Publisher Pulls Book By Trump’s National Security Nominee Due To Plagiarism

Last week reports surfaced alleging that Monica Crowley had plagiarized significant parts of her 2012 book, “What The (Bleep) Just Happened.” Ironically, that title poses a good question considering that her publisher just announced that it’s pulling the book from publication:

“The book, which has reached the end of its natural sales cycle, will no longer be offered for purchase until such time as the author has the opportunity to source and revise the material.”

Monica Crowley

Donald Trump recently nominated Crowley to be the strategic communications director of the National Security Council. She was previously a contributor for Fox News. CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski identified more than fifty instances of text that was lifted in whole or in part from other sources. The “borrowed” words came from newspapers, magazines, websites, and even from a colleague at Fox News. After publication of the expose, Trump’s transition team called it a politically motivated attack and said they stood by Crowley.

Now the publisher, HarperCollins, has concluded that the allegations have merit. It should be noted that HarperCollins is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. Murdoch is also the owner of the parent company of Fox News. CNN reached out to Trump’s team again for an updated response but did not immediately receive one.

In addition to this news, the Trump people have to deal with allegations that Crowley also plagiarized portions of her doctorate dissertation. According to Politico:

“An examination of the dissertation and the sources it cites identified more than a dozen sections of text that have been lifted, with little to no changes, from other scholarly works without proper attribution. In some instances, Crowley footnoted her source but did not identify with quotation marks the text she was copying directly. In other instances, she copied text or heavily paraphrased with no attribution at all.”

With the removal of Crowley’s book from publication it seems impossible for Trump to continue to dismiss this as partisan. Rupert Murdoch’s publishing company isn’t part of a Democratic cabal. Crowley’s fate would be sealed in any other political context. But Trump’s operation has been rife with impropriety, dishonesty, and a determination to double down when faced with adversity. So it’s anyone’s guess where Crowley will be tomorrow. After all, Trump’s wife Melania was also caught in a plagiarism scandal, and she’s still around.

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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Sexual Harassment Claim Against Bill O’Reilly Secretly Settled By Fox News

The den of misogyny and debasement known as Fox News has suffered another blow to its reputation for family values. It’s only been a few months since Fox fired Roger Ailes, their founder and CEO, due to allegations of sexual harassment. About a dozen women lodged complaints against him, most notably Gretchen Carlson, who won a multimillion dollar lawsuit.

Bill O'Reilly Megyn Kelly

On Monday a new report revealed that Fox’s top star, Bill O’Reilly, has also been the target of harassment allegations. Former anchor Juliet Huddy made the complaint over charges stemming from her employment in 2011. She asserted that O’Reilly made unwanted advances and sexually explicit phone calls wherein he appeared to be masturbating. Additionally, he threatened to adversely affect her career and retaliated when she proved to be an uncooperative victim. The complaint also named Jack Abernethy, the newly appointed co-president of Fox who replaced Ailes.

The news reports indicate that Fox News paid a substantial amount to settle with Huddy. Both Fox News and O’Reilly, however, deny the charges. The settlement was arranged in secret and stipulated that Huddy refrain from disclosing its terms. According to the report:

“LawNewz.com has confirmed the settlement with three separate sources including a former Fox News executive with direct knowledge of the matter. In addition, we obtained a draft of the intent to sue letter which was sent or handed to Fox News and listed the allegations of sexual harassment against both men. While we weren’t able to confirm the exact amount of the settlement, our sources tell us the amount paid out was in the high six figures. Neither Abernethy, nor O’Reilly paid any money out personally and, we are told, Abernethy and O’Reilly strongly denied all of the charges made against them by Huddy from the start.”

This isn’t the first time that O’Reilly has undergone scrutiny for such misbehavior. In 2004 he paid a multimillion dollar settlement to a former producer, Andrea Mackris, who alleged that he harassed her. Plus, he has been accused by his own children of physically assaulting his ex-wife, an act for which he lost custody of his kids.

There appears to be an environment at Fox News that allows for the toleration of this sort of abuse. It’s part of a pattern of behavior where women are exploited and on and off camera. In the Ailes era female anchors were forbidden to wear pants on sets without desks. To say nothing of the infamous “leg cam” that was deployed to feature the assets of their mostly young, blonde presenters. Ailes biographer Gabriel Sherman documented some of the techniques Fox employed to satisfy their largely male audience in his book “The Loudest Voice In The Room.” For instance:

  • When the view of reporter Kiran Chetry was obstructed, Ailes called the control booth to demand that they “Move that damn laptop, I can’t see her legs!”
  • Ailes complained about host Catherine Crier’s attire saying that “I did not spend x-number of dollars on a glass desk for her to wear pant suits.”
  • The casting of The Five included one particular co-host because “I Need The Leg. That’s Andrea Tantaros.”

Even former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly got reeled in. She recently revealed her own experiences with sexual harassment by Ailes and left Fox to join NBC News. But in a revealing pictorial for GQ Magazine a few years ago, her appearance was very much a part of Fox’s marketing. She was asked about her own “glass table that shows off your legs.” She responded that “Well, It’s a visual business. People want to see the anchor.” That must be why Bill O’Reilly wears those low-cut blouses.

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


Rich And Entitled Fox News Host Is ‘Annoyed’ By The Rich And Entitled In Hollywood

Sunday night’s broadcast of the Golden Globe Awards produced one of the most stirring speeches ever delivered at such an affair. As the Cecil B. DeMille Award winner for lifetime achievement, Meryl Streep was clearly disturbed by the crudeness and vulgarity of President-Elect Donald Trump. She devoted most of her acceptance speech to chastising The Donald for mocking a disabled reporter. And she defended American citizens in the arts who speak out on important issues.

Tucker Carlson Fox News

That speech set up Fox News to launch a full court press against one of their favorite targets: Hollywood. And it began early in the morning on Fox & Friends with special guest, Tucker Carlson. Carlson’s appearance was surely scheduled, at least in part, to promote his brand new primetime program “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” The segment kicked off with clips from Streep’s speech, including her opening line:

“All of us in this room belong to the most vilified segment in American society right now. Think about it. Hollywood, foreigners, and the press.”

The truth of that cannot be denied by anyone with an honest perspective. Conservatives have had an insatiable Hollywood bashing obsession for decades. Likewise, foreigners have been a convenient target to blame for every social problem for which conservatives have no solution. Trump has elevated xenophobia to new heights of hatefulness. And the press, never particularly well-liked, has taken more heat in the past eighteen months than ever.

While Streep’s opening line was true, it was intended as joke and it got the laugh that she expected. However, Carlson took it as some sort of high-minded social philosophy that deserved critical analysis. He told his pals on Fox that:

“Here you have a rich and entitled person describing herself as an outsider, an outcast, a pariah. […] What I was so struck by is she was telling a crowd exactly what they wanted to hear. She was saying things that are totally uncontroversial within the context she was speaking. That’s the least courageous thing you can do.”

First of all, Streep never cast herself as an outcast. That was Carlson’s way of preemptively dismissing everything she had to say. But more troubling is his criticism of Streep for allegedly pandering to her Hollywood audience. He was “annoyed” at her lack of courage for saying exactly what her audience wanted to hear.

Really? That is what Fox News does all day, every day. It is a 24/7 pandering operation for right-wing propaganda. Where is the courage in that? And Carlson himself is the perfect symbol for Fox’s partisan fawning. He just replaced Megyn Kelly, who while affirmatively conservative, has had differences with Trump. Now the entire Fox News primetime lineup is composed of Trump fluffers and friends.

As for the “rich and entitled,” Carlson could be their mascot. Tucker Swanson McNear Carlson was born into wealth in the heartland city of San Francisco, California. He is the son of a television executive who later became ambassador to the Seychelles. Now he splits his time as a TV pundit between New York City and Washington, D.C. When you drain the swamp, what you’ll find is scads of slimy Tucker Carlsons flopping around in the muck.

Carlson is so in touch with mainstream America that he recently confessed that he doesn’t even watch movies. In an interview with TheWrap he said “Who watches movies? Who would? Not me. I wouldn’t cross the street to watch a movie for free.” That comment came following his rebuke of the industry that he thinks is “crumbling.” In fact, the film business is enjoying record profits. Last year box office earnings exceeded 11.3 billion dollars.

Not to be outdone, Trump also commented on Streep’s remarks. True to form, he descended into his typically childish taunting. He tweeted:

So one of the most admired and honored actors of this, or any, generation is “over-rated” in Trump’s feeble mind. [Update: In 2015 Trump was asked about his favorite actors and said “Meryl Streep is excellent; she’s a fine person, too.”] And he’s aghast that she would have an opinion of him without knowing him. But he doesn’t hesitate to express his utterly ignorant opinion of her. Of course, he is suggesting that nobody, not any citizen, has a legitimate right to criticize him without having some kind of personal relationship. That’s a bastardization of democracy. For comparison, here is what Obama’s press secretary, Josh Earnest had to say about Streep’s speech:

“Meryl Streep delivered a thoughtful, carefully considered message. It seemed to me to be a fairly straightforward exercise of her First Amendment rights as a citizen of the United States.”

That’s the statement of a statesman. It’s also precisely the opposite of the attitude that Carlson projects. To him the only people who are permitted to hold and share opinions are those with whom he agrees. Ill-informed Tea Party crackpots can say whatever they want about President Obama. And celebrities like Clint Eastwood and Ted Nugent are considered virtual Rhodes Scholars. But artists who speak their minds outside of the right-wing echo chamber are condemned for their impudence. Worst of all, wealthy, trust-fund babies like Carlson get primetime shows on Fox News where they lambaste the rich and entitled.

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


GOP Hypocrites Abandon Criteria For Cabinet Nominees That They Demanded From Obama

As Inauguration Day draws closer, Donald Trump’s transition continues to break with ethical standards that have had bipartisan approval for decades. Now his cabinet nominees are scheduled to have hearings in a slap-dash, marathon day of Senate gabfests. This is designed deliberately to make it impossible for senators and citizens to fully consider the nominees.

Mitch McConnell

The Office of Government Ethics (OGE) is expressed its misgivings with the Republican scheduling. The OGE director warned that the plan to hold confirmation hearings before the completion of ethics reviews is “of great concern.” In a letter to the Senate he said:

“As OGE’s director, the announced hearing schedule for several nominees who have not completed the ethics review process is of great concern to me. […] I am not aware of any occasion in the four decades since OGE was established when the Senate held a confirmation hearing before the nominee had completed the ethics review process.”

Also expressing concern was the Democratic National Committee. They called for the hearings to be delayed until the ethics office had sufficient time to complete the reviews. Absent that, DNC spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said that “the only reasonable conclusion to be drawn is that they are concerned about what will be exposed.”

Among the reviews still being conducted are FBI background checks, OGE investigations into conflicts of interest, and financial disclosures. And what makes this all the more interesting is that Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell had the very same concerns. Not now, but back in 2009 when it was Obama’s nominees being considered. McConnell wrote to then-Majority Leader Harry Reid to insist that all these reviews must be completed and returned in enough time to review prior to the hearings.

Joining the call for adhering to ethical precedents was Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who tweeted:

Not surprisingly, Reince Priebus, Trump’s Chief of Staff, is comfortable with jettisoning ethics reviews. On Fox News Sunday he said that “there’s no reason … they have all the information that they need. It’s no different from any other new administration coming in.” However, McConnell’s letter proves that it’s entirely different.

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

The standards that Republicans impose on Democrats is a much higher one than that to which they hold themselves. That’s why their nominees have been criticized for their blatant conflicts and unsavory behavior. And it’s why Republicans are so anxious to shove these cretins through the confirmation process before everyone finds out about them.


Tweet Storming With Trump: The ‘Working With Russia’ Edition

It looks like Twitter is going to continue to be the preferred mode of communication for President-Elect Donald Trump. Despite criticism of the press for obsessing over every Trump tweet, you can’t cover him without covering his Twitter rants. That’s because he hasn’t held a press conference since last July. And his new press secretary is proposing to eliminate the daily White House press briefings. They believe that Trump’s tweets are an effective means of reaching American citizens with their 140 character simplifications and lies.

Donald Trump

If this is the method of disseminating policy that Trump has chosen, it needs to be treated as such. To ignore it would result in his comments being unchallenged and accepted as true. That would be a huge mistake. So News Corpse is inaugurating the recurring series: Tweet Storming With Trump. And this first edition is destined to be a classic. So let’s get started.

This is an easily provable lie. The democrats were no more negligent than the Republicans. The report by the intelligence community stated explicitly that “Russia collected on some Republican-affiliated targets but did not conduct a comparable disclosure campaign.”

First of all, Trump is calling many of his GOP colleagues “stupid” and “fools” because they are smart enough to realize that Russia is NOT our friend. Now I’m not going to argue about their stupidity and foolishness, but it’s clear to anyone with a functioning brain stem that Russia has hostile intentions toward America and its interests.

Secondly, we do have enough problems around the world, and Russia is causing more than its share of them. They are annexing parts of neighboring countries. They are bombing our allies in Syria. They are hacking our elections, and those of our European allies. With friends like that, who needs enemas.

Thirdly, If Russia respects the U.S. more when Trump is president, it’s only because they put him there to serve their interests. Why wouldn’t you show respect for the puppet government you worked so hard to install?

Finally, Trump is exhibiting severe dementia if he thinks that Russia is interested in solving the world’s problems. It would be helpful if he could cite an example of that. The truth is that they are only interested in advancing their own power, and Trump is helping them do it.

Stay tuned for future episodes of Tweet Storming With Trump.

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


Trump’s Latest Tweet Threatens The Media (And Press Freedom) For Doing Their Job

Friday morning Donald Trump took another step toward the totalitarian dystopia he yearns to rule. He’s spent months disparaging the intelligence community on which he must rely. At the same time he has defended Russia from charges of hacking that has now been proven beyond question.

Trump Baby

And now he is proposing concrete actions to punish the free press that he so blatantly abhors. This is what he tweeted this morning while waiting to be briefed on the Russian hacking report:

The frightening aspects of that cannot be be understated. Trump is proposing an investigation of a news organization that did precisely what is expected of it. NBC utilized its sources to acquire government information that is relevant to all citizens. And contrary to Trump’s frantic accusation, there is no indication that any of it was top secret. The government was going to release a public version of the report anyway. NBC just scooped them.

What is apparent is that Trump is more concerned about NBC getting info that’s about to be released anyway, than he is about Russians hacking American citizens and political organizations. He is distracting from the far more significant news that Russia had helped him achieve his tainted victory. They even celebrated and congratulated themselves for their successful effort.

It’s important to note the distinction between what Trump’s allies in Russia did and what NBC did. The hackers stole private information from individuals and organizations. That data was not public property. Russia, WikiLeaks, et al, were not revealing government secrets that the people had a right to know. NBC, on the other hand did just that. The Intelligence reports they previewed were paid for by taxpayers for their benefit. So NBC was performing a public service, while Russia/WikiLeaks was invading privacy. But only the privacy of Democrats so as to assist their favored candidate, Donald Trump.

Trump doesn’t care about Russians hacking an American election. He has defended them, and his BFF Vladimir Putin, from the start. Even worse, he has maligned the dangerous work of American patriots serving their country. Under the circumstances, one has to wonder why any intelligence operative would risk their life for Trump during his administration.

Trump has also been a constant foe of the free press. He has called reporters “sleazy” and “dummies” and “liars” and worse. Respected journalists had their credentials revoked to prevent them from covering his rallies. Organizations that represent the interests of journalists have condemned him as a “threat to press freedom unknown in modern history.”

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

That condemnation is playing out bigly today with this new attack on the press. And Trump has still never called for a congressional investigation of the Russian hacking. His whining about NBC sharing intelligence before he has seen it rings hollow. After all, it’s easy to get intelligence before Trump sees it when he doesn’t even bother to take intelligence briefings.

UPDATE: As it turns out, about six hours before Trump’s tweet WikiLeaks posted a tweet that is eerily similar:

That tweet also falsely states that the information NBC reported was “Top Secret.” And it makes the point that NBC received the info before Trump. Considering the similarities it is likely that Trump simply copied the contents of the WikiLeaks tweet for his own. And that’s just more proof that they are working together.

It’s also astonishing that WikiLeaks is complaining about “leaks” to the media. That’s their whole friggin’ reason for existing. But those dishonest hypocrites go nuts when someone else disseminates information acquired through legitimate journalistic means (as opposed to hacking and theft) if it is adverse to their partisan agenda.

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Russians Congratulated THEMSELVES For Trump’s ‘Victory’ – Wonder Why?

The heads of several Intelligence agencies testified before Congress today to deliver their report on election hacking. The full report has not yet been made public. Nor has Donald Trump received a briefing on its contents (which should occur Friday). But that didn’t stop him from posting preemptive tweets aimed at belittling the intelligence community.

Putin Voted

Surprisingly, what he seems most upset about is not the conclusions that Russia was deliberately interfering with the American election. His tweet assailed the fact that NBC obtained information which they subsequently reported:

So Trump is complaining that a news organization is doing its job. Acquiring information from trusted sources and informing the public is a suspicious activity in Trump’s mind. That is, unless it’s Julian Assange who is doing it. But it’s not surprising that Trump would want this information to be suppressed. The consensus conclusion from the Intel agencies is that Russia was positively involved in hacking the Democratic National Committee and other targets. Their aim was to interfere with the U.S. electoral process generally, and to help Trump specifically. Among the evidence cited was the interception of revealing communications:

“Senior Russian officials celebrated Donald Trump’s election victory as a geopolitical win for Moscow, the Washington Post reported on Thursday, citing U.S. officials who said intercepted communications showed the Russians congratulating themselves on the outcome.

“The ebullient reaction among high-ranking Russian officials – including some who U.S. officials believe had knowledge of the country’s cyber campaign to interfere in the U.S. election – contributed to the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that Moscow’s efforts were aimed at least in part at helping Trump win the White House, the Post reported.”

The fact that the Russians were patting themselves on the back for a job well done is pretty damning evidence of intention. But Trump’s response ignored that entirely. He was more interested in raising doubts about the reliability of the intelligence. So he tweeted:

What’s going on is that Trump’s assertions were predictably off-base. The DNC addressed these issues and told BuzzFeed that they dispute these claims and that they fully cooperated. They assert that the FBI did not ask for access to the servers. The DNC provided the FBI with all the information they had from the cyber security firm that examined their systems. That firm, CrowdStrike, has a stellar reputation and was was considered a reliable source by the FBI.

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

So once again, Trump goes off the rails to rant about things unrelated to the primary news. And then he even gets the facts about that wrong. Eventually, Trump is going to have to face the truth and address what he knows about the hacking. He cannot continue to divert attention to irrelevant side issues forever.


Donald Trump Plans To Kneecap The Intelligence Community – Playing Into Putin’s Hands

For several months Donald Trump has bitterly criticized the United States intelligence agencies. He has accused them of politicizing intelligence data and making critical errors in analysis and reporting. His public statements give more credence to Russia’s dictator, Vladimir Putin, and WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, than to the agencies on which he must rely as president. That has raised questions as to his loyalties from politicians and pundits across the political spectrum.

Trump/Putin

On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal published a story detailing Trump’s plans to revamp the CIA and other intel ops. The article relied on sources close to the Trump transition team who revealed Trump’s desire to “restructure and pare back” these agencies. One of the insiders quoted said that:

“The view from the Trump team is the intelligence world has become completely politicized. They all need to be slimmed down. The focus will be on restructuring the agencies and how they interact.”

Among those who would eagerly support slimmed down intelligence bureaus is Trump’s BFF, Vladimir Putin. Along with every other nation hostile to American interests. By weakening our intelligence capabilities, our adversaries would gain the upper hand in clandestine activities and diplomacy. However, Trump’s motivation isn’t as simple as siding with our enemies. He is hypersensitive to allegations that his electoral victory was illegitimate. Consequently, any assertion that Russia’s involvement benefited him grates against his ego and must be suppressed. According to the Journal, that’s a view shared by Trump’s team:

“Among those helping lead Mr. Trump’s plan to revamp the intelligence agencies is his national security adviser, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn [and] Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.), whom Mr. Trump selected as CIA director. […] Gen. Flynn and Mr. Pompeo share Mr. Trump’s view that the intelligence community’s position – that Russia tried to help his campaign – is an attempt to undermine his victory or say he didn’t win, the official close to the transition said.”

The Journal also quoted Paul Pillar, a 28-year veteran of the CIA, who said that he finds it “disturbing that the president should come in with this negative view of the agencies.” Another former CIA operative, Evan McMullin, expressed similar concerns. He tweeted that “Trump’s overhaul of CIA is a reprisal for its alerting Americans of Russian interference in the election and its valid concerns about Trump.” And that “In addition to attacking the press, there is no more typical authoritarian tactic than consolidating power in the intel & armed services.” That observation should send shivers down the spine of every American. Remember that Putin himself was a KGB operative prior to becoming Russia’s dictator.

As for Trump, he had his own Twitter statement on the subject early Thursday morning:

Typically, Trump is misrepresenting reality. He actually did praise Assange on several occasions. And quoting him without any critical objection is tantamount to agreement. What’s more, he is outright lying about being a “big fan” of intelligence. He’s done nothing but disparage it and refused to even take the daily briefings on national security.

Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, told reporters on Thursday that the Journal story is false. However, his statement didn’t specify how it was wrong, and left the interpretation wide open. He said that “All transition activities are for information-gathering purposes and all discussions are tentative.” That doesn’t mean that the story was false or that the plans under discussion won’t be adopted. It’s a old-school dodge that the media seems far too willing to accept.

Everything that has come out of the Trump camp in this regard has affirmed the conclusion that he has a deeply held grudge against America’s intelligence professionals. And no matter what the motivation, that can only serve to strengthen the hands of our enemies. It also sets up a potentially dangerous conflict between the White House and the intelligence community.

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

American citizens, and their representatives in Congress, need to be vigilant and active in opposing Trump’s anti-intelligence agenda. Because if he succeeds, so does Russia, and China, and North Korea, and Syria, and Iran, and ISIS. In short, if he succeeds, we lose.


Megyn Kelly Is Ditching Fox News For NBC. Watch Her Greatest ‘Hits’ Here

The new year has begun with some bad news for Fox News. Their second highest rated host just announced that she will be leaving the network for a new gig at NBC News. Friday will be Megyn Kelly’s last day on Fox. And while she will be gone from Fox, she leaves behind a legacy of disreputable “journalism” that won’t be forgotten. For example:

Megyn Kelly

1) Kelly was a devoted soldier in the war against the so-called “The Ground Zero Mosque.” Never mind that it was not a mosque and was several blocks from ground zero. She anchored a report that implied, without evidence, that its Muslim real estate developer, Sharif El-Gamal, was corrupt.

2) Kelly thought she had broken a scandalous story of voter fraud in Colorado. And it would have been a great scoop except for the fact that none of it was true.

3) Demonstrating the inbred racism that is emblematic of Fox News, Kelly utterly misrepresented a story of police brutality. She demeaned an African-America teenage victim as being “not a saint.” Which was starkly different from how she described a white sexual abuser.

4) Who can forget the time that a group of protesters were viciously assaulted by a rogue cop with pepper spray? On that occasion, Kelly downplayed the significance of the incident. She said that “It’s a derivative of actual pepper, it’s a food product, essentially.” Indeed it is. And waterboarding is actually done with water. So no big deal.

5) And then there’s my personal favorite. In a Christmas segment, Kelly was concerned that some kids might get the wrong idea about Santa Clause and Jesus. So she stepped up to assure them that both were undeniably white.

This is just a taste of the sort of journalistic credibility for which NBC is likely paying a substantial premium. In addition to the video samples above, there were many more examples from her Fox tenure. There was the time she moderated a discussion that was based on a series of “Fox Facts.” But were actually cribbed directly from a Republican National Committee press release. And the time she reported confirmation that the Boston marathon bomber had been arrested, while her on-screen graphics contradicted her.

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

Kelly studiously cultivates an image as a straight up news reporter. She once told Jay Leno that she is “not one of the opinion hosts at Fox News,” However, Media Matters conducted a survey of Kelly’s program and found that she “has hosted conservatives (56%) significantly more often than progressives (18%) and has surpassed even Fox’s Hannity in its divide between guests on the left and right.” So NBC has to know what they are getting with their new star. And that tells us something about where we can expect NBC to go as the Era of Trump takes shape.


GOP’s Retreat On Ethics Office Doesn’t Erase Their Unscrpulous Intentions

In the past twenty-four hours congressional Republicans have given the nation a taste of the callous disregard they have for ethical conduct. On Monday it was reported that Republicans voted to neuter Congress’ ability to investigate misconduct in their ranks. They adopted a proposal to close the bipartisan Office of Congressional Ethics. Their plan called for replacing it with a panel comprised of members of the GOP-dominated Oversight Committee.

Paul Ryan GOP

Almost immediately this proposal was lambasted by both parties and pundits from across the political spectrum. It was seen as an attempt to protect themselves from scrutiny and punishment for malfeasance in office. Even Donald Trump weighed in via Twitter saying that:

With all that Congress has to work on, do they really have to make the weakening of the Independent Ethics Watchdog, as unfair as it […] may be, their number one act and priority. Focus on tax reform, healthcare and so many other things of far greater importance! #DTS”

Trump’s vague expression of disapproval perfectly illustrates the problem with the Republican’s lack of principle. Notice that he did not criticize the proposal’s intention, only its timing. In fact, he endorsed the baseless complaint that the current system is “unfair.” And that’s precisely what the GOP has believed ever since the office was created by a Democratic congress in 2008.

On Tuesday morning, the Republican’s anti-ethics proposal was put back on the shelf. It was a head-spinning reversal that made clear how terribly they had screwed up. This was the party that promised to “drain the swamp” in Washington, but instead was feeding the gators. Politico reported that:

“Following a public outcry, and criticism from President-elect Donald Trump, House Republicans reversed course Tuesday on drastic changes to the independent Office of Congressional Ethics. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) offered a motion to restore the current OCE rules, and that was accepted by the GOP conference.”

What was not reported is that there was ample precedent for what Republicans tried to do Monday. Just two weeks ago Newt Gingrich addressed the ethics issue, complaining that for Trump “traditional rules don’t work.” He described Trump’s ascension to power as a “billionaire presidency,” which he meant as a justification for special treatment. In other words, the rules for the rich are different than those for the rest of us.

Furthermore, it’s possible that the House GOP was reacting to something the federal Office of Government Ethics did in November. A series of tweets were posted that sarcastically praised Trump for divesting himself of his business interests. Which not only has he not done, but he stubbornly refuses to do so. He even canceled a scheduled press conference to explain how he would handle his copious conflicts of interest. By closing up its own ethics shop, House Republicans might just be hoping to prevent other such embarrassing exposes of their affinity for corruption.

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

So for the time being, the House Office of Congressional Ethics will continue to operate. However, expect this matter to return when they think they can slip it by without arousing suspicion and criticism. They still believe it is in their interest to suppress ethics inquiries. They just don’t want to get caught doing it at the outset of their party’s domination of government.