That’s A Wrap: Hollywood’s Closet Conservatives Close Their Covert Club

For those who haven’t heard of it, the Friends of Abe (FoA) is an exclusive society of right-wing celebrities who pretend to be secret so as to protect themselves from imaginary discrimination in Hollywood. Never mind that many of them make public appearances on behalf of the supposedly secret group and with names like Kelsey Grammer, Tom Selleck, Bruce Willis, and Clint Eastwood, they aren’t exactly nobodies who can’t find work in movies and TV.

Friends of Abe

Now it appears that the FoA is being disbanded. A report by the Guardian reveals that the organization has decided to dispense with their activities just as the 2016 election season is heading into the homestretch. The networking group will cease to host regular gatherings where they can complain about their careers, bitch about high taxes on rich folks like themselves, fret about ISIS coming after them, hate on immigrants, whine that more Americans have access to health care than ever before, and blame President Obama for those, and every other, catastrophe they think is destroying America. The announcement was made in an email to members that said in part…

“Effective immediately, we are going to begin to wind down the 501 c3 organization, bring the Sustaining Membership dues to an end, and do away with the costly infrastructure and the abespal.com website. Today, because we have been successful in creating a community that extends far beyond our events, people just don’t feel as much of a need to show up for every speaker or bar night, and fewer people pay the dues that help us maintain that large infrastructure.”

That’s some pretty powerful spin. Did you catch it? They are saying that due to their unparalleled success nobody is paying any dues or showing up for their events. And to think, I used to believe that declining revenue and attendance were signs of failure. Shows you how much I know.

As it turns out, the FoA is suffering from the same sort of internal rancor that is devouring the Republican Party from the inside, and for the same reason: Donald Trump. As the Guardian notes, “infighting over Donald Trump’s candidacy, among other factors, had drained commitment.” It goes on to expose an environment described by one the founders as a “civil war in slow motion,” and laments broken friendships and the loss of a sense of solidarity.

Trump basks in the glory of being a wrecking ball on the right. He has splintered the GOP into factions including the #NeverTrump movement and the well-financed anti-Trump “Our Principles” Super PAC. Party regulars have likened the emergence of Trump to political suicide, or at least threatened to commit suicide themselves if he gets the nomination. As for the Storm-Trumpers, they cling so tightly to their messiah that they promise to wreak havoc at the RNC convention and abandon the GOP entirely if the crown is not passed to Trump as God intends.

Even Fox News has been run through the Trump meat grinder. He has bitterly castigated the network as being full of dopes, and dummies, and boring lightweights who can’t function because of their menstrual cycles. He has even called for a boycott of the network that he says is totally unfair to him, despite the fact that they have given him far more airtime than any other candidate. The same animosities that drove the break up of the FoA can be observed in the hallways of Fox News.

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

But don’t jump to conclusions yet. This announcement of defeat may be a ruse to throw everyone off the trail of the FoA’s true mission. They may just be pretending to break up so they can return to their former state of obscurity from which they can launch wingnut missiles at Democrats and other liberal foes in anonymity. Yesterday they posted a message on their Facebook page that cryptically presaged this announcement:

“Friends of Abe mentioned in the media again…sheesh, we’re becoming about as ‘secret’ as Mount Everest. I will concede that the author is correct, in that sides have certainly been drawn regarding Trump. But the organization will survive, even if, for the time being, fewer people are being let in.”

That sounds like a tactical retreat. Not that they would be any more effective as guerrilla-style activists fighting in the shadows. Having twice the impact of zero impact is still zero impact. We’ll know more shortly as the FoA Facebook page currently has a cover photo that says they will release an official statement on the Facebook page in the next twenty-fours. Maybe that statement will include an explanation for why an organization whose first rule is (borrowing from The Fight Club) “Never talk about Friends of Abe,” has a Facebook page to begin with.

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Racists On Fox News React To The Harriet Tubman $20.00 Bill

Like clockwork, all that needs to happen is for some news event to address something involving race that can be tied to the Obama administration and the bigots come slithering out from the crevices in the floor. The latest example of this is the long overdue initiative to place a woman on U.S. currency. The woman selected for the honor is the heroic former slave and abolitionist, Harriet Tubman. Oh, and she just happens to be black.

Fox News

Leading the way, Greta Van Susteren of Fox News delivered a commentary (video below) that portrayed the decision to put Tubman on the $20.00 bill as an “awful” idea that amounts to “dividing the country.” Van Susteren blasted the plan in the most insulting terms, saying that “The Obama administration went stupid, and went stupid for no reason.” Then she offered her own alternative to put Tubman on a non-existent $25.00 bill instead, saying that it would be “the smart and easy thing to do.”

First of all, what would be smart or easy about minting a new bill just for the purpose of putting Tubman on it? It would waste millions of dollars to design, produce, and maintain, despite the fact that there is no demand for a denomination that’s $5.00 more than the twenty. That would make it a pretty stupid thing to do. And the only thing that is making any of this divisive is the right-wingers like Van Susteren who insist on dredging up controversy where there need not be any.

What’s more, segregating Tubman to a new, unwanted denomination smacks of a form of the “separate but equal” philosophy that was really just an excuse to practice discrimination. Van Susteren is effectively saying that Tubman isn’t fit for the currency that the rest of us white folk use. That reasoning has also been adopted by Ben Carson and Donald Trump who have both advocated for an even more devalued denomination for Tubman: the $2.00 bill.

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

Not surprisingly, the response to Van Susteren’s commentary by the cretins at the Fox News community website, Fox Nation, was an avalanche of racism. This has become a predictable aftereffect of any race-related news story (see The Collected Hate Speech Of The Fox News Community). Here are just a few examples of the bigoted opinions that Fox fans are comfortable expressing when they are among their own kind:

Fox Nation Comments


Watch: How The Media Is Falling For Donald Trump’s Pretend Presidential Persona

Last February I wrote an article that detailed the gross perversion of presidential demeanor exhibited by Donald Trump. The article began by stating that…

“It is safe to say that Donald Trump is the most profane, classless, cretin who ever ran for president. He is an embarrassment to his party and to the nation. His remedial English, hollow policy pronouncements, and incessant boasting, are cartoonish in nature. Even Fox News mogul, Rupert Murdoch, agreed when he tweeted ‘When is Donald Trump going to stop embarrassing his friends, let alone the whole country?’

Donald Trump

Trump’s own answer to that question came during a February interview on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace when he offered the vague response, “Pretty soon.” Now, following the New York primary, the media appears ready to accept that Trump is changing his tune and preparing to put on a show by acting presidential. The key word there is “acting.” Trump does not believe that a presidential bearing is a component of one’s character. Rather it is a role one plays like a contestant on a reality TV show.

The naivete of the media’s new appraisal of Trump’s allegedly softer tone is based solely on his victory speech in New York last night. Indeed the speech was shorter than the windy, rambling marathons that he usually makes people suffer through, and it was devoid of the standard insults that routinely pepper his tantrums on the stump. Consequently, the media declared that there has been a major attitude adjustment by Trump.

There is something of a Stepford quality to the uniformity of opinion by so many reporters after a single speech that had no visible elements of newsworthiness. Nevertheless, the lock-step march of the media to advance a false narrative that Trump is suddenly a composed and diplomatic figure is in full swing. Never mind that today, just a few hours after the New York speech, Trump was in Indiana mouthing off about “Lyin’ Ted” Cruz and “Crooked Hillary” Clinton (he said nothing about “Dogshit Donald” Trump). He couldn’t even go twenty-fours without reverting to his revolting self.

Donald Trump is a vulgarian by birth. His parents shipped him off to military school in his youth because they couldn’t cope with his belligerent behavior. He grew up to become a bully who uses lies and threats to achieve his selfish goals. He isn’t going to become a diplomat overnight by virtue of his herculean will.

For supposedly intelligent and skeptical journalists to believe that Trump could stop being what he has been his whole life is a sad testament to the state of the media. They would not only have to dismiss his entire biographical history, but also what they’ve seen with their own eyes for the past ten months. They need to realize that, even if Trump behaves like a princess at high tea for the next few months, it is just an act and that he will revert to form when he no longer needs to pretend.

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

It is bad enough that there are voters who are so delusional that they can’t see through Trump’s deceit and hypocrisy, but the media, who have been among the targets of Trump’s hostility, should know better and be better prepared to present a realistic analysis of the political environment. So the question is: After rushing to air commentaries about Trump’s alleged affability following the speech in New York, will they correct the record following his bile-filled speech in Indiana? Don’t hold your breath. The media has already admitted that ratings are more important than journalistic ethics or the welfare of the nation. They aren’t going to abandon that stance to be honest about the fact that Trump has never been presidential, and he never will be.

Extra Bonus: See how Ralph Wiggum of the Simpsons predicted the Trump campaign back in 2008.


Morning Joe, Fox News, And The Curse Of Dumb Glenn Beck Comparisons

There is nothing more embarrassing than a public figure so desperate for attention that he uncorks painfully shallow op-eds that only demonstrate why he gets so little attention. That’s the situation that MSNBC’s Morning Joe Scarborough finds himself in now after he penned a column for the Washington Post with unsolicited advice for Megyn Kelly of Fox News. The column is headlined “Megyn Kelly, Fox News, and the Curse of Glenn Beck.”

Morning Joe Scarborough

Scarborough’s column purported to be a stab at career guidance for Kelly, Fox’s trending primetime star anchor. He made note of her recent comments regarding her future with Fox News. Kelly said that, while she is happy at Fox, it also causes “brain damage,” and that she has not decided what she will do when her current contract expires.

Scarborough thinks that Kelly would be making a terrible mistake were she to leave Fox News, the network that built her into a household name for news junkies. He may be right, but not for the ludicrous reason he floated:

“If Kelly wants to leave Fox News for family reasons, good for her. But if Kelly is thinking of escaping Roger Ailes and Fox News because she thinks she has outgrown the man and his star-making machinery, I humbly offer a friendly suggestion: Call Glenn Beck.”

First of all, calling Glenn Beck for advice on anything is never a good idea. Beck would sell you worthless gold coins and replace your health insurance with prayer. Beck is the man who thinks that God speaks to him about political matters and has told him the world is ending so many times that either God is a pathological liar or he is hilariously fucking with Beck.

More to the point, Scarborough’s suggestion is based on the catastrophe that Beck’s career has become since leaving Fox and, therefore, Kelly should avoid a similar disastrous fate. But Scarborough has completely misread the disparate media landscapes facing Beck and Kelly.

Glenn Beck was fired from Fox News with no place else to go in cable or broadcast media. His dismissal was the result of his outlandish and offensive behavior on his show that resulted in an advertiser boycott that stripped the program of any significant revenue. He was cast aside as damaged goods and had few prospects other than the Internet’s wingnut underground and his remaining radio fans.

Megyn Kelly, by contrast, is the jewel in Fox’s primetime lineup. She frequently beats Bill O’Reilly’s ratings and is featured regularly in magazine profiles that are pure puffery. More importantly, she is in demand by every network who would leap at the opportunity to steal the popular and rising star from Fox to bolster their own networks and to deprive Fox of a proven ratings draw. None of this is a reflection on the quality of Kelly’s work, which is sorely lacking in credibility and ethics. It is just a real world observation of her success on a conservative network that rewards blind loyalty to rightist partisanship.

In short, Kelly is contemplating a departure from Fox at a time when her stock is valuable and rising. Beck left Fox as a loser who was dumped for being too insanely right-wing for the avowed centerpiece of right-wing media. But Scarborough thinks that these two situations are comparable and that Kelly should be nervous about becoming the next Beck. That’s nonsense.

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

Scarborough is once again illustrating why he is such an inferior analyst. He can’t see past his own biases. In this case his leanings are to genuflect before the divine Roger Ailes, whom Scarborough repeatedly praises in this article. It’s hard to see this column as anything other than Scarborough posting his resume in a public plea for Fox to hire him. And it comes complete with a pledge of loyalty that he wouldn’t abandon them the way that traitor Kelly is threatening to do, and that he gladly take her time slot. That would probably help MSNBC more than it would help Fox.


Stupid Polling Tricks: New Yorkers Hate Donald Trump But He Thinks They Adore Him

The Republican Party must be ready to gnaw off its leg after ten months of Donald Trump stinking up the place. He has engaged in bitter battles with his GOP opponents and the Republican National Committee. He has assembled the worst record on honesty of any candidate in decades (see the Trump Bullshitopedia). And he’s done this while offending virtually every voter constituency in the nation. That may account for the public’s aversion to him as evidenced in this poll from Fox News (that’s right, Fox News). But, as if that weren’t enough to produce an enduring nausea, Trump is also dumb as fence post. And he’s making the most of it.

Donald Trump Stupid

Trump has shown that he has no grasp of the issues that face the country. He rarely responds to a question with anything resembling coherence, much less substance. What he does say is a third grade level simplification that would shame an actual third grader. And he is not only ignorant of policy matters, he doesn’t have the vaguest idea of how the political system works. He has spent most of the last week whining about a delegate process that has been known to every candidate for years.

This weekend Trump demonstrated again how shallow his understanding of campaign matters is. He gleefully tweeted about a poll that blared the headline: “BOOM! Trump Holds 66% Favorable Rating in New York – Leads Hillary Clinton by 19 Points in Empire State.”

Anyone who reads that tweet and thinks there is anything remotely associated with reality in it should not be allowed use pointy scissors. A cursory examination reveals it to be a complete farce. The polling organization is Liberty Opinion Research, a little known conservative operation with no discernable credentials. Its president is Nick Langworthy, who is also the chairman of the Erie County Republican Committee and has endorsed Trump for president.

Digging into the internals of the poll shows that the respondents were narrowly drawn to achieve a positive result for Trump. They are an exclusive lot that is 94% white, 61% conservative, and 48% of them are 66 years or older. So what you have is a bunch of old, right-wing, white guys expressing their devotion to an old, right-wing, white guy.

Trump seems to enjoy posting links to dubious polling that falsely heralds him as the second coming. Last February he linked to a ridiculous poll that claimed that he “leads big with Latinos.” And back in December he did the same thing with a laughable survey that said that “minorities are lining up behind” him. I guess when you appeal to a dimwitted throng of cult worshipers you can say anything.

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

For the record, Clinton is beating Trump by 21.2% in the RealClear Politics average of polls for New York. So the preferences of the people of New York are not in doubt. It isn’t even close. But Trump is dumb enough to believe that the voters in his home state adore him, when they obviously do not. And his glassy-eyed disciples will also cling to his tweet as if it were the gospel truth. It would comical if it weren’t so pathetically sad.


Fox News Is At The Cliff’s Edge And Donald Trump May Push Them Over

Gabriel Sherman has been writing about Fox News for many years and has been the source of several major scoops. He is the author of a biography of Fox CEO Roger Ailes (The Loudest Voice in the Room), and his sources are deeply embedded in the organization and are generally reliable. His columns for New York Magazine have exposed the inner workings of the network such as one of the possible reasons that Fox kowtows to Donald Trump (he has dirt on Ailes).

Donald Trump Roger Ailes

In his most recent column, Sherman addresses the discovery that Fox’s Megyn Kelly visited Trump at Trump Tower to try to cool his burning animosity toward her and to perhaps get him to appear on her special for the Fox Entertainment Network next month. It’s an interesting read, but one part of it diverges from the main topic to present an even juicier dilemma for Fox.

In the course of unraveling the melodrama in progress between Fox, Trump and Kelly, Sherman makes an observation about Fox’s primetime programming that deserves further analysis:

“Fox’s lineup is more in flux than it has been in years. According to sources, Sean Hannity is the only prime-time personality who has recently reupped for another term. O’Reilly, who turns 67 this year, has yet to commit. If Ailes were to lose Kelly and O’Reilly, Fox’s evening schedule — the source of most of its advertising revenue — would collapse. ‘There’s not much of a bench,’ one veteran Fox executive says. And CNN is already nipping at Fox’s lead in the key advertising demographic of 25-to 54-year-olds (though Fox still has more total viewers).”

Indeed, Fox would be up a creek if it lost O’Reilly and Kelly. Needless to say, the suits will try everything they can to avoid that doomsday scenario, but with O’Reilly getting way past his expiration date, and Kelly getting money and opportunity thrown at her from all directions, Fox may not have any say in the matter.

So how would Fox fill the void left by its two biggest stars? They have traditionally promoted from within, but as Sherman’s source notes, “there’s not much of a bench.” They surely couldn’t elevate their morning “curvy couch potatoes” (Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade, Ainsley Earhardt) to primetime. Their afternoon roster is dominated by Neil Cavuto (who is also anchoring a show on Fox Business Channel and serves as Exec VP of business for both networks), Shepard Smith (whose portfolio is breaking news), and Bret Baier (who is the networks version of a “legitimate” nightly news anchor), so none of them would slide easily into a nightside opinion format.

There are minor players among the contributor class at Fox who simply don’t have the gravitas to pull off the promotion. They include people like the terminally lightweight Eric Bolling, the smug Tucker Carlson, and the perpetually angry Kimberley Guilfoyle. None of them have either the appeal, the depth of knowledge, or the broadcasting skills to carry their own show.

However, there is one person on the roster who, at any other network, would be on the short list for a primetime slot. Juan Williams has been with Fox for nearly twenty years. He has appeared on virtually all of their programs as a guest, as well as a co-host for some including the currently running The Five. He has also filled in as host on The O’Reilly Factor. There’s just one problem: Williams is considered to be the “liberal” on Fox News (although I would dispute that characterization), and despite their claim of fairness and balance, they would never hand over an hour of primetime to someone who wasn’t a committed conservative. Oh, and there’s one other thing that might be an obstacle for Fox: He’s black.

So Fox is either going to have to hand over some valuable TV real estate to one of their pedantic, third rate seat fillers, or go outside the family to bring on a radio nutcase like Mark Levin or Laura Ingraham. Or they could snag a bona fide cable star like Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson. And since most of the contracts in question will expire after the 2016 election, they might also consider from among the losers of that race. As I wrote a few months ago, Roger Ailes was asked about this and indicated an interest in Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina.

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

But I thought Ailes was missing the obvious choice, and someone with experience hosting a vapid television show that was comprised mainly of fakery: Donald Trump would be a promising choice to fill the whole primetime schedule all by himself (which he would probably insist upon). He has everything Fox News requires: He will shamelessly lie to advance right-wing propaganda. He will engage in childish fights with his guests. He will completely mutilate the news into an unrecognizable heap of bullshit. It’s pretty much what Fox’s primetime stars do now. And he has plenty of experience having been on Fox more than most of its regular anchors over the last ten months, so viewers won’t notice much of a change. And the last thing Fox wants to do is startle their audience into perhaps waking up.

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Taint Praise: New York Post Endorses “Amateurish, Divisive” Donald Trump For President

In the nine months that Donald Trump has been a candidate for president he has managed to wrangle endorsements from only two “newspapers,” the supermarket tabloid National Enquirer (owned by his close friend) and the New York Daily Observer (owned by his son-in-law). Not exactly the sort of coveted endorsements about which a reputable candidate would brag. And now Trump has snagged his third endorsement from the New York Post, a sensationalist rag owned by Rupert Murdoch of Fox News fame. But their reasoning reads more like a repudiation than an endorsement.

Donald Trump New York Post

The Post’s article announcing the endorsement begins on a decidedly negative note that casts Trump as a hothead and an amateur with some vague “potential” that may never be realized:

“Donald Trump is a rookie candidate — a potential superstar of vast promise, but making rookie mistakes. The nominee Republicans need for the fall campaign is often hard to make out amid his improvisations and too-harsh replies to his critics.”

That’s not exactly an opening that would give voters confidence in the Post’s editorial judgment. If your first paragraph is more insult than acclaim there is a serious lack of conviction on hand. But the Post’s editors weren’t finished heaping their brand of “praise” on The Donald. They went on to say that…

“Should he win the nomination, we expect Trump to pivot — not just on the issues, but in his manner. The post-pivot Trump needs to be more presidential: better informed on policy, more self-disciplined and less thin-skinned.”

So in their attempt to shore up support for their preferred candidate, the Post maligns him as unpresidential (which even Trump has admitted), uninformed, and downright snotty (which a Fox News poll shows is the same thing most Americans think of him).

The Post continues by belittling Trump’s articulation of, and grasp of, the issues that face the nation. They specifically mention his foolish and dangerous proposals to pull U.S. troops out of Japan and South Korea and push both countries to go nuclear, which the Post says “is not remotely a good idea.” They also denounce his ludicrous plan to build a wall along the southern border as “far too simplistic.” And that’s his signature campaign issue.

However, Trump is pleased with the endorsement and thanked the Post on Twitter. You have to wonder if he can read – or bothers to. But, the worst part of this endorsement isn’t how badly it insults Trump, but how badly it insults voters. After characterizing Trump’s language as “too often been amateurish, divisive — and downright coarse,” the Post’s editors associate those derogatory traits with the population at large:

“But what else to expect from someone who’s never been a professional politician and reflects common-man passions?”

Really? The Post thinks that being amateurish, divisive, and coarse is a reflection of the common man? There may be some “common” folk in New York who would disagree with that. Although, to the extent that there is any truth in it, it would be as it relates to the common Trump supporter. It is also interesting to note that the Post editors believe the same derogatory things about anyone who is not a professional politician. So an insurance agent, or a waiter, or a nurse, or an auto mechanic, is just as amateurish, divisive, and coarse as Trump has shown himself to be, according the Post.

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

You have to wonder if the Post is punking America by recommending that they vote for an ignorant vulgarian. The “endorsement” closes by noting that Trump is an “imperfect messenger” who reflects the best of “New York values” By which I guess they mean coarseness and ignorance. It’s just another swipe at the people whose votes the Post is attempting to influence. Those people, by the way, are mostly embarrassed by Trump. And when you take the entirety of this endorsement into account there is just one overarching question that comes to mind: With friends like these, who needs enemas?


Fox News Poll: Donald Trump Is An Ignorant Snot Who Nobody Likes

The Republican primary this year has affirmed what many people have known about the party for decades. It is dominated by boorish, judgmental, demagogues who are determined to deceive the American public into believing that they benefit when the rich get richer. The emergence of a billionaire reality TV game show host as their front-runner puts an exclamation point at the end of that sorry state of affairs.

foxnews-poll-trump

Now a new poll from (of all places) Fox News tells us more of what we already knew if we were paying attention. Donald Trump really is an ignorant blowhard with the highest unfavorable rankings ever recorded. Fox News begins their article detailing the poll results saying that…

“Majorities of American voters think Republican front-runner Donald Trump lacks the knowledge, temperament, and the likeability to be an effective president.”

No shit! This has been obvious since Trump announced his candidacy with a speech that demeaned immigrants as rapists and criminals. It has been manifest in his relentless insults directed at minorities, liberals, women, and even his own party peers. Still, it’s useful having confirmation of this from the media mouthpiece for conservative politics and Republican PR, Fox News.

The survey asked several questions related to the fitness of the candidates to hold the office of president, and Trump fared dismally in every one of them. On whether the candidate has the knowledge to serve effectively as president, Trump scored lowest with only 38% saying that he did. Clinton had a large majority of 63%, and Sanders also had a majority of 58%.

On whether or not the candidate has the integrity to serve effectively as president, Trump flopped with a mere 40%, still way below his Democratic rivals: Clinton 48%, Sanders 70%.

On whether or not the candidate has the temperament to serve effectively as president, Trump underperformed again with an embarrassing 33%. Clinton and Sanders pulled in 62% and 68% respectively.

Finally, the survey asked if the candidate is likeable enough to serve effectively as president. And again, to no one’s surprise, Trump sat at the bottom with 41%, while Clinton drew 52% and Sanders soared at 71%.

On a couple of other issues addressed in the survey, Trump was similarly situated at the low end. Americans would trust both Clinton and Sanders more (53%) when negotiating with Vladimir Putin, than Trump (40%). And when asked about whether the candidate would make them proud, the highest response to “Not at all” went to Trump (56%). And while the poll found that 64% of the respondents think that the Democrats have been “generally polite and respectful” throughout the primary, 80% of them think that the Republicans have been generally rude and disrespectful.

It’s significant to note that this poll is not just an expression of general distaste for all politicians, because the abysmal numbers for Trump are unique. They are matched by majorities with favorable views of the Democrats. There isn’t an across the board anti-government sentiment.

So according to the Fox News poll, the leading light of the GOP, and the standard bearer for Republican politics, is regarded by majorities of the population as too ignorant, too lacking in integrity, too temperamental, and too obnoxious to be President of the United States.

What a surprise. The man who can’t articulate a single coherent thought on domestic or foreign policy; who insults anyone who has the temerity to criticize him; who whines like a baby whenever things don’t go exactly the way he wants; who advocates violence against protesters at his rallies; who brags incessantly about how awesome he thinks he is; that man is not particularly well thought of by most Americans. That’s a very good sign of the astute character judgment of the American people.

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

However, it’s also a very frightening sign of the deranged minds of the people who are such loyal followers of the Trump cult. Where will they go when he eventually flames out? Right back into the mainstream of the Republican Party with the rest of the zombie Tea Party fanatics and white supremacists. And that is a very bad sign indeed.


Glenn Beck: Donald Trump Will Campaign With Hillary Clinton If He Isn’t The GOP Nominee

Former Fox News anchor and Prophet of Doom, Glenn Beck, has made many predictions in his long career of radio buffoonery. He has foretold of stock market crashes and election victories and global Caliphates and, most frequently, the end of this world that God hates so bitterly (see The Perfect Storm: A Glenn Beck Delusion). Obviously, Glenn Beck has it all figured out.

Glenn Beck

And now the psycho psychic has a new prediction with which to tantalize and frighten his dimwitted followers. In a rambling discussion of Donald Trump’s prospects for securing the Republican nomination, Beck (who has endorsed Ted Cruz) has had a vision of a dark future that only he could see. It projects a terrifying union of two camps that Beck is certain are rooted in Hell. This is what he forecast on his program yesterday:

“You will see Donald Trump, if he loses the nomination – and he doesn’t start a third party which I don’t think he will – you will see Donald Trump run, er campaign with, Hillary Clinton.”

That’s right brothers and sisters. The two most evil representatives of Satan will merge their crusades to deliver America to the devil’s door. Never mind that Trump has called Clinton “the worst Secretary of State in U.S. history.” Or that he berates her for unethically honoring her marriage vows and restoring her relationship with a fornicator. Or that he blames her personally for murdering four Americans in Benghazi. Or that he has called for her to be jailed because of email activity that was not illegal. Or his most recent attacks on her honesty wherein he said that her whole lie is a lie.

Despite all of that, Beck thinks that if Trump is denied his GOP crown he will rush to Clinton’s side and support her for president. Beck explains his theory by asserting that Trump will be angry over the GOP nomination having been stolen from him. And since he could not possibly back Lyin’ Ted Cruz, his only other choice is Clinton. Beck went on to claim that Clinton and Trump are basically aligned on policies, a claim for which he never bothered to provide evidence. But that isn’t important because the main reason they will join forces is because Trump has already bought and paid for Clinton, as proven by her attendance at his third wedding eleven years ago.

Beck was not completely oblivious to the factors that would make this pairing absurd. He admitted that Trump has “said, obviously, things about Hillary that were negative in this campaign,” but that he has “no allegiance to what he said last week. He’ll just switch and say Hillary Clinton is good now and Ted Cruz is bad.” Of course, Beck never realizes that Trump could do exactly the same thing for Cruz and back him instead of Clinton without having to dirty himself with the socialists in the Democratic Party.

One component of this theory that Beck left out entirely is that Hillary Clinton would laugh so hard at the notion of Trump seeking to support her candidacy that she might rupture a lung. Perhaps that is the dastardly plan that is lurking below the surface of this whole affair. It’s a plot to murder Clinton by a fit of fatal hilarity. Clinton would sooner run with Spongebob Squarepants than Donald Trump. After all, she actually wants to win.

Beck must be getting desperate for new conspiracies and deranged prophesies to disseminate to his glassy-eyed audience. If he is settling for absurdities like this, that is the clearest sign yet that the End Times are upon us – or at least upon Beck.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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



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

Fox News Shrimp Treadmill

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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