Fox and Friends Lies About New York Times Calling Them ‘The Most Powerful TV Show in America’

Another morning, another flurry of dishonest reporting by Fox News and their “Curvy Couch” potatoes at Fox and Friends. While pretending to read the newspapers spread out on the coffee table, co-host Steve Doocy made a fake discovery. He held the paper so that the cameras got a good look at an advertisement on the back page. What viewers saw was a full page ad touting Fox and Friends.

Fox News Steve Doocy

The ad was obviously paid for by Fox News to promote the network and the program. It featured a quote attributed to the New York Times saying that Fox and Friends is “the most powerful TV show in America.” Doocy’s faux surprise was echoed by his co-hosts Ainsley Earhardt and Brian Kilmeade. They were pretending to be excited by the praise from an unexpected source:

Doocy: This program, the program you’re watching, according to the New York Times, is the most powerful TV show in America.
Earhardt: You know why Steve? Because we have the best viewers.

Earhardt would have been more correct if she had said “because we have the best viewer.” Because the only person in their audience that they play to is Donald Trump. That point was confirmed when that viewer proudly tweeted the same message Doocy was boasting about:

There’s just one problem. The Fox News crew horribly mangled what the New York Times was saying in their article. Calling the relationship between Fox and Friends and Trump a “Two Way Mirror,” the Times analyzed the perverse relationship between the TV program and the President. The full quote from the Times said:

“Suddenly, for no other reason than its No. 1 fan, it is the most powerful TV show in America,”

In context, the Times was criticizing both Trump and Fox for clinging to one another in a mockery of journalism. They went on to portray Fox’s posture toward Trump as a “Romper Room-style” broadcast intended to flatter our ego-obsessed, narcissistic president:

“President Trump is the show’s subject, its programmer, its publicist and its virtual fourth host. The stars offer him flattery, encouragement and advice. When he tweets, his words and image appear on a giant video wall. It’s the illusion of children’s TV — that your favorite show is as aware of you as you are of it — except that for Mr. Trump, it’s real.”

That’s an entirely different characterization than the one of pride that Doocy and company presented. And let’s not forget that Fox News paid for these ads. It’s an advertising campaign that deliberately distorts the quote they featured in the ad. And it’s further evidence of their aversion to ethics and truth. The author of the Times’ article, James Poniewozik, tweeted his own somewhat snarky thoughts about this saying that he was, “Excited to see @realDonaldTrump endorse my thesis that F&F’s weird childlike sway over him makes it hugely powerful! Thanks, POTUS!”

What’s more, why does Trump and Fox and Friends care what the New York Times has to say about them? Don’t they consider it fake news? In which case, Fox and Friends is not the most powerful TV show in America. And there is something peculiar about Fox News buying ad space in the Times. Trump has appended the word “failing” to every mention he makes of the paper. Fox News has adopted the same juvenile (and false) habit. But with this campaign they are helping the Times to be even more financially successful.

The Times’ article closed by noting that Fox and Friends has a unique mission with regard to Trump. They describe him as “the superfan in the White House who sees it as ‘Fox & Friend’ — singular.” That has been borne out by the numerous times that Trump has watched the show and, shortly after, tweeted what he saw. He has also promoted the program in dozens of tweets that amount to free publicity from the White House. The value of those tweet-vertisements has been put as high $5 million. So there is clearly a parasitical relationship between Fox News and Trump that benefits both. And we can expect that, and the lies, to continue for the foreseeable, lamentable future.

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

Hannity Orders His Trump-Cult Audience to Attack Journalists – Gets Slapped Back HARD!

Donald Trump’s First Amendment foes are assembling the troops in what they think is a massive show of force. They have a new general in the White House, Anthony Scaramucci, who unseated feeble Fibby Spice (Sean Spicer). The Mooch is already parroting the worst of Trump’s anti-media rhetoric. He is an avid supporter of the President’s Twitter tantrums and infantile assaults on free speech. And now he’s got some help from the Trump TV Network (aka Fox News).

Sean Hannity Fox News

Leading the way is Fox News Trump fluffer, Sean Hannity. Always a reliable soldier in the fight against honest journalism, Hannity has ordered a significant escalation. He’s taking the unusual step of enlisting his glassy-eyed audience into battle. On Monday night’s program he issued a call to the recruits to prepare to deploy for an all out offensive. And knowing his audience, they can be pretty damn offensive (video below):

Hannity began by praising the Trump administration for “ramping up one of the most effective tactics for combating all the fake news.” He was referring to the Propaganda Squad that has been fanning out to pick fights with their favorite media foils. They include Kellyanne Conway, Sarah Huckabee-Sanders, and Sebastian Gorka. Hannity lauded them for “standing up to pundits who treat the White House with hatred and disdain.” In reality they were just being jerks and insisting that the press accept Trump’s lies as truth. Then Hannity issued his orders to the troops:

“Members of the Trump administration, they’re beginning to shine a bright light on these dark corners of this fake news industry. And now thanks to social media, you can too. […] You can call out fake news right at the source. For example, you can tell fake news Jake Tapper exactly what you think of his interview with Anthony Scaramucci. You can do it on twitter.”

Tapper was only the beginning. Hannity also made juvenile insults aimed at CNN’s Brian Stelter and MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. His diatribe was filled with childish taunts and ludicrous, debunked accusations against Hillary Clinton. And then he addressed those who might “want to take it to the next level.”

“Write a message to their bosses. Send a tweet over to [Jeff] Zucker over at fake news CNN or Andy Lack from NBC fake news. Right now the media is living in their little bubble. It is our job to remind them that there is an America way outside of New York, D.C., Los Angeles and San Francisco. Tonight, technology is now making it possible for you to take your point of view directly to the source and show America’s elites that the forgotten men and forgotten women of this country voted for this agenda and they want it completed and for them to stop lying to you. Take to the social media, and I think you’re going to have a positive impact.”

First of all, if Hannity is really concerned about the people’s position on Trump’s agenda, he should take notice that Trump is the most unpopular president in modern history. And that goes for his policies as well.

More to the point, Hannity is apparently aware that his viewers don’t already know about Twitter. He has the oldest skewing audience in cable news. Recent demographic studies show that “The median age of the average primetime Fox News viewer is 68 — five years older than MSNBC, and nine years older than CNN.” And the consequences of that disparity can be devastating when reaching out to a more youthful, social media capable, audience. So Hannity’s Twitter blitz produced predictably contrary results, as documented by the Huffington Post:

And as Tapper noted in his reply thanking those tweeters: “I don’t think that turned out the way he intended.”

Hannity will always lose on this battleground. He is too much of an ideologue who spins so furiously that reality is unrecognizable. And his followers are handicapped by being dumb enough to watch him in the first place. There are plenty of problems with corporate media outlets like CNN, but they pale in comparison to the rancid hostility and blatant dishonesty of Hannity and Fox News. And online communities on Twitter and Facebook will continue to let him know how irrelevant he is.

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

Fox News ‘Update’ of a False Story Smearing the New York Times, Just an Excuse to Re-Air It

The frequency of mistakes, gaffes, and outright lies that are broadcast daily on Fox News would be challenging to correct. If, that is, they ever cared to. On the rare occasions when they issue a correction, it is often halfhearted and buried in justifications. Their corrections seem to function more as vindications than apologies.

Fox News Steve Doocy

A perfect example of this occurred Monday morning on Fox and Friends. Co-host Steve Doocy looked sheepishly into the camera to address a segment from Saturday’s program. The segment featured Gen. Tony Thomas making a startling accusation that the New York Times was responsible for allowing a terrorist leader to escape. He said that the Army had a good lead on Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. “Unfortunately,” Thomas said, “it was leaked in a prominent national newspaper about a week later and that lead went dead.” Fox weekend host Pete Hegseth elaborated to charge that Baghdadi would’ve been captured if not for the Times. Of course, there’s no way he could know that.

More to the point, the claim by Thomas was not accurate. The Times responded in detail, pointing out that their original story contained only information that had been previously published elsewhere. What’s more, the Times had cleared their story with the Pentagon who had no objections to publishing it. Nor were there any objections made after it was published, which was two years ago. So the day after Fox’s erroneous report, the Times sent a letter to Fox News requesting an on-air retraction and apology. It said in part:

“Neither the staff at Fox & Friends, nor the writers of a related story on Foxnews.com, appeared to make any attempt to confirm the relevant facts, nor did they reach out to the New York Times for comment. We understand that the segment and story are based on a misleading assertion by Gen. Thomas speaking at a conference in Aspen. However, that does not alleviate Fox News of the obligation to seek information from all the stakeholders in a story. With this segment, Fox & Friends has demonstrated what little regard it has for reporting facts.”

The statement made by Doocy, however, hardly satisfied the request by the Times. He neither apologized, nor conceded that a correction was in order. Doocy described his remarks as “an update,” and then replayed the false comments by Gen. Thomas in full. Finally, Doocy told viewers they could read the Times’ full response on the Fox website, but didn’t provide a URL.

So Fox News exploited the opportunity to correct the record by further distorting it. Their audience got to see the General’s false comments again, but were not told they were false. Fox News never gave a full accounting of the story’s factual flaws, or provided the evidence supplied by the Times. In effect they said “Here’s what we said before, and if you want to know what the Times said, go look it up yourself.”

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

Naturally, Fox’s biggest fan, Donald Trump, was watching when the story was first broadcast. Within half an hour he had tweeted the fake news to his Twitter followers. Two days later his tweet is still online with no comment or correction. That’s typical of Trump, who has even less regard for the truth than his primary source, Fox News.

Kellyanne Conway is TOTALLY Oblivious to the Crisis in Trump White House

The Sunday Morning news fest was particularly exciting this week. Much of it was consumed by Donald Trump’s new communications director, Anthony Scaramucci. He made the rounds to demonstrate that he’s a sufficiently sizable asshole to represent this president. What America learned, for the most part part, was that he “loves” Donald Trump, which he said repeatedly. Plus, he gushed about Trump’s near divine perfection as a communicator and a leader. Good work, Mooch.

Kellyanne Conway

However, no Sunday is complete without the screwball antics of White House counselor, Kellyanne Conway. She was interviewed by Brian Stelter on CNN’s Reliable Sources. And she lived up to her low standards for honesty and rational discourse. The conversation focused on the many scandals that have dogged the White House. Conway was surprised at the very notion and refuted it fiercely. And in a shockingly candid appraisal of the President’s proclivity for bald-face lies, Conway served up a unique justification:

Stelter: The scandals are the President’s lies. About voter fraud. About wiretapping. His repeated lies about those issues. That’s the scandal.
Conway: He doesn’t think he’s lying about those issues, and you know it.

Stelter went easy on Conway. There are literally hundreds of other demonstrable falsehoods that Trump has shamelessly uttered. But Conway is adopting the “Costanza Principle,” famously introduced in an episode of Seinfeld. Jerry’s friend George was advising him on how to beat a lie detector test. “If you believe it,” said George, “then it’s not a lie.” And now that principle has been put to the test in the “real” world of Kellyanne’s “alternative facts.” Stelter pointed out that just because the President says something, even if he believes it, doesn’t mean that it isn’t still untrue. But that was a concept that would be over the head of any Trump advisor.

In the same interview, Stelter’s reference to the many scandals plaguing the Trump administration seemed to come as a surprise to Conway. That led to this exchange:

Stelter: This is a White House in crisis whether you recognize it or not.
Conway: Why? I work there. Where do you get that?

Conway’s oblivious response ignores the fact that Trump is under investigation by the FBI, the GOP-controlled Senate and House, and an independent counsel. She also appears not to have noticed that Trump’s attempts to kill ObamaCare have failed. Or that his border wall is still a wingnut fantasy. Or that his immigration policies are stalled. And nothing has been on done taxes or infrastructure, or terrorism. This is likely the least productive administration in decades, despite Trump’s ludicrous claims to the contrary.

What’s more, Trump has the worst approval ratings of any president in modern history. Conway had an explanation for that which made no sense whatsoever:

“Part of the disapproval are the independents who voted for him and want him to ignore all the nonsense, and all the noise, and all the Russia nonsense. That’s part of it. Part of it are people upset with Congress. The President’s approval rating is far higher than the approval rating of the media or the Congress, and there’s a reason for that.”

So Trump’s abysmal ratings are due to his own supporters giving him poor marks because they don’t like Congress? Yeah, that’s the ticket. As for Trump vs. the media, numerous polls have shown that, given a choice, majorities of voters trust the media more. That includes the “failing” New York Times and “fake” news CNN.

Conway was insistent that CNN and others were pushing the “phony” stories about Russia. She suggested that they should cover real stories instead. Then she gave as an example that “millions of Americans don’t have healthcare.” Which is an interesting choice since her boss is advocating a bill that would would take healthcare away from 32 million more Americans. And of course, that story has been covered extensively across the spectrum of media.

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

It’s morbidly entertaining to watch Trump’s staff and surrogates struggle to put his disastrous administration in a positive light. There are no plausible arguments that can make any of this sound less than catastrophic. Consequently, their efforts seem more and more absurd and desperate. You have to wonder what they think of themselves at the end of a day of this futile spinning. But then, since they work for Donald Trump, what could they think of themselves anyway.

Will Donald Trump Renounce Pal Alex Jones’ Threat to ‘Kill a Bunch of Liberals’?

After six months the administration of Donald Trump has virtually nothing to herald as a success. His most prominent campaign promises (repeal ObamaCare, defeat ISIS, build a border wall) remain unfulfilled. But there is one area of accomplishment about which he can brag. The escalation of hatred directed by his followers to their fellow Americans is reaching new highs.

Alex Jones Infowars

The vitriol from the right has increased exponentially since the election of Trump. The Southern Poverty Law Center’s annual survey of hate groups shows an unprecedented rise fueled by Trump’s hostile rhetoric. And those groups are enjoying an association with mainstream politics they have never known. They are showing up on national television and at presidential press briefings. And they even have their own representatives in the White House. Trump’s alt-right hero and chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, has an office next to the oval one.

High on the list of radical alt-right wackos is conspiracy freak Alex Jones. On his radio broadcasts Jones unleashes a non-stop flurry of malicious rants and dark fantasies. He famously asserts that the Sandy Hook murders were a hoax complete with actors portraying children’s corpses. More recently he has been fixated on what he believes are the nascent ramblings of a new Civil War. Newsweek reports that:

“On June 23, he accused ‘the left’ of starting civil war and offered to personally execute convicted traitors because, he said, ‘I’m not going to sit here and just call for stuff without actually being part of it.’ In the same broadcast he said, ‘I don’t need some coming-of-age deal to kill a bunch of liberals,’ but ‘we have to start getting ready for insurrection and civil war because they’re really pushing it.'”

And . . .

“On June 15, he warned ‘you kick off Civil War 2, baby, you’ll think Lexington and Concord was a cakewalk.’ The day before, he implicated himself and his listeners: ‘You’re trying to start a civil war with people. You’re taking our kindness for weakness. Do you understand the American people will kill all of you? You understand? We are killing machines, you fools.… But I can shoot bull’s-eye at 400 yards, dumbass. I mean, they have no idea who they’re messing with.'”

In addition, Jones has called on the President to take action against Hillary Clinton and former FBI Director James Comey for unspecified crimes. “I would support the president making a military move on them right now,” Jones said. And the profane tirade he unloaded on Rep. Adam Schiff has to be seen to be believed.

Jones has crossed a line that may put him in legal jeopardy. It is against the law to threaten government officials. And his advocacy of violence toward anyone with whom he disagrees should earn immediate condemnation and social exile. However, Jones remains a confidant and ally of Donald Trump. He professes his undying loyalty on every show. Jones has claimed to be in frequent contact with the President. As for Trump, he has appeared on Jones’ Infowars program praising his “amazing” reputation. And an Infowars “correspondent” was actually granted a White House press pass.

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

Given the overt advocacy of violence by Jones, it is high time for Trump to renounce his association with him. No president can be allowed to get away with embracing such rhetoric without paying a price. The press needs to push Trump to take a public position condemning Jones and his sick promotion of terrorism. Absent such a statement, Trump should be labeled as a domestic terrorist for supporting civil war. Because under those circumstance, that’s exactly what he is.

Trump Admin is Misusing Funds for ObamaCare on Efforts to Sabotage It

For much of his still nascent administration, Donald Trump has sought to portray the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) as dead. It is more of a negative branding campaign than anything connected to facts or reality. The American people have expressed their support for ObamaCare in numerous polls. But Trump is determined to destroy it while promoting his extraordinarily unpopular attempt at repeal and replace.

Donald Trump

The Daily Beast is now reporting that the Trump administration has been misdirecting funds intended to encourage enrollment in ObamaCare. Instead, they have been using it in “a public relations campaign aimed at methodically strangling it.” That violates both the ACA’s legal mandate and the President’s constitutional duty to “faithfully execute the laws of the land.” According to The Daily Beast:

“The strategy has caught the eye of legal experts and Democrats in Congress, who have asked government agencies to investigate whether the administration has misused funds and engaged in covert propaganda in its efforts to damage and overturn the seven-year-old health care law. It’s also roiled Obama administration veterans, who argue that the current White House is not only abdicating its responsibilities to administer the law but sabotaging it in an effort to facilitate its undoing by Congress.”

The Health and Human Services department, under healthcare opposing Trump appointee Tom Price, has been busily producing anti-ObamaCare videos. The videos feature alleged “victims” of ObamaCare. It’s a blatantly one-sided propaganda venture that ignores the millions of people the ACA has helped. And the taxpayer funds diverted to it are substantial, despite its twisted purpose and ineffectiveness:

“Under Secretary Tom Price’s stewardship, HHS has filmed and produced a series of testimonial videos featuring individuals claiming to have been harmed by Obamacare. Those ”viral’ videos have had decidedly limited reach, often gathering somewhere between 100 and 200 views each. But the Department has made a heavy investment in them nonetheless. To date, it has released 23 videos. A source familiar with the video production says that there have been nearly 30 interviews conducted in total, from which more than 130 videos have been produced.”

The funds for this project are coming from the HHS’s Consumer Information and Outreach budget. It’s appalling that the administration would divert money intended to help people get insurance to a campaign of deliberate sabotage. They are taking money allocated to advance a healthy populace, and using it to steer people away from healthcare choices that are legally available to them. In effect, they may be guiding people away from necessary medical attention that could result in tragedy.

This isn’t the first attempt by the Trump administration to make America sick again. Trump has been making thinly veiled threats about discontinuing the cost-sharing reductions (subsidies) that make insurance affordable for millions. That would also throw the insurance markets into a state of instability that could threatened future participation. And they have made changes to the websites for HHS and Healthcare.gov that are unambiguously hostile to consumers seeking information about ObamaCare. Earlier this year the White House halted all advertising and promotions to encourage last minute enrollments for 2017 coverage. That was a sinister attempt to keep the public uninformed and enrollment numbers down.

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

In the end, all of this is nothing more than the fulfillment of the Republican dream: deprive Americans of healthcare and reward the wealthy with tax cuts. Although they obviously don’t like ObamaCare, it is the current law of the land. And the agency tasked with administering it ought not be working to kill it. If they could pass their repeal (which it appears they cannot), things might be different. In the meantime, all they are doing is cynically and selfishly playing politics with people’s lives.

Dumbfu*ks at Fox News Want to Know: What’s a Bigger Threat to America: Fake News or Russia?

The fair and balanced couch dwellers at Fox and Friends are suddenly very concerned about threats to America. Not the ones posed by hostile foreign adversaries disrupting our elections and hacking our politicians and candidates. Nor the ones saber-rattling about war with a crackpot dictator in North Korea. And certainly not the one that puts the entire planet at risk of becoming uninhabitable.

Fox News Dennis Prager

Nope. What Fox News is worried about is whether what they call “fake news” has surpassed Vladimir Putin’s Russia as an imminent threat to the United States. Bear in mind that the issue that’s throwing Fox News into a tizzy is actually real news reporting of Donald Trump and his crime family’s collusion with Russia. But just the suggestion that Trump is anything less than divinely pure qualifies as fakery to Fox.

In Monday morning’s episode of Fox and Friends, host Steve Doocy introduced a segment with sanctimonious radio talker Dennis Prager. He pretends to be a paragon of virtue and mentor to all of us inferior heathens. Prager tweeted his opinion that the media is America’s preeminent enemy.

And that led to Fox’s featured segment on the subject (video below):

Doocy: What’s a bigger threat to America: Fake news or Russia?

Prager: This may sound odd to you and many of the viewers. I don’t understand why this tweet is controversial. Putin does not threaten Western civilization. Western civilization is a set of ideas and values. When students remove the American flag from their campuses, that’s not Putin. All of the things happening in the West to undo Western civilization have nothing to do with Putin. The only thing I regret about the tweet is that I didn’t write that the universities and the media in the West are a greater threat to Western civilization.

I have to agree with Prager’s first point. It definitely sounds odd. Prager is making some sort of vague differentiation between Western civilization and the government and political institutions that uphold it. His babbling about our ideas and values being separate from Putin’s election tampering is pure gibberish. And yet he thinks that a cloth flag is a more tangible part of what makes America than democracy.

Prager went on to complain that “Half of American millennials think socialism is preferable to capitalism. That’s a result of the media and the universities.” It’s also the result of critical thinking and independent analysis. For one thing, socialism and capitalism are not mutually exclusive. In fact, the United States is a working example of a hybrid of the two concepts. Social Security and public education have not hampered the economic success of Ford, Starbucks, or Amazon.

Finally, Prager whined that “The media have gone from news media to opinion media in the guise of news. That is extremely dangerous.” I can’t argue with that. But the irony is that he said it on Fox News – the indisputable champion of blatantly biased pseudo-journalism. Fox News practically invented the modern practice of opinion media. And, in closing, I’ll agree with Prager again. Fox News is extremely dangerous.

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

NIXON? REALLY? Geraldo Rivera Gushes an INSANE Defense of Trump and Praise for Fox News

It must be awfully hard to be a Fox News shill these days. The still flowing flood of incriminating evidence against Donald Trump and his sleazy family is nearly impossible to justify. The contortions that Fox News hosts and pundits have to employ seem painful in the extreme. Some of them aren’t even trying anymore.

Geraldo Rivera

That, however, is not the case with the crew at Fox and Friends, and their Saturday morning guest, Geraldo Rivera (video below). In a discussion about Don Trump, Jr.’s meeting with Russian operatives, the “Curvy Couch” potatoes crawled all over themselves trying to defend the indefensible. Eventually they wound up where they often do – blaming the media.

For his part, Geraldo Rivera set up his remarks by reminding everyone that the Trumps were close, personal friends. He restated his “tremendous respect and admiration” for them. Then he gently chided them for what he characterized as minor goofs. Rivera described the meetings with Russian government operatives promising dirt on Hillary Clinton as “understandable,” but “not criminal.” Legal experts disagree. He did manage some criticism of Don, Jr. for his “dissembling” otherwise known as lying.

And then Rivera went flying headfirst off the tracks. Co-host Abby Huntsman asked a typically asinine question. She wondered whether the media was to blame for the troubles Don, Jr. was undergoing. Because of course it was the media’s fault that Donnie met with unsavory Russians and then lied about it repeatedly. But Rivera’s historical analog to this affair was the presidency of Richard Nixon. His take on it was pure lunacy:

“During the years of Tricky Dick Nixon, 1972 and 1973 principally. If there had been a Fox News then, if there had been a Sean Hannity then, I do not believe President Nixon would ever have been forced to resign. Why do I say that? Because when you see how his story evolves, and he has no one to defend him, how everybody’s deserted him, no on got the other side of the story. So that rinky-dink burglary then metastasized into the cover up, which led to the tumult, the nuclear explosions in the administration, and finally the resignation of the President.”

“I think if we had Sean then, if we had Fox and Friends then, I think that President Nixon would have weathered that storm. Now, I think that President Trump will likewise weather the storm, but I think that it will cause amazing stresses.”

So Rivera blames the downfall of Nixon on the absence of defenders in the media. Not on the fact that he presided over an illegal break-in of the Democratic campaign office. Not on the threats and bribes and lies that marked the cover up. Rivera thinks there was another side to the story of Nixon’s corruption that wasn’t being told. You know, the good side of the corruption.

But the best part of this cognitive meltdown is Rivera’s accidental admission that Fox News is nothing more than an alibi generator for crooked Republicans. He’s saying that despite the obvious crimes, Nixon might have survived if he had Fox News to lie for him. Nixon’s problem wasn’t that he broke the law, violated his oath of office, and had no discernible ethics. It was that he didn’t have someone like Sean Hannity to fabricate excuses and point fingers at innocent bystanders.

By extension, that’s the role that Rivera is admitting that Fox News plays now. They are deliberately denying reality and replacing it with manufactured falsehoods. They are covering for Trump and serving up other sides to the story of his corruption. And they are accusing others (Obama, Clinton, etc.) of crimes without any evidence whatsoever. It’s a strategy of deceive and deflect. And, as with Nixon, despite the obvious crimes, the goal is for Trump et al to skate free. Of course, many observers have already known this about Fox News for years. But it is helpful when one of their top correspondents is dumb enough it out loud on the air.

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

What Did Fox News Know About Trump, Jr.’s Russia Collusion, and When Did They Join It?

Much to the chagrin of Donald Trump, the media is still tightly focused on the question of his unsavory connections to Russia. The latest news centers around the activities of his son, Don, Jr. The younger Trump’s ill-advised meeting with a Russian lawyer in an attempt to score dirt on Hillary Clinton has created a tsunami of controversy.

Rupert Murdoch Donald Trump

While many observers ponder the legal jeopardy that Trump faces, others are consumed by the stark foolishness of the affair. Capping the series of unfortunate events was the release of the emails detailing the meeting’s agenda. They explicitly state the purpose as an exchange of information from the Russian government to the Trump campaign.

Some of the reporting has noticed the timeline that sheds light on certain activities that previously seemed unrelated. For instance, Donald Trump’s June 7, 2016 announcement that he would soon give a “major” speech about Hillary Clinton’s alleged criminality. That announcement came just four days after his son’s email exchange with the contact that set up the meeting. It was also just two days prior to the meeting itself. Did Trump get a head’s up about some detrimental data on Clinton that was about be acquired?

The meeting took place on June 9. That was also the day that Trump first tweeted about Clinton’s 33,000 emails that were allegedly deleted? He subsequently returned to that talking point frequently, even soliciting the Russians to hack and reveal the emails.

The promised speech took place on June 13, but not on the promised subject. That could be because no useful information was received at Don Jr.’s meeting. That would jibe with his assertion that his source failed to come through. However, it could also be because the information was so highly charged that they decided to roll it out strategically. Which would square with what occurred a few weeks later. It was on July 24 that the first emails that were hacked from the Democratic National Committee were made public. That release via Wikileaks was closely tied to Russian hackers.

However, there is a another event in the same timeline that hasn’t gotten any attention. On July 25, the day after the DNC hacks came out, Donald Trump himself had a significant meeting. On a golf course in Scotland, the then-candidate met privately with Rupert Murdoch, the CEO of Fox News. Up until that time, Trump and Murdoch had a rocky relationship. Trump was bashing Fox News and its star host, Megyn Kelly. But Trump had just virtually secured the nomination and the time for a reconciliation between the two Republicans seemed ripe.

This opens up an entirely new avenue of investigation. Did this meeting include any discussion of the DNC hacks? Did it cover any data that might have been acquired from Don, Jr.’s tryst with the Russian lawyer? Was there any coordination between Trump and Murdoch on the strategy for rolling out damaging info on Clinton? It is clear that Fox News worked feverishly for Trump’s election. They gave him more airtime and positive commentary than any other media organization. But just how closely were they integrated into this scandal? And should we even mention that Murdoch’s ex-wife, Wendy Deng, is Vladimir Putin’s current girlfriend?

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

These and other questions still need to be answered. But the proximity of these events is a little more than curious. They could all be coincidental, like all of the connections to Russians by multiple Trump associates. But, seriously, what are the odds?

The Fox News President: Trump’s Twitter Feed is Now Hype Central for Fox and Friends BS

The news keeps getting worse for Donald Trump, his administration, and even his family. The just concluded “G19: Embarrassing America World Tour” produced nothing but ridicule for Trump. From the insane proposal to partner with Vladimir Putin on cyber security, to the promotion of Ivanka to world leading seat-filler. Trump’s misadventures abroad served only to affirm his unfitness for the office he holds.

Donald Trump

So when the news gets bad, Trump gets busy. That is, he spends even more time watching Fox News to find morsels of propaganda he can disseminate. It’s a pattern that has long been recognized by veteran Trump watchers. And, more often than not, the clips he passes along to his glassy-eyed disciples are culled from his favorite “news” show, Fox and Friends. It’s a relationship that predates his presidency. Long before he entered politics he had a regular segment on Fox and Friends called “Mondays with Trump.” It served as the launching pad for his eventual campaign and a platform from which he could attack President Obama. What’s more, it’s a corrupt, profit-making syndicate that benefits both Trump and Fox News.

Monday morning provides an object lesson in Trump’s mutually exploitative alliance with the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends. In the space of just one hour, Trump tweeted four clips from the program that buttressed his defenses on some blossoming scandals. It’s clear that this is where he gets his information and talking points. He must have forgotten that, as President of the United States, he has a vast intelligence and PR infrastructure at his disposal. These are the early morning tweets that Trump felt were important to bring to the attention of the nation:

Topping his agenda, Trump retweeted a clip that criticized the media for covering his tweets. But just think how upset he would be if they didn’t. It was a bland swipe at the press by a professional shill who failed to make any substantive point. But it did get in Trump’s daily dose of media bashing.

That was followed by the first of two clips making blatantly false charges against former FBI director James Comey. What Fox called “a brand new bombshell report” was actually a misreading of the facts. A story in The Hill reported that some of the memos produced by Comey were retroactively designated as classified. However, it did not say that the classified memos were distributed to the media. In fact. the Columbia professor who received the memos denies that anything sensitive was revealed. But that didn’t stop Trump from recklessly charging that “Comey leaked CLASSIFIED INFORMATION to the media. That is so illegal!” Trump took his position just minutes after it was conveniently broadcast on Fox News for him. And he is apparently unaware that it is inappropriate for a president to make prejudgments as to guilt. It biases the potential jury pool and makes a fair trial, should there ever be one, nearly impossible.

The second Comey-related clip featured brand new Fox News contributor, Jason Chaffetz. He resigned his position as chair of the House Oversight Committee last month to join Fox. In this clip Chaffetz attacked Comey while a chyron displayed Trump’s tweet that was inspired by an earlier Fox segment. The circle is complete.

Finally, Trump retweeted a segment that chastised New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio. They were outraged that he missed a vigil for a slain police officer. While it’s important to participate in events like that, Fox ignored that it isn’t always possible. DeBlasio was attending the G20 summit in Germany on business for the city. In other words, he was doing his job and was unable to attend a ceremony that was tragically unplanned.

Trump and his communications team frequently complain that the media doesn’t cover important issues like healthcare and immigration and terrorism. That, of course is untrue. Those issues are covered, despite Trump’s attempts at creating distractions. However, the complaints are ludicrous on their face. When you look at what Trump himself focuses on, it isn’t the media’s fault if they cover the President’s official pronouncements on Twitter. Especially when he hasn’t held a press conference since February. He is letting everyone know where his priorities lie. And if it’s with bullshit he gleans from Fox and Friends, well, that’s just because that’s who he is. Anyone hoping for something more is doomed to be bitterly disappointed.

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