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.

Fear Factor: Fox News Fabricating Terror, Pure And Simple

Taking a break from their special programming highlighting the fake pandemic of Ebola, Fox News returned to their fake fear mongering over rampant domestic terrorism. This morning on Forbes On Fox, the panel took a demented view of the Oklahoma murder case wherein a disgruntled former employee decapitated a former coworker. The theme of the segment was whether this crime was workplace violence or terrorism. However, that question was quickly dismissed in favor a blatant position that was summarized by the program’s namesake:

Steve Forbes: This was a terrorist act, pure and simple.

Fox News

Having set the stage for a mostly one-sided discussion, the host, David Asman, dutifully agreed that all signs pointed to terrorism, ignoring the actual known facts.

Asman: It’s tough enough even to get them to say the word terrorism. To head off a threat though, you’ve got to be willing to acknowledge it first. That’s part of what led to the growth of ISIS, isn’t it?

Exactly. There would have been no ISIS at all if only people had said the word “terrorism” more often. Or maybe they just needed to clap louder so that Tinkerbell would have survived to kick the terrorists’ butts.

The only problem with these alarmist rants is that they are not in alignment with reality. First of all, Terrorists generally target victims either randomly or at a specific enemy, but these victims were the perpetrator’s former coworkers whom he knew personally and against whom he had grudges.

Secondly, terrorists strive to create as much damage, and thus fear, as possible in order to send a message. They seek out highly populated targets where they can harm the most number of people. But this crime scene was sparsely populated, remote, and chosen only for its connection to the perpetrator.

Thirdly, terrorists generally plan their missions in advance to have the greatest impact. This crime was spontaneous, occurring on the same day that the perp was fired, and directed at those he felt were responsible for his firing. He even used a weapon that was available at the scene, rather than acquiring or building something more broadly destructive.

So contrary to the ranting by Fox News, and other panicky fear merchants, all signs actually point to workplace violence. Is it possible that the murderer was also influenced to decapitate his victim by his exposure to radical jihadists? Might he have wanted to falsely project that as his motivation? Sure, but that would only be a secondary component of the crime. From all of the actual evidence, the motivation was personal and the perp acted spontaneously out of rage resulting from his being fired. Had he been an actual terrorist he would not have timed his crime to coincide with his termination. He would not have confined his victims to those he knew and from whom he sought revenge.

The purpose of Fox News passing judgment on this as “a terrorist act, pure and simple” is that it fits squarely into their mission to raise the boiling point of hate and fear regardless of the facts. Fox needs people to be frantic and disoriented in order to effectively brainwash them with their phony horror stories. That makes it much easier to blame liberals for all of the world’s ills and argue that only the courageous billionaires, corporations, and defense contractors have our best interests at heart.

If you buy into this you are a member of the Psycho-Chicken Little Society, and have willingly abandoned your common sense. Reality tells you that the doomsday scenarios that right-wingers preach are fiction. There is no epidemic of terrorism in America. There will always be crime, and there will likely be other attempted terrorist attacks, but to dawn combat helmets and take up defensive postures in backyard bunkers is the behavior of crackpots. With serious issues to face in this country, this is no time to let the nut cases rule our future.

Glenn Beck Goes Nuts Over Forbes Blurb On Soros

Robert Lenzner posted a brief item today on about an event last night honoring George Soros. In the article Lenzner noted Soros’ warnings that…

“…the combination of Fox News, Glenn Beck, The Tea Party, and the ability of Americans to fantasize unrealistically about their political system might lead ‘this open society to be on the verge of some dictatorial democracy.’

That’s a fairly cogent observation that recognizes the risks associated with a severely naive and misled electorate and an opportunistic and doctrinaire media. Lenzner continued saying….

“Soros also characterized Fox newscaster Glenn Beck, who has been falsely vilifying Soros publicly, as a throwback to the wild and crazy radical elements that never before were given such a public pedestal to foment their hate.”

Well that’s all it took to send Beck into one of the most demented tantrums I’ve seen him throw to date. Beck spun wildly from mocking Lenzner, to outlining a plot to “enslave” America, to pretending to hypnotize his viewers. He was in rare form as he employed several of his cartoon voices, held up props, and dashed manically from his video screen to his blackboard. In the end it was nothing more than petulant hysterics brought on by the perceived insult he suffered in a blog post. Beck spent twenty enraged minutes rebutting two paragraphs. It was an epic display of psychosis.

In the course of his tirade, Beck claimed that he didn’t hate Soros. If that’s true, he has an Olympian tolerance for evil. Beck’s three day Puppet Master series described Soros as a Nazi collaborator who collapses economies and destroys nations, with the United States next on his hit list. Beck cast Soros as advocating a tyrannical, one world government that would prohibit freedom and renounce God. He was plainly fomenting hate, just as Lenzner said. How Beck could not hate such a person I have no idea.

All of this built to a climax with Beck challenging Forbes to put up or shut up:

“The most egregious statement from Forbes Magazine is one that I would either like proof of or an apology from Forbes. In fact, I think I might demand one. Yes, I’m going to. That I “falsely vilified” Soros. Forbes Magazine – show it or apologize. I’d like to know exactly what I lied about.”

I sincerely hope that Forbes takes Beck up on this challenge. It would be a pretty easy task for them to document the litany of lies from Beck’s Soros-athon. They could start with Beck’s contention that Soros was a Nazi collaborator. Then they could address his deceitful editing of videotape that misrepresented Soros’ position on foreign influence in Congress. They could raise his reliance on the widely debunked book by David Horowitz and Richard Poe, The Shadow Party. They could point out his misrepresentations of Soros’ support for Poland’s Solidarity movement and the anti-communist Velvet and Orange revolutions in Czechoslovakia and the Ukraine.

So have at it, Forbes. This is your opportunity to take Beck apart. He wants to know what he lied about and you can tell him. Try it, it’s easy. There is no shortage of lies in any episode of Beck’s program.

Fox News: We’re Only In It For The Money

The string of confessions coming out of Fox News is shaping into a pattern of greed and deceit that ought to attract some attention from their viewers. You know, the people who regard Fox as a beacon of truth in a mediasphere contaminated by alleged liberal propaganda. What should those people think if Fox admits that they have been playing them for chumps and are only interested in squeezing them for advertising dollars?

That is precisely what Fox has admitted on several recent occasions. Here are some of the more egregious examples:

Roger Ailes: I’m not in politics, I’m in ratings.

Rupert Murdoch: I’m not averse to high ratings.

Glenn Beck: I could give a flying crap about the political process. […] We’re an entertainment company.

On the surface, it appears that these are stipulations that the ideological prejudice of Fox News is a calculated ploy to garner the sort of devoted viewers that translate into higher ratings. If that’s true, then Fox’s viewers ought to feel manipulated and insulted by this blatant exploitation, not to mention the offense at having been deliberately misinformed.

However, there may be an entirely different reason for these recent assertions. Fox has been taking a considerable amount of heat lately for their glaringly unbalanced and unprofessional coverage of the news. They are losing advertisers on some of their top programs. There are thoughtful conservatives expressing their distaste for the hysterical extremism the network has come to represent. And they are becoming the laughing stock of broadcast journalism.

Consequently, it may be the intention of the Fox hierarchy to separate themselves from their disreputable and embarrassing departure from ethical journalism. And by asserting that their mission the whole time was to provide entertainment and increase ratings, they think they can shield themselves from the charges of shoddy and biased reporting. They are saying, in effect, that they have not been taking sides politically, they have merely been staging a performance aimed at an audience hungry for theater.

That’s a lose/lose argument. In effect they are conceding that they produce shoddy journalism, but they’re only doing it to lure gullible viewers. So this argument shows neither an appreciation for ethical reporting, nor respect for their audience. And the sad thing is that their audience will never accept or understand this, even if they were to hear about it. Which is unlikely if they stay tuned to Fox News.

Personally, I don’t buy this argument. While it is obvious that Fox plays to the gut for entertainment value, the political bias runs so deep that it could not possibly be incidental. So in the end, Fox is guilty of both exploitation and partisanship. It’s the worst of both worlds.