Shepard Smith of Fox News Untangles the ‘Patently False’ Lies of Trump re: the Russia Probe

It’s getting harder and harder to figure out why Fox News is allowing Shepard Smith to remain on the air. In the recent past he has made a some startlingly harsh condemnations of Donald Trump that were rooted in actual facts. You know, the sort of information that Fox News struggles to suppress for the other twenty-three hours of the day. It’s the sort of honest reporting that is contradicted by Fox’s primetime shills Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and Tucker Carlson.

Fox News, Shepard Smith, Donald Trump

On Wednesday Smith launched into an explanation for Trump’s latest tweetstorm that railed against Robert Mueller’s Russian collusion hoax rigged scam witch hunt (did I get them all in?). Aside from exposing his palpable fear and desperation, Trump is piling up more lies that now even Fox News is finding it hard to excuse. Smith began his take-down of Trump (video below) with an introduction that summed things up nicely saying that:

“The White House today echoed President Trump’s false tweet claiming that the [Steele] dossier was the foundation of the special counsel, Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.”

Then Smith played a clip of press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders at today’s press briefing saying that “the entire investigation is based off of a dirty, discredited dossier.” Notice that Sanders has adopted Trump’s speaking patterns. Smith followed that by displaying Trump’s tweet saying that the “rigged witch hunt” by “17 angry Democrats” and “started by a “fraudulent dossier” was “an illegal scam.” You have to give him credit for stuffing so many inane cliches into a single tweet. But it’s Smith who really gets credit for having the courage to tell the truth on Fox News to their audience of glassy-eyed Deplorables:

“in the main, and in its part, that statement is patently false. According to the Republican majority on the House Intelligence Committee, the feds started the Russia investigation in July of 2016, after then-Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos told an Australian diplomat that the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton. The diplomat then gave that information over to the FBI.

“And while the U.S. intelligence community has not confirmed parts of the dossier, there are elements of it that are confirmed true. No part of it, to Fox News’ knowledge, has been confirmed false. The special counsel, Robert Mueller, is a registered Republican. The Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein, is also a Republican. The Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, who swore in Rosenstein, is also a Republican. President Trump, a Republican, appointed Sessions [and Rosenstein too].

“The dossier is 35 pages of research memos Christopher Steele wrote during the 2016 campaign. He’s a former British intelligence agent. A research firm called Fusion GPS compiled the memos. They alleged conspiracies between the Trump campaign and the Russian government to help Mr. Trump win the election over Hillary Clinton.”

If just a small bit of this actually got through to Fox News viewers it might have a discernible impact on the nation’s collective ability to recognize the truth. But most of this won’t even get through to Hannity or the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends. It’s a sad commentary on the depth of the delusion that the Trump Cult has spread across Republican America. These cretins are actually supportive of Russia’s interference in our democracy. So why would they be bothered by Trump issuing tweet commands to his A.G. to stop the Mueller probe?

In response to that tweet Sanders told the press corps this afternoon that Trump was just expressing his “opinion,” and that it wasn’t an order directed at Sessions. She had to downplay it in this way because otherwise it would be unambiguously obstruction of justice. In fact, it still is. If your boss said that you should stop working on some terrible project right now, would you consider that only his opinion and that you could ignore it? If Trump succeeds in coercing Sessions to stop the Mueller probe it’s just more evidence of his intent to illegally interfere with the administration of justice. And, by the way, there are way more than 17 angry Democrats. There’s at least 65 million (more than voted for Trump), plus a few sane Republicans who can’t stomach his treason.

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

Fox News Must Fire Sean Hannity for Refusing to Disclose His Relationship with Donald Trump

Anyone who has been paying attention is well aware that the most devoted promoters of Donald Trump are on State TV (aka Fox News). And the biggest Trump fluffer on Fox News is Sean Hannity. He has been relentless in his shameless support for the President with a nightly program that is an hour long prostration to Trump interspersed with vicious and dishonest attacks on his critics.

Fox News, Sean Hannity, White House

However, Hannity apparently doesn’t think it’s enough. He was interviewed by Forbes Magazine Tuesday and further exposed the depth of his sycophancy to Dear Leader. The interview began by addressing Hannity’s all too obvious infatuation with Trump. The first question referenced well documented reports that Hannity and Trump speak on a nearly daily basis with Hannity being the last call that Trump receives each night before bed time:

“I ask him about the regular reports that he has daily conversations with the president of the United States — even, it has been suggested, that he is often the last person Donald Trump talks to at night.

“‘I don’t have a nightly call with anybody,’ Hannity tells me. ‘I read these things about me that are total bullshit. Quote it. It’s just not true.’

“So how much access to the president does Hannity have? That’s one of the few questions he won’t answer. ‘I really kind of enjoy that nobody knows, and I’m just going to leave it that way,’ he says. ‘But I can tell you this: Nobody has ever gotten my relationship with Donald Trump right, ever'”

It’s bad enough that insiders attest to the romantic loyalty of their relationship. It’s something that even outsiders recognize without those reports. After all, Hannity has literally appeared in Trump advertisements. And Trump returns the favor by promoting Hannity on Twitter and granting him “interviews” that are more accurately described as infomercials. Trump even hired Hannity’s ex-producer, and former president of Fox News, Bill Shine, as his Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications at Hannity’s urging. Shine, you may recall, was fired by Fox News for misconduct related to the sexual harassment and abuse by Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, and others.

But the most troubling part of the Forbes interview is Hannity’s callous disregard for ethics. His explicit refusal, even delight, with regard to keeping his affairs with Trump secret would be intolerable at any legitimate news network (which lets Fox off the hook). By boasting that he won’t reveal how closely he is tied to Trump he’s making every interaction between them cause for suspicion of collusion and propaganda. It’s unprecedented in journalism or even the sort of political advocacy that Hannity engages in. Why is he afraid to tell the truth about his relationship with Trump? Well, we know why.

Also in the Forbes interview were a couple of morsels that deserve some attention:

“At MSNBC, Rachel Maddow was capitalizing on the Trump presidency, building some of the highest ratings in her network’s history. ‘We lost 75% of our prime time,’ Hannity said of that time. ‘And we’re still No. 1.'”

Indeed, Fox News has cratered with the exodus of a substantial block of their viewers. So even though Hannity finds solace in still being the top rated cable news program (a big fish in a small swamp), it doesn’t undo the fact that Americans are turning off Fox News in droves. And then there’s this:

“Does it weigh on him to be accused of using his platform to prop up President Trump, spread conspiracy theories and blur the line between news and rabid partisanship? ‘The amount of time I spend caring about it is zero. I don’t care,’ Hannity says.”

That’s not surprising. Why would Hannity care that he’s a propaganda tool for the administration? Or that he’s disseminating lies and crackpot conspiracies that hurt innocent people? Or that he’s breaching journalistic ethics? He’s actually doing all of that deliberately. Those are pretty much the entire purpose for his existence. And for the existence of Fox News, for that matter. Which is precisely why Fox will not fire Hannity, no matter how much it is required by principle and morality.

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