Is There An ‘Obama TV’ Network In The President’s Future?

The media has been appropriately focusing on Donald Trump’s transition activities and its unending string of embarrassing and dangerous flubs. In the meantime, little has been said about what President Obama plans to do after he leaves the White House. Former presidents take different paths in retirement from government service. Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter went deep into charitable work. The Bushes merely slipped into near reclusive anonymity. And they all have libraries to promote.

Obama

However, President Obama is a unique figure in American history. He is, of course, the first African-American president. But he is also a pioneer in the age of digital media. He beat Donald Trump to social media and embraced its benefits without making an ass of himself. Combine that spirit of innovation and his natural communication skills and a prospective future in media seems plausible.

That’s exactly what is being speculated about by people in the Obama sphere. Jake Horowitz of Mic is reporting that:

“President Barack Obama has been discussing a post-presidential career in digital media and is considering launching his own media company, according to multiple sources who spoke on background because they were not authorized to speak for the president.

Obama considers media to be a central focus of his next chapter, these sources say, though exactly what form that will take — a show streaming on Netflix, a web series on a comedy site or something else — remains unclear. Obama has gone so far as to discuss launching his own media company, according to one source with knowledge of the matter.”

The article is careful not to introduce too much hype. Horowitz notes that some sources are downplaying the possibility. Also, the White House says that Obama “has no plans to get into the media business after he leaves office.” Such denials are to be expected and they haven’t quelled the background noise circulating around the idea. There is even talk about a relationship with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg who met with Obama recently in Peru.

Obama may be the most media-focused president in history. He frequently comments on the state of the media and offers insightful criticism. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone he observed that:

“I’ve got the majority on my side, and a healthy majority on my side. The problem is, we’ve got all these filters. Look, if I watched Fox News, I probably wouldn’t vote for me either. Because you’ve got this screen, this funhouse mirror, through which people are receiving their information. How to break through that is a real challenge.

And that:

“I think the question I’d have when it comes to the media is, ‘How do we create a space where the truth gets eyeballs and is entertaining,’ and we can build a common conversation.”

Truth has been the big casualty in the 2016 presidential campaign. We have a president-elect who has accumulated the longest list of provable lies of any other candidate on record. And the outbreak of fake news has become a defining characteristic of social media. It’s impact on the election is difficult to quantify, but studies show that it was far more prevalent among conservatives. Also, there is no doubt that foreign operatives (i.e. Russia) have been instrumental in its distribution.

Fox News, of course, is an ever-present stain on journalism. They have made it their mission to relentlessly attack the President and anything remotely progressive. Simultaneously, they steadfastly promote right-wing politicians and policies. What’s more, they virtually created Donald Trump with the gift of billions of dollars of free airtime.

Prior to the election, when it appeared that Trump would lose, there was speculation that he would might launch a media venture. There were several good reasons why that would fail miserably. However, Obama could have better odds in a difficult marketplace. He is near the top of his popularity as he approaches the end of his term. And his wide network of politicos and celebrities could shape an appealing roster of programming.

One thing is certain: the media is in dire need of a fundamental transformation. It needs to abandon the tabloid sensationalism and conflict model of news. Respect for facts, as opposed to symbolic balance and false equivalencies, needs to be reinforced.

The press is the only profession identified by name in the Constitution. That’s because the framers knew that democracy is unworkable without an informed electorate. What we have now is a vastly disinformed electorate. If Obama were to enter the media with the intention of resolving that problem it could be a more important part of his legacy than the presidency.

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

Here’s a preview of what Obama TV might look like (courtesy of The Colbert Report):

Trump Shill Exposes His Deranged Political Philosophy: ‘There’s No Such Thing As Facts’

America has just endured a campaign marked by an unprecedented flood of deliberate falsehoods emanating from a presidential candidate. While politicians are notorious for stretching the truth, never before has it been taken to these extremes. If nothing else, Donald Trump gets credit for mangling the truth beyond all recognition (see the Trump Bullshitopedia)

Trump / Scottie Nell Hughes

Now we have confirmation from a prominent surrogate that this was a strategy, not merely a character flaw. Scottie Nell Hughes has appeared daily on CNN espousing the Trump doctrine and defending his racist and ignorant outbursts. Like every Trump surrogate, she exhibited no shame when sanitizing his vulgarities and whitewashing his bigotry. Many observers have wondered how she and other StormTrumpers could back him up with a straight face. Wednesday on the Diane Rehme radio show, Hughes cleared up the mystery.

The conversation turned toward Trump’s assertion that “millions of illegal votes” cost him the popular vote. Never mind that there is no evidence to support the charge and that Trump failed to provide any. This is something that he does with reckless abandon whenever he has the urge. And right on cue, Hughes defended him with the same lack of proof. But then then she went further and made a startling confession regarding his political philosophy:

“I hear half the media saying that these are lies. But on the other half, there are many people that go, ‘No, it’s true.’ And so one thing that has been interesting this entire campaign season to watch, is that people that say facts are facts—they’re not really facts. […] Everybody has a way of interpreting them to be the truth, or not truth. There’s no such thing, unfortunately, anymore as facts”

Good golly Miss Scottie. That may be one of the most brazenly demented claims since Napoleon said that “In politics, stupidity is not a handicap.” And to be fair, Trump kinda proves that Napoleon may have had a point. However, Hughes is making a blanket statement that things that are demonstrably true do not exist. That explains a lot about Trump’s record of lies throughout his campaign. If there are no facts, then he wasn’t lying when he said there were thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating 9/11; or that U.S. corporations pay the highest taxes in the world; or that climate change is a hoax created by China. All of those statements are provably false.

Hughes went on to say that “amongst a certain crowd” Trump’s claims are true, and therefore it’s as good as a fact. She says that if “people believe they have facts,” then they do. Unfortunately for her, by definition a belief is not a fact. Hughes, and the bulk of Trump’s followers, have succumbed to a cult mentality wherein the affirmations promulgated by the leader are regarded as gospel.

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

The voice of reason on the broadcast was provided by Glenn Thrush of Politico. He remarked that he had to “pick my jaw up off the floor” before responding. Then he said this:

“There are no objective facts? That is an absolutely outrageous assertion. Of course there are facts. […] I think that what is very revealing – an important thing that Scottie Nell Hughes is saying – is that there are no facts. I think that it is an intended result of this campaign and administration to think that there aren’t any facts. It’s all opinion so we’re gonna sort of manipulate the things that we care about. I believe that the job for the media and civil society now is essentially to say that there are such things as facts. So the line may be drawn here.”

It seems absurd to have to assert the existence of facts. But that’s the world that has been ushered in by Trump and his Legion of Liars. They can’t possibly persuade anyone to support them if they have to rely on reality. Consequently, they are determined to create their own reality and suck the weak into it. Whether or not the media does its job remains to be seen. But they haven’t got much of track record with which to instill confidence. Stay tuned. Or not.

Donald Trump Absolutely HATES Veterans, And His Latest Candidate For VA Chief Proves It

If you didn’t already believe that we’re living in a bad parody of America, this news should clinch it. The awful names that have been floated for posts in the Trump administration defy reason. Most have no experience at all in the fields for which they were chosen or are being considered. Many represent 180 degree flip-flops from the promises Trump made throughout his campaign. They consist mainly of politicians, Wall Street barons, and fellow billionaires. If this is “draining the swamp,” apparently the swamp drains directly into the White House.

Trump Palin

However, the newest name to surface from the Trump Tower of Babbling is especially confounding. ABC News is reporting that Sarah Palin is under consideration for Secretary of Veterans Affairs. The only question is: WHY?

The fact that Trump could seriously consider Palin for this job is further proof that he is dangerously incompetent. It reveals conclusively that he harbors some deep hostility toward veterans. Otherwise, how could he entertain this half-term governor, failed VP candidate, reality TV host, and fired Fox News contributor? She has demonstrated no skills that would prepare her for managing the largest of all federal agencies. Particularly one that is in dire need of reform and competent management.

Like Trump, Palin has talked a lot about veterans. but has shown little aptitude for resolving problems. In her own family she has a son who served in Iraq, but has also been arrested for beating up his girlfriend and wielding an AR-15 rifle while intoxicated. And somehow she blamed that on President Obama. It didn’t take long, though, to hype herself on Facebook for the VA gig as soon as word broke.

Palin may be the perfect symbol for the Trump administration’s commitment to the needs of veterans. After all, he held a phony telethon to raise money for veterans when he wanted an excuse to ditch a GOP primary debate. Then he failed to deliver the funds he claimed to have raised. He is also known for maligning vets with PTSD as weak people who couldn’t “handle it.” And who can forget his insult to John McCain, and all POWs, for having been captured.

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

Palin’s consideration might just be a bone thrown to an early supporter (and she is not the only candidate). Or she may be being pushed by Trump advisor, and white nationalist, Stephen Bannon. In 2011 Bannon produced a crocumentary about Palin that went almost immediately to video – and the bargain bins at that. Whatever the reason for her name surfacing as a possible VA chief, it is bad news for veterans. She has no skills that suggest an ability to perform the job. She’s just another Fox News leftover who comprise a surprisingly large percentage of Trump’s candidate pool. That’s what America gets for electing a reality TV game show host to the presidency.

SO F*CKING WHAT? Trump Tweets That He’ll Hand Business Over To His Fully Conflicted Kids

America’s Robber Baron-Elect, Donald Trump, disgorged himself on Twitter again in a pre-dawn diatribe. This one sought to allay the fears of his extensive conflicts of interest by repeating his prior insufficient explanations.

Donald Trump

Here are the tweets he fired off in his sleepless rant:

Once again, he seems to think that handing his businesses off to his kids removes the potential for corruption. All it does is appoints his kids as the executors of his worldwide graft and bribery operations. He still has complete knowledge of his assets and what government measures would benefit them. Family members cannot be characterized as a “blind trust” and most of his properties around the world have his name plastered on them in gold.

Trump’s Washington, D.C. hotel is already playing host to foreign dignitaries. These guests have admitted that they booked the venue to ingratiate themselves to the President-elect. Consequently, Trump could be in violation of the Constitution’s emoluments clause immediately after taking the oath of office.

Trump casually asserts that he is not mandated by law to divest himself, but that’s not what the Constitution says. He further states that it is only “visually important” to avoid conflicts of interest. Actually avoiding them doesn’t appear to be on his agenda. That suggests that if he can effectively hide his crookedness it would be OK. If he really believes that the presidency is “a far more important task” than his real estate ventures, then why won’t he divest?

There is, perhaps, something more significant in his tweets than the old news that he is promoting his Trumpkins. That’s the announcement that he will hold a press conference on December 15, to address the subject. Trump has not held a press conference in the three weeks since Election Day. That’s the longest period a president-elect has gone without a post-election press conference in forty years. But it’s even worse than that because he hasn’t had a formal press conference at all since July. In fact, with only four exceptions, he hasn’t been interviewed on a non-Fox News outlet in nearly six months. This was so egregious that Fox News even reported it.

It’s not for lack of newsworthy discussion topics. By avoiding the press Trump has evaded questions on serious issues that impact the nation. For instance, an election that is tainted by allegations of voter suppression and his loss of the popular vote. At least a dozen women who are charging him with sexual assault. His unsavory connections to Russia and its efforts to interfere with the election. Payment of $25 million to settle a lawsuit to compensate the fraud victims of his phony Trump University. His cabinet and administration appointees who are affiliated with radical racist organizations. And, of course, his growing list of ethically compromising conflicts of interest.

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

Now he says he will hold a press conference. The last time he said that he ended up staging an infomercial for his hotel, steaks, and other sundry QVC-esque commodities. Trump enjoys screwing with the press almost as much as lying to it. Consequently, we ought not to expect him to keep his word about the purpose of this gathering. In fact, we should not necessarily expect there to be one at all. Stay tuned.

How The F*ck Can Fox News Report On Trump With These Glaring Conflicts

When Donald Trump was running for president he insisted that he knew “all the best people.” He promised that his administration would benefit from his connections in the business community. He argued that the typical government bureaucrats were failing and that fresh blood was needed. So how is that working out?

Donald Trump Fox News

To date, Trump’s appointees have been decidedly unimpressive. Almost none of them have experience in the fields for which they have been nominated. What’s more, they are firmly rooted in the same governmental swamp that he said he would drain. Politicians and billionaires are quickly filling up his cabinet and advisory slots. But there’s something even more troubling that many of his candidates have in common.

Fox News had a singular role in manufacturing the Trump candidacy. They gave him more airtime than any other candidate and broadcast his stump speeches for hours without interruption. And now they are supplying him with a roster of personnel to take prominent positions in his administration. Here are the Fox News candidates for Trump’s White House (so far). All of them have been on the Fox payroll:

  • K.T. McFarland: She has already been named as a Deputy National Security Advisor.
  • Ben Carson: He is reported to have been offered the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • John Bolton: He is up for Secretary of State, although he is lately being eclipsed by Mitt Romney. And you can throw Fox’s Newt Gingrich into this stew as well.
  • Sarah Palin: If you can believe it, she is in line for Secretary of the Interior.
  • Laura Ingraham: This media-hating pundit could be Trump’s next press secretary.
  • Monica Crowley: (See Laura Ingraham).
  • Mike Huckabee: This former Fox host is being considered for Commerce Secretary.
  • Scott Brown: After losing senate races twice he is now looking at the Veterans Administration.
  • Pete Hegseth: This Koch brothers cohort is also rumored for VA head.
  • Anthony Scaramucci: He is a Wall Street fund manager who is already on Trump’s Presidential Transition Team Executive Committee.
  • Eric Bolling: Currently a c co-host of The Five, he is said to be under consideration for something at Commerce.
  • Donald Trump: That’s right. Trump himself had a recurring role on Fox & Friends for years with his “Mondays With Trump” segment.

With so many of their own personnel potentially joining the Trump administration, how can the network fairly cover him? OK, that’s a dumb question. They have never fairly covered him. But still, they would now be in the position of having to critically assess the performance of their own former employees. These are people with whom they have long standing relationships and affinity. They are also people who are likely to return to the network at some point in the future. That fact alone could impact the behavior of both Fox and their alumni. Some have already left Fox and returned when they had brief political conflicts (Carson, Gingrich, and Brown).

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

Never fear. Fox will find a way to cope with this burden. However, that will probably be to continue their mission as Propaganda Ministry for the Republican Party. Only now Fox will be an official arm of the White House under Trump. They will be America’s Pravda serving the interests of a megalomaniac and his team of apple polishers.

SO LIKE TRUMP: Spokesman Can’t Defend Trump’s Lies – So He Lies Even More

The stunning spectacle of President-Elect Donald Trump continuing his midnight tweet tirades is a harbinger of a surreal future. He’s the first American president to sink to such juvenile 140 character trash-talk.

Trump Baby

In response to the effort to recount votes in three battleground states, Trump disgorged a stream of ludicrous tweets. They contained both delusional fiction and stark contradiction. He led off with a claim that the recount was a scam that wouldn’t change the election results. But then he flipped to asserting that there were indeed “millions of illegal votes.” That should be justification for a recount. He never bothered to reconcile his disjointed logic.

Monday morning Trump’s communications director, Jason Miller, held a conference call with the press. Tamara Keith of NPR brought up Trump’s tweets asking:

KEITH: I am hoping that you could point to the evidence of millions of people who Mr. Trump claims voted illegally and also any evidence you have of election fraud that he claimed on Twitter happened in New Hampshire, Virginia and California.

MILLER: You know, one of the things I’d say just, kind of, on the front end that I really do think that it’s been ridiculous that so much oxygen’s been given to the recount effort where there’s absolutely no chance of any election results changing. […]

You know, with regard to, you know, additional — you know, but I think it’s also important to point out that if so much time and attention is gonna be given to recount issues and some of the other things that Jill Stein has been bringing up, it’s important to talk about some of the other concerns that are out there with regard to voting.

For some reason, Miller drifted off into Palin-speak. Perhaps she is advising the campaign on how to be incomprehensible in order to avoid tough questions. Then he returned to the topic and gave an answer that defies credibility:

In particular, I’d point to the 2014 Washington Post study that indicated more than 14 percent of non-citizens in both the 2008 and 2010 elections indicated they were registered to vote, and that Washington Post story is important.

I’d also point out some of the other examples that we had raised during the campaign. Some numbers include the Pew Research study that said approximately 24 million, or one out of every eight, voter registrations in the United States are no longer valid or significantly inaccurate. And in that same Pew Research study, the fact that 2.5 million people have registrations in more than one state.

First of all, the Washington Post study to which Miller referred was from 2014 and had nothing to do with this election. Secondly, it was debunked by fact-checkers and the Washington Post itself. In fact, WaPo added a preface to their own article saying that “the findings were biased and that the author’s data do not provide evidence of non-citizen voting in U.S. elections.”

Similarly, the Pew study (from 2012) had no bearing on 2016 presidential voting. And both studies involved only voter registration. Neither one made any claims with regard to illegal voting or voter fraud. Even the registration issues didn’t indicate any fraud. They were mainly due to voters dying, moving or otherwise not updating their registration status. That includes immigrants who showed up on voter rolls after they became citizens, but who were still identified in other government databases as non-citizens. The studies did not allege that any of these mis-registered people ever improperly voted. Nevertheless, Miller insisted that he had uncovered bona fide examples of election fraud:

So all these are studies and examples of where there have been issues of both voter fraud and illegal immigrants voting. So if this much attention and oxygen’s gonna be given to a completely frivolous, throwaway fund-raising scheme by someone like Jill Stein, then there should be actual substantive looks at the — the overall examples of voter fraud and illegal immigrants voting in recent years. And so that’s — that’s the — the broader message that I think should be taken away here.

No, these are plainly not examples of “voter fraud and illegal immigrants voting.” However, if Miller really believes that they are, he should join Stein’s effort to call for an even more expansive recount of the 2016 election. Recount the whole country. How can he argue that there’s rampant fraud that undermines our democracy, but that we shouldn’t do anything about it? We welcome him to the fight for fair and honest elections. Let’s root out these imaginary ne’er do wells once and for all.

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

Tweet-aholic Trump Pours Out His Frantic Fear Of Vote Recount (Millions Voted Illegally?)

As the Trump team continues to stitch together their administration, efforts to certify the election results are also progressing. In an unprecedented display of support, Green Party candidate Jill Stein has raised over six million dollars for recounts. That’s enough for Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, and Michigan will require only a million more.

Donald Trump

Not surprisingly, Donald Trump is aghast at the potential challenge to his Electoral College victory. And consistent with his juvenile temperament, he is once again taking to Twitter to whine about the burdens of democracy. Terrified of being exposed as a loser, crybaby Trump is lashing out at Hillary Clinton for doing exactly what he planned on doing himself. The tweet-storm began Saturday afternoon and continued through Sunday afternoon. He began with this:


Trump’s characterization of the recount as a scam is not supported by any evidence. It’s just him swinging wildly. And who knows what he means by “impossible recounts.” This is surely possible and even routine. As for “badly defeated” Dems, maybe his handlers haven’t told him that Clinton got over two million more votes than he did. And if they were demoralized, raising six million dollars is a funny way of showing it. Next up was this:


An important distinction here is that Clinton, unlike Trump, never said that she wouldn’t accept the results of the election. She isn’t even saying that the recount is aimed at changing the result as called on election night. Both Clinton and Stein are saying that this is being done to insure election integrity. In the face of mounting evidence that nefarious players (i.e. Russia) may have interfered with voting, it is imperative that a review be done to preserve confidence in the system. Why is Trump afraid of that?

The next few tweets were merely his recounting of Clinton’s election night comments:

Trump is chastising Clinton for wanting nothing more than to have certainty that the election was conducted fairly. He refers to her remarks about “respecting the results,” which is, and has always been, her position. However, that was not his position. He said repeatedly during the campaign that the election was rigged. And he stated that as fact despite having no proof of it. Therefore, he wasn’t prepared to accept the results – unless he won.

Clinton is still prepared to accept the results, but wants to put to rest the discrepancies that have been uncovered. If the results show that she is the actual winner, all the better. But if they don’t, she isn’t contesting the election. That’s the difference between her ethical review and Trump’s deranged, baseless accusations. But he still isn’t through:


This is just plain delusional. Trump’s Electoral College margin of victory was a mere 36 votes. That would easily be exceeded by the the three states that are being recounted. Plus, there is zero evidence of even a single person voting illegally, much less millions. The discrepancies being reviewed in the recount are for other irregularities, not fraudulent voters. And if Trump really believes there were millions of illegal votes, that actually makes a recount even more important. He should donate to Stein’s effort.


These tweets make no sense whatsoever. What three or four states is he referring to? Surely not the most populace states (California, New York, Illinois) where Clinton obliterated him. And, of course, there is no way to affirm his boastful speculation.

Late Addition: Idiot Trump makes another case FOR a recount. Even though he still provides no evidence:

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

Another benefit of a recount is that we will have a more accurate record of the vote totals. That would be useful in the fight to eliminate the Electoral College. It is an anachronism that only serves to distort democracy. When the candidate that received over two million more votes is not the one sworn in as president, there is a serious problem. It affirms the fundamental unfairness of the system. And that may be why Trump is so scared of an accurate recount. He is relying on that unfairness to secure his victory, whether deserved or not.

Amanpour Drops Truth Bomb On Trump Era Press: ‘I Believe In Being Truthful, Not Neutral’

This week CNN’s chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, received the Burton Benjamin Memorial Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists. It is awarded at the International Press Freedom Awards for “extraordinary and sustained achievement in the cause of press freedom. Her acceptance speech was an inspiring appeal to “recommit to robust, fact-based reporting” in the Age of Trump. [Video below]

Amanpour Trump

Right from the start Amanpour addressed the serious challenge posed by Donald Trump’s rancid rhetoric. She recognized the risks created by a candidate whose words literally incited violence toward reporters:

“I never thought in a million years that I’d be standing up here, after all the times I’ve participated in this ceremony, appealing, really, for the freedom and safety of American journalists at home.”

That is indeed a sobering realization on the current state of media relations as practiced by Trump and his campaign. Even so, Amanpour expressed optimism that after the election Trump would moderate his hostility toward the press. Unfortunately, he did no such thing:

“I was chilled when [Trump’s] first tweet after the election was about professional protesters incited by the media.” [Because as we all know] “First the media is accused of inciting, then sympathizing, then associating. And then suddenly they find themselves accused of being full-fledged terrorists and subversives. And then they end up in handcuffs, in cages, in kangaroo courts, in prisons, and then who knows what.

On this Amanpour may be a little behind the curve. The right-wing media has been denigrating the press for years with charges of being “in the tank” for Obama or Clinton or whoever the current object of their hatred is. And as for accusing them of being terrorists, that was already done on Fox News by their “strategic analyst,” Lt. Col. Ralph Peters. In an unhinged rant he assaulted the media saying:

“Rejecting the god of their fathers, the neo-pagans who dominate the media serve as lackeys at the terrorists’ bloody altar. […] Although it seems unthinkable now, future wars may require censorship, news blackouts and, ultimately, military attacks on the partisan media.”

Imagine that. Fox News actually pays that guy to advocate for military assassinations of American journalists. No wonder Amanpour is chilled. She goes on to explain why the media needs to stand firm in defense of facts and not fall into the trap of false equivalencies. What follows are some selected quotes:

“[It’s time to] recommit to robust, fact-based reporting, without fear or without favor, on the issues. Don’t stand for being labeled or called ‘lying,’ or ‘crooked,’ or ‘failing.'”

“Much of the media was tying itself in knots trying to differentiate between balance, between objectivity, neutrality, and crucially, the truth. We cannot continue the old paradigm. We cannot, for instance, keep saying, like it was over global warming. When 99% of the science, the empirical facts, the evidence, is given equal play with the tiny minority of deniers.”

“I learned a long, long time ago…never to equate victim and aggressor. Never to create a false moral or factual equivalence…So I believe in being truthful, not neutral. And I believe we must stop banalizing the truth. We have to be prepared to fight especially hard right now for the truth.”

“[Donald Trump] did a very savvy end run around us and used it to go straight to the people. Combined with the most incredible development ever, which is the tsunami of fake news, aka lies.”

“I feel that we face an existential crisis, a threat to the very relevance and usefulness of our profession. Now, more than ever, we need to recommit to real reporting across a real nation, a real world in which journalism and democracy are in mortal peril. Including by foreign powers like Russia who pay to churn out and place these false news articles, these lies, in many of our press. They hack into democratic systems.”

“I was shocked because very few ever imagined that so many Americans conducting their sacred duty in the secret ballot box, using their ballots, would be angry enough to ignore the wholesale denigration of these values. The vulgarity of language, the sexual predatory behavior, the deep misogyny, the bigoted and insulting views.”

Amanpour closed by declaring that “We must fight against the normalization of what is unacceptable.” By that she means the way the media has begun to treat neo-Nazis and racists and anti-Semites as if they were just another place-setting on the table of ideologies. They are not. And Trump’s “alt-right” Chief Strategist, Stephen Bannon, is a good example of what is unacceptable, but is getting a pass from the press.

This is not the first time that Trump has been rebuked for placing the First Amendment in Jeopardy. In October the Committee to Protect Journalists released a statement calling him “an unprecedented threat to press freedom.” And the National Press Club condemned his anti-press tactics as “unacceptable and dangerous to our democracy.” Hopefully these warnings, and Amanpour’s words, will be heeded and applied as the next administration prepares to execute its abhorrent agenda.

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

Trump’s Cabinet May Be The Most Inexperienced Ever – And That’s Actually Good News!

As the administration of President-Elect Donald Trump takes shape, there is one characteristic that is inescapable. Most of his appointees so far are utterly incapable of performing the jobs for which they have been chosen. There seems to be a deliberate effort to select people who lack the necessary skills to be successful.

Donald Trump

This could be due to an old Republican strategy of purposeful failure. The objective of this strategy is to insure that government operations fail. Then they can later point to the failure as proof that government doesn’t work and justify cutting every program.

However, it could also be due to simple incompetence on the part of Trump who hasn’t the foggiest notion what he’s doing. Remember when he said that he knows all the best people and would surround himself with unparalleled talent? Apparently all of those people are busy, so Trump has resorted to names familiar to everyone who watches Fox News.

The Huffington Post noticed this deficiency and reported on it with some key perspectives from people with real experience. HuffPo’s Ryan Grim wrote that:

“Trump’s roster of key White House advisers and Cabinet officials could, in the end, rank among the least experienced in recent presidential history.

“Steve Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, headed right-wing news site Breitbart News before chairing the president-elect’s campaign. Reince Priebus, Trump’s chief of staff, previously ran the Republican National Committee. And Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, a key presidential campaign strategist who is now being discussed as a White House adviser, ran his family’s real estate business before entering politics.

“None of those individuals has worked in government.”

Add to that Nikki Haley whose role as governor of South Carolina gave her none of the foreign policy experience needed for being the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. Then there’s Dr. Ben Carson whose medical skills won’t help him develop housing policy as HUD Secretary. And Betsy Devos as Education Secretary has never held any position in teaching or school administration. Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III was an attorney and a prosecutor. But he was also rejected for a judgeship because of his public racist outbursts. That hardly seems appropriate for the Attorney General’s post who oversees civil rights enforcement. And let’s not forget that Trump wants to install his fatally unqualified kids into official government posts.

There may, however, be a positive side to this. Since Trump and his people will be so ignorant and inept, they will have to rely on the career bureaucrats in each department. These are people who are more likely to be concerned with efficiency rather than ideology. Some of them have been there for decades and were hired during the administrations of presidents from both parties. That means there is some diversity of opinion and workplace camaraderie. They will likely cooperate on ongoing projects and on keeping the department’s routine operations functional. They may not be particularly anxious to help wingnut bosses execute foolish plans.

Consequently, as Trump’s lieutenants attempt to implement policy, they will run headlong into obstacles which they cannot overcome. Then they will either defer to the experts or try to force their vision into place. If they choose the former, then business will proceed as usual. If they choose the latter, they will likely fall flat on their fannies. In any case, it will be difficult for them to shepherd any real reform through a bureaucracy they can’t comprehend.

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

So let’s hear it for inexperience. Three cheers for incompetence. As long as someone as dangerously clueless as Donald Trump is in the White House, the best the American people can hope for is that he and his minions perform as terribly as we all expect them to. Of course there’s a downside to this as well, but that’s another, more depressing, subject.

Trump Punks America: 15 Broken Campaign Promises Since Election Day

Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump was in a frothing rage against what he insisted was making America a Hell hole. But for all the anxiety he caused, his post-election transformation may indicate it was all a ruse. The blustery ranting about immigrants, ObamaCare, and his despised rivals and critics, has melted into a sappy stew of acceptance.

Donald Trump Stupid

To illustrate that, Politico has put together a collection of “15 Trump Flip-Flops in 15 Days.” Some of these reversals are mind-boggling and sure to send his Deplorables into hysterics (see Politico for more details and supporting links):

On President Obama

During the campaign Trump called Obama the worst president in history and the founder of ISIS, among other things. Now he has “great respect” for him and looks forward to his counsel.

On Protesters

In overnight tweets Trump went from maligning protesters as “professionals” “incited by the media,” to loving their “passion for our great country.”

On ObamaCare

There were few more highly charged demands for Trump than his call to repeal and replace ObamaCare. Now he is cozying up to many of the provisions that define the program. For instance, mandating coverage for people with preexisting conditions and allowing children to remain on their parents’ policies.

On The Border Wall

Trump was unyielding in his insistence that an actual wall be constructed along the Southern border (paid for by Mexico). Then on 60 Minutes he conceded that he would be satisfied with a plain old fence.

On Gay Marriage

Before the election Trump told Fox News he would appoint judges who would reverse the recent decisions on marriage equality. After the election he told CBS that the matter was settled law and he was “fine with it.”

On Hillary Clinton

Who can forget Trump’s assertion that he would appoint a special prosecutor to go after Clinton and throw her in jail? Or his rallies where he led the crowd in chants to “Lock her up?” Now he’s telling the New York Times that he doesn’t want to hurt the Clintons. “I really don’t,” he said. “It’s just not something that I feel very strongly about.”

On Immigrants

Prior to election day Trump was adamant that all 11 million undocumented residents would be rounded up and deported. Post election day he is saying that his deportation force will only target a couple of million criminals (who are already being targeted by Obama’s DOJ).

On Fighting ISIS

Trump once demeaned the military and famously claimed that he knew more about ISIS than the generals. More recently he has changed his tune to tribute saying “We have some great generals.” Although he later reversed that as well, saying that they aren’t getting the job done.

On Nuclear Proliferation

This isn’t so much a reversal as it is an outright lie. During the campaign Trump advocated for countries like Japan and Saudi Arabia to defend themselves with their own nukes. After taking heat for that foolishness, he tried to pretend he never said it.

On The Electoral College

In another flip-flop-flip, Trump denounced the Electoral College as a “disaster.” Then praised it as “genius.” Then went back to saying that he was “never a fan of the electoral college.”

On Trump University

Trump steadfastly refused to settle with his former students who said they were victims of fraud. Until after the election when he settled for more than $25 million.

On Climate Change

Here is something that Trump once called a hoax created by China. And in any event it wasn’t caused by anything humans have done. Now he says that “I think there is some connectivity. Some, something.” You have to admire his articulate analysis of the science.

On The Paris Climate Agreement

In the same vein, last May Trump declared that he would pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement. But last Tuesday he told the New York Times that “I have an open mind to it.”

On Torture

Trump has long held that torture was an effective tool for fighting terror and that he supported waterboarding and even tactics that were “much stronger.” But he is backpedaling on that position after having met with General Mattis, a candidate for Secretary of Defense who opposes such measures.

On The New York Times

Along with many other media outlets, Trump castigated the Times as liars who were bent on destroying him. He rarely said their name without attaching the prefix “failing.” But in his meeting with them Tuesday he called them “a world jewel” for whom he has “great respect.”

Conclusion

After reviewing these stunning reversals, the inescapable conclusion is that Donald Trump has no moral core. Despite his brash rhetoric on the campaign trail, he is clearly not committed to any ideological agenda. You might expect his supporters to be disappointed upon learning that he isn’t planning on keeping his word. However, if the past is any indication, they are probably too wrapped up in hero worship to care.

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

It would be interesting to know how he would have fared if he ran on retaining ObamaCare, letting undocumented residents slide, and expressing his respect for Clinton and Obama. That we will never know. But going forward it would be premature for Democrats to get excited about Trump’s policy reversals. He could just as quickly shift back to his previous positions. The only thing that can be expected from him is inconsistency, hypocrisy, and the selfish pursuit of his own best interests.