In His Own Unhinged Words: Here’s EVERYTHING Trump Said About the Media in Phoenix

On Monday Donald Trump interrupted America’s television viewing to address what he plans to do about the war in Afghanistan. Some pundits regarded his Teleprompter recital as the latest evidence that he had pivoted to a more presidential demeanor. He didn’t. And his speech the next day in Phoenix proved that he is never going to change.

Donald Trump

True to form, Trump spent much of his time whining about what a victim he is. He regaled his glassy-eyed disciples with a string of his “greatest hits.” Build the wall, Democrats suck, some Republicans suck too, repeal ObamaCare, and of course, the media hates America.

Trump actually spent more time on the media than any other single subject. It is an obsession with him that consumes his daily routine of golf and Fox News watching. Plus, he is likely aware of how much trouble he’s in with the the special counsel. This accelerated media bashing may just be in anticipation of the bad news that is coming that may lead to his removal from office.

What follows is just the transcription from the speech of the parts about the press. There is minimal annotation, because it’s already so crazy it hardly needs any.

But the very dishonest media, those people right up there with all the cameras. So the — and I mean truly dishonest people in the media and the fake media, they make up stories. They have no sources in many cases. They say “a source says” — there is no such thing. But they don’t report the facts.

Trump has made this allegation about non-existent sources before. He has never provided any evidence to back it up. However, he has later used the same stories to make a point of his, effectively affirming the credibility of the sources himself.

I’m really doing this to show you how damned dishonest these people are.

Yeah, that’s why he’s doing it. Sure it is.

The failing New York Times, which is like so bad. It’s so bad. Or the Washington Post, which I call a lobbying tool for Amazon, OK. That’s a lobbying tool for Amazon. Or CNN, which is so bad and so pathetic, and their ratings are going down. Right? But all the networks — I mean, CNN is really bad, but ABC this morning — I don’t watch it much, but I’m watching in the morning, and they have little George Stephanopoulos talking to Nikki Haley, right? Little George.

CNN’s ratings are hitting all time highs. And MSNBC, which Trump seems afraid to ever mention, is routinely beating beating former ratings champ, Fox News. Also, for someone who doesn’t watch much, he sure watches a lot.

Do they report that I said that racism is evil? You know why? Because they are very dishonest people. So I said, racism is evil. Now they only choose, you know, like a half a sentence here or there and then they just go on this long rampage. Or they put on these real lightweights all around a table that nobody ever heard of, and they all say what a bad guy I am. But, I mean do you ever see anything — and then you wonder why CNN is doing relatively poorly in the ratings. Because they’re putting like seven people all negative on Trump. And they fired Jeffrey Lord, poor Jeffrey. Jeffrey Lord.

Indeed, CNN fired Jeffrey Lord after he tweeted a Nazi salute aimed at Angelo Carusone of Media Matters.

It’s time to expose the crooked media deceptions, and to challenge the media for their role in formenting divisions. And yes, by the way — and yes, by the way, they are trying to take away our history and our heritage. You see that.

In the middle of this attack, Trump slips in some praise for the Confederacy. Which, by the way, is not the heritage of anyone from Arizona. It’s just racist.

These are truly dishonest people. And not all of them. Not all of them. You have some very good reporters. You have some very fair journalists. But for the most part, honestly, these are really, really dishonest people, and they’re bad people. And I really think they don’t like our country. I really believe that.

He REALLY believes that? Yep. A few months ago he called the press “the enemy of the American people.” It’s a tactic used commonly by aspiring authoritarians and dictators.

The only people giving a platform to these hate groups is the media itself, and the fake news.

Oh, that’s so funny. Look back there, the live red lights. They’re turning those suckers off fast out there. They’re turning those lights off fast. Like CNN. CNN does not want its falling viewership to watch what I’m saying tonight,

Everyone watching CNN when Trump said this must have had a giggle. They aired it live.

These are sick people. You know the thing I don’t understand? You would think — you would think they’d want to make our country great again, and I honestly believe they don’t. I honestly believe it. If you want to discover the source of the division in our country, look no further than the fake news and the crooked media.

Well, look a little further. A recent poll by Quinnipiac shows that sixty-two percent feel that Trump is doing more to divide the country.

I mean, the New York Times has written some stories. How about this? The New York Times essentially apologized after I won the election, because their coverage was so bad. And it was so wrong, and they were losing so many subscribers that they practically apologized.

That never happened.

You have some great networks. I must tell you, Fox has treated me fairly. Fox treated me fairly. They’ve treated me fairly. Hey, I’ll let you know. You know what? Some day they might not treat me fairly, and I’ll tell you about it, OK? But they’ve treated me fairly,

Apparently Trump thinks that Fox News treated him fairly.

I get plenty of bad on Fox, too. But at least it’s within reason. And Hannity? How good is Hannity? How good is Hannity? And he’s a great guy, and he’s an honest guy. And “Fox and Friends in the Morning” is the best show, and it’s the absolute, most honest show, and it’s the show I watch.

How much does Trump get paid for these testimonials?

Not only does the media give a platform to hate groups, but the media turns a blind eye to the gang violence on our streets, the failures of our public school, the destruction of our wealth at the hands of the terrible, terrible trade deals made by politicians that should’ve never been allowed to be politicians.

Now Trump believes that he can decide who should be “allowed” to be a politician.

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

Among the many reasons that Trump is unarguably unfit to serve as president, his hostility to the free press and the Constitution rank near the top. He is a bitter, frightened, man-child who is in way over his head and he knows it. Or maybe he doesn’t, which would be even worse.

Modern Day Presidential? Trump Attacks American Institutions and Leaders While on Foreign Soil

Donald Trump’s first trip overseas last May was widely viewed as a diplomatic failure. When he wasn’t embarrassing the United States with his ignorance and bluster, he was insulting its closest allies. So the world is holding its collective breath as Trump once again ventures beyond the shores of America. And if his first day in Poland is any guide, this trip signals an even worse outcome.

Donald Trump

There is a long-held canon of international diplomacy meant to encourage national unity and continuity of purpose. It asserts that all domestic political quibbles and criticisms should end at the ocean’s edge. American leaders representing the country ought not to be bad-mouthing it on foreign soil. It’s a simple rule, and one that is easy and wise to follow. Unless, of course, you’re Donald Trump.

In his first stop, Trump held a joint press conference with Poland’s President Duda. [For the record, Trump has not held a solo press conference since February] The President took only two questions from American reporters. The first came from David Martosko of the Daily Mail. He asked about both North Korea and Trump’s WWE-themed tweet wherein he body-slammed a CNN character. Trump chose to respond to the CNN question at length, with an afterthought about North Korea. He said:

“I think what CNN did was unfortunate for them. As you know now, they have some pretty serious problems. They have been fake news for a long time. They have been covering me in a very, very dishonest way. NBC is equally as bad, despite the fact that I made them a fortune with The Apprentice. But they forgot that”

So while standing next to one of Europe’s worst media suppressors, Trump bashed the American media and the concept of free press. It was an unprecedented assault by a traveling president. Trump seems to think that generating income for an entertainment division of a media company entitles him to positive coverage by the news division. But the larger problem is that his rhetoric can only encourage other countries to demean and dismiss their local journalists.

The next question came from Hallie Jackson of MSNBC. She asked if he would “once and for all, yes or no, definitively say that Russia interfered in the 2016 election?” He would not. Trump gave a rambling response that avoided directly acknowledging Russia’s complicity in the election tampering:

“Well, I think it was Russia, but it could’ve been other people and other countries. It could have been a lot of people interfered. I’ve said it very simply. It could very well have been Russia, but I think it could well have been other countries. I won’t be specific. But I think a lot of people interfere. I think it’s been happening for a long time. It’s been happening for many, many years.”

Jackson’s follow up asked Trump why he could not just agree with his intelligence agencies who have definitively identified Russia as the culprit. He proceeded to ramble some more:

“Let me just start off by saying, I heard it was seventeen agencies. I said, “boy, that’s a lot. Do we even have that many intelligence agencies?” Right? Let’s check it. And we did some heavy research. It turned out to be three or four. It wasn’t seventeen. […] With that being said, mistakes have been made, I agree. I think it was Russia, but I think it was probably other people and/or countries. And I see nothing wrong with that statement. Nobody really knows for sure.”

And with that, Trump commenced maligning his own intelligence operations. He brought up the issue of weapons of mass destruction as an example of an intelligence failure. However, that was a failure of the Bush White House. The intelligence community did not support their WMD allegations.

What’s more, Trump’s assertion that seventeen agencies were not in agreement about Russia is just plain false. While only three agencies (the CIA, FBI, and NSA) were involved in making the assessment, none of the others dissented after the report was published. And by questioning whether there are seventeen agencies he is publicly exposing his ignorance of the intelligence community he is supposed to be leading. Trump’s dismissal of these agencies is another example of improperly criticizing the country while he’s abroad. What sort of confidence does that give to other countries when we ask for their support based on our intelligence?

Finally, in response to the questions about Russia’s election tampering, Trump felt the need for a diversion. He awkwardly shifted the conversation away from both himself and Russia with this nearly incoherent rant:

“Now the thing I have to mention is that Barack Obama, when he was president, found out about this – in terms of if it were Russia – found out about it in August. Now, the election was in November. That’s a lot of time. He did nothing about it. Why did he do nothing about it? He was told it was Russia by the CIA, as I understand it. it was well reported. And he did nothing about it. […] My big question is ‘Why did Obama do nothing about it from August all the way to November.'”

That’s his big question? Not what the hell is Russia doing interfering with our elections? First of all, Trump is once again wrong on the facts. President Obama took swift and decisive action when informed of the Russian hacking. He opened an investigation and encouraged state election officials to tighten their digital security. He was especially cautious before election day because he didn’t want to be seen as interfering with the election himself. And immediately following the election he imposed new sanctions, threw out 35 Russian officials, and closed down two diplomatic compounds.

So after bashing American media and intelligence, Trump has now moved on to American leaders. By showing such open disdain for the just-past president, Trump is giving permission for our allies and enemies to do the same for any national leader. They are now free to disregard the words and deeds of any representative of the United States, including Trump.

So much for leaving criticism at the ocean’s edge. Trump is demonstrating that he is incapable of behaving appropriately as president. He is more worried about defending his fragile ego than he is about serving the interests of the nation. His lack of diplomatic skills is likely to produce some unwanted consequences. And he has already proven that he is untrustworthy with confidential information. That’s why so many people are so anxious every time he meets with foreign dignitaries, whether at home or abroad. The country would be a lot better off if he would just stay at his golf resorts and leave governing to the adults.

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

Suck It Trump: New Poll Shows Americans Trust CNN/NY Times More Than Lyin’ Donald

Last week Donald Trump tweeted a hostile and childish video showing him body-slamming a CNN character. It was universally condemned as an incitement to violence against journalists. That is, of course, consistent with Trump’s well known animosity for the free press which he demeans at every opportunity.

Donald Trump

However, Trump’s relentless campaign to slander the press does not seem to be persuading anyone but his glassy-eyed disciples. Despite his attempts to brand the New York Times as “failing,” or CNN as “fake news,” the American people are still more inclined to trust the media than the President. This is borne out in a new poll by Survey Monkey. As reported by Axios:

“Among all adults, trust for CNN is 7 points ahead of Trump. Among independents, CNN wins by 15 points. […] Asked whether they trust Trump or the WashPost/NYT more, the newspapers won by 9 points among all adults. Asked about Trump vs. ABC/CBS/NBC, the networks were judged more trustworthy by an 11-point margin.”

So Trump loses to every media entity he was paired against. Whether it is his mortal enemy CNN, the nationally circulated newspapers, or all of the TV broadcast news networks. His furious efforts to vilify the great American institution of journalism has proved totally futile. The only thing he has achieved is making ill-informed wingnuts even more unhinged and unbearable. They’re the only ones who bought into his malicious rhetoric, but they never trusted the media to begin with.

The poll also asked respondents about their news viewing preferences. Not surprisingly, thirty-three percent of Republicans said that they get their news only from Fox News. That’s not “mostly” from Fox News. It’s “ONLY!” A full third of Republicans do not use any other source for news. That explains why so much of the party clings so tightly to easily debunked falsehoods. They believe that Trump had nothing to do with the Russians. They are convinced that a failing economy was rescued by Trump. Many still think that Obama was not born in the United States. They regard whatever they see on Fox News as gospel, and Fox is the PR division of the Trump administration.

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

This poll is not the first time that Trump lost to his media foes. In February, the Quinnipiac poll asked “Who do you trust more to tell you the truth about important issues: President Trump or the news media?” Voters chose the media by a margin of 52 percent to 37 percent. Now, five months later, after five more months of lambasting by Trump, he’s still trusted less than the media he detests. That’s gotta be painful – if his handlers allow him access to that information. And since it won’t be reported on Fox News, he might never know the truth.

Trump’s Disgraceful ‘Freedom Celebration’ Speech Just Exalts Himself, Whines About the Media

Saturday night Donald Trump took a little time away from lounging at his luxurious golf resort in New Jersey. He flew back to Washington to attend an evangelical concert that supposedly honored veterans in advance of Independence Day.

Donald Trump

As with almost every public appearance he makes, it ends up being entirely about him. He obviously doesn’t care about veterans or the anniversary of America’s founding. If he did, he wouldn’t pollute his speech with self-serving, ego-gratifying bullshit like this (video below):

“The fake media is trying to silence us, but we will not let them. Because the people know the truth. The fake media tried to stop us from going to the White House, but I’m president and they’re not. We won and they lost.

The fact is the press has destroyed themselves because they went too far. Instead of being subtle and smart, they used the hatchet and the people saw it right from the beginning. The dishonest media will never keep us from accomplishing our objectives on behalf of the great American people. Will never happen. Their agenda is not your agenda.”

That’s right. In an address intended to celebrate freedom and commemorate the heroes that make it possible, Trump lashed out again at the media. That’s what he considers to be the real “enemy of the American people.” And the context of his attack is, once again, the results of an election that took place eight months ago. His rabid fetish over having lost the popular vote is weighing on him still. And his obsession with blaming the press for all of his own self-destructive behavior persists.

Trump’s preoccupation with these complaints borders on the psychotic. He simply can’t let them go, even at the expense of tributes to heroes. And he wastes time and taxpayer money attending these self-congratulatory rallies because that’s where he gets his validation. These are nothing but political events designed to prop up Trump’s fragile ego.

There has never been a president who was more contemptuous of the press. His words and deeds are explicit incitement to violence. He doesn’t understand the meaning or value of the First Amendment. Otherwise, how could he repeatedly denigrate journalists as “sleazy,” “liars,” and “horrible human beings”? His provocations have resulted in actual physical attacks on reporters. NBC’s Katy Tur had to have security protect her while covering his campaign. Organizations that advance the welfare of journalists have called him “an unprecedented threat” to press freedom. And nothing proves that more than his latest tweet that overtly celebrates violence against the media.

If you thought that Trump had crossed the line before, you underestimated the depth of his hostility and recklessness. This is his juvenile idea of a joke, but it conveys a distinct and abhorrent message. There is no reason to think that he won’t continue to get worse. He wants to discredit and dismantle the media so that he can rule without criticism or accountability. Under his idea of authoritarian leadership there would be only state-run media. All Americans must unite to make sure that he is not successful. It’s a fight that is as consequential as the one for Independence that is being celebrated this week.

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

Tweetstorming: Donald Trump Remains Manically Obsessed With His War on the Media

Just two days after repulsing the nation with his misogynistic attack on MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski, Donald Trump is at it again. It wasn’t enough to earn the condemnation of both Republicans and Democrats for his juvenile, and possibly unlawful, behavior. Trump appears to have no regrets (or conscience) for his hateful outbursts and, consequently, is resuming them unabated.

Trump Baby

In another of his characteristic displays of dickishness, Trump took to Twitter to escalate his war on the media. It’s a campaign that denigrates the Constitution as it emulates the tactics of tyrants. And proving that he has no sense of shame, he once again unloads on the hosts of Morning Joe:

In Thursday’s tweet, Joe Scarborough was “psycho.” It was Mika who was crazy. But in both tweets Mika’s intelligence was maligned without any examples of her alleged mental deficiencies. Clearly Trump was just throwing another tantrum over having been criticized. His gargantuan ego simply can’t handle it. What’s more, he’s projecting his own stupidity in a pathetic spasm of denial.

And because Trump can’t go two minutes without spewing blatant lies, he again wrote about “their low rated show.” However, Morning Joe is enjoying record high ratings with nine straight quarters of growth. For someone who spent fourteen years on television, he sure doesn’t know anything about the business. Which may explain another of his morning tweets:

This is ignorant on so many levels. First of all, Greta was let go because her show was a complete failure. The program was a virtual sinkhole in the schedule. Based on the performance of the shows before and after, people were obviously changing the channel when it came on and returning when it was over. It was the free market – a concept usually cherished by conservatives – at work. And the notion that her “out of control bosses” fired her for not hating Trump enough is ludicrous. If true, then why have they recently hired or promoted Nicolle Wallace, George Will, Hugh Hewitt, Bret Stephens, and Charlie Sykes, And let’s not forget another Fox News refugee, Megyn Kelly, whose new NBC program is already an epic dud.

The Twitter tantrum continued with a swipe at Trump’s favorite media target, CNN:

This tweet is simply Trump venting his irrational hostilities. CNN has not been exposed as “fake news” by anyone but Trump and his sycophantic minions. As for “garbage Journalism,” that term applies to anything that isn’t sufficiently flattering to Trump. What he regards as legitimate journalism is the National Enquirer and conspiracy crackpot Alex Jones. Trump may be referring to a video by convicted propagandist James O’Keefe. His latest scam featured deceptively edited comments by CNN staffers. But if it proved anything, it’s that CNN has a diverse roster of political opinions and is not the bastion of liberalism that wingnuts like to pretend it is.

The ferocity of Trump’s assault on the media represents a clear and present danger to the free press. His short term goal is to deflect attention from his many policy failures: healthcare, taxes, immigration, etc. But his longer term goal is to denigrate the work of all journalists in order to advance the state as the only “approved” source of information.

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

The reforms he has made to the White House press office are evidence of this. Press Secretary Sean Spicer no longer holds daily televised press briefings. On some occasions reporters aren’t even allowed to make audio recordings. Apparently the administration doesn’t want a record of what the President’s spokesperson says. Which is surprising since Spicer or his alternates often say nothing at all or claim to not know the answers to critical questions. Even worse, the briefings are now attended by the likes of Breitbart News and Alex Jones’ Infowars. If that isn’t proof that they are trying to kill respect for the media, nothing is.

Trump White House Sinks Into a Bunker Mentality to Avoid Answering Questions from the Press

There’s a lot going on in Washington these days. Perhaps more of a serious nature than at any time in modern history. Donald Trump has demonstrated ineptitude across a broad array of issues and responsibilities. He’s under investigation for obstruction of justice and unsavory connections to Russia as they sought to interfere with the election. Add to that the President’s improper financial dealings that may violate the Constitution. Then throw in the floundering Republican agenda to repeal ObamaCare, reform taxes, build walls, and defeat ISIS. What you have is a super-heated goulash of White House controversies boiling over.

Trump Bunker

All of these matters are of critical importance to the American people. And the institution that keeps the public informed is the press corps whose freedom is guaranteed by the First Amendment. That makes this a bad time for the White House to build a wall between the President and the people. But that’s exactly what Trump’s White House is doing. In a bold move to silence the media, the White House Press Office has cut back on briefings. And when they hold them, they are prohibiting the use of cameras or recording devices. On Monday, CNN’s Jim Acosta expressed some of his frustration on the air (video below):

“The White House press secretary is getting to a point where he’s just kinda useless. If he can’t come out and answer the questions, and their not gonna do this on camera or on audio, why are we even having these briefings or gaggles in the first place?”

Acosta went on to lament the “stonewalling” by the White House that has refused to answer questions even after promising to do so. Left dangling are queries into whether the President has secret Oval Office tapes, and if he believes in climate change. And so much more:

“I don’t know what world we’re living in. We’re standing at the White House and they bring us into the briefing room here at the White House and they won’t answer these questions on camera or let us record the audio. I don’t know why everybody is going along with this. It just doesn’t make any sense to me.

“And it just feels like we’re slowly but surely being dragged into what is a new normal in this country where the President of the United States is allowed to insulate himself from answering hard questions. He hasn’t had a full blown press conference since February.”

That’s four months of cowering the bunker for the embattled and frightened President. Concluding that the briefings conducted in this manner were “pointless,” Acosta reiterated his surprise that the press corps goes along with the administration’s tactics. He complained that “this isn’t how we do things in this country.” But Acosta may not have factored in how this country does things under a wannabe tyrant like Donald Trump. He did however note in a tweet that:

To make matters worse, Trump’s press team may be looking to shake things up. According to Politico they have interviewed Laura Ingraham as a replacement for Sean Spicer as press secretary. That would put a Fox News contributor in front of a press corps that is already being lied to on a daily basis. This must be what they call “winning.”

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

Comey Slams Trump’s Media Bashing About Russia: ‘As Unfake As You Can Possibly Get’

Throughout Donald Trump’s campaign for president, and his subsequent residence in the White House, he has displayed a visceral hatred for the media. Virtually any story that was the least bit critical was branded as “fake news.”

Comey Trump

Trump is especially sensitive to allegations stemming from his unsavory connections to Russia. The linkages between himself, his family, and his associates are plentiful and disturbing. And despite the confirmation of numerous meetings and investigations, Trump stubbornly denies any relationship. His belligerent denials are a rejection of reality and often attempt to shift blame elsewhere. For instance:

Thursday’s Senate hearing with James Comey briefly, but significantly, touched on this issue. The former FBI Director was asked specifically about Trump’s characterization of the Russian interference in the election. His answer was an unequivocal repudiation of Trump’s anti-media position:

Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM): The President has repeatedly talked about Russia’s involvement in the U.S. election cycle as a “hoax” and as “fake news.” Can you talk a little bit about what you saw as FBI Director that demonstrates how serious this action actually was, and why there was an investigation in the first place?

James Comey: There should be no fuzz on this whatsoever. The Russians interfered in our election during the 2016 cycle. And they did it with purpose. They did it with sophistication. They did it with overwhelming technical efforts. And it was an active measures campaign driven from the top of that government. There is no fuzz on that. It is a high confidence judgment of the entire intelligence community. And the members of this committee have seen the intelligence. It’s not a close call. That happened. That’s about as unfake as you can possibly get.

What Comey is referring to is the overwhelming agreement that Russia actively interfered with the election. Seventeen separate intelligence agencies, from the State Department to the Pentagon, all independently affirm that. In fact, the only official resistance comes from the White House itself.

Having no credible argument to refute the consensus about Russia’s activities, Trump resorts to smearing the media. It’s a weak line of attack based entirely on his personal animus and driven by desperation and fear. But it’s also dangerous. Trump is purposefully denigrating an institution that is vital to the stability of a healthy democracy. He is attacking the very nature of the free press. And it is his intention to undermine the public’s confidence in all news providers. That is among the reasons that advocates for journalists branded Trump as “an ‘unprecedented threat’ to press freedom.”

Comey’s testimony reiterates what many have said before him. And it is a potent indictment of Trump’s irresponsible and reckless media bashing. And yet, the predictable result of his remarks will be an escalation by Trump of his assaults on the press. Hopefully the press will have the courage to defend their own honor and not let Trump get away with his self-serving campaign to destroy ethical journalism.

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

Donald Trump’s Latest Tweetstorm on ‘Fake News’ May Show Signs of Dementia

For most of Donald Trump’s presidency he has lashed out at what he calls “fake news.” His assaults on the press have been unprecedented in their hostility and absurdity. The result has been an environment that puts reporters at risk of physical attacks by unhinged Republicans and their supporters. That risk was made manifest last week when the GOP congressman from Montana, Greg Gianforte, body-slammed a reporter who was just doing his job.

Trump Baby

Of course, Trump’s definition of the fake news is entirely self-serving. In short it is any news that he doesn’t like. But setting that aside, Trump can’t even keep straight what forms the basis of his objections. Take for instance his Twitter disgorge Sunday morning. After a relatively quiet week while the President was busy embarrassing America overseas, Trump has resumed his pathetic Twimpering:

The use of anonymous sources is nothing new in journalism. It is a credible and necessary method of acquiring information that the public needs to know. Watergate was famously sourced to a figure known at the time only as “Deep Throat.” What’s more, anonymity is just as often a means for politicians to communicate with the public. They all do it, including Trump. Trump has even acted as his own anonymous source under pseudonyms like “John Barron.”

But what’s most troubling about Trump’s Sunday spew is that his outrage at fake news directly contradicts his prior complaints about “leakers” in his administration. He is now claiming that the leaks are “fabricated lies made up by the #FakeNews media,” and that “those sources don’t exist.” But if that’s so, then why did he order Attorney General Jeff Sessions to initiate an investigation into leaks. Was he ordering a probe into something he believes doesn’t occur?

Trump’s current position on leaks also calls into question his firing of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. The revelations about his clandestine meetings with Russian operatives were exposed by anonymously sourced news reports. Did Trump fire a top aide based on information he thinks was made up by unscrupulous reporters?

He can’t have it both ways. Either the leaks were credible and accurate and deserving of action, or they were invented and false and ought to have been ignored. Or there’s a third scenario. Trump is suffering from acute dementia and doesn’t know what he’s saying from one day to the next. Combine that with a dose of paranoia wherein everything he perceives as negative is a deliberate attack by a covert cabal of enemies and you have a recipe for chaos.

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

It’s that third, and most likely, scenario that makes Trump so dangerous. He has already called the media the “enemy of the American people.” His relentless attacks only serve to destabilize the foundation of America’s free press. The organizations that represent the welfare of journalists regard Trump as an “unprecedented threat” to press freedom. And with each new day Trump seems determined to prove that that’s true.

Whaaa? Trump Wants to Cancel All Press Briefings Because ‘The Ratings Are So High’

Last week Donald Trump floated a proposal to cancel all future press briefings. The comment was made during an interview with Jeanine Pirro on his favorite “news” network, Fox News. He followed that up with a tweet affirming his desire to silence the White House press office.

Donald Trump

Trump’s casual suggestion that he might just cancel all future press briefings reflects his tendencies toward fascist authoritarianism. The presidency is not his fiefdom. It is a position of service to the people. Press briefings are the method by which the people’s intermediaries in the media have opportunities to hold national leaders accountable. They cannot be replaced by written press releases. What’s more, Trump’s anger is entirely misplaced. He’s mad at the press because he and his staff are incompetent.

But Trump went even further with his hostile proposal to wrap his presidency in a soundproof cocoon. And his reasoning sunk even deeper into an illogical rant that exposes his deranged thought processes:

“These press conferences are like the biggest thing on daytime television, OK. You see the ratings. They’re blowing away everything, on just about, I think, everything, on daytime television. What I’d love to do is stop them.”

So Trump is now intent on stopping pressing briefings because – – – they are too popular? Trump is actually right, for once, about ratings. The Sean Spicer Show (Fibby Spice) does pull in an audience. And ratings reflect what America’s TV viewers want to see. Apparently they are anxious to see the media holding the President accountable and forcing his administration to explain its actions.

So obviously Trump wants to put an end to that. Ironically, three weeks ago Trump cited those same ratings as the reason he would never part with Spicer. He told the Washington Post that “I’m not firing Sean Spicer. That guy gets great ratings. Everyone tunes in.” Now insiders are hinting that Spicer will soon be replaced, possibly by Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle.

So what happened between then and now that made him so scared of the ratings? Could it possibly be that he’s incapable of justifying his unethical actions and comments with regard to the firing of FBI Director James Comey? Does he recognize that he’s confessed to impeachable acts and needs to shut down the press before the country finds out? Clearly his motivation, at least in part, includes a desire to punish the media. He said so himself:

“They will be very unhappy, because the ratings are so high that I don’t know what these networks are going to do. They’re going to start to cry. They get free ratings because of me and yet they don’t treat us fairly.”

Setting aside Trump’s authoritarian tendencies to clampdown on the press, his concept of their purpose is painfully ignorant. He is not there to produce ratings for the media. And to the extent that he does it’s a reflection on the public’s interest in government, not his popularity. But the kicker is that Trump thinks the media owes him positive coverage because of the ratings that he claims are his doing. Donald Trump can’t stop acting like a reality TV game show host long enough to be president. And that, along with his narcissism, paranoia, and general incompetence, makes him an imminent threat to the nation.

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

Scared Sh*tless: Der Fuhrer Trump Threatens to Cancel ‘All Future Press Briefings’

The fallout from Donald Trump’s incompetently executed firing of FBI Director James Comey continues to rain down hard on his administration. Not only did he transparently interfere with an active investigation of his collusion with Russia, but he admitted as much in an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt.

Comey Trump

At one point in the interview, Holt pressed Trump “Did you ask, am I under investigation?” Trump responded saying that “I actually asked him, yes. I said, if it’s possible, will you let me know, am I under investigation? He said, you are not under investigation.”

That is a wholly inappropriate question for a president to ask an FBI director under any circumstances. But in this case, Trump already told Holt that the dinner where this occurred was one where Comey was seeking to stay on as director. So Trump was actually tying Comey’s job prospects to the investigation. Elsewhere it was reported that Trump had tried to extract a loyalty pledge from Comey, which Comey refused.

These comments are literally impeachable offenses all by themselves. Trump’s intimidation tactics were obvious and intolerable. Not surprisingly, the media reported on what he said, which always makes him mad. But this morning’s tweetstorm included some frightening suggestions of a tyrannical mindset:

First of all, Trump is making excuses for his press representatives dispensing misinformation (lies) to the public. That is never acceptable. If there is some question about the facts, the correct answer is “I don’t know. I’ll get back to you.” But Trump’s people instead decided to pollute the discourse with falsehoods.

More importantly, Trump’s casual suggestion that he might just cancel all future press briefings reflects his tendencies toward fascist authoritarianism. The presidency is not his fiefdom. It is a position of service to the people. Press briefings are the method by which the people’s intermediaries in the media have opportunities to hold national leaders accountable. They cannot be replaced by written press releases.

What’s more, Trump’s anger is entirely misplaced. He’s mad at the press because he and his staff are incompetent. The issue that preceded his outburst was Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying that Trump fired Comey at the recommendation of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. That wasn’t true, and Trump himself contradicted it the next day in his interview with Holt by saying that he already planned to fire Comey regardless of the recommendation. So in Trump’s deranged brain, the press must be punished and banished.

Another item in this morning’s Twitter tirade was also notable for its threat to democracy and the rule of law:

REALLY? Trump is implying that he might be keeping Nixon like secret recordings. Comey isn’t the one who should be worried if such tapes exist. Their existence, and Trump’s use of them to intimidate, would be another justification for impeachment. And something tells me that the contents of any such tapes would affirm Comey’s account of what occurred at their meetings. Trump, after all, is a pathological liar.

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