North Korea? NFL? Oh Wait – Russia Probes Are ‘Closing In’ on Donald Trump

For much of the past week Donald Trump has been tweeting in a frenzy over subjects not previously in the news. He has escalated the debate over professional athletes expressing themselves on matters of significant social importance. And he has also created a crisis situation with North Korea that wasn’t an issue until he starting mouthing off.

Carl Bernstein

Both of those issues are newsworthy on their own now. Certainly the message behind the movement that quarterback Colin Kaepernick started needs to be addressed. Systemic racism in America continues to cause real harm. And Trump’s overtly bigoted contribution has had the unintended effect of getting the issue more positive attention. As for North Korea, Trump’s childish feuding with Kim Jung Un has thrust the world into a rhetorical firestorm. And this one has frightening, nuclear overtones. The media can hardly ignore that.

And that may be the point. Trump is trying to control the news cycle to keep it clear of something that he’s truly afraid of. By injecting new and melodramatic subjects into the media, he hopes to prevent further revelations about his own scandals. To some degree it’s working. But in a segment on CNN’s Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter and famed Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein were not fooled. (Video below):

Stelter: It was reported this week that special counsel Robert Mueller is asking the White House to provide documents related to Trump’s actions as president. Not just pre-campaign or pre-election day, but issues recently. That request includes at least thirteen areas in which investigators are seeking information. Including statements made about former FBI Director James Comey made in the presence of Russian officials. Also the firing of Michael Flynn. And the meeting at Trump Tower with Donald Trump, Jr. As you recall, he sought to get damaging information about Hillary Clinton from a Russian individual.

That introduction covered a broad swath of the potential criminal behaviors emanating from the White House. And Carl Bernstein’s response closed the circle with a concise summary of the President’s unsavory avtivities:

Bernstein: Robert Mueller, the special counsel, is looking at the conduct of President Donald Trump and members of his family, especially Jared Kushner. Also his closest campaign aides in terms of their dealings with Russia, ethno-Russians, during the campaign and before. And in business. But there’s a much larger context that now informs the whole investigation. And that is the conclusion of the American intelligence community – under Donald Trump, not under Obama – that now is certain that the Russians were very, very, effective at undermining the campaign of Hillary Clinton and specifically helping Donald Trump.

And we keep hearing the word collusion, which is not a legal term. What Mueller is focused on is quite different than the simple idea of collusion. It’s whether or not Donald Trump, and perhaps his family and business associates, knew that the Russians were trying to help his campaign. And if they knew that, why didn’t they blow the whistle on the Russians? Did they try to cover it up? Are they continuing to try and cover up that knowledge? That’s the real question. Not the word “collusion,” which Trump and the White House keep trying to focus on.

Finally, Bernstein proposed what might be the motivations driving Trump and his more recent scandal mongering:

Bernstein: But the reason is these investigations are closing in on him, his family, and his aides. And if indeed there’s nothing there and it’s a hoax, then why has Donald Trump tried to undermine, demean and obstruct – not necessarily in terms of the legal obstruction of justice – these investigations for six months at every turn? He’s done everything that he can, as have those around him, to keep these investigations from succeeding.

That pretty much says it all. Trump is engaging in a fierce effort to divert attention from himself and his possible prosecution and/or impeachment. And he’s using other news events, some serious, some fabricated, to achieve that goal. Hopefully more journalists like Bernstein and Stelter will demonstrate that they cannot be tricked into serving as his propaganda merchants.

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

Watch the Dumbest Man on Fox News Fail to Grasp Russia’s Cyber War in Debate With Rob Reiner

Every day seems to bring a new revelation about Donald Trump’s unsavory connections to Russia. The most recent include the business relationship of his campaign manager, Paul Manafort, with a Kremlin-affiliated oligarch. And special counselor Robert Mueller is digging ever deeper into the White House’s personnel and documents. All of this has Trump in a panic. And that has resulted in more rabid, diversionary outbursts on Twitter attacking the media and Hillary Clinton.

Fox News Tucker Carlson Rob Reiner

The accelerated implosion of the Trump administration is also roiling his defenders at Fox News. Chief among the Trump-fluffers is Tucker Carlson. He has distinguished himself as a devoted disciple whose knee-jerk support is as predictable as a sunrise. On his Thursday night program he invited director Rob Reiner to discuss a new initiative to “Investigate Russia.” The Committee to Investigate Russia is a non-partisan group that brought together experts like James Clapper, Norman Ornstein, and David Frum, to inform the public and advocate for open, comprehensive investigations. They put out this public service announcement featuring Morgan Freeman:

After running a brief clip from that video, Tucker Carlson began his debate with Rob Reiner (video below) asking a question that demonstrates an acute disability to understand simple concepts:

Carlson: So we’re at war. How would you respond if President Trump took you seriously and sent a B-52 to St. Petersberg or blockaded the Gulf of Finland? Would you support that?

That’s an interesting question. Not because it raises substantive issues. But because it exposes Carlson as incapable of differentiating between a conventional war and a virtual one fought in cyberspace. He seems to think that the use of the word “war” can only be interpreted as involving soldiers and tanks. The notion of any other kind of international conflict is beyond his mental capacity. Any high school student would have no trouble with these concepts, but Carlson is hopelessly stumped.

The other interesting thing about the question was its insulting slap at Trump. Apparently Carlson thinks that Trump might react to Reiner’s talk of a cyber war and call out the bombers. Sadly, I think he could right about that. It’s the sort of simplistic behavior that is emblematic of Trump. Nevertheless, Reiner immediately sought to correct him, which led to this exchange:

Reiner: When we say we’re at we’re talking about a cyber war.
Carlson: It doesn’t make that clear. It just says where Morgan Freeman – who everyone trusts … we’re at war. So you don’t really believe we’re at war. Why are you saying it then?
Reiner: Well, because if you watch the entire video it talks about cyber warfare. It talks about how he was able to use the Internet and cyber tools to attack the democracy. Which is what they did.
Carlson: But shouldn’t you say somewhere in there ‘We’re not really at war. We’re just taking creative license. We’re just trying to get you all pumped up.’ It’s not really war. And we shouldn’t respond as you would if you were in a war. Why not just say that so you don’t confuse people?
Reiner: Well, as I say, if you watch the whole video you wouldn’t be confused about it.

Indeed. Carlson’s confusion is dumbfounding (with an emphasis on the “dumb”). Is there anyone with a functioning brain stem who doesn’t understand what it means to be in a cyber war? Is Carlson really this idiotic, or is he just being a douchebag? (You don’t have to answer that).

This discussion went on for another six-plus minutes with Carlson never getting the point. Reiner, to his credit, remained remarkably calm and tolerant of Carlson’s determined and deliberate ignorance. Carlson, on the other hand, continued to ask ridiculous questions that illustrated his intellectual infirmity. And the whole time his face was contorted into an expression that’s a mix of bewilderment and annoyance. Either that or he would start cackling at inappropriate times. It was prime Carlson. And it’s why he’s known as the dumbest man on Fox News.

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

Fox News Wants You to Believe That Trump-Bashing Killed the Emmys – It Didn’t

The preliminary Nielsen ratings for the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards broadcast are in and they aren’t particularly good. The program drew about 11.2 million viewers, which is down slightly from last year’s show. But leave it to Fox News to turn this minor slippage into a political catastrophe caused by the relentless liberalism of Hollywood elites.

Emmys Stephen Colbert

An op-ed on the Fox News website trumpeted the ratings results with a speculative headline asking “Emmys ratings crater; Trump-bashing to blame?” The argument presented by Fox’s Brian Flood was that criticism of Donald Trump sunk the broadcast to new lows. He writes that:

“It looks like the 69th annual Emmy Awards are heading into sub-basement territory in terms of ratings after host Stephen Colbert spent much of Sunday’s event attacking President Trump. It turns out American viewers may not have been as into Trump bashing as Hollywood would like them to be.”

For the record, host Stephen Colbert didn’t spend much of the night attacking Trump. In all he spent less than three minutes out of a three hour program. But the real absurdity of this analysis is that it proposes something that’s impossible. Fox News thinks that viewers chose not to watch the program based on their clairvoyant observation of the Trump-bashing before it even began. Obviously, without such ESP skills they would not have known not to tune in.

In fact, the Emmy broadcast has been scoring lower numbers for several years. Trump wasn’t president when the ratings began a falling trend. The reasons knowledgeable people attribute to the decline are that television doesn’t have the popular appeal of the Oscars and the Grammys. What’s more, many of the winning programs are now airing on services like Netflix and Hulu that have fewer viewers than broadcast TV. Consequently, the stars are not as familiar or compelling. And airing against Sunday Night Football didn’t help either.

That didn’t stop Fox News from setting up their biased perspective and interviewing political partisans to support it. Flood first sought the opinion of Dan Gainor of the ultra-conservative Media Research Center. Predictably, Gainor slammed the event as “a Hollywood bubble show.” He further castigated television’s creative community as out-of-touch with America and unqualified to express an opinion. That’s a point of view that disappears from right-wingers when the TV personality is one of theirs. Case in point: Donald Trump (or Ronald Reagan, Ted Nugent, Clint Eastwood, Scott Baio, etc.).

The argument that Americans might have tuned out the Emmys because they objected to jokes about Trump also fails logically. Trump is currently sitting on record low ratings himself. And that’s from the American people, not a select groups of show business professionals. With his approval numbers wallowing in the mid-thirties, it’s unlikely that the program lost many viewers who were loyal to Trump. If anything, the fact that most Americans are repulsed and embarrassed by him might have drawn in a bigger audience. There is substantial appetite in the country for the Trump-bashing that Fox News is lamenting. An example of that is the fact that Colbert has become the top rated late night talk show host largely due to his nightly mockery of the President.

The program did feature some sharp jabs at Trump’s expense. Veep’s Julia Louis Dreyfus noted that her show had considered an impeachment plot line, but abandoned it because they were worried that “someone else” might beat them to it. Alec Baldwin, who’s portrayal of Trump on Saturday Night Live won him an Emmy, consoled Trump by giving him partial credit for an award he never won himself. But the most cutting comedy came from the reunited stars of 9-to-5 who said:

Jane Fonda: Back in 1980 in that movie, we refused to be controlled by a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot.
Lily Tomlin: And in 2017, we still refuse to be controlled by a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot.

Those are the sort of comments that Fox News and their conservative disciples regard as intolerable attacks against their White House Messiah. And for some reason they get away with calling liberals “snowflakes” for being too sensitive. Yet it doesn’t bother them when Trump himself posts tweets that show him assaulting Hillary Clinton. Apparently joking about physically attacking women is perfectly acceptable to these Deplorables. But Fox News finds it necessary to write op-eds that lie about the Emmys just because they can’t handle a few harmless jokes.

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

Fox News is STILL Obsessed With Hillary Clinton’s Email, But ‘New’ Evidence is Laughably Lame

There’s a lot going on in the news lately. Two hurricanes have trampled major U.S. cities. North Korea is rattling nuclear sabers. Terrorists have attacked again in London. Congress is struggling with DACA, tax reform, and yet another attempt to kill Obamacare. And special counsel Robert Mueller continues to close in on Donald Trump.

Hillary Clinton

Very little of this bodes well for Trump. His approval rating is still sliding down into record low territory. He has tried pathetically to change the subject with typically Trumpian attacks and juvenile insults aimed at capturing media attention. To no avail. So predictably, Fox News is riding to the rescue. They aired a segment Friday featuring an ultra-right wing guest who claimed to have new emails that prove Hillary Clinton guilty of pay-to-play.

The Fox News fetish over Clinton’s email is nearly psychotic. Despite years of trying, they have never produced anything that was remotely illegal. And it’s not for lack of effort. Fox News has devoted countless hours of valuable airtime to this subject, all aimed at defaming Clinton. And now, ten months after the election, they are still at it. It’s a demonstration of desperation. They simply have nothing else to distract the public from Trump’s disastrous reign of error.

On Friday Fox News hosted Tom Fitton of the conservative Judicial Watch (video below). Fitton claimed to have acquired new emails through the Freedom of Information Act that revealed wrongdoing by Clinton. The problem is, during the entire segment he didn’t produce a single one, or even offer a quote from any of the allegedly incriminating material.

Fitton began by accusing Clinton of having lied to Congress about turning over all her emails to the State Department. But the “new” emails he claimed to have were from the State Department, so obviously they had them. Then Fitton asserted that many of these emails contained classified information. But he didn’t offer any proof of that. And previous similar claims all turned out to be false. The gist of this appearance on Fox was to rehash the old email business, while presenting nothing new or relevant.

FITTON: Going back again to the pay-to-play scandal, it’s email after email of Doug Band, who was a Clinton Foundation top official, worked with the Clinton’s closely, coordinating and working with Huma Abedin to take care of favors for Clinton Foundation donors who were going through Band to get access and benefits from the state Department. Visas to Cuba. Meetings in Singapore. Other types of activity like that. It’s there in black and white.

None of that interminably run-on sentence contributed anything to the store of knowledge of this subject. There was nothing that could be described as proof of wrongdoing. What Fitton did say was rather mundane. He seems to think that the legitimate operations of the State Department (visas, diplomatic meetings) are inherently criminal. But he offered nothing to connect any of Clinton’s actions with her family foundation. No one ever has. And despite his assertion that “It’s there in black and white,” it actually wasn’t. Why didn’t he bring any of these supposedly damaging emails to the studio?

Fitton went on to make other random and unsupported allegations. He called the Comey investigation “a sham.” At one point he rolled completely off the rails by stating that Comey was fired because “no one trusted him.” But even Trump admitted that he fired Comey because of “the Russia stuff.” Then Fitton even undercut his own argument that this was new information by admitting that “The Justice Department knows about this.” Apparently he believes that Trump’s Justice Department, under the supervision of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, is covering up for “crooked” Hillary Clinton.

Clearly Fox News has run out of phony scandals to peddle. So they are reprising their hits from yesteryear. It’s the classic oldies network for Deplorables who still want to “Lock her up.” No wonder Fox’s ratings are lagging behind MSNBC. I suspect that even some Fox viewers are tiring of this rotting heap of garbage and are looking for some fresh news. And if this is the best Fox can do as they try to play defense for Trump, the President better start worrying about his future move from the White House to the Big House.

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

It’s Official: Fox ‘News’ Is Not News And is Allowed to Lie, Says UK Communications Agency

The mission of Fox News from its inception was to advance the agenda of America’s conservatives and the Republican Party. That could not have been more obvious due to its founding by ultra-rightist Rupert Murdoch and GOP media strategist Roger Ailes. The network has spent the last twenty years defaming liberals and Democrats while vigorously supporting right-wing politicians and policies.

Fox News Lies

Much of what Fox News produced brazenly ignored the standards of professional journalism. They aired overtly biased “news” stories that were filled with misrepresentations and outright lies. PolitiFact has rated sixty percent of their their work as “Mostly False,” “False,” or “Pants on Fire.” The other cable news networks don’t even come close to that dubious achievement. This shameful record may have contributed to Fox News being yanked from British television for what they said was lack of viewers.

Now Fox News CEO Rupert Murdoch is trying to acquire the remaining portion of Sky Broadcasting (a European network) that he doesn’t already own. The U.K. has some stringent requirements for approving media deals that will impact the independence of the nation’s journalism. They also review any deal that could put too much power into the hands of a single outlet. On those grounds their Office of Communications (OFCOM) has been investigating Murdoch and his 21st Century Fox corporation.

Unfortunately for Murdoch, concerns about Fox News are stalling, and might kill, the approval process. The network is awash in scandals involving presenters and executives engaging in sexual harassment and related misconduct. They fired their now-deceased CEO Roger Ailes, their top star Bill O’Reilly, host Eric Bolling, among others. That doesn’t look good to the regulatory body considering the acquisition.

And that’s not all. Fox News is also being scrutinized for its reporting and its chumminess with Donald Trump and his administration. Talking Points Memo writes that:

“British authorities have increased scrutiny of the impending deal following several complaints raising concerns that the Fox News parent company is not fit to own Sky News. That scrutiny followed several resignations at Fox News over allegations of sexual harassment, as well as a lawsuit alleging that the network worked with the Trump administration to push a conspiracy theory about a murdered Democratic National Committee staffer.”

The characterization of the personnel matters as “resignations” is overly generous. These slimeballs did not leave voluntarily. But their terminations were also not likely due to Fox having a moral awakening. In fact, it was more likely a self-serving attempt to appease the U.K. regulators by trying to show that they were correcting their problems.

However, the most troubling conclusions coming out of OFCOM’s review were related directly to the editorial content of Fox News. In an ironic twist wherein the agency was actually defending approval, they offered an odd justification for why Fox’s misreporting should not stand in the way:

“In dismissing complaints about certain claims made on Fox News shows, Ofcom determined that ‘Hannity,’ ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight,’ and ‘Fox and Friends’ are not news programs and therefore do not have a ‘due accuracy requirement.'”

To be clear, the agency is making a judgment call that those programs do not qualify as “news.” Consequently, they have no obligation to report factually or even to tell the truth. Anyone who has watched for more than a couple of minutes already knows that those shows have abandoned fact-checking and honesty. And now their flagrantly unethical standards may actually help the company’s acquisition bid. But they would have to accept the argument that they are allowed to lie because they aren’t really news. So far, Fox News has not complained about this characterization of their programming. What does that tell you?

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

Fox News is Taking Drastic Measures to Deal With Rachel Maddow’s Awesome Success

For the past few months Rachel Maddow has been drawing big numbers in the Nielsen ratings. Her show has done what was thought to be impossible a couple of years ago. She is beating her competition on Fox News. On many occasions she has also been the highest rated programs on all cable news networks. And that includes Sean Hannity.

Rachel Maddow

Fox News is now reorganizing their schedule. In part that’s due to having parted ways with Eric Bolling, the co-host of “The Specialists.” Bolling had been on suspension after allegations that he sent lewd pictures to his female Fox colleagues. The suspension has now turned into a termination. Therefore, Fox News has canceled The Specialists and moved “The Five” from its primetime slot to that afternoon time period. That leaves an opening in primetime.

What Fox is doing with that vacancy reveals just how worried they are about Maddow. They are bringing in Laura Ingraham to host their 10:00 pm show, where Hannity has been for years. And they are moving Hannity to 9:00 pm, opposite Maddow. Hannity is Fox’s best performing program. By scheduling him against Maddow they are admitting that she has been hurting them and they need to juice their line-up. It’s a risk because TV audiences are creatures of habit. Fox’s viewers may not know where to find Hannity after he moves. And that could cause his ratings to suffer.

More importantly, if Fox News thinks that their top guy is a shoe-in to man-handle Maddow, they aren’t paying attention. As noted above, Maddow’s ratings have been better than Hannity’s even when they weren’t running head-to-head. There is no reason to expect anything different with Hannity’s move. Other than the viewer confusion previously mentioned. And if Maddow cleans Hannity’s clock in direct competition that would be a withering embarrassment for him.

The new Fox News primetime line-up would also be an unprecedentedly biased schedule with Tucker Carlson leading off, followed by Hannity and Ingraham. All three of these pundits are confirmed Trump-fluffers. Hannity is an unofficial advisor to Trump and even appeared in a ad for him. Ingraham was considered as a replacement for Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer.

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

With every day the Fox News network becomes more and more an arm of the Trump administration. It’s the closest thing that the United States has ever had to state-run TV. But that doesn’t mean that America is going to accept it or like it. The country has already expressed a profound favoritism for Maddow. We’ll know soon enough how the ratings war between Hannity and Maddow turns out. And we can expect Hannity to venture ever further down the path of conspiracy theory nonsense as he tries to generate interest in his noxious brand of spin.

Fox News Smears Renowned Civil Rights Org With Slanderous Defamation and Lies

The cable “news” network most closely associated with the white supremacism of Donald Trump and the alt-right is living up to its heinous reputation. On Friday the Fox News program “The Five” broadcast a segment attacking one of America’s most honored civil rights organizations. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has been providing legal services to victims of prejudice for decades. So obviously Fox News had to invent some BS to charge them with.

Fox News Greg Gutfeld

The program’s cast mined the dregs of the ultra-rightist Washington Free Beacon for their material. And they sought the support of the Family Research Council, a notorious hate group, for confirmation. The SPLC responded with a demand for a correction and a detailed itemization of what Fox News got wrong.

The Fox News segment began with a diatribe by co-host Greg Gutfeld. He rattled off some falsehoods that portrayed the SPLC as charlatans and associates of violent nutjobs. His rant began with the charge that the SPLC was “a hard left outfit that loves to label people as extremists.” Then he dived deeper into the barrel of outright lies (video below):

“This poverty center has loads of [money]. A $320 million endowment and chucks almost 20% of it into offshore equities. Cayman Island stuff. I don’t understand it. So this poverty group sits on a pile of offshore dough. That’s like a personal trainer with a gut. Or a priest with a harem.

“The Center paid out $20 million in salaries in 2015 but provided just 61 grand in legal assistance. So the Southern Poverty Law Center appears to have no poverty and do virtually no law. It’s the most misleading name since the Democratic Party.”

The SPLC’s letter to Fox News addressed Gutfeld’s allegations and plainly showed them to false. All of the information was publicly available and posted on the group’s website. For instance, with regard to the charge that they spent only $61,000 on legal assistance, the Center replied that:

“That figure represents the amount that the SPLC spent on its own corporate legal services, not the amount it spent providing legal services for others. The same page of the SPLC tax returns that lists the $61,000 figure for internal legal services, shows that the SPLC spent more than $1.8 million on out-of-pocket case costs for litigation brought on behalf of its clients.”

The letter goes on to point out that they spent more than $15 million on initiatives on behalf of their clients. That’s a far cry from the $61,000 Gutfeld dishonestly reported. The whole segment was a smear job filled with easily disproved assertions. Clearly Fox News didn’t do even the most cursory research before broadcast. Consequently, the SPLC is demanding that Fox “acknowledge on the air its errors in the story.” But don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen.

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

How Far Has Fox News Crawled Up Trump’s A$$? They’re Praising Trump’s Deal With Democrats

For anyone who’s still wondering whether or not Fox News is a brazen propaganda outfit devoted to propping up Donald Trump, you can put your doubts to rest. On Thursday morning they demonstrated that they will go to any lengths to praise Dear Leader. Even when he’s violated their most precious principles.

Fox News Trump

The subject of Trump’s agreement on legislation to raise the debt limit and fund relief for Hurricane Harvey came up on Fox and Friends. Republicans were anticipating a bill that would put off further debt limit matters until after next year’s congressional election. Democrats sought a much shorter, three month period. Surprisingly, Trump sided with the Democrats. Some pundits surmised that this was evidence of Trump embracing bipartisanship. But it’s more likely that he was just punishing Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan for their recent failures to advance his agenda.

However, it’s the reaction by the hosts of his favorite TV show that is truly a revelation. There was a time when Fox News could be depended on to push whatever Republican scheme was being peddled. The network’s loyalty was to party over personality. That appears to be a thing of the past. With the election of Donald Trump the Fox News mission seems to have shifted somewhat. They are now committed to the cult of the alleged personality of Trump. The blathering of the Fox and Friends crew made that abundantly clear (video below):

Steve Doocy: The president, not wanting a fight, apparently said, “That’s the deal I’m going to take right now because we’ve got tax reform and other stuff we have got to do right now.”

Ainsley Earhardt: Good for him. He’s doing this for the folks that are affected by [Hurricane] Harvey.

Two things to note here. First, they suddenly think it’s laudatory that Trump is backing down from a fight. Prior to this cave in, they specifically admired his pugilistic tendencies and called everyone else snowflakes. Secondly, the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts were going to be getting these funds regardless. That was not in contention. And then they continued:

Pete Hegseth: Well some conservatives are upset … Big time. But you know what? This is a clear shot at Mitch McConnell and [Paul Ryan: “Hey guys, if you can’t get things done, then, listen, I’ll go work with the Democrats” […]

Hegseth: I think it’s very strategic from this president. Clear out the underbrush of the stuff that could be contentious, that Washington likes to fight about, so you can clear the deck to fight for the stuff that really matters. […]

Earhardt: Isn’t it refreshing to see them work together though? … isn’t that the art of the deal? Isn’t that what they do?

Doocy: It’s the art of the Dems.

“The stuff that really matters?” Apparently they don’t think that hurricane victims, or the full faith and credit of the United States, really matter. Because they just want to get that out of the way. But they are conceding that working with Democrats is the right thing to do. Previously they would have gone into hysterics at the thought of it. They would have branded anyone Republican who did so a RINO (“Republican in Name Only”), and called for his defeat. And don’t even ask what they mean by “art of the Dems.” They probably just thought it sounded cute.

So is this a pivot toward bipartisan cooperation in Congress? Or is it unvarnished idolatry of their presidential messiah? Considering that they still oppose everything that Democrats stand for, it’s hard to see peace breaking out on Capital Hill. Trump, Republicans, and Fox News, still want to kill ObamaCare. They still want to cut taxes for the wealthy. Their commitment to building a border wall is still rock solid (even if the wall/fence isn’t). They remain convinced that climate change is a hoax. They’re almost giddy about deporting DREAMers.

Consequently, the only conclusion is that Fox News is taking this position because it’s the one that Trump has taken. And they don’t want to to seen as disagreeing with Hair Drumpf. Which means that Fox News is determined to be steadfastly faithful to their Chief Oval Officer. And regardless of what diversions he takes from doctrinaire conservatism, they will blindly follow. That’s a recipe for totalitarian disaster.

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

WTF? Fox News is Now Making (Lie-Riddled) Campaign Ads For Donald Trump (VIDEO)

One of the most neglected observations about Donald Trump’s presidency is that he never wanted to be president. His stage-five narcissism and bloated ego has always found campaigning to be more to his liking. He feeds off of the mindless cheers of his glassy-eyed disciples. In his bubble-bunker he imagines (falsely) that they reflect the views of the whole country.

Fox News Trump Ad

For that reason Trump commenced his reelection campaign moments after completing his poorly attended inauguration address. It was an earlier start than any other president. And it was plain that he did it to justify holding more rallies before screaming Deplorables.

Now, in support of Trump’s reelection efforts, Fox News has stepped forward to do their part. This isn’t the typical Trump-fluffing that goes on everyday on the pro-Trump network. Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, and the “Curvy Couch” potatoes on Fox and Friends, were always expected to slobber over everything Trump does and says. No, this is something else that goes way beyond the mere contemptibility of biased journalism.

Fox News posted a video that can only be described as a campaign ad for Donald Trump. It is filled with positive imagery and clips of the President advocating American labor and goods. It even attributes laudable policies to Trump that have no factual basis. Watch for yourself:

Some of the statements in this brazenly partisan propaganda deserve more detailed analysis. For instance:

  • “President Trump has made Job creation a central focus of his administration.”
  • Where is the evidence of that? He has talked about it from time to time, but has done nothing substantive about it. His bragging about bringing jobs back from other countries has turned out to be a hoax. The companies he touted still laid off Americans and shipped those jobs elsewhere. He hasn’t even managed to get an infrastructure bill off the ground. The border wall is the only project he proposed that might create a few jobs, and the country is opposed to that.

  • “When signing the Buy American, Hire American executive order, Trump said ‘The policy of our government is to aggressively promote and use American made goods.'”
  • This order has no plans attached to it to produce anything at all. It doesn’t require any action on the part of employers or manufacturers. And if Trump were really interested in hiring Americans, he could start by hiring them to staff his luxury golf resorts. He might also consider having his ties, suits, etc. made in the U.S. instead of China, Mexico, and Bangladesh.

  • “We are building our future with American hands, American labor, American iron, aluminum, and steel.”
  • Not in Trump’s world we aren’t. He has illegally employed foreign construction workers on his buildings. He uses steel shipped in from China. And even the furnishings inside are mostly made in other countries.

Revelations about Trump lying have become so commonplace that people are beginning to tune it out. But what’s troubling about this video from Fox News isn’t just the bald-faced lies. It is that Fox News has no business producing campaign videos for any candidate for office. It is blatantly improper for an alleged “news” organization and a breach of journalistic ethics. It should be reported to the Federal Elections Commission as an in-kind contribution to Trump’s campaign. And the network should be fined and explicitly prohibited from further breaches.

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

However, it may be too much to expect the FEC to act on this. It is a notoriously toothless agency. So Fox may get away with their electioneering for now. But the more the public knows about this violation of trust, the more they will shun the network and its cast of Trump shills. That’s already happening as MSNBC, on the strength of Rachel Maddow’s superb investigative reporting, has surpassed Fox in the ratings. Rupert Murdoch recently took his own Fox News off the air in the U.K. citing lack of viewers. Let’s make him do the same here at home.

Trump’s Favorite Fox News Show, and Top Advisor, Implores Him to ‘Shut the Government Down’

The New York Times recently spoke with several Trump administration insiders who expressed some concern about their boss. They characterized him as stubbornly devoted to Fox News which they described as his “primary source of information.” That observation was not a surprise to most Trump watchers, but it was a rare admission from those in his inner circle.

Fox News Pete Hegseth

Without a doubt, Donald Trump’s favorite TV show is Fox and Friends. He religiously views the morning program with the three “Curvy Couch” potatoes staunchly defending the his every utterance and action. He has re-tweeted them at least 120 times since his campaign began. And there are numerous examples of him making comments about something that had aired on the program minutes before.

Consequently, whenever someone on Fox News issues opinions or offers political guidance, it must be closely examined. After all, the President regards it as at least as credible any other Oval Office counsel he might receive. Trump often gives more consideration to advice he gets from Fox News than what he gets from his intelligence professionals. So what Fox and Friends co-host Pete Hegseth said Monday morning should be noted. He appeared on Fox’s Outnumbered to discuss Trump’s options for fulfilling his campaign promise to build a wall on the border with Mexico:

“You gotta build the wall. This is so central to why he ran, who he is, why his supporters love him, and to his candidacy from day one.” […] “But shut the government down. Shut it down if you can’t get the central campaign promise done. I think from the view of the people that got him elected, they expect it to happen. And how long will the establishment Republicans – and Democrats would obstruct no matter what – obstruct everything he wants to do?”

First of all, the people that got Trump elected were most likely based in Moscow. But even a more generous analysis requires acknowledging that his electors were a minority of the voters. What’s more, even among Republicans, the border wall is not popular. It was merely the hypnotic chant of the fevered disciples at his campaign rallies. But they are in no way representative of the broader GOP. They may share much of the same right-wing agenda, but the StormTrumpers are certifiably nuts.

More to the point, Hegseth’s fatally flawed punditry asserts that the wall must be built because Trump promised to build it. Not because it would effectively reduce illegal immigration or drug trafficking or crime. It wouldn’t. But because Hegseth believes that fulfilling his campaign promises is more important than doing what the voters want. And if shutting down the government is necessary to secure funding for the wall, down it goes. Along with millions of Social Security checks, national parks access, hurricane relief, and many other vital government services.

Tens of thousands of Americans would be thrown out of work. That would result in additional government expenses and loss of federal income tax revenue. The last time the government was shutdown it cost the federal government $24 billion. And the same polls that show the unpopularity of the wall also show that Americans oppose a shutdown.

So Hegseth’s rant about shutting down the government is both expensive and unpopular. But he thinks it should be done anyway. And for reasons that are based on politics rather than what’s in the best interests of the people. He was kind enough to mention the victims of Hurricane Harvey. But only as an aside that reduced the tragedy to “the complications with what happened in Houston.”

As ludicrous as his unqualified opinions are, they are still held in high regard by one very special member of the TV audience. Donald Trump was surely watching, and he very likely considers what he heard as justification for shutting down the government. That puts the whole country at the mercy of the twerps on Fox and Friends. And if that doesn’t frighten you, I can’t imagine what will.

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