Rachel Maddow’s Brilliant Reporting on Trump and Russia Has Upset the Snowflakes at Fox News

For the past several weeks Rachel Maddow has been enjoying record ratings for her MSNBC program. Not only that, in the Key 25-to-54 demographic, Maddow is beating her direct Fox News competition, Tucker Carlson. The surge in viewers can be attributed to the “gift” of endless atrocities and absurdities courtesy of Donald Trump & Company.

Rachel Maddow Donald Trump

As a result of the program’s accelerating success, Fox News is exhibiting signs of anxiety and desperation. This week Fox News lashed out to criticize Maddow by featuring an analysis of her coverage published by The Intercept. Fox’s headline complained “Report Calls Out Just How Much Time MSNBC’s Maddow Spends on Trump & Russia.”

Oh my. We certainly can’t have that. In addition to beating Fox in the ratings she’s bringing attention to the most damaging scandal of the Trump administration. No wonder Fox is worried. It’s bad enough to be losing to a liberal network, but they’re also failing to protect their boss in the White House. A boss who regards the whole Russia thing as fake news.

The criticism that Maddow is spending too much time on Trump and Russia is ironic. It’s exactly that coverage that is propelling her ratings growth. Clearly there is an audience that’s thirsty for the truth on this subject. And Maddow is well aware of that. In a recent interview she told the Hollywood Reporter that:

“We’ve put a lot of effort into the Russia scandal and I don’t regret that, and I intend to be as aggressive as I possibly can on that story because here is a scandal that is of transcendent, historic importance and is existentially about whether or not this presidency should exist or whether it is the product of a crime.”

The article in The Intercept is actually a well researched and written examination of Maddow’s choice of topics. And reasonable readers can agree or disagree with its conclusions. While it does fault her for overdoing the Trump/Russia story, it does so from the perspective that other stories important to progressives were getting short shrift. For example immigration, the Obamacare repeal effort, and Trump’s Muslim ban.

That’s probably not the same position Fox News is coming from. After all, it’s unlikely that Fox wants Maddow to forgo Russia and spend more time on Trump’s other failures. Fox’s only interest is in bashing Maddow and taking back their ratings crown. That may be why Fox left out The Intercept’s acknowledgement that “Maddow’s focus on Russia has helped her ratings, which are at their highest level since 2008.” Or that Maddow is “A supremely gifted journalist who Vanity Fair has dubbed ‘the smartest person on TV.'”

That Fox News would cherry pick bits of this article that they could frame negatively is evidence of their nervousness. They obviously have little to support their position and are stretching for ways to disparage their competition. But linking to an article that’s largely complimentary in order to squeeze out a mild rebuke is a desperation move. Look for more of that going forward as Trump continues to be a fountain of material for Maddow and other liberal journalists. At the same time Fox is having to deal with the fall of serial sexual harasser Bill O’Reilly. The fate of the network’s star attraction is currently hanging by a thread.

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

Here’s a sample of some of the Trump/Russia coverage that Maddow has been doing so well:

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.

New Poll Reveals How The Stupidity Of Trump Voters Got Him Elected

It’s been a month since the election and most Americans are still perplexed as to how Donald Trump eked out his Electoral College victory. Analysts are pouring over data and struggling to come up with explanations. Common sense challenges the notion that a reality TV game show host could become president following a campaign rife with ignorance and hatred.

Rachel Maddow

On Thursday night, however, Rachel Maddow reported on the results of a new Public Policy Polling (PPP) Poll that sheds some light on this mystery. And, not surprisingly, it had nothing to do with common sense. The poll compared the responses of Trump voters to those of the electorate at large. The differences are startling and disturbing.

Maddow starts off with a general question on the popularity of Donald Trump and President Barack Obama. The poll shows a majority of Americans (51%) have an unfavorable opinion Trump and a favorable (50%) opinion of Obama. However, Trump voters are wildly out of the mainstream with a whopping ninety percent unfavorable view of Obama. But that’s a purely subjective question and we all know that the nation has a marked partisan split. Where this descends into absurdity is when the questions address factual matters. Observe and cringe:

The Stock Market
The PPP poll asked respondents whether the stock market was higher or lower during the Obama administration. A shocking thirty-nine percent said that they believe the market is lower after eight years of Obama. The truth, of course, is that the market rose over 140 percent, from about 8,000 to over 19,600. That is not subjective. It is an easily provable fact. And it demonstrates just how averse the Trump voters are to facts.

The Unemployment Rate
PPP then asked about an issue that was consistently at the top of the list of voter concerns: Jobs. On this matter sixty-seven percent of Trump voters said that they believed the unemployment rate had risen under Obama. In fact, it has fallen from a high of 10.1 percent to the present 4.6 percent. For comparison, seventy-four percent of Democrats got the answer right.

The Popular Vote
Another data point that relies purely on facts is the result of the election. This year the “loser” of the presidency received more than two and a half million votes more than the “winner.” But if you ask Trump voters you’ll find that forty percent of them think The Donald won the popular vote.

Trump’s Tax Returns
Somehow, Trump managed to get through the election without releasing his tax returns, breaking a fifty year streak. The American people aren’t pleased. Fifty-nine percent still say that he should release them. But Trump voters are so tunnel-blinded by hero worship that fifty-nine percent of them say he shouldn’t bother. So despite all of the obvious potential for conflicts of interest, Trump voters would rather be left in the dark.

A couple more questions in the poll were similarly unsettling. Seventy-three percent of Trump voters believe that George Soros paid people to protest against Trump. He didn’t. Twenty-nine percent of Trump voters think California’s votes should not be counted in the popular vote total. WTF? Perhaps they are supporters of CalExit: California Independence. Sixty percent of Trump voters believe that millions voted illegally for Clinton. There is zero evidence of even a handful of such votes. And all of this lead to Maddow delivering this conclusion:

“I think it shows that even after the election, what Trump voters believe about the world is distinctively different from what the rest of the country believe. And from what is true. And this alternate reality that they’re in is weird enough and specific enough that you can’t say it just springs from broader misunderstandings or from a broader ignorance on issues that afflict the country. This is a specific alternate reality that was created by the Trump movement for a political purpose. And it worked for that political purpose.” […] “The incoming president basically created this fantasy life for his supporters.”

That pretty much says it all. However, there are a few other points to consider. Trump’s voters were inordinately influenced by his perpetual lying (see the Trump Bullshitopedia). Combine that with supporting fake news purveyors like Breitbart News, Infowars, and Fox News, and you have a virtual wall of propaganda (much of it paid for by Russia, not Mexico). It was a purposeful strategy to present the nation as a crumbling garbage heap. Otherwise there would have been no argument for Trump’s candidacy. He couldn’t run against a prosperous economy, full employment, and the highest rate of citizens with health insurance. Nor would his vulgarity, ignorance, and bigotry have been tolerated absent the horror story version of America he fabricated.

So now Trump will assume the helm of a nation that Obama rescued from near collapse. Don’t be surprised when he takes credit for everything Obama did. And don’t be surprised when he undoes it with his agenda which is identical to the one that caused all the problems in the first place.

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

Watch the segment from the Rachel Maddow Show:

LOCK HER UP: Fox News Stands Alone With Praise For Aspiring Dictator Donald Trump

The second presidential debate is now a part of history, and that’s not just a figure of speech. In a campaign that has set ugly precedents and breached common standards of decency from its inception, Donald Trump has once again lowered the bar. He has let his inner dictator emerge in full view of millions of viewers and citizens.

Donald Trump Hillary Clinton

During a debate wherein Trump engaged in free-range falsification of reality, there was one moment that stood out. It was an exchange in which Trump took the extraordinary position that as president he would instruct his Attorney General to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton.

TRUMP: “I didn’t think I’d say this but I’m going to say it, and I hate to say it, but if I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation.
CLINTON: It’s just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law of our country.
TRUMP: Because you’d be in jail.

The “situation” to which Trump referred has to do with Clinton’s emails and the private server she used. Never mind that an extensive investigation was already completed by the FBI. While they found some room for criticism, they concluded that there were no actionable violations of the law.

Trump, however, doesn’t care about the law as evidenced by his prejudgment to jail Clinton before any investigation or trial. It’s a position that stands in stark contrast to every legal precept in a democracy. Former Attorney General Eric Holder noted that in a statement saying “In the USA we do not threaten to jail political opponents.” George Bush’s press secretary Ari Fleischer agreed saying that “Winning candidates don’t threaten to put opponents in jail. […] Trump is wrong on this.”

For the most part the media recognized the aberrant legal analysis that Trump was proposing. Like much of what he says on any subject, he demonstrated his pitiful lack of knowledge or even basic understanding. Here are a few examples of how the press views Trump’s ludicrous threat.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN: We got an excellent moment right now to discuss something I’ve never heard in any of these debates before between two presidential candidates […] One candidate says not only is he going to put forward a special prosecutor to investigate his rival, but he’s going to put her in jail if he’s elected president of the United States. That’s pretty extraordinary.

DANA BASH, CNN: What makes this country different from countries with dictators in Africa or Stalin or Hitler or any of those countries with dictators and totalitarian leaders is that when they took over, they put their opponents in jail.

JOY REID, MSNBC: We need to not speed past the point that an American candidate for president threatened to jail his political opponent. […] This happens in Malaysia, this happens in Uganda. This does not happen in the United States of America.

VAN JONES, CNN: A line was crossed that I don’t know has been crossed in my lifetime, maybe ever. He threatened to jail his opponent. […] He threatened to jail Hillary Clinton if he became president of the United States. That is something that I think is a new low in American democracy.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: Donald Trump also said, in one of the most provocative comments of the evening, he said that if he was president, he would jail his political opponent. He would put Hillary Clinton in jail. That is the sort of thing that we usually decry in other countries, in authoritarian countries.

PAUL KRUGMAN: Let’s be clear: a candidate for president promised to put his opponent in jail if he wins. Everything else is secondary.

JAKE HOROWITZ, MIC: A few politicians who have jailed their political opponents: Putin, Erdogan, Chavez, Mugabe, Pinochet. Noriega.

DAVID FRUM, speechwriter for George Bush: Who would consent to serve as Attorney General to a president who believed he could direct prosecutions of his political opponents?

By contrast, Fox News presented a somewhat different perspective. Their primetime star Bill O’Reilly gushed that “That’s the smartest thing he did all night because that, just that, coalesced his base back together.” And contributor Scott Brown said that “It was the line of obviously, I think, the election, the debate process. […] it was a home run. I thought he won the debate.” Nowhere on the “fair and balanced” Fox News was there a contrary opinion like that expressed by Clinton’s campaign spokesman Brian Fallon:

“That is the comment of a dictator that you expect to hear in a banana republic — the idea of jailing your political opponents.”

And that pretty much sums it up. Trump has presented himself as a narcissistic authoritarian from the outset of his campaign. His racist proposals to ban immigrants on the basis of religion; his incitement of violence toward protesters; his proclamations that “I alone” can defeat ISIS, or reform the tax code, or repeal ObamaCare, or end street violence. These are all indications of Trump’s belief that as president he can act unilaterally and impose his will the nation. And let’s not forget his open hostility to the media upon whom he promised to seek revenge.

These are the thoughts and actions of a budding tyrant. Anyone who can contemplate putting Trump at the head of the U.S. government and military is playing with fire. Trump has shown us who he is, and it’s a frightening picture of autocratic oppression. If he were to become president, Hillary Clinton would not be the only opponent he would throw in his gulag. Guantanamo would be packed with his critics and any random liberals who offend him.

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.

Rand Paul Follows Ted Cruz To Sean Hannity’s Fox News/GOP Welcoming Party

Yesterday marked the arrival of the second official candidate for the Republican Party’s nomination for President of the United States. Kentucky senator, and former self-certified ophthalmologist, Rand Paul placed himself in contention for the nomination at the Galt House in Louisville. For those fortunate enough to have never slogged through Ayn Rand’s tedious and preachy novel “Atlas Shrugged,” John Galt is a leading figure who is best known for epitomizing the childish “take my ball and go home” philosophy of social interaction.

Rand Paul 2016

In what may signal a trend in the GOP’s strategy for launching a political campaign, Paul went straight from the Galt House to Sean Hannity’s House at Fox News for his first post-announcement interview. That is exactly what Ted Cruz did after announcing his candidacy at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, where students were threatened with fines if they did not attend. Perhaps Fox News has implemented the same policy wherein Republican candidates will be fined, or otherwise punished, if they do not pay their respects to Hannity before proceeding with their campaign.

While it is no surprise that GOP presidential wannabes would kowtow to Fox News (aka the PR division of the Republican Party), it is a demonstration of their arrogance that they are not at least trying to disguise their biases for the sake of appearing to be credible. Apparently that ship has sailed, been commandeered by Fox pirates, and is now rusting on the ocean floor.

As for Paul, he delivered what he called a “a message that is loud and clear and does not mince words.” Indeed, it was loud. And that message turned out to be decades old sloganeering whose words relay nothing of substance: “We have come to take our country back.” It’s easy to mock this theme by asking simply “back to what?” From all appearances, Paul wants to take us back to the Reagan years, with its soaring deficits, crushing unions and working people, abandonment of the poor and mentally ill to the streets, and illegally bankrolling foreign terrorists with money made from selling arms to terrorist states.

However, the more interesting question is who does Paul mean when says “We?” The “we” that he is leading so that he can snatch the country back from the citizens who twice elected Barack Obama, are the bankers, oil barons, and other privileged elites who he would free from regulations that protect the public from their greed and abuse. Paul is a favorite of the Koch brothers and, of course, Fox News kingpin, Rupert Murdoch.

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

It will be interesting to see how the rest of the GOP roster rolls out their campaigns. Marco Rubio is anticipated to be next in line. He would be smart to skip the Hannity ring-kissing ceremony, if just to differentiate himself from the pack. After all, he could go straight to Megyn Kelly and still satisfy his bosses at the network.

And just for fun…

Paul was famously outed as a plagiarist by Rachel Maddow who noticed that his speeches were curiously identical to the Wikipedia page for the movie Gattaca. If that seems like an odd source for staking a false claim of authorship, then what do we make of his having designed a logo for his presidential campaign that appears to be a rip-off of the logo for the hook-up site, Tinder?

World on Fire

I’m just asking. And while we’re at it, why do both Paul and Cruz feature flames in their logos? Is it to convey their belief that “the world is on fire,” as Cruz told a frightened little girl?

UPDATE: Marco Rubio did indeed make Hannity his first media stop. That makes Hannity and the GOP field three for three.

Rachel Maddow: Fox News Has A Bill O’Reilly Problem (Or Do They?)

Last night Rachel Maddow reported on the downward spiral of Bill O’Reilly’s already shaky credibility. Since reports last month about his false statements placing him “in a war zone…in the Falklands,” the cascade of additional lies has accelerated exponentially. Just keeping up with the new revelations is difficult, so News Corpse provided this handy summary:

Bill O'Reilly

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On her program Maddow ran through a partial list of the lies exposed so far, including the Falklands affair, the misrepresentations of his experiences in Northern Ireland and El Salvador, and his blatantly dishonest account of being present when a figure associated with the Kennedy assassination committed suicide. She spent a fair amount of time on the latter, with audio tapes of O’Reilly debunking himself. But a highlight of her report was the response she got after requesting a statement from Fox News:

“We asked them for comment of the substance of the allegations. What they sent us was a lot of information about how great Bill O’Reilly’s ratings are.”

That’s a fairly typical response from the Fox News PR department that seems to think that having a large number of easily duped viewers is evidence of truthful reporting. To the contrary, it’s the fact that there are so many gullible Fox watchers that makes lying to them so easy. What Fox defenders fail to understand is that volume does not equal quality. McDonald’s is the number restaurant in America, but few people would say that it has the best food.

Maddow’s commentary on O’Reilly was couched in a dialogue that addressed what happens “when cable news goes wobbly.” She related the O’Reilly situation to other incidents of the sort of error-prone reporting that occurs when being first is more important than being right. However, O’Reilly has had years to shape his storytelling and, if necessary, correct the record, but instead has repeated the falsehoods with every new opportunity. This makes it clear that his intent all along has been to deceive. And that’s a problem for both him and the network he represents. As Maddow said…

“The Fox News channel has a problem now. They have a problem with the face of their network, their flagship anchor, having all of this stuff trailing him around with no plausible explanation for what exactly he said and did and why they haven’t tried at least to fix it. The network has also not apologized or retracted any of Mr. O’Reilly’s overt threats to other reporters who have just covered this story about the real credibility they have got with him right now.”

Indeed, O’Reilly has the highest rated program on Fox News. He is the first person most people would think of if asked to name a Fox News personality. And he is a pathological liar. However, the rational observation that that would be problematic for Fox may not be entirely accurate. After all, Fox News has made its reputation by lying incessantly in support of their right-wing political agenda. They slander liberals and exalt conservatives. They ridicule progressive policies and push those that advance the interests of the conservative elite. So the question of whether or not O’Reilly hurts Fox needs further analysis.

There is no shortage of examples of Fox’s brazen dishonesty and disregard for journalistic ethics. Their mangling of the truth was baked into their pseudo-news recipe from the day they debuted. So why would it trouble them if their featured anchor is a proven prevaricator? In fact, O’Reilly is the perfect representative of the Fox brand. He’s the biggest liar on the network of lies. If the bulk of your programming is littered with partisan bullcrap, than Bill O’Reilly isn’t a problem at all. He’s your poster boy.

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

To Rachel Maddow: Fox News Doesn’t Give A Fig About Bill O’Reilly’s Lies And Threats

The scandal engulfing Fox News, and its star blowhard Bill O’Reilly, is picking up steam as well as new allegations of dishonesty and flagrant self-glorification. The latest episodes of O’Reilly inventing harrowing journalistic adventures include his false assertion that he was present at the suicide of a figure associated with the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and his claim to have witnessed nuns being executed in El Salvador.

The initial response to the evidence that O’Reilly repeatedly lied about his experiences in Argentina as a “war zone” correspondent “in the Falklands” was to launch an attack on the reporters who exposed him and the so-called “liberal” media overall. He called them “liars, guttersnipes,” and “far-left zealots.” Even worse, when approached by a reporter from the New York Times he warned her that if he was unhappy with the story “I am coming after you with everything I have. You can take it as a threat.”

Bill O'Reilly

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Last night on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show, the issue was raised to inquire as to whether O’Reilly’s turpitude might disturb his employers or colleagues (video below). Maddow did an excellent job of explaining the events that led up to O’Reilly’s threats, but then she entertained the following scenario:

“Fox News has a bunch of folks like Mr. O’Reilly on their shows. It’s part of why I call them Republican TV. But they also have a lot of real reporters on staff who do real reporting all day long on real news. They have White House correspondents, and congressional reporters, and even media reporters. And I’m sure they don’t take kindly when their own reporters get threatened for trying to do their jobs. But it is hard to imagine what this is going to do to the work environment at Fox News Channel for the Fox News Channel’s real reporters, and they do have them.”

Maddow surely has decent intentions in characterizing Fox News as a network that employs real reporters. However, there is scant evidence that it is true. Their main anchor, Bret Baier, presides over a daily roasting of President Obama. Their chief White House correspondent, Ed Henry, is a deeply biased right-winger with open hostility to the President. Their media analyst, Howard Kurtz, went out of his way to defend O’Reilly in an embarrassing display that evoked either fear or fawning or both.

But one thing in particular that Maddow said was way off the mark. It is not hard at all to imagine what this is going to do to the work environment at Fox News. It isn’t going to do a damn thing. As fake news guy Jon Stewart correctly pointed out: “No one’s watching [O’Reilly] for the actual truth.” And referencing O’Reilly’s “No Spin Zone” tag line Stewart noted that “Misrepresenting the zone he is in is kind of his hook.”

Fox News is a network born of deceit and devoted to the dissemination of propaganda. They couldn’t care less if they are discovered to be distorting reality because that is what they were created to do. Their founder and CEO, Roger Ailes, has no scruples when it comes to stuffing his roster with partisan clowns, as evidenced by the existence of Steve Doocy, Sean Hannity, Judge Jeanine Pirro, Donald Trump, Elizabeth Hasselbeck, Keith Ablow, and, of course, Bill O’Reilly.

When some of his mouthpieces began to fray at the edges of sanity, Ailes admitted to keeping them on the air long after he had determined that they were detrimental with justifications that were purely political. The reason Ailes gave for putting off Beck’s departure was that he “didn’t want to give MoveOn and Media Matters the satisfaction.” And with regard to why he re-signed Sarah Palin after first letting her contract expire, he said that he hired her back to “piss off the people that wanted her dead.” How does that comport with the production of “real news.”

As for O’Reilly, he is a known ratings winner who satisfies the lust for wingnut outrage that boils in the withering hearts of the Fox News audience. Ailes isn’t going to risk that without some intense pressure being applied, and maybe not even then. He knows that O’Reilly is a hate monger whose persona is dripping with animus and ego. A study done a few years back by Indiana University revealed the depth of O’Reilly’s bullying attitude:

“The IU researchers found that O’Reilly called a person or a group a derogatory name once every 6.8 seconds, on average, or nearly nine times every minute during the editorials that open his program each night.”

Consequently, Fox News is well aware of how O’Reilly behaves and they approve. The only thing that might impact their decision to stand by him is if advertisers bail out in droves, which is what happened to Glenn Beck. And then they still kept his show on for a period of time to avoid looking like they caved in. In O’Reilly’s case, they would more likely announce his retirement after some twenty years on the network. It would then be announced that he would produce occasional specials and continue to write books about killing people. Which is an especially appropriate legacy for a bully like him to pursue.

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Media Matter and MoveOn have a petition calling for Fox News to Hold Bill O’Reilly Accountable. Go add your name to it and let the advertiser community know that America’s television viewers aren’t going to stand for this.