Our ‘Stable Genius’ President Donald Trump Thinks DACA is a Country

Is there any limit to the embarrassment that Donald Trump can cause to our nation? Being recognized as the biggest liar that has ever occupied the White House isn’t enough. Being a serial sexual predator isn’t enough. Taunting hostile, nuclear armed foreign leaders isn’t enough. Sucking up to brutal dictators like Vladimir Putin isn’t enough. When will it end?

Donald Trump

Trump likes to claim that he is the bestest, smartest, most awesomest human being ever to walk this earth. But virtually everything he does or says contradicts that. His recent proclamation that he is “like, really smart” was laughable to anyone with a functioning cerebellum. And on Monday morning he proved that he is at least as dumb as we all fear.

In a brief encounter with the press (video below) Trump was asked whether the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program would be reinstated. Remember that the only reason it’s at risk is that he unilaterally terminated it by executive action. And now he is refusing to support a bipartisan congressional compromise. In his reply to the question he said:

“Honestly, I don’t think the Democrats want to make a deal. I think they talk about DACA, but they don’t want to help the DACA people. […] The folks from DACA should know the Democrats are the ones that aren’t going to make a deal.”

First of all, there are no “Daca” people or “folks from Daca.” Trump’s answer appears to suggest that thinks the people who need protection from deportation are foreigners from a place called Daca that they would be forced to return to. Probably, in Trump’s diseased brain, some “shithole country” in Central America or Africa. In reality, the “Dacanese” are undocumented immigrants who are eligible for residency and work permits under the DACA program. But even if you give Trump the benefit of a doubt (for the umpteenth time) for poorly expressing himself, he’s still an Olympic-grade moron for not being able to articulate a simple concept without utterly warping its meaning.

In the same video Trump was asked if he was a racist. He replied “I’m not a racist. I’m the least racist person you have ever interviewed.” But if you have to repeatedly defend yourself from charges of racism, you are undoubtedly a racist, plus an idiot and a liar who cannot avoid falling into the same – er – shithole.

Trump is also trying to evade responsibility for DACA not being resolved. He says that it’s the Democrats who don’t want to make a deal. Except that the Democrats already made a deal that Republicans in Congress signed on to, and it’s Trump who rejected it. And that’s after having said that he would sign whatever bill Congress agreed upon and sent to him, because he respects them. So Trump can’t be trusted to show respect, or keep promises, or renounce racism, or speak coherently, or be in any way smart or presidential. God help us all.

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

This Fox News Lie About a Uranium One Indictment is Outrageously Stupid, Even for Fox News

Never let it be said that Fox News wouldn’t hype a pile of steaming bullpucky whenever they had an opportunity to do so. The frailty of their so-called logic is often built on making absurd connections between disparate subjects just because they might share a single word, even if they have nothing else in common. And a perfect example of that was aired Sunday Morning on Fox (video below):

Fox News Lies

The headline blaring from Fox News was “1st Indictment in Uranium One Probe.” That would be a pretty significant development in the bogus scandal that Fox News and the Republican Party have been trying to push. Never mind the fact that it has already been fully investigated and no wrongdoing was found. Trump is improperly directing his Justice Department to investigate and prosecute Hillary Clinton for imaginary crimes.

The thirty second story on Fox News Sunday morning didn’t address any of the details of the indictment they were reporting. They only raised it long enough to imply that Clinton was somehow involved:

“The first indictment is out in the Justice Department probe of the Clinton State Department Uranium One Deal […] The deal was okayed by the Obama administration, including Hillary Clinton, giving a Russian company twenty percent of the U.S. uranium.”

Fox News correctly reported that there was an indictment served by the Department of Justice. But that was the only thing that was true in their report. Fox’s claim that this indictment was connected to a probe of Clinton was utterly false. For an honest account of the matter see the report by Reuters who wrote that:

“U.S. authorities have charged a Maryland businessman with bribing a Russian official in an effort to win contracts to ship uranium to the United States. […] Prosecutors allege Lambert, former co-president of a Maryland-based shipping company Transport Logistics International (TLI), bribed a Russian energy official through a series of shell companies in Cyprus, Latvia and Switzerland in exchange for contracts to ship nuclear fuel to U.S. utilities.”

The debunked conspiracy theory that Trump, Fox News, and other rightist propaganda merchants have tried to hang around Clinton’s neck has to do with the sale of Uranium One, a company in Wyoming that refined uranium for non-military use within the United States. The indictment in this new report was against a Maryland businessman for bribing Russian officials in order to secure a contract to transport uranium from Russia to the U.S. It has nothing to do with Uranium One or Hillary Clinton.

That, however didn’t stop Fox News from connecting the two, and even saying outright that the Maryland deal was approved by the Obama administration and Clinton. It wasn’t. It was strictly a case of a dishonest businessman allegedly trying to get an unfair, illegal advantage for himself. And while the lies Fox News told about Uranium One included the allegation that the deal would send U.S. uranium to Russia (it wouldn’t), this indictment involves a contract to ship Russian uranium into the U.S.

There is nothing remotely connecting these two news stories other than the fact that both involve uranium in some respect. But Fox News reported the Maryland bribery indictment as the “1st Indictment in Uranium One Probe,” which it isn’t related to in any way. It’s like connecting the Charles Manson murders to the Charles Lindbergh kidnapping because both involved someone named Charles. Or more to the point, it’s like connecting Fox to news because it has “news” in its name. Let’s face it, the only reason that Fox News promotes nonsense like this is to distract their dimwitted audience from the very real crimes of Donald Trump. But because they’re so inept, they only end up bringing more attention to their obvious deceptions and refocus the spotlight on the corruption of Trump and his conservative co-conspirators.

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

In a Fit of Petty Vengeance Following His Racist Vulgarity, Trump Declares DACA ‘Dead’

From the beginning of his presidential candidacy, Donald Trump has displayed a pattern of bigotry and hatred toward people of color. His campaign announcement speech famously smeared Mexicans as criminals and rapists. So the vulgar insult directed and Haiti and Africa as “shithole countries” should not come as much of a surprise to those who have been paying attention.

Donald Trump

Of particular interest to Trump has been the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that protected immigrants brought into the United States as children. Trump has occasionally expressed a rather disingenuous support for the program, despite his refusal to take any positive action to preserve it. In fact, last year he unilaterally repealed it by executive action. At the time he pretended to be concerned about the plight of the DACA recipients (Dreamers), but claimed that it would be up to Congress to resolve the matter. He tweeted that:

Four months later Trump found himself in a controversy over his blatantly racist remarks during a meeting with members of Congress. So naturally his reaction was to deflect from the reality of the situation and, blame others for the problem, and make the innocent suffer:

To put the onus on Congress for the problem he created is just plain ludicrous. And it’s made all the worse by the comments he made during the meeting wherein he explicitly deferred to the will of Congress to settle on a bipartisan solution (which they did, but he rejected):

“I think my positions are going to be what the people in this room come up with. I am very much reliant on the people in this room. I know most of the people on both sides. I have a lot of respect for the people on both sides. And my — what I approve is going to be very much reliant on what the people in this room come to me with. I have great confidence in the people. If they come to me with things that I’m not in love with, I’m going to do it because I respect them.”

So Trump was committing to accept whatever Congress agreed on. But when presented with that agreement he told them to go to hell. And then there was this exchange with Sen. Diane Feinstein:

Feinstein: What about a clean DACA bill now, with a commitment that we go into a comprehensive immigration reform procedure?
Trump: […] We’re going to do DACA, and then we can start immediately on the phase two, which would be comprehensive. I would like to do that. Go ahead. I think a lot of people would like to see that, but I think we have to do DACA first.

Trump was quickly interrupted by GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy who frantically sought to correct the President’s miscomprehension of the Republican position on this issue. But it was clear that Trump still didn’t understand where he went wrong after McCarthy’s correction.

It took two days before Trump was sufficiently schooled on his “mistake” to offer any further comments. And the direction he chose to go was to threaten the total demise of DACA and preposterously blame it on Democrats. Even worse, he implied an absurd connection to military funding as a related victim of the dispute. He’s trying to smear Democrats as anti-military even though it has nothing to do with DACA.

That’s just his knee-jerk reaction to any controversy. He thinks if he cites some other popular theme (military or law enforcement, the flag or national anthem, America first, MAGA) he can stir up support from his dimwitted base. And the sad thing about that is that he’s right. In the meantime, let’s not gloss over the fact that Trump has shut the door on DACA for his own partisan and racist reasons.

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

Trump’s Pitiful Ignorance of the Stock Market is Going to Bite Him Right in His ‘Sh*thole Country’

One of Donald Trump’s favorite pastimes is exalting himself and his deranged belief in his omnipotent awesomeness. He is constantly bragging that he is the best at whatever is occupying his cartoon brain at the moment, and he thinks he knows more about everything than anyone else. It’s symptomatic of his pathological conceit and malignant narcissism.

Donald Trump

Among the subjects that Trump regards as proof of his greatness is the state of the economy. But his tedious and misleading assertions about the soaring stock market only expose how little he understands it. In a tweet on Saturday morning Trump said that:

For the record, that tweet replaced one he posted earlier but deleted. It said that:

“Yesterday was another big day for jobs and the Stock Market. Chrysler coming back to U.S. (Michigan) from Mexico and many more companies paying out Tax Cut money to employees. If Dems won in November, Market would have TANKED! It was headed for disaster.”

While it’s true that the stock market has risen steadily during Trump’s short residency at the White House, the whole truth is that investors are currently enjoying the second longest bull market in history. And it started in 2009, at the beginning of President Obama’s first term. There is no indication that the market was “headed for disaster” as Obama’s presidency wound down. In fact, the market performed better during Obama’s last year than it has during Trump’s first. What’s more, the performance of the stock market, the economy, and employment, has to be credited to the Obama administration because all of those metrics were ascending throughout his term and were the result of his policies. There has not been a single Trump initiative implemented that would impact any of them

But Trump is going to regret his shameless boasting if he continues to insist that he is the primary driver of the market’s success. And it’ll be an epic backfire that puts real teeth into Trump’s backside. It’s always dangerous to rely on stock market performance to validate the economy. There are too many factors that can shift investor sentiment. It is a fluid indicator that could reverse course tomorrow. Indeed, many stock analysts regard the market’s current position as overvalued. These analysts are predicting a “correction” that could send the markets down significantly. Furthermore, the market does not reflect the economic realities of most Americans. Other economic indicators (i.e. wages) are showing only small advances. The beneficiaries of stock gains are predominantly the usual suspects of the GOP (Greedy One Percent).

The most profound insight into market activity I ever heard was that “the stock market always goes up – just not in a straight line.” The coming correction, and perhaps a bear market, is a certainty. When it occurs Trump will no longer be able to pretend that he is the Creator of all wealth. He will cease to have this data to point at and falsely take credit for. And when that happens he will be held to account by anyone who took his proclamations of economic genius seriously.

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

The one person who will not hold Trump accountable, though, is Trump. He will surely rush to blame whoever is convenient. The most likely target will be Obama, but with Trump it could also be Hillary Clinton, Kim Jong Un, the fake news, the “Deep State,” or the aliens of Area 51. So smart investors should be prepared for both a market downturn and a ludicrous justification for it by a certifiably insane president who has never been fit for service.

Obama Tells Letterman that ‘If You Watch Fox News You Are Living on a Different Planet’

David Letterman is about to launch his new interview program “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction” on Netflix. It’s a much anticipated return for an American icon who has been greatly missed. The same thing could be said about his first guest, President Barack Obama.

Barack Obama David Letterman

A few excerpts from the interview are beginning to make the rounds on TV. Some are charming insights into his personal and family life. But one is a particularly timely commentary on the divisiveness within, and caused by, the media. Obama told Letterman that:

“One of the biggest challenges we have to our democracy is the degree to which we don’t share a common baseline of facts. What the Russians exploited, but it was already here, is we are operating in completely different information universes. If you watch Fox News, you are living on a different planet than you are if you listen to NPR. […] At a certain point you just live in a bubble and I think that’s why our politics are so polarized right now.”

Ya think? The current controversy surrounding Donald Trump’s vile and racist remarks about “sh*thole countries” like Haiti and those in Africa perfectly illustrates the information gap that divides Fox News from the rest of the world. While almost every other media outlet has properly reported Trump’s bigotry, and the well-deserved outrage it incited, Fox News had a completely different take on the matter. Here are a few of the defenses and justifications that are typical of the Trump-fluffing network:

  • Tucker Carlson: “President Trump said something that almost every single person in America actually agrees with.”
  • Rachel Campos-Duffy: “This is a 70-year-old man. He speaks in a certain way. It’s very impolitic. It’s very un-PC. And who among us hasn’t said something like that?”
  • Steve Doocy: “Somebody leaked it to the press, obviously to damage the president and ultimately to derail what they wanted to talk about, which was immigration.”
  • Jesse Watters: “This is how the forgotten men and women in America talk at the bar. This is how Trump relates to people.”
  • Steve Cortes: “He spoke in a way which any American would, who speaks plainly, who doesn’t speak in a lawyerly or political manner about these countries. That’s not racist. That’s being sensible.”

Not only are these Fox News cretins dismissing the rampant racism in Trump’s blackened heart, they are accusing every American of having exactly the same feelings. They think it’s perfectly alright to denigrate entire continents because, in their warped view, it’s what all Americans believe.

Thank goodness that isn’t true. But even to the extent that Trump’s base does harbor these repugnant thoughts (and, sadly, they do), that’s still not an excuse. The notion that it’s an asset for an American president to talk like the souse at the end of the bar is terribly misguided. Hopefully our national leaders are far better educated and prepared for the duties of governing and diplomacy than the slack-jawed yokels Fox News aims their programming at. The old polling inquiry about which candidate a voter would rather have a beer with was always an absurd measure of qualifications.

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

Donald Trump exemplifies the worst of the perverse concept that presidents should be “just like me.” They shouldn’t. They should be way better than me. But the alternate universe that Obama is describing exists on Fox News where they take this idea to its most reprehensible extremes. Fox’s audience will lick it up, thinking that they would be just as good at being president as anyone else. And the more Trump acts like a hate-filled moron who says whatever idiotic mental glitch pops into his diseased brain, the more the Fox cultists will feel enabled and empowered. And the more imperative it is to fight back against this looming devolution of society.

BUSTED: Fox News Caught Trying to Cover Up Another Sexual Harassment Scandal

The epidemic of revelations regarding men in powerful positions exploiting women for sex continues unabated. Two years ago no one would have imagined that so many high-powered public figures would be unemployed today due to such grossly improper conduct. And while Donald Trump actually admitted to criminal sexual abuse, the repercussions for such misbehavior were generally mild, if any.

Fox News Rupert Murdoch

As the volume and frequency of these scandals escalated, Fox News stood out as a den of iniquity. The network’s CEO, Roger Ailes, was fired for multiple incidents of sexual harassment. Then their biggest star, Bill O’Reilly, was tossed out after the discovery of tens millions of dollars paid to secure the silence of his victims. Fox also jettisoned its president, Bill Shine; host Eric Bolling; Fox Sports President, Jamie Horowitz; and VP of Fox News Latino, Francisco Cortes, all for similarly abhorrent misconduct. Although there were numerous men ousted from prominent positions in a variety of industries, it seemed like Fox News was running an enterprise rife with sexual depravity and predation.

So it was a little peculiar last month when Fox announced that its chief Washington correspondent, James Rosen, was leaving the company after eighteen years. There was no reason given and no further comment. There were no testimonials or teary goodbyes on the air. He was just there one day and gone the next. And it wasn’t until this week that David Folkenflik of NPR discovered what had actually happened:

“According to Rosen’s former colleagues, however, he had an established pattern of flirting aggressively with many peers and had made sexual advances toward three female Fox News journalists, including two reporters and a producer. And his departure followed increased scrutiny of his behavior at the network, according to colleagues.”

Folkenflik’s article goes into detail about Rosen’s deplorable activities. He also noted that Rosen’s affairs were exposed at a time when the network’s owner and CEO, Rupert Murdoch, was trying to play down the scummy state of Fox News. Murdoch told an interviewer at Sky News (which he also has part ownership of), that Ailes was the only problem at Fox, despite the fact that all the people and problems listed above were already known. Following Murdoch’s comments, the women of Fox News let it be known that they weren’t having it.

It appears that Fox News was deliberately attempting to suppress the Rosen story to avoid further embarrassment. And they nearly got away with it. But it makes one wonder how many other sleazebags were quietly shoved out, or how many may still be working for Fox. Sure, there are lots of vile men lurking around the offices of many companies. But is there any one company that has had as many as Fox News? It certainly speaks to the environment that Fox created for its staff and the corporate culture that seems to have tolerated the abuse and oppression of the women at Fox News.

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

LOL: Trump Celebrates Poll on the Economy that Shows Voters Give Obama Credit For It

Donald Trump may be the most poll-obsessed president in history. While it’s common for politicians to insist that they don’t care about polls, Trump’s behavior is more typical of a television performer who relies Nielsen ratings to affirm his popularity. Wonder why? He relentlessly posts survey results that he thinks portray him positively. Although, upon further scrutiny, that is often not the case.

Fox News

An example of this occurred during Trump’s Executive Time on Thursday morning. He tweeted the results of a Quinnipiac University poll that asked whether voters considered “the nation’s economy these days as excellent, good, not so good, or poor.” Sixty-six percent responded that the state of the economy was either excellent or good. But since Trump couldn’t be bothered to read any further than the headline, which he very likely picked up from Fox News (see the Fox and Friends graphic above), here are the results that put that number in context:

Forty-nine percent of voters said that former President Barack Obama is more responsible for the state of the economy, while only forty percent gave credit to Trump. Even twenty-four percent of Republicans chose Obama. When asked if Trump’s policies are helping or hurting the nation’s economy, fifty-nine percent of voters replied that they are hurting or made no difference. Seventy-three percent said that Trump’s policies hurt or made no difference to their personal financial situation.

Clearly Fox News was fulfilling its mission to fluff Trump’s ego by cherry-picking poll results that they knew would please the President. He has to be carefully tended to in order to avoid unnecessary fits of rage and depression. For his part, Trump ran with the sliver of data that he was fed by Fox News, tweeting it with pride, but without knowledge of how pitiful his standing really is with the American people. Some other results from the poll elaborate on just how poorly he is perceived:

  • 63-34 percent say that he is not honest.
  • 59-39 percent say that he does not have good leadership skills.
  • 59-38 percent say that he does not care about average Americans.
  • 65-32 percent say that he does not share their values.

Finally, survey respondents graded Trump’s first year in office with thirty-nine percent giving him an “F” and another seventeen percent give him a “D.” Those aren’t exactly the sort of grades you’d expect from a “stable genius.” So it isn’t surprising that both Fox News and Trump ignored most of this poll’s data. However, just by tweeting the one bit of news that he thought was positive, all he really did was send more people to the poll’s full results where they found out the whole truth. Nice work, Donnie.

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

Trump’s Fox News Fetish Could Be Making the Network a Security Risk Exploitable By Russia

The relationship between Donald Trump and Fox News has always been problematic. It represents the closest thing to state-run TV that the United States has ever had. The anchors and reporters on Fox serve as dutiful sycophants to the Trump administration, advancing his self-serving agenda and defending his every fault. While Trump repays Fox by promoting the network and its personalities with free advertisements on his Twitter feed and relentless attacks on their competition.

Fox News Commies

However, there may be more worrisome consequences from this political/media marriage of propagandistic convenience. Aki Peritz, a former CIA counterterrorism analyst, just wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post that raises some frightening possibilities that might result from the parasitic combination of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire and the dimwitted White House. The article, headlined “Foreign spies are watching — and probably targeting — Fox News Channel” delves into some reasonable speculation about how hostile foreign intelligence operations might benefit from monitoring – and possibly compromising – Fox News. What follows are some excerpts that provide a taste of how this problem could become a recipe for disaster:

“[I]f I were a spymaster in the employ of a hostile foreign service, I’d devote some significant effort to penetrating one specific private institution: Fox News Channel.”

“It’s no secret that Fox News — specifically, shows such as ‘Hannity,’ ‘Fox & Friends,’ ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’ and ‘Justice with Judge Jeanine’ — have outsize influence on the inner workings of how certain policies are carried out by the U.S. government.”

“[H]ostile foreign intelligence services are probably consuming as much Fox News as President Trump does.”

“Trump’s unfiltered Twitter feed provides world intelligence operatives with ‘a real-time glimpse of a major world leader’s preoccupations, personality quirks and habits of mind’ – traits to be exploited in further dealings on the global stage. And what better way to determine what the president thinks – for the price of basic cable — than to watch selected Fox News programming?”

“A truly aggressive intelligence effort would not just monitor what’s being said on the network. It would target the on-air talent, as well as the folks behind the scenes who make the network’s programming possible: producers, bookers, associate producers, production assistants and the like. This might range from opening friendly contacts with these employees to outright recruitment.”

“Compared to government workers, Fox employees would make easy targets. That’s because they aren’t public officials — they’re news and entertainment people. Also, it’s television — full of trade secrets, big personalities and titanic egos. Most wouldn’t expect to be compromised by a hostile intelligence power, especially on American soil. Few, if any, have the sort of counterintelligence training the U.S. government administers to people in sensitive positions, because Fox employees are not the usual targets for intelligence operations. But the president’s continuing, very specific interest in the channel heightens their risk of being approached by a hostile government.”

Peritz specifically mentions the risk posed by covert operations aimed at Fox News staff. For instance, Sean Hannity is known to speak frequently with Trump. So bugging Hannity’s phone or office “could provide real-time intelligence on the American president and his thoughts.” The same could be true for others at Fox News. Trump’s chumminess with people at Fox has resulted in several of them getting jobs in the administration, including K.T. McFarland, Ben Carson, Sebastian Gorka, and Heather Nauert. Two of Fox’s current prime time lineup, Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham, were reported to have been candidates for press secretary.

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

The WaPo article is careful not to present this theory as anything more than informed speculation. But given what is known about how Russia conducts its spy operations, it would be prudent for all Fox News employees to be wary, even suspicious, about contacts from friendly strangers. That is, if they aren’t actively seeking out Russians for collusion on behalf of Trump, who is already deeply compromised.

Trump’s Zeal to Reform ‘Sham’ Libel Laws Would Expose Him to 100’s of Defamation Lawsuits

Donald Trump opened a cabinet meeting Wednesday morning by welcoming the press to “the studio.” It may have been a sarcastic remark, but it reveals his tendency to view everything from the perspective of a former reality TV game show host which, of course, he is. The portion of the meeting that was allowed to be televised just went downhill from there.

Donald Trump

The cringeworthy public appearances by this president continue to mount, although he seems to be entirely oblivious to how embarrassing they are. Underscoring that, during this cabinet meeting Trump made a point of exalting his own performance during an addled immigration PR stunt on Tuesday. He said that reporters had sent him emails calling it “One of the greatest meetings they’ve ever witnessed.”

WTF? That’s just more proof that he’s totally nuts. The meeting was an unmitigated bore except for the part when he zoned out and accidentally endorsed a “clean” DACA bill. He had to be bailed out by GOP leader Kevin McCarthy, but he still didn’t appear to grasp what he said that was wrong. And I’d love to see those alleged emails. Given Trump’s reputation as a notoriously pathological liar, it’s fairly certain that no such emails exist.

Most of the televised meeting was consumed by Trump praising himself for things he never did. The only part of the meeting that covered anything substantive was when Trump made a plea to reform libel laws. He said that:

“We are going to take a strong look at our country’s libel laws so that when somebody says something that is false and defamatory about someone, that person will have meaningful recourse in our courts. If somebody says something that is totally false, and knowingly false, that the person that has been abused, defamed, libeled, will have meaningful recourse.

“Our current libel laws are a sham and a disgrace and do not represent American values or American fairness. So we’re gonna take a strong look at that. We want fairness. You can’t say things that are false, knowingly false, and be able to smile as money pours into your bank account.”

Let’s set aside for the moment that no one in America has made more knowingly false, defamatory comments than Donald Trump. And frequently they served to enrich him. But make no mistake, this is a blatant attempt to seek revenge against anyone who dares to be critical of Trump. He is striking back at Michael Wolff, the author of “Fire and Fury,” and the members of his staff who were quoted in the book. He is targeting those behind the Steele Dossier and the news organizations that published it. This is a position that threatens freedom of the press, which he has made a priority of his presidency.

What’s interesting about this, however, is that the proposed reforms he would consider would very likely backfire. No one has exposed himself to more potential libel allegations than Donald Trump. Every time he calls a reporter a liar, or asserts as fact that unnamed sources don’t exist, or alleges that a story was deliberately made up, Trump is slandering those reporters and harming their reputations and careers. Every time he lashes out with his juvenile nicknames at people he is claiming are “lyin,” “failing,” or “crooked,” he is asserting a falsehood that could trigger litigation under his reform.

And then there are the outright lies that Trump has told about his critics and political foes. Think of the lawsuit that might have been filed after Trump accused Ted Cruz’s father of being part of the conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy. Could President Obama have sued after being charged with wiretapping Trump? There have been literally hundreds of comments and tweets by Trump that were demonstrably false, but manifestly injured their targets. For instance, what about the sixteen women who have spoken out about Trump’s sexual abuse? He called every one of them liars. One of them (so far) has filed a defamation suit which Trump, ironically, is seeking to have dismissed. So much for opening up the libel laws.

It’s plain that Trump’s only purpose here is to silence his critics. There are plenty of safeguards in current law that protect people from deliberate slander and libel. Even if committed by the media. The truth of that is demonstrated by Trump’s own lawyer who just filed a defamation lawsuit against Buzzfeed for publishing the Steele Dossier. He’ll have his day in court (which he’ll likely end up regretting). But Trump isn’t interested in truth. He’s seeking the sort of tyrannical control of the press that all dictators lust after. But he is to stupid to recognize how destructive it would be to democracy. If the consequences weren’t so horrendous, it might actually be fun to let Trump have his way and then see how many people sue him.

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

Trump ‘Honored’ by Journalists’ Organization for ‘Undermining Global Press Freedom’

Many American presidents have had a contentious relationship with the press. At times it has become a bitter rivalry wherein the media was regarded as a troublesome annoyance that embraced deliberate biases. But most of the time there remained a deep-rooted respect for the freedom of the press and the crucial role it plays in a democracy.

Donald Trump Censorship

All of that changed when Donald Trump was inaugurated January 20, 2017. Trump has been more openly hostile to the media than any chief executive before him. His hatred is expressed bluntly with insults and accusations that exceed reasonable criticism. He calls out reporters by name as “sleazy,” liars,” and “horrible people.” On more than one occasion he has labeled the press as “the enemy of the American people.” That isn’t a critique, it’s a declaration of war.

Last week Trump announced that he would be hosting an event to commemorate “The Most Dishonest and Corrupt Media Awards of the Year.” It’s just the sort of shallow stunt to be expected from a former reality game show TV host. And Trump’s dimwitted predictability removes any sense of excitement the event might have had. Let’s face it, CNN, the New York Times, and the like will dominate his phony ceremony.

In anticipation of this dull affair, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has produced their own roster of honorees that they dubbed The Press Oppressors Awards:

“Amid the public discourse of fake news and President Trump’s announcement via Twitter about his planned “fake news” awards ceremony, CPJ is recognizing world leaders who have gone out of their way to attack the press and undermine the norms that support freedom of the media.”

The CPJ bestowed their awards on several world figures whose record of oppression and censorship was noteworthy for their severity and brutality. Not surprisingly, Trump was honored twice. The headline award that Trump snagged was for “Overall Achievement in Undermining Global Press Freedom.” The CPJ wrote that Trump:

“…has consistently undermined domestic news outlets and declined to publicly raise freedom of the press with repressive leaders such as Xi, Erdo?an, and Sisi. Authorities in China, Syria, and Russia have adopted Trump’s ‘fake news’ epithet, and Erdogan has applauded at least one of his verbal attacks on journalists. Under Trump’s administration, the Department of Justice has failed to commit to guidelines intended to protect journalists’ sources, and the State Department has proposed to cut funding for international organizations that help buttress international norms in support of free expression.”

Trump was also recognized as the runner up for “Most Thin-skinned.” Given his notorious narcissism and thirst for revenge, He must have been a fierce challenger for this award. The CPJ’s decision rested on Trump’s threat “to ‘open-up’ U.S. libel laws, sue news outlets, and subject their broadcast licenses to review.” And surely his posting of more than 1,000 tweets critical of the press contributed to his showing in this category.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
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The honorees for these awards are a sinister lot that includes. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, President Xi Jinping of China, and Trump’s BFF, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. That’s auspicious and foreboding company, but it accurately represents the tenor and the harm for which Trump’s presidency is responsible. And it’s a far more honest ceremonial observance than the one Trump is planning for next week (if he even bothers to follow through).