Trump, the Whiner, Parrots His Senior Media Advisors, Dobbs, Diamond & Silk, Via Fox News

Let’s put to rest the notion that Donald Trump regards himself as an icon of strength and triumph. If there is one thing that Trump has excelled in to the exclusion of all others, it’s his relentless whining about how hopelessly impotent and powerless he is. Trump literally bragged about being “the most fabulous whiner.” So despite having majority control of all three branches of government, Trump and company persist in their pathetic whimpering that they are mercilessly oppressed, suppressed and obstructed from achieving any of their repugnant goals.

Fox News, Diamond & Silk

In his latest attempt to create a media distraction from the horrendous drubbing he took for demeaning John McCain, Trump turned to Fox News for anything that he could post to Twitter that might take the heat off for a few moments of relief. He found it in a segment from the Lou Dobbs program on the Fox Business Network. And without bothering to confirm the ludicrous assertions in the clip, Trump tweeted out that:

Needless to say, that is all Grade A bunk that has no basis in fact. The Republican controlled Congress even held hearings to ascertain whether the Internet and social media were employing any tactics to inject political bias into what are supposed to be neutral search results and news feeds. They found nothing. Instead, they reaffirmed that the algorithms used by tech companies are not based on ideology, but that they respond to what people want to see.

However, that didn’t stop Trump from threatening Google Tuesday morning. And it didn’t stop Dobbs from spewing demonstrably false charges against Google and others along with his guest experts on media and technology, Diamond & Silk. This dynamic duo has been squealing about imaginary censorship for months. The exchange they had with Dobbs was an exercise in how to dumb down America on what is supposed to be a financial news channel (video below):

Dobbs: I take it that you’re not surprised that Google is sort of banning conservatives from their search results with President Trump?
Diamond: No, it’s not surprising. And to us it looks like it’s tyranny. You have these media outlets, along with Google, taking and they’re suppressing voices of conservatives. Not only that but they’re thumbing down our pages where we can’t see President Trump’s content or good news about what’s going on in this country when it comes to this president. And I am not for big government, but I really do believe that the government should step in and really check this out. Because this is, again, the sort of [inaudible] of tyranny. We don’t need dictatorship. We don’t need people controlling what we can and cannot see.
Silk: And this also look like a form of political lynching. Insteading of using the news, what they are doing is using algorithms and a form of censorship to Trump people’s platforms out, to keep you from being able to do your search whenever you want to search for our beautiful president.

Notice that Dobbs began with a matter of fact statement that Google is “banning conservatives” even though he has no facts to support that charge. And his Looney Tunes guests join the choir with even more extremist banter about tyranny and dictatorship and lynching and the deflowering of “our beautiful president.”

Dobbs went on to charge that Google’s search technology has become shallow and political. Then he complains about the “deep, profound concentration of wealth” and the “deep, profound concentration of political power.” Which is a position that would delight America’s socialists and critics of income inequality. Except that Dobbs is only applying this rhetoric to those who he perceives as foes of the President and the ultra-rightist agenda he represents.

What’s more, these stalwart defenders of conservative values are pushing for the government to stomp its boot down on the Internet’s defilers of Trumpian goodness. Never mind that the First Amendment prohibits the regulation of speech by private companies. The Constitution is an impediment to the propagandist objectives of Trump and Fox News. They can’t merely dismiss their hypocrisy by claiming to be against big government while advocating for such regulations. Even Trump’s chief economic advisor, Larry Kudlow, warned that “We’re taking a look at it,” And the one policy measure they could pursue that would prevent bias by anyone, would be the one they are affirmatively trying to kill: Network Nuetrality.

But while pounding on the political oppression by the enemies of Trumpism, at least Dobbs is comforted by the presence of Trump saying that “If we didn’t have a president like this one I don’t know where we’d be.” Then Dobbs contradicts the whole premise of the segment by noting that Trump “has his own access to the American people” via social media. So he’s now arguing that Trump and his confederates are enjoying unprecedented success getting their message out. So where the hell is the alleged censorship?

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

Now Fox News Is Citing Sleazy InfoWars As Source To Smear Hillary Clinton

After years of pretending to be fair and balanced while shilling for Republicans, Fox News has completed a frightening metamorphosis. This morning they took a giant leap into the black hole of crackpot conspiracy theory. It’s a development that illustrates the lengths they will go to promote their home-brewed presidential candidate, Donald Trump.

Fox News/InfoWars

On Fox & Friends First, co-host Heather Childers introduced a segment alleging that Google is “trying to sway the presidential election.” Their evil plot consists of manipulating search results to suppress evidence of the trail of dead bodies left by Bill and Hillary Clinton. Cheryl Casone of Fox Business Network took the handoff to report that:

“Google is being accused of hiding negative stories about Hillary and her campaign by changing its algorithm to bury stories like the ‘Clinton body count’ story. That’s according to website InfoWars.”

Seriously? So Fox News is now associating itself with the utterly delusional ravings of Alex Jones and his InfoWars conspiracy site? This is the same InfoWars that claimed that the massacre of twenty children in Newtown, CT, was a government plot to confiscate the guns of American citizens. It’s the same InfoWars that has been the leading light of the 9/11 Truther movement. Not to mention the wingnut’s goto source for Birther BS. And, by the way, it’s also the same InfoWars that has endorsed Donald Trump for president and given him a platform on their webcast.

It is also interesting to note that Fox believes there is a “Clinton body count” story to be buried. And why not? They have been reporting that Obama is a secret gay Muslim from Kenya who founded ISIS for years. So what is Fox News and InfoWars so worked up about today?

“If a Google user types in ‘Clinton body,’ they get car repair shop results instead of a story that talks about a list of people tied to the Clintons who have died under mysterious circumstances over the last three decades.”

Oh my heavens. Bring me the smellin’ salts, Margaret. Apparently Google is participating in the cabal to suppress the Clintons’ thirty year murder spree. Fox and InfoWars believe that Google’s biased search results need to be corrected. Instead of intelligently curated data, they should highlight slanderous fables from the diseased minds of right-wing hate mongers.

It’s impossible to ignore the connection to Donald Trump’s campaign. He has been a frequent guest on InfoWars. Plus, his new campaign chair (Stephen Bannon of Breitbart News) is cut from the same soiled cloth as Alex Jones. There is an unmistakable trend toward the bonehead breed of pseudo-journalism that is sprouting up around Trump and his media advocates. His stump speeches are now almost entirely read from TelePrompters pre-loaded with talk radio style bombast. These include charges that Clinton is a felon, a traitor, and is about to drop dead.

These sort of screwball ideas are not surprising from InfoWars. They are, in fact, their reason for being. But for Fox News to reach down into that cesspool of idiocy is a new low, even for Fox. What is the limit of their debasement of journalism if it isn’t aligning with InfoWars? Fox has allowed such nonsense to bubble up into their reporting in the past. But this may be the first time they have explicitly attributed their story to InfoWars. That might be more honest, but it is a bad sign nonetheless. It means they are comfortable mainstreaming the likes of Alex Jones.

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

Rupert Murdoch Tweets Up A Storm For SOPA

New Twitter user, Rupert Murdoch, has been busily cramming his support for the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) into 140 characters. His advocacy for SOPA is a thinly disguised scheme to squeeze out more profits for his company at the expense of free speech and a vibrant, innovative Internet environment. His latest use of social media to advance his personal interests began with a Tweet aimed at President Obama:

Murdoch Tweet

Now Murdoch is attacking “Silicon Valley paymasters” as thieves. Whatever happened to the valiant, capitalist, entrepreneurs who represented the high principles of free market patriotism? All that goes away if you challenge Murdoch’s control over any aspect of his perceived empire. And Google has long been an enemy of Murdoch’s. His next Tweet targets Google directly for advertising and lobbying:

Murdoch Tweet

This is an ironic complaint since it is pretty much the News Corp business model. Murdoch’s Fox Nation is almost entirely comprised of “stolen” content. He aggregates news stories from other sources, slaps his logo on them, and sells his advertising. As for lobbying, Since 2003 News Corp has spent about $45 million dollars on lobbying – twice what Google has spent. Murdoch’s frenzy to out spend, and out maneuver, Google must be having an effect on his mental state, because this next Tweet descends into incoherence:

Murdoch Tweet

Well, who isn’t angry at Optus (the second largest telecommunications company in Australia)? Like most telecom entities it is just another giant corporate … oh … Hang on there. Apparently Murdoch meant POTUS (President of the United States). But that doesn’t make any sense because the only people angry with Obama over SOPA are the opponents of the bill. Maybe backing censors and opponents of free speech is another of the frequent miscalculations by Murdoch. He would be well advised to defer to Obama who recently addressed this issue saying:

“We will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global internet.”

But if Murdoch wants to continue supporting SOPA and Tweeting his lame, self-serving thoughts on the matter, the Internet community will welcome his participation in a free and open dialog, even though he wouldn’t return the favor.

The Real Reason Glenn Beck Is Bashing Google

It’s getting harder and harder to keep up with Glenn Beck’s conspiracy delusions. If it isn’t health care reform being a backdoor to reparations for slavery, it’s Cash-for-Clunkers being a plot to let the government take control of your computer. Or food safety regulations being an excuse to raise prices so that people starve. Or that chemical trails from airplanes are actually missiles from a Chinese submarine off the coast of Santa Monica.

Lately Beck has taken to accusing Google of somehow being in cahoots with the federal government to foment unrest around the world or recruit our youth into socialist conclaves or … who knows what. He is certain that whatever it is, it is evil. On Monday’s program Beck gave this ominous warning to his legion of disciples:

“May I recommend, if you’re doing your own homework, don’t do a Google search. Seems to me that Google is pretty deeply in bed with the government. Maybe this is explaining why Google is being kicked out of all the other countries? Are they just a shill now for the United States government?”

Beck continued his assault on Google today, accusing it of being a hard-left enterprise with ties to many of his favorite enemies. These include FreePress.net, the Tides Foundation, MoveOn.org, Van Jones, and (gasp) George Soros.

So what got Beck’s panties in a bunch over Google? Is he really disturbed by its size and lack of respect for privacy? He never really cared that much about those issues if it were Koch Industries or Microsoft. In fact he ordinarily celebrates large, successful, intrusive business like banks or insurance companies as representative of America’s opportunity. Is it his innate distrust of technology and youth culture? He clearly has an animosity toward young people and an affinity for an analog past that favors blackboards over digital displays.

These things may tell a part of the story, but there is something more fundamental that may explain Beck’s Google bashing. His boss, Rupert Murdoch, has had it in for Google for about a year now. He believes that Google is appropriating his content and failing to compensate him for it, and he has taken this battle to extremes asking, “Should we be allowing Google to steal all our copyrights?”

Of course, Google is doing no such thing. They are simply aggregating news from many sites across the web. They are providing links to Murdoch’s web sites, and others, that actually increase traffic and revenue. And this is something he could stop easily at any time with one line of code that would block Google from including his sites. What’s more, Murdoch does the very same sort of news aggregation on many of his own sites like Fox Nation. But the issue is that Murdoch wants to force Google to pay him for the extra business they send his way and Google had the audacity to decline.

Another wrinkle involves Murdoch’s brand new iPad-only application, The Daily. Murdoch has high hopes for this fee-based news product. He has said that it is the future of news and that it will be the cornerstone of his news empire going forward. He launched it in conjunction with Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who will also share in the earnings. Apple also announced that it is offering a new service that will provide access to other news and magazine publications on a subscription basis. That service will be competing with a similar service recently announced by Google.

Google is also competing with Apple on cell phones and cell phone operating systems, Internet browsers, advertising, and even computer tablets. So Murdoch’s partner and publisher, Apple, will be going up against Google in numerous businesses, including his cherished iPad app, The Daily.

Glenn Beck is a notorious profit whore. He exploits every type of media available. And he sells, not just advertising, but his own endorsement, to gold dealers, survivalist gear, and right-wing lobbyists. Should we be suspicious that Beck is now attacking Google when his employer is in fierce competition with them? Well, only if we are already suspicious of Beck for being otherwise obsessively driven by a profit motive, so you tell me. Do your own homework.

[Update 2/17/11:] Beck is apparently feeling the heat after embarking on a another paranoid journey down a conspiracy riddled path with regard to Google. He must have gotten some complaints because now he is backtracking and attempting to soften his stance. He whined on his radio program this morning that he is being wrongly accused of advocating a boycott of Google.

It is true that he told his TV viewers yesterday that he was against boycotts and wasn’t calling for one. But can you really assert that you are not calling for a boycott after ranting that Google is in bed with an evil government; is aligned with radical leftists; is fomenting violent uprisings; and is engaged in espionage? Then he explicitly told his audience not to use Google, and even posted a video on his web site instructing people on how to find alternatives. But he’s not calling for a boycott? He must have another name for it.

This is similar to how Beck incites violence and then denies that he has done so. He tells viewers that Francis Fox Piven, or George Soros, or whatever enemy he is fixated on that day, that they are evil incarnate; that they are working to destroy America; that they are determined to harm you and your family, and to blaspheme your God. Then, after building a frightening case for imminent danger on your doorstep, he says that he doesn’t believe in violence. Yeah, right. But you should do your own homework. If you believe in violence, well then…..

Rupert Murdoch Sneers At Google – Google Shrugs

Rupert Murdoch has been whining for months about Google and other Internet search sites “stealing” his content. His complaint is that web users seeking information will search on sites like Google and then be directed to News Corp pages like Fox News and the Wall Street Journal. This is apparently something to which he objects.

It is hard to find any logic in his complaints. If traffic is directed to his web sites it increases his page views, which permits him to charge more for advertising. It also presents an opportunity to convert those readers into loyal customers from whom he can solicit subscription fees. It is difficult to grasp what he is so upset about. Particularly since he can put an end to it all by simply placing a line or two of code in a file (robots.txt) that will restrict Google and others from indexing his sites and sending them more traffic.

Murdoch’s lament has evolved into a threat to remove his sites from Google. Of course, Google has long made known that he could do that at any time. What really makes this impotent threat even more perplexing is that he is now saying that he will carry it out in conjunction with his intent to make his sites accessible only to paying customers. Perhaps he doesn’t realize that once he constructs his pay wall, the content would not be available to Google’s users anyway. In effect he is saying that he will withhold his content from people who already can’t access it. That’ll show ’em.

During the interview Murdoch demonstrated his ignorance of the Internet and his own businesses. He asserted that the Wall Street Journal already did bar non-subscribers. That isn’t entirely true. If you search for an article on the WSJ site, you will only be able to view a paragraph without signing up. But you can search for the same article on Google and read the whole thing. Once again, that’s under Murdoch’s control, not Google’s.

Murdoch also demonstrated his hypocrisy. While he is slamming Google and other content aggregators for linking to his properties, he is doing the very same thing with his Fox Nation web site. Fox Nation is nothing more than a hub for news items from other sources. So Murdoch, by his own definition is “stealing” their content.

The Sky interview also covered Murdoch’s views about the BBC, which he called a “scandal.” Clearly he is disturbed by a publicly supported news enterprise that is committed to providing news and information for free, while he is anxiously plotting to close off his content to anyone unwilling to feather his nest. He has even threatened to sue other news providers for copyright infringement. Someone might want to inform him that, unless you overtly plagiarize an article, the news does not belong to anyone. If Fox reports on a shooting in Texas, they cannot prevent me from reporting the same thing, so long as I don’t cut and paste their story verbatim.

I can’t wait until Murdoch comes through on his threats to cut off Google and to bar access to his web sites. Reducing the amount of garbage that Murdoch showers on the world will be a big contribution to journalism and the advancement of knowledge.

Microsoft, News Corp, and Yahoo, Oh My

The armies of consolidation are on the march. Last week, Microsoft made a surprise $44 billion bid for Yahoo. Microsoft is desperately trying to shore up its exposed Internet flank, which Google is battering brutally. Snatching up Yahoo would go a long way toward putting Microsoft back in the online game.

Enter News Corporation. Rupert Murdoch is now reportedly offering a deal that allows Yahoo to remain mostly independent. He would trade Fox Interactive Media for a 20% stake in the new and improved Yahoo. FIM is significant property. It includes Myspace, Photobucket, games giants IGN and GameSpy, AmericanIdol.com, and the MyFox internet platform for the News Corp-owned television station group.

I’m not sure which of these is better (or worse, to put a negative spin on it). Murdoch is, of course, pure evil. But his proposal would leave Yahoo independent and in control of some of the biggest destinations on the web. And all it would cost them is a 20% chunk of the company. Microsoft is a serial monopolist in its own right, and their deal would consume Yahoo whole. On the other hand, they aren’t Murdoch.

Ultimately the problem’s roots go back to the hyper-consolidation that has created an environment where all parties believe that they have to become gargantuan just to be able to compete and survive. In this matter, there don’t seem to be any good options.