If Facebook Bans Alex Jones and Farrakhan, as ‘Dangerous’, What About Fox News and Trump?

For many years there have been repulsive hate mongers littering the social media platforms used by millions of Americans. They spread their ludicrous rumors and lies in order to divide the nation, advance their ultra-conservative agendas, and pad their wallets. On Thursday some of these miscreants suffered a setback that, while welcome, was long overdue.

Donald Trump, Fox News, Hate Again

The reigning shrine of social media, Facebook, announced that it is removing the accounts of several of the worst offenders in the hierarchy of hatred. While this doesn’t completely prevent them from continuing to infect our society with their loathsome ideas, at least it denies them one of the most popular vehicles for promoting themselves and recruiting followers. Consequently, this is good news:

“In an effort to contain misinformation and extremism that have spread across the platforms, Instagram and its parent company, Facebook, have banned Alex Jones, Infowars, Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson, Laura Loomer, and Paul Nehlen under their policies against dangerous individuals and organizations. They also banned the Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has repeatedly made anti-Semitic statements.”

Good riddance. The online world will be better for their absence in it. But this round of exclusions won’t entirely solve the problem. There are many others online who trafic in the same despicable and dangerous activities. In fact, one of them is considered by many to be a legitimate news enterprise.

Fox News has proven itself to be just as careless with facts as people like Alex Jones, and just as devoted to intolerance as Farrakhan. It was Fox News host Sean Hannity who promoted the absurd and debunked conspiracy theory that Seth Rich was murdered by agents of Hillary Clinton. Although Fox News removed some of that content from their website, Hannity never retracted his slanderous lies nor apologized. But that’s not all.

  • Fox News contributor Wayne Allyn Root called for the GOP to hire “attack dogs … that have killed people” to counter liberals and Democrats.
  • Steve Doocy of Fox and Friends accused former FBI director James Comey of releasing top secret materials. Doocy later retracted that charge because it wasn’t true.
  • Fox News contributor Gen. Tony Thomas accused the New York Times of allowing a terrorist leader to escape. Fox’s Pete Hegseth later elaborated on the accusation. The Times responding by proving that the charge was false.
  • Many of Fox’s hosts and guests have peddled the lie that Hillary Clinton sold U.S. uranium to Russia. That nonsense was utterly demolished by everyone with knowledge of the facts, including Shepard Smith of Fox News.

It’s often hard to tell the difference between the crackpottery of Infowars and the nearly identical conspiracies fostered by Fox News. Fox News has actually cited Infowars as a source in their reporting of a Clinton smear alleging that Google was suppressing stories about the “Clinton body count.”

But there’s another culprit whose presence on Facebook should be questioned for violating their terms of service. Donald Trump is the indisputable leader in hate speech. His relentless references to the media in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people” puts the safety and lives of journalists at risk. His frequent use of incendiary and racist language incites hate crimes around the country. The same is true for his characterization of Latino asylum seekers as “rapists,” “murders,” and “invaders.”

It certainly doesn’t help matters when Trump validates white nationalists as “very fine people.” Especially when he does so while talking about the one who committed murder in Charlottesville. What’s more, Trump has appeared on Jones’ Infowars program praising his “amazing” reputation. And an Infowars “correspondent” was actually granted a press pass by Trump’s White House.

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

None of this is new for Trump. He has been using dangerously inflammatory rhetoric since the beginning of his campaign for the presidency. That includes how he has spoken reverentially about murderous dictators like Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un, and others. And it even goes back further to his birther attacks on President Obama’s citizenship. So it seems fair to question whether Trump and Fox News should be considered “dangerous figures” by Facebook’s standards, and warrant being banned as well. How are they different than the cretins that Facebook just cut loose?

Scared Bro? Trump is Featuring Rachel Maddow in His Phony ‘Media Accountability’ Come-Ons

Throughout his public life – and especially while president – Donald Trump has demonstrated what an awful poker player he would be. He has what pros call a “a tell” that gives away what cards he’s holding. And for the most part, Trump is holding a hand that is panic full of fear. He displays that on a nearly daily (hourly?) basis with his insipid “Witch Hunt” tweets and his frantic attacks on special counsel Robert Mueller.

Donald Trump, Rachel Maddow

Of course, Trump is also squarely focused on the media that he refers to in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people.” His frightened reaction to every new disclosure of wrongdoing by him or his crime family is obvious to anyone paying the least bit of attention. And the more he attacks CNN or the New York Times or whatever reporter happens to ask him the probing question of the day, the more he reveals what’s scaring him the most at that moment.

So what’s clearly scaring Trump now is MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. Trump’s “Make America Great Again” reelection committee just posted an ad Facebook that asks his dimwitted cult followers to take a survey, and Rachel Maddow is featured in the ad’s graphic, although not in the video to which it links. She’s the bait for this campaign that implores his fans to “Take the Survey.”

The alleged “survey,” however, is an old marketing trick aimed at getting respondents to sign up and divulge personal information, including their email addresses. These are later used to beg for donations and organize political events. The results of the fake survey are never published, and if they were they wouldn’t have any real value due to the smarmy tactics used to lure respondents. Like everything else Trump does, it is hardly scientific.

So what’s the news that has triggered Trump’s assault on Maddow, someone he rarely even mentions? Right now Maddow is perhaps the most insightful and effective commentator on Trump’s exploding legal problems. She is dissecting them in a coherent and relatable manner. But is that enough to set him off. After all, he has never tweeted about her since becoming president. Although he did retweet his son Eric once, nearly a year ago. And that retweet contains a clue:

Trump is very concerned about his friend, and “shadow” chief of staff, Sean Hannity. Lately Maddow has been beating the pants off of Hannity. She has dominated him in the ratings ever since the election last month. So far in December she has beaten him every single day in both total viewers and the all-important advertising demo of 25-54 year olds. So it looks like Trump is rushing in to rescue the floundering Hannity. Or maybe someone at Fox News reached out for this aid.

Let’s not forget that the former president of Fox News, Bill Shine (who was fired for mishandling the sexual misconduct of Fox CEO Roger Ailes and host Bill O’Reilly) is now Trump’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications. Or that Shine was Hannity’s producer before being bumped up to the executive suites. So it isn’t particularly surprising that Maddow would suddenly appear as the face of the “Mainstream Media … out to bring down [his] Administration.” In reality, he’s doing that pretty much on his own. Maddow is merely providing a factual chronicle of the criminal path that Trump chose for himself. But consistent with his warped character flaws, he’s determined to blame it on someone – anyone – else.

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

Getting Rid Of Fake News? Start With Fox News!

For the past few days there has been a big furor over the spread of fake news online. Much of the criticism hinges on what impact it might have had on the election. A BuzzFeed analysis revealed that fake news stories “generated more engagement than the top stories from major news outlets” such as the New York Times, NBC News, etc. What’s more, the study shows that Trump supporters were far more likely to be taken in by fake news than others:

“Of the 20 top-performing false election stories identified in the analysis, all but three were overtly pro-Donald Trump or anti-Hillary Clinton.” [and that] The research turned up only one viral false election story from a hyperpartisan left-wing site…The other false viral election stories from hyperpartisan sites came from right-wing publishers, according to the analysis.

Social media sites are taking steps to mitigate the problem. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg announced plans to address it saying that “we take this responsibility seriously.” However, if that’s true there is one very prominent producer of fake news that would have to be included in any purge.

Fox News has been creating a veritable cornucopia of disinformation for most of its twenty year existence. The volume of demonstrably false stories that it publishes dwarfs any of the fake sites that BuzzFeed studied.

Fox News Lies

So this might be a good time to provide some examples of why Fox News is the unchallenged leader in bullshit. These are all real headlines from Fox News:

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

Each and every one of those stories are patently false. They are not merely differences of opinion, but verifiably untrue. The question is, could any of this type of fiction have swayed the election? Who knows? But it certainly doesn’t help. And the fact that the gullibility of news consumers is slanted so heavily to the right is an alarming revelation. These types of stories may not move average voters, but Donald Trump’s voters are prime targets for such deception. Obviously they aren’t interested in truth or they wouldn’t be Trump voters (see the Trump Bullshitopedia).

Even President Obama took notice of this “breakdown” in the media:

“If we are not serious about facts and what’s true and what’s not, and particularly in an age of social media where so many people are getting their information in sound bites and snippets off their phones, if we can’t discriminate between serious arguments and propaganda, then we have problems. Then democracy will break down.”

GOP Senator Attempts To Strongarm Facebook Over Bias Allegations

In what may be one of the most alarming examples of government overreach, the Republican chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Sen. John Thune, is injecting himself into the operations of Facebook’s news publishing. Upon hearing about a report by Gizmodo that Facebook might be slanting the articles that appear in their Trending Topics section, Thune fired off a letter to Facebook demanding an accounting of their procedures.

John Thune Facebook

It needs to be stated firstly that the article on Gizmodo consists only of unsupported allegations from anonymous sources. They claim to be former Facebook contractors so their shield of anonymity seems peculiar since Facebook cannot retaliate against them. However, without any identity it’s impossible to know whether they have ulterior motives or are disgruntled ex-employees lashing out for their own reasons. They provided no documented proof to support their claims of bias. Yet they did admit that “there is no evidence that Facebook management mandated or was even aware of any political bias at work.” So the whole story may be the overblown product of personal grudges. Which makes what happened next all the more troubling.

After the story was pumped through the conservative media echo chamber, where Fox News took particular interest (more on that later), it eventually landed on the desk of Sen. Thune. His response was to write a letter to Facebook expressing his concern that the company might be inappropriately influencing its audience. The letter said…

“Facebook has enormous influence over users’ perceptions of current events, including political perspectives. If Facebook presents its Trending Topics section as the result of a neutral, objective algorithm, but it is in fact filtered to support particular political viewpoints, Facebook’s assertion that it maintains a ‘platform for people and perspectives from across the political spectrum’ misleads the public.”

Thune also stated in a press release about the letter that…

“Facebook must answer these serious allegations and hold those responsible to account if there has been political bias in the dissemination of trending news,” said Thune on sending the letter. “Any attempt by a neutral and inclusive social media platform to censor or manipulate political discussion is an abuse of trust and inconsistent with the values of an open Internet.”

Oh really? So now the federal government is empowered to force a news provider to refrain from any political bias and, according to Thune, failure to do so is regarded as “an abuse of trust.” Asserting the heavy hand of government, Thune instructed Facebook to make its employees available to brief his committee. What’s more, Thune asserts that Facebook is “mislead[ing] the public” if they falsely claim to be a “platform for people and perspectives from across the political spectrum.”

So when will Thune be sending a similar letter to Fox News? After all, Fox has been falsely claiming to be “fair and balanced” for years. They also have enormous influence over “perceptions of current events, including political perspectives,” yet they regularly “censor and manipulate” their reporting.

The arguments made by Thune are a flagrant violation of the constitutional right to the freedom of the press. Congress has no business interfering with the editorial decisions made by the journalists employed by Facebook. If there is bias in their work it can be reported by other journalists, protested by media watchdogs, and the public always has the opportunity to make up its own mind as to whether to patronize Facebook or any other news enterprise.

From the moment this story broke, Fox News has expressed their outrage that the liberal weasels at Facebook would dare to suppress conservative stories. They treated it as if the allegations were proven facts, which of course they were not. Facebook has already looked into the charges and responded saying that “We take these reports extremely seriously, and have found no evidence that the anonymous allegations are true.” But that hasn’t stopped Fox News from continuing to portray Facebook as being guilty of grossly prejudicing their news coverage.

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

Anyone who has watched Fox News for twenty minutes recognizes the absurdity of Fox complaining about another organization being biased. But the intrusion of the government on behalf of offended right-wingers who cannot even validate their charges is beyond the pale. Thune is overstepping his authority by threatening to investigate Facebook and demanding their compliance. Even Fox’s media correspondent, Howard Kurtz, was taken aback by Thune’s aggressive approach. Kurtz told Fox Business Network host Trish Regan that “If Thune had sent a letter like that to the New York Times or the Washington Post or Fox News we’d probably tell them to buzz off.” And that’s exactly what Facebook should tell them.

[Update:] Steve Benen at MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow blog takes Thune to task noting that he is “The wrong Republican to pick a fight with Facebook.” As a leading opponent of Net Neutrality and the defunct Fairness Doctrine, Thune previously condemned the sort of government intrusion he is currently engaging in. In a 2007 article he said that “the hair stands up on the back of my neck when I hear government officials offering to regulate the news media and talk radio to ensure fairness.” Perhaps he shaved his neck since then.

UH OH: Facebook Submits Names Of Users Posing In Pictures With Guns To Homeland Security – NOT!

America’s 2nd Amendment fanatics have been fuming for years that the fedril gobmint was plotting to confiscate their precious firearms. They have fretted over imaginary conspiracies hatched by President Obama to disarm the nation’s citizenry in order to render them incapable of rising up against the socialist tyranny that he was determined to impose. Well now they are shivering in their survivalist boots because of the latest revelation to be unveiled by the liberal media: “Facebook Submits Names Of Users Posing In Pictures With Guns To Homeland Security.”

Facebook Turns In Gun Users

Good Gawd Almighty. What ever will we do now? This terrifying development is an affront to freedom-loving patriots everywhere. Or, it would be if it were true. As it turns out, the whole scandalous affair was plucked from the pages of Empire News, an Internet publisher that describes itself as “a satirical and entertainment website.” The article that Empire posted made the alarming, but fake, declaration that…

“Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg confirmed rumors this morning that the company would be handing over names and photos of site users who have posted pictures of themselves with guns to the government. Democrat leaders applauded Facebook’s move, stating that it is important to know who has guns in America, especially since many of the weapons that they’d seen could very well be unregistered.

Perhaps what made the article believable was the made-up quote from Tea Party fave, Ted Cruz, who was pretend-quoted saying that “It’s right from the socialism 101 handbook […] That’s why in my campaign for president, my slogan is ‘less taxes, more guns!'” You have to give them credit for manufacturing such a authentic sounding Cruz-ism.

Despite the fictitious nature of the item, it was picked up by many NRA-theists across the InterTubes. Among the dupes were Gary G. Howell, a Republican member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, and Saul Anuzis, former chairman of the Michigan Republican Party.

This is the sort of panicky blubbering that results in Ammosexuals falling for idiotic fables about the government buying billions of bullets for use against American patriots who try to oppose the coming dictatorship. Even Sarah Palin chirped in that this was a plot by the Feds to put down massive civil unrest. And it goes to show that crackpots who adhere to wildly extremist conspiracy theories will believe anything.

Just for the record, in the six years that Obama has been president there has not been a single bill passed by Congress to limit the rights of gun owners. Even though there were plenty of incidents that ought to have inspired such legislation (Gabby Giffords, the Newtown, CT murder of 20 schoolchildren, the Aurora, CO theater massacre, etc.), none were produced. The only bills relating to guns that Obama signed expanded the rights of gun enthusiasts in national parks.

Tomorrow’s Conservative Facebook Blackout: A Great Day To Be On Facebook

Conservatives have selected Sunday, August 25, 2013, as the day they will show Facebook a thing or two. Their ingrained paranoid hysteria leads them to believe that Facebook is discriminating against them by censoring their racist and violent posts and pages. But they aren’t sitting still for it, and have issued this challenge:

Facebook Blackout

“We are organizing a nationwide “blackout” of Facebook to protest their arbitrary and capricious policies targeting conservatives with censoring and suspensions. We are asking for all conservatives to suspend (deactivate) their accounts for at least 24 hours on August 25th.”

So far the Facebook Event page promoting the Great Facebook Blackout shows about 28,000 people pledging to “deactivate” their Facebook accounts. That amounts to approximately 2/1,000 of one percent of Facebook’s membership. Zuckerberg must be shaking in his Birkenstocks.

This is typical of the whining that emanates from the right whenever they invent some atrocity being thrust upon them. However, as usual, there is no evidence that their protestations are legitimate. Just like their opposition to reforms addressing health care, climate change, voting rights, gun safety, education, and the economy, teabagging right-wingers assert unsupported allegations and then mount hokey protests to combat the phoney complaint they invented.

This latest wingnut declaration of war is not the first time they have ventured to target Facebook. Last January they even launched an alternative to Facebook that they predicted would lure all the conservatives away. If that had been successful, of course, there wouldn’t be any Facebook conservatives to join in Sunday’s blackout.

The good news is that the 28,000 blackout participants are probably among the most vocal and annoying conservatives on the InterTubes. And with them signing off for the day it will be like a picnic free of those pesky red army ants. So liberals should take advantage of the holiday and enjoy themselves for that 24 hour period free of racist, ignorant, blather inspired by Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Fox News.

And while you’re at it…Be Sure To “LIKE” News Corpse On Facebook

Facebook Catches Up With MySpace

In a market share race that is mirroring the cable news ratings battle, Facebook has caught up with its once much bigger rival MySpace:

“Facebook hit the mark in April 2008 by posting 115 million unique monthly visitors. Myspace has maintained similar traffic numbers for the past year, but Facebook has grown from less than 40,000 unique monthly visitors in April 2007 to the 115 million that it is today.”

This is exactly what has happened to News Corporation’s other former media powerhouse, Fox News, which has remained stagnant over time while MSNBC has more than doubled its audience.

Rupert Murdoch’s empire is crumbling beneath his feet.