Trump’s ‘Enemy Of The American People’ Is A Direct Threat To The Free Press

From the outset of Donald Trump’s campaign he has made the media a target of his attacks, insults and retribution. He has called them liars and sleazy and horrible people. Keeping them penned up at his rallies was common, as was expelling those he especially disliked.

Donald Trump

Organizations that advocate for the welfare of journalists have expressed their concerns with justifiable anxiety. 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.”

Now Trump has taken his abuse a step further into an ominous future. He posted on Twitter a message that reeks of an authoritarian stranglehold on one of America’s most cherished principles. The Free Press. He tweeted:

Trump’s characterization of the press as “the enemy of the American People!” has roots in some of the most oppressive historical dictatorships. It goes back to ancient Roman times. However, it has been used as recently as the 1950’s by China’s Chairman Mao Tse-tung to suppress freedom. Trump’s usage is particularly repulsive because of the overtly violent overtones that infect so much of his rhetoric. Is he deliberately fomenting violence against the press now? As an aside, it’s curious that he thinks the media is the enemy of the American people, but that it isn’t his enemy.

In the United States, disgraced former President Richard Nixon made an almost identical statement in private. He said that “The press is the enemy, the establishment is the enemy, the professors are the enemy.” Sound familiar? But Trump is saying it very publicly. It’s also notable that Nixon’s Watergate scandal and Trump’s current transgressions have similar beginnings. The Republican operatives who broke into Democratic offices at the Watergate were called the “Plumbers” because their purpose was to plug up leaks. And that’s exactly the focus of Trump’s complaints.

The “enemy of the people” theme is likely the handiwork of Trump’s alt-right, white supremacist aide, Stephen Bannon. In 2012 his Breitbart News website featured a commentary by Trump supporter Pat Caddell. In it Caddell said that “The press’s job is to stand in the ramparts and protect the liberty and freedom of all of us from a government and from organized governmental power,” So far, so good. However, he continued to say that they have “desert[ed] those ramparts” and “made themselves the enemy of the American people.”

Mao, Nixon, Breitbart. Is there a pattern forming? Trump would be thrilled to discredit the media that he regards as the “opposition party.” Then he could rant relentlessly with his “alternative facts” and outright lies without restraint or objective scrutiny. He could rely on disreputable “news” manglers like Breitbart, Infowars, the National Enquirer, and Fox News to lead his campaign of disinformation.

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

This needs to be taken seriously. Trump is not kidding when he says the free press is the enemy. Last October he complained that “Our press is allowed to say whatever they want and get away with it.” Trump is actually appalled that the press can say whatever they want. It’s a freedom that he would eagerly undo given the opportunity. That would leave us with his factless accounts of a delusional world that exalts him and maligns his critics. He must be stopped by any (legal) means necessary.

POLL: A Majority Of Americans Would Dump Trump For Obama

Two weeks into Donald Trump’s presidency and things continue to go south. And no, that’s not a reference to his disastrous screw-ups with Mexico. As obsessed with ratings as our reality TV president is, Trump is floundering bigly in the eyes of the nation.

Obama trump

A new poll by Public Policy Polling asked “Who would you rather was President: Barack Obama or Donald Trump?” The response was an overwhelming repudiation of Trump who received only 43 percent. Obama was favored by a majority of 52 percent.

Knowing Trump as we do, that’s going to gnaw at him intensely. But that’s only the beginning. On almost every other question in the poll, Trump fared poorly:

With regard to his executive order on immigration, 65 percent are opposed to banning Muslims. When phrased as barring people from specified countries, he still lost 53 percent of voters. He even lost lost on style with 55 percent saying his executive order was poorly executed.

On other issues, only 19 percent of voters see Stephen Bannon favorably. The same percentage think he should be on the National Security Council. And while 48 percent of Trump voters believe the conspiracy theory that airport protesters were paid by George Soros, only 26 percent of all voters buy Trump’s “alternative fact” that millions of people voted illegally.

Furthermore, 54 percent oppose building his border wall if American taxpayers have to front the cost for it. Only 37 percent of voters support the 20 percent tax on items imported to the US from Mexico. And a plurality of 46 percent now say they support ObamaCare, compared to just 41 percent who are opposed.

Perhaps the most painful results in this poll relate to the public’s impression of the media. In particular, some outlets that Trump has gone out of his way to disparage. According to PPP:

  • By a 52/41 spread voters say the Washington Post has more credibility than Trump.
  • By a 51/42 spread voters say the New York Times has more credibility than Trump.
  • By a 50/42 spread voters say CNN has more credibility than Trump.

Trump Media chart

For the record, that’s the “lying” Washington Post, the “failing” New York Times, and “fake news” CNN. All of whom are enjoying the best subscription/ratings stats they’ve seen in years. So if this is what Trump meant when he said we would all get “sick and tired of winning” bring it on, Donnie.

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

Republicans In Congress Are TERRIFIED Of Trump And His ‘Horde Of Enforcers’

Donald Trump ran roughshod over his GOP opponents in the 2016 Republican primaries. It was a scorched Earth style campaign that left his foes, not just beaten, but humiliated. He didn’t merely challenge their policy positions or leadership skills, he used language meant to shame them. Fellow Republicans were viciously maligned as “Lyin’ Ted’ and “Little Marco.” Eventually Trump succeeded in capturing the nomination, but not without leaving bodies on the battlefield.

Trump/Bannon

Those same tactics are now being deployed against the Republicans in Congress. Many of them are saying privately that they are fearful of taking positions against Trump. That poses a critical problem because their traditionally conservative views are often at odds with Trump’s twisted brand of populism. Trumpulism favors cordial relations with Russia and its strongman Vladimir Putin. It proposes to spend a trillion dollars on infrastructure improvements, mainly benefiting wealthy contractors. It is critical of the U.S. alliance with NATO. It would impose stiff tariffs on American companies with foreign factories. All of these positions are in direct opposition to decades of Republican doctrine.

The problem now is that Republicans are literally afraid to speak their minds. They have been warned by Trump and his surrogates that any diversion from total obedience to his agenda would be viewed as betrayal. As reported by Politico:

“It’s little wonder that Capitol Hill Republicans have papered over their not-insignificant policy differences with Trump, shying away from any statement about the president-elect that might possibly be construed as critical. They’re terrified of arousing the ire of their tempestuous new leader — or being labeled a turncoat by his army of followers.” […]

“Since the election, numerous congressional Republicans have refused to publicly weigh in on any Trump proposal at odds with Republican orthodoxy, from his border wall to his massive infrastructure package. The most common reason, stated repeatedly but always privately: They’re afraid of being attacked by Breitbart or other big-name Trump supporters.”

The threat from Breitbart is a real concern. Especially since its chairman, Stephen Bannon, is currently on leave to serve as Trump’s strategic advisor in the White House. But it doesn’t stop there. As South Carolina GOP Rep. Mark Sanford said, “People are naturally reticent to be the first out of the block for fear of Sean Hannity, for fear of Breitbart, for fear of local folks.”

Texas Rep. Bill Flores can attest to Sanford’s worries. After he made some rather tame remarks at a conservative conference, the Trump enforcers snapped into action. Breitbart began with an article condemning Flores for plotting to “stifle Trump’s campaign promises.” Sean Hannity of Fox News picked up the story and added his own vitriolic objections. He implied that Flores was using code to tell Trump to “Go to hell.” Subsequently, Flores was showered with complaints that included predictions of the end of his political career and even death threats. Never mind that he is one of the most conservative members of the House and a co-founder of its arch right-wing Freedom Caucus.

The media component of Trump’s Crusaders is a key to their intimidation tactics. They have the power of Fox News as well as dozens of other right-wing media outlets. Strain all of that through Facebook and Twitter and you get a powerful amplification of their defamatory propaganda.

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

The rest of the GOP caucus is learning a lesson from this. They are choosing to keep their mouths shut rather than risk offending Trump or his defenders. The StormTrumpers stand at the ready to crucify any Republican they view as disloyal or insufficiently resolute. It’s a chilling state of affairs that impinges on the core principles of democracy. And in that regard, it should not be a surprise coming from the Trump camp. His authoritarian leanings have been apparent from the start of his campaign. And since it’s clear that Republicans can’t be relied upon to defend democracy, Democrats better be prepared to do it.

Alarming New Law Could Allow ‘Voice Of America’ To Turn Into Trump’s Pravda

The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) is a federal agency with seventy-four years of history. It was created to produce pro-western news stories for distribution around the world. It was intended to advance democracy and counter propaganda in countries suffering from stiff censorship and suppression of free speech.

Donald Trump

The BBG manages outlets like the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe, among others. However, its mission of late has been muted by bureaucracy and mismanagement. In an effort to address these problems Congress passed a reform bill that would phase out the bipartisan board and replace it with a CEO to be appointed by the president.

These reforms were not considered especially controversial when they were proposed. They even received some bipartisan support in Congress. However, with the election of Donald Trump, some of the initiative’s backers are having second thoughts. As Politico reported:

“President-elect Donald Trump is about to inherit a newly empowered Voice of America that some officials fear could serve as an unfettered propaganda arm for the former reality TV star who has flirted for years with launching his own network.

“Buried on page 1,404 of the National Defense Authorization Act that passed last week is a provision that would disband the bipartisan board of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the independent U.S. agency that includes Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia and the Middle East Broadcast Networks.”

Trump and his cohorts have demonstrated that they are not above lying to manufacture narratives that support their interests. Consequently, the new BBG could wind up being a version of Trump TV that is “financed by taxpayers to the tune of $800 million per year.” And with other recent legislation, there’s nothing to stop this agency from airing its broadcasts in the United States. This is troubling because the reformed board could produce propaganda aimed at American citizens and distribute it through conventional media and news programming.

Now some people might be thinking “So what? Isn’t that what Fox News already does?” And they would be right. Fox News is the de facto PR division of the Republican Party. And with the elevation of Trump to the White House, Fox becomes the President’s official mouthpiece. However, another production entity with a nearly billion dollar budget should not be dismissed. It’s programming could be distributed to hundreds of small TV stations throughout the country who could air it for free. This would expand the reach of the right’s propaganda to millions of new households.

The congressional managers of the bill insist that their reforms preserve a “firewall” that prohibits political influence from the White House or the new CEO. They maintain that journalists would still have a free hand to produce their own stories. But if the new CEO was inclined to throw his weight around, he could still bully his subordinates into submission. Plus he could hire journalists that were pre-screened for right-wing, ideological purity. Imagine someone like Stephen Bannon (Trump’s Strategic Advisor and former chairman of Breitbart News) in that role. And Roger Ailes, former CEO of Fox News, is looking for work after having been fired for sexual harassment. He and Trump are best buddies.

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

Both Democratic and Republican members of the current board have expressed concerns about the reforms. They recognize the potential for abuse without strict oversight. The Washington Post notes that, “If Congress’s intention was for US broadcasting to rival the Kremlin’s, it may well get its wish.” And what would make Trump happier than to emulate his hero in Russia with his very own version of Pravda?

Donald Trump Absolutely HATES Veterans, And His Latest Candidate For VA Chief Proves It

If you didn’t already believe that we’re living in a bad parody of America, this news should clinch it. The awful names that have been floated for posts in the Trump administration defy reason. Most have no experience at all in the fields for which they were chosen or are being considered. Many represent 180 degree flip-flops from the promises Trump made throughout his campaign. They consist mainly of politicians, Wall Street barons, and fellow billionaires. If this is “draining the swamp,” apparently the swamp drains directly into the White House.

Trump Palin

However, the newest name to surface from the Trump Tower of Babbling is especially confounding. ABC News is reporting that Sarah Palin is under consideration for Secretary of Veterans Affairs. The only question is: WHY?

The fact that Trump could seriously consider Palin for this job is further proof that he is dangerously incompetent. It reveals conclusively that he harbors some deep hostility toward veterans. Otherwise, how could he entertain this half-term governor, failed VP candidate, reality TV host, and fired Fox News contributor? She has demonstrated no skills that would prepare her for managing the largest of all federal agencies. Particularly one that is in dire need of reform and competent management.

Like Trump, Palin has talked a lot about veterans. but has shown little aptitude for resolving problems. In her own family she has a son who served in Iraq, but has also been arrested for beating up his girlfriend and wielding an AR-15 rifle while intoxicated. And somehow she blamed that on President Obama. It didn’t take long, though, to hype herself on Facebook for the VA gig as soon as word broke.

Palin may be the perfect symbol for the Trump administration’s commitment to the needs of veterans. After all, he held a phony telethon to raise money for veterans when he wanted an excuse to ditch a GOP primary debate. Then he failed to deliver the funds he claimed to have raised. He is also known for maligning vets with PTSD as weak people who couldn’t “handle it.” And who can forget his insult to John McCain, and all POWs, for having been captured.

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

Palin’s consideration might just be a bone thrown to an early supporter (and she is not the only candidate). Or she may be being pushed by Trump advisor, and white nationalist, Stephen Bannon. In 2011 Bannon produced a crocumentary about Palin that went almost immediately to video – and the bargain bins at that. Whatever the reason for her name surfacing as a possible VA chief, it is bad news for veterans. She has no skills that suggest an ability to perform the job. She’s just another Fox News leftover who comprise a surprisingly large percentage of Trump’s candidate pool. That’s what America gets for electing a reality TV game show host to the presidency.

House Democrats Fired Up: Demand Trump Dump Alt-Right, White Nationalist Stephen Bannon

As America recovers from the shock of Donald Trump’s unexpected victory, the framework of his administration is beginning to materialize. Unfortunately, the first steps do not inspire much confidence in his managerial skills. For his chief of staff, Trump chose Reince Priebus, a political operative, rather than the experienced government administrator the job requires.

Trump/Bannon

More troubling, though, is his appointment of Stephen Bannon as senior advisor and chief strategist. Bannon is the chairman of Breitbart News, which he described as the “platform for the alt-right.” It appeals to the organized racist and white nationalist movement that has endorsed Trump. Prominent hate groups and leaders, like former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke, have praised the selection of Bannon. Rocky Suhayda, chairman of the American Nazi Party, told CNN that “Perhaps The Donald is for real.” Many white supremacists are celebrating Bannon as evidence that Trump is going to execute their abhorrent agenda. Not surprisingly, Fox News is celebrating too.

The good news is that Democrats in Congress are not sitting still for it. A letter circulated by Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) is demanding that “President-elect Donald Trump rescind his appointment of alt-right leader Steve Bannon as White House Chief Strategist.” As of Thursday morning the letter had 169 signatures of House Democrats who agree that Bannon is unacceptable. The letter says in part:

“Immediately following your victory, many Americans were optimistic and hopeful that you would take the steps necessary to unify our country following the divisive and contentious election. In your election night speech you said, ‘Now it’s time for America to bind the wounds of division. It is time for us to come together as one united people.’ Unfortunately, your appointment of Stephen Bannon, whose ties to the White Nationalist movement have been well-documented, directly undermines your ability to unite the country. […]

“Since the election there have been a number of incidents across the country in which minorities, including Muslim Americans, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Jewish Americans, have been the targets of violence, harassment and intimidation. Mr. Bannon’s appointment sends the wrong message to people who have engaged in those types of activities, indicating that they will not only be tolerated, but endorsed by your Administration.”

Stephen Bannon represents the worst of American prejudice and is a throwback to an era of lynchings and cross-burnings. Even if Trump asserts that he does not support racist hate groups, he has to question why they are lock-step in support of him. Could it be something he said? Or the people with whom he surrounds himself? These are questions any conscientious person would seek to answer. If Trump wants the nation to believe that he will enforce civil rights for all, he needs to dump Bannon. Because putting a racist in the office next his in the White House won’t bring the country together.

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

Hannity Wants To Use White House Press Credentials To Punish, Censor ‘Unfriendly’ Media

The emerging profile of the Trump administration is beginning to take shape. And it is just as frightening and offensive as expected.

Sean Hannity

Donald Trump’s first two official appointments provide no confidence whatsoever of a competent, inclusive Executive Branch. Right out of the gate is the current chair of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, as Chief of Staff. So the gateway to the Oval Office will be guarded by a rank political partisan with no experience in government. Secondly, Trump made his campaign chair, Stephen Bannon, his Chief Strategist. Bannon, of course, is also the CEO of Breitbart News, the alt-right’s mouthpiece for racist propaganda.

On Monday Sean Hannity of Fox News (Breitbart Lite) made his position clear regarding how Trump should handle the media. Not that Trump hasn’t already been clear that he regards it as a dishonest bunch of sleazy liars. A pro-Trump Twitter user posted a comment that caught Hannity’s eye. It said “CNN, NYT, WaPo & others shown to have colluded by @wikileaks should not receive WH press credentials.” Hannity retweeted it and responded simply “Amen.”

First of all, there have been no WikiLeaks documents revealing any collusion between the news organizations cited. That is just another invented “fact” that fuels so much of the right’s irrational outrage. The truth is that most of the WikiLeaks references to the media exposed nothing but reporters seeking information or interviews. In other words, doing their jobs.

The bigger problem here is the eagerness with which Hannity agreed that it would be proper to deny press credentials to some of the most prominent news enterprises in the country. It is a direct expression of support for punishing media for being critical of the President. That is a blatant breach of the First Amendment and the principle of freedom of the press. The White House press corps is not supposed to be the cheering section for Trump & Company.

For his part, Trump has demonstrated a hostility to the media that borders on psychotic. Journalist organizations have deemed him an unprecedented threat to press freedom. He calls reporters liars, dummies, and sleazy, as he points to them menacingly at his rallies. That has resulted in some reporters becoming targets of assaults. His vitriol has contributed to driving trust of the media to historic lows. And he has already engaged in discriminatory acts that amount to censorship by banning certain reporters from his events. They include the Washington Post, BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, Fusion, Univision, the Des Moines Register, and the New Hampshire Union Leader.

On the other hand, Trump has granted press passes to some unsavory characters who don’t qualify as legitimate media. A notable example is James Edwards of the Political Cesspool blog. Edwards is an unabashed racist who has written favorably about slavery. That’s the sort of “journalist” that makes the grade in Trump’s Ivory Tower. If The Donald’s Politburo has its way only Breitbart News and the National Enquirer would receive credentials.

However, it may not be that easy for them to carry out their purge. Authority over who gets press passes to the White House belongs to the Standing Committee of Correspondents on Capitol Hill. The committee is made up of credentialed congressional reporters. But the White House could still forbid individuals based on informal criteria mainly involving security. Even then, it might encounter opposition from the media and the public if it acted out of partisanship or revenge.

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

Hannity’s hypocrisy, however, is both stunning and typical. The same Hannity who now favors punishing “unfriendly” media, used to have seizures if President Obama said anything mildly critical of the press. And this anti-First Amendment view is plainly shared by Trump and his inner circle of autocrats. Without strict oversight of the Trump administration’s tendency toward censorship, it will surely try to poison press relations and access. That could lead to a dangerous situation wherein an aspiring dictator could deceive the nation into creeping tyranny. It has happened before.

How The Obsolete Electoral College Can Save Us From ‘President’ Trump

Before I write a single word on the subject in the title of this article, I want to acknowledge that it is an extremely unlikely proposition. So anyone hankering to post frantic accusations of deranged liberals in denial, STFU. I know. That said, this deserves support purely from a conceptual perspective. It puts a focus on the legitimate reasons that Donald Trump’s election is an aberration of democracy. At the same time, it exposes the anachronistic nature of the Electoral College whose time was over long ago. And in the unlikely event that this notion should gain steam and become plausible, so much the better.

Trump Newspapers

The election of Donald Trump has caused a tsunami of critical analysis, most of which revolves around the shock that it occurred at all. Trump was opposed by an unusually broad array of Americans, including Republicans, national security experts, economists, and more. His utter unpreparedness for the job wasn’t sufficient to dissuade voters from choosing him over a far better qualified woman. In fact, Hillary Clinton’s experience was portrayed as a flaw. Because who wants experience in the most powerful leader in the world?

The day following the election, citizens across the country took to the streets to protest Trump’s victory. It was a spectacle unseen since the protest marches for civil rights or against the Vietnam war. Clearly there is a significant faction in the nation that is looking for a way out. And there just might be one.

There is nothing in the Constitution that binds members of the Electoral College to vote for any particular candidate. Some states have laws that impose a fine if the Elector doesn’t vote for the candidate who won the state, but those rogue votes are still counted. Consequently, Electors could still vote for Clinton when they meet on December 19, and she would then become the president-elect. And since Trump won with a bare majority of 279 Electoral College votes, only ten Electors would have to switch.

The Arguments For Electoral Vote Swapping:

Changing a vote in the Electoral College ought not to be done lightly. It should require thoughtful consideration and persuasive reasoning. Here is a summary of what might justify this radical step:

  1. THE POPULAR VOTE: Hillary Clinton received nearly a quarter of a million more votes half a million more votes than Donald Trump. The popular vote rarely diverges from the electoral vote, but this year the divergence is profound. Electors could be prevailed upon to honor the choice of the people.
  2. FRAUD AND SEX CRIMES: Trump is currently being sued for fraud with regard to his phony Trump University. Barring a postponement or settlement, the trial will be held later this month. If Trump is found to have committed fraud, it might sway some electors to rethink there obligations. There are dozens of other lawsuits pending against him. And he has promised to file suits of his own against women who have accused him of sexual assault.
  3. THE KKK KONNECTION: Trump has an unsavory relationship with the alt-right, white nationalist community. This includes the CEO of his campaign, Stephen Bannon, who is also the chairman of Breitbart News. Breitbart has become the alt-right’s home on the Internet. And racist icons like David Duke have been cheering on Trump’s candidacy. This affiliation makes it impossible for Trump to represent all Americans.
  4. THE PUTIN FILES: Trump’s ties to Russia are deeply disturbing. He owes millions of dollars to Russian financiers connected to the Kremlin. He has been linked to the Russian hacking that targeted Clinton. His policies are frighteningly aligned with those of Vladimir Putin (i.e. weakening NATO). And it was just disclosed that his campaign has been meeting with Russian officials. Need I say more?
  5. UNFIT TO SERVE: There is a general concern about Trump’s temperament that suggests his unfitness to carry out the duties of the president. He is thin-skinned and vengeful and subject to childish outbursts when he is opposed or criticized. Furthermore, he’s ignorant and shows zero interest in educating himself about the issues upon which many millions of lives rest.

These are serious arguments that could justify an Elector (or ten) voting against Trump. Taking an action like this would be an extreme measure reserved for only serious threats. But if anyone represents a clear and present danger to the United States, it’s Donald Trump. And there are many citizens who are worried about the prospect of his assuming residence in the White House. To that end they have started a petition directed to the Electoral College. It currently has over 1,000,000 2,300,000 3,500,000 signatures (and rising fast) and poignantly asks “Why not use this most undemocratic of our institutions to ensure a democratic result?”

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

That’s a good question. Feel free to sign the petition. No matter how long a shot this is, it’s still a good way for citizens to express their disgust and refusal to submit to the horror of a Trump presidency. Progressives are now the loyal resistance, and they should act like it.

Fox News Doubles Down On Stupid: Tucker Carlson Gets Primetime Show

It was three months ago that Roger Ailes stepped down from his post as CEO of Fox News amid allegations of sexual harassment. Subsequently there has been much speculation as to the future direction of the network without its longstanding guiding force. Well, for anyone who thought there would be a tempering of Fox’s stridently conservative bias, you’re optimism was unfounded.

Tucker Carlson Fox News

Thursday Fox News announced that the vacancy left by Greta Van Susteren’s sudden departure would be filled by Tucker Carlson. Currently Carlson is a co-host of the weekend version of the Fox & Friends morning show. In that role he has ably fulfilled the Fox mandate to spew right-wing propaganda and smear Democrats. In the process he has cultivated an attitude of smug superiority while advancing a racist, misogynistic agenda.

For the record, Carlson is also the owner of the ultra-conservative web rag, The Daily Caller. As a publisher Carlson demonstrated his aversion to ethical journalism. In one instance he spiked an article that contained a criticism of Fox News for not being sufficiently anti-immigrant. Despite the fact that the piece castigated President Obama as a lawless tyrant, Carlson could not abide any Fox bashing. The article’s author said that Carlson told him “We can’t trash Fox on the site. I work there.” In other words, the Daily Caller is Fox’s puppet where free speech, and thought, is prohibited.

Additionally, the Daily Caller embraces the white supremacist alt-right movement that has adopted Donald Trump as its leader. In a wide-ranging essay about the budding “ethno-nationalism” crusades, Luke O’Brien writes for the Huffington Post about the relationships between America’s hate groups and the media. He singles out Carlson’s Daily Caller saying that:

“Other conservative sites, even ones that prefer bowties, appear to have accepted that angry right-wing populism translates into clicks. Take The Daily Caller, which now runs its fair share of immigrant knife-attack stories and Jew-baiting George Soros exposes. The reader comments on the site are at times indistinguishable in tone and racist content from those on Breitbart.”

That’s the same Breitbart News whose chairman, Stephen Bannon, is currently the CEO of Trump’s campaign for president. Bannon is also chairman of the Government Accountability Institute whose president, Peter Schweizer, authored the book “Clinton Cash.” Despite being filled with errors and lies, that book has been cited as the source for the FBI’s fatally biased review of the Clinton Foundation. It was also the subject of an hour-long special on Fox News. Oh, what a tangled web.

Prior to joining Fox News, Carlson’s career was a pitiful collection of failures. He had been canceled by PBS, CNN, and MSNBC. And if that wasn’t embarrassing enough, he was the first contestant voted off of Dancing with the Stars. He seemed to be a recidivist loser with no reasonable hope for redemption. He had even burned bridges with regard to Fox News when, after a childish prank (by both of them), he called Fox “a mean, sick group of people.”

Fortunately, For Carlson, Fox News has a policy of dredging the sewers of pseudo-journalism and rescuing the most offensive and desperate rejects, giving them a second chance at salvation. Of course that forgiveness comes at the cost of their soul. It rests on their willingness to supplicate themselves to their new savior. So when Fox called, Carlson went crawling back with his tail between his legs and fully prepared to obey.

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

Carlson knows his place and did what was expected of an indentured servant to the Wingnut Overlord. His reward is a spanking new program in primetime access where he can deliver his radically rightist, poorly reasoned rants. And he’ll fit right in with Bill O’Reilly, Megyn Kelly, and Sean Hannity. Proving that Fox News intends to continue being a fount of conservative propaganda, and a mouthpiece for Republican dogma, for many years to come.

And for your entertainment pleasure, here is the classic episode of CNN’s Crossfire where Jon Stewart called Carlson a “dick” and humiliated him so badly the show was cancelled soon after.

BUSTED: Trump’s Campaign Boss Tied To FBI’s Review Of The Clinton Foundation

The FBI has come under sustained and deserved criticism for the past week due to public pronouncements regarding Hillary Clinton. They demonstrated a blatant double standard by releasing vague but damaging statements about Clinton a few days before an election. Those statements have allowed Clinton’s opponents to smear her, but leave her little of substance to rebut. However, the FBI refused to discuss investigations of Donald Trump’s shady connections to Russia saying that it’s too close to an election.

Comey Trump

Now the New York Times is reporting that the FBI’s inquiry into the Clinton Foundation was built on discredited reporting by a well-known anti-Clinton hack. The Times writes that the FBI’s case:

“…had not developed much evidence and was based mostly on information that had surfaced in news stories and the book ‘Clinton Cash,’ according to several law enforcement officials briefed on the case.”

In addition, CNN is reporting that internal discussions within the FBI debated whether to proceed with an investigation into the Clinton Foundation. However, according to CNN “Officials leading the meeting told the FBI that investigators hadn’t turned up much more evidence beyond that contained in ‘Clinton Cash.'” In other words, the whole affair was turning out to be a big nothingburger.

Some background is required on the book that the FBI has apparently embraced as the cornerstone of their inquisition. Clinton Cash was published last year as an attempt to connect donations to the Clinton Foundation with the personal finances of the Clintons. The book was harshly criticized for containing numerous factual errors and failing to document its thesis.

For instance, the book alleged that Clinton played a “central role” in approving the sale of a uranium company. It further alleged that she did so in return for a donation to the Clinton Foundation. In fact, the records show that Clinton didn’t weigh in on the matter at all. What’s more, the sale required the approval of nine different federal agencies, so Clinton’s participation would have had minimal impact. The book’s author later admitted in an ABC News interview that he had no evidence to substantiate his charge. That’s just one of many examples of the author’s dishonesty.

And speaking of the author, he is a long-time Republican activist named Peter Schweizer. His resume boasts stints with Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and George W. Bush. He has a history of making false allegations that often require retractions. One of his previous books was saddled with this audacious and absurd title: “Makers and Takers: Why Conservatives Work Harder, Feel Happier, Have Closer Families, Take Fewer Drugs, Give More Generously, Value Honesty More, Are Less Materialistic And Envious, Whine Less…And Even Hug Their Children More Than Liberals.” And…inhale.

Schweizer may seem like a peculiar choice for the FBI to hinge their case on. But wait up – it gets worse. Schweizer is also the president of a conservative “think” tank called the Government Accountability Institute (GAI). The GAI conducts studies that have about the same low level of credibility as Schweizer’s books. It’s purpose is to stream their poorly-sourced, partisan propaganda into the media. The chairman and founder of GAI is Stephen Bannon. Bannon is currently on leave from his job as chairman of Breitbart News so that he can run Donald Trump’s campaign for president.

So in summary, the FBI is basing their Clinton case on a widely debunked book, written by a disreputable Clinton foe, whose boss is a right-wing propagandist, and the CEO of Trump’s campaign. You may want to go back and read that sentence again slowly. It describes a severely maladjusted law enforcement agency that is improperly politicizing its work.

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

And if that weren’t enough, recall that the Times also mentioned news reports as among the FBI’s sources. Presumably they are referring to reports like the hour-long special Fox News did on Schweizer’s book. It’s one thing when dimwitted wingnuts fall for malarkey from people like Schweizer and Fox News. But it’s much more depressing – and dangerous – when the FBI does it.