Fox News Shills Parrot Trump’s False and Peculiar ‘Praise’ of a New York Times Campaign ‘Spy’ Story

For most his presidency, Donald Trump has demonstrated a remarkable capacity for failing to understand the simplest matters that unfold in current events. Either that or he is deliberately distorting reality to conform to his preconceived delusions. This is evident in everything from his confused grasp of the economy, to his embarrassing belief that stealth fighters are actually invisible.

Fox News, Spying on Trump

On Friday morning Trump took another step into the cognitive void. He posted a tweet that offered backhanded praise to the New York Times for an article about the FBI’s investigation into his campaign’s contacts with Russia. But his comprehension of the Times article was indicative of a diseased mind:

It was thoughtful of Trump to suggest that the Times should get a Pulitzer Prize. Especially since they already got one this year for “an exhaustive 18-month investigation of President Donald Trump’s finances that debunked his claims of self-made wealth and revealed a business empire riddled with tax dodges.” But Trump’s tweet missed the whole point of the story. He also missed the headline, which his tweet falsely quoted as “Details effort to spy on Trump Campaign.” The actual headline was “F.B.I. Sent Investigator Posing as Assistant to Meet With Trump Aide in 2016.”

Notice that what Trump called a “spy,” the Times referred to as an “investigator.” And that’s precisely how Fox News helpfully sought to elaborate on Trump’s glitchy characterization. The “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends did a segment on the story by the Times that led with a gleeful Steve Doocy completely misrepresenting it (video below):

“So it’s a big story in the New York Times. Remember a couple of years ago when Donald Trump said the government was spying on him? Turns out the New York Times, in this morning’s edition, right here on the front, we’re gonna show you the headline, ‘FBI Sent Investigator Posing as Assistant to Meet with Trump Aide in 2016.'”

First of all, can anyone explain why Fox put that MAGA sign in the graphic, other than as a free advertisement? More to the point, Doocy went on to describe the story as involving Trump’s foreign policy advisor, George Papadopoulos, who the FBI was indeed investigating to ascertain his links to Russia. Doocy even acknowledge that, although he repeated Trump’s rhetoric about spying, which is not what happened. But co-host Brian Kilmeade agreed and then went full conspiracy crackpot by accusing the FBI of “covering their tracks” due some to imaginary exposé that Kilmeade wouldn’t reveal.

In reality, this was part of an investigation that had already begun. It was initiated after an Australian diplomat told the FBI about a meeting he had with Papadopoulos in a London bar. Papadopoulos revealed that he had access to damaging information about Hillary Clinton obtained by Russian hackers. That meeting took place in May of 2016. The meeting referenced in the New York Times story took place in September of 2016, several months later. So, since the investigation was already in progress, what exactly were Trump and Fox News so excited about? The Times story merely affirms prior reporting that Trump’s campaign had unsavory associations with Russia that were worthy of scrutiny.

Trump has been whining incessantly about what he calls a “Witch Hunt” and a “hoax” for much of the past two years. But his contention that he was the subject of spying is ludicrous. When law enforcement assigns officers to engage in surveillance it is routine and legal investigative work, not spying. And in Trump’s case, it was all conducted with strict oversight and lawful warrants issued by independent judges. Nevertheless, Trump managed to twist the Times’ story into something it wasn’t, and then declared some sort of deranged victory.

This is just another sorry attempt by Trump – with Fox’s help – to malign the FBI and American intelligence agencies. That’s something that he has been working hard at because he knows what he is guilty of and, therefore, needs to discredit the police agencies who are protecting the nation from criminals. Criminals like Donald Trump, who also tweeted that he spoke with Vladimir Putin Friday morning. His tweet indicated that they spoke about the “Russian Hoax.”

So now Trump is talking to our enemies about his attacks on American law enforcement? Is he still colluding with Putin to coordinate their stories that there was “no collusion, no obstruction”? Doesn’t he realize that Putin is a subject of the investigation by the FBI, and it’s entirely inappropriate for him to discuss the case with Putin? And given all of that, do we really need any more reasons to impeach Trump?

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

Fox News is Referenced in the Mueller Report Four Times, and Each Makes Trump Look Worse

With the release of the redacted version of the Mueller report by Donald Trump’s plant in the Justice Department, Attorney General William Barr, there is going to be a flurry of furious spinning by Trump’s devoted martinets in the right-wing press. Trump himself will continue his frantic robo-rant of “no collusion, no obstruction,” as he has been doing for months.

Fox News, Robert Mueller

Naturally, Fox News will assume its predictable role as the main line of defense for Trump. They will focus exclusively on any positive angles among the vague interpretations of Mueller’s report offered by Barr or other Republican partisans. And they will brazenly ignore anything in the report that is remotely detrimental to Trump, of which there is a significant amount. Even Chris Wallace of Fox News noted that “There is a lot of stuff in here that is damaging to the president, politically embarrassing to the president.”

However, Fox News itself had a place in the Mueller report with four references to Trump’s State TV affiliate. The following passages from the report illustrate just how deeply integrated Fox is with Trump and his associates. For instance:

Page 70:

“That night, the White House Press Office called the Department of Justice and said the White House wanted to put out a statement saying that it was Rosenstein’s idea to fire Comey. Rosenstein told other DOJ officials that he would not participate in putting out a ‘false story.’ The President then called Rosenstein directly and said he was watching Fox News, that the coverage had been great, and that he wanted Rosenstein to do a press conference. Rosenstein responded that this was not a good idea because if the press asked him, he would tell the truth that Comey’s firing was not his idea.”

What we have here is Trump keeping tabs on the investigation by watching Fox News, and then trying to get Deputy AG Rosenstein to lie for him about FBI Director James Comey’s firing. That’s obstruction of justice right there. The fact that Rosenstein refused doesn’t make Trump’s attempt any less illegal. And then there’s this:

Page 99:

“[Reince] Priebus recalled learning about the June 9 meeting from Fox News host Sean Hannity in late June 2017. Priebus notified one of the President’s personal attorneys, who told Priebus he was already working on it. By late June, several advisors recalled receiving media inquiries that could relate to the June 9 meeting.”

It’s rather remarkable that Priebus, Trump’s chief of staff, found out about the infamous Trump Tower meeting (with Don Jr, Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, and some Russian operatives) only by watching Fox News. That’s how out-of-the-loop Trump’s closest White House aide was, but also how integral Fox News is to Trump’s affairs. And that’s not all:

Page 126:

“In a Fox News interview on August 22, 2018, the President said: ‘[Cohen] makes a better deal when he uses me, like everybody else. And one of the reasons l respect Paul Manafort so much is he went through that trial-you know they make up stories. People make up stories. This whole thing about flipping, they call it, I know all about flipping. The President said that flipping was ‘not fair’ and ‘almost ought to be outlawed.'”

In this “interview” with the unabashedly pro-Trump “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends, Trump is laying the groundwork for threats directed at his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, while simultaneously praising his more loyal campaign chairman, Manafort. This is a fairly clumsy attempt at witness tampering. Which he did some more of here:

Page 151:

“In January 2019, after the media reported that Cohen would provide public testimony in a congressional hearing, the President made additional public comments suggesting that Cohen’s family members had committed crimes. In an interview on Fox on January 12, 2019, the President was asked whether he was worried about Cohen’s testimony and responded:

‘[I]n order to get his sentence reduced, [Cohen] says “I have an idea, I’ll ah, tell-I’ll give you some information on the president.” Well, there is no information. But he should give information maybe on his father-in-law because that’s the one that people want to look at because where does that money-that’s the money in the family.'”

Trump made these accusations during an interview with his adoring acolyte, Fox News host Jeanine Pirro. They were directed against Cohen’s family as a flagrant attempt to scare him into keeping his mouth shut.

It’s hard to see why Mueller didn’t think he had sufficient evidence to indict Trump, or at least to recommend that Congress take up an inquiry that could lead to impeachment. And as guilty as Trump now appears to be, it’s plain that Fox News was a willing accomplice every step of the way. It is not insignificant that Fox was referenced four times in the report. They were further included in twenty-seven footnotes. No other national news network was referenced in the body of the report even once. What does that tell you?

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

AG Barr’s Bastardization of the Mueller Report Cements His Reputation as a Trump-Fluffing Shill

On Thursday morning Donald Trump got just what he wanted when he planted William Barr as his obedient lackey in the Justice Department. Barr held what he called a “press conference,” but was more of public sanitation of Trump’s clear and obvious criminal behavior, much of which was done in full view of the public. This will go down in history alongside the legal mendacity Nixon’s accomplices in Watergate.

Robert Mueller Trump

Much of What Barr said in his remarks was the best evidence that he was being flagrantly servile to Trump. He began by describing the Mueller report as concerning “matters related to Russian attempts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.” And then he nearly ignored that entirely for the remainder of his remarks. Barr never explicitly mentioned incriminating activities like the meeting between Don Trump Jr and Paul Manafort with Russians in Trump Tower. Nevertheless, he did conclude that “no evidence that any Americans – including anyone associated with the Trump campaign – conspired or coordinated with the Russian government.” How does he square those two facts? Barr doesn’t say.

Barr did bring up the fact that Russians were found to have hacked into the emails of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party. But he let’s Trump off the hook by saying that the Mueller report “did not find any evidence that members of the Trump campaign or anyone associated with the campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its hacking operations.” That, of course, was never alleged by anyone. What Trump and company did was to aid and abet the Russians in disseminating the product of that illegal hacking. All the while denying that it ever occured.

Barr noted that “Wikileaks then made a series of document dumps,” but he absolved Trump of any wrongdoing by stating that “Russian operatives who perpetrated these schemes did not have the cooperation of President Trump or the Trump campaign.” The public evidence to the contrary is undeniable. Trump promoted WikiLeaks’ stolen data over 140 times and said explicitly that “I love WikiLeaks.” Then he later denied this reality by saying that he “knows nothing about WikiLeaks.” Again, that contradiction is another example of his consciousness of guilt.

Barr did address the fact that “the Special Counsel investigated a number of ‘links’ or ‘contacts’ between Trump Campaign officials and individuals connected with the Russian government during the 2016 presidential campaign.” But he’s trivializing what were actually hundreds of contacts by dozens of Trump associates. And he cavalierly dismissed those contacts saying that he “did not find any conspiracy to violate U.S. law.” Well, then what else would he call it?

Barr’s “bottom line” was that the report concluded that “the Russian government sponsored efforts to illegally interfere with the 2016 presidential election but did not find that the Trump campaign or other Americans colluded in those schemes.” But what he isn’t denying is that Trump and his campaign abetted those schemes by promoting their narratives while pretending they didn’t exist.

Additionally, Barr cleared Trump of obstruction of justice by asserting that there was “not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.” That’s Barr’s conclusion, not Mueller’s. And it ignores all of the evidence to the contrary, including Trump’s innumerable lies to cover up his activities and even his television confession that he fired FBI director James Comey because of “the Russia thing.”

Proof of Barr’s bias was evident in his comments that Trump “was frustrated and angered by a sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency.” How does Barr know that Trump was frustrated and angry? He never testified. And as for his having “a sincere belief” that he was the subject of “presidential harassment” (as Trump calls it), that’s a brazenly subjective view that reveals prejudice on Barr’s part.

What’s more, Barr claimed that “the White House fully cooperated with the Special Counsel’s investigation [and therefore had no] corrupt intent to obstruct the investigation.” It’s absurd to say that someone who refused to be interviewed had fully cooperated. And Trump’s corrupt intent was evident nearly everyday in his tweets that maligned Mueller and his team as virtual traitors who were acting with purposeful deceit to stage a coup against Trump. Additionally, it’s impossible to ignore Trump’s witness tampering with both threats and the dangling of possible pardons.

This release of the redacted Mueller report, and Barr’s obsequious presentation of his deceitful version of facts, produces more questions than it answers. And the fact that Trump required this improper defense by the Attorney General just makes him look more guilty. There are still some sixteen other investigations of Trump in progress that encompass potential crimes related to his campaign, his inauguration, his businesses, his sexual affairs and assaults, and his presidency. So if Trump thinks this is “Game Over” as he tweeted following Barr’s press conference, he is not only wrong, he’s downright delusional.

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

Trump Whines that Congress Has NO RIGHT to See Mueller Report that He Said Exonerates Him

The smouldering fear that Donald Trump has been emanting for the past several months is escalating to a five-alarm fire. He is becoming ever more frantic about the legal jeopardy he faces if the report by special counsel Robert Mueller actually sees the light of day. Consequently, he is lashing out with renewed ferocity at Mueller, Congress, and the American people who overwhelmingly (87%) want the report released.

Donald Trump, Robert Mueller

In an unusually light fit of Saturday morning rage-tweeting (he’s golfing), Trump reiterated his adoration for Kim Jong Un, whose leadership Trump praised for its potential to make North Korea “one of the most successful nations of the World!” It’s interesting that he has such confidence in this murderous, communist dictator, while he’s maligning American Democrats as “treasonous” and “socialists” who will destroy the nation.

Trump also retweeted his disgusting video associating Rep. Ilhan Omar with the terrorists of 9/11, despite the fact that he had already pinned to the top of his Twitter page. Apparently he wasn’t satisfied that enough of his Deplorables would see it and be incited to make more racist attacks and death threats.

In addition to those Twidiocies, Trump returned to his obsession over the investigation into his nefarious associations with Russia and obstruction of justice. It’s clear by the content and tone of his ranting that he is riddled with fear. And that all-consuming dread has driven him to a new level of panic and outrage:

There’s a lot of psychoses to unpack in that short spasm of bullpucky. First of all, there are no “Radical Left Democrats” in Congress. Secondly, the Democrats who are there were elected in a Blue Wave by citizens who specifically sent them to Washington to hold Trump accountable. Third, the cost of the investigation was more than paid for by the asset forfeitures assessed against Paul Manafort, Trump’s convicted campaign chairman. Fourth, there is zero evidence of any wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton, the DNC, or the FBI, who Trump is once again insulting as criminals. And fifth, Trump is signaling that he has ordered his stooge in the Justice Department, Attorney General William Barr, to launch an illegal persecution of his political foes.

But that’s not all. The language in Trump’s tweet was deliberate and highly disturbing. He is now saying that Congress has no right to examine the Mueller report. In his previous statements on this subject he has said that he had no problem with the report being released. He even said that Mueller had acted “honorably.” And why not? He insists that the report “totally exonerates” him. Of course, Trump is nothing if not contradictory. He has also bitterly condemned the report that he hasn’t even read.

Something must have changed that made Trump go from “Let it come out, let people see it,” to it was “a hoax from day one” by “13 angry, Trump hating Dems” and “a total waste of time.” And whatever changed more recently must have been even more troubling, because this is the first time that Trump has asserted that the Congress – and by extension the American people – have no right to see the report.

Trump continues to maintain that hasn’t read the Mueller report. That’s believable because there’s credible doubt that he can read. At least he’s known to be averse to it and has his aides summarize most documents for him with short paragraphs and lots of pictures. But he has never said that he hasn’t received a briefing on the contents of the Mueller report. So he may know what’s in it, and that may be what’s driving his fear. Because his public comments, and these panicky tweets that seek to deny the rights of the people, indicate that he’s desperately worried about something. And from all of the evidence that’s already public, he should be.

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

Self-Abuse? Trump Promised to Release His Taxes, Now Calls Requests ‘An Abuse of Power’

The still simmering controversy over whether or not Donald Trump should release his tax returns is emblematic of the march toward Idiocracy by the Trump administration, his cult following, and his State TV affiliate, Fox News. The arguments made by the tax suppressors are an affront to logic and democracy. In other words, quintessentially Trumpian.

Donald Trump

The first and foremost point to be made is that Trump himself promised to release his tax returns prior to the election saying that “I’ll produce my tax returns, absolutely. And I would love to do that.” He never delivered on that promise of transparency that every presidential candidate for the past forty years has complied with.

Trump’s original breach of his pledge was an invented excuse that he couldn’t release his taxes because he was being audited. Let’s set aside the fact that there is no evidence of any such audit taking place. More to the point, the IRS does not prohibit – or even care – if a taxpayer chooses to release their own tax returns during an audit. And it wouldn’t affect the audit in any way. After all, the IRS already has that data, so there wouldn’t be any surprise disclosure. How could a public release change anything?

Now Trump is whining about efforts by Democrats in Congress to acquire his tax returns as part of their constitutional oversight responsibilities. And his complaint is typically broiled in hyperbole. He is accusing Democrats of “a gross abuse of power.” In fact, they are performing their duties in conjunction with all applicable laws. And there is a glaring need to probe Trump’s finances given all of the evidence of corruption in his businesses and political activities.

What’s more, Trump is exacerbating the suspicions that surround him by being so evasive and adamant that his taxes remain secret. There is a distinct odor of criminality and consciousness of guilt. What is he struggling so hard to conceal? His “acting” chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, was on Fox News Sunday morning and participated in this exchange with anchor Bill Hemmer:

Hemmer: To be clear, you believe Democrats will never see the President’s tax returns?
Mulvaney: Oh no, never. Nor should they. Keep in mind that that’s an issue that was already litigated during the election. Voters knew the President could’ve given his tax returns, they knew that he didn’t, and they elected him anyway.

To be clear, Trump told voters that he would “absolutely” release his taxes, he lied, and a minority of voters elected him anyway via the fatally flawed Electoral College. And it’s the American people, not just the Democrats in Congress, that Trump is most worried about, prompting his obsession with preventing them from seeing the shady dealings in his tax returns.

Trump frequently takes both sides of any issue he addresses. That’s mostly because he doesn’t understand anything and forgets what lies he told previously, or finds a new lie more advantageous at the moment. For instance, his initial assertion that he welcomed the release of the full report by special counsel Robert Mueller, and later dismissing it as an illegal hoax. But for him to call requests for his taxes a “gross abuse of power,” after vowing to release them himself, suggests that he was engaging in a perverse act of self-abuse when he made his initial promise. Democrats now are only asking that he keep his word. Which, based on his prior record, may be way too much to hope for.

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

Hair Trump Threatens to Use His ‘Tough People’ – the Police, Military, Bikers – Against Democrats

For most his presidency, Donald Trump has demonstrated a perverse infatuation with the tyrannical despots who represent some of America’s most virulent enemies. From Vladimir Putin to Xi Jinping to Kim Jong Un to Muhammad Salman, Trump has shown an adoring preference for their brand of autocracy, and a deference to their flagrant lies over the facts provided by his own intelligence agencies.

Donald Trump

The compulsion by Trump to emulate these dictators has not been incidental. He has explicitly expressed his aspiration to command the same blind loyalty that these authoritarians insist upon. He pined over Xi.” becoming president for life. He yearned to be “worshipped” like Kim. He has spoken openly about “revolution” if he is impeached.

Now Trump has elaborated on these anti-democratic, un-American tendencies in an interview with the ultra-rightist Breitbart website. Rather than show respect for the diversity of opinion in American politics, Trump has articulated an approach to his critics that is overtly hostile and illegal. He told Breitbart that:

“I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump – I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough — until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad.”

That is an unambiguous threat of the sort that mobsters (with whom Trump is well familiar) would make against their foes. But it’s even worse than that.Trump is asserting that he personally has control of the police and the military and that they will obey his singular will. That’s the talk of a crazed, third world strongman, not a democratic president. Who is he proposing to attack with this fantasy force he’s pretending to command? Nancy Pelosi? Gavin Newsom? Robert Mueller?

And for some extra added totalitarian flavor, Trump insults the very troops that he thinks are his allies. He associates the police and the military with outlaw biker gangs who have no law enforcement authority, but whom Trump regards as part of his loony defense force.

These are the martinets of the Trump regime who he expects will bear arms against their fellow citizens. It’s all part of his campaign to divide America into hostile factions. And anyone not on his side will be maligned in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people,” just has he as already been doing for years to our nation’s free press. He will be the one source of truth and the one commander of his twisted anti-patriots. He really seems to be preparing for a Jonestown-like event wherein he orders his cult followers to make the final sacrifice.

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

Why Won’t Fox News Fire Tucker Carlson? Their Deplorable Viewers Will Watch Whoever Replaces Him

Following a week where Jane Mayer’s exhaustive New Yorker essay exposing how Fox News has transformed from a Republican mouthpiece into the propaganda arm of Donald Trump’s White House, the network is undergoing additional hardship due to its own embrace of doctrinaire hate speech.

Fox News, Tucker Carlson, Donald Trump

The primetime White Nationalist Hour of Tucker Carlson has long been a haven for bigotry dispensed by the most smugly arrogant blowhard on television. Carlson has the distinction of having been fired from three TV networks (PBS, CNN, and MSNBC). However, when he landed at Fox News (despite his previous bad blood with the network), he had truly found his TV soul mate, where he could blather incessantly about “dirty” immigrants and loving all Americans, even the Klan members.

Now Media Matters has unearthed some recordings of Carlson when he was a guest on a rather profane radio show hosted by Bubba, the Love Sponge. His rantings were among the most repulsively misogynistic tirades ever made in a public forum by a well known pundit. In the video compilation Carlson can heard blatantly defending a convicted sexual abuser and justifying child rape:

Subsequently, there has been an outcry for advertisers to boycott Fox News (which many are already doing), and for Fox to fire Tucker Carlson. For the moment, that doesn’t appear to a likely consequence of Carlson’s disgusting behavior. His response to the controversy was a brazenly unapologetic tweet that dismissed any acknowledgement of his grotesque commentaries:

“Media Matters caught me saying something naughty on a radio show more than a decade ago. Rather than express the usual ritual contrition, how about this: I’m on television every weeknight live for an hour. If you want to know what I think, you can watch. Anyone who disagrees with my views is welcome to come on and explain why.”

First of all, what Carlson said wasn’t “naughty.” It was obscene, hostile, and utterly contemptible. It was degrading and dangerous. There is no excuse for the nauseating views he disgorged over and over again. Secondly, his attempt to dismiss it as having occurred a decade ago are laughably hypocritical. He surely doesn’t have the same forgiveness for the North Carolina governor’s blackface photos in a thirty year old college yearbook. Or for the decades old philandering of Bill Clinton. Or for the forty year old remarks by Joe Biden that Carlson featured on last Friday’s show.

Finally, his suggestion that the solution to this problem is for his critics to come on his show and help boost his floundering ratings is grossly self-serving. Plus, it’s a lie that he’ll let “anyone” come on his show to confront him. His modus operandi is to entrap his guests with contrived questions of the “Have you stopped beating your wife” variety. And if they manage to get the upper hand, he interrupts them and cuts them off.

So Fox News is once again being faced with a public backlash caused by one of their noxious hosts. They are simultaneously dealing with comments by Jeanine Pirro, who delivered one of her patented teeth-gnashing, spittle-inflected assaults on Rep. Ilhan Omar that asserted she was anti-America and anti-Constitution because she’s a practicing Muslim. Fox News actually released a statement “strongly condemning” Pirro, but will likely do nothing else.

What’s funny is that they could easily fire Carlson and suffer little or no repercussions outside of the PR hit. The core Fox News audience has demonstrated through the years that they will watch whatever is on Fox, no matter what or who it is. It appears that one obnoxious, lying hate monger is the same as another. So Fox could jettison Carlson and replace him with Jason Chaffetz or Brian Kilmeade and no one would flinch. So why won’t Fox fire Tucker Carlson?

First and foremost, Fox News agrees with Carlson. The network’s mission has always been in alignment with just the sort of repellant verbal abuse that Carlson unleashed in the video above. What’s more, Rupert Murdoch has been a notoriously stubborn purveyor of right-wing media. He will hang on to failing properties for years with the expectation that sheer persistence will bring success. And he has a physical aversion to conceding that he’s ever wrong about anything.

That blind faith in always being right is something Murdoch shares with Donald Trump. And something else they share is the belief that – as Trump put it – he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose any of his supporters. That appears to be the working thesis at Fox News where the carnage produced by Carlson, Pirro, and others won’t have any cost in ratings. So even though it would be easier to let Carlson go and plug in another wingnut bot, Fox will cling to his revolting personage and try to weather the storm.

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

Unfortunately for Fox News, that old method of doing business may not hold up in the future. The network has been bleeding audience, advertisers, and revenue for several months. Rachel Maddow is kicking Sean Hannity’s fat arse. And the more that Fox clutches tightly to Trump, the worse their prospects have been. So time will tell if enabling jerkwads like Carlson will pay off in the long run.

Trump’s Lies are Crushed By Senate Intel Vice-Chair: ‘There’s Plenty of Evidence’ of Collusion

Donald Trump has been stuck in a frantic and tedious loop of whiny denials for the past couple years. It consists primarily of him impotently proclaiming his innocence with regard to his nefarious associations with Russian operatives in an effort to steal the 2016 presidential election. For the most part his factless proclamations have only served to make him look more guilty.

Mark Warner, CNN

Among his most persistent citations of innocence has been a repeated reference to remarks by the Republican chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Richard Burr. Last September Burr told reporters that he had not seen any direct evidence of collusion or conspiracy with Russia on the part of the President. Note that he did not say it didn’t happen, only that his committee had “no hard evidence” of it. But that was enough to trigger Trump into making multiple identical tweets on the subject. It began on Sep 12, 2018, and continued on Feb 7, 2019, and Feb 8, 2019 and Feb 9, 2019 and Feb 10, 2019 and Feb 22, 2019 and Feb 25, 2019.

Some of these tweets were Trump unleashing his standard “Witch Hunt” rants, and others were retweets from the likes of Sean Hannity. But they all said exactly the same thing incorrectly quoting Sen. Burr: “No Collusion!”

Well, on Sunday morning Trump’s favorite proof that he was a squeaky clean paragon of virtue fell apart. Sen. Mark Warner, the Vice-Chair of the Intelligence Committee appeared on CNN’s State of the Union and explicitly contradicted Trump’s distorted version of events (video below). His remarks could not have been more clear:

“Anyone who says there’s no evidence of collaboration – there’s plenty of evidence. […] The notion that there’s no evidence is just factually wrong. Just in the public domain there are literally reams and reams of evidence of Russian outreach to Trump officials and clear interest from Trump officials, including the President’s own son, welcoming the opportunity to get dirt on Hillary Clinton.”

Warner outlined a small portion of the evidence that was just revealed during the recent House Oversight Committee’s hearing with Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen. He cited three pieces of evidence from Cohen’s testimony:

“One, the fact that Donald Trump and Michael Cohen mislead the American public for months about the whole notion of trying to continue to get a Trump Tower project going in Moscow. […]

“The second is the evidence that Mr. Cohen put out that he was in the presence of Donald Trump when Roger Stone called indicating that he had just gotten off the phone with Julian Assange from Wikileaks, indicating that Wikileaks was about to drop a bunch of very damaging information about Hillary Clinton. […]

“And finally we have this whole question wherein Mr. Trump knew about the meeting in Trump Tower that included Don Jr, Jared Kushner, the campaign manager, Paul Manafort. Clearly a meeting that was not about Russian adoption, but was about the idea of turning over dirt on Hillary Clinton.”

For good measure, Warner’s counterpart in the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, spoke on the same issues on CBS’s Face the Nation, saying that “there is both ‘direct evidence’ and ‘abundant circumstantial evidence’ of collusion with Russia.” He elaborated:

“They offer that dirt. There is an acceptance of that offer in writing from the president’s son, Don Jr., and there is overt acts in furtherance of that. That is the meeting at Trump Tower and all the lies to cover up that meeting at the Trump Tower, and apparently lies that the president participated in.”

So this should put an end to the fallacy that there is no evidence against Trump for conspiracy with Russia. Quite the opposite is true. There are mountains of evidence. And that’s even the position of the Vice-Chair of the Senate committee that Trump is so fond of citing on his own behalf. But don’t expect this to end Trump’s plaintive wailing that he’s innocent. When has reality ever interfered with his determination to disgorge obvious lies to shield himself from the consequences of his criminal behavior?

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

Plead the 25th: Trump Disgorges an Insane Tweetstorm About an Imaginary Michael Cohen Book

Like Clockwork. Whenever Donald Trump is the most fearful about his snowballing legal peril, he lashes out from his Twitter throne with the most deranged and groundless spasms of utter nonsense he can contrive given his obviously advanced mental infirmity. And on Friday morning he didn’t disappoint. The fury that he unleashed only affirms just how recent events have driven him to near incapacitation.

Donald Trump

Trump just returned from Vietnam where he engineered an historic failure to achieve any of the progress that he promised prior to his meeting with his girlfriend (“We fell in love”), Kim Jong Un. As Jimmy Kimmel put it, “Trump literally got more done in his summit with Kim Kardashian.” And while Trump was embarrassing America abroad, his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, was dishing on him in a hearing before the House Oversight Committee. His testimony was so damaging that even the senior judicial analyst at Fox News recognized that Trump could be liable for as many as four felonies.

It’s at times like these that Trump totally freaks out and decides to go public with his delusions and make things even worse. The following tweets are some of the best arguments that Trump is suffering from senile dementia and needs to be evaluated for a possible invocation of the 25th Amendment. He starts off with this pile of blathering falsehoods:

First of all, nothing about this was either “new” or “just released.” In fact, the Daily Beast reported on a proposal for a book by Cohen last May. It was tentatively titled “Trump Revolution: From The Tower to The White House, Understanding Donald J. Trump.” But it was scrapped due to his legal problems that were beginning to spin out of control. Also, why is Trump always so obsessed with people writing him “love letters,” ala Kim Jong Un? And then Trump tweets that:

Congress cannot demand something that doesn’t exist. There was never a book published or even submitted to the publisher. So it’s impossible to figure out what Trump is referring to that is so head spinning. But it shouldn’t surprise anyone if the pitch for the book featured a vastly different characterization of Trump than the one that Cohen is presenting now. A year ago he was still shilling for the President and telling what he now concedes were lies. The difference between his statements then and now is that now he’s making them under oath. Nevertheless, Trump continues:

No – It’s clear that Trump does not see. The case for his conspiracy with Russia is stronger than ever. And there is still no evidence of any wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton, even after thousands of hours of investigations by a Republican congress. If there were, Trump’s Justice Department would have brought indictments. What’s more, the only reason Trump’s finances are being scrutinized is that there is so much evidence of criminal activity. If this is a “Witch Hunt” then it’s already found a vast coven of witches. And finally:

How does Trump know what Cohen’s book manuscript shows? Does he have a copy? Why doesn’t he just release that to the public? Perhaps because it doesn’t exist. Even the prospective publisher said that he never received a manuscript. And Trump shouldn’t be portraying others as lying “on a scale not seen before,” considering the documentation of his lies since taking office that now exceed over 8,000. As for Lanny Davis (who is not Hillary Clinton’s lawyer), why does Trump care what he has to say? He is representing Cohen and will surely take positions that advance Cohen’s interest. And he’ll probably be more effective than Trump’s legal team headed by the always entertaining Rudy Giuliani.

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

So Trump is once again displaying the signs of a man consumed by fear who has no idea how to respond to the numerous and legitimate allegations swirling around him. So he posts incoherent tirades on Twitter that are filled with lies and slander. And for some reason he thinks this will be helpful. Well, he’s kind of right. It will be very helpful to special counsel Robert Mueller and the prosecutors in the Southern District of New York.

Even Fox News Can’t Avoid How Badly the Trump Shutdown is Going Over with the American People

It’s day 24 of the Trump Shutdown, and no end is currently in sight. The ill effects of that are even being felt in the White House, where Donald Trump had to serve Big Macs and pizzas to the NCAA champion Clemson Tigers because much of the staff is furloughed. Trump says that he paid for the “feast,” but that really isn’t something to brag about. It’s a pretty lame “celebration” that’s catered by McDonalds.

Fox News Trump

In the meantime, millions of American families are struggling to make ends meet due to the furloughs of hundreds of thousands of federal workers. Who’s paying for their meals, or healthcare, or mortgages? The hardship that Trump has imposed on the nation is getting worse with each new day. And the American people know exactly who is at fault.

Despite Trump’s promise not to blame Democrats, he has been doing just that for the past couple of weeks. However, his broken promise isn’t being received well by the public. And even Fox News is unable to pretend that Trump’s shutdown strategy is working out very well. An article on the Fox website carries the headline “Trump doubles down on border wall, as polls show voters turning against his shutdown strategy.” And the article explains unambiguously how badly the polling on this issue is going for Trump and his Republican Nationalist Party:

“As the partial shutdown enters its fourth week and hundreds of thousands of federal workers miss their first paychecks, fresh polling suggests the president is losing the battle of public opinion.

“A Quinnipiac University poll released Monday found that 63 percent of voters agree with the Democratic proposal to reopen parts of the government that do not involve border security, with 30 percent opposed. The same poll found 63 percent also oppose using the shutdown to force wall funding, with just 32 percent supporting.

“The poll found that 56 percent of American voters blame Trump and Republicans in Congress for the partial shutdown, compared with 36 percent who say Democrats are responsible.

“An earlier Washington Post-ABC News poll also found more Americans blame Trump and the Republicans than the Democrats over the stalemate.”

This bad news is just a portion of what Trump is having to endure as this new year is barely getting started. Bloomberg reports that at least six polls show that America blames Trump for the shutdown and opposes his exploitation of it for a stupid vanity wall that nobody wants. Trump is also fielding questions about whether he is a Russian asset. If your president has to deny that he’s working for Russia, you need a new president. And it’s been discovered that he has been suppressing information about his private meetings with Vladimir Putin.

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

If Trump isn’t a Russian asset, he’s doing an awfully good imitation of one. That’s a far bigger problem than his poor showing in polls about the shutdown. But the nation’s mood isn’t going to be particularly forgiving to a president who is generally despised while also being suspected of selling out his country. This is the kind of political environment that lends itself to impeachment. Hopefully.