ObamaCare Signups Breaking Records Despite Trump’s Sabotage and Declaring it Dead

Last month Donald Trump gave a definitive assessment of what he considered the status of ObamaCare. “ObamaCare is finished,” he began. “It’s dead. It’s gone. It’s no longer – You shouldn’t even mention it, it’s gone. There is no such thing as ObamaCare anymore.” Never mind that he sounded like the Monty Python sketch about the deceased parrot. In this case, the departed bird is actually showing signs of life.

Obama Trump Tweet

In fact, the number of people signing up for the Affordable Care Act this year is exceeding all records. It’s still the first week of open enrollment, but this surge is an unmistakably positive sign. As reported in The Hill:

“The surge in sign-ups, which was confirmed by an administration official, comes despite fears from Democrats that enrollment would fall off due to the Trump administration’s cutbacks in outreach and advertising.

“On the first day of enrollment alone, Nov. 1, one source close to the process told The Hill that more than 200,000 people selected a plan for 2018, compared with about 100,000 last year. More than 1 million people visited healthcare.gov that day, compared to about 750,000 last year, the source said.”

In one respect these numbers should not be all that surprising. The polls show that ObamaCare has an overwhelmingly positive approval rating. When asked if Trump should make the ACA work seventy-one percent said that he should. That includes a plurality (48%) of Republicans.

Which makes it all the more puzzling that Trump and the GOP are trying so hard to kill the program. They attempted three separate votes to do so, and all failed. So Trump took it upon himself to try to sabotage the healthcare plan. Among the steps he took to deliberately destroy a popular policy:

  • Trump pulled the plug on all Obamacare outreach and advertising in the crucial final days of the 2017 enrollment season.
  • Trump attempted to bribe health insurers to support his bill to kill ObamaCare.
  • Trump misdirected funds intended to encourage enrollment into a public relations plan aimed at strangling it.
  • Trump stopped paying the cost-sharing reduction [CSR] payments that subsidize many individual policies.

The resiliency of ObamaCare demonstrates the enduring appreciation the American people have for its benefits. They continue to support it, and even to expand it. That’s why the movement to implement a universal Medicare-for-all plan continues to pick up steam. At the same time, Trump’s cynical and destructive efforts to kill ObamaCare will continue to fail. The people recognize it as a hostile assault on their interests and welfare. And it’s one of the primary reasons he is suffering with such historically low approval ratings.

Open enrollment began on November 1, and it continues until December 15 (some states have extended that date. Be sure to enroll or renew within those dates. And since the Trump administration has slashed promotional efforts to inform people, please pass this information on to everyone you know.

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

Here is Trump being an asshole:

Lyin’ Sean Spicer’s ‘Lack of Credibility’ Gets Him Rejected By All 5 Major News Networks

In August Donald Trump’s Press Secretary, Sean Spicer (Fibby Spice), was advised that his services would no longer be required. He was fired after only six months of loyal lying for the President. At first glance, Spicer seemed to be the perfect person for the job. On his first day at work he assembled the Washington press corps to berate them for telling the truth about the dismal attendance at Trump’s inauguration. And it was all downhill from there.

Sean Spicer

The White House has jettisoned a record number of top staffers in its short tenure. They include his chief of staff Reince Priebus, national security advisor Michael Flynn, and communications director Anthony Scaramucci. Some of Trump’s castoffs have already found new employment with right-wing media outlets like Breitbart News and the Sinclair Broadcast Group. But Spicer is having a rough go of it in his post-Trump career. NBC News reports that:

“The big five news organizations have passed on offering former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer a job as an exclusive paid contributor, network sources confirmed to NBC News on Tuesday.

“Since Spicer exited the White House, his representatives have been holding individual conversations about the possibility of President Donald Trump’s former flack joining one of the major TV networks, which include CBS News, CNN, Fox News, ABC News and NBC News.

“But ‘they won’t touch him,’ said a media industry executive familiar with those conversations.”

The reason given by some of these networks for rejecting Spicer was his “lack of credibility.” Which, ironically, is what qualified him for his job in the Trump administration in the first place. Spicer devotedly backed up Trump’s false assertions that millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 election. He did the same with the claim that President Obama had tapped Trump’s phone. And he supported Trump, Jr.’s description of a meeting with Russian operatives as only about adoption. That was even after Donnie’s emails disclosed that it was actually about getting dirt on Hillary Clinton.

The fact that these networks all passed on Spicer is a notable step in the right direction. But if “lack of credibility” is their standard then you have to wonder why they still employ people like Sean Hannity, Hugh Hewitt, Stephen Moore, etc. There are numerous pundits whose record for honesty, or at least accuracy, is suspect. Yet they continue to keep their jobs. What’s more, these networks also book guests whose comments are brazenly untruthful. They are nothing more than propagandists for the Trump White House. Chief among them is prevaricator extraordinaire, Kellyanne Conway. Reputable news organizations should never allow people on the air who repeatedly and shamelessly lie.

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

Spicer’s career is not totally kaput. There are opportunities for him in the conservative fringe media. He can go on the speakers circuit for some big bucks from corporations. And he has already tested the entertainment waters with his cameo on the Emmys. But if the networks maintain this newly adopted standard of credibility, there may be some hope for the future. Perhaps the media will begin to value truth and honesty over balance and false equivalencies. It’s too soon to draw that optimistic conclusion, but the snubbing of Sean Spicer is a good start.

DACA: The ‘Cruel Hand’ of Donald Trump Steals Hope Away From America’s DREAMers

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) was implemented by the Obama administration in 2012. Its purpose was to provide undocumented immigrants, who entered the country as minors, protection from deportation. Applicants must have completed school or military service and cannot have a criminal record. The program is a humanitarian solution to the unfair punishment of young people who weren’t responsible for their immigration status. The beneficiaries are known as DREAMers because through DACA they were allowed to pursue the American Dream.

DACA DREAMers

For several days Donald Trump has been teasing a final decision on the future of DACA. And on Sunday, the day that Trump declared a National Day of Prayer, he also dashed the prayers of the DREAMers. White House sources reported that Trump has decided to end DACA with a six month delay before enforcement. It’s a typically Trumpian demonstration of callous insensitivity and overt bigotry. Criticism of his decision has already begun to emerge. And the reaction by Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) is especially relevant and moving:

“It’s a cruel hand that extends the American dream and then steals it away. With a fierce faith in our country’s word, DREAMers walked out of the shadows and bravely embraced the only home they’ve ever known. In contrast, tonight President Trump gave in to his own dark fear of diversity and punished hundreds of thousands of young people for simply trusting the United States.”

Cruelty barely describes what Trump is proposing. The DREAMers registered for the program and paid $500.00 in fees. They completed school, got jobs, or enlisted in the military. Now they are identifiable and vulnerable. They believed in America and believed that this nation, the only home they ever knew, was honorable and trustworthy. What they didn’t anticipate was the hateful reign of a born liar. A con man who couldn’t care less about the dignity of keeping one’s word or honoring a promise. And now they have to live in fear of being banished to a foreign land where they may not even speak the language.

That’s what Donald Trump is putting these innocents through. Remember, they broke no laws. They were children under the care of their parents. And their parents only wanted what all parents want: a better life for their kids. It’s the promise chiseled into the base of the Statue of Liberty. It’s the pledge made by a prior administration that the current one has turned into a trap. That’s even after Trump was asked if the Dreamers should be worried, and he replied disingenuously “We love the Dreamers. We love everybody.”

Now, if Trump goes through with this, there will be 800,000 people whose lives are hanging by a legal thread. This is more than a humanitarian travesty. Economists at the Center for American Progress have studied the impact of ending DACA. They concluded that it “would result in a loss of $460.3 billion from the national GDP over the next decade.” The loss of the productivity of these workers and the taxes they paid would severely hamper the economy. And the decline of spending in their communities would cost business profits and jobs.

A peculiar wrinkle to the proposal being reported is the six month delay. The presumption is that Trump is giving Congress that time to draft and pass legislation to replace DACA. But what would Trump have to gain by handing this off to Congress? If they fail to act, then he still gets the blame for ending the program. If they pass legislation to preserve it, then Trump is tagged with being the racially divisive swine who tried to kill it. And he would be in the awkward position of signing legislation that reversed his own executive order.

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

The only possible upside would be the bolstering of Trump’s support within the alt-right, white supremacist movement. Just as with his pandering to the bigots after Charlottesville, and his pardoning of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Trump may be playing to his deplorable base. His approval ratings are so low that he needs to cling to every potential vote, no matter how repulsive. But that’s only a plus in the perverse world of Trump and his racist followers. And it surely won’t help him with the majority of Americans who have the same dreams for the nation as DACA’s DREAMers.

Dumping on Trump: Spicer’s Replacement Caught on Video Slamming the President

Friday morning a bombshell announcement rattled the White House as another shake up hit the wires. Donald Trump’s acting communications director and press secretary, Sean Spicer unexpectedly resigned. The reason for his swift exit was that Trump brought in Anthony Scaramucci to fill the communications director position. Spicer was said to be unwilling to report to the totally inexperienced former hedge fund manager.

Fox News Scaramucci

The resignation of a key communications staffer only six months into the administration is emblematic of the disarray in the Trump White House. Spicer is only one of the top aides that didn’t last very long under Trump’s erratic and authoritarian control.

Another communications director, Mike Dubke, resigned in May. National Security Advisor Michael Flynn left under a cloud of lies about meetings with Russians. Monica Crowley barely moved in to the NSC when she turned and left due to revelations of rampant plagiarism. And two members of Trump’s legal team, Mark Corallo, and Marc Kasowitz, just quit. That doesn’t even count the hundreds of resignations/terminations from the Department of Justice, the Environmental Protection Agency, the State Department, the Pentagon, and more. Most of those positions remain unfilled.

Scaramucci has no experience in media relations whatsoever. He previously ran the Skybridge Capital hedge fund. He was also a Fox News contributor who appeared frequently on the Fox Business Network. It was in that role that he made some disparaging comments about his new boss a couple of years ago. On a panel discussing speculation of Trump’s presidential aspirations, Scaramucci candidly expressed his opinion (video below).

Among other things, Scaramucci accused Trump of being a “Democratic plant” for Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Another current Fox News Trump shill, Charlie Gasparino, agreed saying “I’ve been saying that for a long time.” Scaramucci called Trump “divisive” and said that the only thing he would president of was the “Queens County Bullies Association.” He offered his prediction that Trump “is probably gonna make Elizabeth Warren his vice-presidential nominee.”

Then Dagen McDowell, another Fox News hack who breathlessly praises Trump these days, chimed in. “I like how you say that now,” she scolded him, “but I’ve had a problem with how he talks about women for years.” Scaramucci concurred, and went further to issue Trump a direct challenge.

“I don’t like the way he talks about women, I don’t like the way he talks about our friend Megyn Kelly. And you know what, the politicians don’t want to go at Trump because he’s got a big mouth and because [they’re] afraid he’s going to light them up on Fox News and all these other places. But I’m not a politician. Bring it. You’re an inherited money dude from Queens County. Bring it, Donald.”

Indeed. Trump is the beneficiary of having wealthy parents. He grew up spoiled and self-centered and developed a reputation for being a loud-mouthed bully. Scaramucci called it right at the time. And his assessment was aired on a Fox News network with concurrence from his right-wing colleagues. Now he will join the administration that already has several former Foxies on board. Among them K.T. McFarland, Ben Carson, Heather Nauert and Jonathan Wachtel.

The Trump administration is awash in chaos. Hundreds of critical jobs remain vacant. And many of those on staff are at odds with the president and/or each other. During the campaign Trump bragged that he would hire “all the best people.” But that appears to be just another phony promise that he can’t fulfill.

There appears to be a dearth of prospects who would even consider working for Trump. Particularly when he is under investigation for potentially impeachable crimes. Being connected to this administration is regarded as a resume killer. Consequently, that leaves only political bottom feeders as candidates. And with inquiries ongoing by the FBI, Congress, and special counsel Robert Mueller, it will only get worse.

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

Preparing to Deal with a Child: That’s How Host Nations View Trump’s Upcoming Visit

Friday morning Donald Trump will embark on his first trip oversees as president. He might regard his departure as a flight from the turmoil he’s created at home. A special prosecutor was just named to investigate his connections to Russia and potential charges of obstruction of justice due to his interference with, and firing of, FBI Director James Comey. Add that to a failing agenda including efforts to repeal ObamaCare, curtail immigration, tax reform, and more. This trip must seem like a vacation to Trump and his exhausted inner circle.

Donald Trump

Unfortunately for him, rest and relaxation are not in the cards. Although, lacking stamina, Trump did reportedly try to pare down his schedule. According to the New York Times he asked to shorten the itinerary from nine days to five. The Times also reported that he “expressed dread” about the trip. More to the point, the upcoming encounters with world leaders present fresh opportunities for Trump to embarrass himself and the nation. He has a disquieting habit of insulting America’s allies and embracing its foes.

From the perspective of the countries that Trump will be visiting, his hosts have a complicated task. They must find a way to be hospitable without being condescending. Given Trump’s painfully ignorant grasp of world affairs and history, that’s a tall order. Consequently, they are making special preparations:

“After four months of interactions between Mr. Trump and his counterparts, foreign officials and their Washington consultants say certain rules have emerged. Keep it short – no 30-minute monologue for a 30-second attention span. Do not assume he knows the history of the country or its major points of contention. Compliment him on his Electoral College victory. Contrast him favorably with President Barack Obama.

“Do not get hung up on whatever was said during the campaign. Stay in regular touch. Do not go in with a shopping list but bring some sort of deal he can call a victory.”

These are tactics aimed at accommodating Trump’s ego and incompetence. They recognize that he needs constant reassurance and flattery. Likewise, they are aware of his preference for “short presentations and lots of visual aids.” But one source summed up the preparations for Trump’s visit with a particularly apt analogy:

“‘It’s kind of ridiculous how they are preparing to deal with Trump. It’s like they’re preparing to deal with a child. Someone with a short attention span and mood who has no knowledge of NATO, no interest in in-depth policy issues, nothing. They’re freaking out.'”

It’s more than ridiculous. It’s unbearable that this man is representing the United States in a manner that actually invites ridicule. The world isn’t taking us seriously and are openly mocking us with these preparatory plans. Ironically, Trump told Time Magazine last week that “we were being laughed at by the world.” Then he added “They’re not laughing anymore.” Obviously he isn’t listening very closely. And if he were listening to the American people he would hear distinct whimpering.

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

WTF is Going On at MSNBC? Recent Hires Have a Distinctly Fox News Flavor

Three months into Donald Trump’s administration there is more cause than ever for critical analysis of Washington politics. But much of the press is having trouble countering Trump’s “Reality TV” dramatization of news. They attempt to achieve a false balance by presenting opposing views, even if one side is truthful and the other is lying.

Rachel Maddow

Having a president who’s suspected of colluding with Russians to steal an election is hardly the time to go soft. It is not the time to appease those in power or pander to wingnuts who will never tune in anyway. Yet that’s exactly the direction that MSNBC appears to heading.

In recent weeks they have hired or promoted some decidedly right-wing personalities. Former Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteren now has her own show on MSNBC. Former communications director for George W, Bush, Nicolle Wallace, also just premiered a new program. Likewise conservative pundit Hugh Hewitt. This week MSNBC announced that it has hired old-school conservative George Will away from Fox News.

These roster changes are especially puzzling at this time. MSNBC has built a brand that appeals to a more progressive audience. Despite having a former Republican anchoring three hours in the morning (Joe Scarborough), and a generally straight news profile during the day, their prime time lineup leans openly to the left. Chis Hayes, Rachel Maddow, and Laurence O’Donnell are not shy about expressing their liberal opinions.

More importantly, that programming slant has paid off handsomely for MSNBC. They are enjoying their highest ratings in years. Maddow is actually beating her competition on Fox News in the key advertising demographic of 25-54 year olds. Not too long ago Fox News was considered unbeatable. But now Adweek’s TVNewser reports that:

“The network also continues to post more year-over-year prime time audience growth than both Fox News and CNN: +82 percent in total viewers and +61 percent in the prime time demo versus April 2016.”

It’s a surprising and inspiring success story. Any network would be turning cartwheels and striving to replicate that success across its dayparts. So why is MSNBC going out of their way to bolster a winning lineup with right-wing losers? None of the new “talent” has demonstrated any appeal to MSNBC’s audience. Van Susteren, in fact, is an obvious hole in the schedule, dipping noticeably between her lead-in and lead-out. And the viewers that might be interested in these new faces are genetically averse to ever tuning in to the radical socialists at MSNBC. Why should they when they can get all the wingnuttery they desire on Fox News? And if it’s caterwauling debates that they want, CNN already has the market cornered on that.

There is no shortage of liberals who could be brought into the MSNBC family. Joy Reid already has a Saturday morning show that gets more viewers than many weekday shows on CNN and Fox. They could have moved her into the time slot they gave to Van Susteren or Wallace. Even Keith Olbermann was in talks to return to MSNBC. His last stint with the network was the last time they challenged Fox. But according to Olbermann, they told him he would have to refrain from his “fiery” commentaries. That was an untenable restraint, so he walked.

It’s hard to know what the suits at MSNBC are thinking. There is clearly an appetite for news commentary that counters the powerful elite in Washington. It’s a programming niche that is unfilled elsewhere. Plus, it’s a necessary defense against the dangerously erratic Trump administration’s assault on America. Where else can we go to get reality-based news about climate change? Who else is covering voter suppression and gerrymandering? Which other network is allotting time to racial and gender discrimination? And what about our President’s potentially treasonous connections to unsavory figures in Russia?

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

Fox News deliberately downplays any unflattering news about Trump. CNN reports it, but puts on crackpots who disseminate absurd justifications. That leaves MSNBC as the one network that honestly covers Trump’s dark side. For that reason alone they should not be adding to the pro-Trump voices in the media. We already have plenty of that and far too little truthful common sense and compassion.

UPDATE: There are rumors that MSNBC may not renew the contract of Lawrence O’Donnell despite the fact that his ratings are at a record high. He is beating CNN, and challenging Fox News. This would be good time to let MSNBC know that we demand they keep O’Donnell and stop sucking up to the right. You can call them at 212-664-4444 and email them at letters@msnbc.com.

Sean Hannity Freaks Out About ‘The Total End of the Fox News Channel as We Know It’

The past few weeks have been about as catastrophic for Fox News as they have been for Donald Trump. Both have been suffering devastating setbacks internally with key people leaving under clouds of scandal. And both have lost significant support among the public. With MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow overtaking Fox News in critical ratings demos, and Trump remaining the least popular first-quarter president ever, it seems their dire fates are intertwined.

Sean Hannity Dumbass

What’s more, both Trump and Fox News still have storm clouds on their respective horizons. For Trump it’s the unfolding revelations about alleged collusion with Russian agents interfering in the presidential election. For Fox News it’s the continuing fallout from their corporate culture of misogyny and racism.

With each passing day a new allegation is made against Fox. Many insiders are unsatisfied with the expulsions of CEO Roger Ailes and blowhard Bill O’Reilly, They believe the problems will persist until there is a thorough housecleaning. Gabriel Sherman of New York Magazine has been breaking many of the stories about Fox’s troubles. He’s the author of the definitive biography of Ailes, The Loudest Voice in the Room. Yesterday he tweeted about a rumored management shakeup at the network:

Bill Shine is currently the co-president of Fox News. He was promoted shortly after the departure of Ailes. However, many people inside and outside of Fox regard him as not just an Ailes crony, but someone who actively covered up the vile behaviors of Ailes and O’Reilly. When talk of housecleaning is heard, it is generally Shine who is the prime subject.

Enter Sean Hannity. The last remaining prime time Fox Musketeer is profoundly disturbed. Before being elevated to network management, Shine was the producer of Hannity’s program. Consequently, there is an abundance of loyalty that reaches beyond just the network’s standard cult status. Hannity replied to Sherman’s tweet saying:

Of course for many Americans concerned about the media, the end of Fox News would be a welcome event. But that’s obviously not the way Hannity sees it. Fox News has spent twenty years degrading journalism with blatantly biased right-wing propaganda. Simultaneously, they trivialized reporting as nothing more than entertainment with eye-popping graphics and presenters in short skirts. Hannity himself has done annual week-long specials on the evils of Spring Break. But they were just a convenient excuse to show videos of drunken teenagers in bikinis. Now Hannity’s last protector in the management ranks is dangling by thread. According to the Hollywood Reporter’s sources:

“Rupert Murdoch and his sons James and Lachlan, CEO and co-chairman of Fox News parent 21st Century Fox, have quietly put out feelers for a new head of Fox News. And the preference, according to two sources familiar with the Murdochs’ thinking, is that the new leader be female.”

OMG! That would be a fate worse than waterboarding to someone like Sean Hannity. Not only would he be losing a trusted superior, he would have to report to a lady boss. There aren’t very many female executives in the media business, but there are more than zero. And one obvious name would be Elisabeth Murdoch. Rupert’s daughter has already run a media company which she sold to 21st Century Fox (imagine that). But she may be a long shot to head Fox because she may have committed the ultimate sin: She was a Hillary Clinton supporter. If the Murdoch boys manage to hire a credible Female executive, the War on Women at Fox News could take a turn toward fairness and/or balance. That might apply to both the internal personnel situation, as well as the tone of their reporting.

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

So there remains the question of whether Sean Hannity would stay on at Fox News under those circumstances. He can’t be happy about Tucker Carlson moving into O’Reilly’s time period, or The Five taking the prime time spot before his. He obviously would have preferred to move to one of those spots himself. He must be thinking that his star may be fading at Fox. The younger Murdochs are reportedly not fans. Only time will tell how all of this settles out. And there may be more scandalous shoes to drop. Which begs the question: How many damn shoes do they have?

The End of Rush Limbaugh? His Radio Syndicator is on the Brink of Bankruptcy

The presidency of Donald Trump is running an obstacle course of speed bumps and potholes. He has failed to achieve anything of note during his first 100 days in office. And that’s according to his own published benchmarks. There is no repeal of ObamaCare, no defeat if ISIS, no tax reform, and no Mexican border wall. The only success he has had is breaking the record for the lowest popularity of any first-quarter president in history.

Rush Limbaugh

Along with Trump’s sagging fortunes, much of the right-wing establishment is similarly floundering. The Republican Party is worried about maintaining their majorities in Congress. And the GOP’s PR division, Fox News, recently lost its CEO (Roger Ailes) and its biggest star (Bill O’Reilly). Both were terminated after scandals involving sexual harassment.

With Trump still driving the public angst, the carnage is far from over. The talk radio empire of Rush Limbaugh is now said to teetering on collapse. Salon’s Matthew Sheffield is reporting that:

“The parent company of iHeartCommunications [formerly Clear Channel], which syndicates programs by conservative talk-show hosts Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, appears to be headed toward bankruptcy.

“In a statement filed last week with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the federal agency charged with regulating companies that offer investments to the public, iHeartCommunications’ parent company, iHeartMedia Inc., said that it had ‘substantial doubt’ that it would be in business by the middle of next year.”

Sheffield noted that the radio industry in general has been under pressure from other advertising platforms including new media. But the problems facing Limbaugh’s syndicator went deeper than that:

“The ad challenge is made worse for iHeartCommunications since many of its stations feature a conservative talk format whose audience is literally dying off. According to industry figures, the age of a talk show listener is about 67. Further complicating things for the company has been that its top host, Limbaugh, has immersed himself in several controversies in recent years, such as the time he called a liberal activist [Sandra Fluke] a ‘slut’ on the air.”

Indeed. Limbaugh’s repulsive and misogynistic insults cost him dearly. A leaked memo from his distributor, Premiere Networks, revealed that he lost more than 140 advertisers as a result of his rancid ranting. And the exodus didn’t end with Limbaugh. The same advertisers also requested that their ads be removed from other right-wing programs including Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and Michael Savage.

Exacerbating these problems, Limbaugh has also lost favor with some of the top affiliates in the country. His show has been dropped from WABC in New York, WRKO in Boston and KFI in Los Angeles. In desperation, he switched to some weaker stations in those and other markets just to have a presence on air.

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

It remains to be seen whether iHeartCommunications will manage to stay afloat. But even if it does, they will have to make severe cuts in order to service their crushing debt. That means that Limbaugh, Hannity, et al, will either have to agree to renegotiate their contracts downward or say goodbye to their audience. They may still survive online, but they should ask Glenn Beck whether that’s a viable option. Since losing his Fox News megaphone he has been bleeding cash and his public awareness has shrunk to near irrelevance. So that’s good news all around. And maybe we should send Donald Trump a thank you note.

Bill O’Reilly FIRED By Fox News: But the Lies and Disinformation Will Continue

BREAKING: 21st Century Fox just released a statement on Bill O’Reilly confirming that he will not be returning to the network:

“After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the Company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel.”

After twenty-one years that is the extent of the separation announcement. This breaking news draws to a conclusion a long-running drama at Fox.

Bill O'Reilly Fox News

Three weeks ago, the New York Times published a story that upended Bill O’Reilly’s career. It revealed attempts by the Fox News star and the network to cover up allegations of his sexual misconduct. Several women who had not previously been disclosed were identified as having been paid large settlements for their silence.

Since then The O’Reilly Factor has seen a mass exodus of advertisers. More than eighty have publicly stated that they will not permit their ads to be aired on his program. As a result, the board of directors at Fox News have put an end to the program.

Even before this announcement reports increasingly leaked out that O’Reilly was already doomed. The Wall Street Journal (also part of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire) reported that:

“Initially, Fox News and parent company 21st Century Fox stood by their highly-rated host … However, as advertisers fled his show, debate inside company ensued over the pros and cons of keeping Mr. O’Reilly on the air.”

Then Gabriel Sherman of New York Magazine weighed in. He has been covering the inside stories on Fox News for several years. He has reliable sources and published the definitive, unauthorized biography of the network’s former CEO Roger Ailes: The Loudest Voice in the Room. His latest article suggested correctly that “Fox News Has Decided Bill O’Reilly Has to Go.”

“The Murdochs have decided Bill O’Reilly’s 21-year run at Fox News will come to an end. According to sources briefed on the discussions, network executives are preparing to announce O’Reilly’s departure before he returns from an Italian vacation on April 24. Now the big questions are how the exit will look and who will replace him.”

Fox News will have to handle O’Reilly’s departure carefully. The network has already lost several high profile figures including disgraced ex-CEO Roger Ailes. On air personalities Megyn Kelly, Greta Van Susteren, and Gretchen Carlson have also departed recently. But O’Reilly is the highest rated host on cable news with a loyal following. Will his fans react to his termination by turning off Fox News? Or will they behave like good cultists and obediently tune in to his replacement?

Speaking of replacements, the names most often mentioned include Eric Bolling, Dana Perino, Jesse Watters, and Martha MacCallum. Tucker Carlson is also in the mix to move his current show into O’Reilly’s time period. None of these prospects have the fame or fan base that O’Reilly has. But the advantage for Fox is that their glassy-eyed viewers are glued to the network and will likely watch whatever comes on.

Fox would be wise to give extra consideration to the women on that list. Given the salacious circumstances that drove out Ailes and (perhaps) O’Reilly, it might serve as a form of redemption. But Fox also doesn’t have any minority hosts in prime time, and never has. However, none of their current staffers (Juan Williams, Harris Faulkner, Geraldo Rivera) appear to be under consideration.

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

The future for Fox News is not especially bright, but neither is it particularly dark. They have suffered some significant setbacks recently, but have a friend in high places. In that regard, Donald Trump’s support for Bill O’Reilly obviously didn’t have any effect. But when the President of the United States is calling in to Fox and Friends, and advertising the network on his Twitter feed, the news isn’t all bad. Well, except for the actual “news” as it’s practiced by Fox.

WINNING? TrumpCare Vote Canceled as Support in Congress and the Country Collapses

The scheduled House vote on the bill to replace and repeal ObamaCare has been canceled – again. This is the second time in as many days that the bill was pulled from the schedule. It’s clear from the whip counts that had the vote gone forward it would lose. In fact, the “no” votes were increasing by the hour.

Donald Trump

This is a significant failure for both Donald Trump and the Republican congress. They promised that the first order of business of the Trump administration would be to repeal ObamaCare. Republicans in the House had voted more than fifty times to do so while President Obama was in office. Perhaps they were comfortable voting to kill a popular program as long as they knew Obama was there to veto it.

Now that the vote is off, there is no indication of whether it will be rescheduled or what form the bill might take. Trump has previously said that this is the bill and if it isn’t passed there won’t be another opportunity. Paul Ryan, Sean Spicer, and others in the GOP leadership said much the same thing. However, Robert Costa of the Washington Post is reporting that Trump called him to say that he was responsible for canceling the vote. That would be peculiar, since he was the one making ultimatums about this vote being the only vote.

So for the time being ObamaCare will not be repealed or replaced. The American people will be happy to hear that as the most recent polling shows that only 17 percent favored the GOP effort to kill it. Trump’s bragging about the nation getting sick and tired of winning is less likely to be a concern in the near future.

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

This is a breaking story that is continuing to unfold. Updates will be provided as they become available.