Fox News Anchor Scolds His Fox News Colleagues for ‘Bashing the Media’

There’s a peculiar thing about Donald Trump’s campaign against the First Amendment and freedom of the press. That’s how much he actually relies on the press to spew his propaganda and lies. Without the media broadcasting his hate speech who would know about it?

Fox News Chris Wallace Sean Hannity

To be sure, he has Fox News, the PR division of the Trump administration. And for some reason they are always left out of any criticism that the President has of the “mainstream” media, despite being the top rated cable news network. For the most part, Fox News is a willing accomplice in the murder of the media. They lay it on more thickly than any other network. And they never seem to grasp the irony that they are demeaning the news business that they pretend to be a part of.

Apparently that obliviousness has finally worn through to at least one member of the Fox team. Chris Wallace, host of Fox News Sunday, addressed this issue in an interview with ABC News and was not shy about expressing that “It bothers me.”

“I don’t like them bashing the media, because oftentimes what they’re bashing is stuff that we on the news side are doing. I don’t think they recognize that they have a role at Fox News and we have a role at Fox News. I don’t know what’s in their head. I just think it’s bad form.”

Make no mistake, he’s talking about his fellow Foxies Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, and the vegetative Trump bots of Fox and Friends – among others. Wallace seems to recognize that their knee-jerk assaults on any less than flattering coverage of their Orange Messiah isn’t in the best interest of journalism. And the manner in which he dresses them down is a scathing rebuke. Although he may be pulling punches by assuming that there’s “something” in their heads.

ABC News noted the obvious in their commentary, writing that Fox News is “the preferred network for conservatives.” And they cited a study by Media Matters that revealed the depth of Fox’s bias. For instance, Sean Hannity “criticized the press in 90 percent of his monologues from May 15 to Sept. 1.” And that he “used the term ‘fake news’ 67 times.” But something else stood out that makes the glaring prejudices of Fox even more appalling:

“As president, Trump has given interviews to Fox News more than any other outlet, but he has favored Hannity and other supportive hosts like Jeanine Pirro and Jesse Watters. News anchors Wallace, Bret Baier and Shepard Smith and chief White House correspondent John Roberts have been shut out.”

So even while Trump favors the garden variety sycophants at Fox, he is careful to narrow his exposure to only the most slobbering drool merchants at the network. He steers wide of anyone that might accidentally stumble over some honest journalistic principles. Even the Fox News version of a reporter must be avoided at all costs. Trump is only comfortable talking to mindless disciples. Lucky for him, there is no shortage of them at Fox News – or in their audience.

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

Donald Trump Wants ‘Equal Time’ on TV – And the Unintended Reason That’s a Fantastic Idea

It wouldn’t be Saturday morning without Donald Trump posting a flurry of frantic Tweets. True to form, his latest Twitter tantrum unleashed a stream of nonsense with more tedious swipes at the media. As usual he’s upset that there are reports that he considers negative. He’s right. But it isn’t the fault of the media that he screws up so much.

Donald Trump

This week the news about Trump included his troubles with White House staff, and particularly Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. NBC had multiple inside sources that heard Tillerson call Trump a “moron.” Trump further embarrassed himself by insulting victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. And he recklessly implied hostile intentions to both North Korea and Iran. If there was positive news about him last week it would have been reported. Followed by inane suggestions that he was finally pivoting to become presidential. So absent any of the good news Trump craves, he tweeted this:

Poor Donald. He simply cannot abide the sort of mockery that every president has endured since the founding of the nation. While he virulently insults his foes as “crooked, crazy, sick,” etc., he whines about being the butt of jokes.

As for the substance of his tweets, is Trump asking for an equal amount of “unfunny and repetitive” material? Because that can certainly be arranged by his comedy surrogates, if not by himself. Secondly, are there really “more and more people” who want to see more of Trump on TV? And are they currently under a doctor’s supervision? Finally, did he end his second tweet with a question mark because even he isn’t sure WTF he means?

More to the point, it’s his remedy for this perceived offense that is most worrisome. He actually believes that the media give him less time than his liberal and Democratic opponents. Hence his proposal to invoke the Equal Time rules to restore balance. However, the evidence shows that Trump has received far more airtime than any other public figure. This was true during the election when he received nearly three times the coverage of any of his opponents. After his inauguration he continued to dominate the press, as reported in a study by the Shorenstein Center of Harvard University:

“President Trump dominated media coverage in the outlets and programs analyzed, with Trump being the topic of 41 percent of all news stories—three times the amount of coverage received by previous presidents. He was also the featured speaker in nearly two-thirds of his coverage.”

The real world data clearly contradicts Trump’s self-serving bitchfest. But it’s also notable that he is, once again, demonstrating that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. The Equal Time Rule was intended prevent television stations from influencing the outcome of elections by favoring one candidate over another. It has nothing to do with airtime distribution when an election is not in progress. He may be thinking of the Fairness Doctrine, but the sainted Republican Ronald Reagan did away with that thirty years ago.

As is often the case, the motivation for these tweets by Trump was likely a segment on Fox News shortly before he tweeted. And speaking of Fox News, they would have an interesting dilemma if Trump got his way with regard to Equal Time. Fox News has distinguished itself as the PR division of the Trump administration. They are the closest thing to state-run television that America has ever known. If they were required to provide Equal Time to Democrats it would mean that half of their schedule would be taken over by the party they are devoted to destroying.

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

So let’s let Trump have his way. Let’s actually have an accounting of the network airtime distribution and require networks to balance their coverage. In all likelihood, that would result in Democrats getting significantly more coverage on Fox News, and even some marginally more coverage on every other network. It would be a welcome change in the broadcast environment that either favors Trump or the ratings-friendly melodrama he generates. So bring it on, Donnie.

Twitter Scorches Fox News and Trump for Taking Credit for Obama’s Economy

The big economic news on Friday was that 33,000 jobs were lost in September. It was the first time in seven years that the jobs numbers went negative. Most reports were quick to cite the rash of hurricanes that plagued the nation in recent weeks. However, the job growth statistics throughout 2017 have lagged behind the same time period in 2016.

Donald Trump economy

It’s no coincidence that Donald Trump and Fox News have been bragging about the performance of the stock market. It’s an easy, albeit deceitful, distraction from the other bad news of the day. Never mind that stocks are currently in the second longest bull market in history and that it started in 2009 under President Obama. Trump has done literally nothing that would change the momentum of Obama’s economy. Not a single economic bill has reached his desk for signature. But that hasn’t stopped him and his propaganda division at Fox News from trying to steal the credit, as demonstrated in these tweets:

The wealth increase that Fox News is touting is based solely on the rise of equities. Not only is it false to describe that as “the nation’s wealth,” it is a fluid indicator that could reverse course tomorrow. Indeed, many stock analysts regard the market’s current position as overvalued. These analysts are predicting a “correction” that could send the markets down ten or twenty percent. What’s more, the soaring stock market does not reflect the economic realities of most Americans. Other economic indicators (i.e. wages) are showing only small advances. The beneficiaries of stock gains are predominantly the usual suspects of the GOP (Greedy One Percent).

Some of these discrepancies were observed by the Twitter community, who proceeded to bludgeon Fox for their bullshit. A few of the notable comments follow:

It’s always dangerous to rely on stock market performance to validate the economy. There are too many factors that can shift investor sentiment. And with Trump’s saber-rattling over nukes with both North Korea and Iran he’s playing with fire, literally. And if that doesn’t sink the markets, then his proposed tax plan, which will benefit only the rich and blow up the deficit, will do the job.

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

Wannabe Dictator Trump Proposes Unconstitutional Senate Investigation of the Media

One of the first things that aspiring tyrants do after assuming power is to suppress and/or control the media. That’s a difficult task in a country that has explicitly protected a free press in its Constitution. But that isn’t stopping Donald Trump from trying anyway.

Donald Trump Tyrant Dictator

In his latest Twitter tantrum, Trump has taken another step toward the monarchy that he so fervently desires to lead. He has escalated his relentless (and unsuccessful) smear campaign against what he refers to as “fake” news, but is actually any news that isn’t fawning adulation. On Thursday morning he tweeted this disturbingly fascist proposition:

There are several easy answers to Trump’s frightful question. To begin with, “so much of our news” is not fake. Trump doesn’t bother to offer any proof of his allegation because he doesn’t have any. The media may get things wrong from time to time, but “made up” news is rare and dealt with harshly. Unlike what happens when Trump himself makes things up. He refuses to issue corrections or apologies and, more often than not, repeats the lies after he already knows they are lies. The Washington Post has documented more than 1,100 false or misleading claims since his inauguration. That’s almost five lies per day.

More importantly, what Trump is suggesting is blatantly unconstitutional. He is directing another independent government body to investigate the independent media. The Constitution prohibits Congress from “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” A White House sponsored Senate investigation based on news content is an unambiguous breach of the First Amendment.

Another reason the Senate Intelligence Committee isn’t looking into fake news is that it’s the Intelligence Committee. It has no jurisdiction in that area. Trump’s proposal is a clear effort to deflect the Committee, and the nation, from an entirely different investigation. Already under way is the probe into Trump’s electoral collusion with Russia and related financial corruption. Trump’s obviously afraid of what they’ll discover and is anxious to divert attention away from it.

Another reason Senate Intel isn’t looking into fake news is that it would likely turn up more evidence of fakery by Fox News than by any other media organization. The Republicans in charge of the Committee are aware of this and thus reluctant to pursue it. Fox News has been found to have lied far more often than any of their peers. PolitiFact scored their coverage as “Mostly False, False” or “Pants on Fire” sixty percent of the time. That compares to forty-one percent for MSNBC, and only twenty-seven percent for CNN. So Trump’s favorite network would suffer the most damage from such an investigation were it constitutionally permitted.

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

Trump’s obsession with portraying the media as fake is driven by fear. He’s afraid of reports that correctly describe his ignorance and incompetence. He’s afraid of being caught in bed with the Russians (literally and figuratively). He desperately wants to change the subject and poison the minds of news consumers. And he’s willing to subvert the Constitution in order to assuage his fears and achieve his goals. That’s what dictators do. And Trump has been behaving like a manic tyrant throughout his brief residence in the White House. And for most of his adult life for that matter.

Fox News Welcomes Serial Sexual Predator Bill O’Reilly Back as Guest on Hannity

If you’ve been watching Fox News this week (and, for God’s sake, why would you?), you will have noticed some blaring promotions mixed in with your daily dose of right-wing propaganda. Sean Hannity just moved to 9:00pm, taking over for The Five, which moved back to 5:00pm. Prior to that this time slot belonged Megyn Kelly who left Fox News in part due to her personal experience of sexual harassment from Bill O’Reilly.

Bill O'Reilly Sean Hannity

Speaking of which, Bill O’Reilly was fired by Fox News earlier this year. The termination followed a string of accusations that he sexually harassed women colleagues and guests. The tipping point was when news broke that he and/or Fox News paid millions to settle and silence those claims. Thereafter, O’Reilly’s advertisers began to peel off and Fox gave him the boot. It was another in a growing list of Fox News perverts who were jettisoned, including founder and CEO Roger Ailes. The network acquired a reputation for fostering a corporate culture that protected sexual abusers and gender and racial discrimination.

Now Fox News is welcoming back their former star. Sean Hannity will be featuring Bill O’Reilly on his program Tuesday night. It’s the first time that O’Reilly will appear on Fox since his April departure. Apparently the punishment for sexually harassing women at Fox News is a five month suspension from the network. After that, you are greeted with open arms as a respected confederate and news analyst. Maybe Hannity can book Bill Cosby for next week.

A preview of sorts was available on Monday when O’Reilly was a guest on Hannity’s radio show. He spent a fair portion of the time attacking the women who courageously came forward to report his sexual misconduct. The rest of the time was spent promoting the latest book in his terminally repetitious “Killing” series. His guest spot on Hannity’s TV program will likely be more of the same. Except that O’Reilly is already hyping the show with a promise of a “big announcement.”Maybe he landed a gig with his buddy Donald Trump, or a spot on Dancing with the Stars.

In fear of Rachel Maddow, this week’s guest lineup on Hannity is front-loaded with big names from the GOP and wingnut media. He began on Monday with Breitbart’s Steve Bannon. Tuesday is O’Reilly. Wednesday is House Speaker Paul Ryan. And Thursday is “dittohead” king, Rush Limbaugh. These conservative heavyweights will likely deliver good ratings for Hannity. However, he can’t be expected to maintain that pace. And Maddow, who has been scoring the top spot in cable news for several months, should continue to outperform her new competition.

Fox News has some interesting dilemmas with the O’Reilly booking. They are tempting the advertisers who ditched O’Reilly to leave Hannity’s program as well. They already have some incentive due to his irresponsible coverage of the conspiracy theories surrounding the murder of Seth Rich. Advertisers should also be wary of Hannity because of his close relationship with Donald Trump. He has been unabashedly promoting the President and serving as his most prominent media defender and spokesman. In addition to those matters, Fox News is trying to purchase a European network, but they are running into regulatory obstacles due to their dishonest and sleazy reputation. Booking a former host who was fired for sexual harassment is not likely to help Fox over those hurdles.

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

So there doesn’t appear to be any long-term upside to embracing O’Reilly and providing a platform for his revenge. Hannity seems to be poking a finger in his network’s eye to see how much he can get away with. But rest assured that his advertisers will hear about this atrocious booking. They want nothing to do with O’Reilly and may make the same determination about Fox News. The movement to Stop Hannity is gaining steam and O’Reilly’s return will only shovel more coal on that fire.

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.

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.

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.