CNN’s Don Lemon Righteously Shuts Down A Trump Shill – LITERALLY!

This weekend CNN did a segment comparing the costs of Donald Trump’s presidential vacations with Barack Obama’s. The actual numbers are pretty striking. Trump has cost taxpayers about as much in one month as Obama did in an entire year. Which is ironic considering how frequently, and without justification, Trump complained about Obama taking vacations.

Don Lemon

The segment, though, went off the rails when right-wing mouthpiece Paris Dennard chimed in with what seems like a scripted whine. Ignoring the fact that the numbers were all verified and undisputed, Dennard said, “I think this is fake news. This is not a news story.”

Anchor Don Lemon was plainly annoyed by Dennard’s brain-dead mutterings. He asked Dennard if he could define fake news is. He couldn’t. So Lemon proceeded to help him with the definition:

“Fake news is when you put out a story to intentionally deceive someone and you know that it is wrong […] This story that we’re doing right now is not to intentionally deceive anyone. We are simply talking about the cost to keep a president safe.”

After schooling Dennard on the finer points of journalism, Lemon sought to make it perfectly clear that he wasn’t about to sit still for Dennard’s wingnut rhetoric:

“Please stop it with that stupid talking point, that it is a fake news story. If you don’t want to participate in the news stories on this network, then don’t come on and participate. But don’t call them fake because you don’t agree with them. Go on.”

With that, Dennard persisted with his fake news assertions despite the utter absurdity of it and the admonition from the host. Whereupon Lemon, clearly exasperated, chose to end the program. He thanked his guests, wished everyone a great weekend, and said goodnight.

Now that’s how you handle the robo-pundits that are sanctioned by political operations. These people are so rehearsed that they stumble all over themselves if asked to actually provide a coherent analysis. When faced with a demand to drop his script, Dennard just repeated the parts he had memorized. It didn’t matter that it no longer made any sense. Lemon did exactly the right thing. He refused to allow a glassy-eyed Trump sycophant to spew The Donald’s branding. It was beautiful.

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

CNN Commits Journalism – Trump Shill Gets Trolled On Twitter For Whining About It

CNN’s Kate Bolduan did a segment Monday about Donald Trump’s unsupported claim (aka: lie) that thousands of voters were bused from Massachusetts to New Hampshire to vote illegally. She noted that there was no evidence of that other than baseless assertions by administration shills like Stephen Miller. Then she played a video of Miller on ABC directing the media to where they could find the elusive evidence. Miller told George Stephanopoulos that:

“Many, many highly qualified people, like Kris Kobach, the Kansas Secretary of State, have looked deeply into this issue and confirmed it to be true and have put together evidence. And I suggest you invite Kris Kobach onto your show and he can walk you through some of the evidence of voter fraud.”

So that’s exactly what Bolduan did. However, she didn’t get the result that Miller promised. She interviewed Koback and started off by asking him what evidence he has that thousands of people voted illegally. The next seven minutes (video below) was consumed by Kobach dodging the question and failing to provide any shred of the fabled evidence. Each time Bolduan asked for proof of illegal voting, Kobach contorted his answer to address only registration issues. His lone argument was that there were people who were on the registration rolls of both Massachusettes and New Hampshire. But he had no proof that any of them actually voted in both states.

To be clear, there is nothing illegal about being registered in more than one state. It happens frequently when registered voters move to a new state and re-register. Most people will never inform the election authorities of their previous residence that they moved. And so long as they only vote once they have broken no laws. It would be easy to ascertain whether someone voted more than once. Consequently, the absence of more than handful of such incidents attests to its rarity. The allegations of thousands – or even millions, as Trump has claimed – is preposterous and has been widely debunked.

Nevertheless, Kobach persisted in switching the subject to entirely legal registration matters. He struggled to reply when Bolduan pressed him to certify the claims by Miller that fraud had already been proven. After hemming and hawing he would go straight back to the registration red herring. A clearly frustrated Bolduan eventually concluded the interview with an exasperated sigh.

And here’s where it get’s truly absurd. Following his embarrassing performance, Kobach took to Twitter to complain about a graphic that appeared on screen during the interview. It read “Trump Aide Repeats False Claims Of Voter Fraud.” Kobach’s tweet accused CNN of Bias:

First of all, the graphic is simply stating something that is verifiably true. That isn’t bias, it’s journalism. Secondly, the truth is not something that viewers get to “decide.” As Daniel Patrick Moynihan so poignantly observed “Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts.” Finally, the graphic isn’t even even referring to Kobach. It is referring to Trump’s aide, Stephen Miller. This should be clear to Kobach since he’s not presently a Trump aide, unless there’s something they’re not telling us. Bolduan herself apprised Kobach of that:

She was being kind, because he was lying also. Kobach’s petulant whining and failure to understand the graphic was pounced on by an amused and outraged Twitter community. Here are a few of the replies that he received to his tweet:

And those are the nice ones. Kobach is just another one of the sycophants that populate Trump’s world. They are chosen for their aversion to facts, indifference toward the trials of ordinary Americans, and the ability to lie with a straight face. He’ll go far in the Era of Trump.

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

Trump Floats Yet Another Crackpot Conspiracy Theory: Bernie Sanders/Fake News Edition

Sunday morning Donald Trump was once again up early playing with his Twitter machine. Despite the best efforts of his handlers, they have failed to wrest his phone away and prevent these embarrassing episodes. The problem is that they are not just embarrassing for Trump, but for America.

Bernie Sanders Donald Trump

The latest tweet-bleat from The Donald concerned an interview on CNN with Sen. Bernie Sanders (video below). The subject was Trump’s National Security Advisor, Gen. Michael Flynn, and his recently disclosed communications with Russia. In particular, Flynn’s having allegedly told Russia not to worry about the sanctions imposed for interfering with U.S. elections. Erin Burnett asked Sanders about Trump’s dubious claim to not know anything about the matter. That led to this amusing exchange:

BURNETT: He says says he doesn’t know anything about it. Hasn’t seen any of the reports. Is that a problem?

SANDERS: Well, I don’t know. Maybe he was watching CNN’s fake news. What do you think. [adding] That was a joke.

BURNETT: I know it was a joke.

Whereupon, the signal was lost and CNN went to a commercial. On the basis of that, Trump contrived a nefarious plot to silence Sanders and any talk of CNN’s “fakery.” He tweeted:

How Trump concluded that Sanders was “cut off for using the term fake news” is a total mystery. As usual, he provided no evidence of his outlandish accusation. In the Trump mind, all that’s necessary is to spout off random thoughts and pretend they are factual. Of course, his delusions are generally easy to refute. In this case, CNN came back from the commercial break and began by apologizing for the technical difficulties and resuming the conversation with the very words that Trump thinks were censored:

BURNETT: Sen. Sanders is back with me, and I want to apologize to our viewers for that technical issue. And Senator, you had just been talking, joking about CNN’s fake news, but there were reports about … go ahead.

If CNN were trying to scrub any discussion about Trump’s juvenile fake news slur, they surely wouldn’t have led with it upon resumption of the interview. So how could Trump have concocted this nonsense? Well, as Brian Stelter reported, Fox & Friends had made the same phony characterization of the interview just half an hour before Trump tweeted it. As happens frequently, Trump was just regurgitating something he saw on Fox News. And we all know how reliable that is.

For the President of the United States to blindly parrot falsehoods he saw on TV sets a new low for the intellectual honesty of the office. But then Trump does that every day. The one silver lining that may emerge is that the attention Trump brings to this interview may cause a few of his supporters to watch the entire segment. Bernie is absolutely on fire and makes an outstanding presentation of Trump’s authoritarian tendencies and hypocrisy. He even defends referring to Trump as delusional and questions his mental health. Watch and enjoy (or shudder).

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

Bill Maher Exposes Trump As A Giant Con: ‘It’s Beyond Politics, It’s About Sanity

Speculation about the mental health of Donald Trump is becoming a trending topic. Of course, many people have noticed his malignant narcissism and stifling paranoia for years. His fierce obsession with ego-driven trivialities seems to supersede the obligations of the job.

Bill Maher

The situation is so serious that bills are being drafted by both parties to provide for routine presidential psychiatric exams. It’s not a bad idea for any president, considering the pressures of the presidency. But with the election of Donald Trump it’s been elevated to a critical necessity.

Thursday night CNN aired a program with Van Jones interviewing Bill Maher (video below). The subject of Trump’s mental stability came up when an audience member asked this question:

“The President’s been in office barely three weeks. Why can’t you guys in the media and Hollywood give him some slack?”

First of all, on the day that President Obama was sworn into office in 2009, the Republican leader in the Senate declared that his top priority was to make him “a one-term president.” Shortly thereafter, Rush Limbaugh announced that he wanted Obama to fail. The hypocrisy of Trump supporters now begging for mercy while Trump is pissing on the Constitution, and stuffing his cabinet with racists and billionaires, is ludicrous.

But let’s get back to Maher’s response. He was justifiable surprised by the questioner’s naivete. He mocked the notion that Trump deserved any slack precisely because of “the things he’s said and done.” Then he explained in detail why Trump’s pretense of being for the “little man” is just “a giant con.”

“What does he do? He gets into office, the coal companies can dump sludge in the river. Because, you know, that’s what the ‘little man’ is aching for. Undoing Dodd-Frank. Because so many of the town halls in Appalachia, people were standing up and saying, ‘Mr. Trump, please get rid of the Volcker Rule. Because if I can’t make certain speculative investments, it’s killing us here!'”

And that’s just for starters. Our billionaire president doesn’t appear to have the slightest comprehension of life for average Americans. His promise to repeal ObamaCare will cause twenty million people to lose their health insurance. The Trump tax plan is weighted heavily in favor of his wealthy pals. Plus, estimates say that it will balloon the deficit by up to ten trillion dollars. He has already reversed a regulation that protected citizens from corrupt financial advisers. His education secretary is opposed to public schools. And he appointed an Environmental Protection Agency director who aspires to eliminate the department.

For these, and many other reasons, Maher made the astute observation that:

“It’s beyond politics, it’s about sanity. It’s about somebody who makes stuff up, who doesn’t read. His information is either anecdotal, or pulled out of his … behind.” […] “Of course we’re worried when the President sees multitudes that don’t exist. As in the illegal voting – three million. That should bother you.”

Indeed, it should bother every American. The President proudly lacks the knowledge required to perform his job. And what he lacks in experience, he makes worse by his determination to invent “alternative facts” that affirm his ignorance. His lying, temperamental outbursts, and vanity make him an existential threat to the welfare of the nation. A recent poll shows that, only three weeks into his term, the nation is split on whether to impeach him. The same poll notes that:

“The Presidency has been so diminished over the last 3 weeks that voters even say Saturday Night Live has more credibility than Trump, 48/43.”

So let’s set aside these preposterous pleadings for Trump to be given a chance. He’s had his chance and blown it on an epic scale. From here on out he must be judged on his actual performance. No wonder he and his staff are so worried.

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

WATCH Kellyanne Conway Admit That CNN is NOT Fake News And That Trump Lies

Donald Trump’s war on the media is still in full swing. Everyday he escalates the assault with juvenile insults and utterly baseless criticisms. While past presidents have had contentious relationships with the press, none have been so overtly hostile.

CNN Kellyanne Conway

Trump’s unambiguous purpose is to delegitimize the media and neutralize it as an independent source of information. He barks ferociously about what he calls “fake news,” but which is actually just reporting that he doesn’t like. And he rarely backs up his accusations with anything resembling facts.

On Wednesday, White House senior advisor and purveyor of “alternative facts,” Kellyanne Conway, was interviewed by CNN’s Jake Tapper. The entire interview (video below) was a striking display of journalistic integrity matched with surreal political spin. Tapper made several references to Trump’s frequent public lying, and he actually used the word “lie.” Meanwhile, Conway dodged almost every question with canned responses straight from White House talking points.

However, a couple of exchanges deserve closer scrutiny. First of all, Tapper addresses the President’s disparaging comments about CNN head on:

“Certainly the media makes mistakes. But it’s very difficult to hear those criticisms from a White House that has such little regard, day in day out, for facts, for truth. And who calls us ‘fake news’ for stories they don’t like”

Conway insists that, despite the evidence, they have a “high respect for the truth.” But Tapper persists and later asks pointedly “Is CNN fake news?” Conway replies:

“No, I don’t think CNN is fake news. I think there are some reports everywhere. In print, on TV, on radio, in conversations that are not well-researched and are sometimes based on falsehoods.”

So Conway is expressly contradicting her boss who has repeatedly called CNN “fake news.” For instance:

Perhaps Conway will be called to the principals office for a reprimand. By proclaiming that CNN isn’t fake news after all she is, by extension, validating their prior reporting on Trump. He isn’t gonna like that. But something even worse slipped later in the interview. While discussing one of Trump’s recent whoppers, Tapper tried to get Conway to respond without swerving off into something irrelevant. It wasn’t easy. Finally he said:

TAPPER: “I’m talking about the President of the United States saying things that are not true, demonstrably not true. That is important.”

CONWAY: “Are they more important than the many things that he says that are true? That are making a difference in people’s lives?”

And there you have it. Conway just admitted that Trump says things that are demonstrably untrue (as if we didn’t already know). Sure, she attempts to dismiss them as being less important than some other unidentified truthful statements. But occasional bouts of alleged honesty do not excuse purposeful lying, which she unequivocally conceded takes place. And yes, the President lying IS more important than the things he ways that are true. President’s are expected to tell the truth. They don’t get extra points for doing so.

Now, only two questions remain. Will Trump be held accountable for deliberately deceiving the American people? And will Kellyanne Conway be sent to Gitmo? Stay tuned.

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

Reuters Editor Warns That Covering Trump’s America Is Like Covering China, Russia

The increasing hostility toward the press from Donald Trump and his staff has resulted in a deteriorating relationship. Not that it was ever particularly healthy. Trump spent most of his campaign insulting reporters and demonizing the media in general. It got so bad that the Committee to Protect Journalists issued a warning that “A Trump presidency would represent a threat to press freedom in the United States.” The National Press Club released a similar statement condemning Trump’s anti-press tactics as “unacceptable and dangerous to our democracy.”

Donald Trump

Since the election things have not improved. Trump is still maligning mainstream news organizations as “fake news” and punishing reporters that he regards as insufficiently adoring. His press secretary, Sean Spicer, has upended the White House briefing by adding fringe “news” outlets. He is reportedly considering granting press credentials to Infowar’s Alex Jones, a notorious conspiracy theorist and Trump supporter. Meanwhile, the Trump press team has revoked press credentials for the Washington Post and other legitimate news enterprises. What’s more, they have refused to provide spokespeople to CNN for several weeks in an attempt to isolate them.

In this environment, Reuters Editor-in-Chief Steve Adler wrote a memo to his reporters to guide them on how to cover Trump. The memo begins by describing the current conditions that the media face:

“The first 12 days of the Trump presidency (yes, that’s all it’s been!) have been memorable for all – and especially challenging for us in the news business. It’s not every day that a U.S. president calls journalists “among the most dishonest human beings on earth” or that his chief strategist dubs the media “the opposition party.” It’s hardly surprising that the air is thick with questions and theories about how to cover the new Administration.”

Indeed, Trump has led an unprecedented assault on the free press. His attacks have been severe and personal. And in every case he is flailing wildly without offering much in the way of a rebuttal. He is only concerned with any negative impression of him, and that results in a furious temper tantrum. Adler’s approach to this behavior is to remind his reporters that they have experienced similar challenges in the past. And he provides examples to make his point:

“I am perpetually proud of our work in places such as Turkey, the Philippines, Egypt, Iraq, Yemen, Thailand, China, Zimbabwe, and Russia, nations in which we sometimes encounter some combination of censorship, legal prosecution, visa denials, and even physical threats to our journalists.”

So the secret to covering Trump is to apply the experience gained from covering dictators in regimes that have little respect for a free press. His advice is to be prepared for legal harassment and physical threats. Both of those are tactics that Trump has already deployed. He has said that he wants to “open up our libel laws” so that he can sue the media. And on at least one occasion a reporter required secret service protection following a Trump rally due to overt threats.

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

It’s fair to assume that the Trump administration will continue to foment discord with the media. Trump’s “malignant narcissism” and tendency to bully others is not likely change any time soon. Hopefully the media will have the courage and integrity to stand up to whatever is thrown at them. They are the last line of defense against the kind of tyranny that Adler warns about in his memo.

WTF? Trump Regime Mulls Making Foreign Visitors Turn Over Social Media And Cell Phone Info

During the presidential campaign there was considerable anxiety about the way that Donald Trump was shaping his political ideology. It seemed to be frighteningly similar to the authoritarian regimes he admires. His casual advocacy of policies that reek of dictatorship worried civil libertarians and Constitutional experts. But now those concerns appear to have been fully justified.

Refugees, Let Them In

CNN’s Jake Tapper reported Sunday that the Trump administration is considering the sort of “extreme vetting” that he threatened in the campaign (video below). Tapper’s sources revealed:

“…the preliminary idea being kicked around in the U.S. government right now. And that would be to ask foreign visitors to the U.S. to provide the names of websites and social media sites that they visit, and to provide all the contacts on their cells phones. And if a foreign visitor refuses to turn that over they would be denied entry.”

This sort of invasive screening is both ineffective and contrary to the values of a free society. Probing personal information in order to discriminate against people for their political beliefs might be done in totalitarian regimes like Russia, but not in America. What’s more, once this policy is in place, all an aspiring terrorist would have to do is get a new phone before boarding the plane. And when asked about websites and Facebook pages, provide only those without any controversial content. How hard is that?

In the meantime, every innocent traveler would be subject to this invasion of privacy and potential harassment. There is no mention of what would be done with the private data after scrutiny at customs. And a regime that would demand to see it would also be likely to store it and use it against perceived political foes. That could include diplomats, journalists, and even members of Congress.

Tapper was careful to append a disclaimer of sorts to his story. He added “Again, this is a preliminary idea being discussed by the White House and the Trump administration.” However, there are already reports of these tactics being implemented. Caroline Mortimer of the UK’s Independent reports that:

“US border agents are checking people’s Facebook pages for their political views before allowing them into the country, an immigration lawyer has claimed. […] The [American Immigration Lawyers Association] said border agents were checking the social media accounts of those detained and were interrogating them about their political beliefs before allowing them into the US.”

To reiterate, these abusive tactics are being carried out against legal residents of the U.S, with valid visas. Some have lived in the U.S. with their families for many years. So if people like this can be treated so shamefully, just imagine how refugees will be treated. People fleeing terrorism, who have already endured unthinkable suffering, will be harassed and humiliated. And following that they could still be sent back to their native country and an uncertain future. Many would be marked for death as a result of their attempt to escape.

This is not the promise of freedom that is carved on the base of the Statue of Liberty. It is a decree of oppression from the new regime in Washington that is taking its cues from Vladimir Putin. And if it is allowed to stand, the American people may soon notice their own freedoms withering away. If Trump and his politburo get away with this, what’s to stop them from doing worse in the future?

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

SPLIT: Trump’s Personalities Have A Love/Hate Relationship With Fox News (w/Hysterical Kimmel Video)

Donald Trump recently told a gathering at CIA headquarters that he has a “running war with the media.” That may be the first true statement he’s made as president. Throughout his campaign he has attacked the press in the most virulent terms. Advocates for journalists published a statement declaring him to be “an unprecedented threat to press freedom.” His animosity toward the First Amendment is often chaotic and downright dangerous. For instance, on Wednesday he tweeted this:

The spectacle of a sitting president complimenting a news enterprise for its ratings success is both unprecedented and unethical. In a nation that honors a free press, the government is not supposed to be taking sides in these matters. Nor is it appropriate for a president to insult the millions of viewers of CNN by implying that they are stupid.

What’s more, Trump went further with his unprincipled remarks to lambaste CNN as “fake news.” That term is already beginning to lose any meaning as conservatives apply it to any news with which they disagree. However, Trump’s use of it is blatantly vengeful. He reserves his animus for those who have the audacity to criticize him. His purpose is to delegitimize the media in general so that he can disseminate his “alternative facts” (aka lies) with impunity. As a result, he is frequently at odds with himself.

Trump Split 2

Trump has not always been so fond of Fox News. During the campaign he frequently lashed out them when they were not sufficiently complimentary. For instance:

Further more, Trump said of Megyn Kelly that she “is the worst” and has a “terrible show.” He called Karl Rove a “total fool” and “a biased dope.” Chris Stirewalt was deemed “one of the dumbest political pundits on television.” He said that George Will is a “broken down political pundit” and “boring.” And Trump laughed off Charles Krauthammer as “a totally overrated clown,” “a loser,” and “a dummy.”

That, however, is all behind us now. At least until the next time Fox News manages to muster up a worthy criticism. In the meantime, Trump will surely persist in castigating CNN and others for doing their job. His administration is proving to be the most hostile toward reporters in modern times. It is a troubling trend that threatens not only the press, but democracy.

On the other hand, Donald Trump is the gift that keeps on giving to the world of comedy. His ignorant rants and obsessions with ego-driven trivialities are the basis for an endless stream of jokes. He has spent most of his first week as president whining about the turnout at his inauguration. It is eating him alive that it was so much lower than President Obama’s. That preoccupation with his hurt pride led to the infamous introduction of the absurd term alternative facts.” And when he was fixating on that he was revisiting his embarrassing loss of the popular vote.

Jimmy Kimmel is not one to let a good satire of Trump get away. Consequently, Tuesday night he put together a mock trailer for a sequel to M. Night Shyamalan’s hit movie “Split.” The story revolves around a character with multiple personalities and a decidedly hostile attitude toward women. Sound familiar?

In Kimmel’s sequel the star is Donald Trump. The clip contains several instances of Trump saying one thing, then contradicting himself. It also borrows from the real film with a psychologist confronting Trump to ask “Twenty-three identities live in Donald Trump. To whom am I speaking with now?” The answers in voice-over suggest Trump, Vladimir Putin, and Rosie O’Donnell. Later the female victims plot to escape their tormentor with one proposing that “The only chance we have is if all three of us go crazy on this guy.” Then it cuts to Trump saying “I have no idea who these women are.”

The parallels to real life are a little scary. However, the hilarity falls apart when a voice is heard worrying “What will happen when he unlocks the potential of his brain?” We know that Trump himself thinks that he has “a very good brain [because] I’ve said a lot of things.” That’s also his excuse for refusing to attend national security briefings. He told Chris Wallace of Fox News that such meetings were unnecessary because “I’m, like, a smart person.”

Unfortunately, while comedians are going to be celebrating a renaissance of humor, the rest of the nation is going to be get more and more depressed. Which, ironically, will create a greater need for comedians. So in light of that, enjoy Kimmel’s version of Trump in Split and try to carry on.

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

Trump Likens CNN To Nazis But Shepard Smith Of Fox News Isn’t Having It

This is how bad it’s getting for Donald Trump. An anchor on Fox News chastised him Wednesday for doing something he has been doing for months: Attacking the media.

Shepard Smith Fox News

Shepard Smith responded to comments Trump made at his first press conference in seven months. The Donald was very upset over reports that Russia might have compromising information about him. Trump was informed of this during one of the few national security briefings he bothered to attend. However, his response was not to direct anger at the Russians asserting salacious behavior and financial impropriety on Trump’s part. Nope, he was angry with BuzzFeed and CNN for doing their job and informing the public.

TRUMP: I think it was disgraceful, disgraceful that the intelligence agencies allowed any information that turned out to so false, and fake, out. I think it’s a disgrace. And I say that. And that’s something Nazi Germany would have done and did do.

First of all, Trump implying that he’s a victim of Nazi tactics is not only false, it’s nauseating. He is trivializing the real horrors that took the lives of millions. Jewish groups have condemned his remarks and called for him to apologize.

Back to the main topic: Trump called BuzzFeed a “failing pile of garbage” who would “suffer the consequences.” Then turned to CNN, who he blamed for “building it up.” When CNN’s White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, attempted to ask a question, Trump repeatedly refused to recognize him. He told Acosta to be quiet and to stop being rude. Then, as an explanation for why Acosta was being shunned, Trump said that “You are fake news.”

Shepard Smith addressed this exchange on his afternoon broadcast. He began by distinguishing CNN’s reporting from that of BuzzFeed, who merely published the source documents from the intelligence briefing that everyone was already talking about. Then he mounted a full-throated defense of CNN:

SMITH: “Though we at Fox News cannot confirm CNN’s report, it is our observation that its correspondents followed journalistic standards. Neither they, nor any other journalists, should be subjected to belittling and delegitimizing by the President-Elect of the United States.”

Coming from Fox News, that’s a strong vote of confidence for the network that Trump so fiercely despises. What’s more, it’s important symbolically for other news organizations to rally behind CNN, or any network, whose First Amendment rights are threatened. Trump has a long history of resorting to blacklisting news enterprises that he perceives as insufficiently adoring. And it goes beyond simply calling them names. He has revoked their credentials and prohibited them from covering his events. Now he has taken to calling any news he doesn’t like “fake news.”

This makes Trump’s “Nazi” rhetoric all the more curious and disturbing. He is literally engaging in the sort of suppression of the press that was common in Germany in the 1930’s and 1940’s. His attacks on CNN, and other media he dislikes, is intended to damage their reputation and even destroy their business viability. That is clear in his post-press conference tweet falsely maligning CNN’s ratings and credibility. Trump is on a mission to silence his critics and friendly media. In fact, shortly after brushing back Acosta, Trump called on Breitbart News, an actual, documented source for fake news.

However, Trump’s assertion that he is the victim of Nazi tactics is ludicrous on its face. When did Nazi-run media ever release intelligence data intended to hurt the German leader? Trump is casting himself in the role of Hitler and asserting that his own spies are out to get him. The absurdity of that is glaringly apparent. In the Nazi era it would have been suicide for the media to publish anything critical of the Fuhrer. And aside from being historically inaccurate, it’s a precarious analogy to apply to oneself. Never mind the temptingly appropriate parallels. Furthermore, Trump has been asked about comparisons to Hitler in the past, and in a chillingly ominous response he said that it doesn’t bother him. That response should bother every other American.

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

Publisher Pulls Book By Trump’s National Security Nominee Due To Plagiarism

Last week reports surfaced alleging that Monica Crowley had plagiarized significant parts of her 2012 book, “What The (Bleep) Just Happened.” Ironically, that title poses a good question considering that her publisher just announced that it’s pulling the book from publication:

“The book, which has reached the end of its natural sales cycle, will no longer be offered for purchase until such time as the author has the opportunity to source and revise the material.”

Monica Crowley

Donald Trump recently nominated Crowley to be the strategic communications director of the National Security Council. She was previously a contributor for Fox News. CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski identified more than fifty instances of text that was lifted in whole or in part from other sources. The “borrowed” words came from newspapers, magazines, websites, and even from a colleague at Fox News. After publication of the expose, Trump’s transition team called it a politically motivated attack and said they stood by Crowley.

Now the publisher, HarperCollins, has concluded that the allegations have merit. It should be noted that HarperCollins is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. Murdoch is also the owner of the parent company of Fox News. CNN reached out to Trump’s team again for an updated response but did not immediately receive one.

In addition to this news, the Trump people have to deal with allegations that Crowley also plagiarized portions of her doctorate dissertation. According to Politico:

“An examination of the dissertation and the sources it cites identified more than a dozen sections of text that have been lifted, with little to no changes, from other scholarly works without proper attribution. In some instances, Crowley footnoted her source but did not identify with quotation marks the text she was copying directly. In other instances, she copied text or heavily paraphrased with no attribution at all.”

With the removal of Crowley’s book from publication it seems impossible for Trump to continue to dismiss this as partisan. Rupert Murdoch’s publishing company isn’t part of a Democratic cabal. Crowley’s fate would be sealed in any other political context. But Trump’s operation has been rife with impropriety, dishonesty, and a determination to double down when faced with adversity. So it’s anyone’s guess where Crowley will be tomorrow. After all, Trump’s wife Melania was also caught in a plagiarism scandal, and she’s still around.

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