ON TRUST: Donald Trump Polls Way Less than CNN – and Every Other TV News Network

For someone who is obsessed with castigating the news media as “fake” and “enemies,” Donald Trump is sure suffering from an approval deficit by the American people. He tweets furiously at all hour of the day and night about how dishonest the press is, but all of that animus and bile has produced nothing in terms of respect from the public at large.

Donald Trump

A survey conducted for the Brand Keys Research Intelligencer rated the levels of trust for each of the major television news networks. The results placed the BBC at the top of the pile (with 90%) as the most trusted source. Fox News came in second (87%), followed by PBS (86%). It’s important to remember that this survey was conducted by surveying respondents who watched the rated network at least three times a week. So to some extent it was collecting the views of people who were regular viewers. That would explain the Fox number, whose viewers are devoted and worshipful cultists.

The placement of the rest of the broadcast and cable news networks ranged respectably from MSNBC (80%), CBS (72%), NBC (70%), ABC (69%), and CNN (69%). But the most interesting number in this survey was the one for Donald Trump. He managed to pull in a paltry twenty-nine percent who say that he is trustworthy. That’s less than a third of what the BBC did. Even more troubling from his perspective is that it’s less than half of what his arch nemesis CNN did. And when the numbers were broken down by political affiliation, Trump’s base of Republicans still only rated him at a measly thirty-five percent. Even lower, of course, were Independents (22%) and Democrats (14%).

So while Trump has spent the past two years relentlessly attacking the media in the most vicious terms, he has managed to achieve nothing but solid goose eggs in terms of respect or trust from the public. This survey affirms similar polls conducted in the past that found Trump trailing every news enterprise, TV or print, on the question of trust. And by wide margins.

It also affirms the results of a unique study published by The Economist this week that revealed that the media that Trump hates the most (New York Times, Washington Post, etc.) actually became stronger and more popular during the seventeen months since Trump was inaugurated. So despite his efforts to drag down any press operation that wasn’t unflinchingly adoring, he actually had the opposite effect of boosting their profiles with the public. What’s more, his reliance on, and promotion of, Fox News and Breitbart produced sharp downslopes for those flagrantly biased outfits. And if that’s what he means by “winning,” let’s have more of it.

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

THE TRUMP EFFECT: His Attempts to Destroy the Media Have Actually Made it Stronger

One way to look at the presidency of Donald Trump is as a contrarian indicator. Whatever he tries to achieve ends up producing the opposite results. For instance, when threatened Kim Jong Un with “fire and fury,” he later embraced him as an “honorable” man who would abandon his nuclear ambitions. And now we learn that Kim is actually escalating his intercontinental ballistic missile program.

Donald Trump Effect

Trump is a sort of reverse King Midas: everything he touches turns to – let’s say garbage. His tax scam has benefited the wealthy while adding a trillion dollars to the deficit. His EPA has ignored environmental protection in favor of loosening regulations for polluters. His border wall is nonexistent and Mexico definitely isn’t paying for it. What he calls “winning” is just papered over failure, much like his casinos and university.

Now the Economist has published the results of a study that tracked the fortunes of the mainstream media for the eighteen months he has occupied the White House. During the entirety of that time, Trump has castigated the supposedly free press as “horrible people,” “liars,” “sleazy,” and he has adopted Stalin’s rhetoric by calling the media “the enemy of the American people.” Lately he has also adopted the behavior of tyrants by trying to ban journalists who dare to challenge his omnipotent (more accurately, impotent) authority.

It turns out that the media enterprises that Trump has attacked the most have gained popularity and success. The Economist’s poll asked a representative sample of Americans to rate large American news organisations on a scale from “very trustworthy” to “very untrustworthy.” The outcome of this survey is a useful lesson on the ineffectual tactic of childish browbeating that is Trump’s sole method of interacting with society. According to the Economist:

“From October 15th 2016, shortly before he was elected, to this month, confidence in Mr Trump’s two most frequently targeted newspapers, the New York Times and Washington Post, has actually grown. During the same period, trust in two media outlets that offer him reliably fawning coverage, Fox News and Breitbart, has withered.”

So the outlets Trump hates most are flourishing, and the ones that suck up to him are suffering. The study also found that this growth was not limited to liberals stepping up their support for news that affirms their biases. Even Trump supporters were leaning more favorably toward the objects of his hostility. And the allegedly “failing” New York Times saw monthly online readership double to 130 million since Trump’s inauguration.

Combine this with other polling that shows that the American people trust the media far more than they trust Trump and you have a recipe for continuing delusions from a president who is already acutely disturbed. And this new study proves that Trump’s rabid attacks on on the Constitution are only strengthening the subjects of the First Amendments protections. Nice work, Dotard.

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

This Creepy GOP Campaign Ad Affirms the Establishment of the Trump Cult

The Republican Party has officially transformed into the Party of Trump. They blindly follow his every word and deed. They pass laws that are tributes to his ignorant worldview. They obstruct any attempt to seek out the truth in matters that may end up reflecting negatively on the President. And they tremble at the thought of arousing his wrath.

Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis

In the Florida governor’s race Ron DeSantis is the Trump-endorsed candidate who mirrors Dear Leader like a shaggy dog’s reflection in a puddle. He is among those for whom Trump has posted one of his infamous robo-tweets that all sound like endorsements for Stepford Republicans. But a recent DeSantis ad featuring his wife and child really struck a tone of Trump worship that is beyond imagination. See for yourself:

In this ad Ms. DeSantis performs what would be a hysterical Saturday Night Live satire of a Republican ad. It’s too bad the ad is all too real. She begins by pointing out that her husband is already well known as a Trump flunky. Why on Earth would anyone regard that as a positive image? Then she rambles through a series of Trumpian cliches (“build the wall,” “you’re fired,” “make America great again”) as if that would put some distance between DeSantis and his Messiah. And she closes by facetiously saying that people are wrong to think that DeSantis is “all Trump,” despite that being the entire theme of the ad.

This ad is allegedly a humorous take on the candidate’s emphatic embrace of the President. However, it still articulates a single message to viewers: Ron DeSantis has no agenda other than fluffing Trump. He doesn’t advocate a single issue that might be of importance to Floridians. He doesn’t even try to explain why he’s so infatuated with Trump. It’s just a blind, unquestioning love that is indisputable and all-consuming.

And that’s the whole point of this ad, as well as the whole mythology behind Donald Trump and his rise to power. Despite his innumerable flaws (infidelity, dishonesty, financial incompetence and corruption, racism, treason), he must be loved simply because he demands it. And when he tells you to drink the cyanide-laced Kool-Aid (or to assault a liberal, or a person of color, or a journalist), your only permitted response is “Yes, Master. I will obey.””

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

Trump Breaches ‘Off-the-Record’ Promise to the New York Times with Unhinged Rage-Tweets

For someone who relentlessly bashes the media for its honesty and ethics, Donald Trump seems to have little concern for either, particularly with regard to the media. And this goes much farther than his reckless attacks that media experts have warned are likely to result in violence against journalists who are just trying to do their job.

Donald Trump

On Sunday morning Trump posted a peculiar tweet that, on the surface, suggested a bit of thawing in his persistent hostility toward the press. He revealed that he met with A.G. Sulzberger, the publisher of the New York Times, one of Trump’s most reviled foes. In the past, Trump has maligned the Times as liars who deliberately publish false stories with sources that Trump says don’t exist (they do). In this tweet Trump pretended that the meeting was cordial and productive:

As it turns out, Trump was not only lying, he actually violated an agreement that he insisted on that the meeting be off the record. We learned this when the Times posted a response to Trump’s tweet to set the record straight. The statement by the Times is a wholly unprecedented occurrence that could not have even been thought of in the administration of any other president. But this is where we are now. Here is the Times’ statement in full:

Statement of A.G. Sulzberger, Publisher, The New York Times, in Response to President Trump’s Tweet About Their Meeting
July 29, 2018

Earlier this month, A.G. received a request from the White House to meet with President Trump. This was not unusual; there has been a long tradition of New York Times publishers holding such meetings with presidents and other public figures who have concerns about coverage.

On July 20th, A.G. went to the White House, accompanied by James Bennet, who oversees the editorial page of The Times. Mr. Trump’s aides requested that the meeting be off the record, which has also been the practice for such meetings in the past.

But with Mr. Trump’s tweet this morning, he has put the meeting on the record, so A.G. has decided to respond to the president’s characterization of their conversation, based on detailed notes A.G. and James took.

Statement of A.G. Sulzberger, Publisher, The New York Times:
My main purpose for accepting the meeting was to raise concerns about the president’s deeply troubling anti-press rhetoric.

I told the president directly that I thought that his language was not just divisive but increasingly dangerous.

I told him that although the phrase “fake news” is untrue and harmful, I am far more concerned about his labeling journalists “the enemy of the people.” I warned that this inflammatory language is contributing to a rise in threats against journalists and will lead to violence.

I repeatedly stressed that this is particularly true abroad, where the president’s rhetoric is being used by some regimes to justify sweeping crackdowns on journalists. I warned that it was putting lives at risk, that it was undermining the democratic ideals of our nation, and that it was eroding one of our country’s greatest exports: a commitment to free speech and a free press.

Throughout the conversation I emphasized that if President Trump, like previous presidents, was upset with coverage of his administration he was of course free to tell the world. I made clear repeatedly that I was not asking for him to soften his attacks on The Times if he felt our coverage was unfair. Instead, I implored him to reconsider his broader attacks on journalism, which I believe are dangerous and harmful to our country.

So Sulzberger accepted the meeting with the hopes that he could moderate Trump’s animus toward the press and his hostility toward the Constitution’s First Amendment. That was a wildly optimistic expectation. But what we still don’t know is why Trump asked for the meeting in the first place. Presumably to bitch about “fake news” and threaten to punish the Times if they didn’t bend to his will. He has recently been throwing around threats at journalists who have dare to exercise independence and free speech.

Sulzberger’s warnings to Trump about the use of phrases like “fake news” and “enemy of the people” were appropriate and long over due. Trump needed to hear directly that his callousness was “putting lives at risk” and “undermining the democratic ideals.” Not that he would listen or understand. And, unfortunately, there was no indication in Sulzberger’s statement as to whether Trump grasped the significance of these points or if he was even paying attention. However, Trump himself gave us a pretty good idea of what he thought of the meeting in a series of angry tweets a few hours later:

Trump incredibly blamed Sulzberger for “reveal[ing] the internal deliberations of our government” that Trump himself revealed on Twitter first. And if there is substantial negative coverage of his administration it’s only because he’s an incompetent boor who has failed in everything he’s ever attempted in his life. What he regards as “positive results” are the hallucinations of a maniacal narcissist.

Sulzberger diplomatically avoided any disclosure of the substance of their discussions. That’s how adults behave when trying to resolve contentious relationships with the aim of finding some common ground. But Trump is behaving like a china shop bullshitter by disparaging the Times, and the media at large, with insulting allusions to it being a dying institution that is never going to change – by which Trump means suck up to him.

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, Trump demonstrated that his original assertion that the meeting was “very good and interesting” was just another Trump lie. His subsequent tweets prove that he never meant that. He was just posturing with the expectation that his disingenuous blather wouldn’t be revealed. And when it was he just made matters worse by unleashing the rancorous bile that is always just below the surface of his unnaturally orange and lace-thin skin. Same as it ever was.

Fox News Reports Poll Showing Democrats are ‘Out of Step’, But Guess What They Left Out

The deliberate deceit and hostility of Fox News is escalating as Donald Trump gets closer to being tossed into the dustbin of history. With special counsel Robert Mueller progressing toward the inevitable report of Trump’s criminality, and former insiders like Michael Cohen preparing to truth bomb the President, the weasels at Fox News are just getting more desperate in the most obvious and embarrassing ways.

Fox News Lies

On Saturday’s episode of the Greg Gutfeld show, the eponymous host (who thinks he’s a comedian) introduced the program with the “shocking” results of an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. [Note: Fox and Friends misused the same poll] Among other things it revealed that a majority of respondents (56% to 33%) said that Democrats are “out of step with most Americans’ thinking” That’s a pretty lousy number that indicates some trouble for the party. Although it doesn’t reflect the manner in which Democrats are disconnecting. While Fox News and the GOP want you to think it’s a condemnation of the Party’s embrace of lefties like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, it could be just as easily that they think the Party isn’t embracing them tightly enough.

But what really makes this Fox News segment ludicrous is that they left out another significant result from the poll. Republicans were also deemed to be out of touch, and by a slightly larger margin (57% to 33%). For some reason that statistic was never mentioned on Fox News. Go figure.

In addition to this dissemination of blatantly distorted news, Fox also failed to mention everything else in the poll that revealed how badly the Trump administration is at odds with the American people. For instance:

  • They believe Trump’s tariffs will hurt, not help the economy (46-25)
  • Mueller’s investigation of Trump’s collusion with Russia and obstruction of justice should continue (46-38)
  • Trump is too friendly with Vladimir Putin (46-39)
  • Russia is an adversary, not an ally (72-16)
  • Russia interfered with the 2016 presidential election (65-26)
  • The interference by the Russians affected the outcome of the election (41-18)

Since Fox News went to the trouble of citing this poll, they ought to have reported the results more completely. And particularly with regard to the question of how badly Americans think the Republican Party is out of touch. But then again, Fox has never been known to responsibly cover the news, so why should they start now?

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

With the midterm elections coming up you can count on Fox to lie profusely about the issues and to smother Trump with accolades. Trump has promised to campaign on behalf of GOP candidates “six to seven days a week when we’re sixty days out.” So he’s effectively abdicating his presidency. And Fox News will devotedly air every single one of Trump’s boring, mindlessly repetitive rally speeches in their entirety. Which is certain to increase the incidence of cognitive infirmity among his glassy-eyed Deplorables.

Good News: Trump Promises to Ignore His Job for 2 Months to Campaign for Republicans

The only thing worse than having Donald Trump gallivanting off to his luxurious golf resorts every weekend is having him in the White House doing more harm to the country. He has already spent about thirty-one percent of his presidency (175 days) at Trump owned properties like Mar-A-Lago. It’s an unprecedented negligence of duty for the alleged Commander-in-Chief, but a welcome relief to the nation and, most likely, the long-suffering staff at the White House. Now if we could just get him to stop tweeting as well.

Donald Trump, Disability

In addition to his vacation getaways, Trump is a frequent flyer on Air Force One to political events across the country. On Friday he posted a message on Twitter announcing that he will be appearing at a tremendous gathering of his true believers in Tampa Bay, Florida next Tuesday. That will mark his twenty-third purely partisan revival meeting this year alone. That averages out to three times a month that the President has assembled his staff, security detail, and transportation crews to venture from Washington on the taxpayers dime, delivering nakedly partisan speeches to adoring throngs of Deplorables. These are expensive excursions that every American is footing the bill for. While some costs are reimbursed by Trump’s campaign committee, the trappings of the presidency are borne by us hard working rubes, most of whom voted for Hillary Clinton. And if you want to know what Trump thinks about forcing this financial burden on regular folks, just refer back to his tweets on the subject when Barack Obama was President:

On Friday Trump had a surprise phone-in interview with his shadow chief of staff, Sean Hannity. Among the things they discussed were the upcoming midterm elections. Most prognosticators are predicting a massive Blue Wave that will sweep the Democrats back into the majority in the House of Representatives, and perhaps the Senate as well. But Trump has a different opinion. He believes that the power of his personality will shock the experts and produce a glorious Republican victory. Who knows? Maybe he’s right. And no Democrat should get complacent about winning given the unpredictable nature of this electorate. But in the furtherance of his goal, Trump told Hannity (at about 26:05) that “I am going to work very hard. I’ll go six or seven days a week when we’re sixty days out.”

So what he’s saying is that he’s going to take a leave of absence from the presidency to become a full-time campaign shill. This isn’t really new. Last December his people said that he intends to spend more time campaigning. But this does present some problems. Does he think the country will just wait around for two months until he’s through politicking and returns to the Oval Office to see if he has any messages? Will Vlad know where to reach him? And when, for the love of God, will he have time for golf?

Why he needs to take these measures is puzzling. His rallies to date have been carbon copies of each other where he does and says virtually the same thing every time. It’s just like his Twitter endorsements of GOP hopefuls that are veritable robo-tweets on behalf of interchangeable Stepford Republicans. And for the most part, he’ll talk more about himself than the the candidate he’s suppoedly there to support. But he will play all the hits (“Crooked Hillary, Build the Wall,” and the epic “Witch Hunt”) while castigating the ever-present media as “the enemy of the people.” These affairs are so mindlessly repetitive that they could be performed with a mannequin and tape loops. And his glassy-eyed disciples wouldn’t know the difference.

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

However, at least the country will know where he is and that he won’t be able to do as much damage as he would while playing president and barking orders from the big chair in the Oval Office. And he won’t be cozying up to foreign dictators and selling out the country to our enemies. Of course, he could still relay messages to them from the stump, and they would be listening while waging another cyber war against America during an election. So we’ll have to alert wherever he is. Because we know that Trump and his lackeys won’t be.

Fox News’ Senior Whipping Boy: Juan Williams Has Tolerated Political and Racial Bias for Two Decades

The Huffington Post just published an article by Yashar Ali that explored the reasons behind Kimberly Guilfoyle’s surprise departure from Fox News. Donald Trump Jr’s lover was criticized for trying to hang on to her Fox gig while shacking up with the President’s recently divorced son. How could she, folks wondered, comment on Trump without bias under these circumstance?

Fox News, Juan Williams

However, according to Ali, that wasn’t the reason for Fox terminating her. Like many Fox personalities before her, Guilfoyle has been accused of sexual misconduct and abusive behavior. She denies the charges, but Ali’s reporting includes more than twenty witnesses. However, there was an interesting side note in the article that deserves more attention. To demonstrate the deteriorating environment surrounding Guilfoyle, Ali wrote that:

“Guilfoyle had become increasingly isolated in the past year, sources said. Three of her co-hosts on ‘The Five’ (Dana Perino, Jesse Watters and Greg Gutfeld) have second shows to host themselves. Guilfoyle was not given the opportunity to host her own program while she was a co-host of the panel show.”

So of the five co-hosts of the creatively-named The Five (which airs at 5:00pm ET), three had second shows and one (Guilfoyle) did not. The fifth is Juan Williams. Since 1997 Williams has been the beleagured African-American, Fox-style liberal at Fox News, walking the tight rope of sheepishly representing the Democratic ideology while staying in the good graces of Fox’s conservative hierarchy. For more than twenty years Williams has been a loyal employee who often defended Fox News when they were criticized for their obvious right-wing bias. He would make himself available for appearance on other Fox shows to take abuse from the conservatives who always outnumbered him.

During his time at the network, many commentators who joined after him were rewarded with their own shows. Everyone from Gretchen Carlson and Jesse Watters to Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson, and many more. They all have two things in common that Williams lacks: They are rabidly conservative and they are white. So despite having more seniority and more experience, Williams was passed over repeatedly by his right-wing, Caucasian peers.

It might be easy to explain Fox’s unwillingness to promote Williams as due to his politics. Fox has never had solo liberal host in it’s twenty-two year history. And as co-hosts and panelists liberals have always been outnumbered by conservatives. So his politics surely had something to do with his stagnant career. But for a network that is overwhelming dominated by white commentators and hosts it’s hard to dismiss the likelihood that race also played a profound role in the failure of Williams to land his own program.

The question is: Why does Williams stick around when it’s so obvious that Fox is discriminating against him both politically and racially? If he had any self-respect he would quit and issue a sharp rebuke of the network for it’s biases. But he is either addicted to the money, or he is so weak-livered that he can’t stand up for himself or the principles of equality. I think the former is part of the reason for his tolerance of this workplace abuse, but the latter is probably more responsible for it. That weakness is evident in his mushy advocacy of Democratic positions, which he will support only up until the point where he feels like he’s trampling on his wingnut colleagues. He almost always comes short of the sort of powerful argument that a real liberal would present.

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

As a result, Williams will always come short as a commentator who will never advance to a host as he watches other lesser Foxies leap frog him to greater success. Fox News will keep around because he fulfills their need for an African-American leftie. But they are keeping him around only for show and to persist with the lie of fairness and balance. Williams will stay because he’s a wimpy slave to the Fox plantation that allows him to hang out in the big house with his masters.

Did Donald Trump Snub the FBI’s 110th Anniversary Because of the So-Called ‘Witch Hunt’?

Thursday July 26, 2018, was the 110th anniversary of the founding of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). It’s a milestone that was somehow missed by the Commander-in-Chief, Donald Trump. That snub was out of character for Trump who has made a point of congratulating numerous other governmental agencies, particularly in law enforcement and the military.

Donald Trump

Of course, his recognition of other agencies was always just a gesture of pseudo-patriotism intended to make himself appear to be supportive of the heroes who sacrifice so much on behalf of their country.

He even congratulated himself on his electoral college victory (and popular vote loss) over Hillary Clinton:

However, neglecting to celebrate the FBI’s anniversary might be more than just a lapse in memory or the fault of an inattentive aide. Trump is currently being investigated by the FBI, the Justice Department, and a special counsel, Robert Mueller, who was once the director of the FBI. Trump calls these investigations “witch hunts” despite having already produced dozen of indictments and five guilty pleas.

He has publicly insulted his own Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and FBI Director Chris Wray, all of whom he appointed. And even though he has occasionally differentiated the FBI rank and file from their leadership, perhaps he is still reluctant to give any of them any credit while the investigations are in progress.

In Trump’s mind it might be easier to malign the FBI if he is indicted, or otherwise implicated in criminal activity, if he hasn’t already praised them on their anniversary. So screw ’em. What doesn’t benefit Donald Trump isn’t deserving of recognition. That’s the Trump Way. And if the work of the men and women in the FBI is callously cast aside, too bad.

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

Icky Facto? Fox News Defends Getting Campaign Dirt on Hillary Clinton from Hostile Foreign Countries

On Laura Ingraham’s Thursday night Fox News program she hosted former federal prosecutor and Fox contributor, Andrew McCarthy. The segment was focused on the recent bombshell disclosure about Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen. The report alleges that Cohen is prepared to testify that Trump knew in advance about the meeting his son and senior campaign staff had with Russian operatives pitching negative information from Hillary Clinton’s stolen emails.

Fox News Commies

Cohen’s testimony would make Trump’s repeated prior claims of having no knowledge of the meeting a lie (Trump lied? Shocking, isn’t it?). On Friday morning Trump reiterated his ignorance of the meeting in a tweet that also disparaged Cohen. But all of that was of little concern to Ingraham and her guests. For the most part the conversation was typically defensive of Trump and sought to malign Cohen’s credibility. Ingraham even offered the long-ago debunked excuse that the meeting was only about Russian adoptions and was an attempt to lobby Trump’s people to support repealing the Magnitsky Act that imposed sanctions on Russia. Don Jr’s own emails refuted that red herring with a subject line that read “Russia – Clinton – private and confidential.”

In addition to trying to dismiss and trivialize the significance of the Cohen revelations, Ingraham and company likewise argued that there wasn’t anything wrong with the apparent collusion by Trump with Russia to steal the 2016 presidential election. She actually defended the practice of getting campaign dirt from hostile foreign countries. Although she did manage to criticize Clinton in a bizarre rant (video below):

“Hillary Clinton paid for dirt that was assembled by the Russians in the form of the Steele dossier. She actually went further than meeting with someone. Her people actually paid for it. They got dirt and then it ended up making its way all the way through the U.S. government.”

Ingraham is to truth what Donald Trump is to, well, truth. Clinton did not pay for “dirt that was assembled by the Russians.” Her campaign paid an opposition research firm whose activities were first funded by a conservative Republican website. That firm hired a former British intelligence officer, Christopher Steele, to gather information about Trump and his associates. It was Steele, an American ally who the FBI regarded as credible and trustworthy, who assembled information that he obtained from his sources. The Russians had nothing to do with “assembling” the data, and Clinton had no interactions with Russians or Steele. And while portions of the dossier were cited in FISA warrant applications, they were merely a part of the evidence that the government presented.

So Ingraham was just mouthing off with a flurry of false, right-wing, Trump-sponsored talking points. And if that wasn’t bad enough, her guest, McCarthy, concurred with the opinion that there was nothing to see here:

“I don’t think that it’s bad if campaigns are turning to foreign governments for dirt. It’s not collusion. It’s not something that’s impeachable. It’s icky. But that’s what this is.”

Actually, when campaigns turn to foreign governments for dirt, that absolutely is collusion by definition. It is also conspiracy to aid and abet a foreign government’s interference with an election. And that’s both illegal and impeachable. But I’ll give McCarthy credit for at least admitting that “It’s icky.” I guess that’s a legal term that Fox News contributors use to sound smart.

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

Fox News Helps GOP Congresswoman Spread Debunked Lies that Obama Paid Iran $1.5 Billion

Just in case you were looking for another example of Fox News casting off all pretense of being an honest news enterprise, they provided an excellent one Thursday morning. Donald Trump’s favorite TV show, Fox and Friends, invited Republican congresswoman Liz Cheney to discuss matters related to the Trump administration’s diplomatic agenda for Iran since Trump broke the agreement the United States made previously. And yes, that’s Dick Cheney’s daughter.

Fox News Friends

The segment began with Ainsley Earhardt reminding viewers that Donald Trump recently posted a deranged, all caps tweet that warned Iran to “NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE.” It cannot be overstated that this was the President threatening the nuclear annihilation of men, women, and children, of a foreign adversary over mere words.

Much of the conversation centered on Cheney’s impressions of Trump’s National Security Advisor, John Bolton, and his efforts to prevent Iran from advancing their nuclear ambitions. Of course, President Obama had already put an end to that prior to Trump blowing it up in his obsessive fetish to undo all things Obama. But Cheney was then asked specifically how the current administration’s approach to Iran differed from their predecessor. Which seems like a planted question that really had no purpose other than to bash Obama’s achievements. Cheney took full advantage of that saying:

“Oh it’s hugely different. If you look at the fact that Barack Obama paid $1.5 billion – U.S. taxpayer money – paid the Iranians to get them to enter into the nuclear agreement.”

The only problem with that response is that is utterly and provably false. PolitiFact, and every other fact-checker, has documented that the monies disbursed to Iran when the deal with the Obama administration (and by the way, six other nations) was executed, was Iran’s money to begin with. The U.S. was merely releasing funds that it had sequestered as part of the sanctions that were imposed on Iran in order to bring them to the negotiating table.

After Cheney made her wholly dishonest claim about these funds, Earhardt failed to challenge her or to let Fox’s viewers know that she was lying. So that false information was disseminated once again to Fox’s already ignorant and ill-informed viewers. And as if that weren’t enough, Fox News later posted a video clip of the segment on Twitter that featured Cheney’s remarks, but still didn’t point out that they were false. This is typical of Fox’s practice of mangling the news so that it misrepresents reality and feeds disinformation to an audience that can’t distinguish truth from fiction anyway.

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