MSNBC Reaches HUGE Ratings Milestone as Fox News is dragged Down By Right-Wing Millstone

Donald Trump’s presidency continues to be the victim of an unrelenting cascade of scandalous news. At the same time, ironically, Fox News appears to be the victim of Donald Trump. As the President’s fortune’s sink ever lower, so do the ratings for Fox News. And it’s no coincidence.

Rachel Maddow

This week MSNBC hit a significant milestone. For the first time ever the network topped the weekly primetime ratings in a commanding fashion. For both total viewers and the critical 25-54 year old advertising demographic, MSNBC led all of cable news. This was a broadly based ratings win that stretched beyond the network’s powerhouse, Rachel Maddow. All In with Chris Hayes, The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, and The 11th Hour with Brian Williams all won their time periods.

Simultaneously, Fox News descended to lows that it hasn’t seen in seventeen years. They came in third in the demo in primetime behind both MSNBC and CNN. This is fairly conclusive evidence that the media landscape is shifting in the Era of Trump. MSNBC’s primetime lineup has proven to be popular as the nation seeks in-depth coverage of Trump’s floundering White House. Viewers appreciate the perspective and analysis of clear-eyed anchors and guests.

The problem for Fox News is that their entire business model works against them in this environment. The editorial practice on Fox is to hype anything and everything that reflects negatively on Democrats and liberals. Conversely, they avoid or underplay any news that harms their benefactors on the right. Since almost all of the news these days is horrible for Republicans, Fox News is trapped in a vortex of right-wing happy-talk. And worse, they are ideologically precluded from reporting what viewers are most interested in.

Every day there seems to another bombshell story related to Trump’s alleged collusion with Russian operatives. These are among the most compelling stories of any news cycle. The American people want to know whether the President engaged in potentially impeachable conduct. They want to know if he’s in cahoots with foreign enemies. In addition, there are numerous other topics that cast the administration in a bad light. They include: the much despised Republican proposal to repeal and replace ObamaCare; Trump’s tax reform that benefits the wealthy at the expense of the rest of us; the foreign and military affairs wherein Trump exposes his profound ignorance; the financial conflicts of interest by the President and his family; and the many episodes of embarrassing and/or unlawful behavior by his advisers and associates.

But Fox News won’t cover any of that. At least not in any detail. So if news consumers want to know what’s going on they have to switch away from Fox. And they are doing so in droves. MSNBC is clearly the biggest beneficiary of this. While viewers know there’s an editorial slant during the network’s primetime, they appreciate the exhaustive research and factual basis. Particularly with breakout star Rachel Maddow. CNN has also grown their ratings, but their obsession with phony balance and artificially combative debate limits their upside.

Fox is likely to continue its downward spiral. And not just because of their reporting embargo on actual breaking news. In the past year they have lost their CEO, Roger Ailes, and biggest star, Bill O’Reilly, to sex scandals. They also lost Bill Shine, the executive who replaced Ailes. They are under investigation by the New York Attorney General for financial securities violations. Among their on-air personalities they saw the departures of Gretchen Carlson, Megyn Kelly, Andrea Tantaros, and Julie Roginsky. And their only African-American anchor, Kelly Wright, is a plaintiff in a racial discrimination lawsuit along with twelve others. The list of litigants against Fox for racial and gender discrimination continues to grow.

Meanwhile, MSNBC is enjoying record audience growth. Maddow and her primetime colleagues are doing what was once considered unthinkable. They are beating Fox News. Recent reports that suggested that MSNBC might not renew the contract of Lawrence O’Donnell launched a massive outcry that may have forced the network to the negotiating table.

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

The trends are decidedly in MSNBC’s favor. They have the content and the public on their side. While Fox News is struggling without leadership, star power, or news that appeals to their glassy-eyed disciples. We can expect the fates of Fox and Trump to continue to slide in sync with one another. And as they both alienate TV viewers, the nation, and the world, their influence will decline to match their dishonest and loathsome reputations.

MSNBC is Finally Negotiating with Lawrence O’Donnell. Keep the Pressure on. It’s Working

The soap opera drama surrounding Lawrence O’Donnell’s contract negotiations with MSNBC is heating up. In a good way. Last week an article on the Huffington Post revealed that MSNBC was not actively negotiating to re-sign O’Donnell whose contract expires in June. That news startled his fans and the media world at large.

Lawrence O'Donnell MSNBC

O’Donnell is a core part of the team that is currently burning up cable news. MSNBC’s ratings are reaching record highs. For the past three weeks they have even bested Fox News in the critical 25-54 year old advertising demographic. That was considered unthinkable a few weeks ago. The brightest star in the network’s universe is Rachel Maddow, whose ratings have soared in sync with her stellar reporting on Donald Trump. O’Donnell has nearly matched her success and beaten Fox News perennial, Sean Hannity, on some nights.

Insider speculation has pointed to NBC News chief Andy Lack as the obstacle to O’Donnell’s renewal. Since his ascension, Lack has steered MSNBC to a decidedly more conservative slant. He hired Greta Van Susteren from Fox News. Also dinosaur conservative George Will. He gave former George W. Bush communications director, Nicolle Wallace, her own show. And he’s giving Hugh Hewitt one on the weekend. Why he thinks that any conservative viewers are going to tune in to MSNBC is a complete mystery. They have been trained for years to regard the network as something just this side of Satanic. Van Susteren’s show is already a dismal failure that brings down the programs that follow it.

Lack’s programming moves are disconcerting for several reasons. They make no sense from a business perspective. It is ridiculous to upend a schedule that is showing such success and is still growing. It alienates the core audience that is the foundation of that success. But there is also talk that Lack’s motivation is to suck up to Donald Trump. Considering Trump’s record low standing in the polls, that may be the dumbest reason of all to upset a winning formula.

Shortly after the HuffPost article, another appeared on Showbiz411 with a disturbingly declarative headline. It blared “MSNBC Ending Lawrence O’Donnell ‘The Last Word’ Show Despite Top Ratings (Exclusive).” It’s author, Roger Friedman, began by saying “I can confirm that MSNBC is ending the top rated ‘The Last Word’ with Lawrence O’Donnell.” That, unsurprisingly, created a stir among viewers. Even worse, Friedman cited sources that said “O’Donnell’s tireless criticism of Donald Trump” was the reason for the cancellation.

So here’s the good news. Friedman just published a new article that contradicts his prior exclusive. Apparently the outcry from viewers was so powerful that it pushed MSNBC to the negotiating table. Indeed, there has been a flood of angry viewers swarming Facebook and Twitter in defense of O’Donnell. The result appears to be the first serious talks between the network and its star.

It’s too soon, however, to declare victory. Until there’s a signed contract that locks O’Donnell into his current time slot, fans need to keep the pressure on. But they can do so with the knowledge that such tactics are working. You can call them at 212-664-4444 and email them at letters@msnbc.com.

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

There has never been more need for honest progressive reporting on television. The Era of Trump cannot be allowed to dispense the lies and propaganda that are emblematic of that movement. And with Fox News in upheaval (having lost its CEO Roger Ailes and its biggest star Bill O’Reilly to sex scandals), this is not the time to retreat. Activists who are seeking to turn Congress and the White House blue need to recognize that the media battlefield is just as important as the electoral one. Carry on progressive soldiers – to victory.

Disgraced, Lying, Sexual Predator (and Former Fox News CEO) Roger Ailes is Dead at 77

The conservative media world is mourning the death of its patron saint, Roger Ailes. The founder and former CEO of Fox News passed away on Thursday just as his latest project, the Donald Trump presidency, was entering intensive care.

Roger Ailes Outnumberd

Ailes will surely be remembered for having built a television network that relied on glitz and glamour to dress up its partisan propaganda as ultra-biased fake news. But he will also be remembered for dividing the nation into hostile political camps by transforming his right-leaning viewers into an army of misinformed, pseudo-patriotic zealots.

Ironically, Ailes’ professional end came as a result of a string of allegations of sexual harassment and abuse. The channel that self-branded as the TV home of family values was, in reality, a broken home that created much suffering and personal loss. Fox News embodied a culture of misogyny that bore deep into its ranks. Following Ailes out the door were its biggest star, Bill O’Reilly, and his own successor, Bill Shine. But that wasn’t until after the damage was done. Female on-air personalities like Gretchen Carlson, Megyn Kelly, Laurie Dhue, Andrea Tantaros, Rudi Bakhtiar, and Julie Roginsky, had all walked out under duress.

Fox News is now struggling to maintain its status as the top cable news network. In recent weeks it has been losing to both MSNBC and CNN in the critical advertising demographic of 25-54 year olds. That is partly due to the unpopularity of its primary benefactor, Donald Trump. American news consumers are switching to networks where they can get more honest accounts of Trump’s corruption and incompetence.

There is a poignant melodramatic quality to the fact that Ailes died less than a year after his termination from Fox News. It’s as if he only lived to spread Republican dogma and smear liberals. When he lost the platform to do that, he gave up.

His Fox News family was understandably torn up by the news. There were tears on almost every program from Fox and Friends to Shepard Smith’s afternoon broadcast. But perhaps the eulogy that best expressed to deranged Fox mindset was delivered by Ainsley Earhardt whose tribute asserted that:

“Many people out there would say that he saved this country by starting the Fox News channel.”

Well, if you say so. This is not the day to point out how utterly delusional that is.

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

LMFAO: Fox News Must Wish They Waited Before Lauding Trump for Not Tweeting About Russia Leak

True to form, Donald Trump took to Twitter after the Washington Post revealed his reckless disclosure of classified information to Russian officials. This occurred at a White House meeting with Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The fallout from the story has driven new demands for independent investigations of Trump’s unsavory connections to Russia. Trump’s tweets were typically self-serving and lacking relevant detail and substance:

Donald Trump

These tweets also contradicted previous responses from the White House dismissing WaPo’s story. First the administration claimed the story was false. Now Trump himself has abandoned that tack. He’s admitting that he divulged information, possibly classified, but that he’s allowed to do so. But even that is a transparent dodge. The problem here isn’t whether the President is acting legally with regard to classification status. It’s whether he’s acting prudently with regard to national security. Divulging information that could advantage hostile foreign nations (i.e. Russia), and alienate allies, could violate other laws.

Following the story’s publication, Fox News went into Emergency Trump Defense Mode. The memo must have gone out to demean the Post and the contents of its story. Because everyone on Fox had the same message. They disputed the Post’s reporting and absolved Trump of any wrongdoing. But the pinnacle of flagrant Trump fluffing occurred, as usual, on Fox and Friends.

The “Curvy Couch” potatoes ridiculed any notion that Trump had misspoken as mere hyperbole from the hysterically anti-Trump media. They began with a video from Tucker Carlson’s show wherein he complained that Trump’s critics “regard him as the single greatest threat to Western civilization since atomic weapons.” And then co-host Brian Kilmeade let this nonsense loose:

“The also thing to keep in mind too is, Donald Trump didn’t tweet out last night. I thought that shows an additional discipline. Let’s listen, let my guys handle it and Dina Powell handle it. They were there, they can walk it back.”

As we already know, Trump did tweet about this. And it was only about an hour after Kilmeade lavished praise on him for not doing so. If Kilmeade thought Trump’s Twitter silence was evidence of his discipline, what does he think now? Will he correct the record on Wednesday’s program? Will he concede that Trump is lacking discipline? Even Carlson said it was fair to consider Trump “undisciplined and impulsive” before returning to his robotic exaltation.

This is the problem that all Trump defenders have to face. Even after they come to his aid, he is likely to shift gears in a way that makes them look like fools. That’s always a risk of doing business with Trump. He is so erratic and focused solely on his own welfare that you stand to get run over by a fleet of buses. And if you pivot to avoid it, you’ll just get hit again when he shifts into reverse. So good luck, suckers.

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

REPORT: Chaffetz Is Ditching His Job Spinning in Congress to Do It Professionally on Fox News

Much has been made of Donald Trump’s rise to the presidency from the ranks of reality TV game show hosts. And that surely was a dumbfounding development, with an emphasis on dumb. However, it is less often mentioned that Trump is also a former Fox News personality. He had a regular weekly phone-in segment on Fox & Friends called “Mondays with Trump.” Now that he’s in the White House the lines between Fox News and the Republican Party continue to blur. It’s often difficult to tell the players a scorecard.

Jason Chaffetz Fox News

This weekend a new report surfaced that offered an explanation for the sudden retirement announcement of Jason Chaffetz. The Republican chair of the House Oversight Committee recently disclosed that he would not be running for reelection. Sources also speculated that he would resign before his current term ended. The only explanation that Chaffetz himself provided was the familiar desire to spend more time with his family.

Now his GOP colleagues are revealing that Chaffetz has confided in them what he intends to do after leaving Washington. According to the Washingtonian:

“Chaffetz has been telling people he’ll take on what one source calls a ‘substantial role’ in on-air talent at Fox News Channel, possibly as early as July. […] ‘Let’s just say that when Jason told us he was headed to Fox, no one was surprised,’ says one senior House Republican aide.”

What is meant by “substantial role” is unclear, but implies that he will have more to do than guest commentaries. Perhaps he is angling for his own show. That would make him the third Republican politician to host a program on Fox News. Previously Mike Huckabee and John Kasich anchored shows even as they pursued elected offices. Chaffetz would be in the same position as he is expected to run for governor of Utah in the future.

Along with Huckabee and Kasich, Chaffetz would be following a well worn route from GOP politician to Fox News personality. Others include former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Massachusetts senator Scott Brown, and Sarah Palin. The list gets longer when you include party operatives like Karl Rove, John Bolton, and Dana Perino.

And the road runs both ways. The Trump administration has already recruited several people from Fox News. They include Heather Nauert, Richard Grennell, K.T. McFarland, Ben Carson, Sebastian Gorka, and Jonathan Wachtel. Most recently Trump nominated Fox contributor Scott Brown to be ambassador to New Zealand.

And the rumor mill is churning new speculation that Trump is looking for even more Foxies to adorn his White House. Unhappy with his current communications staff, Trump is said to be interested in hiring producers from his favorite network. Even Press Secretary Sean Spicer isn’t safe. Trump insiders are telling the media that he’s souring on Spicey and “wants Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle to take his place.”

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

The symbiotic relationship between Fox News and the Republican Party is making it difficult to tell where the GOP ends and Fox begins. Is Fox the PR division of the GOP? Or is the GOP the operational unit of Fox News? It hardly matters. The bottom line is that they have effectively merged into a single entity. Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch is openly backing the Trump administration, and Trump is repaying the favor with nearly exclusive access and free advertising on Twitter. It’s a match made in Hell for America and what remains of its free press and democracy.

Whaaa? Trump Wants to Cancel All Press Briefings Because ‘The Ratings Are So High’

Last week Donald Trump floated a proposal to cancel all future press briefings. The comment was made during an interview with Jeanine Pirro on his favorite “news” network, Fox News. He followed that up with a tweet affirming his desire to silence the White House press office.

Donald Trump

Trump’s casual suggestion that he might just cancel all future press briefings reflects his tendencies toward fascist authoritarianism. The presidency is not his fiefdom. It is a position of service to the people. Press briefings are the method by which the people’s intermediaries in the media have opportunities to hold national leaders accountable. They cannot be replaced by written press releases. What’s more, Trump’s anger is entirely misplaced. He’s mad at the press because he and his staff are incompetent.

But Trump went even further with his hostile proposal to wrap his presidency in a soundproof cocoon. And his reasoning sunk even deeper into an illogical rant that exposes his deranged thought processes:

“These press conferences are like the biggest thing on daytime television, OK. You see the ratings. They’re blowing away everything, on just about, I think, everything, on daytime television. What I’d love to do is stop them.”

So Trump is now intent on stopping pressing briefings because – – – they are too popular? Trump is actually right, for once, about ratings. The Sean Spicer Show (Fibby Spice) does pull in an audience. And ratings reflect what America’s TV viewers want to see. Apparently they are anxious to see the media holding the President accountable and forcing his administration to explain its actions.

So obviously Trump wants to put an end to that. Ironically, three weeks ago Trump cited those same ratings as the reason he would never part with Spicer. He told the Washington Post that “I’m not firing Sean Spicer. That guy gets great ratings. Everyone tunes in.” Now insiders are hinting that Spicer will soon be replaced, possibly by Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle.

So what happened between then and now that made him so scared of the ratings? Could it possibly be that he’s incapable of justifying his unethical actions and comments with regard to the firing of FBI Director James Comey? Does he recognize that he’s confessed to impeachable acts and needs to shut down the press before the country finds out? Clearly his motivation, at least in part, includes a desire to punish the media. He said so himself:

“They will be very unhappy, because the ratings are so high that I don’t know what these networks are going to do. They’re going to start to cry. They get free ratings because of me and yet they don’t treat us fairly.”

Setting aside Trump’s authoritarian tendencies to clampdown on the press, his concept of their purpose is painfully ignorant. He is not there to produce ratings for the media. And to the extent that he does it’s a reflection on the public’s interest in government, not his popularity. But the kicker is that Trump thinks the media owes him positive coverage because of the ratings that he claims are his doing. Donald Trump can’t stop acting like a reality TV game show host long enough to be president. And that, along with his narcissism, paranoia, and general incompetence, makes him an imminent threat to the nation.

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

Trump is Frantically Looking to Hire Fox News People to Staff His Flailing Press Office

The controversy over Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey continues to unfold. And the President insists on making matters worse with comments that are implicit admissions of impeachable offenses. For instance, Trump told NBC’s Lester Holt that he asked Comey if he was a subject of an FBI investigation. He also asked Comey to pledge an oath of loyalty and threatened him with releasing secret tape recordings. All of these could be regarded as ethical breaches sufficient to warrant an impeachment inquiry.

Donald Trump Sean Spicer

While the core story is as disturbing as anything that’s come out of Washington in decades, there are spin-offs that are equally unsettling. Among them are recent reports concerning the toxic status of Trump’s White House Press Office. Sean Spicer and company have been taking a severe beating over their inability to communicate a consistent, coherent message. They have lost credibility among their peers and, apparently, their bosses as well. On Friday Jeanine Pirro of Fox News asked Trump if Spicer’s job was secure. He pointedly declined to give a straight answer.

Trump is so upset that he actually proposed eliminating the daily press briefings and communicating via Twitter. He also suggested that he might just hold weekly press conferences by himself. An article in the Associated Press noted that Trump “increasingly sees himself as the White House’s only effective spokesperson.” While the absence of regular press avails would ordinarily be an unprecedented insult to the public trust, in the case of this White House it hardly matters. Very little of substance, or truth, is derived from their daily get-togethers.

Now there are reports that Trump is sending out feelers to reshape his press operation more to his liking. In the same AP article there was a line that revealed where Trump’s thinking is headed for the near future:

“Trump is mulling expanding the communications team and has eyed hiring producers from Fox News, according to one White House official.”

That should fix everything. When your press office isn’t lying well enough, get yourself some professionals to do it. For the record, Trump has already tapped Fox News for several administration appointments. Former Foxies on the White House payroll currently include K.T. McFarland, Ben Carson, Sebastion Gorka, Heather Nauert, Richard Grennell, and Jonathan Wachtel. There has never been an administration that was so packed with people from a major news enterprise. And now that’s going to get even worse.

Among the rumored changes is one that predicts the departure of Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Trump insiders are telling the media that Trump “wants Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle to take his place.” Guilfoyle was an attorney who is currently a co-host of Fox’s right-wing gab-fest, The Five. She has never been a journalist and has no experience in press relations. That surely won’t bother Trump who regards inexperience as an asset. Trump may also appreciate Guilfoyle’s admiration for Vladimir Putin, who she thought would be a better president than Barack Obama. And if you don’t believe the anonymous sources speculating about Guilfoyle, the story broke two days earlier on Alex Jones’ Infowars. So that should settle it.

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

By bringing in Fox News producers and presenters, the White House press office would take on a new identity as an overtly partisan purveyor of propaganda. So one might ask, what’s the difference? Well, it would also cement Trump’s image as a TV character who relies on the fakery of entertainment values over honest journalism. And it would reinforce the relationship between Trump and Fox, which is already a marriage of political convenience and ideology. But most of all, it would abandon any hope of securing the respect of the American public or the world at large. It would turn the press office into a punchline. And considering that the Trump administration is already a bad joke, they don’t really have that far to go.

WTF is Going On at MSNBC? Recent Hires Have a Distinctly Fox News Flavor

Three months into Donald Trump’s administration there is more cause than ever for critical analysis of Washington politics. But much of the press is having trouble countering Trump’s “Reality TV” dramatization of news. They attempt to achieve a false balance by presenting opposing views, even if one side is truthful and the other is lying.

Rachel Maddow

Having a president who’s suspected of colluding with Russians to steal an election is hardly the time to go soft. It is not the time to appease those in power or pander to wingnuts who will never tune in anyway. Yet that’s exactly the direction that MSNBC appears to heading.

In recent weeks they have hired or promoted some decidedly right-wing personalities. Former Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteren now has her own show on MSNBC. Former communications director for George W, Bush, Nicolle Wallace, also just premiered a new program. Likewise conservative pundit Hugh Hewitt. This week MSNBC announced that it has hired old-school conservative George Will away from Fox News.

These roster changes are especially puzzling at this time. MSNBC has built a brand that appeals to a more progressive audience. Despite having a former Republican anchoring three hours in the morning (Joe Scarborough), and a generally straight news profile during the day, their prime time lineup leans openly to the left. Chis Hayes, Rachel Maddow, and Laurence O’Donnell are not shy about expressing their liberal opinions.

More importantly, that programming slant has paid off handsomely for MSNBC. They are enjoying their highest ratings in years. Maddow is actually beating her competition on Fox News in the key advertising demographic of 25-54 year olds. Not too long ago Fox News was considered unbeatable. But now Adweek’s TVNewser reports that:

“The network also continues to post more year-over-year prime time audience growth than both Fox News and CNN: +82 percent in total viewers and +61 percent in the prime time demo versus April 2016.”

It’s a surprising and inspiring success story. Any network would be turning cartwheels and striving to replicate that success across its dayparts. So why is MSNBC going out of their way to bolster a winning lineup with right-wing losers? None of the new “talent” has demonstrated any appeal to MSNBC’s audience. Van Susteren, in fact, is an obvious hole in the schedule, dipping noticeably between her lead-in and lead-out. And the viewers that might be interested in these new faces are genetically averse to ever tuning in to the radical socialists at MSNBC. Why should they when they can get all the wingnuttery they desire on Fox News? And if it’s caterwauling debates that they want, CNN already has the market cornered on that.

There is no shortage of liberals who could be brought into the MSNBC family. Joy Reid already has a Saturday morning show that gets more viewers than many weekday shows on CNN and Fox. They could have moved her into the time slot they gave to Van Susteren or Wallace. Even Keith Olbermann was in talks to return to MSNBC. His last stint with the network was the last time they challenged Fox. But according to Olbermann, they told him he would have to refrain from his “fiery” commentaries. That was an untenable restraint, so he walked.

It’s hard to know what the suits at MSNBC are thinking. There is clearly an appetite for news commentary that counters the powerful elite in Washington. It’s a programming niche that is unfilled elsewhere. Plus, it’s a necessary defense against the dangerously erratic Trump administration’s assault on America. Where else can we go to get reality-based news about climate change? Who else is covering voter suppression and gerrymandering? Which other network is allotting time to racial and gender discrimination? And what about our President’s potentially treasonous connections to unsavory figures in Russia?

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

Fox News deliberately downplays any unflattering news about Trump. CNN reports it, but puts on crackpots who disseminate absurd justifications. That leaves MSNBC as the one network that honestly covers Trump’s dark side. For that reason alone they should not be adding to the pro-Trump voices in the media. We already have plenty of that and far too little truthful common sense and compassion.

UPDATE: There are rumors that MSNBC may not renew the contract of Lawrence O’Donnell despite the fact that his ratings are at a record high. He is beating CNN, and challenging Fox News. This would be good time to let MSNBC know that we demand they keep O’Donnell and stop sucking up to the right. You can call them at 212-664-4444 and email them at letters@msnbc.com.

How Has Fox News Changed Following Numerous Sexual Harassment Scandals? It’s Shocking!

In the past few months Fox News has been weighted down with salacious allegations that have ripped the network apart. Dozens of women have stepped forward with complaints of sexual harassment against several of the network’s big shots. The turmoil impacted both on-air personalities and executives. And the trail of devastation was substantial.

It began with the dismissal of Roger Ailes, the CEO who created the channel with Rupert Murdoch. Then their biggest star, Bill O’Reilly, was shown the door in utter disgrace. Shortly thereafter the head of Fox’s news division, Bill Shine, got his pink slip. Also lost due to the scandal tsunami were Megyn Kelly, Gretchen Carlson, Andrea Tantaros, Julie Roginski, and Greta Van Susteren.

You might think that such a severe upheaval would be cause for deep reflection and transformation. Perhaps Fox News would attempt to alter their decidedly misogynistic messaging. Maybe they would abstain from derogatory references to women in positions of power. There are surely more men (and women) who could be fired for related offenses.

Well, Fox News took swift and decisive action to address the ballooning crisis. And the impact was immediately observable on the air.

Fox News Pants

That’s right. The big change at Fox News is that the prohibition of women wearing pants has been lifted. That’s a bigger deal than it may seem. Especially considering that the short skirt mandate came from the top. Ailes himself insisted that his news ladies display their legs. Gabriel Sherman wrote in his biography of Ailes, “The Loudest Voice In The Room,” that the exec repeatedly gave direction to his staff regarding the display of female body parts. For instance:

  • When the view of reporter Kiran Chetry was obstructed, Ailes called the control booth to demand that they “Move that damn laptop, I can’t see her legs!”
  • Ailes complained about host Catherine Crier’s attire saying that “I did not spend x-number of dollars on a glass desk for her to wear pant suits.”
  • The casting of The Five included one particular co-host because “I Need The Leg. That’s Andrea Tantaros.”

Furthermore, NPR’s media reporter David Folkenflik reported on the Fox News “Leg Cam” that “goes directly for the legs.” And when former host Megyn Kelly was interviewed by GQ (with an accompanying, and revealing, pictorial), she was asked about her own “glass table that shows off your legs.” She responded that “Well, It’s a visual business. People want to see the anchor.” That must be why Bill O’Reilly wore those low-cut blouses.

This new fashion statement has already drawn the ire of staunch Fox fans. After all, with a horndog like Donald Trump in the White House, you’d think covered gams would be illegal. The right-wing web rag, WorldNetDaily, posted an article with the hyperbolic headline “Stop This Madness: Women of Fox News suddenly hiding their legs?.” In the piece they lamented that:

“In the wake of the recent ousters of Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly following multiple sexual harassment accusations – the online rumor mill is running wild with speculation. Why? In recent weeks, some of the Fox News bombshells…have ditched their usual short skirts and were spotted wearing … pants!”

The wardrobe controversy has taken a perverse precedence in the conservative media. Many pundits and viewers actually regard this as some sort of capitulation to politically correct radical liberals. However, they don’t mind at all that the programming changes since O’Reilly’s ouster include the promotions of four known misogynists. The only problem, as far as they can see, is that they will have fewer opportunities to peek up the skirts of their Fox fantasies. And that isn’t what they believe they were promised in the Era of Trump.

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

Scandal Plagued Fox News Boss Rupert Murdoch is Now Advising Trump on a Daily Basis

The partnership between Fox News and Donald Trump has evolved into an unprecedented fusion of government and media. It is nothing less than an implementation of state-run TV that rivals anything built by the former Soviet Union.

Rupert Murdoch Donald Trump

The Fox News schedule is plastered with unabashedly pro-Trump anchors and guests. Its prime time lineup is fully devoted to Trump advocacy and suppression of any dissenting opinions. The incidental presence of a progressive viewpoint is allowed only as a foil for right-wing attacks or a phony pretense of balance. Obedience to the Fox Doctrine is strict and unwavering. Joseph Goebbels would be proud.

Now New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman is reporting that Fox News chairman Rupert Murdoch is talking to Trump on a daily basis. He is advising the President on matters ranging from the domestic economy to foreign policy. So while Trump was known to be shaping his agenda by watching Fox and Friends, he is now taking his cues straight from the horse’s ass.

There are several serious legal and ethical problems with this relationship. first of all, Fox News is currently under investigation by the Justice Department. DOJ attorneys are probing whether the network violated securities laws by not disclosing settlements with women who reported sexual harassment at Fox. That investigation has recently broadened to include allegations intimidation and invasions of privacy. Murdoch’s contacts with Trump could be used to gain favor and influence the conduct of those inquiries. When Bill Clinton met briefly with then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Fox News portrayed it as scandalous. Now the head of the criminally suspect Fox News is fraternizing regularly with the Attorney General’s boss.

Then there are the pending regulatory issues that have a direct effect on Murdoch’s businesses. He is seeking to expand his ownership of both television stations and newspapers across the country. There are currently caps on the percentage of access any one media entity can control. For Murdoch to expand those caps would have to be raised or eliminated. Trump’s FCC is responsible for setting those standards. If Murdoch can persuade Trump to alter the regulations to his liking, he stands to add significantly to his fortune and influence. And another feather in Murdoch’s monopoly would be the scuttling of the merger between competitors AT&T and TimeWarner. That’s actually a good idea, but not for the selfish reasons Murdoch harbors.

It’s fair to say that Murdoch would not be coming to these deals empty handed. Murdoch can offer Trump nearly unlimited positive coverage by the media outlets he controls. That includes in part Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, and the Fox Business Network. Add to those Murdoch’s international media enterprises and Fox’s digital media. What’s more, Murdoch would not be limited to pro-Trump propaganda. He could just as easily blanket the mediaverse with anti-Democratic fake news and slander.

For his part, Trump isn’t limited either in the ways he can pay Murdoch back for favorable treatment. Trump is already acting as a PR agent for Fox News. He frequently praises the network and encourages his followers to tune in. Simultaneously, he bashes every other media outlet as liars and purveyors of fake news. The estimated value of his free advertising for Fox on Twitter alone goes into the multimillions.

The blatantly improper nature of the relationship between Murdoch and Trump on legal grounds is not the only problem. There is also the ethical dilemma of an alleged news operation having such close proximity to a notable newsmaker. How can Fox News report independently on someone who is being advised by their chief executive? While Murdoch is helping Trump to form opinions on world affairs, his network will be covering and analyzing that advice. Will Fox be able to criticize a policy articulated by Trump knowing that it came from Murdoch?

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

This kind of incestuous liaison makes all parties to it less credible. And it doesn’t help that Trump is also linked to Fox News personalities Sean Hannity, Steve Doocy, Tucker Carlson, Eric Bolling, and others. And speaking of incestuous, Ivanka Trump is close friends with Wendy Wong, Murdoch’s ex-wife and Vladimir Putin’s current girlfriend. Let that sink in.