Donald Trump is Still the White Supremacist-in-Chief, Bannon/Breitbart Wing Declares War

TGIF: Donald Trump has had a disastrous week (again). He spent much of it taking the side of white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia. He’s suffered an exodus of supporters and resignations from his advisory councils. Even conservative Republican allies in Congress are questioning his stability and competence. And to top it off he has just jettisoned his Chief Strategist and ideological mentor, Steve Bannon.

Trump Bannon

Make no mistake, this is not a transitional moment for Trump. He isn’t pivoting to become more presidential. He doesn’t have the foggiest notion of what that even means. The banishing of Bannon had nothing to do with his overtly racist views or his bragging about being the voice of the alt-right. Bannon was kicked out of the White House because a recent interview with the American Prospect pissed the President off. In it Bannon diminished Trump and took credit for what he regards as accomplishments. Trump’s ego could not abide that.

For the record, Trump’s first seven months in office has undergone unprecedented turmoil. Here are just a few of the positions that have already turnover: Michael Flynn, National Security Advisor; James Comey, FBI; Sean Spicer, Press Secretary; Michael Dubke, Communications Director; Anthony Scaramucci, Communications Director; Reince Priebus, Chief of Staff; John Kelly, Homeland Security Secretary; Steve Bannon, Chief Strategist.

So what happens now? First of all, nothing changes at the White House. Trump will retain the mantle of the radical extremist he has adopted since entering politics. His administration is lousy with like minds. Sebastian Gorka, Stephen Miller, Kellyanne Conway, Jeff Sessions, etc., will continue to advance their right-wing bigotry. This is the house that Trump built and it’s still running on his repugnant fumes. As they say, the fishy stink (of racism) emanates from the head.

But Bannon’s future is much more interesting. Sources say that he will be heading back to his previous post as chairman of Breitbart News. He has been seen meeting recently with the billionaire Mercer family who bankroll the website. It’s fair to assume that he’s seeking additional funding. And upon his return he may have something to say about his tenure at the White House and his humiliating ouster. Gabriel Sherman of New York Magazine has been watching these events closely. He tweeted this following the news of Bannon’s exit:

That prediction has already been confirmed by Joel Pollak, senior editor-at-large for Breitbart News. Pollak posted a one-word tweet that said simply “#WAR” With Bannon back in charge, Breitbart is likely to begin an offensive blitz on Trump, his family, and his inner circle. He has no history of placing loyalty over ideology. And the ideology to which he adheres is one of alt-right jihadism.

Look for the GOP extremists to fall in line behind Bannon. They will accuse Trump of caving in to the globalists and becoming just another mainstream RINO. As if he were ever a real Republican in the first place. And this opposition will trigger Trump’s knee-jerk defensiveness and whiny victimhood. What did they expect? He lied his way to the White House and the alt-rightists tolerated it because they they thought they could control him. The same is true for the evangelicals that betrayed their faith in order to back Trump.

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

Now they are all learning the hard way what Democrats and liberals warned them about. Trump is a malignant narcissist who can’t be trusted. He is only in this for himself. Anything that gratifies his ego or fattens his wallet will gain his support. Criticism or inquiries into his corrupt finances will draw his ire. Which makes this a good time to remember that the special counsel, Robert Mueller, is still hard at work. The end of this road for Trump is humiliation and defeat. He will either resign in disgrace or be impeached and prosecuted. And perhaps, if justice prevails, both.

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.

Sean Hannity Freaks Out About ‘The Total End of the Fox News Channel as We Know It’

The past few weeks have been about as catastrophic for Fox News as they have been for Donald Trump. Both have been suffering devastating setbacks internally with key people leaving under clouds of scandal. And both have lost significant support among the public. With MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow overtaking Fox News in critical ratings demos, and Trump remaining the least popular first-quarter president ever, it seems their dire fates are intertwined.

Sean Hannity Dumbass

What’s more, both Trump and Fox News still have storm clouds on their respective horizons. For Trump it’s the unfolding revelations about alleged collusion with Russian agents interfering in the presidential election. For Fox News it’s the continuing fallout from their corporate culture of misogyny and racism.

With each passing day a new allegation is made against Fox. Many insiders are unsatisfied with the expulsions of CEO Roger Ailes and blowhard Bill O’Reilly, They believe the problems will persist until there is a thorough housecleaning. Gabriel Sherman of New York Magazine has been breaking many of the stories about Fox’s troubles. He’s the author of the definitive biography of Ailes, The Loudest Voice in the Room. Yesterday he tweeted about a rumored management shakeup at the network:

Bill Shine is currently the co-president of Fox News. He was promoted shortly after the departure of Ailes. However, many people inside and outside of Fox regard him as not just an Ailes crony, but someone who actively covered up the vile behaviors of Ailes and O’Reilly. When talk of housecleaning is heard, it is generally Shine who is the prime subject.

Enter Sean Hannity. The last remaining prime time Fox Musketeer is profoundly disturbed. Before being elevated to network management, Shine was the producer of Hannity’s program. Consequently, there is an abundance of loyalty that reaches beyond just the network’s standard cult status. Hannity replied to Sherman’s tweet saying:

Of course for many Americans concerned about the media, the end of Fox News would be a welcome event. But that’s obviously not the way Hannity sees it. Fox News has spent twenty years degrading journalism with blatantly biased right-wing propaganda. Simultaneously, they trivialized reporting as nothing more than entertainment with eye-popping graphics and presenters in short skirts. Hannity himself has done annual week-long specials on the evils of Spring Break. But they were just a convenient excuse to show videos of drunken teenagers in bikinis. Now Hannity’s last protector in the management ranks is dangling by thread. According to the Hollywood Reporter’s sources:

“Rupert Murdoch and his sons James and Lachlan, CEO and co-chairman of Fox News parent 21st Century Fox, have quietly put out feelers for a new head of Fox News. And the preference, according to two sources familiar with the Murdochs’ thinking, is that the new leader be female.”

OMG! That would be a fate worse than waterboarding to someone like Sean Hannity. Not only would he be losing a trusted superior, he would have to report to a lady boss. There aren’t very many female executives in the media business, but there are more than zero. And one obvious name would be Elisabeth Murdoch. Rupert’s daughter has already run a media company which she sold to 21st Century Fox (imagine that). But she may be a long shot to head Fox because she may have committed the ultimate sin: She was a Hillary Clinton supporter. If the Murdoch boys manage to hire a credible Female executive, the War on Women at Fox News could take a turn toward fairness and/or balance. That might apply to both the internal personnel situation, as well as the tone of their reporting.

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

So there remains the question of whether Sean Hannity would stay on at Fox News under those circumstances. He can’t be happy about Tucker Carlson moving into O’Reilly’s time period, or The Five taking the prime time spot before his. He obviously would have preferred to move to one of those spots himself. He must be thinking that his star may be fading at Fox. The younger Murdochs are reportedly not fans. Only time will tell how all of this settles out. And there may be more scandalous shoes to drop. Which begs the question: How many damn shoes do they have?

Bill O’Reilly FIRED By Fox News: But the Lies and Disinformation Will Continue

BREAKING: 21st Century Fox just released a statement on Bill O’Reilly confirming that he will not be returning to the network:

“After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the Company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel.”

After twenty-one years that is the extent of the separation announcement. This breaking news draws to a conclusion a long-running drama at Fox.

Bill O'Reilly Fox News

Three weeks ago, the New York Times published a story that upended Bill O’Reilly’s career. It revealed attempts by the Fox News star and the network to cover up allegations of his sexual misconduct. Several women who had not previously been disclosed were identified as having been paid large settlements for their silence.

Since then The O’Reilly Factor has seen a mass exodus of advertisers. More than eighty have publicly stated that they will not permit their ads to be aired on his program. As a result, the board of directors at Fox News have put an end to the program.

Even before this announcement reports increasingly leaked out that O’Reilly was already doomed. The Wall Street Journal (also part of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire) reported that:

“Initially, Fox News and parent company 21st Century Fox stood by their highly-rated host … However, as advertisers fled his show, debate inside company ensued over the pros and cons of keeping Mr. O’Reilly on the air.”

Then Gabriel Sherman of New York Magazine weighed in. He has been covering the inside stories on Fox News for several years. He has reliable sources and published the definitive, unauthorized biography of the network’s former CEO Roger Ailes: The Loudest Voice in the Room. His latest article suggested correctly that “Fox News Has Decided Bill O’Reilly Has to Go.”

“The Murdochs have decided Bill O’Reilly’s 21-year run at Fox News will come to an end. According to sources briefed on the discussions, network executives are preparing to announce O’Reilly’s departure before he returns from an Italian vacation on April 24. Now the big questions are how the exit will look and who will replace him.”

Fox News will have to handle O’Reilly’s departure carefully. The network has already lost several high profile figures including disgraced ex-CEO Roger Ailes. On air personalities Megyn Kelly, Greta Van Susteren, and Gretchen Carlson have also departed recently. But O’Reilly is the highest rated host on cable news with a loyal following. Will his fans react to his termination by turning off Fox News? Or will they behave like good cultists and obediently tune in to his replacement?

Speaking of replacements, the names most often mentioned include Eric Bolling, Dana Perino, Jesse Watters, and Martha MacCallum. Tucker Carlson is also in the mix to move his current show into O’Reilly’s time period. None of these prospects have the fame or fan base that O’Reilly has. But the advantage for Fox is that their glassy-eyed viewers are glued to the network and will likely watch whatever comes on.

Fox would be wise to give extra consideration to the women on that list. Given the salacious circumstances that drove out Ailes and (perhaps) O’Reilly, it might serve as a form of redemption. But Fox also doesn’t have any minority hosts in prime time, and never has. However, none of their current staffers (Juan Williams, Harris Faulkner, Geraldo Rivera) appear to be under consideration.

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

The future for Fox News is not especially bright, but neither is it particularly dark. They have suffered some significant setbacks recently, but have a friend in high places. In that regard, Donald Trump’s support for Bill O’Reilly obviously didn’t have any effect. But when the President of the United States is calling in to Fox and Friends, and advertising the network on his Twitter feed, the news isn’t all bad. Well, except for the actual “news” as it’s practiced by Fox.

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.

Fox News War Mongering EXPOSED: Former Exec Confesses ‘My Job Was To Sell The War’ In Iraq

The flagrantly right-wing bias of Fox News is no longer in doubt by anyone with even a passing acquaintance with the network’s aggressive propagandizing. Most of the network’s anchors, contributors, and guests lean so far to the right that Joseph Goebbels would have been proud to be associated with it. And yet, their own pride of ideological leaning is carefully hidden under a veil of phony fairness and balance.

Fox News

That’s why it was surprising to find a public admission of political spin from a high level Fox insider buried in a story on a completely different subject. Last week Gabriel Sherman of New York Magazine published another article in his investigative series that contributed to the downfall of Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes. Sherman is also the author of the Ailes biography The Loudest Voice in the Room.

The sexual harassment scandal that led to the humiliating ouster of the most powerful man in media had been steadily escalating. Dozens of women came forward to tell their painful stories of abuse. One of those women was Laurie Luhn who worked for Fox News for more than twenty years. The circumstances of her harrowing experience are spelled out in excruciating detail in Sherman’s article. But little noticed was this paragraph buried deep withing the article that revealed something unrelated to the abuse:

“As she was promoted through the ranks at Fox, Luhn worked harder and harder to please Ailes. She zealously promoted the network’s right-wing agenda. ‘I was very proud of the product. I was very proud of how we handled 9/11. Very proud of how we handled the run-up to the Iraq War,’ she said. ‘My job was to sell the war. I needed to get people on the air that were attractive and articulate and could convey the importance of this campaign. It was a drumbeat.'”

As the Director of Bookings for Fox News, Luhn saw her job as “selling the war” in Iraq. And she clearly recognized the benefits of seeking attractive, articulate salespeople to move the product. The “drumbeat” to which she refers was evident every day as the network hammered its advocacy of a war that had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11. This was much more than a typical news slant to sway public opinion. This was a blatant effort to steer the nation into an international conflict that has had disastrous results from which we are still suffering today.

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

These revelations turn the Luhn story into a much more complex affair. While she was on a daily mission to help her employer embroil the country in an immoral and illegal war, she was also a victim of unconscionable behavior from her despicable boss. There is no excuse for what Ailes allegedly did to her and the many other women making similar allegations against him. But there is a strange and sad irony that these heinous acts resulted in Luhn providing one of the most potent examples of how Fox News deliberately deceived the American people and unleashed an era of war, terrorism, and misery on the world.

YOU’RE FIRED: Fox News CEO Roger Ailes To Be Canned For Alleged Sexual Harassment, Sources Say

The continuing saga of Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes just took a leap off a cliff. Longtime Ailes watcher and biographer, Gabriel Sherman of New York Magazine is reporting that:

“Roger Ailes’s tenure as the head of Fox News may be coming to an end. Rupert Murdoch and sons Lachlan and James — co-chairmen and CEO, respectively, of parent company 21st Century Fox — have settled on removing the 76-year-old executive, say two sources briefed on a sexual-harassment investigation of Ailes being conducted by New York law firm Paul, Weiss.”

Roger Ailes Fox News

Sherman’s sources say that the Murdochs are torn between waiting to pull the trigger until after the Republican National Convention, or giving Ailes a choice to quit now or face being fired.

Ailes was recently named in a lawsuit by former Fox host Gretchen Carlson for sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and retaliation for reporting those abuses. The suit alleges that Ailes told her “I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago.” And shortly after Carlson’s suit was filed numerous other women came forward with similar accounts of improper conduct by Ailes.

Roger Ailes long history of exploiting sex in the workplace has been well documented. The environment at Fox is known for making inappropriate demands on female staff, including wearing revealing clothes and engaging in other provocative behavior on-air. Sherman wrote in his biography of Ailes, “The Loudest Voice In The Room,” that Ailes has repeatedly given 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.”

In addition to Gabriel’s reporting, NPR’s media correspondent David Folkenflik was told that Fox News, on Ailes instructions, made use of a “Leg Cam” that “goes directly for the legs.” And when 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 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.

If these reports are correct then Ailes’ days at Fox are numbered. His role in creating the network, and serving as its chief executive for twenty years, could end in disgrace and humiliation. And for that to happen just as Fox News is covering their biggest GOP event of the year, it could have serious political ramifications for Donald Trump’s campaign as well. The Murdoch kids who are assuming control of the company are not likely to be as supportive of Trump as Ailes. This story is still unfolding, so stay tuned.

And the plot thickens: “Kelly has told investigators that Ailes made unwanted sexual advances toward her about ten years ago when she was a young correspondent at Fox.”

Donald Trump Is Now Officially The Candidate Of Fox News

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

Donald Trump Rupert Murdoch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fox News Is At The Cliff’s Edge And Donald Trump May Push Them Over

Gabriel Sherman has been writing about Fox News for many years and has been the source of several major scoops. He is the author of a biography of Fox CEO Roger Ailes (The Loudest Voice in the Room), and his sources are deeply embedded in the organization and are generally reliable. His columns for New York Magazine have exposed the inner workings of the network such as one of the possible reasons that Fox kowtows to Donald Trump (he has dirt on Ailes).

Donald Trump Roger Ailes

In his most recent column, Sherman addresses the discovery that Fox’s Megyn Kelly visited Trump at Trump Tower to try to cool his burning animosity toward her and to perhaps get him to appear on her special for the Fox Entertainment Network next month. It’s an interesting read, but one part of it diverges from the main topic to present an even juicier dilemma for Fox.

In the course of unraveling the melodrama in progress between Fox, Trump and Kelly, Sherman makes an observation about Fox’s primetime programming that deserves further analysis:

“Fox’s lineup is more in flux than it has been in years. According to sources, Sean Hannity is the only prime-time personality who has recently reupped for another term. O’Reilly, who turns 67 this year, has yet to commit. If Ailes were to lose Kelly and O’Reilly, Fox’s evening schedule — the source of most of its advertising revenue — would collapse. ‘There’s not much of a bench,’ one veteran Fox executive says. And CNN is already nipping at Fox’s lead in the key advertising demographic of 25-to 54-year-olds (though Fox still has more total viewers).”

Indeed, Fox would be up a creek if it lost O’Reilly and Kelly. Needless to say, the suits will try everything they can to avoid that doomsday scenario, but with O’Reilly getting way past his expiration date, and Kelly getting money and opportunity thrown at her from all directions, Fox may not have any say in the matter.

So how would Fox fill the void left by its two biggest stars? They have traditionally promoted from within, but as Sherman’s source notes, “there’s not much of a bench.” They surely couldn’t elevate their morning “curvy couch potatoes” (Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade, Ainsley Earhardt) to primetime. Their afternoon roster is dominated by Neil Cavuto (who is also anchoring a show on Fox Business Channel and serves as Exec VP of business for both networks), Shepard Smith (whose portfolio is breaking news), and Bret Baier (who is the networks version of a “legitimate” nightly news anchor), so none of them would slide easily into a nightside opinion format.

There are minor players among the contributor class at Fox who simply don’t have the gravitas to pull off the promotion. They include people like the terminally lightweight Eric Bolling, the smug Tucker Carlson, and the perpetually angry Kimberley Guilfoyle. None of them have either the appeal, the depth of knowledge, or the broadcasting skills to carry their own show.

However, there is one person on the roster who, at any other network, would be on the short list for a primetime slot. Juan Williams has been with Fox for nearly twenty years. He has appeared on virtually all of their programs as a guest, as well as a co-host for some including the currently running The Five. He has also filled in as host on The O’Reilly Factor. There’s just one problem: Williams is considered to be the “liberal” on Fox News (although I would dispute that characterization), and despite their claim of fairness and balance, they would never hand over an hour of primetime to someone who wasn’t a committed conservative. Oh, and there’s one other thing that might be an obstacle for Fox: He’s black.

So Fox is either going to have to hand over some valuable TV real estate to one of their pedantic, third rate seat fillers, or go outside the family to bring on a radio nutcase like Mark Levin or Laura Ingraham. Or they could snag a bona fide cable star like Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson. And since most of the contracts in question will expire after the 2016 election, they might also consider from among the losers of that race. As I wrote a few months ago, Roger Ailes was asked about this and indicated an interest in Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina.

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

But I thought Ailes was missing the obvious choice, and someone with experience hosting a vapid television show that was comprised mainly of fakery: Donald Trump would be a promising choice to fill the whole primetime schedule all by himself (which he would probably insist upon). He has everything Fox News requires: He will shamelessly lie to advance right-wing propaganda. He will engage in childish fights with his guests. He will completely mutilate the news into an unrecognizable heap of bullshit. It’s pretty much what Fox’s primetime stars do now. And he has plenty of experience having been on Fox more than most of its regular anchors over the last ten months, so viewers won’t notice much of a change. And the last thing Fox wants to do is startle their audience into perhaps waking up.

Blackmailing Fox News: Does Donald Trump Have Dirt On Roger Ailes?

Ever since Donald Trump entered the Republican contest for the party’s nomination for president he has been a constant presence on Fox News. Studies of the distribution of airtime have shown that Trump’s allocation has far exceeded every other candidate. The estimated value of this gift to Trump’s candidacy is in excess of thirty million dollars through December 2016. The question is why has Fox been so generous to this one particular candidate?

Donald Trump Roger Ailes

The conventional wisdom response to this question would be that Trump is simply good business for Fox News (and pretty much every other network). He is a proven ratings draw, in the same manner as a high-speed police chase or a Kardashian wardrobe malfunction. Audiences are enrapt because of the possibility that at any time Trump might burst a blood vessel in his neck or slap an immigrant orphan. In addition to the financial incentive, Fox shares most of the political agenda articulated by Trump, even the batshit crazy stuff like Mexican border walls, dismantling NATO, and his latest absurdity that he would eliminate the national debt in eight years.

Now there is a new explanation for why the self-described “most powerful name in news” got rolled and began doling out huge portions of their valuable airtime to what otherwise might be considered a joke candidate. Gabriel Sherman, the National Affairs Editor for New York Magazine and the author of a biography of Fox CEO Roger Ailes (The Loudest Voice in the Room), just published a fascinating and in-depth story about the composition of Trump’s campaign team. But it also includes an account of how Fox Executive VP Brian Lewis got fired under mysterious circumstances (which News Corpse covered here). In the course of telling this story, Sherman revealed this startling bombshell:

“It was also thanks to some information he had gathered that Trump was able to do something that no other Republican has done before: take on Fox News. An odd bit of coincidence had given him a card to play against Fox founder Roger Ailes. In 2014, I published a biography of Ailes, which upset the famously paranoid executive. Several months before it landed in stores, Ailes fired his longtime PR adviser Brian Lewis, accusing him of being a source. During Lewis’s severance negotiations, Lewis hired Judd Burstein, a powerhouse litigator, and claimed he had ‘bombs’ that would destroy Ailes and Fox News. That’s when Trump got involved.

“‘When Roger was having problems, he didn’t call 97 people, he called me,’ Trump said. Burstein, it turned out, had worked for Trump briefly in the ’90s, and Ailes asked Trump to mediate. Trump ran the negotiations out of his office at Trump Tower. ‘Roger had lawyers, very expensive lawyers, and they couldn’t do anything. I solved the problem.’ Fox paid Lewis millions to go away quietly, and Trump, I’m told, learned everything Lewis had planned to leak. If Ailes ever truly went to war against Trump, Trump would have the arsenal to launch a retaliatory strike.”

If this is true, then Fox News is essentially paying off Trump, with millions of dollars of airtime, to buy his silence. Under these circumstances Fox should not be covering Trump at all. If Trump is blackmailing Fox with threats of dumping damaging information there is no telling what he might have demanded. He isn’t limited to free airtime. He could also insist on positive coverage from influential hosts like Bill O’Reilly. He could force the network to hit his opponents with dishonest smears. He could dictate the network’s narrative on the progress of the campaign, the battle for delegates, and even the reactions to his numerous controversial remarks.

One thing is certain: This would explain how Trump has gotten away with his brutal treatment of Fox News. Ordinarily, any Republican candidate would be conscious of the sway that Fox holds over the party and the fate of anyone hoping to rise up in it. But Trump, with an apparently reckless lack of concern, has spent much of the last nine months mercilessly battering the network and its staff. He said of Megyn Kelly that she “is the worst” and has a “terrible show.” He called Karl Rove a “total fool” and “a biased dope.” He said that George Will is a “broken down political pundit” and “boring.” Chris Stirewalt was deemed “one of the dumbest political pundits on television.” Trump laughed off Charles Krauthammer as “a totally overrated clown,” “a loser,” and “a dummy.” And wrapping up the whole network for his disapproval, he tweeted that he was “having a really hard time watching Fox News.” Then he called on his followers to boycott the network. He even went after one of the major shareholders of the Fox’s parent corporation. I can’t say that I disagree with much of that, but then I’m not seeking the GOP nomination for anything.

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

This is behavior that only seems plausible if Trump somehow knows that he will not suffer any consequences for it. At the very least, Fox News needs to respond to these allegations. And if their response is anything less than an unambiguous denial (for which they would have to supply evidence), then they need to come clean by disclosing the blackmail bait themselves. Then they need to conduct a public review of their past coverage of Trump to provide an accounting of their time allotment and any possibility of reporting bias. What’s more, the other candidates, including those who dropped out, have a right to some answers on how they were covered and if Trump’s tactics adversely affected their campaigns. Will Fox act responsibility on this? Well, why should they start now since they haven’t for the last twenty years.