Fox News Pushes for Inhumane Treatment of Immigrants in Detention Facilities

Fox News has broadcast another of their signature demonstrations of callous disregard for human life. On a segment of Friday’s episode of Fox and Friends, the “Curvy Couch” potatoes addressed the subject of detention facilities for undocumented immigrants. The gist of the story was that the detainees had it way too easy and deserved much harsher treatment.

Fox News

The Fox News segment was in response to Donald Trump’s plans for tougher immigration rules. As reported in the New York Times:

“For more than 15 years, jails that hold immigrants facing deportation have had to follow a growing list of requirements: Notify immigration officials if a detainee spends two weeks or longer in solitary confinement. Check on suicidal inmates every 15 minutes and evaluate their mental health every day. Inform detainees, in languages they can understand, how to obtain medical care. In disciplinary hearings, provide a staff member who can advocate in English on the detainee’s behalf.

“But as the Trump administration seeks to quickly find jail space for its crackdown on illegal immigration, it is moving to curtail these rules as a way to entice more sheriffs and local officials to make their correctional facilities available.”

The Fox and Friends co-hosts couldn’t have been more thrilled by the prospect of making immigrants suffer more. Brian Kilmeade took the lead in advocating for more cruel conditions:

“The party is over for illegal criminals in jail. Get this: They’re enjoying seven hours of outdoor activity. Who gets that anymore? Fresh sheets, and absolutely — I don’t get that. No need to learn English. I was born with that. But the Trump administration vowing a new plan to cut back on perks in their immigration crackdown, saying, expect a far less detailed set of regulations — maybe even dirty sheets — including no translation services, so learn English.”

Let’s break down what is so upsetting to the Fox News crew. First of all, they think it’s outrageous that detainees are allowed to go outdoors. Still in prison, just not confined to a cell. Who ever heard of such luxury for prisoners? They also think that clean sheets are too extravagant for these “criminals.”

Perhaps the most disturbing of Trump’s reforms is the elimination of translators. Kilmeade says that he was born with English. That, of course, isn’t true. He was born without any language whatsoever. The fact that his birth took place in the United States to English speakers was an accident of fate. And in his arrogance he can’t comprehend the plight of people in legal detention. Not being able to defend themselves or consult with counsel is against every moral principle of justice.

In a later segment, Kilmeade’s co-host, Ainsley Earhardt, concurred with Kilmeade on every point:

“Seven hours of outdoor activity, freshly washed sheets, and absolutely no need to learn English. That’s the easy life of an illegal immigrant inside American jails. But now, the Trump administration says the party is over.”

Only an elitist who has lived a life of privilege could suggest that life in detention is “easy.” And the notion that it’s a party is both delusional and heartless. This is especially true when considering that these detainees are not the criminals that Fox News keeps describing. Most of them are parents and children fleeing poverty and violence. They are doing what any frightened and responsible family would do under those circumstances.

The truth is that many of the immigrant detention facilities are poorly maintained and managed. Detainees are routinely subject to illness and abuse. ThinkProgress has documented some of the despicable conditions that have led to prolonged hunger strikes. This is the reality that Fox News is trying to subvert in an effort to demonize vulnerable immigrants. And don’t forget that it is Trump’s policies that are the root cause of the suffering.

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

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OH LORD: CNN’s Trump Fluffer Calls Trump ‘The Martin Luther King Of Health Care’

Last month Donald Trump watched impotently as the healthcare bill he championed went down in flames. The House of Representatives, certain of failure, didn’t even bring it up for a vote. Perhaps the fact that only seventeen percent of the American people were in favor of the GOP’s efforts to ditch ObamaCare had something to do with it.

CNN Jeffrey Lord

Now Trump is pretending that he didn’t fail at all. Contrary to reality, he contends that his plan is still being negotiated. As part of the alleged negotiations Trump threatened to withhold subsidy payments from millions of low income Americans. That would effectively cancel their insurance. So he is using these citizens as hostages to force Democrats into capitulating and voting against ObamaCare.

That was the subject of a debate on CNN Thursday morning (video below). Host Alisyn Camerota opened the discussion with a quote from Trump explicitly spelling out his attempt at blackmail:

“President Trump is considering making a drastic move to try to get Obamacare repealed. He is threatening to withhold billions of dollars in subsidies that the poorest Americans rely on. President Trump telling The Wall Street Journal, ‘Obamacare is dead next month if it doesn’t get that money. I don’t want people to get hurt. What I think should happen and will happen is the Democrats will start calling me and negotiating.'”

The tone of Trump’s message is reminiscent of a Mafioso ultimatum. “That’s a nice healthy family you got there. I don’t want people to get hurt. So you better do as I say.” Sen. Chuck Schumer shouldn’t be surprised if he wakes up next to severed horse’s head. Democratic commentator Symone Sanders observed the callousness in Trump’s threat and responded:

“The president sees millions of people that are benefiting from health insurance that are on the ACA [Affordable Care Act]. But he sees bargaining chips. He doesn’t see lives. He doesn’t see that he’s putting people in danger.”

Trump’s inclination to use sick people as human shields is an amoral negotiating tactic. It would hurt innocent people who have no direct voice in the negotiations. Nevertheless, the tactic was defended by CNN’s Jeffrey Lord. And he chose perhaps the most offensive line of defense imaginable:

“Think of President Trump as the Martin Luther King of health care. When I was a kid, President Kennedy did not want to introduce the civil rights bill because he said it wasn’t popular. He didn’t have the votes for it, etc. Dr. King kept putting people in the streets in harm’s way to put the pressure on so that the bill would be introduced. That’s what finally worked.”

First of all, no sane person could compare Trump’s efforts to deny health for millions with King’s movement to bring about equality for all. Secondly, Trump isn’t asking people to voluntarily take to the streets in protest. He’s holding a knife to their throats while demanding obedience from Democrats. A fair analogy would be if King threatened to harm African-Americans if Congress didn’t accede to his demands. Try to imagine King putting a gun to the head of a citizen and saying “Pass the Civil Rights bill or the black guy gets it.” That’s the equivalent of what Trump is doing to health insurance recipients. Lord’s argument was preposterous on its face, and Sanders wasn’t having it:

“Jeffrey, you do understand that Dr. King was marching for civil rights because people that looked like me were being beaten? Dogs were being sicced on them. Basic human rights were being withheld from these people merely because the color of their skin. So let’s not equate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a humanitarian and Nobel Peace Prize winner, to the vagina-grabbing President Donald Trump.”

That pretty much says it all. By attempting to compare Trump with Dr. King, Lord only succeeded in making the differences between them more apparent. But he isn’t doing any worse than the rest of the Republican haters. None of them have any coherent arguments to support their heartless agenda, so they resort to these absurd mischaracterizations. And that makes it all the more puzzling that CNN would give someone like Lord a platform to disseminate his lies.

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


Fox News Links French Nazi Presidential Candidate Favorably With Trump

John Moody, Executive Vice President and Executive Editor for Fox News, is boldly defending France’s Marine Le Pen. She’s a French candidate for president who represents a political party that has openly identified with Germany’s Nazis. What’s more, Moody is favorably associating Le Pen with Donald Trump. He calls her “France’s Trump” and “the candidate closest to Trump in ideology.” It’s unclear why he regards this as positive linkage. But he not only applauds their similarities, he laments their common “mistreatment” by the press when they do or say offensive things.

Donald Trump Marine Le Pen

For example, Le Pen was recently taken to task for her painfully insensitive comments about France’s behavior during World War II. The nation was under German occupation, but its government, and many of its citizens, collaborated with their occupiers. Moody described it this way:

“Marine Le Pen, the presidential candidate of the National Front, touched an old but still open wound among Frenchmen this week, when she said her countrymen should stop feeling guilty about rounding up French Jews who were sent to their deaths during World War II, when France was under Nazi occupation.”

Well, that’s thoughtful of her. Le Pen doesn’t want the long suffering people of France to feel guilty. After all, it was their grandparents who shamefully capitulated to the Nazis and handed over innocent Jews to their murderers. And that was a long time ago, so let’s just forget about it already.

For the record, what Le Pen said – and what Moody thinks was just an off-hand remark – is that “generally speaking if there are people responsible, it’s those who were in power at the time. It’s not France.” That’s like saying that the United States wasn’t responsible for the internment of the Japanese. It was just those who were in power at the time.

What both Le Pen and Moody are missing is that no one is asking the French to feel guilty. However, they are expected to take responsibility for the atrocities committed at the time and to never forget what happened. That’s the only sure way to keep it from happening again. It has long been a goal of neo-Nazi groups to persuade people that the crimes of the past were either fake or not serious enough to memorialize. And that also appears to be the goal of Le Pen and Fox News.

Moody makes that very point later in his commentary. He starts by acknowledging that Le Pen’s “National Front” began with her father’s overtly anti-Semitic agenda of Holocaust denial, Moody buys into the lie that it’s not the same party today. He says that:

“The National Front’s founder, Jean-Marie Le Pen – Marine’s father – was an anti-Semite and a Holocaust denier. But since Marine took over leadership of the party, she has successfully softened its image, while still calling for stronger borders, fewer immigrants and a hard look at France’s participation in the European Union.”

See? Everything’s fine now. The rough edges of Nazism have been smoothed over by the daughter of the party’s bigoted founder. And even though the party’s agenda is unchanged, all should be forgiven and forgotten. Moody argues that a new generation of French patriots have a completely different point of view. Well, actually he argues that they have an ignorant point of view:

“But what they, and the French political establishment are forgetting is this. Not many Frenchmen living right now were born during World War II. And the youngest French voters – in their late teens and 20s – have no connection to the Holocaust except what they have read or been told.”

And there you have it. Since the young folks in France don’t know anything about World War II, none of it matters anymore. Why hold them accountable for maintaining a future of tolerance and peace when they don’t even know about their nation’s genocidal past? We certainly wouldn’t want to educate them. That might be make them sad. Or worse, produce a sense of commitment to avoiding the same mistakes of their forefathers.

Moody closed by continuing to trivialize the past and Le Pen’s characterization of it. He called Le Pen’s repulsive remarks about the Holocaust “inelegant,” and complained that they “stirred up the usual outrage.” And you wouldn’t want anyone outraged by a candidate soft-pedaling genocide. Then Moody sought to put the past in its place as merely historical details that have little significance to modern folks.

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

As Executive Vice President and Executive Editor for Fox News, Moody’s opinion can be said to represent the network. It is surely aligned with that of most of its right-wing hosts and commentators. And if there is one thing he got right it’s that Le Pen and Trump are ideological partners. Le Pen gushed at Trump’s election saying that it gave her “reason to rejoice.” We’ll see. The first round of the French presidential election is April 23.


Muslim-American Comedian Chosen to Headline Trump-Less White House Correspondents Dinner

On April 29, the White House Correspondents Association will host its annual charity dinner (WHCD). Often referred to as the “Nerd Prom,” it attracts guests from both politics and the press. Ordinarily the president is a featured guest who delivers his own comic monologue. This year, however, Donald Trump declined to attend and has directed his administration to stay away as well.

Hasan Minhaj

That may be for the best considering Trump is not known for his comedic ability. Last October Trump tried to perform an allegedly comic routine at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation charity dinner. It’s an event sponsored by the Archdiocese of New York to benefit the poor, sick, and underprivileged. But Trump’s speech was a crushing embarrassment. He landed some plodding duds and insulted the Catholic audience and the evening’s other guest of honor, Hillary Clinton.

So this year’s WHCD will proceed without Trump. That makes him the first president to snub the dinner since Ronald Reagan missed it thirty-six years ago. However Reagan had a better excuse. He was recovering from having been shot.

The headliner for this year’s dinner will be The Daily Show’s Hasan Minhaj. This is a particularly interesting choice for several reasons. Minhaj is a Muslim-American comedian who has not been shy about bringing Trump into his act. Roasting Trump in absentia ought to make the event especially enjoyable. And there is an abundance of possible material due to Trump’s relentless bigotry aimed at Muslims. For a taste of what Minhaj might cook up, here are some examples of his past work:

At the Radio and Television Correspondents Association last year (video from CSPAN), Minhaj got right to the point. His commentary included a swipe at the timidity of the media. Along with slamming Fox News because he had “never seen so many people with spray tans hate people of color,” he said that:

“The New York Times, the Washington Post – they don’t call [Trump] a racist. They say his comments are ‘racially-tinged.’ No, I’m racially-tinged. That dude is racist, straight up.”

On a memorable episode of the Daily Show, Minhaj worried about Trump’s Muslim policies saying that:

“Donald Trump is an extremist leader who came out of nowhere. He’s self-financed, recruits through social media, attracts his followers with a radical ideology to take over the world, and is actively trying to promote a war between Islam and the West. That’s right. Trump is White ISIS – WHISIS.”

On an episode of the Daily Show immediately following Trump’s election, Minhaj expressed some of the common fears of the American people, particularly people of color. With regard to Trump’s call for a ban on all Muslims coming into the United States, Minhaj wondered “How is that not instantly disqualifying?” He’s had plenty to say on this subject. He began this segment noticeably shaken:

“Like many Americans I have spent the last twelve hours refreshing the Canadian immigration website, which keeps crashing. So I am panicking because melanin doesn’t rub off.”

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

All of this promises an entertaining night of comedy and political grilling. Until then, you can watch the rest of the post-election Daily Show episode here:


John McCain Says Trump Admin’s Rhetoric Was ‘Partially to Blame” for Chemical Attack in Syria

Donald Trump’s demonstration of impotent machismo last week is beginning to get the scrutiny it deserves. The national press initially fawned over his missile attacks on Syria, suggesting that he had finally become “presidential.” It was an embarrassing display of the media’s war fetishism.

Donald Trump

It didn’t take but a few hours for reality to set in regarding the wisdom (or lack thereof) of Trump’s pointless aggression. The bombed airstrips were back in use the next day, and there was no perceptible impact on Assad’s barbarism.

On Face the Nation (video below), host John Dickerson asked Sen. John McCain about the strike. McCain indicated his general support for military action and the “message” it would deliver to Assad and other brutal tyrants. However he also noted that the failure to do any sustained damage rendered the mission ineffective. But McCain went on to express an even more startling opinion regarding Trump’s first act as Commander-in-Chief:

Dickerson: Do you think the administration did anything to encourage this behavior by the Syrians by saying that the Syrian people would determine Assad’s fate? And that removing him is not a priority? Things that were said before the use of chemical weapons?

McCain: I think it probably was partially to blame. And Secretary Tillerson basically is saying the same thing. After kind of contradicting himself and then saying the same thing, argues vigorously for a plan and a strategy.

That’s a rather damning assertion coming from a senior Republican and chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services. It’s the sort of blame that Republicans usually reserve to malign President Obama. But it isn’t the first time that a Republican has observed the potential harm of weak leadership. Former Vice-President Dick Cheney, seeking to ramp up the fear quotient during George W. Bush’s reelection, said this:

“Terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength; they are invited by the perception of weakness.”

The unintended implication of that is that the 9/11 terrorists perceived weakness on the part of Bush which invited them to attack. The same could be attributed now to Assad perceiving such weakness in Trump. After all, after Obama forced Assad to relinquish the chemical weapons he had at the time, Assad never tried to use them again during Obama’s tenure. It wasn’t until Trump came into office that he felt he could risk it.

It’s more than a little curious that both Bush and Trump had a foreign policy crisis early in their terms. In Bush’s case, he was suffering from low poll numbers and much of the nation didn’t consider him legitimate due to the Florida election controversies and the Supreme Court eventually deciding the presidency. His invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq bolstered his public image. Similarly, Trump has the worst poll numbers ever for a new president. And now he has an excuse to start another war. Does this prove anything conclusively? Nope. I’m just sayin. Particularly in light of this tweet by Trump in 2012:

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


Trump vs. ISIS? Wingnut Video On Fox News That Mocks Harvard Students Backfires Terribly

One of the favorite stunts that conservatives use to try to shame liberals is the “man on the street” interview. Generally they purposefully skew the presentation to reflect their preconceived prejudices. Any responses that fail to advance their point of view are left on the editing room floor. Then they release a video with six people who agree with them, but never tell viewers that there were sixteen others who disagreed but were cut out.

fox news trump

This week on Fox and Friends they featured a “reporter,” Cabot Phillips, from the ultra right-wing organization Campus Reform. He visited Harvard University in an effort to expose the alleged liberalism of the students and faculty. The question he asked was “Who is more dangerous to Americans, Donald Trump or ISIS?” Of course, he fully expected to find students who selected Trump, whom he would then try to make look foolish.

Surprise! He found just what he expected. Then, after showing the video (posted below) on Fox News, Phillips sought to explain what could possibly cause these students to have such radical and shocking opinions. He said that:

“It’s from President Obama, who they all look up to. Who for so many years said, “Well, ISIS is the J.V. team. They’re not this real threat. And also it’s from professors and the media who are again constantly saying “Look, Donald Trump is the real threat here,” and trying to shield their eyes from actual threats.”

That analysis was wholly constructed from his over-active imagination. Nowhere in the video did any student attribute their views to either Obama or their professors. And Phillips didn’t bother to interview any of the faculty to ascertain their views. What’s more, while Obama did once try to marginalize ISIS as a J.V. team, he also spent years outlining precisely the peril they pose. More importantly, he attacked them relentlessly, killing thousands of their operatives, including many of their leaders.

However, what was most conspicuous about the video was the fact that the students who said Trump was more dangerous had good reasons for thinking so. One of the students spelled it out saying that:

“Do I think ISIS is going to cause a threat to me living my everyday life? Not really. Do I think the rhetoric that Donald Trump is using and empowering these folks hidden in a corner for a long time with hateful views … do I think that’s more of a threat than ISIS? Yes.”

Indeed, Trump has done more for hate groups in America who espouse prejudice and violence than any President before him. It is not coincidental that the KKK and white supremacists uniformly endorsed Trump and worked to get him elected. Trump’s rhetoric during his campaign and presidency has encouraged America’s bigots and increased the number of hate crimes. African-Americans, gays, Muslims, Latinos, and Jews have all been victimized in greater numbers in the Era of Trump.

The harassment and assaults that Trump has inspired have a much more direct impact on the safety of Americans. That doesn’t diminish the horror of terrorist activity by ISIS. It’s just a fact. It is not, therefore, the least bit surprising that people consider Trump more to be dangerous with respect to their personal lives.

A study by the CATO Institute last year revealed the relative dangers of common occurrences. Death by foreign terrorists came in 34th out of forty-eight items. Activities more likely than terrorism to be fatal included walking, choking on food, and police encounters. You are 260 times more likely to be struck and killed by lightning than by terrorists. You’re 129,000 times more likely to die in a gun assault.

Not mentioned in this video were risks posed by Trump’s actual policies. The president’s erratic behavior makes him a poor choice to be in charge of the nuclear codes. And his anti-environment stance could result in millions of lives lost due to famine, drought, extreme weather events and war.

Taking a logical approach to the question, it’s clear that Trump is potentially far more dangerous to America and the world than ISIS. He commands a much bigger military with far greater resources. The video is a blatantly partisan sham by conservative activists. Campus Reform is a project of the uber-rightist Leadership Institute that receives much of their funding from the Koch brothers. Their alumni includes hacks like Mitch McConnell, James O’Keefe, Ralph Reed, Karl Rove, and even Vice-President Mike Pence. That’s a fraternal order that speaks volumes as to their political and ideological mission. And it’s why Fox News devotes segments to their lies on a regular basis.

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

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The Fox News ‘Blame Obama’ Fetish Is in Full Effect with Lame Accusations About Syria

The media is once again falling for the meme of the moment on Donald Trump rather than producing thoughtful analysis. Just two months ago they flocked to praise his “presidential” demeanor during a speech before a joint session of Congress. They characterized it as a profound shift in personality. Of course, the next day Trump proved them all wrong as he reverted to his standard childishness and bluster.

Obama Fox News

Now, in the wake of his missile strikes in Syria, much of the media is at it again. They portray this as evidence of Trump’s evolution into the job of president. But it’s just another knee-jerk reaction that ignores both facts and history. Donald Trump can surely be depended on to act brashly and without consideration tomorrow or the next day. and the worst offender, as usual, is Fox News.

The network that serves as Trump’s PR division has gone out of its way to blame President Obama for the problems in Syria. Rather than assigning blame to Bashir al-Assad, the brutal dictator who gasses his own people, Fox News points their bony fingers at Obama. Here are some examples of the well coordinated assault on our former president:

Bill O’Reilly: President Trump is going to have much different foreign policy than President Obama’s “strategy of retreat.”

Sean Hannity: “Instead of weakness, we now have strength. […] Timidity has been replaced by bold action.”

Charles Krauthammer: “There is a new sheriff in town. There was an absence for eight years. America is back.”

Ted Cruz: “The honest answer is there’s no good answer to Syria right now after eight years of Obama’s broken red lines and weakness.

The problem with all of these displays of Obama Derangement Syndrome is that they fail to represent reality. President Obama took a hard stand against Syria and produced some real, albeit temporary, results. The famous “red line” remarks were followed up by an agreement that removed hundreds of tons of chemical weapons from Syria. The fact that some may have remained, or were re-acquired four years later, doesn’t diminish the magnitude of that achievement.

What’s more, Obama also ordered retaliatory bombing in Syria. At the time, conservative pundits and politicians castigated him for it, despite his having obtained pre-approval from Congress. Obama delivered a message to the American people that Fox News et al have apparently forgotten:

Trump was among those who criticized Obama’s actions in Syria. In fact, Trump repeatedly bashed Obama and insisted that it would be a mistake to engage with Syria at all. Now Obama is being falsely criticized for having done nothing, even though that’s what his critics wanted him to do. It’s a twisted logic that only right-wing partisans can comprehend.

It should also not be forgotten that Trump presciently unveiled what may be the real reason for his Syrian aggression. In yet another swipe at Obama, Trump tweeted this:

For the record, Trump’s numbers are in a death spiral. In just three months he has managed to sink lower in approval than any president before him. Could it be that now he is just taking his won desperate advice?

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


Seth Meyers: Fox News Is Basically The Closest Thing We Have To State TV

The political satire scene took a couple of body blows when Jon Stewart left The Daily Show and Stephen Colbert gave up his Colbert Report. The slack was taken up ably by John Oliver, Samantha Bee, and a resurgent Saturday Night Live. But a leading light in this arena has been Late Night with Seth Meyers.

Seth Meyers Fox News

This week Meyers delivered one of the best take downs of Fox News since Jon Stewart left the stage. In this segment Meyers begins by noting that the sexual harassment allegations against Bill O’Reilly offer an example of Fox News’ “symbiotic relationship” with Donald Trump. And, yes, Meyers makes the connection.

However, the segment goes into much greater detail on how Fox News is a network in service of propaganda. Meyers spells it out in plain language saying that “They [Fox] give him [Trump] glowing, unquestioning coverage, and in return he gives them unparalleled access.” That’s it in a nutshell. But Meyers isn’t through. He manages to put together a variety of samples of Fox’s sycophantic sucking up to Trump. “Fox News,” he said, “is basically the closest thing we have to state TV” And furthermore:

“This is the network that the President relies on for information? A network with an archaic culture of sexual harassment, fear, and intimidation, that also serves – with a few exceptions – as a propaganda arm.”

Meyers points out how Trump has been promoting Fox News programs on his Twitter feed. “Instead of a bible,” Meyers says, “Trump should have been sworn in on a TV Guide.” And Fox News happily reciprocates by promoting Trump’s promotions of Fox. The clip with Fox and Friends co-host Steve Doocy is worth the price of admission by itself.

The whole piece is a brilliant combination of humor and perceptive media analysis. This clip can be saved and replayed for both its entertainment value and its uncompromising honesty and insight.


TBT: Trump’s Twitter Rants on Syria are a Steaming Heap of Hypocrisy

The videos of Syrian children suffering and dying from chemical bombings are almost too awful to watch. But even as Donald Trump castigates Assad, he pivots to blame President Obama for the atrocity. Trump’s public comments so far manage to produce nothing but bluster and impotent finger-pointing. He chastises Obama for not having done enough, but over the past couple of years Trump has repeatedly argued for doing nothing at all.

Donald Trump

Now CNN is reporting that:

“President Donald Trump has told some members of Congress that he is considering military action in Syria in retaliation for this week’s chemical attack, and recognizes the seriousness of the situation, a source familiar with the calls tells CNN.”

In light of that news, let’s revisit his Twitter posts for the past three years:

Those last two tweets have particular significance. Any military action has the potential of going awry. Civilians are too often the victims, even in well-intentioned missions. And already Trump has presided over more than 1,400 civilian casualties in Syria and Iraq, according to some reports. More than 200 in one incident alone. And he’s been in office less than three months. Is this what he meant during the campaign when he said that he would “bomb the hell” out of ISIS?

Also, it will be interesting to see if Trump will comply with his demand to get congressional approval before taking any military action. Needless to say, Trump has not exactly been a bastion of consistency. But on this matter he will be challenged by his Republican colleagues on Capital Hill. Sen. Rand Paul has already said publicly that he will oppose any military moves on Syria without authorization from Congress.

There really are no good solutions to this problem. Surface level analyses that advocate sending in the Marines will almost certainly result in painful losses. That includes both innocent Syrians and American troops. But more complex combinations of diplomacy and international cooperation are seemingly beyond Trump’s mental capacity to comprehend. And none of these routes guarantee a desirable outcome.

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

Unfortunately, America is now burdened with a leader who has no experience addressing these kinds of problems. Nor does he have any relationships with other world leaders. And he has recruited a staff that is just as unfit as he is. Does anyone really think that Jared Kushner or Rex Tillerson will find a path to peace? That leaves us with little more than crossed fingers and anxious hopes that the Pentagon will muster up some common sense and be able to exert some influence over our incompetent president. It isn’t much to hang onto, but it’s all we’ve got.


Will Fox News Fire Bill O’Reilly After Sexual Harassment Reports And Advertiser Exodus?

Fox News has been struggling with some serious blows to its reputation lately. That’s to be expected when its chief mission is running defense for a lying, ignorant, sociopath playacting at being president. But Donald Trump isn’t the only problem facing Fox News. The repercussions of a widespread misogynistic culture are having a profound impact on its business.

Bill O'Reilly Donald Trump

A recent investigation by the New York Times turned up several reports of sexual misconduct by Fox’s star, Bill O’Reilly. The story identified former employees who have received millions of dollars in settlements from O’Reilly or Fox News. Some of these were never previously disclosed. What’s more, the failure to report these payouts has landed Fox in some legal trouble. An investigation by the U.S. Attorney in New York is probing whether that non-disclosure violated securities laws.

Compounding the allegations in the Times is a new lawsuit filed by another alleged victim of the disgraced ex-CEO of Fox, Roger Ailes. Julie Roginsky is asserting that Ailes demanded a sexual relationship in exchange for professional help at the network. Roginsky’s charges echo those of previous victims in the Ailes affair.

All of this is causing a stir in the advertiser community. ThinkProgress is keeping tabs on O’Reilly’s advertisers and has already identified at least 27 companies that have pulled their ads from The O’Reilly Factor. They include some big names like Mercedes-Benz, Allstate, and Coldwell Banker. And it’s only been three days since the Times article was published. This suggests a severe level of anxiety that exists within the ad camp. There is a surprising willingness to flee controversy even with a show as highly rated as the Factor.

It would be naive to expect Fox News to fire or punish a star like O’Reilly just because he’s a wretched louse who preys on vulnerable women. In fact, given the corporate culture at Fox, that would just make him a welcome member of the club. The allegations against Fox extend to others in their ranks. Co-President Bill Shine and PR flack Irina Briganti have been accused of covering up offensive behaviors. And their most prominent club member, Donald Trump, has weighed in as well. He told the New York Times that:

“I think he’s a person I know well — he is a good person,” Trump said, according to the Times. “I think he shouldn’t have settled; personally I think he shouldn’t have settled. Because you should have taken it all the way. I don’t think Bill did anything wrong.”

Trump is notorious for opposing legal settlements. This despite his $25 million dollar payoff to settle lawsuits brought against his fraudulent Trump University. More importantly, he’s also notorious for his own resume of sexual harassment and assault. That’s something he shares with his close pal Bill O’Reilly. At least a dozen women have claimed that Trump sexual assaulted them. And during his campaign he promised to sue every one of them. Another broken campaign promise.

Club membership notwithstanding, when ad revenue is threatened the network bosses may think differently. The rapid response to O’Reilly’s reprehensible behavior demonstrates the risk Fox faces. Just ask Glenn Beck. He also had a highly rated program until his racist diatribes drove advertisers away.

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

Still, Fox News will not cast O’Reilly aside without a considerable push from both advertisers and viewers. And there’s a way for the audience to contribute to O’Reilly’s eventual fate. Sleeping Giants on Twitter recently conducted a successful campaign against Breitbart News resulting in the loss of dozens of advertisers. Now they are taking on O’Reilly. They use social media to pressure advertisers to do the right thing. It’s clearly having an effect. However, whether it will pressure Fox News to do the right thing and fire O’Reilly is still an open question.