WH Dep Press Secretary on Fox News Refuses to Deny Buzzfeed Story that Trump Told Cohen to Lie

Thursday night saw the release of one of the most devastating stories about Donald Trump to date. Buzzfeed reported that Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, was directed by the President to lie to Congress about plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. If confirmed, that would be an airtight case against Trump for suborning perjury and obstructing justice – both impeachable offenses.

Donald Trump

So on Friday morning Trump dispatched his Deputy Press Secretary, Hogan Gidley, to what he surely assumed was the friendly territory of Fox News. However, his interview went skidding of the rails when the Fox co-hosts uncharacteristically asked him some probing questions. In the process, Gidley conspicuously avoided answering those questions and refused to even deny the allegations in the Buzzfeed report. This exchange is going to leave some visible bruises on Trump – and perhaps on Gidley as well after Trump sees it (video below):

Sandra Smith: The story coming from Buzzfeed on the President ordering Michael Cohen to lie…sources two law enforcement officials. This is the headline. Breaking: President Trump personally orders his longtime attorney, Michael Cohen, to lie to Congress about negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow in order to obscure his involvement. How is the President responding to that report this morning?
Gidley: This is absolutely ludicrous that we are giving any type of credence or credibility to a news outlet like BuzzFeed. They are responsible, totally and completely, for the release of a discredited, disproven, false dossier. And now the author of the piece that you’re talking about went on air this morning and said he couldn’t corroborate any of his own evidence. He ran it anyway. This is quite frankly the problem with the press and why the President continues to call them ‘fake news’ repeatedly. There is nothing in that piece that can be corroborated.

First of all, notice that this reply was not a denial. Also, Gidley is incorrect that Buzzfeed was responsible for the infamous Steele Dossier. They simply published it after it had already circulated through the White House and the Department of Justice. And he’s lying as to the dossier being disproved. Nothing in the Dossier has been proven false, while much of it has been confirmed.

Furthermore, the Buzzfeed author didn’t say that he couldn’t corroborate his story. He only said that he didn’t see the corroborating documents, a point that Fox’s Bill Hemmer made saying that “I think the way it was characterized – the reporter did not see specifically see the evidence, but relied on one or two sources that they had trusted to this.” Gidley fumbled in an attempt to form a coherent reply and settled for just saying that “That’s not news,” and resorting to Trump’s catch phrase about “the fake Witch Hunt Russia investigation.” So Hemmer pressed him to give a more direct response to the original question about whether Trump ordered Cohen to lie:

Hemmer: You’re saying the President did not tell Michael Cohen to do that?
Gidley: I’m telling you right now this is exactly why the President refuses to give any credence or credibility to news outlets. Because they have no ability to corroborate anything they’re putting out there. Instead they’re just using innuendo and shady sources.
Hemmer: That was not a denial of my question.
Gidley: No. But the premise is ridiculous.

Once again, Gidley evaded the question. And even after Hemmer called him out on it explicitly, Gidley outright admitted that he was not offering a denial. Then he segued to a strategy of smearing his accuser, saying that Cohen is a liar and a felon. That’s true, but what Gidley isn’t saying (or denying) is that Cohen lied under orders from Trump. And then he is given one more opportunity to defend the President and deny the allegations against him:

Smith: But the headline in that report is the President personally directed his longtime attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about negotiations involving that Trump Tower. Is that true or false?
Gidley: Right. But the President’s attorney has also addressed this. I’m not gonna give any credence or credibility to Michael Cohen who’s a convicted felon and an admitted liar.

So Gidley’s response to whether the Buzzfeed story is true or false is “Right.” Really? When the President’s own spokesperson resorts to dodges like “I’m not gonna give any credence,” to charges that the President suborned perjury and obstructed justice, there’s a good reason. And it’s usually because the story is true. But let’s not be too hard on Gidley. After all, his boss couldn’t even deny the allegations in his response on Twitter:

For as long as Trump has been under investigation for what he calls “this Russia thing,” he has behaved exactly the way you would expect a guilty person to act. The same is true for his defenders in the White House and the media. So there’s no reason to expect them to act any differently now. And judging by this pathetic performance by Gidley, they aren’t. With each passing day, and with each new revelation, it becomes increasingly clear that Trump is headed for prosecution and impeachment. And it can’t come too soon.

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

Donald Trump and Fox News Advocate for a Global Prison-Like “Walls Around the World” Agenda

On the twenty-sixth day of the Trump Shutdown, Donald Trump and congressional Republicans continue to refuse to allow the government to reopen and let hundreds of thousands of Americans return to work. Speaker Nancy Pelosi advised the White House that there will be no State of the Union address on Capitol Hill as long as the Secret Service is hamstrung by the shutdown and working without pay. And the every poll shows that voters are staunchly opposed to Trump and his stonewalling on the matter.

Fox News, Lou Dobbs

So naturally Fox News has leaped to the rescue of their president with a brand new line of attack that blazes new trails of absurdity while obliterating any semblance of logic. On Tuesday’s episode of Lou Dobbs Tonight (video below), the Fox Business host (and undisputed “Most Deranged Host on Fox”) sought to shore up Trump’s argument for his idiotic vanity wall with statistics that were unattributed to any source. Dobbs asserted that there have been “at least 77 barriers built across the globe.” And that “45 countries have proposals for border walls.” And that “since 2015, over 800 miles of barriers have been built in Europe.” He also said that:

“It’s now day twenty-five of the shutdown and President Trump continues to fight for the $5.7 billion to secure our southern border. And make no mistake, walls do work. And other countries all across the world are using them battling their own influx of migrants or to stave off terrorists.”

It’s impossible to confirm any of this because Dobbs failed to provide any source for his assertions. But if it’s anything like the rest of what Fox News reports, it was made up by Fox or some right-wing think tank they employ. The segment featured a graphic with a headline blaring “Walls Around the World,” as if that description of worldwide bondage was a good thing. It’s also impossible to assess whether any of these alleged “walls” were built for reasons that had anything to do with the immigration concerns expressed by Trump. The situations in other countries are not necessarily applicable to those of the United States. But that didn’t stop Trump from straight-up copying the Dobbs data and pasting it into a morning tweet:

This is just the latest example of Trump getting his “intelligence” from Fox News and passing it on to his Deplorables without admitting where he took it from. And Trump, like Fox, didn’t bother to cite any reputable source for the info. But there’s something else about this argument that is peculiar.

Trump is now making the point that, if Europe and the rest of the world is allegedly building walls to prevent migration, then the U.S. should be doing it too. But since when has Trump ever cared what the rest of the world was doing, other than as an example of what the U.S. should avoid? America First! And if what the rest of the world is doing is now setting the example for America, then Trump should be fighting for universal healthcare, because every single industrialized nation on the planet already has it. Likewise, just about every country in the world is signatory to the Paris Accords on Climate Change.

Once again, Trump is demonstrating two of his most prominent characteristics: He never has an original thought, or one that didn’t begin at Fox News. And his ability to form a logical argument is nonexistent. All he is doing is throwing mud at the wall and hoping it builds up enough to form a barrier at the southern border. Either that or that it sticks to the insides of the empty craniums of his cult followers. Either way he is proving again that he is dishonest, incompetent, and unfit to serve as president.

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

Trump and Fox News Vainly Pretend that Polls Support The Border Wall and the Trump Shutdown

Desperation drives people to extreme and untenable measures. And that must be where Donald Trump and Fox News find themselves today as they try in vain to spin reality into something that resembles support for their positions on the Trump Shutdown and his idiotic vanity wall. With public opinion veering off into a bruising opposition to the Trump agenda, they are purposefully lying about recent poll results.

Donald Trump

On Tuesday’s episode of Fox and Friends, co-host Steve Doocy introduced a segment about the border/shutdown with a reference to a new poll by Quinnipiac University. He was almost giddy about reporting the good news that this poll allegedly propped up the President and his standing in the eyes of the American people:

“There’s a Quinnipiac poll that essentially supports what the President has been saying all along for about the last month. And that’s fifty-four percent of you, according to Quinnipiac, say ‘yes,’ there is a crisis at our southern border.”

So there you have it. The debate can now be put to rest and the Democrats in Congress should immediately surrender and give Trump everything he wants. Right?

Well, no. Because the poll had some additional insights that make this tidbit fairly irrelevant. For instance:

“American voters support 63 – 30 percent a Democratic proposal to reopen parts of the government that do not involve border security while negotiating funding for the Wall, according to a Quinnipiac University National Poll released today. Every party, gender, education, age and racial group supports this idea except Republicans, who are opposed 52 – 39 percent.

“Voters oppose 63 – 32 percent shutting down the government to force funding for the Wall, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University National Poll finds. Again, Republicans are the only listed group supporting the shutdown, 67 – 24 percent.

“The GOP is losing the battle as 56 percent of American voters say President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress are responsible for the shutdown, while 36 percent say Democrats are responsible.

“Voters remain solidly opposed to a wall on the Mexican border, 55 – 43 percent, and reject every argument for the Wall.”

The poll also revealed that fifty-nine percent say that the wall “is not a good use of taxpayer dollars.” Fifty-five percent say that it “would not make the U.S. safer.” Fifty-nine percent say that “it is not necessary to protect the border.” And fifty-two percent say that it “is against American values.” What’s more, the fifty-four percent who agree that there is a crisis at the border may not be in agreement with Trump’s definition of “crisis.” They may be concerned about the welfare of the refugees who are seeking asylum, and the children who were separated from their parents by the Trump administration.

Additionally, by a wide margin of 46-32 percent, voters said that Trump’s Oval Office address was “mostly misleading.” And they believed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer more than Trump by 46-36 percent. Only 2 percent say Trump’s address changed their mind. Sixty-five percent of respondents disapprove of Trump’s threat to declare a national emergency to fund the wall. And yet Trump is just as deceitful about these survey results as Fox News is. He tweeted that:

As usual, Trump doesn’t provide any source for those fictional numbers. But if he bothered to do any research he would discover that every poll is pretty much in sync with this one from Quinnipiac. Even an op-ed on the Fox website noted Trump’s precarious standings and warned that he “needs to end the shutdown now” if he “wants to have even a chance of winning in 2020.”. And, of course, Trump is lying about Democrats not wanting border security. They just don’t want his stupid wall and, like most Americans, they know it won’t enhance security. Wouldn’t it be nice if the Russian asset in the White House would tell his followers the truth for a change?

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

Trump Mindlessly Parrots Fox News’ Lies About Democrats ‘Having Fun’ During the Shutdown

The relationship between Donald Trump and his State TV media handlers, Fox News, has been a disturbing component of his presidency since before it even began. Trump, after all, had a regularly scheduled weekly segment on Fox and Friends called “Mondays with Trump” for years before his candidacy. And since his election he has given the vast majority of his interviews (40+ so far) to Fox News. That includes his latest on Saturday night with “Judge” Jeanine Pirro wherein she asked him if he has ever worked for Russia, and he conspicuously failed to deny it.

Donald Trump Fox News

On Sunday morning Trump rose early and immediately began work – or at least what he regards as the work of a Reality TV president. He grabbed his phone, ascended to his porcelain throne, and composed this inspiring message for posterity:

Poor Donnie is once again whining about his lonely confinement to that big, old, drafty, White House. However, his version of events is perversely distorted. This week the Democrats in the House of Representatives passed several bills to fund the government that is currently in the midst of the Trump Shutdown – the longest, bestest shutdown ever. It is Republican Leader Mitch McConnell who refuses to call the Senate into session and allow a vote on those bills.

What’s more, contrary to Trump’s fictional account, most of the Democrats are in Washington working. But Trump, who is obviously paying more attention to Fox News than his presidential duties, found a story he could use to falsely malign Democrats as loafers. The article on Fox’s website is titled “Democrats At Play,” with a lede that says “As shutdown drags on, pols take chartered jet to Caribbean, see ‘Hamilton.'” So in that brief headline Fox crammed in a array of criticisms from their portrayal of this as recreation, to neglect of the shutdown, to elitist travel arrangements, to exotic locales, to exclusive theatrical events. Not bad.

The only problem is that none of that is true. The delegation consisted of members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. They were visiting a part of the United States that has recently suffered a catastrophic natural disaster to assess recovery progress. They were in constant contact with D.C. in the event there was a breakthrough in shutdown talks. And the performances of Hamilton were being staged to raise donations for local Puerto Rican organizations still struggling in wake of Hurricane Maria. Also, that chartered jet was laden with 250 pounds of donated medical supplies.

So that’s what Trump and Fox News are characterizing as a vacation with lobbyists on sun-drenched Caribbean beaches. Meanwhile, Trump continues to refuse to open the government, or to ask McConnell to hold a vote. He continues to threaten to declare a national emergency so that he can act out his tyrannical aspirations. It’s funny that this “emergency” is so lacking in urgency that Trump can posture over it for weeks as he seeks to make political points. It’s also funny that Republicans aren’t aghast at the prospect of setting a precedent that would permit a Democratic president to declare a national emergency to address healthcare or climate change – two very real crisis situations.

What isn’t funny is Trump’s disingenuously referencing that “people await their pay” as this shutdown drags on. He has proven that he couldn’t possibly care less with his comments about them “adjusting” or his administration’s advice that they barter with their landlords, or take up babysitting and dog-walking, to make ends meet. And he pours salt in the wounds by baselessly asserting that the suffering federal workers support his idiotic vanity wall. They don’t.

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

All Trump has to do is sign the funding bills that he previously agreed to sign, and that the GOP Senate passed unanimously. But instead, he chooses to obey the dictates of his masters at Fox News and regurgitate their callousness and lies on his Twitter feed for his Deplorable cult followers who will believe anything, except the actual facts that expose Trump as a narcissistic charlatan and a stooge for Russia.

Trump’s Braintrust (Fox News) is Pushing Him to Declare a National Emergency to Get His Border Wall

The presidency of Donald Trump has distinguished itself for its hostility to the media and the Constitution’s protection of a free press. His tedious whining about “fake news” and his Stalinist references to the media as “the enemy of the people” are evidence of his desire to poison the public’s minds in order to suppress criticism of him and his administration.

Donald Trump, Fox News

That said, no president has ever been more closely intertwined with a media enterprise than Trump is with Fox News. Before his election he was a regularly scheduled contributor to Fox and Friends with a segment called “Mondays with Trump.” He limits his interviews to Fox News on a nearly exclusive basis. His administration is infested with former Fox News staffers. They include: Deputy Chief of Staff, Bill Shine, who was the president of the network before being fired for mishandling incidents of sexual harassment; ambassador to the United Nations nominee, Heather Nauert, a former Fox host; National Security Advisor, John Bolton, an ex-Fox contributor.

In addition, Trump employs current Fox News anchors as his de facto cabinet, getting advice on everything from the economy to military engagements, to taxes and more. Sean Hannity is reported to talk with the President almost every night before bedtime. Lou Dobbs is often on conference call during Oval Office meetings. Jeanine Pirro is a favorite consultant on legal matters. And Trump is frequently live-tweeting whatever he happens to be watching on Fox, day and night.

Recently, Trump was prepared to sign a bipartisan bill to keep the government open. But when Fox Newsies heard that it didn’t provide funding for his idiotic vanity wall, they went berserk. Subsequently, Trump reversed course, and now we find ourselves in what is about to become the longest government shutdown in history. Which makes it all the more troubling that many of Trump’s Fox faves are now imploring him to declare a national emergency as a tactic to fund the wall that has nothing to do with any emergency, and that most Americans oppose. For instance, as reported by Media Matters:

Sean Hannity: So, with the president speaking, I’m guessing he’s going to declare a national emergency. […] victims of crime happening in this country, that should be enough of a national emergency.

Lou Dobbs: This is the president of the United States. He says a wall should be built; that it’s a national emergency. At that point, the nation should rally behind him. […] It is a national emergency, it is a crisis, and there could be no rational disputation of that.

Lou Dobbs (again): I really believe that the way forward here is for him to declare a national emergency, and simply sweep aside the recalcitrant left in this country.

Stuart Varney: I think this total refusal to negotiate has pushed the president to the point where he has to declare an emergency on the border.

Rush Limbaugh: And so they empowered the executive branch with the National Emergencies Act. He can confiscate private businesses, if he wants. All he has to do is declare it a national emergency.

Gregg Jarrett: The National Emergency Act authorizes the president to declare an emergency, and nobody can second-guess him. He has unfettered authority. […] he can use the military, redirect them for construction of an unauthorized project, whatever it is, the president wants it to be. That can be the barrier wall, and nobody can stop him from doing it.

Bob Bianchi (Fox guest): To me, politically, it makes perfect sense. [for Trump to] invoke my powers as the president under the National Emergency Act and under one of these sub-acts that allows me to move funds around to build this border wall.

Tom Fitton (on Tucker Carlson Tonight): It is a national emergency when we have a thousand plus miles of unsecured border in our southern area without any ability to figure out who’s coming across. We know the terrorists are targeting [the] southern border.

Considering how gullible Trump is, and how easily influenced he is by his Fox News brain(?) trust, it’s a foregone conclusion that he’ll declare a national emergency. However, contrary to the ravings of Trump and Fox, he does not have unfettered authority to do so. It will undoubtedly be challenged in court. And since the facts don’t support any claim to a crisis, he’ll almost certainly lose. In the meantime, millions of people are hurt and the nation is stifled by Trump’s ignorance and ego. Hopefully that can all be avoided by Congress waking up and doing the right thing. But given the abdication of its civic duty, Mitch McConnell’s Senate has to be considered a long shot.

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

And Here’s the Very First Contestant for ‘Stupidest Comment By a Fox News Shill’ for 2019

We are only six days into 2019 and we already have a contestant for “Stupidest Comment of the Year By a Fox News Shill.” The lucky winner is a veteran of the State TV Network who has contributed more than his share of idiocy in past years. And even though the year is young and there are no other contestants, this will be difficult to beat as the year goes forward.

Fox News, Brit Hume, Donald Trump

Brit Hume is currently a senior political analyst for Fox News. Prior to that he was the anchor of their signature evening newscast, “Special Report.” He is still seen frequently on Fox as a commentator and a member of news panels. But this Sunday morning he was triggered by an article in the Daily Beast that reported Donald Trump’s remarks to the press as he was departing for Camp David. Trump was asked whether he related to the hundreds of thousands of Americans who he has thrown out of work via his “Trump Shutdown” – the political tantrum he’s throwing to try to get his idiotic vanity wall on the southern border. Trump replied that:

“I can relate, and I’m sure that the people that are on the receiving end will make adjustments, they always do, and they’ll make adjustments. People understand exactly what’s going on. But many of those people that won’t be receiving a paycheck, many of those people agree 100 percent with what I’m doing.”

Let’s aside the absurdity of Trump’s response that he can in any relate to the tribulations of people living paycheck to paycheck. And never mind the fact that he’s shown zero consideration for these innocent victims of his ego-driven fetish for a useless and racist wall. And don’t even bother trying to figure out where Trump got the idea that the federal workers who are suffering and risking losing their homes agree that it’s all worth it to construct a wall that will accomplish nothing.

What bothered Hume was the notion that the author of the article wasn’t giving Trump the credit he deserves for the sacrifices he’s making:

First of all, it isn’t true that Trump accepts no salary as president. He does accept it, and then donates it to the federal treasury or some agency thereof. So Trump still gets the tax write off benefit for making a $400,000 charitable gift. That’s very different than declining the salary.

However, the larger point that Hume is woefully blind to is that foregoing the salary hardly translates into Trump being able to relate to the federal workers who are undergoing severe financial hardships. Trump was born into wealth and never had to struggle to make ends meet. He has millions (he says billions) of dollars in assets and whether or not he takes the presidential salary has no bearing on his welfare. Hume seems to think that Trump is experiencing the very same kinds of trials that the federal employees are. Does he really believe that?

What’s more, Trump’s refusal to pocket his salary doesn’t mean that he isn’t making any money from his stint in the White House. In fact, he’s making more than any other president in history. That’s because from day one he has monetized the presidency for his personal benefit. He schedules conferences by the government and the Republican Party at his hotels. He spends his vacations at his resorts (i.e. Mar-a-Lago, Bedminster, etc.) where the government pays the accommodations of dozens of staffers and Secret Service agents. He has even earned hundreds of thousands of dollars renting golf carts to his security detail when he’s on the links.

Of course, every president incurs costs for travel and vacations. But none of them have paid those costs directly to themselves. Until Donald Trump. And we haven’t even gotten to the money he makes from foreign governments and operatives who are lodging at his hotels for the stated purpose of incurring his favor. That’s potentially a violation of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, which is an impeachable offense.

It’s beyond insane for Trump to suggest that he can relate to people that have been involuntarily furloughed at one of the most expensive times of the year (holidays and taxes). Trump doesn’t have to worry about keeping his residence. He doesn’t have to worry about paying for medicine or healthcare. He isn’t troubled with expenses caring his children or their schooling. He won’t have any problem buying groceries or clothing. I wonder if Hume, the author of this tweet, is aware of any of that.

So even if Trump wants to pretend that he understands, or can imagine how it feels, he simply cannot relate to it. And sadly, that’s representative of how most of the Trump Republican Nationalist Party regards these matters. So for posting this asinine tweet, Hume shows that he can neither relate nor understand, And for that he takes the lead for this year’s Stupidest Comment.

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

Stop the Presses: Donald Trump Tells a Flaming Whopper, Takes Journalist ‘Totally Out of Context’

As Donald Trump warned us all in an ominous Christmas Eve tweet, “Throughout the ages some things NEVER get better and NEVER change.” The truth of that is abundantly evident in the tweets that Trump continues to post in this new year. His fetish for an idiotic vanity wall, that will do nothing but waste money, took up much of Trump’s Saturday morning. And naturally, his whining was filled with lies, insults, and blame for anyone but himself.

Donald Trump

However, after his regularly scheduled manic tweetstorm, Trump decided to return to an old favorite obsession, lashing out with his Stalin-inspired portrayal of the press as “the enemy of the people.” In this episode, Trump is caught (again) regurgitating what he just saw on Fox News. He tweeted that:

Of course, that is a wholly dishonest characterization of what Abramson said. And we know this because Abramson tells us herself in this Twitter reply. And she elaborated in an interview with the Associated Press, rebuking Fox News (and by extension, Trump) for having taken her “totally out of context:”

“Jill Abramson, the former editor of The New York Times, said Thursday that Fox News took her criticism of the newspaper’s Trump coverage in her upcoming book ‘totally out of context’ for a story that appeared this week.” […]

“She said in an email interview with The Associated Press that the Fox article’s author, ‘Media Buzz’ host Howard Kurtz, had ignored compliments that she had for the Times and The Washington Post.

“‘His article is an attempt to Foxify my book, which is full of praise for The Times and The Washington Post and their coverage of Trump,’ she wrote in the email.”

So Trump’s tweet unsurprisingly misrepresented the truth. Although, he did say that Abramson was “100% correct,” so presumably that includes her praise for the paper and her remarks that “the depth and intensity of its accountability coverage of Trump ‘was masterful.'” Trump failed to mention that in his tweet.

The problem with reporting on this President is that there is so much negative news that simply being honest and accurate can appear to be biased. But it isn’t the fault of journalists that Trump lies every time he opens his mouth, or that his presidency is rife with corruption and criminal malfeasance. And it isn’t the fault of reporters that Trump’s incoherent press avails sound more like the ravings of a street-walking schizophrenic screaming absurdities at bewildered passersby and the occasionally unfortunate pigeon.

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

Covering Donald Trump means reporting when he tells lies that have long ago been debunked. It means holding him accountable for his own contradictions. It means disclosing his attempts to deceive and distract from whatever failure is maddening him at the moment. And it means unflinchingly publishing reports about the crimes that he, his associates, and his family have committed. And if Trump, Fox News, and his Deplorable cult followers think that’s biased, too bad? It’s more important to tell the truth than to pacify the fragile sensitivities of politicians and their patsies.

Fox News Badgers Trump’s Chief of Staff Mulvaney to Take Even More Extreme Positions on the Wall

It’s day seven of the Trump Shutdown, and Fox News is determined to hold Trump’s feet to the fire. Not for his responsibility for creating this havoc and hurting hundreds of thousands of Americans. But to insure that he doesn’t bend on the radical principles that Fox News holds dear.

Fox News, Donald Trump Baby

On Friday morning Fox and Friends interviewed Trump’s Acting (one of many) Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney (video below). For the most part it was a friendly get together among like-minded Trump shills. However, the “Curvy Couch” potatoes were fired up over the possibility that the President might commit the unforgivable crime of compromising with Democrats in Congress.

Mulvaney tried repeatedly to characterize the Democrats as having “left Washington” to avoid the debate on Trump’s idiotic and useless vanity wall. But this Congress is still run by Republicans. They control whether the Congress stays in session or not. And it is Republicans who made the decision to stop working until next year. Democrats had no say in the matter.

Yet Mulvaney still accused Nancy Pelosi of orchestrating the shutdown and leaving town because she doesn’t want to appear weak. That’s a classic case of projection when it’s Trump who is transparently afraid of looking weak in the eyes of Fox News. Both houses of Congress had previously agreed on funding bills to keep the government of open. But then Trump was triggered by Fox News reports that he was breaking his promise to build a wall. And even though he also promised that Mexico would pay for it, he still felt it necessary to punish American taxpayers by shutting down the government.

What stood out in the interview was the ferocity of the Foxies in pushing Mulvaney to take ever more extreme positions on the wall and the shutdown created to force it down the nation’s throat. Here are the questions that Mulvaney was hectored with by the Fox crew::

Pete Hegseth: He says he’ll close it all down because of these ridiculous immigration laws. Is he willing to go that far?

Mulvaney replied that Trump is willing to go all the way. We’ll see. But it was predictable that the first question was so full of anti-immigrant bias.

Hegseth: It was $25 billion dollars was possibly on the table. Now it’s five […] Mr. Mulvaney, a lot of Trump supporters feel like five is already a compromise, $5 billion. So to now float out there $2.5, $2.7, wouldn’t that look like a cave on this key issue.

Mulvaney surprisingly admitted that the $25 billion figure was “smoke and mirrors.” And the only real “cave” here is Trump to Fox News.

Griff Jenkins: Hold on. The American people wanted a wall. What deal then now is President Trump willing to accept that is anything short of that wall?

According to Mulvaney, nothing. “That’s why the government is closed.” As for what the American people want, a new poll by Reuters/Ipsos shows that only thirty-five percent said they backed including money for the wall in a congressional spending bill. And only twenty-five percent said they supported Trump shutting down the government for it.

Rachel Campos-Duffy: But let me ask this. We’re talking about money – $5 billion, $1.5 billion, $2.7 billion. Why isn’t there other things on the table? DACA for example. Is that being negotiated?

Mulvaney said that it is, but there’s no evidence of that from the White House. Plus it would be atrocious for Trump to exploit DACA applicants as bargaining chips for a wall nobody wants (even though he’s done that before).

Hegseth: Mr. Director, Nancy Pelosi calls the wall immoral ineffective, and expensive. We know it’s effective. We know $5 billion is not expensive in Washington dollars. In taxpayer real dollars we know it is. But the morality of it. Tell that to the family of Corporal Singh. Tell that to the family of Kate Steinle. The moral thing to do is to keep it shut down until you get a wall. Trump supporters are going to expect that. How attuned are you to the reality that a compromise that makes it look like Republicans are cavin’ again – Here we go. Democrats always … No. That is a real thing that has to be factored in.

Mulvaney insists that “We’re not compromising.” But this question was loaded with bigotry and lies. There are no credible experts that believe the wall would be effective. Most undocumented immigrants came legally through border checkpoints. And by raising the Singh and Steinle issues, Hegseth is once again implying that all immigrants are potentially murderers. The facts show that immigrants commit crimes a lower rates than American-born citizens. So Hegseth shouldn’t be talking about “the moral thing to do,” especially since he opposes all reasonable gun reforms to prevent the massacres of American citizens by American citizens.

Hegseth: The President’s floated the nuclear option. Is that a possibility in the Senate?

“I wish all options were open,” said Mulvaney. But even Mitch McConnell has ruled this out.

Campos-Duffy: If he’s there, why doesn’t he do an Oval Office address? […] Why isn’t he using all the tools at his disposal?

On this Mulvaney fired back saying that Trump knows what he’s doing, and how to do it, better than they do. Because Dear Leader is infallible and only wants to protect his weak and frightened children.

And that’s what passes for a fair and balanced interview on Fox News. The program’s hosts badger their guest with opinionated viewpoints aimed at pushing him toward their radical perspectives. And the guest complies with answers that feed right into the craziness of their right-wing agenda. But in the end none of this matters because Trump will only tweet something that contradicts them and himself and makes no sense. And his glassy-eyed cult followers will lap it up like gruel and be grateful for whatever morsels he tosses to them.

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

Fox ‘News’ Fluffs Trump in the ‘Bone Spurs’ Debate with Ultra-Biased Headline and Story

From the earliest days of Donald Trump’s presidential ambitions he has transparently tried to exploit the men and women of the military for his electoral advantage. Never mind that his actual actions were disrespectful, and even illegal (his charities withheld promised funds) as he insulted veterans like John McCain, Gold Star families, and the fallen who he refused to pay tribute to. And until today, Trump had never even visited the troops in a war zone, and only conceded to take the trip after being shamed into it for months.

Donald Trump, Saving Cadet Bone Spurs

Trump’s visit to Iraq today was a blatantly self-serving affair that appears to have been done for the sole purpose of producing a propaganda video of him cavorting with real life soldiers. The video was just a montage of Trump smiling and shaking hands set to a soundtrack of the right’s favorite syrupy paean to patriotism, “God Bless the U.S.A.”

But perhaps the most notable hypocrisy of the Trump era has been his own evasion of military service via a series of academic deferrals and a highly suspicious medical exemption for “bone spurs” in his heel that never prevented him from playing baseball or golf. On Wednesday the New York Times published a story that examined the bone spurs controversy. They interviewed the daughters of the doctor who is reported to have given Trump his medical excuse to deploy to Manhattan’s Studio 54 instead of Vietnam. The story said in part that the daughters of the doctor…

“…say their father often told the story of coming to the aid of a young Mr. Trump during the Vietnam War as a favor to his father.

“‘I know it was a favor,’ said one daughter, Dr. Elysa Braunstein, 56, who along with her sister, Sharon Kessel, 53, shared the family’s account for the first time publicly when contacted by The New York Times.”

The Times found that Dr. Braunstein rented an office in the Edgerton Apartments in Jamaica, Queens, which was owned by Trump’s father Fred in the 1960s. The daughter’s claimed that their father received special treatment from the Trumps following his “favor” for young Donald.

So naturally, Fox News rushed in to shield Trump from any of the criticism resulting from the article in the Times. On the Fox News website they published a story with an unfair and unbalanced headline stating that: “New York Times tracks down anti-Trump children of deceased doctor to run uncorroborated Vietnam allegations.”

Wow. That really packs in the pro-Trump bias by the shovel full. First, the story attempts to dismiss what the women said by casting them as anti-Trump, implying they did this to deliberately harm the President. However, they have said nothing about this for decades and only spoke after the Times found them and asked for their account of what happened.

Secondly, the story is not uncorroborated. It originated from an anonymous tip that didn’t include any details or names. The Times then did the legwork to fill in the blanks. So what the daughters told them was, in fact, the corroboration of the original tip.

The Fox News article noted that Trump himself has never provided any details of his alleged infirmity because he said that he didn’t recall them. This from the man who says he has the world’s greatest memory (which he later didn’t remember saying). And Fox wasn’t at all curious as to why there was no evidence that the doctor had ever examined Trump before disqualifying him from military service.

Finally, the Fox News article only solicited two other persons for comments on the story. One was Dan Gainor, of the uber-rightist Media Research Center, who said “I’m surprised the paper didn’t arrange a séance and quiz the late doctor, too.” The other was conservative strategist Chris Barron, whose comment attacked the Times saying that “The New York Times is essentially indistinguishable from a gossip rag you’d find in the super market checkout line.” That’s it. No other quotes were provided from any left of center or neutral sources.

Trump’s recent treatment of Secretary of Defense James Mattis is proof of his disrespect for the military. And an interview he did last month on Fox News (wherein he bashed Adm. William McRaven, a former Navy Seal who helped dispose of both Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden) shows that he only supports the military when they bow down to him. But on Fox News Trump is still a hero whose evasion of the draft was a trivial matter that shouldn’t be explored by the real news media. And any attempts to do so will be met with biased retorts that offer zero substance to support their claims, but fit nicely in the Trumpian era theme of fake news.

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

Fox & Friends Co-Host Brian Kilmeade Leaps Off the Trump Train, Says He ‘Refounded ISIS’

Things are getting really bad for Donald Trump. His secretary of Defense quit with a stinging rebuke of his policies and leadership. He’s heading for a prolonged shutdown that he took credit for in advance, even claiming to be proud of it. And all for a border wall that no one but his Deplorable cult followers want. The economy is in a tailspin with the markets negative for the whole year. And even his pals at Fox News are getting antsy about supporting his inane, reckless, and impulsive outbursts.

Sarah Huckabee-Sanders

Nothing is more representative of the trouble that Trump is in than when his favorite Fox News program, Fox and Friends, gets weak-kneed about backing up his latest idiocy. They have a record of supporting nearly anything he’s done, no matter how ludicrous or destructive or even illegal. But these remarks by co-host Brian Kilmeade during an interview with Trump’s press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, really hits a low note for Trump at Fox (video below):

Kilmeade: He’s giving Russia a big win. Vladimir Putin praised him. He also is doing exactly what he criticized President Obama for doing. He said President Obama is the founder of ISIS. He just refounded ISIS. They’ve got 30,000 men there, and they’re already striking back.

That gets pretty much everything in there but an apology to Hillary Clinton for all the Benghazi and email bashing. Kilmeade noted that Putin is on Trump’s side regarding the Syria withdrawal. He compared Trump to his nemsis, Barack Obama. And he hung the founding of ISIS around Trump’s turkey neck.

For her part, Sanders acted like a deer already run down by the bus with the headlights in her face. She “respectfully, but vehemently” disagreed with Kilmeade’s analysis. But her defense of Trump was pitifully weak and devoid of any factual basis. She tried to turn the whole ISIS fight into a personal one between them and Trump saying that “If ISIS wants to pick a fight with somebody, they sure as hell don’t want to pick one with Donald Trump.” Something tells me that they really do. He’s a coward who can’t concentrate on anything for more than half a minute, unless it’s a mirror.

Then Sanders emulated her boss by making up numbers to glorify him. “We’ve wiped out 99.9% of ISIS in Syria,” she blurted out nonsensically. Where she got that figure from is – well it’s dark and ugly. Since there are estimated to be 30,000 ISIS fighters in Syria today, that means that before having allegedly wiped out 99.9% of them there were 30,000,000. That’s nearly twice the population of Syria.

Sanders also parroted Trump’s own assertions that he has done more damage to ISIS than anyone. She insisted that he surely never did anything to help them. To which Kilmeade replied “Leaving is helping.” And he actually called her out for lying saying that “The word on the ground is different from what you just said.” That may be the first time that Sanders has been called a liar by a Fox News host on the air. And if it’s any indicator of what’s to come, Trump might as well start packing his bags for Mar-A-Lago – or prison.

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