HUH? DHS Secretary Says She’s ‘Not Aware’ of Intelligence that Russia Tried to Help Trump

The United States was the victim of a concerted cyber attack by Russia throughout the 2016 presidential campaign. That fact is undisputed by every U.S. intelligence agency with jurisdiction over the subject. Even the Republican-run Senate Intelligence Committee concluded that Putin preferred Donald Trump and was deliberately aiding his candidacy while working against Hillary Clinton.

Donald Trump Vladimir Putin

So it comes as some surprise that Trump’s Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, responded to reporter’s inquiries at a House briefing on election security by saying that she wasn’t aware of any such assessment (video below):

“I don’t believe I have seen that conclusion – that the specific intent was to help President Trump win. I’m not aware of that,” said Nielsen. She said that, in her opinion, Russia was only trying to “disrupt our belief and our own understanding of what’s happening.”

Seriously? This is the top domestic security official in the U.S. government. She is responsible for maintaining the safety and integrity of the nation’s voting systems and the confidence of the American people that their votes count. But she claims not be aware of established facts that expose severe flaws in our electoral processes and pose an existential threat to our democracy.

The conclusion that Russia sought to aid Trump is not in dispute. It was confirmed as far back as January 2017 by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in a report that unambiguously stated that:

“We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump. We have high confidence in these judgments.”

If Nielsen is actually unaware of these undisputed facts regarding Russia’s election interference, then she is either lazy or incompetent. There is no excuse for her not knowing about this fundamental report or the serious threats to Homeland Security that are enumerated in it.

If Nielsen is merely feigning ignorance on behalf of her boss, then she is complicit with his propaganda and criminal negligence. Trump has repeatedly denied the reality that Putin was helping his campaign. He surely doesn’t want members of his cabinet contradicting him. That could lead to further erosion of his denials regarding his collusion with Russia and financial improprieties by himself and his family.

But Nielsen, like all federal officials, took an oath to “defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” She works for the American people. She did not swear allegiance to a wannabe dictator who insists that all of his minions kowtow to him and protect him from bad publicity or criminal liability. And if she doesn’t understand that she should resign and stop helping Trump to soft-pedal Russia’s hostilities against the United States.

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

Trump’s Morning Tweetstorm Was Transcribed Verbatim from Screwball Rant on Fox News

A rainy weekend in Washington, D.C. left Donald Trump with nothing to do but post tweets dripping with panic and desperation. So he assumed his “Golden Throne” and began tapping out nine messages regaling against the law enforcement agencies of his own administration that all have directors he appointed. He concluded with an authoritarian “demand” that the Justice Department investigate itself regarding its investigation of the 2016 presidential campaign. Which would, of course, be considered improper interference and obstruction of justice in a normal world.

Trump Baby

On Monday Trump must have determined that his weekend tantrum wasn’t sufficiently unhinged, so he resumed his raving with another series of tweets. In this volley of manic distress, Trump decided that it wasn’t necessary to unload his own psychoses. Instead he simply had some poor schnook serve as his stenographer and regurgitate what he just watched on Fox News:

John Brennan is the former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and a frequent Trump critic. He tweeted on Sunday that congressional leaders would bear the responsibility if they “continue to enable Mr. Trump’s self-serving actions.” That’s what set off Dan Bongino, a familiar face on Trump’s favorite TV show, Fox and Friends.

Bongino’s diatribe was pure fury and bluster with no substance or facts whatsoever. In other words, ordinary Fox News histrionics. He even destroyed his own premise by noting that Brennan briefed everyone, including Trump and both sides of Congress, about the infamous Steele Dossier. Had this been a “political hit job” the only parties notified would have been Democrats and Trump opponents.

More to the point, it is Trump’s obsessive addiction to anything and everything that appears on Fox News that is troubling. He has the resources of the world’s largest and finest intelligence agencies, but he relies instead on rejects and has-beens whose only credentials are as talking heads on a shamelessly biased cable “news” network. And on the basis of what he sees on Fox he makes decisions that will impact the nation and the world.

For the most part, Trump’s decisions lately have been narrowed to whatever he sees as what’s in his best personal interest. The Russia collusion story is almost all he talks about. And in his twisted mind, the story is solely about the asinine “Deep State” conspiracy to destroy his presidency. On that front he is getting plenty of help from Fox News. For instance, on Monday morning Fox host Maria Bartiromo, who used to be a business analyst but is now competing for the Alex Jones Crackpot Award, told her viewers that “President Obama, it seems to me, was politicizing all of his agencies: the DOJ, the FBI, the IRS, the CIA; they were all involved in trying to take down Donald Trump.”

Of course. It was Obama all along. Never mind that Republicans regarded him as an affirmative action dunce who never earned his academic or political achievements. He was also an evil genius who masterminded the anti-Trump crusade that’s threatening the most powerful man on the planet. It’s these sort of delusional visions and insane conspiracies that fuel Trump’s crusade to demean all of the institutions of American government. If his survival is reliant on the destruction of the country, then that’s a price Trump is willing to pay. And Fox News will be right there to help him along.

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

Fox News Fingers ‘The Single Most Dangerous Person to the Agenda of President Trump’

You can count on Fox News to be on top of any threats to the supremacy of Donald Trump and his totalitarian regime. Since Fox News is the designated media arm of the Trump White House and the President’s most passionate protector, they would naturally be the most ardent champion of Trump’s interests.

Jeanine Pirro Fox News

Consequently, one of Trump’s favorite Fox mouthpieces, “Judge” Jeanine Pirro, went on one of her spittle-inflected rants in defense of the Cheeto Jesus she worships. Her Saturday night massacre was jam-packed with unfounded allegations against Trump foes like James Comey, Hillary Clinton, and the FBI, among others. She bristled at this being “the one year anniversary of the Mueller investigation staffed with the singularly most biased attorneys in American history.” Never mind that special counsel Robert Mueller is a life-long Republican, as is Rod Rosenstein, the Deputy Attorney General who appointed him.

Pirro’s tantrum then veered off into tales that Democrats “chuckled” when Trump claimed he had been wiretapped. She insists now that the claim was true. But it was widely proven to be just another of his delusional outbursts with no basis in reality. She continued with allegations of a “shadow government” and “deep state” clinging to control, despite the fact that Trump and his appointees have been in power for more than a year. She invented fictional accounts of FBI agents conspiring to interfere with a presidential election and overthrow the President. And ignoring the dozens of indictments along with five guilty pleas by close Trump associates, she swore that he hasn’t been “touched” by any of the ongoing probes. Really? Most legal observers would say that he’s had a full body massage (with no happy ending).

But perhaps the most darkly entertaining portion of this wild-eyed segment was Pirro’s assault on one of Trump’s first and most loyal advocates. Former Senator Jeff Sessions was the first member of Congress to endorse Trump. He faithfully followed the candidate around the country like a devoted puppy. And for his devotion he was given his own Justice Department to play with. However, Pirro sees in him something different and far more ominous:

“What, ladies and gentlemen, is unmistakable in all of this, is that the single most dangerous person to the agenda of President Trump, the Republican party and ultimately to all Americans, is the Attorney General of the Untied States himself, Jeff Sessions.”

The danger that Sessions represents to America is something we can all agree on. But perhaps for different reasons. From Pirro’s perspective he “has done nothing to make anyone responsible for the blatant corruption” she asserts has plagued the FBI. She complains that he has “fought the release of telling documents” that in her cartoon brain would somehow exonerate the President or incriminate his enemies. And by failing to purify Trump’s aura and condemn his foes to purgatory, Sessions, she says, “has done nothing to create confidence that wrongdoers will be accountable.” Of course, her definition of accountability is the incarceration of all Democrats and the observance of the divinity of Trump. She closes with this hallelujah moment:

“With all the power and might of the Department of Justice behind him, he continues to do nothing. He refuses to take them out in cuffs. The most powerful prosecutor in the world, the man who holds the scales of justice in his hands, hides behind the coattails of a Rod Rosenstein – a man we’ve never even heard of – who is in fact behind all of Jeff Sessions decisions, who is in fact running our Department of Justice.”

There really isn’t anything more that could be added to that drooling screed. It proves once again that Fox News is deeply embedded in the inner regions of Trump’s rectal cavity. This assault on Sessions could not have been broadcast without the knowledge and permission of the White House. It signals some tough sledding ahead for Sessions. Which could be dangerous for Trump because Sessions knows where all of the bodies are buried. And if he feels like he’s been rolled over by a convoy of buses, he could easily become the next flipper on Mueller’s plate.

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

Fox News Outs FBI Informant For Trump After Warnings It Would Create Security Risks

There is one cable news network that has made its proclamations of hyper-patriotism a part of its brand since the day it was founded. Fox News incorporates American flag logos into virtually every graphic that appears on the screen. And its hosts and guests relentlessly sermonize on the divine infallibility of the nation under almost any circumstances.

Donald Trump Fox News

The exceptions to this rule are those that involve their Dear Leader, Donald Trump. Whenever there is some controversy regarding the investigations into his collusion with Russia, financial corruption, or sexual misconduct, Fox News immediately changes course to lambaste the government institutions charged with keeping the nation safe and enforcing the law. Patriotism goes out the window whenever the FBI or other intelligence agencies begin to close in on Trump’s criminality.

A foreboding example of this emerged this weekend as reports that the FBI employed informants to ascertain whether Trump’s campaign was working with Russian operatives to help him win the election. Trump took to Twitter to post a frantic series of posts denouncing these investigations and misrepresenting the FBI’s conduct. Trump characterized the Bureau as “implanting” spies in his campaign for political purposes. In reality, they were seeking information about possible crimes using undercover sources, which is in keeping with their mission to protect the public, including Trump. But now the obviously panicked President is threatening his own Justice Department with ludicrous demands:

There is, of course, no evidence that any political shenanigans were being undertaken by the FBI or the Obama administration. But Trump’s interest in interfering with undercover investigations poses a serious problem for law enforcement. He and his sycophants in the right-wing press have been calling for the FBI informant’s identity to be revealed. However, that information would likely lead to security risks for both the informant and any other operation he might have been involved with. People’s lives may literally be at risk.

So naturally Fox News went ahead and reported the informant’s identity. Never mind the damage it does to ongoing inquiries or human lives. According to an article by Fox News, the Daily Caller (a website founded by Tucker Carlson who currently hosts a primetime show on Fox) was first to identify the informant. That news was subsequently regurgitated by the New York Post, which is owned by the same parent company as Fox News. So at least three members of the Fox family have been actively outing an undercover FBI asset.

The original stories about this informant were published by the New York Times and the Washington Post. Neither one disclosed his identity. But both were apparently correct despite Trump’s tedious accusations of them being “fake” news. However, Fox had no problem with endangering Americans and American interests. What’s ironic, though, is that this reckless brand of pseudo-journalism didn’t even support their premise that this was all a clandestine plot to destroy Trump. Their own article notes that the informant was not a deep state Obama spy, but had previously worked for the administrations of Nixon, Ford and Reagan.

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

In conclusion, what we have here is an attempt by Fox News to assist Trump in defaming the FBI in order to help a criminally suspect president. And their attempt fails due to the partisan affiliation of the informant who, it turns out, is a staunch Republican. But it succeeds in endangering American lives and ongoing investigations to protect the country in matters that may be unrelated to Trump. So we should all recognize Fox News for their stalwart patriotism that they demonstrate by deliberately hurting the country and its citizens.

Way Out of His League? Sarah Huckabee Sanders Has Delusions of Trump’s Grandeur

While Donald Trump cowers in the safety of his White House residence (or his Palm Beach resort), his press secretary shows up on State-TV (aka Fox News) for a pity party with Sean Hannity. They spend much of their segment whining about how Trump is a victim of the press that just doesn’t like him no matter how awesome he is.

Fox News, Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Sarah Huckabee Sanders has the unique distinction of turning the daily White House press briefings into an extended presentation of lies and propaganda that surpasses any of her predecessors. The media participants in these charades, from across the political spectrum, openly lament that they can’t believe what comes out of her mouth. That absence of confidence is a real threat to the American system of democracy that relies on a free press. But since she represents a president who has repeatedly referred to the media in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people,” it would be naive to expect anything resembling honesty or integrity from her or this administration.

And so it was on Friday as Sanders canoodled with Hannity to malign the media in general and CNN’s Jim Acosta in particular (video below). “it’s unreal,” she grumbled, “the amount of negative coverage that comes from the media covering this White House.” Continuing, she said:

“Not just because it’s so one-sided, but because there’s so many good things they could be talking about. The economy is booming. ISIS is on the run. Remaking of the judiciary. Getting rid of the individual mandate. The foreign policy and the relationships that this president has built. Every single day there’s a good news story to tell. And yet ninety percent of the coverage is negative.”

For the record, the economy was booming for seven of the eight years Obama was president, after he guided it to recovery from the Bush recession. Trump stumbled into this expansion and immediately took credit for it. However, now that he has been at the helm for a year, the economy has rapidly cooled. It’s almost six months into 2018 and the Dow Jones is laying flat year-to date.

As for the other items that Sanders regards as “good news,” remaking the judiciary is a euphemism for packing it with ultra-conservatives who will favor corporations over people; getting rid of the ObamaCare individual mandate is already resulting in higher premiums and fewer people being covered; and Trump’s foreign policy is a perverse shift from alignment with our allies to cuddling up to totalitarian foes like Vladimir Putin and Xi Xiaoping. His biggest so-called accomplishments are a scheduled meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un (which may never happen, or produce the results he’s promised), and moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem (which has already cost more than sixty lives).

Still, Sanders insists that there’s “a good news story to tell” every day, even as reports pile up about Trump’s collusion with Russia and corruption connected to his business and personal affairs. There has never been an administration so mired in political malfeasance as the Trump Crime Family. And yet, Sanders and Hannity place all the blame on the media for doing their job. Sanders even addresses a direct challenge to CNN’s Acosta who expressed an interest in interviewing Trump:

“Just a little note to Jim. I think he should stick to going one-on-one with me because President Trump is way out of his league. And I don’t think he wants to take on that challenge cause he’s definitely not gonna win.”

First of all, Sanders has never gone one-on-one with Acosta, and she likely never will. She only encounters him in the daily briefings where she usually cuts him off without answering his questions. As for Trump being out of Acosta’s league, if that were true Trump would jump at the chance to be interviewed by someone he believes he could shred. The fact is that Trump has not had allowed an interview with anyone outside of the friendly media bunker he’s sheltered in for over a year. And he hasn’t had a solo press conference since the one he gave just after his inauguration.

Trump is quite obviously afraid to face someone who might ask questions relevant to his conduct as president. It’s Trump who’s afraid to take on the challenge of an interview with Acosta or anybody else other than bootlickers like Hannity and Jeanine Pirro and the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends. It’s the same reason that Trump is scared to sit for an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller. He and his handlers are afraid – with good reason – that Trump will get himself in deeper trouble by lying. Because when it comes down to it, Sanders is right when she says that Trump is out of their league. He’s way below them in every way imaginable.

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

Bigger Than Watergate? Trump Whines Incoherently About Non-Existent Spies in His Campaign

The President of the United States continues to exhibit clear signs of consciousness of guilt and a festering fear of exposure. Donald Trump’s Twitter feed would make a fascinating psychiatric study exploring acute paranoia in political leaders. And on Thursday morning he posted some more of the evidence of his growing mental instability.

Donald Trump

Trump’s latest Twitter tantrum was likely inspired by his senior strategic advisor, Sean Hannity. As the top Trump-fluffer on Fox News Hannity has already initiated a campaign to smear special prosecutor Robert Mueller with an new emphasis on this being the one year anniversary of his appointment (as if that had any relevance to anything). Hannity and Trump are so cognitively aligned that they are now – as Stephen Colbert said – finishing each other’s prison sentences. And the familiar rhetoric of “fake news” and “witch hunt” flow from both of them as if in harmony. So early Thursday morning Trump posts this tedious gripe:

So now Trump is blaming America for investigating his unsavory connections to Russia and his unlawful attempts to cover it up. And he continues to bleat out impotent declarations that there has been no collusion despite all of the evidence that is known, and even more that Mueller surely has but is not yet ready to disclose. And if that weren’t enough, Trump has also adopted the wingnut conspiracy theory that Obama planted a spy in his presidential campaign.

The “word” to which Trump is referring is a badly misinterpreted analysis by ultra-rightist Andrew McCarthy of the conservative National Review. McCarthy took a segment of testimony from Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS, who said that Christopher Steele (of the Steele Dossier fame) believed the FBI had a source within the Trump campaign. To McCarthy, and much of the Trump mediaverse, that got magnified in their imaginations as a spy scandal.

But there is a big difference between a spy and a source. There is absolutely no hint of evidence that the FBI planted an agent (i.e. spy) in the Trump campaign. But there very well might have been a Trump associate (i.e. source) who was disgusted by his activities and informed law enforcement, as any patriotic American would do.

The fact that Trump keeps posting tweets that only exacerbate the appearance of his guilt is proof that he’s consumed with fear and is frantically trying to convince his deplorable disciples that it’s all a big frame-up. That may work on his cult followers, but the rest of the country – and world – only sees a pathetic wretch who seems to know deep inside that he’s going down hard.

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

Trump has his surrogates fanning out across the airwaves to insist that the investigation be halted. Chief among them is his TV lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who is the best thing that ever happened in this affair – for the Democrats. The relentless demands that Mueller quit ignores the fact that that his investigation has already produced dozens of indictments and five guilty pleas. Trump and Company want it stopped because they know that his time is coming soon. And he’s right.

Trump’s Dingbat ‘Friends’ at Fox News Said the ‘Failing’ New York Times Ignored a Story they Actually Broke

On Friday Morning Fox News aired an episode of Donald Trump’s favorite TV show, “Fox and Friends,” that was chock full of the sycophantic silliness that has become the hallmark of the program. They featured segments about a Republican congressional candidate who is predicting a “red” wave in California; an interview with pundi-clowns Diamond & Silk; and a piece blasting Democrats for actually holding CIA Director nominee Gina Haspel accountable for her record.

Fox News Friends

In addition to those hard hitting examples of “real” journalism, the “Curvy Couch” potatoes also discussed a news story with profound foreign policy significance. It concerned the reported capture of five top members of ISIS. This military success was important enough to have warranted a tweet from Trump on Thursday. However, the point that co-host Pete Hegseth was most eager to make was that the “failing” New York Times ignored the story, presumably because it might reflect positively on Trump.

There’s just one problem with that. It was the New York Times who broke the story on Wednesday and was the first news outlet in the U.S. to report it. Consequently, that’s likely where Trump and Fox picked up the news and repackaged it for their audiences. But that didn’t stop Hegseth from flipping through the pages of today’s Times (video below), vainly looking for the story they published two days ago, and whining:

“I looked for the ‘five ISIS leaders captured’ in the failing New York Times, and in the print edition today, I have not seen it yet.”

Try looking in Wednesday’s paper, Einstein. It’s cute that Hegseth uses Trump’s infantile nickname for the Times, proving that the President and the network are joined in a State-TV operation that would make Vladimir Putin jealous. And never mind the fact that the Times is pulling in record profits. The purpose of Trump’s insults is not to convey any accurate information, but to baselessly malign journalists who dare to tell the truth about him. Just like he did last month when he tweeted:

Since then, Trump did add two more lawyers (Rudy Giuliani and Emmett Flood) and parted with both John Down and Ty Cobb. So the Times, as usual was right. But Trump never bothered to correct his misstatement. Nor has Fox News corrected the lie about their ISIS story. This is typical of the way Fox News operates and should be expected to continue. They are as much a disreputable stain on journalism as Trump is on government.

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

Trump’s Manic Obsession to Undo Obama’s Legacy is Helpfully Exposed By Fox News

The return of three Americans held as prisoners in North Korea can be celebrated by the whole country, regardless of political affiliation. We can all feel a bit of the gratitude that they and their families are feeling today. But we must not pretend that this bit of micro-diplomacy guarantees the success of the broader mission for which Donald Trump has recklessly built up expectations with comments like his tweet on Thursday flaunting an ambitious goal to “denuclearize that entire peninsula.”

Obama Fox News

We must also not forget that Trump’s strutting bravado with regard to North Korea is a symptom of the same mental defect that motivated him to violate the terms of our pact with Iran, and five other nations, to prohibit them from developing nuclear weapons. So even if he strikes a deal with North Korea (which is by no means certain), it’s one step forward, two steps back.

There is, however, an obvious string of commonality that weaves through everything Trump does. In almost every public statement he’s made about Iran, he’s inserted a jab at President Obama over the multinational agreement that Trump has called “one of the worst deals ever negotiated in American diplomatic history.” Likewise, he regularly bashes Obama for not having terminated North Korea’s nuclear weapons program during his term. Note that there are good reasons for not rewarding the Kim regimes that Obama and every other American president have observed.

Trump’s fetish with all things Obama extends to nearly every initiative he’s pursued as president. Even Fox News has noticed this all-consuming psychosis. They recently did a story calling the scuttling of the Iran deal the “latest Trump move to dismantle key Obama policies.” The story noted that:

“Donald Trump’s announcement Tuesday that the United States would withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement marks just the latest development in the president’s ongoing effort to undo predecessor Barack Obama’s legacy — including trying to dismantle Obamacare while making drastic changes to U.S. immigration and military policies. […] Since taking office in January 2017, Trump has repealed or rescinded dozens of regulations, executive orders and international agreements implemented by the Obama administration over the eight years of his presidency. That effort began three days after Trump was inaugurated.”

Indeed. Trump’s sole motivation appears to be to unravel everything that Obama successfully implemented. Although it’s a bit surreal to see Fox News articulate it so explicitly. Trump’s gnawing jealousy has him on a single-minded path of destruction. It’s why he installed cabinet heads whose sole objectives are to weaken, and eventually eliminate, the departments they run. It’s a fact that is so transparent that even Fox News is comfortable reporting it. They posted a tweet listing the deliberate damage that Trump is doing to the Obama legacy:

Ironically, the items in that list are all examples of harm that Trump is doing, not just to Obama’s legacy, but to America. Polls show that most voters are in favor of the Democratic/liberal position on every single one of the those issues. Trump is working furiously against the interests of the people. So Fox News is posting what amounts to a campaign ad for voting Democratic in 2018. And while Fox is also continuing their regular broadcasts of repulsive opinions by heinous pundits, we might just pause for a moment to thank them for this inadvertent gift. But don’t expect to get any more between now and November.

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

Trump Threatens to ‘Take Away Credentials’ of Media that Doesn’t Slobber Him with Praise

Reporters Without Borders publishes an annual World Press Freedom Index. The most recent study reported that the United States fell to 45th place, a new low. Much of that decline was attributed explicitly to Donald Trump, whose open hostility to the media has been a core component of his presidency.

Donald Trump

Continuing to push forward with his aggressively anti-First Amendment agenda, Trump took to his official presidential policy platform – Twitter – and posted a comment that is a further demonstration of just how extreme his hatred of the free press is. This tweet should frighten all Americans who value constitutional principles and the indispensable role the press plays in democracy:

There is so much wrong with that tweet that it’s hard to know where to begin. First of all, the economy has been expanding for nearly ten years, and that expansion began near the beginning of President Obama’s first term. Contrary to Trump’s claim, for which he provides no factual support, the economy has largely stalled as of late. The Dow Jones is down year-to-date. And Trump has been undeservedly taking credit for an economy whose performance has trailed that of Obama’s.

Secondly, Trump is actually admitting that, in his view, any media that is negative is therefore fake. It isn’t surprising to learn that he feels that way, but it’s a little surprising that he says so publicly.

Third, Trump’s reference to network news being ninety-one percent negative about him was likely taken from Sean Hannity’s program last night. Hannity reported that statistic based on a dubious study by the ultra-rightist media watchdogs at NewsBusters. And he wrapped the biased data in the same package as Trump, fretting about his negative coverage despite the utopia he’s supposedly presiding over. This is another example of Hannity serving as a close advisor to this fumbling president (video below):

Hannity: “President Trump’s poll numbers, they’re rising. This despite a Newsbusters study showed that newtwork news broadcasts in this country featured negative stories about the President 90% of the time. Wow. And I told you journalism is dead.”

Notice the similarities between Hannity’s commentary and Trump’s tweet. But the most troubling part of Trump’s tweet is his threat to revoke press credentials for any media that fails to exalt the Dear Leader. Trump has long pined for a submissive press corps that only celebrates his every word and deed. This isn’t the first (or twentieth) time that Trump has attempted to punish the press by banishing them from the White House or worse, challenge their licenses. Last October he explicitly tweeted that threat saying:

The fact that Trump repeatedly takes this censorious position is evidence that it isn’t just an offhand remark that he doesn’t mean literally. He is deadly serious about his intention to gag any media that dares to criticize him. And in advance of that he has been avoiding any independent media for most of the last year. He’s only held one solo news conference (February 2017, just after the inauguration) during his entire presidency. And he hasn’t given an interview to a non-friendly (i.e. Fox News) outlet in the past year. What’s he afraid of?

The World Press Freedom study noticed these disturbing trends for American journalism. They addressed them specifically in their report as reasons for downgrading the U.S. position:

“In 2017, the 45th President of the United States helped sink the country to 45th place by labeling the press an ‘enemy of the American people’ in a series of verbal attacks toward journalists, attempts to block White House access to multiple media outlets, routine use of the term ‘fake news’ in retaliation for critical reporting, and calling for media outlets’ broadcasting licenses to be revoked.”

The American people need to be alert with regard to the threat that Trump represents to the freedom of the press and the sustainability of democracy. These are not idle threats made as political rhetoric. They are dangerous challenges made by a wannabe dictator who truly believes he has the right to muzzle the media and mislead the people. We the people cannot let that happen.

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

Proof That Fox News Has Been Suppressing the Stormy Daniels Story to Protect Trump

For the past several weeks the nation has been in the peculiar position of watching a porn star dominate much of the news concerning the American president. Stormy Daniels, and her telegenic attorney Michael Avenatti, have succeeded in holding Donald Trump’s feet to the fire and exposing his brazen dishonesty and lack of morals. The story has kept the American people enrapt due to its unique blend of political intrigue and salacious melodrama.

Fox News, Stormy Daniels

Many legal experts have said that Trump has more to fear from this litigation than from the investigations into his collusion with Russia. That’s partly due to the fact that it is not a federal matter over which Trump could have some influence. He would also find it more difficult to evade having to give depositions and testimony. And now with his new lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, gallivanting across America’s TV screens and making everything worse with his ignorant ravings, Trump is in a decidedly more precarious position than he was in when this began.

There is, however, one group of the populace that is probably not especially concerned about the Stormy affair. Fox News viewers simply don’t care about any unethical or criminal thing that Trump does. They will forgive him for whatever the “deep state,” “hate-Trump” media cooks up. But there’s another reason they won’t be troubled by Trump’s abhorrent behavior. They don’t really know much, if anything, about it.

Vox Media did an analysis of the coverage of Stormy Daniels and discovered that Fox News provided the bare minimum of airtime to the story. That’s surprising considering that Fox ordinarily would be all over a sex scandal involving a politician. Well, if the politician were a Democrat. But in this case their avoidance of the story is nothing less than deliberate suppression. It is why Fox News is so often characterized as State-Run TV. What Vox found was that Fox News covered stories mentioning Stormy, Cohen, or Giuliani a fraction of the amount as their peers in cable news. The charts reveal the extent to which Fox sought to smother this story.

In addition to the self-censorship employed by Fox, it is also notable that on those rare occasions when they did report on these topics, the spin was always in Trump’s favor. They would portray Stormy as a disreputable figure who can’t be trusted. And, conversely, Trump was always an innocent victim who did nothing wrong and was being subjected to a smear campaign. Never mind that both Trump and Giuliani were the people most responsible for disclosures that point to Trump’s guilt.

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

At the end of the day, the glassy-eyed disciple of Fox News remain blissfully ignorant of the facts surrounding these events. And to the degree that they are aware of some of the facts, they believe that they were manipulated by the evil media cabal that controls the planet. Trump, they are convinced, has been miscast by his enemies as a lying pervert who scoffs at the law. The only problem with that is that he is a lying pervert who scoffs at the law, and his tunnel-blind followers refuse to see it. And with the help of Fox News, they will continue to see only very little of the truth that is so offensive to them.