Thanks to Donald Trump the U.S. Falls to 45th Place in the World Press Freedom Index

There is no question that Donald Trump is a bitter enemy of of press freedom and the Constitution’s First Amendment. He has relentlessly maligned the media in an attempt to persuade his followers that he is the only source of truthful information about the government and his administration. It’s a tactic that has been favored by authoritarian tyrants throughout history.

Donald Trump Censorship

Now Reporters Without Borders has released their latest annual study on international press freedom. The World Press Freedom Index is a ranking of the status of the media around the world. The study asserts that threats to press freedom and to journalists are growing, and warns that “hostility towards the media” is “openly encouraged by political leaders.” And the study’s opening paragraphs are clear about the sources of these escalating threats:

“More and more democratically-elected leaders no longer see the media as part of democracy’s essential underpinning, but as an adversary to which they openly display their aversion. The United States, the country of the First Amendment, has fallen again in the Index under Donald Trump, this time two places to 45th. A media-bashing enthusiast, Trump has referred to reporters as ‘enemies of the people,’ the term once used by Joseph Stalin.”

Trump’s attacks are are rooted in his seething fear that honest journalism will educate the public about his incompetency and criminality. So he has taken to calling any reporting that is critical of him “fake news”. While most Americans see through this infantile name-calling, his base of “Deplorables” devour it with an all-consuming ignorance and cultish devotion.

Trump has no regard for the harm he is doing to the nation and the world, whose dictators have adopted the Trump model for destroying the press. The study notes these threats as it goes into deeper detail with descriptions of the dangerous hostility that Trump holds for the the media that he is determined to undermine. What follows is the section of the study that focuses on the United States and its media-hating leader:

“In 2017, the 45th President of the United States helped sink the country to 45th place by labeling the press an ‘enemy of the American people’ in a series of verbal attacks toward journalists, attempts to block White House access to multiple media outlets, routine use of the term ‘fake news’ in retaliation for critical reporting, and calling for media outlets’ broadcasting licenses to be revoked. President Trump has routinely singled out news outlets and individual journalists for their coverage of him, and retweeted several violent memes targeting CNN.

The violent anti-press rhetoric from the White House has been coupled with an increase in the number of press freedom violations at the local level as journalists run the risk of arrest for covering protests or simply attempting to ask public officials questions. Reporters have even been subject to physical assault while on the job.

Press freedom violations in the country of the First Amendment in fact have become so frequent of late that RSF joined a coalition of more than two dozen press freedom organizations to launch the US Press Freedom Tracker in August, which documented 34 arrests of journalists in 2017, the majority while covering protests (find out more on the tracker).”

This study is just the latest verification of how destructive Trump’s anti-media mission is, and the scale with which it produces tangible harm. He has previously been cited as an an unprecedented threat to press freedom by the Committee to Protect Journalists. And he isn’t getting any better with time. He just sent out a fundraising email that explains his decision not to attend the White House Correspondent’s Dinner this weekend. It should be noted that this is an annual event for charity that almost always features the sitting president, who joins in the lighthearted roast. But Trump whined to his donors, “Why would I want to be stuck in a room with a bunch of fake news liberals who hate me?”

Trump’s gnawing loathing for the press is also apparent in his avoidance of any scrutiny by independent journalists. He has not had a solo press conference in over a year. The only one he has held as President was shortly after his inauguration. Nor has he submitted to an interview with anyone other than friendly “news” outlets like Fox News and the Christian Broadcasting Network in nearly a year.

Unfortunately for our frightened president, his cowardice has been noticed by the majority of America’s citizens. They understand that a leader who is afraid to face the press is not a leader at all. Consequently, surveys that asked who the people trust more – the media or Trump – consistently show that the people have greater trust for the media than for the spineless cretin temporarily occupying the White House. And that, at least, is a hopeful sign for the future.

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

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Fox News Chugs Trump Kool-Aid: ‘The Only Way Forward is to Unify Behind His Agenda’

The cable “news” network that has distinguished itself as the most fawning propagandist of the Era of Trump is without contest Fox News. It’s programming and personalities are shamelessly sycophantic, disgorging White House propaganda 24/7. Sean Hannity is even being referred to as Trump’s “shadow” chief-of-staff. That’s when he isn’t being associated with alleged criminal activity and real estate fraud. But perhaps the most the beleaguered host on Fox News currently is Laura Ingraham. After attacking a teenage survivor of the Parkland school shooting, Ingraham has lost most of her advertisers and is hanging on to her job by the sheer stubbornness of the network bosses.

Fox News, Laura Ingraham

In response to the controversy, Ingraham is ramping up her idolatry of Trump. Since she isn’t earning the network any money, she may believe that pouring on some adoration of the President will help fortify her position. So on Monday night Ingraham took a hard right and lashed out at Republicans who she thinks aren’t sufficiently deferential to Trump. While the rest of the Fox roster is already hammering their usual Democratic targets, Ingraham is focusing on corralling the GOP herd into strict obedience to Dear Leader. That mentality leads to segments with soliloquies like this one (video below):

“When will they learn? More than a year into Donald Trump’s first term, you’d think that all the Republicans would understand that the only way forward is to unify behind his agenda. It’s resonating with the American people. It’s bringing international foes to the negotiating table. And it’s having a positive impact on the economy. But some Republicans cannot help but lend aid and comfort to the President’s political enemies.

“So as Trump slowly but surely begins to remake the GOP to be more responsive to working class Americans, the globalist wing of the party is still in total denial. And the old guard resistance to Trump – of course, big shocker – is being amplified by a media machine that’s been trying to take him down ever since he first came down that golden escalator.”

You hear that Republicans? Get in line and stop thinking independently and representing your constituents. Your only duty is to follow the approved doctrine of the Trumpiate Politburo or keep your mouths shut if you can’t pledge unyielding loyalty.

Ingraham’s call for blind fidelity to Trump is the sort of demand that is generally made by entrenched dictators. She is advocating a perverse brand of patriotism that flows through this administration. Just yesterday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders offered her version of this faith-based Trumpism by asserting that total dedication to Trump is synonymous with patriotism. She said that “Democrats have to decide whether they love this country more than they hate this President.” In Sander’s view people can’t simultaneously oppose Trump and love America. In reality, people oppose Trump “because” they love America.

In addition to Ingraham’s command for compliance, she offered some reasons to persuade the supplicants. But each one was more ludicrous than the one before it. Trump’s agenda is absolutely not resonating with the American people. He is the most unpopular president in modern times. His policies are soundly rejected by wide majorities of voters. That’s why most political analysts are predicting a “Blue Wave” at the polls in November. Ingraham’s assertion that Trump is bringing international foes to the negotiating table is a fantasy. His administration has not achieved a single foreign policy goal in over fourteen months. And her praise for the economy is striking on a day that the markets suffered a huge drop, and the Dow presently sits over 2,000 points below it’s high.

These are not the metrics of a successful presidency that everyone should rally around. They are warnings of political catastrophe. A week ago Trump boastfully tweeted his standings in the rabidly biased Rasmussen poll:

Not surprisingly, he hasn’t said anything since. In just the past week his approval rating has declined three points to forty-eight percent, with fifty percent disapproving. And his “strongly disapprove” numbers have been higher than his “strongly approve” numbers throughout his presidency, with the exception of a few days in the first month. And remember, this is according the right-wing pollsters at Rasmussen. Given the reality of Trump’s dreadful and despised tenure, asking people to unify behind him is like asking people to board the Titanic after it hit the iceberg. But that’s Ingraham’s position, and God bless her, she’s sticking to it.

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

Trump Invites His Boss (Fox News CEO Rupert Murdoch) to State Dinner with Macron

Tuesday evening at the White House, Donald Trump will host his first state dinner. The guest of honor will be French President Emmanuel Macron. The rest of the guest list is apparently a state secret because the White House is refusing to release it in advance. However, the identity of one notable guest has been uncovered, and it shouldn’t surprise anyone.

Donald Trump Rupert Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch, the Chairman and CEO of Fox News’ corporate parent, 21st Century Fox, named himself the top executive of the cable network after Roger Ailes was terminated for serial sexual harassment and abuse. His stewardship of Fox News has devotedly advanced the political aspirations and agenda of Donald Trump. So being the recipient of one these scarce invitations was easily predictable. In fact,, he may have ordered Trump to issue it. After all, Fox News virtually invented Trump’s political persona and provided the media boost he needed to get elected.

Anyone watching Fox for more than a few minutes will notice that their hosts and contributors are fawning disciples of Trump. But even more troubling is that Trump’s policies and public statements are almost entirely derived from what he sees on his favorite Fox programs. From when he first wipes the sleep from eyes in the morning to when he lays his head down at night, Trump is cramming it full of the Fox Doctrine.

Fox and Friends serves as Trump’s daily presidential briefing wherein he learns what topics he is supposed to cover for the day and what positions to take on those topics. And Sean Hannity provides Trump the unhinged fury he needs to attack his political enemies. Hannity is so close to the President that he has been called the “shadow” chief-of-staff. And of course, numerous former Fox News shills are now on the White House payroll.

So while Trump didn’t invite any Democrats to the dinner, and the media was similarly snubbed, Murdoch is attending along with what we can expect to be a who’s who of Trump’s cronies (donors, lobbyists, ass-kissers, etc.). When the list of attendees is eventually released it will interesting to assess it in view of this tweet that Trump posted in March of 2012:

And for a taste of the ideological synchronicity between Trump and Fox News, watch this:

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

Fox News in a Coma: ‘Nobody Was Asking Hillary Clinton About the Guy that She’s Married To’

If you thought that Fox News had run out of ways to shock people with examples of acute obliviousness, you might wanna sit down. The network that relentlessly pumps out provably false stories despite having been debunked – sometimes by their own reporters – still manages to find ways to sink ever lower into states of purposeful amnesia. Their corporate mission has always been to accuse other news networks of bias, ignoring the fact that they were created to be a flagrantly partisan mouthpiece of conservatives and the Republican Party.

Hillary Clinton

On Sunday’s “State of the Union” on CNN, Donald Trump’s Senior Shill, Kellyanne Conway, was interviewed by Dana Bash. Part of the discussion included an inquiry about Conway’s husband, George, who had curiously posted a number of tweets that were critical of Donald Trump. Conway feigned offense to this question and replied:

“We’re now going to talk about other people’s spouses and significant others just because they either work at the White House or CNN? Are we going to do that? You just went there. […] There has been a different standard for me than there have been for other people.”

Conway’s complaint is particularly absurd considering that less than a week ago she brought up the political leanings of the spouse and children of former FBI Director James Comey in an attempt to discredit him. However, there is plenty of available evidence that other political spouses have encountered the same line of questioning. The notion that she was subject to a double standard could not be more ridiculous.

Well, perhaps it can get more ludicrous. And leave it to Fox News to find a way to achieve that. On Monday morning, anchor Jon Scott led a panel in a discussion of Conway’s weekend remarks. His defense of Conway was typical of the wingnut cognitive breakdown that Fox News specializes in. He actually said that:

“Nobody was asking Hillary Clinton about the guy that she’s married to. It does seem that sometimes there’s a double standard in that regard.”

Did have a stroke? Was he in a Turkish prison for the last few years? There is something terribly wrong with someone who is supposed to be familiar with politics and current events who could make such a statement. Hardly a day went by when Hillary Clinton was not asked about her husband, Bill. And one of the most prominent inquisitors was Donald Trump. He even brought four women who alleged that Bill Clinton sexually harassed them to a debate in St. Louis.

And it wasn’t just Trump asking about Bill. The media was all over it. Two months before the election Maggie Haberman of the New York Times tweeted an article by Buzzfeed that she said was a “Pretty detailed read on Juanita Broaddrick’s long-ago allegations against Bill Clinton.” That’s the same Maggie Haberman who Trump attacked this weekend as being “a third rate reporter” and “a Crooked H flunkie.”

How Jon Scott could not know that Bill Clinton was a constant topic of both the media and the Trump campaign during the election is unimaginable. Which is probably the best evidence that he does know, he’s just lying. And the sad thing is that Fox News viewers are so delusional and hypnotized by their Tele-Master that they won’t question this glaringly preposterous comment. They’ll just nod obediently and absorb the lies like they always do.

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

LOL: GOP Fundraiser Lost Money Due to Big Payouts to Trump Golf Club and Fox News Speaker

The Republican Party is struggling to stay afloat in this Era of Trump. The President has been an anchor around the necks of many GOP office holders and candidates. An unprecedented number of Republican members of Congress (over 40) have already resigned or announced that they will not be running for reelection. And this is a year during which they control all three branches of the federal government.

Donald Trump

Republicans still in the game have been hurt in the pocketbook this year. they are raising significantly less money than Democrats and everyone, regardless of party affiliation, is expecting a “blue wave” to sweep Washington come November.

So it doesn’t help when when Republicans stage fundraisers where they actually spend more money then they take in. But that’s what happened in Morris Country, New Jersey in February. And the reasons for the shortfall were emblematic of the con game mentality that dominates the tenor of Donald Trump’s Washington. The New Jersey Globe reports that:

“Morris County Republicans lost money on their winter fundraiser at Trump National Golf Club and have a paltry $13,956 in their warchest […] The county GOP organization raised $58,335 at an event that cost them more than $64,000. They spent $24,487 at Trump National and paid Fox News personality Greg Gutfeld $30,000 to speak.”

That’s right. The reason that the party fundraiser is in the red is because Trump’s facility and a Fox News hack took all their profits. Both Trump and Fox News ought to be conscious of the impact they are having on the electoral prospects of their political allies. They surely don’t want Democrats to win in these races that are considered competitive. But in both cases Trump and Gutfeld seem to be more devoted to their own greed than to their political values. Which is actually consistent with their political values.

The article in the Globe closed with an additional bit of information that makes this embarrassing event look even worse:

“At the February fundraiser, Republicans teased potential donors with the idea that President Trump would attend as a surprise guest – even asking for social security numbers in advance, something that would suggest a presidential appearance. Trump was at Mar-a-Lago and there was little possibility that he would be in New Jersey for President’s Day weekend.”

So this money losing affair flopped even after they tried to fool people into thinking that they might get to rub elbows with their Dear Leader. Apparently Trump wasn’t a sufficient draw to turn around the prospects of this debacle. But at least he made a few thousand bucks off of it. And so did Fox’s Gutfeld. So it wasn’t a total loss. Unless you’re a Republican candidate in Morris County. Here’s hoping the GOP will put on more of these events. Trump and Fox News shills can always use the extra cash.

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

HUH? Fox News Wonders ‘How Can Professional Commentators Go On the Air and Speculate?’

From its inception, Fox News was determined to disguise their political biases. They fashioned a network that they would claim is “fair and balanced,” but would never even attempt to live up to that standard. Last year they finally abandoned that slogan and replaced it with one that was obviously and shamelessly inspired by Donald Trump’s anti-media histrionics: “Real News.”

Fox News, Howard Kurtz

So it isn’t surprising when the chief media correspondent on Fox News, Howard Kurtz, would host a discussion on his show about media bias that flagrantly ignores it own ethical breaches. Sunday’s episode of MediaBuzz delved into the controversy surrounding Fox News host, and official Trump-fluffer, Sean Hannity. This week Hannity was revealed in court to be another client of Trump’s beleaguered attorney, Michael Cohen. He vehemently denied that which, in effect, means that he’s calling Cohen a liar. That’s something that Trump himself seems to be preparing to do.

Kurtz was disturbed by the media reaction to Hannity’s unambiguous ethical lapses (video below). Primarily, he found fault with the coverage of this story by his competitors on cable news. He led off the conversation saying that:

“In the aftermath, and it was such intense media reaction to this, a couple of people went on the air on other cable news channels and kind of just got out there.”

As examples of this alleged “outness,” Kurtz played video of two guests that appeared on MSNBC, but no other cable news channels. They raised questions about the undeniably conflicted relationship between Hannity and Cohen. The guests were Danielle Moodie-Mills, a SiriusXM talk show host, and Jennifer Rubin, a conservative opinion columnist from the Washington Post. Both observed the coincidence that Hannity had secured the services of Cohen, a “fixer” who had facilitated payoffs to the mistresses of his other clients (Trump and RNC official Elliot Broidy).

Since Hannity refused to disclose the nature of his relationship with Cohen, it’s entirely fair for pundits to assemble available data and offer analyses that seek to provide a coherent explanation. But that’s not how Kurtz sees it. He asked his guest, Shelby Holliday of the Wall Street Journal:

“How can professional commentators go on the air and speculate, without a shred of evidence right after this happened, that ‘Oh, there must have been a woman involved or something’ and there is absolutely no evidence to support it?”

Seriously? This is Fox News wondering whether it’s appropriate to speculate about public figures. It’s the network that spent years asserting that Barack Obama was an illegitimate president due his birth in Kenya. It’s the network that tried to blame Hillary Clinton for deliberately causing the deaths of American diplomats in Benghazi. It’s the network that advanced wild conspiracy theories like the child sex slave ring in the basement of a Washington, D.C. pizza parlor. And it’s the network that pushed ludicrous allegations that DNC employee Seth Rich’s murder was a clandestine, “Deep State” political assassination. That last one was Hannity’s baby. And those are just a few of Fox’s innumerable adventures in ridiculous and defamatory speculation.

Holliday responded to Kurtz’s inquiry by agreeing that “Journalistically that’s out of bounds. No reporters or news people should be speculating like that.” Of course, the examples that Kurtz played were opinion commentators, not reporters. And to her credit, Holliday did point that out to Kurtz. But Kurtz shot back that “Fine. You can criticize him all you want, but you can’t make stuff up and speculate.”

Well, thanks for that completely obvious and, for Fox News, hypocritical advice. Being told by Fox not to speculate is like being told by Donald Trump not to lie. And the fact that their specialist in media is so woefully lacking in self-awareness makes anything he has to say about the press unworthy of consideration. It’s asinine comments like these that make laughter the only appropriate response to anything Fox News says.

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

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Terrified, Trump Paves the Way for Calling His Lawyer Michael Cohen a Liar When He Flips

There have never been darker clouds over the White House than there are now. Donald Trump is keenly aware that he is in deep peril and his presidency could come crashing down. Much of his concern is centered around the recent news that his lawyer, Michael Cohen, was the subject of a raid by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan. Trump is behaving as though he is aware of the potential for discovery of his own criminal activities. Innocent people don’t act this guilty.

Donald Trump, Maggie Haberman

Our desperately frightened president is showing his seething fear on Twitter with another of his morning tweetstorms. This one is directed at the Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, but it goes much deeper than that:

The article that triggered Trump’s rant was an analysis of the potential for Cohen to flip on Trump and spill his guts to special counsel Robert Mueller. If Trump didn’t think that was possible, he wouldn’t have lashed out like this. His attack on Haberman is a typically shallow insult without any factual basis. Third rate reporters don’t win Pulitzers. Haberman has a record of being particularly harsh on the Clintons. And he frequently calls Haberman, who has also been his guest at the White House.

Trump’s reference to “a drunk/drugged up loser” is the sort of blind attack that he specializes in. Speculation that he’s referring to Roger Stone is safe, but unconfirmed. [Update: Haberman tweets that Trump is referring to Sam Nunberg. He’s too scared of Stone]. In any case, he is proving that anyone who crosses him is subject to his wrath, even loyal supporters. Additionally, his assertion that Haberman’s sources are “nonexistent” is a common and baseless line that he throws out in a lame attempt to dismiss criticism. But it’s also a direct attack on the First Amendment.

Most troubling about this flurry of tweets is Trump’s attempt to distance himself from Cohen. His phrasing that Cohen is a “businessman for his own account” is Trump’s way of implying that he isn’t really Trump’s lawyer. Perhaps he’s just the coffee boy. Even worse is Trump’s assertion that “Most people will flip if […] even if it means lying or making up stories.” Here Trump is laying out his strategy for what he will do if Cohen does flip. He’s going to call Cohen, his personal attorney for decades, a self-serving liar who was seduced by the evil government into inventing heinous tales of criminality by Trump.

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

Trump closes with a signal to Cohen that he can stay in Trump’s good graces if he resists the efforts by the Feds and the media to coerce him into telling the truth. But if Cohen flips, Trump isn’t going to be able to credibly portray him as a liar. He would have to make people believe that Cohen would expose himself to even greater legal jeopardy by giving false testimony. So in this affair Trump is a cornered rat and he’s acting like one. That, of course, is only going to make matters worse as events continue to close in around him. Fun times ahead.

SRSLY? On Fox News Loopy Trump-Fluffers ‘Diamond and Silk’ Pass For Legitimate Journalists

It’s been a bad year for Fox News. Donald Trump, the presidential figurehead they’ve been propping up for the past year, keeps swirling the legal drain on the way to the sewer of disgrace. Perhaps reflecting that downward spiral, Fox’s primetime ratings nosedived fifteen percent in February year over year. And while their revenue rose by about seventeen percent, that’s a pitiful performance when compared to their competitors: CNN’s rose thirty-two percent, and MSNBC rocketed up sixty-two percent.

Fox News, Diamond and Silk

What’s more, the on-air “talent” at Fox News aint what it used to be. Bill O’Reilly was fired for repeated incidents of sexual harassment and abuse. Megyn Kelly fled perverts like O’Reilly for NBC. So now Fox has to rely on the smug, white nationalism of Tucker Carlson, the elitist bullying of Laura Ingraham, and whatever the hell Sean Hannity is. All three have been digging deeper into the conspiracy theory territory of crackpots like Alex Jones. Fox News has never been a haven for reputable journalists who took their jobs seriously. But their distance from credibility has lately grown to titanic proportions (in more ways than one).

There is no better indicator of that than the rise of two sisters from North Carolina, Lynette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, better known to Fox viewers as “Diamond and Silk.” After having made a name for themselves at Trump rallies (and being paid by his campaign to do so), D&S have become familiar faces on Fox News throughout the broadcast day. In recent weeks they have appeared on Fox and Friends, Watters World, the Ingraham Angle, and Cavuto. No Republican politician or pundit has had the blanket bookings that D&S have managed. Never mind that they have no discernible expertise in anything. They are brought on to opine about the economy, North Korea, immigration, healthcare, the legal intricacies of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, and more. This from a network that’s determined to strip away the First Amendment rights of socially active celebrities and athletes, and even student survivors of mass shootings.

Let’s not mince words here. These women are clowns. They appear in tandem to interject “amens” and “that’s rights” to augment whatever the other is saying. Their clothing, makeup, and accessories are straight from the Barnum and Bailey Collection. And their patter is strictly scripted to praise Donald Trump as America’s “Master” of Ceremonies. He even thanked them in one his numerous tweets about them. Some of the past D&S episodes on Fox include:

  • Diamond and Silk: Democrats can’t have everything their way.
  • Diamond and Silk: Jay-Z needs to respect this president.
  • Diamond and Silk: The president’s agenda gets an A+.
  • Diamond and Silk: The hypocrisy on the left is so real.
  • Diamond and Silk: Get behind your president and his agenda.

Recently, Cubic Zirconia and Sackcloth have been emitting high decibel whining on Fox News due to what they contend is a bias against conservatives by social media platforms like Facebook and Google. They are apparently ignorant of the recent changes by tech media to combat actual “fake” news and the efforts by hostile foreign nations to infiltrate and disrupt our media and democracy. D&S think that the audience decline being experienced by every online publisher is specific to them alone. Poor babies.

So these yammering yokels have been making the rounds on Fox News to complain that they are the victims of censorship. Typically, their complaints are front loaded with lies. But it’s just the sort of bullpucky that Fox hosts and viewers devour whole. As a result, their phony travails were even cited during the congressional hearings featuring Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg. Five Republicans (Ted Cruz, Joe Barton, Marsha Blackburn, Steve Scalise, Billy Long) were duped into posing questions about D&S.

But if you think that was bad, wait until you see them testifying in person before Congress. That’s right, in an appearance on Fox and Friends Friday, D&S announced that they would be testifying about their imaginary conservative bias online at a House Judiciary Committee hearing next week. Has America really sunk this low? A couple of embarrassingly ridiculous bumpkins, with no experience in anything but ranting annoyingly, are about to be interviewed by our representatives in Washington.

Diamond and Silk are being accorded a measure of respect by Republicans in Washington they haven’t earned and don’t deserve. But then that’s exactly what Fox News has been doing for months. They’ve gone from tantrum throwing political rage-a-holics like Sean Hannity to these insipid, half-witted nobodies. It’s a clear sign that the direction Fox News is heading is for ever lower respect for intelligence and reality-based journalism. In other words: Same as it always was.

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

The Way Life in America is Supposed to Work: By Russian Colluder, Sexual Assaulter Donald Trump

Nothing is more brazenly sanctimonious than a notorious reprobate like Donald Trump telling other people how to live. This is someone who has had five kids by three different women, all of whom he cheated on while married to them. It’s someone who has defrauded businesses and customers. It’s someone who lies as easily as he breathes. It’s someone who has been accused of sexual harassment and assault by at least a dozen women. It’s someone who attacks anyone who is even mildly critical of him with insults and heinous accusations.

Donald Trump

Donald Trump is the model of a failed human being who cares only for himself. Cross him and he will devolve into an infantile, whiny bully who lashes out with false condemnations and deliberate defamation. So it is especially notable when he engages in outbursts that are not only offensive, but make no sense at all. On Friday he demonstrated that incoherence with another one of his mindless tweets:

Really? Can Trump actually be that unaware of his own psychoses? Doesn’t he realize that, if anyone destroyed Michael Flynn’s life it was Michael Flynn? Trump’s former National Security Advisor is the one who chose to cavort with Russian operatives during Trump’s campaign, including the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak. It was Flynn who took money from Russian media outlets. It was Flynn who dined with Vladimir Putin. And it was Flynn who lied about all of these things on his security clearance forms and to the FBI.

The only person more responsible for the destruction of Flynn’s life is Trump himself. After all, it was Trump who fired Flynn after only three weeks on the job. And we just learned in the release of memos by James Comey that Trump was telling near total strangers that he questioned Flynn’s judgement. It’s the height of duplicity and disloyalty for Trump to now complain about the damage done to Flynn’s deservedly tattered reputation.

In the course of this dishonest characterization of Flynn’s travails, Trump also smears Comey as “Shady” without anything to back up that insult. The aforementioned memos actually support Comey’s consistent veracity. It is Trump who has been exposed as deceitful and determined to obstruct justice and avoid accountability for his flagrant misconduct.

Finally, Trump apparently thinks there’s something wrong with the First Amendment. He not only attacks Comey’s hugely successful book (A Higher Loyalty), but also his right to publish it. The only reason the book should not have been written, in Trump’s view, is because it wasn’t a fawning tome of unreserved adoration.

So when Trump asks if this is “really the way life in America is supposed to work,” the only reasonable answer is “Yes.” That’s exactly the way it’s supposed to work. People get to have their say. If Trump doesn’t like it he can write his own book. And so can Flynn. And the American people can decide for themselves who they trust. Although, there is plenty of evidence already that it isn’t Trump. #SAD!

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

Oblivious GOP Guest Tells Fox News that ‘Democrats Must Stop Calling Opponents Criminals’

Hypocrisy is a common symptom of political pundits and politicians on both sides of the aisle. But there are times when the hypocrisy of starkly partisan shills goes completely off the rails. This is often seen on Fox News, the natural habitat of partisan hypocrites.

Fox News, Ari Fleischer

On Friday’s episode of Outnumbered, the featured “One Lucky Guy” (as they call their rotating guests) was former George W. Bush press secretary, Ari Fleischer. They were discussing the just filed lawsuit by the Democratic National Committee charging that the Russians, Wikileaks, and Donald Trump conspired to disrupt the 2016 presidential election. Near the end of the segment Fleischer decides to get all principled with a general denunciation of criminalizing politics:

Ari Fleischer: “Let me elevate all of this. This country has got to stop accusing its opponents of being criminals. I defended Barack Obama when Donald Trump said that he was illegitimate and born in Kenya. I don’t like saying the people you oppose on ideology are illegitimate. And now the Democrats are doing it to Donald Trump. The country has got to stop this.
Marie Harf: That’s just exactly what Donald Trump did. He’s still calling for his opponents to be jailed. So it’s not just Democrats who are doing it. It starts at the top.

First of all, there is no proof that he actually did defend Obama on the birther lies. In fact, in a tweet he declined to seek an apology from Trump for those conspiracy theories, and then tried to blame them on Hillary Clinton, which was a right-wing lie.

Fox News headlined this exchange on their website as “Democrats Must Stop Calling Opponents Criminals.” They linked to the video of the segment (posted below) to support their blatantly biased assertion that it is Democrats who are responsible for these rhetorical offenses. However, as Harf managed to squeeze in at the end of the segment, there is someone else who may bear some of the responsibility:

Just thought that we should set the record straight. And while we’re at it, the allegations against Trump are not the work of partisan Democrats. He is being investigated by a special counsel (Robert Mueller), a Republican who was appointed by a Republican Deputy Attorney General, who was appointed by Trump and works for the Republican Attorney General. And virtually all of the witnesses in the Russian probe are also Republicans. So there’s that.

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