Fox News Is Still Using ‘Nonsense’ Polls Despite Memo Warning Not To

Within hours of the conclusion of the Clinton/Trump debate Donald Trump was touting his “triumph” over Hillary Clinton. Although he would have been bragging even if he had lapsed into Mickey Mouse impressions doing sieg heil salutes.

Fox News Donald Trump

The main problem with Trump’s victory lap is that it was based solely on the result of unscientific online polls. These are polls that invite web users to cast votes, but are not managed to produce a representative sample of the electorate. Anyone who feels like it can cast a vote and, in many cases, as many votes as they want. There are even reports that devoted StormTrumpers organized online armies to game the polls. That’s why they are generally dismissed as being “for entertainment purposes only” and no professional takes them seriously.

Consequently, the pathologically narcissistic Trump believes they are proof of his universal appeal to a nation that ravenously adores him. He posted at least twelve tweets promoting his supremacy in these bogus polls, beginning with this one:

Note: The CNN poll, which he lost bigly, was the only one that adheres to scientific polling standards. The other polls appeared on a variety of websites that use them to engage readers. They include Drudge, Breitbart (a wholly owned subsidiary of the Trump campaign), Time, Fortune, CNBC, and more. Trump also boasted about his win on the CBS post-debate poll – which was a true achievement since CBS didn’t run a post-debate poll.

Now, among the critics of these silly surveys is Fox News. A leaked memo from Dana Blanton, VP of public opinion research for the network, had a warning for her colleagues. She said that such unscientific online polls “do not meet our editorial standards.” The first question this raises is: Fox News has editorial standards? Blanton wrote that:

“News networks and other organizations go to great effort and rigor to conduct scientific polls — for good reason. They know quick vote items posted on the web are nonsense, not true measures of public opinion.”

Apparently that missive was not sufficient for certain Fox News hosts. After the memo went out Sean Hannity continued to cite online polls as evidence of Trump’s huuuge win over Clinton. It was Hannity that provided Trump with his list of polls that included the non-existent one from CBS. Then this morning the “Curvy Couch” potatoes at Fox & Friends did the same. That earned them a thank you tweet from The Donald:

Additionally, A headline on the Fox News website heralded the phony polling saying that “Online votes declare Trump debate winner, despite media consensus for Clinton.” The article did concede that the online polls were not scientific, but it also implied that they are somehow better than professionally conducted polls. Fox argued that the number of votes cast was an indicator of their value as predictors of public opinion. Never mind that many of those votes are fakes and/or duplicates, or that the sample is self-selected.

On Fox’s Your World with Neil Cavuto, the host did a segment discussing the online polls with an obvious preference for their pro-Trump results. An on-screen graphic read “Snap Polls Suggest Disconnect Between Public And Mainstream Media Over Who Won Debate.” But they only suggest that to people willing to believe that the snap polls have any legitimacy. Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich made the same argument elevating pro-Trump online polls saying that:

“It is worth looking at a list of online polls to understand the gap between the elites and the vast majority of Americans. [… and how] willfully out of touch and dishonest the Intellectual Yet Idiot class is.”

No, it is not useful to look at sham polls. Since they are nonsense, they tell us nothing about alleged gaps between elites and other Americans. However, arguing that they are superior does show how willfully out of touch and dishonest Gingrich, Fox, et al are.

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

There is something else we learn from Fox News continuing to push fake polls even after they are notified of their fakeness. It tells us is that the alleged editorial standards at Fox News are also “for entertainment purposes only.” Blanton’s memo seems to have had no effect on the propagandists bent on promoting Trump. It’s further proof that Fox has fully transformed into the Trump News Network. And nothing is going to interfere with their politically partisan mission.

Hannity Appears In Trump Ad, Fox News Brushes Off Flagrant Conflict Of Interest

It may come as a surprise to learn that Fox News has policies governing the ethical behavior of their employees. Over the years the network has brazenly promoted Republican politicians and pundits without regard for either fairness or balance. But the blurry lines they draw were recently crossed by primetime host Sean Hannity.

Sean Hannity

Hannity taped a tribute to Donald Trump that appears in a new web ad. Curiously, he is identified only as “Sean Hannity, TV personality.” Not only did they leave out his Fox News affiliation, but they reduced him to the status of Kim Kardashian or Ryan Seacrest. In the clip Hannity unequivocally states his support for Trump and outlines his reasons why.

“One of the reasons I’m supporting Donald Trump this year is number one, he’s going to put originalists on the Supreme Court. People that believe in fidelity to the Constitution, separation of powers, co-equal branches of government. He’s a guy that will vet refugees to keep Americans safe. And of course he’s gonna build that wall. He says he’s gonna have Mexico pay for it. That’s fine, as long as we secure the country and, of course, we don’t want people competing for jobs. He said he will eliminate Obamacare, make us energy-independent, and as somebody who’s been a marksman since I’m 11 years old, protecting our Second Amendment rights are paramount to me.”

This list of right-wing tripe is typical of the propaganda that Fox and Hannity regularly dispense. Nothing in it varies from the conservative politics that dominate the network. What’s unusual is that Hannity delivers his testimonial in an official Trump advertisement. Along with fellow asshats like Ted Nugent, Hannity plants a wet kiss full on the mouth of his hallowed hero. Unfortunately, he failed to get permission from his Fox bosses before contributing his services. That reckless disobedience resulted in Fox News taking swift disciplinary action:

“We were not aware of Sean Hannity participating in a promotional video and he will not be doing anything along these lines for the remainder of the election season.”

Well, that ought teach him. While distancing themselves from Hannity’s impropriety, Fox firmly forbade him from further misconduct. And that appears to be the extent of his punishment. He wasn’t suspended. His pay wasn’t docked. There doesn’t even seem to be a demand to remove his segment from Trump’s ad. What’s more, they gave him permission to continue his partisan antics after the election.

This absence of consequences isn’t the least bit peculiar. Why would Fox News punish Hannity for doing in an ad what he does everyday on his program? Hannity has publicly endorsed Trump. His show has hosted Trump more than any other program on television. Tonight, in fact, he’ll be holding his third “town hall” wherein Trump is given the full hour to advance his candidacy. Hannity’s role in these infomercials is mainly to toss Trump softballs that he often answers himself. Or, at least, polishes the frequently moronic answers Trump serves up.

As the election season proceeds, Fox News is frantically escalating their Trump crusade. On the air they are deploying ever more hysterical Trump surrogates. The Fox News website is fully engaged in PR for Trump. Their Twitter feed is brazenly distributing professionally designed pro-Trump memes (see this collection). They couldn’t be more engaged in the campaign without registering as a PAC, which technically they ought to do anyway.

Consequently, Hannity’s pathetic iPhone video contribution to a web ad really doesn’t make much difference. And the only people watching Fox’s disinformation blitz are dimwitted wingnuts who wouldn’t vote for Hillary Clinton under any circumstances. Fox’s incessant choir-preaching didn’t elect John McCain or Mitt Romney, and it isn’t going to elect Donald Trump either.

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

Trump Goes On Russian TV – Takes Putin’s Side Against America (VIDEO)

At Wednesday’s Commander-in-Chief forum on NBC, Donald Trump once again expressed his admiration Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. He told anchor Matt Lauer that “He’s been a leader far more than our president has been a leader.” Trump’s view seems to be rooted in his innate narcissism. He also told Lauer that “If he says great things about me, I’m going to say great things about him.”

Trump/Putin

True to form, Trump appeared on RT (the state-owned Russian Television network) praising his pal Vladimir Putin. He was interviewed by Larry King on RT’s PolitiKing. Among the subjects discussed were Trump’s contempt for the American media that he said was “unbelievably dishonest.” As opposed to Russian media? Consequently, he goes on Russian TV to bad mouth the President and his opponent Hillary Clinton.

The most striking part of the interview was the segment where King asked Trump about the charges that the Russians were responsible for the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and other attempts to disrupt U.S. elections. Here is how Trump responded:

King: Putin recently said that the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s emails was a public service. Do you agree?

Trump: I don’t have any opinion on it. I don’t know anything about it. I don’t know who hacked. I’m not sure who, I mean, you tell me. Who hacked? Who did the hacking? But I have absolutely no opinion on that. I don’t know. I haven’t heard that statement.

First of all, Trump is flat-out lying about not having heard about this. He previously addressed the subject at his rallies and press conferences. In one instance he acknowledged reports of Russian involvement and then literally asked them to do more of it. He promised that they would be rewarded if they hacked into Clinton’s emails. What’s more, Trump himself has been implicated in Russia’s hacking operations.

More to the point, Trump’s insistence that he has no opinion about a foreign adversary illegally breaching the security of American political organizations is astonishing. He repeatedly expressed his skepticism about who did the hacking. Even though U.S. intelligence has concluded that it was most likely the Russians. That is giving cover to Putin and his KGB hacking squad. And King didn’t ask him who hacked. He asked if he agreed with Putin that the hacking was a public service. So Trump has no opinion about Russians stealing private communications from Americans and publishing them.

But that wasn’t all. The interview continued with Trump essentially forgiving the Russians for trying to interfere with American elections:

King: U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies reportedly are investigating whether Russia launched a covert operation to disrupt the 2016 election. What do you make of that?

Trump: I don’t know. I mean I’ve been reading about it. I think it’s probably unlikely. I think maybe, maybe the Democrats are putting that out. Who knows? But I think it’s probably unlikely. But you know, who knows? I hope that if they are doing something, I hope that somebody’s going to be able to find out so they can end it. Because that would not be appropriate at all.

Again, Trump is pleading ignorance (which, for him, is a believable excuse). But his effort to absolve Putin & Company is further evidence of his affinity for the Russians. He doesn’t explain how he arrived at the conclusion that “it’s probably unlikely.” However, to do so he is taking the side of the Russians against American intelligence agencies. Even worse, he attempts to shift the blame to Democrats without any foundation whatsoever. Someone should ask Trump why Democrats would hack themselves.

Subsequent to Trump’s RT interview, his spokesman sought to gloss over his comments telling CNN that he thought he was doing a podcast for Larry King and that “Mr. Trump was never told it would be shared anywhere else.” So what? While making these unpatriotic comments on RT is rich with irony, they would be just as abhorrent on King’s podcast. And how could Trump and his handlers not know where this interview would be aired? That’s just another indication of his incompetence and unfitness for the presidency. [UPDATE: Contradicting the Trump camp, the producers of Larry King’s program released a statement saying that “Mr. Trump was always booked on ‘PoliticKING with Larry King'”]

On a tangential matter, the interview ended abruptly when King brought up the subject of immigration:

King: Let’s get something clear, cause I’ve known you a long time. On this immigration, what are your feelings about Mexican immigrants. What are your gut – what do feel about this?
Trump: [Silence]
King: Don are you there? … I don’t know what happened there. We did not lose the connection.

Curious. Let’s just leave that to stand on its own. Although the Democrats probably had something to do with it.

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

[Note: Trump on hacking starts about 8:50]

DAFUQ? Giuliani Blames Clinton For Trump’s Birther Bullsh*t (VIDEO)

There is a toxic tendency among conservatives to persistently believe the most ridiculous lies about Hillary Clinton. Even after they’ve been thoroughly debunked, the right clings to them like ideological life preservers. This makes it hard for any of these crackpot notions to mercifully die.

Giuliani

One of the stickiest Hillary mythologies is the charge that she created the Birther movement. The fact that there are still people who believe that President Obama is a native Kenyan is puzzling and sad. But even worse are the loons who insist that Clinton started it all.

Donald Trump, of course, anointed himself as the Chief Birther years ago. He claimed to have sent an investigative team to Hawaii to get to the bottom of it. Later, he declared that the world “will be amazed” at what they found. Unfortunately, Trump’s “investigators” must have been swallowed up by a lava flow because they have never been heard from again. In the interim, Trump has refused to even talk about it. Amazing.

Additionally, Trump is also a vocal proponent of the theory that Clinton birthed Birtherism. Before he dropped it from his repertoire it was a regular part of his anti-Clinton spiel. For example, see this tweet from last September:

No it wasn’t, and no she wasn’t. For the record. neither Hillary Clinton, nor her campaign, had any part of the Birther business. In fact, she explicitly called it “ludicrous.” Every fact-checking organization refuted the allegation. PolitiFact wrote a detailed response declaring it “False” and concluding that:

“There is no record that Clinton herself or anyone within her campaign ever advanced the charge that Obama was not born in the United States.”

To its shame, the media has allowed Trump to evade questions on his Birther fetish. They have inexplicably honored his pronouncement that he doesn’t talk about it anymore. Just because he wants to put it aside doesn’t mean that responsible journalists have to comply. And this morning CNN’s Jake Tapper proved why it is still important to raise the issue. Tapper brought it up with respect to Trump’s recent efforts to pander to minority voters. He asked Trump adviser Rudy Giuliani to comment:

Jake Tapper: I have to say, in interviews many African-Americans say they are still troubled by Mr. Trump having suggested over and over, falsely, that the first African-American president was born in Africa and, thus, ineligible to be president.

Giuliani began to respond by asserting that “the first one that made that claim was Hillary Clinton.” Tapper interrupted to say that it wasn’t Clinton herself, but people around her. But even that isn’t correct. It was a group of fringe supporters who were unaffiliated with her campaign. Giuliani’s exchange with Tapper continued:

Tapper: It was resolved in 2011 when he released his birth certificate. Donald Trump talking about this as recently as February of last year at CPAC saying that he thinks the birth certificate is false. Should he just apologize for this to let – if he really wants to reach out to minority voters?

Rudy Giuliani: You know, if everybody apologized for all the things they said in politics, all we would be doing on television shows is apologizing. Maybe a lot of the Democrats should apologize for calling Donald Trump a racist and calling him all kinds of terrible names and? – it gets a little silly.

First of all, if all he would be doing on TV is apologizing for things he said, he is saying way too much bullcrap. Which, of course, in his case is true. More to the point, Giuliani’s suggestion that Democrats apologize for telling the truth about Trump is totally absurd. And lying about Obama’s citizenship is overtly racist and blaming Clinton for it just makes it worse. His refusal to apologize is evidence that he and Trump aren’t sorry about expressing their bigotry.

The rush to hang Birtherism on Clinton is not a new phenomenon. Saturday on CNN Trump surrogate Scottie Nell Hughes also falsely claimed that Clinton was the source of Birtherism. Much of last year Fox News pushed this nonsense. Many of their top personalities joined in, including Megyn Kelly, Sean Hannity, Kimberly Guilfoyle, and Steve Doocy.

By continuing to spread these lies, Giuliani, Trump, Fox News, and all of their cohorts, are demonstrating an open aversion to the truth. They are embracing racism. In addition, they are effectively admitting that they haven’t got a single factual criticism to make about Clinton. Otherwise, why would they have to keep pounding away on one that they surely know is false? And if it’s their intention to keep Birtherism alive, then Trump should be forced to face questions about it whether he wants to or not.

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

‘Fair And Balanced’ My Ass! Fox News Goes Full Propaganda Factory For Donald Trump

Fox News was never “fair and balanced” and was never meant to be. The slogan itself is a backhanded slap at every other media outlet that implies they are neither. It’s the same type of messaging that cults use to insure that their disciples believe only their dogma and reject all others as deceivers.

Fox News

So the debate over whether Fox News is biased ended before it even began. However, there is a much more interesting debate over who is in charge of the Republican Party. Is the GOP running its own show, or are they merely a vehicle to carry out the agenda of Fox News? Several years ago former Bush speechwriter David Frum recognized a power shift and wrote that “Republicans originally thought that Fox worked for us, and now we are discovering we work for Fox.” This question became even more complicated when Donald Trump’s campaign was taken over by Breitbart News (Fox-on-Steroids).

One thing that is unmistakable is that Fox News devotes all of its resources to pushing the conservative Republican political agenda. Throughout their broadcast day they provide vigorous support for right-wing candidates and policies. Their most prominent anchors are personal friends of Donald Trump, and Sean Hannity has even endorsed him on the air. And now they are literally creating pro-Trump memes to boost his campaign on social media. These are graphic advertisements that are either promoting Trump or bashing Hillary Clinton. Their are no pro-Clinton memes at all. Have a look (Slideshow):

Fox News Memes

Could this be any more brazenly partisan? Fox News is hyping some of the most ridiculous attacks on Clinton and many are purely opinions that have no basis in fact. In other words, it isn’t remotely news, it’s propaganda. When they resort to quoting Larry the Cable Guy saying that “Hillary will be the end of the country,” it’s safe to say they have crossed a line into the surreal.

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

Fox News has created a pro-Trump meme factory to spew GOP talking points in support of their chosen candidate. The fact that they are creating these graphics with only a single, ultra-rightist point of view should satisfy any lingering doubts about the partisan objectives of Fox News and their management. Continuing to pretend that there is an independent Republican Party is a fool’s exercise. There is now only Fox News and their political subsidiary that is marketing a racist, misogynist demagogue to its glassy-eyed congregation.

Fox News Desperately Lashes Out At Hillary With Fake ‘Endorsement’ By Hate Leader

Desperation is often best measured by the ludicrous lengths one will go to in order to attack an opponent. And by that measure Fox News is off the charts desperate. They appear to have made the calculation that Hillary Clinton’s prospects for beating the pants off of Donald Trump are so great that there is no depth too low for them to sink to. Case in point, the story they posted Saturday on their Fox Nation website: “KKK Grand Dragon Endorses Hillary Clinton.”

Fox Nation

Fox Nation has never been known for honest reporting (see the ebook Fox Nation vs. Reality that catalogs their blatant lies). And this story affirms their shameful reputation. It was published just as Trump is vainly attempting to deflect the racism that is central to his campaign. His futile strategy has been to try to turn the tables by calling Clinton a bigot. Never mind that her support among African-Americans is over eighty percent compared to his in the low single digits.

Fox Nation’s article was sourced to a posting by Gateway Pundit Jim Hoft, aka the Dumbest Man on the Internet (serioulsy, Google it)). The epic wrongness of it is readily apparent to anyone with an IQ higher than their age.

First of all, Hoft had to reach back to a story that was published almost six months ago. The original story was about a confrontation between Ku Klux Klan members in Anaheim, CA, with Klan protesters and police. There was no current event that might have justified reprising the story. It was essentially just a memory he felt like revisiting. So of course Fox links to it as if it were breaking. The only commentary attached to it was an excerpted exchange between a professor who videotaped the affair and the leader of the tiny Klan chapter that organized it.

In that video Prof. Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and
Extremism at California State University in San Bernardino, asked Grand Dragon Will Quigg who he was supporting for president. Quigg answered simply “Hillary Clinton.” And on the basis of that, Hoft and Fox News composed headlines that proclaimed the Klan’s endorsement of Clinton.

However, much was left out of Fox’s reporting. For instance, the Huffington Post published an article last March on this wherein they got a more complete explanation of Quigg’s alleged endorsement. He said at the time that he believes Clinton has a secret agenda that is aligned with his white supremacist hate group:

“She is telling everybody one thing, but she has a hidden agenda,” said Quigg. “She’s telling everybody what they want to hear so she can get elected, because she’s Bill Clinton’s wife, she’s close to the Bushes. Once she’s in the presidency, she’s going to come out and her true colors are going to show. Border policies are going to be put in place. Our Second Amendment rights that she’s saying she’s against now, she’s not against. She’s just our choice for the presidency.”

Sounds like Quigg is describing Trump’s platform perfectly. Where he got the idea that Clinton is a Klan double agent is a mystery that is confined to his diseased brain. However, Prof. Levin, an expert on racial hate groups, had something to say about Quigg’s “endorsement” that was also missing from Fox’s reporting:

“It’s not true,” Levin said. “His recent publicized change of heart stands in sharp contrast to his consistent and effusive support over the last six months for Mr. Trump. I just totally don’t buy it. Quigg is playing everybody. […] These guys play the press all the time. Quigg is just pivoting. He’ll get some attention and he knows it’ll take a little heat off Trump.”

Further analysis holds that Quigg is distancing himself from a Klan rival, David Duke, who has endorsed Trump. Additionally, Quigg may be trying to avoid undermining Trump while simultaneously tarnishing Clinton. He knows that the Klan’s support would hurt whomever receives it, so he is doling it out strategically. However, he has been expressing his devotion to Trump for over a year, as evidenced by this tweet:

This isn’t the first time that Fox has tried to draw the dishonest connection between Clinton and the Klan. Just a couple of days ago Fox Nation posted an article with this headline: “Flashback: Hillary Clinton Praised Former KKK Member Robert Byrd as ‘Friend and Mentor'” That was another retread that was just as deceptive. It referenced a six month old column in the ultra-rightist Daily Caller that itself referenced a video from 2010 of Clinton offering condolences following the death of Sen. Byrd. Conservatives frequently try to smear the late senator despite the fact that he renounced his youthful Klan membership decades ago. In no uncertain terms he apologized and condemned racism and the groups that espouse it. He was honored by the NAACP in a letter after he died as a “Champion for Civil Rights and Liberties.”

In light of the above, it’s clear that Fox News is frantically trying to defame Clinton by inventing an utterly false association with a despised organization. It’s a far-fetched effort, particularly since many other Klan groups have already pledged their allegiance to Donald Trump. Many white supremacists are actively campaigning for him. And no amount of lies and race-baiting by Fox can erase the stain of Trump’s bigotry that has been so much a part of his campaign for the past year.

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

Now Fox News Is Citing Sleazy InfoWars As Source To Smear Hillary Clinton

After years of pretending to be fair and balanced while shilling for Republicans, Fox News has completed a frightening metamorphosis. This morning they took a giant leap into the black hole of crackpot conspiracy theory. It’s a development that illustrates the lengths they will go to promote their home-brewed presidential candidate, Donald Trump.

Fox News/InfoWars

On Fox & Friends First, co-host Heather Childers introduced a segment alleging that Google is “trying to sway the presidential election.” Their evil plot consists of manipulating search results to suppress evidence of the trail of dead bodies left by Bill and Hillary Clinton. Cheryl Casone of Fox Business Network took the handoff to report that:

“Google is being accused of hiding negative stories about Hillary and her campaign by changing its algorithm to bury stories like the ‘Clinton body count’ story. That’s according to website InfoWars.”

Seriously? So Fox News is now associating itself with the utterly delusional ravings of Alex Jones and his InfoWars conspiracy site? This is the same InfoWars that claimed that the massacre of twenty children in Newtown, CT, was a government plot to confiscate the guns of American citizens. It’s the same InfoWars that has been the leading light of the 9/11 Truther movement. Not to mention the wingnut’s goto source for Birther BS. And, by the way, it’s also the same InfoWars that has endorsed Donald Trump for president and given him a platform on their webcast.

It is also interesting to note that Fox believes there is a “Clinton body count” story to be buried. And why not? They have been reporting that Obama is a secret gay Muslim from Kenya who founded ISIS for years. So what is Fox News and InfoWars so worked up about today?

“If a Google user types in ‘Clinton body,’ they get car repair shop results instead of a story that talks about a list of people tied to the Clintons who have died under mysterious circumstances over the last three decades.”

Oh my heavens. Bring me the smellin’ salts, Margaret. Apparently Google is participating in the cabal to suppress the Clintons’ thirty year murder spree. Fox and InfoWars believe that Google’s biased search results need to be corrected. Instead of intelligently curated data, they should highlight slanderous fables from the diseased minds of right-wing hate mongers.

It’s impossible to ignore the connection to Donald Trump’s campaign. He has been a frequent guest on InfoWars. Plus, his new campaign chair (Stephen Bannon of Breitbart News) is cut from the same soiled cloth as Alex Jones. There is an unmistakable trend toward the bonehead breed of pseudo-journalism that is sprouting up around Trump and his media advocates. His stump speeches are now almost entirely read from TelePrompters pre-loaded with talk radio style bombast. These include charges that Clinton is a felon, a traitor, and is about to drop dead.

These sort of screwball ideas are not surprising from InfoWars. They are, in fact, their reason for being. But for Fox News to reach down into that cesspool of idiocy is a new low, even for Fox. What is the limit of their debasement of journalism if it isn’t aligning with InfoWars? Fox has allowed such nonsense to bubble up into their reporting in the past. But this may be the first time they have explicitly attributed their story to InfoWars. That might be more honest, but it is a bad sign nonetheless. It means they are comfortable mainstreaming the likes of Alex Jones.

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

Regrets My A$$: Lovesick Media Swoons At Trump’s Phony Non-Apology

For several months there has been breathless anticipation that the boorish and offensive personality of Donald Trump would vanish in a puff of smoke as he revealed his true graciousness and diplomacy. And the same people who believe that are still waiting for Santa to deliver their unicorn.

Donald Trump

In a speech in Charlotte, N.C., Trump recited the TelePrompted views that were prepared for him by the new regime managing his floundering campaign. For the most part it was typical Republican dogma with one new wrinkle. Reversing months of stubborn insistence that he has nothing to regret, Trump conceded that he does, indeed, feel some pangs for unspecified occasions when “you don’t choose the right words or you say the wrong thing.” But even he expressed skepticism of this new found contrition by prefacing his regrets with “believe it or not.”

Anyone who thinks that Trump is actually sorry has not been paying attention. He has unabashedly insulted Latinos, veterans, women, African-Americans, and the disabled. His rebukes of fellow Republicans during the primary were painfully immature. You can’t behave like that for nearly a year and then just turn around and issue a wishy-washy regret that was written by hired hacks. He never bothered to actually apologize or even show respect for those he demeaned by identifying them or what he said that was wrong. It’s fair to say that the only thing he really regrets about his comments is the extent to which they have hurt him.

What’s most disappointing about this is the ease with which the media is falling for Trump’s bad playacting. They seem to think that his “pivot” is a material transformation of his personality on the scale of a spiritual rebirth. In reality it’s a desperate political ploy to avoid a humiliating landslide loss in November. Is the media really so dense that they don’t see that?

Here are some examples compiled by Media Matters of how the press has taken up Trump’s narrative without a lick of critical analysis:

On Fox & Friends, host Steve Doocy said of Trump’s address that it was “one of the best speeches Donald Trump has ever given.” That was seconded by correspondent John Roberts who added that “he completed his pivot to the general election campaign.”

MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Scarborough exclaimed “Wow. You have the reset button ready? Reset.” Guest reporter Katty Kay agreed saying “Yeah. That’s the kind of Trump that will make the Clinton campaign wake up.”

Christine Romans of CNN’s New Day marveled that it was “something I think six months ago we never thought we would have seen.”

On CBS This Morning host Margaret Brennan said “it may indicate a change in approach.” Her colleague Dean Reynolds called it “almost startling.” That was after he highlighted Trump’s “promise never to lie to voters.” They may want to take a look at the Trump Bullshitopedia to see the dozens of documented lies that are already on record.

Back on Fox, Chris Stirewalt declared it “a signal moment.”

The Washington Examiner’s Byron York gushed that we are seeing a “Very new Trump.”

The Daily Caller’s Vince Coglianese seemed relieved saying that “if we’ve been waiting for a pivot, this week is the one you should mark on the calendar.”

On NBC’s Today Hallie Jackson reported that this was “something we’ve almost never heard from him,” and that Trump sounded “strikingly more humble.”

These people are either terminally naive or too gullible to be living outside of an institution. The only sane response to Trump’s disingenuous attempts to appear remorseful is to throw right back at him the innumerable abusive and slanderous remarks he has unleashed and make him answer for each one individually. Short of that he deserves no praise for pasting a band-aid over the scars he has left on so many innocent people. And he certainly should not be taken at his word that he is regretful after all the times he swore to the contrary, even saying that “I like not to regret anything.” Here is some of the evidence in a four-video YouTube playlist:

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

UPDATE: The Clinton campaign weighs in with an awesome video on this subject: No Regrets. It’s a MUST see.

Fox Nation Hypes ‘Scoop’ On Clinton Charity Scandal That Turns Out To Be Totally Bogus

On Friday Hillary Clinton released her tax returns for 2015, making this the thirty-eighth year she has done so. While Republicans try to tarnish her reputation for honesty, her four decade long record of transparency proves that she has nothing to hide. In addition, it proves that nothing untoward has ever been discovered from making her personal finances abundantly public.

Fox Nation

Contrast that with Donald Trump’s refusal to make even a single year of tax returns available for voters to assess his fitness for office. What is he hiding? Could it be that he has paid little or no income tax for many years? Or has he had unsavory relationships with Russians or other foreign entities? Maybe he isn’t as rich or generous as he pretends to be. Clearly he has determined that he has less to lose from the bad publicity of concealing his records than he does from revealing them.

The absence of any legitimate problems with Clinton’s taxes has driven Fox News to invent problems that don’t exist. On their community website, Fox Nation, they posted an article sourced to the ultra-conservative Daily Caller, a pseudo-news site run by Fox News host Tucker Carlson. The Daily Caller’s story alleged that “92 Percent Of Hillary’s Charitable Donations In 2015 Went To Clinton Foundation.” The article alleged that the Clinton’s engaged in a corrupt scheme to claim charitable tax write-offs for funds that they funneled back to themselves, saying that:

“Hillary Clinton and her husband Bill deducted $1,042,000 in charitable contributions last year – $1 million of which went to their own Clinton Foundation.” […]

The documents show that the power couple earned $10,745,378 last year, mostly on income earned from giving public speeches. Of that they gave just over a million to charity. But the contributions can hardly be seen as altruistic, since the money flowed back to an entity they control.”

What’s more, the Daily Caller associated the donations with unfounded charges directed at the Clinton Foundation by right-wing media and activist groups such as Judicial Watch. The problem with that reporting is that the donations itemized in the Clinton’s tax returns did not go to the well known Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation that has been the target of the right’s smear campaign. The donations actually went to the private vehicle used by the Clinton’s to disburse their philanthropic gifts, the Clinton Family Foundation. This is a common method of aggregating funds for charitable gift giving used by many high-income families.

After being shamed by Media Matters for their journalistic sloppiness, the Daily Caller added a correction to their story to indicate that the two foundations were separate entities. They did not, however, alter their tawdry conclusions, even though they no longer make sense. And Tucker Carlson still went on Fox & Friends this morning to say that “If I give money to my own foundation is it really charity?” Apparently he doesn’t care that his own website now says didn’t happen. Making matters worse, Fox Nation didn’t even bother to make note of the correction. The headline, which is now known to be false, remains unchanged and utterly untrue.

This is nothing new for Fox Nation, which has a history of brazenly misrepresenting the truth with poorly sourced articles (as documented in the book Fox Nation vs. Reality). Fox Nation is also known for re-posting stories from disreputable conspiracy mongers and conservative propagandists. Their editor, Jesse Watters, makes certain that every day the site is filled with fresh attacks on Democrats, especially Hillary Clinton, who is routinely assaulted with lies that are vicious and defamatory. Very much like the one exposed here.

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

Fox News War Mongering EXPOSED: Former Exec Confesses ‘My Job Was To Sell The War’ In Iraq

The flagrantly right-wing bias of Fox News is no longer in doubt by anyone with even a passing acquaintance with the network’s aggressive propagandizing. Most of the network’s anchors, contributors, and guests lean so far to the right that Joseph Goebbels would have been proud to be associated with it. And yet, their own pride of ideological leaning is carefully hidden under a veil of phony fairness and balance.

Fox News

That’s why it was surprising to find a public admission of political spin from a high level Fox insider buried in a story on a completely different subject. Last week Gabriel Sherman of New York Magazine published another article in his investigative series that contributed to the downfall of Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes. Sherman is also the author of the Ailes biography The Loudest Voice in the Room.

The sexual harassment scandal that led to the humiliating ouster of the most powerful man in media had been steadily escalating. Dozens of women came forward to tell their painful stories of abuse. One of those women was Laurie Luhn who worked for Fox News for more than twenty years. The circumstances of her harrowing experience are spelled out in excruciating detail in Sherman’s article. But little noticed was this paragraph buried deep withing the article that revealed something unrelated to the abuse:

“As she was promoted through the ranks at Fox, Luhn worked harder and harder to please Ailes. She zealously promoted the network’s right-wing agenda. ‘I was very proud of the product. I was very proud of how we handled 9/11. Very proud of how we handled the run-up to the Iraq War,’ she said. ‘My job was to sell the war. I needed to get people on the air that were attractive and articulate and could convey the importance of this campaign. It was a drumbeat.'”

As the Director of Bookings for Fox News, Luhn saw her job as “selling the war” in Iraq. And she clearly recognized the benefits of seeking attractive, articulate salespeople to move the product. The “drumbeat” to which she refers was evident every day as the network hammered its advocacy of a war that had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11. This was much more than a typical news slant to sway public opinion. This was a blatant effort to steer the nation into an international conflict that has had disastrous results from which we are still suffering today.

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

These revelations turn the Luhn story into a much more complex affair. While she was on a daily mission to help her employer embroil the country in an immoral and illegal war, she was also a victim of unconscionable behavior from her despicable boss. There is no excuse for what Ailes allegedly did to her and the many other women making similar allegations against him. But there is a strange and sad irony that these heinous acts resulted in Luhn providing one of the most potent examples of how Fox News deliberately deceived the American people and unleashed an era of war, terrorism, and misery on the world.