Jared Kushner Tells Fox News that 60,000 Dead ‘Is a Great Success Story’

History will record the total absence of “leadership” provided by Donald Trump and his regime as a catastrophic failure. It is unimaginable how thoroughly negligent Trump has been as a deadly pandemic spread across the nation and the world.

Donald Trump, Jared Kushner

Trump’s first inclination was to ignore the coronavirus entirely. He failed to take heed of at least a dozen warnings in his Daily Presidential Briefings. Then he cavalierly dismissed the threat as trivial, saying that it was “totally under control,” that it would “disappear…like a miracle,” and that “you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.” It is now more than a million. And through it all he refused to take any responsibility for his negligence and incompetence as he wasted crucial months shifting blame to others.

At the same time, Trump hijacked the White House Coronavirus Task Force briefings to cast himself as the star of what became an egocentric reality TV show that functioned more as a Trump 2020 reelection campaign infomercial. Instead of focusing on public education, he disseminated lies, insulted reporters, and bragged about the ratings. It got to the point that even his political allies were grimacing at his bizarre behavior. So he announced that he would cease to attend the briefings. That didn’t last but a couple of days.

Which brings us to Wednesday morning when Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, made an appearance on Fox News for his regular propaganda and happy-talk segment (video below). And he didn’t disappoint his hosts, the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends. He kept his remarks socially distant from reality by faithfully adhering to pre-established talking points such as his disparagement of health experts as “the eternal lockdown crowd.” Then he elaborated…

“We’re on the other side of the medical aspect of this, and I think that we’ve achieved all the different milestones that are needed. So the federal government rose to the challenge, and this is a great success story.”

Literally every line of that is flagrantly untrue. We are certainly not “on the other side of the medical aspect of this.” To the contrary, the number of infections and fatalities continue to rise. We have not “achieved all the different milestones.” Unless Kushner regards 60,000 deaths an administration milestone. What’s more, we are not even close to the number of Americans tested that experts say are necessary to “flatten the curve.”

Kushner’s assertion that “the federal government rose to the challenge” is not only false considering its tragically poor performance, it contradicts what Trump says is the federal government’s role. Trump has repeatedly insisted that the states have primary responsibility and the feds are are just a backup of last resort.

Finally, Kushner closed by calling the Trump administration’s handling of this crisis “a great success story.” That’s an assessment so preposterous it hardly deserves a response. With tens of thousands of dead Americans, and over a million more suffering, any characterization of this as successful can only come from deranged and callously insensitive mind.

However, Trump is desperate to sell this snake oil story. The American people are not buying his self-serving presentations of an allegedly flawless response to the COVID-19 pandemic, nor his utterly insufficient efforts to bring relief to a nation crippled physically, emotionally, and financially. And he has fallen behind Joe Biden in every national poll, as well as polling in many of the critical swing states. It is in that state of desperation that Trump is frantically struggling to survive politically and psychologically. But with each passing day he seems to be losing both battles.

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

Fox News Cultists – And Nearly No One Else – Believe Trump is Honest

The determination of Donald Trump to malign the credibility of the media has taken a toll. However, the impact has been felt mostly by his own devoted disciples. The American people by and large continue to have little respect for Trump as a trustworthy source of information.

Trump Lies

Trump’s problems are entirely of his own making. His frequent and shameless lying does not go unnoticed. He has been documented to have told more than 18,000 lies since his inauguration. And particularly with regard to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, Trump has repeatedly disseminated easily verified falsehoods. As a result, the majority of the American people don’t believe what he says about pretty much anything. Even more painful from Trump’s perspective, and after years of vilification, they believe the media more.

A new poll by USA Today/Suffolk University affirms these views. When asked if they think Trump is honest and trustworthy, only 31% said that he is, while more than twice as many (64%) said that he is not. What’s more, when the responses were broken down by preferences for news sources, the ideological divide was starkly revealing:

“According to the Suffolk poll, of the 31% of Americans who believe Trump is honest and trustworthy, nearly two-thirds of them say Fox is their favorite news source. Among Fox-first viewers – who comprise about 25% of Americans in the survey – 78% say Trump is honest and trustworthy, while just 15% disagree.

The imbalance is even more striking when you look at people who don’t trust Fox the most. Among the three-fourths of the population who don’t list Fox as their No. 1, just 15% say Trump is honest and trustworthy, while nearly 80% say he is not.”

Let that sink in. The poll shows, firstly, that only 25% of the American people say they watch Fox News. The number is actually smaller than that as the Nielsen ratings show that only about 1% of TV viewers are actually tuning in the right-wing network. The poll respondents are likely just giving credit to the channel that reflects their political biases.

Of the 75% of Americans who are not Fox News viewers, a measly 15% of them regard Trump as honest and trustworthy. That compares to 78% of the Fox cultists who are only a quarter of the total respondents in the poll.

Consequently, Trump is suffering a huge trust deficit from which he is unlikely to recover in the few months remaining before the election. And his recovery is all the more difficult since there is no sign that he plans to be more truthful going forward, or that is even able to be. Trump’s commitment to spewing self-serving fiction has been a key component of his character (or lack thereof) for decades. And the more he puts himself in from of the people, the more he lies, and the more his credibility sinks into an abyss.

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

Reality TV Host Trump Appoints Another Fox News Regular to a High Profile Post

The gross negligence and incompetence of Donald Trump has been painfully evident in his tragic mishandling of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis. This intrusion of his ignorance and ego (observable at his daily Coronavirus Task Force briefings that make even his allies cringe) could not have resulted in anything but tragedy and loss.

Donald Trump, Fox News, White House

Just as responsible for his personal failings is his reliance on a coterie of imbeciles and bootlickers, many recruited from his State TV propaganda operation, aka Fox News. On Thursday morning it was announced that yet another Fox News talking head has been elevated to a critical post in the Trump administration. Former general Anthony Tata has been a Fox News contributor for several years. His appearances are predictably slathered in adulation of Trump and blind loyalty to Trumpism. That’s been a sure-fire method of attaining employment in the administration of our reality TV game show host “president.” Politico reports that…

“Anthony Tata, a retired Army brigadier general, novelist and Fox News regular, will be tapped as the next Pentagon policy chief, according to three people with knowledge of the decision.

“If confirmed by the Senate, Tata would replace John Rood, who was forced out in February as part of President Donald Trump’s loyalty purge after two years in the job.”

Trump’s embrace of Fox News is an unprecedented merger of media and government. He routinely seeks the advice of Fox anchors who are bursting with shallow opinions, but have no relevant skills. Sean Hannity is Trump’s virtual chief of staff, despite lacking either education or experience. And the Fox News/White House revolving door has seen at least 21 people spinning through its portal. They include…

  • Senior advisor Hope Hicks
  • Former Fox president Bill Shine
  • State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert
  • Former Deputy Assistant to the President Sebastian Gorka
  • Former National Security Advisor John Bolton
  • White House director of strategic communications Mercedes Schlapp
  • Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson
  • Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell
  • Deputy National Security Advisor K. T. McFarland

This is the sort of politicization of critical government roles that insures catastrophe. The White House utterly lacks any assembly of knowledge, experience, or historical memory. Consequently it suffers from a tunnel blind sameness of perspective that is wholly obedient to the Dear Leader responsible for doling out privilege and access to power.

As a recent example of this abysmal absence of leadership and devotion to unflinching personal loyalty, the Trump administration dismissed Dr. Richard Bright, the leading expert on viruses and vaccines at the Department of Health and Human Services. Bright subsequently spoke out about his “demotion” noting that, because he “resisted efforts to fund potentially dangerous drugs (i.e. hydroxychloroquine) promoted by those with political connections,” the administration retaliated against him with a punitive transfer. As it turns out, that drug, that was hyped repeatedly and recklessly by Trump and Fox News actually contributed to more deaths among a trial group of coronavirus patients, than those who did not receive it.

These efforts by Trump to pack his White House with ultra-partisan right-wingers that he finds at Fox News can only only lead to ever more incidents of bad judgment and potentially deadly mistakes, whether by misguided intent or flagrant ignorance. This is particularly dangerous during a time when the nation is engulfed in a pandemic that requires leadership driven by science, not politics. Unfortunately, Trump is incapable of governing that way. So we can expect to see more turmoil, suffering, and disastrous blunders until he is booted out of office. November cannot 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.

Study Shows Higher Rates of Coronavirus Deaths Linked to Watching Sean Hannity

Anyone who has observed how Donald Trump and Fox News have portrayed the emergence and spread of the coronavirus for the past few months cannot help but notice their trivialization of the pandemic threat. They have contradicted the health experts who have been issuing dire warnings all along. They have insisted, falsely, that it is less deadly than the common flu. They have accused Democrats of creating it as a hoax to bring down the President.

Fox News, Sean Hannity

More recently, the Fox/Trump cartel has been peddling the asinine exploits of astroturf protesters who seek to prematurely end the “stay-at-home” policies imposed by most state governors. These are measures that have been responsible for helping to mitigate the most tragic consequences of the pandemic. They seem to be operating a doomsday cult with a death wish for the nation in order to allow wealthy corporations to return to padding their bank accounts. And they’re too stupid to realize that the only way back to economic prosperity is to protect the health of all Americans by defeating the virus.

Not surprisingly, the field marshal for the COVID-19 militia is Sean Hannity of Fox News. And now his contributions to the success of the contagion have been affirmed by a study conducted by a trio of economists with the Becker Friedman Institute for Economics at the University of Chicago. The study compiled data related to the virus and matched it to television ratings for both Hannity, who routinely downplayed the virus, and Tucker Carlson, who, at least initially, reported on its potential for great harm. The key conclusions from their research reveal a distinct relationship between higher infection and death rates from the coronavirus and viewing of Hannity’s program:

“Using both a poll of Fox News viewers over age 55 and publicly available data on television-watching patterns, they calculate that Fox viewers who watched Hannity rather than Carlson were less likely to adhere to social distancing rules, and that areas where more people watched Hannity relative to Carlson had higher local rates of infection and death.”

While there are caveats to accepting these conclusions without some healthy skepticism (it is just one study and not yet peer reviewed), it satisfies a certain level of common sense. After all, any “trusted” source of information (as Fox News viewers consider Hannity) is likely to exert influence on the consumer of that information. So if Hannity tells his audience that there is nothing to worry about, they will behave in a dangerously cavalier manner that makes them more susceptible to virus transmission and acquisition. And that’s precisely the behavior that would produce the results seen in this study.

The study did not explore more broad associations involving Fox News as compared to other news networks. But it isn’t hard to imagine that the same factors would play out with similar results. In other words, if Fox News tells you it’s okay to go to work and ignore social distancing recommendations, you are probably going to be more at risk than viewers of CNN or MSNBC who are taking prudent precautions.

These conclusions are also aligned with rational logic. News Corpse speculated two months ago that Trump’s cult rallies were potential breeding grounds for the coronavirus due to their willingness to ignore the warnings. What’s more, a recent Gallup survey found that Fox News viewers and Republicans are more likely to buy Trump’s COVID-19 lies. Consequently, they too would have increased vulnerability. Which makes it impossible not to presume that it is far more dangerous to be in the company of reckless Republicans, Hannity viewers, and Trump supporters, than cautious Democrats. Proceed at your own risk.

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

Talk About Desperate: Trump Celebrates an OANN Poll that Doesn’t Exist

On Wednesday Donald Trump unleashed one of his most bizarrely unhinged performances at the Coronavirus Task Force briefing (aka Trump Campaign Rally). He produced a fictional list of corporate executives he said were members of a new economic task force. He reiterated his delusional view that he has “total authority” and threatened to shut down Congress. And of course, he bragged about imaginary achievements and yelled petulantly at reporters. Then he stomped out in huff when he didn’t like the questions.

Donald Trump Pacifier Fox

Trump’s presence at these briefings has been a waste of time from the start. He contributes nothing of substance, but distracts from the experts who actually have some relevant knowledge to impart to the public. Trump has proved that the only things he cares about are those things that advance his personal self-interest and assuaging his voracious ego. That was affirmed on Thursday as he took to Twitter with bitterly partisan posts and flagrant lies.

The first of Trump’s tweets was his celebration of a poll by the ultra right-wing Fox News wannabe One America News Network (OANN). This is the network that doesn’t have a big enough audience to be rated by Nielsen. It’s the network whose reporter was recently booted out of the White House briefings for violating social distancing guidelines, but who got a personal reprieve to stand in the back of the room by Trump’s press secretary (since fired), Stephanie Grisham. It’s a network that has even less credibility than viewers. But Trump promotes them because he can always count on them to kiss his – let’s say ring. He also uses them to needle Fox News when he doesn’t think they are being sufficiently flattering. So Trump tweeted this Thursday morning:

The first thing that makes this tweet significant is that no such OANN poll exists. This is another example of Trump mangling the facts to disseminate whatever “news” he believes will put him the best light, even if it’s fictional. It’s similar to his repeated – and false – claims that he has a 95% approval rating among Republicans. Trump often makes things up on the fly.

There does appear to be a poll that has numbers aligned to Trump’s tweet. It was conducted by the Civitas Institute, a conservative think tank in North Carolina. So even if Trump had gotten the reference correct, it is still not a reputable, non-partisan survey. The notoriously biased Rasmussen poll only has Trump with a 46% approval, 53% disapproval. What’s more, the Civitas results are hardly worth bragging about. The alleged seven point lead over Joe Biden still has Trump below 50% (49-42%). Nationally, Trump has taken a nosedive with the most recent Gallup poll showing a six point drop in approval and a nine point leap in disapproval.

To add another level of irrelevance, the poll was conducted from April 5-7, so it’s a week and a half old. A more recent poll of this North Carolina race by Public Policy Polling shows Biden with a small lead in the state (48-47%), and the Democratic candidate for the Senate, Cal Cunningham, well ahead of the GOP incumbent, Thom Tillis (47-40%).

Trump has also been obsessed with maligning his perceived foes, including, and especially, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of whom he has a mortal fear. He posted two tweets piling on as many derogatory adjectives as he could think of. He called her “crazy,” “weak,” “a poor leader,” “incompetent,” “a pathetic puppet,” and “third-rate.” The first tweet quoted the insults of Sean Hannity of Fox News. The second tweet accused Pelosi of being “responsible for many deaths.” It also accused her of deleting a tweet that she never actually posted.

In other words, Trump was suffering a severe bout of psychological projection. Because those are all characteristics that have long defined Trump himself. Particularly the one concerning responsibility for tens of thousands of deaths that are directly attributable to Trump’s criminal negligence, and incompetence. And to make matters worse, Trump is still insisting that he wants to “reopen” the country, despite the fact that every health expert says it would be disastrous and deadly to do so at this time. Not that Trump or his GOP confederates care.

For the perfect example of how callous, insensitive, and greedy they are, take a look at this clip of Dr. Oz on Hannity Wednesday evening saying that schools should be reopened now because the deaths of 2 to 3% of American children from the coronavirus would be an acceptable “tradeoff” to get the economy back on track. No, really. He actually said that while Hannity nodded approvingly. This is the so-called “pro-life” right-wing:

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

COVID-1? How Stupid are the Trump-Fluffing Hacks on Fox News?

From the outset of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, Donald Trump and his enablers at State TV (aka Fox News) have been producing an impressive amount of propaganda and outright lies. Trump spends the majority of his time at the Coronavirus Task Force briefings defending his abysmal record and yelling at reporters. He has, in fact, hijacked the briefings to transform them into campaign events for his reelection. And now Trump has ordered the Treasury Department to put his name on the stimulus checks that Congress allocated as relief for the severe economic hardship the nation is suffering.

Donald Trump, Stimulus Check

Never mind that it isn’t his money, it’s the American people’s money. Trump just wants to make sure that there is some acknowledgement that the checks are connected to him. He doesn’t need to worry about that. Most Americans already know that the only reason these checks had to be issued was due to Trump’s negligence and incompetence. Note also that some 80 million people will be getting these funds via direct deposit and will never see a paper check.

Meanwhile, Fox News continues to parrot whatever falsehoods and self-exalting disinformation flows from Trump and his regime. They recently ran a dangerously deceitful segment that actually asserted that the coronavirus was not and is not a pandemic.” And their perversions of reality are having an impact, at least on those foolish enough to rely on Fox News.

The startling abundance of idiocy never ceases to amaze. Just this week Trump declared that as President he has “total authority” to force states to bend to his fascistic will (a position he didn’t really think through). He also announced that in the middle of a global pandemic he was halting funding to the World Health Organization (WHO), ostensibly because they were soft on China near the beginning of the crisis. But they weren’t nearly as soft as Trump:

As if that weren’t dumb enough, Trump’s senior White House counselor, Kellyanne Conway, visited the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends for a little Trump-fluffing and cult sermonizing. Conway sought to defend Trump’s defunding of the WHO by accusing them of not adhering to the facts. Which makes her remarks ever more asinine:

“This is COVID-19, not COVID-1 folks, and so you would think the people in charge of the World Health Organization, facts and figures, would be on top of that.”

Is it possible that Conway actually believes that the pandemic was caused by the nineteenth iteration of the coronavirus and that there were eighteen prior strains that we should have learned from? For the record, COVID-19 was named for being the coronavirus disease of 2019. And yet, this is her argument for adhering to the facts?

Well, to be fair, it was Kellyanne Conway who originated the phrase alternative facts.” So it’s kind of her brand. But no one at Fox News bothered to correct her. And, in the end, it serves to validate the studies that have long proved that watching Fox News makes people stupider.

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

Science FICTION: Now Fox News Says Coronavirus ‘Was Not and Is Not a Pandemic’

The United States is suffering through the slow torture of a painful unprecedented calamity. But enough about Donald Trump. The American people are enduring a hardship of mammoth proportions that is threatening both their health and economic welfare. It’s a challenge that requires a shared resolve to stare clear-eyed into the abyss of a frightful future.

Donald Trump, Fox News, Coronavirus

For the most part, Americans have been meeting this challenge with courage and a determination to prevail over the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Victory demands facing their troubles honestly and not being afraid to recognize difficult truths. It’s too bad that these efforts are made all the more difficult by the ignorant and dangerous misinformation that is disseminated by Trump and Fox News.

On Monday morning, the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends interviewed former Reagan Secretary of Education, Bill Bennett, a Fox contributor. His profoundly idiotic remarks made it hard to connect him with any office where education was involved. Co-host Brian Kilmeade asked Bennett to comment on the 22,000+ deaths so far. This is what Bennett – and Fox News – are still shoving down America’s throat (video below):

Bennett: Now they say 60,000 people will die. 61,000 is what we lost to the flu in 2017 and 2018. The flu […] If you look at those numbers and see the comparable, we’re gonna have fewer fatalities from this than from the flu.

“For this we scared the hell out of the American people. We lost 17 million jobs. We put a major dent in the economy. We closed down the schools. You heard Dr. Oz say we didn’t have to do that. We shut down the churches and so on. You know, this was not and is not a pandemic. But we do have panic and pandemonium as a result of the hype of this.”

Kilmeade: Well, it is labeled a pandemic.

The measure of mendacity in those comments is hard to quantify. Let’s start with Bennett’s trivialization of the deaths attributed to COVID-19. His comparison of the coronavirus to the flu is absurd. The 61,000 deaths from the flu occurred over the course of a year. And he chose a particularly bad year. The 2018-2019 season saw half that many flu deaths. The 60,000 estimated deaths from the coronavirus would be over a few months. Also, the fatality rate for the coronavirus is much higher.

What’s more, the lowered projections are only because many states implemented their own “Stay at Home” orders and other precautionary guidelines that Trump foolishly neglected. Those guidelines must remain in effect if we are to avoid much higher rates of fatalities. But Bennett is advocating dropping those guidelines, which would result in a second wave that could be even worse than the first.

Bennett’s assertion that COVID-19 “was not and is not a pandemic” is beyond stupid. It’s a wholly dishonest attempt to deceive people that could end up costing many more lives. Kilmeade’s weak interjection that the virus is “labeled” a pandemic is hardly sufficient to correct the record. It is not “labeled” a pandemic. It IS a pandemic. That would be like saying that Hurricane Katrina was merely labeled a hurricane.

It would be bad enough if this interview took place in early February when Trump and the rest of his right-wing enablers were still saying that it was “totally under control,” with only five victims and it was “going down to zero” in a couple of days. But airing this now, after half a million Americans were infected and 22,000 died, tells us that Fox News still isn’t through misinforming the public about the risks of this pandemic. And if Fox News isn’t through, then neither is Trump.

Indeed, Trump is currently forming plans to “reopen” the country by May 1, a date that no health expert has endorsed. But then, his only considerations are for his bank account and his reelection prospects.

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

Fox News Viewers and Republicans are More Likely to Buy Trump’s COVID-19 Lies

The COVID-19 pandemic that is ravaging America and the world continues to set new and more tragic milestones. Meanwhile, Donald Trump is still understating the threat and promising to end the “Stay at Home” and social distancing guidelines that health experts insist are still necessary. He is, as usual, more concerned about his bank account, and his reelection prospects, than about the lives of the American people.

Donald Trump, Fox News, Coronavirus

Trump’s callous disregard for the welfare of the nation’s citizenry is typical for a malignant narcissist who thinks only of himself. Unfortunately, his impact is felt more broadly by those caught up in the Cult of Trump who believe every lie he tells and who hate every enemy he targets.

The depth of devotion to Trump by his glassy-eyed disciples is revealed in a new survey by Gallup. The responses were broken down into various groupings, including what Gallup called the “news diet.” A conservative news diet is one where the respondents view only sources such as Fox News, One America News Network, and Breitbart News. A liberal news diet consisted of sources such as MSNBC, CNN, and the New York Times.

Among the questions in the survey was one that asked respondents if “the coronavirus is less deadly than, or as deadly as the flu.” More than twice as many in the conservative group believe that that COVID-19 is less deadly than the flu (57-28%). Never mind that all of the scientific data proves just the opposite by a wide margin.

Another question asked if “the Media is giving too much attention” to the pandemic. Once again, the disparity between the conservative group and the liberals is striking. Those who consume exclusively right-wing media (71%) already think think they’ve heard enough. Only 28% of liberals feel that way.

Finally, another question sought respondents’ opinions on Trump’s job performance. A whopping 94% of those who only view conservative media say that “Trump is doing an excellent/good job.” Those are unambiguously “cult” stats.

There was another survey released this week that further affirms the worshipful obedience to conservative lunacy. The Pew Research Center asked respondents whether they believed that the coronavirus came about naturally or was created in a lab. Once again, nearly twice as many Republicans (37%) as Democrats (21%) believe in the Frankenstein theory. This is the sort of conspiracy crackpottery that can only be produced by committed propagandists like those at Fox News.

Right-wing media and Donald Trump are the most productive purveyors of bullpucky about COVID-19, or any other subject for that matter. Trump continues to lie about the availability of medical supplies, the progress of testing, the success of his administration’s response, and virtually everything else related to this ongoing crisis. And Fox News is right there to back up his flagrant falsehoods.

No wonder people who confine themselves to conservative media are so dreadfully ill-informed. The only problem with that is that their ignorance could have an impact on the measures being taken to address the still considerable risks posed by the coronavirus. If they aren’t able to be educated, we are all likely to be in greater danger. And relying on the ability of Trump cultists to grasp reality is a precarious position for the nation to be in. Good luck everybody.

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

GOP and Fox News Oppose Coronavirus Oversight Committee

Last week Congress approved a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill. It’s the largest congressional appropriation of any kind in United States history. You might think that this sort of government expenditure would produce bipartisan agreement on a means to ensure that these funds are spent effectively with an emphasis on providing the greatest benefit for the people and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

Donald Trump, Fox News, Coronavirus

Unfortunately, the political harmony that ought to accompany efforts to allocate these funds never materialized. Almost immediately there was opposition from Republicans in Congress, and their official Ministry of Propaganda, Fox News, to a proposed House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis. This committee would just be responsible for oversight going forward. It is not the sort of investigative committee that would seek to understand how the crisis developed and how to avoid similar tragedies in the future (which Reps. Bennie Thompson and Adam Schiff are exploring).

Nevertheless, the featured story on the Fox News website carried a blatantly biased headline reading “Pelosi Power Play: New House coronavirus oversight committee will have ability to subpoena Trump administration.”

The clear intention of that language was to spin the proposed committee as a Democratic effort to harm Trump. It characterizes House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as a power monger who intends to hector Trump with subpoenas. In fact, the committee will be a bipartisan panel aimed at protecting taxpayer funds and ensuring that the people’s best interests are served. Pelosi’s announce says in part…

“We have no higher priority than making sure the money gets to those working families – struggling to pay rent and put food on the table – who need it most. The panel will root out waste, fraud, and abuse. It will protect against price gouging and profiteering. It will press to ensure that the federal response is based on the best possible science and guided by the nation’s best health experts.

“The House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis will be bipartisan and have an expert staff. The committee will be empowered to examine all aspects of the federal response to the coronavirus to ensure that taxpayer dollars are being wisely and efficiently spent to save lives, deliver relief and benefit our economy.”

That hardly seems controversial. Both parties should be supporting the objectives of this committee. And yet, Republicans in congress are already complaining on partisan grounds. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy wasted no time complaining that he thought the committee would be “really redundant,” and expressed his opposition to the appointment of Rep. Jim Clyburn as chairman. Greg Walden, the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, called the select committee a “mistake,” and “costly.” Apparently he thinks that the potential for waste, fraud, and abuse, would be less costly.

The need for oversight of federal spending shouldn’t be so contentious. However, there are those who are simply averse to being held accountable. Notable among them is the President, who regards any practical supervision as an intrusion on his perceived authority. When asked about the lack of accountability in an early draft of the relief bill, Trump laughably told reporters that “I’ll be the oversight.” No one in their right mind would be comfortable with that. Trump is forbidden from running a charity after a court found that his family foundation was misusing funds. His “university” was shuttered, and he paid out millions in compensation, after it was ruled to be fraudulent. He’s declared bankruptcy at least six times.

When Trump signed the relief bill, he included a signing statement that disputed some of the oversight provisions, including the authority of a new inspector general to notify Congress if the executive branch was not providing requested information. That’s a move explicitly designed to conceal misconduct.

It’s also further evidence that Trump cannot be trusted to spend the relief funds honestly or fairly. This is, after all, the same guy who said that he would not return the calls of governors who he didn’t think treated him right. If anyone ever needed oversight, it’s Trump. But while his Republican comrades and, of course, Fox News, would let him run wild, the American people must not. And that is sufficient justification for this House Select Committee, despite whining from the right.

UPDATE: And, of course, Trump weighs in by calling the proposed oversight committee a “witch hunt,” because he knows that oversight will reveal his corruption.

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

Trump Shill Kellyanne Conway Visits Fox News to Launch Lie-Riddled Attack on Joe Biden

In recent days Trump and his surrogates in the White House and the media have been frantically trying to rewrite history. They are attempting to persuade people that Trump wasn’t negligently incompetent as COVID-19 was spreading, and that he always took it seriously. Never mind all the video of him belittling the threat as a minor problem that was a Democratic hoax and that it would soon disappear.

Kellyanne Conway, Fox News

Now Trump is saying that his handling of the coronavirus pandemic was “perfect” and that if “only” 100,000 to 200,000 Americans die he should be considered a hero. This is the same guy who said Barack Obama should resign when a single American doctor returned to the U.S. from Ebola-stricken West Africa.

Trump’s hypocrisy and dishonesty is nothing new. And it is abundantly evident in another “interview” on Fox News of Senior White House adviser, Kellyanne Conway (video below). Fox and Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade asked Conway about Joe Biden’s suggestion that Trump should call President Obama for help. Conway spun that into an uninterrupted three minute rant attacking Biden and Obama, and lavishing undue praise for Trump’s objectively tragic handling of the coronavirus crisis. Conway began by unloading some of her trademark snarky animus:

“The President was asked that question. I think it’s really disappointing to have President Obama’s number two – who apparently doesn’t talk much to him – out there criticizing instead of saying “Hey, here’s what we did that we thought was effective.” Why doesn’t Vice-President Biden call the White House and offer some support? He’s in his bunker in Wilmington.”

First of all, Conway is correct when she said that Trump was asked that question. But she left out that Trump’s response was to arrogantly dismiss the notion that he should call Obama. “I don’t think I’m going to learn much,” know-it-all Trump said. “And, you know, I guess you could say that there’s probably a natural inclination not to call.” Secondly, Biden has already provided a detailed plan of what he would do were he charged with these responsibilities. And he warned of the potential harm of a pandemic – and Trump’s unfitness to respond – as far back as January 29, in a USA Today op-ed. Conway’s disingenuous suggestion that Obama or Biden call Trump makes even less sense when you factor in Trump’s personal animus toward them. In a recent tweet Trump wrote that “The Obama/Biden Administration is the most corrupt Administration in the history of our Country!”

After Conway’s flagrantly political diatribe, she added that Trump & Co. “aren’t talking politics at all” and that Trump’s critics seem “small” and “shrill.” And as if that wasn’t politically belligerent enough, she elaborated:

“I would ask Vice-President Biden why he can’t call and lend a hand. And isn’t it a time – doesn’t he think that he would actually do better by calling here and trying to help. But really, what would he say? What would he have to say? Our President’s made clear that we inherited a bad and broken system. And that’s true. The testing ecosystem and the surge of supplies that we’ve been able to do in short time is impressive.”

So not only did Conway ignore Trump’s open hostilities, she even shot down her own argument by saying that Biden would have nothing to say if he did call. Conway also reiterated the well-debunked lie that Trump “inherited a bad and broken system.” That’s the painfully lame excuse Trump has been using to absolve himself of guilt for having screwed up so badly and cost so many lives. The truth is that the Obama administration left Trump with a fully operational pandemic plan, and they briefed the incoming Trump team on it in detail. But Trump ignored those warnings and later eliminated the pandemic response team at the National Security Agency.

This is the quality – or lack thereof – of the Trump regime’s justifications for mishandling the COVID-19 crisis. And it’s emblematic of Trump’s dangerously egocentric refusal to concede that Obama, or Biden, or anyone other than himself, might have something to contribute to mitigating the disastrous consequences of his ignorance. He continues to reinforce the impression that all he cares about is himself, and that he believes that he alone can conquer any problem. That sort of malignant narcissism is what what got us into this trouble, and, if Trump is unimpeded, it’s only going to make things worse.

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