BLACKOUT: This is How Fox News Intentionally Keeps Its Viewers Stupid

There have been innumerable examples of Fox News airing false reports in an effort to misinform their viewers. A recent example just within the past week alleged that President Obama recruited British spies to conduct surveillance on Donald Trump’s campaign. Fox’s senior judicial analyst, Andrew Napolitian, made the claim without any supporting evidence. The network’s news division later refuted the report and put Napolitano on an indefinite leave. But that was after the story had been disseminated worldwide, creating an international incident. Even Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer (Fibby Spice) cited the fake news during a White House press briefing.

Go Fox Yourself

However, another way of shaping an ignorant electorate is to refrain from covering important events. The choice of what not to cover is just as significant as what to cover. And on Tuesday Fox News demonstrated their determination to deny their audience information that is unarguably newsworthy.

The House Intelligence Committee’s hearings on Russia’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election were broadcast live by most news networks. Testimony by FBI Director James Comey revealed for the first time that the FBI was investigating Trump and his associates. The proceedings were unusually compelling for a congressional hearing. And the proof of that came when Fox News decided to cease coverage of the hearings to host a panel of right-wing talking heads instead.

Fox was the only network that interrupted the live broadcast. And by doing so they deprived their viewers of first hand knowledge of what was happening at the hearings. What’s worse is that they replaced the hearings with conservative pundits providing a blatantly biased analysis. It was a deliberate programming strategy designed to advance the messaging of an embattled White House.

Unfortunately for Fox News, it may not have worked this time. Ratings for the cable news networks show that when Fox cut away from the hearings they lost about 29 percent of their audience. That’s a massive shift by viewers who were obviously disappointed by Fox’s programming decision. What’s more, viewers were plainly following the hearings to other channels. The ratings for CNN and MSNBC both spiked after Fox cut away.

This tells us that the American people are acutely interested in this matter. They want to know more about the potentially treasonous activities of their president. By suppressing that information Fox succeeded only in alienating their audience and further eroding their credibility. Plus, they probably don’t want to send their viewers off to competing networks.

The Trump administration has brought newfound prosperity to liberal programming. The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC has toppled Fox from its perch atop the ratings hill. She has won her time period for the past two weeks straight. Saturday Night Live, despite Trump’s insulting tweets (or because of them) has seen its best ratings in years. Stephen Colbert’s Late Show is now leading his late night talk show competition.

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

All of this suggests that Americans are hungry for honest reporting. They are tired of Fox’s propaganda and the phony “balance” sought by CNN and other conventional news outlets. They want the press to be skeptical when appropriate and aggressive when necessary. They know there’s something amiss in the Trump White House and they don’t want it papered over. And they are not going to sit still when a network like Fox decides that they don’t need to know what’s really going on. Fox News needs to adjust a new viewer mantra: We have remotes, and we’re prepared to use them.

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Just Beat Fox News and Every Other Primetime Program On TV

For several weeks now Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC program has been picking up steam. Last Monday she rose into the ratings top ten in her time period. And that momentum continued for the rest of the week. As a result, she just snagged a victory over every primetime program for the week of March 6-10.

Rachel Maddow Donald Trump

The Hollywood Reporter noted the achievement saying that:

“Rachel Maddow, MSNBC’s star player, is enjoying one hell of a ratings run right now.

“The cable news network’s 9 o’clock host outrated every other primetime show during the week of March 6. Not only did that make her show No. 1 among adults 25-54 in her time slot with an average 624,000 viewers, she even beat cable news’ perennial victor — Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly.”

A showing this strong is evidence of a titanic shift in the television audience. Bill O’Reilly has been the cable news king of the hill fairly consistently for years. He hasn’t seen any real competition since Keith Olbermann. In her time period, Maddow’s weekly average crushed her direct competition, Fox’s newest primetime host Tucker Carlson. And her victory included both total audience and the key advertising demographic of viewers 25-54. The smug superiority of Carlson was quickly embraced by Fox’s viewers. However, his bewildered and annoyed shtick seems to be wearing thin.

Maddow’s rise has occurred simultaneously with Donald Trump’s collapse. Trump’s approval ratings started in the cellar with the lowest numbers ever recorded for a new president. And they have just gone down from there. This week alone he sunk five points to a pitiful 39 percent.

Consequently, Fox News is pulling out all the stops to prop up their propaganda. Sean Hannity blasted Maddow on Monday for daring to report on Trump’s ties to Vladimir Putin and Russia. Ordinarily Hannity wouldn’t bother to speak her name aloud. But now he is featuring her in his rants. First he complained that she didn’t have “a shred of evidence” tying Trump to Putin. That’s true. She doesn’t have a shred, she has truck load. Then Hannity asked the most blitheringly ironic question ever: “Do these people have any intellectual honesty?” No comment on that is necessary.

As for Carlson, he just announced that he will be interviewing Trump on Wednesday. Given Trump’s toxic presence, that might not be a great programming move. Fox’s glassy-eyed loyalists will love it, but the broader TV audience will likely stay away. What could they possibly learn from television’s most sycophantic Trump fluffer spending an hour with his idol?

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

That’s a problem that Fox News is going to have to contend with for the foreseeable future. Their star attraction is viewed by most Americans as an ignorant bigot who is intent on taking away their healthcare. During the campaign Trump was still a novelty and many people watched just to see if he would burst a blood vessel in his neck or slap an immigrant child. But the public knows Trump now and they’ve lost interest in his juvenile antics. And the more he is paraded out on Fox News, the better it will be for Maddow and MSNBC. Maybe CNN should start paying attention.

Rachel Maddow’s Trump Coverage Has Rocketed Her To The Top 10 Of TV Ratings

There have been numerous polls that show Donald Trump sinking to historic lows in approval. He currently resides at a pitiful 43 percent. That puts him at the bottom of the past nine presidents (going back more than sixty years) at this point in their terms. And that makes him the most unpopular new president in as long as this poll has been done.

Rachel Maddow

Likewise, majorities of the public are generally not in favor of his policies. He is trailing on the issues he has pushed the hardest for. Voters oppose him on ObamaCare, the border wall, and immigration. The media that he hates so fiercely is held in higher esteem than he is. And half of the electorate is already in favor of impeaching him. Can it get any worse than this?

Well, another measure of popularity is the ratings of television programs that feature news about politics. On that scale Trump is also in trouble. While Fox News remains the top rated cable news network, it is growing at a slower rate than its competitors. And one program particularly stands out. The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC is reaching new heights since election day. Maddow was recently featured in an interview with The Wrap who noted that:

“MSNBC’s ‘The Rachel Maddow Show’ has been on a roll, posting her best ratings month ever in February and nearly doubling her viewership. Her secret is simple. Maddow said she covers President Donald Trump’s White House in a very old-fashioned Hollywood way.

“‘We developed sort of an informal, internal mantra… which is that we basically cover them as if they are a silent movie,’ Maddow told TheWrap. ‘I stopped covering the Twitter feed and we started covering only what they do rather than what they say.’

“It’s working. In February, Maddow racked up MSNBC’s largest total viewer audience ever in the 9 p.m. ET timeslot and the best performance among the key news demo of adults age 25-54 since November 2012. After the February victory, Maddow has now beaten CNN’s regularly scheduled programming for 45 straight months.”

This sort of performance spike does not happen in a vacuum. People are gravitating to news that is informative and entertaining. There is clearly an audience that isn’t interested in Fox’s Pravda-like impression of state-run propaganda. Nor are they drawn to the phony “balance” that CNN aims for.

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

The television audience is reflecting the electorate by rewarding programming that takes on the flagrant lies of a delusional administration. Throughout the television schedule there is evidence of a Trump effect. Stephen Colbert has jumped into the late-night top spot due to his renewed focus on Trump. Saturday Night Live is hitting heights they haven’t seen in years. Sure, there may be some confirmation bias in this, but even that is instructive. There is obviously a significant number of people looking for confirmation of reality. And that’s something they aren’t getting from Trump & Company.

YOU LIE: Trump Gives His Standard Lie-Riddled Stump Speech And The Media Swoons

In 2009, President Obama gave his first speech before a joint session of congress. He was famously interrupted by Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina who yelled out “You lie.” He was reacting to Obama’s claim that undocumented immigrants would not receive healthcare benefits, which was true. So you have to wonder where Rep. Wilson was last night while Donald Trump unloaded a truckload of lies.

Donald Trump Lies

The speech itself was almost identical to his previous speeches before adoring throngs of StormTrumpers. The only difference was the lower volume and fewer insults and personal attacks. The stream of blatant falsehoods spewed throughout the address were familiar to anyone who witnessed his prior performances (See The Trump Bullshitopedia). For instance:

  • We’ve defended the borders of other nations, while leaving our own borders wide open.
  • Our borders are far from open and illegal crossings have declined.

  • Since my election, Ford, Fiat-Chrysler, General Motors, Sprint, Softbank, Lockheed, Intel, Walmart, and many others, have announced that they will invest billions of dollars in the United States and will create tens of thousands of new American jobs. The stock market has gained almost three trillion dollars in value since the election on November 8th, a record. We’ve saved taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars by bringing down the price of the fantastic new F-35 jet fighter.
  • In each of the cases listed, the jobs and investments were announced prior to Trump’s election. What’s more, the companies publicly refuted his involvement.

  • As we speak, we are removing gang members, drug dealers and criminals that threaten our communities and prey on our citizens.
  • Plus, he’s also removing mothers and brain surgery patients.

  • We are also taking strong measures to protect our Nation from Radical Islamic Terrorism. According to data provided by the Department of Justice, the vast majority of individuals convicted for terrorism-related offenses since 9/11 came here from outside of our country.
  • What he didn’t say is that none of them were from the seven countries he included in his Muslim ban. Nor did any of them enter the U.S. illegally. Some came with their parents as children.

  • Ninety-four million Americans are out of the labor force.
  • This is highly misleading. That statistic includes millions of people who are retired, students, stay-at-home parents, or disabled.

  • Right now, American companies are taxed at one of the highest rates anywhere in the world. My economic team is developing historic tax reform that will reduce the tax rate on our companies so they can compete and thrive anywhere and with anyone. At the same time, we will provide massive tax relief for the middle class.
  • This is an often repeated lie from Trump. PolitiFact has debunked it three times. The truth is that U.S. taxes on corporations are in the lower-to-middle of the pack. And his tax reforms are overwhelmingly beneficial to the wealthy.

  • Obamacare is collapsing.
  • The Affordable Care Act is achieving record sign-ups. To the extent that it is having difficulties, it’s due to obstructionism on the part of Republicans.

None of these lies are new. Trump has been been telling them throughout his campaign and into his brief presidency. Despite these documented fallacies, the media has been falling all over itself to congratulate the President on his speech. They seem to think that his having stayed on script and sticking to the TelePrompter is an oratory achievement. But just because he refrained from yelling or threatening to throw people out of the room doesn’t mean he’s finally pivoted to becoming “presidential.”

Unless, that is, you are an anchor or pundit on television news. Below are examples of how easily swayed our media is by obvious attempts to deceive and serve up propaganda:

  • Martha MacCallum, Fox News: We were told this was going to be an inspiring, uplifting speech tonight, and I think he hit the mark.
  • Jake Tapper, CNN: It was a much more subdued President Trump than we’ve seen,. It was a speech in which he clearly was trying to reset in a lot of ways.
  • Dana Bash, CNN: The most presidential of manners that we have heard from Donald Trump to date, period.
  • Brian Williams, MSNBC: Easily the most traditional speech he has given in public life. The most speech-like speech, if you will.
  • Anderson Cooper, CNN: It’s without a doubt one of his best speeches that I’ve ever heard.
  • Chris Wallace, Fox News: Tonight, Trump became President of the United States.
  • Martha Raddatz, ABC: Not only was he more presidential, he was a politician.
  • Van Jones, CNN: He did something tonight that you cannot take away from him — he became president of the United States.

What this tells us is that the media still hasn’t learned anything about the Reign of Trump. Either they are in a worshipful haze, or they are desperate to maintain access (ergo, ratings). Trump’s speech, as usual, contained little of substance. He failed to explain how he would achieve any of his policy proposals. Yet he shoveled piles of predetermined applause lines. The most jarring was his exploitation of the widow of a Navy SEAL killed in Yemen. But Trump didn’t disclose that his negligence was partly responsible for the failed mission that also killed thirty civilians, including ten children.

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

The media need to report the context that allows the American people to fully understand the issues they cover. And until they do they are nearly useless minions of a corrupt administration. It’s rather startling that they so quickly forget how abusive Trump is toward the press. But now that this highly anticipated speech is history, perhaps the press will seek answers to more important matters. Like whether the President conspired with Russia to rig the election. And what other relationships, personal, political or financial, he has with Putin’s dictatorship. Is that too much to hope for?

Trump Shill Kellyanne Conway Banned From Morning Joe Because She ‘Makes Things Up’

One of the many abhorrent things that the Era of Trump will be remembered for is the emergence of “Fake News.” The term’s definition has become fuzzy, but within Donald Trump’s circle it is defined as anything with which he disagrees. However, everywhere else it is more accurately defined as news that is deliberately contrived for financial or political gain.

Kellyanne Conway

The Trump Team has demonstrated its prowess in this new field of fictionalized reporting. Starting from the the top with Trump notching a record number of “Pants-On-Fire” lies on PolitiFact. And his press secretary, Sean “Fibby Spice” Spicer valiantly defends his boss with equally dishonest press briefings.

Another member of the Liars Brigade is Kellyanne Conway, the originator of “alternative facts.” However, her star may have fallen a bit in recent days. She was staggeringly out of the loop on the Michael Flynn resignation. Just a few hours before he was sacked she was still insisting that he had the President’s full confidence. And she has recently been called out for not making sense or for plugging Ivanka’s fashion line. The U.S. Office of Government Ethics has called on Trump to investigate and discipline her for the latter.

Wednesday morning Conway got some more bad news. The hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe have decided to ban her from future appearances. Both Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski assailed her record of inventing stories just to enhance her bookings. Brzezinski came out swinging with a biting question: “How many times does she go out and say things that are not true?” She continued:

“We know for a fact she tries to book herself on this show. I won’t do it because I don’t believe in fake news or information that isn’t true. Every time I’ve ever seen her on television something’s askew, off or incorrect.”

Scarborough agreed saying that Conway’s commentaries were “blatantly false.” But he went further to assert that she is ill-informed because she isn’t even invited to the meetings of Trump’s inner circle. Consequently, she is “a spokesperson in the White House [who] actually goes out and makes things up.”

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

This is good first step for the media. Next Conway should be shunned by every show on MSNBC. Following that, every other network should decline to book her. And if they really want to make a statement honoring truth in politics, they should do the same to Spicer. At the very least they need to stop airing his daily briefings live. By delaying the broadcast they can deny him a platform for his unfiltered propaganda and conduct a fair fact-checking. The public would be surely be better off. And the media could learn from Brzezinski’s example as she declares that:

“Kellyanne Conway does not need to text our show. At least as long as I’m on it. Because it’s not happening here.”

You Are Not Alone: New Poll Reveals America’s Deep Disapproval Of Donald Trump

With only one week remaining until Donald Trump’s inauguration, the mood of the American people has descended into an unprecedented funk. Trump has succeeded in making history as the most disliked President-Elect on record. And at a time when new presidents enjoy a honeymoon period, Americans seem more inclined to seek a divorce.

Lawrence O'Donnell MSNBC

On Thursday’s “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell,” the MSNBC host revealed the results of a brand new Quinnipiac Poll. Suffice to say that Trump will not be retweeting it, except to call everyone involved losers and liars. The poll shows how deeply dissatisfied the nation is with The Donald. In virtually every question posed by the pollsters Trump was seriously underwater. For instance:

  • On Trump’s cabinet nominees: Disapprove: 40%, Approve 30%.
  • On AG nominee Jeff Sessions: Disapprove: 34%, Approve 29%.
  • On Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson: Disapprove: 35%, Approve 23%.
  • On confidence that Trump will make things better: Not very/At all: 53%, Very/Somewhat: 44%.
  • On whether Trump will unite or divide the country: Divide: 54%, Unite: 40%.
  • Can you relate to Trump: No: 68% (including 35% of Republicans), Yes: 30%.
  • Is Trump honest: No: 53%, Yes: 39%.
  • On handling PEOTUS responsibilities: Disapprove:51%, Approve:37%.
  • On Trump’s job approval: Unfavorable: 51%, Favorable: 37%. A decline since the election.
  • On keeping his personal Twitter account: No: 64%, Yes: 32%.
  • On whether Trump will be a better president than Obama: Worse: 45%, Better 34%.
  • On what kind of president Trump will be: Bad/Not so good: 52%, Good/Great: 42%.

In every instance Trump not only fared poorly, he underperformed his election results. And as we know, he lost the popular vote by a historic margin of nearly three million votes. By comparison, the poll asked about President Obama’s job approval which stands at 55% favorable and 39% unfavorable. That’s a seven year high for Obama in this poll.

This poll makes clear that Trump has utterly failed to coalesce the country around his agenda of division and hate. His preliminary steps as PEOTUS have only further alienated the public. Rather than draining the swamp, Trump is stocking it with alligators from Goldman Sachs, celebrities from Fox News, and arch-conservatives from congress and business. And news about his unsavory associations with Russia aren’t helping either.

The conclusion drawn by O’Donnell is that “You are not alone.” Americans who have been grieving for their country and the state of its democracy are in the majority. Trump’s administration will begin without any hint of a mandate. Consequently, there is opportunity for the resistance to obstruct his agenda. But for that to happen, people need to be motivated, informed, and active. For more on that see the Indivisible Guide.

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

With Nothing To Pin On Hillary Clinton, Fox News Furiously Spins The Benghazi Panel’s Pointless Report

After two years and seven million dollars, the Republican Committee on Politicizing Benghazi finally issued a report on their findings. And, to no one’s surprise, the result of this lengthy and expensive charade reveals absolutely nothing of significance that wasn’t already known or reported by one of the seven other congressional committees that wasted taxpayer dollars on this transparently political witch hunt.

Almost immediately following the release of committee’s report Fox News shifted into offense in an effort to hurl mud at Clinton. The absence of anything substantive to report didn’t deter them from their mission. As an indication of how the media reported this news event, take a look at the on-screen graphics of the three cable news networks:

Fox News

Both CNN and MSNBC correctly reported that committee failed to deliver on their promises of criminality by Clinton. Fox News, on the other hand, tweaked their reporting to refer to the GOP’s press conference rather than the contents of the actual report. So their graphics faulted the Obama administration because that’s what the Republicans at the press conference were predisposed to discuss. Never mind that their own committee’s report did not support their criticisms. Even the Fox News crawl, during this segment, noted that “Clinton never personally denied requests for added security.”

Fox News spent much of the day slandering Clinton with innuendos that had nothing to do with the report. On Outnumbered Jedediah Bila said that “It doesn’t bother her that people died.” Fox’s national security analyst, K.T. McFarland, said that Clinton has “blood on your hands.” Dana Perino of The Five inexplicably called for yet another Benghazi investigation. Notice that none of these comments addressed any of the report’s actual findings, preferring instead to fling insults and malicious opinions.

Republicans had long ago exposed themselves as the perpetrators of a partisan assault on Hillary Clinton in advance of her campaign for the presidency. Their Speaker-in-Waiting, Keven McCarthy, bragged about his anti-Clinton plot to Sean Hannity saying that “Everybody thought that Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today?” Well, since you asked, Clinton’s numbers today put her twelve points ahead of Donald Trump, and McCarthy was bumped from his speakership path and replaced by Paul Ryan.

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

The Benghazi investigation lasted longer than any previous congressional investigation, including the JFK assassination, the Nixon Watergate affair, and 9/11. It’s budget exceeded that of the House Intelligence Committee and the Veterans Committee combined. Yet it found not a single bit of evidence of any wrongdoing by Clinton or the Obama administration. So Fox News chose to ignore the report’s conclusions and instead engage in ad hominem smear tactics. That is, after all, what they were created to do.

John Kerry Rips Donald Trump’s ‘Unbelievable Contemptuous Ignorance’ On Climate Change

The Republican Party long ago committed itself to a position on climate change that is at odds with reality. The question is settled with 97 percent of the scientists who study the subject agreeing that climate change is occurring and that it is caused by human activities. But that hasn’t stopped faith-based GOP politicians, with help from the Fox News propaganda machine, from rejecting the voluminous data validating the unprecedented scientific consensus.

John Kerry

Leading the brigade of science deniers is the Republican nominee for president, Donald Trump. In a widely ridiculed comment he called climate change a hoax that “was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” He advocates anti-environment policies such as eliminating regulations on energy exploration and production, opening up federal lands to oil drilling, and building the KeystoneXL pipeline. He promises to shut down the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which he thought was called the Department of Environmental (DEP?). And most recently he said that he would rip up the United Nations’ historic Paris climate agreement that currently has 177 signatories.

Responding to Trump’s attack on the Paris accords, Secretary of State John Kerry was interviewed on MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes (video below). He did not mince words when asked about Trump’s hostility toward the international effort to mitigate the catastrophic effects of climate change:

“Ripping up the climate agreement that was reached in Paris would be reckless, counterproductive, self-destructive. It would be an act of extraordinary danger to our country because of the path it would put us on both in terms of our global leadership on the issue as well as the actual policies we need to implement and it would in the end be an act of ignorance, of utter unbelievable contemptuous ignorance to get rid of something that the world has worked for since 1992 in Rio.”

Kerry didn’t stop there. He addressed the fact that each of the past years and decades marked record highs in global warming and were each hotter than those that preceded them, poignantly noting that “Somewhere people ought to be catching on to what is happening.” Along with the obvious and harmful impact of rising temperatures and sea levels, there is an alarming threat to national security. Kerry summarized this threat saying:

“Refugees that are being created in various parts of the world as a result of lack of water, or fights over food, or the fact that they have to move from where they live today. To talk about casually, without even understanding the work that has gone into it or the rationale for it, ripping it up would be one of the most reckless irresponsible, historically wrong acts I can think of.”

Conservative opponents of environmental reforms frequently try to belittle proponents as prioritizing climate change over terrorism. Of course, there is no reason why both issues cannot be tackled simultaneously. More to the point though, climate change actually is a more ominous threat that has the potential to instigate bloody wars and wipe out billions of people. Terrorism is unquestionably a tragic reality that requires a determined effort to defeat, but it does not approach the scale of climate change for global disaster. This was realized by no less a figure of right-wing stature than former George W. Bush defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld. The Rolling Stone published a comprehensive examination of “The Pentagon & Climate Change: How Deniers Put National Security at Risk,” that cited Rumsfeld:

“In 2003, under Donald Rumsfeld, former President George W. Bush’s defense secretary, the Pentagon published a report titled ‘An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and Its Implications for United States National Security.’ Commissioned by Andrew Marshall, who is sometimes jokingly referred to within the Pentagon as Yoda — and who was a favorite of Rumsfeld’s — the report warned that threats to global stability posed by rapid warming vastly eclipse that of terrorism.”

OK? So now the climate-hoaxers cannot simply blame Obama and his socialist cabal of Sharia lawyers for inventing the crisis. Sources as deeply ingrained in the rightist dregs of warhawk free-marketism as Rumsfeld and Bush warned of the very same threat. In fact, four of the past Secretaries of Defense (Chuck Hagel, Leon Panetta, Robert Gates, and Rumsfeld) all subscribed to the policy that Climate Change is one of America’s top strategic risks. And three of the four are Republicans.

That leaves Donald Trump and his ilk to be the standard bearers of an utterly delusional rejection of the dangers that face a planet that is rapidly heating up, both in terms of temperature and hostility. Kerry characterized Trump’s denialism perfectly by labeling it reckless and ignorant. Unfortunately the Republican Party is now Trump’s plaything and they can be expected to wholly embrace his ignorance with enthusiasm and obedient blindness.

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

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.

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.