Fox News – Yes, Fox News – Says Trump is a Divisive Failure Looking for Distractions

The current press attention being placed on subjects like the NFL was created entirely by Donald Trump during his routine morning Tweetstorm. Not that systemic racism isn’t an important issue. But Trump’s framing of it is utterly dishonest. He’s trying to turn it into a debate over patriotism and flag worship.

Fox News Donald Trump

What’s interesting about this attempt at media manipulation is that it’s failing in big way. And it isn’t just the usual suspects in the liberal section who are criticizing Trump. The chief political anchor on Fox News, Bret Baier, is now among those who can no longer ignore Trump’s obvious efforts to deflect from his own scandals. Baier was interviewed by his colleague Jon Scott on Monday (video below):

Jon Scott: It’s kind of interesting to me Bret because the controversy over Colin Kaepernick taking a knee – that’s kind of where this all started – pretty well died down. And then the President found a way to dredge it up in his speech on Friday. I guess the question is why?

Bret Baier: Well, that is a good question. I think there were six kneeling protests before Friday. The speech Friday and the tweets that followed, there were 200+ as you just heard from John Roberts. […] I think that the president clearly has stirred this up, and it is an emotional discussion. What we are not discussing is that he may likely lose in the senate primary in Alabama. Looks like it is an uphill battle for Luther Strange there. We will see. We’re not talking talking about the fact that the health care repeal and replace bill is probably on life support in the senate. And we are not talking about the troubles that North Korea is just in the past hour putting out there. So, it is an interesting dichotomy to be talking about all this that has been stirred up in the past three days.

Indeed. Trump’s attempts to divert the press and the public from more serious concerns is so clumsy that even Fox News is reporting it. And they left out another matter that Trump is likely trying to suppress. That’s the ongoing investigation of Russia’s involvement with him and his campaign. Scott went further to note that “even some of his most ardent supporters disagree with him on this one.” Baier concurred and noted that Trump’s profane language, calling sports figures “S.O.B.s,” crossed a line with his supporters. But he also praised Trump as the “ultimate marketer” due to his use of that kind of rhetoric. Baier and Scott summed it up saying that:

Baier: Sometimes the motivation behind it, why he’s doing that, is in question. And I think that it has created this divisive moment where it’s definitely a conversation around kitchen tables around America. And at water coolers and coffee shops. But does it come to a resolution? We’ll see.

Scott: It does distract from the GOP efforts to try to replace ObamaCare. As you said earlier.

Baier and Scott were not the only ones at Fox News who noticed Trump’s diversionary tactics. Anchor Shepard Smith called out Trump’s reframing as “they’re attacking the national anthem, they’re attacking the troops, they’re attacking the flag. None of which they’re doing.” Smith speculated that this was all a call to Trump’s base “so that they don’t notice there is no health care and Korea is the biggest mess since the Cold War.” And he acknowledged the role of the press by admitting that “We’re complicit.” All of this is certain to result in a predictable future event: Another Trump Tweetstorm.

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

North Korea? NFL? Oh Wait – Russia Probes Are ‘Closing In’ on Donald Trump

For much of the past week Donald Trump has been tweeting in a frenzy over subjects not previously in the news. He has escalated the debate over professional athletes expressing themselves on matters of significant social importance. And he has also created a crisis situation with North Korea that wasn’t an issue until he starting mouthing off.

Carl Bernstein

Both of those issues are newsworthy on their own now. Certainly the message behind the movement that quarterback Colin Kaepernick started needs to be addressed. Systemic racism in America continues to cause real harm. And Trump’s overtly bigoted contribution has had the unintended effect of getting the issue more positive attention. As for North Korea, Trump’s childish feuding with Kim Jung Un has thrust the world into a rhetorical firestorm. And this one has frightening, nuclear overtones. The media can hardly ignore that.

And that may be the point. Trump is trying to control the news cycle to keep it clear of something that he’s truly afraid of. By injecting new and melodramatic subjects into the media, he hopes to prevent further revelations about his own scandals. To some degree it’s working. But in a segment on CNN’s Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter and famed Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein were not fooled. (Video below):

Stelter: It was reported this week that special counsel Robert Mueller is asking the White House to provide documents related to Trump’s actions as president. Not just pre-campaign or pre-election day, but issues recently. That request includes at least thirteen areas in which investigators are seeking information. Including statements made about former FBI Director James Comey made in the presence of Russian officials. Also the firing of Michael Flynn. And the meeting at Trump Tower with Donald Trump, Jr. As you recall, he sought to get damaging information about Hillary Clinton from a Russian individual.

That introduction covered a broad swath of the potential criminal behaviors emanating from the White House. And Carl Bernstein’s response closed the circle with a concise summary of the President’s unsavory avtivities:

Bernstein: Robert Mueller, the special counsel, is looking at the conduct of President Donald Trump and members of his family, especially Jared Kushner. Also his closest campaign aides in terms of their dealings with Russia, ethno-Russians, during the campaign and before. And in business. But there’s a much larger context that now informs the whole investigation. And that is the conclusion of the American intelligence community – under Donald Trump, not under Obama – that now is certain that the Russians were very, very, effective at undermining the campaign of Hillary Clinton and specifically helping Donald Trump.

And we keep hearing the word collusion, which is not a legal term. What Mueller is focused on is quite different than the simple idea of collusion. It’s whether or not Donald Trump, and perhaps his family and business associates, knew that the Russians were trying to help his campaign. And if they knew that, why didn’t they blow the whistle on the Russians? Did they try to cover it up? Are they continuing to try and cover up that knowledge? That’s the real question. Not the word “collusion,” which Trump and the White House keep trying to focus on.

Finally, Bernstein proposed what might be the motivations driving Trump and his more recent scandal mongering:

Bernstein: But the reason is these investigations are closing in on him, his family, and his aides. And if indeed there’s nothing there and it’s a hoax, then why has Donald Trump tried to undermine, demean and obstruct – not necessarily in terms of the legal obstruction of justice – these investigations for six months at every turn? He’s done everything that he can, as have those around him, to keep these investigations from succeeding.

That pretty much says it all. Trump is engaging in a fierce effort to divert attention from himself and his possible prosecution and/or impeachment. And he’s using other news events, some serious, some fabricated, to achieve that goal. Hopefully more journalists like Bernstein and Stelter will demonstrate that they cannot be tricked into serving as his propaganda merchants.

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

WTF? Donald Trump Just Used Low Ratings to Justify His Attacks on Kneeling NFL PLayers?

The embarrassing spectacle of Donald Trump’s feud with popular sports figures continues to heat up. It began several days ago with Trump lashing out at NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and NBA star Steph Curry. These and other public figures have been actively expressing themselves regarding civil rights and racism in America. And what they get for exercising their First Amendment rights is ignorant insults from the White House.

Donald Trump NFL

In response to Trump’s Twitter tantrums, many more players are speaking out. What’s more, they have been joined by their coaches and team owners. Among those castigating Trump are friends and political supporters like former Buffalo Bills coach Rex Ryan, who is “pissed off.” Patriots owner, and Trump donor, Robert Kraft, said he is “disappointed” with Trump. On Sunday morning players for the Jaguars and the Ravens took a knee, joined by coaches and owners. The entire Steelers team will not take the field for the national anthem.

Trump’s ill-advised tirade is producing a backlash that any sensible person could have predicted. He has inspired more people to protest than ever would have had he kept his mouth shut. And the criticism directed at him points out the obvious racist overtones in his outburst. For instance, many observers have noticed that Trump called protesting athletes “sons of bitches,” but praised white supremacists in Charlottesville as “very fine people.” It’s apparent that the President has a case of tunnel blindness that prohibits him from seeing reality. And that may explain his latest tweets on Sunday morning:

First of all, it is unprecedented that a president of the United States would call for a boycott against American enterprises on purely political grounds. He is advocating financial harm and the loss of jobs for businesses and citizens who have done nothing more than employ free speech to lawfully and peacefully express their opinions. Furthermore, he is calling for Americans to be fired for constitutionally protected activities. Clearly Trump has no understanding of American values as he demonstrates his overtly anti-American position. But he wasn’t finished with this juvenile tantrum:

Trump totally skids off the rails with this criticism of the NFL’s ratings. He recently misrepresented the TV ratings as being “massively” lower. That’s a lie. They are modestly lower. And the reasons have more to do with the evolving state of television than with player protests. But what makes this criticism so absurd is that Trump’s own ratings have broken records for descending into an abyss. No president has ever had lower approval ratings at this point in his presidency. And he is bringing the whole Republican Party down with him.

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

By his own standard, therefore, Trump is “disrespecting our flag and country.” The American people “stay away [from him] because they love our country. They should boycott this presidency, and he should be fired. It’s fair to say that given the choice, voters would choose to keep the NFL over this failure of a president. And his most recent abhorrent behavior only solidifies the distaste and distrust they have for him. If there’s one thing that Trump has succeeded in, it’s getting people to join together in their hatred for him.

Crybaby Trump Withdraws Steph Curry’s White House Invite, After He Already Declined

For eight months America has suffered through the embarrassment of a president who is more child than man. Donald Trump reacts to events with the temperament of a six year old throwing a tantrum. In many instances the potential for serious harm is obvious and imminent. That’s especially prevalent in Trump’s juvenile bickering with “Rocket Man” Kim Jung Un of North Korea.

Steph Curry Obama

But even on less serious matters, Trump manages to display a disturbing absence of common maturity. Whether it’s a manifestation of long-standing personality defects or the onset of senility is an open question. The result is the same. And it can be seen clearly in Trump’s latest Twitter tirade. On Saturday morning Trump lashed out at Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors:

The first thing to note is that Curry was not hesitating. He explicitly said that “I don’t want to go.” And he elaborated on that saying that he hoped to “inspire some change when it comes to what we tolerate in this country.” Curry was cognizant of the fact that declining the White House invitation isn’t going to “miraculously make everything better.” But he regards it as an appropriate use of the opportunity he has to stand up for ethical principles. He has the support of many of his teammates and even his coach, Steve Kerr.

As for Trump, he apparently was watching his favorite TV show on Fox News, Fox and Friends, when they did a segment on this. His tweet came less than twenty minutes later. And the tone was blatantly petty and vengeful. The absurdity of Trump withdrawing an invitation from someone who had already declined is cringeworthy. He is lost in a fog of self-absorption and ego gratification. He thinks that a visit to his White House is a privilege reserved for certified members of the Trump cult. But as fellow NBA star Lebron James tweeted, “Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!” Also, Trump should know that Curry has already been to the White House to visit a real president:

This is another example of the broad embarrassment Trump has brought to America. His ignorant outbursts and boorish behavior have alienated our closest allies. At the same time he has cozied up to and praised our enemies. Before he has even completed his first year as president he diminished the nation’s reputation throughout the world. And at home he is breaking records for low approval ratings. If he thinks that feuding with popular sports figures like Curry or the NFL’s Colin Kaepernick, he is even dumber than the Deplorables who worship him.

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

Watch the Dumbest Man on Fox News Fail to Grasp Russia’s Cyber War in Debate With Rob Reiner

Every day seems to bring a new revelation about Donald Trump’s unsavory connections to Russia. The most recent include the business relationship of his campaign manager, Paul Manafort, with a Kremlin-affiliated oligarch. And special counselor Robert Mueller is digging ever deeper into the White House’s personnel and documents. All of this has Trump in a panic. And that has resulted in more rabid, diversionary outbursts on Twitter attacking the media and Hillary Clinton.

Fox News Tucker Carlson Rob Reiner

The accelerated implosion of the Trump administration is also roiling his defenders at Fox News. Chief among the Trump-fluffers is Tucker Carlson. He has distinguished himself as a devoted disciple whose knee-jerk support is as predictable as a sunrise. On his Thursday night program he invited director Rob Reiner to discuss a new initiative to “Investigate Russia.” The Committee to Investigate Russia is a non-partisan group that brought together experts like James Clapper, Norman Ornstein, and David Frum, to inform the public and advocate for open, comprehensive investigations. They put out this public service announcement featuring Morgan Freeman:

After running a brief clip from that video, Tucker Carlson began his debate with Rob Reiner (video below) asking a question that demonstrates an acute disability to understand simple concepts:

Carlson: So we’re at war. How would you respond if President Trump took you seriously and sent a B-52 to St. Petersberg or blockaded the Gulf of Finland? Would you support that?

That’s an interesting question. Not because it raises substantive issues. But because it exposes Carlson as incapable of differentiating between a conventional war and a virtual one fought in cyberspace. He seems to think that the use of the word “war” can only be interpreted as involving soldiers and tanks. The notion of any other kind of international conflict is beyond his mental capacity. Any high school student would have no trouble with these concepts, but Carlson is hopelessly stumped.

The other interesting thing about the question was its insulting slap at Trump. Apparently Carlson thinks that Trump might react to Reiner’s talk of a cyber war and call out the bombers. Sadly, I think he could right about that. It’s the sort of simplistic behavior that is emblematic of Trump. Nevertheless, Reiner immediately sought to correct him, which led to this exchange:

Reiner: When we say we’re at we’re talking about a cyber war.
Carlson: It doesn’t make that clear. It just says where Morgan Freeman – who everyone trusts … we’re at war. So you don’t really believe we’re at war. Why are you saying it then?
Reiner: Well, because if you watch the entire video it talks about cyber warfare. It talks about how he was able to use the Internet and cyber tools to attack the democracy. Which is what they did.
Carlson: But shouldn’t you say somewhere in there ‘We’re not really at war. We’re just taking creative license. We’re just trying to get you all pumped up.’ It’s not really war. And we shouldn’t respond as you would if you were in a war. Why not just say that so you don’t confuse people?
Reiner: Well, as I say, if you watch the whole video you wouldn’t be confused about it.

Indeed. Carlson’s confusion is dumbfounding (with an emphasis on the “dumb”). Is there anyone with a functioning brain stem who doesn’t understand what it means to be in a cyber war? Is Carlson really this idiotic, or is he just being a douchebag? (You don’t have to answer that).

This discussion went on for another six-plus minutes with Carlson never getting the point. Reiner, to his credit, remained remarkably calm and tolerant of Carlson’s determined and deliberate ignorance. Carlson, on the other hand, continued to ask ridiculous questions that illustrated his intellectual infirmity. And the whole time his face was contorted into an expression that’s a mix of bewilderment and annoyance. Either that or he would start cackling at inappropriate times. It was prime Carlson. And it’s why he’s known as the dumbest man on Fox News.

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

Jimmy Kimmel Pounds Fox News Host as a ‘Phony Little Creep’ for Lying About GOP Healthcare Bill

The feud between talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel and Sen. Bill Cassidy is heating up. Cassidy, co-author of the latest attempt by Republicans to kill ObamaCare, has been clashing with Kimmel over the healthcare bill. It all began when the Senator promised Kimmel that he wouldn’t support any bill that didn’t pass the “Jimmy Kimmel Test.” That was a term Cassidy coined to insure that healthcare legislation prohibited benefit caps and included coverage for preexisting conditions. Those features, among others, were championed by Kimmel following the recent birth of his son with heart defects.

Jimmy Kimmel

When Cassidy’s bill was introduced it notably failed the Kimmel test. While technically containing language referring to preexisting conditions, it allows insurance companies to raise rates on those customers. In effect, they could increase premiums without limit making policies unaffordable. Not surprisingly, Kimmel brought up that failure on his show, pointing out that Cassidy had lied to his face. In response the bill’s authors fired back at Kimmel with more lies and personal attacks. Sen. Lindsay Graham tweeted that Kimmel was offering “FakeNews on steroids.” Cassidy said “I’m sorry [Kimmel] does not understand.” To which Kimmel replied (video below):

“Oh, I get it. I don’t understand because I’m a talk-show host, right? Well then, help me out. Which part don’t I understand? Is it the part where you cut $243 billion from federal health care assistance? Am I not understanding the part where states would be allowed to let insurance companies price you out of coverage for having pre-existing conditions? Maybe I’m not understanding the part of your bill in which federal funding disappears completely after 2026? Or maybe it was the part where the plans are no longer required to pay for essential health benefits, like maternity care or pediatric visits?”

Kimmel went on to ask whether he failed to understand the public reaction to Cassidy’s legislation. He listed more than a dozen respected healthcare organizations who “all vehemently oppose your bill.” They included the American Medical Association, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, and the March of Dimes.

But then Kimmel shifted gears to address some comments made by Brian Kilmeade of Fox News. The co-host of Donald Trump’s favorite TV show, Fox and Friends, lashed out at Kimmel for speaking his mind on a subject that was painfully close to him. Kilmeade said that:

“Sunday’s politically charged Emmys may have been the lowest-rated in history, but that’s not stopping Hollywood elites like comedian Jimmy Kimmel from pushing their politics on the rest of the country.”

Kilmeade was wrong – again. The Emmy broadcast was not the lowest rated in history. But what that has to do with the validity of anything Jimmy Kimmel says is a mystery. However, if that’s the standard Kilmeade wants to use he should note that Kimmel’s ratings have soared during this recent dust-up. Therefore, he is at least as entitled to express his views as Kilmeade does everyday on his pretend news program. What’s more, experts have sided with Kimmel’s analysis over Cassidy’s, and PolitiFact called Cassidy’s remarks “mostly false.” So Kimmel did express his views again Wednesday night in response to Kilmeade:

“Thanks, Brian. That was Brian Kilmeade. And the reason I found this comment to be particularly annoying is because this is a guy, Brian Kilmeade, who whenever I see him kisses my ass like a little boy meeting Batman. He’s such a fan. I think he’s been to the show, he follows me on Twitter. He asked me to write a blurb for his book – which I did, he calls my agent looking for projects. He’s dying to be a member of the ‘Hollywood elite.’ The only reason he’s not a member of the ‘Hollywood elite’ is that no one will hire him to be one!

“And you know, the reason I’m talking about this is because my son had an open-heart surgery and has to have two more. Because of that, I’ve learned that there are kids with no insurance in the same situation. I don’t get anything out of this, Brian, you phony little creep. Oh, I’ll pound you when I see you. That is my blurb—that would be my blurb for your next book: ‘Brian Kilmeade is a phony little creep.’”

The whole segment is well worth watching. Kimmel obviously and understandably has a personal attachment to this issue. And, as he he said, the terms of the healthcare bill don’t affect him because he has the resources to take care of whatever his family encounters. His commentaries are on behalf of millions of Americans who stand to suffer if Republicans like Cassidy get their way. Phony creeps like Kilmeade really need to stop harassing caring people like Kimmel who will always win such battles.

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

Lyin’ Sean Spicer’s ‘Lack of Credibility’ Gets Him Rejected By All 5 Major News Networks

In August Donald Trump’s Press Secretary, Sean Spicer (Fibby Spice), was advised that his services would no longer be required. He was fired after only six months of loyal lying for the President. At first glance, Spicer seemed to be the perfect person for the job. On his first day at work he assembled the Washington press corps to berate them for telling the truth about the dismal attendance at Trump’s inauguration. And it was all downhill from there.

Sean Spicer

The White House has jettisoned a record number of top staffers in its short tenure. They include his chief of staff Reince Priebus, national security advisor Michael Flynn, and communications director Anthony Scaramucci. Some of Trump’s castoffs have already found new employment with right-wing media outlets like Breitbart News and the Sinclair Broadcast Group. But Spicer is having a rough go of it in his post-Trump career. NBC News reports that:

“The big five news organizations have passed on offering former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer a job as an exclusive paid contributor, network sources confirmed to NBC News on Tuesday.

“Since Spicer exited the White House, his representatives have been holding individual conversations about the possibility of President Donald Trump’s former flack joining one of the major TV networks, which include CBS News, CNN, Fox News, ABC News and NBC News.

“But ‘they won’t touch him,’ said a media industry executive familiar with those conversations.”

The reason given by some of these networks for rejecting Spicer was his “lack of credibility.” Which, ironically, is what qualified him for his job in the Trump administration in the first place. Spicer devotedly backed up Trump’s false assertions that millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 election. He did the same with the claim that President Obama had tapped Trump’s phone. And he supported Trump, Jr.’s description of a meeting with Russian operatives as only about adoption. That was even after Donnie’s emails disclosed that it was actually about getting dirt on Hillary Clinton.

The fact that these networks all passed on Spicer is a notable step in the right direction. But if “lack of credibility” is their standard then you have to wonder why they still employ people like Sean Hannity, Hugh Hewitt, Stephen Moore, etc. There are numerous pundits whose record for honesty, or at least accuracy, is suspect. Yet they continue to keep their jobs. What’s more, these networks also book guests whose comments are brazenly untruthful. They are nothing more than propagandists for the Trump White House. Chief among them is prevaricator extraordinaire, Kellyanne Conway. Reputable news organizations should never allow people on the air who repeatedly and shamelessly lie.

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

Spicer’s career is not totally kaput. There are opportunities for him in the conservative fringe media. He can go on the speakers circuit for some big bucks from corporations. And he has already tested the entertainment waters with his cameo on the Emmys. But if the networks maintain this newly adopted standard of credibility, there may be some hope for the future. Perhaps the media will begin to value truth and honesty over balance and false equivalencies. It’s too soon to draw that optimistic conclusion, but the snubbing of Sean Spicer is a good start.

Trump’s Insane Threat to ‘Totally Destroy North Korea’ Affirms His Mental Infirmity

The United Nations is holding its 72nd Session of the U.N. General Assembly. But it is also the first one that is being addressed by Donald Trump. If the diplomatic body was expecting to be surprised by Trump’s speech, they were not disappointed. Trump has been a frequent critic of the U.N., calling it ineffective and unfair to the United States. He has proposed withholding funding. But in today’s speech he crossed lines that call into question his psychological fitness.

Donald Trump

The bulk of the speech was standard Trumpian “America First” rhetoric with some disingenuous allusions to all nations working together. But the part that will surely get the most attention was his melodramatic threats to North Korea and Kim Jung Un. Trump said that:

“If it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and his regime.”

Let’s set aside the childish name-calling that is so familiar from our juvenile president. It’s the cartoonish hyperbole that makes these remarks so disturbing. Trump’s assertion that “we will have no choice” is a self-limiting falsehood. There are always choices for intelligent leaders. Sometimes it comes down to making the best of a bad lot. But Trump’s narrow vision that limits his choices to total destruction demonstrates how ill-prepared he is for this job.

It should be noted that the United States never made totally destroying Germany or Japan a goal of their war effort. In fact, following the war we led the effort to rebuild the nations of our former enemies. The objective in war is not total destruction, but victory. Trump’s rhetoric shows incredible insensitivity to the human life that he is proposing to snuff out. And that includes the lives of Americans and our allies. In that respect there is truth to the framing of this as a “suicide mission.”

For some perspective, last year President Obama spoke at the U.N. General Assembly. The subject of North Korea was on the table then as well. In an interview with CBS News Obama said something similar to what Trump said, but with with an important caveat:

“Our first priority is to protect the American people and our allies, the Republic of Korea, Japan, that are vulnerable to the provocative actions that North Korea is engaging in. […] But it’s not something that lends itself to an easy solution. We could, obviously, destroy North Korea with our arsenals. But aside from the humanitarian costs of that, they are right next door to our vital ally, Republic of Korea.”

Obama was not threatening North Korea, but simply noting that the U.S. has a powerful military advantage. More importantly, he qualified his remarks by recognizing the “humanitarian costs” of a nuclear conflict. That’s how a conscientious, diplomatic leader approaches a sensitive subject like this. And it illustrates the massive disconnect from reality that drives Trump’s thinking. He acts as if he’s a character in a superhero movie where everything revolves around static questions of black and white, good and evil, and nothing in between or subject to consequences.

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

Trump’s ultimatum does nothing to ease tensions or arrive at a solution. They only exacerbate the problem and threaten to inflame the twisted sensitivities of Kim, who is no better suited to leadership than Trump. The two of them could seriously jeopardize the future for millions of people and much of the world. And while there is little we can do about Kim, Americans should make every effort to divert Trump from his disastrous course, including removing him from office as soon as possible.

Fox News Wants You to Believe That Trump-Bashing Killed the Emmys – It Didn’t

The preliminary Nielsen ratings for the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards broadcast are in and they aren’t particularly good. The program drew about 11.2 million viewers, which is down slightly from last year’s show. But leave it to Fox News to turn this minor slippage into a political catastrophe caused by the relentless liberalism of Hollywood elites.

Emmys Stephen Colbert

An op-ed on the Fox News website trumpeted the ratings results with a speculative headline asking “Emmys ratings crater; Trump-bashing to blame?” The argument presented by Fox’s Brian Flood was that criticism of Donald Trump sunk the broadcast to new lows. He writes that:

“It looks like the 69th annual Emmy Awards are heading into sub-basement territory in terms of ratings after host Stephen Colbert spent much of Sunday’s event attacking President Trump. It turns out American viewers may not have been as into Trump bashing as Hollywood would like them to be.”

For the record, host Stephen Colbert didn’t spend much of the night attacking Trump. In all he spent less than three minutes out of a three hour program. But the real absurdity of this analysis is that it proposes something that’s impossible. Fox News thinks that viewers chose not to watch the program based on their clairvoyant observation of the Trump-bashing before it even began. Obviously, without such ESP skills they would not have known not to tune in.

In fact, the Emmy broadcast has been scoring lower numbers for several years. Trump wasn’t president when the ratings began a falling trend. The reasons knowledgeable people attribute to the decline are that television doesn’t have the popular appeal of the Oscars and the Grammys. What’s more, many of the winning programs are now airing on services like Netflix and Hulu that have fewer viewers than broadcast TV. Consequently, the stars are not as familiar or compelling. And airing against Sunday Night Football didn’t help either.

That didn’t stop Fox News from setting up their biased perspective and interviewing political partisans to support it. Flood first sought the opinion of Dan Gainor of the ultra-conservative Media Research Center. Predictably, Gainor slammed the event as “a Hollywood bubble show.” He further castigated television’s creative community as out-of-touch with America and unqualified to express an opinion. That’s a point of view that disappears from right-wingers when the TV personality is one of theirs. Case in point: Donald Trump (or Ronald Reagan, Ted Nugent, Clint Eastwood, Scott Baio, etc.).

The argument that Americans might have tuned out the Emmys because they objected to jokes about Trump also fails logically. Trump is currently sitting on record low ratings himself. And that’s from the American people, not a select groups of show business professionals. With his approval numbers wallowing in the mid-thirties, it’s unlikely that the program lost many viewers who were loyal to Trump. If anything, the fact that most Americans are repulsed and embarrassed by him might have drawn in a bigger audience. There is substantial appetite in the country for the Trump-bashing that Fox News is lamenting. An example of that is the fact that Colbert has become the top rated late night talk show host largely due to his nightly mockery of the President.

The program did feature some sharp jabs at Trump’s expense. Veep’s Julia Louis Dreyfus noted that her show had considered an impeachment plot line, but abandoned it because they were worried that “someone else” might beat them to it. Alec Baldwin, who’s portrayal of Trump on Saturday Night Live won him an Emmy, consoled Trump by giving him partial credit for an award he never won himself. But the most cutting comedy came from the reunited stars of 9-to-5 who said:

Jane Fonda: Back in 1980 in that movie, we refused to be controlled by a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot.
Lily Tomlin: And in 2017, we still refuse to be controlled by a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot.

Those are the sort of comments that Fox News and their conservative disciples regard as intolerable attacks against their White House Messiah. And for some reason they get away with calling liberals “snowflakes” for being too sensitive. Yet it doesn’t bother them when Trump himself posts tweets that show him assaulting Hillary Clinton. Apparently joking about physically attacking women is perfectly acceptable to these Deplorables. But Fox News finds it necessary to write op-eds that lie about the Emmys just because they can’t handle a few harmless jokes.

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

When Signing an Anti-Racism Resolution, Trump Confirms the Worst Allegations of His Bigotry

Last week members of both parties joined to pass an unprecedented congressional joint resolution. It called on the President to explicitly “speak out against hate groups that espouse racism, extremism, xenophobia, antisemitism and white supremacy.” The fact that there was even a need for this type of communication is evidence of a disturbing sickness that infects the nation. And that sickness has only gotten worse since the election of Donald Trump.

Donald Trump

The impetus for this resolution was the violence and murder that erupted during a march of white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia last month. Following the tragedy, Donald Trump actually took the side of the white supremacists. He ignored their antisemitic and racist chants to falsely spread the blame around and charge that there was fault on both sides. It was that botched, insensitive, and universally condemned, reaction that moved Congress to act.

The result was S.J. 49, an uncommonly direct and bipartisan expression of the sense of the Congress that sought to force the President to go on record. It explicitly condemned “the violence and domestic terrorist attack that took place during events between August 11 and August 12, 2017, in Charlottesville, Virginia.” It further directed the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security “to investigate thoroughly all acts of violence, intimidation, and domestic terrorism by White supremacists, White nationalists, neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, and associated groups in order to determine if any criminal laws have been violated and to prevent those groups from fomenting and facilitating additional violence.”

Who could argue with any of that? It was a plainly stated rejection of racism and the hate groups that espouse it. There wasn’t a hint of politics in it. Which is why it easily gained the support of both parties. The only people who could fail to put their full support behind this resolution would be the bigots who it was condemning. So of course, Donald Trump could not simply sign it and move on. That would offend too much of his base. So he attached a signing statement to it that diluted the impact of its message:

“As Americans, we condemn the recent violence in Charlottesville and oppose hatred, bigotry, and racism in all forms. No matter the color of our skin or our ethnic heritage, we all live under the same laws, we all salute the same great flag, and we are all made by the same almighty God.”

Notice that Trump failed to do what the resolution explicitly called for. Rather than citing the white supremacists, the KKK, etc., he reduced the criticism to a more vague censure of generalized prejudice “in all forms.” That was a deliberate gesture to take the heat off of his racist followers. And to insure that his point was crystal clear, he followed it up with another public statement placing the blame on both sides:

“You have some pretty bad dudes on the other side also. […] When you look at really what’s happened since Charlottesville, a lot of people are saying and people have actually written, ‘Gee, Trump may have a point.’ I said there’s some very bad people on the other side also.”

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Note that Trump is referring to the counter-protesters who oppose the white supremacists as “the other side.” Therefore, his side is the one aligned with the alt-right neo-Nazis. And this is how Trump responded to the congressional resolution seeking to put him on the record. Well, it certainly did just that.