STOP HANNITY: Movement Begins to Shame Advertisers on the Trump-Fluffing Fox News Program

The rapid decline of Fox News over the past year has been an awesome spectacle. It began with the allegations of sexual harassment against CEO Roger Ailes. He was later fired and, shortly thereafter, died following a fall in his home. Then Bill O’Reilly was also terminated after numerous allegations of sexual misconduct.

Sean Hannity Fox News

Additionally, some executives were likewise dismissed for their own inappropriate behavior. And Fox News lost their rising star, Megyn Kelly, who joined NBC where her program is a ratings failure. Greta Van Susteren, also quit Fox for a show on MSNBC that has already been canceled. Most recently, Eric Bolling, host of two Fox News programs has been suspended for allegedly sending lewd pictures to network colleagues.

Fox’s reputation for being a brazenly biased mouthpiece for Republican politics is morphing into one of perversion and misogyny. But don’t worry – their mission of right-wing propagandizing is still being pursued in earnest by many remaining shills. Chief among them is Sean Hannity, who has escalated his efforts to promote Donald Trump. His program has become an unabashed platform for exalting and defending Trump no matter the circumstances.

Hannity has been performing some wild rhetorical acrobatics to that end. He has whirled from insisting that Trump was totally innocent of any collusion with Russia, to arguing that such collusion wouldn’t be such a bad thing after all. More offensive are his ventures into conspiracy theories. Hannity has made a project of promoting the totally debunked story about Seth Rich. This fake news asserts that Rich, a former DNC staffer, was murdered for his involvement in hacking the Clinton/Podesta emails and sending them to Wikileaks. It’s a fascinating story that would be even more compelling if any of it were true.

As Hannity has ramps up the crazy on his show, he is beginning to attract some push-back from proponents of ethical journalism. Media Matters has initiated a campaign to “Stop Hannity” from further staining the airwaves with his lies and hate. They have previously engineered similar campaigns that targeted Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly. Both of them were eventually booted from their perches at Fox and now languish in near obscurity. It’s safe to say that Hannity is nervous. The Stop Hannity home page spells out how Media Matters intends to hold him, Fox News, and their advertisers accountable:

“Spreading misinformation is Hannity’s business model, and now he’s doing it on behalf of the Trump administration. His propagandizing has become so odious that he was condemned by some of his coworkers, who reportedly told The Daily Beast that the host was ’embarrassing’ the network and that ‘some people need to be fired.’

“It’s past time for Hannity to go. If Fox won’t fire Hannity, then advertisers should run as fast as they can, or else they run the risk of being complicit in his deceit and recklessness. Advertisers will get burned if they continue to associate with Hannity — plain and simple.”

This movement has only just begun, but it is already showing progress. Most notably, ultra-conservative pundits and websites are rising up in anger about this grassroots activism. The Daily Caller, Newsbusters, Western Journalism, and YoungCons have all posted stories labeling Media Matters a far-left provocateur. What’s more, Hannity’s ratings are suffering among the key advertiser demographic of 25-54 year olds. For the most recent week for which there is complete ratings data, Hannity lost the whole week to his time period competition on MSNBC, The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell. For the same week the Rachel Maddow Show was the highest rated program on all of cable news. Fox News was accustomed to dominating the ratings charts for years, but those days seem to be gone.

Time will tell if this campaign will be as successful as those aimed at Hannity’s former colleagues. But the track record of Media Matters on these actions is formidable. Advertisers have good reasons to be wary of associating themselves with a conspiracy monger like Hannity. And the more people that jump on this bandwagon, the more it can achieve. To that end, be sure to sign up at Stop Hannity and participate in the advertiser education program they are conducting. It’s a worthwhile cause because, as Ted Koppel told Hannity to his face, he is “bad for America.”

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

Fox News Succumbing to Reality? Network Ditches Their ‘Fair and Balanced’ Slogan

The past year has seen some profound changes in the conservative world. And it’s not just the election of Donald Trump. Although that was a tectonic shift that put a novice political enigma with no discernible principles at the helm of the GOP (Greedy One Percent). And as if that wasn’t earth-shattering enough, the party of family values fell in line behind an adulterous, irreligious, walking contradiction machine. Somehow Republicans were able to embrace a narcissistic, wannabe dictator who spent years insulting them.

Fox News

In the right-wing mediaverse, Fox News has also undergone an upheaval. They lost their founder and CEO, Roger Ailes, and their biggest Star, Bill O’Reilly, to sex scandals. The same improprieties resulted in several other notable Foxies leaving the hen house. They include Megyn Kelly, Greta Van Susteren, Gretchen Carlson, Andrea Tantaros, and Bill Shine, the executive who replaced Ailes. While Rupert Murdoch is still the lord master of Fox, it’s his kids who are the operational managers now.

As if to finish off the old era of Fox News, it was just revealed that they are abandoning their long-time slogan, “fair and balanced.” Of course, they never lived up to that or even tried. It was just a marketing scheme to disparage all other news networks as being hopelessly biased. Fox used it to corral their disciples into the cult, where only the cult leader is to be believed. Veteran Fox-watcher, Gabriel Sherman of New York Magazine had the scoop:

“As Fox News moves further into the post–Roger Ailes era, the network is shedding one of its most iconic elements. According to network executives, Fox News has abandoned the marketing slogan ‘Fair & Balanced.’ The decision was made last August after Ailes’s ouster by Fox News co-president Jack Abernethy, because the phrase had ‘been mocked,’ one insider said. Another executive explained that the tagline was ‘too closely associated with Roger.’ Fox executives have been instructed by management to market the network by its other tagline: ‘Most Watched. Most Trusted.'”

Cutting ties to disgraced former management is a generally a good idea. Ailes, who died last month, has become a figurative leper. Even the Ohio University scholarship in his name was discontinued. The same embarrassment of association occurs with the ousted Bill O’Reilly. Megyn Kelly, who resigned to take a new job with NBC, is already showing signs of weakness. Her Sunday night program debuted to meager ratings. And it got worse from there. The second episode dropped by forty-two percent and a 60 Minutes rerun beat it with twice as many viewers. Now there are advertiser boycotts stemming from her decision to interview conspiracy theory kingpin, Alex Jones.

Perhaps the funniest part of this decision to drop the “fair and balanced” lie is that they are replacing it with another lie. The new slogan is “Most Watched. Most Trusted.” Neither of those assertions are true. For the past few months MSNBC has been beating Fox in primetime with the most valued viewer demographic. Rachel Maddow is leading the way, often placing as the highest rated program on all of cable news. And as for “trusted,” Fox News isn’t even in the top twenty according to a survey by Pew Research. It falls well behind all three broadcast networks, CNN, New York Times, Washington Post, and MSNBC.

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

So Fox is continuing in their tradition of deceiving their audience with blatant falsehoods. And regardless of what their slogan is, we can depend on them to be true to their mission of lying. Despite all of the changes taking place at Fox, what is not changing is their intention to serve the propaganda of the right generally, and to always exalt Trump in particular. Some things will never change.

Disgraced, Lying, Sexual Predator (and Former Fox News CEO) Roger Ailes is Dead at 77

The conservative media world is mourning the death of its patron saint, Roger Ailes. The founder and former CEO of Fox News passed away on Thursday just as his latest project, the Donald Trump presidency, was entering intensive care.

Roger Ailes Outnumberd

Ailes will surely be remembered for having built a television network that relied on glitz and glamour to dress up its partisan propaganda as ultra-biased fake news. But he will also be remembered for dividing the nation into hostile political camps by transforming his right-leaning viewers into an army of misinformed, pseudo-patriotic zealots.

Ironically, Ailes’ professional end came as a result of a string of allegations of sexual harassment and abuse. The channel that self-branded as the TV home of family values was, in reality, a broken home that created much suffering and personal loss. Fox News embodied a culture of misogyny that bore deep into its ranks. Following Ailes out the door were its biggest star, Bill O’Reilly, and his own successor, Bill Shine. But that wasn’t until after the damage was done. Female on-air personalities like Gretchen Carlson, Megyn Kelly, Laurie Dhue, Andrea Tantaros, Rudi Bakhtiar, and Julie Roginsky, had all walked out under duress.

Fox News is now struggling to maintain its status as the top cable news network. In recent weeks it has been losing to both MSNBC and CNN in the critical advertising demographic of 25-54 year olds. That is partly due to the unpopularity of its primary benefactor, Donald Trump. American news consumers are switching to networks where they can get more honest accounts of Trump’s corruption and incompetence.

There is a poignant melodramatic quality to the fact that Ailes died less than a year after his termination from Fox News. It’s as if he only lived to spread Republican dogma and smear liberals. When he lost the platform to do that, he gave up.

His Fox News family was understandably torn up by the news. There were tears on almost every program from Fox and Friends to Shepard Smith’s afternoon broadcast. But perhaps the eulogy that best expressed to deranged Fox mindset was delivered by Ainsley Earhardt whose tribute asserted that:

“Many people out there would say that he saved this country by starting the Fox News channel.”

Well, if you say so. This is not the day to point out how utterly delusional that is.

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

How Has Fox News Changed Following Numerous Sexual Harassment Scandals? It’s Shocking!

In the past few months Fox News has been weighted down with salacious allegations that have ripped the network apart. Dozens of women have stepped forward with complaints of sexual harassment against several of the network’s big shots. The turmoil impacted both on-air personalities and executives. And the trail of devastation was substantial.

It began with the dismissal of Roger Ailes, the CEO who created the channel with Rupert Murdoch. Then their biggest star, Bill O’Reilly, was shown the door in utter disgrace. Shortly thereafter the head of Fox’s news division, Bill Shine, got his pink slip. Also lost due to the scandal tsunami were Megyn Kelly, Gretchen Carlson, Andrea Tantaros, Julie Roginski, and Greta Van Susteren.

You might think that such a severe upheaval would be cause for deep reflection and transformation. Perhaps Fox News would attempt to alter their decidedly misogynistic messaging. Maybe they would abstain from derogatory references to women in positions of power. There are surely more men (and women) who could be fired for related offenses.

Well, Fox News took swift and decisive action to address the ballooning crisis. And the impact was immediately observable on the air.

Fox News Pants

That’s right. The big change at Fox News is that the prohibition of women wearing pants has been lifted. That’s a bigger deal than it may seem. Especially considering that the short skirt mandate came from the top. Ailes himself insisted that his news ladies display their legs. Gabriel Sherman wrote in his biography of Ailes, “The Loudest Voice In The Room,” that the exec repeatedly gave direction to his staff regarding the display of female body parts. 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.”

Furthermore, NPR’s media reporter David Folkenflik reported on the Fox News “Leg Cam” that “goes directly for the legs.” And when former host Megyn Kelly was interviewed by GQ (with an accompanying, and revealing, pictorial), 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 wore those low-cut blouses.

This new fashion statement has already drawn the ire of staunch Fox fans. After all, with a horndog like Donald Trump in the White House, you’d think covered gams would be illegal. The right-wing web rag, WorldNetDaily, posted an article with the hyperbolic headline “Stop This Madness: Women of Fox News suddenly hiding their legs?.” In the piece they lamented that:

“In the wake of the recent ousters of Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly following multiple sexual harassment accusations – the online rumor mill is running wild with speculation. Why? In recent weeks, some of the Fox News bombshells…have ditched their usual short skirts and were spotted wearing … pants!”

The wardrobe controversy has taken a perverse precedence in the conservative media. Many pundits and viewers actually regard this as some sort of capitulation to politically correct radical liberals. However, they don’t mind at all that the programming changes since O’Reilly’s ouster include the promotions of four known misogynists. The only problem, as far as they can see, is that they will have fewer opportunities to peek up the skirts of their Fox fantasies. And that isn’t what they believe they were promised in the Era of Trump.

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

Brand New President of Fox News Exits Amidst Continuing Sexual Harassment Scandals

The firing of top executives at Fox News is starting to become a regular routine. The network recently parted ways with its CEO Roger Ailes. Then they fired their top star, Bill O’Reilly, Now the man who replaced Ailes, Bill Shine, has been terminated (or resigned, depending on whose story you read).

Fox News Alert

After Shine’s promotion he was almost immediately under pressure due to his prior relationships with Ailes and O’Reilly, Insiders alleged that he was an enabler of the misconduct engaged in by the tow fired Foxies. Plus he was said to have led smear campaigns against the accusers in order to delegitimize their claims. Shine’s dismissal was predicted early on and has now become official.

The successors to Shine’s position are two Fox News veterans. Suzanne Scott will preside over programming. While Jay Wallace will will run the news division. Fox patriarch, Rupert Murdoch issued a fawning memo describing Shine as someone who was “was liked and respected by everybody at Fox News.” It goes without saying that that was not universally true.

The promotion of Scott appears to be a crisis management decision. After so much bad publicity emanating from sexual harassment charges, Fox was anxious to cover up the problem with the elevation of its first female president. But Scott has been with Fox since its inception, so it begs the question as to why she was not rewarded previous to this.

The fallout from these affairs may still not be over. There are pending lawsuits against Fox News for both sexual and racial discrimination. Plus, another Fox celebrity may be on the razor’s edge. Sean Hannity was recently accused of sexual harassment. In addition, he took personally the complaints about Shine, who was his producer before joining the executive ranks. Hannity tweeted:

The “total end of the FNC as we know it?” That would be cause for celebration to many. But it’s a pretty foreboding comment to Fox insiders and fans. It may signal Hannity’s intention to part ways with the network as well. The Daily Beast’s Andrew Kirell has sources who say that Hannity may be gone by week’s end. If that’s true, this may be the fastest disintegration of a cable network ever. Remember that Fox already lost other prominent prime time personnel, Megyn Kelly, Gretchen Carlson, and Greta Van Susteren. (Hmm. All women)

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

It would be difficult for Fox News to maintain its ratings leadership after such an upheaval. They have already been challenged by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, who has been beating them in the demo ratings recently. Now they are stuck with a nighttime lineup smugly anchored by Tucker Carlson and the ensemble show The Five that was just just moved up from an afternoon slot. Will that be sufficient to hold their audience? Especially considering that many of their fans are outraged by the departure of O’Reilly (and perhaps Hannity) and have already initiated a boycott movement. So fasten your seat belts. The fun is only just beginning.

Sean Hannity Freaks Out About ‘The Total End of the Fox News Channel as We Know It’

The past few weeks have been about as catastrophic for Fox News as they have been for Donald Trump. Both have been suffering devastating setbacks internally with key people leaving under clouds of scandal. And both have lost significant support among the public. With MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow overtaking Fox News in critical ratings demos, and Trump remaining the least popular first-quarter president ever, it seems their dire fates are intertwined.

Sean Hannity Dumbass

What’s more, both Trump and Fox News still have storm clouds on their respective horizons. For Trump it’s the unfolding revelations about alleged collusion with Russian agents interfering in the presidential election. For Fox News it’s the continuing fallout from their corporate culture of misogyny and racism.

With each passing day a new allegation is made against Fox. Many insiders are unsatisfied with the expulsions of CEO Roger Ailes and blowhard Bill O’Reilly, They believe the problems will persist until there is a thorough housecleaning. Gabriel Sherman of New York Magazine has been breaking many of the stories about Fox’s troubles. He’s the author of the definitive biography of Ailes, The Loudest Voice in the Room. Yesterday he tweeted about a rumored management shakeup at the network:

Bill Shine is currently the co-president of Fox News. He was promoted shortly after the departure of Ailes. However, many people inside and outside of Fox regard him as not just an Ailes crony, but someone who actively covered up the vile behaviors of Ailes and O’Reilly. When talk of housecleaning is heard, it is generally Shine who is the prime subject.

Enter Sean Hannity. The last remaining prime time Fox Musketeer is profoundly disturbed. Before being elevated to network management, Shine was the producer of Hannity’s program. Consequently, there is an abundance of loyalty that reaches beyond just the network’s standard cult status. Hannity replied to Sherman’s tweet saying:

Of course for many Americans concerned about the media, the end of Fox News would be a welcome event. But that’s obviously not the way Hannity sees it. Fox News has spent twenty years degrading journalism with blatantly biased right-wing propaganda. Simultaneously, they trivialized reporting as nothing more than entertainment with eye-popping graphics and presenters in short skirts. Hannity himself has done annual week-long specials on the evils of Spring Break. But they were just a convenient excuse to show videos of drunken teenagers in bikinis. Now Hannity’s last protector in the management ranks is dangling by thread. According to the Hollywood Reporter’s sources:

“Rupert Murdoch and his sons James and Lachlan, CEO and co-chairman of Fox News parent 21st Century Fox, have quietly put out feelers for a new head of Fox News. And the preference, according to two sources familiar with the Murdochs’ thinking, is that the new leader be female.”

OMG! That would be a fate worse than waterboarding to someone like Sean Hannity. Not only would he be losing a trusted superior, he would have to report to a lady boss. There aren’t very many female executives in the media business, but there are more than zero. And one obvious name would be Elisabeth Murdoch. Rupert’s daughter has already run a media company which she sold to 21st Century Fox (imagine that). But she may be a long shot to head Fox because she may have committed the ultimate sin: She was a Hillary Clinton supporter. If the Murdoch boys manage to hire a credible Female executive, the War on Women at Fox News could take a turn toward fairness and/or balance. That might apply to both the internal personnel situation, as well as the tone of their reporting.

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

So there remains the question of whether Sean Hannity would stay on at Fox News under those circumstances. He can’t be happy about Tucker Carlson moving into O’Reilly’s time period, or The Five taking the prime time spot before his. He obviously would have preferred to move to one of those spots himself. He must be thinking that his star may be fading at Fox. The younger Murdochs are reportedly not fans. Only time will tell how all of this settles out. And there may be more scandalous shoes to drop. Which begs the question: How many damn shoes do they have?

Business as Usual: Fox News Fired Bill O’Reilly for Gross Misogyny, Then Promoted Four Misogynists

It’s been about a week since Fox News sent Bill O’Reilly packing over allegations of sexual harassment. But in the aftermath of the scandal, Fox News is demonstrating that they’ve learned absolutely nothing. The schedule changes they made to fill the gap left by Bill O’Reilly’s departure perpetuate what was worst about their fallen star. Let’s take a look at the characters Fox chose to remedy their O’Reilly problem:

Fox News/Playboy

Tucker Carlson

With his relentlessly confrontational blathering, Tucker Carlson has managed to rise up the Fox News food chain. Now he has taken over the time slot that Bill O’Reilly held for two decades. But Carlson is no improvement on O’Reilly when it comes to respect for women. He recently interviewed Teen Vogue writer Lauren Duca. The discussion covered issues like Ivanka Trump’s role in the White House and Donald Trump’s efforts to “gaslight” America. But when he realized that he couldn’t outsmart her, Carlson resorted to demeaning her. He abruptly ended the interview by saying “You should stick to the thigh-high boots.” That should not be surprising coming from someone who once said that Democrats “made up the concept of sexual harassment.”

Eric Bolling

One of the smarmiest personalities on Fox News, Bolling has a long record of sexist remarks. Now the afternoon show he co-hosts, The Five, is being moved up to prime time. However, he’s staying behind to host his own new show. Bolling once derisively laughed at the notion that “Anything a guy can do, a woman can do better.” On another occasion he complained that a young girl wanting to play football was “the wussification of American men.” But he reached a plateau when reporting a story about a female pilot for the United Arab Emirates who was running bombing raids against ISIS. He denigrated her by “joking” about whether that would be considered “boobs on the ground.”

Greg Gutfeld

Gutfeld is one of the co-hosts of The Five who will stay with the program at its new prime time airing. Along with his colleague Bolling, Gutfeld insulted the UAE pilot with a tired cliche about women drivers. He said that “Problem is, after she bombed it, she couldn’t park it.” More recently, Gutfeld cracked a joke about another colleague, co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle. After she praised her dress designer and suggested he deserved a raise, Gutfeld remarked that Guilfoyle was “giving America a raise.”

Jesse Watters

Apprenticing under Bill O’Reilly for several years, Watters, also has his own weekend show. In addition to that he is taking over Bolling’s spot on The Five. As O’Reilly’s ambush reporter and stooge on the street, Watters delivered frequent segments that were either racist or sexist. He was thrown out of a National Organization for Women conference after mocking the participants. He once stalked a female reporter while she was on vacation. But this week he expanded his sexist routine by commenting on a recent appearance by Ivanka Trump.. Along with a hand gesture that implied oral sex, he said that he “really liked how she was speaking into the microphone.” Now Watters is on an unscheduled “vacation” himself, during the week that he premieres in prime time.

These are the people who Fox News selected to represent the network following the departure of Bill O’Reilly. Apparently Fox has learned nothing about why viewers and advertisers objected to O’Reilly. They appear to be committed to a corporate culture of contempt for women that has been in place for years. Carlos Maza of Vox perfectly captured this culture with a montage of Fox’s misogyny:

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

LMFAO: A New Fox News Promo for Tucker Carlson Portrays Him as a Major D*ck

Now that Bill O’Reilly has been exiled to sexual harasser’s purgatory, Fox News is pouring on the coals to heat up his replacement, Tucker Carlson. The story of Carlson’s career is one of a silver spoon elitist failing upward for years until he found a home at Fox. He has had programs canceled at PBS, CNN, and MSNBC before supplicating himself to his Fox masters.

Tucker Carlson Fox News

Fox News is clearly worried that their new prime time lineup isn’t going to hold up without O’Reilly anchoring the effort. Carlson’s record of failure continued even at Fox where he was losing to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow prior to his move into O’Reilly’s slot. So Fox put their marketing department into action to create a promotional video that they plastered all over Twitter the day after his premiere. Befitting the subject, it’s a festival of fail they call “Eight Reasons to Watch Tucker Carlson” (video below).

The video consists of eight soundbites from Carlson’s program that Fox seems to think will excite viewers into making his show appointment television. In reality, the video showcases what is most obnoxious and repellent about him. It’s a chronicle of what made his programs on other networks so unwatchable. Each clip is just a brief, but abrasive, remark that only succeeds in making Carlson look like a jerk. Let’s break down the eight reasons here:

  1. “You’re just repeating dumb liberal talking points.”
    Carlson spit this out at a Northeastern University student, Elan Axelbank, wearing a “Socialist Students” t-shirt. And the best argument that he could could muster was a vacuous insult that ignored the segment’s topic.
  2. “So much of this you don’t know. You pretend that you know, but you don’t know.”
    Carlson aimed this empty rant at Science Guy Bill Nye, a recognized expert in science and education. Those are two of the many fields about which Carlson is painfully ignorant.
  3. “If you want to make America great again, you’ve gotta make work cool again.”
    This was actually spoken by Carlson’s guest, Mike Rowe, a reality TV host of Dirty Jobs. And it manages to regurgitate Donald Trump’s airhead slogan with a Soviet style platitude intended to keep workers docile and productive.
  4. “You’re incapable of writing a clear sentence…I couldn’t understand any of them.”
    This was Carlson’s response to George Ciccariello-Maher, PhD., a Drexel University Associate Professor in the Department of Politics, Global Studies and Modern Languages. No wonder Carlson couldn’t understand him.
  5. “This is performance art. I’ve never had an interview like this in my life. Nobody’s getting anything out of this.”
    Here we see Carlson bragging that he can’t conduct an interesting interview. I’m sure his puzzled guest, Newsweek author Kurt Eichenwald, felt the same.
  6. “You have no principles…All the things you’ve been saying for the last eleven minutes are totally untrue.”
    Once again Carlson seems proud to have wasted eleven minutes of his viewers’ time. And New York University grad student Kouross Esmaeli must have been wondering what principles Carlson was demonstrating, other than being a dick.
  7. “I want to believe that the U.S. government is not secretly collecting information on me and then use it against me for political ends. That is what they have done. You’re fully aware of that.”
    Actually, Rep. Jim Hines (D-CT), was only aware that Carlson had ventured completely off the subject of Trump’s ludicrous tweet that accused President Obama of wiretapping him. Carlson had entirely ceased to address the subject, or make any sense.
  8. “The idea that people take a crackpot like you who would throw something out there with no evidence is distressing, and shame on the Huffington Post for promoting garbage. The interview is over, Alex. Done!”
    That’s how Carlson abruptly cut off his guest, Alex Mohajer of the Huffington Post, without allowing him to respond. It’s typical of Carlson’s style wherein he insults people, strays from the subject, and then kills any substantive discourse.

That’s what Fox News considers compelling television. It’s the cream of their programming crop. At Fox News mindless conflict and yelling is their idea of journalism. Although in the first promos for Carlson they posted ads on the Fox News website that labeled the show “entertainment,” not journalism. So maybe I’m expecting too much.

You’ll notice that not a single clip in the promo shows Carlson exhibiting any signs of intelligence or integrity. It’s just a montage of a bullheaded, petulant preppy lashing out like a cornered rat. Yet Fox thinks so highly of this sort of bombastic bellowing that they devoted the whole promotional video to it. They think these are affirmative reasons to watch their loathsome successor to O’Reilly. But then, in that context, Carlson seems like a good choice to follow The Factor. He should easily slide right into O’Reilly’s clown shoes.

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

Bill O’Reilly FIRED By Fox News: But the Lies and Disinformation Will Continue

BREAKING: 21st Century Fox just released a statement on Bill O’Reilly confirming that he will not be returning to the network:

“After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the Company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel.”

After twenty-one years that is the extent of the separation announcement. This breaking news draws to a conclusion a long-running drama at Fox.

Bill O'Reilly Fox News

Three weeks ago, the New York Times published a story that upended Bill O’Reilly’s career. It revealed attempts by the Fox News star and the network to cover up allegations of his sexual misconduct. Several women who had not previously been disclosed were identified as having been paid large settlements for their silence.

Since then The O’Reilly Factor has seen a mass exodus of advertisers. More than eighty have publicly stated that they will not permit their ads to be aired on his program. As a result, the board of directors at Fox News have put an end to the program.

Even before this announcement reports increasingly leaked out that O’Reilly was already doomed. The Wall Street Journal (also part of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire) reported that:

“Initially, Fox News and parent company 21st Century Fox stood by their highly-rated host … However, as advertisers fled his show, debate inside company ensued over the pros and cons of keeping Mr. O’Reilly on the air.”

Then Gabriel Sherman of New York Magazine weighed in. He has been covering the inside stories on Fox News for several years. He has reliable sources and published the definitive, unauthorized biography of the network’s former CEO Roger Ailes: The Loudest Voice in the Room. His latest article suggested correctly that “Fox News Has Decided Bill O’Reilly Has to Go.”

“The Murdochs have decided Bill O’Reilly’s 21-year run at Fox News will come to an end. According to sources briefed on the discussions, network executives are preparing to announce O’Reilly’s departure before he returns from an Italian vacation on April 24. Now the big questions are how the exit will look and who will replace him.”

Fox News will have to handle O’Reilly’s departure carefully. The network has already lost several high profile figures including disgraced ex-CEO Roger Ailes. On air personalities Megyn Kelly, Greta Van Susteren, and Gretchen Carlson have also departed recently. But O’Reilly is the highest rated host on cable news with a loyal following. Will his fans react to his termination by turning off Fox News? Or will they behave like good cultists and obediently tune in to his replacement?

Speaking of replacements, the names most often mentioned include Eric Bolling, Dana Perino, Jesse Watters, and Martha MacCallum. Tucker Carlson is also in the mix to move his current show into O’Reilly’s time period. None of these prospects have the fame or fan base that O’Reilly has. But the advantage for Fox is that their glassy-eyed viewers are glued to the network and will likely watch whatever comes on.

Fox would be wise to give extra consideration to the women on that list. Given the salacious circumstances that drove out Ailes and (perhaps) O’Reilly, it might serve as a form of redemption. But Fox also doesn’t have any minority hosts in prime time, and never has. However, none of their current staffers (Juan Williams, Harris Faulkner, Geraldo Rivera) appear to be under consideration.

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

The future for Fox News is not especially bright, but neither is it particularly dark. They have suffered some significant setbacks recently, but have a friend in high places. In that regard, Donald Trump’s support for Bill O’Reilly obviously didn’t have any effect. But when the President of the United States is calling in to Fox and Friends, and advertising the network on his Twitter feed, the news isn’t all bad. Well, except for the actual “news” as it’s practiced by Fox.

Rachel Maddow’s Brilliant Reporting on Trump and Russia Has Upset the Snowflakes at Fox News

For the past several weeks Rachel Maddow has been enjoying record ratings for her MSNBC program. Not only that, in the Key 25-to-54 demographic, Maddow is beating her direct Fox News competition, Tucker Carlson. The surge in viewers can be attributed to the “gift” of endless atrocities and absurdities courtesy of Donald Trump & Company.

Rachel Maddow Donald Trump

As a result of the program’s accelerating success, Fox News is exhibiting signs of anxiety and desperation. This week Fox News lashed out to criticize Maddow by featuring an analysis of her coverage published by The Intercept. Fox’s headline complained “Report Calls Out Just How Much Time MSNBC’s Maddow Spends on Trump & Russia.”

Oh my. We certainly can’t have that. In addition to beating Fox in the ratings she’s bringing attention to the most damaging scandal of the Trump administration. No wonder Fox is worried. It’s bad enough to be losing to a liberal network, but they’re also failing to protect their boss in the White House. A boss who regards the whole Russia thing as fake news.

The criticism that Maddow is spending too much time on Trump and Russia is ironic. It’s exactly that coverage that is propelling her ratings growth. Clearly there is an audience that’s thirsty for the truth on this subject. And Maddow is well aware of that. In a recent interview she told the Hollywood Reporter that:

“We’ve put a lot of effort into the Russia scandal and I don’t regret that, and I intend to be as aggressive as I possibly can on that story because here is a scandal that is of transcendent, historic importance and is existentially about whether or not this presidency should exist or whether it is the product of a crime.”

The article in The Intercept is actually a well researched and written examination of Maddow’s choice of topics. And reasonable readers can agree or disagree with its conclusions. While it does fault her for overdoing the Trump/Russia story, it does so from the perspective that other stories important to progressives were getting short shrift. For example immigration, the Obamacare repeal effort, and Trump’s Muslim ban.

That’s probably not the same position Fox News is coming from. After all, it’s unlikely that Fox wants Maddow to forgo Russia and spend more time on Trump’s other failures. Fox’s only interest is in bashing Maddow and taking back their ratings crown. That may be why Fox left out The Intercept’s acknowledgement that “Maddow’s focus on Russia has helped her ratings, which are at their highest level since 2008.” Or that Maddow is “A supremely gifted journalist who Vanity Fair has dubbed ‘the smartest person on TV.'”

That Fox News would cherry pick bits of this article that they could frame negatively is evidence of their nervousness. They obviously have little to support their position and are stretching for ways to disparage their competition. But linking to an article that’s largely complimentary in order to squeeze out a mild rebuke is a desperation move. Look for more of that going forward as Trump continues to be a fountain of material for Maddow and other liberal journalists. At the same time Fox is having to deal with the fall of serial sexual harasser Bill O’Reilly. The fate of the network’s star attraction is currently hanging by a thread.

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

Here’s a sample of some of the Trump/Russia coverage that Maddow has been doing so well: