left provocateur. What’s more, Hannity’s ratings are suffering among the key advertiser demographic of 25-54 year olds. For the most recent week for which there is complete ratings data, Hannity lost the whole week to his time period competition on MSNBC, The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell. For the same week the Rachel Maddow Show was the highest rated program on all of cable news. Fox News was accustomed to dominating the ratings charts for years, but those days seem to be gone.

Time will tell if this campaign will be as successful as those aimed at Hannity’s former colleagues. But the track record of Media Matters on these actions is formidable. Advertisers have good reasons to be wary of associating themselves with a conspiracy monger like Hannity. And the more people that jump on this bandwagon, the more it can achieve. To that end, be sure to sign up at Stop Hannity and participate in the advertiser education program they are conducting. It’s a worthwhile cause because, as Ted Koppel told Hannity to his face, he is “bad for America.”

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

FINALLY: Donald Trump Got Something Right: Republicans ‘Look Like Fools’

During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump thrilled his rally-goers with a typically boastful exclamation. “We’re going to win so much,” he warned, “you’re going to be so sick and tired of winning.” He nailed the “sick and tired” part, but after six months there has been almost nothing that he can claim as a victory.

Donald Trump

Most recently, his mission to repeal ObamaCare failed to pass in a Senate controlled by Republicans. Never mind that the GOP voted dozens of times to kill the popular healthcare plan when Barack Obama was president. They just couldn’t manage to do it with a fellow Republican in the White House with pen in hand.

Trump’s latest failure produced a predictable tantrum on Twitter that did nothing but affirm his affinity for whining. In a five-tweet opus, the crybaby President complained about the Senate’s voting rules and impotently demanded reform.

First of all, last week Republicans brought three separate repeal bills to the floor. They all lost with forty-nine or fewer votes. They only needed fifty-one votes to pass. So Trump’s tirade about the 60-vote rule was utterly irrelevant. There was no such rule in effect. More likely, he was just creating a distraction to take the sting off of yet another embarrassing defeat. So far he has blamed the Democrats, his press secretary, his chief of staff, and now the Republicans. Nothing is ever his fault. But wasn’t he supposed to be the brilliant dealmaker who would get everything he wanted on the strength of his magnetic personality? And . . . so much winning!

The one thing that Trump got right was his assertion that Republicans “look like fools.” And he, of course, is the titular leader of the Republican Party. The GOP’s obsession with killing a bill that polls show is favored by majorities of the public is indeed foolish. It is foolish to try so hard to replace that bill with one that has public approval in the teens. And pushing a proposal that will take insurance away from as many as 32 million people is foolhardy in the extreme.

So why is Trump suddenly ranting about arcane Senate rules that have nothing to do with last week’s vote? The answer is the same as to why Trump does almost anything: He saw it on Fox News. Saturday morning on Fox and Friends, GOP Rep. Sean Duffy was interviewed about the Senate bill’s failure. He dodged the substance of the matter to complain about his feeble senate counterparts. “We’ve passed 200 bills,” he said, “that right now sit in the Senate waiting for them to pass.” And while Duffy blamed the 60-vote rule for that logjam, the responsibility actually lies with Mitch McConnell. As Senate Majority Leader, he controls the calendar and decides what will come up for a vote and when.

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

Clearly, Trump was watching and, as he often does, tweeted what he just saw on TV. And it wasn’t just any news program. It was his favorite show, hosted by the biggest bunch of imbeciles on television. The “Curvy Couch” potatoes on Fox and Friends frequently discharge easily debunked falsehoods in the service of right-wing propaganda. And our incurious president retweets them without the slightest effort to confirm. It’s a cycle that repeats on a nearly daily basis. And it’s the best explanation for why Trump and his Republican colleagues – as Trump himself agrees – look like fools.

Fox and Friends Lies About New York Times Calling Them ‘The Most Powerful TV Show in America’

Another morning, another flurry of dishonest reporting by Fox News and their “Curvy Couch” potatoes at Fox and Friends. While pretending to read the newspapers spread out on the coffee table, co-host Steve Doocy made a fake discovery. He held the paper so that the cameras got a good look at an advertisement on the back page. What viewers saw was a full page ad touting Fox and Friends.

Fox News Steve Doocy

The ad was obviously paid for by Fox News to promote the network and the program. It featured a quote attributed to the New York Times saying that Fox and Friends is “the most powerful TV show in America.” Doocy’s faux surprise was echoed by his co-hosts Ainsley Earhardt and Brian Kilmeade. They were pretending to be excited by the praise from an unexpected source:

Doocy: This program, the program you’re watching, according to the New York Times, is the most powerful TV show in America.
Earhardt: You know why Steve? Because we have the best viewers.

Earhardt would have been more correct if she had said “because we have the best viewer.” Because the only person in their audience that they play to is Donald Trump. That point was confirmed when that viewer proudly tweeted the same message Doocy was boasting about:

There’s just one problem. The Fox News crew horribly mangled what the New York Times was saying in their article. Calling the relationship between Fox and Friends and Trump a “Two Way Mirror,” the Times analyzed the perverse relationship between the TV program and the President. The full quote from the Times said:

“Suddenly, for no other reason than its No. 1 fan, it is the most powerful TV show in America,”

In context, the Times was criticizing both Trump and Fox for clinging to one another in a mockery of journalism. They went on to portray Fox’s posture toward Trump as a “Romper Room-style” broadcast intended to flatter our ego-obsessed, narcissistic president:

“President Trump is the show’s subject, its programmer, its publicist and its virtual fourth host. The stars offer him flattery, encouragement and advice. When he tweets, his words and image appear on a giant video wall. It’s the illusion of children’s TV — that your favorite show is as aware of you as you are of it — except that for Mr. Trump, it’s real.”

That’s an entirely different characterization than the one of pride that Doocy and company presented. And let’s not forget that Fox News paid for these ads. It’s an advertising campaign that deliberately distorts the quote they featured in the ad. And it’s further evidence of their aversion to ethics and truth. The author of the Times’ article, James Poniewozik, tweeted his own somewhat snarky thoughts about this saying that he was, “Excited to see @realDonaldTrump endorse my thesis that F&F’s weird childlike sway over him makes it hugely powerful! Thanks, POTUS!”

What’s more, why does Trump and Fox and Friends care what the New York Times has to say about them? Don’t they consider it fake news? In which case, Fox and Friends is not the most powerful TV show in America. And there is something peculiar about Fox News buying ad space in the Times. Trump has appended the word “failing” to every mention he makes of the paper. Fox News has adopted the same juvenile (and false) habit. But with this campaign they are helping the Times to be even more financially successful.

The Times’ article closed by noting that Fox and Friends has a unique mission with regard to Trump. They describe him as “the superfan in the White House who sees it as ‘Fox & Friend’ — singular.” That has been borne out by the numerous times that Trump has watched the show and, shortly after, tweeted what he saw. He has also promoted the program in dozens of tweets that amount to free publicity from the White House. The value of those tweet-vertisements has been put as high $5 million. So there is clearly a parasitical relationship between Fox News and Trump that benefits both. And we can expect that, and the lies, to continue for the foreseeable, lamentable future.

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

Hannity Orders His Trump-Cult Audience to Attack Journalists – Gets Slapped Back HARD!

Donald Trump’s First Amendment foes are assembling the troops in what they think is a massive show of force. They have a new general in the White House, Anthony Scaramucci, who unseated feeble Fibby Spice (Sean Spicer). The Mooch is already parroting the worst of Trump’s anti-media rhetoric. He is an avid supporter of the President’s Twitter tantrums and infantile assaults on free speech. And now he’s got some help from the Trump TV Network (aka Fox News).

Sean Hannity Fox News

Leading the way is Fox News Trump fluffer, Sean Hannity. Always a reliable soldier in the fight against honest journalism, Hannity has ordered a significant escalation. He’s taking the unusual step of enlisting his glassy-eyed audience into battle. On Monday night’s program he issued a call to the recruits to prepare to deploy for an all out offensive. And knowing his audience, they can be pretty damn offensive (video below):

Hannity began by praising the Trump administration for “ramping up one of the most effective tactics for combating all the fake news.” He was referring to the Propaganda Squad that has been fanning out to pick fights with their favorite media foils. They include Kellyanne Conway, Sarah Huckabee-Sanders, and Sebastian Gorka. Hannity lauded them for “standing up to pundits who treat the White House with hatred and disdain.” In reality they were just being jerks and insisting that the press accept Trump’s lies as truth. Then Hannity issued his orders to the troops:

“Members of the Trump administration, they’re beginning to shine a bright light on these dark corners of this fake news industry. And now thanks to social media, you can too. […] You can call out fake news right at the source. For example, you can tell fake news Jake Tapper exactly what you think of his interview with Anthony Scaramucci. You can do it on twitter.”

Tapper was only the beginning. Hannity also made juvenile insults aimed at CNN’s Brian Stelter and MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. His diatribe was filled with childish taunts and ludicrous, debunked accusations against Hillary Clinton. And then he addressed those who might “want to take it to the next level.”

“Write a message to their bosses. Send a tweet over to [Jeff] Zucker over at fake news CNN or Andy Lack from NBC fake news. Right now the media is living in their little bubble. It is our job to remind them that there is an America way outside of New York, D.C., Los Angeles and San Francisco. Tonight, technology is now making it possible for you to take your point of view directly to the source and show America’s elites that the forgotten men and forgotten women of this country voted for this agenda and they want it completed and for them to stop lying to you. Take to the social media, and I think you’re going to have a positive impact.”

First of all, if Hannity is really concerned about the people’s position on Trump’s agenda, he should take notice that Trump is the most unpopular president in modern history. And that goes for his policies as well.

More to the point, Hannity is apparently aware that his viewers don’t already know about Twitter. He has the oldest skewing audience in cable news. Recent demographic studies show that “The median age of the average primetime Fox News viewer is 68 — five years older than MSNBC, and nine years older than CNN.” And the consequences of that disparity can be devastating when reaching out to a more youthful, social media capable, audience. So Hannity’s Twitter blitz produced predictably contrary results, as documented by the Huffington Post:

And as Tapper noted in his reply thanking those tweeters: “I don’t think that turned out the way he intended.”

Hannity will always lose on this battleground. He is too much of an ideologue who spins so furiously that reality is unrecognizable. And his followers are handicapped by being dumb enough to watch him in the first place. There are plenty of problems with corporate media outlets like CNN, but they pale in comparison to the rancid hostility and blatant dishonesty of Hannity and Fox News. And online communities on Twitter and Facebook will continue to let him know how irrelevant he is.

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

Fox News ‘Update’ of a False Story Smearing the New York Times, Just an Excuse to Re-Air It

The frequency of mistakes, gaffes, and outright lies that are broadcast daily on Fox News would be challenging to correct. If, that is, they ever cared to. On the rare occasions when they issue a correction, it is often halfhearted and buried in justifications. Their corrections seem to function more as vindications than apologies.

Fox News Steve Doocy

A perfect example of this occurred Monday morning on Fox and Friends. Co-host Steve Doocy looked sheepishly into the camera to address a segment from Saturday’s program. The segment featured Gen. Tony Thomas making a startling accusation that the New York Times was responsible for allowing a terrorist leader to escape. He said that the Army had a good lead on Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. “Unfortunately,” Thomas said, “it was leaked in a prominent national newspaper about a week later and that lead went dead.” Fox weekend host Pete Hegseth elaborated to charge that Baghdadi would’ve been captured if not for the Times. Of course, there’s no way he could know that.

More to the point, the claim by Thomas was not accurate. The Times responded in detail, pointing out that their original story contained only information that had been previously published elsewhere. What’s more, the Times had cleared their story with the Pentagon who had no objections to publishing it. Nor were there any objections made after it was published, which was two years ago. So the day after Fox’s erroneous report, the Times sent a letter to Fox News requesting an on-air retraction and apology. It said in part:

“Neither the staff at Fox & Friends, nor the writers of a related story on Foxnews.com, appeared to make any attempt to confirm the relevant facts, nor did they reach out to the New York Times for comment. We understand that the segment and story are based on a misleading assertion by Gen. Thomas speaking at a conference in Aspen. However, that does not alleviate Fox News of the obligation to seek information from all the stakeholders in a story. With this segment, Fox & Friends has demonstrated what little regard it has for reporting facts.”

The statement made by Doocy, however, hardly satisfied the request by the Times. He neither apologized, nor conceded that a correction was in order. Doocy described his remarks as “an update,” and then replayed the false comments by Gen. Thomas in full. Finally, Doocy told viewers they could read the Times’ full response on the Fox website, but didn’t provide a URL.

So Fox News exploited the opportunity to correct the record by further distorting it. Their audience got to see the General’s false comments again, but were not told they were false. Fox News never gave a full accounting of the story’s factual flaws, or provided the evidence supplied by the Times. In effect they said “Here’s what we said before, and if you want to know what the Times said, go look it up yourself.”

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

Naturally, Fox’s biggest fan, Donald Trump, was watching when the story was first broadcast. Within half an hour he had tweeted the fake news to his Twitter followers. Two days later his tweet is still online with no comment or correction. That’s typical of Trump, who has even less regard for the truth than his primary source, Fox News.

Kellyanne Conway is TOTALLY Oblivious to the Crisis in Trump White House

The Sunday Morning news fest was particularly exciting this week. Much of it was consumed by Donald Trump’s new communications director, Anthony Scaramucci. He made the rounds to demonstrate that he’s a sufficiently sizable asshole to represent this president. What America learned, for the most part part, was that he “loves” Donald Trump, which he said repeatedly. Plus, he gushed about Trump’s near divine perfection as a communicator and a leader. Good work, Mooch.

Kellyanne Conway

However, no Sunday is complete without the screwball antics of White House counselor, Kellyanne Conway. She was interviewed by Brian Stelter on CNN’s Reliable Sources. And she lived up to her low standards for honesty and rational discourse. The conversation focused on the many scandals that have dogged the White House. Conway was surprised at the very notion and refuted it fiercely. And in a shockingly candid appraisal of the President’s proclivity for bald-face lies, Conway served up a unique justification:

Stelter: The scandals are the President’s lies. About voter fraud. About wiretapping. His repeated lies about those issues. That’s the scandal.
Conway: He doesn’t think he’s lying about those issues, and you know it.

Stelter went easy on Conway. There are literally hundreds of other demonstrable falsehoods that Trump has shamelessly uttered. But Conway is adopting the “Costanza Principle,” famously introduced in an episode of Seinfeld. Jerry’s friend George was advising him on how to beat a lie detector test. “If you believe it,” said George, “then it’s not a lie.” And now that principle has been put to the test in the “real” world of Kellyanne’s “alternative facts.” Stelter pointed out that just because the President says something, even if he believes it, doesn’t mean that it isn’t still untrue. But that was a concept that would be over the head of any Trump advisor.

In the same interview, Stelter’s reference to the many scandals plaguing the Trump administration seemed to come as a surprise to Conway. That led to this exchange:

Stelter: This is a White House in crisis whether you recognize it or not.
Conway: Why? I work there. Where do you get that?

Conway’s oblivious response ignores the fact that Trump is under investigation by the FBI, the GOP-controlled Senate and House, and an independent counsel. She also appears not to have noticed that Trump’s attempts to kill ObamaCare have failed. Or that his border wall is still a wingnut fantasy. Or that his immigration policies are stalled. And nothing has been on done taxes or infrastructure, or terrorism. This is likely the least productive administration in decades, despite Trump’s ludicrous claims to the contrary.

What’s more, Trump has the worst approval ratings of any president in modern history. Conway had an explanation for that which made no sense whatsoever:

“Part of the disapproval are the independents who voted for him and want him to ignore all the nonsense, and all the noise, and all the Russia nonsense. That’s part of it. Part of it are people upset with Congress. The President’s approval rating is far higher than the approval rating of the media or the Congress, and there’s a reason for that.”

So Trump’s abysmal ratings are due to his own supporters giving him poor marks because they don’t like Congress? Yeah, that’s the ticket. As for Trump vs. the media, numerous polls have shown that, given a choice, majorities of voters trust the media more. That includes the “failing” New York Times and “fake” news CNN.

Conway was insistent that CNN and others were pushing the “phony” stories about Russia. She suggested that they should cover real stories instead. Then she gave as an example that “millions of Americans don’t have healthcare.” Which is an interesting choice since her boss is advocating a bill that would would take healthcare away from 32 million more Americans. And of course, that story has been covered extensively across the spectrum of media.

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

It’s morbidly entertaining to watch Trump’s staff and surrogates struggle to put his disastrous administration in a positive light. There are no plausible arguments that can make any of this sound less than catastrophic. Consequently, their efforts seem more and more absurd and desperate. You have to wonder what they think of themselves at the end of a day of this futile spinning. But then, since they work for Donald Trump, what could they think of themselves anyway.

Will Donald Trump Renounce Pal Alex Jones’ Threat to ‘Kill a Bunch of Liberals’?

After six months the administration of Donald Trump has virtually nothing to herald as a success. His most prominent campaign promises (repeal ObamaCare, defeat ISIS, build a border wall) remain unfulfilled. But there is one area of accomplishment about which he can brag. The escalation of hatred directed by his followers to their fellow Americans is reaching new highs.

Alex Jones Infowars

The vitriol from the right has increased exponentially since the election of Trump. The Southern Poverty Law Center’s annual survey of hate groups shows an unprecedented rise fueled by Trump’s hostile rhetoric. And those groups are enjoying an association with mainstream politics they have never known. They are showing up on national television and at presidential press briefings. And they even have their own representatives in the White House. Trump’s alt-right hero and chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, has an office next to the oval one.

High on the list of radical alt-right wackos is conspiracy freak Alex Jones. On his radio broadcasts Jones unleashes a non-stop flurry of malicious rants and dark fantasies. He famously asserts that the Sandy Hook murders were a hoax complete with actors portraying children’s corpses. More recently he has been fixated on what he believes are the nascent ramblings of a new Civil War. Newsweek reports that:

“On June 23, he accused ‘the left’ of starting civil war and offered to personally execute convicted traitors because, he said, ‘I’m not going to sit here and just call for stuff without actually being part of it.’ In the same broadcast he said, ‘I don’t need some coming-of-age deal to kill a bunch of liberals,’ but ‘we have to start getting ready for insurrection and civil war because they’re really pushing it.'”

And . . .

“On June 15, he warned ‘you kick off Civil War 2, baby, you’ll think Lexington and Concord was a cakewalk.’ The day before, he implicated himself and his listeners: ‘You’re trying to start a civil war with people. You’re taking our kindness for weakness. Do you understand the American people will kill all of you? You understand? We are killing machines, you fools.… But I can shoot bull’s-eye at 400 yards, dumbass. I mean, they have no idea who they’re messing with.'”

In addition, Jones has called on the President to take action against Hillary Clinton and former FBI Director James Comey for unspecified crimes. “I would support the president making a military move on them right now,” Jones said. And the profane tirade he unloaded on Rep. Adam Schiff has to be seen to be believed.

Jones has crossed a line that may put him in legal jeopardy. It is against the law to threaten government officials. And his advocacy of violence toward anyone with whom he disagrees should earn immediate condemnation and social exile. However, Jones remains a confidant and ally of Donald Trump. He professes his undying loyalty on every show. Jones has claimed to be in frequent contact with the President. As for Trump, he has appeared on Jones’ Infowars program praising his “amazing” reputation. And an Infowars “correspondent” was actually granted a White House press pass.

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

Given the overt advocacy of violence by Jones, it is high time for Trump to renounce his association with him. No president can be allowed to get away with embracing such rhetoric without paying a price. The press needs to push Trump to take a public position condemning Jones and his sick promotion of terrorism. Absent such a statement, Trump should be labeled as a domestic terrorist for supporting civil war. Because under those circumstance, that’s exactly what he is.