Seth Meyers: Fox News Is Basically The Closest Thing We Have To State TV

The political satire scene took a couple of body blows when Jon Stewart left The Daily Show and Stephen Colbert gave up his Colbert Report. The slack was taken up ably by John Oliver, Samantha Bee, and a resurgent Saturday Night Live. But a leading light in this arena has been Late Night with Seth Meyers.

Seth Meyers Fox News

This week Meyers delivered one of the best take downs of Fox News since Jon Stewart left the stage. In this segment Meyers begins by noting that the sexual harassment allegations against Bill O’Reilly offer an example of Fox News’ “symbiotic relationship” with Donald Trump. And, yes, Meyers makes the connection.

However, the segment goes into much greater detail on how Fox News is a network in service of propaganda. Meyers spells it out in plain language saying that “They [Fox] give him [Trump] glowing, unquestioning coverage, and in return he gives them unparalleled access.” That’s it in a nutshell. But Meyers isn’t through. He manages to put together a variety of samples of Fox’s sycophantic sucking up to Trump. “Fox News,” he said, “is basically the closest thing we have to state TV” And furthermore:

“This is the network that the President relies on for information? A network with an archaic culture of sexual harassment, fear, and intimidation, that also serves – with a few exceptions – as a propaganda arm.”

Meyers points out how Trump has been promoting Fox News programs on his Twitter feed. “Instead of a bible,” Meyers says, “Trump should have been sworn in on a TV Guide.” And Fox News happily reciprocates by promoting Trump’s promotions of Fox. The clip with Fox and Friends co-host Steve Doocy is worth the price of admission by itself.

The whole piece is a brilliant combination of humor and perceptive media analysis. This clip can be saved and replayed for both its entertainment value and its uncompromising honesty and insight.

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.

Rachel Maddow’s Trump Coverage Has Rocketed Her To The Top 10 Of TV Ratings

There have been numerous polls that show Donald Trump sinking to historic lows in approval. He currently resides at a pitiful 43 percent. That puts him at the bottom of the past nine presidents (going back more than sixty years) at this point in their terms. And that makes him the most unpopular new president in as long as this poll has been done.

Rachel Maddow

Likewise, majorities of the public are generally not in favor of his policies. He is trailing on the issues he has pushed the hardest for. Voters oppose him on ObamaCare, the border wall, and immigration. The media that he hates so fiercely is held in higher esteem than he is. And half of the electorate is already in favor of impeaching him. Can it get any worse than this?

Well, another measure of popularity is the ratings of television programs that feature news about politics. On that scale Trump is also in trouble. While Fox News remains the top rated cable news network, it is growing at a slower rate than its competitors. And one program particularly stands out. The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC is reaching new heights since election day. Maddow was recently featured in an interview with The Wrap who noted that:

“MSNBC’s ‘The Rachel Maddow Show’ has been on a roll, posting her best ratings month ever in February and nearly doubling her viewership. Her secret is simple. Maddow said she covers President Donald Trump’s White House in a very old-fashioned Hollywood way.

“‘We developed sort of an informal, internal mantra… which is that we basically cover them as if they are a silent movie,’ Maddow told TheWrap. ‘I stopped covering the Twitter feed and we started covering only what they do rather than what they say.’

“It’s working. In February, Maddow racked up MSNBC’s largest total viewer audience ever in the 9 p.m. ET timeslot and the best performance among the key news demo of adults age 25-54 since November 2012. After the February victory, Maddow has now beaten CNN’s regularly scheduled programming for 45 straight months.”

This sort of performance spike does not happen in a vacuum. People are gravitating to news that is informative and entertaining. There is clearly an audience that isn’t interested in Fox’s Pravda-like impression of state-run propaganda. Nor are they drawn to the phony “balance” that CNN aims for.

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

The television audience is reflecting the electorate by rewarding programming that takes on the flagrant lies of a delusional administration. Throughout the television schedule there is evidence of a Trump effect. Stephen Colbert has jumped into the late-night top spot due to his renewed focus on Trump. Saturday Night Live is hitting heights they haven’t seen in years. Sure, there may be some confirmation bias in this, but even that is instructive. There is obviously a significant number of people looking for confirmation of reality. And that’s something they aren’t getting from Trump & Company.

Jon Stewart (As Trump) Declares: ‘The New Official Language Of The United States Is Bullsh*t’

America is going through a difficult period with uncommonly serious challenges unfolding daily. Donald Trump’s first two weeks in office have already produced unprecedented opposition with millions of citizens taking to the streets to protest his regressive agenda. Consequently, the nation has never needed the uplifting effect of biting satire more. And no one is better at it than Jon Stewart.

Jon Stewart

Perhaps sensing the hunger from a troubled nation, Stewart made a rare public appearance with his old pal Stephen Colbert. Tuesday night’s surprise visit to The Late Show (video below) was a welcome respite from the political and personal animosity emanating from Trump’s White House. Stewart strolled onto the stage wearing a ridiculously long red tie and a stuffed animal on his head. That set the scene for a segment wherein he introduced some executive orders that Trump hadn’t yet announced.

Leading off was a unique proposal for completing the wall that Trump promised top build on the Mexican border. Stewart/Trump proclaimed that he would just make China send us theirs. Of course, Mexico would bear the cost because it would be sent C.O.D. while America pretends they’re not at home.

The next executive order would demand something that seems to have already been achieved by the Trump administration. Stewart/Trump decreed that:

“I, Donald J. Lincoln Kennedy Trump III do pronounce America now finally has an official language. The new official language of the United States is bullshit. I, Donald J. Trump, have instructed my staff to speak only in bullshit. And by the way, none of that, ‘Sure, I’ll speak bullshit at work, but at home I’m using facts and real information.’ No. Bullshit all the time. Immersion – it’s the only way to be fluent.”

Judging by the comments coming from Sean Spicer, Kellyanne Conway, and other Trump mouthpieces, he’s already implemented that order. The advent of “alternative facts” makes that abundantly clear. Likewise, the ludicrous and unsupported talk of voter fraud and bogus estimates of inaugural crowd stats affirm Trump’s fluency in BS..

Add to that Trump’s belligerent behavior toward the press that he despises, his bigoted and heartless ban of refugees, and the ongoing drama surrounding his swamp-dwelling cabinet nominees, and you have the making of a toxic presidency. It’s no wonder that he has entered the office with the lowest approval ratings on record. And as Stewart observed in the segment’s poignant finale, Trump is exhausting:

“I, Donald J. Trump, do declare by executive order that I, Donald J. Trump, am exhausting. It has been 11 days, Stephen. Eleven fucking days. Eleven! The presidency is supposed to age the president, not the public. And the reason that I, Donald J. Trump am exhausting is that every instinct and fiber of my pathological self-regard calls me to abuse of power.

“I Donald J. Trump, want – no, deserve – not just your respect but your adoration. Parades with the tanks and the synchronized dancing. And why can’t they train 10,000 doves to spell out ‘Trump’ in the clouds? How hard can it be? They’re already flying.

“I, Donald J. Trump, am exhausting because it is going to take relentless stamina, vigilance, and every institutional check and balance this great country can muster to keep me, Donald J. Trump, from going full Palpatine, with the lightning coming out of the fingertips and the ‘fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate.’ We have never faced this before. Purposeful, vindictive chaos.

“But perhaps therein lies the saving grace of I, Donald J. Trump’s presidency. No one action will be adequate. All action will be necessary. And if we do not allow Donald Trump to exhaust our fight and somehow come through this presidency calamity-less, and constitutionally partially intact, then I, Donald J. Trump, will have demonstrated the greatness of America, just not the way I thought I was gonna.”

As he often does, Stewart’s faux-news persona presented a picture of current events that surpasses the efforts of the “real” media. He expressed the sentiment of a majority of the nation and their well-warranted anxiety of Trump. But most most importantly, he opened the door to let in a ray of hope. His commitment to “relentless stamina [and] vigilance,” noting that “All action will be necessary,” is just the inspiration Americans need right now. And we could also use more of Jon Stewart providing his unique insight and humor.

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

Trump Brags ‘I Am The Most Fabulous Whiner’ – Obama Says ‘Stop Whining’

Reality is beginning to set in for Donald Trump. No matter how hard he tries to deny it, he’s a loser and deep down he knows it. And it can’t make him feel any better that he’s losing to a mere woman. The proof is in the desperation he’s exhibiting with his nearly complete transformation into a ranting, delusional, incoherent, conspiracy theorist.

Donald Trump Whiner

Even more telling is Trump’s descension into an abyss of relentless whining. His campaign is now wholly focused on complaints that everyone and everything is against him. The media is rigged against him. Polling places will be rigged to defeat him. Even the GOP establishment is rigging the election in Hillary Clinton’s favor for some reason. It’s a massive conspiracy aimed at destroying both Trump and America.

There is something pathetic and childish about Trump’s emotional meltdown. And many others are beginning to recognize and comment on it. Responding to questions about Trump’s taped admission of sexual assault, his own wife, Melania, characterized him as a juvenile. She confessed to CNN’s Anderson Cooper that “I have two boys at home. I have my young son and I have my husband.” Her son Barron is ten years old. If Melania thinks her husband has the emotional maturity of a pre-teen, we may want to respect her opinion.

Last night on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Bill O’Reilly offered his advice to his good friend Donald. He strongly urged him to “Stop whining.” O’Reilly said that Trump “should have a little buzzer for whenever he whines.” “Like one of those shock collars you get for your dog,” Colbert added.

This morning President Obama joined in at a press conference with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. When asked a question about Trump’s wildly factless allegations of “rigged elections” and “voter fraud,” Obama defended the American tradition of “vigorous, sometimes bitter political contests,” that result in a peaceful transition of power. Then he added this:

“It doesn’t really show the kind of leadership and toughness that you’d want out of a president. You start whining before the game is even over? Then you don’t have what it takes to be in this job. So I’d advise Mr. Trump to stop whining and go try to make his case to get votes.”

Good luck with that. Trump is a candidate who whines on auto-pilot. He whines about what he regards as mistreatment by the GOP. And he whines when voters reject him and belittles them for not recognizing his awesomeness. He whines about how awful America is. Then he whines about the media that aired his ranting stump speeches uninterrupted more than any other candidate.

Virtually everything about Trump screams infantile. He calls his rivals liars and cheaters and pussies. He calls critics dummies and losers. Then he points fingers at others saying that they started it. He brags about his alleged (and unlikely) phallic endowment. It’s just a matter of time before he rails against his enemies as poopyheads who smell funny. He doesn’t seem to have matured past the third-grade level (literally with regard to his speeches).

But most telling is what Trump actually says about himself. In an interview in August of 2015, Trump was asked about his tendency to whine. His response was to brag about it and declare himself to be “the most fabulous whiner.” He told CNN’s Chris Cuomo that:

“I am the most fabulous whiner. I do whine, because I want to win. I am a whiner and I keep whining and whining until I win.”

Now, isn’t that what you want in a president? Just imagine how effective that will be with Vladimir Putin. And ISIS will surely surrender under the threat of a sustained whine offensive. It might work best on Congress where many of Trump’s fellow Republicans have endorsed him and his tactics. So look for more whining from The Donald as Election Day nears, and especially in the days after. But be prepared for a nuclear blast of whine when he realizes that he lost.

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

Watch Trump boast about what an awesome whiner he is.

Racist Fox News Stooge Jesse Watters Gets SCORCHED By The Daily Show (VIDEO)

Generally when a rabidly bigoted Fox News host makes headlines it’s safe to guess that the subject is Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity. However, a lesser known figure is challenging the network’s chumpians for dipshit supremacy.

Jesse Watters

Jesse Watters is a producer for The O’Reilly Factor and hosts his own Watters World that purports to be funny. He’s also the closeted editor of the ultra-conservative and lie-riddled Fox Nation website (see Fox Nation vs. Reality). His exploits have drawn some attention in the past primarily for their rank stupidity. Stephen Colbert roasted Watters deliciously on his old Colbert Report.

This week Watters outdid himself with a blatantly racist trip to New York’s Chinatown (video below). He managed to fire off every offensive stereotype in the book. The repulsive segment has been universally condemned by Asian-American groups and journalists. Watters issued the standard non-apology apology blaming those who were offended for their own pain.

Well, Watters isn’t getting off that easy. Daily Show correspondent Ronnie Chieng saw the piece and had a little something to say about it. He got the righteous rant rolling by responding to a question that Watters asked a Chinatown resident. The question: “Is this the year of the dragon?” Chieng’s reply: “No, it’s the year of “Go F*ck Yourself!” That set the stage for the rest of the segment. Chieng played a few clips from the piece with a look that melded outrage and confusion leading to this comment:

“What the hell was that? How was that on the news? In fact, how was that even on TV? Where the (bleep) did this come from? I mean, everyone’s been wondering who’ll be the target of 2016’s worst racism. I didn’t even know Asians were in the running.”

Chieng chastised Watters for taking advantage of innocent people and making them look foolish for not responding to him. Of course the reason for their silence was that he deliberately harassed people who didn’t speak English. Watters was ridiculing people (mostly seniors) who were unable to defend themselves. So Chieng gave him a taste of his own medicine. In a forum where Watters could not respond, Chieng asked “Hey douchebag, why do you look like a guy who carries around a bag of roofies just in case?” And it just gets worse from there – much worse.

The bigotry that is so commonplace on Fox News in their reporting has also crept into their alleged comedy. And the hate-filled campaign of Donald Trump was hatched and nurtured on the network. Their 99 percent white audience could hardly care less about disparaging others. So expect more of the same sort of prejudice and insults in the future from Fox News. Not to mention their home-brew hate machine, Donald Trump.

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.

The Dearth Of Mockery: Bring Back Jon Stewart And The Old Stephen Colbert

As this election cycle careens wildly on a collision course with destiny, the measurable supply of sanity seems to get smaller by the day. The prospect of Donald Trump, a reality TV game show host, becoming the nominee of the Republican Party on the strength of his hate-speech and prideful ignorance is becoming ever more likely. At the same time, the media charged with holding candidates accountable to at least minimum standards of honesty and transparency is almost entirely absent. In the past there was a release valve available to let off steam as the politicians and the press drifted off into a vegetative state. That valve took the form of a healthy, cathartic supply of political satire by smart and talented observers who often did a better job of informing the public than the news professionals did.

Stephen Colbert & Trump Baby

Addressing this drought of comic relief, Jim Rutenburg of the New York Times wrote that Stephen Colbert and his production team have been meeting to shore up what has been a rocky first season of late night entertainment. He correctly observed that “If ever there was an election cycle that called for the sharp satirical analysis that Mr. Stewart and Mr. Colbert once provided on a nightly basis, it is this one,” and that they “are badly missed in the face of all the Trumpmania.”

As evidence of that vacuum, Rutenburg cited my article (thanks Jim) from last March: “Calling Jon Stewart: America Needs You Now More Than Ever.” The points made then are still relevant and deserving of reconsideration. To that end I am re-posting the article in its entirety below. It’s encouraging to see a mainstream news entity like the New York Times recognize that America is suffering a deficiency of rebellious ridicule, but unless the media steps up to restore its commitment to constructive mockery, miscreants like Donald Trump will thrive and prosper. Therefore…


Calling Jon Stewart: America Needs You Now More Than Ever.

Originally published March 9, 2016

When Jon Stewart left the Daily Show (TDS) he left a hole that is much bigger than his diminutive frame. TDS was a unique brand of entertainment that delivered more than humor. It was a daily session of cathartic therapy that provided a safe place to scream at the world through a video surrogate. It was a mocking rebuke of the madness that has infected contemporary politics and culture. It was an assault on the media from a rebel force that they couldn’t control.

Jon Stewart NBC News

TDS became so respected as a source for news that it was commonly included in polling to rate news providers despite being on a comedy network. And it generally rated quite well and higher than many of the allegedly serious news networks. That fact drove the media elitists wild with jealousy as they sought to ridicule the viewers as slackers (Bill O’Reilly added “stoned”), even though studies showed that the TDS audience was also better educated and informed than mainstream news viewers (including O’Reilly’s). Long-time TDS correspondent Stephen Colbert addressed this criticism saying that TDS viewers had to be knowledgeable about the news or they wouldn’t get the jokes.

With one of the most bizarre elections in history currently in progress, there is more material than ever for fierce mockery. The Trump candidacy is a Chinese joke factory – you know the kind that churns out gag-rich laughables 24/7 that sound like they were made by children. The cliche that “the jokes writes themselves” has been trotted out to describe the atmosphere, but talented professionals will still do a better job of it. And Trump isn’t the only source for freestyle farcicals in this election cycle. Ted Cruz is the first competitive presidential candidate to hail from the messianic wing of the Republican Party. And the opportunities missed by the now-defunct campaigns of Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Rick Perry, Carly Fiorina, Jeb Bush, etc., can never be regained. The Democrats aren’t immune from mockery either, but I’ll leave that to all of the conservative comedians (oh wait, we still haven’t found any those, although Fox News is trying to desperately).

However, since Stewart stepped down from the fake anchor’s desk there has been an aching absence of the purgative satire that he mastered. His hand-picked successor at TDS, Trevor Noah, is an able comedian, but lacks the everyman relatability that endeared Stewart to his viewers. Larry Wilmore, who inherited the time slot of the Colbert Report, has been improving lately, but still falls short of his predecessors. And speaking of Colbert, his new role as himself on CBS’s Late Night doesn’t have the punch that his character did on Comedy Central. It doesn’t help that he is required to host celebrities and other product pluggers for most of the program.

There are some bright spots in the satire field. Most notable is John Oliver’s brilliant and hilarious long-form comedy on his HBO program. Seth Myers has transferred his SNL Weekend Update anchor routine pretty well to his Late Late Show’s “A Closer Look” segment. And former TDS correspondent Samantha Bee’s “Full Frontal” has gotten off to a promising start. But Oliver and Bee are only offering one show a week, which hardly fills the void.

What everyone seems to be missing is the fact that Stewart was not doing political satire. He was doing media satire. His targets were predominantly news outlets and the people that represent them. While politicians weren’t shy about publicly embarrassing themselves on a regular basis, it was more often the way that they were covered by the press that attracted Stewart’s attention. And Fox News, the most flagrantly dishonest purveyor of propaganda, was a frequent and well-deserved target. While some comics do go after Fox from time to time, nowhere is there the kind of relentless ridicule that Stewart unleashed on a regular basis. His consistent and high quality humor launched a popular meme proudly declaring that “I get my news from Comedy Central and my comedy from Fox News.”

Satire is a centuries-old form of communication that, at its best, is not only funny, but enlightening. And in the heat of this electoral season, where the front-runner of one of the major political parties is endorsed by the KKK and isn’t bothered by comparisons to Adolf Hitler, satire is an indispensable component to dealing with the insanity that appears to have taken over the GOP and much of right-wing America. The news pundits that provide the so-called informed commentary on current events are too insipidly timid to be useful. Even worse, they are too often oblivious to the truths that a good humorist can make so apparent.

That’s why we need Jon Stewart to return to the public discourse in some fashion. He can’t resume his post at TDS, but he could provide a daily commentary segment on the Rachel Maddow Show, or Colbert’s Late Night, or even NBC News. His insights would give relief to the millions of Americans who are being tortured by a media culture that is functionally blind. He would present a perspective that is altogether missing from the news, and now even from television comedy.

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

It would be a major coup for whatever program or network was smart enough to reel Stewart in. And considering that there was once a ludicrous attempt to hire Stewart to host Meet the Press, this proposal makes much more sense and is actually plausible. C’mon, Jon – we need you. We need you continue to remind us that “Bullshit is everywhere […] and the best defense against bullshit is vigilance.”

Fox News Anchor Pitches ‘Fair And Balanced’ Nonsense To Stephen Colbert

There is a measure of self-delusion that infects the natives at Fox News and prevents them from making the most obvious appraisals of reality. What else could explain why, after twenty years of shoveling right-wing propaganda down the throats of American cable news viewers, the network’s anchors persist in pushing the absurdity that Fox engages in anything resembling journalism?

Fox News

The host of Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace, appeared on Late Night with Stephen Colbert last night (video below) and once again demonstrated an acute case of a personality disorder that obstructs him from recognizing the truth about himself and his job. Colbert asked him what ought to have been a simple question, but he was unable to answer accurately or honestly.

Colbert: Rightly or wrongly Fox News is generally perceived to be the Republican news network. I know Fox News Sunday is on Fox Broadcasting, but you’re also on Fox News Channel. Do you think it’s fair to call Fox News a conservative broadcasting network?
Wallace: No. Look, there are obviously, in prime time, there are some shows, the opinion shows — Hannity, O’Reilly — that are conservative, no question about it. But we think that there’s a firewall between the opinion shows and hard news.

Wallace is continuing to advance the fallacy that only a couple of shows in primetime have partisan agendas, and everything else is straight up, unbiased reporting. He actually uses the phrase “We commit journalism every day,” as if it were a crime. You have to wonder if he is just deliberately lying or if he has ever watched the network.

There are three hours every morning that are hosted by folks like Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade, Tucker Carlson, Anna Kooiman, etc., who are rabidly right-wing and viciously anti-Democrat. They regularly feature such ultra-conservative guests as Andrew Napolitano, Rudy Giuliani, John Bolton, and Donald Trump had a scheduled Monday morning segment for several years.

That’s followed by Outnumbered, a program name meant to refer to the four female hosts who invite a single male guest. But it really refers to the whole panel generally being comprised of only conservatives (with an occasional pseudo-liberal punching bag). Then there is the Real Story with Gretchen Carlson, who was promoted to that slot from her prior seat on the Fox & Friends curvy couch. A little later in the day is Your World with Neil Cavuto. It would be interesting to see if Wallace thinks that Cavuto is a neutral journalist as he berates and interrupts his liberal guests and cozies up to wingnut Republicans from Congress and business. After Cavuto is The Five, a program hosted by four hard-core right-wingers and one rotating Fox version of a lefty.

That’s seven hours of daytime programming that is unambiguously conservative. So where Wallace gets the notion that it’s only in primetime that opinions are expressed is a mystery. But he is insistent that his network trades in legitimate journalism. He went to have this exchange with Colbert:

Colbert: So there’s no sense of chaos as to what the unified message would be, or the narrative that’s being created by the network. There’s never any sense of like, this is what we’re gonna be talking about today or this is the take we’re gonna have on a story?
Wallace: I know there’s this narrative out there that there’s this talking points we have to all follow. It’s bull.

Of course, the truth has long been known that Fox CEO Roger Ailes distributes a “morning memo” everyday that does exactly what Colbert said with regard to a unified message. It would almost be worse if there weren’t. Because that would mean that everybody on the network just spontaneously said all the same things, with the same spin, without any coordination. It would mean they were all manufactured on the same assembly line of right-wing mouthpieces with the same hate-speech chips inserted.

That’s a pretty scary thought. But no scarier than the fact that Fox News just happened to have created conservative stalwarts like Donald Trump, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, and many other others. Have they ever launched a liberal icon of the sort? Of course not, and that isn’t an accident. So Wallace might want to watch a few hours of Fox and see if he can plausibly defend the network and its obvious rightward bent.

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

Stephen Colbert On Donald Trump: He’s My Old Character With Ten Billion Dollars

In an interview on Face the Nation, Stephen Colbert provided one of the reasons he couldn’t continuing doing the character on his old Comedy Central show, The Colbert Report. Blame Donald Trump.

Fox Nation vs. Reality - Colbert

“He’s my old character with ten billion dollars. He’s completely playing on an emotional level, and so beautifully. It’s one of the reasons I can’t do that old character anymore, because he’s doing it better than I ever could; because he’s willing to drink his own Kool-Aid, and manufacture and distribute it; because he’s got all the cash.

He’s this very interesting Frankenstein of the idea that facts don’t matter, only money does, because if money is speech, he’s got a ten billion dollar mouth. And he doesn’t have to spend any of it because everyone will point a camera at him.”

For the record, I don’t think Trump is doing the character anywhere near as good as Colbert did it. If Trump is doing the Colbert character he’s doing without the humor and compassion, and replacing it with hatred and ignorance. But Colbert is spot on that for Trump facts don’t matter (see the Trump Bullshitopedia) and that the media has abandoned their journalistic principles in order to broadcast Trumpmania non-stop.

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