Conservative Leader Says ‘Journalists Shouldn’t Be the Ones to Say Trump is Lying’

America’s right-wing has distinguished itself as a vocal opponent of the free press and the First Amendment. For many decades they have made reporters a convenient foil for their failures and an object of their hatred. And today they are obediently following Donald Trump’s lead in casting the media in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the American people.”

Donald Trump

When Michelle Wolf performed a comedy routine at the White House Correspondents Dinner on Saturday, the wrath of the right was triggered once again to malign her for going to far with her jokes. They were bitterly offended that she had the gall to call out Trump and his chief spokesperson, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, for repeatedly and brazenly lying to the public. Never mind that what Wolf said in jest on Saturday was nowhere near as offensive as what Trump says seriously every day. And his petty revenge rally held the same day as the WHCD provided several examples.

Among those outraged by Wolf was Matt Schlapp, TV talking head and the chairman of the American Conservative Union, which produces the annual Conservative Action Political Conference (CPAC). Schlapp, it should be noted, never bothered criticizing Trump for mocking a disabled reporter, or attacking Mika Brzezinski’s “bleeding face,” or grabbing women by the pussy, or any number of other atrocious remarks. But he couldn’t stop himself from complaining about Wolf’s completely valid criticism of Trump and Huckabee as liars. In an interview with CNN’s Alisyn Camerota (video below), Schlapp said that Wolf’s routine was beyond the pale, and that:

“We have big political disagreements in this country. And I thinbk it’s wrong for journalists to take that next step. And granted, she’s a comedian, but plenty of journalists do it as well – is they take the next step. Just present the facts. Let the American people decide if they think someone’s lying.

“Journalists shouldn’t be the ones to say that the President or his spokesperson is lying. Because what that does to fifty percent of the country is it makes them feel they are not credible to listen to.”

At risk of stating the obvious: Journalists should absolutely be the ones to say that the President or his spokesperson is lying. It is the express duty of reporters to present the facts at all times. And when any public official misrepresents or distorts the facts, they need to be corrected unambiguously. And it’s much more than just pointing out that a comment differs from reality. The honesty of our political representatives is a crucial part of democracy, and they shouldn’t be let off the hook when they lie.

Conservative journalists have never been shy about calling Democrats liars. They used the term when criticizing President Obama for saying about the Affordable Care Act that “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” They said Hillary Clinton lied about Benghazi. Trump himself accused Clinton (falsely) of lying under oath to the FBI. But suddenly it is now “beyond the pale” to point out Trump’s lies.

Perhaps the rightist snowflakes have to draw a line because of the unwieldy quantity of lies that Trump exudes. Admittedly, it is a huge burden to have to monitor his unrelenting mendacity. But it has to be done, and journalists are exactly the right people to do it. They have the facts at their disposable and a platform for setting the record straight. Which is why Trump and shills like Schlapp hate the press so much.

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

Former FOX NEWS Anchor Reveals That Roger Ailes Demanded Submission Sexually AND Politically

The culture of sexual harassment at Fox News has been well documented in the past few months. The most notorious consequences have been the staggering dismissals of Fox’s CEO Roger Ailes and its ratings leader Bill O’Reilly. However, the whole story has still not been told. More women are said to be coming forward with more allegations aimed at more of Fox News’ abusive personnel.

Roger Ailes Fox News

Sunday morning on CNN’s Reliable Sources another victim of Fox’s depraved work environment told her story. Alisyn Camerota, currently an anchor on CNN, worked for sixteen years at Fox News. She was interviewed about her experience by Brian Stelter. Her story was disturbing, but not unlike the stories of many other women who suffered harassment at Fox. [Video below]

Stelter began the segment by noting that “The culture of harassment at Fox News came from the top down. It came from Roger Ailes.” Then he pointedly asked Camerota if Ailes had ever sexually harassed her. She replied “Yes. Roger Ailes did sexually harass me.” She continued:

“He was often grossly inappropriate with things that he would say. And I think that many of us experienced that. He would talk about body parts. He would say ‘give me spin.’ He’d want to be greeted with a hug.”

Then Camerota unveiled a more salacious incident in detail. She said that Ailes told her that in order to advance her career she would have to “work with him.” They would have to get to know each other better, and that would have to be done away from the office in a hotel. Then he asked suggestively, “Do you know what I’m saying?” Of course she did.

Camerota then goes on to describe what happened following her refusal to comply with Ailes’ sexual demands. And while not as personally repulsive, his behavior illustrates something else that makes Fox News a wholly disreputable source of journalism. Camerota confirms that the network’s “fair and balanced” pretense is a sham. “In Roger’s world view,” she says, “there was no other side. Liberals were always wrong, conservatives were generally right, and that’s what he felt that we should be reflecting on the air.” Ailes aimed his insistence on political bias directly at Camerota:

“Roger Ailes ruled with an iron fist. He wanted us all to fall in line and have his world view and say the things that he wanted us to say on Fox News. And he targeted me because he sort of figured out early on that I didn’t share his world view. He said, ‘You’re not saying the conservative things that I want you to say. You could be a real model and you could be a real star if only you could sound conservative.'”

The evidence of the ultra rightist slant at Fox News is readily visible on the air everyday. But there aren’t very many personal accounts of the pressure people were under to conform to its conservative orthodoxy. Camerota’s first-hand account is a valuable contribution to the case against Fox News. And the fact that her experience transverses from the lurid to the professional makes it that much more compelling.

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