Getting Rid Of Fake News? Start With Fox News!

For the past few days there has been a big furor over the spread of fake news online. Much of the criticism hinges on what impact it might have had on the election. A BuzzFeed analysis revealed that fake news stories “generated more engagement than the top stories from major news outlets” such as the New York Times, NBC News, etc. What’s more, the study shows that Trump supporters were far more likely to be taken in by fake news than others:

“Of the 20 top-performing false election stories identified in the analysis, all but three were overtly pro-Donald Trump or anti-Hillary Clinton.” [and that] The research turned up only one viral false election story from a hyperpartisan left-wing site…The other false viral election stories from hyperpartisan sites came from right-wing publishers, according to the analysis.

Social media sites are taking steps to mitigate the problem. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg announced plans to address it saying that “we take this responsibility seriously.” However, if that’s true there is one very prominent producer of fake news that would have to be included in any purge.

Fox News has been creating a veritable cornucopia of disinformation for most of its twenty year existence. The volume of demonstrably false stories that it publishes dwarfs any of the fake sites that BuzzFeed studied.

Fox News Lies

So this might be a good time to provide some examples of why Fox News is the unchallenged leader in bullshit. These are all real headlines from Fox News:

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

Each and every one of those stories are patently false. They are not merely differences of opinion, but verifiably untrue. The question is, could any of this type of fiction have swayed the election? Who knows? But it certainly doesn’t help. And the fact that the gullibility of news consumers is slanted so heavily to the right is an alarming revelation. These types of stories may not move average voters, but Donald Trump’s voters are prime targets for such deception. Obviously they aren’t interested in truth or they wouldn’t be Trump voters (see the Trump Bullshitopedia).

Even President Obama took notice of this “breakdown” in the media:

“If we are not serious about facts and what’s true and what’s not, and particularly in an age of social media where so many people are getting their information in sound bites and snippets off their phones, if we can’t discriminate between serious arguments and propaganda, then we have problems. Then democracy will break down.”

Hannity Wants To Use White House Press Credentials To Punish, Censor ‘Unfriendly’ Media

The emerging profile of the Trump administration is beginning to take shape. And it is just as frightening and offensive as expected.

Sean Hannity

Donald Trump’s first two official appointments provide no confidence whatsoever of a competent, inclusive Executive Branch. Right out of the gate is the current chair of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, as Chief of Staff. So the gateway to the Oval Office will be guarded by a rank political partisan with no experience in government. Secondly, Trump made his campaign chair, Stephen Bannon, his Chief Strategist. Bannon, of course, is also the CEO of Breitbart News, the alt-right’s mouthpiece for racist propaganda.

On Monday Sean Hannity of Fox News (Breitbart Lite) made his position clear regarding how Trump should handle the media. Not that Trump hasn’t already been clear that he regards it as a dishonest bunch of sleazy liars. A pro-Trump Twitter user posted a comment that caught Hannity’s eye. It said “CNN, NYT, WaPo & others shown to have colluded by @wikileaks should not receive WH press credentials.” Hannity retweeted it and responded simply “Amen.”

First of all, there have been no WikiLeaks documents revealing any collusion between the news organizations cited. That is just another invented “fact” that fuels so much of the right’s irrational outrage. The truth is that most of the WikiLeaks references to the media exposed nothing but reporters seeking information or interviews. In other words, doing their jobs.

The bigger problem here is the eagerness with which Hannity agreed that it would be proper to deny press credentials to some of the most prominent news enterprises in the country. It is a direct expression of support for punishing media for being critical of the President. That is a blatant breach of the First Amendment and the principle of freedom of the press. The White House press corps is not supposed to be the cheering section for Trump & Company.

For his part, Trump has demonstrated a hostility to the media that borders on psychotic. Journalist organizations have deemed him an unprecedented threat to press freedom. He calls reporters liars, dummies, and sleazy, as he points to them menacingly at his rallies. That has resulted in some reporters becoming targets of assaults. His vitriol has contributed to driving trust of the media to historic lows. And he has already engaged in discriminatory acts that amount to censorship by banning certain reporters from his events. They include the Washington Post, BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, Fusion, Univision, the Des Moines Register, and the New Hampshire Union Leader.

On the other hand, Trump has granted press passes to some unsavory characters who don’t qualify as legitimate media. A notable example is James Edwards of the Political Cesspool blog. Edwards is an unabashed racist who has written favorably about slavery. That’s the sort of “journalist” that makes the grade in Trump’s Ivory Tower. If The Donald’s Politburo has its way only Breitbart News and the National Enquirer would receive credentials.

However, it may not be that easy for them to carry out their purge. Authority over who gets press passes to the White House belongs to the Standing Committee of Correspondents on Capitol Hill. The committee is made up of credentialed congressional reporters. But the White House could still forbid individuals based on informal criteria mainly involving security. Even then, it might encounter opposition from the media and the public if it acted out of partisanship or revenge.

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

Hannity’s hypocrisy, however, is both stunning and typical. The same Hannity who now favors punishing “unfriendly” media, used to have seizures if President Obama said anything mildly critical of the press. And this anti-First Amendment view is plainly shared by Trump and his inner circle of autocrats. Without strict oversight of the Trump administration’s tendency toward censorship, it will surely try to poison press relations and access. That could lead to a dangerous situation wherein an aspiring dictator could deceive the nation into creeping tyranny. It has happened before.

John Oliver Trashes Trump As ‘A Klan-Backed Misogynist Internet Troll’

It may be difficult to find the humor in last week’s election results. Americans who are appropriately terrified by the prospect of Donald Trump’s presidency may be in no mood to laugh. However, some comic relief could be just the right medicine for a nation infected by the Great Orange Plague of 2016. And who better to fill that prescription than John Oliver.

John Oliver

In the season finale of his HBO program, Oliver spent the whole show assessing the consequences of Tuesday’s debacle. He began by finding a smidgen of positivity by noticing that the promise of opportunity in this country is still alive. “America proved,” Oliver wryly observed, “that no grandpa is too racist to become leader of the free world.” Only in America. He went on to question the potential causes that led us to the edge of this political cliff:

“How the fuck did we get here? Well clearly, there are many possible answers to that question, including: misleading forecasts that bred complacency; a flawed candidate who failed to appeal to white rural and working-class voters; and — and this is worth repeating — deep racism and/or indifference to it.”

It’s impossible to argue with that assessment, as far as it goes. But Oliver then launched an assault on what is certainly one of the primary factors in Trump’s victory: The Media! He castigated it for having neglected its professional obligations to the public. He was stunned by “how a system that is supposed to catch a serial liar failed.” But he was also aware of the shameful malfeasance of the corporate press hacks who seemed to be oblivious to their ineptitude. He quoted CNN’s president Jeff Zucker:

“I’d say that if we made a mistake last year, it’s that we probably did put on too many of his campaign rallies in those early months, unedited, and just let them run. And I think, in hindsight, we probably shouldn’t have done that as much.”

Is he freakin’ kidding?! Zucker considers that an insightful reflection on his performance as a news executive? Well, how could he have known not to pander to Trump incessantly for hours on end? Other than by having been chastised for it repeatedly while he was doing it. Every respected media analyst was loudly condemning the networks for kowtowing to Trump. If this “mistake” came as a surprise to him he is either totally incompetent or in the last stages of Alzheimer’s disease. More likely he was taking the same approach as a network colleague who at least was honest enough to admit that he was in it for the ratings. Les Moonves of CBS told a media conference that “It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS.” And that’s the same theory by which all the networks operate. Greed before patriotism.

Oliver went on to urge viewers to “stay here and fight” because the country can no longer assume that we have a president who will “stand up for the rights of all Americans.” And he pegged Trump as deceitful and opportunistic saying that:

“Trump is a masterful denier of both reality and responsibility. He is a man that would kick you in the nuts and then tell you that your penis did it. So the press is gonna face challenges. Not just because Trump’s chief strategist is Stephen Bannon of Breitbart News, but also because of yet another promise that Trump made:

“‘If I become president they are gonna have such problems. Oh, are they gonna have problems. I’m gonna open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money.'”

Let that sink in. Trump, having benefited inordinately from a star-struck press corps, is also threatening to sue them into oblivion. It’s a sort of battered spouse relationship with Trump receiving all the love while meting out the abuse. Unfortunately, that perverse relationship is likely continue as Trump moves into the White House. And Oliver had some closing remarks to make sure that citizens don’t become numbed to the insanity. He urged people to “get actively involved to at least mitigate Trump’s damage” and that:

“It is gonna be too easy for things to start feeling normal, especially if you are someone who is not directly impacted by his actions. So keep reminding yourself: This is not normal. […] because a Klan-backed, misogynist, internet troll is going to be delivering the next State of the Union address. And that is NOT normal! It is FUCKED UP.”

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

CONFIRMED: Fox News Was ‘Nakedly Colluding’ With Donald Trump

File this one under “Things We Already Knew.” Yes, it was painfully obvious that Fox News always had a clear preference for then-presidential hopeful Donald Trump. But until now there hasn’t been such a profoundly forthright admission of their bias.

Megyn Kelly Donald Trump

Fox News host Megyn Kelly has a new book, Settle For More, that contains some surprising revelations about her experiences at work. Among those previously excerpted in the press were her allegations of being a victim of sexual harassment. After a dozen other women revealed their harrowing encounters with the disgraced ex-CEO of Fox News, Roger Ailes, Kelly finally came forward with her own account.

In a similarly late confession, Kelly’s book also exposes a small piece of the political propaganda machine at Fox News. The New York Times received a pre-release copy from which they quoted a section about the Trump campaign. The excerpt describes Kelly’s discovery that someone at Fox was funneling debate questions to Trump:

“Then, the day before the first presidential debate, Mr. Trump was in a lather again, Ms. Kelly writes. He called Fox executives, saying he’d heard that her first question ‘was a very pointed question directed at him.’ This disconcerted her, because it was true: It was about his history of using disparaging language about women.

“She doesn’t speculate where the leak came from. (She reports. You decide.) But that’s another unambiguous takeaway from this book: Parts of Fox — or at the very least, Roger Ailes, the network’s chairman until July, when he was given the boot after several allegations of sexual harassment were made against him — seemed to be nakedly colluding with the Republican presidential nominee.”

There you have it. An eyewitness account of Fox News deliberately interfering with a candidates debate to benefit their chosen one. And the witness isn’t a wild-eyed, liberal, Fox hating, radical. It’s the fastest rising star on the network who is frequently referred to as “the future of Fox News.” So in addition to providing Trump with millions of dollars of free airtime, they were fouling supposedly neutral debate broadcasts.

On one hand, it’s admirable that Kelly includes this in her book. It casts a decidedly negative light on the heavily slanted editorial processes at Fox. On the other hand, she failed her obligations as a “journalist” by not saying anything when it occurred. The fact that a candidate was receiving tips on the questions for an upcoming debate is big news. And Kelly certainly agrees with that principle. She made a big deal about the exact same accusation when it was aimed at Democratic operative Donna Brazile.

In a stolen email released by WikiLeaks, Brazile made comments that implied that she had advance knowledge of a debate question and passed it on to the Clinton campaign. Kelly even raised this issue in an interview with Brazile wherein she asked “Can you imagine if this were a Republican had been fed a question by Fox News? You know, the different reaction we’d be seeing in the media?”

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

Yes, we do know, and we don’t have to use our imagination. The reaction on Fox News would be to cover it up until a for-profit book tour could be scheduled. So Trump got away with colluding with Fox News to help him in a debate. And Kelly got a juicy morsel of gossip with which to promote her book. It’s a win-win – for deceitful propagandists and dishonest TV hosts. And, of course, for ignorant, racist, xenophobic, misogynist, narcissistic, wannabe dictators.

BUSTED: Trump’s Campaign Boss Tied To FBI’s Review Of The Clinton Foundation

The FBI has come under sustained and deserved criticism for the past week due to public pronouncements regarding Hillary Clinton. They demonstrated a blatant double standard by releasing vague but damaging statements about Clinton a few days before an election. Those statements have allowed Clinton’s opponents to smear her, but leave her little of substance to rebut. However, the FBI refused to discuss investigations of Donald Trump’s shady connections to Russia saying that it’s too close to an election.

Comey Trump

Now the New York Times is reporting that the FBI’s inquiry into the Clinton Foundation was built on discredited reporting by a well-known anti-Clinton hack. The Times writes that the FBI’s case:

“…had not developed much evidence and was based mostly on information that had surfaced in news stories and the book ‘Clinton Cash,’ according to several law enforcement officials briefed on the case.”

In addition, CNN is reporting that internal discussions within the FBI debated whether to proceed with an investigation into the Clinton Foundation. However, according to CNN “Officials leading the meeting told the FBI that investigators hadn’t turned up much more evidence beyond that contained in ‘Clinton Cash.'” In other words, the whole affair was turning out to be a big nothingburger.

Some background is required on the book that the FBI has apparently embraced as the cornerstone of their inquisition. Clinton Cash was published last year as an attempt to connect donations to the Clinton Foundation with the personal finances of the Clintons. The book was harshly criticized for containing numerous factual errors and failing to document its thesis.

For instance, the book alleged that Clinton played a “central role” in approving the sale of a uranium company. It further alleged that she did so in return for a donation to the Clinton Foundation. In fact, the records show that Clinton didn’t weigh in on the matter at all. What’s more, the sale required the approval of nine different federal agencies, so Clinton’s participation would have had minimal impact. The book’s author later admitted in an ABC News interview that he had no evidence to substantiate his charge. That’s just one of many examples of the author’s dishonesty.

And speaking of the author, he is a long-time Republican activist named Peter Schweizer. His resume boasts stints with Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and George W. Bush. He has a history of making false allegations that often require retractions. One of his previous books was saddled with this audacious and absurd title: “Makers and Takers: Why Conservatives Work Harder, Feel Happier, Have Closer Families, Take Fewer Drugs, Give More Generously, Value Honesty More, Are Less Materialistic And Envious, Whine Less…And Even Hug Their Children More Than Liberals.” And…inhale.

Schweizer may seem like a peculiar choice for the FBI to hinge their case on. But wait up – it gets worse. Schweizer is also the president of a conservative “think” tank called the Government Accountability Institute (GAI). The GAI conducts studies that have about the same low level of credibility as Schweizer’s books. It’s purpose is to stream their poorly-sourced, partisan propaganda into the media. The chairman and founder of GAI is Stephen Bannon. Bannon is currently on leave from his job as chairman of Breitbart News so that he can run Donald Trump’s campaign for president.

So in summary, the FBI is basing their Clinton case on a widely debunked book, written by a disreputable Clinton foe, whose boss is a right-wing propagandist, and the CEO of Trump’s campaign. You may want to go back and read that sentence again slowly. It describes a severely maladjusted law enforcement agency that is improperly politicizing its work.

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

And if that weren’t enough, recall that the Times also mentioned news reports as among the FBI’s sources. Presumably they are referring to reports like the hour-long special Fox News did on Schweizer’s book. It’s one thing when dimwitted wingnuts fall for malarkey from people like Schweizer and Fox News. But it’s much more depressing – and dangerous – when the FBI does it.

Trump TV Network? Here’s 7 Reasons It Will Be His Next HUGE Failure

The idea of launching a right-wing television network has been rattling around the Trump camp for months. Last June News Corpse reported that Trump insiders were talking about the possibility of Donald Trump trying to drag his glassy-eyed disciples from the musty arenas and airport hangers where he stages his rallies to the comfort of their own trailer parks. It was a terrible idea then, and it’s still a terrible idea.

Donald Trump

Undeterred, Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, continues to pursue the venture. According to reports, “Kushner has informally approached one of the media industry’s top dealmakers about the prospect of setting up a Trump television network after the presidential election in November.” Also reported is that “Kushner and the Republican candidate himself are thinking about how to capitalize on the populist movement that has sprung up around their campaign in the event of an election defeat to Democrat Hillary Clinton next month.”

The first notable revelation here is that Trump is spending an inordinate amount of attention on his post-election activities. And they do not involve being president. Perhaps he has recognized what so many of us already know: He’s toast. But even more problematic for him, the TrumpTV project is destined for defeat. There are numerous reasons for that ranging from personal inadequacies to economic realities. Here is a list of the most obvious reasons for a TrumpTV disaster:

1) Donald Trump is one of the worst businessmen of his generation

Trump has suffered multiple bankruptcies. He has underperformed the markets within which his companies operate. He is currently being sued for fraud. And he couldn’t even manage to make money in the casino business. That’s not exactly a resume that inspires confidence.

2) Trump cannot deliver ratings

He’s fooling himself if he believes that his glowing orange presence is what drove the ratings during this election season. The reason people are watching is the prospect of seeing him speak in tongues, or otherwise breakdown on live TV.

3) The programming would suck

What could his network produce to capitalize on his campaign? Lectures to his emotionally unstable viewers on how awful America is? The Alex Jones Conspiracy Theory Theater Hour? Ivanka and Ted Nugent as a bizarro Donny and Marie? The NRA’s version of CSI? The Walking Dread with David Duke? Perhaps a home shopping angle wherein he tries to sell steaks, time shares, and worthless diplomas.

4) Trump’s brand is toxic

His hate-filled campaign has re-branded him as the nation’s foremost racist, misogynist, xenophobic, hate monger since Archie Bunker. And while his supporters may seem numerous when you stuff a few thousand into a baseball stadium in Alabama, in order to succeed in TV you need millions of viewers to tune in regularly. Will his fans do that to hear the same stump speech he has been rambling off for the past year?

5) Where will the advertisers come from?

Most companies do not want to be associated with demagogic bigots. Just ask Rush Limbaugh whose advertising revenue has collapsed to the point where it is threatening the continued existence of his radio show.

6) Trump hates the media

Someone who has such open disdain for the media is unlikely to be successful as a member of the club. In just the past week he has been condemned by multiple organizations that advocate for a free press. They have called him “an unprecedented threat to the rights of journalists.” His continuous barrage of intimidation and insults have literally put reporters at risk.

7) The cable business is currently a terrible investment

Many people are abandoning cable (cord-cutters) in favor of services like Netflix and Hulu. There is an over-saturation of channels struggling to get attention. Cable systems have no space for new channels. And people with far more adoring fans have had a tough time rolling out new networks. Oprah Winfrey is perfect example of one of America’s most beloved figures whose cable channel is struggling. Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin have also bombed out while trying to launch video ventures.

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

Trump may try to coax Sean Hannity to leave his perch at Fox News. That could give him a quick, but short, burst of energy. Fox’s disgraced former CEO, Roger Ailes might be persuaded to play a role. However, that could only happen if he found a way to evade the non-competition clause of his separation agreement with Fox. His campaign CEO, Stephen Bannon, would be a possibility to run the operation. Then again, that would only ensure that it appeals to the deplorable demographic that fuels his alt-right website, Breitbart News.

If Trump decides to go ahead with his cable project it will almost certainly be a personal and financial fiasco. It will follow on the heels of his landslide loss for the presidency. On that prospect Trump has expressed his opinion of what it will have meant if he loses the election. He said “if I don’t win, this will be the greatest waste of time, money and energy in my lifetime.” Well, at least until his loopy media mogul ambitions implode.

Top 10 Things That PROVE That Fox News Is NOT A News Network

Last month Fox News celebrated its twentieth year of broadcasting blatantly biased propaganda on behalf of Republican partisans. They have reveled in advancing lies and disinformation that has led to unnecessary and illegal wars, economic meltdowns, and a rise in racism and hate crimes.

Fox News

However, there is one thing that they have utterly failed to do: gain credibility as a bona fide news network. Their reporting consistently distorts facts, if it bothers to address them at all. Their anchors mainly serve as props to introduce slanted analyses and shallow guests. And there is more evidence that the network, by design, was never intended to produce honest journalism. What follows are the top ten examples of that evidence proving, once and for all, that Fox News is not now, nor ever was, a news network:

  1. Fox frames their pseudo-news segments in the same melodramatic packaging that entertainment outlets use. Like most fiction, it is focused on conflict, scandal, mystery, and hyper-charged emotions including hero worship, fear, and always sex.
  2. Fox employs flashy graphics and attention-grabbing audio whooshes and gongs to decorate their reports that are presented as “ALERTS” regardless of the actual news value.
  3. Fox’s roster of hosts has more former beauty pageant contestants than journalists. And they aren’t shy about putting their “talent” in revealing clothes and camera angles. In fact, they demand it.
  4. Fox’s obsession with tabloid thrill-fiction like Benghazi, Obama’s birth certificate, and Clinton’s email, is the news equivalent of porn.
  5. Fox acts as a mouthpiece for the GOP. For instance, Megyn Kelly presented GOP talking points from a Republican National Committee memo as independently sourced news.
  6. Several Fox hosts openly support Trump. Sean Hannity endorsed him, turned over hours of his airtime, and appeared in his campaign commercial.
  7. By their own account Fox regards their news day as the hours between 9:00am to 4:00pm, and 6:00pm to 8:00pm. That’s nine hours. Therefore, the other fifteen hours (the majority) are NOT news. And that presumes that the hours they call “news” aren’t also infested with right-wing bias.
  8. Fox News caters to their audience that is overwhelmingly white, Republican, conservative, and virulently anti-Obama.
  9. Fox News PR has been creating and posting pro-Trump/anti-Clinton memes on Twitter. There are about three dozen so far.
  10. Finally, Roger Ailes, the now disgraced sexual harasser and former Fox News CEO, admitted that the network isn’t news.

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

This list could easily be expanded to twenty or thirty or four hundred examples of how Fox News debases journalism. But this collection is a pretty good representation of the perversion that Fox has made of the once respected profession. They dress up their programs like entertainment and market their hosts like celebrities. Then they run stories that stimulate their audience in a manner perfected by daytime soap operas. And by keeping their devotedly right-wing fans engaged with similarly conservative views, Fox has become their source for comforting affirmations disguised as entertainment.

Hate Mongering Fox ‘News’ Anchor Tweets Trump Victim’s Home Address And Phone

The continuing saga of Donald Trump’s sexually predatory behavior is emboldening more victims to come forward with harrowing tales. Consequently, Trump’s apologists in the media are taking bolder steps to excuse his indefensible misogyny. When Fox isn’t maligning them as liars, they are insulting them as too ugly to assault. This is precisely what to expect from a network that was founded and run for twenty years by Roger Ailes. Ailes, you recall, was forced to resign this year after numerous accusations of sexual harassment by his staff and others.

Lou Dobbs

Now we may have a new low from Fox’s Lou Dobbs. He is the host of a prime access program on the Fox Business Network. Yesterday Dobbs re-tweeted the address and phone number of Jessica Leeds, one of Trump’s groping victims. Ironically, the text of his tweet said:

“This is the Dirtiest Campaign in our History: #MAGA #TrumpPence16 #AmericaFirst https://twitter.com/MichaelDelauzo”

— Lou Dobbs (@LouDobbs) October 13, 2016

Indeed it is. Mainly due to cretins like Dobbs whose irresponsible actions can literally endanger the lives of innocent people. The tweet to which Dobbs linked has since been deleted, but not before it was re-tweeted over 800 times. Dobbs own Twitter account has more than 799,000 followers.

The tweet that contained Ms. Leeds’ personal information was filled with false accusations. It asserted that she was connected to the Clinton Foundation and shared the same phone number. Neither of which were true. Which raises the question: Why would a prominent Fox host attest to the authenticity of something so easily proven to be false? The answer, of course, is that this is the standard practice for news gathering by Fox News. Accuracy is never as important as partisan propaganda.

According to Talking Points Memo, Dobbs later tweeted an apology saying:

My Retweet,My Mistake,My Apology to Jessica Leeds Lou Dobbs tweets Trump accuser’s address and phone # https://t.co/iOP6MJvCEx #MAGA #Dobbs

— Lou Dobbs (@LouDobbs) October 13, 2016

However, that “apology” tweet has also been deleted. What’s more, the sincerity of an apology in which Dobbs includes Trump’s campaign slogan #MAGA (Make America Great Again) has got to be questioned. At the very least it’s tone deaf and insensitive to promote the accuser while pretending to apologize to his victim.

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

Dobbs is purported to be a financial expert on Fox, but somewhere along the way he assumed the role of an immigrant basher. He is also a proponent of the racist notion that all terrorists are Muslim. And to sweeten the pot, Dobbs joined the Birther Brigade by repeatedly demanding that President Obama produce his “real” birth certificate. In light of that, his “accidental” tweeting yesterday just seems like business as usual for the business network host. Anything that is harmful to Democrats or liberals is fair game, whether or not it’s true. And any defense of conservatives is acceptable, no matter who it hurts.

Trump Caught Disseminating False, Anti-Clinton Disinformation From Russian Media (VIDEO)

One of the most peculiar and disturbing elements of Donald Trump’s campaign for president is often dismissed as fanciful meanderings. However, there is abundant evidence of Trump’s entanglements with members of the Russian oligarchy and government. Those relationships include both financial and political dealings that raise serious questions. And now there is new evidence of a connection between Trump and Russian media.

Donald Trump

Trump’s Kremlin Connection

Newsweek’s Kurt Eichenwald has been doing yeoman’s work as an investigative journalist on the Trump beat. He has written well-documented articles uncovering the shady finances that characterize the Trump empire. And now he himself emerges as part of a story that ties Trump to Russian propaganda. At a rally in Pennsylvania (video below), Trump told his glassy-eyed followers that he had found a smoking gun email from Hillary Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal. The email, Trump said, contained an admission that the tragedy in Benghazi could have been prevented, but for Clinton’s negligence.

There’s just one small problem. The relevant text in the email was not by Blumenthal. It was actually an out-of-context excerpt from an article by Eichenwald. Blumenthal was merely forwarding the article to Clinton’s team. As it turns out, the Russian-controlled Sputnik news agency had published a bogus story. They misreported Eichenwald’s words as having come from Blumenthal. Upon being advised of the error, Sputnik later deleted the article which had not been published anywhere else.

Here’s where it gets weird. If the article was only published briefly by a news outlet tied to the Russian government, how did Trump get a hold of it? Or, as Eichenwald framed it:

“This is not funny. It is terrifying. The Russians engage in a sloppy disinformation effort and, before the day is out, the Republican nominee for president is standing on a stage reciting the manufactured story as truth. How did this happen? Who in the Trump campaign was feeding him falsehoods straight from the Kremlin?”

Good question. The Sputnik article was only online for a couple of hours before Trump and his people could have gotten it. Sure, that might be long enough for some Breitbart-affiliated, alt-right, fruitcake to have seen it and forwarded it to Trump Tower. However, the timeline is pretty narrow. It suggests that a pathway from Sputnik, or other Russian media, to Trump is pretty well greased.

It’s a relationship that has erupted previously. Such as the time Trump appeared on RT (the Russian-controlled cable network) to badmouth President Obama and Hillary Clinton. In that program he also defended Russia from allegations that they were responsible for hacking Democratic email accounts. Those allegations later became formal charges by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security . Trump also made a public request that Russia continue hacking Democrats in order to find Clinton’s deleted emails, promising that their efforts would be rewarded. And at Sunday’s debate Trump again tried to exonerate his Russian pals. He ridiculously implied that there might not have been any hacking at all. You have to wonder whose side he’s on.

What’s more, long before Trump gave his speech in Pennsylvania, the truth about the deleted Sputnik article was available. Nevertheless, Trump went forward with his rant that repeated everything in the piece that was wrong. Granted, almost everything Trump says is wrong, but in this case the source is a dubious outfit known as a Kremlin mouthpiece. Whether deliberately or otherwise, Trump is acting as a syndicator of propaganda from the Politburo. Even worse, he’s syndicating propaganda that didn’t even meet the standards of the original Russian source who confirmed it was false and deleted it. No worries. It’s still good enough for Trump. That’s just reason #15,784 that Trump is unfit to be President of the United States.

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

Watch Trump lie about the hacked email:

UPDATE: Fox News did a segment on this and actually framed it HONESTLY! Someone check Hell for ice. This may be telling us something about Fox’s analysis of the electoral outcome.

Fox News

Right-Wingers Freak Out Over Claim That Obama is ‘Banning’ Fox News

Oh Noes! The Obamabots are at it again. Remember when they confiscated all of our guns, set up concentration camps, and handed Alabama over to ISIS? Well now they have a new plot to outlaw free speech and suppress the patriots at Fox News.

Fox News

The conservative InterTubes are afire with paranoid panic over remarks by a member of the Federal Election Commission. Democratic commissioner Ellen Weintraub wrote a memorandum to her colleagues with the subject “Revised Proposal to Launch Rulemaking to Ensure that U.S. Political Spending is Free from Foreign Influence.” To anyone not suffering from Obama Derangement Syndrome, this would appear to be responsible election oversight. Which is the mission of the FEC. However, to hysterical right-wingers this is an assault on free speech. The offending paragraph from the memo simply asks:

“Given the ban on direct or indirect foreign national spending in U.S. elections. should any limits be imposed on corporate spending based on the percentage of the corporation’s foreign ownership?”

It is already illegal for foreign nationals and corporations to donate to U.S. candidates and political referendums. The reasons are obvious. Nobody wants hostile nations to be able to interfere with American elections. Russia or China should not have the ability to plant their operatives in our Congress. The rulemaking proposal by Weintraub is only meant to close any loopholes and to secure the integrity of our political system. The memo states exactly that:

“The FEC needs to address the real threat that foreign individuals, corporations, or governments may seek to manipulate our elections through domestic corporations they own or control. Given everything we have learned this year. it blinks reality to suggest that that there is no risk of foreign nationals taking advantage of current loopholes to intercede invisibly in American elections. This is a risk no member of the Federal Election Commission should be willing to tolerate.”

This could not be more clear cut. Weintraub is plainly seeking to prevent our enemies from corrupting our elections. So leave it to Fox News to create a controversy where none would otherwise exist. To that end, the hosts of Fox & Friends barreled headlong into the phony squabble with Brian Kilmeade introducing senior correspondent Ed Henry:

Kilmeade: Oh, in case we didn’t mention it, Fox News could be banned from covering politics. That is if Democrats on the Federal Election Committee (sic) get their way.
Henry: Democrats on the Federal Election Commission targeting Fox and other media companies who have even a tiny bit of foreign ownership, saying they should not be allowed to engage in any ‘electioneering communication.’ This could be used to muzzle free speech and it was offered by a Democratic commissioner on the FEC, Ellen Weintraub.

The segment went on to assert that the commission was enacting a regulation that “could ban Fox and others from endorsing or covering” politics. Although there is nothing in the memo that even alludes to that. In fact, the memo never even mentions the media. What’s more, it isn’t enacting anything, it is merely opening a dialog. And the dialog is wholly focused on corporations that are owned by foreign nationals or governments. The actions addressed are strictly identified as electioneering, not reporting, endorsing, or any other function of journalism. Weintrab even reiterated that in an official statement:

Did that ease the irrational fears of the conservative outrage machine? Of course not. On the Internet there were frantic tweets from the usual fringy suspects. In addition, the Media Research Center (the ultra-right watchdog group and home of Newsbusters) published an article with a headline that shrieked “FEC Attempting to Kill Fox News, WSJ, NY Post Political Coverage.” Their lede was a false and feverish declaration that “The propaganda machine inside the federal government is in full swing to squelch any conservatives or dissenting views.”

As is apparent from the original memo and the appended affirmation, none of that is true. It’s just another fit of hysteria from right-wing conspiracy kooks. These are the same folks who thought that military exercises in Texas were a prelude to invasion. They worried that Obama was deliberately infecting America with Ebola. Before long these fruitcakes will be clamoring for Hillary Clinton’s impeachment due to her covert lizard identity. In the meantime, Fox & Friends’ Ainsley Earhardt is showing her grit by standing up to the infidels:

“If they want the government to control the media then they can move to North Korea, or Russia, or China. It’s not happening here. No one’s telling us what we can and can’t say.”

Well, no one except for the Fox News executives and the Republican National Committee. It is no accident that there is a uniformity of opinion on Fox. They are presently serving as the Trump PR office. And this latest imaginary atrocity will just be another of their excuses after they lose in November.

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

UPDATE: The real threat to freedom of the press is Donald Trump:

“Mr. Trump, especially given the positions he’s staked out … would represent a really significant threat to the tradition of an independent free press in the United States,” says David Barstow of The New York Times.

“I think Donald Trump represents a clear and present danger to the liberties of the people, to the idea of the First Amendment,” agrees David Cay Johnston, now a columnist for The Daily Beast.