Rachel Maddow’s Brilliant Analysis of the Niger Attack Turns Fox News Heads to Mush

To begin with, it must be noted that the headline above is fake news. The heads of those on Fox News, and their viewers, were already mush. That said, their exposure to Rachel Maddow’s program didn’t make that situation any better. On Saturday morning the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends spent several minutes with stunned expressions and babbling recriminations as they struggled to unwind Maddow’s commentary.

Rachel Maddow

On Friday Maddow laid out a detailed and well researched examination of what might have led up to four Green Berets being ambushed in Niger. The whole segment is must-see TV, and a demonstration of what real journalism looks like. The gist is that Donald Trump’s curious inclusion of Chad on his latest Muslim ban may have caused them to pull back on their anti-terrorism efforts in Niger. Since they were effective at suppressing groups like Al Shabaab and ISIS in the region, it left our troops vulnerable to attack.

Maddow’s report was taken up on Fox and Friends in a segment (video below) that featured a graphic declaring that “Maddow Blames Trump For Niger Attack.” And since the mission of Fox News, and especially Fox and Friends, is to defend Trump no matter the subject, the F&F crew went to work. They began by asserting that the events Maddow discussed were entirely separate and had no possible relation to one another. Of course, anyone with a functioning cerebral cortex could see the direct linkage. Lacking any substantive rebuttal, co-host Pete Hegseth attempted to mock Maddow’s thoughtful demeanor rather than her facts. Then he accuses her of spinning a wild conspiracy theory as “the leader of the left.” But perhaps the most idiotic remarks were offered by co-host Abby Huntsman, who said this”

“It’s dangerous when the media starts having conversations about this and putting in their own theories that are, as you said, completely unrelated to what actually happened. It’s dangerous, not only for us in terms of figuring out what did happen. But it’s dangerous to the families that lost loved ones over there because they’re the ones who should be the focus of this conversation and somehow we go down these roads oftentimes and it’s such a distraction and it’s such a disservice to this country and what our job is in the media.”

Really? Fox News is whining about media “putting in their own theories”? Is that supposed to be satire? And they are pretending to be upset that the families of the fallen aren’t the focus the conversation even though Trump has still not spoken of them or paid any tribute. The three co-hosts then collectively complained that Maddow is a “lazy” journalist. Never mind that she did the legwork to put together a cogent analysis that offers a possible explanation for why four American soldiers died in Niger. All the Fox Friends did was bitch about it. And they never countered a single fact that Maddow raised with “alternative facts” of their own. And then Huntsmen launched this bit of unintentional hilarity:

“I can’t tell you how many of my friends I talk to, it’s like, they have no idea where to go to figure out what’s actually going on. I hear that from my family, my friends, people I just talk to on the streets.”

Let that sink in. Her own friends and family tell her that they don’t know where to get reliable news. Which means they don’t think they can get it from her or Fox News either. She may have friends and family that are smarter than she and her Fox colleagues. But still not smart enough to understand Dr. Maddow.

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

Shut Down Fox News For Facilitating Sexual Abusers Like Bill O’Reilly – Says Fox News?

A breaking story from the New York Times on Saturday revealed just how ingrained the culture of sexual deviancy is at Fox News. And it underscores their complicity in the abhorrent acts of their employees and management. So far the company has terminated their CEO Roger Ailes and their biggest star Bill O’Reilly. In addition, other executives and on-air hosts like Bill Shine, Eric Bolling, and Jaime Horowitz were jettisoned under similar circumstances.

Bill o'Reilly Fox News

This new story in the Times discloses that Bill O’Reilly paid $32 million to settle a sexual harassment and assault suit in January of 2017. This was after O’Reilly and Fox News made previous settlements involving O’Reilly’s sexual misconduct totaling over $13 million to five other women over a 15 year period. That disclosure led to his termination from Fox News in April. However, following the January settlement, Fox News renewed his contract despite knowing about all of these legal payoffs. Apparently being a serial sexual predator wasn’t disqualifying to be a host on Fox News.

To put this in perspective, Fox News has argued that such behavior is so irredeemable that punishing the abuser isn’t enough. The company employing him should literally be shut down. That assessment was provided by Fox host and pundit Gregg Jarrett in both a column of the Fox website and on the air (video below). Jarrett, however, was referring to movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and his production company. But by simply replacing references to Weinstein with Fox News, the commentary retains its meaning while pointing to an entirely different but equally guilty company. See this annotated version of excerpts from Jarrett’s article:

The Weinstein Company Fox News should immediately shut-down its operations and permanently close its doors. […] The Weinstein Company Fox News surely knew it had a sexual predator at the helm, but did little to stop him. Instead, it willingly fostered and sustained an environment that permitted him to continue abusing women.”

The Weinstein Company Fox News approved a written contract which deliberately enabled Weinstein Ailes, O’Reilly, et al, to sexually harass women and allowed [them] to cover-up the abusive conduct by paying off [their] victims. […] Weinstein’s O’Reilly’s contract appears to encourage or condone his suspected illegal behavior.”

“Viewed another way, the company seems to have aided and abetted Weinstein Ailes, O’Reilly, and others. They handed [them] a piece of paper which granted [them] permission to victimize women with impunity.”

Well, that’s pretty clear. Jarrett is an attorney and should know that his argument remains consistent regardless of the perpetrators. So he is, in effect, advocating that Fox News be shut down. And he isn’t the only one at Fox to say so. Tucker Carlson delivered a rant on the subject last week that made similar points about Weinstein that were easily transferable to Fox News. And let’s not forget another sexual predator to whom these rebukes could apply. Donald Trump has been accused by at least a dozen women of sexual harassment or abuse. And he has even confessed to criminal assault in the infamous Access Hollywood videotape. There are pending federal investigations against Fox News, and Weinstein may soon be be facing the same.

So bring it on, Fox, Let’s see you report on Trump and O’Reilly with the same righteous outrage you direct at Weinstein. And how about shutting down your irreparable and unrepentant operation that has proven to be a hotbed of criminal sexual assault. Any company that can reward cretins like O’Reilly with rich contract renewals despite knowing that he’s a recidivist pervert doesn’t deserve to continue polluting America’s airwaves.

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

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.

Unbelieveably Stupid: Fox News anchor wonders why poor people would want to be healthy

If you’ve spent any considerable amount of time watching Fox News (and why would you), you are already used to some astonishingly idiotic comments and punditry. But every now and then they endeavor to outdo themselves in the dimwitted department.

Fox News Bozo

Today on the morning program, Happening Now, anchor Jon Scott went above and beyond the call of doofus. In a discussion about health insurance and the subsidies that Donald Trump recently halted, Scott asked a question so ludicrous it deserves special recognition (video below). Are you ready?

SCOTT: What’s the motivation? If these are the poorest Americans who are getting their co-pays and things like that covered, what’s the motivation for them to try to live a healthier lifestyle? I mean if it doesn’t cost them anything to go to the doctor, what’s the motivation?

Um, WHAT? Apparently Scott thinks that poor people don’t want to be healthy simply because it’s preferable to being sickly. He thinks having a low income makes one less appreciative of the blessings of good health. They must not care if their children or other loved ones are sick either.

According to Scott, the benefit of having society assist people of limited means to pay for medical care is too much fun to pass up. So they will deliberately eat junk food, or play on the freeway, so they can enjoy doctor visits that are partially paid for. They will let their kids develop diabetes or maybe a brain tumor in order to stick it to the government. What a thrill it must be for them to have their co-pays covered by Uncle Sam. No wonder they would lack motivation to stay healthy and keep their families that way as well. “We’ve got free healthcare kids. Go crazy.”

So Scott is puzzled by what would motivate poor people to live a healthy lifestyle if the government pays their medical bills. Does he also wonder why rich people would be motivated since they have more than enough to cover any malady they might contract? Does he wonder if everyone who lives in Canada or England or any other industrialized country lacks the motivation to stay healthy? Is he confused about the motivations of military personnel whose healthcare is paid for by the government?

Or maybe all people just want to stay healthy so they can enjoy their lives and spend more of it with those they love. That concept may be too complex for a Fox News anchor – or viewer. But the fact that he could ask that question out loud, on the air, reveals something about the culture at Fox News. They seem to not care how ridiculous they sound so long as they can demean poor people. And that’s a sickness I’m not sure their doctor can cure.

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]

SRSLY? The Fox News Den of Sexual Predators Accuses Democrats of Enabling Weinstein

Leave it to Fox News to politicize anything, no matter how repulsive. The salaciousness of the Harvey Weinstein scandal must have been too much for them to pass up. So for the past several days they have been desperately trying to tar any and all Democrats with Weinstein’s disgusting behavior. It’s a tactic commonly used by the political bottom-feeders on the right, and especially by Fox News.

Fox News Tucker Carlson

On Wednesday night Tucker Carlson, arguably the most annoying man on television, delivered one of his typically sour monologues. In his opening segment he spun furiously in an effort to intertwine Democrats with a story whose focus ought to have been on the victims. But at Fox News it is always more important to cravenly exploit political biases. Carlson made sure to single out Hillary Clinton in his remarks because what’s more relevant than someone who holds no government office, or likely ever will? “Weinstein couldn’t have gotten away with any of this,” Carlson smeared, “without enablers like Hillary Clinton.” And then he unleashed this cognitive mess:

“Sexual abuse is epidemic in Hollywood. The people in charge have covered it up and made excuses for it. In each case protecting the powerful from the powerless and the abused. It is time for the federal government to get involved. The Department of Justice should launch an immediate investigation into Hollywood’s culture of systematic sexual abuse.”

First of all, sexual abuse is epidemic in America. It isn’t unique to Hollywood, and that assertion minimizes the scale of the problem. Which may be deliberate on Carlson’s part. More to the point, Carlson’s statement would actually be more appropriate if applied to Fox News. The list of their high-level perverts began with former CEO, Roger Ailes. Then Fox’s biggest star, Bill O’Reilly, finally succumbed to years of rumored sexual harassment. The president of Fox News, Bill Shine, was also dismissed under a cloud. As were Fox Sports President Jamie Horowitz, Fox News Latino VP, Francisco Cortes, and most recently, host Eric Bolling.

As Carlson noted, “The people in charge have covered it up and made excuses for it. In each case protecting the powerful from the powerless and the abused.” It wasn’t until their victims started coming out publicly that the network acknowledged the cesspool they were wallowing in. So if the Justice Department should launch an investigation, they might want to start with Fox.

Oh wait, they already did. A probe of the personnel and finances of Fox News was initiated in the final days of the Obama administration. The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, was in charge. That is, until Trump fired him.

On Wednesday the Daily Mail reported that Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, has instructed the FBI to open a probe into the Weinstein affair. However, the Daily Mail is an ultra-conservative British tabloid, which makes this story somewhat suspicious. To date it has only been shared on other right-wing websites like Breitbart, Redstate, and Newsmax. But it’s premise is not implausible. Trump is known for taking positions based on something he just saw on Fox News. So if he watched Carlson make this proposal, he might well have directed Sessions to have the FBI initiate an investigation. And a good bootlicker like Sessions would surely have obeyed.

In his segment, Carlson complained that it took Hillary Clinton five days to denounce Weinstein. Donald Trump still hasn’t done so. The only comment he made was “I’m not surprised.” So apparently Trump has known that Weinstein is a sexual predator, but he never bothered to mention it. As for Carlson, his hypocrisy is off the charts. He works for a network that harbored some of the most despicable miscreants imaginable.

There is no evidence that Fox News has cleaned up its act. Carlson owes his program to the departure of Megyn Kelly, who left in part due to sexual harassment from Bill O’Reilly. And now Carlson’s show actually airs in O’Reilly’s old time slot. Meanwhile Sean Hannity has brought O’Reilly back into the Fox fold as his guest, without ever mentioning the reasons he was fired. So if Carlson had any integrity, he might want to reexamine who the real enablers are.

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

Donald Trump, Jr. Remains Conspicuously Silent on America’s Most Notorious Sexual Abuser

America is currently facing a cornucopia of calamities. They include everything from mass murders to healthcare to income inequality to voter suppression to potential nuclear war. And there is virtually no government in place to address these dilemmas as Donald Trump and his administration is ripping apart at the seams.

Donald Trump

So naturally Trump’s son Don, Jr. is taking the lead on the matter that is most pressing in the country today: What to do about sexual abusers in positions of power. Except his attention is narrowly focused on a single case, that of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. Little Donnie has been following in his father’s footsteps by tweeting furiously about whether liberals and Democrats have sufficiently condemned Weinstein’s gross misconduct. For instance:


[Retweeting right-wing radio talker @marklevinshow]


[Retweeting alleged rapist @JulianAssange]


[Replying to @jimmykimmel]

That’s great. A conservative who is uncharacteristically speaking out against the abuse and harassment of women in the workplace. There’s just one problem. The Trumpette has left some glaring omissions from his crusade for women’s rights and safety. First and foremost, his own father. Donald Trump has been accused by at least a dozen women of sexual harassment or abuse. And he has even confessed to criminal abuse in the infamous Access Hollywood videotape.

The Little Don is very upset that, in his warped view, liberals and Hollywood “elites” haven’t spoken out about Weintstein. But his father is also among those who have declined to condemn him. When asked on Saturday, Trump said only that “I’m not surprised.” That hardly qualifies as a denunciation. And for the record, many on the left have come forward to rebuke Weinstein. In fact, all of the women who courageously came forward with their testimony are denizens of Hollywood. And it was the supposedly leftist New York Times that broke the story in the first place.

The Weinstein affair is, unfortunately, not unique. There are many similar atrocities being committed every day. But there are some distinct differences between Weinstein and the behavior of the President. For one thing, Weinstein is not a national leader. He has no role in the legal or administrative process of government. He makes entertainment for television and cinema. Secondly, he was not nominated for the presidency by the Republican Party, or voted into office by sanctimonious, family-values, right-wingers. And finally, Weinstein voluntarily took a leave of absence from his own company, and its board of directors has ordered an investigation. [Late Breaking: The board has fired Weinstein].

Needless to say, Donald Trump still resides in the White House. He has not acknowledged his inappropriate behavior. Nor have most of his supporters spoken out against it. What’s more, Don, Jr. is a frequent guest on Fox News which has had its own problems with sexually abusive personnel. Their late CEO, Roger Ailes, was ousted earlier this year. Likewise their biggest star, Bill O’Reilly, and several other prominent Fox news staffers. Neither Trump the elder, nor his son have denounced any of them. It’s a case of such blatant hypocrisy that it seems profoundly ludicrous for them to even bother talking about Weinstein.

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

When Trump or his Trumplet can publicly condemn people like Ailes and O’Reilly (and Trump himself), then they will have some moral grounds for tackling Weinstein. In the meantime they should stop criticizing liberals and Democrats who have been forthrightly fighting for women’s rights all along, and without regard to political partisanship.

Donald Trump Wants ‘Equal Time’ on TV – And the Unintended Reason That’s a Fantastic Idea

It wouldn’t be Saturday morning without Donald Trump posting a flurry of frantic Tweets. True to form, his latest Twitter tantrum unleashed a stream of nonsense with more tedious swipes at the media. As usual he’s upset that there are reports that he considers negative. He’s right. But it isn’t the fault of the media that he screws up so much.

Donald Trump

This week the news about Trump included his troubles with White House staff, and particularly Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. NBC had multiple inside sources that heard Tillerson call Trump a “moron.” Trump further embarrassed himself by insulting victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. And he recklessly implied hostile intentions to both North Korea and Iran. If there was positive news about him last week it would have been reported. Followed by inane suggestions that he was finally pivoting to become presidential. So absent any of the good news Trump craves, he tweeted this:

Poor Donald. He simply cannot abide the sort of mockery that every president has endured since the founding of the nation. While he virulently insults his foes as “crooked, crazy, sick,” etc., he whines about being the butt of jokes.

As for the substance of his tweets, is Trump asking for an equal amount of “unfunny and repetitive” material? Because that can certainly be arranged by his comedy surrogates, if not by himself. Secondly, are there really “more and more people” who want to see more of Trump on TV? And are they currently under a doctor’s supervision? Finally, did he end his second tweet with a question mark because even he isn’t sure WTF he means?

More to the point, it’s his remedy for this perceived offense that is most worrisome. He actually believes that the media give him less time than his liberal and Democratic opponents. Hence his proposal to invoke the Equal Time rules to restore balance. However, the evidence shows that Trump has received far more airtime than any other public figure. This was true during the election when he received nearly three times the coverage of any of his opponents. After his inauguration he continued to dominate the press, as reported in a study by the Shorenstein Center of Harvard University:

“President Trump dominated media coverage in the outlets and programs analyzed, with Trump being the topic of 41 percent of all news stories—three times the amount of coverage received by previous presidents. He was also the featured speaker in nearly two-thirds of his coverage.”

The real world data clearly contradicts Trump’s self-serving bitchfest. But it’s also notable that he is, once again, demonstrating that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. The Equal Time Rule was intended prevent television stations from influencing the outcome of elections by favoring one candidate over another. It has nothing to do with airtime distribution when an election is not in progress. He may be thinking of the Fairness Doctrine, but the sainted Republican Ronald Reagan did away with that thirty years ago.

As is often the case, the motivation for these tweets by Trump was likely a segment on Fox News shortly before he tweeted. And speaking of Fox News, they would have an interesting dilemma if Trump got his way with regard to Equal Time. Fox News has distinguished itself as the PR division of the Trump administration. They are the closest thing to state-run television that America has ever known. If they were required to provide Equal Time to Democrats it would mean that half of their schedule would be taken over by the party they are devoted to destroying.

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

So let’s let Trump have his way. Let’s actually have an accounting of the network airtime distribution and require networks to balance their coverage. In all likelihood, that would result in Democrats getting significantly more coverage on Fox News, and even some marginally more coverage on every other network. It would be a welcome change in the broadcast environment that either favors Trump or the ratings-friendly melodrama he generates. So bring it on, Donnie.

Twitter Scorches Fox News and Trump for Taking Credit for Obama’s Economy

The big economic news on Friday was that 33,000 jobs were lost in September. It was the first time in seven years that the jobs numbers went negative. Most reports were quick to cite the rash of hurricanes that plagued the nation in recent weeks. However, the job growth statistics throughout 2017 have lagged behind the same time period in 2016.

Donald Trump economy

It’s no coincidence that Donald Trump and Fox News have been bragging about the performance of the stock market. It’s an easy, albeit deceitful, distraction from the other bad news of the day. Never mind that stocks are currently in the second longest bull market in history and that it started in 2009 under President Obama. Trump has done literally nothing that would change the momentum of Obama’s economy. Not a single economic bill has reached his desk for signature. But that hasn’t stopped him and his propaganda division at Fox News from trying to steal the credit, as demonstrated in these tweets:

The wealth increase that Fox News is touting is based solely on the rise of equities. Not only is it false to describe that as “the nation’s wealth,” it is a fluid indicator that could reverse course tomorrow. Indeed, many stock analysts regard the market’s current position as overvalued. These analysts are predicting a “correction” that could send the markets down ten or twenty percent. What’s more, the soaring stock market does not reflect the economic realities of most Americans. Other economic indicators (i.e. wages) are showing only small advances. The beneficiaries of stock gains are predominantly the usual suspects of the GOP (Greedy One Percent).

Some of these discrepancies were observed by the Twitter community, who proceeded to bludgeon Fox for their bullshit. A few of the notable comments follow:

It’s always dangerous to rely on stock market performance to validate the economy. There are too many factors that can shift investor sentiment. And with Trump’s saber-rattling over nukes with both North Korea and Iran he’s playing with fire, literally. And if that doesn’t sink the markets, then his proposed tax plan, which will benefit only the rich and blow up the deficit, will do the job.

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