Trump TV Network? Here’s 7 Reasons It Will Be His Next HUGE Failure

The idea of launching a right-wing television network has been rattling around the Trump camp for months. Last June News Corpse reported that Trump insiders were talking about the possibility of Donald Trump trying to drag his glassy-eyed disciples from the musty arenas and airport hangers where he stages his rallies to the comfort of their own trailer parks. It was a terrible idea then, and it’s still a terrible idea.

Donald Trump

Undeterred, Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, continues to pursue the venture. According to reports, “Kushner has informally approached one of the media industry’s top dealmakers about the prospect of setting up a Trump television network after the presidential election in November.” Also reported is that “Kushner and the Republican candidate himself are thinking about how to capitalize on the populist movement that has sprung up around their campaign in the event of an election defeat to Democrat Hillary Clinton next month.”

The first notable revelation here is that Trump is spending an inordinate amount of attention on his post-election activities. And they do not involve being president. Perhaps he has recognized what so many of us already know: He’s toast. But even more problematic for him, the TrumpTV project is destined for defeat. There are numerous reasons for that ranging from personal inadequacies to economic realities. Here is a list of the most obvious reasons for a TrumpTV disaster:

1) Donald Trump is one of the worst businessmen of his generation

Trump has suffered multiple bankruptcies. He has underperformed the markets within which his companies operate. He is currently being sued for fraud. And he couldn’t even manage to make money in the casino business. That’s not exactly a resume that inspires confidence.

2) Trump cannot deliver ratings

He’s fooling himself if he believes that his glowing orange presence is what drove the ratings during this election season. The reason people are watching is the prospect of seeing him speak in tongues, or otherwise breakdown on live TV.

3) The programming would suck

What could his network produce to capitalize on his campaign? Lectures to his emotionally unstable viewers on how awful America is? The Alex Jones Conspiracy Theory Theater Hour? Ivanka and Ted Nugent as a bizarro Donny and Marie? The NRA’s version of CSI? The Walking Dread with David Duke? Perhaps a home shopping angle wherein he tries to sell steaks, time shares, and worthless diplomas.

4) Trump’s brand is toxic

His hate-filled campaign has re-branded him as the nation’s foremost racist, misogynist, xenophobic, hate monger since Archie Bunker. And while his supporters may seem numerous when you stuff a few thousand into a baseball stadium in Alabama, in order to succeed in TV you need millions of viewers to tune in regularly. Will his fans do that to hear the same stump speech he has been rambling off for the past year?

5) Where will the advertisers come from?

Most companies do not want to be associated with demagogic bigots. Just ask Rush Limbaugh whose advertising revenue has collapsed to the point where it is threatening the continued existence of his radio show.

6) Trump hates the media

Someone who has such open disdain for the media is unlikely to be successful as a member of the club. In just the past week he has been condemned by multiple organizations that advocate for a free press. They have called him “an unprecedented threat to the rights of journalists.” His continuous barrage of intimidation and insults have literally put reporters at risk.

7) The cable business is currently a terrible investment

Many people are abandoning cable (cord-cutters) in favor of services like Netflix and Hulu. There is an over-saturation of channels struggling to get attention. Cable systems have no space for new channels. And people with far more adoring fans have had a tough time rolling out new networks. Oprah Winfrey is perfect example of one of America’s most beloved figures whose cable channel is struggling. Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin have also bombed out while trying to launch video ventures.

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

Trump may try to coax Sean Hannity to leave his perch at Fox News. That could give him a quick, but short, burst of energy. Fox’s disgraced former CEO, Roger Ailes might be persuaded to play a role. However, that could only happen if he found a way to evade the non-competition clause of his separation agreement with Fox. His campaign CEO, Stephen Bannon, would be a possibility to run the operation. Then again, that would only ensure that it appeals to the deplorable demographic that fuels his alt-right website, Breitbart News.

If Trump decides to go ahead with his cable project it will almost certainly be a personal and financial fiasco. It will follow on the heels of his landslide loss for the presidency. On that prospect Trump has expressed his opinion of what it will have meant if he loses the election. He said “if I don’t win, this will be the greatest waste of time, money and energy in my lifetime.” Well, at least until his loopy media mogul ambitions implode.

Top 10 Things That PROVE That Fox News Is NOT A News Network

Last month Fox News celebrated its twentieth year of broadcasting blatantly biased propaganda on behalf of Republican partisans. They have reveled in advancing lies and disinformation that has led to unnecessary and illegal wars, economic meltdowns, and a rise in racism and hate crimes.

Fox News

However, there is one thing that they have utterly failed to do: gain credibility as a bona fide news network. Their reporting consistently distorts facts, if it bothers to address them at all. Their anchors mainly serve as props to introduce slanted analyses and shallow guests. And there is more evidence that the network, by design, was never intended to produce honest journalism. What follows are the top ten examples of that evidence proving, once and for all, that Fox News is not now, nor ever was, a news network:

  1. Fox frames their pseudo-news segments in the same melodramatic packaging that entertainment outlets use. Like most fiction, it is focused on conflict, scandal, mystery, and hyper-charged emotions including hero worship, fear, and always sex.
  2. Fox employs flashy graphics and attention-grabbing audio whooshes and gongs to decorate their reports that are presented as “ALERTS” regardless of the actual news value.
  3. Fox’s roster of hosts has more former beauty pageant contestants than journalists. And they aren’t shy about putting their “talent” in revealing clothes and camera angles. In fact, they demand it.
  4. Fox’s obsession with tabloid thrill-fiction like Benghazi, Obama’s birth certificate, and Clinton’s email, is the news equivalent of porn.
  5. Fox acts as a mouthpiece for the GOP. For instance, Megyn Kelly presented GOP talking points from a Republican National Committee memo as independently sourced news.
  6. Several Fox hosts openly support Trump. Sean Hannity endorsed him, turned over hours of his airtime, and appeared in his campaign commercial.
  7. By their own account Fox regards their news day as the hours between 9:00am to 4:00pm, and 6:00pm to 8:00pm. That’s nine hours. Therefore, the other fifteen hours (the majority) are NOT news. And that presumes that the hours they call “news” aren’t also infested with right-wing bias.
  8. Fox News caters to their audience that is overwhelmingly white, Republican, conservative, and virulently anti-Obama.
  9. Fox News PR has been creating and posting pro-Trump/anti-Clinton memes on Twitter. There are about three dozen so far.
  10. Finally, Roger Ailes, the now disgraced sexual harasser and former Fox News CEO, admitted that the network isn’t news.

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

This list could easily be expanded to twenty or thirty or four hundred examples of how Fox News debases journalism. But this collection is a pretty good representation of the perversion that Fox has made of the once respected profession. They dress up their programs like entertainment and market their hosts like celebrities. Then they run stories that stimulate their audience in a manner perfected by daytime soap operas. And by keeping their devotedly right-wing fans engaged with similarly conservative views, Fox has become their source for comforting affirmations disguised as entertainment.

Wingnuts Spin Trump’s Sexual Assault As OK Because – Oh Look, It’s The Clintons

By now everybody has heard Donald Trump describe how easy it was for him to sexually assault women. His comments were a grotesque and candid display of his real character, or more correctly, lack of it. Following the release of the recordings, Trump attempted to dismiss them with a typical non-apology apology that shifted the blame to others. He released the following statement:

Donald Trump

“This was locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago. Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course – not even close. I apologize if anyone was offended.”

So Trump is apologizing only “IF” someone happened to be offended, but not “FOR” his offensive remarks. It’s an old method of placing responsibility on the poor sap who was foolish enough to listen to him. What’s more, this is not anything like the locker room banter that I’ve ever witnessed. This a confession to criminally aberrant behavior.

However, perhaps the worst part of his dodgy apology is that he couldn’t refrain from using it as an opportunity to smear his political foes. Bill Clinton had nothing to do with this, and Trump’s accusation was arbitrary and utterly unprovable. But that didn’t stop him or his surrogates from leaping feet first into politicizing his boorishness. And most of them employed the same faulty defense. For instance:

Sean Hannity sought to whitewash Trump’s ugliness by first saying that “Nobody’s gonna defend this. You can’t defend – it is wrong, it is inappropriate, it is outrageous. I don’t think anyone’s gonna argue with that.” After which Hannity argued with it for the remainder of his show. Along with his guests, Monica Crowley and Jeanine Pirro, he waived off Trump’s tales of sexual assault and weaved in the affairs of Bill Clinton that have already been worked over in the media for years.

Then there was CNN contributor Scottie Nell Hughes who said that “The words of Donald Trump are bad. But they’re not near as bad as the actions of Hillary Clinton since she’s been in office. There are four soldiers in Benghazi right now, that are not with us right now because of Hillary Clinton’s actions.” Aside from that having been proven untrue by at least four Republican led congressional committees, it has no bearing on Donald Trump.

But no one came close to Trump’s ex-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who now works for CNN. In an interview with Wolf Blitzer he made the insanely audacious claim that “What we don’t know, and I’m not trying to change the subject here, we don’t have any understanding of what Hillary Clinton has said in those meetings with Wall Street where she was paid for these speeches. She’s never released those transcripts. For all we know, the same things are being said in that regard.”

Let that sink in. Lewandowski is actually implying that Clinton’s speeches to Wall Street executives might have been about how she sexually assaulted people. No wonder they paid her so much. You can’t get porn like that from a former Secretary of State on the cheap. And note also that Lewandowski wasn’t trying to change the subject. It makes you wonder what he thought the subject was. And while your wondering, WTF was Blitzer doing when Lewandowski made that disgusting accusation? He thanked him and went to commercial.

There was one thing that Lewandowski said that actually made sense. In defending Trump he asserted that America isn’t electing a Sunday school teacher, they’re electing a leader. And Trump’s remarks show the nation that “You’ve got a leader who talks tough. He’s been very bold. He speaks from the heart. People understand that. They know Donald Trump.” Indeed, he speaks from the heart. And apparently his heart is poisoned with perversion and hate. And yes, that is the Donald Trump that we know all too well unfortunately.

Finally, Trump himself made a video to take another crack at expressing remorse. This time he admitted that he was wrong and apologized. However, he continued his effort to minimize his grossness and redirect the outrage to his mortal enemies, the Clintons:

“This is nothing but a distraction from the important issues we’re facing today. […] I’ve said some foolish things. But there’s a big difference between the words and actions of other people. Bill Clinton has actually abused women and Hillary has bullied, attacked, shamed, and intimidated his victims. We will discuss this more in the coming days.”

Once again, the Clintons have nothing to do with his bad behavior. Additionally, the problem with all of this is not his words. It is, in fact, his actions as he himself describes them. He was not simply spewing profanities, he was talking about things he actually did. His video apologia also contained his “pledge to be a better man tomorrow.” That’s all well and good, but it’s something he should do on his own time, not while residing in the White House.

These are just a few examples of the coordinated spin from Trump and his allies. Clearly they have decided that the way to approach this is to pretend it doesn’t matter and besides the Clintons did it too. That’s a defense worthy of nine year old, which may be the emotional age of Trump.

The video itself was embarrassing. And the proof of that is that after it was aired on Fox News, anchors Gregg Jarrett and Arthel Neville noted that Trump was awkwardly reading the statement and said that it was “almost painful” to watch. They observed that he was clearly reading something that his speechwriters had written for him. And when you’ve lost Fox News…

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

See for yourself:

SNL’s Trump Mockery Causes Fox News Clowns To Freakout: ‘Should Comedy Shows Take On Politics’?

There has been a meme circulating around the InterTubes for some time saying that “I get my news from Comedy Central and my comedy from Fox News.” It’s a concise way of articulating the reality that programs like The Daily Show are far more reliable sources for information than Bill O’Reilly or Fox & Friends. Expanding on that theme, Fox & Friends did a segment this weekend that asked perhaps the dumbest question of the year: Should comedy shows take on politics?

Fox News

Are they Kidding? Politics has been a staple of comedy for centuries. The desire to mock our governments and leaders is pretty much an element of being human. But from Fox’s point of view it’s easy to understand their comic anxiety. First of all, they are terrible at it. Second of all, they are thin-skinned whiny babies who can’t take a joke. The F&F segment was a preemptive strike against last night’s Saturday Night Live season debut featuring Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump.

[What follows is a reprise of an article first published last year]
But something that seems to have been developing without much notice is that Fox News is actively reshaping their programming to be more like an actual comedy network. Alone among cable news broadcasters, Fox News is airing actual comedy shows. Already on the schedule is their late night entry Red Eye. Earlier this year they premiered The Greg Gutfeld Show, spinning off the former Red Eye host. And they just recently introduced a new show starring Bill O’Reilly stalker/producer and Fox Nation editor, Jesse Watters, that will expand on his Watters’ World segments from The O’Reilly Factor. [See this epic smackdown of Watters by Steven Colbert]

Setting aside the fact that there is scarce evidence of actual humor in any of these programs, what is interesting is that Fox News is investing so much of their airtime in a form of entertainment that literally makes a mockery of their pretense to being journalists. And considering their epic failure in this genre back in 2007, the execrable “Half-Hour News Hour,” they have some measure of courage to attempt it again. For a network that whines so often about not being taken seriously as reporters, this trend will do little to enhance their already tattered reputation.

Making matters worse is the fact that Fox News has been so fiercely derisive of comedy programs that deign to direct their barbs at news subjects. Over many years there has been a constant drumbeat of outrage from Fox aimed at comedians whom they regard as unqualified to have worthwhile opinions on the news or the talent to find humor in it.

And no one has taken more abuse from Fox than Jon Stewart. Sean Hannity called him “a sanctimonious jackass.” Megyn Kelly said that “He was not a force for good.” Bill O’Reilly labeled him “a key component of left-wing television.” O’Reilly also went after Stewart’s audience saying that he has “stoned slackers watching your dopey show every night.” And this anti-Stewart doctrine comes straight from the top. Fox News CEO Roger Ailes publicly scolded Stewart saying that “He hates conservatives. He’s crazy.”

Fox News generally demeans anyone in the entertainment field who speaks out about politics, unless it’s Ted Nugent or Dennis Miller, but then it’s a stretch describing them as entertaining. If George Clooney or Sarah Silverman exercise their rights as citizens, Fox News considers it an abomination and unleashes a rancid stream of unreserved hostility. Fox contributor Laura Ingraham even wrote a book titled Shut Up and Sing,” to advocate for silencing show biz folk who want to participate in American democracy.

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

So after disparaging entertainers, and especially comedians, for engaging in the centuries old art of satire, it is rather odd to find Fox News devoting a significant amount of time and money to doing what they hate so many others for doing. But while it is common for comedians to take on political topics, it is unheard of for news networks to commit whole programs to comedy. Certainly a news network can interview a comic or report on a humorous news story, but Fox has just launched their third comedy show. And they still want people to take them seriously as journalists? Well, that ship has sailed. If anything, Fox could continue to debut new comedy programs until they fill the schedule. Then, at least, people will be laughing at Fox for the right reasons.

Watch A Deranged Trump Fan Video Bomb Fox News Screaming ‘Bill Clinton Is A Rapist’

Live television always holds out the possibility of unanticipated “contributions” to the program. The “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox & Friends found that out this morning during a remote outside the studio.

Fox News

While introducing a fluffy segment on shelter pets, a crazed figure pops up behind the hosts. He then removes his shirt and tie to reveal a t-shirt with a picture of Bill Clinton above the word “Rape.” Repeatedly shouting “Bill Clinton is a rapist,” the intruder attempts to jump over the barriers protecting the set. The hosts giggle and try to remain composed as security drags the protester away. It’s actually pretty funny, however, there is a serious subtext to the event.

First of all, the reckless and unfounded allegations against Bill Clinton are the work of nut job conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones of Infowars. In fact. Jones actually made a public offer to pay $1,000.00 to anyone who successfully got on the air wearing that shirt (which he sells on his website) and shouting that message. Presumably that guy can use the money right about mow – for bail.

More to the point, while this incident was obviously carried out by a certified fruitcake, the exact same message has played out on Fox News by their own anchors and guests. In June of last year Megyn Kelly raised the issue saying that “Bill Clinton was accused of rape. He has been accused by several women of sexually assaulting them.” F&F Anchor Steve Doocy interviewed disreputable rumor monger Ed Klein whose book charges that Bill raped Hillary. Doocy affirmed Klein’s nonsense asserting, without foundation, that his “sources are impeccable.” Frequent Fox guest Ann Coulter gave a speech at CPAC in March of 2013 wherein she ranted that “The keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention this year was forcible rapist Bill Clinton.” Fox contributor Katie Pavlich wrote that “Bill Clinton is probably a Rapist.”

If that isn’t enough, just last May Sean Hannity hosted Donald Trump as they attempted to dismiss his tawdry past. For the record, that includes three marriages and infidelities too numerous to cite. He literally bragged about them. What’s more, Trump himself is currently being sued for the rape of a thirteen year old girl. He was also accused of rape by his ex-wife, Ivana. So of course this conversation ignored all of that and quickly diverted to a comparison to Bill Clinton:

Hannity: In one case it’s about exposure. In another case it’s about groping and fondling and touching against a woman’s will.
Trump: And rape.
Hannity: And rape.

So whatever the state of mind of the wacko who tried to crash Fox’s broadcast there is one thing that is abundantly clear. He has the same political positions as the Fox News regulars. They might as well have let him join the others on the air. Who knows, maybe security took him to see someone in Human Resources and they gave him a job. Stay tuned for the Photobomber News Hour on Fox News.

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

Fox News Is Still Using ‘Nonsense’ Polls Despite Memo Warning Not To

Within hours of the conclusion of the Clinton/Trump debate Donald Trump was touting his “triumph” over Hillary Clinton. Although he would have been bragging even if he had lapsed into Mickey Mouse impressions doing sieg heil salutes.

Fox News Donald Trump

The main problem with Trump’s victory lap is that it was based solely on the result of unscientific online polls. These are polls that invite web users to cast votes, but are not managed to produce a representative sample of the electorate. Anyone who feels like it can cast a vote and, in many cases, as many votes as they want. There are even reports that devoted StormTrumpers organized online armies to game the polls. That’s why they are generally dismissed as being “for entertainment purposes only” and no professional takes them seriously.

Consequently, the pathologically narcissistic Trump believes they are proof of his universal appeal to a nation that ravenously adores him. He posted at least twelve tweets promoting his supremacy in these bogus polls, beginning with this one:

Note: The CNN poll, which he lost bigly, was the only one that adheres to scientific polling standards. The other polls appeared on a variety of websites that use them to engage readers. They include Drudge, Breitbart (a wholly owned subsidiary of the Trump campaign), Time, Fortune, CNBC, and more. Trump also boasted about his win on the CBS post-debate poll – which was a true achievement since CBS didn’t run a post-debate poll.

Now, among the critics of these silly surveys is Fox News. A leaked memo from Dana Blanton, VP of public opinion research for the network, had a warning for her colleagues. She said that such unscientific online polls “do not meet our editorial standards.” The first question this raises is: Fox News has editorial standards? Blanton wrote that:

“News networks and other organizations go to great effort and rigor to conduct scientific polls — for good reason. They know quick vote items posted on the web are nonsense, not true measures of public opinion.”

Apparently that missive was not sufficient for certain Fox News hosts. After the memo went out Sean Hannity continued to cite online polls as evidence of Trump’s huuuge win over Clinton. It was Hannity that provided Trump with his list of polls that included the non-existent one from CBS. Then this morning the “Curvy Couch” potatoes at Fox & Friends did the same. That earned them a thank you tweet from The Donald:

Additionally, A headline on the Fox News website heralded the phony polling saying that “Online votes declare Trump debate winner, despite media consensus for Clinton.” The article did concede that the online polls were not scientific, but it also implied that they are somehow better than professionally conducted polls. Fox argued that the number of votes cast was an indicator of their value as predictors of public opinion. Never mind that many of those votes are fakes and/or duplicates, or that the sample is self-selected.

On Fox’s Your World with Neil Cavuto, the host did a segment discussing the online polls with an obvious preference for their pro-Trump results. An on-screen graphic read “Snap Polls Suggest Disconnect Between Public And Mainstream Media Over Who Won Debate.” But they only suggest that to people willing to believe that the snap polls have any legitimacy. Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich made the same argument elevating pro-Trump online polls saying that:

“It is worth looking at a list of online polls to understand the gap between the elites and the vast majority of Americans. [… and how] willfully out of touch and dishonest the Intellectual Yet Idiot class is.”

No, it is not useful to look at sham polls. Since they are nonsense, they tell us nothing about alleged gaps between elites and other Americans. However, arguing that they are superior does show how willfully out of touch and dishonest Gingrich, Fox, et al are.

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

There is something else we learn from Fox News continuing to push fake polls even after they are notified of their fakeness. It tells us is that the alleged editorial standards at Fox News are also “for entertainment purposes only.” Blanton’s memo seems to have had no effect on the propagandists bent on promoting Trump. It’s further proof that Fox has fully transformed into the Trump News Network. And nothing is going to interfere with their politically partisan mission.

The #1 WTF Debate Moment: Trump Has A Sad Cause No One Will Call Sean Hannity (VIDEO)

Last night’s debate was an extravaganza of Donald Trump’s trademark hostility, narcissism, and dishonesty. He denied ever saying that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by China. He reiterated the myth that Hillary Clinton started the Birther conspiracy. He falsely claimed his campaign financial disclosure made releasing his tax returns moot. But one chunk of the face-off stole the show for sheer lunacy and incoherence.

Trump Hannity

In defense of his oft-repeated lie that he opposed the Iraq war from the start, Trump introduced a new alibi courtesy of his friend and official Fox News surrogate, Sean Hannity. But Trump’s latest cover story is not only absurd, it’s a raving rhetorical mess:

“I then spoke to Sean Hannity, which everybody refuses to call Sean Hannity. I had numerous conversations with Sean Hannity at Fox and Sean Hannity said – and he called me the other day and I spoke to him about it. He said ‘You were totally against the war,’ cause he was for the war. And – wait, excuse me – and that was before the war started. Sean Hannity said very strongly – to me and other people – he was willing to say it but nobody wants to call him. I was against the war, he said ‘You used to have fights with me.’ Cause Sean was in favor of the war. And I understand that side also. But not very much cause we should never have been there. But nobody calls Sean Hannity. […] If somebody would call up Sean Hannity, this was before the war started, he and I used to have arguments about the war.”

Good grief! Trump cited Hannity eight times in that delirious paragraph. And he lamented four times that no one calls him. There is, however, a good reason that people don’t call Sean Hannity. They retch at the sound of his voice.

Seriously, what possible reason would there be to call Hannity for clarity on this matter? He is an avowed Trump fluffer who dedicates his program to the candidate. He even appeared in Trump ad endorsing his pal. His own record of veracity is as tainted as Trump’s. There is no way to affirm the contents of a private conversation that allegedly took place fourteen years ago. And it’s more than a little suspicious that Trump never mentioned Hannity for corroboration until last night. Did they coordinate this farce?

What’s more, Trump’s plea to call poor, lonely, Hannity was answered by these guys, and he hung up on them:

It is almost painfully pathetic that Trump has to resort to inventing witnesses to back up a lie that is well documented. But it’s just as bad that Fox News allows a prominent program host to openly campaign for a political candidate and serve as his personal propagandist. Any legitimate news enterprise would rein in their employee or suspend him until after the election. Fortunately for Fox, no one considers them legitimate.

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

Debate Prep: Big Coward Donald Trump Takes Shelter In The Fox News Cocoon

Tomorrow’s debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump could have a profound impact on the race going forward. Or it could be an entirely irrelevant sideshow that is forgotten by Wednesday. The press has already decided that Clinton has a more difficult task living up to expectations that the press itself creates. While Trump is expected only to remain upright and avoid drooling or blurting out profanities.

Debate Stage

In advance of the big night, Trump continues to hide from challenging questions. This despite, or due to, some potentially ruinous reports of his dealings with Russian oligarchs and illegal use of funds from his “charitable” foundation. As a result, Trump and his handlers are limiting his exposure to the media. This makes the debate one of the few times that he will face questions from anyone other than Fox News in over four weeks.

Since August 25, Trump has given only three interviews with non-Fox outlets. Contrast that with the thirteen interviews he’s given Fox, including several episodes of Hannity where he consumed the entire hour. Media Matters found that the airtime Hannity alone provided Trump since he became a candidate was worth more than $31 million in free publicity. Hannity even appeared in an ad for Trump, which resulted in a gentle reprimand by his bosses at Fox News.

In addition to his aversion to interviews, Trump has also not held a press conference in nearly two months. During the summer Clinton was hounded by conservatives for not holding a press conference. Now the press is traveling on her plane and it’s Trump who is evading media scrutiny. But no one on the right has any problem with that anymore.

What’s he afraid of? Trump is on Fox News almost daily, but is too scared to be interviewed by anyone outside that safe zone. His fear of media that isn’t expressly adoring raises questions about his ability to face confrontations with foreign leaders or even contentious members of Congress. Will he hide in the Lincoln Bedroom to keep from having to face Angela Merkel or Nancy Pelosi?

Even Fox News has noticed Trump’s cowardice. Last July Howard Kurtz reported that he was “refusing to appear on many television outlets” and that his advisers were “no longer notifying him of every interview request.” So his babysitters are keeping him in the dark and making decisions that deliberately shun his participation? Imagine how horribly that weakness would play out in the Oval Office.

What’s more, by cowering in the Fox bunker Trump limits his exposure to only people who are already supporting him. If he expects to expand his base he won’t do it by preaching only to the Fox choir. Studies show that Fox News viewers are more reliably right-wing voters than any other demographic group, including conservatives, white evangelical Christians, and gun owners. Another study revealed that, of those who cite Fox as their main source for news, 94 percent identified themselves as Republicans.

Anticipating difficulty, Trump has spent the last few weeks working the refs. Which amounts mainly to whining about the unfairness of the process. He complains that the election is rigged, the media is rigged, and the debates are rigged. He has railed against the moderators who he says are biased against him. For the record, the moderator of the first debate is NBC’s Lester Holt who is a registered Republican. The third debate moderator is Chris Wallace of Fox News.

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

Consequently, the potential impact of the debate rests primarily on the opportunity for more voters see Trump outside of Fox. That could be the death knell for his campaign. He’s not an especially endearing figure. However, it’s safe to predict that Fox’s debate analysis will conclude that Trump beat the pantsuit off of Clinton. No matter what actually happened. It’s what their audience expects and what they’re paid to do. As for Little Donnie, he will declare he victory even if he spits up blood and involuntarily flashes a sieg heil salute.

Hannity Appears In Trump Ad, Fox News Brushes Off Flagrant Conflict Of Interest

It may come as a surprise to learn that Fox News has policies governing the ethical behavior of their employees. Over the years the network has brazenly promoted Republican politicians and pundits without regard for either fairness or balance. But the blurry lines they draw were recently crossed by primetime host Sean Hannity.

Sean Hannity

Hannity taped a tribute to Donald Trump that appears in a new web ad. Curiously, he is identified only as “Sean Hannity, TV personality.” Not only did they leave out his Fox News affiliation, but they reduced him to the status of Kim Kardashian or Ryan Seacrest. In the clip Hannity unequivocally states his support for Trump and outlines his reasons why.

“One of the reasons I’m supporting Donald Trump this year is number one, he’s going to put originalists on the Supreme Court. People that believe in fidelity to the Constitution, separation of powers, co-equal branches of government. He’s a guy that will vet refugees to keep Americans safe. And of course he’s gonna build that wall. He says he’s gonna have Mexico pay for it. That’s fine, as long as we secure the country and, of course, we don’t want people competing for jobs. He said he will eliminate Obamacare, make us energy-independent, and as somebody who’s been a marksman since I’m 11 years old, protecting our Second Amendment rights are paramount to me.”

This list of right-wing tripe is typical of the propaganda that Fox and Hannity regularly dispense. Nothing in it varies from the conservative politics that dominate the network. What’s unusual is that Hannity delivers his testimonial in an official Trump advertisement. Along with fellow asshats like Ted Nugent, Hannity plants a wet kiss full on the mouth of his hallowed hero. Unfortunately, he failed to get permission from his Fox bosses before contributing his services. That reckless disobedience resulted in Fox News taking swift disciplinary action:

“We were not aware of Sean Hannity participating in a promotional video and he will not be doing anything along these lines for the remainder of the election season.”

Well, that ought teach him. While distancing themselves from Hannity’s impropriety, Fox firmly forbade him from further misconduct. And that appears to be the extent of his punishment. He wasn’t suspended. His pay wasn’t docked. There doesn’t even seem to be a demand to remove his segment from Trump’s ad. What’s more, they gave him permission to continue his partisan antics after the election.

This absence of consequences isn’t the least bit peculiar. Why would Fox News punish Hannity for doing in an ad what he does everyday on his program? Hannity has publicly endorsed Trump. His show has hosted Trump more than any other program on television. Tonight, in fact, he’ll be holding his third “town hall” wherein Trump is given the full hour to advance his candidacy. Hannity’s role in these infomercials is mainly to toss Trump softballs that he often answers himself. Or, at least, polishes the frequently moronic answers Trump serves up.

As the election season proceeds, Fox News is frantically escalating their Trump crusade. On the air they are deploying ever more hysterical Trump surrogates. The Fox News website is fully engaged in PR for Trump. Their Twitter feed is brazenly distributing professionally designed pro-Trump memes (see this collection). They couldn’t be more engaged in the campaign without registering as a PAC, which technically they ought to do anyway.

Consequently, Hannity’s pathetic iPhone video contribution to a web ad really doesn’t make much difference. And the only people watching Fox’s disinformation blitz are dimwitted wingnuts who wouldn’t vote for Hillary Clinton under any circumstances. Fox’s incessant choir-preaching didn’t elect John McCain or Mitt Romney, and it isn’t going to elect Donald Trump either.

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

Stephen Colbert Gets Anderson Cooper Tied Up In Knots Defending CNN’s Trump Coverage

Last night CNN anchor Anderson Cooper appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. He may not have been expecting the good-natured grilling he was in for. What took place was another example of a comedy show producing better journalism than the “serious” media.

Stephen Colbert

Early in the interview Colbert bit into the meaty subject of CNN’s disgraceful relationship with Donald Trump’s former campaign manager. A few days after leaving the Trump team, Corey Lewandowski signed on with CNN. In the following exchange Cooper sheepishly admits that CNN is employing a commentator who is also a campaign operative.

Colbert: So, he works for you guys. Does he still get any money from the Trump people at the same time?

Cooper: I believe I read he gets a severance, continuing severance from the Trump campaign.

Colbert: So ya’ll are paying him, and Trump is paying him, but he’s on your show doing analysis for a man he still gets cash from?

Cooper: Pretty much. Yeah, I guess that’s one way to look at it. I mean, yes.

That’s pretty much the only way of looking at it. Even worse, Lewandowski has a non-disparagement contract with Trump. So CNN hired a commentator who is contractually prohibited from saying anything negative. Cooper’s only response to this was that “We have people from all the campaigns.” Which is not actually true. While they will invite campaign staff to appear on the network, there are none who are employees while still on the payroll of the candidate. Other than Lewandowski, that is.

As the interview continued, Colbert asked whether Trump is still doing interviews with CNN. Cooper confirmed that he is not, noting that he’s only been doing interviews with Fox News. He elaborated saying that “He does a lot of interviews with Hannity.” “Who evidently advises his campaign at the same time,” Colbert replied. This is all accurate, but for some reason Cooper only talks about it on The Late Show. CNN’s viewers would benefit from this information.

The best moment came when the discussion got to Trump’s wavering positions on immigration. Colbert observed that Trump has been less than forthcoming about his stance, which has been shifting wildly in the past couple of days. Then Colbert offered this homey perspective from Trump’s point of view:

“There’s a little bit of “Elect me, see what happens. I’m a present. Christmas morning is Election Day. Open me up. Maybe I’m full of toys. Maybe I’m full of turds.”

Anyone who has been paying attention already knows what’s in that package. And it isn’t a new X-Box. Colbert managed to illustrate the deceitfulness of Trump’s vacillating rhetoric in a short and humorous comment that says more than most news programs say in an hour. And Cooper was reduced to grinning timidly when faced with the truth about his network. It’s just sad that news organizations are so bad at this sort of reporting that we have to rely on comedy shows.

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