Fox News Defends Trump’s State-Sponsored Political Extortion as Just ‘The Art of the Deal’

The news that Donald Trump may have promised the president of Ukraine hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid if he would open a bogus investigation into Joe Biden has captured the attention of the press. And rightfully so. This would amount to state-sponsored extortion by Trump in order to smear a political opponent. And it wouldn’t even be the first time that Trump has conspired with a foreign country to steal an election (see: Russia, 2016).

Donald Trump, Fox News, White House

As this scandal continues to build steam, Trump is managing to get himself into even more hot water. In a press avail with the Prime Minister of Australia, Trump gave contradictory answers about what he knew about the affair. In fact, when asked if he read the report he contradicted himself in the space of a single sentence saying, “No I haven’t. I just – I tell you, everybody’s read it. They laugh at it.” He went on to attack the press, as usual, saying that “Our media has become the laughingstock of the world […] You’re a joke.” Which only proves that he is pitifully incapable of recognizing who the world is actually laughing at.

In the midst of this unfolding melodrama, Fox News is adopting their routine position as Trump-fluffing propaganda disseminators. And taking the lead is Trump’s favorite morning show, Fox and Friends. Their defense of Trump is a bizarre spectacle of ludicrous justifications for Trump’s potentially treasonous behavior (video below). Co-host Steve Doocy began by telling his dimwitted viewers to…

“Keep in mind this whistleblower filed this report with the inspector general of the Intel community on August the 12th. That was over a month ago. Then they kicked it around, sent it to the Department of Justice, and said ‘We do not have to hand it over to Congress.'”

First of all, it is entirely improper for the Justice Department to interfere in this process in any way. It negates the whole purpose of the Whistleblower Protection Act if the President’s henchmen (Attorney General William Barr, et al) can suppress information provided in good faith by insiders concerned about national security. And it endangers the welfare of the whistleblower whose identity is disclosed to people who have motive to retaliate.

That said, after having improperly interfered, the Justice Department has no authority to rule that the complaint can’t be turned over to Congress. The law says unambiguously that it “shall” be turned over. So the Justice Department is wrong, and Fox News is wrong to excuse this breach of the law. But Doocy wasn’t finished. He continued…

“The reason the whistleblower apparently said that it was ‘serious’ and ‘urgent’ is because that designation usually automatically triggers it getting to Congress. The Department of Justice says that that is not appropriate, so we don’t have to give it to the Committee. Well, somebody with knowledge of this person’s story didn’t like the fact that Congress wasn’t gonna get it and it wasn’t gonna become public. So they leaked the story to the Washington Post.”

Again, none of this is the Justice Department’s call. But Doocy is also introducing something that was never a part of this. He implies that somebody wanted this to become public. But had the complaint been turned over to Congress, they would have reviewed it privately. The only reason any of this is becoming public is because the process was breached by the administration.

It’s ironic that Fox News is more worried about this complaint leaking than the substance of the complaint which is Trump’s attempts to extort and/or bribe a foreign country and to pressure them into aiding his election fraud. But if you thought that Fox was bothered by any of that, here’s what Doocy’s co-host Ainsley Earhardt had to say about it:

“They say the President was making promises, leaking delicate information to another heads of state. But this is what they do. They talk. They negotiate. And the President’s known for that. The art of the deal. Who’s leaking this? Is it someone that works at the White House?”

So to Fox News this is standard operating procedure in negotiations. They consider it acceptable for Trump to bully foreign leaders into manufacturing political dirt on his opponents. They regard it as simple dealmaking, despite the fact that there are no components of this deal that are in the interests of the United States. It is a purely hostile swipe at Biden, who Trump expects to run against next year. So Earhardt is defending dealmaking that is only intended to disrupt an election. But then again, that’s what Fox News does every day. Disrupting elections by airing distortions and lies is the whole reason Fox News exists.

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

Trump-Fluffing on Fox News: Hosts Promote Bed-Buggy Doral Resort for the 2020 G7

In his closing remarks at the G7 summit in France, Donald Trump managed to deliver an infomercial for his Doral Miami Golf Resort to host the next G7 summit in 2020. It was a painfully self-serving spectacle that is also a likely violation of the Constitution. At the very least it’s a predictably Trumpy exhibit of greed and an utter lack of ethics.

Fox News Friends

Not surprisingly, Fox News weighed in on the idea the following morning. On Fox and Friends the “Curvy Couch” potatoes did a segment (video below) agreeing with Trump that Doral would be the perfect place for the summit. Even though there are thousands of hotels and conference centers across America that would be ideal for such an event. It’s just a weird coincidence that the site owned by Trump happens to be the best place of all. Who would have thought?

The segment began with Steve Doocy introducing Trump’s sales pitch from France. And it was all downhill from there. Brian Kilmeade jumped in to insist that there was no favoritism involved because Trump “would want to do it there anyway. It’s just the perfect site … Trump Tower is not available.” Then Doocy acknowledged the potential legal problems, but also provided an excuse:

“Critics say the use of his property for official business violates the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution. I’m sure the president has asked the lawyers, ‘Hey, how can I donate this, how can we possibly work around it?”

The Emoluments Clause prohibits the President from accepting money, or anything of value, from foreign governments or persons. So if the representatives of the G7 had to actually pay Trump in order to attend the next summit, that’s a pretty obvious violation. Even if the site was donated, the publicity would have to be considered something of enormous value and, therefore, illegal. What’s more, Doocy is playing clairvoyant by surmising with certainty that Trump would have consulted his lawyers. You know, geniuses like Rudy Giuliani. But based on his past, that actually seems like the last thing Trump would do.

Ainsley Earhardt also contributed to the unpaid advertisement by remarking that “It would be a beautiful place, though, for world leaders to go and see what our country looks like.” Because all of America looks exactly like an elite golf spa in Miami? She then declared that Doral was “representative” of the country, before adding that “I’ve never been to Doral.” So in other words, she’s an expert, by Fox News standards.

None of the Fox friends bothered to mention that Doral had a serious problem with bed bugs a couple of years ago. But Trump couldn’t resist bringing it up:

Trump’s denials are in keeping with his tendency to lie about virtually anything. Even though – as in this case – he settled a lawsuit against the resort for the infestation. Trump and the Foxies also neglected to mention that Doral has been suffering a severe financial drought. It’s net operating income has dropped 69 percent in two years. So that would make Trump’s promotion of it even more suspicious as an attempt rescue another one of his floundering business enterprises.

It’s bad enough that Fox News is a 24/7, State TV, propaganda machine for Trump and his Republican Nationalist Party. But is there nothing too unethical for this so-called “news” network to do on behalf of their Dear Leader? They have already appeared at Trump’s political cult rallies. And they can be relied upon to defend any atrocity that Trump commits, while viciously maligning his critics. Now they are even serving as the sales agents for his failing golf resort. It would be oddly comforting if this were the bottom of the Fox News/Trump abyss. But every time it seems we’re there, they find a way dig even deeper.

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

SRSLY? Trump-Bot on Fox News Says ‘I Don’t Remember Us Electing an Angry President’

A few weeks ago Donald Trump whined about his State TV network (aka Fox News) hosting a couple of town halls with Democratic presidential candidates, saying that “Something strange is going on at Fox, folks.” It might have been a little strange, except for the fact that Fox predictably used the appearances to disparage them in every segment that followed.

Donald Trump

However, Trump is probably over that momentary episode of angst now that he can see Fox faithfully fulfilling its mission to exalt him and brazenly lie on his behalf. Fox’s overt adoration of Trump was displayed in yet another staged “interview” of one of their stable of Trump-fluffing contributors. This time it was frequent Fox shill, and disgraced, ousted GOP House Speaker, Newt Gingrich. In a segment about the recently broadcast Democratic debates, Fox called on Gingrich to provide his relentlessly partisan analysis. And his opinion of where the Democrats are going wrong couldn’t have been more asinine (video below):

Gingrich: It was amazing the level of anger you got out of Bernie Sanders and Sen. Warren. I mean, these are really angry people and it was kind of amazing to watch them. It’s the opposite of how people normally win the presidency. You watch Barack Obama with a big smile. You watch Ronald Reagan with a big smile. I don’t remember us electing an angry president literally in my lifetime.

Newt Gingrich is either suffering from a severe case of selective amnesia, or he is deliberately peddling some of the most ludicrous lies ever told on Fox News. First of all, while Sanders and Warren (and all decent human beings) are often noticeably upset with the abhorrent words and deeds of Trump, they were also hopeful and positive and bearing bright smiles.

More to the point, while Gingrich’s “amazement” that Democrats are “really angry” fails to put their mood in context to the horror of Trumpism, his inability to recall the election of an angry president is downright delusional. Donald Trump is America’s ranking rage-aholic. He has a temperament range that runs from outrage to fury. The only time that he isn’t in the midst of a frothing tirade is when he’s stroking his own bloated ego.

Trump uses his anger mainly to malign his critics. He routinely taunts them as “stupid, ugly,” or other similarly infantile insults. His rants are purposely intended to incite hatred, division, and distrust among otherwise united citizens. And yet he has the audacity to charge that “The rage filled Democrat Party is trying to tear America apart.” He recently retweeted a meme that said that “Democrats are the true enemies of America.” Nah, he aint angry at all, is he?

So Gingrich can’t remember the election of an angry president even though the current one that he obediently reveres is a seething cauldron of bile and hostility. And despite Gingrich’s blindness to Trump’s acid acrimony, Trump himself regards it as an asset:

To put it mildly, Gingrich and Fox News are such glassy-eyed disciples of Trumpism that they have lost all connection to reality. In the very segment where Gingrich claims Democrats are angry, Fox runs runs video of them smiling at the debate. And Fox also had a chyron that affirmed Trump’s anger that read “Trump Tears Into ‘Radical’ 2020 Democrats In Ohio.” Which was portrayed as a show of strength.

Another example of this dementia inducing adulation took place on Trump’s favorite Fox program, Fox and Friends. Co-host Ainsley Earhardt sought to gaslight (or more accurately, “Foxlight”) her viewers with a comparison of Trump to Joe Biden. She said that “They’re both rust belt people though. They’re both, like, blue collar workers that have money, but blue collar.”

WHUT? To be fair, no ever ever accused these “Curvy Couch” potatoes of being Mensa members. But Earhardt has to know that Trump was born to a wealthy father in New York City, while Biden was a middle-class kid from Scranton, PA. This purposeful lie, as well as the ones by Gingrich, can only be taken as deliberate attempts to mislead the easily confused Fox News audience who seemingly yearn to be lied to. And the profiteers and propagandists at Fox know enough to give the Deplorables what they want.

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

Thanks Fox News, for Exposing Trump as a Failure at Nearly Everything He Promised

Following the first round of the second set of Democratic presidential primary debates, Fox News thought they had found a way to advance their mission of disparaging the Democratic Party and it’s candidates. They didn’t go quite as far as Donald Trump did (who tweeted that “Democrats are the true enemies of America”), but it was still pretty damn awful.

Donald Trump, Fox News

The only problem with Fox’s anti-Democratic post-debate banter was that they ended up inadvertently slamming their own guy. In a segment on Fox and Friends, the “Curvy Couch” potatoes were especially enamored of 1% candidate John Delaney, mainly because he was criticizing other Democratic candidates who actually have a chance of winning and facing Trump in the general election.

Ainsley Earhardt of Fox and Friends interviewed Delaney (video below) and effusively praised him for countering Elizabeth Warren’s proposal for Medicare for All. They played a clip of Warren righteously blasting the allegedly “pragmatic” Delaney. “I don’t understand,” Warren asked, “why anybody goes through all the trouble of running for the President of the United States, just to talk about what we really can’t do and shouldn’t fight for.” Earhardt then went on to say…

“I thought it was very practical what you were saying last night. I thought you did a good job with that because we all knew that kid in school that beat you when you were running for student body president because they promised to put snack machines in all the classes. You know that’s not gonna happen. But the kids hear that and they vote for that person. […] I don’t understand why people run and then they promise stuff and then it never happens.”

First of all, if Earhardt doesn’t understand why candidates make campaign promises, she needs to go back to doing local news in South Carolina and writing children’s books. Secondly, she has no basis for asserting that Democrats will not fulfill their promises to expand healthcare, particularly since President Obama already proved that they can do it.

However, the biggest blunder of Earhardt’s tantrum was her complaint about people who “promise stuff and then it never happens.” She could not have provided a better description of Donald Trump if she were the chair of the Democratic Party. Let’s explore a few of Trump’s broken vows.

Trump promised his own healthcare plan that he said would cover every American for much less than it costs now. Not only has he not delivered, he hasn’t even offered a draft of a plan. He promised to build a wall on the southern border and make Mexico pay for it. That’s been a running joke for over two years now. He promised infrastructure construction and repair, but came up empty even though Democrats support it. I could go on.

OK, I will. He promised progress on trade, then imposed tariffs that only hurt American consumers. He promised denuclearization, but North Korea, Russia, and Iran are all expanding their programs after his bumbling missteps. He promised to eliminate the budget deficit and the national debt. But the deficit has grown by billions and the debt is now over $22 trillion dollars, thanks mostly to Trump’s tax giveaway to corporations and the wealthy.

The reality is, as noted by PolitiFact, that only 16 percent of Trump’s campaign promises were graded as “Promises Kept.” The other 84 percent are distributed between “Compromised, Broken, Stalled,” or “In the Works.” That is hardly a record that anyone should be proud of. And even by his accounting Trump has been a dismal failure.

Although Trump does deserve credit for some notable successes. For instance, he has succeeded in dividing the nation, emboldening racist hate groups, cozying up to foreign dictators, fouling the planet, appointing corrupt government officials, suppressing voters, and advancing an economy that works only for corporations and the rich, while average Americans struggle. But at least we can all be grateful to Fox News for pointing out how horribly Trump has failed and why no one should even consider voting for him.

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

Fox and Friends Transforms Into the Official Trump Campaign Media Headquarters

On Tuesday Donald Trump is “officially” launching his 2020 presidential reelection campaign. But like everything Trump does, it’s a phony stunt with a purpose wholly unrelated to what is advertised. In fact, Trump launched his reelection bid the day of his inauguration in 2017. The rally that Trump is planning in Orlando is just another opportunity to assemble his cult hordes and rant incoherently for two hours about Democrats, the press, and how awesome he thinks he is.

Fox News Friends

It’s no coincidence that this rally is taking place a week before the first Democratic primary debate, also in Florida. Trump is fond of stepping on the political events of others. It’s his campaign equivalent of photo-bombing. And he’s preparing for the big day by enlisting his State TV (aka Fox News) confederates in the promotion effort. To that end, the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends booked Trump’s campaign press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany for a few minutes of uninterrupted Trump-fluffing (video below).

The segment began with a “sneak peek” at Trump’s first campaign ad for the 2020 cycle. It was predictably jam-packed with words and pictures that exalted Trump as the returning Messiah. Notably, the clip that Fox and Friends aired prominently displayed a number to send a text message to the Trump campaign. Then they silently re-played the same segment – with the text number showing – in two-thirds of the screen while interviewing McEnany.

Following the campaign video, Fox and Friends co-host Ainsley Earhardt introduced McEnany, and asked her “What do you think?” That’s right. She asked the spokesperson for the Trump campaign what she thinks about the advertisement produced by the campaign. That’s the sort of hard-hitting “journalism” we’ve all come to expect from Fox News. And naturally, McEnany’s response was the typical snake oil patter of a dedicated StormTrumper. Without even bothering to reply as to what she thinks about the ad, McEnany veered into an attack on “the dozens of socialists running in the Democratic field.” Fill-in co-host Dan Bongino then weighed into to ask a probing question which he prefaced by saying that…

“The tax cuts worked, the economy’s booming, unemployment is at historic lows, red tape is being cut. But when you look at polls – I was reading an article a while ago from the New York Times – a lot of Americans don’t even believe they got a tax cut. Contrary to the data which says they did. Do we as Republicans need to do a better job of getting the message out, that this economy is due to a change from the older Obama liberal ways?”

What we have here is an outright declaration by a Fox “News” host that he and his colleagues are Republicans and are seeking advice from Trump’s press secretary on how to advance their shared political agenda. Not that we didn’t already know that, but they don’t often admit it on the air. The rest of Bongino’s “question” was really a thinly disguised campaign pitch for Trump that was littered with provable lies. Most notably that the American people are somehow ignorant of their own tax burdens. Actually, they know very well that Trump’s Tax Scam has hurt them while helping corporations and the wealthy.

Then Earhardt returned to the video’s text message number. Because, just like any other commercial, you can’t repeat that often enough. At this point Fox and Friends began to sound more like the Home Shopping Network for Trump. She queried McEnany saying…

Earhardt: At the bottom of that video we just saw it says to text “Trump” to [REDACTED]. What happens if you do that?”
McEnany: It’s really important. It allows us to update our data. We have the best data in the business, Ainsley. That means we know what doors to knock on. We’re going to be able to isolate the handful of the few million voters who will decide this election. Because of that text you allow us to update our data. You also get to be a Trump volunteer. What’s better than that?

So now Fox News is participating in refining the Trump campaign’s election databases and recruiting volunteers. What’s better than that? This was followed by co-host Steve Doocy raising the issue of Trump’s floundering poll numbers. He noted that “The story over the weekend was that the President is not doing very well in his internal polls.” That’s true, and after denying that these polls exist, Trump fired the pollsters suspected of leaking the data. McEnany waved it all off with some lazy and transparent spin. But what Doocy didn’t bother to mention was that there was another poll over the weekend with similarly bad news for Trump. That one was by Fox News itself, and it showed Trump losing to all five of the Democrats that they pitted against him.

This is just the beginning of the 2020 election cycle, and already Fox News is fully engaged in their role as the media arm of the Trump reelection effort. If anything, they are even less ashamed of exposing their partisanship than in previous cycles. If there were any justice, Fox News would be forced to declare itself a political operation and report its services as in-kind contributions to Trump’s campaign. Unfortunately, that isn’t going to happen because integrity at Fox News is as rare as it is in the candidate they are working for.

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

Fox News Pitifully Spins Trump’s Billion Dollar Losses as ‘Impressive’ – No, Really!

Most of the time watching Fox News is a chore that is fraught with frustration due to their brazen and shameless dissemination of lies and unrelenting Trump-fluffing. The network was always a right-wing purveyor of propaganda aimed at advancing a conservative agenda and maligning liberals and Democrats. But in the Era of Trump Fox has devolved into something more akin to Alex Jones conspiracy theorizing and even challenges The Onion for pure, lunatic satire.

Fox News Friends

Wednesday morning Trump’s favorite Fox program, Fox and Friends, demonstrated why they have earned the ridicule of intelligent news consumers everywhere. They did a segment on the breaking news from the New York Times that Trump had suffered massive financial losses in the 1980s and 1990s. The story documented losses that totalled over a billion dollars. This is consistent with many of the stories that detail Trump’s business incompetence that includes going bankrupt at least six times, even with casinos.

In response to the story in the Times, the “Curvy Couch” potatoes stiffened their spines to construct a defense that is so ludicrous it’s hard to believe they allowed it to get on the air (video below). Co-host Brian Kilmeade led off with a series of inane excuses for Trump’s failures. He tried to set the stage with dumbfuckery like this: “[Trump] lost a lot of money over the course of 10 years, if you consider a billion dollars a lot of money.” And he insisted that there was “nothing about this article that should surprise anybody.” Which is true if you’re aware of Trump’s past fiscal fiascos. But then he unleashed this explanation for why Trump’s losses were so spectacular::

“There might be an incentive to go buy that building, to buy that casino, because I’ll take a loss this year in order that on my tax returns because I wanna buy for a rainy day. […] For me, I can’t imagine having that much much money, spending that much money and being in debt. For him it makes sense.”

Of course. It makes perfect sense. That’s what all billionaires do. They buy so many failing properties that they lose their entire fortunes. And because U.S. institutions won’t have anything to do with them, they are forced to turn to foreign banks and Russian mobsters to be rescued. Just ask Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, the Walton family, or – – – oh wait. Never mind. They never did any of that, or lost those sums of money. But Kilmeade wasn’t through. He then offered some examples of Trump’s business prowess:

“In 1987 he spent $29 million on a yacht. The market crashed the next day. So no problem. He held on to it. He bought a shuttle operation. It didn’t do too well. But he held onto it.”

Sure. No problem. Except that Trump had to beg for help from Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal to take that yacht off his hands after creditors initiated default proceedings. He didn’t hold on to it, contrary to Kilmeade’s deliberate lie. Alwaleed also bought Trump out of the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan as it was falling into bankruptcy under Trump. And he didn’t hold onto that shuttle operation either. It folded and was sold off at a steep loss.

This is the sort of flagrant dishonesty that Fox News employs to keep their viewers stupid and devoted to the Trump Cult. Co-host Ainsley Earhardt summed it up for the segment by confidently asserting that:

“If anything, you read this and you’re like ‘Wow, it’s pretty impressive, all the things that he’s done in his life.’ It’s beyond what most of us could ever achieve.”

Well, that’s true. Most of us will never become lawless, self-absorbed, grifters who live to rip off everyone they come into contact with, and then lie about everything they claim to have accomplished. But only Fox News can twist the reality of Trump’s total lack of ethics and business acumen as “impressive.” And only Fox News viewers are willfully blind enough to accept it as the truth.

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

Trump Warns the Enemy (i.e. Media) via Fox News: Report the Story the Way I Want it Reported

Following the attempted mail bombings of at least fourteen critics of the President, there has been renewed focus on Donald Trump’s reckless rhetoric, particularly with regard to the press. The brazen hostility that Trump lobs at the media was bound to incite the sort of violence that now threatens every journalist in the country – and the world for that matter. Placing a target on your critics as “enemies” escalates common disagreements to outright war.

Donald Trump, Fox News

Despite the obvious danger imposed by provoking the mentally unstable malcontents who populate Trump’s cult rallies, he continues to inflame the division, hatred, and fear that inevitably leads to tragedy. And naturally, the sycophantic trolls at Fox News are on 24/7 standby to shield him from any loose barbs aimed in his direction. At the head of that class are the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends. And they take their jobs seriously.

While there was a brief interlude last week wherein it appeared that some of the Fox Friendlies recognized that it wasn’t a very good idea to portray the free press as enemies of the state, it didn’t last long. Co-host Brian Kilmeade explicitly rebuked Trump for calling the media “the enemy of the people.” But at roughly the same time Trump was confessing that the network was his personal Pravda. Then, on Thursday morning, the tide receded again to reveal the network’s customary bias, as demonstrated in this show of empathy, by co-host Ainsley Earhardt, for the beleaguered leader of the free world (video below):

“How frustrating would it be when you’re the president of the United States and every single time you turn on the TV, on most of the channels, they’re misconstruing what you say? And you know your heart, and you know your words, and you know your voice. And you watch other people report on what you say and it’s completely different than what you mean.”

Heaven’s to Betsy. How can Trump ever be expected to withstand the onslaught of those ever-so-scary reporters constantly telling the American people what he actually says and does? After all, he’s just a weak, unprotected political head of the most powerful nation on Earth. He is forced to characterize the press as mortal enemies in his speeches and tweets because “It’s my only form of fighting back.” But the Fox News crew gets it. And Earhardt poignantly expresses the grief that must be roiling our Victim-in-Chief:

“That has to be frustrating. And that’s why he’s saying it’s fake news. And he’s saying if you don’t want to be called the enemy, then get the story right. Be accurate. And report the story the way I want it reported.”

See? That’s all Trump wants. Just report the news the way he wants it reported and he’ll stop maligning you as traitorous vermin worthy of extermination. Just regurgitate his propaganda the way that State TV (aka Fox News) does and he’ll call off his hit men and allow you to peacefully compose the adoring fluff pieces that he deserves. Is that too much to ask?

Remember, even though Trump lies virtually every time he opens his mouth, it isn’t because he wants to. Like he told Jonathan Karl of ABC News Thursday, “I always want to tell the truth. When I can, I tell the truth.” So we just have to be patient. When Trump can tell the truth, he will. And when the press starts reporting the way wants them to, he’ll refrain from telling his Deplorables to threaten and assault them. That’s fair, isn’t it?

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

Trump Tells Fox News that He Has ‘Many Friends Involved’ in Criminal Activity Who Lie to the Feds

In what passes for an “interview” on Fox News, the co-host of Fox and Friends, Ainsley Earhardt presided over Donald Trump doing his best impression of a Mafia boss to date (video below). His language resembled the lingo of classic movie gangsters as he delivered veiled threats, like the one where he warned that the stock market would crash if he were impeached (nice economy you have there. It sure would be a shame if something happened to it).

Donald Trump, Godfather

Earhardt never bothered to challenge Trump on any of his ludicrous assertions and lies. Fox gets away with this because they are the President’s shadow cabinet and the source for virtually all information he receives. Eventually the discussion turned to the question of whether his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, would cooperate with law enforcement officials. Trump might just as well have adopted a James Cagney accent and started snarling “You dirty rat.”

When Earhardt wasn’t staring adoringly at Trump, and tossing him the softest of balls, she sat quietly as he lectured her, and the Fox News audience of cultists, on the culture of crime family etiquette. He lauded his campaign chairman Paul Manafort for not caving in to the coppers by squealing on Trump. And he denigrated Cohen for ratting out his ex-boss and coming clean to the G-Men investigating Trump’s criminal conduct.

Trump also waxed philosophical about the art of “flipping.” He characterized it as crooks making up stories to escape severe sentences for crimes they’ve committed. In reality, it’s an agreement between suspects and law enforcement to secure cooperation in order to catch bigger crooks. Lying under these circumstance is rare because it would result in the deal being voided and the suspect receiving an even harsher sentence than was originally anticipated. Trump said that this common and useful practice “ought to be illegal.” But he also said that he’s very familiar with it:

“I know all about flipping. For 30-40 years I’ve been watching flippers. […] I’ve seen it many times. I’ve got many friends involved in this stuff. It’s called ‘flipping’ and it almost ought to be illegal.”

That’s an extraordinary comment. In essence Trump is bragging that many of his friends are criminals who have been entangled in police investigations. He doesn’t say whether they were the flippers or the targets of the flipping. But either way they were involved in illegal activities as kingpins or cohorts with information to trade. And isn’t difficult to believe that Trump had these kinds of disreputable friends considering the bad character of Trump’s associates in his campaign and his presidency. In fact, anything other than a confederacy of crooks would seem totally out of character for this president.

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

Dotard Report: Trump Confides to Fox News that He Gets His Legal Advice ‘By Watching Shows’ on TV

The presidency of Donald Trump has been a slow motion disaster for the past twenty months. But the velocity of his crumbling regime has been ramping up in recent days. His campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was convicted on eight felonies. His personal attorney, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to eight felonies as well. Plus, Cohen testified that Trump was in on the hush money payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal.

Donald Trump

On Thursday morning the temperature continued to rise. Daveid Pecker, the publisher of the National Enquirer, and a close Trump pal, was granted immunity in order to provide information about Trump’s illegal campaign finance affairs. So fearing the worst, Trump took refuge in his “safe space” that he knows will always offer comfort, consolation, and a shield from any and all criticism – Fox News.

Ainsley Earhardt of Fox and Friends was dispatched to rub salve on the President’s wounds (video below). And she really came through. Asking a series of softball questions that Trump could swat away with ease, Earhardt sat through the entire twelve minutes nodding like a bobble-head doll. She didn’t challenge Trump on a single subject, despite his flagrant and easily provable lies. For instance, Trump rattled off false statistics about employment; he said that James Comey is Robert Mueller’s best friend; he alluded to imaginary crimes that Hillary Clinton committed; and he claimed that the FBI raided Manafort’s home at 5:00 in the morning with guns. None of that, and most everything else he said, is true.

One particular exchange in this televised tongue bathing stood out as a revealing confession by Trump. Earhardt asked him about Cohen’s testimony at his pleading that Trump directed him to make the hush money payouts. And Trump’s answer was, to say the least, peculiar:

Earhardt: He [Michael Cohen] said in one story that you didn’t know anything about the payments. And now he’s saying that you directed him to make these payments. Did you direct him to make the payments?
Trump: He made the deals. He made the deals. And by the way, he pled to two counts that aren’t a crime. Which nobody understands. I watched a number of shows. Sometimes you get some pretty good information by watching shows. Those two counts aren’t even a crime. They weren’t campaign finance. […] A lot of lawyers – on television – and also lawyers that I have say that they are not even crimes.

Notice that Trump’s response did not address whether he directed Cohen to make the payments. He said twice that Cohen “made the deals,” but never denied that he directed Cohen to do so. Then Trump quickly pivots to an absurd statement that Cohen pleaded to two counts of something that isn’t a crime. Of course, anyone who isn’t brain-dead knows that you can’t plead guilty to a crime that doesn’t exist. It’s like saying “I plead guilty to eating brussel sprouts. And I’ll do it again, dammit” As it turns out, there is no law against eating brussel sprouts and, thus, nothing to plead to. He’s absolutely correct when he says that “nobody understands” this. Somebody needs to explain it to Trump. I’d suggest a kindergarten teacher, because they have experience with stubbornly immature students.

However, what was truly disturbing is when Trump disclosed where he gets his legal advice. He’s the President of the United States and has whole departments of lawyers working for him in the White House and the Justice Department, as well as his personal legal team. And yet, he tells Earhardt that his legal expertise comes from “watch[ing] a number of shows.” “Sometimes,” he says, “you get some pretty good information by watching shows.”

Trump doesn’t say which shows, but it’s a pretty safe bet it’s Fox and Friends or Sean Hannity. That would explain why he believes that someone can plead guilty to crimes that don’t exist. But if this is the source of his consultations on matters of law, he is in bigger trouble than he can possibly imagine.

For the record, this is the second time Trump has identified TV as his source for critical data on presidenting. In August of 2015, Trump responded to a question from Chuck Todd about who his advisors are for military issues. Trump said that “I watch the shows.” But then, what more would you expect from the Reality TV president?

It’s interesting that Trump credits television with providing so much good information. Because he still thinks that the press is, in the whole, corrupt and dishonest. He reiterated that when Earhardt asked him if the press is “the enemy of the people.” “Absolutely not,” he said. But went on to contradict himself saying that only “Eighty percent of the media is the enemy of the people.” So he gets his legal advice from the other twenty percent? With consultants like that, and TV lawyers like Rudy Giuliani implicating Trump in criminal acts every time he’s on the tube, Trump is headed for an extended stay in Leavenworth – or maybe Gitmo.

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.