Trump Declares that ‘I Am Not Going Back On Twitter’ After the Elon Musk Takeover

America’s oligarchy is exercising it’s privilege once again as the world’s richest man drops a few of his billions of dollars to add Twitter to the playroom in his ultra-exclusive world. Elon Musk’s acquisition of the social media giant is profoundly significant due to its influence on politics, journalism, and culture.

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Donald Trump

The debate over how dangerous this is for society in America – and the world – is complex and will unfold in the weeks to come as Musk’s intentions are revealed. However, in the short term we already have some news about a famous former tweeter. Donald Trump didn’t waste any time telling Fox News (who else) what the Musk acquisition means to him. According to Fox News

“Former President Trump will not return to Twitter, even as Elon Musk purchases the social media company and reinstates his account, instead using his own TRUTH Social as the sole platform for his voice. […] The former president told Fox News Monday that he will formally join his own TRUTH Social over the next seven days, as planned.

“‘I am not going on Twitter, I am going to stay on TRUTH,’ Trump told Fox News. ‘I hope Elon buys Twitter because he’ll make improvements to it and he is a good man, but I am going to be staying on TRUTH.’ […] He added: ‘The bottom line is, no, I am not going back to Twitter.'”

Let’s set aside for the time being that Trump lies far too often to take anything he says seriously. If Twitter were to offer to reinstate his account, it’s ridiculous to suggest that he would rebuff the offer because he’s “staying on TRUTH” Social (TS). How can he “stay” on a platform that he has posted on only once nearly two months ago, and from which he has been conspicuously absent ever since? He couldn’t even get the name straight at his recent rally, calling it “Troth Sential.”

Trump was, and is, a Twitter addict (his spokes-shill still posts for him daily in defiance of Twitter’s own rules). And he isn’t likely to trade access to his 84 million Twitter followers (most of which were bots or fakes) for a fraction of that on TS. Trump went on to say that…

“‘We’re taking in millions of people, and what we’re finding is that the response on TRUTH is much better than being on Twitter,’ Trump said. ‘Twitter has bots and fake accounts, and we are doing everything we can.'”

Actually, TS has assigned a little over a million wait list numbers to people who have tried to sign up. Most of them still have not been able to log on. And as for fake accounts, there have already been a multitude of them on TS. The site even “verified” a Fox News account that Fox denied having anything to do with.

RELATED: Trump’s PRAVDA, er, TRUTH Social Twitter Clone Flops as it Misses Yet Another Launch Date

What’s more, there is so little interaction on TS that the users who are online have complained that it is an echo chamber of fellow cultists whose homogeneous agreement is terminally boring. And now Trump is promising that it’s going to get even worse…

“‘This is a platform for my voice. TRUTH is a platform for my voice and for my supporters,’ Trump said. ‘But I want everybody to come over to TRUTH—conservatives, liberals, whatever. […] ‘TRUTH Social will be a voice for me,’ Trump continued. ‘And that’s something nobody else can get.'”

It isn’t an accident that Trump keeps referring to the site as simply “TRUTH.” There is nothing “Social” about it. Like everything else in Trump World, it is about him and only him. And he isn’t shy about saying so explicitly.

RELATED: Trump’s TRUTH Social Boss, Devin Nunes, Tells Fox News that ‘Twitter is a Ghost Town’

The worst part of all of this, from Trump’s perspective, is that the site may never even become viable. The shell company that is serving as its Wall Street proxy (DWAC) declined another 12.9% today. It has cratered 64% since the beginning of March. Reuters is reporting that key personnel are abandoning ship and that…

“Another open question is how TMTG is funding its current growth. The company is planning to go public through a merger with blank-check firm Digital World Acquisition Corp (DWAC) . The deal is under scrutiny by the Securities and Exchange Commission and is likely months away from being finalized. […] Investors have pledged $1 billion to TMTG but they won’t hand over that money until the DWAC deal closes.”

So the the Trump Media and Technology Group (TMTG) and DWAC deal is likely another illegal Trump scam that will never go through. And when it fails Trump won’t get any of the money that has allegedly been pledged. More likely it will result in investor lawsuits that will cost him and his accomplices a fortune.

As for Twitter’s future under Musk, Jessica J. González of Free Press recently published an editorial that exposes how truly awful the site could be under Musk. She wrote that…

“Musk’s ability to be an accountable steward of this massive online community is questionable at best. […] he has a poor track record of protecting other Twitter users and respecting their free speech. He has used the platform to discredit and disparage those who disagree with him, and he has lashed out at journalists who have written or produced things he didn’t like.”

Musk’s pretense of advocating for free speech is utterly insincere. It is a pathway to tolerating hate speech and disinformation that divides people and incites violence. It would make Twitter unbearable for most decent users, as well as advertisers. And it doesn’t help that Musk has been sued for “racial discrimination and harassment after finding a widespread pattern of mistreatment of Black workers” at his Tesla plant. So look for Twitter to collapse unless its executives and board of directors manage to keep Musk’s worst instincts in check.

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Rittenhouse Judge Schroeder Bans MSNBC from Courtroom in Violation of the First Amendment

The trial of teen vigilante Kyle Rittenhouse has produced some bizarre and legally questionable moments. Many of those moments relate directly to the behavior of Judge Bruce Schroeder whose rulings have overwhelming favored the defense and been openly hostile to the prosecution.

Kyle Rittenhouse, Judge Bruce Schroeder

On Thursday this tendency of Schroeder to put his right-wing prejudices on display crossed another line of propriety for a jurist. Responding to a report that a reporter allegedly working for MSNBC News was following a bus that was transporting the jurors, Schroeder interrupted the proceedings to make this alarming declaration:

“I have instructed that no one from MSNBC news will be permitted in this building for the duration of this trial. This is a very serious matter and I don’t know what the ultimate truth of it is, but absolutely it would go without much thinking that someone who is following a jury bus, that is an extremely serious matter will be referred to the proper authorities for further action.”

This is indeed a “very serious matter,” but not for the reasons that Schroeder suggests. There are several problems with how the Judge reacted to this report. First of all, in his statement he admits that he “I don’t know what the ultimate truth of it is.” But he issues his prohibition against MSNBC News anyway. What if the truth is that the reporter was not from MSNBC? What if there was nothing untoward taking place? Then Schroeder punished the network despite it having done nothing to warrant it. That is the definition of government censorship and violates the First Amendment of the Constitution.

What’s more, Schroeder may have gotten the network wrong. Reports variously describe the reporter as having been associated with MSNBC or NBC, two different networks. So it’s pretty sloppy of the Judge to impose such severe penalties when he doesn’t even know who the suspected offender is affiliated with. In addition to that, it is ridiculous to ban MSNBC from the courtroom when reporters from NBC, who were not covered by the order, are still permitted to cover the trial. They can then appear on MSNBC to give their account of the proceedings.

Finally, Schroeder took the extreme measure of banning the entire MSNBC network, rather than just the alleged offender. At best he could have argued that the reporter who was involved should have his courtroom privileges suspended, not for the duration of the trial, but until the facts were ascertained. But Schroeder didn’t take that rational step. Instead he punished everyone at MSNBC, despite the fact that none of them had done anything wrong. It also needs to be remembered that the reporter in question wasn’t found to have done anything wrong either. NBC News released a statement saying that…

“Last night, a freelancer received a traffic citation. While the traffic violation took place near the jury van, the freelancer never contacted or intended to contact the jurors during deliberations, and never photographed or intended to photograph them”

Rittenhouse’s defense attorney has already filed a motion for a mistrial, which Schroeder has yet to rule on. But if anyone is entitled to a mistrial, it’s the prosecution. And Schroeder should be cited for judicial misconduct. He has shown bias throughout this trial. And his disrespect for the Constitution’s guarantee of freedom of the press makes his malfeasance on the bench all the more reprehensible.

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CNN’s Jim Acosta Fractures Fox News Fascist Fanboy and Trump-Fluffer, Tucker Carlson

This past week Fox News Senior White Nationalist, Tucker Carlson, made a pilgrimage to Hungary to curtsy obediently before its self-proclaimed dictator, Viktor Orban. Carlson displayed his sickly adoration as he performed PR duties for Orban’s oppressive regime. It was a shameful exercise in subservience to a notorious totalitarian strongman.

Fox News, Tucker Carlson, Dictator

On Saturday, CNN’s Jim Acosta reported on Carlson’s trek to the totalitarian dystopia with some poignant clips of Carlson’s commentaries while he was there. Acosta and his guests. Ruth Ben-Ghiat and Oliver Darcy, had some cogent insights, but it was Carlson’s own words that tell the story of his noxious anti-democratic and even anti-American obsessions. The entire video clip of the segment is posted below, but what follows are Carlson’s chilling remarks and pro fascist views.

Acosta introduced the first clip saying that “The Soviet Union used to use gullible foreigners to spread their propaganda, but this seems different. Tucker knows exactly what he’s doing.” And Carlson said that…

“if you care about western civilization and democracy and family, and the ferocious assault on all three of those things by the leaders of our global institutions, you should know what is happening here right now. In the face of great international pressure – they called him all kinds of names, the EU called what he was doing illegal – but he did it anyway. He built a wall. We said to a Hungarian minister who was standing there, ‘It’s hard to believe that that’s your policy. When you come here illegally you’re just escorted out politely?’ And he said quote, ‘We’re a serious country.’ How embarrassing to be an American in a conversation like that.”

Darcy pointed out how outraged Carlson and the rest of right-wing America would be if Michelle Obama, for instance, had gone abroad and told an authoritarian dictator that she was embarrassed to be an American. But Carlson has no problem exhibiting his shame. Nor does he mind portraying Hungary as “democratic,” despite the fact that Orban has effectively assumed total control for life. Acosta then introduces another clip of Carlson praising the state controlled media of Hungary…

“Let’s say you lived in a big American city and you decided to loudly and publicly attack Joe Biden’s policies. His policies on immigration or COVID or transgender athletes. If you kept talking like that you would likely be silenced by Joe Biden’s allies in Silicon Valley. If you kept it up you might very well have to hire armed body guards. That’s common in the U.S. Ask around. But it’s unknown in Hungary. Opposition leaders here don’t worry that they will be hurt for their opinions.”

WTF? Carlson is actually attacking Joe Biden’s policies in these clips. And his confederates on Fox News do so every hour of every day. Not only have they not been silenced, they are the number one rated cable news network. As for the need for Hungarian critics to hire body guards, Carlson is partly correct. There aren’t any government critics who need to do that. But only because there aren’t any government critics allowed. As Ben-Ghiat noted, over 500 media media outlets “donated” their assets to a foundation run by Orban’s allies. There could never be a Fox News taking shots at the government the way they do in the U.S. Carlson is deliberately covering that up. But then he goes off on this fantasy rant…

“‘Oh, but he’s a fascist,’ scream people who are happy to imprison non-violent political protesters in Washington. ‘Oh, there’s no press freedom,’ say people who support the overwhelming censorship in the American media. ‘He’s bad!’ They haven’t accused him rigging elections yet. Maybe that’s too much even for them.”

What Carlson is referring to as political prisoners are the insurrectionists who attacked Congress on January 6th. He regards them as non-violent, despite their having broken through doors and windows, injured more than 100 police officers, and chanted their intentions to kill Nancy Pelosi and hang Mike Pence.

Furthermore, you have to wonder what Carlson is talking about when he says that there is “overwhelming censorship in the American media.” If that were true, he wouldn’t be able to say it on a highly viewed television network. Additionally, Carlson mocks those who point out that Hungary does not have a free press. He might want to refer to the study by Reporters Without Borders as reported by Voice of America

“A press watchdog group, Reporters Without Borders, named 37 world leaders Monday as media ‘predators’ who ‘crack down massively’ on press freedom, including for the first time a Western European leader, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. […] The watchdog group said oligarchs close to Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party controls more than 80% of the media in the country, while private media is discriminated against and characterized as publishing ‘fake news.'”

Acosta closed by saying of Carlson’s Hungarian PR junket that “It’s very concerning. And I wonder where he’s going next. Maybe to Moscow to do an infomercial for Vladimir Putin. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.” Which pretty much says it all. Except that Tucker Carlson is an unpatriotic, anti-American, traitor to his country and no decent network would keep him on the air. Which explains why he’s on Fox News.

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How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
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Trump is Inciting His Deplorables to Commit Violence Against Journalists

No president in America’s history has been more hostile to the press than Donald Trump. He repeatedly refers to them in Stalinist terms as the “the enemy of the people.” That openly aggressive posturing is an unambiguous assault on the constitution’s First Amendment. And Trump’s vicious rhetoric has been cited as endangering the work – and lives – of journalists, not just in the United States, but around the world.

Trump Charlotsville

On Saturday Trump took another leap crossing over the line of decency and free speech during his latest Coronavirus Super Spreader event in Minnesota. Reading from his teleprompter, Trump told a story about a reporter covering Black Lives Matter protests in the state several weeks ago:

“I remember this guy Welshi. He got hit on the knee with a canister of tear gas and he went down. He was down. […] After we take all that crap – for weeks and weeks they would take that crap – and then you finally see men get up there and go right through… Wasn’t it really a beautiful sight? It’s called law and order.”

Like virtually every story that Trump tells, almost none of this one was truthful. To begin with, the reporter’s name was Ali Velshi, not Welshi. Perhaps Trump was using the Russian pronunciation. Secondly, Velshi was hit by a rubber bullet, not a tear gas canister. But those are relatively trivial misstatements by Trump who is rarely able to express himself coherently (which has not gone unnoticed by the American people).

More troubling was Trump’s celebration of this assault on a journalist by government goons as “a beautiful sight.” How any American “leader” can describe such an attack in those favorable terms is unthinkable. Trump is affirming his long held reputation as a fascist wannabe who aligns himself with the noxious philosophies of the authoritarian dictators he so admires (i.e. Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un, Xi Jinping, etc.). These are people who brazenly violate press freedoms and even torture and murder critical journalists. And Trump is moving more in that direction every day.

Trump elaborated on his praise for federal agents physically assaulting reporters in another speech later in the day in North Carolina. In that tirade Trump got Velshi’s network wrong, saying he was with CNN, rather than MSNBC. He also lied that Velshi was reporting from a “war zone” when the truth was that he was covering a peaceful demonstration. Well, except for the feds. The video of Velshi’s reporting proves that.

Velshi himself addressed Trump’s remarks about the incident when he was shot, and asks a relevant question that Trump will surely fail to answer:

Make no mistake, this was not an off the cuff commentary by a rambling lunatic. Yes, Trump is a rambling lunatic, but this wasn’t off the cuff. He was reading from a teleprompter. And he was deliberately sending a message to his glassy-eyed disciples that assaulting journalists is something that will earn his appreciation. Trump is overtly soliciting his cult followers to commit what can only be described as terrorism. And he is promising to reward them with compliments and praise for what a “beautiful” thing they’ve done.

These remarks by Trump pretty much guarantee that more reporters will be attacked just for doing their jobs. The assailants will feel justified because the president has given his approval in advance. And if there is any justice in this world, Trump will be charged criminally and civilly for any harm that comes to journalists due to his reckless ranting.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
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This Trump Tweetstorm is a Frightening Display of a Psychotic Meltdown in Real Time

The downward spiraling mental state of Donald Trump has been observable for many months (years?). However, it has never been as unmistakably deranged as is evident in his latest Sunday tweetstorm. This is behavior that ought to be of concern to every America, even the presidential bootlickers in Congress and the Trump-fluffers at Fox News.

Donald Trump Zombie

The bizarre rhetoric that Trump unleashes in this Twitter tantrum comes shortly after he bailed out of his Coronavirus Task Force briefings (aka Trump 2020 Reelection Campaign Infomercials). Having proposed one of the most preposterous notions of his presidency – that ingesting disinfectants could cure COVID-19 – Trump reportedly has chickened out of appearing at future briefings. And in anticipation of the loss of that platform, Trump is now lashing out wildly at the free press.

In fifteen tweets Trump never once mentions the coronavirus pandemic. This departure from sanity really speaks for itself. So here it is with minimal annotations (Note: Trump has already deleted some these tweets, but you can search for them here):

The people that know me< and know the history of our Country say that I am the hardest working President in history. I don’t know about that, but I am a hard worker and have probably gotten more done in the first 3 1/2 years than any President in history. The Fake News hates it!"

“…the hardest working president…”? No one is saying that but his glassy-eyed disciples who regard temper tantrums and insults as “work.”

I work from early in the morning until late at night, haven’t left the White House in many months (except to launch Hospital Ship Comfort) in order to take care of Trade Deals, Military Rebuilding etc., and then I read a phony story in the failing @nytimes about my work….”

What Trump thinks is work is tweeting and watching Fox News. Also, Trump left the White House< numerous time in February and March to attend his cult rallies.

“….schedule and eating habits, written by a third rate reporter who knows nothing about me. I will often be in the Oval Office late into the night & read & see that I am angrily eating a hamburger & Diet Coke in my bedroom. People with me are always stunned. Anything to demean!”

You have to wonder who these “people” in his bedroom are. Trump doesn’t bother to name the reporter or link to the article because he knows it’s all true. And it’s notable that he frequently claims that any story that doesn’t name its sources is fake news. Therefore, we can assume that this tweet is as well.

When will all of the “reporters” who have received Noble Prizes for their work on Russia, Russia, Russia, only to have been proven totally wrong (and, in fact, it was the other side who committed the crimes), be turning back their cherished “Nobles” so that they can be given….”

Trump, of course, was impeached (forever) due to his crimes. Not only have they not been proven wrong, they have been confirmed with additional evidence. And it isn’t “Noble,” it’s Nobel, you ignorant dotard. Also, there is no Nobel prize for journalism. Trump is probably thinking of the Pulitzer, if you call what he does “thinking.”

“….to the REAL REPORTERS & JOURNALISTS who got it right. I can give the Committee a very comprehensive list. When will the Noble Committee DEMAND the Prizes back, especially since they were gotten under fraud? The reporters and Lamestream Media knew the truth all along….”

Indeed the media knows the truth, which why they were awarded “Nobles.” The problem is that Trump hates the truth, particularly when it is applied to him.

“….Lawsuits should be brought against all, including the Fake News Organizations, to rectify this terrible injustice. For all of the great lawyers out there, do we have any takers? When will the Noble Committee Act? Better be fast!”

Here Trump is once again attempting to intimidate the free press with bogus legal harassment. I hope he follows through because it would be entertaining to see him get laughed out of court.

The quantity of certifiably insane dialog in these tweets may set new records for Trump. His malignant narcissism, sociopathy, hostility, pathological lying, and obvious desperation and fear jumps out at readers who aren’t unreachably brainwashed. Trump is clearly suffering new lows in his mental decline. And his continuing in office is becoming ever more perilous for the nation. Especially during an ongoing pandemic crisis. If there were ever a time to invoke the 25th Amendment it is NOW!.

UPDATE: As if the above weren’t enough, Trump’s paranoid hysterics continued through the afternoon with specific rage against his most sycophantic cable TV shills at Fox News:

@FoxNews just doesn’t get what’s happening! They are being fed Democrat talking points, and they play them without hesitation or research. They forgot that Fake News @CNN & MSDNC wouldn’t let @FoxNews participate, even a little bit, in the poor ratings Democrat Debates…..”

“….Even the Radical Left Do Nothing Democrats laughed at the Fox suggestion. No respect for the people running @FoxNews. But Fox keeps on plugging to try and become politically correct. They put RINO Paul Ryan on their Board. They hire “debate questions to Crooked Hillary”….”

“….fraud @donnabrazile (and others who are even worse). Chris Wallace is nastier to Republicans than even Deface the Nation or Sleepy Eyes. The people who are watching @FoxNews, in record numbers (thank you President Trump), are angry. They want an alternative now. So do I!”

Hasn’t he hit rock bottom yet? He’s gonna zone out and fall into a hysterical coma. Or overdose on Adderall. Bear in mind that Trump is engaging in these egomaniacal, manic outbursts on Melania’s birthday. Not to mention a global pandemic.

UPDATE II: This is getting ridiculous. Trump just tweeted that his misspelling of Nobel (as Noble) was intentional sarcasm. Yeah, sure. The last time he tried that excuse (Friday) he later admitted that he was lying. And it’s notable that he deleted all of those allegedly sarcastic tweets.

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

Watch as Trump’s Incompetence and Hostility to the Free Press is Exposed

Every day there is new evidence of how Donald Trump neglected to act responsibly to prevent the loss of thousands of American lives. This week we learned that “Top White House advisers as well as experts deep in the Cabinet departments and intelligence agencies all sounded alarms and urged aggressive action to counter the threat from the coronavirus, but President Trump remained slow to respond.”

Trump TV

We also learned, through the release of a series of Red Dawn emails that circulated in the White House, just how determined Trump was to ignore the warning signs of imminent disaster. Even America’s preeminent expert on pandemics, and a member of Trump’s Coronavirus Task Force, Dr. Anthony Fauci, responded with stark honesty on CNN’s State of the Union to the question of whether fewer lives would have been lost had Trump acted sooner:

“You could logically say that if you had a process that was ongoing and you started mitigation earlier, you could have saved lives. Obviously no one is going to deny that … But there was a lot of pushback about shutting things down back [in February].”

In other words, Trump & Co. allowed a pandemic to spread so that they wouldn’t lose money or risk hurting his reelection prospects. In will be interesting to see if Dr. Fauci survives this truth telling when Trump is told about it. (UPDATE: Trump retweeted a post calling for him to fire Fauci).

In another demonstration of the invaluable service that the media is capable of providing, CNN’s Jake Tapper delivered an editorial examining the Trump administration’s plan (or lack thereof) for dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. The segment (video below) included a compilation of Trump’s badgering of reporters and his impotent attempts to intimidate the White House press corps. Tapper led off by noting that “Trump is taking questions from reporters nearly every day, but that does not mean he’s answering them.”

What followed was a stream of examples of Trump lashing out at journalists who were simply doing their jobs. But his childish put downs were pathetic at best, and they only served to reveal his barely veiled fear. He called seasoned reporters “third rate.” “disgraceful,” and “nasty.” He interrupted them before they could complete their questions. And his answers, more often than not, dodged the substance of the questions.

This just adds to the argument that Trump should not even attend these briefings. He has no useful knowledge or experience to offer. To the contrary, he most often unleashes blatantly false “information” that his own advisers have to later refute. He wastes valuable time either attacking legitimate journalists who are asking pertinent question, or embracing propagandists whose questions are nothing more than overt suck ups.

There is only one reason that Trump is showing up at these briefings, and that is to advance his reelection prospects. He has turned what should be a vital information channel into a crass campaign PR affair. Then he tries to make a preposterous argument about the ratings, saying that they are indicative of his alleged popularity.

Tapper summed up his remarks by asking Trump another question that he surely will not answer: “Attacking journalists who ask questions does not make those questions go away. It only reveals that you might not have the answers. Again, sir, respectfully, what is the plan for a way out of this? Do you have one?” If Trump responds to that question at all, it will likely be in the form of tweet that merely says “FAKE NEWS” in all caps without ever referencing the original question about whether or not he has a plan. But that hardly matters. The American people already know the answer to that question.

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

Dear Leader Trump Proposes ‘Forcing’ the Press to Reveal Sources

Apparently Donald Trump isn’t satisfied with having utterly bungled the nation’s response the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Now he is moving on to advocate breaching the Constitution’s First Amendment right to a free press. That’s the same press that Trump routinely refers to in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people.”

Donald Trump, Constitution

In his regularly scheduled Saturday Morning Tweetstorm, Trump was consumed by a fit of anxiety and animosity aimed at the media. It’s hard to know for certain what triggered this outburst, but it’s safe to say that it was probably something he saw on Fox News. The result was this Twitter tantrum that lashes out at some vague disturbance of Trump’s already unsettled psyche:

It’s typical of Trump to baselessly accuse the press of making up sources and stories. It’s equally typical that he never provides any documentation of his allegations, and he often doesn’t even cite the story he’s babbling about, as is the case this time. His charges are not simply venting. He specifically insists that the journalists (whom he declines to name) have deliberately invented fictional sources whose accounts are not merely untrue, they are “knowingly” non-existent. This is Trump’s way of defending himself from whatever criticism might happen to be floating around. It’s a defense that relies on the wispiest of innuendo because Trump can’t defend himself on substance.

It’s fair to say that whatever Trump is whining about is actually true. And since the facts would affirm that, he resorts to a blanket condemnation of the media in its entirety. He’s like a murderer setting an entire apartment building on fire to keep people from finding the body in #407.

It’s ironic that Trump is also complaining that the media is “dangerous and corrupt” and would “do anything to win.” That’s a darn good description of Trump himself. And anyone who has observed him for any length of time knows that projection is a key weapon in his arsenal of character assassination. But he wasn’t through bashing the press:

Trump’s problem with sources goes back many years. Never mind that unidentified sources are a valid staple of professional journalism. Trump’s White House communications staff even uses them regularly during “background briefings” where reporters are only permitted to attribute these official statements to “senior administration officials.” What’s more, as a private businessman Trump was known for acting as his own PR agent, using false names like “John Barron” to plant false stories in gossip columns to convince people that he was a rich playboy. And Trump is no stranger to exploiting the press for his own personal benefit, as he is doing by hijacking the Coronavirus Task Force briefings and turning them into Trump 2020 campaign events.

However, the worst part of this tweetfest was Trump’s suggestion that the media “should be forced to reveal sources.” That is a wholly unconstitutional abuse of power. The First Amendment clearly states the prohibition against “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” That includes any attempt by the government to dictate to journalists how to source their reporting. The ability of the press to gather information from people with inside knowledge is essential to a functioning democracy. And often those people need confidentiality in order to come forward without fear of reprisal. Especially while Trump is in the White House. He is already threatening to revoke the broadcast licenses of TV stations that air ads critical of him.

Furthermore, Trump’s claim that forced disclosure of sources was something that happened “in the long ago past” is downright delusional. Unless he’s talking about the past practices of the sort of tyrants and czars that he so admires (Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, Kim Jong Un, etc.). In which case, it’s no wonder that he yearns for the power to emulate his heroes. That is just so Trumpian. But it isn’t American. And any effort to go forward with what he’s proposing in these tweets needs to be fervently resisted by congress, the press, and all of the American people.

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

Trump-Fluffers at Fox News Make Excuses for His Hijacking the Coronavirus Briefings

Throughout his presidency, Donald Trump has exhibited an unprecedented hostility toward the media and the very concept of a free press as enshrined in the Constitution. He repeatedly refers to it in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people.” Trump is currently suing several news organizations and has recently threatened to revoke the broadcast licenses of stations that air ads critical of him. And in his flaming paranoia, he is convinced that the media is a collective entity that is unified in a covert mission to destroy him. “All I see,” whines Trump about every major news network (including Fox News), “is hatred of me.”

Donald Trump, Fox News, White House

Trump’s press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, has never held a press briefing since her appointment in July of 2019. However, she makes frequent appearances on Fox News, but no other network. Trump has been deservedly criticized for his shuttering of the White House from scrutiny by the press. But he believes that his rambling Chopper Talks suffice as an alternative to an orderly exchange of information and timely disclosures regarding White House activities. They are not. They are simply opportunities for Trump to rant incoherently and to berate his perceived foes in the press corps.

With the advent of an international pandemic, Trump is producing a daily, self-serving, reality show in which he is cast as the star attraction. It is a blatantly obvious attempt to exploit the COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis for his own political benefit. These are nothing more than replacement vehicles for the cult rallies and campaign affairs that can no longer be held due to the risk of exacerbating the pandemic.

Not surprisingly, the press has been critical of this crass exploitation and many journalists are advocating that they not be covered, at least until after Trump’s remarks have been fact-checked and other extraneous campaign content is edited out. This has now caused Fox News to claim that there is some hypocrisy on the part of the press for first complaining about the administration’s abandonment of daily briefings, and now complaining that they are taking place. An op-ed on Fox’s website misconstrues that:

“The mainstream media were clamoring for regular press briefings from President Trump and his administration long before the coronavirus crisis escalated. Former press secretary Sarah Sanders stopped the daily routine in early 2019 and they eventually came to a halt altogether — much to the chagrin of many media members.

“But after Trump and his coronavirus team, including Vice President Mike Pence, Dr. Anthony Fauci, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams and Dr. Deborah Birx, began providing them on a daily basis in late February, some media figures said their networks should stop airing them, leading critics to question the sudden about-face.”

What Fox News is missing is that the press was never “clamoring” for staged events where Trump would lambaste the media, brag shamelessly about things he hadn’t done, and lie his asinine head off for two hours. They merely wanted his press secretary to do her job and be accountable to the public that the press represents.

What Trump is giving them instead is an interminable bitchfest that is intended solely to advance his reelection prospects and feed his voracious ego. This is particularly offensive considering the briefings that Trump is hijacking for his own purposes is supposed to be dedicated to informing the public about a deadly and growing pandemic.

If Trump had any real concern for the nation he would leave these Coronavirus Task Force briefings to the experts and stop wasting time with his lies and petulant attacks on reporters. Then he would reinstate the daily White House press briefings with the press secretary. It’s questionable that even under those circumstances we would get much useful or honest information considering how integral lying is to this administration. But at least we would avoid the endless tantrums and dangerous disinformation that Trump is disseminating with things as they are.

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

Wannabe Dictator Trump Threatens to Revoke Licenses of Stations that Air Critical Ads

As Americans sees the rising number of their fellow citizens becoming victims of COVID-19 (coronavirus), they are simultaneously losing confidence in the “leadership” of Donald Trump. From the beginning he downplayed the threat that the virus represented, insisting that the number of those affected was small and that it would shortly be zero. He could not have been more wrong. On Thursday the number of cases in the U.S. surpassed China.

Donald Trump Tyrant Dictator

And while the virus infections and fatalities go up, Trump’s mental state spirals down. He is sinking into a defensive posture that resembles closely the behavior of paranoid authoritarians who perceive enemies all around them. And one of the most common reactions by such persons is to clamp down on what they believe is a hostile media. Thursday’s Coronavirus Task Force (which he really has no business attending) opened with Trump accusing the press of being “corrupt.” That’s nothing new for someone who has repeatedly referred to the media in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people.”

More troubling is that now Trump is going after a progressive group that produced an ad recounting Trump’s failure to respond to the budding pandemic. Priorities USA compiled some of Trump’s own dismissive statements and juxtaposed them with a chart showing the virus’s rate of growth. This upset Trump and resulted in a “cease and desist” from the Trump campaign organization. Here’s the ad that triggered President Snowflake:

It’s bad enough that Trump would try to intimidate a political group by infringing on their First Amendment rights. But it’s even worse than that. The Trump campaign is actually threatening to revoke the broadcast licenses of any television station that airs the ad. That’s a fascist strongman’s solution to pesky critics who dare to speak out. According to a report in Bloomberg News, Trump’s campaign warned that…

“Failure to remove the ad ‘could put your station’s license in jeopardy’ before the Federal Communications Commission, the campaign said in the letter. ‘Your station has an obligation to cease and desist from airing it immediately to comply with FCC licensing requirements.'”

First of all, let’s establish the fact that the stations do not have any obligation to comply with the Trump campaign’s request that they do not air the ad. That request has no legal standing, and would likely fail to succeed if tried in court. The ad is comprised of Trump’s own words, and they were presented in a manner that reasonably represents their meaning. However, the campaign appears to suggest that the campaign has some ability to influence the FCC, a federal regulatory agency whose members are appointed by the President. That would be a wholly improper arrangement and an unlawful abuse of power on the part of the White House. What’s more…

“The FCC doesn’t appear to have grounds to act against the stations for airing contentious ads, said Jack Goodman, a Washington broadcast attorney, said in an interview. The ad ‘is core political speech’ protected by First Amendment guarantees of free speech, Goodman said.”

The primary complaint by Trump’s campaign concerns an audio clip of him referring to criticism from Democrats, saying that “This is their new hoax.” Trump asserts that he wasn’t referring to COVID-19 itself, but to the Democrats criticism. However, in the full context of his remarks he is itemizing events that he considered to be hoaxes. They included the investigation of Russia’s efforts on behalf of his 2016 presidential campaign, and his impeachment over his attempts to coerce the president of Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden. In both of those incidents his allegations of a hoax referred to the charges themselves, not criticism from Democrats. So why would his meaning be any different for the third item in that list?

This isn’t the first time that Trump has tried to use the courts to prohibit free speech. He is currently suing the New York Times, the Washington Post, and CNN for defamation. Trump is known for filing lawsuits – or threatening to – to harass his foes. But this time he has the power of the presidency to bolster those threats with punishment from agencies that are beholden to him. It’s the sort of authoritarianism that he so admires in his pals Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, and Kim Jong Un. But it is anathema to American democracy and he must not be allowed to get away with it. So feel free to circulate the ad above, far and wide.

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

Trump’s Lawsuits Against the Media Could Produce an Avalanche of Evidence – Against Him

This election year has seen norms in political activity be swept away by Donald Trump’s continued rejection of decency and honesty as he tweets his way through a failing presidency. The observations that Trump is either pitifully ignorant and/or severely demented are impossible to dismiss. His symptoms range from bizarre assertions about windmill cancer and toilet flushing, to intense paranoia, delusions of grandeur, and authoritarian aspirations.

Donald Trump, Constitution

In recent weeks Trump has also been escalating his war against the media that he repeatedly refers to in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people,” which he did once again Sunday morning. Now Trump has set out on a path of litigation that is rooted in hostility and vengeance against the constitutional protections of a free press. This is behavior that reeks of fear, desperation, and the all-consuming mania of an unbridled persecution complex. It began with the announcement a week and a half ago that his campaign is suing his perennial nemesis (in his diseased mind), the New York Times for defamation. And in the short time since then, Trump has announced additional lawsuits against a couple of other perceived foes, the Washington Post and CNN.

Virtually every legal analyst who has commented on these lawsuits considers them not only frivolous, but dangerous. They are intended to inhibit free expression and punish those who dare to criticize Dear Leader. It’s a pure dictatorship play by a president who has repeatedly expressed his admiration for tyrants like Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un, and Xi Jinping. Each of these suits explicitly attack published opinions articles, not hard news. For instance, these are the specific citation in Trump’s legal complaints that he is alleging are defamatory:

New York Times
“There was no need for detailed electoral collusion between the Trump campaign and Vladimir Putin’s oligarchy because they had an overarching deal: the quid of help in the campaign against Hillary Clinton for the quo of a new pro-Russian foreign policy, starting with relief from the Obama administration’s burdensome economic sanctions. The Trumpites knew about the quid and held out the prospect of the quo.”

Washington Post
The lawsuit cites a June 13 opinion piece by Greg Sargent that said Trump “tried to conspire with” a “sweeping and systematic” attack by Russia against the 2016 U.S. presidential election. It also cites a June 20 opinion piece by Paul Waldman that asked “who knows what sort of aid Russia and North Korea will give to the Trump campaign, now that he has invited them to offer their assistance?”

CNN
“The Trump campaign assessed the potential risks and benefits of again seeking Russia’s help in 2020 and has decided to leave that option on the table.”

All of these articles are expressing opinions that are rational, fact-based, and affirmed by authoritative sources. Some are even affirmed by Trump himself. After all, he did ask Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails on national television. What’s more, an extensive investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller found that “Trump and his campaign welcomed & encouraged Russian interference.”

To this day, Trump continues to openly solicit political assistance from hostile foreign countries. And his actions prove that he is working in concert with our adversaries to boost his reelection prospects.

While Trump’s wrathful litigiousness is an assault on press freedom, and has an unambiguous chilling effect on journalists, there is a silver lining to his abhorrent conduct. Should any of these lawsuits ever see a courtroom, Trump will be obligated to comply with discovery orders to turn over documents relevant to his complaint. So the defendants can require him to produce materials that he has been refusing to provide to prosecutors and investigators in Congress. And should he do so, he will almost certainly reveal incriminating evidence that could subject him to criminal indictments.

Consequently, it is highly unlikely that Trump will pursue these lawsuits. He may try to use them for publicity for awhile, and to run up the legal fees for the defendants. But in the end he will probably run away (or try to), as he has done throughout his life. However, he may not be able to escape if the defendants countersue and seek a declarative judgment asserting their rights under the First Amendment. In which case, he might still be required to submit to discovery and even testimony. So even though his intentions are loathsome and anti-American, this could still wind up being kinda fun.

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