Most Republicans Are Devoted Fox News Cultists According to Study on Media Trust

Fox News was built from the bottom up to be a right wing propaganda machine. And for twenty years the network has faithfully pursued that mission. For their effort they have attracted an audience of glassy-eyed disciples who believe everything that Fox News tells them and none of what any other media source reports. And with the advent of Donald Trump, other media sources have all been tagged as “fake news.”

Pray for Fox News

A new study by the Gallup/Knight Foundation is confirming the spiritual bond between Fox News and its viewers. the Gallup/Knight’s “Survey on Trust, Media and Democracy” asked Americans a variety of questions about their viewing habits and opinions about the media. The results reveal that strikingly narrow minded conservative news consumers are listening to only one voice in the media: Fox News. According to the study:

“More than eight in 10 U.S. adults believe the news media are critical or very important to our democracy. They see the most important roles played by the media as making sure Americans have the knowledge they need to be informed about public affairs and holding leaders accountable for their actions. At the same time, Americans are more likely to say the media perform these roles poorly than to say they are performing them well.” […]

“Less than half of Americans, 44%, say they can think of a news source that reports the news objectively. Republicans who can name an accurate source overwhelmingly mention Fox News, while Democrats’ responses are more varied.”

The survey asked what news sources respondents considered to be objective. Twenty-four percent said Fox News. That left forty-nine percent divided up between several other sources including CNN, NPR, MSNBC, the New York Times and others. What stood out though, was that sixty percent of Republicans chose Fox News. By comparison, only twenty-one percent of Democrats chose CNN. While Democrats’ preferences were dispersed among a variety of news sources, Republicans were clutching tightly to their ideological security blanket, Fox News.

Another significant finding was that Republicans have a peculiar definition of “fake news.” Rather than the conventional view that regards made up stories intended to deceive as fake, forty-two percent of Republicans (versus seventeen percent of Democrats) consider “accurate news stories that cast a politician or political group in a negative light to always be ‘fake news.'” Let that sink in. They actually said that accurate reporting is fake if they don’t like it. That also happens to be the way Trump looks at it. Anything that he thinks is critical of him, even if it’s true, is automatically dismissed as fake.

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

The groupthink on the part of Republicans and conservatives is driving the party into a Fox News flavored abyss. They have a single source of information that is notoriously biased and often chases conspiracy theories that lead to embarrassing collisions with reality. And it’s also Trump’s base. Which means that as Trump continues to set records as the most unpopular president ever, Fox News and their viewers will become more isolated and irrelevant. And the sooner that happens, the better.

Tucker Carlson Says That In Order to Lead America You Must Love White Supremacists

With each and every day Fox News manages to sink lower into the sewer of bigotry and ignorance. After spending several days defending Donald Trump’s despicable degradation of Americans who migrated here from Haiti and Africa as “shithole countries,” the network’s most brazen hate-monger, Tucker Carlson, has overtly embraced the white supremacists that make up much of his audience.

Tucker Carlson Fox News

On Thursday night’s program (video below), Carlson led off with a tirade about immigration and the low-life moochers he considers to be destroying America. He disgustingly misrepresented DACA as protecting “people who snuck into our country and are demanding rights and money.” Never mind that they didn’t sneak into the country (they were children brought by their parents), and they are working people who provide for themselves and their families. They pay taxes and contribute to Social Security. They aren’t even eligible for federal financial aid, Medicaid, Obamacare, food stamps, etc. Carlson, as usual, doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

Carlson’s guest was ultra-rightist blowhard, Mark Steyn. An immigrant himself, he agreed with Carlson’s insulting characterizations of immigrants who don’t look like them. Steyn went on a blustering rant about how Democrats have a “preference for illegal immigrants over American citizens.” Steyn complained that liberal media and politicians say that…

“…the real problem is white supremacists in America. They’re the real monsters. Not these nice, hard working illegal immigrants. And that may be well and true. For the purposes of argument, let’s just say he’s right. It’s irrelevant. The white supremacists are American citizens. The illegal immigrants are people who shouldn’t be here. The organizing principle of nation-states is that they’re organized on behalf of their citizens, whether their citizens are cheerleaders or white supremacists or whatever. You’re stuck with them.

Really? Steyn is actually cuddling up to white supremacists just because they were fortunate enough to be born in America. And he prefers them to foreign born persons who actually represent the inclusive values of America. In his demented view they may be bigots, but they’re our bigots. And Carlson is totally on board with that view. In fact, he doesn’t think that an American leader can govern unless he loves this country’s racists:

“How can you lead a country whose population you despise? Would you be a good parent if you hated your kids? Would you be an effective officer if you didn’t care about the safety of your men? Doesn’t that kind of prima facie show that you’re not ready to lead if you don’t love the people you’re leading?”

That is the prevailing view on Fox News. It’s why Fox put Carlson in the lead off position of their primetime schedule. He sets the tone for the network’s editorial stance, which continues in primetime with noted bigots Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham. And while Fox News frequently airs blatantly prejudiced segments with openly bigoted guests, they are rarely as explicit as they were in this segment. It was a literal embrace of white supremacists who happen to be citizens by accident of birth. All while shamelessly maligning goodhearted people who choose to be American because they love the country and it’s values.

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

Missing From Trump’s ‘Dishonest and Corrupt Media’ Awards: Any Dishonesty or Corruption

It will come as no surprise that Donald Trump’s latest media stunt turned out to be just another narcissistic waste of time and energy. Back on January 2, Trump posted an announcement on Twitter that he would be hosting what he called “The Dishonest and Corrupt Media Awards of the Year.” It was an ironic choice considering his well documented proclivity for lying. But undeterred by facts or shame, Trump eventually went ahead with his award ceremony.

Donald Trump

Having been forewarned that this gala affair would run afoul of ethics laws if it was produced by the White House, Trump handed it off to a compliant Republican Party Politburo. The list of “honorees” was posted on the GOP website Wednesday afternoon and then immediately crashed the site. When the awards eventually became available they were presented with this introduction:

“2017 was a year of unrelenting bias, unfair news coverage, and even downright fake news. Studies have shown that over 90% of the media’s coverage of President Trump is negative.”

That’s the perfect lead in to these phony awards because it is itself demonstrably dishonest. The claim that “over 90% of the media’s coverage of President Trump is negative” came from the ultra-rightist Media Research Center and was aired on Fox News by his his favorite show, Fox and Friends. It is a thoroughly biased and utterly false study that fails to back up its conclusions with facts. And to the extent that there were negative reports on Trump during the year, it’s because he did so many negative things. It isn’t the media’s fault if they accurately cover that.

The winners of Trump’s Dishonest and Corrupt Media awards all shared at least one thing in common: None of them were either dishonest or corrupt. They were mostly minor errors that were quickly corrected. No evidence was offered to prove that there was any deliberate intention to deceive or mislead. Here, for the record are the awardees:

  1. The New York Times’ Paul Krugman claimed on the day of President Trump’s historic, landslide victory that the economy would never recover.
  2. ABC News’ Brian Ross CHOKES and sends markets in a downward spiral with false report.
  3. CNN FALSELY reported that candidate Donald Trump and his son Donald J. Trump, Jr. had access to hacked documents from WikiLeaks.
  4. TIME FALSELY reported that President Trump removed a bust of Martin Luther King, Jr. from the Oval Office.
  5. Washington Post FALSELY reported the President’s massive sold-out rally in Pensacola, Florida was empty. Dishonest reporter showed picture of empty arena HOURS before crowd started pouring in.
  6. CNN FALSELY edited a video to make it appear President Trump defiantly overfed fish during a visit with the Japanese prime minister. Japanese prime minister actually led the way with the feeding.
  7. CNN FALSELY reported about Anthony Scaramucci’s meeting with a Russian, but retracted it due to a “significant breakdown in process.”
  8. Newsweek FALSELY reported that Polish First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda did not shake President Trump’s hand.
  9. CNN FALSELY reported that former FBI Director James Comey would dispute President Trump’s claim that he was told he is not under investigation.
  10. The New York Times FALSELY claimed on the front page that the Trump administration had hidden a climate report.
  11. And last, but not least: “RUSSIA COLLUSION!” Russian collusion is perhaps the greatest hoax perpetrated on the American people. THERE IS NO COLLUSION!

Trump led off with the “failing” New York Times, whose two mentions gave it a second place to the four that CNN received. But conspicuously, most of the items were ridiculously trivial. Crowd size, feeding fish, and hand shakes hardly seem worthy of recognition for most dishonest and corrupt. Others weren’t even news stories, but opinions or other trifles. And this was, sadly, the best they could do.

Contrast that with the sort of awards that Trump might have been given if he were the recipient of similar trophies. They would include his purposeful lying about voter fraud, the firing of FBI Director James Comey, accusations that Hillary Clinton lied to the FBI, and his relentless assertions that inquiries into his collusion with Russia were a hoax. That was actually PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year for 2017.

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

It’s fitting that these fake awards flopped so badly. Trump has been making dubious and dangerous allegations about the media throughout his presidency. The purpose is to damage the credibility of the one non-governmental institution that can hold him accountable for his despicable, and criminal, behavior. But clearly this phony spectacle failed to hit its target. It was petty and transparently self-serving. And it will be quickly forgotten after the requisite mockery that it deserves.

Rachel Maddow Starts 2018 With Commanding Lead Over Sean Hannity and Fox News

Washington politics in 2018 so far promises to be a rollicking ride with unrelenting foolishness and embarrassments from the White House. In a few short days Donald Trump has managed to insult El Salvador, Haiti, and the entire continent of Africa. His former campaign chair and White House chief strategist, Steve Bannon, was quoted accusing the President’s son of treason, and then was subpoenaed by special counsel Robert Mueller. And growing concerns about Trump’s mental fitness spurred him to laughably declare that he’s a stable genius.”

Rachel Maddow

However, with regard to the Nielsen ratings of the cable news networks, the new year is starting off pretty much the way last year concluded. Rachel Maddow continues to surge with poignant reporting on subjects that America’s news consumers are clearly interested in. She is dominating her competition on Fox News and providing a boost to her colleagues on MSNBC. Meanwhile, Fox News is more often finding itself in the unfamiliar position of an also ran with reporting that is becoming more deranged everyday. They appear to be adopting the editorial lunacy of Alex Jones’ Infowars and other right-wing fringe outlets that specialize in conspiracy theories and propaganda.

In the first two weeks of 2018, Maddow has won every single night in the key 25-54 year old demographic. She’s consistently beating Sean Hannity and every other cable news program in primetime. She has a twenty-one percent average margin of victory over Hannity (686K vs. 568K) for the first half of January. Maddow is also topping Hannity in total viewers by about eight percent (3.1M vs. 2.9M), driven by victories in seven out of nine nights.

MSNBC is seeing its schedule score additional victories with the programs that follow Maddow. The 11th Hour with Brian Williams beat Fox News @Night with Shannon Bream every night. The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell beat Fox’s Laura Ingraham Angle eight out of nine nights. And MSNBC took the whole primetime block four nights during the period.

Maddow’s dominance of Hannity is a huge embarrassment for Fox News. He was the only old-timer left after Bill O’Reilly was fired for serial sexually predatory behavior, and Megyn Kelly quit in part due to the sexual harassment she suffered. That left Hannity as the de facto face of Fox News. And as he drifted further over the edge of wingnut extremism his ratings were battered by his fetish for Hillary Clinton’s emails and a tedious obsession with the debunked Uranium One non-scandal.

With each new day Fox News is cementing its role as the state-run TV news network. If they think they will restore their past glory by sucking up to Donald Trump, the most unpopular president in history, they are going to be sorely disappointed. But don’t expect them to change course now. Fox News will continue to lavish undeserved praise on Trump, and defend his every failure, for the foreseeable future. At this point they have no clue, or interest, in functioning as a legitimate news operation. With Rupert Murdoch and his sons running the network it will remain a rabidly partisan source of racist, war mongering, science denying, treasonous Trumpism, and toadying for the GOP (Greedy One Percent).

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

Sean Hannity Falls Hard for Daffy James O’Keefe Video About Dick-Pics and Spies on Twitter

Sean Hannity posted an article on his website Monday that blows wide open the scandal of the decade. And it might even have been interesting except for one problem: It’s not this decade. The headline screams “TWITTER EXPOSED: Social Media Giant SPIES on Users’ ‘Private Sex Messages.'” Of course the video fails to prove anything of the sort. Apparently Hannity didn’t know that Twitter collects and analyzes user data, including tweets and direct messages, and compiles profiles that can be marketed to advertisers. This is something that all social media sites and web enterprises do, including Hannity’s employer, Fox News. And they’ve been doing it for years.

Sean Hannity Fox News

Luckily, Hannity has investigative slimeball James O’Keefe to bring him up date. O’Keefe just published his latest “undercover” video (posted below). It’s likely to have been edited to make its participants look bad because that’s the O’Keefe brand. Hannity, however, was clearly impressed by this pitiful waste of time. He featured O’Keefe’s video on his website with an introduction that described it as…

“…a bombshell video outlining social media giant Twitter’s shady policy of spying on users private communications, including ‘sex messages’ exchanged between individuals using the platform.”

Hannity has an awfully low standard for what constitutes a bombshell. This is more of a dud by conventional standards. Although there is actually a germ of a significant issue here that deserves some attention. How media organizations store and use private data is indeed a concern. That’s why legitimate privacy advocates have been concerned about it for years. O’Keefe thinks he discovered something new that’s been concealed from the public. Never mind that it’s a well known problem and people more serious and respectable than him are working on it. But even his lame pseudo-discovery is presented in an entirely asinine way.

Most of this video contains clips of secretly recorded conversations with allegedly former and current Twitter employees. It’s packaged in a way that implies some covert operation has been unveiled. But the only thing these supposed plotters reveal is that Twitter has computer algorithms (not people) that read your tweets to determine how best to exploit the ad value of their users. OMG! What a scoop. There might even be a few cave dwellers that didn’t know about this twenty years ago. But even that’s unlikely. Only pathetic dorks like Hannity and O’Keefe seem to still be in the dark.

Speaking of dorks, there is an inordinate amount of time spent musing about dick pics in the nine and a half minute video. It’s not clear whether that’s because O’Keefe is obsessed with penises, or if he is worried that Twitter might have uncovered some of his own perverse activity. The same could be said for Hannity. Either way, they can’t seem to let the subject go. You might think that they would be concerned about some political bias or free speech issue, but no. It’s all junk talk.

Despite their insinuations about nefarious spying by pervy Twitter ops, the video actually undoes its own premise. It shows one employee saying explicitly that no one at Twitter accesses private data except when it’s reported as a violation by a user. That destroys the whole phony narrative they were trying to contrive. So not only is this video exposing something most people already know, it’s even failing to tell that boring story coherently.

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

This Fox News Lie About a Uranium One Indictment is Outrageously Stupid, Even for Fox News

Never let it be said that Fox News wouldn’t hype a pile of steaming bullpucky whenever they had an opportunity to do so. The frailty of their so-called logic is often built on making absurd connections between disparate subjects just because they might share a single word, even if they have nothing else in common. And a perfect example of that was aired Sunday Morning on Fox (video below):

Fox News Lies

The headline blaring from Fox News was “1st Indictment in Uranium One Probe.” That would be a pretty significant development in the bogus scandal that Fox News and the Republican Party have been trying to push. Never mind the fact that it has already been fully investigated and no wrongdoing was found. Trump is improperly directing his Justice Department to investigate and prosecute Hillary Clinton for imaginary crimes.

The thirty second story on Fox News Sunday morning didn’t address any of the details of the indictment they were reporting. They only raised it long enough to imply that Clinton was somehow involved:

“The first indictment is out in the Justice Department probe of the Clinton State Department Uranium One Deal […] The deal was okayed by the Obama administration, including Hillary Clinton, giving a Russian company twenty percent of the U.S. uranium.”

Fox News correctly reported that there was an indictment served by the Department of Justice. But that was the only thing that was true in their report. Fox’s claim that this indictment was connected to a probe of Clinton was utterly false. For an honest account of the matter see the report by Reuters who wrote that:

“U.S. authorities have charged a Maryland businessman with bribing a Russian official in an effort to win contracts to ship uranium to the United States. […] Prosecutors allege Lambert, former co-president of a Maryland-based shipping company Transport Logistics International (TLI), bribed a Russian energy official through a series of shell companies in Cyprus, Latvia and Switzerland in exchange for contracts to ship nuclear fuel to U.S. utilities.”

The debunked conspiracy theory that Trump, Fox News, and other rightist propaganda merchants have tried to hang around Clinton’s neck has to do with the sale of Uranium One, a company in Wyoming that refined uranium for non-military use within the United States. The indictment in this new report was against a Maryland businessman for bribing Russian officials in order to secure a contract to transport uranium from Russia to the U.S. It has nothing to do with Uranium One or Hillary Clinton.

That, however didn’t stop Fox News from connecting the two, and even saying outright that the Maryland deal was approved by the Obama administration and Clinton. It wasn’t. It was strictly a case of a dishonest businessman allegedly trying to get an unfair, illegal advantage for himself. And while the lies Fox News told about Uranium One included the allegation that the deal would send U.S. uranium to Russia (it wouldn’t), this indictment involves a contract to ship Russian uranium into the U.S.

There is nothing remotely connecting these two news stories other than the fact that both involve uranium in some respect. But Fox News reported the Maryland bribery indictment as the “1st Indictment in Uranium One Probe,” which it isn’t related to in any way. It’s like connecting the Charles Manson murders to the Charles Lindbergh kidnapping because both involved someone named Charles. Or more to the point, it’s like connecting Fox to news because it has “news” in its name. Let’s face it, the only reason that Fox News promotes nonsense like this is to distract their dimwitted audience from the very real crimes of Donald Trump. But because they’re so inept, they only end up bringing more attention to their obvious deceptions and refocus the spotlight on the corruption of Trump and his conservative co-conspirators.

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

Obama Tells Letterman that ‘If You Watch Fox News You Are Living on a Different Planet’

David Letterman is about to launch his new interview program “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction” on Netflix. It’s a much anticipated return for an American icon who has been greatly missed. The same thing could be said about his first guest, President Barack Obama.

Barack Obama David Letterman

A few excerpts from the interview are beginning to make the rounds on TV. Some are charming insights into his personal and family life. But one is a particularly timely commentary on the divisiveness within, and caused by, the media. Obama told Letterman that:

“One of the biggest challenges we have to our democracy is the degree to which we don’t share a common baseline of facts. What the Russians exploited, but it was already here, is we are operating in completely different information universes. If you watch Fox News, you are living on a different planet than you are if you listen to NPR. […] At a certain point you just live in a bubble and I think that’s why our politics are so polarized right now.”

Ya think? The current controversy surrounding Donald Trump’s vile and racist remarks about “sh*thole countries” like Haiti and those in Africa perfectly illustrates the information gap that divides Fox News from the rest of the world. While almost every other media outlet has properly reported Trump’s bigotry, and the well-deserved outrage it incited, Fox News had a completely different take on the matter. Here are a few of the defenses and justifications that are typical of the Trump-fluffing network:

  • Tucker Carlson: “President Trump said something that almost every single person in America actually agrees with.”
  • Rachel Campos-Duffy: “This is a 70-year-old man. He speaks in a certain way. It’s very impolitic. It’s very un-PC. And who among us hasn’t said something like that?”
  • Steve Doocy: “Somebody leaked it to the press, obviously to damage the president and ultimately to derail what they wanted to talk about, which was immigration.”
  • Jesse Watters: “This is how the forgotten men and women in America talk at the bar. This is how Trump relates to people.”
  • Steve Cortes: “He spoke in a way which any American would, who speaks plainly, who doesn’t speak in a lawyerly or political manner about these countries. That’s not racist. That’s being sensible.”

Not only are these Fox News cretins dismissing the rampant racism in Trump’s blackened heart, they are accusing every American of having exactly the same feelings. They think it’s perfectly alright to denigrate entire continents because, in their warped view, it’s what all Americans believe.

Thank goodness that isn’t true. But even to the extent that Trump’s base does harbor these repugnant thoughts (and, sadly, they do), that’s still not an excuse. The notion that it’s an asset for an American president to talk like the souse at the end of the bar is terribly misguided. Hopefully our national leaders are far better educated and prepared for the duties of governing and diplomacy than the slack-jawed yokels Fox News aims their programming at. The old polling inquiry about which candidate a voter would rather have a beer with was always an absurd measure of qualifications.

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

Donald Trump exemplifies the worst of the perverse concept that presidents should be “just like me.” They shouldn’t. They should be way better than me. But the alternate universe that Obama is describing exists on Fox News where they take this idea to its most reprehensible extremes. Fox’s audience will lick it up, thinking that they would be just as good at being president as anyone else. And the more Trump acts like a hate-filled moron who says whatever idiotic mental glitch pops into his diseased brain, the more the Fox cultists will feel enabled and empowered. And the more imperative it is to fight back against this looming devolution of society.

BUSTED: Fox News Caught Trying to Cover Up Another Sexual Harassment Scandal

The epidemic of revelations regarding men in powerful positions exploiting women for sex continues unabated. Two years ago no one would have imagined that so many high-powered public figures would be unemployed today due to such grossly improper conduct. And while Donald Trump actually admitted to criminal sexual abuse, the repercussions for such misbehavior were generally mild, if any.

Fox News Rupert Murdoch

As the volume and frequency of these scandals escalated, Fox News stood out as a den of iniquity. The network’s CEO, Roger Ailes, was fired for multiple incidents of sexual harassment. Then their biggest star, Bill O’Reilly, was tossed out after the discovery of tens millions of dollars paid to secure the silence of his victims. Fox also jettisoned its president, Bill Shine; host Eric Bolling; Fox Sports President, Jamie Horowitz; and VP of Fox News Latino, Francisco Cortes, all for similarly abhorrent misconduct. Although there were numerous men ousted from prominent positions in a variety of industries, it seemed like Fox News was running an enterprise rife with sexual depravity and predation.

So it was a little peculiar last month when Fox announced that its chief Washington correspondent, James Rosen, was leaving the company after eighteen years. There was no reason given and no further comment. There were no testimonials or teary goodbyes on the air. He was just there one day and gone the next. And it wasn’t until this week that David Folkenflik of NPR discovered what had actually happened:

“According to Rosen’s former colleagues, however, he had an established pattern of flirting aggressively with many peers and had made sexual advances toward three female Fox News journalists, including two reporters and a producer. And his departure followed increased scrutiny of his behavior at the network, according to colleagues.”

Folkenflik’s article goes into detail about Rosen’s deplorable activities. He also noted that Rosen’s affairs were exposed at a time when the network’s owner and CEO, Rupert Murdoch, was trying to play down the scummy state of Fox News. Murdoch told an interviewer at Sky News (which he also has part ownership of), that Ailes was the only problem at Fox, despite the fact that all the people and problems listed above were already known. Following Murdoch’s comments, the women of Fox News let it be known that they weren’t having it.

It appears that Fox News was deliberately attempting to suppress the Rosen story to avoid further embarrassment. And they nearly got away with it. But it makes one wonder how many other sleazebags were quietly shoved out, or how many may still be working for Fox. Sure, there are lots of vile men lurking around the offices of many companies. But is there any one company that has had as many as Fox News? It certainly speaks to the environment that Fox created for its staff and the corporate culture that seems to have tolerated the abuse and oppression of the women at Fox News.

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

LOL: Trump Celebrates Poll on the Economy that Shows Voters Give Obama Credit For It

Donald Trump may be the most poll-obsessed president in history. While it’s common for politicians to insist that they don’t care about polls, Trump’s behavior is more typical of a television performer who relies Nielsen ratings to affirm his popularity. Wonder why? He relentlessly posts survey results that he thinks portray him positively. Although, upon further scrutiny, that is often not the case.

Fox News

An example of this occurred during Trump’s Executive Time on Thursday morning. He tweeted the results of a Quinnipiac University poll that asked whether voters considered “the nation’s economy these days as excellent, good, not so good, or poor.” Sixty-six percent responded that the state of the economy was either excellent or good. But since Trump couldn’t be bothered to read any further than the headline, which he very likely picked up from Fox News (see the Fox and Friends graphic above), here are the results that put that number in context:

Forty-nine percent of voters said that former President Barack Obama is more responsible for the state of the economy, while only forty percent gave credit to Trump. Even twenty-four percent of Republicans chose Obama. When asked if Trump’s policies are helping or hurting the nation’s economy, fifty-nine percent of voters replied that they are hurting or made no difference. Seventy-three percent said that Trump’s policies hurt or made no difference to their personal financial situation.

Clearly Fox News was fulfilling its mission to fluff Trump’s ego by cherry-picking poll results that they knew would please the President. He has to be carefully tended to in order to avoid unnecessary fits of rage and depression. For his part, Trump ran with the sliver of data that he was fed by Fox News, tweeting it with pride, but without knowledge of how pitiful his standing really is with the American people. Some other results from the poll elaborate on just how poorly he is perceived:

  • 63-34 percent say that he is not honest.
  • 59-39 percent say that he does not have good leadership skills.
  • 59-38 percent say that he does not care about average Americans.
  • 65-32 percent say that he does not share their values.

Finally, survey respondents graded Trump’s first year in office with thirty-nine percent giving him an “F” and another seventeen percent give him a “D.” Those aren’t exactly the sort of grades you’d expect from a “stable genius.” So it isn’t surprising that both Fox News and Trump ignored most of this poll’s data. However, just by tweeting the one bit of news that he thought was positive, all he really did was send more people to the poll’s full results where they found out the whole truth. Nice work, Donnie.

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

Trump’s Fox News Fetish Could Be Making the Network a Security Risk Exploitable By Russia

The relationship between Donald Trump and Fox News has always been problematic. It represents the closest thing to state-run TV that the United States has ever had. The anchors and reporters on Fox serve as dutiful sycophants to the Trump administration, advancing his self-serving agenda and defending his every fault. While Trump repays Fox by promoting the network and its personalities with free advertisements on his Twitter feed and relentless attacks on their competition.

Fox News Commies

However, there may be more worrisome consequences from this political/media marriage of propagandistic convenience. Aki Peritz, a former CIA counterterrorism analyst, just wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post that raises some frightening possibilities that might result from the parasitic combination of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire and the dimwitted White House. The article, headlined “Foreign spies are watching — and probably targeting — Fox News Channel” delves into some reasonable speculation about how hostile foreign intelligence operations might benefit from monitoring – and possibly compromising – Fox News. What follows are some excerpts that provide a taste of how this problem could become a recipe for disaster:

“[I]f I were a spymaster in the employ of a hostile foreign service, I’d devote some significant effort to penetrating one specific private institution: Fox News Channel.”

“It’s no secret that Fox News — specifically, shows such as ‘Hannity,’ ‘Fox & Friends,’ ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’ and ‘Justice with Judge Jeanine’ — have outsize influence on the inner workings of how certain policies are carried out by the U.S. government.”

“[H]ostile foreign intelligence services are probably consuming as much Fox News as President Trump does.”

“Trump’s unfiltered Twitter feed provides world intelligence operatives with ‘a real-time glimpse of a major world leader’s preoccupations, personality quirks and habits of mind’ – traits to be exploited in further dealings on the global stage. And what better way to determine what the president thinks – for the price of basic cable — than to watch selected Fox News programming?”

“A truly aggressive intelligence effort would not just monitor what’s being said on the network. It would target the on-air talent, as well as the folks behind the scenes who make the network’s programming possible: producers, bookers, associate producers, production assistants and the like. This might range from opening friendly contacts with these employees to outright recruitment.”

“Compared to government workers, Fox employees would make easy targets. That’s because they aren’t public officials — they’re news and entertainment people. Also, it’s television — full of trade secrets, big personalities and titanic egos. Most wouldn’t expect to be compromised by a hostile intelligence power, especially on American soil. Few, if any, have the sort of counterintelligence training the U.S. government administers to people in sensitive positions, because Fox employees are not the usual targets for intelligence operations. But the president’s continuing, very specific interest in the channel heightens their risk of being approached by a hostile government.”

Peritz specifically mentions the risk posed by covert operations aimed at Fox News staff. For instance, Sean Hannity is known to speak frequently with Trump. So bugging Hannity’s phone or office “could provide real-time intelligence on the American president and his thoughts.” The same could be true for others at Fox News. Trump’s chumminess with people at Fox has resulted in several of them getting jobs in the administration, including K.T. McFarland, Ben Carson, Sebastian Gorka, and Heather Nauert. Two of Fox’s current prime time lineup, Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham, were reported to have been candidates for press secretary.

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The WaPo article is careful not to present this theory as anything more than informed speculation. But given what is known about how Russia conducts its spy operations, it would be prudent for all Fox News employees to be wary, even suspicious, about contacts from friendly strangers. That is, if they aren’t actively seeking out Russians for collusion on behalf of Trump, who is already deeply compromised.