Surprising Fox News Poll On Whether To Investigate Trump’s Contacts With Russia

Donald Trump has been desperately deploying weapons of mass distraction aimed at diverting attention from his mounting failures. His goal is to keep the public and the press occupied with fictional stories of terrorism in Sweden and allegations of fake news. Meanwhile, his national security team is falling apart, his immigration initiative was ruled unconstitutional, and controversy surrounds his cabinet appointees.

The most troubling scandal enveloping Trump’s nascent administration concerns his curious connections to Russia and Vladimir Putin. New incriminating evidence of collusion continues to seep out every day. His disgraced former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, was discovered to have held talks with Russian agents during the campaign. That led to his dismissal by the President. But it still isn’t known what Trump and his White House staff knew during and after those talks.

Trump’s response to these inquiries is that it’s all “fake news” meant to harm his presidency. He even went so far as to accuse the media of being the “enemy of the American people.” But the American people may have a different opinion.

Donald Trump

A new poll was just posted on the Fox News community website, Fox Nation, on this subject. It asks “Do you think there should be a deeper investigation into Trump administration contacts with Russian officials?” The response as of this writing might not be what the editors at Fox were expecting. An overwhelming majority (74%) say that “Yes,” there should be such an investigation. In fact, it’s 3-to-1 in favor of a deeper probe. See the current results of the poll here, and cast your own vote.

While this is not a scientific poll, it’s an online survey of the most right-wing, true-believers in the Fox News universe. Even if some lefty trolls sneaked in to tilt the results, it’s unlikely that they could or would have done so in such huge numbers. The total number of respondents at this time is over 60,000. That’s a significant chunk of opinions, and we have to assume that most of them are Fox’s audience.

What this tells us is that there is substantial skepticism about Trump’s dealings with Russia. Even conservatives are anxious about his relationship with a hostile foreign power. They want to know if their president is a traitor. Trump has been unusually tight-lipped about these matters. He still refuses to release his tax returns, which could show a financial connection. And what he has said often contradicts prior statements. He literally has said that he has spoken and worked with Putin. But he also insisted that he has nothing to do with him or Russia.

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

These contradictions, and efforts to suppress information, are probably why so many Fox News patrons want to know more. They can’t trust him any more than the Democrats can. And while Trump will try to dance around these issues, he can’t keep dancing indefinitely. Like Richard Nixon, the truth will come out in its own time, and his dodgy behavior will only affirm his guilt. If he were smart he would heed the results of this poll among his most loyal supporters. Of course, if he were smart we wouldn’t be discussing this at all. Sad.

Trump Defends The Murderous Putin By Saying The U.S. Does The Same Thing

Donald Trump was interviewed by Bill O’Reilly for a special Super Bowl broadcast. The full interview will be broken up into parts for airing prior to the game, and on consecutive episodes of the The O’Reilly Factor next week. However, there is a teaser that was released Saturday night (video below) and it is shocking, to say the least.

Bill O'Reilly Donald Trump

The short segment has O’Reilly asking about Trump’s frequent assertions that he respects Vladimir Putin. Trump concedes that he does because “he’s a leader of his country.” He goes on to say that “it’s better to get along with Russia than not.”

Those are two of the worst reasons to respect a foreign leader ever uttered aloud. The fact that Putin managed to put Russia under his dictatorial boot is not deserving of respect. And getting along with murderous tyrants was never a goal of freedom-loving nations. But the most chilling comment from Trump came in a defense of Putin’s political assassinations. O’Reilly noted that Putin is “a killer.” Trump responded saying:

“There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What do you think – our country’s so innocent?”

Let that sink in. Trump is asserting that he has knowledge of American assassins who kill the political opponents of our leaders. Were that true then President Obama might have offed Trump long ago. Yet Trump is placing the U.S. on the same moral footing as the murderous dictator of Russia.

Trump’s remarks go further than any president has ever gone with such allegations. He even goes further than Putin, since the Russian president has never admitted to killing anyone. In fact, he strenuously denies it. But now Trump has put the U.S. on record as committing such heinous acts. And he’s only been in office two weeks.

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

Trump’s Latest Tweet Threatens The Media (And Press Freedom) For Doing Their Job

Friday morning Donald Trump took another step toward the totalitarian dystopia he yearns to rule. He’s spent months disparaging the intelligence community on which he must rely. At the same time he has defended Russia from charges of hacking that has now been proven beyond question.

Trump Baby

And now he is proposing concrete actions to punish the free press that he so blatantly abhors. This is what he tweeted this morning while waiting to be briefed on the Russian hacking report:

The frightening aspects of that cannot be be understated. Trump is proposing an investigation of a news organization that did precisely what is expected of it. NBC utilized its sources to acquire government information that is relevant to all citizens. And contrary to Trump’s frantic accusation, there is no indication that any of it was top secret. The government was going to release a public version of the report anyway. NBC just scooped them.

What is apparent is that Trump is more concerned about NBC getting info that’s about to be released anyway, than he is about Russians hacking American citizens and political organizations. He is distracting from the far more significant news that Russia had helped him achieve his tainted victory. They even celebrated and congratulated themselves for their successful effort.

It’s important to note the distinction between what Trump’s allies in Russia did and what NBC did. The hackers stole private information from individuals and organizations. That data was not public property. Russia, WikiLeaks, et al, were not revealing government secrets that the people had a right to know. NBC, on the other hand did just that. The Intelligence reports they previewed were paid for by taxpayers for their benefit. So NBC was performing a public service, while Russia/WikiLeaks was invading privacy. But only the privacy of Democrats so as to assist their favored candidate, Donald Trump.

Trump doesn’t care about Russians hacking an American election. He has defended them, and his BFF Vladimir Putin, from the start. Even worse, he has maligned the dangerous work of American patriots serving their country. Under the circumstances, one has to wonder why any intelligence operative would risk their life for Trump during his administration.

Trump has also been a constant foe of the free press. He has called reporters “sleazy” and “dummies” and “liars” and worse. Respected journalists had their credentials revoked to prevent them from covering his rallies. Organizations that represent the interests of journalists have condemned him as a “threat to press freedom unknown in modern history.”

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

That condemnation is playing out bigly today with this new attack on the press. And Trump has still never called for a congressional investigation of the Russian hacking. His whining about NBC sharing intelligence before he has seen it rings hollow. After all, it’s easy to get intelligence before Trump sees it when he doesn’t even bother to take intelligence briefings.

UPDATE: As it turns out, about six hours before Trump’s tweet WikiLeaks posted a tweet that is eerily similar:

That tweet also falsely states that the information NBC reported was “Top Secret.” And it makes the point that NBC received the info before Trump. Considering the similarities it is likely that Trump simply copied the contents of the WikiLeaks tweet for his own. And that’s just more proof that they are working together.

It’s also astonishing that WikiLeaks is complaining about “leaks” to the media. That’s their whole friggin’ reason for existing. But those dishonest hypocrites go nuts when someone else disseminates information acquired through legitimate journalistic means (as opposed to hacking and theft) if it is adverse to their partisan agenda.

Donald Trump Plans To Kneecap The Intelligence Community – Playing Into Putin’s Hands

For several months Donald Trump has bitterly criticized the United States intelligence agencies. He has accused them of politicizing intelligence data and making critical errors in analysis and reporting. His public statements give more credence to Russia’s dictator, Vladimir Putin, and WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, than to the agencies on which he must rely as president. That has raised questions as to his loyalties from politicians and pundits across the political spectrum.

Trump/Putin

On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal published a story detailing Trump’s plans to revamp the CIA and other intel ops. The article relied on sources close to the Trump transition team who revealed Trump’s desire to “restructure and pare back” these agencies. One of the insiders quoted said that:

“The view from the Trump team is the intelligence world has become completely politicized. They all need to be slimmed down. The focus will be on restructuring the agencies and how they interact.”

Among those who would eagerly support slimmed down intelligence bureaus is Trump’s BFF, Vladimir Putin. Along with every other nation hostile to American interests. By weakening our intelligence capabilities, our adversaries would gain the upper hand in clandestine activities and diplomacy. However, Trump’s motivation isn’t as simple as siding with our enemies. He is hypersensitive to allegations that his electoral victory was illegitimate. Consequently, any assertion that Russia’s involvement benefited him grates against his ego and must be suppressed. According to the Journal, that’s a view shared by Trump’s team:

“Among those helping lead Mr. Trump’s plan to revamp the intelligence agencies is his national security adviser, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn [and] Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.), whom Mr. Trump selected as CIA director. […] Gen. Flynn and Mr. Pompeo share Mr. Trump’s view that the intelligence community’s position – that Russia tried to help his campaign – is an attempt to undermine his victory or say he didn’t win, the official close to the transition said.”

The Journal also quoted Paul Pillar, a 28-year veteran of the CIA, who said that he finds it “disturbing that the president should come in with this negative view of the agencies.” Another former CIA operative, Evan McMullin, expressed similar concerns. He tweeted that “Trump’s overhaul of CIA is a reprisal for its alerting Americans of Russian interference in the election and its valid concerns about Trump.” And that “In addition to attacking the press, there is no more typical authoritarian tactic than consolidating power in the intel & armed services.” That observation should send shivers down the spine of every American. Remember that Putin himself was a KGB operative prior to becoming Russia’s dictator.

As for Trump, he had his own Twitter statement on the subject early Thursday morning:

Typically, Trump is misrepresenting reality. He actually did praise Assange on several occasions. And quoting him without any critical objection is tantamount to agreement. What’s more, he is outright lying about being a “big fan” of intelligence. He’s done nothing but disparage it and refused to even take the daily briefings on national security.

Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, told reporters on Thursday that the Journal story is false. However, his statement didn’t specify how it was wrong, and left the interpretation wide open. He said that “All transition activities are for information-gathering purposes and all discussions are tentative.” That doesn’t mean that the story was false or that the plans under discussion won’t be adopted. It’s a old-school dodge that the media seems far too willing to accept.

Everything that has come out of the Trump camp in this regard has affirmed the conclusion that he has a deeply held grudge against America’s intelligence professionals. And no matter what the motivation, that can only serve to strengthen the hands of our enemies. It also sets up a potentially dangerous conflict between the White House and the intelligence community.

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

American citizens, and their representatives in Congress, need to be vigilant and active in opposing Trump’s anti-intelligence agenda. Because if he succeeds, so does Russia, and China, and North Korea, and Syria, and Iran, and ISIS. In short, if he succeeds, we lose.

Trump Wants To TAKE AMERICA (WAY) BACK To Handwritten Notes And Couriers

While speaking to reporters at his New Year’s Eve party, Donald Trump made some peculiar remarks about computers and hacking. The questions sought to get him to comment on the ongoing controversy over Russia’s hacking of the election. On this, and many other issues, Trump has been evasive and has refused to hold a press conference since July.

Donald Trump

In this impromptu avail, Trump continued to insist that the evidence of Russia’s guilt is is unproven. He disagrees with every American national security agency about that, including the FBI and the CIA. Apparently he prefers the KGB and his pal, Vladimir Putin. On whether the information about Russia’s hacking is accurate, Trump said:

“I just want them to be sure, because it’s a pretty serious charge, and I want them to be sure. And if you look at the weapons of mass destruction, that was a disaster, and they were wrong. And so I want them to be sure. I think it’s unfair if they don’t know.”

It’s fair to say that these professionals would not have drawn conclusions were they not sure. What’s more, President Obama would not have ordered sanctions if he didn’t have the assurance of his intelligence team that they were warranted. Trump likes to bring up the example of Iraq’s WMDs, but he fails to recognize that those assumptions were directed by the Bush White House, not the intelligence experts.

Trump continued his off-the-cuff party banter by bragging about his personal expertise and insider knowledge. Which is curious because he doesn’t take regular briefings from national security personnel:

“I know a lot about hacking. And hacking is a very hard thing to prove. So it could be somebody else. And I also know things that other people don’t know, and so they cannot be sure of the situation.”

Trump doesn’t explain how he would know a lot about hacking. It’s a specious claim considering that he admits that he doesn’t use a computer and rarely sends email. The extent of his tech capabilities appears to be his Twitter posts from his iPhone. Neither does he explain what he knows that others don’t, or how he would know it (Vlad?). The inference that he has information that the President doesn’t have is absurd. It could be evidence of a severe mental disorder. However, when asked to reveal what he knows he said “You’ll find out on Tuesday or Wednesday.” We’ll see. He has a history of reneging on such promises. We’re still waiting for his tax returns and his press conference on his business conflicts.

But Trump’s remarks extend beyond insulting the American intelligence community. He also has some backward notions about computers and modern communications:

“It’s very important, if you have something really important, write it out and have it delivered by courier. The old fashioned way. Because I’ll tell you what, no computer is safe. I don’t care what they say, no computer is safe.”

So Trump wants to return to the days before computers and electronic communications. That should be real effective in dealing with international crises and even domestic emergencies. Rather than addressing the risks of computer use, Trump would simply discard the confounded things.

This comment exposes a disturbing gap in Trump’s comprehension of the modern world. Situations develop and change with light-speed urgency. Relying on couriers would put us at a distinct disadvantage. And couriers weren’t a perfect form of communication either. Not only did they delay operations, they could be captured or killed or bribed.

If Trump plans on discarding his electronic communications devices he will put the country in imminent danger. Our adversaries, we can be sure, will not be joining him in the 1950’s. This is just more proof that he was never fit to lead the nation. His ignorance, and his utter lack of awareness of it, is a perilous combination.

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

Trump said last year that he knows more about ISIS than the generals. Now he says he knows more about hacking, and Russia’s involvement, than the experts in those fields. He probably thinks he knows more about homemaking than Martha Stewart, and more about astrophysics than Stephen Hawking. If this keeps up, he’ll claim that he knows more about the meaning of life than God. Buckle up, America. We are in for a fascinating, and frightening, new year.

New Poll Reveals The Eight CRAZIEST Things Trump Voters Actually Believe

The nastiness and ignorance that epitomized the campaign of Donald Trump has proven to be stubbornly enduring. Now, as 2016 wraps up, the effect it had on his followers is brought into focus by the results of a new poll. The Economist/YouGov survey (pdf) addressed many of the pressing issues that face the nation. It’s a revealing exploration into the mindset of the electorate. However, the most fascinating (and frightful) revelations are those relating to Trump voters.

Donald Trump Voter

Below are some of the more worrisome responses. Let’s start off with what ought to be the most clear cut inquiry by the pollsters:

Is the country better off now than it was eight years ago?

Most Americans recall that eight years ago the nation was descending into an economic abyss. The stock market dropped 46 percent. Unemployment shot up to 10.1 percent. Home foreclosures hit record figures. And total household wealth declined by more than $19 trillion.

Yet somehow a whopping 60 percent of Trump voters responded to this question saying that the country was better off eight years ago than today. Another 19 percent say there is no difference. That’s after stocks climbed back from about 7,000 to nearly 20,000. And unemployment dropped to 4.9 percent. The auto industry that was on the brink of collapse is reporting record profits. And the delusions of the Trumpsters are unique to their breed. Only 21 percent of Democrats thought 2009 was a better year.

Do you think that the proportion of persons without insurance has increased or decreased over the past five years?

This is another question where the answer is an unambiguous fact. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare), the rate of the uninsured dropped to its lowest levels in history. It now stands at about 10 percent as more than 20 million people got insurance through ObamaCare.

Nevertheless, only 26 percent of Trump voters correctly said that persons without insurance decreased. And once again, Democrats demonstrated greater knowledge with 49 percent answering correctly.

On the subject of climate change do you think: (A) The world’s climate is changing as a result of human activity; (B) The world’s climate is changing but NOT because of human activity; (C) The world’s climate is NOT changing.

While conservatives fiercely deny reality on this question, 97 percent of scientists who study climate agree that “A” is the correct answer.

That doesn’t stop Trump voters from dismissing the science. Only 36 percent of them chose “A” as their answer. That compares to 79 percent of Democrats doing so.

Did Saddam Hussein have weapons of mass destruction before the invasion of Iraq in 2003 that the U.S. never found?

Many people may have forgotten that prior to Bush’s invasion of Iraq there was an international team of nuclear experts investigating and monitoring Iraq. They never found any trace of WMDs. Neither were any found after the invasion.

Of course Trump voters are not constrained by facts. Consequently, 68 percent of them said that it was definitely/probably true that Saddam had WMDs. By contrast, the definitely/probably true respondents among Democrats were only 10 and 32 percent respectively.

Was President Obama born in Kenya?

Why is this still a question? Even Trump stated in a press conference that he now believes that Obama was born in the U.S., period.

Still, Trump’s loyal followers are unmoved. A majority of 52 percent continue to say that Obama is definitely/probably a native Kenyan. Democrats aren’t perfect on this question, yet they’re still far better informed than the Trumpsters. Their definitely/probably born in Kenya numbers are only 7 and 13 percent.

Did Russia hack the email of Democrats in order to increase the chance that Donald Trump would win the Presidential election.

Seventeen American intelligence agencies, including the FBI and the CIA answer this question with a resounding “YES!” President Obama just slammed Russia with sanctions and diplomatic expulsions in retaliation for their interference in our democracy.

However, Trump voters are as defensive about Vladimir Putin as Trump himself. Eighty percent say the charges against Russia are definitely/probably NOT true. And by now you won’t be surprised to learn that the same figures for Democrats are a measly 9/16 percent respectively.

Were millions of illegal votes cast in the election?

This question was motivated by Trump’s tweeted assertion that he would have won the popular vote but for millions of illegal votes cast for Clinton. He never bothered to provide and documentation for his claim. And every expert that reviewed it found it to be false or unsupported by any facts.

OK, guest what? Sixty-two percent of Trump voters say the claim is definitely/probably true. Sixty-four of Democrats say the opposite.

Did Leaked email from Hillary Clinton’s campaign contain code words for pedophilia, human trafficking and satanic ritual abuse – what some people refer to as ’Pizzagate’?

This was one of the more prominent examples of fake news that made the headlines in the past few weeks. It was never given credibility by any legitimate news source. It simply spread like a virus via Facebook and Twitter infecting the dimwitted, right-wing cult fetishists. Eventually, it led to a near tragedy as one of the believers showed up at the pizzeria with an assault weapon.

And yet, 46 percent of Trump voters said that this ludicrous fiction was definitely/probably true. That compared to 76 percent of Democrats saying, essentially, “WTF?”

In conclusion:

It is incomprehensible that so many Americans can be so plainly and dangerously ill-informed. It doesn’t bode well for 2017 and beyond as the Trump administration begins to put its imprimatur on the country. But this epidemic of ignorance was not accidental. It was a deliberate act of disinformation by Trump and the Republican Party. And the media bears its share of responsibility for putting ratings and profit before journalistic ethics.

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

The only hope is for those who have not been deceived to relentlessly correct the record. They need to use facts, and reason, and shame, if necessary, to distribute the truth. It’s a difficult task to pitch reality to weak-willed, faith-based, zealots for whom facts hold no appeal. But failing to try is a far worse alternative. Be strong. Be persistent. Resist!

So Now Trump Is Applauding The Dictator Putin’s Observations On Democracy?

Donald Trump’s Twitter feed has been a cornucopia of comedy, curiosity, and horror. He uses it to brag about himself, insult his foes, and spread disinformation. He has even suggested altering the U.S. government’s policies on international relations in ways that make experts tremble.

Putin Trump Tweet

The latest tweet from the President-Elect takes a disturbing stand alongside Vladimir Putin (again):

This deceptively simple comment raises a couple of red flags (pun intended). First of all, why is Trump taking advice on democracy from a murderous dictator? Putin is widely known for assassinating his political rivals. What’s more, Russia is not exactly a model of free and fair elections. Putin doesn’t have to worry about losing with dignity because he doesn’t have to worry about losing at all. By complimenting Putin’s remarks, Trump is validating his undemocratic dictatorship.

Secondly, since when has Trump ever lost with dignity. Or won with dignity, for that matter. In 2012, Trump went on an unhinged Twitter tirade following Mitt Romney’s loss to President Obama. He said it was a “disgusting injustice.” a “travesty,” and called for a revolution. And in a complete reversal of his current position, he said the Electoral College was “a disaster for a democracy.”

Just a couple of months ago, Trump demonstrated his dignified approach to democratic participation. He said “if I don’t win, this will be the greatest waste of time, money and energy in my lifetime.” And after winning the Electoral College he’s done nothing but whine about losing the popular vote by a historic margin.

Trump’s tweet did not go unnoticed by the Twitterverse. Here are few select examples of the barrage against his foolish and unpatriotic embrace of Russia’s tyrant:

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

Before Trump lectures Americans on democracy, he might want to find a better source of democratic wisdom. Somehow, a totalitarian who oppresses his people and kills unfriendly politicians and journalists doesn’t make the grade. And his observations on dignity only make him look more callous, ignorant, undignified.

TRUMP: Russia’s Hacking Was ‘A BIG PROBLEM’ – Before They Were Helping His Campaign

The appalling revelations about Russia’s hacking during the presidential election continue to taint its outcome. Anyone who thinks our democracy is credible under these circumstances is willfully blind. And no one is more dismissive of the truth in this regard than President-Elect Donald Trump.

Trump/Putin

Seventeen intelligence agencies, including the CIA and the FBI, agree that Russia engaged in cyber attacks aimed at hurting Hillary Clinton and helping Trump. Nevertheless, Trump persists in defending his BFF, Vladimir Putin, and refusing to accept Russia’s obvious guilt. When Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday asked him about Russia’s hacking he responded that “It’s ridiculous. It’s just another excuse. I don’t believe it.” As recently as last week he tweeted:

In that comment he not only rejected Russia’s criminal complicity, but lied about the White House response. The Obama administration revealed the facts in October and it was covered prominently in the media. Trump’s position that Russia was not responsible for the hacking remained as strong as ever. Well, maybe not ever. Because in 2014 he appeared on his regular segment on Fox News, “Monday’s with Trump,” along with the Fox & Friends gang. He had a very different opinion then. When asked about hacking by China, Trump made it clear that China was not the only culprit:

“It’s disgraceful what’s going on with China generally. No, I think [FBI Director James Comey] is 100% right, it’s a big problem, and we have that problem also with Russia … doing the same thing.” […]

“This is a different world today. You say things on the Internet, you say things over a computer and people are going to find out what you’re saying it’s very dangerous and very bad in many ways.”

So two years ago Trump considered Russia’s hacking to be a big problem. Today he thinks the notion is ridiculous. What’s changed?

Well, for one thing, Trump wasn’t running for president in 2014 and didn’t have any motivation for distorting the truth. More to the point though, the allegations of Russia’s hacking two years ago was related to commerce and had an adverse personal impact on him. However, this year their hacking was blatantly advantageous to him and damaging to Clinton. If the harm done by the hacking was appropriately considered, the election results would have to be regarded as suspect and set aside pending an investigation. That would nullify, at least temporarily, Trump’s “victory.”

It is clearly in Trump’s favor, therefore, to vindicate Russia and oppose any further inquiry. Consequently, his position now is to waive off the allegations and absolve Russia of any guilt. That’s in stark contrast to his prior position just two years ago. And, as is so often the case with Trump, he will reshape his position to whatever is in his best interest at the time. That’s how he gets away with calls for border walls during the campaign, but settles for fences now. Or promising to repeal ObamaCare, but now claiming to want to preserve its most prominent features. Or bitterly insulting his rivals as dummies, but now embracing and even praising them as brilliant. Even President Obama, who he said was “the worst president in history,” is now his trusted friend and advisor.

That’s what we call a hypocrite, a con-man, a liar. There is literally nothing Trump says that you can take at face value. You always have to look for how it benefits him, and expect to find some contradictions from the past. This is emerging as a hallmark of his presidency and it hasn’t even officially begun yet. Sad.

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

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?

Trump Apologist On Fox News Flails Rabidly About Russian Hacking And Obama

The bombshell revelation that Russia directly interfered with the presidential election is still simmering. But that hasn’t stopped right-wing apologists for Donald Trump from cooking up absurd defenses. One of the most unhinged so far came Sunday night from Fox News host, Judge Jeanine Pirro. She’s well known for her overblown editorializing, but this one could earn her a Wingnut Hall of Shame award.

Jeanine Pirro Fox News

Pirro leaped feet first into her program’s “Opening Statement” with an all out onslaught against President Obama and other Democrats. Note: The all-caps quotes were cut-and-pasted directly from the Fox News website. The entire article is in caps. Which makes the sentiments in these first paragraphs seem even more deranged:

“LOOK IT’S TIME TO TAKE SIDES… THE ELECTION IS OVER – YOU’RE EITHER WITH US OR AGAINST US. THAT IS… WITH THE UNITED STATES OR AGAINST THE UNITED STATES.

“WE HAVE A NEW PRESIDENT ELECT…. HIS NAME IS DONALD J TRUMP. SO MOVE OVER BARACK,

“MOVE OVER HILLARY, HARRY, JILL AND ALL YOU NAMBY PAMBY PATHETIC LOSERS STILL CRYING IN YOUR GRANDE DOUBLE SHOT SKINNY LATTES.”

This is typical of the fascist right-wing tendency to demonize anything with which they disagree. They are utterly contemptuous of dissent, unless they are engaging in it themselves. To them the Tea Party was a patriotic movement, but civil rights activists are subversive commies. And to make sure that she wasn’t misunderstood, Pirro elaborated:

“THERE WAS A TIME IN THIS COUNTRY WHEN WE UNITED BEHIND THE FLAG IN CELEBRATION OF AMERICA’S NEW PRESIDENT, OUR NEW LEADER, WE ALL DID SO IN 2008 WHEN BARACK OBAMA WAS ELECTED. WE HAD HIGH HOPES FOR A UNITED COUNTRY, IRRESPECTIVE OF OUR POLITICS. AND IT’S TIME FOR THE LEFT, ASSUMING THEY ARE CAPABLE, TO SHOW THE SAME DIGNITY AND CLASS TO THE 45TH PRESIDENT-ELECT.”

Is she friggin’ NUTZ! Wait, don’t answer that. On Obama’s inauguration day Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said that his top priority was to make him a one-term president. Fox’s Chris Wallace speculated that the flubbed oath of office (due to Chief Justice Roberts mangling the text) might mean that Obama isn’t really president. Rush Limbaugh said of the President-Elect that “I hope he fails.” A few weeks later Glenn Beck called Obama a racist with “a deep-seated hatred for white people.” And of course there was an army of crackpots insisting that Obama was a Muslim from Kenyan and ineligible to be president.

At what point did Pirro et al unite behind Obama? It didn’t happen after the election, nor at any time in the following eight years. She is exhibiting signs of acute dementia. Which might explain her outrage over Obama announcing an investigation into the hacking by Russia. This should be a bipartisan effort and supported by anyone who values our democracy. But along with Trump, his defenders at Fox News would rather suppress the truth than preserve our nation.

Among the nonsense that has irked Pirro is why this investigation should occur now. The answer, of course, is that until now we didn’t have the disclosures from the intelligence community to justify it. It could have been investigated earlier, but then the right would have complained that it was all speculative. And if the investigation were delayed for a year or two, they would say it’s old news, let it go.

Pirro also said that the Obama administration could have blocked the hacking if they wanted to. Butt, she didn’t say what body orifice she pulled that out of. She also maligned the CIA’s conclusions saying that they were the same people who got us into Iraq. Which isn’t true. That was sixteen years ago and those people are long gone. What’s more, it wasn’t the CIA pushing the WMD fallacies, it was the Bush White House. And Pirro joined Trump’s cheering squad with the lie that he had an “OVERWHELMING ELECTORAL COLLEGE WIN.” It wasn’t even in the top ten over the last sixty years.

Pirro concluded with praise for Vladimir Putin as “A RUSSIAN WHO AT LEAST IS A CHRISTIAN.” So that’s all it takes for an arch-conservative mouthpiece to embrace a brutal dictator. Murder your adversaries, invade foreign countries, and bomb hospitals full of children. So long as you’re a Christian it’s all good. Can you imagine the reaction from the right if Obama ever did such a thing? They pounced on him for honoring the Pope, for God’s sake.

For good measure Pirro took a closing swipe at retiring Senator Harry Reid, calling him “MR ONE EYE.” Reid is blind in one eye as a result of an accident. Would Pirro also call war hero, and Senator-Elect Tammy Duckworth “MISS NO LEGS?” Would she make up derogatory nicknames for every disabled person she doesn’t happen to like? This tells you something about her character, or lack thereof. As if having an unnatural and unpatriotic affinity for foreign dictators who disrupt our elections weren’t enough.

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