In Desperate Move Trump Taps Breitbart Exec To Lead His Floundering Campaign

From the very start, Donald Trump has made “winning” a key part of his political branding. Early in his campaign he promised his supporters that “We’re going to win so much, you’re going to be so sick and tired of winning.” Now that Trump has been falling behind Hillary Clinton in most polls, it’s safe to say that his fans are indeed sick and tired, but winning surely isn’t the reason.


The latest evidence of Trump’s waning electoral fate is yet another campaign shake up. It was just a few weeks ago that Trump sent his long-time campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, packing (he has since taken up residence at CNN) and brought in Paul Manafort to turn things around. Not only has Manafort presided over a continued and worsening slump, he has managed to find himself making news with his unsavory ties to foreign dictators and Russian-affiliated oligarchs.

Now Trump has brought in two familiar associates in an attempt to repair his sagging fortunes. The campaign’s new chief executive will be Stephen Bannon, currently the Executive Chairman of Breitbart News. Bannon has been an ardent advocate for Trump who turned the Breitbart organization into a virtual Trump PR machine. However, he has not been a unanimous favorite among his peers. Ben Shapiro, a former Breitbart editor, complained that Bannon had “shaped the company into Trump’s personal Pravda.” Glenn Beck joined in to compare Bannon to Joseph Goebbels.

Bannon will also be remembered (or not) as the the writer/director of the pathetic cinematic flop “The Undefeated,” a documentary about Sarah Palin that went straight to video despite heavy promotion from Fox News. With any luck he’ll bring that same ability and skill to Donald Trump’s campaign.

The other new campaign hire is Kellyanne Conway, who will become Trump’s campaign manager. Conway is the president and CEO of The Polling Company, a Republican outfit that conducts surveys and advises GOP candidates on strategy. She is also a commentator on CNN where she fiercely defends everything Trump does and says no matter how ridiculous or offensive. This puts CNN in the unique position of employing both Trump’s former campaign manager (Lewandowski) and his new one. If they have any journalistic integrity at all, Conway will be suspended immediately. But having hired Lewandowski when he is still being paid by Trump, and is contractually prohibited from criticizing him, CNN’s integrity is already suspect.

These additions to the Trump team follow by one day the news that ex-Fox News CEO Roger Ailes will be coaching Trump to prepare him for his debates with Clinton and providing other campaign advice. Ailes, you will recall, was forced into early retirement after numerous accusations of sexual harassment at Fox. It is not known whether Ailes played any role in the remaking of Trump’s campaign, but he does have history with Bannon. More recently, Bannon penned two defenses of Ailes for Breitbart News. One alleged that Gretchen Carlson’s sexual harassment lawsuit was meritless. The other that it is part of a broader liberal conspiracy against Ailes.

Significantly, two of Trump’s top campaign operatives are now former media executives. That paints a picture of a campaign that is more interested in propaganda than politics. Expect Trump’s campaign to venture even further into attacks on the mainstream media and their plot to destroy Trump and, therefore, America. Simultaneously, they can be expected to exploit the media to amplify Trump’s voice and nationalistic fervor.

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

The value of these personnel moves seems underwhelming. Manafort, with all his baggage, will remain as the chairman of the campaign. And along with Bannon and Kelly they will continue to face the challenge of getting Trump to listen to anyone other than himself. However, their first duty will be to spin this latest campaign reinvention as further proof that Trump is winning.

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Disgraced Former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes Is Now Advising Donald Trump

Well, this didn’t take long. Less than a month ago, Fox News forced its founder, chairman and CEO, Roger Ailes, into an early (and profitable) retirement. Ailes was escorted from the building following mounting accusations of sexual harassment by a couple of dozen women. Now, with legal proceedings still pending, Ailes is reportedly joining Donald Trump’s campaign as an adviser. Apparently Trump is looking to shore up his base of misogynist old white men.

Roger Ailes Outnumberd

The New York Times is reporting that four campaign insiders have affirmed that Ailes has been tapped to help prepare Trump for the presidential debates against Hillary Clinton. Because who better to coach Trump into becoming a fierce, woman-beating debater than the man who has already humiliated strong women like Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson. The Times had a peculiar angle that saw the bright side of the alliance:

“For Mr. Ailes, being connected with Mr. Trump’s campaign could be a form of redemption after he was pushed out of the powerful network that he helped build. And for Mr. Trump, having Mr. Ailes taking a hand in his preparations for the debates adds immeasurably to the messaging and media expertise in his corner”

For Ailes, being connected to Trump’s floundering campaign hardly seems like redemption. However, Trump may indeed benefit from the advice of the architect of Fox’s propaganda machine. That’s if Trump would uncharacteristically take the advice. To date Trump has been lectured by everyone from the Wall Street Journal to his own daughter, but after promising to change he stubbornly returns to his profligate ways.

Trump’s camp is denying that Ailes will be providing any advice either formally or informally. His spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, dismissed the story in an email saying only that “Mr. Ailes and Mr. Trump have been friends for many years.” That’s the sort of denial that allows for significant wiggle room as the two “friends” may talk frequently about the campaign and how it should proceed.

What makes this relationship most disturbing is that Trump already has historically poor favorables with women. A Gallup poll earlier this year showed Trump with a 70 percent unfavorable image among women. That shouldn’t surprise anyone considering the open hostility he has expressed toward women like Fox’s Megyn Kelly, whom he accused of being belligerent due to “blood coming out of her – wherever.” Or Carly Fiorina, who he insulted for having a face no one would vote for. Or his abortion stance that called for punishing the woman. Or his promise to appoint judges who would overturn Roe v. Wade. Or his opposition to child care, family leave, and equal pay.

Now match Trump’s record with an association with a notorious misogynist who ran a “news” network where he required women to wear revealing skirts while a roving “leg cam” provided the audience with a voyeuristic angle. And forging this partnership while the allegations of workplace harassment are still fresh suggests a degree of tone-deafness that borders on the psychotic.

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

Whether or not Ailes is officially advising Trump, their friendship and shared malice toward women should be enough to scare away all conscientious voters. And the incestuous relationship between right-wing media and the political hacks they promote is evidence of their utter lack of ethics.

Donald Trump’s Hypocrisy On Tax Returns And The Media Just Went Stratospheric

For weeks now Donald Trump has refused to release his tax returns. His obstinance flies in the face of modern political ethics. Every candidate for president for more than half a century has agreed that the public has a right to know about their prospective leader’s financial standing and relationships. But Lord Donald has designated himself as exempt from the burdens of his peasant predecessors.

Donald Trump

The unfairness of the privilege he granted himself was revealed yesterday following his mealy speech on “The Age of Terror.” Actually, it had nothing to do with the substance of the speech since there was little in it that could be called substantive. However, he also published the speech on his website with footnotes that tell the tale of his hypocrisy. Bear with me as this story unfolds.

At the point in his speech where the alleged billionaire harangues Hillary Clinton for having the audacity to want to make some money herself, Trump notes that:

“…as she threw the Middle East into violent turmoil, things turned out well for her. The Clintons made almost $60 million in gross income while she was Secretary of State.”

First of all, Trump’s faulty premise that it was Clinton who caused all the problems in the Middle East is ludicrous. Blaming his political opponent for the centuries of strife that have dogged the region is a display of his pitiful ignorance.

Secondly it’s rather offensive that a man who was born into wealth is so disturbed by the success of others. Especially when he used his family connections and skeevy ethics to swindle people out of their money. Neither of the Clintons came from well off families and their success was due to their own hard work. In Trump’s world the lower classes should know their place and stay there.

More to the point, his description of the Clintons’ good fortune needs to be fleshed out a bit. The $60 million the family earned over four years was divided between both Bill and Hillary. What Trump doesn’t tell you is that Hillary’s contribution during that time was only about $68,000, plus her State Department salary. Those earnings came from books that she wrote before becoming Secretary of State. Consequently, it was Bill’s speaking engagements and consulting that brought in more than 99 percent of the family’s income.

Which leads us to the revelation of Trump’s epic hypocrisy. Here is what Trump cited as his source for Clintons’ income in the footnotes of his speech transcript: “William J. Clinton & Hillary Rodham Clinton, 1040 U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, 2009 (and 2010, 2011, 2012).”

That’s right. Trump got the data from her tax returns. Tax returns that Clinton voluntarily released as part of her duty to the public she serves. Tax returns like those that Trump continues to refuse to make public. And yet, Trump still doesn’t get that releasing his tax returns is critical to understanding his fitness for office. There must be a serious cognitive disconnect in Trump’s brain if he can openly exploit the availability of Clinton’s tax returns without noticing the hyper hypocrisy of his own refusal.

And that’s not all. While perusing Trump’s footnotes for this article, another hypocrisy just screamed out for attention. Trump has made the media the prime target of his campaign vitriol. Particularly in recent days when he has taken to calling them “the worst human beings in the world.” Why then does he cite the mainstream media so much in his footnotes? Apparently the corrupt and dishonest scum at the New York Times are credible enough to cite fifteen times as support for his speech. CNN, a network he’s been boycotting since June, was cited thirteen times. The Washington Post, whose press credentials he has revoked, was cited eight times. For some reason his favorite news outlet, Fox News, only made the grade six times.

So on the one hand, Trump believes that these news organizations are lying heathens conspiring to destroy him. On the other hand, he considers them trustworthy journalistic assets that validate his claims. That’s just another of the contradictions that define Trump as a logic-challenged narcissist who will twist everything to his advantage no matter how absurd.

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

The bottom line is that when Trump needs information to malign his foes the availability of tax returns is essential. And when he needs the media to lean on for support or exposure they are his best friends. Otherwise tax returns serve no purpose and the media serve Satan. What this tells us is that Donald Trump resides in an egocentric world that depends on contradiction and hypocrisy to make any sense at all. Those aren’t exactly the sort of personality traits one looks for in a president or, for that matter, any other job.

Trump’s ISIS Policy Says Little About ISIS, But Would Ban Most Republicans From The U.S.

Last week Donald Trump sank to new lows in both presidential credibility and polling. So today he stepped up to his former enemy, the TelePrompter, to try to salvage his floundering campaign. He delivered what was pitched as a foreign policy speech that promised to enumerate the details of his plan to destroy ISIS. It didn’t.

Trump Border Wall

Trump unveiled a laundry list of the same vagaries that he has been spewing on the campaign trail for months. There was not a single substantive proposal directed at defeating ISIS. However, he did repeat his racist calls to limit immigration based on religious grounds. In fact, nearly everything he suggested was related to immigration rather than confronting terrorists on the battlefield. And when he wasn’t talking about immigration he was reiterating his preoccupation with President Obama saying the words “radical Islamic terrorism.”

What stood out in Trump’s address was the ideological test he is now advocating for admission to the country. He stipulated that any aspiring immigrants must pass a test that certified their acceptance of the American values of equality. Among those are religious freedom, gender equality and gay rights.

On the surface that seems like a decent pivot for The Donald to a position of tolerance and inclusion. There’s just one problem: A fair number of his supporters, and most of the Republican Party, would fail the test. If the people attending Trump’s rallies were subjected to this criteria they might risk deportation under his rules.

The official GOP platform defines marriage as between a man and a woman. It rejects anti-discrimination laws to protect transgender individuals. Parents of LGBT children would be allowed to force their children into conversion therapy. These views are shared by Trump and a majority of the Republican Party. Consequently, party members would be excluded from entry into the U.S.

With respect to gender equality, the GOP has opposed fair pay laws for decades. They have voted down family leave proposals. Overturning Roe v Wade has been one of their highest priorities. In the meantime they have been legislating away women’s reproductive choice bit by bit in states they control. Defunding Planned Parenthood has become an obsession.

On the question of religious freedom, Trump and his party have used the issue as an excuse to discriminate against same-sex marriage. Only Christians are permitted to demand special rights to deny other Americans their constitutional liberties. And Heaven forbid if someone were to wish you a “Happy Holiday” in December. Republicans insist that Christians be allowed to practice their religious rituals in government facilities, but lobby to prevent Muslims from even opening a mosque in many communities.

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

What Trump delivered today was a speech that was stuffed with retreads from prior speeches. And when he wasn’t regurgitating himself, he was lambasting the President and Hillary Clinton, mostly for things they didn’t do, or for things Trump made up. But the lasting impression from this address is that under a Trump Administration he, his followers, and his follow Republicans would be turned away at his border wall for failing the bigotry screening he says he would impose. Come to think of it, that would actually make America great again.

Tweet-Storming With The Whiner-In-Chief, Donald Trump

Nothing illustrates desperation more than the frantic whining of someone who knows he’s losing badly but refuses to admit it. Donald Trump is a textbook case of this. Ever since his disastrous convention, Trump’s prospects have been sinking like an elephant in a tar pit. According to Gallup, the Republican convention actually resulted in more people saying they are less likely to vote for him. That’s the first time that has ever happened since polling on that question began.

Trump Baby

As Trump’s popularity declines he is behaving more and more erratically. His deranged assertions that Obama “founded ISIS,” that the elections will be “rigged,” and shamelessly insulting a Gold Star family, paint a picture of a pathetically deluded loser. And now he is directing his impotent fire at the media:

Trump is getting increasingly unhinged (to the degree that’s possible). He has also taken to calling the media “the worst human beings in the world.” There may be some victims of terrorism who disagree with that. However, the media must be so proud for having overtaken Hillary and ISIS in the Race for the Worst in Trump’s deranged head.

Having an active imagination must bring Trump some comfort. Because that’s the only way he can believe that he would be beating Clinton by twenty percent, even with more friendly media. As for not being covered properly at his rallies, they generally point a camera at him and let him rant. That is SO unfair. Holding him accountable for the things he actually says is the ultimate dirty trick.

It’s funny that Trump is complaining that he is losing to someone who “is not a talented person or politician.” Think how badly he would be losing if Clinton WAS a talented politician. And by the way, it absolutely IS freedom of the press “when newspapers and others are allowed to say and write whatever they want.” That’s the definition of freedom of the press. Even if you don’t like what they’re saying. But keep it up, Donald. Because nothing solves a cratering campaign like whining.

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

Donald Trump Loser

Watch Ben Stein Reject Trickle-Down Theory And The Raving Trump Surrogate Defending It

The 2016 presidential race has been most notable for the Republican candidate’s utter refusal to bring anything of substance to the debate. Donald Trump pointedly avoids nearly all policy details in favor of childish insults, empty sloganeering, and lately, deranged outbursts. In the past week alone he called President Obama “the founder of ISIS,” and suggested that “the Second Amendment people” were the only ones who could stop Hillary Clinton.

Ben Stein

That’s what makes it so surprising when a prominent spokesman for the right-wing agenda says something that actually makes sense. This happened Friday on the Fox Business Network during a discussion on the “Dueling Economic Visions” of Trump and Hillary Clinton. Host Charles Payne introduced the segment and turned to economist Ben Stein to give his opinion of the Trump economic plan. What happened next was completely unexpected:

Stein: Well I don’t think Mr. Trump’s plan is going to work very well. I don’t think we need that tax cut when we’re running deficits the size we are running. I think the evidence that tax cuts stimulate business in any kind of meaningful way, at least not sufficient to overcome the tax revenue loss, is extremely poor to put it mildly. I think the idea of cutting taxes on the rich in a time when there is so much concern about inequality is not a good idea. I do think his idea of greatly lessening environmental regulation is absolutely necessary and even brilliant and very brave of him.

Exempting that anti-environment nonsense at the end, Stein delivered a coherent explanation for why giving the wealthy a tax cut makes no sense. In fact he argued that such favoritism for the rich was never a stimulant to the economy and would only exacerbate deficits. Add to that his expression of concern for income inequality and you have a truly astonishing display of wisdom from a right-wing economist.

Fox of course would not be satisfied with that blasphemy. Therefore, Payne turned to Betsy McCaughey, the woman who coined the term “death panels,” for rebuttal. McCaughey was just named to Trump’s team of wingnut economic advisers. She ranted:

McCaughey: First of all, Donald Trump’s tax plan will produce an enormous amount of economic growth. The key factor is slashing the corporate tax rate, currently the highest in the world, down to fifteen percent. Companies in the United States are being taxed to death. And that’s why so many of them are leaving or retrenching their business investments.

There is so much wrong with that it’s hard to know where to begin. Let’s start with the fact that there is no evidence that Trump’s plan would produce any economic growth. In fact. Moody’s scored his plan and concluded that it would result in a “lengthy recession,” 3.5 million job losses, and “very large deficits and a much higher debt load.” Plus, every independent analysis of Trump’s plan has affirmed that it benefits the rich far more than the lower and middle classes.

Then there is McCaughey’s assertion that U.S. corporate tax rates are “the highest in the world.” That is patently and provably false. It’s a recurring right-wing trope that has been debunked innumerable times by non-partisan analysts. McCaughey and other conservatives deceptively cite the statutory corporate tax rate rather than the effective tax rate (what is actually paid after deductions). When reviewed with real numbers the U.S. corporate rate is actually slightly lower than the average of our international competitors. Often it is zero, or close to it.

[Note: These facts make it even more important for Trump to release his tax returns so that we can see just where in the range his tax rate lies.]

The truth is that American companies are not leaving the the U.S. for lower taxes. They are leaving for lower wages, cheaper distribution in foreign markets, evasion of fair labor and environmental regulations, and other reasons unrelated to taxes. McCaughey also claimed that the U.S. is on the brink of a “business recession” despite this being one of the longest periods of growth in decades. But then she trotted out a real whopper:

McCaughey: And let me just point out in response to Ben’s comments about the poor and tax reductions for the rich – slashing the corporate tax rate and producing growth will benefit the poor the most.

That foolishness hardly merits a response. At this point host Charles Payne steers the conversation to “the debate over whether trickle-down economics really work.” He asked Harvard Kennedy School Professor Leah Wright Rigueur “If the same tide lifts all ships, wouldn’t that include the poor?” She responded that “You would think, but history has shown us that that doesn’t include the poor.” When Stein was asked to comment he poignantly noted that a rising tide “does not lift those boats that are under water.” Which led to this epic exchange:

Stein: And if I may say to my friend the Lt. Governor, there simply is no evidence that slashing the corporate tax rate produces growth. There’s a lot of allegations, but…

McCaughey: [interrupting] That’s ridiculous.

Stein: Did you say ‘That’s ridiculous’?

McCaughey: I said ‘That’s ridiculous’!

Stein: With all due respect, I’m the one that’s studied this. You’re the politician. You can say whatever you want as a politician. There simply is no evidence of that. […] You don’t know that. You have no idea of that. You can say it but there’s never been any data connecting those two.

Watching a devoutly conservative economic expert smack down the right’s sacred trickle-down doctrine on Fox’s own business network is both shocking and satisfying. But watching him also humiliate a Trump adviser, and one of the most extreme GOP partisans, at the same time is an event more rare than Halley’s Comet. It will be interesting to see if Stein is invited back to Fox News any time soon.

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

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

Fox Nation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fox News And Sean Hannity Are Now Producing Donald Trump’s Campaign Events

No one is going to be shocked to discover that Fox News is working feverishly to elect Donald Trump president of the United States. They are pulling out all the stops to make excuses for his outrageous statements: His insults to the Gold Star parents of a slain soldier; his dog-whistle calls to assassinate Hillary Clinton; his insane accusation that President Obama “founded” ISIS.

In addition, Fox is obsessively covering anti-Clinton non-stories that have already been debunked by ethical journalists: GOP allegations that ISIS intelligence was altered; Clinton emails tying her aides to charity work for the Clinton Foundation; ludicrous “investigations” into Clinton’s health.

Reality is beginning to warp the judgement of both Trump and his PR division at Fox News. Every recent poll is showing Trump falling further behind, particularly in states that were never considered plausible for Democratic candidates. Consequently, the right-wing network is taking a more hands-on approach to Trump’s candidacy by sponsoring campaign events on his behalf. This advertisement was tweeted today by Fox:

Hannity-Trump Townhall

Make no mistake, this not a news event. Sean Hannity has already announced on the air his endorsement for Trump and intention to vote for him. This is a flagrantly biased political appearance that Fox News is producing as a gift to Donald Trump. If the Federal Elections Committee had any integrity they would cite Fox for violating campaign finance laws and force them to declare this an in-kind contribution to Trump’s campaign.

It makes sense that Hannity would announce this scam just as Trump is making excuses for why he might bail out on the debates with Hillary Clinton. Trump would suffer irreparably from the perception of his cowardice if he fails to show up for the debates. But fake “town halls” like this would be his way of discounting that criticism. Never mind that they will be obviously stage-managed farces that are no more informative than a Trump infomercial.

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

Right-wing partisanship has been the mission of Fox News since its inception. However, this exceeds even their most blatantly prejudiced propaganda by a long shot. Having an avowed Trump fluffer like Hannity host an hour of political theater like this ought to remove any lingering doubts that the network is a Republican shill factory and should not be taken seriously as a news enterprise by the public or their peers.

Big Baby Trump Has Nixed Nearly Every Potential Debate Moderator

Now that the party conventions are behind us and the presidential campaign is officially underway, the next milestone of the election season is the candidate debates. These events are generally regarded as having more impact on voters’ decisions than conventions, stump speeches, or advertising. Candidates have participated in them regularly since the 1960’s.

Baby Trump

However, Donald Trump has already begun whining about the debates and criticizing the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) that has been producing them since 1988. He tweeted last month that Hillary Clinton and the Democrats were “trying to rig the debates” in some conspiracy that he failed to explain. For the record, the current schedule was released nearly a year ago (September 23, 2015), long before any of the candidates were chosen.

Now Trump is escalating his debate phobia with suggestions that he will not participate unless his demands are met. Foremost among them is the authority to veto any moderator that he disapproves of (or more accurately, fears). So this may be a good time to take a look at who might satisfy Trump’s litmus test for fair and balanced moderators.

First of all, no one who works for CNN or MSNBC need apply. Trump has not consented to an interview on CNN since June 13, or on MSNBC since May 20. Just this morning he tweeted that “Constant phony reporting from failing @CNN turns everyone off.” What’s more, he has had a devastating falling out with his old pal on MSNBC, Joe Scarborough, who just penned an op-ed calling for the Republican Party to dump Trump.

The broadcast networks are out also, Trump has been flinging his juvenile nickname at the host of NBC’s Meet the Press for months. He calls him “Sleepy eyes Chuck Todd” and labeled Todd as “totally biased” against him. Trump wrote off ABC’s George Stephanopoulos as “a good friend” of the Clinton’s. Scott Pelley of CBS was deemed “disrespectful.”

So You may be thinking that this leaves Fox News. Not so fast. Trump has burned just about everyone on the network with the notable exception of Fox’s Senior Trump Fluffer, Sean Hannity. Trump said of Megyn Kelly that she “is the worst” and has a “terrible show.” He called Karl Rove a “total fool” and “a biased dope.” He said that George Will is a “broken down political pundit” and “boring.” Chris Stirewalt was deemed “one of the dumbest political pundits on television.” Trump laughed off Charles Krauthammer as “a totally overrated clown,” “a loser,” and “a dummy.” And wrapping up the whole network for his disapproval, he tweeted that he was “having a really hard time watching Fox News.” Then he called on his followers to boycott the network. And for good measure, Trump took a swipe at the Fox family’s newspaper saying that the writers at the Wall Street Journal are also “dummies.”

Other prominent news outlets that Trump has sworn off (literally revoking their press credentials) include The New York Times, the Washington Post, Politico, BuzzFeed, the Huffington Post, Fusion, and Univision.

Trump has already demonstrated his tendency to provoke melodrama with regard to candidate debates. He turned the GOP primary debates into feral spectacles of crass immaturity and avoidance of substance. His tantrums succeeded in forcing the Republican National Committee and the media to capitulate to his will, forcing out networks or media co-sponsors that he didn’t think were sufficiently deferential to him. The question now is: Will the CPD permit him do the same for the general election debates?

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

Recently Trump said that “I want to debate very badly. But I have to see the conditions.” Which is another way of saying that he doesn’t want to debate very badly. If he did he would have released a statement like the one Hillary Clinton released:

“Secretary Clinton looks forward to participating in all three presidential debates scheduled by the independent debate commission. […] The only issue now is whether Donald Trump is going to show up to debate at the date, times, places and formats set by the commission last year through a bipartisan process. We will accept the commission’s invitation and expect Donald Trump to do the same.”

Clearly Trump is terrified to face his opponent, Hillary Clinton. But it is also reflective of his weak character that he is too frightened to face journalists who might be less than adoring. Trump is setting up a trapdoor exit to avoid having to do the debates at all. And he’s using the moderator issue as his excuse. It is becoming increasingly evident that the only moderators left that Trump would approve of would be from the National Enquirer or his his chums at Pravda.

ADDENDUM: Fox News reported additional “demands” made by Trump to Time Magazine regarding the debates. He insisted that “certain moderators would be unacceptable, absolutely.” But we still don’t know any that would be acceptable.

Trump debates

LOOK! Sitting Behind Trump At Rally Is An Ex-GOP Rep Who Hit On Teenage Congressional Pages

Conservative media has been spending the last couple days hyperventilating about a man in the audience at a rally for Hillary Clinton. Seddique Mateen, the father of the shooter who murdered fifty people at an Orlando night club had come to the public event and was seated behind the stage. Clinton had nothing to do with it and later made it clear that she disavowed his support.

In the meantime, Donald Trump, Fox News, and other right-wing press, turned this into a major flaw that, in some unexplained way, reflected on Clinton. They insisted that there was a correlation between Mateen’s attendance and her administrative competence.

Well, this has now come back to bite them in the ass “big league.” In a rally today a man was spotted sitting behind Donald Trump’s stage who was also recognized by the media. His name is Mark Foley. He was a Republican congressman from January 1995 to September 2006. What makes his presence notable is the reason he left Congress.

Donald Trump Mark Foley

Foley resigned from Congress after he was caught sending sexually explicit instant messages and emails to teenage boys serving as congressional pages, for whom he was the House administrator. Ironically, Foley was coerced into resigning by GOP Speaker Dennis Hastert who last year pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges involving concealed payments to a man whom he had sexually abused decades earlier. Hastert admitted to being a serial child molester, but the cases had exceeded the statute of limitations so he could not be charged with those crimes. In any case, Hastert certainly knew what he had done years earlier when he was forcing Foley out of Congress.

While on stage, Trump was specifically calling out Clinton over the incident with Mateen being in her audience along with 3,000 other people she didn’t know. However, Trump made the whole thing more personal with regard to his own audience (video below). He began by congratulating the people sitting behind him because they were going to be famous as a result of being seen on TV in the background of his speech. He continued:

Wasn’t it terrible when the father of the animal that killed the wonderful people in Orlando was sitting with a big smile on his face right behind Hillary Clinton? And by the way, including a lot of the people here – how many of you people know me [Foley raises his hand]? A lot of you people know me. When you get those seats you sort of know the campaign. So when she said “Well we didn’t know…” They knew.

How did you like that picture? Him sitting – forty-nine people killed – other people will never, ever, ever, be the same. And that guy is sitting back there. And of course he likes Hillary. Because Hillary won’t even say the words “radical Islamic terrorism.”

And all the while, a notorious pedophile was sitting in plain view behind Trump with a big smile on his face. In addition, according to Trump, Foley got that seat because they know each other. Foley confirmed this later saying:

“I’ve been a friend of Mr. Trump’s since 1987. I’ve admired so much of what he’s done. He’s a different breed of leader and a different breed of candidate.”

It will be interesting to see how Trump explains this away, if he can be made to address it all. Will he change his story and say he didn’t know Foley? Will he disavow him? It will also be interesting to see how the media cover this incident. They obsessed over the audience member at Clinton’s rally. Will they spend two days doing the same over Trump’s?

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