Pay-To-Play: Trump’s Tweets Promoting Fox News Are Worth A Fortune In Free Advertising

It’s time to pull the press credentials of Fox News.

Fox News Donald Trump

The congressional press galleries have specific standards for issuing press passes to Washington journalists. They’re intended to insure that correspondents granted the privilege of access to government officials represent legitimate and independent news organizations. More often than not, credentials have been distributed fairly and without regard to partisan affiliation. The standards say in part that applicants…

“…must not be engaged in any lobbying or paid advocacy, advertising, publicity or promotion work for any individual, political party, corporation, organization, or agency of the U.S. Government. [And…] must be editorially independent of any institution, foundation or interest group that lobbies the federal government, or that is not principally a general news organization.”

A recent example of a “news” enterprise that failed the test was Breitbart News. Their application was denied due to its failure demonstrate editorial independence from Donald Trump and his administration. It was an easy call considering that Trump’s chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, previously ran the alt-right web rag.

However, applying the same criteria, the credentials of Fox News should be revoked due to their demonstrated absence of independence. The network’s news anchors and opinion hosts shamelessly advance the interests of Trump and his agenda. Some (Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity) are close personal friends. What’s more, they devotedly defend him from criticism and fiercely attack his critics. Fox News fails to meet the standards cited above because it is plainly engaging in advocacy, advertising, publicity and promotion. It is not editorially independent. And even according to their own chief executive, it “is not principally a general news organization.”

Clearly Fox is in Trump’s corner and isn’t shy about showing their favoritism. And the reverse is just as true. Further evidence of the tightly wound dependency between Trump and Fox News is the favoritism shown by Trump toward Fox. Prior to his entry into politics he had a regular segment on Fox and Friends called “Mondays with Trump.” He has appeared on Fox more than any other network. Since the inauguration five of the six interviews he’s given to cable news networks were given to Fox News.

Even more emblematic of their mutual fondness is the presence of former Foxies in the White House ranks. So far there are five members of the Trump administration who were recruited from Fox News. K.T. McFarland, Ben Carson, Sebastian Gorka, Heather Nauert, and Richard Grennell. They form the core of Trump’s Ministry of Propaganda. It’s an unprecedented fusion of media and government.

Never let it be said that Trump doesn’t show his appreciation for all the help he’s received from Fox. He has expressed that appreciation in the form of promotional tweets encouraging his followers to watch Fox News. The Washington Post has collected dozens of examples of these 140 character commercial endorsements. And the value of these tweeted ads should not be underestimated. The Post noted that:

“[T]here’s a robust economy built on getting celebrities to tweet positive things about products. You see Kim Kardashian posting a photo of some new lipstick on Instagram and you can be pretty confident that the lipstick company paid some go-between to get her to do that.”

Indeed. Trump’s previous career as a television huckster hosting a reality TV game show prepared him for this role as a White House infomercial personality. Celebrity Apprentice was an hour long advertising vehicle for everything from Coca-Cola to Chevrolet, and of course Trump Hotels. In fact, there were often more product placements in Trump’s show than most other programs on television. It’s a corrupt practice he is continuing in the White House.

So Trump knows how much endorsements are worth. The Post estimated his tweets for Fox News to be worth more than $5 million in free advertising. Perhaps not as valuable as Kardashian’s tweets, but still significant. Below are some of the tweet-vertisements Trump has posted for his pals at Fox:

The relationship between Trump and Fox News is one that poisons both the media and the presidency. It cheapens both by turning them into commercial casters that exist to generate tabloid pablum for profit. A perfect example of how quickly this devolves into a shopping network for political elites is the deal Fox just signed with Harvey Levin. The TMZ star will host “Objectified,” a spinoff of Levin’s Fox News special wherein he toured Trump’s gold-plated penthouse. Coming this fall.

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

Trump and Fox News are merging to form a government sponsored propaganda machine that is deceptive at best and mind control at worst. It is the sort of perverse arrangement that is generally found in dictatorships and fascist regimes. If the organizations responsible for journalist credentials don’t take steps to apply their own standards, then they will be complicit in the degradation and delegitimization of the American press. And the first step would be to pull the press credentials of Fox News.

Desperate Trump Tweets Threat To Investigate Debunked Clinton/Russia Uranium Deal

The walls are losing in around Donald Trump. Allegations concerning his unsavory connections to Vladimir Putin and Russia continue to accumulate. His closest associates are being investigated by the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies. The 2016 election was tainted by revelations of meetings between Trump’s campaign and Russian operatives. And the Justice Department has already certified that Russia interfered with the election in an effort to harm Hillary Clinton and Boost Trump. The FBI is currently investigating the Trump campaign’s complicity.

Donald Trump Vladimir Putin

In the heat of all that, Congress is under fire for failing to hold independent hearings on the mounting scandals involving Trump and Russia. GOP Rep. Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has himself been implicated in shady behavior. He reportedly met with a secret “source” at the White House prior to holding a press conference last week. At the presser Nunes released information intended to help the President evade further scrutiny. Then Nunes returned to the White House to brief Trump without ever sharing his information with the committee.

In the midst of this, Trump has now engaged in a pitifully obvious attempt at diversion. He posted the following tweets Monday evening:

Under the circumstances, asking the Intelligence Committee to investigate the Clinton’s is a transparent act of desperation. Especially since the Committee under Nunes’ control has zero credibility. In addition, the matters Trump cited have all been investigated by numerous legal and congressional entities. There was no wrongdoing found by the Clinton’s or President Obama. PolitiFact summed up the findings in a comprehensive analysis last year after a prior accusation by Trump. They rated Trump’s accusations “Mostly False” and said in part:

Russia’s nuclear energy agency, which also builds nuclear weapons, bought a controlling stake in Uranium One. The company has mines, mills and tracts of land in Wyoming, Utah and other U.S. states equal to about 20 percent of U.S. uranium production capacity.

So, to be clear, the 20 percent is capacity, not uranium that has been produced.

Given that Russia doesn’t have the licenses to export uranium outside the United States, it was likely more interested in Uranium One’s assets in Kazakhstan, the world’s largest uranium producer, our colleagues said. […]

The State Department did approve the Uranium One deal, but it didn’t act unilaterally. It was one of nine U.S. government agencies, plus independent federal and state nuclear regulators, that had to sign off on the deal.

And as FactCheck.org noted in a related fact check, while any of the nine agencies could have objected to the deal, only President Barack Obama had the power to veto it.

So there was nothing untoward about the deal in the first place, and Clinton didn’t have the power to approve or reject it anyway. Consequently, Trump’s only motivation could be to divert attention away from his potentially treasonous activities. It’s a pathetic scheme that is so clumsy it can’t possibly work. And that is the most damning proof of his desperation and fear. Stunts like this are only likely to exacerbate his situation.

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

So keep tweeting, Mr. President. Your outbursts merely serve to dig you in deeper. They certainly won’t have any effect on the law enforcement professionals examining your activities during and following the campaign. And as the evidence continues to expose your malfeasance you will lose even more support from your fellow Republicans in Congress. You know, the ones you just insulted because they didn’t buy into your phony healthcare scam.

Trump Whines Because ‘Democrats Are Smiling’ – No, They’re Laughing at You, Loser

The failure of Donald Trump and the Republican Party to pass their anti-ObamaCare bill is still stinging. Maybe a bill that would cancel health insurance for twenty-four million people was never a good idea. It had a pitiful seventeen percent approval rating in recent polls. Consequently, the prospects for its passage were dim from the start. But that didn’t sway the President and his party who are more focused on cutting taxes for their wealthy pals than helping average Americans.

Donald Trump

Having had a couple of days to think about, Trump is still peeved that his incompetence has been displayed to the world. So naturally he is blaming everybody else. In another of his morning tweets the President lashed out at those he feels betrayed him:

First of all, Democrats are smiling across the country, not just in D.C. And it isn’t just Democrats. All Americans who appreciate having access to affordable healthcare are glad that the GOP bill never got off the ground. Secondly, it wasn’t the House Freedom Caucus or the Heritage Foundation that doomed the bill. It was the short-sighted thinking of Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan, who thought they could muscle through sham legislation that achieved none of what they promised. Despite their public pronouncements, they never intended to insure all Americans. They never tried to hold costs down. And they never sought bipartisan consensus to attract Democratic support.

Trump’s tweet exhibits the petty vengefulness that is the hallmark of his flawed character. He’s attacking his closest allies because they weren’t a hundred percent obedient. Heaven forbid he should accept any responsibility for his own political fiasco. What’s more, he’s lamenting that Planned Parenthood and ObamaCare were saved. According to most polls, both are supported by large majorities of the population. They would certainly regard saving them as admirable, not lamentable.

Trump’s disconnection with the majority of the American people, and even his own party, is unusually vast. He appears to have a severe case of ideological tunnel-blindness that has warped his worldview. And by announcing that on Twitter he drew a response from the online community that puts him in his place. If he’s really interested in why “Democrats are smiling” here are a few of the reasons provided by twitterers:

Trump’s arrogance and inability to accept defeat continue to alienate him from most voters. It’s a big part of the reason he has the most unfavorable ratings of any president before him. His response to having been rebuked by the his congressional colleagues, and the voting public, is to hope that ObamaCare “explodes” and causes great harm to innocent people. That’s not leadership. That’s the response of a vindictive narcissist whose only concern is the feeding and welfare of his ego.

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

Trump Hates America, and His Pathetic ‘Leadership’ on Healthcare Is Proof Of It

The failure of TrumpCare is more than a political pratfall by Donald Trump and the Republican Party. It is an object lesson in the pettiness of a vengeful, self-absorbed man who couldn’t care less about the welfare of the American people.

Donald Trump

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump marketed himself as a master negotiator and dealmaker. But when push came to shove Trump couldn’t close the deal on what was the highest priority on his agenda. Instead, the man responsible for six bankruptcies failed yet again. He couldn’t move the ball across the goal line with a majority in both chambers of Congress. But what’s worse is that his reaction betrays a spiteful disregard for the citizens he purports to serve.

In a video posted on the White House website, the President made some brief comments about the TrumpCare debacle. True to form, he blamed Democrats for his own failings and those of his party. Never mind that Democrats could not have blocked passage if Republicans were united – or competent. The truth is that the GOP didn’t want to pass the bill because it was so transparently awful. They knew that their constituents were opposed to it. What legislator in their right mind would vote for a bill that had only seventeen percent approval?

However, the most disturbing part of Trump’s video statement is his virtual giddiness at the prospect of people suffering and Democrats getting blamed. He repeatedly made false assertions that “ObamaCare is exploding” (it’s not). His takeaway on that was a perverse pride in predicting that Americans will suffer:

“I think what will happen is ObamaCare, unfortunately, will explode. It’s gonna have a very bad year.”

Trump took solace in his estimation that TrumpCare’s demise was “the best thing that could happen.” So he believe’s that ObamaCare will inflict great pain on people, but that that’s a good thing. It’s a position that only a sadist could support. And his reasoning centered on a political analysis wherein Democrats would be held accountable for ObamaCare.

“I think the losers are Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, because now they own ObamaCare. They own it. One hundred percent own it. And this is not a Republican healthcare. This is not anything but a Democrat healthcare. And they have ObamaCare for a little while longer until it ceases to exist. Which it will at some point in the near future. And just remember, this is not our bill, this is their bill.”

Seriously, what reality is Trump living in? Democrats have always “owned” ObamaCare. It didn’t get a single Republican vote. It was drafted and passed by Democrats. It’s nicknamed after a Democratic president fer chrissakes. What’s more, Democrats are proud of the bill. They are anxious to be associated with its historic drop in the uninsured rate. They happily note that it has resulted in the slowest growth of healthcare costs in decades. And the fact that its approval rating in recent polls is at its highest level ever doesn’t hurt.

Republicans had eight years to come up with a viable alternative to ObamaCare. They never even bothered. Rather, they held meaningless votes (more than sixty of them) to either repeal or cripple ObamaCare. But they only did that because they knew that Obama would veto anything that reached his desk. Now, with a Republican in the White House, they are cowering in fear of voting for something the country opposes. Even press secretary Sean Spicer called them out before the vote. “You’ve taken a bunch of these free votes when it didn’t matter because you didn’t have a Republican president,” he chided. “Well, this is a live ball now. This is for real.” That obviously didn’t work.

Also in Trump’s video, he tried to make excuses for his failure by rewriting his history on the subject. “I never said repeal [ObamaCare] and replace it within sixty-four days,” he whined. That’s true, he never said “sixty-four days.” But he did say “immediately” and “on my first day in office” and that “it’s gonna be so easy.” That obviously didn’t work either.

Trump’s habit of lying, making excuses, and blaming others is on vivid display here. And his utter lack of leadership is appalling. A real leader would not threaten people with predictions of pain and suffering. He would not find comfort in the hardship of others. A real leader would face reality and then seek to mitigate any harm that he perceived. He would accept the circumstances and try to make best of them, even if it was not what he favored.

For example, if Trump thinks that ObamaCare is going to result in higher premiums, he should advocate greater participation. That would increase the risk pool and keep premiums down. If he’s concerned about insurance companies offering plans, he should help to create incentives for them to do so. He’s already given up on “repeal and replace” so he should be focusing on helping people rather than hovering over them like a vulture anxiously anticipating fresh corpses.

That, however, is not Trump’s style. He is a petulant, vindictive, narcissist who throws tantrums when he doesn’t get his way. And it doesn’t matter who he hurts. He is as poor a leader as he is a dealmaker. The battle over healthcare has been an instructive experience that lays open the festering flaws in Trump’s character – or more accurately – the lack of it.

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

WINNING? TrumpCare Vote Canceled as Support in Congress and the Country Collapses

The scheduled House vote on the bill to replace and repeal ObamaCare has been canceled – again. This is the second time in as many days that the bill was pulled from the schedule. It’s clear from the whip counts that had the vote gone forward it would lose. In fact, the “no” votes were increasing by the hour.

Donald Trump

This is a significant failure for both Donald Trump and the Republican congress. They promised that the first order of business of the Trump administration would be to repeal ObamaCare. Republicans in the House had voted more than fifty times to do so while President Obama was in office. Perhaps they were comfortable voting to kill a popular program as long as they knew Obama was there to veto it.

Now that the vote is off, there is no indication of whether it will be rescheduled or what form the bill might take. Trump has previously said that this is the bill and if it isn’t passed there won’t be another opportunity. Paul Ryan, Sean Spicer, and others in the GOP leadership said much the same thing. However, Robert Costa of the Washington Post is reporting that Trump called him to say that he was responsible for canceling the vote. That would be peculiar, since he was the one making ultimatums about this vote being the only vote.

So for the time being ObamaCare will not be repealed or replaced. The American people will be happy to hear that as the most recent polling shows that only 17 percent favored the GOP effort to kill it. Trump’s bragging about the nation getting sick and tired of winning is less likely to be a concern in the near future.

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

This is a breaking story that is continuing to unfold. Updates will be provided as they become available.

SRSLY? Trump’s Defense For His Mountain Of Bullsh*t Is That He Heard It On TV

Donald Trump made a lot of boastful promises during his campaign. He assured his supporters that he was smartest, richest, bestest at whatever particular pursuit was the topic at the moment. He knew more about ISIS than the generals. His were the best words. And the person he consulted most on national security was himself. But the only thing he has actually excelled in is racking up records for lies and embarrassing misstatements.

Fox News Donald Trump

On Thursday a Time Magazine interview with Trump offered an explanation for his endless stream of gaffes. However, his attempt at clearing up his trail of lies was littered with even more lies. Most notably, his first stab at redemption was to deny that he lied at all. “Name what’s wrong! I mean, honestly,” he said. Then he launched into a litany of past pronouncements which he defended as evidence of his unquestionable veracity. They included having predicted Brexit (he didn’t), allegations of voter fraud (that never happened), criticisms of NATO (about which he was wrong), refugee violence in Sweden (that was made up), and assertions that thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrated 9/11 (which he must have hallucinated).

Topping the list was his most recent display of cow droppings – that President Obama wiretapped his phones in Trump Tower. After baselessly tweeting that his predecessor was guilty of a felony, Trump tried to pass it off as hearsay:

“I quoted Judge Napolitano, just like I quoted Bret Baier, I mean Bret Baier mentioned the word wiretap. Now he can now deny it, or whatever he is doing, you know. But I watched Bret Baier, and he used that term. I have a lot of respect for Judge Napolitano, and he said that three sources have told him things that would make me right. I don’t know where he has gone with it since then. But I’m quoting highly respected people from highly respected television networks.”

First of all, Bret Baier not only did not back up Trump’s reckless charges, he affirmatively denied them. “The Fox News division was never able to back up those claims,” said Baier. And Napolitano’s comments were so outrageously false that they earned him an indefinite suspension from Fox News. That’s why Trump doesn’t “know where he has gone with it since then.”

But the most troubling part of Trump’s execrable excuse was that he was just “quoting highly respected people from highly respected television networks.” This is the President of the United States admitting that his sources were TV pundits and commentators. Never mind that he has the world’s most extensive network of intelligence agencies at his disposal. He doesn’t rely on national security professionals or diplomats or academics or legal experts. No, not the bestest president ever. He relies on TV’s talking heads.

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

What’s more, it cannot be forgotten that Trump relentlessly bashes the media as “fake news.” They are, he said, the enemy of the American people.” So it’s unlikely that the respected networks to which he’s referring include CNN or NBC. In fact, the only network that he has offered any praise is Fox News. And, as anyone in journalism will tell you, they are not especially well respected. So it doesn’t provide much comfort that our lying president gets his misinformation from lying networks who get their misinformation from their overactive, right-wing imaginations.

Press Secretary Spicer Won’t Deny That Trump Planted An Alibi For His Wiretapping Lie

A few weeks ago, Donald Trump tweeted that he had “Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower.” But he never bothered to provide any evidence of the charge. To the contrary, he cited sources that were either lacking any credibility or didn’t back him up. Nevertheless, he has continued to push the phony story despite being repudiated by both Democrats and Republicans.

Donald Trump Lies

On Wednesday, Devin Nunes, the GOP chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, made a public statement asserting that he had received information about surveillance in Trump Tower. He didn’t identify the source of the information, nor who was being surveilled. But he did say that there may have been “incidental” data involving Trump or his team that was picked up. In a follow up on Thursday he was asked if the source of this information was the White house. Nunes gave a meandering response that notably did not include a denial.

Later, during Thursday’s White house press briefing, press secretary Sean Spicer was asked to comment on the same matter. That resulted in this peculiar exchange:

Question: Chairman Nunes today refused to definitively rule out that he received the information he announced yesterday on surveillance, that he got that from the White House. So will you rule out that the White House, or anyone in the administration, gave Chairman Nunes that information?

Spicer: I don’t know what he actually briefed the President on, but I don’t know why he would come in to brief the President on something that we gave him. I don’t know that that makes sense. I did not sit in on that briefing. I’m not… It just doesn’t… So I don’t know why he would brief the Speaker and then come down here to brief us on something that we would have briefed him on. It doesn’t really seem to make a ton of sense. So I’m not aware of it, but it doesn’t really pass the smell test.

You’ll notice that Spicer danced around the response but never ruled out that the information came from Trump. He merely expressed confusion as to why that would have happened. Of course, the reason is obvious. Trump had a vested interest in Nunes making a public statement that could be twisted into a validation. To date, Trump has still not provided any support for his reckless accusation that Obama wiretapped his phones. Now it appears that two of Trump’s defenders have blatantly refused to deny that the White House concocted their own alibi.

Why would both Nunes and Spicer be so conspicuously reluctant to give a straight forward denial that Trump planted his own story? All they would have to say is “No, the President didn’t do that.” Instead they leave open the possibility that Trump is once again acting as his own PR rep. And that’s something that really doesn’t pass the smell test.

[Update: A new report alleges that Nunes met his “source” at the White House the day before his press conference. This advances the planted alibi theory.]

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

BLACKOUT: This is How Fox News Intentionally Keeps Its Viewers Stupid

There have been innumerable examples of Fox News airing false reports in an effort to misinform their viewers. A recent example just within the past week alleged that President Obama recruited British spies to conduct surveillance on Donald Trump’s campaign. Fox’s senior judicial analyst, Andrew Napolitian, made the claim without any supporting evidence. The network’s news division later refuted the report and put Napolitano on an indefinite leave. But that was after the story had been disseminated worldwide, creating an international incident. Even Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer (Fibby Spice) cited the fake news during a White House press briefing.

Go Fox Yourself

However, another way of shaping an ignorant electorate is to refrain from covering important events. The choice of what not to cover is just as significant as what to cover. And on Tuesday Fox News demonstrated their determination to deny their audience information that is unarguably newsworthy.

The House Intelligence Committee’s hearings on Russia’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election were broadcast live by most news networks. Testimony by FBI Director James Comey revealed for the first time that the FBI was investigating Trump and his associates. The proceedings were unusually compelling for a congressional hearing. And the proof of that came when Fox News decided to cease coverage of the hearings to host a panel of right-wing talking heads instead.

Fox was the only network that interrupted the live broadcast. And by doing so they deprived their viewers of first hand knowledge of what was happening at the hearings. What’s worse is that they replaced the hearings with conservative pundits providing a blatantly biased analysis. It was a deliberate programming strategy designed to advance the messaging of an embattled White House.

Unfortunately for Fox News, it may not have worked this time. Ratings for the cable news networks show that when Fox cut away from the hearings they lost about 29 percent of their audience. That’s a massive shift by viewers who were obviously disappointed by Fox’s programming decision. What’s more, viewers were plainly following the hearings to other channels. The ratings for CNN and MSNBC both spiked after Fox cut away.

This tells us that the American people are acutely interested in this matter. They want to know more about the potentially treasonous activities of their president. By suppressing that information Fox succeeded only in alienating their audience and further eroding their credibility. Plus, they probably don’t want to send their viewers off to competing networks.

The Trump administration has brought newfound prosperity to liberal programming. The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC has toppled Fox from its perch atop the ratings hill. She has won her time period for the past two weeks straight. Saturday Night Live, despite Trump’s insulting tweets (or because of them) has seen its best ratings in years. Stephen Colbert’s Late Show is now leading his late night talk show competition.

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

All of this suggests that Americans are hungry for honest reporting. They are tired of Fox’s propaganda and the phony “balance” sought by CNN and other conventional news outlets. They want the press to be skeptical when appropriate and aggressive when necessary. They know there’s something amiss in the Trump White House and they don’t want it papered over. And they are not going to sit still when a network like Fox decides that they don’t need to know what’s really going on. Fox News needs to adjust a new viewer mantra: We have remotes, and we’re prepared to use them.

Serial Liar Bill O’Reilly Of Fox News Advises Trump To Stop Lying – No Really!

In the latest episode of Bill O’Reilly’s “Talking Points Memo” (video below), the Fox News host tackled a serious issue. Monday’s House Intelligence Committee hearing on Russia’s interference with the 2016 presidential election was the subject. However, O’Reilly’s focus, like most Republicans, was more on White House leakers than on Donald Trump’s allegedly treasonous behavior.

Bill O'Reilly Fox News

O’Reilly began by whitewashing Trump’s association with unsavory figures like Roger Stone and Paul Manafort. Stone is a long-time associate of Trump’s and Manafort was his campaign chairman. Both have disturbing connections to the unfolding Russian intrigue. But according to O’Reilly, they were merely incidentally associated with Trump. In fact, O’Reilly parroted Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer (Fibby Spice) who also downplayed those relationships.

The Trump messaging machine is trying furiously to distance him from potential criminal acts. O’Reilly’s mission was to dismiss the whole affair, saying he would “be surprised if anything comes of this Russia investigation.” Even so, he cited it as a reason for Trump’s reckless accusation that President Obama wiretapped him. That weasley excuse is an indication of how desperate they are for absolution. But it also leads O’Reilly to provide an ironic bit of counsel:

“In the future, the President would be wise to embrace only facts in his pronouncements.”

That’s a deceptively significant statement. First of all, it presupposes that this president doesn’t already embrace only facts. Of course, most clear minded observers are well aware that Trump is a pathological liar. But for a close personal friend like O’Reilly to concede that point is itself newsworthy. You have to wonder what other pronouncements of Trump’s O’Reilly believes are not factual. He certainly has never made a point of criticizing Trump’s honesty before this.

What’s more, having to advise a president to stop lying in the future ought to be a milestone of embarrassment. However, O’Reilly takes it in stride as if it were routine. That might be because O’Reilly himself has been a fount of lies for much of his career. For someone who calls his program a “No Spin Zone” he does more turns than a meth-addled ballerina. His show is a daily parade of dishonesty and misinformation. On a personal level he has “embellished” his resume as a war correspondent with provably false tales of heroism. And PolitiFact’s file on O’Reilly shows that 53 percent of his comments have been rated as “Mostly False,” “False,” or “Pants on Fire.”

With regard to the congressional hearings on Russia, O’Reilly managed to lie in the introduction of his first guest. In a summary of the hearings he said that FBI Director James Comey “couldn’t confirm an investigation” of Trump’s connections to Russia. But that is exactly what Comey did confirm at the outset of his testimony. Additionally, O’Reilly never mentioned that it was his colleague, Andrew Napolitano, who provided Trump with the phony allegations that Obama employed British spies to surveil The Donald. On Monday Fox News reportedly put Napolitano on an indefinite leave. That also went unmentioned.

O’Reilly exhibited little interest in the Russia story. He was far more concerned with finding and punishing leakers. That’s like having your neighbor tell you there’s a dead body in your backyard, but then only questioning him about how he found out. O’Reilly went even further to say that “These leakers, they gotta be arrested. And we’re gonna deal with whether the press should be arrested too.” So it’s not enough that O’Reilly is a lying, flunky for Trump and his Russian pals. He’s also intent on imprisoning journalists and abolishing the First Amendment.

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

Fox News ‘Security Moms’ Don’t Care About Russia And Trump; Fox News Poll Disagrees

On Monday the House Intelligence Committee held a hearing to investigate Donald Trump’s campaign and its connections to Russia. Witnesses included FBI Director James Comey and Adm. Mike Rogers, Director of the National Security Agency. The testimony was conclusive with regard to Russia’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. And their motives were plainly to help Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton. Furthermore, Comey confirmed that he knew of no evidence that the Obama administration had wiretapped Trump’s phones. On that matter he was speaking for the Department of Justice as well. So Trump’s reckless tweets asserting that President Obama was guilty of that felony were exposed as lies.

Fox News

Many of the details of Russia’s election tampering were not provided due to the sensitive nature of the information. Comey had to be careful not to reveal classified data or compromise the conduct of an ongoing investigation. But there was no question that Trump’s campaign is the subject of an investigation and the consequences remain dire.

In light of that, Fox News sprung to action in order to protect Trump from any negative public relations fallout. His pals at Fox and Friends assembled a panel of what they called “Security Moms” (video below). In fact it was a group of pre-selected pro-Trump mouthpieces who would defend their hero under any circumstances. Co-host Ainsley Earhardt opened the segment saying:

“Even the mainstream media is admitting that there is probably no Russian connection to the Trump White House. So why can’t they stop talking about it? Is this really what American families want to know? Who better to ask than our panel of moms?”

First of all, Earhardt’s assertion that there is “no Russian connection to the Trump White House” was pulled straight out her assumptions file. There are numerous connections, as is documented by the research of Rep. Eric Salwell. His charts reveal a disturbing web of Trump/Russian connectivity. And secondly, Earhardt’s objection to the media’s focus on this issue belies her determination to squelch it.

Earhardt’s first question was a not so fair and balanced “Why is the mainstream media harping on this?” The answers from her panel of Trump Moms were typical rationalizations of his erratic behavior. They ran the gamut of wingnut allegations from “fake news” to delegitimizing the President. Earhardt also asked if any of the panel was concerned that Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia. They all immediately said “No.” By the end of the segment Earhardt and her support group all agreed that we should “move on” from the Russia story.

Clearly this was a deliberately biased group of women assembled to shield the President from criticism. It’s something Fox does on a regular basis. How else could they all be unconcerned about an American president colluding with a hostile foreign country? They expressed an interest in diverting to other issues such as immigration. But even in those comments they parroted the Trump agenda fomenting fear of “illegals” and terrorists.

Fox News displayed a graphic during the segment that read “NEWS YOU CAN’T USE. Do U.S. Families Want To Hear Russia Reports?” The conclusion expressed by the Trump Moms was a unanimous “No.” These Foxies must not be paying very close attention to Fox News. The network recently released a poll that specifically addressed these issues. The poll asked:

    Do you think there should be a Congressional investigation into:

  • Reported Russian hacking and attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election: YES 66% (including 41% of Republicans), NO 30%
  • Alleged coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russian government: YES 63% (including 32% of Republicans), NO 33%

So about two-thirds of voters think there should be investigations into Russia’s election tampering and Trump’s potential complicity in it. That’s according to Fox’s own poll. Yet Fox and Friends puts four women on the air who all take the completely opposite view. If that isn’t an attempt at manipulation and propaganda, then nothing is. It’s just further proof that Fox serves as the PR division of the Trump administration.

Finally, we know that Trump pays attention to Fox’s polls because this same Monday morning he tweeted:

Actually, the poll he was referencing was not from CNN, it was from Gallup. It shows him near the lowest point in his already record-breaking low presidency with only 39 percent approval. Also, CNN’s election polls were pretty close to the final result. They had Clinton leading Trump by about five points. She finished three points ahead. Trump’s observation that Fox’s poll was more favorable is true. However, it also had him in a decidedly negative position with 43 percent approving and 51 percent disapproving. Apparently in Trump’s world that’s good news. At least Fox got a new slogan that actually makes sense: News You Can’t Use.

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