Dr. Fauci Tells Rachel Maddow How the Trump Admin ‘Blocked’ Him From Her Show

The differences between the negligent, incompetent, and wantonly corrupt administration of Donald Trump, and that of the incoming Joe Biden administration have been evident in just the few hours that Biden has been President. The stench of ego-driven criminality has been replaced by the refreshing fragrance of experience and compassion. And America has heaved a massive, collective sigh of relief.

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Donald Trump, Anthony Fauci, Censored

Among those relieved by the passing of the Trump era is Dr. Anthony Fauci, the widely respected expert on infectious diseases. His presence on Trump’s phony Coronavirus Task Force – that was nothing more than a thinly veiled reelection campaign operation – was awkward, to say the least. He frequently had to cover his face in shame as Trump dispensed pure idiocy and flagrant falsehoods. Often he was ignored or even uninvited to the press briefings altogether.

Those times are over. Dr. Fauci was interviewed Friday for the first time on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show. It was the sort of enlightening hour of useful information that the public sorely needs during these troubling times. And Dr. Fauci was clearly pleased to have the opportunity to communicate with Maddow and her audience. In fact, he addressed his prior absence from the show during this exchange:

Maddow: Dr. Fauci…The country really trusts you in particular, but we’ve seen this sort of disappearance of, and sort of muzzling of, these other senior folks within the government. Do you think that we’ll have more access to you, both the press and the public?

Fauci: I’m positive of it. I’ve been wanting to come on your show for months and months. You’ve been asking me to come on your show for months and months, and it’s just gotten blocked. Let’s call it what it is: It just got blocked because they didn’t like the way you handle things, and they didn’t want me on. I mean it was just so clear when we sent it down. “Why would you want to go on Rachel Maddow’s show?” “Well, because I like her and she’s really good.” “It doesn’t make any difference. Don’t do it.”

I don’t think you’re going to see that now. I think you’re going to see a lot of transparency. You might not see everybody as often as you want, but you’re not gonna see deliberate holding back of good people when the press asks for them. We were assured that that’s the case. And that goes along with what you were mentioning before about different types of pressures that were put on. It was a tough situation. It really was.

Those gracious and honest remarks also reveal the dangerous censorship by Trump of critical information necessary for the preservation of life during a deadly pandemic. Trump never cared about the welfare of the American people, particularly if it contrasted with his own narcissistic self-interest. Dr. Fauci said as much in another interview on CNN (where he had also been barred by Trump from appearing) when asked…

John Berman: Did the lack of candor over the last year and lack of facts, in some cases, cost lives?
Fauci: You know, it very likely did… When you start talking about the things that make no sense medically and no sense scientifically, that clearly is not helpful.

In the weeks, months, and years to come, we are going to learn more and more about how unconscionably destructive Trump was for the nation and the world. And the damage he’s done will not be repaired overnight. But at least we won’t be seeing the sort of suppression and deliberate disinformation going forward that was so painfully prevalent while Trump was occupying the White House.

NOTE: Twitter recently suspended the News Corpse account after 11 years without giving a reason. So if anyone wants to tweet articles from my website, please feel free to do so often and repeatedly. And you can follow this surrogate Twitter account here. Thanks for your support.

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

Study Proves that Banishing Trump From Twitter Improved the Internet 73%

On January 8th, two days after the Donald Trump Insurrectionists assaulted Congress, Twitter finally suspended his account. It was a long overdue action to prevent him from inciting further violence and disseminating ever more preposterous and self-serving lies. Unfortunately, it came after five deaths and the desecration of America’s seat of democracy.

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Donald Trump, Twitter

Trump got away with exploiting social media for years, where he recklessly radicalized an intellectually challenged and emotionally vulnerable confederacy of conspiracy crackpots. He deftly manipulated them to serve his own brazenly selfish and nefarious purposes. It culminated in the riots in Washington that Trump’s deliberately inflammatory rhetoric triggered.

However, that is not the end of the story. Trump will surely continue to advance his egomaniacal aspirations. And he will be aided and abetted by Fox News. On Saturday evening, Fox’s Senior Trump-Fluffer, “Judge” Jeannine Pirro, hosted the Republican’s leading propagator of political cowplop, Jim Jordan. This excerpt from their discussion is illustrative of the deranged mindset on the right:

Pirro: To limit those who are Republicans, to literally get them off the Internet, Facebook and Twitter. I mean there is basically, not just a removal of free speech, but it is a removal of our freedom.
Jordan: Yeah. This cancel culture is dangerous. It’s the most dangerous thing going

That’s right. Removing Trump from Twitter is “the most dangerous thing going.” Clearly more dangerous than the deadly rioters that Trump incited with his incendiary and delusional tweets about election fraud. And far more dangerous than the coronavirus that Trump downplayed and allowed to spread unchecked, killing 400,000 Americans.

Fox News would never engage in that sort of “cancel culture.” Well, except that they have totally refused to give me any airtime to reveal how dishonest and dangerous they are. I mean, what’s up with that? They are removing, not just my right to free speech, but my freedom.

And it’s not like Trump deserves this online suppression. Has he ever “cancelled” anyone? Well, you know, other than cancelling Fox News whenever they have been less than unconditionally adoring or insufficiently flattering for his elephantine ego. If Fox ever permits a Trump critic to speak – even if just momentarily so they can prepare an attack – Trump immediately whines that Fox News is dead and insists that everyone stop watching and switch to even more worshipful channels like OANN or Newsmax.

What Jordan, Pirro, and Fox News continue to fail to understand is that the free speech protections in the Constitution only prohibit government censorship. Twitter is a private company with stated rules that users must comply with. They include refraining from advocating violence and disseminating falsehoods that could result in harm. Trump violated those rules regularly.

The evidence of the harm Trump caused was recently documented in a study that found that after Twitter banned Trump, “online misinformation about election fraud plunged 73 percent.” That’s a pretty revealing statistic that attests to the hypnotic influence Trump has on his cult disciples. It isn’t just an accounting of his Twitter activity, but the combined effect of the retweets and other regurgitation on the part of Trump’s followers.

The fact that Trump’s absence from Twitter and Facebook can have this profound an impact on the disinformation that circulates online is justification for removing him and any other party that seeks to mislead the public in ways that produce violence and tangible trauma to society at large. And that being the case, how about we do Fox News next?

NOTE: Twitter recently suspended the News Corpse account after 11 years without giving a reason. So if anyone wants to tweet articles from my website, please feel free to do so often and repeatedly. And you can follow this surrogate Twitter account here. Thanks for your support.

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

Trump Seeks ‘Common Ground’ With Racist, Seditionist, Violent, Conspiracy Crackpots

Donald Trump is fond of bragging about being the bestest “whatever” he happens to be ranting about at any particular moment in time. Well now he can honestly say that he is the most impeached president ever – by far! I know it. You know it. Everyone knows it. He has twice the impeachments of any other president. He has impeachments like no one has ever seen before. So much impeachment that you’ll get tired of him getting impeached (doubtful).

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Donald Trump, MAGA

There should be automatic deportation, or at least incarceration, for anyone impeached more than once. How many assaults on the country should be tolerated before there are tangible consequences? So far, Trump is getting a pass for his treason and is attempting to whitewash his crimes.

In response to his record setting impeachedness, Trump released a video in which he claimed to be shocked by the violence that he purposefully incited (and continues doing so). He is now calling for the tensions he recklessly inflamed to be calmed. It will be interesting to see if his glassy-eyed cult disciples comply with this request, or if they are now an autonomous mob of anti-American Trumpian insurrectionists who defy even their Dear Leader’s pathetic and disingenuous appeals.

In addition to Trump’s desperate grasping at legal absolution in his video, he couldn’t resist lashing out (again) at social media for finally taking action against him and his supporters who have been advocating and orchestrating violence. It’s telling that Trump couldn’t just admonish those committing violence in his name and leave it at that. Nope. His ego raised up to interrupt this message and whine about being deservedly banned by Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, et al. However, his crybaby tirade only made things worse. He asserted that he was “calling on all Americans to overcome the passions of the moment, and join together as one American people.” Elaborating, he said that…

“I also want to say a few words about the unprecedented assault on free speech, we have seen in recent days. These are tense and difficult times. The efforts to censor, cancel, and blacklist our fellow citizens are wrong and they are dangerous. What is needed now is for us to listen to one another, not to silence one another. All of us can choose by our actions to rise above the rancor and find common ground and shared purpose. We must focus on advancing the interests of the whole nation.”

Don’t be fooled. Trump, who has repeatedly maligned the free press as “the enemy of the people,” is not suddenly concerned about some generalized “assault on free speech.” He is only concerned about himself and is upset that he can’t tweet anymore. However, his self-serving invective is revealing when you know who he is so anxious to find “common ground and shared purpose” with.

The parties Trump is coming to the defense of are predominantly the perpetrators of violence and disseminators of dangerously dishonest conspiracy theories. They are QAnon, Stop the Steal, and other deviant purveyors of lies, and agitators like Alex Jones. You cannot “rise above the rancor” if those for whom you are advocating are the most vile and rancorous instigators.

What’s more, Trump’s criticism of “efforts to censor, cancel, and blacklist,” can’t be taken seriously. He is the King of Cancel Culture. He will demand that any person or company or organization that doesn’t unreservedly worship him be banished from society. He has explicitly called for boycotts of “offenders” at least ten times, mostly against American businesses such as Harley-Davidson, CNN, Apple, Macy’s, Univision, Mexico, HBO, Rolling Stone, AT&T, and even Fox News.

It is most definitely not the time to listen to the racists, seditionists, and conspiracy crackpots with whom Trump is so closely aligned. To the contrary, they must be driven out of the public discourse. Trump’s efforts to prop them up in the midst of a speech that is allegedly calling for peace is further proof of his unapologetic hypocrisy and/or severe dementia.

NOTE: Twitter recently suspended the News Corpse account after 11 years without giving a reason. So if anyone wants to tweet articles from my website, please feel free to do so often and repeatedly. And you can follow this surrogate Twitter account here. Thanks for your support.

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

Twitter Says Civilian Trump Will Be Subject to Suspension for His Lies and Abuse

Elections have consequences. And one of those that could be surprisingly significant is the position that Twitter is taking toward the Tweeter-in-Chief, Donald Trump. Now that Joe Biden has succeeded in deposing Trump, he will no longer have the special status that has shielded him from the rules that the rest of have been subject to on social media.

Donald Trump, Toilet, Bathrobe

Trump has been a notoriously abusive presence on Twitter. He lies without shame, invents alternative facts, promotes bizarre conspiracy theories, and attacks anyone who has the audacity to be less than worshipful. Just in the few days since election day, Trump has posted 25 tweets that Twitter had to flag for being untruthful and/or misleading. Anyone else would have been banned from posting with that record of violating the terms of service for the site. And now, according to The Guardian

“Donald Trump could lose more than just the presidency this January. Twitter has confirmed that, if Trump leaves office, he will no longer receive special treatment as a ‘newsworthy individual.’

Twitter’s policy around newsworthiness protects certain people – such as elected officials with more than 250,000 followers – from having their accounts suspended or banned for rule infractions that would otherwise lead to severe penalties.”

The wrist-slapping that Trump has been given in the past by Twitter has had little to no effect on his illicit behavior, other than to stir his bitter anger for having been held accountable at all. In fact, he has threatened to alter laws related to user comments online in an attempt to punish Twitter and other Internet media for trying to establish standards of civil discourse.

However, the prospect of being suspended or banned in the future should he continue being a boorish sleazeball is a step forward in compliance with community standards. Whether that will rein in Trump’s natural tendencies to offend might be a stretch. But it’s a start.

News Corpse has a vested interest in this policy directive. My Twitter account is currently suspended for allegedly violating Twitter’s rules. Twitter didn’t reveal what the violation was, so it’s impossible to know the reason for the suspension. But I can affirm with confidence that there have been no comments that were misleading, untruthful, abusive, or otherwise in violation of Twitters rules. My best guess is that some right-wingers who disagreed with my point of view sought to censor me by maliciously filing false reports causing an automated suspension.

An appeal of the suspension was filed, but Twitter doesn’t give any indication of how the appeal process is carried out. So I have no idea if there will be resolution in the next few days or months or ever. If anyone has any pull with the Twitter Gods, feel free to intervene on my behalf. Also, feel free to post links to my articles on Twitter, as well as tweets beseeching the site (@Twitter, @Jack) to free me from this unfair suspension.

It’s ironic that Twitter gives special treatment to high profile, “newsworthy” individuals. Because people like that have much greater influence. When they tweet lies or abuse it goes out potentially to millions. If I were to do that it would go out to a much smaller audience. So Trump’s abusive tweets have a far more destructive impact than anything I could do, if I had that intention.

Nevertheless, I’m suspended and Trump is still tweeting lies like I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT! and This was a stolen election.”

The good news is that, with Trump’s defeat, he will become another civilian user who will be subject to the same rules as the rest of us. Or at least that’s what Twitter is saying now. That won’t help me get my account (and my ~7,000 followers) back, but it may protect the American people from the avalanche of atrocious falsehoods and attacks that have been gushing from Trump for so many years.

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

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

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

Donald Trump, Bill Barr

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cancel Culture: If Trump Bans TikTok, What’s Next? CNN? Fox News?

The ever expanding tyrannical aspirations of Donald Trump continue to test the limits of American tolerance for fascist, egomaniacal, ignoramuses in positions of power. Trump has already shown that it’s possible to assemble a devoted, albeit tiny, cult following who are willing to abandon the principles of liberty and freedom enshrined in the Constitution if it means achieving their dreams of a white, christo-supremacist confederacy.

Donald Trump Pacifier Fox

However, on Friday Trump took a step that may have crossed a line that even makes his most worshipful disciples nervous. No, it wasn’t his illegal suggestion that the election in November be delayed. And it wasn’t his quadrupling down on the lie that mail-in voting is rife with fraud. The latest Trumpism that is rattling the timbers of democracy is his declaration that he will ban the Twitter app TikTok from the United States:

“As far as TikTok is concerned we’re banning them from the United States. Well, I have that authority. I can do it with an executive order.”

As is always the case, Trump’s belief that he has omnipotent powers to rule with divine finality exists only in his infected imagination. Unfortunately, his delusional outbursts can’t be dismissed because they are inevitably adopted by his apostles in the populace and the press. And for some reason these perverse patriots are not bothered by the thought of the government stomping its boot down on a communications platform simply because it has hosted some content that is critical of Dear Leader. That’s right, I’m lookin’ at you Sarah Cooper.

Trump’s threat to cancel TikTok may be a risky gambit. The app has more than 800 million users worldwide and is popular with a broad cross section of Internetians. There are already reports that his threatened ban could ignite a torrent of angry young voters incensed by the censorious action. This may be another explanation for Trump’s vengeful threat. He is attempting to punish TikTok activists who punked his cult rally in Tulsa a couple of months ago by signing up to attend without any intention of doing so. That resulted in a humiliating campaign event that drew less than 6,000 people to an arena that holds 19,000.

However, this isn’t the first attempt by Trump to cancel something to which he objects. Despite the alleged right-wing aversion to “cancel culture” Trump has also endeavored to ban immigrants, Black Lives Matter, coronavirus tests, and mail-in voting. More ominously, Trump’s war on the media – which he maligns in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people” – is his way canceling everything from CNN and the Washington Post, to WKRP and the Hartford Pennysaver.

And let’s not forget one of Trump’s most despised critics … Fox News! Never mind the fact that Fox is practically the only network for which he will grant an interview. Or that he relies more on Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson, Lou Dobbs, and Jeanine Pirro, for advice than anyone in his Cabinet. Trump still whines that it’s “so hard to watch Fox News anymore.” And that @FoxNews is doing nothing to help Republicans, and me, get re-elected.” And he’s Looking for a new outlet because Fox has “more anti-Trump people, by far, than ever before.” And much, much more.

Considering Trump’s steaming disdain for Fox News (when he isn’t lavishing it with praise and exalting in their adoration), it may just be a matter of time before he calls for banning the network from the airwaves if they don’t adjust their 98% pro-Trump propaganda to 100%. [Yes, I know that Trump will never ban his Ministry of Disinformation]. But if Trump really wants to ban the biggest source of online content that is harmful to his public image and his reelection, he needs to ban Donald Trump. Because there is no one who does more to expose his idiocy, hatred, and sociopathic self-interest, than he does himself. It’s not even close. You know it. I know it. Everyone knows it.

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

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

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

Donald Trump

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Donald Trump

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Donald Trump, Constitution

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trump Defiles ‘Freedom of Speech’ in a Bizarre Defense of His White Nationalist Supporters

If it’s Sunday, it’s time once again for Donald Trump’s regularly scheduled Sunday Morning Tweetstorm. This is where the crybaby President of the United States of America lashes out at all of the perceived slings and arrows of outrageous paranoia. And on this episode Trump outdoes himself by fouling the foundational American principle of freedom of speech.

Donald Trump

This isn’t just another one of Trump’s reckless slurs of the press in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people.” Although he does, as usual, fling that bag of tweet-poop as part of his tedious and repetitive robo-ranting. That would be bad enough, but Trump higher, and more odious, aspirations on this occasion. So after complaining in several tweets that a story in the New York Times misreported that his “agreement” with Mexico on immigration was “fake news,” (it wasn’t), Trump unleashed this morsel of derp:

To be clear, Trump is coming to the defense of some virulently racist white nationalists (e.g. his base) who Twitter and other social media recently suspended from their platforms. The bannees include cretins like avowed neo-Nazi Paul Nehlen, conspiracy crackpot Alex Jones, hate monger Laura Loomer, hoaxster Jacob Wohl, and boss of the violent, neo fascist Proud Boys, Gavin McInnes.

Trump not only wants these abhorrent stains on society returned to Twitter, he wants them returned “without restrictions,” a privilege that no one else on Twitter enjoys. And according to Trump, not doing so would amount to a breach of their right to free speech.

Once again, Trump needs a lesson on the Constitution. The freedom of speech that is protected by the First Amendment is a prohibition imposed on the government. Private businesses can set their own rules, and do so in their terms of service. But there is a disturbing irony in Trump complaining about these repulsively violent StormTrumpers being suppressed while he is openly trying to destroy any media outlet that dares to criticize him. That is actually a breach of the First Amendment because he is the head of the government. Just last week he called for a boycott of CNN’s parent company, AT&T, in order to punish the news network for reporting on what Trump actually does and says. It is unprecedented for a U.S. president to push for a boycott of an American company with more than 250,000 employees.

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

For Trump to set himself up as a protector of free speech is patently absurd. The hallmark of his presidency is one of bullying and repression. And this isn’t the first time he’s tried to bully the social media community. He even took it upon himself to censor his critics on Twitter. Until the courts stepped in, Trump was blocking those critics from commenting on his Twitter posts. And yet, Trump has the audacity to cite freedom of speech as his reason for promoting the dissemination of vile messages of hate and violence. But then again, that’s really the only message he has.