WH Dep Press Secretary on Fox News Refuses to Deny Buzzfeed Story that Trump Told Cohen to Lie

Thursday night saw the release of one of the most devastating stories about Donald Trump to date. Buzzfeed reported that Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, was directed by the President to lie to Congress about plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. If confirmed, that would be an airtight case against Trump for suborning perjury and obstructing justice – both impeachable offenses.

Donald Trump

So on Friday morning Trump dispatched his Deputy Press Secretary, Hogan Gidley, to what he surely assumed was the friendly territory of Fox News. However, his interview went skidding of the rails when the Fox co-hosts uncharacteristically asked him some probing questions. In the process, Gidley conspicuously avoided answering those questions and refused to even deny the allegations in the Buzzfeed report. This exchange is going to leave some visible bruises on Trump – and perhaps on Gidley as well after Trump sees it (video below):

Sandra Smith: The story coming from Buzzfeed on the President ordering Michael Cohen to lie…sources two law enforcement officials. This is the headline. Breaking: President Trump personally orders his longtime attorney, Michael Cohen, to lie to Congress about negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow in order to obscure his involvement. How is the President responding to that report this morning?
Gidley: This is absolutely ludicrous that we are giving any type of credence or credibility to a news outlet like BuzzFeed. They are responsible, totally and completely, for the release of a discredited, disproven, false dossier. And now the author of the piece that you’re talking about went on air this morning and said he couldn’t corroborate any of his own evidence. He ran it anyway. This is quite frankly the problem with the press and why the President continues to call them ‘fake news’ repeatedly. There is nothing in that piece that can be corroborated.

First of all, notice that this reply was not a denial. Also, Gidley is incorrect that Buzzfeed was responsible for the infamous Steele Dossier. They simply published it after it had already circulated through the White House and the Department of Justice. And he’s lying as to the dossier being disproved. Nothing in the Dossier has been proven false, while much of it has been confirmed.

Furthermore, the Buzzfeed author didn’t say that he couldn’t corroborate his story. He only said that he didn’t see the corroborating documents, a point that Fox’s Bill Hemmer made saying that “I think the way it was characterized – the reporter did not see specifically see the evidence, but relied on one or two sources that they had trusted to this.” Gidley fumbled in an attempt to form a coherent reply and settled for just saying that “That’s not news,” and resorting to Trump’s catch phrase about “the fake Witch Hunt Russia investigation.” So Hemmer pressed him to give a more direct response to the original question about whether Trump ordered Cohen to lie:

Hemmer: You’re saying the President did not tell Michael Cohen to do that?
Gidley: I’m telling you right now this is exactly why the President refuses to give any credence or credibility to news outlets. Because they have no ability to corroborate anything they’re putting out there. Instead they’re just using innuendo and shady sources.
Hemmer: That was not a denial of my question.
Gidley: No. But the premise is ridiculous.

Once again, Gidley evaded the question. And even after Hemmer called him out on it explicitly, Gidley outright admitted that he was not offering a denial. Then he segued to a strategy of smearing his accuser, saying that Cohen is a liar and a felon. That’s true, but what Gidley isn’t saying (or denying) is that Cohen lied under orders from Trump. And then he is given one more opportunity to defend the President and deny the allegations against him:

Smith: But the headline in that report is the President personally directed his longtime attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about negotiations involving that Trump Tower. Is that true or false?
Gidley: Right. But the President’s attorney has also addressed this. I’m not gonna give any credence or credibility to Michael Cohen who’s a convicted felon and an admitted liar.

So Gidley’s response to whether the Buzzfeed story is true or false is “Right.” Really? When the President’s own spokesperson resorts to dodges like “I’m not gonna give any credence,” to charges that the President suborned perjury and obstructed justice, there’s a good reason. And it’s usually because the story is true. But let’s not be too hard on Gidley. After all, his boss couldn’t even deny the allegations in his response on Twitter:

For as long as Trump has been under investigation for what he calls “this Russia thing,” he has behaved exactly the way you would expect a guilty person to act. The same is true for his defenders in the White House and the media. So there’s no reason to expect them to act any differently now. And judging by this pathetic performance by Gidley, they aren’t. With each passing day, and with each new revelation, it becomes increasingly clear that Trump is headed for prosecution and impeachment. And it can’t come too soon.

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

Donald Trump and Fox News Advocate for a Global Prison-Like “Walls Around the World” Agenda

On the twenty-sixth day of the Trump Shutdown, Donald Trump and congressional Republicans continue to refuse to allow the government to reopen and let hundreds of thousands of Americans return to work. Speaker Nancy Pelosi advised the White House that there will be no State of the Union address on Capitol Hill as long as the Secret Service is hamstrung by the shutdown and working without pay. And the every poll shows that voters are staunchly opposed to Trump and his stonewalling on the matter.

Fox News, Lou Dobbs

So naturally Fox News has leaped to the rescue of their president with a brand new line of attack that blazes new trails of absurdity while obliterating any semblance of logic. On Tuesday’s episode of Lou Dobbs Tonight (video below), the Fox Business host (and undisputed “Most Deranged Host on Fox”) sought to shore up Trump’s argument for his idiotic vanity wall with statistics that were unattributed to any source. Dobbs asserted that there have been “at least 77 barriers built across the globe.” And that “45 countries have proposals for border walls.” And that “since 2015, over 800 miles of barriers have been built in Europe.” He also said that:

“It’s now day twenty-five of the shutdown and President Trump continues to fight for the $5.7 billion to secure our southern border. And make no mistake, walls do work. And other countries all across the world are using them battling their own influx of migrants or to stave off terrorists.”

It’s impossible to confirm any of this because Dobbs failed to provide any source for his assertions. But if it’s anything like the rest of what Fox News reports, it was made up by Fox or some right-wing think tank they employ. The segment featured a graphic with a headline blaring “Walls Around the World,” as if that description of worldwide bondage was a good thing. It’s also impossible to assess whether any of these alleged “walls” were built for reasons that had anything to do with the immigration concerns expressed by Trump. The situations in other countries are not necessarily applicable to those of the United States. But that didn’t stop Trump from straight-up copying the Dobbs data and pasting it into a morning tweet:

This is just the latest example of Trump getting his “intelligence” from Fox News and passing it on to his Deplorables without admitting where he took it from. And Trump, like Fox, didn’t bother to cite any reputable source for the info. But there’s something else about this argument that is peculiar.

Trump is now making the point that, if Europe and the rest of the world is allegedly building walls to prevent migration, then the U.S. should be doing it too. But since when has Trump ever cared what the rest of the world was doing, other than as an example of what the U.S. should avoid? America First! And if what the rest of the world is doing is now setting the example for America, then Trump should be fighting for universal healthcare, because every single industrialized nation on the planet already has it. Likewise, just about every country in the world is signatory to the Paris Accords on Climate Change.

Once again, Trump is demonstrating two of his most prominent characteristics: He never has an original thought, or one that didn’t begin at Fox News. And his ability to form a logical argument is nonexistent. All he is doing is throwing mud at the wall and hoping it builds up enough to form a barrier at the southern border. Either that or that it sticks to the insides of the empty craniums of his cult followers. Either way he is proving again that he is dishonest, incompetent, and unfit to serve as president.

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

Trump and Fox News Vainly Pretend that Polls Support The Border Wall and the Trump Shutdown

Desperation drives people to extreme and untenable measures. And that must be where Donald Trump and Fox News find themselves today as they try in vain to spin reality into something that resembles support for their positions on the Trump Shutdown and his idiotic vanity wall. With public opinion veering off into a bruising opposition to the Trump agenda, they are purposefully lying about recent poll results.

Donald Trump

On Tuesday’s episode of Fox and Friends, co-host Steve Doocy introduced a segment about the border/shutdown with a reference to a new poll by Quinnipiac University. He was almost giddy about reporting the good news that this poll allegedly propped up the President and his standing in the eyes of the American people:

“There’s a Quinnipiac poll that essentially supports what the President has been saying all along for about the last month. And that’s fifty-four percent of you, according to Quinnipiac, say ‘yes,’ there is a crisis at our southern border.”

So there you have it. The debate can now be put to rest and the Democrats in Congress should immediately surrender and give Trump everything he wants. Right?

Well, no. Because the poll had some additional insights that make this tidbit fairly irrelevant. For instance:

“American voters support 63 – 30 percent a Democratic proposal to reopen parts of the government that do not involve border security while negotiating funding for the Wall, according to a Quinnipiac University National Poll released today. Every party, gender, education, age and racial group supports this idea except Republicans, who are opposed 52 – 39 percent.

“Voters oppose 63 – 32 percent shutting down the government to force funding for the Wall, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University National Poll finds. Again, Republicans are the only listed group supporting the shutdown, 67 – 24 percent.

“The GOP is losing the battle as 56 percent of American voters say President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress are responsible for the shutdown, while 36 percent say Democrats are responsible.

“Voters remain solidly opposed to a wall on the Mexican border, 55 – 43 percent, and reject every argument for the Wall.”

The poll also revealed that fifty-nine percent say that the wall “is not a good use of taxpayer dollars.” Fifty-five percent say that it “would not make the U.S. safer.” Fifty-nine percent say that “it is not necessary to protect the border.” And fifty-two percent say that it “is against American values.” What’s more, the fifty-four percent who agree that there is a crisis at the border may not be in agreement with Trump’s definition of “crisis.” They may be concerned about the welfare of the refugees who are seeking asylum, and the children who were separated from their parents by the Trump administration.

Additionally, by a wide margin of 46-32 percent, voters said that Trump’s Oval Office address was “mostly misleading.” And they believed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer more than Trump by 46-36 percent. Only 2 percent say Trump’s address changed their mind. Sixty-five percent of respondents disapprove of Trump’s threat to declare a national emergency to fund the wall. And yet Trump is just as deceitful about these survey results as Fox News is. He tweeted that:

As usual, Trump doesn’t provide any source for those fictional numbers. But if he bothered to do any research he would discover that every poll is pretty much in sync with this one from Quinnipiac. Even an op-ed on the Fox website noted Trump’s precarious standings and warned that he “needs to end the shutdown now” if he “wants to have even a chance of winning in 2020.”. And, of course, Trump is lying about Democrats not wanting border security. They just don’t want his stupid wall and, like most Americans, they know it won’t enhance security. Wouldn’t it be nice if the Russian asset in the White House would tell his followers the truth for a change?

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

Even Fox News Can’t Avoid How Badly the Trump Shutdown is Going Over with the American People

It’s day 24 of the Trump Shutdown, and no end is currently in sight. The ill effects of that are even being felt in the White House, where Donald Trump had to serve Big Macs and pizzas to the NCAA champion Clemson Tigers because much of the staff is furloughed. Trump says that he paid for the “feast,” but that really isn’t something to brag about. It’s a pretty lame “celebration” that’s catered by McDonalds.

Fox News Trump

In the meantime, millions of American families are struggling to make ends meet due to the furloughs of hundreds of thousands of federal workers. Who’s paying for their meals, or healthcare, or mortgages? The hardship that Trump has imposed on the nation is getting worse with each new day. And the American people know exactly who is at fault.

Despite Trump’s promise not to blame Democrats, he has been doing just that for the past couple of weeks. However, his broken promise isn’t being received well by the public. And even Fox News is unable to pretend that Trump’s shutdown strategy is working out very well. An article on the Fox website carries the headline “Trump doubles down on border wall, as polls show voters turning against his shutdown strategy.” And the article explains unambiguously how badly the polling on this issue is going for Trump and his Republican Nationalist Party:

“As the partial shutdown enters its fourth week and hundreds of thousands of federal workers miss their first paychecks, fresh polling suggests the president is losing the battle of public opinion.

“A Quinnipiac University poll released Monday found that 63 percent of voters agree with the Democratic proposal to reopen parts of the government that do not involve border security, with 30 percent opposed. The same poll found 63 percent also oppose using the shutdown to force wall funding, with just 32 percent supporting.

“The poll found that 56 percent of American voters blame Trump and Republicans in Congress for the partial shutdown, compared with 36 percent who say Democrats are responsible.

“An earlier Washington Post-ABC News poll also found more Americans blame Trump and the Republicans than the Democrats over the stalemate.”

This bad news is just a portion of what Trump is having to endure as this new year is barely getting started. Bloomberg reports that at least six polls show that America blames Trump for the shutdown and opposes his exploitation of it for a stupid vanity wall that nobody wants. Trump is also fielding questions about whether he is a Russian asset. If your president has to deny that he’s working for Russia, you need a new president. And it’s been discovered that he has been suppressing information about his private meetings with Vladimir Putin.

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

If Trump isn’t a Russian asset, he’s doing an awfully good imitation of one. That’s a far bigger problem than his poor showing in polls about the shutdown. But the nation’s mood isn’t going to be particularly forgiving to a president who is generally despised while also being suspected of selling out his country. This is the kind of political environment that lends itself to impeachment. Hopefully.

Trump Mindlessly Parrots Fox News’ Lies About Democrats ‘Having Fun’ During the Shutdown

The relationship between Donald Trump and his State TV media handlers, Fox News, has been a disturbing component of his presidency since before it even began. Trump, after all, had a regularly scheduled weekly segment on Fox and Friends called “Mondays with Trump” for years before his candidacy. And since his election he has given the vast majority of his interviews (40+ so far) to Fox News. That includes his latest on Saturday night with “Judge” Jeanine Pirro wherein she asked him if he has ever worked for Russia, and he conspicuously failed to deny it.

Donald Trump Fox News

On Sunday morning Trump rose early and immediately began work – or at least what he regards as the work of a Reality TV president. He grabbed his phone, ascended to his porcelain throne, and composed this inspiring message for posterity:

Poor Donnie is once again whining about his lonely confinement to that big, old, drafty, White House. However, his version of events is perversely distorted. This week the Democrats in the House of Representatives passed several bills to fund the government that is currently in the midst of the Trump Shutdown – the longest, bestest shutdown ever. It is Republican Leader Mitch McConnell who refuses to call the Senate into session and allow a vote on those bills.

What’s more, contrary to Trump’s fictional account, most of the Democrats are in Washington working. But Trump, who is obviously paying more attention to Fox News than his presidential duties, found a story he could use to falsely malign Democrats as loafers. The article on Fox’s website is titled “Democrats At Play,” with a lede that says “As shutdown drags on, pols take chartered jet to Caribbean, see ‘Hamilton.'” So in that brief headline Fox crammed in a array of criticisms from their portrayal of this as recreation, to neglect of the shutdown, to elitist travel arrangements, to exotic locales, to exclusive theatrical events. Not bad.

The only problem is that none of that is true. The delegation consisted of members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. They were visiting a part of the United States that has recently suffered a catastrophic natural disaster to assess recovery progress. They were in constant contact with D.C. in the event there was a breakthrough in shutdown talks. And the performances of Hamilton were being staged to raise donations for local Puerto Rican organizations still struggling in wake of Hurricane Maria. Also, that chartered jet was laden with 250 pounds of donated medical supplies.

So that’s what Trump and Fox News are characterizing as a vacation with lobbyists on sun-drenched Caribbean beaches. Meanwhile, Trump continues to refuse to open the government, or to ask McConnell to hold a vote. He continues to threaten to declare a national emergency so that he can act out his tyrannical aspirations. It’s funny that this “emergency” is so lacking in urgency that Trump can posture over it for weeks as he seeks to make political points. It’s also funny that Republicans aren’t aghast at the prospect of setting a precedent that would permit a Democratic president to declare a national emergency to address healthcare or climate change – two very real crisis situations.

What isn’t funny is Trump’s disingenuously referencing that “people await their pay” as this shutdown drags on. He has proven that he couldn’t possibly care less with his comments about them “adjusting” or his administration’s advice that they barter with their landlords, or take up babysitting and dog-walking, to make ends meet. And he pours salt in the wounds by baselessly asserting that the suffering federal workers support his idiotic vanity wall. They don’t.

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

All Trump has to do is sign the funding bills that he previously agreed to sign, and that the GOP Senate passed unanimously. But instead, he chooses to obey the dictates of his masters at Fox News and regurgitate their callousness and lies on his Twitter feed for his Deplorable cult followers who will believe anything, except the actual facts that expose Trump as a narcissistic charlatan and a stooge for Russia.

Trump’s Braintrust (Fox News) is Pushing Him to Declare a National Emergency to Get His Border Wall

The presidency of Donald Trump has distinguished itself for its hostility to the media and the Constitution’s protection of a free press. His tedious whining about “fake news” and his Stalinist references to the media as “the enemy of the people” are evidence of his desire to poison the public’s minds in order to suppress criticism of him and his administration.

Donald Trump, Fox News

That said, no president has ever been more closely intertwined with a media enterprise than Trump is with Fox News. Before his election he was a regularly scheduled contributor to Fox and Friends with a segment called “Mondays with Trump.” He limits his interviews to Fox News on a nearly exclusive basis. His administration is infested with former Fox News staffers. They include: Deputy Chief of Staff, Bill Shine, who was the president of the network before being fired for mishandling incidents of sexual harassment; ambassador to the United Nations nominee, Heather Nauert, a former Fox host; National Security Advisor, John Bolton, an ex-Fox contributor.

In addition, Trump employs current Fox News anchors as his de facto cabinet, getting advice on everything from the economy to military engagements, to taxes and more. Sean Hannity is reported to talk with the President almost every night before bedtime. Lou Dobbs is often on conference call during Oval Office meetings. Jeanine Pirro is a favorite consultant on legal matters. And Trump is frequently live-tweeting whatever he happens to be watching on Fox, day and night.

Recently, Trump was prepared to sign a bipartisan bill to keep the government open. But when Fox Newsies heard that it didn’t provide funding for his idiotic vanity wall, they went berserk. Subsequently, Trump reversed course, and now we find ourselves in what is about to become the longest government shutdown in history. Which makes it all the more troubling that many of Trump’s Fox faves are now imploring him to declare a national emergency as a tactic to fund the wall that has nothing to do with any emergency, and that most Americans oppose. For instance, as reported by Media Matters:

Sean Hannity: So, with the president speaking, I’m guessing he’s going to declare a national emergency. […] victims of crime happening in this country, that should be enough of a national emergency.

Lou Dobbs: This is the president of the United States. He says a wall should be built; that it’s a national emergency. At that point, the nation should rally behind him. […] It is a national emergency, it is a crisis, and there could be no rational disputation of that.

Lou Dobbs (again): I really believe that the way forward here is for him to declare a national emergency, and simply sweep aside the recalcitrant left in this country.

Stuart Varney: I think this total refusal to negotiate has pushed the president to the point where he has to declare an emergency on the border.

Rush Limbaugh: And so they empowered the executive branch with the National Emergencies Act. He can confiscate private businesses, if he wants. All he has to do is declare it a national emergency.

Gregg Jarrett: The National Emergency Act authorizes the president to declare an emergency, and nobody can second-guess him. He has unfettered authority. […] he can use the military, redirect them for construction of an unauthorized project, whatever it is, the president wants it to be. That can be the barrier wall, and nobody can stop him from doing it.

Bob Bianchi (Fox guest): To me, politically, it makes perfect sense. [for Trump to] invoke my powers as the president under the National Emergency Act and under one of these sub-acts that allows me to move funds around to build this border wall.

Tom Fitton (on Tucker Carlson Tonight): It is a national emergency when we have a thousand plus miles of unsecured border in our southern area without any ability to figure out who’s coming across. We know the terrorists are targeting [the] southern border.

Considering how gullible Trump is, and how easily influenced he is by his Fox News brain(?) trust, it’s a foregone conclusion that he’ll declare a national emergency. However, contrary to the ravings of Trump and Fox, he does not have unfettered authority to do so. It will undoubtedly be challenged in court. And since the facts don’t support any claim to a crisis, he’ll almost certainly lose. In the meantime, millions of people are hurt and the nation is stifled by Trump’s ignorance and ego. Hopefully that can all be avoided by Congress waking up and doing the right thing. But given the abdication of its civic duty, Mitch McConnell’s Senate has to be considered a long shot.

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

What’s the Real Reason Trump Gave that Yawner from the Oval Office? (Hint: Think Russia)

On Tuesday night Donald Trump gave a much anticipated address from the Oval Office, his first as President. There was rampant speculation about what he might say. Some pundits wondered if he might take the opportunity to declare a national emergency in order to reallocate federal funds to his idiotic and useless vanity wall. Others just considered it a ploy to get the public to pressure Congress to pay his ransom for reopening the government.

Donald Trump, Subway

As it turns out the speech was a tiresome affair that featured Trump solemnly reciting from his TelePrompTer and sniffling as he has been known to do after snorting Adderall. There was nothing that could be called newsworthy. Trump offered no solutions to the shutdown impasse. He made no overtures to Democrats on border security legislation. There wasn’t anything different about this speech than what he’s been saying for the past three weeks on this subject. And of course, that means he was repeating the same old lies that he and his surrogates (including Surrogate-in-Chief Mike Pence) have been foisting on the public since the Trump Shutdown began.

So there was no reason for this speech to be carried live by the news networks. No news value would have been lost by delaying it for half an hour so that it could be fact checked – a practice that should be in effect for everything Trump says or does. What the speech did contain was Trump’s now tedious routine of fear mongering and blame shifting to Democrats.

He amped up the emotionally charged fears of violence allegedly committed by undocumented immigrants with examples that included murders, rapes, and even beheadings. Never mind that this immigrant population is far less likely to commit these or any crimes than are native born citizens. The purpose of this overtly racist argument, as employed by Trump and his shills on Fox News, is to demonize people who are largely peaceful and law abiding.

So why did Trump take the extraordinary step of demanding primetime television access to the nation in order to bore them with rote repetitions of his commonplace cult rally ravings? He must have known that there was nothing in his remarks that would change anyone’s mind. Nor would it move the needle on resolving the shutdown problem. The only thing that it would be certain to do is dominate the news cycle for a short period of time. And therein lies a clue to what might have been his true intention.

Absent this speech, the most prominent stories that came out the same day concerned the ongoing investigations into Trump’s collusion and conspiracy with Russia. One of those stories featured the chairman of his presidential campaign, Paul Manafort, who was found to have been sharing proprietary polling data with a suspected Russian intelligence operative. That information corresponds with the sort of data used by Russia to interfere with the election, and links Trump’s campaign to the Russian conspiracy more closely than ever before.

The other story concerned the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, who famously met with Manafort, Don Jr, Jared Kushner, and others, in Trump Tower. That was the meeting where they discussed acquiring “dirt” in the form of stolen emails from Hillary Clinton and her associates. Veselnitskaya was indicted yesterday for obstruction of justice in a case that revealed her close ties to the Kremlin.

Given the bombshell quality of these stories, it would have been a fortunate coincidence if something else arose that might distract the media and the public from focusing on them. Could Trump have been tipped off about these impending legal disclosures? Perhaps by Manafort or his lawyers who have already been discovered to have secretly briefed Trump’s legal team And might Trump have had an incentive to schedule a rare Oval Office address that was completely devoid of substance in order to execute that distraction? Can anyone supply another reason why the President would embarrass himself with that empty televised spectacle that was the oratorical equivalence of dropping his pants on the subway to draw attention away from a worse crime?

Who knows with this president? This might be a step too deep into conspiracy theory. But it is well within the bounds of plausibility for a president who is openly considering a declaration of a national emergency – which does not exist – just so he can build a wall that most Americans don’t want. It is not far-fetched for someone who lies with such ease about things as easily verifiable as whether past presidents told him that they should have built a wall; or that 4,000 suspected terrorists were caught crossing the southern border; or that Democrats request that Trump change his wall construction from concrete to steel.

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

None of those things were true. And that tendency for flagrant falsification is what makes anything possible with this president. Including a plot to wave a shiny Oval Office speech in front of the press to get them to ignore the fact that he’s pantless. But fortunately, it doesn’t seem to have worked. The other stories are still being sell covered (less so on Fox News) and are likely to make headlines on Wednesday and beyond. So Trump embarrassed himself, and wasted the nation’s time, in vain. The only problem with that is that it might make him more likely to actually declare a national emergency, out of anger and/or vengeance, in order to distract from the failure of this distraction. Stay tuned.

How Does VP Mike Pence Respond to Conclusive Evidence of Trump’s Lies? With Even More Lying!

On Tuesday evening Donald Trump will deliver his very first Oval Office address to the American people. And the critical subject matter that necessitates this extraordinary and urgent communication just happens to be a “humanitarian and national security crisis” that is being fabricated from thin air by Trump and his team of propaganda fabulists.

Mike Pence, Donald Trump

There is no credible evidence of a crisis at the southern border. By every metric that is measurable, undocumented immigration, drug trafficking, gang members, violent crime, etc., the incidence of illegal activity has been steadily declining for several years. But since Trump is badly losing the PR war for his idiotic and useless vanity wall, he has decided to take his case directly to the public. Which is a pretty terrible idea considering his historically low approval and the fact that he’s regarded by most Americans as untrustworthy. Even less trustworthy than the media that he despises.

Just who does Trump think he will convince that a wall that is decidedly unpopular, and the equally out of favor government shutdown he engineered to force Congress to pay for it, is really a great idea that everyone should embrace? If Trump thinks that his innate (albeit imaginary) charm will win over converts, he is going to be wallowing in a deep trench of disappointment.

Consequently, The administration sent their secret charisma weapon, Vice-President Mike Pence, out to save the day for Trump and company. He was interviewed by Jonathan Karl of ABC News. And one question in particular really hit the sweet spot for determining whether Trump’s TV ploy can succeed or not (video below):

Karl: How can the President’s word be trusted on this when he has said so many things that are just not true about this crisis? He said that Barack Obama had a ten foot wall built around his house here in Washington. You know that isn’t true. He said that some of his predecessors told him that they wanted to build a wall. But all four living presidents have now put out statements saying that they never had any such conversation with the President. And then you saw Sarah Sanders say that nearly 4,000 terrorists come into the country every year, and that’s not true either.

How can the American people trust the President when he says this is a crisis when he says things over and over again that aren’t true?

Pence: Well, the American people aren’t as concerned about the political debate as they are concerned about what’s really happening at the border. And that’s what the President’s been focusing on.

So Pence is spinning Trump’s flagrant dishonesty as “political debate”? This tells you something about how Republicans regard politics. And the absurdity of his contention that nobody cares about Trump lying is evident in Trump’s dismal approval polling.

When Karl tried to press Pence on the credibility question again, Pence launched into his robo-lie that 4,000 “known or suspected terrorists” were apprehended, still falsely implying that the southern border was their point of origin. Then he continued on auto-pilot with assertions about drugs pouring into the country, being deliberately deceitful about the fact that the vast majority come in by air or through valid checkpoints. And at this point you might be wondering what any of this have to do with the question about Trump’s lying? But finally, Pence painted Trump’s pathological fibs as simply his “passion” to “protect the American people”:

Pence: “The passion you hear from President Trump, his determination to take this to American people, as he will tonight in his national broadcast from the oval office, comes from his deep desire to do his job to protect the American people. And we’re gonna continue to carry that case forward until the Democrats in Congress come to the table and start negotiating. Not just to end the government shutdown, but to address what is an undeniable crisis at out southern border.”

It’s cute how Pence tries to evade the topic by shifting to a “blame the Democrats” posture, despite Trump being the immovable object who refuses to compromise, or even agree to the legislation that he previously agreed to. But Pence’s assertion of “an undeniable crisis” is especially ridiculous. That’s going to be a tough sell considering that even people like Fox News senior judicial analyst, Andrew Napolitan, denies it. He also denies that Trump has any legal right to move forward with his wall by declaring a national emergency. When his Fox colleague Maria Bartiromo asked this directly, Napolitano told her that:

“In a word, no. That’s not me saying no, because the Supreme Court said no when Harry Truman attempted to do that. […] the Supreme Court has made it very clear, even in times of emergency, the president of the United States of America cannot spend money unless it has been authorized by the Congress.”

None of this will prevent the circus that is going to unfold tonight for Trump’s Oval Office Reality TV episode. And his likely incoherent, lie-riddled speech won’t change the mind of a single viewer. Except for those who are finally disgusted enough by his ignorance and dishonesty and refuse to be further exploited by it. For Trump, this clown show is a lose-lose.

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

And Here’s the Very First Contestant for ‘Stupidest Comment By a Fox News Shill’ for 2019

We are only six days into 2019 and we already have a contestant for “Stupidest Comment of the Year By a Fox News Shill.” The lucky winner is a veteran of the State TV Network who has contributed more than his share of idiocy in past years. And even though the year is young and there are no other contestants, this will be difficult to beat as the year goes forward.

Fox News, Brit Hume, Donald Trump

Brit Hume is currently a senior political analyst for Fox News. Prior to that he was the anchor of their signature evening newscast, “Special Report.” He is still seen frequently on Fox as a commentator and a member of news panels. But this Sunday morning he was triggered by an article in the Daily Beast that reported Donald Trump’s remarks to the press as he was departing for Camp David. Trump was asked whether he related to the hundreds of thousands of Americans who he has thrown out of work via his “Trump Shutdown” – the political tantrum he’s throwing to try to get his idiotic vanity wall on the southern border. Trump replied that:

“I can relate, and I’m sure that the people that are on the receiving end will make adjustments, they always do, and they’ll make adjustments. People understand exactly what’s going on. But many of those people that won’t be receiving a paycheck, many of those people agree 100 percent with what I’m doing.”

Let’s aside the absurdity of Trump’s response that he can in any relate to the tribulations of people living paycheck to paycheck. And never mind the fact that he’s shown zero consideration for these innocent victims of his ego-driven fetish for a useless and racist wall. And don’t even bother trying to figure out where Trump got the idea that the federal workers who are suffering and risking losing their homes agree that it’s all worth it to construct a wall that will accomplish nothing.

What bothered Hume was the notion that the author of the article wasn’t giving Trump the credit he deserves for the sacrifices he’s making:

First of all, it isn’t true that Trump accepts no salary as president. He does accept it, and then donates it to the federal treasury or some agency thereof. So Trump still gets the tax write off benefit for making a $400,000 charitable gift. That’s very different than declining the salary.

However, the larger point that Hume is woefully blind to is that foregoing the salary hardly translates into Trump being able to relate to the federal workers who are undergoing severe financial hardships. Trump was born into wealth and never had to struggle to make ends meet. He has millions (he says billions) of dollars in assets and whether or not he takes the presidential salary has no bearing on his welfare. Hume seems to think that Trump is experiencing the very same kinds of trials that the federal employees are. Does he really believe that?

What’s more, Trump’s refusal to pocket his salary doesn’t mean that he isn’t making any money from his stint in the White House. In fact, he’s making more than any other president in history. That’s because from day one he has monetized the presidency for his personal benefit. He schedules conferences by the government and the Republican Party at his hotels. He spends his vacations at his resorts (i.e. Mar-a-Lago, Bedminster, etc.) where the government pays the accommodations of dozens of staffers and Secret Service agents. He has even earned hundreds of thousands of dollars renting golf carts to his security detail when he’s on the links.

Of course, every president incurs costs for travel and vacations. But none of them have paid those costs directly to themselves. Until Donald Trump. And we haven’t even gotten to the money he makes from foreign governments and operatives who are lodging at his hotels for the stated purpose of incurring his favor. That’s potentially a violation of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, which is an impeachable offense.

It’s beyond insane for Trump to suggest that he can relate to people that have been involuntarily furloughed at one of the most expensive times of the year (holidays and taxes). Trump doesn’t have to worry about keeping his residence. He doesn’t have to worry about paying for medicine or healthcare. He isn’t troubled with expenses caring his children or their schooling. He won’t have any problem buying groceries or clothing. I wonder if Hume, the author of this tweet, is aware of any of that.

So even if Trump wants to pretend that he understands, or can imagine how it feels, he simply cannot relate to it. And sadly, that’s representative of how most of the Trump Republican Nationalist Party regards these matters. So for posting this asinine tweet, Hume shows that he can neither relate nor understand, And for that he takes the lead for this year’s Stupidest Comment.

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

Stop the Presses: Donald Trump Tells a Flaming Whopper, Takes Journalist ‘Totally Out of Context’

As Donald Trump warned us all in an ominous Christmas Eve tweet, “Throughout the ages some things NEVER get better and NEVER change.” The truth of that is abundantly evident in the tweets that Trump continues to post in this new year. His fetish for an idiotic vanity wall, that will do nothing but waste money, took up much of Trump’s Saturday morning. And naturally, his whining was filled with lies, insults, and blame for anyone but himself.

Donald Trump

However, after his regularly scheduled manic tweetstorm, Trump decided to return to an old favorite obsession, lashing out with his Stalin-inspired portrayal of the press as “the enemy of the people.” In this episode, Trump is caught (again) regurgitating what he just saw on Fox News. He tweeted that:

Of course, that is a wholly dishonest characterization of what Abramson said. And we know this because Abramson tells us herself in this Twitter reply. And she elaborated in an interview with the Associated Press, rebuking Fox News (and by extension, Trump) for having taken her “totally out of context:”

“Jill Abramson, the former editor of The New York Times, said Thursday that Fox News took her criticism of the newspaper’s Trump coverage in her upcoming book ‘totally out of context’ for a story that appeared this week.” […]

“She said in an email interview with The Associated Press that the Fox article’s author, ‘Media Buzz’ host Howard Kurtz, had ignored compliments that she had for the Times and The Washington Post.

“‘His article is an attempt to Foxify my book, which is full of praise for The Times and The Washington Post and their coverage of Trump,’ she wrote in the email.”

So Trump’s tweet unsurprisingly misrepresented the truth. Although, he did say that Abramson was “100% correct,” so presumably that includes her praise for the paper and her remarks that “the depth and intensity of its accountability coverage of Trump ‘was masterful.'” Trump failed to mention that in his tweet.

The problem with reporting on this President is that there is so much negative news that simply being honest and accurate can appear to be biased. But it isn’t the fault of journalists that Trump lies every time he opens his mouth, or that his presidency is rife with corruption and criminal malfeasance. And it isn’t the fault of reporters that Trump’s incoherent press avails sound more like the ravings of a street-walking schizophrenic screaming absurdities at bewildered passersby and the occasionally unfortunate pigeon.

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

Covering Donald Trump means reporting when he tells lies that have long ago been debunked. It means holding him accountable for his own contradictions. It means disclosing his attempts to deceive and distract from whatever failure is maddening him at the moment. And it means unflinchingly publishing reports about the crimes that he, his associates, and his family have committed. And if Trump, Fox News, and his Deplorable cult followers think that’s biased, too bad? It’s more important to tell the truth than to pacify the fragile sensitivities of politicians and their patsies.