Fox News Anchor Pitches ‘Fair And Balanced’ Nonsense To Stephen Colbert

There is a measure of self-delusion that infects the natives at Fox News and prevents them from making the most obvious appraisals of reality. What else could explain why, after twenty years of shoveling right-wing propaganda down the throats of American cable news viewers, the network’s anchors persist in pushing the absurdity that Fox engages in anything resembling journalism?

Fox News

The host of Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace, appeared on Late Night with Stephen Colbert last night (video below) and once again demonstrated an acute case of a personality disorder that obstructs him from recognizing the truth about himself and his job. Colbert asked him what ought to have been a simple question, but he was unable to answer accurately or honestly.

Colbert: Rightly or wrongly Fox News is generally perceived to be the Republican news network. I know Fox News Sunday is on Fox Broadcasting, but you’re also on Fox News Channel. Do you think it’s fair to call Fox News a conservative broadcasting network?
Wallace: No. Look, there are obviously, in prime time, there are some shows, the opinion shows — Hannity, O’Reilly — that are conservative, no question about it. But we think that there’s a firewall between the opinion shows and hard news.

Wallace is continuing to advance the fallacy that only a couple of shows in primetime have partisan agendas, and everything else is straight up, unbiased reporting. He actually uses the phrase “We commit journalism every day,” as if it were a crime. You have to wonder if he is just deliberately lying or if he has ever watched the network.

There are three hours every morning that are hosted by folks like Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade, Tucker Carlson, Anna Kooiman, etc., who are rabidly right-wing and viciously anti-Democrat. They regularly feature such ultra-conservative guests as Andrew Napolitano, Rudy Giuliani, John Bolton, and Donald Trump had a scheduled Monday morning segment for several years.

That’s followed by Outnumbered, a program name meant to refer to the four female hosts who invite a single male guest. But it really refers to the whole panel generally being comprised of only conservatives (with an occasional pseudo-liberal punching bag). Then there is the Real Story with Gretchen Carlson, who was promoted to that slot from her prior seat on the Fox & Friends curvy couch. A little later in the day is Your World with Neil Cavuto. It would be interesting to see if Wallace thinks that Cavuto is a neutral journalist as he berates and interrupts his liberal guests and cozies up to wingnut Republicans from Congress and business. After Cavuto is The Five, a program hosted by four hard-core right-wingers and one rotating Fox version of a lefty.

That’s seven hours of daytime programming that is unambiguously conservative. So where Wallace gets the notion that it’s only in primetime that opinions are expressed is a mystery. But he is insistent that his network trades in legitimate journalism. He went to have this exchange with Colbert:

Colbert: So there’s no sense of chaos as to what the unified message would be, or the narrative that’s being created by the network. There’s never any sense of like, this is what we’re gonna be talking about today or this is the take we’re gonna have on a story?
Wallace: I know there’s this narrative out there that there’s this talking points we have to all follow. It’s bull.

Of course, the truth has long been known that Fox CEO Roger Ailes distributes a “morning memo” everyday that does exactly what Colbert said with regard to a unified message. It would almost be worse if there weren’t. Because that would mean that everybody on the network just spontaneously said all the same things, with the same spin, without any coordination. It would mean they were all manufactured on the same assembly line of right-wing mouthpieces with the same hate-speech chips inserted.

That’s a pretty scary thought. But no scarier than the fact that Fox News just happened to have created conservative stalwarts like Donald Trump, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, and many other others. Have they ever launched a liberal icon of the sort? Of course not, and that isn’t an accident. So Wallace might want to watch a few hours of Fox and see if he can plausibly defend the network and its obvious rightward bent.

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

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

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

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

Donald Trump

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Acting Presidential? Donald Trump Says He Might Start “Pretty Soon”

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

Donald Trump Insult Comic

That question was just asked again to Trump directly by Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace. On yesterday’s program he broached the subject in an exchange that may be the first of its kind in American politics.

Wallace: Do you think you need to tone it down, do you think, as you become the frontrunner for the nomination, to act more presidential?
Trump: Well, probably I do.
Wallace: So, when are you going start?
Trump: Well, pretty soon.

The first notable concession in that response is that Trump himself is admitting that he is not currently acting presidential. Clearly, if he intends to start doing so at some future time, he isn’t doing so now. Secondly, Trump believes that presidential demeanor is something that you turn on and off at specified times that he has not bothered to specify. Therefore, he thinks it’s appropriate to act like a crass and boorish buffoon, as he has been doing throughout his campaign thus far. And finally, Trump didn’t really answer the question. Like he does with virtually every question he is asked, he skirted the issue with a vague non-response. By saying “pretty soon,” he has left it wide open for when he will act presidential. It could be next week (unlikely), or well into his administration (unthinkable).

Also notable is the framing of this question. To Donald Trump the matter of conducting oneself with a diplomatic bearing is just an “acting” job. He doesn’t believe that it is an element of one’s character. To him it is just an extension of his comportment as a television personality who plays whatever role advances his interests at the time. And diplomatic correctness is just an obstacle to overcome like political correctness, which he uses as an all-purpose justification for being an asshole.

Trump is someone who can be expected to demean and insult virtually everyone he encounters, particularly those with whom he disagrees. He has already insulted African-Americans, Latinos, women, Muslims, and the disabled. And many of his victims are people on his own side. He has called his GOP colleagues “losers, weaklings, liars, and pussies.” He commonly refers to the press as dishonest and aligned against him. That includes Fox News that, after essentially creating the Trump candidacy and giving him far more airtime than any other candidate, he lambastes them as biased and calls their anchors hacks and bimbos.

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

Just imagine how Trump would deal with Congress, citizen groups, and foreign heads of state. It would not be merely embarrassing, it would be dangerous. He has already alienated China and Mexico, two of our most important trading partners, with his bombastic attacks. It’s just a matter of time before he insults every ally America has. And yet he still appeals to a significant segment of the Republican Party. They appear ready to nominate this contemptible wannabe dictator. And if anyone were to ask when they might come to their senses (assuming they have any), the only answer we could muster would be a hopeful “pretty soon?”

Hillary Clinton Gives Fox News A Sad

Today on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace made a desperate and public plea to complain that Hillary Clinton has not accepted his invitation to be badgered on his program. Wallace’s disappointment was evident in his closing commentary wherein he whined that…

“We have now sat down with every candidate in the race except Hillary Clinton.” He continued “But, once again this week, Clinton turned down our request for an interview.”

Hillary Clinton

Really? Does Wallace need an explanation for this? Fox News has been a perpetual Clinton-bashing machine for years. They have turned the tragedy in Benghazi, Libya into a serial melodrama that never seems to end. Even though every investigation, including those conducted by Republicans in Congress, has found no wrongdoing by Clinton, President Obama, or any other government official, the obsession to cultivate a narrative that indicts Clinton for imaginary crimes remains in effect. Fox News was so determined to use Benghazi as a smear tactic that when the Republican House Committee to Politicize Benghazi held an eleven hour grilling session with Clinton, Fox News ceased to cover it with four hours still remaining. It was the only cable news network to cut their coverage. As News Corpse noted at the time…

Do you think they would have done that if they thought that Clinton was bombing? Of course not. They were more worried that she looked strong, confident, knowledgeable, and (gasp) presidential. That was something they didn’t want their viewers exposed to, so the decision was made to ditch the live hearings and return to their panel of wingnut pundits on whom they could rely for continued Clinton bashing.

More recently, Fox News has attached itself to the issues surrounding Clinton’s email and her use of a private server (which her Republican predecessors did as well). As with Benghazi, there has never been any evidence of wrongdoing on Clinton’s part despite hundreds of hours of investigations by Congress, the Justice Department, and Fox’s own crack reporting team of muckrakers (or is that reporting team of muckrakers on crack?).

These are just a couple of the fabricated “scandals” that Fox has tried so hard to promote. Others include false allegations against the Clinton Foundation, charges of treason against Clinton’s aide Huma Abedin, baseless suggestions that her health is declining, and numerous pitches for anti-Clinton books by utterly discredited authors. Their mission is to deliberately report anything they consider bad news for Clinton, even if it isn’t.

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

Fox News is a hyper-spin operation for slanderous Hillary Clinton stories. In light of that, why would Wallace be surprised by Clinton’s reluctance to sit down with him? Clinton is doing exactly the right thing. There is no reason why she should reward Fox for its atrocious and biased behavior. When Fox cuts away from their regular programming to air Clinton’s campaign rallies live, like they do for Donald Trump, then she might think about reconsidering.

ObamaCare Liars On Fox News Get Bitchslapped – On Fox News

There has been an aura of the absurd permeating this election season for many months. And it isn’t all connected to Donald Trump (although that’s a huuuuge part of it). The circus atmosphere of the Republican contest has exceeded all bounds of reason. They are calling each other liars, flip-floppers, and worst of all, Republicans. Who would have thought a year ago the the foulest insult that could be aimed at a Republican would be the accusation of being an “establishment” member of your own party?

ObamaCare

Amidst the turmoil and tantrums, Fox News, the staunchest evangelist of right-wing gospel, has itself come under pressure from within their own congregation. Most notably Donald Trump has pounded the network as unfair, unbalanced, and rife with dummies, losers, and bimbos. And he’s not the only wingnut taking swings at the conservatives favorite network. Everyone from Rush Limbaugh, to Glenn Beck to Ann Coulter has hurled broadsides at Fox. Well, those critics are not going to be happy about what happened the past couple days on the channel that had made destroying ObamaCare its prime directive.

Like most Republicans, Ted Cruz (R-TX) has feverishly attacked ObamaCare and promised its repeal if he were to be elected. This week he reiterated the demonstrably false GOP dogma that Obamacare was “the biggest job-killer in the country.” And when the subject came up on Bill O’Reilly’s show it did not receive the typical mindless thrashing that is the hallmark of Fox’s coverage.

O’Reilly noted that the Associated Press fact-checked Cruz and found that, not only was his statement false, the opposite was true. More jobs were created (over 13 million) simultaneous with an increase of nearly 17 million people getting health insurance who were not able to get it before ObamaCare. However, O’Reilly went on to cite dubious statistics that muted the beneficial aftermath of ObamaCare.

In response, his guest/victim, Kirsten Powers, disputed O’Reilly’s numbers, but also argued that even he were right “you have to make the connection that it was caused by Obamacare, and I don’t think that Cruz has made that connection.” Unfazed by facts, O’Reilly continued to muddy the debate by baselessly asserting that both sides have valid arguments. To which Powers replied with specific examples of conservative studies that affirm the positive impact of ObamaCare on employment. Characteristically, O’Reilly refused to budge, even while failing to offer a substantive rebuttal. He closed with a weak concession that Cruz ought to have sourced his data which, of course, O’Reilly himself didn’t do.

Today on Fox News Sunday the same issue was discussed. Ted Cruz was interviewed and given an opportunity to defend his own false allegations. He faced Fox’s Chris Wallace who surprisingly confronted him with the facts. Cruz typically dodged the question with a knee-jerk slam on the “liberal” media.

Wallace: The fact checkers say you’re wrong. Since that law went into effect, the unemployment rate fell from 9.9% to 5% as 13 million new jobs were created, and 16.3 million people who were previously uninsured now have coverage.
Cruz: Fact checkers are not fair and impartial. They are liberal editorial journalists. And they have made it their mission to defend Obamacare.

Of course. Everyone knows that fact-checkers have always been biased proponents of recklessly doling out healthcare to any slob that was dumb enough to get sick. Cruz’s notion that fact-checkers are not actually checking facts is a lunacy that is reminiscent of the Romney campaign in 2012 when his pollster declared that “We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers [who have] jumped the shark.” Republicans keep admitting that the truth is of no use to them. And in that spirit the answer Cruz gave ignored the facts entirely, offered no alternative data to confirm his view, and then veered wildly off topic. Then he became obstinate and angry when Wallace pressed him to address the subject at hand.

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

Veteran Fox-watcher Gabriel Sherman of New York Magazine has reported that personality issues and infighting have left Fox News grasping to shape an image during this campaign. But that is only part of the explanation for their spongy positions on matters that were once hard-coded. The viciousness exhibited by the Republican candidates toward one another presents an inherent conflict for a network that is so accustomed to agreeing with whatever the guy on the right said. Now they’re struck with the dilemma of who to suck up to if the choices are all right-wingers? And that predicament has left them confused and unprepared when a marginally progressive argument is dropped in their lap. They are simply so befuddled that they can’t keep their stories straight. Let’s hope this lasts until November.

MSNBC’s Scarborough Has On-Air Mental Breakdown Over Liberal Media Myth

The resident Republican blowhard on MSNBC, Joe Scarborough, has staked out his post as the network’s voice of rightist disinformation. He commands his three hour block of airtime like a junta leader, ordering the topics of discussion and interrupting his guests incessantly.

MSNBC Joe Scarborough

This morning Scarborough appeared to have a severe cognitive collapse during a segment about the Republican Party’s debate-o-phobia (video below). Like most of his ideological allies, he is suffering from the delusion that the American media, owned by a handful of megalithic, multinational corporations, is dominated by liberals. Scarborough set off on a rant about the absence of conservatives on nightly news programs, Sunday shows, and in the executive suites. He badgered his guests to come up with examples of Republicans in those roles, and insisted that they could not do it.

Scarborough: Outside of Brit Hume, who has been a conservative in the mainstream media in the past 30 years who you’ve worked for? Outside of Brit Hume, who has held a powerful position at ABC, NBC or CBS News on the air? […] Name the single Republican that has hosted a Sunday show, that has been an anchor of a news network for the big three networks over the past 50 years. You cannot do it.

Setting aside the fact that Scarborough conveniently leaves out Fox News, the most watched, and therefore mainstream by default, cable news network, he repeatedly spits out this challenge to his colleagues, who are not particularly well informed on the subject. For instance, Mark Halperin, the senior political analyst for MSNBC, responded sheepishly saying “Joe, I agree with you 100%.” No one else on the panel was able to take up Scarborough’s challenge either.

For their future reference, they may want to note that Chris Wallace, now the anchor of Fox News Sunday, hosted NBC’s Meet the Press for a year. Tony Snow, who went on to serve as press secretary for George W. Bush was the first host of FOX News Sunday. Diane Sawyer anchored ABC’s World News Tonight for five years after serving as a press aide to Richard Nixon. So Scarborough’s sweaty insistence that no one can name such people is demonstrably false.

Scarborough kept switching from asking for on-air-personalities to executives in charge of the news operations. On that front there are right-wingers like David Rhodes, the current President of CBS News who had a similar position at Fox for fifteen years. Ken Jautz, the head of CNN, is the man who gave Glenn Beck his first job on television. NBC is now owned by Comcast, whose Roberts family owners are notorious righties.

There are certainly more conservatives in television newsrooms, but it’s hard to pin them down with proof. That’s because most career journalists are careful to avoid any open expression of partisanship. So people like CBS’s Scott Pelley, or NBC’s Chuck Todd, and many more, may have distinctly conservative views, but they have never worked for a GOP senator or made a donation to any political campaign, or even registered with a party, so there is no hard evidence. And the same is true for journalists who are accused of being liberals. That doesn’t mean they aren’t there. And it doesn’t warrant the loony outburst that Scarborough let loose today. If anything, the fact that no one at the table could cite any of the people mentioned above is proof that the media is conservative, and blind to their bias.

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

Donald Trump Shares His Special Bond With Vladimir Putin: Hatred For Obama – Plus Other Assorted Idiocies

The growing contingent of Republicans and pundits who think that Donald Trump is a Democratic plant dispatched to embarrass the GOP and clear a path for Hillary Clinton to the White House is getting harder to dismiss. The combination of Trump’s bombast and ignorance is just too much to be believable. Here are a couple of eruptions that popped up this weekend.

Donald Trump Vladimir Putin

Trump posted a tweet bragging that he is already having an effect on foreign relations, particularly with respect to his confidence that he would have a great relationship with Russian oligarch, Vladimir Putin. The tweet said that “Russia and the world has already started to respect us again!” It also included a link to an article titled Putin loves Donald Trump that supported that assertion. The article outlined the fondness that Putin has for Trump, and vice versa, citing sources that were friendly to the Kremlin. In fact, the primary source was described as a “Kremlin mouthpiece […] a propagandist arm of the Putin government machine.” And Trump was quoted saying…

“I think that I would at the same time get along very well with him. He does not like Obama at all. He doesn’t respect Obama at all. And I’m sure that Obama doesn’t like him very much,” Trump added. “But I think that I would probably get along with him very well.”

So the special bond that Trump and Putin share (along with most of the GOP) is hatred of the man that Americans elected twice to be their president. Isn’t that romantic (and patriotic)? Although it’s no wonder that Trump would fall hard for Putin. They are both wealthy narcissists – megalomaniacs with aspirations of world domination. And many other GOP figures, including Ben Carson, have fallen for Putin.

Also on Sunday, Trump was interviewed by Chris Wallace of Fox News and failed to answer any question directly, as usual. However, in one of his bumbling dodges he managed to demonstrate, again, how woefully ignorant he is about pretty much everything. Wallace attempted to get Trump to clarify his recent comments implying that George W. Bush was responsible for the World Trade Center attack on 9/11. [For the record, Al Qaeda was responsible, but Bush did fail to heed warnings from Richard Clarke, his counter-terrorism coordinator for the National Security Council, as well as the Presidential Daily Briefing entitled “Bin Laden determined to strike in US.”] Instead, Trump diverted to a preposterous explanation for why 9/11 would not even have happened if were president:

“Well, I would have been much different, I must tell you. Somebody said, well, it wouldn’t have been any different. Well, it would have been. I am extremely, extremely tough on illegal immigration. I’m extremely tough on people coming into this country. I believe that if I were running things, I doubt those families would have – I doubt that those people would have been in the country. So there’s a good chance that those people would not have been in our country.”

That’s all well and good, except for on little thing: None of the 9/11 terrorists entered the country illegally. Every single one of them entered with legal visas. The fact that Trump doesn’t know this, but still uses the issue to advance his xenophobic campaign against immigrants, while pretending that he could have prevented a catastrophe about which he doesn’t even know the facts, is more proof that he couldn’t win a race for village idiot.

In addition to these moments of moron, crybaby Trump also whined about needing Secret Service protection due to all the bad guys out to get him. But just two weeks ago he was bragging that he is an armed mofo and that if “Somebody attacks me, oh they’re gonna be shocked.” He also whined about the length of an upcoming debate, threatening to take his ball and go home. If he can’t answer some questions for three hours how can he take on ISIS?. He also called Bernie Sanders a communist, proving that he doesn’t know what the word means. And, finally, he bashed the Wall Street Journal after being told about some criticism that they published. He said that…

“The Wall street Journal was bought for $5 billion. It’s now worth $500 million. They don’t have to tell me what to do. The Wall Street Journal has been wrong so many different times about so many different things.”

The thing is, he said that to Chris Wallace of Fox News, which is owned by the same media mogul, Rupert Murdoch, who owns the Journal. And Wallace didn’t say a word about that connection.

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

And finally (for real this time), the news that Saturday Night Live has invited Trump to host the program has been receiving well-deserved criticism. It is unprecedented for the program to allow an active candidate for president to host the show. Hillary Clinton was given only a brief guest appearance. And the invitation came after NBC had broken business ties with Trump due to his “derogatory statements” about immigrants, which NBC said was contrary to their values. What’s more, Latino groups are appalled that the show would allow an overtly racist hate monger like Trump to appear as host, despite the fact that there are zero Latinos in the current SNL cast, and only two in the whole forty-one year history of the program. There is a petition to urge NBC to rescind the invitation here.

The Fox News/GOP Trumparama: Where Donald Trump Becomes Dumber Than Sarah Palin

The first debate for the Republican Party nomination for president of the United States came off last night and pretty much matched the hype, at least so far as the pompous, bombastic, assclown Donald Trump is concerned. Trump lived down to expectations by being insulting, egotistical, and thoroughly lacking in anything resembling the knowledge or temperament to be president. Therefore, I predict that his blockhead Republican supporters will continue to give him high marks.

The hallmark of Trump’s performance was his obvious evasion of the substance in most of the questions in favor of acting like jerk (although he was certainly not acting). And the answers he gave approached and surpassed the brain-dead ignorance of his BFF, and potential running mate, Sarah Palin. The one thing that Trump established during the debate was that he has zero comprehension of the complex issues involved in running the country that he obviously hates with a passion.

Donald Trump Hell Hole

The Fox News moderators seemed to go out of their way to appear probing and confrontational. That is to their credit as it makes them look more like legitimate journalists who challenge their subjects. However, no one should mistake that pretense of legitimacy for actual legitimacy. Their performance for a couple of hours during a special event doesn’t erase a career of bias and lies. What it did get them was a fiercely childish rebuke from Trump who later tweeted that “Fox viewers give low marks to bimbo @MegynKelly,” and “@FoxNews trio, especially @megynkelly, was not very good or professional!” (Curious that he focused so intensely on the panel’s only woman). And for good measure, Trump went after Fox’s resident pollster saying that “@FrankLuntz is a low class slob.” Very presidential.

The Washington Post put together an interesting analysis of the time distribution between the candidates. And – surprise – The Donald came out way ahead of his rivals clocking 10:31. Rand Paul trailed the pack with only 5:00. Jeb Bush came in second with 8:47. And everyone else got less than seven minutes. So Trump managed to snag about 30% more airtime. Was that deliberate on the part of Fox News? If so, was it done in order to help Trump by giving him more time for America to get to know him, or hurt him by giving him more time for America to get to know him?

The debate featured mainly the routine blather of politicians giving freshly scrubbed versions of their stump speeches. So to avoid wallowing in the vacant talking points of the affair, I have isolated the only parts that really matter. What follows, for your entertainment pleasure, is every question asked of Donald Trump and his spittle-inflected answers (along with my commentary which will be brief because Trump’s assholiness really doesn’t need much embellishment). [If you are a masochist, here is the complete debate transcript]

Baier: Is there anyone on stage who is unwilling tonight to pledge your support to the eventual nominee of the Republican party and pledge to not run an independent campaign against that person?
Trump: I cannot say. I have to respect the person that, if it’s not me, the person that wins, if I do win, and I’m leading by quite a bit, that’s what I want to do. I can totally make that pledge. If I’m the nominee, I will pledge I will not run as an independent. But — and I am discussing it with everybody, but I’m, you know, talking about a lot of leverage. We want to win, and we will win. But I want to win as the Republican. I want to run as the Republican nominee.

Classic Palinesque word salad. After rambling incoherently, Trump agrees not to run as a thrid party candidate if he is the GOP nominee.

Kelly: You’ve called women you don’t like “fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals.”
Trump: Only Rosie O’Donnell.

Oh, so that makes it OK?

Kelly: For the record, it was well beyond Rosie O’Donnell. Your Twitter account has several disparaging comments about women’s looks. You once told a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice it would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees. Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president, and how will you answer the charge from Hillary Clinton, who was likely to be the Democratic nominee, that you are part of the war on women?
Trump: I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct. I’ve been challenged by so many people, and I don’t frankly have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesn’t have time either. This country is in big trouble. We don’t win anymore. We lose to China. We lose to Mexico both in trade and at the border. We lose to everybody. And frankly, what I say, and oftentimes it’s fun, it’s kidding. We have a good time. What I say is what I say. And honestly Megyn, if you don’t like it, I’m sorry. I’ve been very nice to you, although I could probably maybe not be, based on the way you have treated me. But I wouldn’t do that. But you know what, we — we need strength, we need energy, we need quickness and we need brain in this country to turn it around. That, I can tell you right now.

So misogyny is still in vogue among Republicans. And Trump’s excuse that he doesn’t have time for political correctness is just his way of justifying hate speech. His time is so constrained that he’s forced to be vulgar. Imagine the consequences if that behavior came from the White House directed at members of congress or foreign leaders. Also notable was the laughter and support from the audience who apparently think it’s OK to call women pigs, etc.

Wallace: Mr. Trump, it has not escaped anybody’s notice that you say that the Mexican government, the Mexican government is sending criminals — rapists, drug dealers, across the border. Governor Bush has called those remarks, quote, “extraordinarily ugly.” You have repeatedly said that you have evidence that the Mexican government is doing this, but you have evidence you have refused or declined to share. Why not use this first Republican presidential debate to share your proof with the American people?
Trump: So, if it weren’t for me, you wouldn’t even be talking about illegal immigration, Chris. You wouldn’t even be talking about it. This was not a subject that was on anybody’s mind until I brought it up at my announcement. And I said, Mexico is sending. Except the reporters, because they’re a very dishonest lot, generally speaking, in the world of politics, they didn’t cover my statement the way I said it. The fact is, since then, many killings,murders, crime, drugs pouring across the border, are money going out and the drugs coming in. And I said we need to build a wall, and it has to be built quickly. And I don’t mind having a big beautiful door in that wall so that people can come into this country legally. But we need, Jeb, to build a wall, we need to keep illegals out.

What utter bullspit. People have been talking about immigration for decades. And it has been a major political issue throughout the Obama administration without Trump’s help. Trump’s only contribution to the discourse was to smear immigrants as criminals and rapists and spread disinformation.

Wallace: Mr. Trump, I’ll give you 30 seconds — I’ll give you 30 seconds to answer my question, which was, what evidence do you have, specific evidence that the Mexican government is sending criminals across the border? Thirty seconds.
Trump: Border Patrol, I was at the border last week. Border Patrol, people that I deal with, that I talk to, they say this is what’s happening. Because our leaders are stupid. Our politicians are stupid. And the Mexican government is much smarter, much sharper, much more cunning. And they send the bad ones over because they don’t want to pay for them. They don’t want to take care of them. Why should they when the stupid leaders of the United States will do it for them? And that’s what is happening whether you like it or not.

Note that Trump still never answered the question regarding his alleged evidence of Mexico sending criminals to the U.S., whether you like it or not.

Baier: Mr. Trump, ObamaCare is one of the things you call a disaster.
Trump: A complete disaster, yes.
Baier: Saying it needs to be repealed and replaced. Now, 15 years ago, you called yourself a liberal on health care. You were for a single-payer system, a Canadian-style system. Why were you for that then and why aren’t you for it now?
Trump: As far as single payer, it works in Canada. It works incredibly well in Scotland. It could have worked in a different age, which is the age you’re talking about here. What I’d like to see is a private system without the artificial lines around every state. I have a big company with thousands and thousands of employees. And if I’m negotiating in New York or in New Jersey or in California, I have like one bidder. Nobody can bid. You know why? Because the insurance companies are making a fortune because they have control of the politicians, of course, with the exception of the politicians on this stage. But they have total control of the politicians. They’re making a fortune. Get rid of the artificial lines and you will have yourself great plans. And then we have to take care of the people that can’t take care of themselves. And I will do that through a different system.

Once again, Trump completely evades the question as to how his position on single-payer changed, or even if it did. He just rambled on with false complaints about providing insurance for his employees. Permitting the sale of insurance policies across state lines is not a health care plan. And his promise to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves is as a hollow imaginary as those of the rest of the GOP who have been making the same promise for six years without ever coming up with a plan.

Baier: Mr. Trump, it’s not just your past support for single- payer health care. You’ve also supported a host of other liberal policies. Use — you’ve also donated to several Democratic candidates, Hillary Clinton included, Nancy Pelosi. You explained away those donations saying you did that to get business-related favors. And you said recently, quote, “When you give, they do whatever the hell you want them to do.”
Trump: You’d better believe it.
Baier: So what specifically did they do?
Trump: If I ask them, if I need them, you know, most of the people on this stage I’ve given to, just so you understand, a lot of money.
I will tell you that our system is broken. I gave to many people, before this, before two months ago, I was a businessman. I give to everybody. When they call, I give. And do you know what? When I need something from them two years later, three years later, I call them, they are there for me.
Baier: What did you get from Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi?
Trump: Well, I’ll tell you what, with Hillary Clinton, I said be at my wedding and she came to my wedding. You know why? She didn’t have a choice because I gave. I gave to a foundation that, frankly, that foundation is supposed to do good. I didn’t know her money would be used on private jets going all over the world. It was.

Well, that explains it. Trump gave Hillary Clinton millions of dollars to get her to attend his wedding. That seems like a bad deal. Seems like he could have gotten her to go for a lot less. Was he that desperate for guests that he had to give them extravagant bribes? The fact that he really thinks she went because of his donations is proof of his idiocy. And the fact that he thinks everyone else will believe that his donations were intended only to get wedding guests is even more idiotic.

Wallace: Mr. Trump, you talk a lot about how you are the person on this stage to grow the economy, I want to ask you about your business records. From corporations, Trump corporations, casinos and hotels, have declared bankruptcy four times over the last quarter-century. In 2011, you told Forbes Magazine this: “I’ve used the laws of the country to my advantage.” But at the same time, financial experts involved in those bankruptcies say that lenders to your companies lost billions of dollars. Question sir, with that record, why should we trust you to run the nation’s business?
Trump: Because I have used the laws of this country just like the greatest people that you read about every day in business have used the laws of this country, the chapter laws, to do a great job for my company, for myself, for my employees, for my family, et cetera. I have never gone bankrupt, by the way. I have never.

Excuse me, what am I saying? Out of hundreds of deals that I’ve done, hundreds, on four occasions I’ve taken advantage of the laws of this country, like other people. I’m not going to name their names because I’m not going to embarrass, but virtually every person that you read about on the front page of the business sections, they’ve used the law. The difference is, when somebody else uses those laws, nobody writes about it. When I use it, they say, “Trump, Trump, Trump.” The fact is, I built a net worth of more than $10 billion. I have a great, great company. I employ thousands of people. And I’m very proud of the job I did. Again Chris, hundreds and hundreds of deals. Four times, I’ve taken advantage of the laws. And frankly, so has everybody else in my position.
Wallace: Well sir, let’s just talk about the latest example which is Trump Entertainment Resorts, which went bankrupt in 2009. In that case alone, lenders to your company lost over $1 billion and more than 1,100 people were laid off. Is that the way that you’d run the country?
Trump: Let me just tell you about the lenders. First of all, these lenders aren’t babies. These are total killers. These are not the nice, sweet little people that you think, OK? You know, I mean you’re living in a world of the make-believe, Chris, you want to know the truth. And I had the good sense to leave Atlantic City, which by the way, Caesars just went bankrupt. Every company, Chris can tell you, every company virtually in Atlantic City went bankrupt. Every company. And let me just tell you. I had the good sense, and I’ve gotten a lot of credit in the financial pages, seven years ago I left Atlantic City before it totally cratered, and I made a lot of money in Atlantic City, and I’m very proud of it. I want to tell you that. Very, very proud of it. And by the way, this country right now owes $19 trillion. And they need somebody like me to straighten out that mess.

And what was his response to the people he screwed out of a billion dollars? He never actually said, except to insult them as “killers.” And he is ignoring the hundreds of vendors and small businesses whose products and services he used but refused to pay for. Using bankruptcy laws is also not responsive to the question. It doesn’t explain how he would handle the nation’s deficit, unless he intends to put the country into bankruptcy and screw all Americans. To be fair, that has actually been the policy of the GOP for the past hundred or so years.

Kelly: Mr. Trump, in 1999, you said you were, quote, “very pro- choice.” Even supporting partial-birth abortion. You favored an assault weapons ban as well. In 2004, you said in most cases you identified as a Democrat. Even in this campaign, your critics say you often sound more like a Democrat than a Republican, calling several of your opponents on the stage things like clowns and puppets. When did you actually become a Republican?
Trump: I don’t think they like me very much. I’ll tell you what. I’ve evolved on many issues over the years. And you know who else has? Is Ronald Reagan evolved on many issues. And I am pro-life. And if you look at the question, I was in business. They asked me a question as to pro-life or choice. And I said if you let it run, that I hate the concept of abortion. I hate the concept of abortion. And then since then, I’ve very much evolved. And what happened is friends of mine years ago were going to have a child, and it was going to be aborted. And it wasn’t aborted. And that child today is a total superstar, a great, great child. And I saw that. And I saw other instances. And I am very, very proud to say that I am pro-life.

As far as being a Republican is concerned, I come from a place, New York City, which is virtually, I mean, it is almost exclusively Democrat. And I have really started to see some of the negatives — as an example, and I have a lot of liking for this man, but the last number of months of his brother’s administration were a catastrophe. And unfortunately, those few months gave us President Obama. And you can’t be happy about that.

As usual, Trump failed to address the question. He never said when he became a Republican or when his views changed. He limited his response to abortion, but that leaves out the question’s full context that asked about his identifying as a Democrat on a variety of issues. He seemed to imply that he was a Democrat only because there were so many others in New York. So he will just adopt the party of those around him? For the record, Democrats don’t want him.

Baier: General Qassem Soleimani, he’s blamed for hundreds of U.S. troops death in Iraq, and Afghanistan. His trip to Russia appears to directly violate U.N. Security Council resolutions to confine him to Iran. So, Mr. Trump, if you were president, how would you respond to this?
Trump: I would be so different from what you have right now. Like, the polar opposite. We have a president who doesn’t have a clue. I would say he’s incompetent, but I don’t want to do that because that’s not nice. But if you look at the deals we make, whether it’s the nuclear deal with 24-hour periods—and by the way, before you get to the 24 hours, you have to go through a system. You look at Sgt. Bergdahl, we get Bergdahl, a traitor, and they get five of the big, great killers leaders that they want. We have people in Washington that don’t know what they’re doing. Now, with Iran, we’re making a deal, you would say, we want him. We want out our prisoners. We want all these things, and we don’t get anything. We’re giving them $150 billion dollars plus, they are going to be—I’ll tell you what, if Iran was a stock, you folks should go out and buy it right now because you’ll quadruple—this, what’s happening in Iran, is a disgrace, and it’s going to lead to destruction in large portions of the world.

Other than making a crude, ad hominem insult aimed at the President, Trump totally ignored the question asking what he would do about General Soleimani. He just rattled off his standard talking points that were wholly unrelated to the question. Clearly he doesn’t have a clue. I would say he’s incompetent, but I don’t want to do that because …. Oh hell, he’s incompetent.

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Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
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Closing Statement: Our country is in serious trouble. We don’t win anymore. We don’t beat China in trade. We don’t beat Japan, with their millions and millions of cars coming into this country, in trade. We can’t beat Mexico, at the border or in trade. We can’t do anything right. Our military has to be strengthened. Our vets have to be taken care of. We have to end Obamacare, and we have to make our country great again, and I will do that.

That was close. He nearly didn’t work his trademarked slogan into the debate. However, he did express his oft-repeated view that America is a hell hole. No wonder the so-called patriots on the right love him so much. They share a deep and abiding disgust for the country.

Sunday Funnies: Marco Rubio And Chris Wallace Reenact Iraq Version Of ‘Who’s On First’

Last week the nation marveled to the spectacle of Jeb Bush fumbling what must have been the most highly anticipated question that he could possibly have been asked in his nascent campaign for the Republican nomination for president of the United States of America: Knowing what is known now, would you have authorized an invasion of Iraq?

Bush responded that he thought his brother George had made the correct decision given the available intelligence. That, of course, was not the question he was asked. So in the days following the flub, Bush claimed to have misheard the question, but still gave multiple different answers before finally admitting that he would not have ordered an invasion if he knew what he knows now.

Marco Rubio

For Marco Rubio, that ought to have been an object lesson in tackling this otherwise softball question. But for some reason, the freshman senator managed to do in three minutes what it took Bush five days to do: make an utter ass of himself. In an exchange on the decidedly friendly territory of Fox News Sunday (video below), Rubio engaged in a painfully comical routine with host Chris Wallace wherein he repeatedly failed to grasp the nature of the question he was being asked. Here is just a portion of that train wreck:

WALLACE: Was it a mistake? Was it a mistake to go to war with Iraq?
RUBIO: It’s two different — it wasn’t — I —
WALLACE: I’m asking you to —
RUBIO: Yes, I understand, but that’s not the same question.
WALLACE: But that’s the question I’m asking you. Was it a mistake to go to war?
RUBIO: It was not a mistake for the president to decide to go into Iraq, because at the time, he was told —
WALLACE: I’m not asking you that. I’m asking you —
RUBIO: In hindsight.
WALLACE: Yes.
RUBIO: Well, the world is a better place because Saddam Hussein is not there.
WALLACE: So, was it a mistake or not?
RUBIO: But I wouldn’t characterize it — but I don’t understand the question you’re asking, because the president —
WALLACE: I’m asking you, knowing — as we sit here in 2015 —
RUBIO: No, but that’s not the way presidents — a president cannot make decision on what someone might know in the future.
WALLACE: I understand. But that’s what I’m asking you. Was it a mistake?
RUBIO: It was not a mistake for the president to go into Iraq based on the information he was provided as president.

Well, that clears that up. Is Rubio really that dense or was he he just desperate to avoid criticizing George Bush? Wallace gave him ample opportunity to craft a response that included support for Bush as well as the obvious acknowledgement that no president should invade a country without airtight justification. Rubio kept trying to answer a question that Wallace had not asked, despite Wallace repeatedly restating his actual question. And it isn’t as if this were a surprise, gotcha question (like what magazines do read read?). It is a question that has been in the news for a week.

Why is it so hard for Republicans to concede that wars should not be started unless there are provable threats to our national interest? This sort of obtuse defiance of common sense is what makes people convinced that the GOP is a party of war mongers who will launch into battle on the slightest whim. It reinforces the widespread impression that they are lackeys to the defense industry and others who profit off of war, including those whose profits are political rather than financial.

Elsewhere in the interview, Wallace raised Rubio’s campaign theme of “21st century ideas” and asked him to talk about them. That would ordinarily be a perfect opportunity to drop a campaign ad into an interview. However, Rubio dodged any reference to new ideas saying only that “the balance of power in the world has shifted” because of “autocratic governments in Russia and China” and “rogue states like North Korea and Iran.” Right, because none of them were around in the 20th century.

When Wallace pressed him to reveal his actual new ideas to address those allegedly new problems, Rubio eventually complied saying that “we need to cut [tax] rates” and improve the education system. Those, of course, address only domestic problems that have no bearing on the foreign affairs he had just raised. Not to mention that neither of those “ideas” can be coherently described as “new.”

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

If this is a taste of what Rubio’s campaign will be offering in the coming months, it can be safely assumed that he isn’t going far. But then Bush has already flubbed some of the same questions and the rest of the GOP pack has even less foreign policy experience than these two flounders.

This election cycle promises to be an entertaining romp with plenty of twists and turns. It should be serialized as a reality TV show a la The Amazing (Presidential) Race. I, for one, can’t wait for the debates to see who is voted out of the clown car next.

Obama’s YouTube Interviewers Smeared By Fox News Host With Smaller Audience

On MediaBuzz, the Fox News program dedicated to reviewing the press, anchor Howard Kurtz took another opportunity to belittle President Obama and the YouTube personalities that interviewed him following the State of the Union Address. This is apparently a sore spot for conservative media dinosaurs like Kurtz who think that it is “beneath the dignity of the office to be hanging out with some of these YouTubers.” As noted in a previous article, the jealously and hypocrisy of the entrenched conventional media was exposed by their arrogant dismissal of a forward-thinking politician who recognizes the value in relating to a new generation of Americans on their own turf.

But Kurtz wasn’t finished. He took his criticisms to his own Sunday program to lay into the President and the YouTubers again. This time he focused on a distinction between the YouTube personalities and mainstream entertainment programs on television saying that he is “fine with Obama going on Ellen, The View, Colbert, but isn’t this sort of like the low-rent district?”

Howard Kurtz vs. YouTube

First of all, it wasn’t too long ago that going on shows like Ellen was looked down upon in the same way that Kurtz is demeaning YouTube. Bill Clinton’s appearance on Arsenio Hall was widely mocked by the dino-press. The same is true when politicians began to take cautious steps onto late night shows like Leno and Letterman. In most cases they still complain that such appearances trivialize the political guest.

Secondly, for Kurtz to insult the YouTubers as “low-rent” displays a giant, family-sized bag of chutzpah. His program on the journalistic wasteland of Fox News has an audience of about half a million viewers. Fox News Sunday, pulls in about 1.3 million. But the YouTube trio who sat with Obama last week reach a much bigger audience. Hank Green’s Vlogbrothers has a YouTube subscriber base of 2.4 million. The flamboyant Glozell draws 3.4 million. And Bethany Mota pulls in a whopping 8.1 million people. That’s about four times the viewers of Bill O’Reilly.

In Kurtz’s MediaBuzz segment he ran a brief video that featured only a few moments of fun or silliness, and he implied that they were representative of the whole of each interview. That is a deliberate and bald-faced lie. Many of the questions asked of the President were as substantive and probing as any that the more “professional” reporters would have asked. For instance…

  • Hank Green asked Obama whether the issues he raised in the State of the Union were politically feasible. He also asked whether Obama’s policy of drone strikes would be viewed in retrospect as a misuse of technology.
  • Glozell addressed the issue of police relations with African-Americans. She also imposed on Obama to justify his initiative to reinstate diplomatic relations with Cuba and the Castros.
  • Bethany Mota began with a question that many of her generation are struggling with, making education affordable. She continued with questions about the Nigerian terrorist group, Boko Haram, which has not been getting the media attention that ISIS does, even though they have been at times more lethal.

It would be difficult for Kurtz to honestly find fault with these lines of questioning without condemning his own colleagues who have asked many of the same types of questions. But instead he chose to air some laugh lines and pretend that’s all that occurred. And his panel was no better. Jonah Goldberg of the ultra-rightist National Review whined that Obama “only likes to talk to people who think he’s awesome.” That will come as some surprise to Fox’s Bill O’Reilly and Bret Baier, who have both interviewed Obama. Either Goldberg has early onset Alzheimer’s or he is purposefully misleading. As for examples of profound inquiries by Fox News reporters, this morning Chris Wallace asked Obama’s Chief of Staff if because of the election results in November “Doesn’t the President need to scale back his agenda to work with Republicans?”

Really? So the President should abandon his principles and capitulate to a party that won a majority in the lowest turnout election in 70 years? And when did Wallace ever ask Republicans to scale back their agenda in 2012 or 2008, after big Democratic victories? In fact, one of the first things Wallace said after the first inauguration of Obama was to question whether he was actually president because Chief Justice Roberts flubbed the oath of office. Then GOP senate leader Mitch McConnell declared that his top priority was to make Obama a one-term president. And Rush Limbaugh said “I hope he fails.” Apparently no agenda scaling back was necessary for the Republican losers.

Before Kurtz maligns others as being in a “low-rent district” he should assess the value of his own property. What he will find is a petty, biased, plot of fear mongering and racism. It’s a tract that Fox News has spent years developing.