Fox News Anchor Pitches ‘Fair And Balanced’ Nonsense To Stephen Colbert

There is a measure of self-delusion that infects the natives at Fox News and prevents them from making the most obvious appraisals of reality. What else could explain why, after twenty years of shoveling right-wing propaganda down the throats of American cable news viewers, the network’s anchors persist in pushing the absurdity that Fox engages in anything resembling journalism?

Fox News

The host of Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace, appeared on Late Night with Stephen Colbert last night (video below) and once again demonstrated an acute case of a personality disorder that obstructs him from recognizing the truth about himself and his job. Colbert asked him what ought to have been a simple question, but he was unable to answer accurately or honestly.

Colbert: Rightly or wrongly Fox News is generally perceived to be the Republican news network. I know Fox News Sunday is on Fox Broadcasting, but you’re also on Fox News Channel. Do you think it’s fair to call Fox News a conservative broadcasting network?
Wallace: No. Look, there are obviously, in prime time, there are some shows, the opinion shows — Hannity, O’Reilly — that are conservative, no question about it. But we think that there’s a firewall between the opinion shows and hard news.

Wallace is continuing to advance the fallacy that only a couple of shows in primetime have partisan agendas, and everything else is straight up, unbiased reporting. He actually uses the phrase “We commit journalism every day,” as if it were a crime. You have to wonder if he is just deliberately lying or if he has ever watched the network.

There are three hours every morning that are hosted by folks like Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade, Tucker Carlson, Anna Kooiman, etc., who are rabidly right-wing and viciously anti-Democrat. They regularly feature such ultra-conservative guests as Andrew Napolitano, Rudy Giuliani, John Bolton, and Donald Trump had a scheduled Monday morning segment for several years.

That’s followed by Outnumbered, a program name meant to refer to the four female hosts who invite a single male guest. But it really refers to the whole panel generally being comprised of only conservatives (with an occasional pseudo-liberal punching bag). Then there is the Real Story with Gretchen Carlson, who was promoted to that slot from her prior seat on the Fox & Friends curvy couch. A little later in the day is Your World with Neil Cavuto. It would be interesting to see if Wallace thinks that Cavuto is a neutral journalist as he berates and interrupts his liberal guests and cozies up to wingnut Republicans from Congress and business. After Cavuto is The Five, a program hosted by four hard-core right-wingers and one rotating Fox version of a lefty.

That’s seven hours of daytime programming that is unambiguously conservative. So where Wallace gets the notion that it’s only in primetime that opinions are expressed is a mystery. But he is insistent that his network trades in legitimate journalism. He went to have this exchange with Colbert:

Colbert: So there’s no sense of chaos as to what the unified message would be, or the narrative that’s being created by the network. There’s never any sense of like, this is what we’re gonna be talking about today or this is the take we’re gonna have on a story?
Wallace: I know there’s this narrative out there that there’s this talking points we have to all follow. It’s bull.

Of course, the truth has long been known that Fox CEO Roger Ailes distributes a “morning memo” everyday that does exactly what Colbert said with regard to a unified message. It would almost be worse if there weren’t. Because that would mean that everybody on the network just spontaneously said all the same things, with the same spin, without any coordination. It would mean they were all manufactured on the same assembly line of right-wing mouthpieces with the same hate-speech chips inserted.

That’s a pretty scary thought. But no scarier than the fact that Fox News just happened to have created conservative stalwarts like Donald Trump, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, and many other others. Have they ever launched a liberal icon of the sort? Of course not, and that isn’t an accident. So Wallace might want to watch a few hours of Fox and see if he can plausibly defend the network and its obvious rightward bent.

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

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

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

Fox Nation vs. Reality

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

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

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

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

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


Really? Fox News Debuts The Anti-Climate Change Armadillo

In its continuing effort to disinform its viewers on the indisputably real threat of climate change (as documented by 97% of the scientists who study it), Fox News invited the notorious climate denier, Marc Morano, to deliver one of the most absurd and dishonest arguments against the facts to date (and to plug his new propaganda film).

Fox News

On Fox & Friends Sunday morning, host Steve Doocy introduced Morano as an expert on climate science and took a swing at President Obama in the process (video below):

Doocy: The Obama administration bypassed Congress and signed a U.N. treaty on climate change. But many hailing the decision are the same people who swore doomsday was upon us decades ago and many of those scenarios never came true.

First of all, Doocy’s assertion that the Obama administration bypassed Congress is the sort of deliberate falsehood that Fox uses to smear the President as an out of control tyrant. In reality, the “Paris Agreement,” signed by Secretary of State John Kerry, was part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, a treaty that was ratified by the Senate in 1992. The Congress has no role whatsoever in the follow-on agreements to a treaty already ratified.

Secondly, Doocy’s contention that those supporting the Paris Agreement had made prior warnings that never materialized is also false. For one thing, he provides no names to back up his claim. And virtually everything that has been warned about climate change has, in fact, come to pass. 2015 was the hottest year on record, and 2016 is already poised to surpass that.

But what made this segment remarkable was the absurdity of how the argument was presented. Morano brought in a stuffed armadillo, in a cage for safety (?), to illustrate his fairy tale that the beleaguered beast was burdened by global cooling in the seventies and warming today. Once again, no evidence was provided to support the claim that “We were worried about a coming ice age” in the 70s. However, the global cooling fallacy has long been used by climate deniers, even though it was based on a single magazine article and was never advanced by anyone in the science community.

For the record, Morano has been lying about climate for several years despite the fact that he has no background at all in science. Just like Sarah Palin, who recently bragged that she is “as much a scientist” as Bill Nye (which is demonstrably untrue), Morano is as much a scientist as Palin.

Morano began his career as a Republican operative who worked for the Senate’s stupidest climate denier, Jim Inhofe. Morano’s resume also includes stints with Rush Limbaugh, the ultra-conservative CNSNews, and he was one of the original “swiftboat” liars who smeared Kerry’s service as a Vietnam veteran. He has a purely political past that in no way prepares him to comment on climate science. And with today’s partnership with a stuffed armadillo, Morano continues to turn an important issue into the sort of silliness that a Fox News viewer can understand, never mind that it is completely untrue.

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

Prawn Of The Dead: Return Of The Fox News ‘Shrimp On A Treadmill’ Sham

The scandal mongers at Fox News must be getting bored with Donald Trump’s bitching about how the GOP is conspiring against him and their utter failure to convince anyone that Hillary Clinton should be thrown in jail. The desperation is visible in their latest recycling of an ancient story that was a core part of their propaganda back in 2011.

The venerable tale of the “Shrimp on a Treadmill” was an audience favorite for the Fox cultists. It had all the components of classic rightist mythology: It portrayed government as wasteful and stupid; it elevated Republican whiners in Congress; it disparaged scientists as greedy perpetrators of hoaxes; and most importantly, it was completely made up. There was literally no truth to the story at all.

This morning on Fox News the Scampi-Scam was resurrected in conjunction with a story about the release of the annual “Pig Book,” a publication from Citizens Against Government Waste that details what they allege are unnecessary government expenditures. Perhaps their report should include the millions of dollars in unnecessary government expenditures on useless and spiteful shutdowns, dozens of fruitless, partisan hearings on Benghazi, and fifty-plus futile attempts to repeal ObamaCare. Fox’s Eric Shawn introduced the today’s segment saying…

“So last year we had the famous shrimp on the treadmill study. There it goes. There goes the little guy. This thing costs over a number of years three million dollars, they say, in taxpayer money. And this absurdity, I mean, continues now?”

Even this many years after the story had been debunked, Fox News is still propagating the lie that it cost millions of dollars. News Corpse documented this journalistic malpractice back in 2014 in an article that include the account of the professor responsible for the experiment. This seems like a good time to reprise that article. So here it is in full:



Back in May of 2011, Fox News assigned its crack investigative reporting team to expose a case of government malfeasance on a grand scale. They claimed to have uncovered wasteful spending on scientific research that served no purpose other than to line the pockets of academics engaged in questionable studies. At the top of the list was a now infamous project that involved the absurd but adorable image of a “shrimp on a treadmill.”

Fox News Shrimp Treadmill

This story became emblematic of government’s incompetence and inability to exercise fiscal restraint. Fox News took it up in big way with hundreds of segments featuring the by now exhausted little sea creature. It was featured on nearly every Fox program with Neil Cavuto playing a prominent role in hyping it with a hefty dose of smugly delivered disgust.

Well, if you haven’t guessed yet, it turns out that this is just another fraudulent invention of the myth spinners at Fox News. David Scholnick is the professor of marine biology at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon, where the notorious research was conducted. Earlier this week he published an article for the Chronicle of Higher Education that laid out for the umpteenth time what was actually being studied and the true costs involved.

On behalf of the National Science Foundation, Scholnick developed a project to ascertain “how recent changes in the oceans could potentially affect the ability of marine organisms to fight infections.” He justified the study by linking it to the very real risk of bacteria contamination to the food supply. But more to the point, he adamantly denied the accusations of any fiscal improprieties.

“Exactly how much taxpayer money did go into the now-famous shrimp treadmill? The treadmill was, in fact, made from spare parts—an old truck inner tube was used for the tread, the bearings were borrowed from a skateboard, and a used pump motor was salvaged to power the treadmill. The total price for the highly publicized icon of wasteful government research spending? Less than $50. (All of which I paid for out of my own pocket.)”

The truth is that the $3 million dollars attributed to the study was actually an aggregate sum that was used for a variety of NSF projects. It was not the amount spent on the shrimp experiment. And there is no evidence that any of the funds were misused or were not justifiable from a research perspective.

However, given the attitude of Fox News and conservative politicians toward science, it is not surprising to find them falsely accusing scientists of malfeasance. The wingnut community staunchly denies the existence of man-made climate change, evolution, and even the harmful effects of excessive sugar, salt, and tobacco. It’s only a matter of time before they begin to challenge the “theory” of gravity.

At the end of his article Scholnick takes a well deserved swipe at his right-wing critics by offering to sell his shrimp-sized NordicTrack for the bargain price of $1 million – a 67% discount on the bogusly reported cost. That’s the sort of special only found during the Black Friday sales after Thanksgiving. Some lucky buyer is going to get endless hours of satisfaction and be the envy of his friends and neighbors.

Stay tuned for the Fox News correction of their erroneous reporting, which I’m sure they will be broadcasting just as soon as they are finished spewing lies about Benghazi, IRS emails, executive amnesty, ObamaCare, the Keystone XL pipeline, voter fraud, Ebola, trickle-down economics, and – oh never mind. It may be better not to stay tuned after all.

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

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

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

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

Donald Trump Megyn Kelly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Days Of Our Lies: Fox News Fantasizes About Hillary Clinton Abortions And Lesbianism

A posting today on the Fox News community website Fox Nation contains the sort of tabloid scandal mongering that they usually save for the final days of election cycles that they are desperately losing. Perhaps their eagerness to sink to this low so soon is an admission that being saddled with noxious characters like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz has already ruined any chances for their victory in November.

The Fox Nationalists posted an article sourced to a suspiciously obscure website that featured a video interview with Sally Miller, a former Miss Arkansas who claims to have had an affair with then-Governor Bill Clinton. In the video (below) Miller makes some wild and wholly unfounded allegations about Hillary Clinton that are so outrageous they would seem implausible if they were plot lines in a daytime TV soap opera.

Fox News Soap Opera

Miller leads off with charges that Clinton had several abortions until Bill convinced her that “if they were ever going to move up in politics they had to have a child.” That allegedly led to the birth of Chelsea, a purely political offspring whom Clinton, a confirmed feminist, didn’t want. In fact, Miller described Clinton, and most feminists, as “cold,conniving, bitches” who “don’t care about anyone but themselves” and “don’t like men.”

Miller went on to assert that the man-hating Clinton was a lesbian. When asked how she knew this, Miller laughed and said that “Bill told me.” Apparently the chatty governor also confided that in college Clinton and some other girls “experimented and she liked it.” Of course, there is no evidence that any of Miller’s gossipy ramblings are true. Not that there would be anything wrong with it if they were. These are the sort of allegations that are only regarded as insults by right-wing bigots and religious zealots. However, that just happens to be the audience that Fox is aimed at.

The source for Fox’s scandal-fest was The American Mirror, a website with no masthead, no identification of any publishers or editors, no mission statement, nothing to lend it any credibility whatsoever. The author attached to this article, however, does have a record. Kyle Olson is also the founder of an organization called the Education Action Group, a Koch brothers funded, anti-union front group for a conservative brand of education reform that primarily opposes teachers’ unions and public schools. Its reputation is a joke that includes nonsense like an investigation into “racist” peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at Portland schools. That piece of journalistic garbage was rated a “Pants on Fire” lie by PolitiFact.

These charges about Clinton are not new. They have been floating around the ultra-rightist mediasphere for years and were even ridiculed by the National Enquirer when Miller was trying to pitch her fantastical imaginings in a book that she was never able to get published due to her utter lack of credibility. But she did find allies among the crackpots and fringe-dwellers like Alex Jones, Rush Limbaugh, and Matt Drudge, who giddily embraced her bizarre ravings.

What’s new is that now Fox News has taken up her delusions and is passing them off as reality. Which tells you something about how severely degraded and abused the word “news” has become, particularly when in proximity to the word “Fox.”

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

How Fox News Uses Visual Messaging To Keep Their Audience Dumb And Angry

If there is one thing that Fox News is determined to do, it’s to make sure that their audience is fed a constant stream of lies. Their purpose is to insure that they are incapable of understanding the real world around them and remain in a perpetual state of outrage over the falsehoods that Fox disseminates.

Fox Nation

Case in point: Today’s headline story on the Fox News community website, Fox Nation blasted the lede that “‘Our Openness To Refugees’ Is How We Fight ISIS: Obama Reiterates Pledge to Bring In 100,000 Muslim Refugees” There is so much wrong with both the text and the image associated with it that it requires a detailed analysis.

First of all, notice that the picture juxtaposes President Obama with a band of ISIS terrorists in a manner that nearly suggests he is leading their mission. That obvious bit of visual messaging aims to create an impression of Obama as a traitor who is aligned with the enemy. The allegation that Obama, or other Democrats and liberals, are terrorist sympathizers or worse is one that has been expressed explicitly by Fox News hosts, contributors, and guests. Just this weekend, Rudy Giuliani appeared on Fox to declare that Hillary Clinton could be considered a founding member of ISIS.

Additionally, the use of ISIS fighters in the image is a distortion of the accompanying text in that the story is about refugees, not terrorists. But Fox deliberately chose not to use refugees in the picture. By using ISIS fighters they imply that the refugees themselves are terrorists, which in fact is what Fox and other conservatives believe. That is their justification for opposing the humanitarian admittance of refugees into the U.S. And it mirrors the official positions of the two leading Republican candidates for president. Donald Trump has been saying for weeks that he would prohibit any Muslims from entering the country, while Ted Cruz has proposed surveilling the ones already here.

For the full measure of just how deplorable that message is you have to understand that the refugees are the victims of the terrorists. That’s why they are seeking asylum in the U.S. and elsewhere. What Fox is saying is akin to associating Jews with the Nazis who tortured and murdered them. If Fox News, Trump, Cruz, et al, were around in the 1940s they would have called the Jews potential terrorists and forced them to remain in the region were they were being slaughtered.

Next we’ll look at the the headline on the article which purports to be quoting the President. But contrary to Fox’s account, Obama did not say that “‘our openness to refugees’ is how we fight ISIS.” What he said was that our openness to refugees is “another weapon alongside our airstrikes, our counter-terrorism work, and our diplomacy.” That’s an important distinction in that the humane treatment of refugees is just one part of a broader strategy to defeat the enemy militarily while also undermining their propaganda campaign. The Fox News, right-wing plan to insult our Muslim allies and stigmatize Muslim Americans will only help the enemy recruit new fighters. That’s the message Obama gave in his weekly address. He said in part (video below):

“As we move forward in this fight, we have to wield another weapon alongside our airstrikes, our counter-terrorism work, and our diplomacy. And that’s the power of our example. Our openness to refugees fleeing ISIL’s violence; our determination to win the battle against ISIL’s hateful and violent propaganda — a distorted view of Islam that aims to radicalize young Muslims to their cause.” In that effort, our most important partners are American Muslims. That’s why we have to reject any attempt to stigmatize Muslim Americans and their enormous contribution to our country and our way of life. Such attempts are contrary to our character, to our values, and to our history as a country built around the idea of religious freedom. It’s also counter-productive. It plays right into the hands of terrorists who want to turn us against one another.

Finally, the headline on the article also lies about the President’s efforts to rescue refugees by saying that he is proposing to admit 100,000 refugees (Trump, in his pathologically lying way, has escalated that to 250,000). However, the current plans call for admitting 10,000, so Fox is only off by 90%. But misinforming their audience on this matter plays right into their continuing effort to demonize the refugees and make Americans afraid of an imaginary horde of potential suicide bombers. The truth is that entering the U.S. as a refugee is perhaps the most difficult path to entry. It takes going through a rigorous array of inspections that can take years to complete. Why would a terrorist subject himself to a process that takes so long and is likely to result in his capture?

That’s a question that Fox News will never bother to address because they are only interested in portraying refugees as clandestine evildoers. And it’s why they construct these graphical lies in order to deceive their all too willingly ignorant audience. Keeping them dumb and angry is the core mission of the Fox News cultists.

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

Fox News Is Hyperventilating About Climate Change vs. Terrorism – Again

One of the most predictable lines of attack on President Obama by Fox News and other right-wing media is to latch unto his commitment to mitigating the catastrophic effects of anthropomorphic climate change, and suggesting that his commitment to fighting terrorism is lax in comparison. The idiocy of that argument has been demonstrated numerous times, but since the right keeps bringing it up like a meal of rotten clams, it still needs to be debunked.

Fox News

The latest regurgitation of this nonsense came when Obama spoke at a press conference with the President of Argentina. He was asked a question about the post-Brussels optics of his decision to stay in Cuba and attend a baseball game. Obama expanded on his previous statement asserting that allowing the terrorists to disrupt our lives would be counter-productive, and that the message we need to send is that “You do not have power over us.”

Obama: Groups like ISIL can’t destroy us. They can’t defeat us. They don’t produce anything. They’re not an existential threat to us. They are vicious killers and murderers who perverted one of the world’s great religions. And their primary power, in addition to killing innocent lives, is to strike fear in our societies, to disrupt our societies, so that the effect cascades from an explosion or an attack by a semi-automatic rifle. And even as we are systematic and ruthless and focused in going after them, disrupting their networks, getting their leaders, rolling up their operations, it is very important for us not to respond with fear.

That profound and powerful statement was contorted into an expression of indifference by the spinmeisters at Fox News with help from CNSNews, a division of the uber-rightist Media Research Center. The problem they had with Obama’s remarks was that they were followed by his support for advancing a positive agenda, including solutions to the very real global threats posed by climate change.

Obama: So it’s important for the U.S. president and the U.S. government to be able to work with people who are building, and who are creating things and creating jobs, and trying to solve major problems like climate change, and setting up educational exchanges for young people who going to create the next great invention or scientific breakthrough that can cure diseases. We have to make sure that we lift up and we stay focused as well on the things that are most important to us.

The Horror! President Obama had the audacity to advocate a path forward that seeks to prevent suffering from disease and worldwide climate-related disasters. Anyone with a clear perspective understands that these are real threats that will affect millions of people. And while terrorism is unarguably agonizing and barbaric, it’s impact is much more narrow in terms of victims. What conservatives want is to terrify people by focusing on the immediacy and bloodshed of incidents like those in Brussels. Which is, ironically, the same thing the terrorists want.

However, most experts on terrorism and international security (including four of the past Secretaries of Defense, three of whom are Republicans) have concluded that climate change, unlike terrorism, is an existential threat. The military has been crystal clear for years about the very real consequences of a world where water and arable land become scarce, and nations erupt into chaos and war. Last year the Rolling Stone published an extensive examination of The Pentagon & Climate Change: How Deniers Put National Security at Risk. Among its many documented examples of the threat certified by numerous military analysts is one that ought to be persuasive to the conservative Republican deniers:

“In 2003, under Donald Rumsfeld, former President George W. Bush’s defense secretary, the Pentagon published a report titled ‘An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and Its Implications for United States National Security.’ Commissioned by Andrew Marshall, who is sometimes jokingly referred to within the Pentagon as Yoda — and who was a favorite of Rumsfeld’s — the report warned that threats to global stability posed by rapid warming vastly eclipse that of terrorism.

You might think that with Rumsfeld warning about the dangers of climate change from a national security perspective, the naysayers at Fox would keep their mouths shut. You would be wrong. And that’s because their goals have nothing to do with solving problems. The Fox propagandists are tightly focused on bashing the President to the exclusion of any other objective, including the best interests of the American people and the rest of the world.

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

For the record, Obama didn’t just bring up climate change at the press conference to rattle conservative cages. The issue was one of the key subjects on the agenda for his trip to Argentina. And during the visit Obama and Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri agreed to take significant measures to cut carbon emissions from air flights and integrate solar and wind power into electricity grids.

What’s more, the criticism from the right that Obama has not properly prioritized the fight against terrorism in his public statements was put to rest the very same day in these remarks which Fox News neglected to report:

“I’ve got a lot of things on my plate. But my top priority is to defeat ISIL and to eliminate the scourge of this barbaric terrorism that’s been taking place around the world. The issue is how do we do it in an intelligent way. But what we don’t do, and what we should not do, is take approaches that are gonna be counter-productive. So when I hear somebody say we should carpet-bomb Iraq or Syria, not only is that inhumane, not only is that contrary to our values, but that would likely be an extraordinary mechanism for ISIL to recruit more people willing to die and explode bombs in an airport or in a metro station. That’s not a smart strategy.”

In conclusion, Fox News is blatantly disinforming their dimwitted audience when they try to portray Obama as disinterested in terrorism, when in fact it is one of his highest priorities. And they are likewise disinforming their audience by leading them to believe that climate change is not an existential threat, in particular when compared to terrorism. But what they are doing mostly is advancing the interests of terrorists by helping them to spread the fear that is at the heart of their strategy.

In His Own Words: Donald Trump Is Selling Himself Like A Bag Of Cheetos

The Republican Party has saddled itself with one of history’s most repulsive characters in this, or any, election season. Donald Trump is the manifestation of the racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and general anti-intellectualism that has long festered behind a thin veil of the GOP’s pseudo-respectability. As much as many of the party’s relative moderates are embarrassed by Trump, they cannot absolve themselves of responsibility for him.

Donald Trump Cheetos

Trump’s campaign strategy has resembled nothing more than the sort of reality TV battles that made him a household name. He trades in hyperbole and personal attacks and dumbed-down misrepresentations of issues. More often than not he lies without shame to advance his self-serving interests (see the Trump Bullshitopedia) And always, he casts himself as a sort of Messianic savior who is the only hope for rescuing America from the hordes of enemies, within and without, who yearn to destroy us in unspeakably horrific ways.

However, if you pay attention to Trump’s own descriptions of his operational tactics you will find that he is selling himself more like a consumer product than a candidate. Trump is essentially marketing himself like the corny, air-puffed, cheese snack, Cheetos, which has little substance but lots of toxic chemicals and seasoning. And while the comparison has been made before, Trump is surpassing all previous efforts by confessing to his marketing schemes. He is slapping a label on his snake oil that actually says “Snake Oil.”

What follows are some of the comments that expose Trump as a smarmy salesman. And the fact that he is unashamed to admit that his entire candidacy is akin to a pitch for fast food makes it all the more distasteful.

The best place to start is where Trump helpfully defines the marketing premise of his campaign by telling Politico that “I’ve done my job. I’m the product, the product is me.” That was his attempt to explain why he relied on massive rallies to promote himself, rather than the face-to-face town hall gatherings that are the standard in early state primaries. It’s the marketing equivalent of putting up a Superbowl ad instead of having a taste test at a local grocery store. Trump doesn’t really want anyone to get that close for fear of being exposed as a phony.

Way back in 2006 Trump was on the O’Reilly Factor where he laid out for Bill O’Reilly the reason he fights dirty saying that “If I attack on a purely intellectual basis nobody would listen and the response would not be nearly as effective.” So he is admitting that his rancor and bombast is an act designed to bring him more attention. It doesn’t matter if it’s truthful or tactful so long as it has shock value and the media laps it up.

Then there was the time that Trump openly admitted that his antics were crafted to generate drama and controversy: “If I weren’t in the race you’d have the same as you did four years ago, just the same boring things that would be just boring, that’s the way it is. Maybe That’s why The Apprentice was so successful.” In this comment Trump actually openly associates his success as a candidate with success as a contestant on a TV game show.

That shouldn’t surprise anyone after they learn that his measure of power in politics is the same as his measure of power in television: “It’s ratings. I go on one of these shows and the ratings double. They triple. And that gives you power. It’s not the polls. It’s the ratings.” And furthermore, he believes that that capacity for drawing an audience (which rests primarily on appealing to their bloodlust for seeing a horrible train wreck live on the air) puts the TV networks in his debt: “The networks are making a fortune off of me!” Sadly, the networks are buying into that as recently revealed by Les Moonves, the CEO of CBS who said “Who would have thought that this circus would come to town. It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS. […] Go Donald, go.”

Which brings us to how Trump extends his marketing philosophy to his opponents. He has coined little slogans to disparage other candidates, or anyone whom he regards as an enemy. For instance, “Lyin’ Ted” Cruz and “Little Marco” Rubio. He has also tried to stick labels on Ben Carson as a “psychopath,” Jeb Bush as “low energy,” and Hillary Clinton as “lacking stamina.” What all of these have in common is their resemblance to marketing catch phrases that he repeats every time he mentions their names.

Donald Trump is bound and determined to create a public perception of his rivals as evildoers who strive intentionally to cause harm to America and its good citizens. At the same time he offers himself up as the solution to every problem anyone could ever have. His self-branding positions him as the best at whatever he is currently talking about: building a wall, killing terrorists, creating jobs, curing disease, etc. He is likewise the bestest of friends to the poor, women, veterans, evangelicals, and “the blacks.” In short, he’s an all-purpose elixir to cure whatever ails ya.

This characterization of himself serves the purpose of certifying his role as savior to the ignoramuses who worship him no matter what disgusting thing he says or does. It’s a phenomenon that even the obsequious media has recognized. Trump’s support seems to congeal following some grotesquery like a blatant lie (thousands of Muslims celebrating 9/11), or brazen misogyny (blood coming out of Megyn Kelly’s, whatever), or embrace of hatred (declining to rebuke KKK support), or advocacy of violence (promising to pay the legal fees of supporters who assault protesters).

These are not coincidental factors in his campaign. Trump is deliberately setting up his followers to behave like the zombie fanatics for which he desperately yearns. They are expected to follow him into literal battles as exemplified by his threat of riots at the GOP convention if he is not crowned as the Party’s nominee. His egomaniacal compulsions are typical of a cult leader who requires total devotion from an unquestioning flock. And he is as open about that aspiration as he is about his crass commercialization of politics. He regards his supporters as disciples who will follow him anywhere, as he revealed in this tweet:

“Because of me, the Republican Party has taken in millions of new voters, a record. If they are not careful, they will all leave. Sad!”

And just to reiterate the point, he told Joe Scarborough on MSNBC that “If I go, I will tell you, these millions of people that joined, they’re all coming with me.”

And so the Tribe of Trump is born. And in order to belong you must literally pledge your allegiance. This is a bit more demanding than becoming a part of the Pepsi Generation, but is sold in much the same way – through sloganeering, repetition, and the packaging of a social sect that promises acceptance and the welcoming embrace of a de facto family. Even if it is more like the Manson Family, it still offers a measure of warmth and communion. It is a shield from the tribulations of a world they perceive as hostile with enemies everywhere, including where they used to find friends.

In that regard they have even joined Trump’s war against the most reliably biased right-wing media empire in history, Fox News. Trump’s war on Fox has been joined by his minions who are all too happy to boycott the network to which they once clung obsessively. And Trump eggs them on tweeting “Wow, you are all correct about @FoxNews – totally biased and disgusting reporting.” So what we have here is the Trump Cult competing directly with the Fox News Cult. This should be fun.

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

Trump has adopted a mix of missionary work and marketing that exploits the tried and true methods of televangelists and telemarketers (but I repeat myself). He employs the persuasion technology of modern media to appeal to people’s fear and dependency on a sense of belonging (i.e. white supremacy). And his methods include the emotional power of proselytizing patriotism, faith, and rampant scapegoating of vulnerable minorities. It’s a potent cocktail that approaches a form of mass hypnosis, and it has been used before on frightened and disaffected populations. Which makes it all the more understandable that, by his own admission, Trump is not bothered by comparisons to Hitler. In fact, Trump probably views him as an inspiration and role model.

Hey Fox News, Donald Trump, And All You Other Gutless Republicans: Stop Helping ISIS

One of the first reactions to the tragic bombings in Brussels came from conservative pundits and politicians who berated President Obama for being in Cuba and sticking to his scheduled activities. They were outraged that the President didn’t drop everything and hightail it back to Washington so that he could…

Well, I’m not sure what they thought he could do there that he couldn’t do from Cuba. Still, for some reason they thought he should have tucked his tail between his legs and scurried back to D.C. In the 21st century the notion that a president has to be in the Oval Office for anything to get done is ludicrous. A few years ago Obama was delivering a hilarious address at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner while Seal Team 6 was disposing of Osama Bin Laden. The mission was ordered, engaged, and in progress without the President chained to his desk. And it was an undeniable success. But to the Fox News crowd America is being let down unless terrorists get to decide where our president should be. And if the President isn’t as rash and irrational as wingnuts think he ought to be, the terrorists win.

That’s the sort of defeatist rhetoric that makes life easier for terrorists. They know that they can’t beat the United States in a military battle, so they engage in acts of terror whose only purpose is to spread fear in the West and to promote recruitment to their cause among extremist Muslims. Of course, they don’t have any governmental infrastructure or media apparatus so they depend on the private press to promote their activities. And like every other public relations campaign, the more press coverage they get, the better for their cause.

Fox News ISIS Flag

That’s why the President was right to stay in Cuba and continue with his historic visit, including a baseball game between the Cuban national team and the Tampa Bay Rays. Obama himself put it clearly in remarks to ESPN:

“The whole premise of terrorism is to try to disrupt people’s ordinary lives. […] What they can do is scare, and make people afraid and disrupt our daily lives and divide us. And as long as we don’t allow that to happen, we’re gonna be okay.”

Exactly. So why don’t conservatives get it? The truth is, they probably do, but they would rather scold the President for invented misdeeds than to admit that he is demonstrating strength, wisdom, and representing the nation’s best interests.

People need to realize that these heinous bombings are intended by the terrorists to inflame emotions and draw Western powers into a quagmire on their battlefield. And as if to validate that goal, war hawks among American conservatives are falling for the tactic and calling for an increased military presence in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Libya, etc. Donald Trump is even arguing that the U.S. should adopt the tactics of the terrorists in order to fight them on their own terms. He said that…

“I think we have to change our law on, you know, the waterboarding thing, and they can chop off heads, and they can drown people in cages, in heavy steel cages, and we can’t waterboard. So we have to change our laws and we have to be able to fight on an almost equal basis.”

Fighting on an equal basis as terrorists lowers us to their level. It obliterates any moral authority we might have. Trump is an ignorant cretin who can’t grasp the simple concept that America is only worth fighting for because of the principles we embrace. Resorting to the sort of savagery that is embodied by terrorism, including waterboarding and carpet bombing, makes us no better than the enemy and not worthy of defending. Not to mention that it is precisely what the terrorists want. The more they can portray us as the ruthless ones, the more converts they can acquire. Adopting their methods is a dangerous submission to the will of the enemy. Why would anyone want to give the terrorists exactly what they are hoping for? That used to be called treason.

In the process of castigating Obama with their knee-jerk criticisms, conservatives are demeaning not just the President, but the whole country. They make public statements that disparage our military and our resolve to be victorious. That must go over pretty well with the leaders of ISIS and Al Qaeda. When American senators and news commentators characterize our side as “weak” and “losers” it emboldens our enemies and invites them to escalate their attacks. It is also a blatant lie. What these traitors are forgetting (or not bothering to learn) is that…

Since the beginning of the American-led air campaign against ISIS, the coalition has launched 8,000 airstrikes and dropped about 28,000 bombs on ISIS sites in Iraq and Syria. In other words, we’ve been launching about 17 airstrikes and dropping 60 bombs per day. Every day. For over a year.”

These missions have seriously degraded the capabilities of the enemy, including killing more than half of their top commanders. ISIS has lost 40% of the territory it once held in Iraq. A recent U.S. airstrike killed more than 150 terrorists at a Somalia camp. Critical ISIS figures such as Abu Salah, their financial chief in charge of its extortion activities, Hajji Mutazz, a deputy to the leader of ISIS, and chemical weapons expert, Abu Malik, have all been killed in recent actions. Clearly, anyone observing the available facts can see that there is a concerted effort to defeat these enemies. So the political distortions from the right are a dishonest campaign to harm Obama, and by extension the country.

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

None of this is meant to diminish the genuine harm done by barbarians who have no respect for humanity. But it serves no purpose to give them the free advertising they crave. We are fulfilling their desires when we help them to spread fear and to foment despair. The only sane way to react to these events is to acknowledge that they occurred and then stop obsessing over them. Then we can conduct our retaliatory response calmly and decisively. But by no means should we panic, tear out our hair, and give the enemy the impression (and satisfaction) that they have crushed our spirit and won a victory.

President Obama At Cuban Baseball Game