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.

Fox News Blacklists Conservatives for ‘Refusing to Fawn Over President Donald Trump’

Earlier this week Jane Mayer of the New Yorker published an exhaustive treatise detailing how Fox News and Donald Trump’s White House have become inextricably intertwined. The article presented numerous examples of the network working hand in hand with the administration to either whitewash Trump’s failures or malign his critics. While the political bias of Fox News is not a revelation, the aggregation of so much evidence in one story has a had a real impact.

Fox News, Censorship

Among those impacted was the Democratic National Committee (DNC), who shortly after the article was published reversed their prior position of allowing Fox News to host a Democratic primary debate. That was never a good idea, but it took the voluminous presentation by Mayer to convince the DNC. And subsequently, more testimony to Fox’s propagandistic aspirations have come to light.

Bernard Goldberg was once a familiar face on Fox’s right-wing roster. He was a frequent contributor to the O’Reilly Factor before Bill O’Reilly was fired for multiple instances of sexual harassment that cost the network millions of dollars in settlement fees. O’Reilly’s termination occurred just a couple of months after Trump’s inauguration. And it wasn’t long after that that Goldberg found himself person non grata for an entirely different reason. According to Newsweek (because Goldberg’s website is blocked by a paywall):

“Goldberg detailed how Fox News executives refused to allow conservatives to criticize Trump and other right-wing figures, such as Sarah Palin. Goldberg wrote a Tuesday blog post on his personal website saying top figures at the cable network sought retribution against him after he complained Sean Hannity and other hosts were only flattering Trump and Palin during interviews rather than pressing them journalistically.”

Goldberg went on to lambaste Fox and singled out Sean Hannity for conducting interviews that “resemble wet kisses a lot more than journalism.” And he further alleged that Fox News was blacklisting any conservative on the network who wasn’t unwaveringly adoring of Donald Trump. But the banishment was strictly limited to disloyal conservatives.

“Fox will tolerate a liberal criticizing President Trump, I said, but the network didn’t want conservatives taking shots at him. Sometimes I defended the president against what I thought was unfair criticism. But I was also critical of Mr. Trump, of his vindictiveness and his dishonesty.”

This is the environment at Fox News as described by a stalwart conservative commentator. And the treatment he’s receiving isn’t unique to him. Fox previously jettisoned conservative Trump critics like David Frum, Bill Kristol, and George Will. It’s clear that anyone who strays from the approved doctrine will be excommunicated and banished.

Now some people are aghast that the DNC nixed Fox as a host for their primary debates. It seems unarguable that a network that has devoted itself to destroying Democrats through insults and lies ought not to recognized as a legitimate news enterprise and rewarded for their abuse. Indeed, Fox’s rabid hatred for Democrats even led one of their top personalities, Lou Dobbs, to tweet a call for Democrats to be prosecuted for abuse of power and treason. It’s also rather hypocritical to criticize Democrats for blacklisting Fox when Fox itself is blacklisting their own conservatives who they now feel have wandered off the wingnut trail.

Some of the critics of the DNC’s decision claim that Fox has some reputable journalists and shouldn’t be shut out. But that’s an absurd argument. No one would attend a convention of their mortal enemies simply because there might be a handful of neutral bystanders hanging around. And those who say that Democrats who are “afraid” to appear on Fox aren’t fit for office are also missing the point. Nobody is afraid of Fox. It isn’t fear that brought about this decision. Quite the opposite. It’s having the courage to smack down a loud, aggressive, bullying opponent who means you nothing but harm. And it’s having the intelligence to deny a phony “news” operation the legitimacy of your presence and participation.

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

The portrait that Goldberg paints of the editorial prejudices at Fox News corroborates everything that Mayer revealed in her article. And that article corroborates everything that many critics of Fox have been saying for years. And while the biases of Fox have been well known for a long time, they have gotten much worse during the Trump era. It is now a fully devotional cult worshiping clan wherein there is no discernible distinction between Fox and the Trump administration. And that is no place hold a “fair and balanced” debate for any political party.

Sean Hannity of Fox News: Americans Should Not See the Mueller Report on Trump that They Paid For

A recent story by CNN is stating that special counsel Robert Mueller is wrapping up his investigation and that a report may be issued as soon as next week. There are some people familiar with the probe who dispute that timeline as unlikely considering the amount of unfinished business, including pending indictments and testimony. But the Trump-fluffers at Fox News are nevertheless preparing for the worst by advocating censorship.

Fox News, Sean Hannity

Sean Hannity took the news from CNN as a warning call. That’s ironic since he generally agrees with Trump that CNN is “fake news.” But he’s apparently concerned that this story is accurate and that something must be done. Specifically, Hannity thinks that any report issued by Mueller should be suppressed and not made available to the public. That’s a peculiar position for someone in the media to take. Under ordinary circumstances, journalists are proponents of full transparency, especially with regard to government affairs.

But Hannity (who is getting trounced in the ratings by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow) has a different point of view (video below). He prefaced his opinion with a brief summary of how special counsel reports are handled and who was responsible for those procedures:

“According to special counsel regulations, Mueller will provide a confidential report to the Attorney General Bob Barr explaining the decisions reached by the special counsel. Next, the attorney general will notify the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate judiciary committees, quote, ‘upon the conclusion of the special counsel’s investigation.’ It is totally in the hands of the attorney general, and his alone to decide what, if any, details can be released in compliance with the law. He can control the timing of the notification over, quote, ‘legitimate investigative or privacy concerns.’

“Now, also, remember, these regulations, they were presented to Congress two decades ago by Democrats, Janet Reno, the AG, Deputy AG Eric Holder. That was after the Starr investigation.”

However, Hannity then goes on to completely misinterpret how those procedures would be applied to the Mueller report. He concluded that imposing certain limitations on releasing information that may have “legitimate investigative or privacy concerns” amounts to a free hand by the newly installed Attorney General, Bob Barr, to withhold whatever he wants. That’s not how it works.

Hannity continued by announcing that he would be traveling to Vietnam with Trump for the summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. And he used that as another excuse to keep the American people from having access to the Mueller report:

“Would it not be wholly inappropriate to actually release the findings when the President is out of the country participating in these high stakes negotiations with with such an important topic?”

Okay then. How about releasing it the following week? Surely Hannity would have another reason why that would also be wholly inappropriate. But what’s really inappropriate is someone in the media arguing in favor of the government keeping secrets from the people. No credible journalist would ever say such a ridiculous thing.

Although there is some dispute on whether or not Hannity is a journalist – mainly by him. On his radio show he insisted that “I’m a journalist but I’m an advocacy journalist.” But on Twitter he angrily noted that “I’m not a journalist jackass. I’m a talk host.” Which raise the question that if he isn’t a “journalist jackass,” then what kind of jackass is he? Hannity later deleted that tweet, but the Internet Archive preserved it here.

Apparently Hannity is whatever he says he is at the time he’s saying it. Like most of what comes out of his mouth, it cannot be taken seriously or relied upon to be operative an hour later. And as for the release of the Mueller report, there are options available to gain access to it without the interference of Trump’s hand-picked Attorney General. For instance, Democrats in Congress are exploring their option for subpoenaing either the report or testimony from Mueller.

Either way, Hannity is not likely to get his wish that the report be kept secret from the American people who paid for it. And Trump’s defenders at State TV (aka Fox News) and other right-wing media outlets are going to have to strain themselves to find ways to justify their advocacy of censorship. In the end, transparency will likely prevail. That’s important because without it the crimes of the President would never be resolved to the satisfaction of the nation he conspired against. No matter how badly Hannity and Trump want that.

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

Wannabe Dictator Donald Trump Lusts for the Jobs – and Blood – of American Journalists

It’s been going on for more than two years now. Donald Trump repeatedly refers to the media in Stalinist terms as the “enemy of the people.” He knows when he does this that he is putting people’s lives at risk. He simply doesn’t care. Because his objective is to utterly demolish the credibility of the free press so that people won’t believe their accurate reports of his criminal activities.

Donald Trump Tyrant Dictator

The consequences of Trump’s smears have already been seen in attacks on the staff of the Capital Gazette in Maryland. It’s been seen in the mail bombs sent to multiple people in the media. The press reporting at Trump events are subject to physical assaults. And still Trump persists in inflaming these hostilities with reckless and ignorant messages to his Deplorables:

These Twitter outbursts are typically devoid of any substance. Trump has never proved a single one of his allegations of “fake news.” He just lashes out mindlessly, as if he were having a psychotic reaction to an overdose of PCP. But these mental spasms are not just fear-triggered hate mongering. They are dangerous signals to his deranged base of cult worshiping crackpots. And they are almost certain to incite more violence. That’s a concern that the publisher of the New York Times expressed in his response to these Trump tweets:

“In demonizing the free press as the enemy, simply for performing its role of asking difficult questions and bringing uncomfortable information to light, President Trump is retreating from a distinctly American principle. […] As I have repeatedly told President Trump face to face, there are mounting signs that this incendiary rhetoric is encouraging threats and violence against journalists at home and abroad.”

In addition to Trump’s bloodlust, he is also revealing a noxious yearning for thousands of Americans in the media to lose their jobs. His undisguised pleasure at the notion that all news enterprises will “go BUST” is typical of his disregard for the American people and their families. It is unprecedented for a president to take a position advocating for the loss of thousands of American jobs. But that is precisely the position Trump is taking.

Even worse, Trump’s desire to see thousands of people become unemployed would simultaneously deprive the entire country of any sources of news. At least sources that are credible and independent. We would be left with only the state sanctioned media (i.e. Fox News) that Trump would exempt from his tyrannical suppression the press. This should trouble every citizen.

The lengths that Trump goes to to harm the media spreads throughout Trump World. It is vicious and hateful and exacerbates division. Which is exactly what Trump intends. And you end up with the sort of nauseating discourse exhibited in the grotesque video clip below from the ultra-rightist TruNews. This would be all that’s left if Trump got his way.

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

Wannabe Dictator Donald Trump Threatens Saturday Night Live with ‘Retribution’ for Mocking Him

The aspirations of Donald Trump to become America’s first nationalist dictator are well known to anyone who has listened to his deranged ranting for the past three years. He frequently cozies up to foreign tyrants and displays his obvious jealousy for their authoritarian control over their oppressed people. And on Sunday morning Trump let those desires loose again in a disturbing Twitter outburst.

Donald Trump

Responding to the opening of Saturday Night Live’s latest episode, Trump was clearly jolted out of his plush lazyboy at Mar-A-Lago. He may not even have been able to enjoy the omelette bar or his golf cart ride to tee time. What triggered the President this time was merely another appearance by Alec Baldwin as Trump in a satirical look at his embarrassing Rose Garden announcement of a fake national emergency. This was a speech where he sang a little song about the Supreme Court and admitted that Sean Hannity and Fox News are his chief advisors. Baldwin did his usual spot-on impression that we all know tortures Trump everytime he sees it. And for some reason, he keeps watching:

Trump, however, has demonstrated that he has no sense of humor (or decency) whatsoever. His reactions to satires like this are always overflowing with the petulance of a cholicky infant. But on this occasion he went a bit further than his standard “angry POTUS “ routine:

First of all, Trump seems to think that Saturday Night Live is part of NBC’s news division, referring to it explicitly as “Saturday Night Live on Fake News NBC.” That may just be another symptom of his senile dementia kicking in. But then he went on to suggest that SNL shouldn’t be allowed to “get away with” mocking him. He apparently is unfamiliar with the Constitution and the right of free speech.

But the worst part of this bruised ego spasm was Trump’s threat that SNL ought to be subject to “retribution” for having the temerity to express themselves freely. Who does he think should have the authority to administer that retribution? And who else would he punish for similar “crimes” of believing they live in a free country? He says that this “should be looked into.” By whom, and for what? Does Trump want to make it illegal to say anything critical of him?

Naturally, he followed up his fascistic tweet with another one that goes even further. His common complaint that “the media is the enemy of the people” was lifted verbatim from Joseph Stalin. So no wonder Trump feels so connected to it and its message of pure despotism.

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

This may have been only a tweet about a late-night comedy show, but in Trump World it could very well be a prelude to prison camps for free thinkers and speakers. It’s happened before, even if Fox News wants to erase the memory of it. And not just in Hitler’s Germany. The legacy of Joseph McCarthy (who Trump admires) remains as a stain and a warning on the tapestry of American history.