Fox News Trump Fluffer Sean Hannity Kicks Off a Crackpot Crusade Against Rachel Maddow

The signs of desperation by Fox News in general, and Sean Hannity in particular, are becoming ever more apparent. Their increasingly deranged creation, Donald Trump, ventures farther from reality every day. The bizarre antics on Fox News are reaching epic levels. Perhaps they feel unfettered since having abandoned their “fair and balanced” tagline. Not that it was ever taken seriously to begin with.

Sean Hannity Maddow

This is especially true of Sean Hannity, whose ranting is more unhinged now than ever. He is rapidly approaching levels of lunacy that would make Glenn Beck or Alex Jones proud. Take Wednesday night’s episode for example (video below). Hannity began by saying:

“Tonight we continue to expose the biggest black helicopter, tin foil hat, conspiracy in the Destroy Trump Media: NBC’s Rachel Maddow. This is off-the-hook out of control. And if it wasn’t so serious, it’s actually fully.”

And with that, Hannity launches into a fiery diatribe on what he regards as a major conspiracy theory expose. Would it be on par with the Obama birtherism which he promoted for many years? Or the tragic death of Seth Rich, which Hannity attributes to a cabal of murderous Hillary Clinton associates? Well, hold on to your hats folks. Sean Hannity thinks that Rachel Maddow is behind a dastardly campaign asserting that Jon Ossoff’s election was foiled by the weather. He declares with astonishment that “You can’t make this stuff up.” Which is ironic, because that’s exactly what he’s doing.

The basis for Hannity’s charges of conspiracy theorism is that Maddow asked her colleague, Steve Kornacki, if rain on election day might have depressed turnout in certain areas. Of course, it’s simply reality that inclement weather can have an impact on any election. So without drawing any conclusions, Maddow asked Kornacki if he thought it might have had any impact Tuesday night. She never blamed the weather for the final results or even expressed an opinion on it. She only asked a question. But in Hannity’s cartoon brain she was raving wildly that Mother Nature had purposely sabotaged the Georgia Democrat.

Then Hannity takes up his post as Fox News’ most devoted Trump defender. He complains about Maddow’s frequent (and thoroughly factual) reporting on the allegations of connections to Russia by Trump and/or his campaign. Like many right-wing Trump-fluffers, he insists there is no evidence of any such thing:

“The night cannot go by without Maddow floating some sort of Trump/Russia collusion conspiracy theory, even though nobody says it. Nobody believes it. It’s been debunked. To date there is zero evidence of Trump/Russia collusion. Nothing whatsoever. It’s been a farce, a total fabrication, eleven months of lies and conspiracies made up by people just like Maddow. But despite these facts today, Rachel, she was at it again. Whipping up a new crackpot theory involving President Trump, the mob money, money laundering, and even Vladimir Putin made it into the mix.”

There is so much wrong with that it’s hard to know where to begin. Let’s start with the absurdity that nobody is talking about, or believes, that Trump & Co. have unsavory connections to Russia. Rather than being a debunked, fabricated, farce, it is a fact that has been grudgingly admitted by the very people involved. They include Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, and Jeff Sessions to name a few. In many cases their relationships were hidden and denied until discovered by the press. What’s more, Seventeen independent intelligence agencies agree that Russia engaged in deliberate actions to interfere with the election. Apparently Hannity thinks they are all lying as part of this massive conspiracy.

As for his charge that Maddow is “whipping up” a new conspiracy regarding Trump and mob money, he’s giving her too much credit. It was veteran reporter and executive editor Tim O’Brien who broke this story for Bloomberg News. He wrote a detailed and documented article on “Trump, Russia and a Shadowy Business Partnership.” All Maddow did was cover the subject and interview the author. Hannity never mentioned that or even bothered to cite any actual flaws in the story.

Hannity’s obsession with Maddow ignores the fact that she generally relies on established news sources. He demonstrates this by running a video montage of what he calls “Maddow’s craziest Trump/Russia conspiracy theories.” However, every one of the stories originated from other sources like Reuters or even government agencies like the FBI. And that’s the strategy behind Hannity’s baseless attacks. Even though Maddow gets her information from well researched and vetted journalists, her coverage of it makes it all her invention.

Of course, the real problem Hannity has with Maddow is unrelated to his ludicrous charges. He has a two-fold inspiration for attacking her. First, she effectively covers Donald Trump’s tsunami of scandals. She explains the often complex issues clearly and backs up her explanations with facts. Secondly, Hannity is scared to death because Maddow has overtaken Fox News in the television ratings. Her show is frequently the number one program on cable news. Hannity isn’t used to getting beaten in the ratings, but it is now fairly routine.

Consequently, he is coming out swinging, and swinging wildly, against a superior competitor. And the fact that he isn’t landing any blows must be making him all the more enraged and obsessed. Expect that pattern to continue playing out because Hannity doesn’t have the intelligence or the facts to support his positions. All he has is a drooling frenzy and a shrinking audience of Fox News cultists and Trump loyalists. That, in the end, isn’t going to get him very far, and he knows it.

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

Sean Hannity’s ‘Deep State’ Derangement Put’s Him at the Front of Conspiracy Crackpot Parade

The shooting in Virginia on Wednesday has renewed the debate over civility in public discourse. Predictably, Republicans exploited the opportunity to blame Democrats and liberals for the violence directed at their colleagues – this time. Even their pleas for consideration and respect are peppered with partisan attacks.

Sean Hannity Fox News

A perfect example occurred Thursday morning on Fox and Friends. Conservative agitator Michelle Malkin spent over eight minutes with her Fox News pals pretending to seek comity while throwing jabs at “the extreme left.” At one point, the on-screen graphic read “Violent Threats Sent To GOP Lawmakers.” The tone of the whole segment reflected that bias. At no time did they mention the recent threats against Democrats. Two Democratic candidates actually had to withdraw from their races due to death threats from right-wingers. And then there was the Republican candidate who literally assaulted a reporter who was just doing his job. That candidate, Greg Gianforte, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault, won his race, and is now a U.S. congressman.

Sadly, the heated rhetoric that engulfs today’s political scene is viewed by some as an opportunity. Donald Trump notably abused his opponents whether Republican or Democrat. He fantasized about punching critics in the face. He promised to pay the legal fees of supporters who beat up protesters at his rallies. No wonder that, as president, he continues to associate with drooling barbarians like Alex Jones, Michael Savage, and Ted Nugent.

Perhaps those relationships are what is eating at Sean Hannity. He was the most vocal and devoted Trump-fluffer at Fox News during the campaign. His program featured Trump more than any other on television. And he literally endorsed Trump prior to the election, breaching every ethical standard for a news network. However, his access seems to have been curtailed. Trump hasn’t granted him an interview in over five months. In the meantime, fringe characters from Breitbart News and Infowars got passes to White House Press briefings.

This festering jealously might be inspiring Hannity to venture further out onto the crazy cliff’s edge. That seems to be the best way to get Trump’s enfeebled attention. So Hannity abandoned fear (and reason) on Wednesday night’s program to rant about the frightful “Deep State” that is plotting to destroy Trump (video below). The segment dwells on Hannity’s objection to reports that Trump is being investigated for obstruction of justice. Some choice excerpts follow:

“Tonight, and over the next few days, when the media predictably is gonna breathlessly and hyperventilate all kinds of reports and brand new black helicopters and tin-foil hat conspiracy theories to you the American people as they lie again, remember they have zero credibility left.”

Amazingly, he said that all in one breath. However, surveys show that the American people trust the media far more than they trust Trump. And credible news outlets document their stories, unlike what Hannity is doing in this tirade. He continues to deny the reports that Trump is under investigation:

“It’s only a matter of time before this too will be debunked like everything else they’ve reported in pretty much the last eleven months.”

So Hannity is asserting that for the past year “everything” that’s been reported by the media has been debunked. That’s some pretty spicy nutball delusion. Then he launches into what he says are the real crimes. He accuses James Comey and Robert Mueller of conspiring to undermine the President, despite the fact that they are both lifelong Republicans. And naturally, the biggest criminal of all is Hillary Clinton.

“We know Hillary Clinton committed felonies with her email private server scandal. If Democrats wanna talk about collusion, great. Let’s talk about it and take a look at collusion with Vladimir Putin. Uranium One. Twenty percent of the foundational material to make nuclear weapons, while serving as Secretary of State. She signed off on a waiver giving twenty percent of that uranium to Putin, to the Russians. All while people involved in that deal were funneling millions of dollars back to the Clinton Foundation.”

And all of that is total bull crap. Clinton did not sign any such waiver. There was a deal for Russia to acquire certain facilities (not actual uranium) that required the unanimous approval of nine separate government agencies. The State Department alone could not approve the deal. And the donations to the Clinton Foundation all occurred before Clinton was even nominated for the cabinet post. All of this information is publicly available and Hannity has known about it for years. Nevertheless, he persists in spewing information that he knows is false. It’s all part of his “Deep State” saga aimed at convincing his dim-witted audience that a covert, pseudo-government is working behind the scenes to destroy Trump.

Hannity closes with a call to arrest and jail the anonymous sources who talk to the media. He asserts that they are guilty of disseminating classified data. What’s peculiar about that charge is that he also claims the information they provided is false. But he can’t have it both ways. If the data is false, then nothing classified was revealed, no laws were broken, and no arrests are warranted. If the data is true, then Hannity has to concede that Trump is being investigated for obstruction of justice which Hannity rejects as fake news.

By spinning so furiously that his brain is scrambled, Hannity hopes to return to the high place he held with Trump prior to the election. He appears to think that he has to compete with the likes of Jones and Savage for the President’s affections. And he is probably right. Trump’s choice of friends and advisers is driven by their Insanity Quotient. The question is, can Fox News continue to allow a lying conspiracy kook to host a primetime program on their network? Well, why not? He’s been there for twenty years.

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

Uh-Oh: Rachel Maddow is Under Attack by Sean Hannity and Right-Wing Propaganda Groups

The conservative media machine is marshaling its forces to launch an all-out assault on journalists and pundits who fail to kowtow to Donald Trump. It’s a reactionary campaign in response to the success of the honest reporting by Rachel Maddow and other progressive voices. In recent weeks, Maddow has taken the lead in primetime programs from the previous ratings chart topper, Fox News. The rest of the MSNBC lineup has seen a similar surge in popularity. This massive shift in dominance is mainly driven by the strength of their straightforward reporting about Trump and Russia.

Maddow Hannity

Consequently, those on the right have begun shaking in their boots as their hammer lock on the ratings is broken. The last year has been dreadful for Fox News. Their CEO, Roger Ailes, and top star, Bill O’Reilly, were both terminated in disgrace due to sexual harassment scandals. They are being sued for gender and racial discrimination. And the New York Attorney General is investigating the network for securities violations.

The latest Fox News host to suffer as a result of his own sleazy misconduct is Sean Hannity. He has been pushing a widely debunked conspiracy theory about Seth Rich, a murdered Democratic National Committee staffer. Despite the absence of any facts, and pleas from the family to back off, Hannity has persisted. Even Fox News took down their report on the subject.

The determination of Hannity to spread this phony story has prompted Media Matters to post a list of his advertisers. The purpose was not to start a consumer boycott, but to alert the advertisers to what sort of program they were sponsoring. Then they could decide if it was in their best interest to continue.

Apparently, the desperate losers on the right were not pleased. So they have initiated their own campaign against Maddow and others whom they now refer to as “liberal fascists.” According to Politico:

“The groups plan to pressure advertisers for left-leaning shows like Maddow’s on MSNBC, in hopes that the sponsors will pull their ads. They charge that Maddow and other liberal hosts are peddling conspiracy theories and smearing conservatives with personal attacks.”

“They cited reports of alleged coordination between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian agents as an example of the smears.”

Notice what they’ve chosen as their example of a conspiracy theory. It’s a fact-based report that is affirmed by seventeen U.S. government intelligence agencies. No independent observer disputes that the Russians interfered with the 2016 presidential election to help Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton. And the allegations of collusion are based on numerous reports connecting Trump and his associates with Russian operatives. Many of those connections were hidden by the participants until disclosed by persistent reporters.

The groups involved in the attack on Maddow et al are well known in the conservative hack community. The Media Research Center has a long history of smearing liberals in the press. They favor common right-wing talking points and exploiting lefty “villains” like George Soros. The Media Equality Project is a new entity headed by two former conservative radio talkers, Melanie Morgan and Brain Maloney. They both appeared on Hannity’s program Tuesday night to defend his campaign of slander and promote their anti-Maddow efforts. [Video below]

So far there is no discernible impact from the wingnut brigades. That may be because Maddow’s reporting is wrapped up tighter in facts than anything produced by Hannity and his ilk. The Media Equalizer’s told Hannity last night that they are getting millions of people supporting them. However, their Facebook page has fewer than 5,000 followers and they have even less on Twitter.

But let’s not get cocky. Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, and Lawrence O’Donnell need the continued support of Americans who appreciate honest news analysis. MSNBC still hasn’t signed a contract renewal for O’Donnell. Meanwhile they have hired or promoted the likes of Greta Van Susteren, Hugh Hewitt, and George Will.

The right has a built in advantage with the media because every media owner is a giant corporation whose interests are not aligned with the average American. We have to make sure they know that their financial well being is dependent on serving the public interest. In the meantime, it’s satisfying to see Hannity and his trolls floundering as they try to muddy the waters with their self-serving lies. But we can only expect that to make them more aggressive and repulsive. Stay tuned and stay strong.

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

Urgent (and hilarious) Update: Hannity is now so desperate that he’s threatening to go after Stephen Colbert. And that’s something Colbert — would absolutely LOVE.

Fox News and Hannity Walk Back Fake Story Without Admitting Fault or Apologizing

For several weeks Fox News and other right-wing media outlets have been doing what they do best. They have been flogging a thoroughly debunked story that alleges some random impropriety on the part of Democrats or liberals. In this especially repulsive case the subject concerns a murdered former staffer of the Democratic National Committee.

Sean Hannity Fox News

The conservative mythology on this is that Seth Rich was assassinated by some nefarious lefty cabal because he leaked stolen DNC documents to Wikileaks. However, there’s no evidence of any such activity, and the police have concluded that the crime was a botched robbery. But the existence of those facts didn’t stop Fox News and others from exploiting a family tragedy for their own political motives.

Now that the facts have come out, some of the rightist media are rushing to cover their asses. They don’t want to be further associated with such an obvious hoax, nor do they want to get sued. Unfortunately, the inability of some of these liars to admit wrongdoing is getting in the way of their disclaimers.

Fox News had reported on the Rich murder on their network and posted articles on their website. But apparently they only considered the website report as needing to be addressed. So they posted a statement saying that:

On May 16, a story was posted on the Fox News website on the investigation into the 2016 murder of DNC Staffer Seth Rich. The article was not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require for all our reporting. Upon appropriate review, the article was found not to meet those standards and has since been removed.

We will continue to investigate this story and will provide updates as warranted.

Notice that nowhere in that statement did Fox News admit that the content of their reporting was false. They merely said that it didn’t meet their editorial standards. That’s a pretty low bar by any objective analysis. They also reiterated their intention to pursue the story that everyone else knows is patently untrue. What they didn’t do was to apologize to the Rich family for spreading lies and denigrating the victim’s memory.

Fox also failed to offer any kind of retraction for the same reporting on their TV network. The biggest offender on Fox is without contest, Sean Hannity. He has taken a leading role in spreading the slander of Rich. But now the blowback has gotten to him, at least in part. Tuesday night Hannity made a limp statement that failed to take any responsibility for his journalistic malpractice (video below). He said in part that:

“The unsolved murder of former DNC staffer Seth Rich continues to get attention. I totally and completely understand how upset and how hard this is on this family, especially over the recent coverage of Seth’s death. […] However, out of respect from the family’s wishes for now – I am not discussing this matter at this time.”

Once again, Hannity didn’t admit that his reporting was totally unverified and debunked. Nor did he apologize. He didn’t even promise to drop the subject, only to hold off for a while. The remainder of his statement unloaded a pile of unrelated defenses of Donald Trump’s Russia scandal. And Hannity then promised to continue his assault on the Rich family and the truth:

“I want to say this to you, my loyal audience, please do not interpret what I am saying tonight to mean anything—don’t read into this. I promise you, I am not going to stop doing my job. To the extent of my ability, I’m not going to stop trying to find the truth.”

What’s more, on his radio show Hannity said “I am not Fox.com or FoxNews.com, I retracted nothing.” And he tweeted this:

Clearly, neither Hannity nor Fox News give a damn about the Rich family or their suffering. We know they don’t care about the truth because lying is integral to their business model. But anyone who gives them credit for laying off this story with their pseudo-retractions is missing the point. Fox News and Hannity are fully committed to furthering their dishonest propaganda. And they aren’t even shy about admitting it.

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

Brand New President of Fox News Exits Amidst Continuing Sexual Harassment Scandals

The firing of top executives at Fox News is starting to become a regular routine. The network recently parted ways with its CEO Roger Ailes. Then they fired their top star, Bill O’Reilly, Now the man who replaced Ailes, Bill Shine, has been terminated (or resigned, depending on whose story you read).

Fox News Alert

After Shine’s promotion he was almost immediately under pressure due to his prior relationships with Ailes and O’Reilly, Insiders alleged that he was an enabler of the misconduct engaged in by the tow fired Foxies. Plus he was said to have led smear campaigns against the accusers in order to delegitimize their claims. Shine’s dismissal was predicted early on and has now become official.

The successors to Shine’s position are two Fox News veterans. Suzanne Scott will preside over programming. While Jay Wallace will will run the news division. Fox patriarch, Rupert Murdoch issued a fawning memo describing Shine as someone who was “was liked and respected by everybody at Fox News.” It goes without saying that that was not universally true.

The promotion of Scott appears to be a crisis management decision. After so much bad publicity emanating from sexual harassment charges, Fox was anxious to cover up the problem with the elevation of its first female president. But Scott has been with Fox since its inception, so it begs the question as to why she was not rewarded previous to this.

The fallout from these affairs may still not be over. There are pending lawsuits against Fox News for both sexual and racial discrimination. Plus, another Fox celebrity may be on the razor’s edge. Sean Hannity was recently accused of sexual harassment. In addition, he took personally the complaints about Shine, who was his producer before joining the executive ranks. Hannity tweeted:

The “total end of the FNC as we know it?” That would be cause for celebration to many. But it’s a pretty foreboding comment to Fox insiders and fans. It may signal Hannity’s intention to part ways with the network as well. The Daily Beast’s Andrew Kirell has sources who say that Hannity may be gone by week’s end. If that’s true, this may be the fastest disintegration of a cable network ever. Remember that Fox already lost other prominent prime time personnel, Megyn Kelly, Gretchen Carlson, and Greta Van Susteren. (Hmm. All women)

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

It would be difficult for Fox News to maintain its ratings leadership after such an upheaval. They have already been challenged by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, who has been beating them in the demo ratings recently. Now they are stuck with a nighttime lineup smugly anchored by Tucker Carlson and the ensemble show The Five that was just just moved up from an afternoon slot. Will that be sufficient to hold their audience? Especially considering that many of their fans are outraged by the departure of O’Reilly (and perhaps Hannity) and have already initiated a boycott movement. So fasten your seat belts. The fun is only just beginning.

100 Days: Hannity Asks ‘What is Trump’s Biggest Accomplishment?’ Twitter Hands Him His Ass

Sean Hannity is having a bad year. Fox News is falling apart with the loss of its CEO Roger Ailes, and its biggest star Bill O’Reilly. Now Ailes’ replacement, and close Hannity ally, Bill Shine is also facing a possible ouster. So Hannity is taking to Twitter for solace with a question aimed at sucking up to his friend in the White House, Donald Trump. What could possibly go wrong?

Sean Hannity Fox News

The answers Hannity got were probably not what he expected. There were very few replies that could be taken seriously. Many responses exhibited the brain dead detachment of Trump’s cult followers by saying merely “Everything,” or “Beating Hillary.” A fair number thought the seating of Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court represented a Trump achievement. But that’s only true if you regard submitting a name to the Senate that couldn’t get confirmation without changing the rules (the Nuclear Option) an achievement.

Far more interesting, and entertaining, were the responses from Twitter’s reality-based community. They recognized that the question itself was absurd and treated it with the disrespect it deserved. Even so, they were more accurate and substantive than Hannity’s army of Trump fluffers. So if you’re looking for examples of Trump’s biggest achievements in his first 100 days, read on:

Trump has embarked on a “100 Days” ego-stroking tour that includes a campaign style rally in Pennsylvania and at least two appearances on Fox News. He’s spewing the utterly deranged notion that his first 100 days has been more productive and successful than any other president in history. The disastrous reality, however, is that he has not achieved a single one of his promised goals. What’s more, his administration riddled with allegations of corruption and complicity with Russian election tampering. Given the circumstances, it was awfully foolish of Hannity to even ask his question.

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

Sean Hannity Freaks Out About ‘The Total End of the Fox News Channel as We Know It’

The past few weeks have been about as catastrophic for Fox News as they have been for Donald Trump. Both have been suffering devastating setbacks internally with key people leaving under clouds of scandal. And both have lost significant support among the public. With MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow overtaking Fox News in critical ratings demos, and Trump remaining the least popular first-quarter president ever, it seems their dire fates are intertwined.

Sean Hannity Dumbass

What’s more, both Trump and Fox News still have storm clouds on their respective horizons. For Trump it’s the unfolding revelations about alleged collusion with Russian agents interfering in the presidential election. For Fox News it’s the continuing fallout from their corporate culture of misogyny and racism.

With each passing day a new allegation is made against Fox. Many insiders are unsatisfied with the expulsions of CEO Roger Ailes and blowhard Bill O’Reilly, They believe the problems will persist until there is a thorough housecleaning. Gabriel Sherman of New York Magazine has been breaking many of the stories about Fox’s troubles. He’s the author of the definitive biography of Ailes, The Loudest Voice in the Room. Yesterday he tweeted about a rumored management shakeup at the network:

Bill Shine is currently the co-president of Fox News. He was promoted shortly after the departure of Ailes. However, many people inside and outside of Fox regard him as not just an Ailes crony, but someone who actively covered up the vile behaviors of Ailes and O’Reilly. When talk of housecleaning is heard, it is generally Shine who is the prime subject.

Enter Sean Hannity. The last remaining prime time Fox Musketeer is profoundly disturbed. Before being elevated to network management, Shine was the producer of Hannity’s program. Consequently, there is an abundance of loyalty that reaches beyond just the network’s standard cult status. Hannity replied to Sherman’s tweet saying:

Of course for many Americans concerned about the media, the end of Fox News would be a welcome event. But that’s obviously not the way Hannity sees it. Fox News has spent twenty years degrading journalism with blatantly biased right-wing propaganda. Simultaneously, they trivialized reporting as nothing more than entertainment with eye-popping graphics and presenters in short skirts. Hannity himself has done annual week-long specials on the evils of Spring Break. But they were just a convenient excuse to show videos of drunken teenagers in bikinis. Now Hannity’s last protector in the management ranks is dangling by thread. According to the Hollywood Reporter’s sources:

“Rupert Murdoch and his sons James and Lachlan, CEO and co-chairman of Fox News parent 21st Century Fox, have quietly put out feelers for a new head of Fox News. And the preference, according to two sources familiar with the Murdochs’ thinking, is that the new leader be female.”

OMG! That would be a fate worse than waterboarding to someone like Sean Hannity. Not only would he be losing a trusted superior, he would have to report to a lady boss. There aren’t very many female executives in the media business, but there are more than zero. And one obvious name would be Elisabeth Murdoch. Rupert’s daughter has already run a media company which she sold to 21st Century Fox (imagine that). But she may be a long shot to head Fox because she may have committed the ultimate sin: She was a Hillary Clinton supporter. If the Murdoch boys manage to hire a credible Female executive, the War on Women at Fox News could take a turn toward fairness and/or balance. That might apply to both the internal personnel situation, as well as the tone of their reporting.

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

So there remains the question of whether Sean Hannity would stay on at Fox News under those circumstances. He can’t be happy about Tucker Carlson moving into O’Reilly’s time period, or The Five taking the prime time spot before his. He obviously would have preferred to move to one of those spots himself. He must be thinking that his star may be fading at Fox. The younger Murdochs are reportedly not fans. Only time will tell how all of this settles out. And there may be more scandalous shoes to drop. Which begs the question: How many damn shoes do they have?

The End of Rush Limbaugh? His Radio Syndicator is on the Brink of Bankruptcy

The presidency of Donald Trump is running an obstacle course of speed bumps and potholes. He has failed to achieve anything of note during his first 100 days in office. And that’s according to his own published benchmarks. There is no repeal of ObamaCare, no defeat if ISIS, no tax reform, and no Mexican border wall. The only success he has had is breaking the record for the lowest popularity of any first-quarter president in history.

Rush Limbaugh

Along with Trump’s sagging fortunes, much of the right-wing establishment is similarly floundering. The Republican Party is worried about maintaining their majorities in Congress. And the GOP’s PR division, Fox News, recently lost its CEO (Roger Ailes) and its biggest star (Bill O’Reilly). Both were terminated after scandals involving sexual harassment.

With Trump still driving the public angst, the carnage is far from over. The talk radio empire of Rush Limbaugh is now said to teetering on collapse. Salon’s Matthew Sheffield is reporting that:

“The parent company of iHeartCommunications [formerly Clear Channel], which syndicates programs by conservative talk-show hosts Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, appears to be headed toward bankruptcy.

“In a statement filed last week with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the federal agency charged with regulating companies that offer investments to the public, iHeartCommunications’ parent company, iHeartMedia Inc., said that it had ‘substantial doubt’ that it would be in business by the middle of next year.”

Sheffield noted that the radio industry in general has been under pressure from other advertising platforms including new media. But the problems facing Limbaugh’s syndicator went deeper than that:

“The ad challenge is made worse for iHeartCommunications since many of its stations feature a conservative talk format whose audience is literally dying off. According to industry figures, the age of a talk show listener is about 67. Further complicating things for the company has been that its top host, Limbaugh, has immersed himself in several controversies in recent years, such as the time he called a liberal activist [Sandra Fluke] a ‘slut’ on the air.”

Indeed. Limbaugh’s repulsive and misogynistic insults cost him dearly. A leaked memo from his distributor, Premiere Networks, revealed that he lost more than 140 advertisers as a result of his rancid ranting. And the exodus didn’t end with Limbaugh. The same advertisers also requested that their ads be removed from other right-wing programs including Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and Michael Savage.

Exacerbating these problems, Limbaugh has also lost favor with some of the top affiliates in the country. His show has been dropped from WABC in New York, WRKO in Boston and KFI in Los Angeles. In desperation, he switched to some weaker stations in those and other markets just to have a presence on air.

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

It remains to be seen whether iHeartCommunications will manage to stay afloat. But even if it does, they will have to make severe cuts in order to service their crushing debt. That means that Limbaugh, Hannity, et al, will either have to agree to renegotiate their contracts downward or say goodbye to their audience. They may still survive online, but they should ask Glenn Beck whether that’s a viable option. Since losing his Fox News megaphone he has been bleeding cash and his public awareness has shrunk to near irrelevance. So that’s good news all around. And maybe we should send Donald Trump a thank you note.

The Fox News ‘Blame Obama’ Fetish Is in Full Effect with Lame Accusations About Syria

The media is once again falling for the meme of the moment on Donald Trump rather than producing thoughtful analysis. Just two months ago they flocked to praise his “presidential” demeanor during a speech before a joint session of Congress. They characterized it as a profound shift in personality. Of course, the next day Trump proved them all wrong as he reverted to his standard childishness and bluster.

Obama Fox News

Now, in the wake of his missile strikes in Syria, much of the media is at it again. They portray this as evidence of Trump’s evolution into the job of president. But it’s just another knee-jerk reaction that ignores both facts and history. Donald Trump can surely be depended on to act brashly and without consideration tomorrow or the next day. and the worst offender, as usual, is Fox News.

The network that serves as Trump’s PR division has gone out of its way to blame President Obama for the problems in Syria. Rather than assigning blame to Bashir al-Assad, the brutal dictator who gasses his own people, Fox News points their bony fingers at Obama. Here are some examples of the well coordinated assault on our former president:

Bill O’Reilly: President Trump is going to have much different foreign policy than President Obama’s “strategy of retreat.”

Sean Hannity: “Instead of weakness, we now have strength. […] Timidity has been replaced by bold action.”

Charles Krauthammer: “There is a new sheriff in town. There was an absence for eight years. America is back.”

Ted Cruz: “The honest answer is there’s no good answer to Syria right now after eight years of Obama’s broken red lines and weakness.

The problem with all of these displays of Obama Derangement Syndrome is that they fail to represent reality. President Obama took a hard stand against Syria and produced some real, albeit temporary, results. The famous “red line” remarks were followed up by an agreement that removed hundreds of tons of chemical weapons from Syria. The fact that some may have remained, or were re-acquired four years later, doesn’t diminish the magnitude of that achievement.

What’s more, Obama also ordered retaliatory bombing in Syria. At the time, conservative pundits and politicians castigated him for it, despite his having obtained pre-approval from Congress. Obama delivered a message to the American people that Fox News et al have apparently forgotten:

Trump was among those who criticized Obama’s actions in Syria. In fact, Trump repeatedly bashed Obama and insisted that it would be a mistake to engage with Syria at all. Now Obama is being falsely criticized for having done nothing, even though that’s what his critics wanted him to do. It’s a twisted logic that only right-wing partisans can comprehend.

It should also not be forgotten that Trump presciently unveiled what may be the real reason for his Syrian aggression. In yet another swipe at Obama, Trump tweeted this:

For the record, Trump’s numbers are in a death spiral. In just three months he has managed to sink lower in approval than any president before him. Could it be that now he is just taking his won desperate advice?

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

Trump Blames Fox News For Wacky Wiretap Conspiracy Theory – And Fox Bites Back

In the brief time that Donald Trump has occupied the White House he has set records for uttering blatant falsehoods. However, none have gone as far over the line as his accusation that President Obama wiretapped his phones. No evidence of this alleged felony was provided by Trump or any agency of law enforcement. Even Republican leaders in Congress have made unequivocal statements denying the existence of any proof for Trump’s reckless charges. Included in that group: David Nunes, the GOP chairman of the Intelligence Committee, and Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House.

Fox News Donald Trump

Consequently, without any hesitation or shame, Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer (aka Fibby Spice), launched a wild-eyed rant insisting that Trump was right. At Thursday’s press briefing he recited a litany of alleged “proof,” that utterly failed to back him up. And the references that weren’t irrelevant were mostly just the ramblings of partisan hacks like Sean Hannity. For some reason Trump relies more on Fox News and Alex Jones than the intelligence agencies that work for him.

The issue came up again Friday at a joint press conference with Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Specifically, the allegation floated by Spicer that Obama conspired with British intelligence to conduct his wiretapping adventure. This crackpot theory was introduced by Judge Andrew Napolitano of Fox News. The British authorities vehemently denied this, calling it “ridiculous.” But Trump refused to retreat, instead choosing to direct the blame to his pals at Fox News (video below):

TRUMP: “We said nothing. All we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind who was the one responsible for saying that on television. I didn’t make an opinion on it. That was a statement made by a very talented lawyer on Fox. So you shouldn’t be talking to me. You should be talking to Fox.”

First of all, quoting someone is not saying nothing. Your press secretary used the quote to support your preposterous accusations of imaginary wiretaps. You cannot use that as validation and then claim not have said anything. As for “talking to Fox,” apparently someone took him up that. Fox’s Shepard Smith addressed the controversy and sharply repudiated Trump’s position:

SHEPARD SMITH: “Fox News cannot confirm Judge Napolitano’s commentary. Fox News knows of no evidence of any kind that the now-President of the United States was surveilled at any time, in any way. Full stop.”

So according to Fox News Trump’s phony wiretapping fantasy has zero credibility. Also according to Fox News, their senior judicial analyst, Napolitano, has credibility issues of his own. And yet, Fox continues to serve as Trump’s Ministry of Propaganda. When they aren’t shielding him from criticism they’re praising him as the second coming of St. Reagan. It appears that Trump is determined to eventually prove his campaign boast that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose any support. And when he does, Fox News will report that a deranged leftist subversive ran in front of Trump’s bullet.

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

Trump Blaming Fox News:

Shepard Smith’s response: