Now Fox News Is Citing Sleazy InfoWars As Source To Smear Hillary Clinton

After years of pretending to be fair and balanced while shilling for Republicans, Fox News has completed a frightening metamorphosis. This morning they took a giant leap into the black hole of crackpot conspiracy theory. It’s a development that illustrates the lengths they will go to promote their home-brewed presidential candidate, Donald Trump.

Fox News/InfoWars

On Fox & Friends First, co-host Heather Childers introduced a segment alleging that Google is “trying to sway the presidential election.” Their evil plot consists of manipulating search results to suppress evidence of the trail of dead bodies left by Bill and Hillary Clinton. Cheryl Casone of Fox Business Network took the handoff to report that:

“Google is being accused of hiding negative stories about Hillary and her campaign by changing its algorithm to bury stories like the ‘Clinton body count’ story. That’s according to website InfoWars.”

Seriously? So Fox News is now associating itself with the utterly delusional ravings of Alex Jones and his InfoWars conspiracy site? This is the same InfoWars that claimed that the massacre of twenty children in Newtown, CT, was a government plot to confiscate the guns of American citizens. It’s the same InfoWars that has been the leading light of the 9/11 Truther movement. Not to mention the wingnut’s goto source for Birther BS. And, by the way, it’s also the same InfoWars that has endorsed Donald Trump for president and given him a platform on their webcast.

It is also interesting to note that Fox believes there is a “Clinton body count” story to be buried. And why not? They have been reporting that Obama is a secret gay Muslim from Kenya who founded ISIS for years. So what is Fox News and InfoWars so worked up about today?

“If a Google user types in ‘Clinton body,’ they get car repair shop results instead of a story that talks about a list of people tied to the Clintons who have died under mysterious circumstances over the last three decades.”

Oh my heavens. Bring me the smellin’ salts, Margaret. Apparently Google is participating in the cabal to suppress the Clintons’ thirty year murder spree. Fox and InfoWars believe that Google’s biased search results need to be corrected. Instead of intelligently curated data, they should highlight slanderous fables from the diseased minds of right-wing hate mongers.

It’s impossible to ignore the connection to Donald Trump’s campaign. He has been a frequent guest on InfoWars. Plus, his new campaign chair (Stephen Bannon of Breitbart News) is cut from the same soiled cloth as Alex Jones. There is an unmistakable trend toward the bonehead breed of pseudo-journalism that is sprouting up around Trump and his media advocates. His stump speeches are now almost entirely read from TelePrompters pre-loaded with talk radio style bombast. These include charges that Clinton is a felon, a traitor, and is about to drop dead.

These sort of screwball ideas are not surprising from InfoWars. They are, in fact, their reason for being. But for Fox News to reach down into that cesspool of idiocy is a new low, even for Fox. What is the limit of their debasement of journalism if it isn’t aligning with InfoWars? Fox has allowed such nonsense to bubble up into their reporting in the past. But this may be the first time they have explicitly attributed their story to InfoWars. That might be more honest, but it is a bad sign nonetheless. It means they are comfortable mainstreaming the likes of Alex Jones.

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

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

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

Fox News/Playboy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Trump For President Hour: Brought To You By Sean Hannity And Fox News

The Republican shills at Fox News are becoming increasingly unhinged as their anointed candidate falls farther behind in the polls. Donald Trump’s new “presidential” persona isn’t helping him attract voters. In fact, his appeal to African-Americans actually offended many with his stereotyping of them as poor, unemployed, and uneducated. Not to mention his backhanded slam that they are gullible waifs being duped by the evil Democrats.

Trump Hannity

So what is a blatantly biased GOP PR machine to do when their electoral messiah falls off the cross? Nail him back up, of course. And that’s what Fox is doing with yet another primetime special produced and hosted by their Senior Trump Fluffer, Sean Hannity. Last week Hannity held a Trump infomercial in Milwaukee that was billed as a town hall. Following that The Donald’s ship hit another iceberg as his campaign staff fell apart. The leadership void was filled by the chairman of Breitbart News, Stephen Bannon, a favorite of the American white nationalist movement.

All of that bad news took some of the punch out Hannity’s promo. Consequently, he’s scheduled another town hall for tomorrow night in Austin, TX, to make up for it. Apparently this is a new weekly series offered by Fox News featuring the wingnut duo “Donny and Seany” (Marie is busy selling diet shakes). On the nights when Trump is not a guest, he will still be the main attraction. Hannity already spends every episode reciting love poems to Donny and attacking his nemesis, Hillary Clinton. And he’s getting lots of help from Fox News on that score.

UPDATE: This is even worse than I thought. The town hall in Austin will a two night affair (Tuesday and Wednesday).

Hannity’s involvement with Trump’s campaign is growing more complex. He’s always been the top provider of airtime to Trump, and now reports say he is also serving as an adviser. Media analyst Jim Rutenberg writes in the New York Times that:

“Mr. Hannity uses his show on the nation’s most-watched cable news network to blare Mr. Trump’s message relentlessly — giving Mr. Trump the kind of promotional television exposure even a billionaire can’t afford for long.

“But Mr. Hannity is not only Mr. Trump’s biggest media booster; he also veers into the role of adviser. Several people I’ve spoken with over the last couple of weeks said Mr. Hannity had for months peppered Mr. Trump, his family members and advisers with suggestions on strategy and messaging.”

Sean Hannity has already announced on the air his endorsement for Trump and intention to vote for him. Now it appears that he is also working for the campaign as a political operative (along with his ex-boss Roger Ailes). And Fox News permits this flagrantly biased behavior. There is no precedent for a news network turning over so much of its schedule to one candidate. It is wholly inappropriate and a breach of journalistic ethics. As noted previously, if the Federal Elections Committee had any integrity they would cite Fox for violating campaign finance laws. They should be forced to declare this an in-kind contribution to Trump’s campaign.

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

Many people are speculating that Trump’s presidential ambitions have been a scam from the start. Media watchers from Vanity Fair to the New Yorker say that his real goal is to launch his own cable network. That may be true, and he has been assembling a team (Ailes, Bannon, Hannity) that could serve as a starting roster. However, there is a far greater likelihood of failure than success for such a venture, as I detailed here two months ago. Trump would just be adding to the list of his business debacles should he attempt this. Therefore, he has my blessing.

Rudy Giuliani Goes INSANE On Fox News Over Hillary Clinton’s Mental Health

As Donald Trump’s campaign continues to implode, his surrogates are stepping up the effort to make him look less like a narcissistic imbecile. They have their work cut out for them. Even though he has embraced the TelePrompter that he once said should disqualify any candidate, he is still embarrassing himself in a very public manner. Consequently, the clean up crew has to get ever more creative.

Rudy Giuliani

This morning on Fox News Sunday, Rudy Giuliani made the curious assertion that Hillary Clinton wasn’t campaigning (video below). So host Shannon Bream asked him a darn good question: “Then why is she doing so well in the polls?” He delivered a nearly incoherent response mainly blaming the so-called “liberal” media that “constantly demonizes Donald Trump.” Never mind the recent Harvard study that proved “Clinton had by far the most negative coverage of any candidate.” But Giuliani went off the rails when he ventured into conspiracy theories about Clinton’s health:

“[The media] Fails to point out several signs of illness by her. All you got to do is go online … Go online and put down ‘Hillary Clinton illness’ and take a look at the videos for yourself.”

Is he friggin’ serious? Giuliani’s authoritative approach to clinical diagnoses is to consult – Google? First of all, none of the “doctors” practicing on the Internet have examined, or even met, Clinton. Secondly, the medical opinions you’re likely to encounter online come from such experts as Alex Jones of Infowars, the Drudge Report, Glenn Beck, and of course, Fox News. What brain disease would cause Giuliani to think that Googling “Clinton’s illness” would validate his ludicrous claims?

As for Fox News, last week Sean Hannity slandered Clinton with a week-long extravaganza of factless blather and made up health crises. Steve Doocy of Fox & Friends called her prescription glasses “a sign of brain damage.” Trump spokesperson Katrina Pierson baselessly alleged that Clinton has dysphasia. Not to be left out, Trump has lately been saying that Clinton “lacks the mental and physical stamina to take on ISIS.” It’s clear that Trump’s “brain” trust has opted to surrender the policy debate and attack Clinton’s health instead.

For the record, Clinton’s actual doctor released a statement saying that “Secretary Clinton is in excellent health and fit to serve as president of the United States.” Now that’s pretty good, but it doesn’t compare with the note from Trump’s doctor declaring that he will be “the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.” How he knows that without having examined every other president was not explained. However, it sounds very much like something Trump himself would say. Could he be pretending to be his own doctor like he pretended to be his own publicist?

Giuliani’s confidence in the Internet’s infallibility is reminiscent of Trump’s similar reverence for online truthiness. A couple of months ago Trump appeared on Meet the Press where anchor Chuck Todd pressed him to acknowledge that a video that he posted on Twitter was a hoax. Trump squirmed uncomfortably while seeking a plausible denial, finally settling for this lame disavowal: “All I know is what’s on the Internet.”

From a Commander-in-Chief perspective, that an awfully low standard for knowledge, but it seems to be a recurring pattern with Trump and his cohorts. In the absence of facts to support their increasingly deranged allegations, they settle for fantastical fables they find online. It’s a de facto admission that they simply don’t care about truth anymore. Not that they ever did.

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

Ex-Spokesman For Trump’s New Campaign Chair Endorses Hillary Clinton

There are very few opportunities to watch a presidential campaign implode in full view of the public. However, that’s what is happening right now to Republican nominee Donald Trump’s crusade of vitriol and petulance. In the past few days his campaign morphed into a white nationalist movement lead by a radical ultra-rightist.

Donald Trump

Breitbart News Chairman Stephen Bannon has taken the reins of the campaign (for now) as Trump’s polls sink to historic lows. Bannon’s contribution is expected to be an embrace of Trump’s worst traits and most extreme positions. Which is good news for Hillary Clinton because no one benefits more from the “let-Trump-be-Trump” strategy than Democrats.

Confirming the impending meltdown of TeamTrump, the former spokesman for Brietbart News, Kurt Bardella, has been making the media rounds to supply some insight into Trump’s suicide squad. He appeared on Fox News Friday asked by host Heather Nauert if they are “now on track with their campaign?” Bardella’s response was that:

“I think at the end of the day one speech on message doesn’t make an entire campaign, and certainly doesn’t erase an entire year’s worth body of work.”

Perhaps that’s a bit too complex for a press corps that seems to think a candidate-hyped pivot represents real change. They have spent the last 48 hours swooning over Trump’s wishy-washy regrets that were written by hired hacks. Bardella went on to discuss how Trump’s “regrets” were quickly shoved out of the media spotlight by his clumsy announcement that his skeevy campaign manager Paul Manafort had resigned:

“That’s just another example of the Trump team not really having their act together. […] They stepped on their own news cycle needlessly.”

More importantly, Bardella provided his unique insights into Bannon garnered from their two year working relationship at Breitbart News. As spokesman for the website he had unparalleled exposure to its inner workings. He resigned following the infamous episode when Trump’s then-campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, manhandled Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields. Bannon’s failure to support his own reporter against an abusive jerk repulsed Bardella and other Breitbrats who also bailed out. He held nothing back when the subject came up on Fox:

Nauert: What can you tell us in a fair fashion about what it was like working for [Bannon] and what we can expect from his leadership of the Trump campaign?

Bardella: Steve is someone who governs very much by fear. He’s a bit of a dictator of a character. He’s known for making latenight, profanity-laced tirade phone calls at his staff when things aren’t going the way he wants them to go.

Sounds like a perfect match for Donald Trump. The picture Bardella paints of Bannon as an authoritarian bully may jibe with Trump’s personality, but it can’t possibly help him to broaden support among voters. Trump already has the white supremacist and neo-fascist vote locked up. In fact, rational Republicans are more likely to be alienated by Bannon’s ideas and methods. Including Bardella who just wrote an op-ed for The Hill where he announced that he will be voting for Hillary Clinton:

“What eventually caused me to terminate my relationship with Breitbart was Steve’s guidance of Breitbart to become the de facto propaganda machine for Donald Trump. […] It is glaringly obvious that Donald Trump does not have the temperament or the judgment to occupy the Oval Office. This is one of those times where the best interests of the whole outweigh any partisan allegiances or any specific issue. It’s why I’ve made the personal choice to vote for Hillary Clinton in November. Donald Trump is dangerous for America.”

When you’ve lost the spokesman for Breitbart News, who served in the same role for wingnut Republican Darrell Issa, it may be time for an intervention. There’s a reason that former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke and other racial hate group leaders have endorsed Trump. Maybe the rest of his supporters would like to reconsider the measure of the man they are backing for president. Or more sickening, maybe they have and they’re cool with it.

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

Regrets My A$$: Lovesick Media Swoons At Trump’s Phony Non-Apology

For several months there has been breathless anticipation that the boorish and offensive personality of Donald Trump would vanish in a puff of smoke as he revealed his true graciousness and diplomacy. And the same people who believe that are still waiting for Santa to deliver their unicorn.

Donald Trump

In a speech in Charlotte, N.C., Trump recited the TelePrompted views that were prepared for him by the new regime managing his floundering campaign. For the most part it was typical Republican dogma with one new wrinkle. Reversing months of stubborn insistence that he has nothing to regret, Trump conceded that he does, indeed, feel some pangs for unspecified occasions when “you don’t choose the right words or you say the wrong thing.” But even he expressed skepticism of this new found contrition by prefacing his regrets with “believe it or not.”

Anyone who thinks that Trump is actually sorry has not been paying attention. He has unabashedly insulted Latinos, veterans, women, African-Americans, and the disabled. His rebukes of fellow Republicans during the primary were painfully immature. You can’t behave like that for nearly a year and then just turn around and issue a wishy-washy regret that was written by hired hacks. He never bothered to actually apologize or even show respect for those he demeaned by identifying them or what he said that was wrong. It’s fair to say that the only thing he really regrets about his comments is the extent to which they have hurt him.

What’s most disappointing about this is the ease with which the media is falling for Trump’s bad playacting. They seem to think that his “pivot” is a material transformation of his personality on the scale of a spiritual rebirth. In reality it’s a desperate political ploy to avoid a humiliating landslide loss in November. Is the media really so dense that they don’t see that?

Here are some examples compiled by Media Matters of how the press has taken up Trump’s narrative without a lick of critical analysis:

On Fox & Friends, host Steve Doocy said of Trump’s address that it was “one of the best speeches Donald Trump has ever given.” That was seconded by correspondent John Roberts who added that “he completed his pivot to the general election campaign.”

MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Scarborough exclaimed “Wow. You have the reset button ready? Reset.” Guest reporter Katty Kay agreed saying “Yeah. That’s the kind of Trump that will make the Clinton campaign wake up.”

Christine Romans of CNN’s New Day marveled that it was “something I think six months ago we never thought we would have seen.”

On CBS This Morning host Margaret Brennan said “it may indicate a change in approach.” Her colleague Dean Reynolds called it “almost startling.” That was after he highlighted Trump’s “promise never to lie to voters.” They may want to take a look at the Trump Bullshitopedia to see the dozens of documented lies that are already on record.

Back on Fox, Chris Stirewalt declared it “a signal moment.”

The Washington Examiner’s Byron York gushed that we are seeing a “Very new Trump.”

The Daily Caller’s Vince Coglianese seemed relieved saying that “if we’ve been waiting for a pivot, this week is the one you should mark on the calendar.”

On NBC’s Today Hallie Jackson reported that this was “something we’ve almost never heard from him,” and that Trump sounded “strikingly more humble.”

These people are either terminally naive or too gullible to be living outside of an institution. The only sane response to Trump’s disingenuous attempts to appear remorseful is to throw right back at him the innumerable abusive and slanderous remarks he has unleashed and make him answer for each one individually. Short of that he deserves no praise for pasting a band-aid over the scars he has left on so many innocent people. And he certainly should not be taken at his word that he is regretful after all the times he swore to the contrary, even saying that “I like not to regret anything.” Here is some of the evidence in a four-video YouTube playlist:

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

UPDATE: The Clinton campaign weighs in with an awesome video on this subject: No Regrets. It’s a MUST see.

Disgraced Former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes Is Now Advising Donald Trump

Well, this didn’t take long. Less than a month ago, Fox News forced its founder, chairman and CEO, Roger Ailes, into an early (and profitable) retirement. Ailes was escorted from the building following mounting accusations of sexual harassment by a couple of dozen women. Now, with legal proceedings still pending, Ailes is reportedly joining Donald Trump’s campaign as an adviser. Apparently Trump is looking to shore up his base of misogynist old white men.

Roger Ailes Outnumberd

The New York Times is reporting that four campaign insiders have affirmed that Ailes has been tapped to help prepare Trump for the presidential debates against Hillary Clinton. Because who better to coach Trump into becoming a fierce, woman-beating debater than the man who has already humiliated strong women like Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson. The Times had a peculiar angle that saw the bright side of the alliance:

“For Mr. Ailes, being connected with Mr. Trump’s campaign could be a form of redemption after he was pushed out of the powerful network that he helped build. And for Mr. Trump, having Mr. Ailes taking a hand in his preparations for the debates adds immeasurably to the messaging and media expertise in his corner”

For Ailes, being connected to Trump’s floundering campaign hardly seems like redemption. However, Trump may indeed benefit from the advice of the architect of Fox’s propaganda machine. That’s if Trump would uncharacteristically take the advice. To date Trump has been lectured by everyone from the Wall Street Journal to his own daughter, but after promising to change he stubbornly returns to his profligate ways.

Trump’s camp is denying that Ailes will be providing any advice either formally or informally. His spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, dismissed the story in an email saying only that “Mr. Ailes and Mr. Trump have been friends for many years.” That’s the sort of denial that allows for significant wiggle room as the two “friends” may talk frequently about the campaign and how it should proceed.

What makes this relationship most disturbing is that Trump already has historically poor favorables with women. A Gallup poll earlier this year showed Trump with a 70 percent unfavorable image among women. That shouldn’t surprise anyone considering the open hostility he has expressed toward women like Fox’s Megyn Kelly, whom he accused of being belligerent due to “blood coming out of her – wherever.” Or Carly Fiorina, who he insulted for having a face no one would vote for. Or his abortion stance that called for punishing the woman. Or his promise to appoint judges who would overturn Roe v. Wade. Or his opposition to child care, family leave, and equal pay.

Now match Trump’s record with an association with a notorious misogynist who ran a “news” network where he required women to wear revealing skirts while a roving “leg cam” provided the audience with a voyeuristic angle. And forging this partnership while the allegations of workplace harassment are still fresh suggests a degree of tone-deafness that borders on the psychotic.

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

Whether or not Ailes is officially advising Trump, their friendship and shared malice toward women should be enough to scare away all conscientious voters. And the incestuous relationship between right-wing media and the political hacks they promote is evidence of their utter lack of ethics.

Watch Ben Stein Reject Trickle-Down Theory And The Raving Trump Surrogate Defending It

The 2016 presidential race has been most notable for the Republican candidate’s utter refusal to bring anything of substance to the debate. Donald Trump pointedly avoids nearly all policy details in favor of childish insults, empty sloganeering, and lately, deranged outbursts. In the past week alone he called President Obama “the founder of ISIS,” and suggested that “the Second Amendment people” were the only ones who could stop Hillary Clinton.

Ben Stein

That’s what makes it so surprising when a prominent spokesman for the right-wing agenda says something that actually makes sense. This happened Friday on the Fox Business Network during a discussion on the “Dueling Economic Visions” of Trump and Hillary Clinton. Host Charles Payne introduced the segment and turned to economist Ben Stein to give his opinion of the Trump economic plan. What happened next was completely unexpected:

Stein: Well I don’t think Mr. Trump’s plan is going to work very well. I don’t think we need that tax cut when we’re running deficits the size we are running. I think the evidence that tax cuts stimulate business in any kind of meaningful way, at least not sufficient to overcome the tax revenue loss, is extremely poor to put it mildly. I think the idea of cutting taxes on the rich in a time when there is so much concern about inequality is not a good idea. I do think his idea of greatly lessening environmental regulation is absolutely necessary and even brilliant and very brave of him.

Exempting that anti-environment nonsense at the end, Stein delivered a coherent explanation for why giving the wealthy a tax cut makes no sense. In fact he argued that such favoritism for the rich was never a stimulant to the economy and would only exacerbate deficits. Add to that his expression of concern for income inequality and you have a truly astonishing display of wisdom from a right-wing economist.

Fox of course would not be satisfied with that blasphemy. Therefore, Payne turned to Betsy McCaughey, the woman who coined the term “death panels,” for rebuttal. McCaughey was just named to Trump’s team of wingnut economic advisers. She ranted:

McCaughey: First of all, Donald Trump’s tax plan will produce an enormous amount of economic growth. The key factor is slashing the corporate tax rate, currently the highest in the world, down to fifteen percent. Companies in the United States are being taxed to death. And that’s why so many of them are leaving or retrenching their business investments.

There is so much wrong with that it’s hard to know where to begin. Let’s start with the fact that there is no evidence that Trump’s plan would produce any economic growth. In fact. Moody’s scored his plan and concluded that it would result in a “lengthy recession,” 3.5 million job losses, and “very large deficits and a much higher debt load.” Plus, every independent analysis of Trump’s plan has affirmed that it benefits the rich far more than the lower and middle classes.

Then there is McCaughey’s assertion that U.S. corporate tax rates are “the highest in the world.” That is patently and provably false. It’s a recurring right-wing trope that has been debunked innumerable times by non-partisan analysts. McCaughey and other conservatives deceptively cite the statutory corporate tax rate rather than the effective tax rate (what is actually paid after deductions). When reviewed with real numbers the U.S. corporate rate is actually slightly lower than the average of our international competitors. Often it is zero, or close to it.

[Note: These facts make it even more important for Trump to release his tax returns so that we can see just where in the range his tax rate lies.]

The truth is that American companies are not leaving the the U.S. for lower taxes. They are leaving for lower wages, cheaper distribution in foreign markets, evasion of fair labor and environmental regulations, and other reasons unrelated to taxes. McCaughey also claimed that the U.S. is on the brink of a “business recession” despite this being one of the longest periods of growth in decades. But then she trotted out a real whopper:

McCaughey: And let me just point out in response to Ben’s comments about the poor and tax reductions for the rich – slashing the corporate tax rate and producing growth will benefit the poor the most.

That foolishness hardly merits a response. At this point host Charles Payne steers the conversation to “the debate over whether trickle-down economics really work.” He asked Harvard Kennedy School Professor Leah Wright Rigueur “If the same tide lifts all ships, wouldn’t that include the poor?” She responded that “You would think, but history has shown us that that doesn’t include the poor.” When Stein was asked to comment he poignantly noted that a rising tide “does not lift those boats that are under water.” Which led to this epic exchange:

Stein: And if I may say to my friend the Lt. Governor, there simply is no evidence that slashing the corporate tax rate produces growth. There’s a lot of allegations, but…

McCaughey: [interrupting] That’s ridiculous.

Stein: Did you say ‘That’s ridiculous’?

McCaughey: I said ‘That’s ridiculous’!

Stein: With all due respect, I’m the one that’s studied this. You’re the politician. You can say whatever you want as a politician. There simply is no evidence of that. […] You don’t know that. You have no idea of that. You can say it but there’s never been any data connecting those two.

Watching a devoutly conservative economic expert smack down the right’s sacred trickle-down doctrine on Fox’s own business network is both shocking and satisfying. But watching him also humiliate a Trump adviser, and one of the most extreme GOP partisans, at the same time is an event more rare than Halley’s Comet. It will be interesting to see if Stein is invited back to Fox News any time soon.

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

Fox Nation Hypes ‘Scoop’ On Clinton Charity Scandal That Turns Out To Be Totally Bogus

On Friday Hillary Clinton released her tax returns for 2015, making this the thirty-eighth year she has done so. While Republicans try to tarnish her reputation for honesty, her four decade long record of transparency proves that she has nothing to hide. In addition, it proves that nothing untoward has ever been discovered from making her personal finances abundantly public.

Fox Nation

Contrast that with Donald Trump’s refusal to make even a single year of tax returns available for voters to assess his fitness for office. What is he hiding? Could it be that he has paid little or no income tax for many years? Or has he had unsavory relationships with Russians or other foreign entities? Maybe he isn’t as rich or generous as he pretends to be. Clearly he has determined that he has less to lose from the bad publicity of concealing his records than he does from revealing them.

The absence of any legitimate problems with Clinton’s taxes has driven Fox News to invent problems that don’t exist. On their community website, Fox Nation, they posted an article sourced to the ultra-conservative Daily Caller, a pseudo-news site run by Fox News host Tucker Carlson. The Daily Caller’s story alleged that “92 Percent Of Hillary’s Charitable Donations In 2015 Went To Clinton Foundation.” The article alleged that the Clinton’s engaged in a corrupt scheme to claim charitable tax write-offs for funds that they funneled back to themselves, saying that:

“Hillary Clinton and her husband Bill deducted $1,042,000 in charitable contributions last year – $1 million of which went to their own Clinton Foundation.” […]

The documents show that the power couple earned $10,745,378 last year, mostly on income earned from giving public speeches. Of that they gave just over a million to charity. But the contributions can hardly be seen as altruistic, since the money flowed back to an entity they control.”

What’s more, the Daily Caller associated the donations with unfounded charges directed at the Clinton Foundation by right-wing media and activist groups such as Judicial Watch. The problem with that reporting is that the donations itemized in the Clinton’s tax returns did not go to the well known Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation that has been the target of the right’s smear campaign. The donations actually went to the private vehicle used by the Clinton’s to disburse their philanthropic gifts, the Clinton Family Foundation. This is a common method of aggregating funds for charitable gift giving used by many high-income families.

After being shamed by Media Matters for their journalistic sloppiness, the Daily Caller added a correction to their story to indicate that the two foundations were separate entities. They did not, however, alter their tawdry conclusions, even though they no longer make sense. And Tucker Carlson still went on Fox & Friends this morning to say that “If I give money to my own foundation is it really charity?” Apparently he doesn’t care that his own website now says didn’t happen. Making matters worse, Fox Nation didn’t even bother to make note of the correction. The headline, which is now known to be false, remains unchanged and utterly untrue.

This is nothing new for Fox Nation, which has a history of brazenly misrepresenting the truth with poorly sourced articles (as documented in the book Fox Nation vs. Reality). Fox Nation is also known for re-posting stories from disreputable conspiracy mongers and conservative propagandists. Their editor, Jesse Watters, makes certain that every day the site is filled with fresh attacks on Democrats, especially Hillary Clinton, who is routinely assaulted with lies that are vicious and defamatory. Very much like the one exposed here.

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

Fox News And Sean Hannity Are Now Producing Donald Trump’s Campaign Events

No one is going to be shocked to discover that Fox News is working feverishly to elect Donald Trump president of the United States. They are pulling out all the stops to make excuses for his outrageous statements: His insults to the Gold Star parents of a slain soldier; his dog-whistle calls to assassinate Hillary Clinton; his insane accusation that President Obama “founded” ISIS.

In addition, Fox is obsessively covering anti-Clinton non-stories that have already been debunked by ethical journalists: GOP allegations that ISIS intelligence was altered; Clinton emails tying her aides to charity work for the Clinton Foundation; ludicrous “investigations” into Clinton’s health.

Reality is beginning to warp the judgement of both Trump and his PR division at Fox News. Every recent poll is showing Trump falling further behind, particularly in states that were never considered plausible for Democratic candidates. Consequently, the right-wing network is taking a more hands-on approach to Trump’s candidacy by sponsoring campaign events on his behalf. This advertisement was tweeted today by Fox:

Hannity-Trump Townhall

Make no mistake, this not a news event. Sean Hannity has already announced on the air his endorsement for Trump and intention to vote for him. This is a flagrantly biased political appearance that Fox News is producing as a gift to Donald Trump. If the Federal Elections Committee had any integrity they would cite Fox for violating campaign finance laws and force them to declare this an in-kind contribution to Trump’s campaign.

It makes sense that Hannity would announce this scam just as Trump is making excuses for why he might bail out on the debates with Hillary Clinton. Trump would suffer irreparably from the perception of his cowardice if he fails to show up for the debates. But fake “town halls” like this would be his way of discounting that criticism. Never mind that they will be obviously stage-managed farces that are no more informative than a Trump infomercial.

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

Right-wing partisanship has been the mission of Fox News since its inception. However, this exceeds even their most blatantly prejudiced propaganda by a long shot. Having an avowed Trump fluffer like Hannity host an hour of political theater like this ought to remove any lingering doubts that the network is a Republican shill factory and should not be taken seriously as a news enterprise by the public or their peers.