How Trump Turned the Presidency Into His Personal Book Club for Dummies

One of the most notable observations that historians will make about Donald Trump’s presidency is how little he engaged in any presidential activities. And this is not just a commentary on his infantile behavior, petty boorishness, and just plain ugly bigotry. He spends more time watching Fox News, golfing, and headlining staged hate festivals to feed his malignant ego and rile up his glassy-eyed cult followers, than he does presidenting.

Donald Trump, Crippled America

In addition to those diversions from the dreary duties of upholding the Constitution and promoting the general welfare, Trump has spent an inordinate amount of time promoting the literary aspirations of his friends. If you didn’t know better you might think he wasn’t the Commander-in-Chief, but the PR flack for a failing, right-wing publishing company.

So in order to have a record of the President’s list of books he almost certainly hasn’t read, but thinks that you ought to, here are the tomes that he has exploited his White House position for in order serve as the huckster for crackpot conservative authors:

And of course there’s this work of dystopian fear mongering that launched Trump’s campaign:

You might notice something that these books have in common. Most of them are either slobbering suck ups to Trump or blithering attacks on his critics. Apparently Trump doesn’t read anything that isn’t about himself. Even so, no thoughtful person will believe that Trump, who can’t be bothered to read a three page national security briefing (unless it’s filled with pictures and positive references to himself), actually read all of these snoozers. And it’s also interesting to note that seven of these books are by people associated with Fox News. That must be part of the contract Trump has with the network. They slavishly advance his candidacy and administration, he sells the cheesy, unreadable books their shills write.

This is just another of the unprecedented variances from the norm that Donald Trump has pioneered. No other president has spent so much time or personal capital hawking self-exalting books written by his friends. That’s because every other president would have considered it unseemly, unethical, and a vulgar abuse of power that dishonors the office. But then again, “vulgar abuse of power that dishonors the office” is pretty much the mission statement of the Trump regime.

For a collection of books that are more enlightening, truthful, and that can have a more positive impact on the nation going forward, visit the News Corpse Recommendations page on Amazon. You’ll find some some truly valuable contributions to the contemporary political discourse, including my own (like the one below).

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

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Racist Moron Donald Trump Tweets that LeBron James and CNN’s Don Lemon are Dumb

Remember when America had a president who wasn’t an infantile jerkwad who threw around insults at anyone he happened to hate at the moment? When we had a respectable leader who filled you with pride and confidence in the future. It seems like ages ago, but the memory lingers and the hope of returning to that reality persists. But for the time being we’re stuck with Donald Trump.

Donald Trump, LeBron James

In a late night mental breakdown, Trump posted a disgustingly insulting tweet that demonstrates just how loathsome he is. And he’s following in the footsteps of one of his bigoted Fox News idols, Laura Ingraham, who did a whole segment on why LeBron James should “shut up and dribble.” But Trump’s tweet was confirmation that he’s a racist with the emotional maturity of newborn gnat.

First of all, there is no contest as to who is the dumbest man on television. It’s Donald Trump by leaps and bounds. In fact, this tweet is proof of it. For one thing, Lemon did not just interview LeBron James. The interview was four days ago. Is Trump really that slow? What’s more, the interview was a compelling look into the life of James and his selfless efforts to establish a school for at risk kids. Compare that to the phony “university” that Trump founded which ripped off students and broke numerous laws.

Secondly, Trump is repeating his pattern of insulting the intelligence of accomplished African-Americans. He has questioned the academic credentials of President Obama. He frequently refers to Congresswoman Maxine Waters as having a low IQ. And now he calls both Don Lemon of CNN and LeBron James dumb. But how would Trump know with his inability to comprehend the complexities of an Archie comic book? These are two of our nation’s most successful African-Americans who have excelled in their fields. Trump has only excelled at inspiring Nazis and Klan members to chant mindlessly at his cult rallies.

Apparently Trump was triggered by some brief and rather tame criticisms James made in the interview. When Lemon asked what he would say if he were sitting across from Trump, James said diplomatically that “I wouldn’t sit across from him.” Imagine the self-control he had to exercise to keep from saying something overtly derogatory, which Trump would have more than deserved. Nevertheless, Trump flew off the handle and fired off his blithering insults. But Trump’s senile dementia prevents him from recalling what he has said in the recent past about James and Lemon:

As for the final few words of this nauseating tweet, Trump added an insincere “I like Mike.” He may think that people will see that as evidence of his appreciation for Michael Jordan, another renowned African-American athlete and citizen. But don’t be fooled. He’s surely talking about Mike Pence. And Jordan had some harsh words for Trump’s divisive attack on sports figures who dare to exercise their right to free speech:

“One of the fundamental rights this country is founded on was freedom of speech, and we have a long tradition of nonviolent, peaceful protest. Those who exercise the right to peacefully express themselves should not be demonized or ostracized.

“At a time of increasing divisiveness and hate in this country, we should be looking for ways to work together and support each other and not create more division.”

And this just in: Jordan is supporting LeBron. Plus, Trump is doing one of his hate rallies in Ohio today (LeBron’s home state). I’m sure everyone who loves and admires LeBron will be waiting for him. Also, Melanie is trolling her imbecile husband by praising Lebron. And if you need to get the bad taste of Trump’s sickening bigotry out of your mouth, below is Don Lemon’s insightful and entertaining interview with LeBron James.

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

And now there’s this from Don Lemon:

‘Quit Letting Trump Use You as a Foil,’ Fox News Politics Editor Tells the Press

It was just last Wednesday that Shepard Smith of Fox News delivered a searingly honest monologue about Donald Trump’s relentless lies concerning the special counsel’s probe of his collusion with Russia and obstruction of justice. It was a timely effort to set the record straight as Trump gets more anxious and threatening toward Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Donald Trump

However, the surprising spectacle of a senior Fox News reporter being openly disparaging of the President may be getting more acceptable to the Fox brass. On Friday’s edition of Outnumbered, Fox’s politics editor, Chris Stirewalt, laid into the White House’s “useless” daily press briefings, which are hardly daily affairs anymore. There were five in June, and only three in July. And during a discussion on the subject, Stirewalt was unusually critical of Team Trump:

“I think we’re at a point where the White House briefs very rarely, and when they do it’s useless. We should stop the televised briefings. It’s counterproductive. It’s turned into showboat theater. No questions get answered. Well, not no questions. Substantive issues are not addressed. It has become a forum for personal achievement and political utility for the administration.”

Actually, Stirewalt was right the first time. Questions are not answered by this press secretary, Sarah Sanders. She routinely dodges and lies for half an hour, and then slips out of the room. But he was right about the administration using the briefings as a political tool to disseminate disinformation. He continued:

“I submit, we should stop having reporters at those Trump rallies. Everybody should stop having reporters penned up like veal in the back of those things for the President to use as a prop. And then some of the reporters exploit that for their own personal benefit. This is not helping anybody. Get out of the hall. Leave the cameras. Get the reporters out of the hall. Quit letting him use you as a foil.”

Exactly. Trump spends much of his time at his self-exalting rallies insulting the press. He points at them with a hostile glare and accuses them of lying and worse, treason. He encourages his glassy-eyed disciples to blast them with the sort of animus that can easily escalate to violence. He is inciting them to act in ever more dangerous ways that are almost certain to result in tragedy.

But Stirewalt does have a good idea, one that has been proposed before by media experts like Jay Rosen. The obvious futility of getting anything newsworthy from these briefings was apparent long ago. There is no journalistic need to cover them live because nothing urgent ever happens. The press can send interns and camera operators to record the snooze-fest and alert senior reporters if something important happens to shake loose. The result would be reporters would be freed up to do real journalism, and the White House communications office would have to find another platform for their propaganda.

Following Stirewalt’s righteous tirade on the uselessness of Trump’s press briefings, host Harris Faulkner ignored every point that he made in order to pivot into a tribute to the Trump administration. Because you can’t go for more than a minute or two on Fox News without lavishing the White House with undo praise. Faulkner applauded Trump for scheduling a press conference with members of his national security team. That event was pure photo-op with partisan insiders bragging about what a great job they were doing on preventing any new cyber attacks on the upcoming election. And they managed to do that without providing any details whatsoever on the activities they were allegedly engaged in.

Harris went further to demean CNN’s Jim Acosta for asking Sanders if she thinks that the media is the enemy of the people. She implied that maligning the media in Stalinist language was hardly worth paying attention to and that Acosta’s question was, therefore, a trivial waste of time. Shortly thereafter, co-host Trish Regan chimed in with her opinion that “the majority of Americans” look at CNN and MSNBC and “realize that they have a very extreme bias.” And yes, she was saying this on a Fox News program where four out of five panelists were overtly conservative supporters of Donald Trump.

It would be interesting to see what would happen if the press actually failed to show up for these briefings. Would the White House learn a lesson and begin to make them more substantive? Well, let’s not get ridiculous. This White House would just whine that the media was being mean to them and book some more rallies where Trump could clown around for his cult followers. But at least Trump’s ability to funnel lies to a captive audience would be gone, and reporters could go back to doing what they became reporters for.

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

Fair and Huh? Fox News Anchor Tells Trump Shill that She “Needs to Go on the Offensive’

The evidence that Fox News is just Donald Trump’s in-house propaganda ministry keeps growing with each new day. The network seems to have no bottom with regard to blatantly biased support for, and adulation of, Dear Leader. And the argument that they have two separate types of programs – one that is opinion based, and one that is “news,” is repudiated on a regular basis by their own reporting.

Fox News Fair and Balanced

America’s Newsroom on Fox News is supposed to be one of their allegedly “straight” news shows. However, on Friday’s edition of the program Mercedes Schlapp, Trump’s White House director of strategic communications (whatever that is), was interviewed. The discussion included a question about the “contentious moment between Sarah Sanders and Jim Acosta of CNN.” That was when Acosta asked Sanders to acknowledge that the media is not the enemy of the people. Sanders pointedly refused to to do sotwice. And now Schlapp was being given another opportunity to set the record straight. But instead, she said this (video below):

“Fake news is dangerous. We know for a fact that many of these so-called news reporters go out there have a complete disdain for President Trump. It’s no wonder that we’ve seen that 90% of the media coverage for President Trump has been negative.”

Schlapp went on to whine about how Trump and company are helpless victims who have been mercilessly attacked by the all-powerful media. Poor babies. She cited blistering assaults with examples that they have been “called names” by journalists. Gee, Trump would never do anything so unspeakably hideous, would he? And to this pitiful rant, Fox’s host, Bill Hemmer (who is rumored to be a candidate to succeed Sanders as press secretary) said:

“I don’t think you should be defensive about this. You need to go on offense. And I know that’s a big part of why you came on today.”

Then they all had a good laugh when Hemmer asked Schlapp if she was “tired of winning.” What we have here is the Fox News anchor advising the Trump shill to be more offensive, as if that were possible. Just Thursday night at his cult assembly in Pennsylvania, Trump himself escalated his war on the press by calling them the “disgusting fake news,” and “horrendous people.”

Hemmer’s not-so-subtle coaching of Schlapp may have been an attempt to add a new clip to his audition reel for the job at the White House. After all, he’s facing stiff competition from three other Fox Newsers: Heather Nauert (currently stationed at Trump’s State Department), Kimberly Guilfoyle (Don Jr’s new girlfriend who was recently terminated by Fox for sexual misconduct), and Tony Sayegh (now on duty at Trump’s Treasury Department).

This abundance of candidates all from the same network shouldn’t surprise anyone. Trump spends much his day watching Fox News and is advised regularly by people like Sean Hannity, Jeanine Pirro, Lou Dobbs, and the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends. Plus his brand, spanking new Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications is former Fox News president, Bill Shine. He was also recently jettisoned by the network for enabling and covering up the sexual misconduct of big shots like Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly. So Hemmer would fit in nicely with this wholesome group of cretins, don’t you think?

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

By Rudy Giuliani’s Own Standard Donald Trump is Guilty of Obstruction of Justice

It just keeps getting easier and easier to catch Donald Trump and his Merry Band of Incompetents in lies or other nefarious activities that reflect their dishonor and deceit. And the blunder by Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, on Thursday is just the latest example of this phenomenon.

Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump

If Saturday Night Live wanted to create a satirical character whose practice of the law incriminated his client more often than not, they would only need to transcribe Giuliani’s comments verbatim. In this episode, Giuliani attempted to clean up a Trump tweet that appeared to most people as an obvious effort to obstruct justice with regard to the special counsel probe of Robert Mueller. Trump tweeted:

That sure looks like Trump is directing his Attorney General to halt the investigation into Trump’s collusion with Russia. But Giuliani has an alternative interpretation of the tweet that makes it completely innocent. He told CNN’s Dana Bash that Trump was just “expressing his opinion on his favored medium for asserting his First Amendment right of free speech. He said ‘should’ not ‘must.'”

So the use of the word “should” absolves Trump of any culpability for comments that seem to be giving Sessions a direct order. But if your boss told you that you should stop working on a “terrible” project “right now,” would you think he was just expressing an opinion and ignore him? Not if you wanted to keep your job, you wouldn’t. But if Giuliani is so fixated on the words “should” and “must,” then he might want to refer back to this tweet by Trump in April:

That satisfies the Giuliani standard of saying “must” in order for the directive to be considered obstruction of justice. So we all owe Rudy our thanks for making the legal argument so clear and applicable to his client. Now we just need to wait and see how he and/or Trump try to spin this into something that means the opposite of what it obviously means.

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

Hey Ivanka: Trump’s Press Sec Sarah Sanders Refused to Deny that the Press is the Enemy of the People

The crusade by Donald Trump and his administration to malign and endanger journalists continues in full force Thursday morning with what might otherwise have been a routine daily press briefing. What needs to be noted first, however, is that the White House press briefings are never really routine anymore, and they certainly are not daily. They held five briefings during the month of June, and only three in July.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Trump

During Thursday briefing, CNN’s Jim Acosta had to interrupt in order to be recognized because Trump’s censorious communications office has virtually blacklisted him. But he managed to get a question out that has particular significance to the media. Earlier in the day press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was interviewed by NPR. She was told about Ivanka Trump’s statement, in direct disagreement with her father, that she did not think that the media is “the enemy of the American people.” Sanders was asked to state her own position on the matter, but she conspicuously dodged the question with whining about how she and Trump were subject to criticism, poor things. So Acosta gave her another chance to provide a clear answer (video below):

Acosta: “I think that it would be a good thing if you were to say right here at this briefing that the press, the people that are gathered in this room right now doing their jobs every day, asking questions of officials like the ones you brought forward earlier, are not the enemy of the people. I think we deserve that.”
Sanders: I think that the President has made his position known. I also think it’s ironic … that not only you and the media attack the President for his rhetoric when they frequently lower the level of conversation in this country. Repeatedly the media resorts to personal attacks without any content other than to incite anger. The media has attacked me personally on a number of occasions.

So it’s the media that is lowering the level of conversation, not Trump’s infantile insults and boorish hostility? Sanders was merely repeating her dodge with the same laments about how she has been the victim all along. She then rattled off a series of examples of the media being mean. The problem is that none of them were examples of media behavior. She said that ICE officials were not welcome at their churches; that a comedian (Michelle Wolf) made some jokes about her; that she required Secret Service protection. The media didn’t do any of that. But regardless, she blamed the media for those inconveniences and slithered out of answering the question. So Acosta followed up:

Acosta: Sarah, if I may follow up. You did not say in the course of those remarks that you just made that the press is not the enemy of the people. Are we to take it, from what you just said – we all get put through the ringer, we all get put through the meat grinder in this town, and you’re no exception, and I’m sorry that happened to you. I wish that that had not happened. But for the sake of this room, the people who are in this room, this democracy, this country, all the people around the world are watching what you’re saying, Sarah. And the White House of the United States of America, the president of the United States should not refer to us as the enemy of the people. His own daughter acknowledges that and all I’m asking you to do, Sarah is to acknowledge that right now and right here.
Sanders: I appreciate your passion. I share it. I addressed this question. I addressed my personal feelings. I’m here to speak on behalf of the President. He’s made his comments clear.

So there you have it. She brushed off the question again, leaving the world to conclude that she repudiates Ivanka’s statement and remains aligned with Daddy’s Stalinist opposition to the First Amendment of the Constitution. What’s more, she asserts that the prior statements against the press by Trump and company were “clear” and still his policy toward journalists who are just doing their jobs. And it will remain his position until some reporter gets killed by a StormTrumper who thinks he’s carrying out the orders of Dear Leader to eliminate the enemy.

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

UPDATE: Trump’ latest tweet on the subject:

So he still thinks a “large percentage” of the media is the enemy. And that includes any media that doesn’t suck up to him (i.e. Fox News). So what’s the difference?

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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.

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.