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.

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.

The ‘So-Called’ Trump Presidency Is Crumbling Under The Pressure – And They Know It

Since the day that Donald Trump was inaugurated, the American people have flooded the streets and town halls to express their opposition to his agenda. Unprecedented numbers of citizens turned out for the nationwide Women’s March on January 21. A week later, more protesters showed up spontaneously at airports to oppose Trump’s Muslim ban. Now town halls are being inundated by angry voters who won’t stand for Trump’s efforts to gut ObamaCare.

Mitch McConnell GOP Town Hall

These protests are having a profound effect on the Republican Party. Nervous GOP representatives in Washington, and across the nation, are running scared – literally. Many are avoiding their own constituents meetings for fear of encountering their wrath. And the ones that are going are being greeted by passionate advocates for progressive policies and values.

For those who are skeptical that these tactics are effective, set aside your worries. There is abundant evidence that they are working better than anyone anticipated. And the best proof of that comes from Republicans themselves. Take for instance the remarks by former GOP senator Jim DeMint. He is currently the president of the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation. Tuesday night he was interviewed by Greta Van Susteren on MSNBC (video below). His intent was to vent his displeasure with citizens exercising their First Amendment rights. But he ended up validating the efforts of the citizens he hoped to discredit:

“It’s not really like the Tea Party. I was going through this document today, Indivisible. These folks are very well financed. Very well organized. They’re being bused around to go to these different town halls to disrupt them.”

First of all, he’s partially correct about the Tea Party. It was quite different in that it was bankrolled by the billionaire Koch brothers. The Indivisible Movement is a grassroots campaign whose partners are social activist organizations, not multinational corporations. However, DeMint’s assertion that protesters are being “bused around” is delusional. They would have to have thousands of buses motoring across the whole country at impossible speeds. But DeMint wasn’t finished:

“So it’s gonna be difficult for congressmen to go out and defend their positions. Because these folks who are coming are not coming to contribute. They’re coming to disrupt. So it’s an organized effort to make it hard for Trump and Republican congress to be successful.”

DeMint is admitting that the GOP’s position is difficult to defend. No kidding. Their platform calls for throwing twenty million people off of their health insurance plans. It proposes tax reforms that will shift the burden from the rich to the middle-class and poor. They are pushing bigoted immigration schemes that will ban Muslims and deport Latinos. And DeMint wonders why that might be difficult to defend? But here’s the best part:

“Hopefully they [Republicans] will continue to plow through. Although I’m concerned that all of this push-back has delayed the repeal of ObamaCare, and certainly other agenda items that need to be taken up.”

That’s right. It’s working. Keep it up. It is highly unusual for a right-wing political operative to concede that his opponents are winning. This admission ought to encourage every progressive to redouble their efforts to prevent the Trump agenda from being implemented. These actions are also being felt all the way up to the White House. They’re rolling out their talking points intended to portray the protests as “fake news.” Press secretary Sean Spicer (Fibby Spice) laments that “There is a bit of professional protester, manufactured base in there.” And Trump himself tweeted this:

We previously were warned about “so-called judges,” and now we have “so-called angry crowds.” Apparently our so-called President is living in a so-called reality where anything he doesn’t like is fake. SAD! It’s not surprising that he’s baffled by citizens “planning” their activities, rather than behaving erratically the way he does. Even worse, in a recent press conference Trump made it clear that he is not the president of all the people:

“We’ve begun preparing to repeal and replace Obamacare. Obamacare is a disaster, folks. It’s a disaster. You can say, oh, Obamacare — I mean, they fill up our alleys with people that you wonder how they get there, but they’re not the Republican people that our representatives are representing.”

Setting aside the odd reference to “alleys,” Trump just confessed that he’s only interested in what Republicans have to say. He continues to prove that he’s a divisive, partisan politician with no interest in having a productive dialog. The extremists in Trump’s administration are determined to steamroll their agenda of hate and elitism through a rubber-stamp congress. Unfortunately for them, the American people do not seem willing to allow it. And if we keep the pressure on, we can stop them in their tracks and replace them in 2018. Forward.

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

Fox News Doubles Down On Stupid: Tucker Carlson Gets Primetime Show

It was three months ago that Roger Ailes stepped down from his post as CEO of Fox News amid allegations of sexual harassment. Subsequently there has been much speculation as to the future direction of the network without its longstanding guiding force. Well, for anyone who thought there would be a tempering of Fox’s stridently conservative bias, you’re optimism was unfounded.

Tucker Carlson Fox News

Thursday Fox News announced that the vacancy left by Greta Van Susteren’s sudden departure would be filled by Tucker Carlson. Currently Carlson is a co-host of the weekend version of the Fox & Friends morning show. In that role he has ably fulfilled the Fox mandate to spew right-wing propaganda and smear Democrats. In the process he has cultivated an attitude of smug superiority while advancing a racist, misogynistic agenda.

For the record, Carlson is also the owner of the ultra-conservative web rag, The Daily Caller. As a publisher Carlson demonstrated his aversion to ethical journalism. In one instance he spiked an article that contained a criticism of Fox News for not being sufficiently anti-immigrant. Despite the fact that the piece castigated President Obama as a lawless tyrant, Carlson could not abide any Fox bashing. The article’s author said that Carlson told him “We can’t trash Fox on the site. I work there.” In other words, the Daily Caller is Fox’s puppet where free speech, and thought, is prohibited.

Additionally, the Daily Caller embraces the white supremacist alt-right movement that has adopted Donald Trump as its leader. In a wide-ranging essay about the budding “ethno-nationalism” crusades, Luke O’Brien writes for the Huffington Post about the relationships between America’s hate groups and the media. He singles out Carlson’s Daily Caller saying that:

“Other conservative sites, even ones that prefer bowties, appear to have accepted that angry right-wing populism translates into clicks. Take The Daily Caller, which now runs its fair share of immigrant knife-attack stories and Jew-baiting George Soros exposes. The reader comments on the site are at times indistinguishable in tone and racist content from those on Breitbart.”

That’s the same Breitbart News whose chairman, Stephen Bannon, is currently the CEO of Trump’s campaign for president. Bannon is also chairman of the Government Accountability Institute whose president, Peter Schweizer, authored the book “Clinton Cash.” Despite being filled with errors and lies, that book has been cited as the source for the FBI’s fatally biased review of the Clinton Foundation. It was also the subject of an hour-long special on Fox News. Oh, what a tangled web.

Prior to joining Fox News, Carlson’s career was a pitiful collection of failures. He had been canceled by PBS, CNN, and MSNBC. And if that wasn’t embarrassing enough, he was the first contestant voted off of Dancing with the Stars. He seemed to be a recidivist loser with no reasonable hope for redemption. He had even burned bridges with regard to Fox News when, after a childish prank (by both of them), he called Fox “a mean, sick group of people.”

Fortunately, For Carlson, Fox News has a policy of dredging the sewers of pseudo-journalism and rescuing the most offensive and desperate rejects, giving them a second chance at salvation. Of course that forgiveness comes at the cost of their soul. It rests on their willingness to supplicate themselves to their new savior. So when Fox called, Carlson went crawling back with his tail between his legs and fully prepared to obey.

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

Carlson knows his place and did what was expected of an indentured servant to the Wingnut Overlord. His reward is a spanking new program in primetime access where he can deliver his radically rightist, poorly reasoned rants. And he’ll fit right in with Bill O’Reilly, Megyn Kelly, and Sean Hannity. Proving that Fox News intends to continue being a fount of conservative propaganda, and a mouthpiece for Republican dogma, for many years to come.

And for your entertainment pleasure, here is the classic episode of CNN’s Crossfire where Jon Stewart called Carlson a “dick” and humiliated him so badly the show was cancelled soon after.

Donald Trump Is Already Trying To Take Political Advantage Of The Tragedy In Nice, France

News reports of a horrific incident in Nice, France are unfolding in real time. The latest estimates of fatalities is in the seventies, with many more injured. There are few facts available to explain what occurred, but the media is speculating that it is an act of terrorism.

Donald Trump

At times like these ethical leaders are expected to refrain from making irresponsible remarks that could muddy the waters and add to the confusion that is always present in breaking news. And most of all, they are morally prohibited from seeking political gain from the suffering of others. Suffice to say that Donald Trump is not an ethical leader.

While bodies were still strewn about the streets of Nice, Trump took to Twitter to exploit the tragedy. His first tweet was relatively innocuous saying only:

How does that comment help the situation? Trump is stating the obvious and then asking an absurd question. Someone should ask him “When will we learn WHAT? Does he have a lesson plan on the threat of trucks mowing down pedestrians that he’d like to share with us? And his warning that “It is only getting worse” is typical of his campaign’s reliance on fear mongering.

The only reason he is commenting at all is to get his name into the news cycle. And that is even more apparent in the tweet that followed:

It would be understandable if Trump’s news conference tomorrow involved a subject that was frivolous or otherwise disrespectful following this event. But the announcement of a vice-presidential candidate doesn’t fit that criteria. In fact, it almost rewards the perpetrators of this act by demonstrating that they can disrupt our democratic processes with their brutal and cowardly attacks. It’s a victory for the terrorists.

There is no excuse for Trump canceling his announcement. It would not offend anyone if it went forward. So why did he do it? Because tomorrow the media is still likely to be tightly focused on what happened in Nice and Trump’s VP announcement would get buried. The only reason he canceled the news conference is so he can reschedule it at a time when he will get more attention. That I can tell you.

In addition to his tweets, Trump called into Fox News for an interview with Greta Van Susteren. Of course, the subject of the incident in Nice came up and Trump proved that he is utterly incapable of governing in a world with this sort of danger and turmoil. Here are some excerpts from the interview:

Van Susteren: What would you be doing right now?
Trump: I’d be making it very, very hard for people to come into our country.

That’s what he’d be doing RIGHT NOW? He wouldn’t be contacting President Hollande of France and other world leaders? He wouldn’t be assembling his national security team? He wouldn’t be assessing the threat level here in the U.S.? He went on to repeat his mantra of building a wall and banning people from “terrorist” countries. It’s as if all he knows is what’s been prepared for him in his stump speeches. And then:

Van Susteren: What do you think President Obama should be doing about this?
Trump: Well, the first thing he should do is say that it’s radical Islamic terrorism.
Van Susteren: And then what?
Trump: And then not let people into our country.

Really? Van Susteren tried to give Trump opportunities to flesh out his answers with something coherent, but Trump was oblivious. The remainder of the interview was totally useless and flagrantly self-serving. It even included a swipe at Hillary Clinton when he said that “Hillary is weak and ineffective. She created ISIS.”

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

It is this type of ignorant blathering that illustrates why Trump would be downright dangerous if he had any real power. He is wholly ill-equipped to govern and every opportunity he is given to prove himself ends in embarrassment. If the media does its job, remarks like these by Trump will be showcased for voters so hat they can make an informed choice in November. If that occurs, the choice should be an easy one.

On Fair And Balanced Fox News It’s Trump Dependence Day

It’s the Fourth of July and Americans are enjoying a day honoring the independence of the nation from a tyrannical monarchy. There are parades, and barbecues, and tributes to heroes going on all over the country. But on Fox News they have their own peculiar way of celebrating this holiday.

Donald Trump

As Independence Day approached, Fox News devoted much of the weekend to multiple re-airings of “13 Hours At Benghazi,” a two year old crockumentary that shamelessly distorted the tragic events that cost the lives of four Americans. The entire purpose of the program was to falsely malign Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration in the minds of Fox’s gullible viewers, despite the fact that every investigation into the matter cleared them of any wrongdoing.

And now, on the Fourth of July itself, Fox News has programmed a couple of “patriotic” hours that feature their choice for America’s icon of nationalistic fervor, Donald Trump. Because what could possibly better represent the spirit of America than a one-sided telethon of veneration for a bigoted, egomaniacal, wannabe dictator?

First of all, Fox News will be re-airing a very special episode of Greta Van Susteren’s On The Record entitled “Meet the Trumps.” In this heart-throttling waste of time Van Susteren devoted the whole hour to interviews with Trump’s adoring family, She spent the most time with his wife Melania whose relentless praise was reminiscent of victims of Stockholm Syndrome. She even said that she and The Donald never argue. Does that sound like a normal marriage or a paid campaign infomercial?

Later, Fox News will present an all new special from Sean Hannity dubbed “The Year of Trump.” This will undoubtedly be the sort of worshipful tripe that has characterized Hannity’s treatment of Trump since he launched his campaign. The only surprise is that he didn’t call it “The Passion of the Trump” in honor of his political savior. Hannity has the distinction of having provided Trump with more airtime than any other program on Television.

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

Suffice to say that no other news network has committed to airing several hours of dedicated Trump-humping programs this holiday weekend. And apparently Hillary Clinton hates the Fourth because Fox has virtually ignored her today. The fact that Fox News chose this particular holiday to slather their viewers in paeans to The Donald tells you something about Fox’s interpretation of patriotism. It is not accidental that Fox scheduled this parade of Trump propaganda on the same weekend that they revived their anti-Clinton Benghazi fest. This sort of flagrant bias is their reason for being. Happy Fourth Everybody!

Fox News Just Gift-Wrapped Their Primetime Schedule And Gave It To Donald Trump

It won’t surprise anyone to learn that Fox News has jumped aboard the Donald Trump bandwagon in a big way. His most ardent supporters are featured regularly to exalt the presumptuous Republican presidential nominee. Those supporters include the anchors of Fox’s most watched programs in primetime.

Trump News Channel

This past week Fox News handed over its primetime schedule to hour-long specials dedicated to Trump. Every single program set aside all other news stories for an episode of fluffing their favorite candidate. This is unprecedented even for Fox. It comes just a week after the chairman of the Fox News empire, Rupert Murdoch, was reported to have embraced Trump’s candidacy. New York Magazine’s veteran Fox-watcher, Gabriel Sherman, revealed that…

“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.”

So it’s no coincidence that the following week Fox’s schedule is littered with packaged profiles of Trump that add nothing to the viewer’s store of knowledge or ability to make an informed decision. Here is what Fox’s primetime offered up last week as a gift to Donald Trump:

Greta Van Susteren’s “Meet The Trump’s”

Van Susteren devoted the whole hour of her show to interviews with Trump’s family, She spent the most time with his wife Melania whose relentless praise was reminiscent of victims of Stockholm Syndrome. She even said that she and Donald never argue. Does that sound like a normal marriage or a paid campaign infomercial?

Megyn Kelly’s Donald Trump File

This episode of the Kelly File was partly a rebroadcast of “Megyn Kelly Presents,” the widely panned special that aired on the Fox Entertainment Network. There was some additional footage included that was left out of the original broadcast and, having seen it, Kelly was right to have cut it in the first place. It contained nothing new or interesting.

Bill O’Reilly’s “The Trump Phenomenon”

Not wanting to be left out, O’Reilly cobbled together a bunch of old interviews and presented them as a package for any of his viewers who haven’t seen enough of Donald Trump on television lately. O’Reilly and Trump are old pals and the interviews are a tribute to the sort of softball journalism that you would expect between friends.

And Then There’s Sean Hannity

To his credit, Hannity is the only one of the four primetime hosts who actually bothered to deliver a significant amount of new material featuring Trump. Of course it was substantially the same as everything that Hannity has delivered in the past. He has the distinction of having provided Trump with more airtime than any other program on Television (over 17 hours). To illustrate how much time that is, Fox & Friends came in second with less than half that amount.

Since Trump just surpassed the number of delegates necessary to clinch the GOP nomination, we can expect much more of this hero worship from the folks at Fox News as the general election unfolds. The network that has been pretending to be “fair and balanced” for the past twenty years is wholly engaged in their mission to smear Hillary Clinton and elect Donald Trump.

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

While Clinton has not made herself available to Fox with much frequency (she did appear on Fox News Sunday recently), there is nothing stopping them assembling a packaged piece like these ones that they did for Trump. And maybe that’s for the best because, if they did, they would likely accuse her of blowing up the Hindenburg or assassinating Lincoln.

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

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

Fox News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Racists On Fox News React To The Harriet Tubman $20.00 Bill

Like clockwork, all that needs to happen is for some news event to address something involving race that can be tied to the Obama administration and the bigots come slithering out from the crevices in the floor. The latest example of this is the long overdue initiative to place a woman on U.S. currency. The woman selected for the honor is the heroic former slave and abolitionist, Harriet Tubman. Oh, and she just happens to be black.

Fox News

Leading the way, Greta Van Susteren of Fox News delivered a commentary (video below) that portrayed the decision to put Tubman on the $20.00 bill as an “awful” idea that amounts to “dividing the country.” Van Susteren blasted the plan in the most insulting terms, saying that “The Obama administration went stupid, and went stupid for no reason.” Then she offered her own alternative to put Tubman on a non-existent $25.00 bill instead, saying that it would be “the smart and easy thing to do.”

First of all, what would be smart or easy about minting a new bill just for the purpose of putting Tubman on it? It would waste millions of dollars to design, produce, and maintain, despite the fact that there is no demand for a denomination that’s $5.00 more than the twenty. That would make it a pretty stupid thing to do. And the only thing that is making any of this divisive is the right-wingers like Van Susteren who insist on dredging up controversy where there need not be any.

What’s more, segregating Tubman to a new, unwanted denomination smacks of a form of the “separate but equal” philosophy that was really just an excuse to practice discrimination. Van Susteren is effectively saying that Tubman isn’t fit for the currency that the rest of us white folk use. That reasoning has also been adopted by Ben Carson and Donald Trump who have both advocated for an even more devalued denomination for Tubman: the $2.00 bill.

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

Not surprisingly, the response to Van Susteren’s commentary by the cretins at the Fox News community website, Fox Nation, was an avalanche of racism. This has become a predictable aftereffect of any race-related news story (see The Collected Hate Speech Of The Fox News Community). Here are just a few examples of the bigoted opinions that Fox fans are comfortable expressing when they are among their own kind:

Fox Nation Comments

The Chokehold of Liberty: How The Grand Jury Failed Eric Garner And America

This evening’s news that a New York grand jury could not find cause to indict a police officer, despite having video of him choking the victim, Eric Garner, is calling into question (again) the inadequate and unfair administration of justice as it is applied to African-Americans and other minorities.

Chokehold of Liberty:

This outcome is inexplicable. It is such a shocking miscarriage of justice that even some of the most stalwart conservatives are having trouble coming to terms with it. For starters, Bill O’Reilly said that Garner “did not deserve what happened to him.” And many of his colleagues on Fox News agreed.

Bill O’Reilly: Upon seeing the video that you just saw and hearing Mr. Garner say he could not breathe, I was extremely troubled. I would have loosened my grip.

Charles Krauthammer: From looking at the video, the grand jury’s decision here is totally incomprehensible. It looked as if at least they might have indicted him on something like involuntary manslaughter at the very least … The crime was as petty as they come. He was selling loose cigarettes, which in and of itself is absurd that somebody has to die over that.

Judge Andrew Napolitano: There was ample evidence to indict; and the grand jury made a grievous error by not doing so.

Greta Van Susteren: We don’t do the death penalty for selling cigarettes illegally on the street.

[Just added] Glenn Beck: How this cop did not go to jail and was not held responsible is beyond me.

Glenn Beck on Garner

Garner was strangled by an officer, Daniel Pantaleo, using a chokehold that violates the police department’s guidelines. His offense was selling single cigarettes, a crime on the order of jaywalking. And he cried out several times that he couldn’t breathe. It is absolutely unconscionable that a man can be killed under these circumstances without anyone being held to account by a court of law. The grand jury’s only role is to ascertain whether the evidence supports remanding the case for trial. They do not decide guilt or innocence. But if this video isn’t sufficient evidence to warrant a jury trial, then what on Earth is?

While the right-wing Fox News pundits above were moved to disagree with the grand jury’s decision in the hours following its announcement, a more recognizable Fox narrative eventually began to unfold. It took some time but they figured out ways to blame the victim as a criminal who was resisting arrest and was in poor health to begin with. Simultaneously they exonerated the cop as doing his job by confronting a much larger man and using a “safety belt” hold that doesn’t choke (in complete contrast to the video evidence). Now that’s the Fox News we know.

In the meantime, Republican pols came out of the gate swinging with New York congressman Peter King thanking the grand jury and attributing Garner’s death to his asthma. And the GOP congressman representing the Staten Island district where the death occurred also praised the obviously broken system. Rep. Michael Grimm said that…

“There’s no question that this grand jury had an immensely difficult task before them, but I have full faith that their judgment was fair and reasoned and I applaud DA Donovan for overseeing this case with the utmost integrity.”

It is fair to assume that Grimm’s opinion does not represent many of his constituents. And ironically, Grimm himself is currently under a 20-count indictment for business and campaign violations of law. When a man like Grimm is your defender, while Bill O’Reilly and other Fox News pundits have sympathy for the victim, there is something terribly wrong. Grimm was just reelected last month. Here is Rep. Grimm threatening to throw a reporter off of a balcony: