Reality Game Show ‘President’ Trump Thinks TV Ratings are ‘The Real Polls’

Every day seems to provide a new opportunity to declare that Donald Trump has done or said something that is even worse than anything he’s done or said before. It may seem redundant or hyperbole, but somehow Trump actually does rise to the challenge and manages to exceed whatever heinousness he excreted the day before. It’s a gift.

Donald Trump TV Set

On Saturday morning Trump took to his Twitter machine to unleash another series of frenzied, paranoid, and nearly incoherent rants. Among them, he has apparently abandoned his “Sleepy” nickname for Joe Biden and is trying out “Corrupt” because nothing is working for him. Biden continues to expand his lead in national polls, as well as in every swing state. Trump’s desperation shows in his Twittering that is now rampant with QAnon conspiracy crackpots. And he’s touting his efforts to kill healthcare for 20 million Americans during a pandemic in which he has already killed more than 125,000 people. It’s notable that he’s been promising to repeal and replace Obamacare for 4 years, but still doesn’t have a plan. The GOP has been running the same con for 10 years.

Of particular interest is one tweet that reveals just how shallow, delusional, and devoid of substance Trump is. His background as a failed real estate grifter and self-proclaimed King of Debt (with six bankruptcies under his bulging belt) never prepared him for the presidency. Nor did his most recent professional experience as a reality TV game show host. But that’s the one that continues to guide his conduct in office:

Trump is lashing out in a state of dread and hopelessness as he realizes that his prospects for the future more closely resemble his worst nightmares. So he grasps onto the ludicrous notion that television ratings are a reasonable alternative to scientifically conducted public opinion surveys. “These are the real polls,” Trump whines in an attempt spin some something positive out of the dregs of a news cycle that holds only misery for him.

Along with the horrific rise in coronavirus infections and fatalities (which studies prove were intensified by viewing Fox News), Trump is also having to explain the poor attendance at his revived cult rallies. He is saddled with responsibility for an economy in recession. His former National Security Advisor, John Bolton, has exposed Trump’s ignorance in a new book that Trump was unsuccessful in suppressing. Same goes for the book by his niece, Mary Trump. And the New York Times just reported that Russia paid the Taliban to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan, and Trump knew but did nothing. How is that not treason?

With all of that going on, Trump found time to go golfing at his Virginia country club and tweet idiotic tributes to himself. For the record, Trump’s boasting about the TV ratings for his Oklahoma speech and his interview with Sean Hannity are just the ratings for Fox News programming. So naturally his Deplorables would be tuning in. That proves nothing except that he and Fox News are running a bona fide cult whose members have abandoned free thought. Those ratings are only “polls” of people watching that particular network and amount to less than one percent of the American population. That’s the pitiful pittance of viewers that Trump is trying to characterize as “the Silent Majority.”

Trump has been plaintively beseeching the nation to “not believe the Fake News Media” for at least four years now. But his whining has been met with ridicule as the American people continue to reject him by ever larger margins. In fact, the real polls show that more Americans trust CNN than either Trump or Fox News. So nice work, Bunker Boy. Despite tedious repetition and relentless hostility, the “fake news” branding campaign has been an epic flop. Pretty much like everything else Trump does.

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

Fox News Defends Slave Owners: ‘It Doesn’t Mean They Were Terrible People’

There is a bitter controversy spreading across America like a viral pandemic. The nation’s past is being held to greater scrutiny as a result of repeated incidents of unarmed black Americans being murdered by the police. This evidence of systemic racism has boiled over into a much needed dialog on what values our country ought to be preserving and encouraging.

Fox News, KKK

Citizens have been pouring into the streets to express their anger and their refusal to tolerate the prejudice that presents itself in the form of “historical” statues. These monuments were intended to pay tribute to leaders of the treasonous Confederacy. In some cases these statues have been ripped from their pedestals or otherwise defaced. Donald Trump has taken the side of the traitors (while accusing others of treason) and is calling for the arrests and harsh punishment of the protesters. On Friday morning he even tweeted “Wanted” posters. He is doing far more to persecute these demonstrators than he has ever done to hold actual racist murderers accountable for their crimes.

Those making arguments in favor of maintaining these statues barely disguise their racist motives. They assert that it’s a matter of preserving history. But we do not erect statues of traitors and criminals as historical markers. If we did there would be statues of Lee Harvey Oswald and James Earl Ray. Statues are honorific, not history lessons. And removing them doesn’t erase any historical data. The South’s rebellion to preserve slavery is still recorded in history books and documentaries, as it should be.

Cut to Fox News (the network that is literally killing people). On Friday’s edition of Fox and Friends, the now social distancing “Curvy Couch” potatoes invited South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham to discuss these issues. Co-host Brian Kilmeade led off with this wholehearted embrace of what Trump once called the “very fine people on both sides” of the racial hatred debate. “These people were right,” Kilmeade began, and “Those people were wrong. But it doesn’t mean they were terrible people. They were people of their times.”

Really? Kilmeade is defending the slave holders who were wonderful folks who just liked to own and brutalize other human beings as if they were cattle. What’s so terrible about that? As “people of their times,” how could they be faulted? How are they any different than the Nazis who were people of the 1940s in Germany? How are they any different than the KKK and the white nationalists in America today who are merely people of these times?

Here’s a creative way some Bulgarian artists dealt with the Russian oppressors of their times:

The fact that Kilmeade considers that a valid argument is precisely what’s wrong with Fox News and those who align themselves with their heinous political ideology (including Trump and his Deplorables). When it was Sen. Graham’s turn to contribute to this dialog, he didn’t bother to renounce what had been said so far. In fact, he elaborated by attacking the protesters in even more loathsome terms (video below):

“The people doing this hate our country. They hate the way we were founded. They hate capitalism. They have no respect for religion. They have no respect for diversity of thought. These people are the most radical people known to America. We’re at war with them politically. They want to destroy America as we know it. They hate America and every symbol of our country from the flag to the statues.

They hate. They want to turn us into a socialist nation. They want to destroy the family unit as we know it. And I tell you what, to the listeners out there. You may not believe you’re in a war, but you are, politically, and you need to take sides, and you need to help this president.”

Sound familiar? This is the dehumanizing rhetoric of the Old South that regarded people as animals and property. In Graham’s view, they have no rights, no decency, no family values. They represent everything that is unholy and against the country as seen by Graham and his ilk. And the only solution, according to Graham and his Fox News cohorts, is (civil) war.

Make no mistake, Graham and Fox News speak for Trump. Not that anyone outside of their bubble believes them, or that Trump needs their help. He’s been saying the very same things himself. This is the diseased mindset of people who still haven’t accepted that the South lost. They still want the statues that honor traitors. They still want to fly the Confederate flag. They still want to oppress African-Americans and others they regard as non-white deviants. And they are terrified that they are losing the battle to retain their delusions of superiority. Which, thankfully, they are.

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

Studies Prove that Watching Fox News Increases Coronavirus Fatalities

Media scholars and neutral observers almost universally agree that Fox News has been a source of flagrantly biased right-wing propaganda from the day it began broadcasting. It’s founders – an arch-conservative, foreign-born, media baron (Rupert Murdoch), and an ultra-rightist Republican campaign operative (Roger Ailes) – intended that political prejudice to be its primary mission when they launched the network.

Donald Trump, Fox News, Coronavirus

However, the presence of Fox News in a splintered media environment has had a more disastrous impact on the nation than anyone could have predicted. Amidst the spread of the deadly COVID -19 (coronavirus) pandemic, Fox News became the central point of infection to spread disinformation and deliberate lies that can now be shown to have directly contributed to the nation’s tragically high fatality rate. Along with Donald Trump’s negligence, incompetence, and purposeful malfeasance, Fox News deceived dimwitted Americans into volunteering the lives of themselves, their families, and their communities, in the service of partisan political power and the ego of a malignantly narcissistic president.

The Washington Post is reporting that – not one, not two – but three recent studies confirm the role that Fox News played in exacerbating the harm of the coronavirus. [NOTE: the first of these studies was reported here on News Corpse in April, revealing that higher rates of coronavirus deaths could be linked to watching Sean Hannity] Fox News, along with other right-wing media (i.e. Rush Limbaugh, OANN, Breitbart, etc.) distorted and/or invented narratives that downplayed the seriousness of the pandemic. They portrayed it as equivalent to the common flu and mocked health experts who advised cautionary behavior such as social distancing and wearing face masks. According to the Post:

There are many reasons our response to the pandemic tied to more than 120,000 U.S. deaths has faltered, experts say, including the lack of a cohesive federal policy, missteps on testing and tracing, and a national culture emphasizing individualism.

In recent weeks, three studies have focused on conservative media’s role in fostering confusion about the seriousness of the coronavirus. Taken together, they paint a picture of a media ecosystem that amplifies misinformation, entertains conspiracy theories and discourages audiences from taking concrete steps to protect themselves and others.

The end result, according to one of the studies, is that infection and mortality rates are higher in places where one pundit who initially downplayed the severity of the pandemic — Fox News’s Sean Hannity — reaches the largest audiences.

In other words, watching Fox News actually amplifies the mortality rate of an already deadly disease. Their viewers were deceived into believing that the virus wasn’t anything to worry about, and that they could conduct their lives as usual with no added risk. That was recklessly untrue. The Post continued pointing out the lethal mythology that Fox News disseminated:

Administering a nationally representative phone survey with 1,008 respondents, they found that people who got most of their information from mainstream print and broadcast outlets tended to have an accurate assessment of the severity of the pandemic and their risks of infection. But those who relied on conservative sources, such as Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, were more likely to believe in conspiracy theories or unfounded rumors, such as the belief that taking vitamin C could prevent infection, that the Chinese government had created the virus, and that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention exaggerated the pandemic’s threat “to damage the Trump presidency.”

It is no coincidence that all of those conspiracy theories match up precisely with what Trump himself has been saying. Fox News is, after all, his State TV Ministry of Disinformation. And between the two they are unambiguously responsible for deaths of tens of thousands of Americans. But even worse, they are both continuing to spew the same falsehoods that have already proven to be so deadly.

Thankfully, most of the American people do not watch Fox News and will resist the lies that are being told by Trump and his media shills. And hopefully, the majority of us will engage in responsible, cautious, and healthy behavior. Unfortunately, the deluded Foxies and Trump cultists can’t be counted on to take the simple precautions that save lives.. So it would be wise for the rest of us to socially distance from anyone who watches Fox News or attends Trump rallies. For your own sake, and that of your loved ones.

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

Trump’s Tulsa Rally Troubles Go Way Beyond the Pitiful Turnout

Donald Trump had several weeks to plan his return to the campaign trail after three months of a COVID-19 enforced lockdown. He chose Tulsa, Oklahoma, a deep red city and state that should have guaranteed a capacity crowd of glassy-eyed disciples. but things didn’t work out exactly as planned.

Donald Trump, Tulsa Rally

According to the Tulsa fire department, Trump’s rally managed to pack in a measly 6,200 of The Donald’s dimwitted devotees. That’s less than a third of the 19,000 people the arena can accommodate. What’s more, Trump and his campaign bragged repeatedly about having a million requests for tickets and they projected that there would be an overflow crowd of 40,000-60,000 out side the arena where Trump would give an additional speech.

However, the attendance turned out to be far less than projected. The overflow crowd never materialized at all, leading to the cancellation of the outdoor activities. If Trump thought that this rally would be his opportunity to turn around his polling slump (he’s losing to Joe Biden in every national poll, as well as in the crucial swing states), he must be mighty disappointed this morning. And his disappointment generally translates into fury directed at the “losers” responsible for his humiliation. Because, of course, it’s never him.

On Sunday morning Trump campaign advisor Mercedes Schlapp was interviewed by Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday. She was there to attempt to put a positive spin on the previous evening’s fiasco. That plan didn’t work out very well either (video below):

Wallace: Your campaign said that more than a million people wanted tickets to this rally, but we all saw the pictures last night. The arena was no more than two-thirds full, and the outdoor rally that had been planned for the overflow crowd was canceled because there was no overflow crowd. Question: What happened?
Schlapp: When it comes to understanding how the rallies work, it’s a first-come-first-serve basis. Basically what the one million RSVPs include, it’s an opportunity for us to gather data, to get information obviously.

Schlapp went on to make absurd excuses about people having been too frightened by protesters to show up. But she didn’t explain how more than 90% of the predicted hundred thousand rally-goers were scared off by a few protesters, who were kept blocks away from the arena by the police. She also bragged about the number of people who watched online which, of course, included many Trump opponents and other curious independents. To his credit, Wallace wouldn’t let Schlapp deflect, and reminded her that Trump is always talking about the attendance at his rallies as a measure of his popularity. But now he isn’t popular enough to draw supporters in the right-wing hothouse of Oklahoma.

Wallace also disputed Schlapp’s false assertion that protesters prevented anyone from attending. Schlapp actually wants people to believe that Trump’s supporters stayed home because they didn’t want to expose their families to protesters. But exposing them to a deadly virus apparently wasn’t a problem.

More importantly, Schlapp’s reply to Wallace revealed what she considered to be the primary objective for the rally and the reason it should be regarded as a success. “It’s an opportunity,” Schlapp admitted, “for us to gather data.” Indeed it is. Everyone who requests a free ticket to the event is required to provide their name and other personal identification. That’s all entered into a database that is later used to contact potential voters. Trump’s campaign chairman, Brad Parscale made the same admission prior to the Tulsa affair, tweeting that this would be the “Biggest data haul and rally signup of all time.”

There’s just one problem. There are reports that an army of Tik-Tok users requested tickets that they had no intention of using. It’s hard to estimate the precise impact of this Trump trolling project, but there were thousands of interactions with the prank on social media. So somewhere between the 6,200 people who showed up at the rally, and the million who allegedly requested tickets, there an untold number of fake respondents. That means that there is a significant amount of fake data currently residing in the Trump campaign database. And that’s on top of the fake data that was there before this event. [NOTE: News Corpse is in that database, despite never having provided any information] So when the campaign begins its voter outreach they will be wasting huge sums of money and effort on ghost voters.

In the end, the legacy of the Tulsa rally will be that it revealed the softening support for Trump’s reelection, while simultaneously flooding his campaign database with bogus info. But at least he had the opportunity to soak up some cheers from his hardcore fans, while reinforcing his reelection themes of being able to drink water with one hand, stopping coronavirus testing, and defending Confederate statues. WINNING?

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

Trump’s Lie-Riddled Juneteenth Tweetstorm Ignores Juneteenth, Threatens Protesters

It’s Juneteenth, and in celebration of this profoundly significant day in American history Donald Trump took the time to unleash a stream of hostile, egocentric, lie-riddled tweets. So it’s pretty much like every other day in Trump World. He utterly ignored the day’s meaning and memory in favor of paying tribute to himself and maligning his perceived enemies.

Donald Trump, Toilet, Bathrobe

At the top of Trump’s list of priorities was his determination to slander any protesters who might show up at his cult rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. You know, the one where he’s purposefully exposing his cult followers to the coronavirus in a state that just reported a record high infection rate. His tweet was another demonstration of his anti-American aspirations of tyranny.

Notice that Trump associates lawful, constitutionally protected protesters with “looters” and “lowlifes,” because that’s exactly what he thinks of people petitioning the government for justice and liberty. And his assurance that they will not be treated like they were previously (which was also pretty awful) is an undisguised threat of more violence. That’s all the more offensive considering that this threat was made on Juneteenth, in a city that was the site of a brutal massacre of African-Americans.

Not to worry. Trump hasn’t forgotten to tell his Twitterati that he will have “big crowds” and that his campaign is just beginning. Never mind that he actually began his reelection campaign the same day he was inaugurated three and half years ago. That campaign is floundering desperately today as every poll shows that Trump is trailing Joe Biden nationally, as well as in the crucial swing states. He is losing in nearly every demographic category, including among normally reliable supporters like suburban women and evangelicals. His support among non-white voters has never been worse. That’s partly due to his flagrant racism and tweets like this one:

So after the Supreme Court ruled against his abhorrent attempt to deport Dreamers, Trump has the audacity to say that he “wanted to take care of DACA recipients better than” Democrats. Seriously? If that were true he wouldn’t be saying even now that “We will be submitting enhanced papers shortly” to finish the job of deporting these innocent Americans who know no other home. This has been a signature issue with Trump, which explains his outrage that the Court he thought he had under his thumb displayed some measure of independence.

Furthermore, Trump’s toxic fury is not reserved for the Supreme Court (or protesters, or John Bolton, or Joe Biden, or the press, or anyone or anything else that doesn’t bow down to him). He is also mad at his State TV network (aka Fox News) for publishing a poll that shows him losing to Biden by a whopping twelve points. The poll also shows Trump’s approval in the red by negative thirteen points, while Biden is positive by nine points. Almost every question in the poll has bad results for Trump. Which explains this tweet:

For the record, Trump has made this complaint before, but it’s always a deeply hypocritical whining session aimed at nudging Fox News into being even more reverential. He only thinks that “Fox is terrible” when they publish something that fails to sufficiently worship him as the Messiah he considers himself to be. But he continues to grant interviews almost exclusively to Fox because he knows they will pitch him softballs and ignore his flaming gaffes.

SIDE NOTE: A few days ago CNN posted a poll that also showed Trump trailing Biden by twelve points. So Trump sent them a “cease and desist” letter and threatened to sue the network for…oh, who the hell knows what. It will be interesting to see if he sends Fox News a similar letter. But don’t hold your breath.

Finally, Trump posted a couple of tweets accusing Democrats of false advertising. As usual, he neglected to provide any examples, or to offer any arguments to refute whatever the heck it is he’s whining about. But he did make blatantly false assertions that “China is paying us $BILLIONS” (actually that’s ZERO), and that he “LOVE[s] Seniors & protect Preexisting C’s” (he is currently suing to terminate Obamacare, including preexisting c[onditions]). In other words, it’s business as usual in the Trump White House where lying, insults, and undeserved boasting has replaced being presidential and serving the American people.

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

Raging Malignant Narcissism: Trump Whines that ‘the Supreme Court Doesn’t Like Me’

With each new day there is new evidence that Donald Trump is descending into an abyss of paranoia and mental infirmity. These are symptoms of malignant narcissism, along with acute sociopathy, unchecked aggression, and delusions of grandeur. It is abundantly clear that Trump is unfit for office and represents an imminent danger to the nation and the world.

Donald Trump, Twitter

Trump is freaking out again on Twitter. This time his tantrum was triggered by the Supreme Court ruling that his attempt to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was “arbitrary and capricious,” and therefore unconstitutional. He unleashed a stream of tweets complaining about the decision without offering any legal basis for his position. However he did tweet this very revealing message:

Well, do you? More likely you get the impression that Trump internalizes everything as an attack on him personally. It’s the sort of obsessive whining that he has actually bragged about and has become emblematic of his irreparably fractured and intensely flawed personality disorder. He has also explicitly complained in the past that All I see is hatred of me.”

One of the most consistent features of Trump’s character (or lack thereof), is how predictably and viciously he will turn against anyone who isn’t unflinchingly loyal and slavishly adoring. That has been observed in his broken relationships with former staffers (Kelly, Mattis, McMasters, Tillerson, Sessions, etc). It has also been seen in his love/hate relationship with Fox News.

Most recently Trump has turned against his former National Security Advisor, John Bolton. In a series of Thursday morning tweets, Trump ranted that Bolton’s book is “a compilation of lies and made up stories, all intended to make me look bad.” Notice that Trump is again consumed with how things make him look. But his assertion that the book is “pure fiction” destroys his case that it contains classified material.

Trump also elevated his hostility toward the Supreme Court decisions into a bizarre screed about the Second Amendment tweeting that the decisions “are shotgun blasts into the face of people,” and threatened that “we will lose our 2nd. Amendment & everything else.” This, of course, is simply a wild swing at corralling his most rabid base-dwellers with nothing but blatant fear mongering. Which is likely to work on the few remaining dimwitted Deplorables who worship him as their Messiah. However, the imagery of faces bloodied by shotgun blasts as an argument against the Court’s rulings is not likely to appeal to most Americans.

The Supreme Court has surprised many people with its decisions on DACA, sanctuary cities, LGBTQ+ rights, and the census. But the Court remains a conservative body with a 5 to 4 right-wing majority. Trump should be optimistic that most of their decisions will fall into the conservative camp on party line votes. But because he isn’t getting 100% submissiveness from the judicial branch, he is bellowing frantically about the loss of “everything” and begging his cult to support him at the ballot box in November.

The only problem with that, from Trump’s perspective, is that everything he is doing and saying is driving voters farther away from his candidacy, as well as those of other Republicans running for the House, Senate, and state and local offices. Right now Donald Trump is the best campaign ad that Democrats have ever had, even if it is painful to watch and live through.

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

Fox News Lawyers Tell Court: Our Audience Doesn’t Assume We Tell the Truth

Any fair-minded person who has watched Fox News for more than fifteen minutes knows that the network will twist, distort, mangle, and deliberately lie in the pursuit of their mission to disseminate right-wing propaganda. It is why they were created by conservative media baron Rupert Murdoch and Republican campaign hack Roger Ailes.

Fox News, Tucker Carlson, Donald Trump

The evidence of Fox’s purposefully dishonest “reporting” has been documented for years by a multitude of journalists and fact-checkers. But for the purpose of this article it isn’t necessary to provide any links to that documentation. That’s because Fox news has admitted it themselves. And this time it isn’t some Fox idiot making an inadvertently true gaffe. This time it was in a court of law.

Tucker Carlson, one of Fox’s most prolific liars, is being sued for defamation. Karen McDougal is a former Playboy model who was paid $150,000 by the National Enquirer on behalf of Donald Trump in order to buy her silence about their sexual affair. Subsequently, Carlson did frequent stories aiming to discredit McDougal and defend Trump. In the course of those stories Carlson accused McDougal of extorting Trump and made representations that he asserted were “undisputed facts.” The only problem is that they were easily disputed and not remotely factual.

So McDougal filed suit against Carlson and Fox News. And their in defense, Fox’s lawyers have taken a unique position. They are literally arguing that Carlson’s audience doesn’t expect him to tell the truth. According to The Hollywood Reporter

“Fox News’ attorney Erin Murphy argued that Carlson repeatedly couched his statements as hypotheticals to promote conversation and that a reasonable viewer would know his show offers ‘provocative things that will help me think harder’ not straight news.

“‘What we’re talking about here, it’s not the front page of the New York Times,’ said Murphy. ‘It’s Tucker Carlson Tonight, which is a commentary show.'”

Let’s set aside the ludicrous contention that Carlson has any reasonable viewers. Likewise the suggestion that any Fox News viewer has the capacity to think hard. What we are talking about are devotees of a media cult who blindly believe whatever they are told by Fox News and their current cult master, Donald Trump. They not only assume that what Fox says is true, they regard it as the gospel from a divine source.

In reality, Carlson did not couch his statements as hypotheticals. He explicitly described them as facts. What’s more, Fox News also floats a defense that asserts Carlson’s remarks were not made in malice, a standard that may be relevant in a defamation case. But how can an accusation of having committed a criminal act (extortion) against someone who Carlson is personally associated with (Trump) not be perceived as malicious?

It’s also interesting that Fox News is introducing the New York Times as a standard for truth telling. By making a distinction between Carlson’s fictionalizations and what should be considered honest journalism, Fox’s lawyers chose the New York Times as the model of a professional media enterprise. What will Trump have to tweet about that?

The bottom line is that now any time Tucker Carlson, or Sean Hannity, or Laura Ingraham or the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends, attempt to pass off their lies and insults as “news,” it will be much easier to refute them with these admissions made by Fox’s legal team in a court of law. And the cherry on top of this sundae is that they will probably lose the defamation suit as well.

ADDENDUM: There has been some comparison of this defense to one used by MSNBC in defense of a defamation suit filed against Rachel Maddow by the Trump-fluffing conspiracy crackpots at OANN. However the only similarity is that both argued that their defendant offered opinions. The difference is that Fox’s lawyers argued that Carlson’s audience didn’t expect his opinions to be factually based. But MSNBC’s lawyers argued that Maddow’s opinions were “precise factual recitations that indisputably and accurately state the facts” and that her commentary was “fully protected opinion because (a) it was based on disclosed facts.” Big difference.

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

REALLY? Trump Shill Kellyanne Conway Wants More Fact-Checking By the Media

On Wednesday morning Donald Trump’s Director of Alternative Facts, Kellyanne Conway, strolled out onto the White House lawn to chat with “the enemies of the people” (aka the free press). She quickly launched into a preemptive attack on the book that’s about to be released by former Trump National Security Advisor, John Bolton.

Kellyanne Conway, Fox News

Without having read a single word, Conway insinuated that there are factual errors that she wants the media to research and correct. She couldn’t cite any examples of such errors, but she was adamant that they must be there because, in the view of the Trump cultists, anything critical of Trump has to be a deliberate lie by partisan haters. Never mind Bolton’s decades-long record as a committed ultra-conservative who Trump trusted enough to place in an influential White House post. Conway still lashed out with baseless inferences of errors that remained mysteriously vague:

“I think if you’re wrong about small things, you’re wrong about big things. And I do worry that there’s very little fact-checking.”

Coming from the person who coined the term “alternative facts,” this is a remarkable complaint. Conway is as pathological about lying as her boss. And her boss has been documented as having told more than 18,000 lies – big and small – since his inauguration. What’s more, Conway and Trump are usually complaining about too much fact-checking. They are notoriously averse to truth seekers, whom they malign as biased and controlled by his Democratic foes. And they dismiss non-partisan sources like PolitiFact where Trump’s record is dominated by a whopping 69% total finding of either “Mostly False,” “False,” or “Pants on Fire”.

Trump is so scared of the truth with regard to the Bolton book, that he has ordered his Attorney General, Bill Barr, to file a lawsuit aimed at blocking its publication. This is likely to be laughed out of court as an unconstitutional attempt to impede the First Amendments rights of the author.

The argument being made by the Trump administration is that some portion of the book contains material that is classified. But that’s a charge that has already been refuted by the National Security Council official responsible for classification and publication clearances, Ellen Knight. She worked with Bolton for months and “was of the judgment that the manuscript draft did not contain classified information.” However, she was later overruled by Trump loyalists with partisan axes to grind. According To Trump, though (video below)

“I will consider every conversation with me as president highly classified. So that would mean if he wrote a book, and the book gets out, that would mean he’s broken the law. And I would think that he’d have criminal problems. I hope so.”

That, of course, is utter madness, with a pinch of toxic vengeance for spice. There is no precedent for asserting that every conversation with any president is automatically classified. Trump is making this up as he goes along. Additionally, he suggested that “maybe [Bolton] is not telling the truth. He’s been known not to tell the truth – A lot!” Which might explain why Trump hired him in the first place. But more to the point, if Bolton is lying, then there can’t be any allegation of disclosing classified material at all. How could it be classified if it isn’t true? Which brings us full circle back to the issue of truthfulness and how distant this president and his team are from it. They actually seem to revel in it.

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

Trump’s Feeble Effort to Reform Policing Validates the Protests He Condemned

Three weeks after the murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, America’s streets are still teeming with outraged citizens who are no longer willing to tolerate such injustices. It’s an unprecedented and sustained demand for change that has been fueled by a string of atrocities and populated by a truly diverse cross-section of Americans.

Donald Trump, Police

Conspicuously absent from this nationwide (worldwide) outpouring of grief and determination is the President of the United States, Donald Trump, whose only contribution has been to malign the protesters as “rioters,” “looters,” “thugs,” and even terrorists.” Trump has repeatedly assaulted both the protesters and local governments with noxious threats of deploying the military against the American people. In Trump’s view these concerned citizens are enemies of the state simply because they oppose police brutality and are willing to act on their constitutional rights.

So for three weeks the people have clearly stated their intentions to compel meaningful change. And during that time, despite (or because of) his stubborn and bellicose opposition, Trump has seen his approval ratings decline into record low territory. The American people overwhelmingly support Black Lives Matter and the ongoing protests lobbying for reform.

Consequently, Trump has pivoted in an attempt to stop the hemorrhaging of his 2020 reelection campaign. He has apparently been convinced that he needs to grab onto this whirling tornado of dissent and score some undeserved points for himself. To that end he has hurriedly patched together a pitifully weak policing reform initiative that fails to address many of the core issues and solutions.

Trump’s latest exercise in hypocrisy comes in the form a unilateral move that Republicans regarded as an act of dictatorship when President Obama did it. His new executive order (EO) – the 162nd of his presidency – is an attempt to upstage congressional efforts to legitimately reform police practices by appropriating initiatives proposed by Democrats. However, this EO will be less comprehensive and will not have the force of law behind it. It can also be reversed or watered down by another executive order.

Additionally, Trump’s EO is a blatant contradiction of nearly everything he’s said about “law and order” since the Black Lives Matter demonstrations began. Virtually every public comment he’s made has condemned Americans who have taken to the streets to protest police brutality and unequal justice. He has never acknowledged the systemic racism that permeates many institutions, and this EO doesn’t do so either. But the fact that he felt it necessary to take this step is actually a validation of the demonstrations and proof that they were required to force forward movement on these issues.

Trump’s Rose Garden speech, before a nearly totally white audience, spent far more time praising the police than criticizing the injustice and violence that his EO was supposedly drafted to address. And of course, he politicized the event by applauding himself as the great emancipator. He also heralded imaginary achievements with the economy, the coronavirus, and other matters that have nothing to do with law enforcement reform. And only Trump could say that “We’re fighting for school choice, which really is the civil rights of all time in this country,” during a speech meant to ease concerns about racist cops. It was a painfully obvious screed of propaganda aimed at boosting his floundering reelection prospects and nothing more.

Simultaneously, Trump falsely asserted that President Obama and Joe Biden “never even tried” to do anything about systemic racism. In truth, every time Obama tried to advance those matters he was blocked by Republicans and accused of being racist himself. The Trump administration actually repealed Obama’s reforms by executive fiat, slashed funding for community policing, and refused to enforce consent decrees won in court by Obama’s Justice Department. Obama also impaneled a task force to study the problems plaguing policing in December of 2014. In March of 2015, they issued a detailed report with specific policy recommendations. At the time, Trump was tweeting about how Obama was anti-police:

That tweet was in response to Obama’s remarks criticizing the failure of grand juries to indict police officers for the killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York. Five years later Trump is still avoiding the real issues, and still doing nothing to prevent future tragedies because he only cares about how he can further his own personal and political interests. And anyone who fails to recognize that now is a fully indoctrinated disciple of the Cult of Trump and, sadly, beyond help.

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

Trump Vows to Expose His Own Followers to the Coronavirus to Spite the Media

A callous disregard for human life has become the hallmark of the Donald Trump presidency. He has made repeated attempts to terminate and/or sabotage Obamacare. His economic and tax policies have punished millions of working people, while benefiting corporations and the wealthy. He has presided over the decimation of the environment. And as a result of his negligence, incompetence, and even deliberate malfeasance, more than 116,000 American have been lost to COVID-19 (coronavirus).

Donald Trump Virus

This week Trump will resume the cult rallies that, until the coronavirus pandemic, were the primary source of the ego-stroking that his malignant narcissism requires. Every public health expert has warned that it is too soon – and therefore gravely irresponsible – to hold such an event while infections are continuing to rise. That’s specifically true for Tulsa, Oklahoma, the site of Trump’s rally on Saturday. The Tulsa City-County Health Department Director Bruce Dart told The Tulsa World that…

“‘I’m concerned about our ability to protect anyone who attends a large, indoor event, and I’m also concerned about our ability to ensure the president stays safe as well. COVID is here in Tulsa, it is transmitting very efficiently,’ Dart added. ‘I wish we could postpone this to a time when the virus isn’t as large a concern as it is today.'”

These warnings are falling on deaf ears in the Trump camp. Just as he did in the early months of the pandemic’s spread, the Trump administration is dismissing the risks and pretending that everything is just fine. Several weeks ago he ceased to hold the daily briefings by his White House Coronavirus Task Force. Perhaps he believes that by selling his Trump-branded face masks everyone will be immunized. This second wave of Trump delusionally downplaying the scientific realities is certain to have the same disastrous results. Not that Trump cares about any of that. He tweeted Monday morning that…

That is a Twitter tirade that is just oozing with the block-headed idiocy for which Trump is so well known. First of all, Trump is unsurprisingly lying about the press coverage of the demonstrations where citizens were spontaneously expressing their outrage over the murder of George Floyd and other unarmed African-Americans at the hands of the police. The media extensively reported on the potential health risks posed by demonstrators. However, they also made obvious distinctions between these protesters (not “rioters and looters” as Trump derisively calls them) and Trump’s cultists. The demonstrations were all outdoors, where the risk of transmission is lower. And the vast majority of protesters wore masks. Trump’s rally will be held indoors with people who, like Trump, reject the necessity for social distancing and facial coverings.

Trump is also purposefully misleading with his assertion that the demonstrations were limited to “Democrat run cities.” Even if that were true, it wouldn’t make any difference. They’re still Americans in massive numbers speaking out about injustice. But the fact is that these protests stretched across the nation with hundreds of thousands of participants in more than 2,000 cities, many of which are run by Republicans. For instance, San Diego, CA, Waco, TX, Mobile, AL, Colorado Springs, CO, and Palm Beach, Fl, to name just a few.

Perhaps the most disturbing part of Trump’s tweet is his stand in defiance of what he imagines to be the media “trying to Covid Shame” him. Really? Is he really taking a stance against this imaginary media plot to humiliate him by doubling down on his commitment to put the lives of his own supporters at risk? Just to show the press that he has no capacity for shame? Most Americans already knew that.

As for Trump, he knows full well the peril that his rally poses for those who attend. That’s why he is forcing all of them to sign an agreement not to sue him or his campaign if they contract or die from the coronavirus. That’s an outright admission of knowledge of harm, and an overt attempt to dodge accountability. You would think that would be a red flag for potential rally-goers. But these are Trump supporters and, as he has said, he loves the poorly educated. And with this rally they are getting yet another opportunity to prove him right.

UPDATE: Trump Senior Counselor Kellyanne Conway says that there will be temperature checks for rally-goers and that masks and hand sanitizer will be distributed. For a million people? Of course there won’t really be a million people, but the venue holds 19,000. It is highly improbable that they will have 19,000 face masks and bottles of hand sanitizer to give away. And temperature checks for that many people (at 5 seconds each, if that’s possible) would take more than 26 hours.

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