Trump’s National Security Nominee Quits Before She Starts Amid Plagiarism Scandal

Donald Trump has been populating his cabinet with decidedly unsavory figures bent on destroying the agencies they will lead. And while appointing arsonists to run the Fire Departments, he has failed to properly vet his nominees. Case in point is Monica Crowley, tapped as strategic communications director of the National Security Council.

Monica Crowley

Crowley, formerly of Fox News, was discovered to have plagiarized portions of her 2012 book, “What The (Bleep) Just Happened.” CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski documented more than fifty instances of text that was taken from other sources without attribution. In addition, Politico reported that Crowley also allegedly plagiarized portions of her doctoral dissertation from Columbia University.

The Trump transition team initially dismissed these reports as politically motivated attacks. However, the budding scandal heated up when her publisher, HarperCollins, pulled the book off the market. It would be difficult for the Trump camp to accuse HarperCollins of partisanship given that it’s owned by the same corporate parent as Fox News.

Monday morning Crowley spoke with the Washington Times and revealed she would not be joining the Trump administration after all. As reported by TVNewser, she said that:

“After much reflection I have decided to remain in New York to pursue other opportunities and will not be taking a position in the incoming administration,” Crowley said in a statement, to the Washington Times. “I greatly appreciate being asked to be part of President-elect Trump’s team and I will continue to enthusiastically support him and his agenda for American renewal.”

Trump’s nominee for National Security Adviser, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, expressed regrets that Crowley had bowed out. He wished her well saying “The NSC will miss the opportunity to have Monica Crowley as part of our team.” No mention of the plagiarism charges was made by either Crowley or Trump’s people. However, this embarrassing episode could have been avoided with competent vetting. Crowley’s sticky fingers have been part of the public record since at least 1999. At that time the Wall Street Journal caught her plagiarizing an article from Commentary Magazine for a Journal feature.

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

Perhaps this is why Congress is so anxious to barrel through the confirmation hearings before the ethics reviews have been completed. Their unprecedented rush violates the standards that Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had demanded for President Obama’s nominees. Unfortunately, their haste and incompetence could have grave consequences for the country. The Crowley affair is just the tip of the iceberg. We can expect further scandals and untold harm as a result of staffing the government with crooks and amateurs.

SRSLY? Rudy Giuliani Says Media-Hater Trump Will ‘Get Us Back To A Free Press’

Rudy Giuliani appeared on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program Friday in a successful attempt to certify his reputation as a mush-brained old coot. This pair of Donald Trump fluffers were in awe of The Donald’s performance at his press conference harangue on Wednesday. Watching Trump berate a CNN reporter for daring to ask a question struck Giuliani as respectful of a free press.

Rudy Giuliani

The exchange between Giuliani and Hannity revealed just how deranged the former mayor has become. His comments lauded Trump as a breath of fresh air and a champion of journalistic ethics. No, seriously. Take these actual excerpts for example:

Giuliani: “It is refreshing and it is very good for our democracy that we have a president that is trying to get us back to a free press.”

Unfortunately, most journalists would vehemently disagree with Giuliani’s worshipful remarks. In fact, the Committee to Protect Journalists called Trump “an unprecedented threat to the rights of journalists.” Their lengthy press release also included these criticisms:

“Since the beginning of his candidacy, Trump has insulted and vilified the press and has made his opposition to the media a centerpiece of his campaign. Trump has routinely labeled the press as ‘dishonest’ and ‘scum’ and singled out individual news organizations and journalists.

“He has mocked a disabled New York Times journalist and called an ABC News reporter a ‘sleaze’ in a press conference. He expelled Univision anchor Jorge Ramos from a campaign press conference because he asked an ‘impertinent’ question, and has publicly demeaned other journalists.”

In addition to that, the National Press Club put out a statement condemning Trump’s anti-press tactics as “unacceptable and dangerous to our democracy.” So the people most concerned about the welfare of journalists don’t regard Trump as either refreshing or good for democracy.

Giuliani: “[Trump] may actually reestablish journalistic ethics.”

Giuliani didn’t bother to elaborate on how Trump would do that. He must think that revoking the press credentials of reporters who don’t lavish him with praise advances ethical journalism. Among the news organizations Trump has muzzled are the Washington Post, BuzzFeed, Politico, Huffington Post, Daily Beast, and Univision.

Even worse, he said that CNN’s reporting about him was in some way similar to what the Nazis did. However, he never explained what the similarity was. It’s bad enough that he would trivialize the very real horrors that millions suffered. But he descends further into the unspeakably vile by claiming that he’s the victim.

Giuliani: “He’s an honest man. So they’re not gonna catch him in some kind of lie.”

This may be the best indication that Giuliani has totally lost his mind. Donald Trump is the most notoriously pathological liar that has ever run for president. He ranks at the bottom of PolitiFact’s scoring of all the presidential candidates for the 2016 cycle. See for yourself with this collection of fully documented lies: The Trump Bullshitopedia.

Giuliani was just named by Trump to lead his cybersecurity team, a position for which he is woefully unqualified. But he is even less qualified as a spokesman for journalists or the best interests of a free press. Especially if he thinks that someone with as much contempt for the First Amendment as Trump has shown could ever have a positive influence on it.

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

Fox News Is NOT News: Network’s Own Ads Label Its Programming As ‘Entertainment’

Most Americans don’t need Fox News to inform them that the network is a rabidly partisan, right-wing propaganda machine. However, it’s nice of them to admit it from time to time, and to provide incontrovertible proof.

The latest public confession by Fox came when they posted promotions for the premiere of Tucker Carlson Tonight. Carlson is the Trump-loving, ultra-conservative, knee-jerk GOP mouthpiece tapped to fill Megyn Kelly’s stiletto heels. On the Fox News website they posted ads to draw viewers to the new primetime program under an unusual category heading: Entertainment.

Fox News Tucker Carlson

That’s right. Even Fox News doesn’t consider their programs to be news. That has been readily apparent to anyone who has watched the network for more than five minutes. But from Fox’s perspective it has been a key part of their business model from the start. As reported previously by News Corpse:

“Fox News has redefined television journalism by fundamentally transforming it from an information medium to an entertainment medium. They dress up their pseudo-news segments in the same melodramatic packaging that entertainment outlets use: conflict, scandal, mystery, and hyper-charged emotions including hero worship and fear.

“Fox employs flashy graphics and attention-grabbing audio whooshes and gongs to decorate their reports that are presented as ‘ALERTS’ regardless of the news value. And always there is sex. Fox’s roster of hosts has more former beauty pageant contestants that journalists. And they aren’t shy about putting their ‘talent’ in revealing clothes and camera angles. In fact, Fox CEO Roger Ailes demands it. As for news, Fox’s concentration on tabloid thrill-fiction like Benghazi and Obama’s birth certificate is the news equivalent of porn.”

This isn’t the first time that Fox has been so candid about their intention to be perceived as an entertainment medium. In a 2015 profile in the Hollywood Reporter the now-disgraced former CEO of Fox made it clear what field of broadcasting he was interested in playing on. He told the trade mag that CNN and MSNBC were not on his radar:

“In fact, Ailes, 74, no longer views those networks as rivals. ‘We’re competing with TNT and USA and ESPN,’ he says.”

So the boss admits that channels that are plainly entertainment and sports are his competition, not other news outlets. There’s a good reason for this. Entertainment routinely trounces news in the ratings. By dressing up the more staid genre of journalism as a sexier breed of programming, Fox hopes to attract larger, more loyal audiences.

Another Fox source confirmed this tactic, ironically in the form of criticism of rival news networks. On Bill O’Reilly’s show, former CBS reporter Bernie Goldberg sought to explain why CNN and MSNBC were losing to Fox. His reasoning was that “Liberal news media violate the cardinal rule of all media. They’re not entertaining.” His point being that Fox had solved that “problem” by abandoning journalistic ethics and playing to their audience’s emotions.

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

Now, with Fox’s own promotions of a new primetime show, they have finally abandoned any pretense of being a news operation. If a network characterizes itself as entertainment, you might as well take their word for it. Wouldn’t they know? And in the Era of Trump a network populated by faux journalists fits neatly into the latest media trend: Fake News.

Trump Likens CNN To Nazis But Shepard Smith Of Fox News Isn’t Having It

This is how bad it’s getting for Donald Trump. An anchor on Fox News chastised him Wednesday for doing something he has been doing for months: Attacking the media.

Shepard Smith Fox News

Shepard Smith responded to comments Trump made at his first press conference in seven months. The Donald was very upset over reports that Russia might have compromising information about him. Trump was informed of this during one of the few national security briefings he bothered to attend. However, his response was not to direct anger at the Russians asserting salacious behavior and financial impropriety on Trump’s part. Nope, he was angry with BuzzFeed and CNN for doing their job and informing the public.

TRUMP: I think it was disgraceful, disgraceful that the intelligence agencies allowed any information that turned out to so false, and fake, out. I think it’s a disgrace. And I say that. And that’s something Nazi Germany would have done and did do.

First of all, Trump implying that he’s a victim of Nazi tactics is not only false, it’s nauseating. He is trivializing the real horrors that took the lives of millions. Jewish groups have condemned his remarks and called for him to apologize.

Back to the main topic: Trump called BuzzFeed a “failing pile of garbage” who would “suffer the consequences.” Then turned to CNN, who he blamed for “building it up.” When CNN’s White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, attempted to ask a question, Trump repeatedly refused to recognize him. He told Acosta to be quiet and to stop being rude. Then, as an explanation for why Acosta was being shunned, Trump said that “You are fake news.”

Shepard Smith addressed this exchange on his afternoon broadcast. He began by distinguishing CNN’s reporting from that of BuzzFeed, who merely published the source documents from the intelligence briefing that everyone was already talking about. Then he mounted a full-throated defense of CNN:

SMITH: “Though we at Fox News cannot confirm CNN’s report, it is our observation that its correspondents followed journalistic standards. Neither they, nor any other journalists, should be subjected to belittling and delegitimizing by the President-Elect of the United States.”

Coming from Fox News, that’s a strong vote of confidence for the network that Trump so fiercely despises. What’s more, it’s important symbolically for other news organizations to rally behind CNN, or any network, whose First Amendment rights are threatened. Trump has a long history of resorting to blacklisting news enterprises that he perceives as insufficiently adoring. And it goes beyond simply calling them names. He has revoked their credentials and prohibited them from covering his events. Now he has taken to calling any news he doesn’t like “fake news.”

This makes Trump’s “Nazi” rhetoric all the more curious and disturbing. He is literally engaging in the sort of suppression of the press that was common in Germany in the 1930’s and 1940’s. His attacks on CNN, and other media he dislikes, is intended to damage their reputation and even destroy their business viability. That is clear in his post-press conference tweet falsely maligning CNN’s ratings and credibility. Trump is on a mission to silence his critics and friendly media. In fact, shortly after brushing back Acosta, Trump called on Breitbart News, an actual, documented source for fake news.

However, Trump’s assertion that he is the victim of Nazi tactics is ludicrous on its face. When did Nazi-run media ever release intelligence data intended to hurt the German leader? Trump is casting himself in the role of Hitler and asserting that his own spies are out to get him. The absurdity of that is glaringly apparent. In the Nazi era it would have been suicide for the media to publish anything critical of the Fuhrer. And aside from being historically inaccurate, it’s a precarious analogy to apply to oneself. Never mind the temptingly appropriate parallels. Furthermore, Trump has been asked about comparisons to Hitler in the past, and in a chillingly ominous response he said that it doesn’t bother him. That response should bother every other American.

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

Sexual Harassment Claim Against Bill O’Reilly Secretly Settled By Fox News

The den of misogyny and debasement known as Fox News has suffered another blow to its reputation for family values. It’s only been a few months since Fox fired Roger Ailes, their founder and CEO, due to allegations of sexual harassment. About a dozen women lodged complaints against him, most notably Gretchen Carlson, who won a multimillion dollar lawsuit.

Bill O'Reilly Megyn Kelly

On Monday a new report revealed that Fox’s top star, Bill O’Reilly, has also been the target of harassment allegations. Former anchor Juliet Huddy made the complaint over charges stemming from her employment in 2011. She asserted that O’Reilly made unwanted advances and sexually explicit phone calls wherein he appeared to be masturbating. Additionally, he threatened to adversely affect her career and retaliated when she proved to be an uncooperative victim. The complaint also named Jack Abernethy, the newly appointed co-president of Fox who replaced Ailes.

The news reports indicate that Fox News paid a substantial amount to settle with Huddy. Both Fox News and O’Reilly, however, deny the charges. The settlement was arranged in secret and stipulated that Huddy refrain from disclosing its terms. According to the report:

“LawNewz.com has confirmed the settlement with three separate sources including a former Fox News executive with direct knowledge of the matter. In addition, we obtained a draft of the intent to sue letter which was sent or handed to Fox News and listed the allegations of sexual harassment against both men. While we weren’t able to confirm the exact amount of the settlement, our sources tell us the amount paid out was in the high six figures. Neither Abernethy, nor O’Reilly paid any money out personally and, we are told, Abernethy and O’Reilly strongly denied all of the charges made against them by Huddy from the start.”

This isn’t the first time that O’Reilly has undergone scrutiny for such misbehavior. In 2004 he paid a multimillion dollar settlement to a former producer, Andrea Mackris, who alleged that he harassed her. Plus, he has been accused by his own children of physically assaulting his ex-wife, an act for which he lost custody of his kids.

There appears to be an environment at Fox News that allows for the toleration of this sort of abuse. It’s part of a pattern of behavior where women are exploited and on and off camera. In the Ailes era female anchors were forbidden to wear pants on sets without desks. To say nothing of the infamous “leg cam” that was deployed to feature the assets of their mostly young, blonde presenters. Ailes biographer Gabriel Sherman documented some of the techniques Fox employed to satisfy their largely male audience in his book “The Loudest Voice In The Room.” 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.”

Even former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly got reeled in. She recently revealed her own experiences with sexual harassment by Ailes and left Fox to join NBC News. But in a revealing pictorial for GQ Magazine a few years ago, her appearance was very much a part of Fox’s marketing. 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 wears those low-cut blouses.

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

Rich And Entitled Fox News Host Is ‘Annoyed’ By The Rich And Entitled In Hollywood

Sunday night’s broadcast of the Golden Globe Awards produced one of the most stirring speeches ever delivered at such an affair. As the Cecil B. DeMille Award winner for lifetime achievement, Meryl Streep was clearly disturbed by the crudeness and vulgarity of President-Elect Donald Trump. She devoted most of her acceptance speech to chastising The Donald for mocking a disabled reporter. And she defended American citizens in the arts who speak out on important issues.

Tucker Carlson Fox News

That speech set up Fox News to launch a full court press against one of their favorite targets: Hollywood. And it began early in the morning on Fox & Friends with special guest, Tucker Carlson. Carlson’s appearance was surely scheduled, at least in part, to promote his brand new primetime program “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” The segment kicked off with clips from Streep’s speech, including her opening line:

“All of us in this room belong to the most vilified segment in American society right now. Think about it. Hollywood, foreigners, and the press.”

The truth of that cannot be denied by anyone with an honest perspective. Conservatives have had an insatiable Hollywood bashing obsession for decades. Likewise, foreigners have been a convenient target to blame for every social problem for which conservatives have no solution. Trump has elevated xenophobia to new heights of hatefulness. And the press, never particularly well-liked, has taken more heat in the past eighteen months than ever.

While Streep’s opening line was true, it was intended as joke and it got the laugh that she expected. However, Carlson took it as some sort of high-minded social philosophy that deserved critical analysis. He told his pals on Fox that:

“Here you have a rich and entitled person describing herself as an outsider, an outcast, a pariah. […] What I was so struck by is she was telling a crowd exactly what they wanted to hear. She was saying things that are totally uncontroversial within the context she was speaking. That’s the least courageous thing you can do.”

First of all, Streep never cast herself as an outcast. That was Carlson’s way of preemptively dismissing everything she had to say. But more troubling is his criticism of Streep for allegedly pandering to her Hollywood audience. He was “annoyed” at her lack of courage for saying exactly what her audience wanted to hear.

Really? That is what Fox News does all day, every day. It is a 24/7 pandering operation for right-wing propaganda. Where is the courage in that? And Carlson himself is the perfect symbol for Fox’s partisan fawning. He just replaced Megyn Kelly, who while affirmatively conservative, has had differences with Trump. Now the entire Fox News primetime lineup is composed of Trump fluffers and friends.

As for the “rich and entitled,” Carlson could be their mascot. Tucker Swanson McNear Carlson was born into wealth in the heartland city of San Francisco, California. He is the son of a television executive who later became ambassador to the Seychelles. Now he splits his time as a TV pundit between New York City and Washington, D.C. When you drain the swamp, what you’ll find is scads of slimy Tucker Carlsons flopping around in the muck.

Carlson is so in touch with mainstream America that he recently confessed that he doesn’t even watch movies. In an interview with TheWrap he said “Who watches movies? Who would? Not me. I wouldn’t cross the street to watch a movie for free.” That comment came following his rebuke of the industry that he thinks is “crumbling.” In fact, the film business is enjoying record profits. Last year box office earnings exceeded 11.3 billion dollars.

Not to be outdone, Trump also commented on Streep’s remarks. True to form, he descended into his typically childish taunting. He tweeted:

So one of the most admired and honored actors of this, or any, generation is “over-rated” in Trump’s feeble mind. [Update: In 2015 Trump was asked about his favorite actors and said “Meryl Streep is excellent; she’s a fine person, too.”] And he’s aghast that she would have an opinion of him without knowing him. But he doesn’t hesitate to express his utterly ignorant opinion of her. Of course, he is suggesting that nobody, not any citizen, has a legitimate right to criticize him without having some kind of personal relationship. That’s a bastardization of democracy. For comparison, here is what Obama’s press secretary, Josh Earnest had to say about Streep’s speech:

“Meryl Streep delivered a thoughtful, carefully considered message. It seemed to me to be a fairly straightforward exercise of her First Amendment rights as a citizen of the United States.”

That’s the statement of a statesman. It’s also precisely the opposite of the attitude that Carlson projects. To him the only people who are permitted to hold and share opinions are those with whom he agrees. Ill-informed Tea Party crackpots can say whatever they want about President Obama. And celebrities like Clint Eastwood and Ted Nugent are considered virtual Rhodes Scholars. But artists who speak their minds outside of the right-wing echo chamber are condemned for their impudence. Worst of all, wealthy, trust-fund babies like Carlson get primetime shows on Fox News where they lambaste the rich and entitled.

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

Megyn Kelly Is Ditching Fox News For NBC. Watch Her Greatest ‘Hits’ Here

The new year has begun with some bad news for Fox News. Their second highest rated host just announced that she will be leaving the network for a new gig at NBC News. Friday will be Megyn Kelly’s last day on Fox. And while she will be gone from Fox, she leaves behind a legacy of disreputable “journalism” that won’t be forgotten. For example:

Megyn Kelly

1) Kelly was a devoted soldier in the war against the so-called “The Ground Zero Mosque.” Never mind that it was not a mosque and was several blocks from ground zero. She anchored a report that implied, without evidence, that its Muslim real estate developer, Sharif El-Gamal, was corrupt.

2) Kelly thought she had broken a scandalous story of voter fraud in Colorado. And it would have been a great scoop except for the fact that none of it was true.

3) Demonstrating the inbred racism that is emblematic of Fox News, Kelly utterly misrepresented a story of police brutality. She demeaned an African-America teenage victim as being “not a saint.” Which was starkly different from how she described a white sexual abuser.

4) Who can forget the time that a group of protesters were viciously assaulted by a rogue cop with pepper spray? On that occasion, Kelly downplayed the significance of the incident. She said that “It’s a derivative of actual pepper, it’s a food product, essentially.” Indeed it is. And waterboarding is actually done with water. So no big deal.

5) And then there’s my personal favorite. In a Christmas segment, Kelly was concerned that some kids might get the wrong idea about Santa Clause and Jesus. So she stepped up to assure them that both were undeniably white.

This is just a taste of the sort of journalistic credibility for which NBC is likely paying a substantial premium. In addition to the video samples above, there were many more examples from her Fox tenure. There was the time she moderated a discussion that was based on a series of “Fox Facts.” But were actually cribbed directly from a Republican National Committee press release. And the time she reported confirmation that the Boston marathon bomber had been arrested, while her on-screen graphics contradicted her.

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

Kelly studiously cultivates an image as a straight up news reporter. She once told Jay Leno that she is “not one of the opinion hosts at Fox News,” However, Media Matters conducted a survey of Kelly’s program and found that she “has hosted conservatives (56%) significantly more often than progressives (18%) and has surpassed even Fox’s Hannity in its divide between guests on the left and right.” So NBC has to know what they are getting with their new star. And that tells us something about where we can expect NBC to go as the Era of Trump takes shape.

Fox News Retracts Their Dangerously False Food Stamp Story – And Still Gets It Wrong

On Tuesday Fox News broadcast an episode of their “Entitlement Nation” series that made some startling claims about the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (aka food stamps). What was not startling was that they got it all wrong (as reported here on News Corpse). Fox & Friends co-host, Abby Huntsman, asserted that “$70 million of taxpayer money was wasted on food stamp fraud.” Then she asked “Is it time to end the program altogether?” Because eliminating a program that keeps millions of kids and seniors from starving is preferable to looking for ways to reduce a minuscule amount of alleged fraud.

Fox News

Now the U.S. Department of Agriculture has weighed in to chastise Fox for their “mistakes.” They wrote to the network asking them “to correct a report from Tuesday morning’s edition of ‘Fox & Friends’ alleging new heights for food-stamp fraud in the United States.” They stated that the agency had not issued any data for 2016 and that they didn’t know where Fox was getting their info. Except to say that “We saw that there was a story on Breitbart.”

So Huntsman aired a retraction of her dangerously false food stamp story Friday, saying that the data she cited was incorrect. However, she went on to assert another falsehood saying that the “correct” number for food stamp fraud was $853 million for the three years from 2009 to 2011. In fact, that number refers to any errors (i.e. under/over payments), not just fraud. And it’s still an uncommonly low error rate. What’s more, Fox removed the original story from their website, leaving only a correction but no indication of what they corrected. That is not how ethical journalists operate.

So now that Fox has apologized for reporting false information, will they also retract their suggestion that the SNAP program be eliminated? Not likely. Fox News and the Republican Party have opposed virtually every social welfare program, including Social Security and Medicare. And they are currently obsessed with repealing ObamaCare. They are devoted to making life more difficult for people who are already undergoing hardship. While simultaneously they strive to make life easier for the wealthy by reducing taxes and regulations that benefit the population at large. So merry Christmas and happy new year from Fox News.

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

Merry WTF? Fox News Asks ‘Is It Time To End The Food Stamp Program?’

[Note (12/30/2016): See the update to this story and Fox’s correction here.]

Peace on Earth, goodwill toward men. That’s the spirit of Christmas and the crass marketing slogan so fiercely defended by the Christmas Warriors at Fox News. Which makes the Fox & Friends segment Tuesday morning all the more shocking for its cruel indifference to human suffering.

Fox News

Co-host Abby Huntsman introduced the segment as part their recurring “Entitlement Nation” series. These are generally excuses to attack the less fortunate among our American family. Past episodes have explored such nonsense as ObamaPhones and the lazy moochers on welfare with their extravagant microwave ovens.

Tuesday’s cheery holiday discussion was about whether SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, aka food stamps) ought to be discontinued. Because what’s more Christmasy than depriving poor families of lavish indulgences like food? To that end Huntsman raised the issue with her guests, Republican Joe Borelli and Democrat Jehmu Greene. And she framed the “fair and balanced” debate saying:

“Food stamp fraud is at an all-time high […] This year it is estimated that $70 million of taxpayer money was wasted on food stamp fraud. Is it time to end the program altogether?”

Good question, Ms. Scrooge. Don’t bother trying to reduce the alleged waste, just eliminate critical funding for food that keeps working families from starving. Not surprisingly, her Republican guest answered the question in the affirmative:

Borelli: “The Republican Party can’t be either in perception or in practice as the party that is seen as throwing people to the curb and cutting off benefits when they really need it. That said said, this program, the SNAP program, the reincarnation of the food stamp program, has been rife with problems since almost its inception.”

So Borelli’s position is that the GOP must avoid looking insensitive, while still being insensitive. It’s an admittedly tricky political maneuver. But one that Republicans have many decades of experience with. The Democrat actually offered some substance in her rebuttal:

Greene: “We certainly have to have this conversation by looking at the facts. And the facts are that 45 percent of the recipients of SNAP programs are under the age of eighteen. Nine percent of them are over the age of sixty. This is a program that keeps young people and elderly people out of poverty.

Greene also pointed out that the SNAP program helps the economy. That’s because for every five dollars that’s spent, nine dollars goes right back into the local economy. Meanwhile, Borelli incorrectly said that one percent of the spending on SNAP was lost to fraud. It’s actually only one-tenth of one percent (Republicans don’t do math). That’s an uncommonly low rate of loss for any program or even for commercial businesses.

Borelli went on to complain that the cost of the program doubled in the past eight years. What he didn’t say is that the costs went up because more people needed assistance due to the Bush Recession. Also, inflation has required the benefits to increase. If the minimum wage increased at the same rate there would be far fewer families who need this to supplement their income. But Republicans oppose that as well.

The SNAP program has proven to be an essential benefit that keeps children, seniors, and other low-income Americans from going hungry. It helps the economy, and is effective and cost efficient. In fact, the overall cost of the program is falling as the economy improves. The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities reports that:

“In fiscal year 2015, the federal government spent about $75 billion on SNAP. About 93 percent went directly to benefits that households used to purchase food. About 6 percent went to state administrative costs.”

Given the success of the program, it makes no sense to consider discontinuing it. But to suggest doing so during the Christmas holiday is downright cold-hearted. Fox News and the Republican Party have opposed virtually every social welfare program, including Social Security and Medicare. They are currently obsessed with repealing ObamaCare and cancelling the health insurance of 20 million people. But you might think they would withhold their most callous tendencies until after the Season of Joy. Sadly, you would be wrong.

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

There’s A Reason Tucker Carlson Is The Stupidest Man On Cable News

The newest host of a primetime program on Fox News is a familiar face on cable news. Tucker Carlson was fired from CNN and MSNBC before Fox dredged him up. And like many pathetic, right-wing rescues, Carlson has found a welcome home on Fox. That’s because he’s willing to suppress any evidence of having a soul. Prior to becoming another supplicant in the Fox fold, Carlson said that they were “A mean, sick group of people.” That was then.

Tucker Carlson Fox News

Now Carlson was interviewed by TheWrap, an entertainment website. Typical of the Fox branded rhetoric, he expressed his extreme dislike of Hollywood. It’s funny that conservatives are so quick to bash America’s entertainment capital, unless the subject is one of their own. Then they elect them to be president. This has played out from Ronald Reagan to Donald Trump.

TheWrap reports that Carlson believes the movie business is about to go belly up. His reasoning emanates from his innate hatred of liberals. He accuses them of “lacking all self awareness.” He also says they “lack empathy” and are “distant physically and culturally from the rest of the country.” Remember that this coming from a resident of New York City who was born into a wealthy family and whose father was a TV executive and later ambassador to the Seychelles. With that elitist background Carlson goes on to malign Hollywood liberals saying that…

“They can’t accept the election results for the same reason their business model is crumbling, and Hollywood won’t exist in its present form in 20 years,” Carlson told TheWrap. “Hollywood is going out of business because they don’t understand the country they are selling a product to. They’re completely out of touch because they’re rich and entitled.”

First of all, according to the Hollywood Reporter, the film industry just ended a record breaking year with box office earnings exceeding 11.3 billion dollars. So much for a “crumbling” business model. If success is based on understanding the country, then Hollywood is doing a much better job of it than Carlson, who is the poster child for wealth and entitlement. What’s more, in this Technology Age, no business will exist in its present form in 20 years, you dumb cluck. But Carlson isn’t through demonstrating how pitifully little he understands:

“They think that anyone who voted for Trump is as bad as they believe Trump is. So, they think Trump’s immoral, he’s a bigot, he’s a bad human being and they assume that anybody who voted for Trump is the same. That’s over 60 million people. If you felt there were 60 million people in your country who are evil, you’d be very upset.”

We are very upset. But not because we believe that everyone in the country is as bad as Trump (who is awfully bad). But because so many were foolish enough to be swayed by an immoral, bigoted con man. And certainly some are as bad, or worse, than Trump. Take a look at his cabinet.

Carlson also had some more vitriol to spew at those left coast libs. He said that “They hate the rest of the country — that’s the truth.” And if anyone knows anything about hate, It’s little Tucker. But perhaps the most idiotic thing he said in this interview was…

“Who watches movies? Who would? Not me. I wouldn’t cross the street to watch a movie for free.”

And this is someone who professes to know who is out of touch and who isn’t. Millions of Americans in those rural flyover states love movies and spend their hard-earned money to watch them in theaters and on TV. But Carlson apparently thinks their dopes who are wasting their time. Superior intellects like his can’t be bothered with such peasantry.

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

In the final analysis, Carlson has shown that he has no idea what’s going on in one of the nation’s biggest industries. But even worse, he’s made it abundantly clear that he’s the one who hates everyday Americans and who has no grasp of what the people of this nation care about. He’s a close-minded, country club, aristocrat with no connection to the heartland he pretends to defend. Is this a good time to remind him that a majority of the country voted against his Bonehead Messiah, Donald Trump?