STOP HANNITY: Movement Begins to Shame Advertisers on the Trump-Fluffing Fox News Program

The rapid decline of Fox News over the past year has been an awesome spectacle. It began with the allegations of sexual harassment against CEO Roger Ailes. He was later fired and, shortly thereafter, died following a fall in his home. Then Bill O’Reilly was also terminated after numerous allegations of sexual misconduct.

Sean Hannity Fox News

Additionally, some executives were likewise dismissed for their own inappropriate behavior. And Fox News lost their rising star, Megyn Kelly, who joined NBC where her program is a ratings failure. Greta Van Susteren, also quit Fox for a show on MSNBC that has already been canceled. Most recently, Eric Bolling, host of two Fox News programs has been suspended for allegedly sending lewd pictures to network colleagues.

Fox’s reputation for being a brazenly biased mouthpiece for Republican politics is morphing into one of perversion and misogyny. But don’t worry – their mission of right-wing propagandizing is still being pursued in earnest by many remaining shills. Chief among them is Sean Hannity, who has escalated his efforts to promote Donald Trump. His program has become an unabashed platform for exalting and defending Trump no matter the circumstances.

Hannity has been performing some wild rhetorical acrobatics to that end. He has whirled from insisting that Trump was totally innocent of any collusion with Russia, to arguing that such collusion wouldn’t be such a bad thing after all. More offensive are his ventures into conspiracy theories. Hannity has made a project of promoting the totally debunked story about Seth Rich. This fake news asserts that Rich, a former DNC staffer, was murdered for his involvement in hacking the Clinton/Podesta emails and sending them to Wikileaks. It’s a fascinating story that would be even more compelling if any of it were true.

As Hannity has ramps up the crazy on his show, he is beginning to attract some push-back from proponents of ethical journalism. Media Matters has initiated a campaign to “Stop Hannity” from further staining the airwaves with his lies and hate. They have previously engineered similar campaigns that targeted Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly. Both of them were eventually booted from their perches at Fox and now languish in near obscurity. It’s safe to say that Hannity is nervous. The Stop Hannity home page spells out how Media Matters intends to hold him, Fox News, and their advertisers accountable:

“Spreading misinformation is Hannity’s business model, and now he’s doing it on behalf of the Trump administration. His propagandizing has become so odious that he was condemned by some of his coworkers, who reportedly told The Daily Beast that the host was ’embarrassing’ the network and that ‘some people need to be fired.’

“It’s past time for Hannity to go. If Fox won’t fire Hannity, then advertisers should run as fast as they can, or else they run the risk of being complicit in his deceit and recklessness. Advertisers will get burned if they continue to associate with Hannity — plain and simple.”

This movement has only just begun, but it is already showing progress. Most notably, ultra-conservative pundits and websites are rising up in anger about this grassroots activism. The Daily Caller, Newsbusters, Western Journalism, and YoungCons have all posted stories labeling Media Matters a far-left provocateur. What’s more, Hannity’s ratings are suffering among the key advertiser demographic of 25-54 year olds. For the most recent week for which there is complete ratings data, Hannity lost the whole week to his time period competition on MSNBC, The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell. For the same week the Rachel Maddow Show was the highest rated program on all of cable news. Fox News was accustomed to dominating the ratings charts for years, but those days seem to be gone.

Time will tell if this campaign will be as successful as those aimed at Hannity’s former colleagues. But the track record of Media Matters on these actions is formidable. Advertisers have good reasons to be wary of associating themselves with a conspiracy monger like Hannity. And the more people that jump on this bandwagon, the more it can achieve. To that end, be sure to sign up at Stop Hannity and participate in the advertiser education program they are conducting. It’s a worthwhile cause because, as Ted Koppel told Hannity to his face, he is “bad for America.”

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

Hannity Orders His Trump-Cult Audience to Attack Journalists – Gets Slapped Back HARD!

Donald Trump’s First Amendment foes are assembling the troops in what they think is a massive show of force. They have a new general in the White House, Anthony Scaramucci, who unseated feeble Fibby Spice (Sean Spicer). The Mooch is already parroting the worst of Trump’s anti-media rhetoric. He is an avid supporter of the President’s Twitter tantrums and infantile assaults on free speech. And now he’s got some help from the Trump TV Network (aka Fox News).

Sean Hannity Fox News

Leading the way is Fox News Trump fluffer, Sean Hannity. Always a reliable soldier in the fight against honest journalism, Hannity has ordered a significant escalation. He’s taking the unusual step of enlisting his glassy-eyed audience into battle. On Monday night’s program he issued a call to the recruits to prepare to deploy for an all out offensive. And knowing his audience, they can be pretty damn offensive (video below):

Hannity began by praising the Trump administration for “ramping up one of the most effective tactics for combating all the fake news.” He was referring to the Propaganda Squad that has been fanning out to pick fights with their favorite media foils. They include Kellyanne Conway, Sarah Huckabee-Sanders, and Sebastian Gorka. Hannity lauded them for “standing up to pundits who treat the White House with hatred and disdain.” In reality they were just being jerks and insisting that the press accept Trump’s lies as truth. Then Hannity issued his orders to the troops:

“Members of the Trump administration, they’re beginning to shine a bright light on these dark corners of this fake news industry. And now thanks to social media, you can too. […] You can call out fake news right at the source. For example, you can tell fake news Jake Tapper exactly what you think of his interview with Anthony Scaramucci. You can do it on twitter.”

Tapper was only the beginning. Hannity also made juvenile insults aimed at CNN’s Brian Stelter and MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. His diatribe was filled with childish taunts and ludicrous, debunked accusations against Hillary Clinton. And then he addressed those who might “want to take it to the next level.”

“Write a message to their bosses. Send a tweet over to [Jeff] Zucker over at fake news CNN or Andy Lack from NBC fake news. Right now the media is living in their little bubble. It is our job to remind them that there is an America way outside of New York, D.C., Los Angeles and San Francisco. Tonight, technology is now making it possible for you to take your point of view directly to the source and show America’s elites that the forgotten men and forgotten women of this country voted for this agenda and they want it completed and for them to stop lying to you. Take to the social media, and I think you’re going to have a positive impact.”

First of all, if Hannity is really concerned about the people’s position on Trump’s agenda, he should take notice that Trump is the most unpopular president in modern history. And that goes for his policies as well.

More to the point, Hannity is apparently aware that his viewers don’t already know about Twitter. He has the oldest skewing audience in cable news. Recent demographic studies show that “The median age of the average primetime Fox News viewer is 68 — five years older than MSNBC, and nine years older than CNN.” And the consequences of that disparity can be devastating when reaching out to a more youthful, social media capable, audience. So Hannity’s Twitter blitz produced predictably contrary results, as documented by the Huffington Post:

And as Tapper noted in his reply thanking those tweeters: “I don’t think that turned out the way he intended.”

Hannity will always lose on this battleground. He is too much of an ideologue who spins so furiously that reality is unrecognizable. And his followers are handicapped by being dumb enough to watch him in the first place. There are plenty of problems with corporate media outlets like CNN, but they pale in comparison to the rancid hostility and blatant dishonesty of Hannity and Fox News. And online communities on Twitter and Facebook will continue to let him know how irrelevant he is.

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

NIXON? REALLY? Geraldo Rivera Gushes an INSANE Defense of Trump and Praise for Fox News

It must be awfully hard to be a Fox News shill these days. The still flowing flood of incriminating evidence against Donald Trump and his sleazy family is nearly impossible to justify. The contortions that Fox News hosts and pundits have to employ seem painful in the extreme. Some of them aren’t even trying anymore.

Geraldo Rivera

That, however, is not the case with the crew at Fox and Friends, and their Saturday morning guest, Geraldo Rivera (video below). In a discussion about Don Trump, Jr.’s meeting with Russian operatives, the “Curvy Couch” potatoes crawled all over themselves trying to defend the indefensible. Eventually they wound up where they often do – blaming the media.

For his part, Geraldo Rivera set up his remarks by reminding everyone that the Trumps were close, personal friends. He restated his “tremendous respect and admiration” for them. Then he gently chided them for what he characterized as minor goofs. Rivera described the meetings with Russian government operatives promising dirt on Hillary Clinton as “understandable,” but “not criminal.” Legal experts disagree. He did manage some criticism of Don, Jr. for his “dissembling” otherwise known as lying.

And then Rivera went flying headfirst off the tracks. Co-host Abby Huntsman asked a typically asinine question. She wondered whether the media was to blame for the troubles Don, Jr. was undergoing. Because of course it was the media’s fault that Donnie met with unsavory Russians and then lied about it repeatedly. But Rivera’s historical analog to this affair was the presidency of Richard Nixon. His take on it was pure lunacy:

“During the years of Tricky Dick Nixon, 1972 and 1973 principally. If there had been a Fox News then, if there had been a Sean Hannity then, I do not believe President Nixon would ever have been forced to resign. Why do I say that? Because when you see how his story evolves, and he has no one to defend him, how everybody’s deserted him, no on got the other side of the story. So that rinky-dink burglary then metastasized into the cover up, which led to the tumult, the nuclear explosions in the administration, and finally the resignation of the President.”

“I think if we had Sean then, if we had Fox and Friends then, I think that President Nixon would have weathered that storm. Now, I think that President Trump will likewise weather the storm, but I think that it will cause amazing stresses.”

So Rivera blames the downfall of Nixon on the absence of defenders in the media. Not on the fact that he presided over an illegal break-in of the Democratic campaign office. Not on the threats and bribes and lies that marked the cover up. Rivera thinks there was another side to the story of Nixon’s corruption that wasn’t being told. You know, the good side of the corruption.

But the best part of this cognitive meltdown is Rivera’s accidental admission that Fox News is nothing more than an alibi generator for crooked Republicans. He’s saying that despite the obvious crimes, Nixon might have survived if he had Fox News to lie for him. Nixon’s problem wasn’t that he broke the law, violated his oath of office, and had no discernible ethics. It was that he didn’t have someone like Sean Hannity to fabricate excuses and point fingers at innocent bystanders.

By extension, that’s the role that Rivera is admitting that Fox News plays now. They are deliberately denying reality and replacing it with manufactured falsehoods. They are covering for Trump and serving up other sides to the story of his corruption. And they are accusing others (Obama, Clinton, etc.) of crimes without any evidence whatsoever. It’s a strategy of deceive and deflect. And, as with Nixon, despite the obvious crimes, the goal is for Trump et al to skate free. Of course, many observers have already known this about Fox News for years. But it is helpful when one of their top correspondents is dumb enough it out loud on the air.

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

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?