Trump is Inciting His Deplorables to Commit Violence Against Journalists

No president in America’s history has been more hostile to the press than Donald Trump. He repeatedly refers to them in Stalinist terms as the “the enemy of the people.” That openly aggressive posturing is an unambiguous assault on the constitution’s First Amendment. And Trump’s vicious rhetoric has been cited as endangering the work – and lives – of journalists, not just in the United States, but around the world.

Trump Charlotsville

On Saturday Trump took another leap crossing over the line of decency and free speech during his latest Coronavirus Super Spreader event in Minnesota. Reading from his teleprompter, Trump told a story about a reporter covering Black Lives Matter protests in the state several weeks ago:

“I remember this guy Welshi. He got hit on the knee with a canister of tear gas and he went down. He was down. […] After we take all that crap – for weeks and weeks they would take that crap – and then you finally see men get up there and go right through… Wasn’t it really a beautiful sight? It’s called law and order.”

Like virtually every story that Trump tells, almost none of this one was truthful. To begin with, the reporter’s name was Ali Velshi, not Welshi. Perhaps Trump was using the Russian pronunciation. Secondly, Velshi was hit by a rubber bullet, not a tear gas canister. But those are relatively trivial misstatements by Trump who is rarely able to express himself coherently (which has not gone unnoticed by the American people).

More troubling was Trump’s celebration of this assault on a journalist by government goons as “a beautiful sight.” How any American “leader” can describe such an attack in those favorable terms is unthinkable. Trump is affirming his long held reputation as a fascist wannabe who aligns himself with the noxious philosophies of the authoritarian dictators he so admires (i.e. Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un, Xi Jinping, etc.). These are people who brazenly violate press freedoms and even torture and murder critical journalists. And Trump is moving more in that direction every day.

Trump elaborated on his praise for federal agents physically assaulting reporters in another speech later in the day in North Carolina. In that tirade Trump got Velshi’s network wrong, saying he was with CNN, rather than MSNBC. He also lied that Velshi was reporting from a “war zone” when the truth was that he was covering a peaceful demonstration. Well, except for the feds. The video of Velshi’s reporting proves that.

Velshi himself addressed Trump’s remarks about the incident when he was shot, and asks a relevant question that Trump will surely fail to answer:

Make no mistake, this was not an off the cuff commentary by a rambling lunatic. Yes, Trump is a rambling lunatic, but this wasn’t off the cuff. He was reading from a teleprompter. And he was deliberately sending a message to his glassy-eyed disciples that assaulting journalists is something that will earn his appreciation. Trump is overtly soliciting his cult followers to commit what can only be described as terrorism. And he is promising to reward them with compliments and praise for what a “beautiful” thing they’ve done.

These remarks by Trump pretty much guarantee that more reporters will be attacked just for doing their jobs. The assailants will feel justified because the president has given his approval in advance. And if there is any justice in this world, Trump will be charged criminally and civilly for any harm that comes to journalists due to his reckless ranting.

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

WTF? Bill Barr Told Rupert Murdoch to ‘Muzzle’ a Fox News Trump Critic

The creeping fascism of the Donald Trump regime continues to unfurl as the criminal accomplices in his cabinet carry out his nefarious agenda. Chief among them is Attorney Genuflect, Bill Barr, who doesn’t even bother anymore to disguise his desecration of the Justice Department into a pseudo-legal cabal that works solely as Trump’s personal defense team.

Donald Trump, Bill Barr

A new book by CNN’s media correspondent, Brian Stelter, is set to be released next week, and excerpts are starting to make the rounds. Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News, and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth, has already created quite a stir with revelations about how insiders at Fox News privately admit that they think Trump is “crazy,” even while they exalt him worshipfully on the air.

The toxic, codependent relationship between Trump and Fox News has been the source of incalculable damage to American media and democracy. It is an unprecedented political/press partnership that benefits both. Fox News gets an audience with cult-like devotion that they can brainwash with blatant scare tactics and the darkly unifying force of racism. While Trump gets an aggressive assault team to attack his critics and political opponents, and a constant defense for his unending stream of unsavory conduct and outright crimes. It’s a marriage whose foundation rests on lies and ignorance.

Another excerpt from the book was just published by The Guardian. This one describes a meeting that took place last October between Barr and Fox News Overlord, Rupert Murdoch. News Corpse speculated at the time that the meeting resulted in the resignation of Fox host Shepard Smith, which was announced the next day. But Stelter’s book reports that there was another topic of discussion on their agenda:

“The attorney general, William Barr, told Rupert Murdoch to ‘muzzle’ Andrew Napolitano, a prominent Fox News personality who became a critic of Donald Trump, according to a new book about the rightwing TV network. […] Trump ‘was so incensed by the judge’s TV broadcasts that he had implored Barr to send Rupert a message in person … about ‘muzzling the judge’. [Trump] wanted the nation’s top law enforcement official to convey just how atrocious Napolitano’s legal analysis had been.'”

Just to be clear, intimidating and manipulating the media is not a part of the Attorney General’s job. In fact, it isn’t a part of any government official’s job. It is a totalitarian tactic to control speech and clampdown on the free press. And this sort of suppression of the constitutional rights of journalists is part and parcel of the Trump Doctrine that has designated the media in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people.”

Napolitano, the Senior Legal Analyst at Fox News, has been known to criticize Trump. And for that heresy he was entirely excluded from Fox’s coverage of Trump’s impeachment. A few notable examples of his well-reasoned critiques include…

Napolitano has a right to his opinions, and quite often he agrees with Trump. But none of that is relevant here. It was grossly inappropriate for Trump to seek to censor a legal news commentator. And it only makes matters worse that Trump recruited his attorney general to deliver that message. And Barr, of course, should never have agreed to take the assignment. It’s not only improper, and a violation of the Constitution, it has absolutely nothing to with his duties at the Department of Justice.

It is, however, consistent with Trump’s flagrant disrespect for the law, his relentless abuse of power, and his frighteningly obvious tyrannical aspirations. And it’s further proof that neither Trump nor Barr are fit to serve in any position of government authority. They have both proven that they are utterly untrustworthy and the sooner they are deposed, the better for America.

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

Trump’s Manic Twitter Tantrum Displays Contempt for the Constitution and Democracy

The United States is currently being tested in a manner that no one could ever have anticipated. During a global pandemic that has been most devastating for the U.S. (100,000+ now dead), the nation is burdened with a “president” who not only couldn’t care less, but is certifiably insane. His malignant narcissism, vicious hostility, infantile conduct, moral depravity, and cringe-worthy ignorance, make him uniquely unfit and dangerous.

Donald Trump

In recent days Trump has upped his crazy with nauseating and morbid attacks, including accusations of murder directed at Joe Scarborough of MSNBC, and sick meme postings of a coffin with Joe Biden’s name on it. Trump’s psychotic behavior has resulted in rapidly declining approval ratings, along with plummeting electoral prospects. Politico’s Morning Consult poll has Trump at 40% approval. Fox News has him at 44%. Even his favorite pollster, the notoriously biased Rasmussen, has his approval at 42%, the lowest in that poll since January of 2018, two and a half years ago. And Trump is trailing Biden in every recent national poll at RealClearPolitics, as well as in most of the crucial swing states.

Reality has taken its toll on Trump’s emotional state. He is becoming more unhinged and uninhibited in his rabid lunacies. That’s precisely what psychological professionals would predict for someone with Trump’s acute mental malfunctions who is trapped in a downward spiral over which he has no control. And naturally, Trump’s derangement is getting flushed out on his Twitter feed. For instance…

This is pure hallucination on Trump’s part. There is no evidence – none – of the election fraud he is asserting. It reads more like his strategy for the his own campaign (“Mail boxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed”). Furthermore, California is not sending ballots to “anyone living in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there.” Only registered voters will receive them. Trump appears to be laying the groundwork for disputing the election results in November when he loses.

The lies embedded in these tweets were so abhorrent that Twitter was finally moved to act, albeit in baby steps. They attached a link to the tweets that says “Get the facts about mail-in ballots,” and directs the reader to some of the sources debunking Trump’s disinformation. But even this wrist-slapping was too much criticism for the Snowflake-in-Chief. He embarked on a multi-tweet rant whining about Twitter’s fact-checking and making bizarre and frightening threats:

And as if that weren’t enough, Trump continued his threatening outbursts on Wednesday:

Trump still wasn’t satisfied. He followed up these schizoid remarks in another tweet by promising that there would be “Big action to follow!”

UPDATE:What that “big action” turned out to be was a vengeful, retaliatory Executive Order that would make it impossible for sites like Twitter and Facebook to operate. The EO is plainly unconstitutional and will not pass legal muster, but it further reveals Trump’s contempt for the Constitution and his intention to suppress free speech. He also said about Twitter that “If it were legal, if it could be legally shut down, I would do it.” And if that brazenly tyrannical remark doesn’t frighten you, you are so deeply indoctrinated into the Cult of Trump that you no longer value what America stands for.

What all of this bombastry has in common is a distinct contempt for the Constitution. Trump’s assertion that Twitter is “stifling FREE SPEECH” fails to recognize that the First Amendment only applies to governmental censorship. You know, like what Trump is trying to do to Twitter with threats of regulating them or even shutting them down. As a private company, Twitter has the right to moderate the content on their platform. What’s more, Twitter hasn’t censored Trump at all. His tweets are still available and unedited. What Trump is whining about is that actual facts are being place adjacent to his lies. That’s something that someone with more than 18,000 documented falsehoods will surely object to.

Nevertheless, Trump believes that he has the totalitarian authority to command Twitter, and other social media, to obey his orders. When he says that “I, as President, will not allow” Twitter to provide access to truthful information, and that there is “Big action to follow,” Trump is staking a claim to dictatorship. He doesn’t have any such authority and he knows it. When asked to cite this authority on Tuesday, he dissembled and dodged the question.

That, of course, is Trump’s customary method of answering almost any question. But the mere suggestion that he could exert that sort of tyrannical control is an insult to the freedom and democracy that is enshrined in the American ethic. And therein lies the problem. Trump is as utterly devoid of ethics as he is ignorant of, and averse to, American principles. And the American people have had enough!

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

While Americans Suffer, Trump is Laser Focused On – His Polling?

The voracious ego of Donald Trump continues to run roughshod over our nation. He seems unfazed by the latest reports of 1.1 million Americans infected by the coronavirus, and more than 67,000 dead. And he’s equally unmoved by the news that more than 30 millions Americans have lost their jobs. Trump posted 19 tweets on Sunday morning and hardly mentioned pandemic or it’s consequences at all. So what did he mention?

Donald Trump

It’s all too apparent what is consuming the thoughts of our “president” these days. He makes his priorities known by expressing them unabashedly on Twitter. And on this Sunday morn he revealed that his primary interest is – as usual – himself. The most frequent subject of his tweets was his approval rate polling, with four addressing that one fetish:

It needs to be said that what Trump is bragging about repeatedly is a Gallup poll that is a conspicuous outlier. Most other polls put Trump in the low forties. It is also notable that Trump is excited about this being the highest number Gallup has posted for him, even though it is still below 50% which he has never achieved.

For some reason Trump tempers his giddiness over this poll with a swipe at the “Fake News,” “Lamestream” media that he refers to in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people.” But whining that the press “doesn’t show real polls” while celebrating a Gallup poll that the press always shows is a strange way to boast about his alleged popularity. He’s tearing it down even as he’s using it to lift himself up.

Additionally, Trump twice makes reference to a “96% Approval Rating in the Republican Party” that he fails to back up with a link or even a name for the pollster. The fact is, that poll doesn’t exist. Nor does Trump offer a source for his assertion that he’s beating Joe Biden. Which is likewise not supported by reality. Biden is shown ahead of Trump both nationally and in critical swing states.

For contrast, the rest of Trump’s morning tweetstorm was littered with tributes to himself and bizarre divergences from the matters that are of interest to most Americans. For instance:

  • Whining that George Bush didn’t speak out against his impeachment.
  • Some guy who wrapped his boat in a Trump ad.
  • How much he misses his cult rallies.
  • Two propaganda videos (here and here)
  • Mike Tyson (?)
  • An old propaganda video attacking Democrats.
  • A shout out to his Turnberry golf course in Scotland.

And then there’s whatever the heck this is:

So rest assured that Trump is on the case, working to ensure that the American people don’t suffer from any deficiency in impotent Trump exaltations and syrupy propaganda. This is how a reality TV game show president thinks governing is done. When he isn’t neck deep in mounds of his own PR manure, he’s maligning the free press or the political foes that he is so transparently afraid of. and naturally, he’s always upselling, such as with these Trump-branded coronavirus face masks. This would all make an entertaining social satire if it weren’t for the corpses that are piling up due to Trump’s negligence and incompetence.

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

This Trump Tweetstorm is a Frightening Display of a Psychotic Meltdown in Real Time

The downward spiraling mental state of Donald Trump has been observable for many months (years?). However, it has never been as unmistakably deranged as is evident in his latest Sunday tweetstorm. This is behavior that ought to be of concern to every America, even the presidential bootlickers in Congress and the Trump-fluffers at Fox News.

Donald Trump Zombie

The bizarre rhetoric that Trump unleashes in this Twitter tantrum comes shortly after he bailed out of his Coronavirus Task Force briefings (aka Trump 2020 Reelection Campaign Infomercials). Having proposed one of the most preposterous notions of his presidency – that ingesting disinfectants could cure COVID-19 – Trump reportedly has chickened out of appearing at future briefings. And in anticipation of the loss of that platform, Trump is now lashing out wildly at the free press.

In fifteen tweets Trump never once mentions the coronavirus pandemic. This departure from sanity really speaks for itself. So here it is with minimal annotations (Note: Trump has already deleted some these tweets, but you can search for them here):

The people that know me< and know the history of our Country say that I am the hardest working President in history. I don’t know about that, but I am a hard worker and have probably gotten more done in the first 3 1/2 years than any President in history. The Fake News hates it!"

“…the hardest working president…”? No one is saying that but his glassy-eyed disciples who regard temper tantrums and insults as “work.”

I work from early in the morning until late at night, haven’t left the White House in many months (except to launch Hospital Ship Comfort) in order to take care of Trade Deals, Military Rebuilding etc., and then I read a phony story in the failing @nytimes about my work….”

What Trump thinks is work is tweeting and watching Fox News. Also, Trump left the White House< numerous time in February and March to attend his cult rallies.

“….schedule and eating habits, written by a third rate reporter who knows nothing about me. I will often be in the Oval Office late into the night & read & see that I am angrily eating a hamburger & Diet Coke in my bedroom. People with me are always stunned. Anything to demean!”

You have to wonder who these “people” in his bedroom are. Trump doesn’t bother to name the reporter or link to the article because he knows it’s all true. And it’s notable that he frequently claims that any story that doesn’t name its sources is fake news. Therefore, we can assume that this tweet is as well.

When will all of the “reporters” who have received Noble Prizes for their work on Russia, Russia, Russia, only to have been proven totally wrong (and, in fact, it was the other side who committed the crimes), be turning back their cherished “Nobles” so that they can be given….”

Trump, of course, was impeached (forever) due to his crimes. Not only have they not been proven wrong, they have been confirmed with additional evidence. And it isn’t “Noble,” it’s Nobel, you ignorant dotard. Also, there is no Nobel prize for journalism. Trump is probably thinking of the Pulitzer, if you call what he does “thinking.”

“….to the REAL REPORTERS & JOURNALISTS who got it right. I can give the Committee a very comprehensive list. When will the Noble Committee DEMAND the Prizes back, especially since they were gotten under fraud? The reporters and Lamestream Media knew the truth all along….”

Indeed the media knows the truth, which why they were awarded “Nobles.” The problem is that Trump hates the truth, particularly when it is applied to him.

“….Lawsuits should be brought against all, including the Fake News Organizations, to rectify this terrible injustice. For all of the great lawyers out there, do we have any takers? When will the Noble Committee Act? Better be fast!”

Here Trump is once again attempting to intimidate the free press with bogus legal harassment. I hope he follows through because it would be entertaining to see him get laughed out of court.

The quantity of certifiably insane dialog in these tweets may set new records for Trump. His malignant narcissism, sociopathy, hostility, pathological lying, and obvious desperation and fear jumps out at readers who aren’t unreachably brainwashed. Trump is clearly suffering new lows in his mental decline. And his continuing in office is becoming ever more perilous for the nation. Especially during an ongoing pandemic crisis. If there were ever a time to invoke the 25th Amendment it is NOW!.

UPDATE: As if the above weren’t enough, Trump’s paranoid hysterics continued through the afternoon with specific rage against his most sycophantic cable TV shills at Fox News:

@FoxNews just doesn’t get what’s happening! They are being fed Democrat talking points, and they play them without hesitation or research. They forgot that Fake News @CNN & MSDNC wouldn’t let @FoxNews participate, even a little bit, in the poor ratings Democrat Debates…..”

“….Even the Radical Left Do Nothing Democrats laughed at the Fox suggestion. No respect for the people running @FoxNews. But Fox keeps on plugging to try and become politically correct. They put RINO Paul Ryan on their Board. They hire “debate questions to Crooked Hillary”….”

“….fraud @donnabrazile (and others who are even worse). Chris Wallace is nastier to Republicans than even Deface the Nation or Sleepy Eyes. The people who are watching @FoxNews, in record numbers (thank you President Trump), are angry. They want an alternative now. So do I!”

Hasn’t he hit rock bottom yet? He’s gonna zone out and fall into a hysterical coma. Or overdose on Adderall. Bear in mind that Trump is engaging in these egomaniacal, manic outbursts on Melania’s birthday. Not to mention a global pandemic.

UPDATE II: This is getting ridiculous. Trump just tweeted that his misspelling of Nobel (as Noble) was intentional sarcasm. Yeah, sure. The last time he tried that excuse (Friday) he later admitted that he was lying. And it’s notable that he deleted all of those allegedly sarcastic tweets.

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

Rude and Nasty? Trump Panic-Tweets at the Media for Not Fawning Over His Failures

It’s Saturday and time, once again, for the regularly scheduled Donald Trump Twitter Tantrum. The Tweeter-in-Chief didn’t disappoint his glassy-eyed disciples this weekend. He blasted out 48 tweets before mid-afternoon, 29 of which were retweets devoted to falsely accusing Democrats of blocking new funding for small businesses. As is often the case, Trump is just venting because he’s utterly incapable of accomplishing anything via reasoned persuasion or bipartisan compromise the way an intelligent, experienced president would.

Donald Trump

In fact, it’s the Republicans who are living up to their reputation for callous indifference to the needs of the people by refusing to negotiate over including funds for hospitals and workers. Trump’s four dozen tweets were somehow pounded out while he says he was “Spending the morning speaking to @fema and Military relative to CoronaVirus. Also, spoke to leaders of various countries including Poland, South Korea and Bahrain.” They must have been brief conversations, because he was simultaneously suffering a hemorrhage of media madness. He began with a typical lament that members of Congress were not being sufficiently grateful for the generosity he shows them by pretending to do his job:

So Trump is once again upset that Congress and the press have failed to genuflect before his majesty and total authority.” His Tweet thread continued with a complaint on behalf of Vice-President Pence, who Trump says spoke with Democratic Senators and “gave them everything that they would have wanted.” Now really, what’s the likelihood of that being true?

Trump concluded that “nothing that anyone could have said … could make [the Democrats] happy.” Then he accused them of being “RUDE and NASTY.” Which seems improbable considering that’s the standard emotional status of Trump himself. What’s more, he said that this was the Democrats’ “political playbook” that they intended to use “right up to the election on November 3rd,” because “they feel that this is the only way they can win,” and that “America will not be fooled!!!” (Trump’s exclamation points). In other words, history’s most bitterly partisan White House occupant is accusing others of being partisan, albeit with zero evidence other than his petulant whining. However, he’s right that most Americans will not be fooled, which is precisely why he’s so scared.

Trump capped his rage-ranting with a post that rehashed his familiar and false blathering about the media’s use of unidentified sources and “officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity.” Never mind that his own White House communications Office regularly gives “background briefings” that prohibit reporters from attributing the comments to anyone but “senior administration officials.” It’s also notable that no one uses anonymous sources more than Trump, who is constantly claiming that “some people say” some ludicrous things that support whatever lie he’s in the midst of telling.

Trump’s harangue goes on to assert that the media will “make up a phony quote from a person who doesn’t even exist,” and that “The American people should demand NAMES!” Of course, Trump has never been able to document a single case of a non-existent source. To the contrary, he frequently threatens to uncover the “leaker,” which is an admission that one exists and is telling the truth. Otherwise, why would he bother to investigate?

As for the American people demanding names, Trump is wailing impotently into the void. The American people are satisfied that the media is doing its job. They understand that the use of unidentified sources is a long established and necessary means of acquiring inside information that politicians often want to keep concealed. And polls show that people trust the media more than they trust Trump.

Even so, Trump’s desire for a public demand for named sources is less objectionable than one he floated last month when he proposed that the media be forced to reveal their sources. That’s a flagrantly unconstitutional proposal and an assault on the free press. But it isn’t surprising coming from Trump who frequently refers to the media in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people.” Talk about rude and nasty.

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

Watch as Trump’s Incompetence and Hostility to the Free Press is Exposed

Every day there is new evidence of how Donald Trump neglected to act responsibly to prevent the loss of thousands of American lives. This week we learned that “Top White House advisers as well as experts deep in the Cabinet departments and intelligence agencies all sounded alarms and urged aggressive action to counter the threat from the coronavirus, but President Trump remained slow to respond.”

Trump TV

We also learned, through the release of a series of Red Dawn emails that circulated in the White House, just how determined Trump was to ignore the warning signs of imminent disaster. Even America’s preeminent expert on pandemics, and a member of Trump’s Coronavirus Task Force, Dr. Anthony Fauci, responded with stark honesty on CNN’s State of the Union to the question of whether fewer lives would have been lost had Trump acted sooner:

“You could logically say that if you had a process that was ongoing and you started mitigation earlier, you could have saved lives. Obviously no one is going to deny that … But there was a lot of pushback about shutting things down back [in February].”

In other words, Trump & Co. allowed a pandemic to spread so that they wouldn’t lose money or risk hurting his reelection prospects. In will be interesting to see if Dr. Fauci survives this truth telling when Trump is told about it. (UPDATE: Trump retweeted a post calling for him to fire Fauci).

In another demonstration of the invaluable service that the media is capable of providing, CNN’s Jake Tapper delivered an editorial examining the Trump administration’s plan (or lack thereof) for dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. The segment (video below) included a compilation of Trump’s badgering of reporters and his impotent attempts to intimidate the White House press corps. Tapper led off by noting that “Trump is taking questions from reporters nearly every day, but that does not mean he’s answering them.”

What followed was a stream of examples of Trump lashing out at journalists who were simply doing their jobs. But his childish put downs were pathetic at best, and they only served to reveal his barely veiled fear. He called seasoned reporters “third rate.” “disgraceful,” and “nasty.” He interrupted them before they could complete their questions. And his answers, more often than not, dodged the substance of the questions.

This just adds to the argument that Trump should not even attend these briefings. He has no useful knowledge or experience to offer. To the contrary, he most often unleashes blatantly false “information” that his own advisers have to later refute. He wastes valuable time either attacking legitimate journalists who are asking pertinent question, or embracing propagandists whose questions are nothing more than overt suck ups.

There is only one reason that Trump is showing up at these briefings, and that is to advance his reelection prospects. He has turned what should be a vital information channel into a crass campaign PR affair. Then he tries to make a preposterous argument about the ratings, saying that they are indicative of his alleged popularity.

Tapper summed up his remarks by asking Trump another question that he surely will not answer: “Attacking journalists who ask questions does not make those questions go away. It only reveals that you might not have the answers. Again, sir, respectfully, what is the plan for a way out of this? Do you have one?” If Trump responds to that question at all, it will likely be in the form of tweet that merely says “FAKE NEWS” in all caps without ever referencing the original question about whether or not he has a plan. But that hardly matters. The American people already know the answer to that question.

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

CLAMPDOWN: Trump’s Politburo Bars Dr. Fauci and Others From Appearing on CNN

The abhorrent tyrannical tendencies of Donald Trump continue to be revealed with each passing day. His admiration for brutal dictators like Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, and Kim Jong Un, has long been established in his own words. They are the models of unchecked power to which he aspires. And they are the political figures he most often refers to as his friends, even while he’s bitterly lambasting fellow Americans like Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi.

Donald Trump

On Thursday morning it was reported that Trump has taken another step toward the authoritarian government he craves. And, not surprisingly, it comes in the form of an attack on the media that he despises and routinely refers to in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people.” CNN is reporting that Vice-President Mike Pence, who Trump appointed to lead the White House Coronavirus Task Force, is prohibiting the health experts on the team from appearing on CNN:

“Vice President Mike Pence’s office has declined to allow the nation’s top health officials to appear on CNN in recent days and discuss the coronavirus pandemic killing thousands of Americans, in an attempt to pressure the network into carrying the White House’s lengthy daily briefings in full.”

This could not be a more blatant assault on the free press, as well as a flagrant breach of the free speech rights of the doctors and other task force members who have critical knowledge and advice about the deadly pandemic that is spreading throughout the nation and the world. Trump is deliberately depriving the American people of potentially life-saving information in order to extort CNN into complying with his self-serving demands.

UPDATE: While these health experts are forbidden to appear on CNN, they are all over Fox News.

What’s more, Trump is imposing the very same sort of quid pro quo that he used to attempt to strong-arm Ukraine into digging up dirt on Joe Biden. Trump is floating access to these health experts, but with a caveat: “I’d like you to do us a favor though.”

The “favor” that Trump is seeking this time is for CNN to submit to his demands to air all of his task force briefings live. That is a wholly improper ultimatum for a president to impose on news organization. But it’s even more ludicrous considering that Trump has transformed those briefings into thinly veiled campaign events to advance his 2020 reelection prospects. Since he can no longer hold the cult rallies that feed his voracious ego, he is hijacking these briefings and expecting the media to roll over and give him all the free ad time he wants.

The press has been struggling with the question of whether to carry the briefings live, or to delay them for a few minutes so that Trump’s avalanche of lies can be fact-checked. There is no reason to air Trump’s ego-fest when it is so devoid of newsworthy content. Both CNN and MSNBC have exercised some limited editorial discretion to avoid airing Trump’s dangerous disinformation and allowing him to engage in politics in the guise of virus updates. That’s something Fox News would never imagine doing. But Trump is singling out CNN, which he regards a his media nemesis, for this fascistic censorship. CNN reports that…

“Fauci, Birx, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn and Surgeon General Jerome Adams have all appeared on NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox during the last week, despite the fact that the broadcast networks have generally not covered the briefings that have included the vice president and health officials.”

The media must not give in to this presidential blackmail. They must continue to report honestly about Trump’s tragic failures in addressing this crisis. They must fearlessly expose his negligence, incompetence, and brazen self-interest. They must independently seek the judgment of experts like Dr. Fauci, in defiance of Trump’s orders. They should ask those experts if they agree with Trump’s gag order when they see them at the briefings.

Finally, the media must stick together. If Trump tries to silence any media organization, the others need to show their support by boycotting his briefings and other public events. That’s the only thing that will get through to the Narcissist-in-Chief. Any acquiescence to Trump’s bullying is a severe blow to the principles enshrined in the Constitution. And it’s as deadly to American democracy and freedom as the coronavirus is to it’s citizens.

UPDATE: After significant bad PR, the prohibition on CNN has been lifted.

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

BAD FOR AMERICA! Trump Delights In the Suffering of American Workers and Business

In times of crisis, the American people want and expect their leaders to exhibit wisdom and compassion. Difficult problems require both intelligence and judgment to resolve, and at least the appearance of sympathy for the hardships facing the average citizen. The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic is just such a circumstance. Unfortunately, the United States is currently stuck with Donald Trump who has none of these qualities.

Donald Trump Climate Change

The single most reliable feature of Trump’s character (or lack thereof) is his unflinching determination to always do only what is best for him. This selfishness is evident in his reckless and greed-driven proposals to “reopen” the country before any public health expert considers it safe. It’s obvious in his obsession with the polls and TV ratings that define his self-worth. There is virtually nothing that Trump addresses in his Coronavirus Task Force briefings (that he has hijacked and turned into 2020 reelection events) that isn’t directly attached to his personal welfare.

On Monday morning, while the nation was trying to cope with ever more troubling news concerning the spreading pandemic, Trump was, as usual, manning his Twitter machine and pounding out dangerous falsehoods, childish platitudes, and tributes to himself. Among the tweets that he posted was one that was particularly offensive:

What’s “bad for America” is a president who repeatedly maligns the free press in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people.” It’s fair to say that it’s also bad when a president is so stupid that he doesn’t understand that all businesses are presently struggling due to a virtual economic shutdown made necessary by Trump’s negligence and incompetence. Among the businesses that are experiencing financial difficulties are those owned by Trump. In fact, many are currently closed and his net worth has declined by thirty percent.

However, what’s truly repulsive about this tweet is that Trump is openly gleeful that American media companies are being hurt financially along with the rest of the country. These are businesses whose mission is to keep the American people informed, sometimes at great risk to themselves. This is especially difficult when the president is a pathological liar. But they are also businesses that employ tens of thousands of Americans. Clearly Trump couldn’t care less about these people, their families, and communities.

It’s further proof of Trump’s ignorance that he doesn’t know whether the press is suffering financially because of the quality of their reporting or the impact of a global pandemic. Trump is just exploiting the issue to bash the media, which prior to this coronavirus outbreak was having a banner year in both viewership and revenue. And it must be driving him crazy(er) knowing that according to most polls, the American people still trust the media more than they trust Trump.

It’s that public disapproval that is likely contributing to Trump’s downward spiraling emotional state. Not only has Trump not enjoyed a sustained “rally round the flag” polling bounce, he is at a four month low (44%) with his favorite, unabashedly biased, right-wing pollster, Rasmussen. That’s gotta hurt. But it shouldn’t hurt so much that it drives Trump to celebrate the misfortune of thousands of American workers. That’s on Trump.

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

Dear Leader Trump Proposes ‘Forcing’ the Press to Reveal Sources

Apparently Donald Trump isn’t satisfied with having utterly bungled the nation’s response the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Now he is moving on to advocate breaching the Constitution’s First Amendment right to a free press. That’s the same press that Trump routinely refers to in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people.”

Donald Trump, Constitution

In his regularly scheduled Saturday Morning Tweetstorm, Trump was consumed by a fit of anxiety and animosity aimed at the media. It’s hard to know for certain what triggered this outburst, but it’s safe to say that it was probably something he saw on Fox News. The result was this Twitter tantrum that lashes out at some vague disturbance of Trump’s already unsettled psyche:

It’s typical of Trump to baselessly accuse the press of making up sources and stories. It’s equally typical that he never provides any documentation of his allegations, and he often doesn’t even cite the story he’s babbling about, as is the case this time. His charges are not simply venting. He specifically insists that the journalists (whom he declines to name) have deliberately invented fictional sources whose accounts are not merely untrue, they are “knowingly” non-existent. This is Trump’s way of defending himself from whatever criticism might happen to be floating around. It’s a defense that relies on the wispiest of innuendo because Trump can’t defend himself on substance.

It’s fair to say that whatever Trump is whining about is actually true. And since the facts would affirm that, he resorts to a blanket condemnation of the media in its entirety. He’s like a murderer setting an entire apartment building on fire to keep people from finding the body in #407.

It’s ironic that Trump is also complaining that the media is “dangerous and corrupt” and would “do anything to win.” That’s a darn good description of Trump himself. And anyone who has observed him for any length of time knows that projection is a key weapon in his arsenal of character assassination. But he wasn’t through bashing the press:

Trump’s problem with sources goes back many years. Never mind that unidentified sources are a valid staple of professional journalism. Trump’s White House communications staff even uses them regularly during “background briefings” where reporters are only permitted to attribute these official statements to “senior administration officials.” What’s more, as a private businessman Trump was known for acting as his own PR agent, using false names like “John Barron” to plant false stories in gossip columns to convince people that he was a rich playboy. And Trump is no stranger to exploiting the press for his own personal benefit, as he is doing by hijacking the Coronavirus Task Force briefings and turning them into Trump 2020 campaign events.

However, the worst part of this tweetfest was Trump’s suggestion that the media “should be forced to reveal sources.” That is a wholly unconstitutional abuse of power. The First Amendment clearly states the prohibition against “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” That includes any attempt by the government to dictate to journalists how to source their reporting. The ability of the press to gather information from people with inside knowledge is essential to a functioning democracy. And often those people need confidentiality in order to come forward without fear of reprisal. Especially while Trump is in the White House. He is already threatening to revoke the broadcast licenses of TV stations that air ads critical of him.

Furthermore, Trump’s claim that forced disclosure of sources was something that happened “in the long ago past” is downright delusional. Unless he’s talking about the past practices of the sort of tyrants and czars that he so admires (Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, Kim Jong Un, etc.). In which case, it’s no wonder that he yearns for the power to emulate his heroes. That is just so Trumpian. But it isn’t American. And any effort to go forward with what he’s proposing in these tweets needs to be fervently resisted by congress, the press, and all of the American people.

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