WTF? While Americans Suffer, Trump Brags (and Lies) About TV ‘Ratings’

Well, it had to come to this. With more than 132,000 cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) confirmed in the United States, and 2,300 plus deaths, Donald Trump is showing us what really matters to him. He isn’t expressing condolences to those who have lost loved ones. He isn’t implementing a coherent strategy for combating the pandemic. He isn’t even adhering to the social distancing orders his own task force is recommending.

Donald Trump TV Set

Nope. What matters to Trump now – and always – is his ratings. Trump’s ego is voracious. Throughout this ordeal he has spent more time paying tribute to himself than he has executing a national plan. Whenever he does address things his administration is doing, he prefaces those remarks with superlatives that applaud his actions as “the biggest,” “the most,” and “the best ever.” He simply cannot describe any effort on his part without asserting that it broke some imaginary record for fabulousness.

On Sunday morning Trump went even further to essentially admit that he’s exploiting this pandemic as a means to get free airtime to promote himself and his 2020 reelection campaign. In a flurry of frantic tweets, Trump shamelessly boasted about the ratings for the televised Corona Task Force briefings. He began with a typical swipe at the media that he despises saying that “The Lamestream Media wants us to fail. That will NEVER happen!” And that “Polls are showing tremendous disapproval of Lamestream Media coverage of the Virus crisis. The Fake News just hasn’t figured that out yet!”

Trump’s assertion that the media (which he is now maligning as “lamestream” ala Sarah Palin) “wants us to fail” is not supported by reality. And Trump, as usual, doesn’t provide a single example to prove that reckless claim. Reporting accurately that Trump’s response is failing is not the same as wanting it to fail. As for polls on the public’s approval of coverage of the pandemic, they predominantly show that the majority of Americans don’t trust Trump on the subject of the virus. Even worse for Trump’s fragile ego, Americans trust the media more than they trust Trump. And then there was this:

Notice that Trump refers to the ratings of “my news conferences.” That is not what these briefings are supposed to be, They are supposed to be opportunities to keep the public informed and have questions answered by experts. They should be used to educate the public honestly about current circumstances, and to disclose what the government is doing to keep them safe. But Trump has never been a source of reliable, truthful information. As an example there’s the quote in this tweet from an unnamed “lunatic” whose existence is doubtful. That’s particularly ironic since just yesterday Trump was mightily perturbed about the use of unnamed sources.

However, Trump had only just begun saluting his ratings prowess. Not satisfied with his earlier accolades to himself, Trump unleashed a four-tweet rant quoting an article in the New York Times. Or should I say misquoting? The first tweet stated that…

“President Trump is a ratings hit. Since reviving the daily White House briefing Mr. Trump and his coronavirus updates have attracted an average audience of 8.5 million on cable news, roughly the viewership of the season finale of ‘The Bachelor.’ Numbers are continuing to rise…”

However, here is what the article actually said with the parts Trump excised in bold:

“President Trump is a ratings hit, and some journalists and public health experts say that could be a dangerous thing.

“Since reviving the daily White House briefing — a practice abandoned last year by an administration that bristles at outside scrutiny — Mr. Trump and his coronavirus updates have attracted an average audience of 8.5 million on cable news, roughly the viewership of the season finale of ‘The Bachelor.'”

So Trump left out crucial information, but still put his edits in quotation marks. That is both dishonest and unethical. It should also be noted that viewers who both support and (mostly) oppose Trump watch these briefings. So the ratings are not an indication of Trump’s popularity. What’s more, they air on multiple networks simultaneously and, therefore, are not comparable to any single network program rating such as The Bachelor. Moving on to the second tweet

“…On Monday, nearly 12.2 million people watched Mr. Trump’s briefing on CNN, Fox News and MSNBC, according to Nielsen — ‘Monday Night Football’ numbers. Millions more are watching on ABC, CBS, NBC and online streaming sites, and the audience is expanding. On Monday, Fox News…”

And now for the actual quote from the article with relevant edits in bold:

“Millions more are watching on ABC, CBS, NBC and online streaming sites. […] And the audience is expanding even as Mr. Trump has repeatedly delivered information that doctors and public health officials have called ill informed, misleading or downright wrong.

Most Americans would probably be interested in the fact that Trump is regarded as ill informed by doctors and public health officials. But Trump decided that they shouldn’t know that. Then, in the third tweet Trump said that Fox News…

“…alone attracted 6.2 million viewers for the president’s briefing — an astounding number for a 6 p.m. cable broadcast, more akin to the viewership for a popular prime-time sitcom…”

Really? Does Trump really want to associate his pandemic briefings with sitcoms? In the fourth tweet Trump said that…

“…The CBS News poll said 13 percent of Republicans trusted the news media for information about the virus. Michael M. Grynbaum @NYTimes”

Now don’t be surprised, but Trump left out pertinent information about this as well:

“The CBS News poll said 13 percent of Republicans trusted the news media for information about the virus, versus 72 percent of Democrats.”

What this tells is something we already know if we’ve been paying attention. Donald Trump is an egocentric, malignant narcissist who will lie about all things great and small in order to exalt himself. And he couldn’t care less about the suffering of the people, about whom he rarely expresses any sympathy or condolences. In this Sunday tweetstorm Trump has proved that he is only interested in his ratings. And that, sadly, explains why he has failed so tragically to protect the nation from a pandemic that could have been averted.

UPDATE: A reporter from the ultra-right OANN asked Trump about speculation that networks would cease coverage of these briefings and if his ratings were connected to that. After complimenting the question, Trump replied that “I don’t want high approval ratings from this.” Yeah, right. So what were these tweets all about?

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

Trump-Fluffers at Fox News Make Excuses for His Hijacking the Coronavirus Briefings

Throughout his presidency, Donald Trump has exhibited an unprecedented hostility toward the media and the very concept of a free press as enshrined in the Constitution. He repeatedly refers to it in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people.” Trump is currently suing several news organizations and has recently threatened to revoke the broadcast licenses of stations that air ads critical of him. And in his flaming paranoia, he is convinced that the media is a collective entity that is unified in a covert mission to destroy him. “All I see,” whines Trump about every major news network (including Fox News), “is hatred of me.”

Donald Trump, Fox News, White House

Trump’s press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, has never held a press briefing since her appointment in July of 2019. However, she makes frequent appearances on Fox News, but no other network. Trump has been deservedly criticized for his shuttering of the White House from scrutiny by the press. But he believes that his rambling Chopper Talks suffice as an alternative to an orderly exchange of information and timely disclosures regarding White House activities. They are not. They are simply opportunities for Trump to rant incoherently and to berate his perceived foes in the press corps.

With the advent of an international pandemic, Trump is producing a daily, self-serving, reality show in which he is cast as the star attraction. It is a blatantly obvious attempt to exploit the COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis for his own political benefit. These are nothing more than replacement vehicles for the cult rallies and campaign affairs that can no longer be held due to the risk of exacerbating the pandemic.

Not surprisingly, the press has been critical of this crass exploitation and many journalists are advocating that they not be covered, at least until after Trump’s remarks have been fact-checked and other extraneous campaign content is edited out. This has now caused Fox News to claim that there is some hypocrisy on the part of the press for first complaining about the administration’s abandonment of daily briefings, and now complaining that they are taking place. An op-ed on Fox’s website misconstrues that:

“The mainstream media were clamoring for regular press briefings from President Trump and his administration long before the coronavirus crisis escalated. Former press secretary Sarah Sanders stopped the daily routine in early 2019 and they eventually came to a halt altogether — much to the chagrin of many media members.

“But after Trump and his coronavirus team, including Vice President Mike Pence, Dr. Anthony Fauci, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams and Dr. Deborah Birx, began providing them on a daily basis in late February, some media figures said their networks should stop airing them, leading critics to question the sudden about-face.”

What Fox News is missing is that the press was never “clamoring” for staged events where Trump would lambaste the media, brag shamelessly about things he hadn’t done, and lie his asinine head off for two hours. They merely wanted his press secretary to do her job and be accountable to the public that the press represents.

What Trump is giving them instead is an interminable bitchfest that is intended solely to advance his reelection prospects and feed his voracious ego. This is particularly offensive considering the briefings that Trump is hijacking for his own purposes is supposed to be dedicated to informing the public about a deadly and growing pandemic.

If Trump had any real concern for the nation he would leave these Coronavirus Task Force briefings to the experts and stop wasting time with his lies and petulant attacks on reporters. Then he would reinstate the daily White House press briefings with the press secretary. It’s questionable that even under those circumstances we would get much useful or honest information considering how integral lying is to this administration. But at least we would avoid the endless tantrums and dangerous disinformation that Trump is disseminating with things as they are.

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

Trump’s Vile Attacks on Joe Biden’s Mental Health Blow Up In His Face

While America and the world are struggling to cope with a deadly international pandemic, Donald Trump is crassly exploiting the crisis for his own political aspirations. His appearances at the daily Coronavirus Task Force briefings are thinly disguised campaign events where his presence is worse than unnecessary, it’s dangerous. He just wastes time dispensing flagrant lies and false optimism, mixed with pompous self-flattery.

Trump Fear

As “president” Trump should have more important things to do than act as an MC for the knowledgeable doctors and scientists whose views are interrupted by his need to be the center of attention. He appointed Vice-President Pence to head the task force, but he’s too egocentric to let Pence do that job while he attends to other critical – but less media-focused – presidential duties. This is behavior that affirms that Trump is – as always – only concerned about himself and his desperate craving to hold onto power.

To that end, Trump continues his politicking on Twitter. He frequently posts accolades and endorsements of his bootlicking Republican comrades, while lashing out with dishonest assaults on Democrats. And on Wednesday morning Trump unleashed one of his most repulsive attacks on his likely 2020 opponent Joe Biden.

Trump tweeted a vile video (which will not be linked here) of Biden that was purposefully edited to give the false impression that Biden is mentally unfit. That’s an ironic position for Trump to take considering all the evidence of his own mental infirmities for which there is abundant confirmation. See: The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 37 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President.”

What’s more, if Trump wants to play the sanity game with video clips, he is far more vulnerable to that sort of attack than Biden. For instance…

And then there’s this…

And this late addition that features Fox News shills spliced in…

And that’s not all. Joe Scarborough put together another compilation on his MSNBC program, Morning Joe. All of this proves that there is really no shortage of evidence that Trump is psychologically compromised. In fact, there was a conference at Yale University that featured testimony from numerous psychiatric professionals attesting to Trump’s unfitness for office. And an analysis of Trump’s behavior fits the diagnosis of senile dementia.

Consequently, Trump’s berating Biden for a few verbal gaffes (by someone who has suffered since childhood from stuttering), is both absurd and a textbook example of projection. And Trump has been doing it for a year with his infantile nickname “Sleepy” Joe. It would be inadvisable for Biden or other Democrats to lower themselves to Trump’s level. However, the Internet community of “Resisters” should feel free to post these videos every time Trump makes assertions about Biden’s mental health or calls him “sleepy.” Because there really is no competition between Trump and Biden with regard to mental acuity. As Trump is so fond of boasting, he definitely wins at being more riddled with dementia.

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

The Virus that Infects Donald Trump: ‘All I See is Hatred of Me’

One thing that has been clear about Donald Trump from the outset of his administration is that he has never exhibited the qualities demanded of the presidency. He lacks the intelligence, compassion, commitment, morality, and humility, that are the hallmarks of leadership. And he has never demonstrated that he has the ability to learn, take responsibility, or to bring the diverse community of Americans together.

Donald Trump, coronavirus

Trump is always about only Trump. He has brazenly profited from his position by funneling hundreds of millions of dollars to his own properties. And he has focused his political attention exclusively on advancing his own partisan interests. These are traits that psychiatric professionals have diagnosed as malignant narcissism, a combination of ego-centrism and sociopathy.

The risks of having someone with those mental issues in positions of power are readily apparent. They portend a tendency toward authoritarian behaviors that demand unflinching loyalty and reject competent advice. What’s worse is that when someone like Trump is under pressure, he will cease to behave rationally. His fears will incite ever more defensive and destructive responses to events he is unable to cope with or comprehend. Like a wounded animal, he becomes more desperate and vicious.

That appears to be the state of Trump’s mental decline now. And his Twitter feed is the best evidence of his psychic decay. Late Sunday night Trump tweeted this frightening call for help:

Let’s break that down, shall we? First of all, Trump is confessing that he compulsively consumes news on six television networks and two newspapers that he frequently disparages as “enemies of the people.”. How could he possibly have time to do that and his duties as president as well? Especially during a national emergency brought on by a deadly pandemic.

We already know that much of his time is spent tweeting (dozens of times a day), staging photo-ops with corporate CEOs and supporters, and leading daily press briefings. Never mind that he has no business even attending those briefings considering that he has no relevant knowledge or experience to contribute. To the contrary, he generally disgorges lies and misinformation that others on his staff have to clean up later. Even worse, he diverts the discussion into his petty grievances with reporters or devolves into shameless episodes of self-exaltation or making excuses for his failures. That is, when he isn’t blatantly exploiting the crisis to boost his reelection prospects.

However, the most unambiguous sign of a severe mental breakdown is Trump’s assertion that “all I see is hatred of me.” Really? That’s ALL he sees? He doesn’t see any of the presentations of facts about the crisis in the U.S. and internationally? He doesn’t see any of the medical professionals offering their expertise to educate the public on how to stay safe? He doesn’t see any of the human interest stories and testimony from real people going through the hardships of surviving in these trying times? He doesn’t see the crushing anguish of victims or the inspirational acts of heroes or any of the human stories that define us as a people? He sees only what he perceives as hatred directed solely at him.

The fact that Trump is blind to all of these non-political, educational, uplifting, and heart-wrenching stories, says something unmistakable about him. Even worse, the only things he does see are his paranoid perceptions of the universal hostility that consumes his diseased mind. What sort of person unleashes public declarations that everyone hates him? And what does it say that he lashes out with vengeful visions of his perceived enemies “destroying themselves”? Is this the behavior of a psychologically stable leader? Is it even remotely sane? And how long can America endure the madness of a man who also tweeted this all-caps rant:

Trump is now implying that he would terminate the “social distancing” recommendations by health experts after a totally inadequate 15 day period, simply because he regards the economic impact to be worse than the pandemic itself. Unsurprisingly, Trump contracted this preposterous notion from Fox News. Now he’s putting money before the lives of thousands of Americans. And he’s only doing that because the financial downturn will negatively affect his reelection hopes. If it wasn’t clear before, it most certainly is now: Trump is suffering from a sickness that threatens every American. And if we don’t take the opportunity in November to socially distance ourselves from him and the Republicans he’s infected, we can all expect to be victims of the Trump Virus.

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

Trump ‘Loves’ Him Some Whiffleball Questions From Radical Right-Wing ‘Reporter’

Another day, another White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefing. These daily events serve no purpose other than to provide Trump with a forum to repeat his lies and disinform the public. And there is no plausible reason for him to be there except to satisfy his craving for ego-strokes now that he can no longer hold his traveling cult rallies.

Donald Trump

Saturday’s briefing was just a rehash of previous episodes where Trump leads a chorus of hallelujahs by sycophants paying tribute to his heroic awesomeness. In the course of his remarks Trump describes every alleged achievement as a never before seen breakthrough in human endeavors. Suffice to say that none of his barely coherent ramblings provide useful, factual information. The entirety of his presentation is an exercise in glassy-eyed happy-talk that painstakingly avoids the unsettling realities that the American people know all too well. After listening to Trump one might think that there was no pandemic crisis going on at all. Everything is fine and getting better.

In order to promulgate that deceit, Trump made a point of calling on Jenn Pellegrino, a “reporter” from the far-right, conspiracy factory, One America News Network (OANN). Her question, and Trump’s response, did nothing to advance the public’s well-being. physically or mentally. But it give Trump another opportunity to attack his perennial foes in the media (video below):

Pellegrino: This morning the Washington Post ran a story suggesting that you delayed taking action on the virus in January and February. Dr. Fauci has indicated that your action in the Chinese travel ban helped America immensely. What do you say to the Washington Post?
Trump: I love whoever you’re with. Cuz I think that’s such a nice question. I think the Washington Post covers us very inaccurately, covers me very inaccurately. I saw the story. I think it’s a disgrace. But it’s the Washington Post and I guess we have to live with it.

The story that they are obliquely referencing is one wherein the Post revealed that U.S. intelligence had warned him as early as January about the coronavirus and it’s potential risks, but that he disregarded the warnings. The Post reported that even though Trump’s advisers told him that “the system was blinking red […] they just couldn’t get him to do anything about it.”

So without putting the question into context, Trump complimented the Trump-fluffing reporter and her flagrantly biased network. Then went on to insult the Post without ever citing anything in their story that was inaccurate. Trump later noted that China had ejected the Post from the country, which he seems to think bolsters his position. Is that because he thinks China is so well regarded as a beacon of press freedom? And let’s not forget that Trump ejected the Post from the White House and other government offices.

Trump’s response to this question is especially notable considering how different it was from his response to a question he received the day before. Peter Alexander of NBC asked Trump “What do you say to Americans who are watching right now who are scared?” Whereupon, Trump jumped on him like a rabid jackal, calling Alexander a “terrible reporter” and the question “nasty.” But Pellegrino’s question asking “What do you say to the Washington Post,” drew Trump’s “love” for “such a nice question.”

The lesson here is that reporters are safer asking Trump what he has to say to news organizations that everyone knows he hates, than they are asking what he has to say to the American people. That’s because he cares more about attacking those who dare to tell the truth about him, than he does about the citizens of this country, a majority of whom voted against him. And it’s his indifference – and even hostility – to the people he is supposed to be serving, that has resulted in the disastrous way he has bungled the nation’s response to the worst pandemic in generations.

Trump Lashes Out at Reporter Who Made the Mistake of Telling Him the Truth

The media has an abysmal record for the way it has covered Donald Trump. From the very beginning of his campaign in 2015, to the present, the press has given Trump far too much latitude to lie and paid way too much attention to his reality show style hype. They really need to remember that their obligation is to the public, and to keeping them informed. Their mission is to present the truth, not an artificial facade of balance. Reporters are not stenographers.

Donald Trump

Trump is a confirmed self-promoter and a pathological liar. His words cannot be relied upon for anything other than evidence of his mammoth ego and infantile obsession with maligning those he regards as enemies. And considering his severe paranoia, there almost everyone is an enemy. Even under ordinary circumstances, these traits would require special treatment by the press to unravel the intentions of such a person in a position of power. But these are not normal times. The presence of a viral pandemic that is putting the lives of millions at risk makes these times unique and perilous.

On Friday morning Trump provided an outstanding example of what makes him such a difficult character to cover. It occurred at the daily press briefing from the White House. Trump actually should not even be attending these briefings. Presumably he would have more important work to do during this crisis, which is why he assigned his Vice-President, Mike Pence, to head the Coronavirus Task Force. But Trump has been showing up every day because it has replaced the ego-stroking cult rallies that he can’t hold anymore due to the risk of them becoming breeding grounds for the virus.

During the briefing, NBC reporter Peter Alexander was called on to ask a question. It all started off fairly mild, but Trump quickly changed his tone into one of reflexive defensiveness and overt hostility. Alexander began by asking Trump if it was possible that his “impulse to put a positive spin on things might be giving Americans a false sense of hope?” That led to this exchange:

Alexander: What do you say to American who are scared though? Nearly 200 dead. 14,000 who are sick. Millions, as you witnessed, who are scared right now. What do you say to Americans who are watching right now who are scared?
Trump: I say that you are a terrible reporter. That is what I say. I think that’s a nasty question. And I think it’s a very bad signal that you’re putting out to the America people.

Seriously? What Trump has to say to scared Americans is that Alexander is bad reporter? That should make the nation feel better (see Alexander’s response below). Ironically, Trump inadvertently confirmed the premise of Alexander’s questions: that Trump is fixated on blanketing the media with his phony rosy scenarios. As a consequence of his tunnel-blindness, Trump simply cannot abide any discussion of the real-world hardships that the American people are enduring. That’s why he lashed out at Alexander’s reference to sicknesses and fatalities. And he rejected the opportunity to send a message of hope to worried citizens.

Trump cultists are fond of disparaging progressives as “snowflakes.” But what is more representative of that label than Trump’s pitiful inability to deal with the facts about the coronavirus crisis, and the reality that people are fearful for themselves and their families? Trump is only concerned about himself and his public image. And the only reason he wants to see this matter resolved is so that it doesn’t affect his prospects for reelection. Consequently, Trump is really the one who has something realistic to fear. And the sort of childish behavior he exhibited at this briefing will only make it more likely that his fears will come true. That’s the good news.

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

It’s Time to Quarantine Trump From the Coronavirus Briefings

What’s a malignant narcissist to do when his primary source of personal gratification is deemed too perilous to continue. That’s the dilemma that Donald Trump is facing as the COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis puts an end to the cult rallies that feed his ravenous ego.

Donald Trump TV Set

For many weeks Trump denied the obvious signs that the coronavirus was spreading and endangering people’s lives. So he continued to appear at the rallies that may have served as a breeding ground for more infections. But that’s no longer possible as state and federal guidelines are uniformly advising that people refrain from gathering in groups of more than ten. In many cases such gatherings are expressly prohibited. And since his travel has been curtailed, he hasn’t been able to hold court at his “Chopper Talk” sessions on the White House lawn either.

Consequently, the craving for adulation that consumes Trump was going unsatisfied until he decided to show up at the daily press briefings held by his Coronavirus Task Force. There he found himself the center of attention again as he disgorged his hallmark brand of self-exaltation and rancid invective. But his presence there is less than useless, it’s distracting and even destructive.

Trump’s tendency to express everything in frenetic hyperbole was evident in this morning’s press briefing. He spent an inordinate amount of time praising himself for his “tremendous” response to the current crisis, for the best economy ever, and other assorted imaginary achievements. He repeatedly – and falsely – claimed that no one ever thought that this virus could become so harmful, and that “There’s never been anything like this in history. Nobody has ever seen anything like this before.” (Note: whenever Trump says no one has seen/heard something, he means that he hasn’t). He said that, due to the virus, he views himself as a “wartime president,” apparently having forgotten that the U.S. has had troops deployed in three wars (Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria) throughout his presidency.

Trump lashed out at his usual foes, particularly the media. He bashed the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and the Washington Post, as dishonest. And in the same breath he claimed that “I know the the truth. And people out there in the world, they really don’t know the truth. They don’t know what it is.” This is his way of advancing the code of the cult: Only the cult leader tells the truth. Everyone else is lying or stupid. However, the people out there in the world seem better able to discern the truth than Trump would like. A recent poll shows that a broad majority of 60% don’t trust what Trump says about COVID-19.

When he manages to stay on topic, Trump’s coronavirus remarks focus predominantly on unrealistic, rosy scenarios and happy-talk wherein there has been nothing but incredible progress being made. That is not only false, it’s dangerous. It seduces people into a false state of security, believing that they don’t really have to alter their behavior or heed public warnings. What’s more, his presence produces more political rhetoric as he tries to twist every question into something he can exploit for partisan benefit.

Worst of all, Trump lies with abandon. He has told reporters at these briefings that millions of virus tests would be available by now (they aren’t), and that anyone who wants a test can get one (they can’t). He said that vaccines and treatments that will take more than a year to produce, would be available shortly. He invents partnerships with private entities that are later disclaimed. And he interjects vile bigotry such as his now frequent references to the “Chinese virus.”

Trump really needs to be quarantined from appearing at these briefings. He has nothing productive to contribute because he is so pitifully ignorant about the issues at hand. Of course, he regards himself as an expert on everything, so he ends up rambling incoherently about medicine, epidemiology, economics, sociology, and whatever else pops into his shrunken head.

The American people are justifiably worried about their welfare and that of their families and nation. Trump needs to appreciate this and suppress his ego for a while. Just leave these briefings to the experts so that we can all focus on getting through this. He can stay in his bedroom and watch more Fox News.

Unfortunately, that may be too much to ask of Trump. He is too mentally dependent on the attention he steals to think about the needs of anyone else. And that same lack of empathy prevents him from doing what’s necessary to lead the nation to the conclusion of this crisis. Hopefully, saner heads will prevail and take charge. if not, it’s gonna be long pandemic.

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

Here’s a portion of Trump’s aimless rambling at today’s press briefing.

WTF? Trump-Fluffer Devin Nunes Tells Fox News that ‘It’s a Great Time to Go Out’

For several months now, Donald Trump has been downplaying the seriousness of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. He has said that it would miraculously disappear; that it was just one guy from China; that there was nothing to worry about; and that it was totally under control. The facts, medical experts, and common sense all tell us that none of that is (or was) true.

Donald Trump, Devin Nunes

Throughout the same period of time, Fox News has supported Trump’s reckless and self-serving negligence. While most American are taking precautions to avoid infecting themselves and others, Fox News is continuing to promote activities that will not only put people’s lives at risk, it will exacerbate the severity of the health crisis that is sweeping the nation and the world.

Another example of Fox’s irresponsibility was on display during a segment of Maria Bartiromo’s program. She interviewed the utterly corrupt Trump bootlicker, Rep. Devin Nunes, wherein he gave this ill-considered advice to Fox News viewers and the American people:

“I will just say, one of the things you can do — if you’re healthy, you and your family, it’s a great time to just go out, go to a local restaurant — Likely you can get in easily.”

That could not possibly be more ignorant and dangerous at this perilous time for our country. And it is completely contrary to what the healthcare professionals are saying. Even those who are leading Trump’s Coronavirus Task Force like renowned immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci:

“I think Americans should be prepared that they are going to have to hunker down significantly more than we as a country are doing.”

It appears that Nunes and Fox News are deliberately trying to get Americans killed. And they are doing it to advance the political interests of Trump. It has already been observed that his trivialization of this crisis was intended to help his reelection prospects. And these harmful remarks by Nunes come just one day after Fox and Friends co-host Ainsley Earhardt told Fox News viewers that “It’s actually the safest time to fly.”

As if that weren’t enough, Trump himself tweeted this on Sunday morning:

So now the President is happily recounting his gathering of sycophants at the White House. Never mind that he is also contradicting the advice by doctors to engage in “social distancing,” something that Trump bizarrely tweeted on Saturday in all-caps.

Furthermore, there is significant risk of contracting the coronavirus by being in close proximity to Trump and his entourage. While he just announced that he tested negative for the virus, his record of rampant, pathological lying causes many people to have reasonable doubts that anything he says is true.

What’s more, it has just been reported that a third person has tested positive for COVID-19 who was a guest at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida. That means that there are more confirmed cases of coronavirus at Mar-a-Lago than in seven states. Perhaps they should consider shutting it down. And then maybe the White House as well. You can’t be too safe.

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

Fox News Warns Their Employees About COVID-19, While Lying to Their Viewers

After nearly two months of rapidly growing infection rates, anxiety, and fatalities, Donald Trump has finally declared a national emergency due to COVID-19 (the coronavirus). This declaration is both an acknowledgement that the problem is far more serious than he has previously let on, and an inadvertent confession that he was wrong to trivialize the all too apparent risks in the first place.

Donald Trump, Fox News, Fake

However, Trump’s press conference continued to paint an unrealistically rosy scenario wherein everything would soon be fine due to the “perfectly” implemented response by his administration. Trump spent much of the presser praising himself and falsely smearing his predecessor, President Obama. Never mind that the Obama administration quickly declared a health emergency at the outset of the H1N1 (swine Flu) virus, and tested a million Americans the first month. It’s been two months since the first reported case of COVID-19, but Trump just got around to declaring an emergency and only about 10,000 Americans have been tested.

RELATED: Trump’s Flagrant Coronavirus Lies Are Turning His Supporters Into Carriers

The coverage of Trump’s declaration by his State TV news outlet (aka Fox News) was predictably sparkling with unflinching adoration and praise. This required a significant turnabout in their editorial stance considering that Fox News had been staunchly supporting Trump’s prior insistence that the coronavirus wasn’t a really a problem at all. For weeks Trump lied (video below) about there being only a handful of cases and that the number was going down. He assured the public that the whole thing would miraculously disappear in short order. And Fox News backed him up a hundred percent. But now that Trump has conceded that this situation requires an emergency declaration, Fox News has flipped their position in tandem with the President’s.

That position, however, is confusing, and perhaps deliberately so. While Trump did declare a national emergency, he continued to speak optimistically about how quickly his “flawless” management of the crisis would result in its timely conclusion. In other words, there is still nothing to worry about. Naturally, Fox News parroted that positivity. On many of its programs the slant was toward how confident the American people should be that Trump would would guide us all to safety. There was little of the caution that the rest of the media is encouraging.

For instance, Fox and Friends co-host Ainsley Earhardt told viewers that “It’s actually the safest time to fly.” This, while medical experts are advising people to avoid non-essential travel such as long plane trips. And that’s especially true for those over 65, which is the bulk of Fox’s audience. Additionally, Trish Regan said that it’s all a Democratic hoax to impeach the President. That’s similar to Trump’s “shadow” chief of staff Sean Hannity’s take that pegged Democrats as the real threat, rather than the virus:

“Since the beginning, all they’ve done is use the virus, politicize the virus to bludgeon President Trump. All the same people who have done the same thing for three straight years. … Russia, Russia. Ukraine, Ukraine. And impeach, impeach. Now, corona, corona.”

What’s most disturbing about this is that, while Fox News is virtually encouraging risky behavior for their viewers, they are giving completely different advice to their employees. A memo that was sent by Fox’s CEO Suzanne Scott and president Jay Wallace told staffers to…

“…cut back on studio bookings and to expect possible programming changes as a result of precautions being taken against the spread of coronavirus.”

And furthermore…

“Fox News told producers and bookers to rely more on remote interviews or interviews conducted via Skype; to cancel all in-person meetings; and to limit vendors for entering the building. Earlier this week, Fox News canceled the in-studio audience for its ‘Greg Gutfeld Show’ on Saturday nights and said it would stop doing a live-audience show for ‘Fox & Friends’ that had been taking place about once every month.”

That’s good advice that is consistent with the guidance given by medical experts. Many companies are instituting similar precautions. But while that’s good enough for the Fox staffers, it isn’t what Fox is telling their own viewers. And that isn’t just the view of outsiders and critics of the network. A Fox producer told CNN’s Brian Stelter that…

“The attempt to deflect and blame the media and Democrats from Trish Regan, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Lou Dobbs, Jesse Watters, and Greg Gutfeld — instead of addressing the coronavirus — is really irresponsible and hazardous to our viewers.”

The stark difference between Fox’s internal personnel guidance and their editorial policy is indicative of their political biases. It also demonstrates that their concerns for their audience (which is largely made up of vulnerable seniors) is focused more on pro-Trump propaganda and advancing his reelection prospects, than on protecting their health and welfare. Which, not surprisingly, is exactly what Trump himself is focused on. That’s why he has failed to implement broad-based testing and continues to understate the still very serious risks.

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

Trump is Patient Zero: His National Emergency Ignores His Own Role as a Risk Factor

After more than two months of slow-walking and trivialization, Donald Trump is finally taking the perils of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak more seriously. The declaration of a national emergency is not only an acknowledgement of the potential threat posed by the virus, but also an implicit admission that his previous approach was pitifully ineffective and even dangerous.

Donald Trump

While it is long past time to begin treating this as the pandemic that it is, Trump is still missing some critical aspects that can have a profound impact. Notably, Trump is setting a terrible example for personal behavior in the midst of a viral outbreak. Despite having been in close proximity to people known to have tested positive for COVID-19, Trump continues to refuse to self-quarantine, or even be tested. His first exposure occurred at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) a couple of weeks ago. That resulted in several Republican lawmakers, including Sen. Ted Cruz, self-quarantining. More recently Trump met with the Prime Minister of Brazil and his press secretary, Fabio Wajngarten, who has tested positive.

Under any other circumstances, someone with the exposure Trump has had would voluntarily terminate his contacts with others. The possibility that he was infected would make such contacts too dangerous to continue, not just for those persons, but everyone they encounter afterward. That’s precisely how viral pandemics spread. Trump is also putting his senior staff and other government officials at risk. Imagine how that could affect the nation if numerous people responsible for critical government management were simultaneously sidelined.

Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health is a member of Trump’s coronavirus task force. On Friday he told told Willie Geist of MSNBC that anyone who had the interactions Trump has had should isolate themselves for two weeks. Dr. Fauci also told Congress that the Trump administration’s testing protocols are a failing.”

So why would Trump so brazenly reject the guidance provided by every medical expert? Perhaps because it’s consistent with his prior attempts to diminish the severity of the outbreak. He has stubbornly insisted that there really isn’t much of a problem at all. As the virus was spreading, Trump said that there were few victims and the number was going down. He told the nation that it would simply go away. And he recklessly compared it the common flu. Never mind that the fatality rate is 300 times higher for the COVID-19. His purpose was to shield himself from criticism while blaming Democrats for inciting panic and conspiring to use the crisis to hurt him politically.

Not surprisingly, that is exactly the same purpose that has been driving reporting on Fox News. Everyone from Sean Hannity to Laura Ingraham to Trish Regan to Lou Dobbs to the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends, have been downplaying the risks while hyping the alleged politicization by Democrats. And both Fox and Trump have been frantically shifting blame to others and falsely criticizing the Obama administration for it’s handling of the H1N1 virus in 2009. What that has to do with the current crisis is obviously just a dodge to attack Trump’s perennial nemesis. For the record, Obama declared a health emergency in the first month of the H1N1 outbreak and tested a million Americans. Trump has tested only about 10,000 people in more than two months.

Trump has been actively seeking to keep reports of infections and fatalities low in order to avoid publicity that makes him look bad and adversely affect his reelection prospects. He even said that he opposed allowing Americans from a cruise ship to disembark because it would increase virus stats. What’s more, the Trump administration refused to the use the COVID-19 test developed by the World Health Organization. These actions are reported to have taken to tamp down the numbers. This, of course, delayed testing in the U.S. by crucial weeks. Trump is clearly more worried about his PR than human lives.

There are a lot of things that the administration can do now to address this crisis and protect the American people. Congress is working on bipartisan legislation to help workers, businesses, and healthcare professionals. But Trump’s bragging and paying tribute to himself is not among them. The virus doesn’t care about his narcissistic rambling.

However, a simple thing Trump can do would be to follow the advice of his own experts. He needs to immediately self-quarantine to prevent further viral infections. And he needs to be tested to give confidence to the nation that he hasn’t become infected himself. He needs to do these things for all of the reasons that healthcare experts have enumerated. But he also needs to do them to set an example for the nation and the world. His obstinance is irrational, counterproductive, and childish. In other words, so very Trumpian.

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