Fox News Anchor Scolds His Fox News Colleagues for ‘Bashing the Media’

There’s a peculiar thing about Donald Trump’s campaign against the First Amendment and freedom of the press. That’s how much he actually relies on the press to spew his propaganda and lies. Without the media broadcasting his hate speech who would know about it?

Fox News Chris Wallace Sean Hannity

To be sure, he has Fox News, the PR division of the Trump administration. And for some reason they are always left out of any criticism that the President has of the “mainstream” media, despite being the top rated cable news network. For the most part, Fox News is a willing accomplice in the murder of the media. They lay it on more thickly than any other network. And they never seem to grasp the irony that they are demeaning the news business that they pretend to be a part of.

Apparently that obliviousness has finally worn through to at least one member of the Fox team. Chris Wallace, host of Fox News Sunday, addressed this issue in an interview with ABC News and was not shy about expressing that “It bothers me.”

“I don’t like them bashing the media, because oftentimes what they’re bashing is stuff that we on the news side are doing. I don’t think they recognize that they have a role at Fox News and we have a role at Fox News. I don’t know what’s in their head. I just think it’s bad form.”

Make no mistake, he’s talking about his fellow Foxies Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, and the vegetative Trump bots of Fox and Friends – among others. Wallace seems to recognize that their knee-jerk assaults on any less than flattering coverage of their Orange Messiah isn’t in the best interest of journalism. And the manner in which he dresses them down is a scathing rebuke. Although he may be pulling punches by assuming that there’s “something” in their heads.

ABC News noted the obvious in their commentary, writing that Fox News is “the preferred network for conservatives.” And they cited a study by Media Matters that revealed the depth of Fox’s bias. For instance, Sean Hannity “criticized the press in 90 percent of his monologues from May 15 to Sept. 1.” And that he “used the term ‘fake news’ 67 times.” But something else stood out that makes the glaring prejudices of Fox even more appalling:

“As president, Trump has given interviews to Fox News more than any other outlet, but he has favored Hannity and other supportive hosts like Jeanine Pirro and Jesse Watters. News anchors Wallace, Bret Baier and Shepard Smith and chief White House correspondent John Roberts have been shut out.”

So even while Trump favors the garden variety sycophants at Fox, he is careful to narrow his exposure to only the most slobbering drool merchants at the network. He steers wide of anyone that might accidentally stumble over some honest journalistic principles. Even the Fox News version of a reporter must be avoided at all costs. Trump is only comfortable talking to mindless disciples. Lucky for him, there is no shortage of them at Fox News – or in their audience.

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

It’s Official: Fox News and the GOP have merged into a single political media enterprise

It’s no secret that Fox News has been serving as the de facto PR division of the Republican Party since its inception. It was founded by an arch-conservative newspaper baron (Rupert Murdoch) and a former GOP media strategist (Roger Ailes). It’s schedule is replete with twenty-four straight hours of right-wing propaganda delivered by devoted partisans like Sean Hannity. It is, in fact, Donald Trump’s preferred network with his favorite show, Fox and Friends.

Fox News Marsha Blackburn

As chummy as this relationship has been for many years, on Thursday morning it took a big step. This political love story advanced from it’s long engagement to a blissful marriage. The wedding took place on Fox’s Outnumbered. This program usually features a rotating cast of female co-hosts from the Fox News roster, plus “one lucky guy” in the guest’s chair. But in this episode one of the co-hosts was not a Fox regular. It was Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) who also happens to be a candidate for the Senate in Tennessee.

Blackburn was not a guest. She was seated in a chair reserved for co-hosts and was introduced as one. That’s an uncommon position for a sitting congressperson and active candidate to take on an alleged news network. In effect, the network is admitting her into the Fox News family of partisan pundits. It’s a “privilege” that no Democratic representative is ever likely to enjoy. And especially during a contested election for a vacant senate seat, it’s a campaign bonus that is worth millions of dollars. Will Fox give her Democratic opponent equal time? Don’t hold your breath.

In addition to that appearance, Blackburn was on Fox and Friends earlier the same morning. In the teaser for the segment she was brought onto the set and greeted with kisses by the show’s hosts. When was the last you saw a politician arriving for an interview on a “news” network get a wet one planted on her by the people who would be conducting the interview. Imagine the outcry if Nancy Pelosi was greeted that way by Chuck Todd when she showed up for a segment on Meet the Press.

This has become the new normal for Fox News. They hardly even try to live up to the “fair and balanced” slogan (that they dropped earlier this year) anymore. Fox and Friends is the source of many of Donald Trump’s tweets. This morning, for example, they did a story on the long ago debunked conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton approved a give-away of uranium to the Russians. A few minutes later it showed up on Trump’s Twitter feed.

With the advent of GOP politicians and candidates taking up hosting duties on Fox News, it is impossible to deny the depth of their embrace. It was bad enough when Republicans simply moved back and forth between the two entities between official government jobs. For instance, former GOP Oversight Committee chair, Jason Chaffetz, is now a Fox News contributor. And former Fox and Friends co-host, Heather Nauert, is now the spokesperson for the State Department. They have completely dropped the requirement that these partisans be “former” anything. They are openly mixing up the roles that politicians and pundits are playing. And it’s a gross perversion of the the ethical principles of both.

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

Lying Trump confidant inadvertently makes case for Trump’s impeachment on Fox News

Republicans are known to be fond of making brash and false accusations about Democrats. In fact, it’s an obsession. They generally deploy this tactic when they are desperate to create a distraction from something horrible they did or said. And lucky for them, they have Fox News to broadcast their diversions and lies to millions of their glassy-eyed disciples.

Fox News

A perfect example of this took place Saturday morning on Fox and Friends. The “Curvy Couch” potatoes invited Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, and devoted bootlicker, Corey Lewandowski to talk about a variety of current events (video below). Among them were the allegations against Trump for sexual harassment and abuse. The segment featured a graphic that said “HRC Falsely Claims Trump is “Sexual Assaulter.” But the claim is factual based on Trump’s own words. They played video of Hillary Clinton’s BBC interview pointing out the similarities of Trump’s behavior to that of Harvey Weinstein. She correctly noted that:

“This kind of behavior cannot be tolerated anywhere. Whether it’s in entertainment, politics… After all we have someone admitting to being a sexual assaulter in the Oval Office.”

Indeed. No one should be excused from committing these atrocious acts, Democrat or Republican. But that’s not how Fox News sees it. Not only did Trump admit to his abuse, at least a dozen women have come forward with credible allegations. But Clinton’s remarks set Lewandowski off on a tangent that hardly exonerates Trump:

“There was a sexual assaulter in the White House and he was called Bill Clinton. He had to pay a $750,000 fine for abuses that he perpetrated while he was President of the United States. He was disbarred. He lost his law license. He lied under oath and he was impeached.”

First of all, let’s address the cluster of outright lies in Lewandowski’s comment. Nearly everything he said was demonstrably false. Politico covered these claims last year and debunked all of them:

“[Paula] Jones sued Clinton for allegedly exposing himself to her in a hotel room in 1991. The Jones suit, which went all the way to the Supreme Court, was ultimately dismissed by a judge on the grounds Jones could not show damages. While it was on appeal, Bill Clinton paid $850,000 to settle the suit without admitting liability.” […]

“An earlier version of this piece falsely stated that Bill Clinton was disbarred and prohibited from practicing law in Arkansas and in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. In fact, Clinton’s law license was suspended in Arkansas and he resigned from the Supreme Court bar; he was not disbarred.”

So the incident Lewandowski referred to did not happen while Clinton was president. The payment was a settlement, not a fine. There was no judicial finding against him. He was never disbarred. The House of Representatives did impeach Clinton, but that’s a political action, not a legal one. And the Senate declined to convict or remove him from office.

Lewandowski unleashed a tortured stream of lies to divert attention away from Trump’s gross and illegal behavior. But his argument wasn’t that Trump was innocent. Only that Clinton was guilty. What’s more, he seemed to agree with the punishment he wrongly asserted was carried out against Clinton. Therefore, he is essentially advocating that punishment for anyone guilty of these crimes. Presumably that includes his buddy in the White House. In other words, he’s in favor of fining and impeaching Trump. A plurality of Americans agree.

Of course, to expect an ultra-partisan hack like Lewandowski to grasp the logical extensions of his own argument may be too much to ask. And even if he did, he would likely struggle to find an exception for his right-wing confederates. Democrats weren’t shy about denouncing the behavior of Clinton or Weinstein. It’s too bad that Republicans can’t do the same about Trump. After all, as Fox’s Abby Huntsman said at the end of this segment: “It’s so important to point out the hypocrisy.” Of course, she was referring only to Democrats.

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

[The Clinton discussion begins at about 3:50]

Trump-Fluffing Psychiatrist Tells Fox News That CNN ‘Contributes to Mass Shooting’

In the world of conservative politics and punditry, the right time to talk about common sense gun safety is never. And they are especially adamant that such discussions be avoided following any gun-related tragedies. Which effectively nixes any dialog ever since these tragic events occur almost every day.

Fox News

However, talking about how Democrats and the liberal media are responsible for firearms massacres is fair game at any time. For example, Tuesday morning Fox News aired an interview with forensic psychiatrist Michael Welner (video below). Welner is a devoted supporter of Donald Trump. His appearance with the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends was in keeping with the network’s obsessive partisanship. They acted together to brazenly politicize the horror of the Las Vegas calamity.

Welner began with a wholly invented proclamation that “people who are gun enthusiasts, and who are populists or nationalists in this country, are dehumanized. They’re demonized.” It’s impossible to know where he got that from. While there are protests aimed at the National Rifle Association (NRA) and politicians who kowtow to them, citizen gun owners have never a target of scorn. In fact most NRA members actually support measures like background checks and banning assault weapons. However, Welner’s inclusion of “nationalists” in his diatribe was peculiar. Whether or not they own guns, they are associated with the white supremacy movement. Welner apparently considers them victims in the same mold as he does gun owners.

Welner’s analysis of the shooter’s mindset was equally as bizarre. He led off by saying that “This is a sixty-four year old with no dramatic mental illness. No major decline. Someone who’s intact.” On the basis of what examination did he draw those conclusions? There have been no reports as to the shooter’s psychological profile from either the press or the police. Following that, Welner spouted off a stream of incoherent psychobabble that makes one wonder if he got his degree from Trump University. He asserted that all mass murderers are either seeking notoriety or advancing a cause. He left out many other possible motivations including racial or other prejudice, retribution or redress of perceived wrongs, and just plain insanity.

Welner’s primary theory involved looking at the victims and working backwards to establish a motive. So when Fox’s Brian Kilmeade asked what the country music fans at the concert represented, Welner replied, “Americana.” Between the two of them, the only notable characteristic of the victims was the entertainment venue they patronized. That led to this disturbing exchange between the two:

Kilmeade: Jeff Zelany [of CNN] says that country music fans are for the most part Republicans, and the President, by showing this type of sympathy is doing something for his base. Are country music fans symbolic of Republicans?

Welner: Well, I think that CNN is gonna have to answer for how they demonize gun enthusiasts and how CNN actually contributes to mass shooting. And I believe that they do.

First of all, Welner didn’t bother to answer Kilmeade’s embarrassingly biased and asinine question. And the answer he gave was embarrassing enough in it’s own right. That was the professional diagnosis of an allegedly trained psychiatrist? Actually, it’s the opinion of a quack who closed this segment with another absurd allegation. He complained that “We don’t demonize mass killing enough, and that’s why people feel they can do it for a cause.” Really?

Statements like these are not unfamiliar at Fox News. They frequently trade in slander and defamation that is unsupportable and way out of bounds. In this case, Welner may have even exceeded whatever flimsy standards Fox News maintains. Because later in the program, Kilmeade issued a disclaimer to note that the views Welner expressed were his own did not represent Fox. When Fox News is ashamed to be associated with you, that should be a wake up call that the doctor might need professional help himself.

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

Jimmy Kimmel Pounds Fox News Host as a ‘Phony Little Creep’ for Lying About GOP Healthcare Bill

The feud between talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel and Sen. Bill Cassidy is heating up. Cassidy, co-author of the latest attempt by Republicans to kill ObamaCare, has been clashing with Kimmel over the healthcare bill. It all began when the Senator promised Kimmel that he wouldn’t support any bill that didn’t pass the “Jimmy Kimmel Test.” That was a term Cassidy coined to insure that healthcare legislation prohibited benefit caps and included coverage for preexisting conditions. Those features, among others, were championed by Kimmel following the recent birth of his son with heart defects.

Jimmy Kimmel

When Cassidy’s bill was introduced it notably failed the Kimmel test. While technically containing language referring to preexisting conditions, it allows insurance companies to raise rates on those customers. In effect, they could increase premiums without limit making policies unaffordable. Not surprisingly, Kimmel brought up that failure on his show, pointing out that Cassidy had lied to his face. In response the bill’s authors fired back at Kimmel with more lies and personal attacks. Sen. Lindsay Graham tweeted that Kimmel was offering “FakeNews on steroids.” Cassidy said “I’m sorry [Kimmel] does not understand.” To which Kimmel replied (video below):

“Oh, I get it. I don’t understand because I’m a talk-show host, right? Well then, help me out. Which part don’t I understand? Is it the part where you cut $243 billion from federal health care assistance? Am I not understanding the part where states would be allowed to let insurance companies price you out of coverage for having pre-existing conditions? Maybe I’m not understanding the part of your bill in which federal funding disappears completely after 2026? Or maybe it was the part where the plans are no longer required to pay for essential health benefits, like maternity care or pediatric visits?”

Kimmel went on to ask whether he failed to understand the public reaction to Cassidy’s legislation. He listed more than a dozen respected healthcare organizations who “all vehemently oppose your bill.” They included the American Medical Association, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, and the March of Dimes.

But then Kimmel shifted gears to address some comments made by Brian Kilmeade of Fox News. The co-host of Donald Trump’s favorite TV show, Fox and Friends, lashed out at Kimmel for speaking his mind on a subject that was painfully close to him. Kilmeade said that:

“Sunday’s politically charged Emmys may have been the lowest-rated in history, but that’s not stopping Hollywood elites like comedian Jimmy Kimmel from pushing their politics on the rest of the country.”

Kilmeade was wrong – again. The Emmy broadcast was not the lowest rated in history. But what that has to do with the validity of anything Jimmy Kimmel says is a mystery. However, if that’s the standard Kilmeade wants to use he should note that Kimmel’s ratings have soared during this recent dust-up. Therefore, he is at least as entitled to express his views as Kilmeade does everyday on his pretend news program. What’s more, experts have sided with Kimmel’s analysis over Cassidy’s, and PolitiFact called Cassidy’s remarks “mostly false.” So Kimmel did express his views again Wednesday night in response to Kilmeade:

“Thanks, Brian. That was Brian Kilmeade. And the reason I found this comment to be particularly annoying is because this is a guy, Brian Kilmeade, who whenever I see him kisses my ass like a little boy meeting Batman. He’s such a fan. I think he’s been to the show, he follows me on Twitter. He asked me to write a blurb for his book – which I did, he calls my agent looking for projects. He’s dying to be a member of the ‘Hollywood elite.’ The only reason he’s not a member of the ‘Hollywood elite’ is that no one will hire him to be one!

“And you know, the reason I’m talking about this is because my son had an open-heart surgery and has to have two more. Because of that, I’ve learned that there are kids with no insurance in the same situation. I don’t get anything out of this, Brian, you phony little creep. Oh, I’ll pound you when I see you. That is my blurb—that would be my blurb for your next book: ‘Brian Kilmeade is a phony little creep.’”

The whole segment is well worth watching. Kimmel obviously and understandably has a personal attachment to this issue. And, as he he said, the terms of the healthcare bill don’t affect him because he has the resources to take care of whatever his family encounters. His commentaries are on behalf of millions of Americans who stand to suffer if Republicans like Cassidy get their way. Phony creeps like Kilmeade really need to stop harassing caring people like Kimmel who will always win such battles.

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

It’s Official: Fox ‘News’ Is Not News And is Allowed to Lie, Says UK Communications Agency

The mission of Fox News from its inception was to advance the agenda of America’s conservatives and the Republican Party. That could not have been more obvious due to its founding by ultra-rightist Rupert Murdoch and GOP media strategist Roger Ailes. The network has spent the last twenty years defaming liberals and Democrats while vigorously supporting right-wing politicians and policies.

Fox News Lies

Much of what Fox News produced brazenly ignored the standards of professional journalism. They aired overtly biased “news” stories that were filled with misrepresentations and outright lies. PolitiFact has rated sixty percent of their their work as “Mostly False,” “False,” or “Pants on Fire.” The other cable news networks don’t even come close to that dubious achievement. This shameful record may have contributed to Fox News being yanked from British television for what they said was lack of viewers.

Now Fox News CEO Rupert Murdoch is trying to acquire the remaining portion of Sky Broadcasting (a European network) that he doesn’t already own. The U.K. has some stringent requirements for approving media deals that will impact the independence of the nation’s journalism. They also review any deal that could put too much power into the hands of a single outlet. On those grounds their Office of Communications (OFCOM) has been investigating Murdoch and his 21st Century Fox corporation.

Unfortunately for Murdoch, concerns about Fox News are stalling, and might kill, the approval process. The network is awash in scandals involving presenters and executives engaging in sexual harassment and related misconduct. They fired their now-deceased CEO Roger Ailes, their top star Bill O’Reilly, host Eric Bolling, among others. That doesn’t look good to the regulatory body considering the acquisition.

And that’s not all. Fox News is also being scrutinized for its reporting and its chumminess with Donald Trump and his administration. Talking Points Memo writes that:

“British authorities have increased scrutiny of the impending deal following several complaints raising concerns that the Fox News parent company is not fit to own Sky News. That scrutiny followed several resignations at Fox News over allegations of sexual harassment, as well as a lawsuit alleging that the network worked with the Trump administration to push a conspiracy theory about a murdered Democratic National Committee staffer.”

The characterization of the personnel matters as “resignations” is overly generous. These slimeballs did not leave voluntarily. But their terminations were also not likely due to Fox having a moral awakening. In fact, it was more likely a self-serving attempt to appease the U.K. regulators by trying to show that they were correcting their problems.

However, the most troubling conclusions coming out of OFCOM’s review were related directly to the editorial content of Fox News. In an ironic twist wherein the agency was actually defending approval, they offered an odd justification for why Fox’s misreporting should not stand in the way:

“In dismissing complaints about certain claims made on Fox News shows, Ofcom determined that ‘Hannity,’ ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight,’ and ‘Fox and Friends’ are not news programs and therefore do not have a ‘due accuracy requirement.'”

To be clear, the agency is making a judgment call that those programs do not qualify as “news.” Consequently, they have no obligation to report factually or even to tell the truth. Anyone who has watched for more than a couple of minutes already knows that those shows have abandoned fact-checking and honesty. And now their flagrantly unethical standards may actually help the company’s acquisition bid. But they would have to accept the argument that they are allowed to lie because they aren’t really news. So far, Fox News has not complained about this characterization of their programming. What does that tell you?

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

How Far Has Fox News Crawled Up Trump’s A$$? They’re Praising Trump’s Deal With Democrats

For anyone who’s still wondering whether or not Fox News is a brazen propaganda outfit devoted to propping up Donald Trump, you can put your doubts to rest. On Thursday morning they demonstrated that they will go to any lengths to praise Dear Leader. Even when he’s violated their most precious principles.

Fox News Trump

The subject of Trump’s agreement on legislation to raise the debt limit and fund relief for Hurricane Harvey came up on Fox and Friends. Republicans were anticipating a bill that would put off further debt limit matters until after next year’s congressional election. Democrats sought a much shorter, three month period. Surprisingly, Trump sided with the Democrats. Some pundits surmised that this was evidence of Trump embracing bipartisanship. But it’s more likely that he was just punishing Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan for their recent failures to advance his agenda.

However, it’s the reaction by the hosts of his favorite TV show that is truly a revelation. There was a time when Fox News could be depended on to push whatever Republican scheme was being peddled. The network’s loyalty was to party over personality. That appears to be a thing of the past. With the election of Donald Trump the Fox News mission seems to have shifted somewhat. They are now committed to the cult of the alleged personality of Trump. The blathering of the Fox and Friends crew made that abundantly clear (video below):

Steve Doocy: The president, not wanting a fight, apparently said, “That’s the deal I’m going to take right now because we’ve got tax reform and other stuff we have got to do right now.”

Ainsley Earhardt: Good for him. He’s doing this for the folks that are affected by [Hurricane] Harvey.

Two things to note here. First, they suddenly think it’s laudatory that Trump is backing down from a fight. Prior to this cave in, they specifically admired his pugilistic tendencies and called everyone else snowflakes. Secondly, the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts were going to be getting these funds regardless. That was not in contention. And then they continued:

Pete Hegseth: Well some conservatives are upset … Big time. But you know what? This is a clear shot at Mitch McConnell and [Paul Ryan: “Hey guys, if you can’t get things done, then, listen, I’ll go work with the Democrats” […]

Hegseth: I think it’s very strategic from this president. Clear out the underbrush of the stuff that could be contentious, that Washington likes to fight about, so you can clear the deck to fight for the stuff that really matters. […]

Earhardt: Isn’t it refreshing to see them work together though? … isn’t that the art of the deal? Isn’t that what they do?

Doocy: It’s the art of the Dems.

“The stuff that really matters?” Apparently they don’t think that hurricane victims, or the full faith and credit of the United States, really matter. Because they just want to get that out of the way. But they are conceding that working with Democrats is the right thing to do. Previously they would have gone into hysterics at the thought of it. They would have branded anyone Republican who did so a RINO (“Republican in Name Only”), and called for his defeat. And don’t even ask what they mean by “art of the Dems.” They probably just thought it sounded cute.

So is this a pivot toward bipartisan cooperation in Congress? Or is it unvarnished idolatry of their presidential messiah? Considering that they still oppose everything that Democrats stand for, it’s hard to see peace breaking out on Capital Hill. Trump, Republicans, and Fox News, still want to kill ObamaCare. They still want to cut taxes for the wealthy. Their commitment to building a border wall is still rock solid (even if the wall/fence isn’t). They remain convinced that climate change is a hoax. They’re almost giddy about deporting DREAMers.

Consequently, the only conclusion is that Fox News is taking this position because it’s the one that Trump has taken. And they don’t want to to seen as disagreeing with Hair Drumpf. Which means that Fox News is determined to be steadfastly faithful to their Chief Oval Officer. And regardless of what diversions he takes from doctrinaire conservatism, they will blindly follow. That’s a recipe for totalitarian disaster.

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

Trump’s Favorite Fox News Show, and Top Advisor, Implores Him to ‘Shut the Government Down’

The New York Times recently spoke with several Trump administration insiders who expressed some concern about their boss. They characterized him as stubbornly devoted to Fox News which they described as his “primary source of information.” That observation was not a surprise to most Trump watchers, but it was a rare admission from those in his inner circle.

Fox News Pete Hegseth

Without a doubt, Donald Trump’s favorite TV show is Fox and Friends. He religiously views the morning program with the three “Curvy Couch” potatoes staunchly defending the his every utterance and action. He has re-tweeted them at least 120 times since his campaign began. And there are numerous examples of him making comments about something that had aired on the program minutes before.

Consequently, whenever someone on Fox News issues opinions or offers political guidance, it must be closely examined. After all, the President regards it as at least as credible any other Oval Office counsel he might receive. Trump often gives more consideration to advice he gets from Fox News than what he gets from his intelligence professionals. So what Fox and Friends co-host Pete Hegseth said Monday morning should be noted. He appeared on Fox’s Outnumbered to discuss Trump’s options for fulfilling his campaign promise to build a wall on the border with Mexico:

“You gotta build the wall. This is so central to why he ran, who he is, why his supporters love him, and to his candidacy from day one.” […] “But shut the government down. Shut it down if you can’t get the central campaign promise done. I think from the view of the people that got him elected, they expect it to happen. And how long will the establishment Republicans – and Democrats would obstruct no matter what – obstruct everything he wants to do?”

First of all, the people that got Trump elected were most likely based in Moscow. But even a more generous analysis requires acknowledging that his electors were a minority of the voters. What’s more, even among Republicans, the border wall is not popular. It was merely the hypnotic chant of the fevered disciples at his campaign rallies. But they are in no way representative of the broader GOP. They may share much of the same right-wing agenda, but the StormTrumpers are certifiably nuts.

More to the point, Hegseth’s fatally flawed punditry asserts that the wall must be built because Trump promised to build it. Not because it would effectively reduce illegal immigration or drug trafficking or crime. It wouldn’t. But because Hegseth believes that fulfilling his campaign promises is more important than doing what the voters want. And if shutting down the government is necessary to secure funding for the wall, down it goes. Along with millions of Social Security checks, national parks access, hurricane relief, and many other vital government services.

Tens of thousands of Americans would be thrown out of work. That would result in additional government expenses and loss of federal income tax revenue. The last time the government was shutdown it cost the federal government $24 billion. And the same polls that show the unpopularity of the wall also show that Americans oppose a shutdown.

So Hegseth’s rant about shutting down the government is both expensive and unpopular. But he thinks it should be done anyway. And for reasons that are based on politics rather than what’s in the best interests of the people. He was kind enough to mention the victims of Hurricane Harvey. But only as an aside that reduced the tragedy to “the complications with what happened in Houston.”

As ludicrous as his unqualified opinions are, they are still held in high regard by one very special member of the TV audience. Donald Trump was surely watching, and he very likely considers what he heard as justification for shutting down the government. That puts the whole country at the mercy of the twerps on Fox and Friends. And if that doesn’t frighten you, I can’t imagine what will.

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

GIGO: White House Aides Reveal That Fox News is Trump’s ‘Primary Source of Information’

A story in Friday’s New York Times affirms something that has been well known to observant White House watchers. Donald Trump relies on a frighteningly narrow range of media outlets to provide him with critical information. He dwells in a bubble of exclusively right-wing propaganda that is nothing more than a shill factory for fact-challenged “news.” And when he isn’t fed the pablum he craves, he becomes inconsolably livid.

Fox News Donald Trump

The Times interviewed numerous insiders about Trump and his relationship with newly installed chief-of-staff, John Kelly. The former general has been trying to impose some order amid the chaos of Trump’s Oval Office party. By all accounts, that has been a difficult job. Trump is described as resistant to any attempt to “manage” him. The Times writes that:

“While Mr. Kelly has quickly brought some order to a disorganized and demoralized staff, he is fully aware of the president’s volcanic resentment about being managed, according to a dozen people close to Mr. Trump, and has treaded gingerly through the minefield of Mr. Trump’s psyche. But the president has still bridled at what he perceives as being told what to do.”

The notion of a president who is so unstable that aides need to tiptoe through his fragile psyche is disturbing. And it isn’t just Kelly who is troubled by this. Sixty percent of the American people regard Trump as “unstable” to various degrees. That’s according to a poll by Fox News.

And speaking of Fox News – – That’s the media outlet that Trump’s aides have described as his “primary source of information.” Kelly has reportedly had some success at curbing Trump’s exposure to the panoply of wingnut rags. But there are limits to how much Trump can be restrained. The Times reports that:

“Mr. Kelly cannot stop Mr. Trump from binge-watching Fox News, which aides describe as the president’s primary source of information gathering.

There is abundant evidence that Trump watches Fox News for hours on end. Many of his his tweets are obviously reactions to something he just saw on Fox. He refers to Fox News more often, and with more confidence, than he does his own intelligence agencies. And most of the time he cites his favorite program, Fox and Friends. This can explain in part why so much of what Trump says is so embarrassingly wrong. Garbage in, Garbage out (GIGO).

In addition to Trump’s addiction to Fox News, he has recently been suffering through a propaganda withdrawal of sorts. Kelly’s management of the White House has resulted in some of Trump’s closest aides being kept at arms length. The people who provided him with his daily dose of conspiracy theories and rabidly partisan screeds are being shut out. A friend of Trump told the Times that he “plaintively asked” where his fix of stories from The Daily Caller and Breitbart News were. And an article in the Daily Beast more specifically noted that:

“Kelly has taken steps to prevent [Omarosa Manigault] and other senior staffers from getting unvetted news articles on the president’s Resolute desk.” […Articles that…] “would often enrage the president, and resulted in him spending at least the rest of the day fuming about it.” “

Unfortunately, Kelly cannot prevent Trump from diving into the right-wing media swamp. While the door to the Oval Office is more closely watched, Trump still has his phone. And he uses it to contact those whose White House privileges have been curtailed. So the President is still being influenced by the same cadre of nutcases and sleazeballs as before Kelly. And the results will be the same as Trump gorges himself on Fox News lies and curses at the rest of the press corps. It’s a presidency that is seriously off track and driven by biased pundits and fake news. How long will Kelly tolerate this circus atmosphere that is harming the country?

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

Kellyanne Conway on Fox News Complains That the Media Isn’t ‘Afraid Enough’ of Donald Trump

The Queen of Alternative Facts, Kellyanne Conway, has been absent from the public eye for a while. But now she has returned to make an appearance on Fox News (of course). And she didn’t disappoint in the delivery of her unique brand of shilling for her boss, Donald Trump.

Kellyanne Conway

Conway was interviewed on Trump’s favorite TV show Fox and Friends (video below). The President has called it “the most honest show on television.” And it’s clear as to why he holds that opinion. They will lie relentlessly for him no matter the subject. And it’s why White House spokespersons appear almost exclusively on Fox News. They know they can get away with saying anything and not be subject to any challenge or criticism. For instance, Conway started right out of the gate slamming the media:

“There’s a huge disconnect between what the media are telling Americans what is important to them and what Americans are telling your pollsters and their pollsters and all of us what is important to them.”

That makes literally zero sense. What the media is telling Americans about what is important comes directly from the the pollsters. And virtually every poll shows Trump floundering personally, and his agenda in tatters. Undeterred, Conway continues:

“I think the media are obsessed with style. I saw a poll this morning. Forty-seven percent of Americans say the media are trying to impede the President’s progress on the agenda as opposed to just report the facts. And Gerry Baker at the Wall Street Journal just yesterday came out and said ‘Listen, you’ve gotta cover this as reporters. This has become opinion commentary disguised at reporting.’ Particularly when the President mentions the media.”

First of all, the poll Conway is referring to is by Rasmussen Reports, an unabashedly biased firm that spins everything to the far right. Secondly, Conway citing the editor-in-chief of Rupert Murdoch’s flagship newspaper as a source of factual reporting is ludicrous. Especially because the quote she highlighted came from an email that has angered the Journal’s staff. Some were so upset that they turned to CNN to vent their frustration:

“At the time, some staffers told CNNMoney they believed that Baker was going out of his way to be deferential to Trump in order to maintain access to the White House and proximity to power. Staffers also chafe at Baker’s insistence on conducting the interviews with Trump himself, rather than letting the paper’s journalists take the lead.”

When reporters at a conservative paper accuse their editorial peers of being “deferential to Trump” you have a real problem. Many have them long demonstrated such deference, but apparently this editor has gone too far, even for the Journal. And they are also disturbed by his habit of usurping their duties when it comes to presidential interviews.

But Conway was only beginning to hit her stride. Answering a question that didn’t involve the media, Conway found a way to resume her attack on the free press. Co-host Steve Doocy’s raised the comments of former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, with regard to Trump’s mental stability. On CNN Clapper described Trump’s condition as “downright scary and disturbing.” And he asked how much longer the country would have to “endure this nightmare.” And Conway replied (skip to 7:50 in the video):

Doocy: A couple nights ago on television, [Clapper] said he wondered whether or not the president was fit to be president, fit to serve. If James Clapper is watching right now, what’s your message to him?

Conway: It’s such an absurd analysis, playing armchair psychiatrist. It’s not just him. It’s a lot of people on TV.

I’m old enough to remember when news stations reported the news and didn’t just have a parade of pundits going out there and opinionating and rendering their opinions and pontificating and conjecturing. And I think it leads to analysis like this, because people end up with very little to say. They are not compelled. They are not forced. Nobody demands that they actually report facts and figures. This is way over the line. You know, the media and other opinion figures, they were way too afraid of President Obama and his administration. They’re not afraid enough here.

It’s jaw-droppingly hysterical that Conway is complaining about pundits “opinionating” to the propagandists at Fox News. The “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends trail only Sean Hannity as Fox’s premiere Trump-fluffers.

More importantly, Conway is actually advocating for some kind of government control of the press. Her notion that journalists should be “forced” to report her alternative facts is contrary to the tenets of the Constitution. She and her White House cohorts are not the arbiters of what is real or fake news. And if America wants state-sponsored reporting, they already have Fox News.

Furthermore, the media should never be afraid of any president, and no president should deliberately intimidate the press. But that’s exactly what Trump has been doing. He is not merely offering criticism. His childish taunts that reporters are sick, dishonest, and bad people who hate America, amounts to overt threats. They could easily lead to violence against journalists who are just doing their job.

When Trump called the media “the enemy of the American people,” he effectively gave permission to his crackpot disciples to take the necessary action to defend the country from its “enemies.” Hopefully Conway and Trump will not get their wish to make the media afraid of Trump. And hopefully nobody gets hurt.

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