Morning Joe, Fox News, And The Curse Of Dumb Glenn Beck Comparisons

There is nothing more embarrassing than a public figure so desperate for attention that he uncorks painfully shallow op-eds that only demonstrate why he gets so little attention. That’s the situation that MSNBC’s Morning Joe Scarborough finds himself in now after he penned a column for the Washington Post with unsolicited advice for Megyn Kelly of Fox News. The column is headlined “Megyn Kelly, Fox News, and the Curse of Glenn Beck.”

Morning Joe Scarborough

Scarborough’s column purported to be a stab at career guidance for Kelly, Fox’s trending primetime star anchor. He made note of her recent comments regarding her future with Fox News. Kelly said that, while she is happy at Fox, it also causes “brain damage,” and that she has not decided what she will do when her current contract expires.

Scarborough thinks that Kelly would be making a terrible mistake were she to leave Fox News, the network that built her into a household name for news junkies. He may be right, but not for the ludicrous reason he floated:

“If Kelly wants to leave Fox News for family reasons, good for her. But if Kelly is thinking of escaping Roger Ailes and Fox News because she thinks she has outgrown the man and his star-making machinery, I humbly offer a friendly suggestion: Call Glenn Beck.”

First of all, calling Glenn Beck for advice on anything is never a good idea. Beck would sell you worthless gold coins and replace your health insurance with prayer. Beck is the man who thinks that God speaks to him about political matters and has told him the world is ending so many times that either God is a pathological liar or he is hilariously fucking with Beck.

More to the point, Scarborough’s suggestion is based on the catastrophe that Beck’s career has become since leaving Fox and, therefore, Kelly should avoid a similar disastrous fate. But Scarborough has completely misread the disparate media landscapes facing Beck and Kelly.

Glenn Beck was fired from Fox News with no place else to go in cable or broadcast media. His dismissal was the result of his outlandish and offensive behavior on his show that resulted in an advertiser boycott that stripped the program of any significant revenue. He was cast aside as damaged goods and had few prospects other than the Internet’s wingnut underground and his remaining radio fans.

Megyn Kelly, by contrast, is the jewel in Fox’s primetime lineup. She frequently beats Bill O’Reilly’s ratings and is featured regularly in magazine profiles that are pure puffery. More importantly, she is in demand by every network who would leap at the opportunity to steal the popular and rising star from Fox to bolster their own networks and to deprive Fox of a proven ratings draw. None of this is a reflection on the quality of Kelly’s work, which is sorely lacking in credibility and ethics. It is just a real world observation of her success on a conservative network that rewards blind loyalty to rightist partisanship.

In short, Kelly is contemplating a departure from Fox at a time when her stock is valuable and rising. Beck left Fox as a loser who was dumped for being too insanely right-wing for the avowed centerpiece of right-wing media. But Scarborough thinks that these two situations are comparable and that Kelly should be nervous about becoming the next Beck. That’s nonsense.

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

Scarborough is once again illustrating why he is such an inferior analyst. He can’t see past his own biases. In this case his leanings are to genuflect before the divine Roger Ailes, whom Scarborough repeatedly praises in this article. It’s hard to see this column as anything other than Scarborough posting his resume in a public plea for Fox to hire him. And it comes complete with a pledge of loyalty that he wouldn’t abandon them the way that traitor Kelly is threatening to do, and that he gladly take her time slot. That would probably help MSNBC more than it would help Fox.

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.

Oblivious Alert: Megyn Kelly Slams Media Coverage Of Fox News Darling Donald Trump

There is something terribly fishy frying at Fox News. Their star primetime anchor, Megyn Kelly, has been making the media rounds and hinting at a possible separation between herself and her current employer. The rift first showed up in an interview wherein she said that she is not sure whether she will renew her contract at Fox. While Kelly says that she believes that Fox has backed her up during some recent controversies, she nevertheless is ambiguous about her future with the network. She told Variety that…

“I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’ve had a great 12 years here, and I really like working for Roger Ailes. I really like my show, and I love my team. But you know, there’s a lot of brain damage that comes from the job.”

Donald Trump Megyn Kelly

Brain damage? That’s a peculiar way to characterize her work experience. Is she referring to her colleagues Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity? That would be understandable. Or is she addressing what Fox has called Donald Trump’s sick obsession with her? Or is that how she feels after having to spew right-wing propaganda incessantly? She went on to say that she loves covering the news but that “I just don’t think that’s the perfect thing for me.”

Perhaps not. Judging from a subsequent interview with Katie Couric at the 2016 Women in the World Summit in New York City (video below), she seems to have some serious problems with the unprofessional conduct of her media peers, specifically with how they have covered Donald Trump. Although Kelly never directly indicts Fox News as being guilty of journalistic wrongdoing, what she describes as the failings of the press in general sound more like Fox than any other network.

For example, Couric referenced reporting that estimated the value of Trump’s free media coverage at nearly two billion dollars. She alluded to the “hand-wringing” going on at various media outlets over their responsibility for the excessive attention lavished on Trump and the impact it’s had on the race. Couric even noted comments by media executives who excused their fetish by saying that Donald Trump is good for business,” and asked Kelly if that bothered her. Kelly answered that “It does bother me, and I don’t think it’s right.” She described some of the early coverage and then related a conversation she had with her executive producer:

“I could see all of the other media starting to do it, and I said when the post mortem is done on the coverage of Donald Trump, wherever this race goes, let’s make sure we’re on the side of the angels.”

I’m afraid that cloud has blown away. From there Kelly set about absolving herself of any of the Trump-worship that infected just about every news outlet. She said that “our show has not taken those pressers,” and that “We won’t wallpaper the show with a Donald Trump campaign event.” because “we also have to worry about our souls and journalism.” She noted that “it’s not fair” and that they “don’t do that for the other candidates.”

The problem with Kelly’s assessment is that it simply isn’t true. Donald Trump’s press events and stump speeches have been broadcast during the Kelly File’s time period. Perhaps that wasn’t a decision made by her or her producers, but she is not an innocent bystander in this. What’s more, no network has been more solicitous to Trump than Fox News. Kelly’s protestations are lame attempts to pretend that Fox didn’t create Trump. And she makes those excuses even while laying blame at her competition for making similar excuses.

“Now other journalists are trying to defend themselves by saying ‘Well we asked Ted Crux and he doesn’t say yes, we ask Donald Trump and he says yes.’ OK, that’s fine when it comes to interviews. That doesn’t explain all the phoners that the Sunday shows allow Trump and not the other candidates. Phoners! Fox News Sunday hosted by Chris Wallace is the only Sunday show that from the beginning said we’re not doing it.

Actually, Fox News Sunday did allow Trump to conduct interviews by phone, however they were the first Sunday show to put an end to it. But Kelly conveniently leaves out the fact that virtually every other program on Fox continues to this day letting Trump phone it in. Fox & Friends, Neil Cavuto, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, etc., all take Trump’s calls. Fox News Sunday is just one hour a week and it isn’t even on the Fox News Channel (its first run is on the Fox Entertainment Network). But Kelly isn’t through yet.

“And not only that, we’re talking about the campaign events. When have you ever seen news stations take campaign events? We don’t do that for anybody. We don’t do that for Hillary. We don’t do that for Cruz. We never did it for Rubio or Scott Walker. Only one candidate. And the media would sit there and say ‘It’s amazing how the polls are just up, up…’ It’s like you’re putting your thumb on the scale.”

Excellent points, Kelly. It has been patently obscene watching the media slobber all over Trump and helping him to realize his narcissistic dreams. But serious media critics have been making these points for months. Where have you been all this time? And even as Kelly says all the right things in this interview, her network is still doing all of the wrong things about which she is complaining. She seems to be totally oblivious to her own criticisms.

Fox News crafted Donald Trump from the raw clay of their partisan ideology and their desire to manipulate the news to achieve their political goals. Kelly has been an integral part of the plan from the beginning of her tenure at Fox. Now she is suddenly denouncing the business model in which she has been so much a part. And by extension she is denouncing her colleagues who continue to engage in the shoddy behavior she is railing about. They are gonna love that.

The fact that Kelly is being so openly critical of the unprofessionalism of the people she works with and for, while at the same time is glaringly vague about her intentions to remain at the network, suggests that she has other ideas. Most likely she is dreaming of being the next Barbara Walters or Oprah, and she isn’t worried about burning a few bridges behind her on the way to that destination. Unfortunately, in the process she and most of the rest of the media have saddled America with the closest thing it has ever had to a fascist leading a major political party.

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

Note To Hillary Clinton: Megyn Kelly Is NOT A Superb Journalist

In recent weeks Megyn Kelly has received an abundance of media attention thanks to Donald Trump’s sick obsession with the Fox News host. Regardless of her strident biases and disregard for journalistic ethics, the personal attacks on her by Trump are unwarranted and offensive. They demonstrate Trump’s inbred misogyny and unfitness for any public office. Even though Kelly herself has exploited her sex appeal to boost her ratings (and income), that is no excuse for Trump’s vile chauvinism.

Megyn Kelly

This morning Hillary Clinton appeared on “The View” (video below) and addressed this topic with some potent and well-deserved criticism of Trump. She astutely pointed out that throughout his campaign he has “insulted everybody” and “demeaned everybody,” and has generally engaged in behavior that is divisive and rife with “hateful rhetoric.” She said in part…

“You know, he started, on his very first day, saying that all Mexican immigrants were rapists and criminals, right? And then he moved on to attack people with disabilities. He attacked John McCain, who’s a friend of mine, and said he wasn’t really a war hero. And then, of course, going after American Muslims and really drawing these lines.”

That’s a pretty good summary of Trump’s stump speech bigotry so far. Although she left out some significant moments like his embrace of the white supremacists who endorsed him, his acknowledgment that he isn’t bothered by being compared to Hitler, and his more recent position that women should be punished for having abortions. But Clinton should have left it at that. Unfortunately, she went on to say…

“And his attitude about, and what he has said about, so many women – the way he treated Megyn Kelly, who is a suburb journalist, right?”

No, that’s not right. Not by a long shot. Megyn Kelly is one of the most dangerous propagandists on a network that is crawling with them. She is brazenly partisan and shamelessly prejudiced. She is a more visually compelling version of conspiratorialist Glenn Beck. The stories she features are a collection of partisan tripe and manufactured outrages that have little basis in fact. From her near-obsession with the irrelevant New Black Panther Party, to her defense of an anti-Islam filmmaker as a “patsy” of the Obama administration, Kelly has been a non-stop, gushing flow of disinformation and gossip.

Kelly has, in fact, been especially vicious in her coverage of Clinton. She has spent countless hours asserting, without foundation, that Clinton lied about Benghazi. She aired numerous fact-free segments alleging that Clinton’s emails would land her in jail. She even went after Clinton on trivial pop culture matters like her interview with Lena Dunham. For more examples:

  • Kelly promulgated false accusations against then-Pennsylvania senate candidate Joe Sestak
  • Kelly asserted that Americans have “gotta get a little squeamish” about the prospect of being killed by drones.
  • Kelly told her colleague Bill O’Reilly that pepper spray used against student protesters was just “a food product, essentially.”
  • Kelly moderated a discussion that was based on a series of “Fox Facts” that were cribbed directly from a Republican National Committee press release.
  • Kelly featured a disreputable reporter with a history of violence (who was later arrested for sexually assaulting a four year old girl) in her frequent attacks on the funders of the Islamic Center that Fox derisively referred to as the “Ground Zero Mosque.”
  • Kelly misrepresented the results of a Fox News Opinion Dynamics poll to argue that Democrats are defying the will of the people.
  • Kelly helped to cover up the extra-marital affair of GOP senator John Ensign and failed to disclose her personal involvement in the story.

There is nothing wrong with Clinton holding Trump accountable for his noxious comments and ludicrous political positions. She is totally justified in castigating him for the pattern of hatred he exhibits toward women and others. However, it was completely unnecessary to throw a solicitous compliment to Kelly that she so clearly does not deserve. Clinton could easily make the point that Trump is a sexist pig without boosting the profile of a professional right-wing purveyor of disinformation. Would Clinton defend Sarah Palin from a sexist attack by praising her as a superb governor? We can only hope not. And while neither Palin nor Kelly should be subject to gender-based insults, neither should they be showered with false flattery in the process of defending them against jerkwads like Donald Trump.

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

Fox News Slams Donald Trump For His “Sick Obsession” With Megyn Kelly

Seven months ago Donald Trump was a participant in the first Republican primary debate on Fox News. He was treated exactly the same as every other candidate, but his reaction was unique in a way that has come to exemplify his trademark bluster and vulgarity. Since then Trump has engaged in a non-stop assault on Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, whom he accused of being unfair by asking him to account for his own words.

Donald Trump Megyn Kelly

In all the time that has gone by, Fox News barely said a thing about Trump’s contemptuous ranting. Today, however, Fox News appears to have had enough. Their turning point came after Trump posted another in his series of caustic tweets bashing Megyn Kelly. In the past few days he has taken to branding the Fox host as “Crazy Megyn,” belittling her as “highly over-rated,” and calling her program “unwatrchable.” And then he unleashed this direct attack aimed at Kelly and Fox’s most treasured asset, their audience:

“Everybody should boycott the @megynkelly show. Never worth watching. Always a hit on Trump! She is sick, & the most overrated person on tv.”

For some reason, after eight months of acrimony and bile that was an entirely one-sided feud by an irrationally enraged Trump, Fox News decided to fight back. They issued the following statement in a belated defense of their star anchor:

“Donald Trump’s vitriolic attacks against Megyn Kelly and his extreme, sick obsession with her is beneath the dignity of a presidential candidate who wants to occupy the highest office in the land. Megyn is an exemplary journalist and one of the leading anchors in America — we’re extremely proud of her phenomenal work and continue to fully support her throughout every day of Trump’s endless barrage of crude and sexist verbal assaults. As the mother of three young children, with a successful law career and the second highest rated show in cable news, it’s especially deplorable for her to be repeatedly abused just for doing her job.”

For Fox News to finally notice that Donald Trump’s juvenile antics are “beneath the dignity of a presidential candidate” is something of a revelation for them. Apparently slandering all Mexicans as rapists and criminals, mocking a reporter with a physical disability, embracing the support of white supremacists, proposing to ban all Muslims from entering the U.S., encouraging violence at his rallies, repeatedly swearing in public, and most recently floating the idea of his rabid legion of disciples rioting at the Republican convention if he isn’t crowned as the party’s nominee – apparently all of that wasn’t sufficient for Fox to recognize Trump’s total lack of anything resembling dignity. Maybe they were still waiting for him to fulfill his promise to “act presidential.” Good luck with that.

This isn’t the first time that Trump has advocated boycotting Kelly’s show or even the Fox Network completely. And it certainly wasn’t the first time that he had insulted Kelly in the most sexist terms. He has called her a “bimbo” and complained that her demeanor at the GOP debate was due to her menstrual cycle saying that “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her … wherever.” The entirety of his tirades against Kelly seemed to have stemmed from that debate where she questioned him about his proclivity for hurling misogynistic insults at any women who dared to be less than deferential to him. It’s a grudge he has held onto tenaciously despite the fact that she never responded in kind.

So why did Fox suddenly come to Kelly’s aid after eight months of abuse from Trump? One possible reason is his decision to skip the next Fox News GOP debate (for the second time), which resulted in its cancellation. That will cost Fox a small fortune. More likely, though, it’s that Kelly recently complained to More Magazine that “I do wish that O’Reilly had defended me more in his interview with Trump.” She was referring to an episode of the O’Reilly Factor where Trump told O’Reilly that he had “zero respect” for Kelly, and O’Reilly just continued sucking up to Trump without offering any support to his network colleague. Perhaps that complaint filtered up to the executive suites and touched the withered heart of Fox CEO and cult leader Roger Ailes, who sent word down to his PR flacks to start backing her up. He has a lot invested in her and her show, which is the second highest rated program on Fox.

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

In any case, it’s fun to see Fox News, the media equivalent of the Republican Party Pravda, calling out the Republican’s front-runner for the nomination to run for president, as “crude and sexist” with a “sick obsession.” Does this mean that they will cease to give him millions of dollars more in free airtime (beyond the $30 million they’ve given him so far)? Does it mean they will hold him accountable for the plethora of blatant lies he’s told in his quest to be America’s dictator (see the Trump Bullshitopedia)? Don’t bet on it. Fox is still more concerned with advancing an extreme rightist agenda while raking in piles of cash from advertisers hooked on their ill-gotten ratings. Consequently, this bone they’ve thrown to Kelly will not likely alter the propaganda path they’ve trod for the last twenty years.

Debate Debacle: Donald Trump Forces Fox News And The Republican Party Into Submission

The tragi-comic relationship between Fox News and Donald Trump has traveled a twisted path for the past eight months. There have been episodes of drooling affection interspersed with fits of bitter feuding. The campaign thus far has seen Trump swear to boycott the network and lambast it as “disgusting” and “biased,” while hurling personal insults at its hosts and contributors. But none of that got in the way of his appearing on the network far more than any other candidate, and being treated with loving kindness while there.

Fox News Donald Trump

Trump’s long-running, and one-sided, war with Megyn Kelly included some of the most brazenly misogynistic slurs, while his abuse of Fox regulars like Charles Krauthammer and Steven Hayes registered somewhere south of juvenile. Calling people “dopey” or “losers” is about as advanced as Trump’s vocabulary gets.

This morning Trump was visiting his close (Fox and) Friends when the subject of the upcoming debate was raised. It was then that Trump chose to announce that he would not be participating. This will be the second debate on Fox that Trump is skipping. That tells you just how scared he is of Megyn Kelly. He offered as an excuse that he had a commitment to give a speech at the AIPAC conference, an engagement that was made just a couple of days ago and long after the date of the debate was set.

Shortly after Trump bowed out of the debate, John Kasich released a statement saying that if Trump wasn’t going, then he wasn’t either. That left only Ted Cruz, which would have made for a pretty boring debate, so Fox called the whole thing off.

There are numerous questions that come to mind in the wake of these events. First of all, why didn’t Trump change the day or time of his AIPAC speech? It’s a three day conference and his participation was only recently confirmed. Secondly, why didn’t Fox offer to change the date of the debate? It hardly matters to them if it were a day or two later. Thirdly, what the fuck is wrong with Kasich? He would be much better off doing the debate without Trump. He would have much more airtime in a more substantive environment. And he needs the exposure more than Trump does. Cruz was willing to go ahead with just Kasich and both of them would have benefited from a discussion untarnished by the childish antics of Trump.

All things considered, it seems there was not much interest on the part of Fox to resolve any of these issues. If there were they could have gone on with the debate one way or another. And the only reason Fox would have for dropping the ball is that without Trump the ratings would suffer.

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, Trump demonstrated that he is in charge of the debates and the media and pretty much everything else associated with the Republican campaign. Fox News and the Republican National committee are his playthings. If I were Fox CEO Roger Ailes or RNC chairman Reince Priebus I wouldn’t be able to show my face in public. They probably have “TRUMP” tattooed on their foreheads – or their wherever.

CNN Catches Donald Trump Stiffing The Veterans He Pretends To Love

Remember when Donald Trump was too chicken to face Fox News host Megyn Kelly in a Republican debate, so instead of participating in the last debate before the Iowa caucus he cobbled together a phony veterans benefit and pretended to raise money for the wounded warriors he professed to “love all over the place?” Well, a funny thing happened.

Donald Trump

CNN decided to look into the distribution of the reported six million dollars that was raised to see if any of the twenty-two charities Trump listed as recipients had actually received any donations (video below). Their report revealed that, more than a month later, only about $800,000 of the six million dollars had found its way to the intended veteran beneficiaries.

CNN was initially told by the Trump campaign that the information about the funds was on his website, but after extensive searching that turned out not to be true. So CNN’s Drew Griffin called all of the listed charities to ascertain whether they had received any donations. Only seven organizations reported receiving any money. Griffin reported that…

“We have been asking, other news organizations have been asking, where’s the accounting of this? It’s a big dollar amount but it’s not high math when you’re dealing with hundred thousand dollar checks and six million dollars in donations. It should be easy to do. Charity Navigator, one of the groups that follows charities, says the money should have been disbursed by now. We continue to ask, but get no answers.”

This may be one of the reasons that several veterans groups announced that they would refuse to take any of Trump’s money before the bogus telethon began. Many people regarded the event as a political stunt that insulted America’s veterans by using them as campaign props.

What’s more, of the alleged six million dollars raised, four million came from four of Trump’s wealthy pals making one million dollar donations each. That’s two-thirds of the total that Trump raised with four phone calls that he could have made at any time, but never bothered. He only reached out to these donors when he needed an excuse to ditch the Fox News debate and the fearsome Megyn Kelly.

It remains to be seen where the rest of the money is and when or whether it will be disbursed. This delay further affirms that Trump is as insincere an advocate of veterans issues as he is about virtually everything else to which he shamelessly panders. It makes the release of his tax returns even more crucial as he has been accused of not being as charitable as he claims and is evading the disclosure of that by not releasing those returns.

Trump has never been regarded as a philanthropist. In fact, he is rather infamous for being the least charitable billionaire in the United States. With his purported billions of dollars he could easily have made a donation for the whole six million all by himself and disbursed it overnight by cutting a few checks. The fact that he hasn’t tells us just how much he really cares about veterans. To him they are merely another issue to exploit in order to get his way.

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

Fox News Admits That The Media Is Rooting For Donald Trump

Yesterday News Corpse published an article on The Trump Effect that laid out how the media has a profit motive to keep Donald Trump in the race. The article included a quote from the CEO of CBS who confessed that, with regard to Trump, “It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS.” In other words, their lust for profit has a higher priority than their love of country.

Donald Trump News

So what happened on Fox News last night could not have happened at better time. On the Kelly File, host Megyn Kelly did a segment with the Fox News media correspondent and host of Fox’s MediaBuzz, Howard Kurtz. The discussion began with Kelly asserting that “a lot of the media, they love Trump.” That’s an understatement, particularly after exploring the Trump Effect and the profound financial incentive the media has to extend his place in the limelight. They are doing everything they can to keep his face in front of voters and maintain his electoral viability. Which led to this revealing exchange:

Kurtz: Now Cruz has made this argument in recent days, and Marco Rubio as well, that the media has focused so much attention on Donald Trump. They love Donald Trump. They’re rooting for Donald Trump. At least until the fall.
Kelly: But they do. If you look at the numbers even on the nightly newscast — the time they devoted just in the past night — last night to Donald Trump vs the other two, it was six minutes Trump, I think seven seconds, Rubio. I mean, the disparity was remarkable.
Kurtz: There’s a clear imbalance. And we’ve all had banners awaiting Trump news conference, which shows how he can hijack the news cycle. But a lot of that attention has been negative.

Kelly had finally admitted something that has been true for more than half a year – that the coverage of Trump by the media has been wildly out of proportion to the rest of the candidates of both parties. While Kurtz only mentioned that Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio had complained about this, last December Bernie Sanders told Chris Cuomo of CNN about a study that showed that Trump received 81 minutes of airtime on ABC News in 2015 while Bernie Sanders got 20 seconds.

The response by Kurtz to Kelly’s revelation, however, was painfully oblivious to reality. First of all, he tried to blame Trump for the imbalance by accusing him of “hijacking the news cycle.” Which makes you wonder if Kurtz knows the definition of “hijack.” Trump did not storm the studio and force the news producers at gunpoint to put him on the air. They did that all of their own accord. It was more of a gift from the press than a hijacking by Trump. If the media didn’t want to put him on then he wouldn’t be on, and there would be nothing he could do about it. Just ask Bernie Sanders.

Following that absurd portrayal of events, Kurtz then attempted to conflate two completely different issues. By veering off to say that “a lot of that attention has been negative,” he was changing the subject from the free airtime that Trump got to the amount of time spent discussing him. But that isn’t the problem that was raised by observing how much time Trump got every time he gave a stump speech. The cable news networks seem to cut to him live whenever he holds a rally. And, of course, they don’t do that for anyone else. That’s the problem, and Kurtz appeared not to want to acknowledge it.

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

The most striking part of this whole segment, though, was how both Kelly and Kurtz spoke about the media as if it were a detached entity that had nothing to do with them. However, the truth is that Fox New is the network that is most responsible for the coverage imbalance that they both concede exists. No network gives Trump more airtime than Fox News. And on Fox, no candidate receives as much airtime as Trump. So it was a bit disorienting to hear these two pretend that the Trump Effect was just some vague theory that was floating around and impacted all of the media equally. They may have come closer to representing reality by admitting that the media roots for Trump, but they continue to lie about their decidedly prominent role in the cheering section.

Really? Fox News Thinks Rachel Maddow Is Too Biased To Moderate A Debate

Howard Kurtz, host of MediaBuzz on Fox News, wrote a column today that might have consumed the world’s supply of chutzpah. In the column Kurtz took MSNBC to task for having the audacity to let their biggest star, Rachel Maddow, co-moderate a Democratic debate. Of course, that’s something that Fox has done itself with their hot property, Megyn Kelly, but never mind that. Kurtz is very upset.

Megyn Kelly

The headline of the article asked this pressing question: “Why did MSNBC put Rachel Maddow on the debate stage?” The question was apparently so easy to answer that Kurtz managed to handle it all by himself.

Kurtz: Rachel Maddow did a pretty good job in questioning Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders at MSNBC’s Democratic debate last night. (…) She is smart and passionate, a Rhodes scholar with a deep knowledge of the issues. She did not roll over for Clinton during a recent interview on her prime-time show.

Well, with a track record like that she should never be allowed anywhere near a candidate debate. The last thing Fox would want is a smart, knowledgeable, fair person to facilitate a political discussion. That certainly isn’t the way they do it. Fox has taken great pains to make sure that all of their presenters are cut from the same moldy conservative cloth. And yet, Kurtz can still pose this scenario as if it weren’t utterly oblivious to reality:

“Imagine the reaction on the left if the Fox News moderators at a debate were Bret Baier and Sean Hannity, an unabashed conservative. The criticism of Fox for fielding such a team would have been intense.”

Of course, the truth is that Fox’s moderators are unabashed conservatives, which I’ll get to in a moment. But first it is important to note that Kurtz couldn’t simply praise for Maddow without qualifying it by insisting that, despite her evident skills “she shouldn’t have been on that stage as a moderator,” and that “she should not have been put in that position,” because “she is an unabashedly liberal commentator who rips the Republicans every night on her program.”

If that is their criteria for choosing debate moderators then Fox has some explaining to do. Their own debate moderators have included relentless liberal bashers like Megyn Kelly, one of the most stridently partisan purveyors of propaganda on the Republican PR channel (aka Fox News). She spreads more lies about Benghazi than any of her Fox colleagues (and that’s saying something). She was caught leading a discussion that was based on a series of “Fox Facts” that were cribbed directly from a Republican National Committee press release. She made a point of informing her viewers that it was a fact that both Jesus and Santa Claus were white.

Media Matters did a survey a couple of years back that showed that Kelly “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.” That’s the same Hannity that Kurtz used in his imaginary scenario about unabashed conservatives. And in March she will host her third debate on Fox News.

Also moderating for Fox was Neil Cavuto, the Glenn Beck of business news. His first question in the debate he moderated asked the candidates which of their economic plans God would endorse. He has made it his mission to castigate low-income Americans as sponges and leeches who are actually living the good life at the expense of the one-percent. He is a committed climate-change denier. And he frequently has segments about alleged government waste that usually turns out to be completely bogus (like this on about the famous shrimp on a treadmill).

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

With blatantly biased moderators like this on Fox, Kurtz has the gall to complain about Maddow, even as he admits that she has all the qualifications for a moderator and that she acquitted herself well. What more does he want? His complaint obviously doesn’t have anything to do with Maddow’s ability to perform with proficiency and fairness, so the only thing left to explain why he would devote a column to this whining is his own bias and partisanship. Or perhaps he was ordered to do it by his boss, Roger Ailes, as a slap at Megyn Kelly’s time period competition. Expect to see more of this Maddow bashing on his Sunday morning program.

The Twitter Feed Of Donald Trump Reeks Of Racism And Misogyny

Tonight Donald Trump is holding a cynical counter-event to the Fox News Republican primary debate where he is insulting America’s veterans by using them as political props. He even admitted that he doesn’t really care about veterans when he walked out onto the stage and the first thing he said was “I didn’t want to be here.” Gee, thanks, Donnie. [And for the record, of the alleged six million dollars raised, four million came from one million dollar donations from four of Trump’s wealthy pals. That’s two-thirds of the total that Trump raised with four phone calls that he could have made at any time, but never bothered. So he didn’t need to stage this phony event at all]

That’s typical of his ego-soaked personality that is only concerned with what advances his interests. And it is expressed frequently in his Twitter feed. Just today there were a couple of tweets that deserve some special recognition due to their grotesque nature. These tweets are emblematic of Trump’s racism and misogyny. And they both attack Fox’s Megyn Kelly, proving that his claim that she had nothing to do with why he skipped the debate was an outright lie.

First there was this tweet that shows Megyn Kelly with Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal. It’s purpose is to create a negative association between Kelly and Fox News with Arab royalty, and a Muslim, as if that by itself were some mortal sin. Alwaleed is minority shareholder of 21st Century Fox, the parent corporation of Fox News.


Donald Trump Tweet

There are, however, a couple of problems with that tweet. First of all, it is a fake. Kelly was photoshopped, badly, into the picture. Another problem with it is that @BradCross4, who originally posted the picture, is a raging and unabashed racist whose twitter account is full of repulsive bigotry. Apparently that didn’t bother Trump as he retweeted it. That is something he does frequently. He recently retweeted another racist meme that made ludicrous assertions about African-American crime statistics. Then there was his retweet of an image by someone called @WhiteGenocideTM. It’s hard to pretend he didn’t know what that was about.

Finally, Trump’s complaint about Fox News having a business relationship with Alwaleed is hypocritical in the extreme. Trump has many such relationships with Muslims, which he often brags about. As one example Trump, bought the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan in 1988. After suffering serious financial difficulties he was forced to sell it just seven years later at a loss of nearly 40% to – yep – Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal. So in addition to being a huuuge hypocrite, this also reveals another example of his poor business skills.

[Update: Alwaleed replied to Trump’s tweet with one of his own saying “Trump:You base your statements on photoshopped pics?I bailed you out twice;a 3rd time,maybe?” Alwaleed noted the Plaza Hotel deal where he paid off Trump’s debt. He also revealed that he bought Trump’s yacht after it had been turned over to creditors]

The other tweet that Trump promoted today was this one that featured Megyn Kelly from an article in GQ. News Corpse reported on these photos at the time and how inappropriate they were for someone purporting to be a news professional. It not only diminished her as a journalist, but it demonstrated how Fox exploits the women they put on air as sexual objects.

Donald Trump Tweet

The problem with Trump weighing in on this is that it is blatantly hypocritical. The tweet refers to Kelly as a “bimbo” and, therefore, unfit to moderate a debate. However, Trump doesn’t seem to have the same opinion of his wife and daughter, whom he says are both businesswomen deserving of respect. Even though they both have their own photo spreads.

Donald Trump Wife Daughter

These tweets are just further evidence that Donald Trump is a boorish, hypocritical, bigoted cretin whose wealth has never enabled him buy an ounce of integrity or class. The fact that there are people who seriously regard this neanderthal as presidential material is a sad commentary on that small and repugnant sector of America. And don’t forget, Donald Trump wants to bang his daughter, as the video below makes clear.

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