FACT CHECK: Trump Tells Fox News that Mueller’s Staffers are ‘All Clinton Supporters’

The constant stream of falsehoods that emanate from Donald Trump has made no sign of slowing down. This weekend Trump, who has not had a TV interview in over a month, gave two to Fox News. And not surprisingly, he provided some new nuggets of dishonesty to the pile he has amassed since becoming president.

Donald Trump

In an interview with Ainsley Earhardt of Fox and Friends, the Fox News host unleashed a barrage of brutal softballs at the President. She prefaced her inquiries with flattering language about how smart he was for pretending to have tapes of himself and James Comey (which is potentially unlawful witness tampering). And she comforted him with partisan assertions that “Democrats are in denial.” But Earhardt laid it on extra thick when the issue of Trump’s collusion with Russia came up:

“Robert Mueller, do you think he should recuse himself? He is good friends with James Comey. He’s hired some attorneys that were part of Hillary Clinton’s foundation and have given money to President Obama and Hillary Clinton’s campaigns. Should he recuse himself?”

Could Earhardt have composed a more fawning, servile, obsequious question? She must be so doubtful that he could come up with a coherent response, she provided one for him. Trump eagerly embraced the leading question and blindly agreed that Mueller is “very, very good friends with Comey.” Then he whined that “there has been no collusion, no obstruction, and virtually everybody agrees to that.” Everybody? Well, that’s if you don’t count dozens of legal experts, intelligence professionals, and investigators currently researching the matter. But then he went even further over the edge:

“I can say that the people that have been hired are all Hillary Clinton supporters, some of them worked for Hillary Clinton. I mean the whole thing is ridiculous, if you wanna know the truth.”

Indeed, it is ridiculous. But not in the way Trump thinks. PolitiFact reviewed his remarks and found them top be “Mostly False.” As it turns out, only three of the eight attorneys hired by Mueller were Clinton supporters. And any associations that any of them had were incidental and fully permissible under the “Rules of Professional Responsibility.” That assessment, by the way, came from Peter Carr, a spokesperson for Jeff Seesion’s Justice Department. And it was consistent with the summary ruling by PolitiFact:

“Three of the eight available Mueller hires made campaign contributions to Clinton, which undermines Trump’s statement that all are Clinton supporters. Furthermore, none of them have worked for Clinton directly. Two represented either the Clinton Foundation or an aide, never her, and working for WilmerHale, which has also represented key members of Trump’s White House.”

So Trump’s allegations (and that of many of his media surrogates) that the investigation is biased politically and motivated against him, is a bald-faced lie. If only that were an isolated incident in this presidency. Unfortunately it is the rule, rather than the exception. And anyone who takes Trump at his word is shamelessly begging to be made a fool of and deliberately deceived.

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

Fox News Trump Fluffer Sean Hannity Kicks Off a Crackpot Crusade Against Rachel Maddow

The signs of desperation by Fox News in general, and Sean Hannity in particular, are becoming ever more apparent. Their increasingly deranged creation, Donald Trump, ventures farther from reality every day. The bizarre antics on Fox News are reaching epic levels. Perhaps they feel unfettered since having abandoned their “fair and balanced” tagline. Not that it was ever taken seriously to begin with.

Sean Hannity Maddow

This is especially true of Sean Hannity, whose ranting is more unhinged now than ever. He is rapidly approaching levels of lunacy that would make Glenn Beck or Alex Jones proud. Take Wednesday night’s episode for example (video below). Hannity began by saying:

“Tonight we continue to expose the biggest black helicopter, tin foil hat, conspiracy in the Destroy Trump Media: NBC’s Rachel Maddow. This is off-the-hook out of control. And if it wasn’t so serious, it’s actually fully.”

And with that, Hannity launches into a fiery diatribe on what he regards as a major conspiracy theory expose. Would it be on par with the Obama birtherism which he promoted for many years? Or the tragic death of Seth Rich, which Hannity attributes to a cabal of murderous Hillary Clinton associates? Well, hold on to your hats folks. Sean Hannity thinks that Rachel Maddow is behind a dastardly campaign asserting that Jon Ossoff’s election was foiled by the weather. He declares with astonishment that “You can’t make this stuff up.” Which is ironic, because that’s exactly what he’s doing.

The basis for Hannity’s charges of conspiracy theorism is that Maddow asked her colleague, Steve Kornacki, if rain on election day might have depressed turnout in certain areas. Of course, it’s simply reality that inclement weather can have an impact on any election. So without drawing any conclusions, Maddow asked Kornacki if he thought it might have had any impact Tuesday night. She never blamed the weather for the final results or even expressed an opinion on it. She only asked a question. But in Hannity’s cartoon brain she was raving wildly that Mother Nature had purposely sabotaged the Georgia Democrat.

Then Hannity takes up his post as Fox News’ most devoted Trump defender. He complains about Maddow’s frequent (and thoroughly factual) reporting on the allegations of connections to Russia by Trump and/or his campaign. Like many right-wing Trump-fluffers, he insists there is no evidence of any such thing:

“The night cannot go by without Maddow floating some sort of Trump/Russia collusion conspiracy theory, even though nobody says it. Nobody believes it. It’s been debunked. To date there is zero evidence of Trump/Russia collusion. Nothing whatsoever. It’s been a farce, a total fabrication, eleven months of lies and conspiracies made up by people just like Maddow. But despite these facts today, Rachel, she was at it again. Whipping up a new crackpot theory involving President Trump, the mob money, money laundering, and even Vladimir Putin made it into the mix.”

There is so much wrong with that it’s hard to know where to begin. Let’s start with the absurdity that nobody is talking about, or believes, that Trump & Co. have unsavory connections to Russia. Rather than being a debunked, fabricated, farce, it is a fact that has been grudgingly admitted by the very people involved. They include Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, and Jeff Sessions to name a few. In many cases their relationships were hidden and denied until discovered by the press. What’s more, Seventeen independent intelligence agencies agree that Russia engaged in deliberate actions to interfere with the election. Apparently Hannity thinks they are all lying as part of this massive conspiracy.

As for his charge that Maddow is “whipping up” a new conspiracy regarding Trump and mob money, he’s giving her too much credit. It was veteran reporter and executive editor Tim O’Brien who broke this story for Bloomberg News. He wrote a detailed and documented article on “Trump, Russia and a Shadowy Business Partnership.” All Maddow did was cover the subject and interview the author. Hannity never mentioned that or even bothered to cite any actual flaws in the story.

Hannity’s obsession with Maddow ignores the fact that she generally relies on established news sources. He demonstrates this by running a video montage of what he calls “Maddow’s craziest Trump/Russia conspiracy theories.” However, every one of the stories originated from other sources like Reuters or even government agencies like the FBI. And that’s the strategy behind Hannity’s baseless attacks. Even though Maddow gets her information from well researched and vetted journalists, her coverage of it makes it all her invention.

Of course, the real problem Hannity has with Maddow is unrelated to his ludicrous charges. He has a two-fold inspiration for attacking her. First, she effectively covers Donald Trump’s tsunami of scandals. She explains the often complex issues clearly and backs up her explanations with facts. Secondly, Hannity is scared to death because Maddow has overtaken Fox News in the television ratings. Her show is frequently the number one program on cable news. Hannity isn’t used to getting beaten in the ratings, but it is now fairly routine.

Consequently, he is coming out swinging, and swinging wildly, against a superior competitor. And the fact that he isn’t landing any blows must be making him all the more enraged and obsessed. Expect that pattern to continue playing out because Hannity doesn’t have the intelligence or the facts to support his positions. All he has is a drooling frenzy and a shrinking audience of Fox News cultists and Trump loyalists. That, in the end, isn’t going to get him very far, and he knows it.

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

Sean Hannity’s ‘Deep State’ Derangement Put’s Him at the Front of Conspiracy Crackpot Parade

The shooting in Virginia on Wednesday has renewed the debate over civility in public discourse. Predictably, Republicans exploited the opportunity to blame Democrats and liberals for the violence directed at their colleagues – this time. Even their pleas for consideration and respect are peppered with partisan attacks.

Sean Hannity Fox News

A perfect example occurred Thursday morning on Fox and Friends. Conservative agitator Michelle Malkin spent over eight minutes with her Fox News pals pretending to seek comity while throwing jabs at “the extreme left.” At one point, the on-screen graphic read “Violent Threats Sent To GOP Lawmakers.” The tone of the whole segment reflected that bias. At no time did they mention the recent threats against Democrats. Two Democratic candidates actually had to withdraw from their races due to death threats from right-wingers. And then there was the Republican candidate who literally assaulted a reporter who was just doing his job. That candidate, Greg Gianforte, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault, won his race, and is now a U.S. congressman.

Sadly, the heated rhetoric that engulfs today’s political scene is viewed by some as an opportunity. Donald Trump notably abused his opponents whether Republican or Democrat. He fantasized about punching critics in the face. He promised to pay the legal fees of supporters who beat up protesters at his rallies. No wonder that, as president, he continues to associate with drooling barbarians like Alex Jones, Michael Savage, and Ted Nugent.

Perhaps those relationships are what is eating at Sean Hannity. He was the most vocal and devoted Trump-fluffer at Fox News during the campaign. His program featured Trump more than any other on television. And he literally endorsed Trump prior to the election, breaching every ethical standard for a news network. However, his access seems to have been curtailed. Trump hasn’t granted him an interview in over five months. In the meantime, fringe characters from Breitbart News and Infowars got passes to White House Press briefings.

This festering jealously might be inspiring Hannity to venture further out onto the crazy cliff’s edge. That seems to be the best way to get Trump’s enfeebled attention. So Hannity abandoned fear (and reason) on Wednesday night’s program to rant about the frightful “Deep State” that is plotting to destroy Trump (video below). The segment dwells on Hannity’s objection to reports that Trump is being investigated for obstruction of justice. Some choice excerpts follow:

“Tonight, and over the next few days, when the media predictably is gonna breathlessly and hyperventilate all kinds of reports and brand new black helicopters and tin-foil hat conspiracy theories to you the American people as they lie again, remember they have zero credibility left.”

Amazingly, he said that all in one breath. However, surveys show that the American people trust the media far more than they trust Trump. And credible news outlets document their stories, unlike what Hannity is doing in this tirade. He continues to deny the reports that Trump is under investigation:

“It’s only a matter of time before this too will be debunked like everything else they’ve reported in pretty much the last eleven months.”

So Hannity is asserting that for the past year “everything” that’s been reported by the media has been debunked. That’s some pretty spicy nutball delusion. Then he launches into what he says are the real crimes. He accuses James Comey and Robert Mueller of conspiring to undermine the President, despite the fact that they are both lifelong Republicans. And naturally, the biggest criminal of all is Hillary Clinton.

“We know Hillary Clinton committed felonies with her email private server scandal. If Democrats wanna talk about collusion, great. Let’s talk about it and take a look at collusion with Vladimir Putin. Uranium One. Twenty percent of the foundational material to make nuclear weapons, while serving as Secretary of State. She signed off on a waiver giving twenty percent of that uranium to Putin, to the Russians. All while people involved in that deal were funneling millions of dollars back to the Clinton Foundation.”

And all of that is total bull crap. Clinton did not sign any such waiver. There was a deal for Russia to acquire certain facilities (not actual uranium) that required the unanimous approval of nine separate government agencies. The State Department alone could not approve the deal. And the donations to the Clinton Foundation all occurred before Clinton was even nominated for the cabinet post. All of this information is publicly available and Hannity has known about it for years. Nevertheless, he persists in spewing information that he knows is false. It’s all part of his “Deep State” saga aimed at convincing his dim-witted audience that a covert, pseudo-government is working behind the scenes to destroy Trump.

Hannity closes with a call to arrest and jail the anonymous sources who talk to the media. He asserts that they are guilty of disseminating classified data. What’s peculiar about that charge is that he also claims the information they provided is false. But he can’t have it both ways. If the data is false, then nothing classified was revealed, no laws were broken, and no arrests are warranted. If the data is true, then Hannity has to concede that Trump is being investigated for obstruction of justice which Hannity rejects as fake news.

By spinning so furiously that his brain is scrambled, Hannity hopes to return to the high place he held with Trump prior to the election. He appears to think that he has to compete with the likes of Jones and Savage for the President’s affections. And he is probably right. Trump’s choice of friends and advisers is driven by their Insanity Quotient. The question is, can Fox News continue to allow a lying conspiracy kook to host a primetime program on their network? Well, why not? He’s been there for twenty years.

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

Fox News Succumbing to Reality? Network Ditches Their ‘Fair and Balanced’ Slogan

The past year has seen some profound changes in the conservative world. And it’s not just the election of Donald Trump. Although that was a tectonic shift that put a novice political enigma with no discernible principles at the helm of the GOP (Greedy One Percent). And as if that wasn’t earth-shattering enough, the party of family values fell in line behind an adulterous, irreligious, walking contradiction machine. Somehow Republicans were able to embrace a narcissistic, wannabe dictator who spent years insulting them.

Fox News

In the right-wing mediaverse, Fox News has also undergone an upheaval. They lost their founder and CEO, Roger Ailes, and their biggest Star, Bill O’Reilly, to sex scandals. The same improprieties resulted in several other notable Foxies leaving the hen house. They include Megyn Kelly, Greta Van Susteren, Gretchen Carlson, Andrea Tantaros, and Bill Shine, the executive who replaced Ailes. While Rupert Murdoch is still the lord master of Fox, it’s his kids who are the operational managers now.

As if to finish off the old era of Fox News, it was just revealed that they are abandoning their long-time slogan, “fair and balanced.” Of course, they never lived up to that or even tried. It was just a marketing scheme to disparage all other news networks as being hopelessly biased. Fox used it to corral their disciples into the cult, where only the cult leader is to be believed. Veteran Fox-watcher, Gabriel Sherman of New York Magazine had the scoop:

“As Fox News moves further into the post–Roger Ailes era, the network is shedding one of its most iconic elements. According to network executives, Fox News has abandoned the marketing slogan ‘Fair & Balanced.’ The decision was made last August after Ailes’s ouster by Fox News co-president Jack Abernethy, because the phrase had ‘been mocked,’ one insider said. Another executive explained that the tagline was ‘too closely associated with Roger.’ Fox executives have been instructed by management to market the network by its other tagline: ‘Most Watched. Most Trusted.'”

Cutting ties to disgraced former management is a generally a good idea. Ailes, who died last month, has become a figurative leper. Even the Ohio University scholarship in his name was discontinued. The same embarrassment of association occurs with the ousted Bill O’Reilly. Megyn Kelly, who resigned to take a new job with NBC, is already showing signs of weakness. Her Sunday night program debuted to meager ratings. And it got worse from there. The second episode dropped by forty-two percent and a 60 Minutes rerun beat it with twice as many viewers. Now there are advertiser boycotts stemming from her decision to interview conspiracy theory kingpin, Alex Jones.

Perhaps the funniest part of this decision to drop the “fair and balanced” lie is that they are replacing it with another lie. The new slogan is “Most Watched. Most Trusted.” Neither of those assertions are true. For the past few months MSNBC has been beating Fox in primetime with the most valued viewer demographic. Rachel Maddow is leading the way, often placing as the highest rated program on all of cable news. And as for “trusted,” Fox News isn’t even in the top twenty according to a survey by Pew Research. It falls well behind all three broadcast networks, CNN, New York Times, Washington Post, and MSNBC.

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

So Fox is continuing in their tradition of deceiving their audience with blatant falsehoods. And regardless of what their slogan is, we can depend on them to be true to their mission of lying. Despite all of the changes taking place at Fox, what is not changing is their intention to serve the propaganda of the right generally, and to always exalt Trump in particular. Some things will never change.

Fox News Host Exposed as Running a Scam Charity That Received Funding from Trump

The journalistic fraud that is Fox News is well known. It’s a network that was contrived as a right-wing spin factory, but dishonestly marketed as being “fair and balanced.” They have a revolving cast of scripted characters who alternately play politicians and pundits. Often the same person in both roles. Their commitment to partisan deceit is rooted deeply in the foul culture nurtured by its founders Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes.

Tucker Carlson Fox News

However, a new investigation proves that ideological fraud is not the only unethical practice employed by Fox News. Following the scandal-driven departures of Ailes and Bill O’Reilly, a new cretin was crowned as the top Foxie. Tucker Carlson was awarded O’Reilly’s prized time slot that anchors the network’s primetime lineup. Never mind that Carlson has a record of failure on the three previous networks foolish enough to hire him. Fox News put all their faith behind Carlson. And he soon proved that he was totally undeserving. Last month, for the first time in seventeen years, MSNBC’s primetime beat Fox News.

Now it has come to light that Carlson is more than just a terrible TV host. The Center for Media and Democracy conducted an exhaustive investigation into the stewardship of his website, The Daily Caller (TDC). Carlson launched the site six years ago and it quickly became a staple of wingnut propaganda. The Washington Post published CMD’s findings with this summary of the scam:

“Most of the roughly 50 journalists who produce content for the Daily Caller actually work for the Daily Caller News Foundation, a tax-exempt organization with 501(c)(3) status that is ostensibly separate from DailyCaller.com. The two entities share the same floor of the same Washington office, however, and virtually everything produced by the foundation — which accepted $3 million in donations in 2015, according to an IRS filing — appears on the for-profit website, which sells advertising on the articles.

In short, TDC takes in tax-free donations to finance their for-profit newsroom. Then they use the articles written by foundation authors to populate a commercial website that receives advertising revenue. The Post cites legal experts that describe this an obvious tax dodge:

“‘It’s a huge rip-off for taxpayers if the Daily Caller News Foundation is receiving revenue that it doesn’t pay taxes on, to produce stories that are used by the for-profit enterprise, which then makes money on the stories through ads,’ said Lisa Graves, a deputy assistant attorney general in the Clinton administration who now serves as executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy.”

The unscrupulous business practices that Carlson employs are part of an established pattern. TDC was first bankrolled by Republican stalwart and notorious climate change denier, Foster Friess. He laid out $3 million to get the site off the ground. The Koch brothers were also generous with Carlson’s new venture. They contributed over $800,000 to the effort.

More recently, Carlson enjoyed the benevolence of an even more prominent financier. During the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump sought out Carlson’s help to reach out to conservative voters. Trump purchased the use of TDC’s mailing list to solicit both votes and contributions. The CMD estimates that Carlson took in about $150,000 for his services.

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

So Carlson was feverishly promoting Trump, hosting his surrogates, and even interviewing him on Air Force One after the inauguration. However, he failed to inform his audience that he was paid substantial sums of money by Trump. It’s an unambiguous lapse of ethics that calls into question Carlson’s integrity and motives. Furthermore, Fox News is equally unprincipled for allowing Carlson to go on the air under these circumstances. But in neither case would anyone familiar with the Fox code of ethics be surprised. It’s just standard operating procedure for a network that was born to deceive.

Impeachment Talk Spurs Fox News and Right-Wing Media to Ask Anti-Trump States to Secede

The Trump Train is continuing on its collision course with history. Each new day brings with it more evidence that Donald Trump and Company had distinctly unsavory connections to Russian operatives. Their complicity with the documented proof that Russia tampered with our presidential election is becoming impossible to credibly deny.

Donald Trump

Not surprisingly, as the evidence grows, so does the prospect of impeachment. While Congress has only dipped its toes into the subject, across the country there are municipalities that are diving in. Newsweek is reporting that the movement is gaining steam:

“Last Thursday Brookline, Massachusetts, became the latest in a list of nearly a dozen American cities demanding the country’s top lawmakers examine whether the president is breaking government rules barring public officials from enriching themselves with foreign money.”

Los Angeles is among the cities that have passed resolutions calling on Congress to commence hearings. Chicago is currently debating their own proposal. And the grounds for the President’s removal from office are expanding as well. It’s no longer just issues related to the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause. Though that would be more than enough. Obstruction of Justice and espionage are rapidly becoming plausible charges.

The roster of legal heavyweights making the case for impeachment is impressive and bipartisan. They include constitutional lawyer and Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe, Obama’s former chief ethics counsel Norman Eisen, and the same staffer in George W. Bush’s administration, Prof. Richard Painter.

Naturally, this is where Fox News steps in to paper over scandalous activities with trite and absurd diversions. On Fox’s community website, Fox Nation, they posted a link to an article in the “Moonie” Washington Times. It sported the tabloidy headline, “Massachusetts, California, Take Your Anti-Trumpness and Secede.“. The author, Cheryl K. Chumley, took the well worn path of insisting that Trump has “not committed any offense that’s impeachable.” But that’s irrelevant because it is the purpose of the hearings to ascertain whether an impeachable offense occurred. And there are mountains of evidence that justify holding such hearings. Chumley continued in a snarky manner saying that:

“Elizabeth Warren can be queen, Bernie Sanders, king. And all the subjects can band together to grow their own food and stitch together clothing items from oak tree leaves and orange peels and create grand pronouncements against Trump to distribute amongst themselves and discuss.” […]

“Why suffer to live among a Trump nation? Massachusetts, California: Just take your anti-Trump campaigns and go. Don’t look back; don’t let the door hit you. […] In the name of peace, it’s a sacrifice we’re willing to make.”

First of all, Chumley’s juvenile characterization of these two states ignores the reality of their place in the country. Sure, there may be some crunchy types who value nature and good health, but is that a bad thing? Plus, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are nationally beloved figures who represent the best of democratic leadership.

More to the point, these are two of the most modern, technologically advanced states in the union. Massachusetts is the home of Harvard and MIT. California’s Silicon Valley is the world capital of all things digital. And both states economically surpass most of the rest of the nation. They excel in industry, agriculture, defense, education, and tourism. So stick that in your granola and pour almond milk on it.

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

The loss of these states to the union would be devastating. They pay the bills for much of the debt-ridden southern and mid-west states. If California were an independent nation it would be the sixth richest in the world with a healthy, diversified economy. Chumley’s article, therefore, does nothing but prove that she is an ill-informed and incompetent columnist. Which is probably how she got the job at the Washington Times in the first place. And Fox News had better hope that these states never take the suggestion of secession seriously. Because they just may find it an appealing opportunity.

They’re BAAAACK: Fox News Phony ‘Security Moms’ Suck Up to Trump While Denying Reality

Fox News (aka Donald Trump’s State-Run Propaganda Network) is at it again. The Trump-fluffing cable “news” distortion outfit is running interference on behalf of the treasonous White House mole they planted in the Oval Office. As the evidence of Trump’s collusion with Russian operatives mounts, Fox News ramps up their pitifully sycophantic defense squads.

Fox News

The falsehood factory at Fox has reassembled what they call their panel of “Security Moms.” In reality they are four pre-selected pro-Trump mouthpieces who shamelessly defend the President’s most heinous behavior. Last March they were brought in to try to hold back the flood of bad news regarding Trump and Russia. They failed so spectacularly that Fox brought them back Tuesday for an encore (video below).

In the latest episode of Security Moms, host Ainsley Earhardt dived straight into the controversy with a pointedly leading question:

“Well, the Democrats can’t stop talking about Russia, but is this really the issue that American families care most about? […] Do you care about Russia, and if not — I know you’re gonna say no.”

So Earhardt interrupted her own question to admit that she already knew the answers her mom panel would give. And the question itself was dripping with bias. Democrats aren’t the only ones talking about Russia. And polls show that significant majorities of voters care very much about the issue. Even the most recent Fox News poll. But that didn’t stop the moms from spinning furiously, just as they were recruited to do. For example:

Security Mom 1: All Americans care about foreign bodies hacking into our systems or tampering with our elections, but none of us think that that’s happened in this case.
Security Mom 2: And after seven months we still have no credible evidence, so I think it’s time to move on. What we’re experiencing is that it’s too much and unbalanced. […] Instead of Democrats, and most in the mainstream media, acting like adults and coming to the table with real solutions, they’re behaving like crazed animals.
Security Mom 3: This narrative the mainstream media is talking about – mentioning our President of the United States – it just needs to stop.
Security Mom 4: A lot of it, I really think, has to do with with left over election bad feelings. And this is kind of the catalyst going forward.

So these ladies are entirely oblivious to the mountains of evidence connecting Trump and his associates to Russian operatives. They believe that all of it should be ignored and the country should move on blissfully unaware of potential traitors in the White House. After all, they’re convinced that it’s just the ravings of crazed Democrats as they plead “it just needs to stop.”

Security Mom 3 also made an astonishingly incoherent and unrelated claim. She asserted that Fox News was the only station that had continuing coverage of the Manchester terrorist attack. To which Earhardt mustered her most sincere Stepford attitude to reply “We were. You’re right about that.” This is a demonstration of something far worse than bias. It’s delusional. But it’s totally aligned to the themes that Fox News dispenses every day. Their perverse world view was summed up nicely in this comment that combines diversion with Fox’s taste for victimization:

Security Mom 1: Most Americans believe that this is the typical left reaction. They lost the election. They’re a bunch of big babies. They’re crying about it. And now this is a big distraction. “We lost the election, but now we’re gonna distract you with this Russian collusion nonsense. And on top of that we’re gonna try to take Trump down by all means necessary, somewhat, probably, illegal.

Oh the horror. Our President is being attacked by factual evidence of his own criminality. And the most powerful man on Earth is defenseless against the “big babies” of the left. The enraged mom never bothered to say what illegal means were being employed to take Trump down. But then, why would she? If Fox’s viewers were interested in facts they would be clamoring for impeachment hearings like the rest of the country.

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

Uh-Oh: Rachel Maddow is Under Attack by Sean Hannity and Right-Wing Propaganda Groups

The conservative media machine is marshaling its forces to launch an all-out assault on journalists and pundits who fail to kowtow to Donald Trump. It’s a reactionary campaign in response to the success of the honest reporting by Rachel Maddow and other progressive voices. In recent weeks, Maddow has taken the lead in primetime programs from the previous ratings chart topper, Fox News. The rest of the MSNBC lineup has seen a similar surge in popularity. This massive shift in dominance is mainly driven by the strength of their straightforward reporting about Trump and Russia.

Maddow Hannity

Consequently, those on the right have begun shaking in their boots as their hammer lock on the ratings is broken. The last year has been dreadful for Fox News. Their CEO, Roger Ailes, and top star, Bill O’Reilly, were both terminated in disgrace due to sexual harassment scandals. They are being sued for gender and racial discrimination. And the New York Attorney General is investigating the network for securities violations.

The latest Fox News host to suffer as a result of his own sleazy misconduct is Sean Hannity. He has been pushing a widely debunked conspiracy theory about Seth Rich, a murdered Democratic National Committee staffer. Despite the absence of any facts, and pleas from the family to back off, Hannity has persisted. Even Fox News took down their report on the subject.

The determination of Hannity to spread this phony story has prompted Media Matters to post a list of his advertisers. The purpose was not to start a consumer boycott, but to alert the advertisers to what sort of program they were sponsoring. Then they could decide if it was in their best interest to continue.

Apparently, the desperate losers on the right were not pleased. So they have initiated their own campaign against Maddow and others whom they now refer to as “liberal fascists.” According to Politico:

“The groups plan to pressure advertisers for left-leaning shows like Maddow’s on MSNBC, in hopes that the sponsors will pull their ads. They charge that Maddow and other liberal hosts are peddling conspiracy theories and smearing conservatives with personal attacks.”

“They cited reports of alleged coordination between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian agents as an example of the smears.”

Notice what they’ve chosen as their example of a conspiracy theory. It’s a fact-based report that is affirmed by seventeen U.S. government intelligence agencies. No independent observer disputes that the Russians interfered with the 2016 presidential election to help Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton. And the allegations of collusion are based on numerous reports connecting Trump and his associates with Russian operatives. Many of those connections were hidden by the participants until disclosed by persistent reporters.

The groups involved in the attack on Maddow et al are well known in the conservative hack community. The Media Research Center has a long history of smearing liberals in the press. They favor common right-wing talking points and exploiting lefty “villains” like George Soros. The Media Equality Project is a new entity headed by two former conservative radio talkers, Melanie Morgan and Brain Maloney. They both appeared on Hannity’s program Tuesday night to defend his campaign of slander and promote their anti-Maddow efforts. [Video below]

So far there is no discernible impact from the wingnut brigades. That may be because Maddow’s reporting is wrapped up tighter in facts than anything produced by Hannity and his ilk. The Media Equalizer’s told Hannity last night that they are getting millions of people supporting them. However, their Facebook page has fewer than 5,000 followers and they have even less on Twitter.

But let’s not get cocky. Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, and Lawrence O’Donnell need the continued support of Americans who appreciate honest news analysis. MSNBC still hasn’t signed a contract renewal for O’Donnell. Meanwhile they have hired or promoted the likes of Greta Van Susteren, Hugh Hewitt, and George Will.

The right has a built in advantage with the media because every media owner is a giant corporation whose interests are not aligned with the average American. We have to make sure they know that their financial well being is dependent on serving the public interest. In the meantime, it’s satisfying to see Hannity and his trolls floundering as they try to muddy the waters with their self-serving lies. But we can only expect that to make them more aggressive and repulsive. Stay tuned and stay strong.

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

Urgent (and hilarious) Update: Hannity is now so desperate that he’s threatening to go after Stephen Colbert. And that’s something Colbert — would absolutely LOVE.

So NOW Trump LOVES Anonymous Sources Leaking Pro-Trump BS to Fox News

Donald Trump’s endless assault on the free press has been an ever present fixture of his presidency. He broadly classifies all news as “fake” simply because it isn’t blindly flattering. He can’t say “New York Times” without prefacing it (falsely) as “failing.” Never mind that polls show that most Americans trust the media more than they trust him.

Donald Trump

Trump’s favorite complaints often concern the use of unnamed sources. [Note: There is a difference between unnamed and anonymous sources. The identity of an anonymous source is unknown to the reporter. In most cases, journalists cite sources they know who decline to be named]. The President has frequently condemned the use of any source that doesn’t have a name attached to it. He did so most recently last Sunday:

First of all, Trump’s logic wouldn’t stand up to heavy sigh. He starts out complaining about leaks from the White House. But then accuses reporters of making up their sources. In which case there weren’t any leaks. But if there were leaks, then the sources were real. So Trump is raving about imaginary leaks from fake news who make up sources that actually exist. Are you following any of this? Me neither.

What throws this hilariously over the edge is what Trump tweeted Tuesday morning:

Recent reports have alleged that Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and top advisor, had discussed setting up a covert communications channel with Russian operatives. The ramifications of that are horrifying and could even lead to charges of espionage. So naturally Trump has to mitigate the harm by denigrating the credible journalists who uncovered the story. And now he’s trying to override it with a competing story from Fox News.

Let’s just set aside the inescapable reality that Fox News is the Trump administration’s state-run TV outlet. Of course they will scrape up some positive rebuttal to any story that reflects poorly on this president. What makes this so glaringly ludicrous is that Fox’s story is based entirely on a single unnamed source:

“During the meeting the Russians broached the idea of using a secure line between the Trump administration and Russia, not Kushner, a source familiar with the matter told Fox News. That follows a recent report from The Washington Post alleging that Kushner wanted to develop a secure, private line with Russia.”

So an unnamed “source familiar with the matter” tells Fox News something that exonerates Kushner. How convenient. Perhaps that source is Donald Trump, or his alter-ego, John Barron. Or maybe it’s Reince Pribus or Sean Spicer or Kellyanne Conway, or – you get the idea. There is nothing in the Fox News account that gives any context to the source or its potential ulterior motives for coming forward with this leak. However, it does provide a hook for the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends to regurgitate the same self-serving remarks on their program:

Brian Kilmeade: So there was contact, and the Russians did want a back channel contact […]
Ainsley Earhardt: Everyone is so upset about this. It’s like let him speak, let the investigation go on. If you have questions about what really happened, ask Jared, hear from Jared, and then we’ll discuss it. […]
Pete Hegseth: Well yeah. You want to turn to the The Washington Post and the failing New York Times and say can I have my edition back? Can I have my news back? Because I’m having to read about this every single day. […] There’s no sourcing. It’s all innuendo. It’s all rumor.

Actually, the Fox Friends are making some news themselves here. Prior to this they had not acknowledged that there were discussions of “back-channel” talks. Now they are conceding the point. Also, they had not previously supported the investigation of these matters. But now they are asking that the investigations go forward. Unfortunately, they still don’t grasp that their story is sourced to a single unnamed person when they whine about innuendo and rumor.

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

As for Trump, if he expects people to take him seriously when he condemns the use of unnamed sources, he ought not to use them himself. But expectations of consistency are way out of bounds when it comes to Trump. His hypocrisy quotient is far above that of mere mortals. What’s immensely troubling is how many people blissfully accept whatever flaming nonsense emits from the Trump-hole. It’s a frightening case of mass hypnosis or maybe cult worship gone terribly bad.

Fox News Contributor Calls for Hiring Operatives that ‘Have Killed People’ to ‘Destroy Liberals’

If the Era of Trump is known for nothing it else, it will be forever remembered as a time of bitter division and hate. In just the past week there have been a couple of widely reported incidents of politically inspired right-wing violence. First there was the “body-slamming” congressman in Montana, Greg Gianforte. He brutally assaulted a reporter who was just doing his job. Then there was the horrifying murder of two men in Portland. They were killed for trying to help a couple of Muslim women who were being harassed by a white supremacist.

Wayne Allyn Root Fox News

In light of these and other recent atrocities, the commentary by Fox News contributor Wayne Allyn Root is painfully nauseating. On his radio show (listen below), Root approached the subject of the debunked Seth Rich conspiracy theory. This is a concoction so fatally flawed that even Fox News removed it from their website (albeit without apologizing). Root went berserk because conservative liars like WorldNetDaily and Sean Hannity were being held to account for propagating fake news.

Root’s unhinged response to this was that the right had to “fight like animals.” He charged that responsible media outlets were engaging in censorship for declining to report falsehoods. Then he ranted that “We’ve got to fight back viciously” before “our lives are erased.” He related his unsupported belief that there are boiler rooms full of Soros-paid lefties all over the world. They’re allegedly writing emails and making phone calls (oh my) in an effort to destroy the right. And then he displayed his utter idiocy by complaining that there are no such operations funded by wealthy conservatives.

Root also went after Republicans. He castigated them as “lazy, cheap, wussy, country club, RINO a-holes.” Well, okay. I can’t argue with that. However, what he said next was deeply troubling:

“We need to hire an attack dog. We need to hire former CIA or NSA or FBI or Navy Seals that have been involved in counter-insurgency operations all over the world. That have killed people. That understand how to fight. That don’t bring a knife to a gunfight. That bring a gun to a gunfight. Preferably a shoulder-fired missile to a gunfight. Preferably a nuclear weapon to a gunfight.”

Given the tensions that are currently roiling the public discourse, these remarks are beyond irresponsible. They are an overt declaration of war. He even said explicitly that “it’s a war out there and they’re coming for your women and children.” If Root is worried about conservative voices like his being removed from the airwaves, it is with good reason. He is inciting the sort of violence that we’ve just seen in Portland and Montana. Even worse, Root is calling for a brigade of trained killers to launch a campaign of mayhem. And if Fox News continues to supply Root with a platform for this hate-speech, any blood shed will be on their hands as well.

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