FINALLY: CNN Calls Out Trump For ‘A Presidency Shaped By Fox News’

From the beginning of Donald Trump’s candidacy he was fawned over by adoring anchors and pundits on Fox News. They rushed to defend him at every turn and praised whatever lame-brained or hateful scheme he would propose. The network turned over so many hours of valuable airtime they should have been designated as campaign contributions. He had a long-running regular segment on Fox and Friends called “Mondays with Trump.” And Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity kept the door open for him to appear, or call in, at his convenience.

CNN Brian Stelter

Since becoming president, Trump has made a habit of harvesting topics from his obsessive viewing of Fox. There have been numerous instances of him tweeting about something that had aired shortly before on his favorite network. He clearly relies more on conspiracy theories from Fox than he does on the intelligence agencies that work for him. It’s a perverse and frightening state of affairs.

Sunday, on CNN’s Reliable Sources, host Brian Stelter delivered a commentary about this titled “Welcome to the Fox News Presidency.” It was a long overdue examination of the incestuous relationship between Trump and Fox. Stelter began by noting that:

“Five of his seven sit-down TV interviews since taking office have been with Fox News. Trump watches Fox. He tweets about Fox. He uses Fox graphics to advance his agenda. He’s hired Fox talking heads. He promotes Fox as fair while denigrating its rivals as fake. All of this amounts to a Fox News presidency. What I mean by that is a presidency shaped by Fox News in all sorts of ways, big and small.”

Indeed. Trump has exhibited an abject fear of taking questions from any news organization other than his pals at Fox. His assaults on the free press are frequent and biting (as well as childish and false). But his compliments for Fox are effusive and unrestrained. Meanwhile, anyone critical of Trump often finds themselves locked out. Just ask Megyn Kelly and George Will. Independent thought is not a value favored by Fox executives. Perhaps Shepard Smith should watch his back.

In addition to the Trumpification of Fox News, there has been a simultaneous Foxification of the Trump administration. Former Foxies on the White House payroll include K.T. McFarland, Ben Carson, Sebastion Gorka, Heather Nauert, and Jonathan Wachtel. Fox’s Monica Crowley was also hired by Trump, but she was forced to resign after the rampant plagiarism in her book was revealed. This is an unprecedented migration of media hacks to political flacks.

Stelter’s commentary is an encouraging, albeit late, beginning for the media honestly characterizing the formation of Trump’s Ministry of Propaganda. More of this reporting will be necessary as Trump continues to steamroll the First Amendment and blur the lines between media and politics.

Trump recently told Fox’s Tucker Carlson that “When I have close to 100 million people watching me on [social media…] I have my own form of media.” Someone should tell him that another term for a president with his “own form of media” is “state-run media.” The press is not supposed to be a tool for the president’s communications. That’s how it’s done in dictatorships, but not in America. Maybe Trump has been consulting too much with his BFF, Vladimir Putin.

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

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Just Beat Fox News and Every Other Primetime Program On TV

For several weeks now Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC program has been picking up steam. Last Monday she rose into the ratings top ten in her time period. And that momentum continued for the rest of the week. As a result, she just snagged a victory over every primetime program for the week of March 6-10.

Rachel Maddow Donald Trump

The Hollywood Reporter noted the achievement saying that:

“Rachel Maddow, MSNBC’s star player, is enjoying one hell of a ratings run right now.

“The cable news network’s 9 o’clock host outrated every other primetime show during the week of March 6. Not only did that make her show No. 1 among adults 25-54 in her time slot with an average 624,000 viewers, she even beat cable news’ perennial victor — Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly.”

A showing this strong is evidence of a titanic shift in the television audience. Bill O’Reilly has been the cable news king of the hill fairly consistently for years. He hasn’t seen any real competition since Keith Olbermann. In her time period, Maddow’s weekly average crushed her direct competition, Fox’s newest primetime host Tucker Carlson. And her victory included both total audience and the key advertising demographic of viewers 25-54. The smug superiority of Carlson was quickly embraced by Fox’s viewers. However, his bewildered and annoyed shtick seems to be wearing thin.

Maddow’s rise has occurred simultaneously with Donald Trump’s collapse. Trump’s approval ratings started in the cellar with the lowest numbers ever recorded for a new president. And they have just gone down from there. This week alone he sunk five points to a pitiful 39 percent.

Consequently, Fox News is pulling out all the stops to prop up their propaganda. Sean Hannity blasted Maddow on Monday for daring to report on Trump’s ties to Vladimir Putin and Russia. Ordinarily Hannity wouldn’t bother to speak her name aloud. But now he is featuring her in his rants. First he complained that she didn’t have “a shred of evidence” tying Trump to Putin. That’s true. She doesn’t have a shred, she has truck load. Then Hannity asked the most blitheringly ironic question ever: “Do these people have any intellectual honesty?” No comment on that is necessary.

As for Carlson, he just announced that he will be interviewing Trump on Wednesday. Given Trump’s toxic presence, that might not be a great programming move. Fox’s glassy-eyed loyalists will love it, but the broader TV audience will likely stay away. What could they possibly learn from television’s most sycophantic Trump fluffer spending an hour with his idol?

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 problem that Fox News is going to have to contend with for the foreseeable future. Their star attraction is viewed by most Americans as an ignorant bigot who is intent on taking away their healthcare. During the campaign Trump was still a novelty and many people watched just to see if he would burst a blood vessel in his neck or slap an immigrant child. But the public knows Trump now and they’ve lost interest in his juvenile antics. And the more he is paraded out on Fox News, the better it will be for Maddow and MSNBC. Maybe CNN should start paying attention.

Tucker Carlson Of FAKE Fox News Debates Actor He Hired To Portray Anti-Trump Organizer

Monday night’s episode of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight scheduled a discussion about the “Not My Presidents” Day demonstrations being held across the country. These events were an extension of the virtually non-stop demonstrations taking place since the election. They are attended by tens of thousands of Americans protesting Donald Trump’s extremist right-wing agenda.

Tucker Carlson Fox News

There was just one problem. Carlson tried to book an organizer of the demonstrations, but all of them refused to go on his show. That’s a wise decision considering his reputation for ambushing and insulting his guests. So how did Carlson respond after being rejected by the protests’ organizers? He booked an actor to portray an organizer and proceeded to debate him. Talk about fake news. The Daily Beast reported this comical perversion of journalism:

“Fox News’ Tucker Carlson had a hard time booking Olga Lexell, the creator and co-organizer of the nationwide Not My President’s Day protests on Monday. So, after repeated refusals, Carlson’s show instead booked Shane Saunders, a Los Angeles-based actor and casting agent, who Lexell said ‘was not affiliated in any way with our rallies and was not an organizer.'” […]

“For a man who knows nothing about the protests to go on TV unprepared, misrepresent our message, take credit for our weeks of hard work, and make us look bad – and for Tucker Carlson’s team to go along with it – is just disappointing.”

That’s putting it mildly. The whole segment was a farce, beginning with the false graphic describing Saunders as the “protest organizer.” Carlson began the segment by heralding the “virtuous” celebrations of Presidents Day. However, he immediately segued to the protests, implying that they were not virtuous, and asserting that they have no point. Saunders made an attempt to brush back Carlson’s premise with a listing of the achievements made by protesting. He concluded by noting that the protests were “getting to Trump” and that they have him “frazzled.”

Carlson’s next question was a perfect example of why he’s regarded as television’s stupidest pundit. First, he scrunches his face up into an expression that says he’s both bewildered and annoyed. It’s his trademark expression that he maintains throughout most of every show like a frozen mask. Either that or his unhinged cackling. Then he asked “So you want the President to be more frazzled?” Yeah, that’s it. After listening to numerous justifications for engaging in protests, that’s what Carlson thinks was the salient point. For the record, this president is naturally frazzled and doesn’t need any help getting there. It’s one of the symptoms of his malignant narcissism. Everything that isn’t overtly adoring and worshipful frazzles him.

Carlson spent the rest of the interview trying to get Saunders to comment on Trump’s anti-LGBTQ policies. That had nothing to do with the topic of the discussion, but Carlson pounced because he thought it would make a good distraction from the issue at hand. Saunders stumbled through the inquisition and was clearly unprepared. Perhaps because he was not a real organizer of the protests nor a spokesperson for gay rights.

What Carlson aired was a reality TV version of a news program. It’s participants were not experts on the subject matter. And the script simply called for empty conflict rather than useful information. It’s typical of Carlson’s on-air persona. He’s been fired from several networks for low ratings (CNN, PBS, and MSNBC). Now he may have found his audience on Fox News. Their viewers have considerably lower standards. They require neither a factual basis nor intelligence. Congratulations Tucker. You’re home.

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

The American Carnage: Donald Trump’s Bleak Vision Of The Disunited States

Anyone listening to Donald Trump’s inauguration speech must have thought he was talking about a different country. His description of the United States was dripping with the horror of a nightmarish, dystopian society. He actually used the phrase “American Carnage” to illustrate his vision of the state of the nation he’s inheriting from President Obama.

Donald Trump

In order to have such a depressing perspective, Trump needs to severely distort reality. By any objective measure the country is currently in remarkably healthy condition. It recovered from a near depression in 2008, and is now experiencing broad-based prosperity. The economy is firing on all cylinders with a stock market that has tripled in the past eight years. The unemployment rate dropped from a high of 10.1 percent to a historically sound 4.9 percent. Bankruptcies and foreclosures have declined precipitously. More people are covered by health insurance than ever before.

That’s not to say that there aren’t still some stubborn problems that need to be resolved. There will always be room for improvement. But Trump’s speech portrayed the country as a hell hole that was barely livable. Some of the rhetoric he disgorged can only come from an aberrant imagination:

  • “…national effort to rebuild our country…”
  • “…the jobs left, and the factories closed…”
  • “…there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.”
  • “…the very sad depletion of our military …”
  • “Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities…”
  • “…rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation…”
  • “…the crime and gangs and drugs…”
  • “This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.”
  • “…the wealth, strength, and confidence of our country has disappeared over the horizon.”
  • “We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth.”

Where did Trump get this view of America? Is it something he sees from his 5th Avenue penthouse atop Trump Tower? Did he watch Batman: The Dark Knight Rises and think it was a documentary? Is he just incapable of muting his divisive campaign bluster even after being inaugurated?

And it isn’t just disappointed Democrats who noticed Trump’s downcast oratory. Immediately following the speech, the Fox News panel anchoring their coverage was taken aback. For the most part they wallowed in praise for the POTUS they helped to create, but it wasn’t easy. Brit Hume said that Trump “painted this dark landscape of circumstances in this country.” Chris Wallace observed that “This wasn’t just a transfer of power, but Donald Trump seizing power.” And Tucker Carlson noted, with some satisfaction, that “His election itself is a repudiation of the Obama presidency.” Nevertheless, Trump tweeted a thank you to Fox.

Perhaps the nation expected Trump’s celebration to be something of a downer. They stayed away in droves. The attendance in Washington was estimated to be about 250,000. By comparison, Obama drew 1.8 million in January of 2009 (seven times more). And as obsessed with performance and ratings as Trump is, he surely will not like seeing scenes like this on the Parade route from the Capital to the White House:

As NBC’s Katy Tur noted, entire stands were empty and the crowd noticeably thin. Somehow Trump will declare that the photos and videos were all rigged and that “some said” more millions showed up than ever before. That’s the way he maintains his fictionalized outlook on the world. Everything he does is extraordinary, and anything he criticizes is dreadful.

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

Thus we have Trump lauding his inauguration as spectacular, and denigrating America as carnage. There is surely a psychological diagnosis for such delusions. But for now we leave him and Melania at the first Inaugural Ball dancing to what may be theme of the Trump Era. Frank Sinatra’s narcissistic ballad “My Way” exalts a dying man’s belief in himself. So everybody sing along: “And now, the end is near…”

Fox News Is NOT News: Network’s Own Ads Label Its Programming As ‘Entertainment’

Most Americans don’t need Fox News to inform them that the network is a rabidly partisan, right-wing propaganda machine. However, it’s nice of them to admit it from time to time, and to provide incontrovertible proof.

The latest public confession by Fox came when they posted promotions for the premiere of Tucker Carlson Tonight. Carlson is the Trump-loving, ultra-conservative, knee-jerk GOP mouthpiece tapped to fill Megyn Kelly’s stiletto heels. On the Fox News website they posted ads to draw viewers to the new primetime program under an unusual category heading: Entertainment.

Fox News Tucker Carlson

That’s right. Even Fox News doesn’t consider their programs to be news. That has been readily apparent to anyone who has watched the network for more than five minutes. But from Fox’s perspective it has been a key part of their business model from the start. As reported previously by News Corpse:

“Fox News has redefined television journalism by fundamentally transforming it from an information medium to an entertainment medium. They dress up their pseudo-news segments in the same melodramatic packaging that entertainment outlets use: conflict, scandal, mystery, and hyper-charged emotions including hero worship and fear.

“Fox employs flashy graphics and attention-grabbing audio whooshes and gongs to decorate their reports that are presented as ‘ALERTS’ regardless of the news value. And always there is sex. Fox’s roster of hosts has more former beauty pageant contestants that journalists. And they aren’t shy about putting their ‘talent’ in revealing clothes and camera angles. In fact, Fox CEO Roger Ailes demands it. As for news, Fox’s concentration on tabloid thrill-fiction like Benghazi and Obama’s birth certificate is the news equivalent of porn.”

This isn’t the first time that Fox has been so candid about their intention to be perceived as an entertainment medium. In a 2015 profile in the Hollywood Reporter the now-disgraced former CEO of Fox made it clear what field of broadcasting he was interested in playing on. He told the trade mag that CNN and MSNBC were not on his radar:

“In fact, Ailes, 74, no longer views those networks as rivals. ‘We’re competing with TNT and USA and ESPN,’ he says.”

So the boss admits that channels that are plainly entertainment and sports are his competition, not other news outlets. There’s a good reason for this. Entertainment routinely trounces news in the ratings. By dressing up the more staid genre of journalism as a sexier breed of programming, Fox hopes to attract larger, more loyal audiences.

Another Fox source confirmed this tactic, ironically in the form of criticism of rival news networks. On Bill O’Reilly’s show, former CBS reporter Bernie Goldberg sought to explain why CNN and MSNBC were losing to Fox. His reasoning was that “Liberal news media violate the cardinal rule of all media. They’re not entertaining.” His point being that Fox had solved that “problem” by abandoning journalistic ethics and playing to their audience’s emotions.

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

Now, with Fox’s own promotions of a new primetime show, they have finally abandoned any pretense of being a news operation. If a network characterizes itself as entertainment, you might as well take their word for it. Wouldn’t they know? And in the Era of Trump a network populated by faux journalists fits neatly into the latest media trend: Fake News.

Rich And Entitled Fox News Host Is ‘Annoyed’ By The Rich And Entitled In Hollywood

Sunday night’s broadcast of the Golden Globe Awards produced one of the most stirring speeches ever delivered at such an affair. As the Cecil B. DeMille Award winner for lifetime achievement, Meryl Streep was clearly disturbed by the crudeness and vulgarity of President-Elect Donald Trump. She devoted most of her acceptance speech to chastising The Donald for mocking a disabled reporter. And she defended American citizens in the arts who speak out on important issues.

Tucker Carlson Fox News

That speech set up Fox News to launch a full court press against one of their favorite targets: Hollywood. And it began early in the morning on Fox & Friends with special guest, Tucker Carlson. Carlson’s appearance was surely scheduled, at least in part, to promote his brand new primetime program “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” The segment kicked off with clips from Streep’s speech, including her opening line:

“All of us in this room belong to the most vilified segment in American society right now. Think about it. Hollywood, foreigners, and the press.”

The truth of that cannot be denied by anyone with an honest perspective. Conservatives have had an insatiable Hollywood bashing obsession for decades. Likewise, foreigners have been a convenient target to blame for every social problem for which conservatives have no solution. Trump has elevated xenophobia to new heights of hatefulness. And the press, never particularly well-liked, has taken more heat in the past eighteen months than ever.

While Streep’s opening line was true, it was intended as joke and it got the laugh that she expected. However, Carlson took it as some sort of high-minded social philosophy that deserved critical analysis. He told his pals on Fox that:

“Here you have a rich and entitled person describing herself as an outsider, an outcast, a pariah. […] What I was so struck by is she was telling a crowd exactly what they wanted to hear. She was saying things that are totally uncontroversial within the context she was speaking. That’s the least courageous thing you can do.”

First of all, Streep never cast herself as an outcast. That was Carlson’s way of preemptively dismissing everything she had to say. But more troubling is his criticism of Streep for allegedly pandering to her Hollywood audience. He was “annoyed” at her lack of courage for saying exactly what her audience wanted to hear.

Really? That is what Fox News does all day, every day. It is a 24/7 pandering operation for right-wing propaganda. Where is the courage in that? And Carlson himself is the perfect symbol for Fox’s partisan fawning. He just replaced Megyn Kelly, who while affirmatively conservative, has had differences with Trump. Now the entire Fox News primetime lineup is composed of Trump fluffers and friends.

As for the “rich and entitled,” Carlson could be their mascot. Tucker Swanson McNear Carlson was born into wealth in the heartland city of San Francisco, California. He is the son of a television executive who later became ambassador to the Seychelles. Now he splits his time as a TV pundit between New York City and Washington, D.C. When you drain the swamp, what you’ll find is scads of slimy Tucker Carlsons flopping around in the muck.

Carlson is so in touch with mainstream America that he recently confessed that he doesn’t even watch movies. In an interview with TheWrap he said “Who watches movies? Who would? Not me. I wouldn’t cross the street to watch a movie for free.” That comment came following his rebuke of the industry that he thinks is “crumbling.” In fact, the film business is enjoying record profits. Last year box office earnings exceeded 11.3 billion dollars.

Not to be outdone, Trump also commented on Streep’s remarks. True to form, he descended into his typically childish taunting. He tweeted:

So one of the most admired and honored actors of this, or any, generation is “over-rated” in Trump’s feeble mind. [Update: In 2015 Trump was asked about his favorite actors and said “Meryl Streep is excellent; she’s a fine person, too.”] And he’s aghast that she would have an opinion of him without knowing him. But he doesn’t hesitate to express his utterly ignorant opinion of her. Of course, he is suggesting that nobody, not any citizen, has a legitimate right to criticize him without having some kind of personal relationship. That’s a bastardization of democracy. For comparison, here is what Obama’s press secretary, Josh Earnest had to say about Streep’s speech:

“Meryl Streep delivered a thoughtful, carefully considered message. It seemed to me to be a fairly straightforward exercise of her First Amendment rights as a citizen of the United States.”

That’s the statement of a statesman. It’s also precisely the opposite of the attitude that Carlson projects. To him the only people who are permitted to hold and share opinions are those with whom he agrees. Ill-informed Tea Party crackpots can say whatever they want about President Obama. And celebrities like Clint Eastwood and Ted Nugent are considered virtual Rhodes Scholars. But artists who speak their minds outside of the right-wing echo chamber are condemned for their impudence. Worst of all, wealthy, trust-fund babies like Carlson get primetime shows on Fox News where they lambaste the rich and entitled.

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

There’s A Reason Tucker Carlson Is The Stupidest Man On Cable News

The newest host of a primetime program on Fox News is a familiar face on cable news. Tucker Carlson was fired from CNN and MSNBC before Fox dredged him up. And like many pathetic, right-wing rescues, Carlson has found a welcome home on Fox. That’s because he’s willing to suppress any evidence of having a soul. Prior to becoming another supplicant in the Fox fold, Carlson said that they were “A mean, sick group of people.” That was then.

Tucker Carlson Fox News

Now Carlson was interviewed by TheWrap, an entertainment website. Typical of the Fox branded rhetoric, he expressed his extreme dislike of Hollywood. It’s funny that conservatives are so quick to bash America’s entertainment capital, unless the subject is one of their own. Then they elect them to be president. This has played out from Ronald Reagan to Donald Trump.

TheWrap reports that Carlson believes the movie business is about to go belly up. His reasoning emanates from his innate hatred of liberals. He accuses them of “lacking all self awareness.” He also says they “lack empathy” and are “distant physically and culturally from the rest of the country.” Remember that this coming from a resident of New York City who was born into a wealthy family and whose father was a TV executive and later ambassador to the Seychelles. With that elitist background Carlson goes on to malign Hollywood liberals saying that…

“They can’t accept the election results for the same reason their business model is crumbling, and Hollywood won’t exist in its present form in 20 years,” Carlson told TheWrap. “Hollywood is going out of business because they don’t understand the country they are selling a product to. They’re completely out of touch because they’re rich and entitled.”

First of all, according to the Hollywood Reporter, the film industry just ended a record breaking year with box office earnings exceeding 11.3 billion dollars. So much for a “crumbling” business model. If success is based on understanding the country, then Hollywood is doing a much better job of it than Carlson, who is the poster child for wealth and entitlement. What’s more, in this Technology Age, no business will exist in its present form in 20 years, you dumb cluck. But Carlson isn’t through demonstrating how pitifully little he understands:

“They think that anyone who voted for Trump is as bad as they believe Trump is. So, they think Trump’s immoral, he’s a bigot, he’s a bad human being and they assume that anybody who voted for Trump is the same. That’s over 60 million people. If you felt there were 60 million people in your country who are evil, you’d be very upset.”

We are very upset. But not because we believe that everyone in the country is as bad as Trump (who is awfully bad). But because so many were foolish enough to be swayed by an immoral, bigoted con man. And certainly some are as bad, or worse, than Trump. Take a look at his cabinet.

Carlson also had some more vitriol to spew at those left coast libs. He said that “They hate the rest of the country — that’s the truth.” And if anyone knows anything about hate, It’s little Tucker. But perhaps the most idiotic thing he said in this interview was…

“Who watches movies? Who would? Not me. I wouldn’t cross the street to watch a movie for free.”

And this is someone who professes to know who is out of touch and who isn’t. Millions of Americans in those rural flyover states love movies and spend their hard-earned money to watch them in theaters and on TV. But Carlson apparently thinks their dopes who are wasting their time. Superior intellects like his can’t be bothered with such peasantry.

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

In the final analysis, Carlson has shown that he has no idea what’s going on in one of the nation’s biggest industries. But even worse, he’s made it abundantly clear that he’s the one who hates everyday Americans and who has no grasp of what the people of this nation care about. He’s a close-minded, country club, aristocrat with no connection to the heartland he pretends to defend. Is this a good time to remind him that a majority of the country voted against his Bonehead Messiah, Donald Trump?

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.

Fox Nation Hypes ‘Scoop’ On Clinton Charity Scandal That Turns Out To Be Totally Bogus

On Friday Hillary Clinton released her tax returns for 2015, making this the thirty-eighth year she has done so. While Republicans try to tarnish her reputation for honesty, her four decade long record of transparency proves that she has nothing to hide. In addition, it proves that nothing untoward has ever been discovered from making her personal finances abundantly public.

Fox Nation

Contrast that with Donald Trump’s refusal to make even a single year of tax returns available for voters to assess his fitness for office. What is he hiding? Could it be that he has paid little or no income tax for many years? Or has he had unsavory relationships with Russians or other foreign entities? Maybe he isn’t as rich or generous as he pretends to be. Clearly he has determined that he has less to lose from the bad publicity of concealing his records than he does from revealing them.

The absence of any legitimate problems with Clinton’s taxes has driven Fox News to invent problems that don’t exist. On their community website, Fox Nation, they posted an article sourced to the ultra-conservative Daily Caller, a pseudo-news site run by Fox News host Tucker Carlson. The Daily Caller’s story alleged that “92 Percent Of Hillary’s Charitable Donations In 2015 Went To Clinton Foundation.” The article alleged that the Clinton’s engaged in a corrupt scheme to claim charitable tax write-offs for funds that they funneled back to themselves, saying that:

“Hillary Clinton and her husband Bill deducted $1,042,000 in charitable contributions last year – $1 million of which went to their own Clinton Foundation.” […]

The documents show that the power couple earned $10,745,378 last year, mostly on income earned from giving public speeches. Of that they gave just over a million to charity. But the contributions can hardly be seen as altruistic, since the money flowed back to an entity they control.”

What’s more, the Daily Caller associated the donations with unfounded charges directed at the Clinton Foundation by right-wing media and activist groups such as Judicial Watch. The problem with that reporting is that the donations itemized in the Clinton’s tax returns did not go to the well known Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation that has been the target of the right’s smear campaign. The donations actually went to the private vehicle used by the Clinton’s to disburse their philanthropic gifts, the Clinton Family Foundation. This is a common method of aggregating funds for charitable gift giving used by many high-income families.

After being shamed by Media Matters for their journalistic sloppiness, the Daily Caller added a correction to their story to indicate that the two foundations were separate entities. They did not, however, alter their tawdry conclusions, even though they no longer make sense. And Tucker Carlson still went on Fox & Friends this morning to say that “If I give money to my own foundation is it really charity?” Apparently he doesn’t care that his own website now says didn’t happen. Making matters worse, Fox Nation didn’t even bother to make note of the correction. The headline, which is now known to be false, remains unchanged and utterly untrue.

This is nothing new for Fox Nation, which has a history of brazenly misrepresenting the truth with poorly sourced articles (as documented in the book Fox Nation vs. Reality). Fox Nation is also known for re-posting stories from disreputable conspiracy mongers and conservative propagandists. Their editor, Jesse Watters, makes certain that every day the site is filled with fresh attacks on Democrats, especially Hillary Clinton, who is routinely assaulted with lies that are vicious and defamatory. Very much like the one exposed here.

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

Pro-Censorship Fox News Says Government Should Seize Profits From Snowden Biopic

Taking their propaganda business model one step closer to police state fascism, Fox News is now advocating government censorship of film producers for projects that challenge their right-wing world view. This became all too apparent on today’s episode of Fox & Friends during an interview with Tom Fitton, the president of the ultra-conservative Judicial Watch group.

Fox News Snowden

The “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox & Friends aired a transparently hostile segment (video below) on director/producer Oliver Stone’s upcoming biographical film about Edward Snowden, the systems administrator turned whistle-blower, who leaked documents that revealed the NSA’s mass surveillance programs. The segment began with the trio of co-hosts suggesting that Stone’s film “could violate federal law” and that “the DOJ may be able to seize [its] profits.” The first question Fitton was asked was specifically about that possibility. He responded:

“Well, if they were interested in pursuing where these profits were going and who is funding this movie, because Oliver Stone was working with Mr. Snowden who had no right to the information he had. As a fugitive he’s under indictment. And typically you can’t benefit from moneys that you may earn from stealing government property and betraying your country.”

Notice that Fitton did not offer any evidence that Snowden was benefiting from the film. He merely planted the suggestion and inferred that Stone’s working with him was in itself suspicious. Although any competent film maker would seek to get first hand accounts from the subject of a biopic if that subject were available.

Notice also that the outrage expressed by Fitton, and shared by the Foxies, for someone who “stole” information was never shown toward the thieves who hacked the Democratic National Committee. And those thieves actually were working for a foreign government (Russians) who had hostile intentions toward the U.S. Undeterred by reason or patriotism, Fitton went even further with his baseless inferences against Stone:

“Mr. Stone knew something was up with respect to Mr. Snowden because he made a point of saying that ‘I stuck to making this movie in Munich,’ because he was, quote, ‘afraid of the NSA.’ If he was doing a regular movie what would he have been afraid of?”

First of all, there is nothing unsavory about making a film in Munich, especially when it places you 3,000 miles closer from your home base in New York to your primary source in Moscow. Secondly, the very topic of the film validates any concern Stone might have had about interference from the NSA.

Most importantly, Fitton’s assertion that Stone should have nothing to fear if he were making a “regular” movie (whatever that is), is reminiscent of the assurance from authoritarians that, so long as you’re not doing anything wrong, it shouldn’t bother you if the government reads your email, listens to your phone calls, or searches your bedroom closet. What are you afraid of, comrade? The absurdity of Fitton’s comment even seemed to make Fox’s co-host Tucker Carlson nervous. He gingerly asked:

“So I’m not defending Oliver Stone, or of course Snowden, but the NSA did spy on Americans who had nothing to do with terrorism, so maybe Stone’s not a total paranoid. But more to the point, every news organization in America reprinted information that Snowden stole. So by the standard you just held, should every news organization also be liable for abetting a criminal?”

Fitton’s defensively knee-jerk response to this was “Not necessarily.” He reiterated that Stone’s meetings with Snowden somehow made the whole relationship an unholy conspiracy. According to Fitton “Snowden is no whistle-blower,” and his actions were tantamount to “treachery.”

At this point Fox’s co-host Pete Hegseth chimed in that “There’s no doubt that Snowden’s disclosure helped groups like Al Qaeda and others.” And once again, he provided no evidence for such a serious charge. But he did gave Fitton the opportunity to present his own wingnut theory that “The Obama administration is no fan of our nation’s security.” Fitton is obviously in the camp that regards Obama as a foreign-born Muslim terrorist sympathizer.

The notion that the federal government is empowered to confiscate profits from a filmmaker, based on the content of the film, is a blatant violation of the principles of free speech. It is a breach of constitutional liberties and merely threatening to do so would have a chilling effect on the rights of free people. It is by definition censorship.

The fact that Fox News would provide a platform for someone advocating this, and then fail to repudiate it, is indicative of Fox’s affinity for rightist tyranny. And it’s further proof that the mission of Fox News has nothing to do with the pseudo-patriotic image they attempt to manufacture for themselves and sell to their dimwitted audience.

Please do visit the Snowden film website and watch the trailer for the movie that is coming out September 16.

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