Trump Hates America, and His Pathetic ‘Leadership’ on Healthcare Is Proof Of It

The failure of TrumpCare is more than a political pratfall by Donald Trump and the Republican Party. It is an object lesson in the pettiness of a vengeful, self-absorbed man who couldn’t care less about the welfare of the American people.

Donald Trump

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump marketed himself as a master negotiator and dealmaker. But when push came to shove Trump couldn’t close the deal on what was the highest priority on his agenda. Instead, the man responsible for six bankruptcies failed yet again. He couldn’t move the ball across the goal line with a majority in both chambers of Congress. But what’s worse is that his reaction betrays a spiteful disregard for the citizens he purports to serve.

In a video posted on the White House website, the President made some brief comments about the TrumpCare debacle. True to form, he blamed Democrats for his own failings and those of his party. Never mind that Democrats could not have blocked passage if Republicans were united – or competent. The truth is that the GOP didn’t want to pass the bill because it was so transparently awful. They knew that their constituents were opposed to it. What legislator in their right mind would vote for a bill that had only seventeen percent approval?

However, the most disturbing part of Trump’s video statement is his virtual giddiness at the prospect of people suffering and Democrats getting blamed. He repeatedly made false assertions that “ObamaCare is exploding” (it’s not). His takeaway on that was a perverse pride in predicting that Americans will suffer:

“I think what will happen is ObamaCare, unfortunately, will explode. It’s gonna have a very bad year.”

Trump took solace in his estimation that TrumpCare’s demise was “the best thing that could happen.” So he believe’s that ObamaCare will inflict great pain on people, but that that’s a good thing. It’s a position that only a sadist could support. And his reasoning centered on a political analysis wherein Democrats would be held accountable for ObamaCare.

“I think the losers are Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, because now they own ObamaCare. They own it. One hundred percent own it. And this is not a Republican healthcare. This is not anything but a Democrat healthcare. And they have ObamaCare for a little while longer until it ceases to exist. Which it will at some point in the near future. And just remember, this is not our bill, this is their bill.”

Seriously, what reality is Trump living in? Democrats have always “owned” ObamaCare. It didn’t get a single Republican vote. It was drafted and passed by Democrats. It’s nicknamed after a Democratic president fer chrissakes. What’s more, Democrats are proud of the bill. They are anxious to be associated with its historic drop in the uninsured rate. They happily note that it has resulted in the slowest growth of healthcare costs in decades. And the fact that its approval rating in recent polls is at its highest level ever doesn’t hurt.

Republicans had eight years to come up with a viable alternative to ObamaCare. They never even bothered. Rather, they held meaningless votes (more than sixty of them) to either repeal or cripple ObamaCare. But they only did that because they knew that Obama would veto anything that reached his desk. Now, with a Republican in the White House, they are cowering in fear of voting for something the country opposes. Even press secretary Sean Spicer called them out before the vote. “You’ve taken a bunch of these free votes when it didn’t matter because you didn’t have a Republican president,” he chided. “Well, this is a live ball now. This is for real.” That obviously didn’t work.

Also in Trump’s video, he tried to make excuses for his failure by rewriting his history on the subject. “I never said repeal [ObamaCare] and replace it within sixty-four days,” he whined. That’s true, he never said “sixty-four days.” But he did say “immediately” and “on my first day in office” and that “it’s gonna be so easy.” That obviously didn’t work either.

Trump’s habit of lying, making excuses, and blaming others is on vivid display here. And his utter lack of leadership is appalling. A real leader would not threaten people with predictions of pain and suffering. He would not find comfort in the hardship of others. A real leader would face reality and then seek to mitigate any harm that he perceived. He would accept the circumstances and try to make best of them, even if it was not what he favored.

For example, if Trump thinks that ObamaCare is going to result in higher premiums, he should advocate greater participation. That would increase the risk pool and keep premiums down. If he’s concerned about insurance companies offering plans, he should help to create incentives for them to do so. He’s already given up on “repeal and replace” so he should be focusing on helping people rather than hovering over them like a vulture anxiously anticipating fresh corpses.

That, however, is not Trump’s style. He is a petulant, vindictive, narcissist who throws tantrums when he doesn’t get his way. And it doesn’t matter who he hurts. He is as poor a leader as he is a dealmaker. The battle over healthcare has been an instructive experience that lays open the festering flaws in Trump’s character – or more accurately – the lack of it.

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

Press Secretary Spicer Won’t Deny That Trump Planted An Alibi For His Wiretapping Lie

A few weeks ago, Donald Trump tweeted that he had “Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower.” But he never bothered to provide any evidence of the charge. To the contrary, he cited sources that were either lacking any credibility or didn’t back him up. Nevertheless, he has continued to push the phony story despite being repudiated by both Democrats and Republicans.

Donald Trump Lies

On Wednesday, Devin Nunes, the GOP chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, made a public statement asserting that he had received information about surveillance in Trump Tower. He didn’t identify the source of the information, nor who was being surveilled. But he did say that there may have been “incidental” data involving Trump or his team that was picked up. In a follow up on Thursday he was asked if the source of this information was the White house. Nunes gave a meandering response that notably did not include a denial.

Later, during Thursday’s White house press briefing, press secretary Sean Spicer was asked to comment on the same matter. That resulted in this peculiar exchange:

Question: Chairman Nunes today refused to definitively rule out that he received the information he announced yesterday on surveillance, that he got that from the White House. So will you rule out that the White House, or anyone in the administration, gave Chairman Nunes that information?

Spicer: I don’t know what he actually briefed the President on, but I don’t know why he would come in to brief the President on something that we gave him. I don’t know that that makes sense. I did not sit in on that briefing. I’m not… It just doesn’t… So I don’t know why he would brief the Speaker and then come down here to brief us on something that we would have briefed him on. It doesn’t really seem to make a ton of sense. So I’m not aware of it, but it doesn’t really pass the smell test.

You’ll notice that Spicer danced around the response but never ruled out that the information came from Trump. He merely expressed confusion as to why that would have happened. Of course, the reason is obvious. Trump had a vested interest in Nunes making a public statement that could be twisted into a validation. To date, Trump has still not provided any support for his reckless accusation that Obama wiretapped his phones. Now it appears that two of Trump’s defenders have blatantly refused to deny that the White House concocted their own alibi.

Why would both Nunes and Spicer be so conspicuously reluctant to give a straight forward denial that Trump planted his own story? All they would have to say is “No, the President didn’t do that.” Instead they leave open the possibility that Trump is once again acting as his own PR rep. And that’s something that really doesn’t pass the smell test.

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

BLACKOUT: This is How Fox News Intentionally Keeps Its Viewers Stupid

There have been innumerable examples of Fox News airing false reports in an effort to misinform their viewers. A recent example just within the past week alleged that President Obama recruited British spies to conduct surveillance on Donald Trump’s campaign. Fox’s senior judicial analyst, Andrew Napolitian, made the claim without any supporting evidence. The network’s news division later refuted the report and put Napolitano on an indefinite leave. But that was after the story had been disseminated worldwide, creating an international incident. Even Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer (Fibby Spice) cited the fake news during a White House press briefing.

Go Fox Yourself

However, another way of shaping an ignorant electorate is to refrain from covering important events. The choice of what not to cover is just as significant as what to cover. And on Tuesday Fox News demonstrated their determination to deny their audience information that is unarguably newsworthy.

The House Intelligence Committee’s hearings on Russia’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election were broadcast live by most news networks. Testimony by FBI Director James Comey revealed for the first time that the FBI was investigating Trump and his associates. The proceedings were unusually compelling for a congressional hearing. And the proof of that came when Fox News decided to cease coverage of the hearings to host a panel of right-wing talking heads instead.

Fox was the only network that interrupted the live broadcast. And by doing so they deprived their viewers of first hand knowledge of what was happening at the hearings. What’s worse is that they replaced the hearings with conservative pundits providing a blatantly biased analysis. It was a deliberate programming strategy designed to advance the messaging of an embattled White House.

Unfortunately for Fox News, it may not have worked this time. Ratings for the cable news networks show that when Fox cut away from the hearings they lost about 29 percent of their audience. That’s a massive shift by viewers who were obviously disappointed by Fox’s programming decision. What’s more, viewers were plainly following the hearings to other channels. The ratings for CNN and MSNBC both spiked after Fox cut away.

This tells us that the American people are acutely interested in this matter. They want to know more about the potentially treasonous activities of their president. By suppressing that information Fox succeeded only in alienating their audience and further eroding their credibility. Plus, they probably don’t want to send their viewers off to competing networks.

The Trump administration has brought newfound prosperity to liberal programming. The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC has toppled Fox from its perch atop the ratings hill. She has won her time period for the past two weeks straight. Saturday Night Live, despite Trump’s insulting tweets (or because of them) has seen its best ratings in years. Stephen Colbert’s Late Show is now leading his late night talk show competition.

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

All of this suggests that Americans are hungry for honest reporting. They are tired of Fox’s propaganda and the phony “balance” sought by CNN and other conventional news outlets. They want the press to be skeptical when appropriate and aggressive when necessary. They know there’s something amiss in the Trump White House and they don’t want it papered over. And they are not going to sit still when a network like Fox decides that they don’t need to know what’s really going on. Fox News needs to adjust a new viewer mantra: We have remotes, and we’re prepared to use them.

CNN’s Fareed Zakaria Doesn’t Mince Words, Tags Trump As A Life-Long Bullsh*tter

The record of Donald Trump’s pathological aversion to the truth is well documented (see the Trump Bullshitopedia). With every day that goes by he introduces a new, self-serving lie. His purpose is generally to vindicate himself from some embarrassing display of ignorance or policy stumble. Either that or to distract from more serious misconduct such as his unsavory connections to Russia, or financial conflicts.

CNN Fareed Zakaria

The media is usually too timid to accurately describe Trump’s falsehoods as lies. Even when the evidence is overwhelming. However, they have been showing some improvement in that area. Friday on CNN’s “Tonight with Don Lemon,” guest Fareed Zakaria launched into a righteous condemnation of Trump, complete with an appropriate profanity:

“I think the president is somewhat indifferent to things that are true or false. He has spent his whole life bullshitting. He has succeeded by bullshitting. He has gotten the presidency by bullshitting. It’s very hard to tell somebody at that point that bullshit doesn’t work, because look at the results, right? But that’s what he does. He sees something, he doesn’t particularly care if it’s true or not, he just puts it out there. And then he puts something else out. And notice again what he did at the press conference. When pushed on it, he doesn’t take responsibility. ‘I wasn’t saying that, I was just quoting somebody else.'”

Indeed. At the joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Trump was confronted with his preposterous assertion that Obama had wiretapped his phones. His press secretary, Sean Spicer, cited a Fox News report that Obama had been aided by British intelligence as confirmation. It didn’t take long for that story to fall apart, with offended British authorities saying it was “ridiculous.” So Trump backpedaled by trying to blame it all on Fox News.

Zakaria’s larger point, however, is one that is too often overlooked. For most of his adult life Donald Trump has bullshitted his way to success. Or used bullshit to explain away his many failures. He did this with his real estate ventures, his phony university, his retail products, and even his marriages and affairs. He has never demonstrated the honesty or integrity that ought to be associated with leadership. His profile was always one of a huckster or con man, bragging about imaginary achievements. It is refreshing to see someone in the media who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is.

This was not the first time that Zakaria observed Trump’s predilection for prevarication. Last fall he devoted nearly five minutes on his own program to a segment titled “Trump Is A B.S. Artist.” Zakaria references an academic essay, “On Bullshit,” and draws parallels between that and Trump’s public behavior. It’s a thing of beauty. And here is that segment for your viewing pleasure:

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:

The ‘So-Called’ Trump Presidency Is Crumbling Under The Pressure – And They Know It

Since the day that Donald Trump was inaugurated, the American people have flooded the streets and town halls to express their opposition to his agenda. Unprecedented numbers of citizens turned out for the nationwide Women’s March on January 21. A week later, more protesters showed up spontaneously at airports to oppose Trump’s Muslim ban. Now town halls are being inundated by angry voters who won’t stand for Trump’s efforts to gut ObamaCare.

Mitch McConnell GOP Town Hall

These protests are having a profound effect on the Republican Party. Nervous GOP representatives in Washington, and across the nation, are running scared – literally. Many are avoiding their own constituents meetings for fear of encountering their wrath. And the ones that are going are being greeted by passionate advocates for progressive policies and values.

For those who are skeptical that these tactics are effective, set aside your worries. There is abundant evidence that they are working better than anyone anticipated. And the best proof of that comes from Republicans themselves. Take for instance the remarks by former GOP senator Jim DeMint. He is currently the president of the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation. Tuesday night he was interviewed by Greta Van Susteren on MSNBC (video below). His intent was to vent his displeasure with citizens exercising their First Amendment rights. But he ended up validating the efforts of the citizens he hoped to discredit:

“It’s not really like the Tea Party. I was going through this document today, Indivisible. These folks are very well financed. Very well organized. They’re being bused around to go to these different town halls to disrupt them.”

First of all, he’s partially correct about the Tea Party. It was quite different in that it was bankrolled by the billionaire Koch brothers. The Indivisible Movement is a grassroots campaign whose partners are social activist organizations, not multinational corporations. However, DeMint’s assertion that protesters are being “bused around” is delusional. They would have to have thousands of buses motoring across the whole country at impossible speeds. But DeMint wasn’t finished:

“So it’s gonna be difficult for congressmen to go out and defend their positions. Because these folks who are coming are not coming to contribute. They’re coming to disrupt. So it’s an organized effort to make it hard for Trump and Republican congress to be successful.”

DeMint is admitting that the GOP’s position is difficult to defend. No kidding. Their platform calls for throwing twenty million people off of their health insurance plans. It proposes tax reforms that will shift the burden from the rich to the middle-class and poor. They are pushing bigoted immigration schemes that will ban Muslims and deport Latinos. And DeMint wonders why that might be difficult to defend? But here’s the best part:

“Hopefully they [Republicans] will continue to plow through. Although I’m concerned that all of this push-back has delayed the repeal of ObamaCare, and certainly other agenda items that need to be taken up.”

That’s right. It’s working. Keep it up. It is highly unusual for a right-wing political operative to concede that his opponents are winning. This admission ought to encourage every progressive to redouble their efforts to prevent the Trump agenda from being implemented. These actions are also being felt all the way up to the White House. They’re rolling out their talking points intended to portray the protests as “fake news.” Press secretary Sean Spicer (Fibby Spice) laments that “There is a bit of professional protester, manufactured base in there.” And Trump himself tweeted this:

We previously were warned about “so-called judges,” and now we have “so-called angry crowds.” Apparently our so-called President is living in a so-called reality where anything he doesn’t like is fake. SAD! It’s not surprising that he’s baffled by citizens “planning” their activities, rather than behaving erratically the way he does. Even worse, in a recent press conference Trump made it clear that he is not the president of all the people:

“We’ve begun preparing to repeal and replace Obamacare. Obamacare is a disaster, folks. It’s a disaster. You can say, oh, Obamacare — I mean, they fill up our alleys with people that you wonder how they get there, but they’re not the Republican people that our representatives are representing.”

Setting aside the odd reference to “alleys,” Trump just confessed that he’s only interested in what Republicans have to say. He continues to prove that he’s a divisive, partisan politician with no interest in having a productive dialog. The extremists in Trump’s administration are determined to steamroll their agenda of hate and elitism through a rubber-stamp congress. Unfortunately for them, the American people do not seem willing to allow it. And if we keep the pressure on, we can stop them in their tracks and replace them in 2018. Forward.

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

Trump Shill Kellyanne Conway Banned From Morning Joe Because She ‘Makes Things Up’

One of the many abhorrent things that the Era of Trump will be remembered for is the emergence of “Fake News.” The term’s definition has become fuzzy, but within Donald Trump’s circle it is defined as anything with which he disagrees. However, everywhere else it is more accurately defined as news that is deliberately contrived for financial or political gain.

Kellyanne Conway

The Trump Team has demonstrated its prowess in this new field of fictionalized reporting. Starting from the the top with Trump notching a record number of “Pants-On-Fire” lies on PolitiFact. And his press secretary, Sean “Fibby Spice” Spicer valiantly defends his boss with equally dishonest press briefings.

Another member of the Liars Brigade is Kellyanne Conway, the originator of “alternative facts.” However, her star may have fallen a bit in recent days. She was staggeringly out of the loop on the Michael Flynn resignation. Just a few hours before he was sacked she was still insisting that he had the President’s full confidence. And she has recently been called out for not making sense or for plugging Ivanka’s fashion line. The U.S. Office of Government Ethics has called on Trump to investigate and discipline her for the latter.

Wednesday morning Conway got some more bad news. The hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe have decided to ban her from future appearances. Both Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski assailed her record of inventing stories just to enhance her bookings. Brzezinski came out swinging with a biting question: “How many times does she go out and say things that are not true?” She continued:

“We know for a fact she tries to book herself on this show. I won’t do it because I don’t believe in fake news or information that isn’t true. Every time I’ve ever seen her on television something’s askew, off or incorrect.”

Scarborough agreed saying that Conway’s commentaries were “blatantly false.” But he went further to assert that she is ill-informed because she isn’t even invited to the meetings of Trump’s inner circle. Consequently, she is “a spokesperson in the White House [who] actually goes out and makes things up.”

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

This is good first step for the media. Next Conway should be shunned by every show on MSNBC. Following that, every other network should decline to book her. And if they really want to make a statement honoring truth in politics, they should do the same to Spicer. At the very least they need to stop airing his daily briefings live. By delaying the broadcast they can deny him a platform for his unfiltered propaganda and conduct a fair fact-checking. The public would be surely be better off. And the media could learn from Brzezinski’s example as she declares that:

“Kellyanne Conway does not need to text our show. At least as long as I’m on it. Because it’s not happening here.”

Fibby Spice: Sean Spicer Is Congenitally Incapable Of Telling The Truth

The Trump administration is crumbling at a rate unheard of in modern times. The latest brick to fall is the “resignation” of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn after only 24 days on the job. Flynn’s downfall was the result of his covert discussions with the Russian ambassador about U.S. sanctions. He later failed to disclose these talks to Vice-President Mike Pence and other Trump officials.

This is a blatant violation of both protocol and national security. Flynn may have violated several laws in addition to demonstrating a complete lack of ethics. Nevertheless, Donald Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, rambled aimlessly at Tuesday morning’s daily briefing. He sought to downplay and divert from the serious issues at hand while exalting the dangerously lazy response by Trump.

Fibby Spice Sean Spicer

Spicer insisted that Trump was “unbelievably decisive” despite waiting nearly a month after he was first advised of the breach. That remark might have been the most ludicrous of the whole briefing until he later said that “The irony of all this has been the president has been incredibly tough on Russia.” WTF? Anyone who has been paying attention knows that Trump has been tougher on Meryl Streep and Nordstrom’s than he has on his BFF, Vladimir Putin.

Among the brazen lies uttered throughout the briefing was that Trump fired Flynn by asking for his resignation. However, the day before Flynn’s hurried exit the administration insisted the opposite was the case. Both CNN and Fox News reported that Trump did not fire Flynn, and that he voluntarily resigned.

Furthermore, Spicer’s explanation was wholly illogical. His contention that Flynn had done nothing illegal or inappropriate begs the question: Then why did he lie to Pence and his other colleagues? For practice? Spicer’s account suggests that Flynn risked his reputation and career for no reason whatsoever.

Spicer also laid out a timeline that put Trump in front of the whole affair with full knowledge and managerial control. But Friday Trump told reporters that he was unaware of the allegations and said he would look into it. If that’s accurate he could not have known weeks ago as Spicer indicated. Nor could he be portrayed as being on top of it and decisive. Spicer tried to explain this away as Trump merely saying that he was unaware of the allegations as reported in the Washington Post. But that wasn’t the question that he was asked, and the Post wasn’t brought into it until later.

So both Trump and Spicer are weaving dubious tales of how the Flynn affair unfolded. The most likely scenario would be that Trump knew about Flynn weeks ago, but can’t admit it. It would make him appear weak and even compromised with regard to the illegal discussions with Russia. Consequently, Spicer had to bobble his responses to keep from admitting Trump’s failures. If Trump actually was ignorant of Flynn’s dealings, that would be equally as troubling. It would mean that his staff had kept him out of the loop for weeks while a possible national security breach had occurred.

There is simply no good way to spin this. But Spicer is giving it the old college try. Unfortunately, he’s way short of the mark. Even Trump has had to intercede with a distraction via Twitter He tweeted that the real story isn’t the security breach, but the leaks that made the public aware of it. Because we certainly can’t have the American people finding out that the President is conspiring with hostile foreign countries.

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

Reuters Editor Warns That Covering Trump’s America Is Like Covering China, Russia

The increasing hostility toward the press from Donald Trump and his staff has resulted in a deteriorating relationship. Not that it was ever particularly healthy. Trump spent most of his campaign insulting reporters and demonizing the media in general. It got so bad that the Committee to Protect Journalists issued a warning that “A Trump presidency would represent a threat to press freedom in the United States.” The National Press Club released a similar statement condemning Trump’s anti-press tactics as “unacceptable and dangerous to our democracy.”

Donald Trump

Since the election things have not improved. Trump is still maligning mainstream news organizations as “fake news” and punishing reporters that he regards as insufficiently adoring. His press secretary, Sean Spicer, has upended the White House briefing by adding fringe “news” outlets. He is reportedly considering granting press credentials to Infowar’s Alex Jones, a notorious conspiracy theorist and Trump supporter. Meanwhile, the Trump press team has revoked press credentials for the Washington Post and other legitimate news enterprises. What’s more, they have refused to provide spokespeople to CNN for several weeks in an attempt to isolate them.

In this environment, Reuters Editor-in-Chief Steve Adler wrote a memo to his reporters to guide them on how to cover Trump. The memo begins by describing the current conditions that the media face:

“The first 12 days of the Trump presidency (yes, that’s all it’s been!) have been memorable for all – and especially challenging for us in the news business. It’s not every day that a U.S. president calls journalists “among the most dishonest human beings on earth” or that his chief strategist dubs the media “the opposition party.” It’s hardly surprising that the air is thick with questions and theories about how to cover the new Administration.”

Indeed, Trump has led an unprecedented assault on the free press. His attacks have been severe and personal. And in every case he is flailing wildly without offering much in the way of a rebuttal. He is only concerned with any negative impression of him, and that results in a furious temper tantrum. Adler’s approach to this behavior is to remind his reporters that they have experienced similar challenges in the past. And he provides examples to make his point:

“I am perpetually proud of our work in places such as Turkey, the Philippines, Egypt, Iraq, Yemen, Thailand, China, Zimbabwe, and Russia, nations in which we sometimes encounter some combination of censorship, legal prosecution, visa denials, and even physical threats to our journalists.”

So the secret to covering Trump is to apply the experience gained from covering dictators in regimes that have little respect for a free press. His advice is to be prepared for legal harassment and physical threats. Both of those are tactics that Trump has already deployed. He has said that he wants to “open up our libel laws” so that he can sue the media. And on at least one occasion a reporter required secret service protection following a Trump rally due to overt threats.

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

It’s fair to assume that the Trump administration will continue to foment discord with the media. Trump’s “malignant narcissism” and tendency to bully others is not likely change any time soon. Hopefully the media will have the courage and integrity to stand up to whatever is thrown at them. They are the last line of defense against the kind of tyranny that Adler warns about in his memo.

Fox ‘FAKE’ News Falsely Reported Quebec Mosque Shooting Suspect Was Moroccan

Another tragic instance of hateful violence was reported Sunday. This time a man entered a mosque in Quebec and shot fourteen people as they were praying, killing six of them. This massacre of innocents occurred shortly after Donald Trump signed an executive order banning Muslims immigrants and refugees from entering the United States. The measure was widely condemned as counter-productive to the fight against terrorism. And in some respect it encourages the impression of Muslims as dangerous and undesirable.

Fox News

As the facts surrounding the shooting were still unfolding, Fox News rushed out a story that falsely identified one of two suspects as Moroccan. The story has since been edited to remove that assertion, but it was never corrected. A tweet is still live on the Fox News Twitter account with the same accusation:


[Update 1/31/2017: Fox finally issued a statement expressing regret for their error and they deleted the tweet]

For the record, there is only one suspect. He is a white nationalist Canadian named Alexandre Bisonnette. His social media profile includes “Likes” of France’s fascist Front National leader, Marine Le Pen, and Donald Trump. There was a Moroccan individual who was briefly detained by the police, but who was later identified as a witness. That was all that Fox needed.

This is the sort of defamatory allegation that often finds a place on Fox News. If any event occurs that provides an opportunity to smear their perceived political foes, Fox News jumps on it. Therefore, Democratic protests, or Black Lives Matter rallies, are reported as assemblies of decadent liberals. And anything involving Muslims is automatically turned into a terrorist attack by radical Islamists.

The example shown here is not merely a journalistic mistake. It is representative of Fox’s deliberate intent to demonize Muslims. And that intention is getting support in the White House. Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, referenced the Quebec shooting at the morning briefing. He said that:

“It’s a terrible reminder of why we must remain vigilant and why the President is taking steps to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to our nation’s safety and security.”

Spicer’s comment makes the false assertion that there is a “reminder” in this shooting that relates to Trump’s policy. Of course, nothing in the Muslim ban implemented by Trump would have prevented this tragedy. That, however, didn’t stop Spicer from exploiting it. His irresponsible statement implies that there was a Muslim connection to the shooting. That falsehood can only exacerbate the bigotry that already infects the Fox News audience and Trump’s Republican Party.

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

At a time when victims and their families are trying to cope with this horror, Fox News and the White House are only making matters worse. Their misinformation spreads far more quickly than any attempt to correct it, which they haven’t made. So rather than receiving the sympathy and concern that was warranted, the Muslim community was victimized again by dishonest media and a bigoted administration that is more focused on political advantage than on truth or human decency.