Fox News ‘Psycho’ Analyst Assails ‘Obama’s America’ For ‘Get High, Stay Home’ Generation

This week the Pew Research Center released the findings of a study on Millennial living arrangements that showed more of them are staying in their parents’ homes longer. They cited a variety of reasons for this, but none of them included the farcical conclusions of Dr. Keith Ablow, a member of the Fox News Medical A-Team.

Keith Ablow

Dr. Ablow appeared this morning on Fox & Friends (video below) to discuss the Pew report’s findings. He began by falsely claiming that most young people cannot afford to live on their own. That was a flagrant exaggeration since the number of Millennials found to be living at home was only 32.1 percent. It’s a plurality, but not anywhere close to a majority. He went on to attributed the number of youthful homebodies to a lack of available jobs. While mentioned as a contributing factor, it was not a primary factor according to Pew:

“This turn of events is fueled primarily by the dramatic drop in the share of young Americans who are choosing to settle down romantically before age 35. Dating back to 1880, the most common living arrangement among young adults has been living with a romantic partner, whether a spouse or a significant other.”

The Get High, Stay Home Kids

So the study found that the decision to delay marriage or other romantic commitments played the largest role in kids’ decisions to remain at home. But Ablow’s analysis went even further off the deep end when he declared that the whole situation “was stoked by Obama,” and his “agenda for America,” which he described as “Get high, stay home, don’t be autonomous.” According to Ablow…

“These kids are high, they’re high on pot. They’re high on Facebook. They’re high on Twitter and Instagram and Snapchat. So they can’t be bothered to cobble together three jobs.”

Ablow accused Millennials of feeling “entitled to all kinds of free stuff,” and essentially being too high and/or lazy to take care of themselves. Of course this typically hollow assessment neglected to take into consideration that the vast majority of Millennials are actually quite independent. The Pew study found that 31.6 percent were living with a spouse or partner in their own household. Another 14 percent were living alone. And there are still many more who live with non-romantic roommates, in college dorms, or with non-parental family members (i.e. siblings, cousins, grandparents, etc.)

However, none of these facts prevented Ablow and his Fox & Friends cohorts from distorting the truth and laying all the blame on President Obama. That seems to be a signature compulsion with Ablow, who has blamed the President for everything from riots in Ferguson, MO., to Ebola. Even his assertion that the job market resulted in Millennials residing with their parents was characterized as Obama’s fault, rather than the Great Recession of Obama’s predecessor George W. Bush. It is the Obama administration that has produced more than 22 million jobs and 74 straight months of private sector job growth.

It seems peculiar that Ablow and Fox News would be so anxious to insult Millennials in the middle of this election cycle. They are the largest generation of Americans and are notoriously independent in their political allegiances. If the recent poll by the Washington Post and ABC News is any indicator, there has just been a significant shift in preference among Millennials from Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump. Clinton still leads, but the margin is much narrower. These polls will likely continue to fluctuate, but it can only be helpful to Clinton if Fox News continues to disparage this important voting bloc.

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

The Keith Ablow Affliction:

For the record, Keith Ablow has been dispensing ludicrous psychological diagnoses for years. Some of his past adventures in malpractice include his charges that President Obama was waging psychological warfare on the American people, that Newt Gingrich was honorable for being unfaithful to multiple wives, accused Obama of wanting Ebola to spread in America, and my personal favorite, he actually praised the Unabomber’s sociopathic philosophy. These are a few of the reasons that may have contributed to his abrupt separation from the American Psychiatric Association. But who needs those medical establishment elitists when you have Fox News?

Fox News Hails Beyonce Boycott By Police Because She Supports #BlackLivesMatter

This morning a Baltimore police officer was acquitted of four charges related to Freddie Gray, an African-American who died in police custody in 2015. That was just one of many recent incidents involving police use-of-force (i.e. Walter Scott, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice) that resulted in a tragic and unnecessary fatality. These deaths inspired the rise of the #BlackLivesMatter movement as an attempt to raise awareness of the problem.

Fox News on Beyonce

From the start, Fox News has been dismissive, or outright hostile, to #BlackLivesMatter and it’s representatives. They pushed the insensitive and disingenuous alternative of “All Lives Matter” and labeled the black activists racists and anti-police. However, saying that “black lives matter” is no more exclusive of concern for other lives than saying “save the whales” means screw all the other marine mammals. It is just a way drawing attention to a serious problem.

What Fox News considers to be a serious problem is the exercise of free speech by American citizens, particularly those in the entertainment industry. Their target this morning was Beyonce, who will be performing in concert in Pittsburgh next week. Some of her recent appearances and videos have carried the message of #BlackLivesMatter, which has drawn criticism from right-wing pundits and politicians.

On Fox & Friends today, co-host Ainsley Earhardt invited Robert Swartzwelder, the president of the Pittsburgh Fraternal Order of Police, to explain why he is filing a labor complaint on behalf of officers potentially being “forced” to work the concert. She introduced the segment saying that…

“Beyonce backlash is brewing. The singer’s apparent anti-police message has gotten the attention of Pittsburgh officers, many of who plan to boycott the singer’s upcoming concert in their town. There is just one problem. The city might force those officers to work security at her concert on May 31st.”

Earhardt’s bias was plainly stated in her opening by referring to an “anti-police message.” When she asked Swartzwelder about the looming boycott (which he said was not a boycott) he characterized it as ordinary and uncontroversial, and that officers regularly decline certain assignments such as traffic detail. Which is, of course, a ridiculous comparison. No officer has ever cited their objection to the political position of an automobile as a reason for not wanting traffic duty.

Swartzwelder went on to say that officers were offended by “various references in Beyonce’s music” that “all police officers engage in police brutality,” which Beyonce has denied. In the view of Swartzwelder, and Fox News, any criticism of the police is a criticism of all police and is, therefore, unacceptable. And Earhardt was sympathetic saying…

“I get it. I understand. You watch the video and you’re saying she is anti-cop rhetoric, you see the anti-cop images. So if she’s gonna be anti-cop why would we wanna go work her concert?”

While Earhardt did inquire as to whether the police “have an obligation to the people” that would “trump your feelings toward Beyonce,” she buried it under the false premise that Beyonce is against the police. The larger point is that the police do indeed have an obligation to the people. The security services that they provide are not just for the safety of the artist, but also the rest of the community. Their service ought to blind to politics and driven by a commitment to the ethical codes of conduct of their profession and their sense of duty.

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

Officers should not have the ability to veto an assignment based on their political prejudices. You never see them refusing to provide security during a KKK rally, so why should they be able to put an artist and the community at risk simply because they disagree with a perceived political opinion? Aren’t they validating their critics? And more importantly, what does it say about those who refuse to serve?

Islamophobic Fox Fans Call For 9/11 Style Attacks In NY Over ‘Sharia’ Financing

The Fox News community website, Fox Nation, is often a welcoming place for bigots and hate mongers. Their history of tolerating repulsive comments, on a site that claims to have moderators keeping the discourse civil, is testimony to their intention to embrace and encourage right-wing hostility (see The Collected Hate Speech Of The Fox News Community). But the latest episode of wingnut spleen-letting may surpass anything that has come before it – and that’s saying something.

Fox Nation

Fox Nation Frets Over Sharia Law

The article that incited the heinous comments below was a report in the New York Post (a corporate cousin to Fox News) that a Muslim developer was preparing to build a 43-story luxury condominium tower and Islamic cultural museum in lower Manhattan. The Post’s article was featured on Fox Nation with a somewhat more ominous headline that invokes Sharia Law. That’s part of what set off a rash of rhetorical racism, along with certain details that were predictable triggers for Fox’s intolerant audience.

First of all, the site of the development was once proposed as a site for an Islamic cultural center that Fox News branded as the “Ground Zero Mosque,” despite the fact that it was neither a mosque, nor at 9/11’s Ground Zero. Fox, along with a cacophony of conservative pundits and politicians, turned the issue into a bitter debate that fed on the bigotry of the anti-Muslims on the right. As a result, the center was never built. Now the same developer, Sharif El-Gamal, is hoping to complete a project that will bring jobs and commerce to the area. What a monster!

Secondly, the Fox brigades are disturbed by the method of financing for the project. Consistent with Islamic principles, El-Gamal sought financing from institutions that avoid the collection of interest on loans. And not surprisingly, the mention of “Sharia-compliant financing” in the article set off alarms at Fox Nation. However, there is nothing unsavory about this method of financing. In fact, it contains protections that arguably make it a more ethical way to deal with loans. [Here is a summary explanation of Sharia-compliant banking] Also, it is not a law and is no more an intrusion on American laws than keeping Kosher is for Jews.

Finally, the Fox Nationalist bigots were generally objecting to the fact that the project is headed by a Muslim (It’s a good thing they don’t know that the architect is a Mexican-American). Since they regard all Muslims as terrorists, they are certain that there is some ulterior motive that involves the murder of innocent Americans. And their response to that is to suggest replicating the tactics of terrorists themselves. They see no irony in advocating the sort of destruction that would result in countless fatalities throughout the vicinity, including the first responders who would rush to the scene to try to save lives. Here is sampling of the comments attached to the Fox Nation article:

Fox Nation Hankering For Another 9/11:

Fox Nation Comments

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

No commentary is needed for the nauseating remarks by the hateful Fox Nation mob. However, it is worth noting that the editors at Fox chose a photo of the devastation at the site of the World Trade Center, which has nothing to do with the new development or the article about it. They might have chosen to show a picture of the proposed high-rise, but then that wouldn’t have manufactured a controversy that would set their dimwitted readers’ blood to boil, which is Fox’s highest priority.

On Fox News, Republican Losers Get Credit For Democratic Successes

One of the most consistent fallacies presented by Fox News on a daily basis is the assignment of blame for for anything that goes wrong exclusively to President Obama. If it can be cast as negative, Obama did it. Some of the laughable liabilities attributed to the President include the riots in Ferguson, MO, California’s drought, Ebola, and even Hurricane Katrina (which happened three years before he was elected. They have blamed him for high gas prices that hurt consumers, as well as for low gas prices that hurt oil companies. There is simply no way Obama can win with these partisan hacks.

Bush Blame Obama

Fox News’ Stolen Honor

Now, in addition to making Obama shoulder the responsibility for the failures of incompetent Republicans, Fox News is also stealing the credit for anything good that happens during any Democratic administration. This week alone has provided two glaring examples of this stolen honor by Fox pundits who can’t seem find anything that Republicans have done that actually helped the nation.

First we have Eric Bolling, a co-host of Fox’s The Five. During a segment devoted to bashing Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Bolling sought to diminish her husband’s success in orchestrating what was at the time the longest period of non-wartime economic growth in the nation’s history. Since he couldn’t plausibly deny that it was an era of unprecedented prosperity, Bolling served up this pretzel logic: “The reason why Bill [Clinton] did so well is because of Ronald Reagan.”

Of course it was. Never mind that Reagan was followed by four years of his vice-president George H.W. Bush who ran the economy into the ground and was summarily booted out of office. And perish the thought that Bolling would provide any substantive argument to support his made up theory. According to Bolling Reagan deserves the praise simply for being Reagan.

Following that, Fox’s senior political analyst, Brit Hume, made an appearance on Special Report to deliver his explanation for the political successes of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Eventually the discussion diverted to the state of the economy under President Obama. Hume began by asserting that the economy isn’t really in very good shape, but then shifted to proclaim that whatever was good about it wasn’t Obama’s doing, saying that “The credit for rescuing the economy, if it belongs with government, has got to be shared, at least [with George W. Bush].”

And why not? After all, Bush merely presided over the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression. And his response was a basket of bailouts for the banks that were instrumental in the market’s downfall. It wasn’t until Obama came into office that efforts were made to stimulate the economy, and even that was opposed and obstructed by the Republicans in Congress.

It’s Hillary’s Fault Too

In both of the cases above the inspiration for these self-serving assumptions of economic glory stemmed from a comment Hillary Clinton made on the campaign trail. She said that if elected president she would put her husband Bill in charge of revitalizing the economy, something he is demonstrably good at. That comment sent the conservative pundits into a frenzy. They couldn’t abide her reminding people about the boom-time economy over which Clinton presided. So they endeavored to clumsily steal the credit for themselves.

This is just more proof that if Republicans had anything to be proud of they wouldn’t be trying to take credit for things they didn’t do – for things they affirmatively tried to prevent. They are, in effect, admitting that there are no accomplishments attributable to GOP administrations, so by necessity they have to swipe them from Democrats. It’s dishonest and unethical, but that’s never stopped them before.

Donald Trump Is Now Officially The Candidate Of Fox News

Rupert Murdoch, the chairman and CEO of the Fox News parent corporation, is reported to have made his decision to support the presumptuous nominee of the Republican Party, Donald Trump. At first glance this news may seem unremarkable for the avowedly right-wing cable net, but there is a history of discomfort with Trump on the part of Murdoch that he must have overcome either by greed or force.

Donald Trump Rupert Murdoch

Gabriel Sherman of New York Magazine has been covering the inside stories on Fox News for several years. He has reliable sources and published the definitive, unauthorized biography of the network’s CEO Roger Ailes: The Loudest Voice in the Room. His latest scoop is one that casts a disturbing glow on the allegedly “fair and balanced” cable news network:

“According to a half dozen sources familiar with Murdoch’s thinking, the media mogul has signaled he plans to fully back Trump in the general election against Hillary Clinton.”

Prior to this revelation, Murdoch was not particularly enthusiastic about his billionaire peer. He has tweeted that regarding the characterization of Mexican immigrants as criminals, Trump was wrong. He was critical of Trump’s demeanor saying that “Trump finally loses it, in 95 minute rant.” And in a moment of unexpected clarity he asked “When is Donald Trump going to stop embarrassing his friends, let alone the whole country?”

So the question now is what would make Murdoch set aside those concerns to support a notoriously racist, misogynistic, loose cannon with tyrannical tendencies for president of the United States? It’s a question that Sherman addressed in his column suggesting that the shift may be due to financial considerations. Sherman notes that:

“It’s clear Trump is good for business. According to one Fox News producer, the channel’s ratings dip whenever an anti-Trump segment airs.”

There is no doubt that Murdoch is an aggressive businessman who appreciates any opportunity to make a profit. He has built his media empire around a model of tabloid journalism that places tawdry melodrama above factual reporting. And Donald Trump’s reality TV persona has been a boon to all of the networks covering him for the past year. Les Moonves, the CEO of CBS, put it bluntly saying that Trump “may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS.”

However, there may be more to this than sheer greed or political compatibility. In a previous column, Sherman revealed that Trump had dealings with a former Fox News executive who left under suspicious circumstances. The result was that Trump may have acquired information that would be damaging to Fox News and/or its principals. Sherman concluded that “If Ailes ever truly went to war against Trump, Trump would have the arsenal to launch a retaliatory strike.” That sounds very much like something Trump would do.

This could also explain why Fox News was so generous with Trump, giving him more airtime than any other candidate, while simultaneously allowing him to get away with his brutal treatment of Fox News. As News Corpse reported at the time:

“Ordinarily, any Republican candidate would be conscious of the sway that Fox holds over the party and the fate of anyone hoping to rise up in it. But Trump, with an apparently reckless lack of concern, has spent much of the last nine months mercilessly battering the network and its staff. He said of Megyn Kelly that she ‘is the worst’ and has a ‘terrible show.’ He called Karl Rove a ‘total fool’ and ‘a biased dope.’ He said that George Will is a ‘broken down political pundit’ and ‘boring.’ Chris Stirewalt was deemed ‘one of the dumbest political pundits on television.’ Trump laughed off Charles Krauthammer as ‘a totally overrated clown,’ ‘a loser,’ and ‘a dummy.’

Wrapping up the whole network for his disapproval, he tweeted that he was ‘having a really hard time watching Fox News.’ Then he called on his followers to boycott the network. He even went after one of the major shareholders of Fox’s parent corporation.”

Whatever the reason for Murdoch’s newfound infatuation for Trump, it is a troubling development for how the election will be reported. With the CEO of Fox’s parent corporation taking sides, it makes it inevitable that his editors, reporters, and presenters will be influenced and adjust their work accordingly.

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

Of course, Fox News has always been the mouthpiece for the Republican political agenda, so there may not be an apparent difference. But even the facade of neutrality is destroyed when powerful figures within a news organization set the tone for the enterprise. And it makes a mockery of events like today’s announcement that Fox News is seeking to host a Democratic debate before the California primary. Hopefully the party and the candidates will decline that invitation that is only meant to stir more controversy and damage the party’s prospect’s in November. With Murdoch’s capitulation to Donald Trump there is no way to pretend that the network is anything but hostile to whomever the Democrats nominate.

Fox News “Psycho” Analyst: Donald Trump’s Narcissism Is Exactly What America Needs

Keith Ablow, a member of the Fox News Medical A-Team, has never been shy about taking absurd positions that make a mockery of the psychiatric calling that he pretends to represent. Some of his past adventures in malpractice include his charges that President Obama was waging psychological warfare on the American people, that Newt Gingrich was honorable for being unfaithful to multiple wives, and my personal favorite, he actually praised the Unabomber’s sociopathic philosophy. And now he is applying his remote diagnostic “skills” to the presumptuous Republican nominee for president, Donald Trump.

Fox News Keith Ablow

Ablow was a guest on Fox & Friends (video below) to explain his latest theory on the psychology of leadership. He was introduced by host Steve Doocy who said:

“Conservatives, and some liberals alike, continuing to slam presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump for being narcissistic, but is being narcissistic necessarily a bad trait for the president to have?”

In Ablow’s view, Trump’s narcissism is an asset that will benefit the nation that he says is “emerging from eight years of self-loathing.” Furthermore, he asserts that Trump’s “narcissism is deeply entwined with a love for America.” According to Ablow’s perverse logic, narcissism is pretty much the same thing as patriotism. This is a concept he expanded on in an op-ed for the Fox News website. Ablow associated Trump’s self-love with “loving his freedom to speak bluntly, in loving his freedom to own property…”

However, what Ablow is describing is not narcissism. his remarks seem to suggest that he has no idea what the term means. It’s possible to appreciate free speech and property ownership without being a narcissist – as most Americans can tell you. The Mayo Clinic defines Narcissistic Personality Disorder as…

“…a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultraconfidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.”

By that definition Trump appears to be a textbook example of a narcissist. He never stops talking about how awesome he thinks he is (even when it’s entirely undeserved) and how much he imagines everyone loves him. And his aversion to criticism is revealed in every hostile (and juvenile) tweet he posts whenever someone dares to be less than totally devoted to him.

What’s more, Ablow ignores negative traits, such as lacking empathy, that make narcissists wholly unfit for leadership roles. Their agenda would always be focused on how it benefits them, without regard for anyone else. The best leaders would actually reverse those traits and make the pursuit of helping others their primary objective.

Ablow has demonstrated that he qualifies as a loyal Trump toady. In his op-ed he praised Trump effusively saying that “Donald Trump is John Wayne. Donald Trump is Babe Ruth.” That praise is itself revealing. Notice that Ablow likened Trump to an actor and an athlete rather than to governing icons like Thomas Jefferson or Abraham Lincoln. And he has been bitterly opposed to President Obama for years, even referring to him as a toxic virus from which our children must be immunized.

But Ablow has also demonstrated that he does not qualify as a reputable psychiatrist. This isn’t just because he doesn’t know what a narcissist is, or because his deep hatred and bias against Obama taints his analysis of everything he says. It’s because he uses his personal prejudice as a cudgel to attack those with whom he disagrees. And he is so determined to insult and defame his perceived enemies that he abandons all reason and logic. That’s why he can exalt Donald Trump for being a narcissist, while disparaging Obama for the same thing, as he did a few years ago. When Obama was running for reelection in 2012, Ablow condemned him saying:

“We’ve never had a self-regarding narcissist quite like the Oval Office’s current occupant.”

At the time, Ablow considered that an argument against voting for Obama’s second term. But now he is looking forward to having Donald Trump, a narcissist of his liking, in the Oval Office and arguing that his narcissism is an affirmative reason to give him your vote. That’s just crazy. I’m tempted to cite the old biblical proverb “physician, heal thyself,” but in Ablow’s case I wouldn’t recommend it. His psychological infirmity is so profound that he should make the effort to find someone who isn’t a quack.

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

Fox News Falsely Reports That Clinton Aide “Stormed” Out Of FBI Interview

With the market for manufactured scandals losing steam, Fox News is getting desperate for new avenues of attack against Hillary Clinton. Their already in progress effort to impeach her has been going nowhere. Trey Gowdy’s House Committee To Politicize Benghazi has wasted millions of dollars, and untold hours, but found nothing incriminating against Clinton. The accusers of Planned Parenthood have themselves been indicted. And the never-ending investigations into Clinton’s email server was recently declared to have uncovered “scant evidence” of any wrongdoing. So what will Fox News do now?

Fox News

Not to worry. Fox News will do what they always do: Invent some new controversy that they can hash around for a couple of days before everyone realizes that there’s nothing to it, and then pretend it never happened. In that spirit Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteran introduced a segment (video below) that alleged that one of Clinton’s trusted confidants was an uncooperative witness during an FBI interview about Clinton’s email.

“Long-time Clinton aide Cheryl Mills reportedly storming out of the interview over an off-limits topic,” was how Van Susteran opened the segment. The story was picked up by Fox News correspondent Catherine Herridge who got it from the Washington Post. Herridge’s lede was that this was…

“…a discussion of her conversations with Mrs. Clinton over which emails would be produced to the state department as part of the FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] request. […] This was negotiated to be off-limits because of attorney-client privilege.”

Van Susteren, an attorney before she joined Fox News, responded with a surprisingly coherent comment that should have put the matter to bed. She said “That actually would be routine that that would be off-limits, so it’s nothing surprising.” However, neither of them recanted the characterization of Mills as having stomped off in huff.

For some context, the Washington Post article that was the source of this story had an entirely different tone. For starters, their headline said only that “Clinton aide Cheryl Mills leaves FBI interview briefly after being asked about emails.” There was nothing in the article about anyone “storming” out. That was a rhetorical invention by Fox News. To the contrary, it was portrayed as a normal practice during such interviews when witnesses need to confer privately with their lawyers. In fact, it was the FBI investigator who was considered to have overstepped his boundaries:

“[A]n FBI investigator broached a topic with longtime Hillary Clinton aide Cheryl Mills that her lawyer and the Justice Department had agreed would be off limits, according to several people familiar with the matter.

“Mills and her lawyer left the room — though both returned a short time later — and prosecutors were somewhat taken aback that their FBI colleague had ventured beyond what was anticipated, the people said.”

This afternoon on Fox’s “Your World with Neil Cavuto” the subject was brought up again with Fox legal analyst Andrew Napolitano telling Cavuto that a “courageous” FBI agent asked questions that all parties previously agreed would be improper. He praised the FBI agent for violating the “baloney” agreement to honor attorney/client privilege.

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

So Fox News took a rather uneventful account of the FBI meeting with Mills and transformed it into a fictional battle between valiant FBI heroes and a shady Clinton crony. Admittedly, that’s a more exciting narrative than what really happened, but it’s also patently untrue. But considering the dearth of any legitimate mud that Fox has to fling at Clinton, it’s understandable that they are resorting to these desperate measures. Expect more of the same for the next five months.

GOP Senator Attempts To Strongarm Facebook Over Bias Allegations

In what may be one of the most alarming examples of government overreach, the Republican chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Sen. John Thune, is injecting himself into the operations of Facebook’s news publishing. Upon hearing about a report by Gizmodo that Facebook might be slanting the articles that appear in their Trending Topics section, Thune fired off a letter to Facebook demanding an accounting of their procedures.

John Thune Facebook

It needs to be stated firstly that the article on Gizmodo consists only of unsupported allegations from anonymous sources. They claim to be former Facebook contractors so their shield of anonymity seems peculiar since Facebook cannot retaliate against them. However, without any identity it’s impossible to know whether they have ulterior motives or are disgruntled ex-employees lashing out for their own reasons. They provided no documented proof to support their claims of bias. Yet they did admit that “there is no evidence that Facebook management mandated or was even aware of any political bias at work.” So the whole story may be the overblown product of personal grudges. Which makes what happened next all the more troubling.

After the story was pumped through the conservative media echo chamber, where Fox News took particular interest (more on that later), it eventually landed on the desk of Sen. Thune. His response was to write a letter to Facebook expressing his concern that the company might be inappropriately influencing its audience. The letter said…

“Facebook has enormous influence over users’ perceptions of current events, including political perspectives. If Facebook presents its Trending Topics section as the result of a neutral, objective algorithm, but it is in fact filtered to support particular political viewpoints, Facebook’s assertion that it maintains a ‘platform for people and perspectives from across the political spectrum’ misleads the public.”

Thune also stated in a press release about the letter that…

“Facebook must answer these serious allegations and hold those responsible to account if there has been political bias in the dissemination of trending news,” said Thune on sending the letter. “Any attempt by a neutral and inclusive social media platform to censor or manipulate political discussion is an abuse of trust and inconsistent with the values of an open Internet.”

Oh really? So now the federal government is empowered to force a news provider to refrain from any political bias and, according to Thune, failure to do so is regarded as “an abuse of trust.” Asserting the heavy hand of government, Thune instructed Facebook to make its employees available to brief his committee. What’s more, Thune asserts that Facebook is “mislead[ing] the public” if they falsely claim to be a “platform for people and perspectives from across the political spectrum.”

So when will Thune be sending a similar letter to Fox News? After all, Fox has been falsely claiming to be “fair and balanced” for years. They also have enormous influence over “perceptions of current events, including political perspectives,” yet they regularly “censor and manipulate” their reporting.

The arguments made by Thune are a flagrant violation of the constitutional right to the freedom of the press. Congress has no business interfering with the editorial decisions made by the journalists employed by Facebook. If there is bias in their work it can be reported by other journalists, protested by media watchdogs, and the public always has the opportunity to make up its own mind as to whether to patronize Facebook or any other news enterprise.

From the moment this story broke, Fox News has expressed their outrage that the liberal weasels at Facebook would dare to suppress conservative stories. They treated it as if the allegations were proven facts, which of course they were not. Facebook has already looked into the charges and responded saying that “We take these reports extremely seriously, and have found no evidence that the anonymous allegations are true.” But that hasn’t stopped Fox News from continuing to portray Facebook as being guilty of grossly prejudicing their news coverage.

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

Anyone who has watched Fox News for twenty minutes recognizes the absurdity of Fox complaining about another organization being biased. But the intrusion of the government on behalf of offended right-wingers who cannot even validate their charges is beyond the pale. Thune is overstepping his authority by threatening to investigate Facebook and demanding their compliance. Even Fox’s media correspondent, Howard Kurtz, was taken aback by Thune’s aggressive approach. Kurtz told Fox Business Network host Trish Regan that “If Thune had sent a letter like that to the New York Times or the Washington Post or Fox News we’d probably tell them to buzz off.” And that’s exactly what Facebook should tell them.

[Update:] Steve Benen at MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow blog takes Thune to task noting that he is “The wrong Republican to pick a fight with Facebook.” As a leading opponent of Net Neutrality and the defunct Fairness Doctrine, Thune previously condemned the sort of government intrusion he is currently engaging in. In a 2007 article he said that “the hair stands up on the back of my neck when I hear government officials offering to regulate the news media and talk radio to ensure fairness.” Perhaps he shaved his neck since then.

Fox News Takes Adulterous White House Correspondent Off The Air (What About Trump?)

The lascivious news scavengers are burning up the wires this morning reporting that Ed Henry, the Fox News Chief White House Correspondent, has been taken off the air due to the discovery that he has been engaging in a months-long extra-marital affair with a Las Vegas hostess.

Donald Trump Perv

This raises some questions that have not yet been addressed by most of the press. First and foremost, if marital infidelity is justification for taking a someone off the air then why is Bill O’Reilly still anchoring his primetime program? He has been alleged to have sexually harassed his former producer, Andrea Mackris. Plus, he has been accused by his own children of physically assaulting his wife, an act for which he lost custody of his kids. In addition, other Fox contributors have also violated their marriage vows but remain on the air. Newt Gingrich has cheated on multiple wives. Mark Sanford infamously took a secret trip to Argentina to visit his mistress. Herman Cain’s presidential bid was short-circuited due his numerous infidelities. And those are just the ones we know about so far.

Which brings us to Donald Trump. The Donald has frequently boasted about his lurid affairs during his multiple marriages. Of course, he isn’t currently a Fox News employee, but he is on the network more than any of their actual reporters and pundits. And when does anyone on Fox ever even bring up the facts about his salacious escapades? Even when Trump is peddling his phony evangelical, family values spiel he isn’t challenged by the Fox toadies lobbing softballs at him.

Fox News was right to bench Ed Henry. Not because of any sanctimonious moral statement on his personal behavior, which is none of their business. But because Henry is covering Hillary Clinton’s campaign and has already conducted interviews that include references to her husband’s unfaithfulness a quarter of a century ago. Henry even asked Trump to comment on the ancient allegations on a segment of Fox & Friends. The hypocrisy of Henry questioning Trump about Bill and Hillary’s past (and by all appearances resolved) marital problems at the same time that he was fully involved in his own extra-marital affair is an unacceptable breach of journalistic ethics.

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

However, if Fox is going to pull Henry off the air, they should be consistent and do the same for the others on their roster who have done the same or similar things. And they certainly shouldn’t allow Trump to get away with smearing Clinton without being held accountable for his own adulteries. Or for wanting to bang his own daughter.

Loser Ted Cruz Finally Tells The Truth About Donald Trump And Fox News

One of the endlessly peculiar aspects of the timeline of political campaigns is the tendency for losing candidates to suddenly find the nerve to say what they actually believe after they have been rejected by voters. For some reason they never learn that it might be advantageous for them to be honest from start.

An excellent example of this took place yesterday as Ted Cruz came to the realization that he was not going to be the presidential nominee of the Republican Party. In an extended and rambling press conference, Cruz said at least two things that may be remembered as the most (or only) truths he uttered in ten months on the campaign trail. The first addressed a criticism of the media that has long been recognized by almost everyone but Ted Cruz until yesterday:

“Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes of Fox News have turned Fox News into the Donald Trump network 24/7.”

Donald Trump News

Indeed. Fox News has given Trump far more airtime than they have given any other candidate of either party. They broadcast his stump speeches live and in their entirety. They allow him to phone in interviews, an advantage that they don’t offer to his opponents. Their featured anchors and pundits openly endorse his candidacy. And all of that has been happening in an environment wherein Trump has been blasting Fox News, bitterly insulting many of its stars, and even promoting a boycott of the network. Not long ago Trump tweeted that…

“FoxNews has been treating me very unfairly & I have therefore decided that I won’t be doing any more Fox shows for the foreseeable future.”

Like most of the BS spewed by Trump, he didn’t carry through on that threat and continues to dominate airtime on the network. So we are in a bizarre situation where it is now Republicans who are complaining most about how biased Fox News is. Who would have thought it?

The other Cruz attempt at truth-telling concerned his personal opinion of Donald Trump. Certainly there have been expressions of this in vague terms as the campaign has unfolded, but his latest comments were unambiguous in their detestation of Trump, who has battered Cruz as an utterly amoral, phony evangelical, philandering Canadian, whose father worked with Lee Harvey Oswald. Yesterday Cruz said of Trump…

“I’m going to tell you what I really think of Donald Trump. This man is a pathological liar. He doesn’t know the difference between truth and lies. He lies practically every word that comes out of his mouth. And in a pattern that I think is straight out of a psychology textbook, his response is to accuse everybody else of lying.”

Welcome to reality, Ted. What took you so long? Many people have been saying this about Trump for months, including some steadfastly conservative Republicans. But the feeling is mutual on Trump’s part. Trump famously labeled Cruz “Lyin’ Ted” and explicitly called him out as “the single biggest liar I’ve ever seen.”

Now that Cruz has suspended his campaign, making Trump the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party, many of the questions in the press are about how the party will unify its warring factions in order to compete against the Democratic nominee. Those are good questions considering the stark animosity that has been layered on so thick. Some of the most loyal GOP voices are loudly declaring that they will have nothing to do with Donald Trump.

Trump himself, however, is trying to put on a untied front despite having previously said that he doesn’t want Ted Cruz’s endorsement. In his victory speech last night Trump said that Cruz “is one hell of a competitor. He is a tough, smart guy. And he has got an amazing future.” That’s an awfully generous sentiment for someone he thinks is “the single biggest liar” he’s ever seen.

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

Will the glassy-eyed disciples of the Trump Cult swallow this sort sort of flagrant hypocrisy? You better believe they will. They can only see as far as their lust for xenophobic discrimination, racial and religious bigotry, misogyny, and the painfully ignorant blathering about economics, health care, and national security that are the hallmarks of Trump’s blisteringly stupid campaign. And this is just the beginning, folks.