OMG: The Internet Is Making People Less Human, Says Fox News ‘Psycho’ Analyst (VIDEO)

Self proclaimed “Culture Warrior” Bill O’Reilly is very concerned about the harm being done by the Internet. He devoted a segment of the O’Reilly Factor on Fox News to the question: Is the internet creating a culture of hate in the US? Well, as a veteran hate monger, he should know.

Bill O'Reilly

The segment began with O’Reilly complaining about what he called an “online addiction” suffered by eighty percent of Americans. Don’t bother looking for his support for that statistic because it apparently came from the same dark place as the rest of his dubious data. And you don’t want to go there, trust me. After setting up this premise, O’Reilly turned to his guest, “Dr.” Keith Ablow, and asked “Is hatred rising because of social media?” Ablow, a member of the Fox News Medical A-Team, responded:

“Absolutely. Bill … The Internet invites people into it anonymously. It does so via an anonymous technological filter, and therefore it short-circuits empathy. So it favors people who lack empathy, number one, and it threatens to turn just regular folks into less empathetic people as well. So it’s doing that in a two-fold way.”

Why just the other day I received an invitation from the Internet’s anonymous technological filter to short-circuit my empathy. I was too busy translating some pseudo-psychological drivel and had to decline. But no doubt some misanthropes accepted the invitation to relinquish what was left of their ability to care for others. Ablow continued:

“It’s not just through bullying. Because, after all, ISIS and the like use the Internet to recruit. Why? Why is it seemingly so easy? Because people are depersonalized and dehumanized by the Internet. “

Any opportunity to inject ISIS into a discussion on Fox News is mandatory according to the network’s employee contracts. Even if it has nothing to do with the subject at hand. What Ablow leaves out of his analysis is that terrorists are not the only ones using the Internet for recruiting. It is also being used McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, and the U.S. Army. All good examples of organizations seeking fresh, dehumanized candidates to join their zombie operations.

Another guest on the program was Dr. Paul Booth of DePaul University. He made the rational observation that hatred has always existed in society and the Internet didn’t create it. But O’Reilly would have none of that common sense crap. He quickly deflected to whining that “vicious people” online were the problem because “there’s no regulation. They can’t stop it.” He didn’t reveal who should be responsible for stopping it or by what means. But Ablow heartily agreed:

“They can’t stop it. And respectfully, what Dr. Booth misses is that there’s plenty of data suggesting that people who use social media more suffer psychological problems more. And one of them is a decrease in empathy and a lack of connectedness. Remember, the Internet cut its teeth on adult entertainment. The lack of humanity has been built in from the beginning. This coaxes people to be less human.”

Ablow is getting awfully worked up about empathy for a guy who literally argued that “Donald Trump’s Narcissism Is Exactly What America Needs.” A real doctor would know that among the symptoms of narcissism is a lack of empathy. Why he brings porn into the mix is another of his curious theories. Or, perhaps, obsessions?

More to the point, Ablow’s contention that a “lack of humanity” was built into the Internet from the beginning is just plain delusional. Its actual beginnings (i.e. teeth cutting) were with defense contractors and academics. It then expanded to communications, gaming, commerce, and, yes, porn. Coaxing people to be less human was never on the agenda. Then Ablow drops this psychobabble:

“There isn’t a person alive who’s more human because they used the Internet or social media more. It’s psychologically impossible for that to be the case.”

Huh? What makes a person more human? Is there a person alive who’s more human because they used television or chiropractors or Prozac? If you’re only 81 percent human now, what’s the other 19 percent? Yorkshire Terrier? Ablow is making no sense at all. He is literally blabbering gibberish. Which was the perfect segue into O’Reilly’s summation:

“My main point is this. That there’s so much garbage on it. And that garbage finds its way out into the legitimate media. […] And now we’re having mainstream media quote this stuff. It’s all “Don’t blame me. I saw it on social media.” I mean it’s like nobody’s safe. Who’s safe?”

Bill O’Reilly is condemning the whole reason for Fox News’ existence: Putting out garbage that finds its way out into the legitimate media. What’s more, he just threw Donald Trump under the bus for using the “Don’t blame me. I saw it on social media” defense. After being called out on Meet the Press for posting a hoax video on twitter, Trump admitted that “All I know is what’s on the Internet.” And taking it to the next level is Trump fluffer Rudy Giuliani, who advised Fox News viewers to use the Internet to look up videos about Hillary Clinton’s precarious health. Because that’s where all the best medical diagnoses by whackoids like Alex Jones and Drudge are published.

Since you’re probably reading this on the Internet, be careful to shield yourself from the empathy-draining rays emanating from the screen. You are likely becoming less human even as you read this sentence. That’s if you haven’t already soured on humanity after listening to O’Reilly and Ablow. But if you hope to survive, the only known protection from the Internet’s evil influence is heavy duty tin foil and, yes, porn. Good luck.

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

Can Fox News, ‘A Playboy Mansion-Like Cult’, Cover Hillary’s Historic Run Fairly?

The wires are burning up this morning as another lawsuit is filed against serial sexual harasser Roger Ailes. You recall that Ailes was ousted as Fox News CEO after Gretchen Carlson, and a couple dozen other women, leveled charges against him.

Fox News/Playboy

The new suit was filed by Andrea Tantaros, the absent co-host of Fox’s Outnumbered. She alleges that Ailes engaged in repeated instances of sexual harassment, and that her complaints were ignored or belittled. Buzzfeed’s report on this contained a colorfully worded statement from Tantaros’ attorney:

“In the lawsuit, Tantaros’s attorney Judd Burstein describes Fox News as a ‘a sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult, steeped in intimidation, indecency, and misogyny’ and describes Ailes as a ‘sexual predator’ who ‘did not act alone.’ Tantaros alleges Ailes retaliated against her for rebuffing his advances by removing her from The Five and ordering the Fox News media relations department to turn against her.”

There have been many observations that Fox News has all the markings of a cult, including one by this author ( see: Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance). But a “sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult” is even more troubling than your standard, garden variety cult.

In addition to Ailes, Tantaros identified several other Fox big wigs who “made unwanted sexual comments or advances” toward her. They include Fox’s biggest star, Bill O’Reilly, as well as senior national correspondent John Roberts. Former Sen. Scott Brown and former Superman Dean Cain, both Fox contributors, were also named, but not cited as defendants.

Efforts to stop the inappropriate behavior were met with indifference by Fox News management. Particularly executive VP Bill Shine. According to the lawsuit Shine dismissed Tantaros, warning that Ailes was a powerful man and that she needed to “let this one go.” Shine was later promoted to co-president of Fox News after Ailes was terminated.

The blatant discrimination against women by Fox in their workplace is reflected in their election coverage. Even Megyn Kelly has had to admonish her colleagues on the air when they demonstrated insensitivity to women’s issues. That sort of prejudice taints the network in a year when the leading candidate for president happens to be a woman.

Already there have been distinctly misogynistic reports from Fox during the campaign. No candidate other than Clinton has been chastised for fashion faux pas, tone of voice, or physical stamina. And her critics on Fox have also railed against the alleged use of the fabled “Woman’s Card” in her policy positions. A male candidate would not have been similarly attacked for supporting Planned Parenthood or child care.

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

Descriptions of Fox News as “a sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult” make it difficult not to notice how it impacts coverage of Hillary Clinton. After all, she is the first female nominee of a major party to be president of the United States. There is no question that any Democratic candidate would be on the receiving end of Fox’s vitriolic political biases. However, Clinton’s gender is not an insignificant factor and is clearly playing a role in Fox’s coverage. Every viewer needs to keep in mind the heinous activities that go on behind the scenes at Fox News. Because it cannot be separated from the insulting remarks and story angles that actually make it to the air.

Huuuge Coward Donald Trump Ducking All TV News Shows – Except His Pals On Fox News

As Donald Trump will be first to tell you, everything he does is BIG, tremendous, the best, and everyone else pales in comparison to his self-exalting greatness. Apparently, that also applies to his awesome display of cowardice with respect to his recent media appearances.

Donald Trump Chicken

Howard Kurtz is the media correspondent on Fox News and host of MediaBuzz. His commentaries generally comply with the standard Fox requirement of reverence for Donald Trump and knee-jerk Republicanism (for example). But he just published an article for the Fox News website that actually reveals some useful information about the monster that Fox created:

KURTZ: Donald Trump, in a sharp shift in strategy, is now refusing to appear on many television outlets, and top advisers who want to limit his exposure are no longer notifying him of every interview request.

According to sources familiar with the campaign, one faction is worried that the constant rounds of interviews entail too much risk of the candidate making mistakes or fanning minor controversies

There are two startling revelations in those opening paragraphs. First, Trump’s handlers are admitting that he is a gaffe machine and is not competent to speak in public without adult supervision. Secondly, his babysitters have apparently staged a coup and are taking on greater power within the campaign, even to the degree of keeping Trump in the dark and making decisions that deliberately shun his participation. Imagine how horribly that weakness would play out in the Oval Office.

Kurtz notes that Trump has abstained from all appearances on news networks that are deemed to be unfriendly. And since he has broadly tarred the press as vile scum, that doesn’t leave much. He has not consented to an interview on CNN since June 13, or on MSNBC since May 20. However, in that same time frame he has appeared eighteen times on Fox News, mostly with his close personal friends Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and the curvy couch potatoes of Fox & Friends.

Additionally, Trump has shied away from the Sunday morning talkers that he used to at least call into on a regular basis. His absence on those programs may be due in part to the fact that some of them will not allow him to phone it in anymore. That includes Fox News Sunday where he has not been a guest since April 3. Host Chris Wallace was one of the first to publicly refuse to take Trump’s calls on the air.

It’s reflective of Trump’s character that he is too frightened to face journalists who might be less than adoring. He cannot engage in a substantive dialog on any of the pressing issues of the day because he is too ignorant and refuses to do the necessary study. Consequently, he sticks to sweeping generalities like “build a wall,” “kill the terrorists,” and “make America great again.” He never provides any details on how he would achieve any of those goals, and answering questions from reporters about them only exposes his shallow grasp of a complex world.

In some respects it would seem obvious that Trump is left with only Fox News as the foundation of the media strategy for his campaign. But let’s not forget that he has attacked Fox with some of the same ferocity as he has other networks. He withdrew from one of the Fox News GOP primary debates due to his fear of and revulsion for host and moderator Megyn Kelly. He even supported a boycott of Fox News and tweeted:

That didn’t last long. Trump was on the O’Reilly show later that night. Which is proof that he does not have the courage of his convictions, particularly when his needs are at stake. He is exhibiting personal characteristics that should make every voter nervous about a Trump presidency. He is cowardly, selfish, incurious, fickle, and conceited bigly.

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

These are not traits that would contribute to successful negotiations with foreign leaders or even here at home in Congress. Trump’s fear of the press and need to be coddled by sycophants, combined with his lust for power and insistence on blind loyalty, are the makings of the worst kind of tyrant: one that is ill-informed, addicted to praise, and susceptible to manipulation by his intellectual superiors (i.e. anyone not Sarah Palin).

Gretchen Carlson Sues Fox News CEO Roger Ailes For Sexual Harassment, More Women Coming Forward

If anyone was wondering where Fox News host Gretchen Carlson has been for the past few weeks, the mystery has now been solved. Without any public notice or explanation she was fired last month and removed from the air. Now the reasons have been made clear. According to The Hollywood Reporter

“Gretchen Carlson, a broadcast veteran, claims in a sexual harassment lawsuit that she was let go from Fox News on June 23 as retaliation for rebuffing Roger Ailes’ sexual advances.”

Fox News

Carlson is alleging both sexual harassment by Ailes and retaliation for reporting discriminatory behavior prior to that by her Fox colleagues. Her complaint says in part that…

“When Carlson met with Ailes to discuss the discriminatory treatment to which she was being subjected, Ailes stated: ‘I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago and then you’d be good and better and I’d be good and better,’ adding that ‘sometimes problems are easier to solve’ that way. Carlson rebuffed Ailes’ sexual demands at that meeting, and nine months later, Ailes ended her career at Fox News.”

Carlson had been with Fox News for eleven years and was hosting her own daytime program “The Real Story” which was number one in its time period. She was previously a co-host on Fox & Friends where she says was subjected to “severe and pervasive sexual harassment” from her co-host Steve Doocy. The Hollywood Reporter notes that…

“In 2009, Carlson says she complained to a supervisor that Steve Doocy, one of her co-hosts on Fox & Friends, ‘had created a hostile work environment by regularly treating her in a sexist and condescending way, including by putting his hand on her and pulling down her arm to shush her during a live telecast..”

It was in response to those and other incidents that Carlson met with Ailes in September of 2015. Carlson alleges that her complaints were not taken seriously at that meeting and she was further harassed by Ailes with more explicit demands for sex. After her refusal she charges that she was punished with a cut in salary and other retaliatory measures including slashing her appearances on the network, and being denied social media and public relations support.

Roger Ailes has a long history of exploiting sex in the workplace. He has required his female anchors and contributors to wear revealing clothing and engage in other provocative on-air behaviors. Gabriel Sherman wrote in his biography of Ailes, “The Loudest Voice In The Room,” that Ailes has repeatedly given 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 was told by knowledgeable sources about the Fox News “Leg Cam” that “goes directly for the legs.” And when 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 wears those low-cut blouses. O’Reilly has had his own problems in this area. A few years ago he paid a multi-million dollar settlement to his former producer, Andrea Mackris, for sexual harassment. Also, when Gretchen Carlson was tapped to replace Megyn Kelly in daytime, she revealed that “pants were not allowed on Fox & Friends,” and teased viewers with the prospect that on her new show “I might forget my clothes the first day.”

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

Additionally, there is another mystery surrounding a different female host at Fox News. Andrea Tantaros was a regular member of the panel on Fox’s “Outnumbered.” She disappeared in April with the only explanation being that it was “a contract issue.” While there were incidents of sexually improper conduct with regard to Tantaros as noted above, there is no evidence at this time that her departure is related to that.

It remains to seen if Roger Ailes will be held accountable for what appears to be a pattern of inappropriate and unprofessional behavior. But this complaint is a major breakthrough that took courage for Carlson to file and is likely to result in further revelations. The male-dominated culture at Fox News, conspicuously known for its abundance of blondes, could produce many more examples of sexist conduct and discrimination. We may just be at the tip of the iceberg.

UPDATE: CNN’s Brian Stelter is reporting that “In the hours since the lawsuit was announced, ‘at least ten’ other women have contacted the law firm, wanting to speak about Ailes’ treatment, according to a spokesman for the firm.” That didn’t take long.

Fox News Just Gift-Wrapped Their Primetime Schedule And Gave It To Donald Trump

It won’t surprise anyone to learn that Fox News has jumped aboard the Donald Trump bandwagon in a big way. His most ardent supporters are featured regularly to exalt the presumptuous Republican presidential nominee. Those supporters include the anchors of Fox’s most watched programs in primetime.

Trump News Channel

This past week Fox News handed over its primetime schedule to hour-long specials dedicated to Trump. Every single program set aside all other news stories for an episode of fluffing their favorite candidate. This is unprecedented even for Fox. It comes just a week after the chairman of the Fox News empire, Rupert Murdoch, was reported to have embraced Trump’s candidacy. New York Magazine’s veteran Fox-watcher, Gabriel Sherman, revealed that…

“According to a half dozen sources familiar with Murdoch’s thinking, the media mogul has signaled he plans to fully back Trump in the general election against Hillary Clinton.”

So it’s no coincidence that the following week Fox’s schedule is littered with packaged profiles of Trump that add nothing to the viewer’s store of knowledge or ability to make an informed decision. Here is what Fox’s primetime offered up last week as a gift to Donald Trump:

Greta Van Susteren’s “Meet The Trump’s”

Van Susteren devoted the whole hour of her show to interviews with Trump’s family, She spent the most time with his wife Melania whose relentless praise was reminiscent of victims of Stockholm Syndrome. She even said that she and Donald never argue. Does that sound like a normal marriage or a paid campaign infomercial?

Megyn Kelly’s Donald Trump File

This episode of the Kelly File was partly a rebroadcast of “Megyn Kelly Presents,” the widely panned special that aired on the Fox Entertainment Network. There was some additional footage included that was left out of the original broadcast and, having seen it, Kelly was right to have cut it in the first place. It contained nothing new or interesting.

Bill O’Reilly’s “The Trump Phenomenon”

Not wanting to be left out, O’Reilly cobbled together a bunch of old interviews and presented them as a package for any of his viewers who haven’t seen enough of Donald Trump on television lately. O’Reilly and Trump are old pals and the interviews are a tribute to the sort of softball journalism that you would expect between friends.

And Then There’s Sean Hannity

To his credit, Hannity is the only one of the four primetime hosts who actually bothered to deliver a significant amount of new material featuring Trump. Of course it was substantially the same as everything that Hannity has delivered in the past. He has the distinction of having provided Trump with more airtime than any other program on Television (over 17 hours). To illustrate how much time that is, Fox & Friends came in second with less than half that amount.

Since Trump just surpassed the number of delegates necessary to clinch the GOP nomination, we can expect much more of this hero worship from the folks at Fox News as the general election unfolds. The network that has been pretending to be “fair and balanced” for the past twenty years is wholly engaged in their mission to smear Hillary Clinton and elect Donald Trump.

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

While Clinton has not made herself available to Fox with much frequency (she did appear on Fox News Sunday recently), there is nothing stopping them assembling a packaged piece like these ones that they did for Trump. And maybe that’s for the best because, if they did, they would likely accuse her of blowing up the Hindenburg or assassinating Lincoln.

Bill O’Reilly Says A “Good Protest” Should Be Non-Violent – Like The Boston Tea Party

Bill O’Reilly is very upset about what he asserts is escalating violence at political events. And as usual, he blames it all on out-of-control liberals who are terrorizing the nation. Yes, liberals – you know, the people who are always advocating for peace, oppose the proliferation of guns, and look down on the use of physical hostility as a means of conflict resolution. Those liberals.

However, nowhere in his tirade does O’Reilly acknowledge that most of the violence at political events this year has been perpetrated by supporters of Donald Trump inside his own rallies. Nor does he mention that Trump himself has encouraged the violence and even offered to pay for the legal defense of those who engage in it. Furthermore, Trump has also virtually solicited his supporters to riot if he is not given the Republican nomination at the GOP convention in July.

Bill O'Reilly

But O’Reilly isn’t against protest in principle, and to drive home that message he brings up an historical example of what he regards as the proper way to engage in peaceful protest: The Boston Tea Party. That’s right, O’Reilly leads off his commentary by saying “Protesting can be a good thing, think of the Boston Tea Party. But it’s how you do it.” So apparently O’Reilly thinks that the way to be a good protester is to dress up in disguises that will implicate other innocent people for your crimes, trespass on the property of your opponents in the dead of night, and destroy a million dollars worth of their products. Can you imagine O’Reilly’s reaction if somebody actually did that today?

That was the introduction to O’Reilly’s rant about how “far left violence is out of control in America,” and how liberals are responsible for it, but as for supporters of his BFF “Certainly some voting for Donald Trump are protesting, but they are using the ballot.” To make matters worse, O’Reilly talked about the point at which “a political movement becomes destructive,” and used as an example an incident at an after-party following the White House Correspondents Dinner. O’Reilly’s characterization of the affair cast the Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim as “a far left zealot who hectored” O’Reilly’s stalker/producer, Jesse Watters, and “provoked a physical confrontation.”

After spending the next few minutes defending himself against charges that he blamed a rape and murder victim for the attack that she suffered, which he did (see the Amanda Terkel link below), O’Reilly returned to the WHCD after-party skirmish and whined that “this Grim character had no business bothering Jesse Watters about anything, but that is what the far left does.”

Seriously? Bill O’Reilly is complaining that it’s the left that bothers people by citing what happened to his own henchman who is best known for bothering people with his disgraceful ambush attacks. He further alleges that it was Grim who provoked the confrontation by simply doing what Watters does for a living. And if O’Reilly’s desperate obliviousness to the historical record of his own program isn’t bad enough, Watters himself joined in saying…

“I was just at this party trying to enjoy myself. This guy comes up to me with a camera phone. I don’t even know who this guy is. He starts putting it my face. I was friendly at first. And he started getting a little obnoxious and, you know, things happened.”

Watters is literally outlining his own tactics that he uses to ambush others. He approaches them with a camera, fails to identify himself, gets in their face, and acts obnoxious. And he doesn’t even realize what he’s saying or how well he’s describing himself. O’Reilly then asked Watters to confirm that he never hit Grim and Watters said that he hadn’t, but he failed to say that he grabbed Grim’s cell phone and threw it across the room and when Grim retrieved it and continued with the video, Watters grabbed the phone again, put it in his pocket, and refused to return it. That assault and theft is what provoked the confrontation.

Notice that none of the nonsense that O’Reilly and Watters spewed had anything to do with an actual protest. It was a personal encounter at a party for elites that went wrong. In reality, O’Reilly’s protest diatribe was just an excuse for him to bring up the incident with Watters, defend his boorish behavior, and bash Grim for the crime of giving Watters a taste of his own toxic medicine, which Watters clearly couldn’t handle. In other words, it was a lame attempt at self-promotion and rationalization of flagrant assholishness. Well, to be fair, that’s pretty much the content of every O’Reilly program.

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

Here is an account of the WHCD after-party by the victim of Watters’ stalking, Huffington Post writer Amanda Terkel. And here also is the video that Ryan Grim took of Watters assaulting him:

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.

Fox News Slams Donald Trump For His “Sick Obsession” With Megyn Kelly

Seven months ago Donald Trump was a participant in the first Republican primary debate on Fox News. He was treated exactly the same as every other candidate, but his reaction was unique in a way that has come to exemplify his trademark bluster and vulgarity. Since then Trump has engaged in a non-stop assault on Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, whom he accused of being unfair by asking him to account for his own words.

Donald Trump Megyn Kelly

In all the time that has gone by, Fox News barely said a thing about Trump’s contemptuous ranting. Today, however, Fox News appears to have had enough. Their turning point came after Trump posted another in his series of caustic tweets bashing Megyn Kelly. In the past few days he has taken to branding the Fox host as “Crazy Megyn,” belittling her as “highly over-rated,” and calling her program “unwatrchable.” And then he unleashed this direct attack aimed at Kelly and Fox’s most treasured asset, their audience:

“Everybody should boycott the @megynkelly show. Never worth watching. Always a hit on Trump! She is sick, & the most overrated person on tv.”

For some reason, after eight months of acrimony and bile that was an entirely one-sided feud by an irrationally enraged Trump, Fox News decided to fight back. They issued the following statement in a belated defense of their star anchor:

“Donald Trump’s vitriolic attacks against Megyn Kelly and his extreme, sick obsession with her is beneath the dignity of a presidential candidate who wants to occupy the highest office in the land. Megyn is an exemplary journalist and one of the leading anchors in America — we’re extremely proud of her phenomenal work and continue to fully support her throughout every day of Trump’s endless barrage of crude and sexist verbal assaults. As the mother of three young children, with a successful law career and the second highest rated show in cable news, it’s especially deplorable for her to be repeatedly abused just for doing her job.”

For Fox News to finally notice that Donald Trump’s juvenile antics are “beneath the dignity of a presidential candidate” is something of a revelation for them. Apparently slandering all Mexicans as rapists and criminals, mocking a reporter with a physical disability, embracing the support of white supremacists, proposing to ban all Muslims from entering the U.S., encouraging violence at his rallies, repeatedly swearing in public, and most recently floating the idea of his rabid legion of disciples rioting at the Republican convention if he isn’t crowned as the party’s nominee – apparently all of that wasn’t sufficient for Fox to recognize Trump’s total lack of anything resembling dignity. Maybe they were still waiting for him to fulfill his promise to “act presidential.” Good luck with that.

This isn’t the first time that Trump has advocated boycotting Kelly’s show or even the Fox Network completely. And it certainly wasn’t the first time that he had insulted Kelly in the most sexist terms. He has called her a “bimbo” and complained that her demeanor at the GOP debate was due to her menstrual cycle saying that “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her … wherever.” The entirety of his tirades against Kelly seemed to have stemmed from that debate where she questioned him about his proclivity for hurling misogynistic insults at any women who dared to be less than deferential to him. It’s a grudge he has held onto tenaciously despite the fact that she never responded in kind.

So why did Fox suddenly come to Kelly’s aid after eight months of abuse from Trump? One possible reason is his decision to skip the next Fox News GOP debate (for the second time), which resulted in its cancellation. That will cost Fox a small fortune. More likely, though, it’s that Kelly recently complained to More Magazine that “I do wish that O’Reilly had defended me more in his interview with Trump.” She was referring to an episode of the O’Reilly Factor where Trump told O’Reilly that he had “zero respect” for Kelly, and O’Reilly just continued sucking up to Trump without offering any support to his network colleague. Perhaps that complaint filtered up to the executive suites and touched the withered heart of Fox CEO and cult leader Roger Ailes, who sent word down to his PR flacks to start backing her up. He has a lot invested in her and her show, which is the second highest rated program on Fox.

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

In any case, it’s fun to see Fox News, the media equivalent of the Republican Party Pravda, calling out the Republican’s front-runner for the nomination to run for president, as “crude and sexist” with a “sick obsession.” Does this mean that they will cease to give him millions of dollars more in free airtime (beyond the $30 million they’ve given him so far)? Does it mean they will hold him accountable for the plethora of blatant lies he’s told in his quest to be America’s dictator (see the Trump Bullshitopedia)? Don’t bet on it. Fox is still more concerned with advancing an extreme rightist agenda while raking in piles of cash from advertisers hooked on their ill-gotten ratings. Consequently, this bone they’ve thrown to Kelly will not likely alter the propaganda path they’ve trod for the last twenty years.

Watch Seth Meyers Hilariously Skewer The GOP’s Voter Suppression Campaign

Seth Meyers is proving to be one of the smartest and funniest of the late-night, political comedians. He has taken his mock-news anchor persona from Saturday Night Live and made it a central feature of his NBC Late, Late Show. And last night’s outing is one of the best examples of why it’s working so well.

Seth Meyers

Meyers “A Closer Look” segment took on the subject of voter ID (video below) with the opening premise that “Voting levels in the U.S. are already among the lowest in the industrialized world,” with slightly more than half of eligible Americans participating in the democratic process. That compares to some other democracies like Sweden where the participation rate is over eighty percent.

The problem, as Meyers sees it, is that rather than trying to improve things many states are passing laws that make it “harder, not easier” to vote. It is not coincidental that those states are run by Republican governors and/or legislatures that have clear partisan agendas. And the impact of these laws can result in the difference “between President Hillary Clinton and glorious beloved leader, Donald Trump, all praise to him and his magnificent hands.”

The segment spelled out how these laws specifically make it harder for low-income residents and people of color to obtain the newly required photo IDs. He cited as an example a 94 year old North Carolina woman who was put through an absurd obstacle course that included ten trips to the DMV and over 200 miles of commuting. All of this to allegedly prevent a suspicious nonagenarian from scamming a North Carolinian whistle-stop out of a single vote.

Meyers correctly observes that the only fraud associated with the anti-voting laws is the purported reason for their existence. The law’s defenders say they are trying to stop voter impersonation – a crime that nobody is committing. Enacting laws to prohibit crimes that aren’t occurring is, as Meyers said, like saying “We’re not sure you’re gonna be on The Batchelor, but you should start taking Valtrex anyway.” Had the law been in effect since 2000 it would have prevented thirty-one possibly improper voters out of more than two billion cast. However, at the same time, it would have kept hundreds of thousands of legitimate voters from casting ballots.

In one particularly egregious example of voter disenfranchisement, Meyers cited an Alabama law that resulted in the closure of DMV offices in mostly rural counties. The secretary of state promised that he would offset that loss of access by dispatching a mobile unit to provide IDs and register the estimated 250,000 voters that didn’t have the IDs made necessary by the new law. He said that the mobile unit would be sent to festivals, schools, churches, and even Walmarts. But when asked how many IDs the unit issued last year he answered, “only twenty-nine.” Out of 250,000. To which Meyers quipped that the unit must actually have been sent to empty lots, swamps, abandoned mineshafts, and Radio Shacks.

The issue of voter suppression is one that is too often ignored by the so-called liberal media. But it is one of the most harmful initiatives being carried out by conservative politicians with the support of right-wing media. Fox News, of course, is leading the way in promoting the false narrative of imaginary voter fraud. For instance, Bill O’Reilly has been fear mongering for years that lax rules for registration are threatening to let “illegal aliens” take over the country. It’s a lie that he and others at Fox are continuing to push on their dimwitted cult of viewers.

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

Donald Trump Defenders Freak Out, Blame MoveOn.org And George Soros For Protests

The increasing incidences of violence at rallies for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump are unambiguously incited by Trump’s own rancid rhetoric and open encouragement of hostility. No one can reasonably deny that Trump’s vocal approval of punching protesters in the face or carrying them out on stretchers doesn’t have an effect on his already enraged minions.

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Nevertheless, the Trump Defense League is in full denial mode as they seek to absolve their Dear Leader of any responsibility for the ruckus that occurs only where Trump treads. They argue that the protesters are a conspiratorial lot that have been assembled by leftist overlords for the purpose of destroying The Donald’s crusade to make America hate again.

At the top of the list of puppet masters is the nefarious MoveOn.org. The Trump Defenders are convinced that MoveOn is orchestrating every one of the individuals who separately engage in acts of dissent at Trump’s rallies across the country. Sean Hannity is among the MoveOn accusers saying that their “liberal fascism” is behind a campaign to “silence any voice that liberals disagree with.” Hannity’s Fox News comrade Bill O’Reilly is also on the anti-MoveOn bandwagon saying that they are “far-left agitators who do not believe in freedom of speech.”

On Fox & Friends they hosted rightist crackpot Wayne Allen Root who tarred Trump’s hecklers as “leftist radicals, most of them paid protesters by MoveOn.org.” Also on the program was Peter Johnson, Jr, Roger’s Ailes’ personal attorney, who described MoveOn as sowing “the seeds of terror.” Trump’s own spokesperson, Katrina Pierson, charged MoveOn with initiating the violence saying that “They go into these Trump rallies and they start swinging and kicking.” And Trump surrogate Sarah Palin colorfully insulted the protesting as “punk ass little thuggery stuff.”

What almost all of these critics added to their harangues was that MoveOn is not just some obscure band of subversives. No, it is a cog in an evil plot managed by a notorious super-villain. And fortunately they have one with an unsettling Hungarian accent and a few billion dollars to finance his dastardly schemes. That’s right, it’s George Soros and he’s back. Whenever the right needs to manufacture a nebulous and all-consuming dread, it trots out the specter of Soros.

In the ensuing frenzy of indictments of MoveOn as the right’s imaginary architect of acrimony, virtually every conservative media reference to them is prepended with the Soros label. If you didn’t know better you might come away thinking that the full, official name of the activist organization is “the Soros-funded MoveOn.org.” However, that’s an indicator of just how obsessed the right is with dangling Soros’ name to frighten their dimwitted throngs. Because if any of them were interested in reality they could easily look up the facts and discover that, while Soros did make sizable donations to MoveOn in the past (about $2.5 million), he has not done so since 2004. Apparently twelve years is not enough time for conservatives at Fox News and elsewhere to retire the “Soros-funded” branding.

As another example of the right’s fetish, the wingnut rag, Daily Caller (which is run by Fox’s Tucker Carlson) posted a bombshell exclusive that heralded their discovery that a Soros “associate” had contributed $200,000 to Gov. John Kasich’s presidential super PAC. That article was intended by the uber-rightist Daily Caller to stigmatize the comparatively moderate Kasich as the left’s favorite Republican. However, the Soros associate identified in the piece was Scott Bessent, a longtime Republican donor who has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to GOP candidates, PACs, and party committees. His donation to Kasich’s campaign was from personal funds and had nothing to do with George Soros. But that didn’t stop much of the wingnut mediasphere from blasting out headlines about Soros bankrolling Kasich.

This is emblematic of the mindset of the right that needs cartoonish demons to invoke the horror of an amorphous liberal threat. They need to be frightened into mobilizing against a monstrous enemy that will thrust the world into chaos and oblivion. How many times have you heard the right swear that Obama’s election, or reelection, or ObamaCare, or Climate Change mitigation, or immigration, or [fill in the scary blank], would doom America and the world to extinction? So rather than recognize the glaring evidence of Trump’s incitation to riot, right-wingers point their bony fingers to George Soros, or Saul Alinsky, or ACORN, or Barack Obama, or the armies of gay-married, Muslims on food stamps who are coming for your guns and fossil fuels. Be AFRAID!

Not to be left out, the Fox News community website, Fox Nation, joined in with a post linked to the “Moonie” Washington Times that feverishly proclaimed “Moveon.Org Raising Funds from Trump Protests, Warns More Disruptions to Come.” The article alleges a frightful conspiracy that is really nothing more than the standard fundraising of a non-profit group that is asking for three bucks to continue their public service activities. There is nothing in it that even remotely implies advocating any form of physical harm to persons or property. To the contrary, MoveOn is, and always has been, committed to peaceful dissent. And their current anti-Trump campaign is no different. Contrast that with the Fox Nation audience that has once again demonstrated their vile racism and embrace of volence (see The Collected Hate Speech Of The Fox News Community).

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

Fox Nation