Is Fox News Shielding Donald Trump From Release Of Damaging Courtroom Video?

News organizations generally favor having access to as much information as possible. It is, in fact, their mission to compile as much raw data on a subject as they can in order to present a complete account to the public. It is almost unheard of for a media company to decline to advocate for access to relevant information, particularly from a government or legal entity. And yet, that is exactly what Fox News is doing.

Trump News Channel

A motion filed Friday with the U.S. District Court in San Diego is petitioning for the release of video depositions of Donald Trump made in connection with the fraud case against him and his defunct Trump University. And, yes, that’s the same court presided over by Judge Gonzalo Curiel who Trump has been attacking in a baseless and racist effort to smear the judge as unfair.

The videos referenced in the filing have the potential to reveal a more accurate representation Trump than the one he carefully crafts with his media and public appearances. The motion was filed on behalf of every major television news network (ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN), as well some of the most prominent newspapers (New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune).

Well, make that “almost” every major television news network. There are a couple of conspicuous holdouts who have not joined this filing, most notably Fox News. Along with Fox, the Wall Street Journal, another cog in Rupert Murdoch’s media machine, did not participate in the filing. This raises questions as to whether Fox News is deliberately abstaining so as not to harm the electoral prospects of the candidate they openly support, or to avoid aggravating Trump and thus lose access to his frequent and profitable appearances on the network (he has boycotted Fox News in the recent past). Another more fanciful theory is that Trump has dirt on Fox News, and/or its CEO Roger Ailes, and is steering clear for fear of retaliation.

The motion filed by the press succinctly describes the argument in favor of releasing the videos. It’s an argument that rests on the public’s right to know and the importance of transparency during a presidential campaign. The opening paragraphs say…

“For many years, Defendant Donald J. Trump has been at the center of an ongoing controversy over his namesake, Trump University (“TU”). This lawsuit – one of several actions alleging that TU defrauded its customers and encouraged their participation in the volatile late-2000s real estate market – drew significant public attention even before this year’s Presidential election.

“Now, Defendant is the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, and has made his business acumen an important element of his campaign. Thus, this lawsuit not only raises important questions about Defendant and his organization, it has become a prominent electoral issue. Opposing candidates have pointed to the allegations in this case in criticizing Defendant’s qualifications for the presidency; Defendant has cited TU as an example of his business success, and made this litigation itself a campaign issue.

“Given the undeniable and substantial public interest in these proceedings, the need for transparency could not be greater.”

Trump’s legal team is, predictably, opposing this motion, although they have not yet laid out the details of their rebuttal. But it’s one thing for Trump’s lawyers to argue against releasing material that will prove detrimental to his case and reputation. It’s their job to insulate him from legal jeopardy. However, it is not the job of Fox News, or any media enterprise, to protect Trump from embarrassing disclosures and to help him keep such information from the public.

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

By their conspicuous absence as plaintiffs in this filing, Fox News is signaling both their allegiance to Trump and their contempt for a free press. While they often feverishly complain that President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and other Democrats lack transparency, Fox is demonstrating that their “fair and balanced” slogan is nothing more than a phony marketing gimmick. If the court rules in favor of this motion Fox News will almost certainly air the videos that become available. But look for them to air along with vigorous defenses of Trump and attempts to dismiss their relevance and malign his critics. It’s the Fox News way.

Donald Trump Is Now Officially The Candidate Of Fox News

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

Donald Trump Rupert Murdoch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Donald Trump Roger Ailes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fox News Wouldn’t Know Comedy “If It Hit Them In The Ass With A Fish”

The hypersensitive crybabies at Fox News have found something new to whine about. It’s not they have exhausted their obsession with demonizing Latinos and Muslims and women, or that they are tiring of the War on Christmas and other Christianist rhetoric (supremacy). It’s just another avenue of outrage for them to venture down as they seek to spread right-wing propaganda.

Fox News Bozo

Roger Ailes, the CEO of Fox News, is complaining about a comedy pilot being considered by ABC. According to Adweek, the program “stars Kal Penn as a journalist who aspires to work for NPR, but instead takes a job at a cable news network that resembles Fox News Channel.” The working title for the show is “Fair and Balanced.” And that’s all it took to rile up the hilarious Mr. Ailes, who doesn’t think the idea for this show is very funny.

Clearly upset, Ailes told Adweek that “They ought to call it an attempt at liberal comedy which will fail.” That’s pretty funny Roger, and a sterling example of your brilliant sense of humor. That must be why Fox News has recently been trying to transform itself into a full-fledged comedy network. Why not? They certainly suck at news. And Ailes knows what he’s talking about on the subject failing comedy. Just think back to his attempted Daily Show rip-off, “The Half-Hour News Hour.” It lasted less than one season amid scathing reviews and universal ridicule. But all of this unintentional humor was still not as funny as this:

Ailes: People tried to poke at this, and the whole Fair and Balanced concept. They wouldn’t know fair and balanced if it hit them in the ass with a fish.

Having sufficiently embarrassed himself with regard to comedy, Ailes is now reverting to the safety of his defense of Fox News as being “fair and balanced.” Indeed, the network’s slogan has been the subject of relentless ridicule, for good reason. Most cognitively functional human beings laugh hysterically at the notion. Fox News is about as fair as a carnival game of ring toss and about as balanced as Charlie Sheen.

So where does Ailes go from here? He calls out his legal beagles to attack the “poor dumb bastards” at ABC. And after threatening to sue for infringement of his allegedly trademarked slogan, Ailes compounds his threat with a typically juvenile taunt saying “I’ve got 24 hours a day to trash ABC programming. You guys can’t program your way out of the men’s room.” If he really believed that, then why is he so disturbed by the prospect of a program he’s certain will fail?

This isn’t the first time that Ailes has released his legal hounds on someone who had the audacity to use the words “fair” and “balanced” in a project satirizing Fox. Sen. Al Franken, prior to his election, wrote a book titled Lies: And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them,” with the subtitle “A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right.” Fox News promptly filed a lawsuit against Franken that was literally laughed out of court. You might say that Ailes got himself “hit in the ass with a fish.” Fish-slapping, of course, is a time-honored staple of comedy, as demonstrated here by the masters, Monty Python:

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

Roger Ailes Ponders Which GOP Loser Fox News Will Hire After The Election

Adweek just named Fox News CEO Roger Ailes their Media Visionary of 2015. Presumably he earned that honor by presiding over a cable “news” network best known for being the mouthpiece of the Republican Party and a purveyor of radical right-wing propaganda.

In an interview of Ailes he was asked “which of the GOP candidates would be a good fit as a Fox News analyst?” Ailes’ response first noted that “half of them” had already worked for Fox. Actually it was just four: Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, John Kasich, and Rick Santorum. But that’s still a record number of presidential candidates who were former employees of a news network.

Returing to the question, Ailes cited Chris Christie as someone who is “good on TV. I think he’s gotten a bum rap in this race.” That vote of confidence isn’t surprising since Ailes tried unsuccessfully to recruit Christie to run for president in 2012.

Chris Christie

Ailes also praised Carly Fiorina about whom he said she “has been on the stage with 15 men twice and she’s beat them, twice. That’s pretty good.” But somehow, I think Ailes is missing the obvious choice for a Fox News personality from among the GOP’s losing candidates.

Fox News Donald Trump

Donald Trump has proven to be a huge ratings draw for Fox. The first Republican debate that featured Trump saw their audience swell to a record 24 million. Although the appeal is of the same sort that causes people to gawk at gory traffic accidents, ratings are ratings. Trump has experience on television hosting a show that was called “reality” but was actually total bullshit, pretty much like everything on Fox News now. And the Fox News audience loves to be lied to, a big advantage for someone like Trump who is a pathological liar (see the Trump Bullshitopedia for a collection of his numerous lies).

There’s just one little problem. While Ailes says that he has a cordial relationship with Trump, he’s about the only person at Fox who does. In the past few weeks Trump has burned just about every bridge he’s crossed. He said of Megyn Kelly that she “is the worst” and has a “terrible show.” He called Karl Rove a “total fool” and “a biased dope.” He said that George Will is a “broken down political pundit” and “boring.” Chris Stirewalt was deemed “one of the dumbest political pundits on television.” Trump laughed off Charles Krauthammer as “a totally overrated clown,” “a loser,” and “a dummy.” And wrapping up the whole network for his disapproval, he tweeted that he was “having a really hard time watching Fox News.” Then he called on his followers to boycott the network. And for good measure, Trump took a swipe at the Fox family’s newspaper saying that the writers at the Wall Street Journal are “dummies.”

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

Perhaps Trump’s childish outbursts might not be a problem after all, They might instead be the sort of moronic melodrama that ignites small minds and makes stars of Kardashians. But notwithstanding his gross vulgarity, Trump would fit right in at Fox. He is a bombastic, liberal-hating, misogynistic, racist who has no problem fertilizing the ignorance of his audience with his own pitifully stupid and dishonest world view.

Donald Trump: Fox News Owner Rupert Murdoch Is My Bitch

The ongoing feud between Donald Trump and Fox News has been a spasmodic adventure of alternating animosity and affection – mostly animosity. A few weeks ago News Corpse wrote that Donald Trump had effectively made Fox CEO Roger Ailes his“bitch” by forcing him to concede to his demands and then rubbing it in.

Donald Trump Rupert Murdoch

Well, The Donald has continued his conquest of Fox by putting its corporate master, Rupert Murdoch, in the same bitch boat. Despite recent assurances that all had been forgiven, Trump’s assault on the network and its personnel is unyielding. He is still hammering away at anchor Megyn Kelly, most recently with a tweet calling for a boycott saying “Best thing my supporters can do if you don’t like the way @megynkelly and her puppets unfairly treat ‘us’ is don’t watch her show!”

Now Trump is expanding the battlefield to include Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal. This offensive began with a question asked by Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday that referenced an article in the Journal that was critical of Trump. He responded by disparaging the paper’s market value saying…

“The Wall Street Journal was bought for $5 billion. It’s now worth $500 million, OK. They don’t have to tell me what to do. The Wall Street Journal has been wrong so many different times about so many different things.”

He’s actually right that the value of the paper declined, although he doesn’t say how he came up with the lower figure. All that News Corp has stated is that they took a $2.8 billion write-down following the acquisition. That would still leave the value of the paper above $2 billion. And Trump doesn’t seem to be aware that the entire print news business has collapsed since the Internet became a viable alternative. In any case, the net worth of a news enterprise has no bearing whatsoever on the quality of its reporting, so Trump really used that as a way to avoid the criticism.

But Trump wasn’t done. He took his WSJ attacks to his Twitter page where he took several wild swings that succeeded only in salving his ego. The tirade culminated in this pathetic post:

“It’s amazing that some of the dumbest people on television work for the Wall Street Journal, in particular a real dope named Charles Lane!”

The “real dope” in this case does not work for the Wall Street Journal. Charles Lane is an editorial writer for The Washington Post. So, technically, Trump is the real dope, a position with which he must be familiar. But his broad-based blast at every WSJ asset on Fox hits several programs and regular contributors. It is a bunker-buster dropped on both Fox News and the Journal, Murdoch’s pet properties. And yet, Murdoch has not responded to defend his companies or his people. In fact, Murdoch has not tweeted in nearly two weeks, since his racist “real black president” tweet. Have his handlers suspended Twitter privileges.

Trump is a typical bully. He has a big mouth and likes to throw his weight around. But he doesn’t have any real power and would crumble if his victims would just stand up to him. Like most bullies, he’s a coward. He recently bragged that he is an armed mofo and that if “somebody attacks me, oh they’re gonna be shocked.” But now he is seeking Secret Service protection for fear of alleged death threats. What ever happened to his awesome ability to shock any would-be attacker?

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

With his silence in the wake of Trump’s insults, Murdoch is just providing more proof that he has joined Ailes in the bitches corner. And they aren’t alone. CNBC’s capitulation to Trump’s debate demands, and NBC’s invitation to Trump to host Saturday Night Live, put them both in the same dark place. [Note: sign the petition here urging NBC to rescind the SNL offer] When will the media get some courage and start showing some integrity and principle? They are cowering to the potential ratings bonanza they assume they will get by caving in to Trump. But that isn’t journalism. It’s an embarrassing display of unprofessionalism that should yield a tsunami of shame – if they had the capacity to feel it.

Donald Trump Is A Punk-Slash-Ignoramous Who Fears Bernie Sanders And Debates

Billionaire crybaby Donald Trump is once again showing severe signs of his true character (or lack thereof). It has been obvious since he began his delusional campaign for the Republican nomination for president that he was an egomaniac obsessed with whining and hurling childish insults at anyone who hurt his tender feelings. Every day he embarrasses himself further with demonstrations of ignorance and conceit. And yesterday was a treasure trove of typical Trumpian nonsense.

Donald Trump

First up, Trump appeared at a rally in Virginia where he revealed just how scared he is of Bernie Sanders, and how little he knows about, well anything. He launched into a rabid tirade aimed at Sanders’ description of himself as a Democratic socialist, a term that Trump couldn’t define if his life depended on it.

Trump: “This socialist-slash-communist – OK? Nobody wants to say it. […] Nobody’s heard the term communist, but you know what, I call him a socialist-slash-communist. OK? Cause that’s what he is.

No, that’s actually not what he is. But I can form trite couplets that are far more descriptive of Trump and more accurate. For instance, Trump is a wuss-slash-narcissist, or an idiot-slash-racist, or a dad-slash-pervert, or a fatcat-slash-fascist. He seems so proud of himself for daring to call Sanders something only a total fool would think is applicable. He is, therefore, proud of his ignorance, which shouldn’t surprise anyone. Trump has no idea what a communist is, but he’s pretty sure that he could build a wall to keep them from taking our jobs, raping our daughters, and sapping and impurifying all of our precious bodily fluids (h/t Dr. Strangelove).

Trump’s Sanders-phobia continued with an Instagram video wherein Trump offered the asinine and racist comparison of #BlackLivesMatter to ISIS. The video ended with a graphic reading “Bernie can’t even defend his microphone, how will he defend the country?” Trump seems to think that a confrontation with peaceful protesters advocating justice at a political rally is the same as the military battle against international terrorists. If that’s an indication of how he would respond to dissent in America, everyone should be terrified of him having any power greater than a tollbooth attendant.

Finally, Trump has been throwing another of his patented tantrums over the proposed terms of a GOP debate. He’s complaining that CNBC is stretching the debate to three hours so they can make more money. Even if that’s true, since when does a right-wing Republican object to businesses exercising their rights in a free market? He said that a three hour debate would be unfair to viewers. Does he think that just because he has to stand there the whole time that everyone watching at home is prohibited from changing the channel or walking the dog any time they want? A longer debate gives people more information, even if they view it in parts over the next few days.

Viewers are not burdened by the running time of the debate, but apparently Trump is. Clearly he doesn’t have either the energy to stand for three hours, or the intelligence to answer questions. With ten candidates on the stage three hours only provides about fifteen minutes of questions each (minus commercials and opening and closing statements). That’s not really very much time for deciding on who should become the leader of the free world. Cutting the debate to two hours leaves about nine minutes each. Trump is also insisting that opening and closing statements be part of the format because then he can deliver prepared politispeak rather than having to show that he understands any real issues.

Bonus whining: Trump has resumed his Twitter war with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly. In a fevered blast of tweets he called her a liar and said that he “can’t stand to watch her” and her “two really dumb puppets,” Chris Stirewalt and Marc Thiessen. I wonder if Fox CEO Roger Ailes will take this latest assault on his network and staff laying down. He has previously shown that he is more than willing to be Trump’s bitch.

Trump’s petulant hissy fitting is at once pathetic and entertaining. It illustrates the worst aspects of the inherited wealthy elitists who presume themselves to be entitled to special privileges and unwavering attention. This video shows exactly the mindset that Trump has had his whole life:

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

Headline Of The Year: Rupert Murdoch Is Deviant Scum (Rolling Stone)

Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi has penned a thought provoking article that examines the fading glory of one of the world’s most prominent media barons, Rupert Murdoch. He begins above the fold with a no-holds-barred headline declaring that Rupert Murdoch Is Deviant Scum.” And he has the reasoned analysis to back it up.

Murdoch Trump

Taibbi carefully constructs a case for how Murdoch is losing either his empire or his mind, or both. At the outset is the observation that his crown jewel, Fox News, is at risk of being strangled by its own monstrous creation, Donald Trump. He notes that Murdoch “must be petrified at the prospect of losing his hard-won viewership at the end of his life.” The public feuding that has been ongoing between Fox and Trump threatens to sap the network of its previously loyal viewer base. Trump’s followers are incensed by what they feel is unfair treatment of their superhero and have pledged to boycott the network. Or as Taibbi deliciously puts it…

“Donald Trump is the fallen angel in the Fox story, a traitor who’s trying to tempt away Murdoch’s lovingly nurtured stable of idiot viewers by denouncing their favorite ‘news’ network as a false conservative God.”

Taibbi proposes that Murdoch’s fear of mogul emasculation is the impetus for his ludicrous tweet extolling Ben Carson, another former Fox News contributor, as potentially “a real black President who can properly address the racial divide?” And who could be a better gauge of real blackness that old Rupert? [For the record, along with Trump and Carson, the current GOP field of candidates includes three more ex-Fox employees, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, and John Kasich.] But it’s Obama’s suspect blackness, in Murdoch’s view, that Taibbi focuses on. He notes that Fox’s standard profile of Obama is one of “a mongrel, a kind of Manchurian President, raised in madrassas and weaned on socialism, who hates white people and yearns to euthanize them.” Or when race was a part of the discussion, Obama was reduced to being a “secret street hood,” or a “skinny, ghetto crackhead.” Taibbi summarizes saying that…

“Rupert Murdoch has spent seven to eight years finding every conceivable way to say that Barack Obama isn’t one of us. The president is forever described as a kind of malevolent animal, unable to control his irrepressible urge to take and redistribute the white man’s property.”

The whole article is well worth the read. It contains rational insight, pertinent facts, and luminous prose. And I find it particularly relevant in light of an article I wrote three years ago positing that Murdoch was even then showing signs of losing it. On several pressing issues there were emerging stark difference between the powerful Murdoch of the past and the more impotent version of the present. On gun control, immigration, and climate change mitigation, all of which he viewed favorably, Murdoch’s views were contradicted by his Fox News subordinates. He was also being supplanted as the GOP kingmaker by his lieutenant Roger Ailes, CEO of Fox News. As I wrote at the time…

Politicians around the world were once obliged to pay their respects to the “Dirty Digger” if they hoped to succeed electorally. […] However, in recent months the Murdochian monarchy seems to have been sapped of its power. There has been none of the reverential genuflecting to the man whose anointment was once compulsory. There has been scant evidence of his presence in the political backrooms where influence is administered.

The usurpation of the Fox News agenda is obvious and disturbing. Roger Ailes is installing himself at the top of the pile in opposition to his boss on some of the most important issues of the day. This can only lead to trouble. Visceral, personal, gut-wrenching, back-stabbing, explosive trouble. In other words: FUN!

Suffice to say that it hasn’t gotten better for Murdoch since then. And Taibbi’s profile illustrates just how much his situation has deteriorated. He notes that Murdoch “senses his beloved audience of idiots drifting away.” It becomes a question of whether Murdoch is willing to sink as low as Trump in order to get them back. It’s a tough call, but if anyone can descend to the most putrid levels of human indecency it’s Rupert Murdoch – the man whose British newspaper hacked the phone of a murdered schoolgirl. Let Trump top that.

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

Fox News Admitted The Benghazi Probe Was A Political Sham Years Before McCarthy

Last night the Republican Majority Leader in the House of Representatives (and prospective future Speaker), Kevin McCarthy, revealed what many people already knew about the GOP’s investigation into Benghazi. And contrary to some characterizations in the press, it was not a gaffe. McCarthy openly bragged to Sean Hannity of Fox News that he helped to orchestrate an anti-Hillary Clinton campaign by forming a Select Committee To Politicize Benghazi. It was, and still is, a repulsive endeavor that dishonors the dead and exposes the self-serving immorality of the Republican Party.

Fox News

However, McCarthy wasn’t the first to proudly disclose the rank partisanship of the phony Benghazi probe. Two years ago Fox News congratulated themselves on their dishonest Benghazi coverage with particular praise for Fox CEO Roger Ailes. Steve Doocy of Fox & Friends said that…

“Fox News has been doing this story from the get-go. And the mainstream media, the Daily Show, has mocked us for covering Benghazi. And now everybody else is catching up. It’s been a story they’re realizing. One of the reasons we’ve followed it is Roger Ailes, our chairman and CEO. […] Had Roger and Fox News not pushed this story the White House would have just left it in the dust.”

As News Corpse wrote last year:

“Roger Ailes spent decades as a professional Republican consultant before being tapped by Rupert Murdoch to run Fox News. Ordinarily media executives do not interfere with the operations of their editorial departments, but such journalistic ethics have never been a part of the Fox News mission. Thus we see their CEO openly shaping news coverage, even influencing policy, and getting praised for it on the air by his employees.”

And in a separate article on the same subject:

“Neither Boehner nor Gowdy have any interest in getting to the bottom of anything. Their statements and actions for the past year and a half show that they are only interested in politicizing a tragic loss of American lives. Having failed to uncover even a sliver of evidence of any wrongdoing, Boehner is, in effect, insulting his own colleagues in Congress (i.e. Darrell Issa) who have been conducting pseudo-investigations without producing the hoped for “smoking guns” with which they could continue their campaign of political slander. […]

“It is a desperate attempt to dig up some political mud to throw, to tarnish the prospective presidential candidacy of Hillary Clinton in 2016, and to salvage Boehner’s sinking reputation with the far-right fringe of his party whom he needs if he wants to be Speaker in the next session of congress.”

So McCarthy didn’t actually reveal anything new. He was merely corroborating what Fox News had admitted years ago: That they were the driving force keeping Benghazi alive. The arrogance they display with on-air graphics confessing that they “made terror attack a story” in response to a “push” by their CEO, is unprecedented.

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

Furthermore, that arrogance is matched by Republicans in Congress who obediently complied with the demands by Fox News to impanel a select committee. To put it in perspective, Republicans allocated more money to the phony Benghazi Committee (over $3 million) than to either the Intelligence Committee or the Veterans Committee, which deal with matters that have much more far-reaching impact on the nation’s citizens and security.

You’re Fired! Donald Trump Dumps Fox News, Who Say They Dumped Him First

Buy stock in Orville Redenbacher today, because the popcorn market is set to explode. Reality TV goofball, and GOP object of perverted lust, Donald Trump, has declared that he will be kissing off his former BFF Fox News. In a tweet explaining the break up Trump said that…

“@FoxNews has been treating me very unfairly & I have therefore decided that I won’t be doing any more Fox shows for the foreseeable future.”

Fox News Donald Trump

Oh my. How ever will we survive? This isn’t the first time that Trump and Fox have quarreled. Earlier this year they took slaps at one another for what Trump thought were questions that were too hard during the Fox News Republican debate. He shot off insults aimed at the only female moderator, Megyn Kelly, that focused on her menstrual cycle as his reason for her harsh questions.

Eventually Trump and Fox News CEO Roger Ailes patched things up with Trump praising the executive and the network’s fairness. But that quickly deteriorated as he openly taunted Ailes saying “I love Roger, but all you have to do is ask him who won.” That’s akin to saying Ailes is my bitch.

The latest dust up appears to have been triggered by Trump’s butthurt over critical remarks on Bill O’Reilly’s show. Then, in a tantrum that seemed to have come out of the blue, Trump served his divorce papers on Twitter (Twivorce?), alleging abuse and irreconcilable differences. It all began in typical Trump fashion as he tweeted his disapproval complete with ad hominem insults.

Donald Trump Tweets

Ironically, there is no network that has been more friendly to Trump and his campaign. They have featured him far more, and more positively, than any other candidate. In fact, his ubiquitous presence on Fox exceeded the combined total air time for ten other Republican candidates last month. Fox News made Trump and he owes his current front-runner status to their worshipful coverage. For some examples of just how reverential Fox News has been, watch this:

Following Trump’s dismissal of Fox News, the network made a statement that may explain why Trump suddenly cut his ties. According to a spokesperson at Fox it was the network that fired Trump first. They said that in response to his tweets, they canceled his scheduled appearance on O’Reilly for Thursday. Subsequently, Trump decided to hit the press first with news of the separation. The Fox spokesperson went on to say that…

“When coverage doesn’t go his way, he engages in personal attacks on our anchors and hosts, which has grown stale and tiresome. He doesn’t seem to grasp that candidates telling journalists what to ask is not how the media works in this country.”

What’s funny about this is that Trump may have managed to accomplish something that News Corpse, and millions of rational, thinking Americans, have been trying to do for years: Mount an effective boycott of Fox News. The response on Trump’s Twitter page is filled with his followers pledging to forever abandon Fox and its “liberally-slanted” news coverage. That could actually have some real advantages for the future of media and America. Even though Trumpsters are among the most delusional of the GOP fringe, there are studies that show that Republicans who watch Fox are even more ill-informed than Republicans who don’t.

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

So the more people on the right who avoid Fox News, the better. And I may be in the uncomfortable position of having to thank Trump for getting people to stop watching Fox. All told, it would be worth it. And now I have to go restock my supply of popcorn. This show is still only in the first act.

[Update:] Crybaby Trump, who routinely calls people ugly and stupid, is now saying that he was offended by someone who does not work for Fox (National Review editor Rich Lowry) saying that Carly Fiorina “cut his balls off” in the CNN debate. So while he relentlessly postures about being a champion in the fight against political correctness, he can’t handle someone using a common idiom to describe what took place. How can this thin-skinned, whiner go up against Iran, who literally call for “death to America,” if he can’t deal with harmless, non-lethal metaphors?

[Update II:] Here we go again. Fox News says they have scheduled a meeting (again) with Trump to settle their differences over his latest tantrum. Planned for next week, this would represent their third “truce” so far. The real question is why is an alleged “news” network negotiating the conditions for coverage of a political candidate at all? That is a flagrantly inappropriate breach of journalistic ethics. If Trump doesn’t like Fox’s treatment he can stay off their air or go on and complain. Secret meetings raise the question of what concessions Fox News will make to accommodate (benefit) Trump at the expense of his rivals. And when was the last time that Fox offered to meet with President Obama or Hillary Clinton to discuss their differences with Fox’s far more blatant unfair coverage? No reputable news organization would even consider altering their coverage to satisfy the demands of a petulant candidate. But then again, we are not dealing with a reputable news organization.