Two-Faced Fox News: Both Supporting and Attacking CNN’s Lawsuit Against Trump

The split personality of Fox News is on display with regard to the controversy over their treatment of CNN’s White House correspondent Jim Acosta. The Trump administration revoked Acosta’s press pass last week after a contentious exchange with Donald Trump at a press conference. Trump’s behavior at the event was over the top, even for him. He viciously lashed out and insulted Acosta and several other reporters, including three African-American women.

Fox News, Donald Trump

However, what’s making the headlines now is the administration’s revocation of access to the White House for Acosta and the subsequent lawsuit filed by CNN to restore his First Amendment rights. The suit has been hailed by most of the journalistic community including the White House Correspondents Association and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. And even Fox News issued a statement in support of CNN’s lawsuit:

“FOX News supports CNN in its legal effort to regain its White House reporter’s press credential. We intend to file an amicus brief with the U.S. District Court. Secret Service passes for working White House journalists should never be weaponized. While we don’t condone the growing antagonistic tone by both the President and the press at recent media avails, we do support a free press, access and open exchanges for the American people.”

Fox couldn’t resist highlighting what they called an “antagonistic tone.” but at least they included Trump in the criticism. The rest of the statement is a solid defense of the First Amendment. The problem is that this sentiment expressed by their management is not shared by their program hosts.

For instance, on her Tuesday night program Laura Ingraham is not so supportive. She called the lawsuit a “stunt” and a “farce.” Fox’s media correspondent, Howard Kurtz, wrote an op-ed Tuesday criticizing CNN, saying that “By taking the president to court, CNN also reinforces its image among millions of Trump supporters as part of the opposition.” And Wednesday on the air Kurtz said that “I think this suit is more of a PR effort than a legal one.” Martha MacCallum hosted former Trump press secretary Sean Spicer who dismissed freedom of the press saying that “It’s not a right to be able to go over to the White House.” And Fox’s senior Trump-fluffer, Sean Hannity, complained bitterly for ten minutes about the lawsuit. He disparaged Acosta as “a far-left, grandstanding sycophant left-winger.” Trump was apparently watching, because he later used the “grandstanding” slur in an interview with Tucker Carlson’s rag, The Daily Caller. At no time did Hannity or the others stand up for the principles of freedom of the press.

This is representative of the two faces of Fox News. They like to pretend that they are a part of the journalistic community and committed to the constitutional provisions that protect the media. But their most watched personalities prefer the suppressive concepts favored by dictators who get to choose who cover them and what is permissible to say. And that’s also the position of the Trump White House that defended the President’s censorious punishment of Acosta in a statement that said:

“The President and White House possess the same broad discretion to regulate access to the White House for journalists (and other members of the public) that they possess to select which journalists receive interviews.”

Actually, that isn’t the same thing at all. While Trump has been extremely selective with regard to interviews (the vast majority of which have been with Fox News), a press conference is an open event during which all attendees have equal access. And by selectively banning a reporter who asks tough questions, Trump is manipulating the coverage of his media avails to only those with whom he agrees, or believes he can overcome with bullying, filibustering, and lies. That is not how the Founding Fathers envisioned a free press. And Fox doesn’t get to be a “news” enterprise by issuing a statement in support of the First Amendment, while they put hacks on the air who advocate against it.

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

Fox News Fail: Host Flagrantly Lies that the Media Blamed Trump for Maryland Shooting

The propaganda machine that America knows as Fox News has been working overtime to slander the media on behalf of their Dear Leader, Donald Trump. Of course Trump himself has been the leading voice in the nation castigating the press as “the enemy of the American people,” and feverishly striving to discredit any news enterprise that dares to criticize him. Furthering that goal on Friday evening was Fox’s Laura Ingraham.

Fox News, Laura Ingraham

Ingraham opened her segment on the media (video below) with a montage of clips from CNN and MSNBC that she said demonstrated their attempts to blame Donald Trump for the murders in Annapolis, Maryland. In fact, it only showed these commentators making the obvious connection between the shooter’s hostility for the journalists at the Capital Gazette and Trump’s rabid animosity toward the media in general. It did not suggest, by any stretch of the imagination, that they were blaming Trump for the deaths of the journalists.

However, it cannot be denied that Trump has fostered an anti-press tone that is unjustified, un-American, and unsafe for journalists. In one of the clips reporter Brian Karem noted the fact that there has been a spike in threats against the media since Trump’s election. That doesn’t mean that Trump was responsible for the shootings in Maryland. But it does expose the potential dangers of his hateful rhetoric.

From there Ingraham sought to elaborate on her theme that there was a “rush to judgement blaming Trump.” Never mind that she utterly failed to prove that in her opening. She then turned to Mollie Hemingway of the ultra-rightist Federalist website who said that:

“it was bad enough to see many people in the media trying to blame Donald Trump before anybody knew what was happening. What was really alarming was that they kept with it even after the facts came out showing that there was no correlation between Donald Trump’s very strong criticism of the media and the shooting at the newspaper in Annapolis.”

Again, no evidence of the media blaming Trump was provided before or after the facts of came light. This is just Fox News relentlessly pounding on a false narrative until it sinks in to their willfully ignorant viewers. The same nonsense was pushed by Fox’s chief media correspondent, Howard Kurtz who said:

“This is reprehensible. It’s guilt by association and it’s being spread by journalists who want to blame Donald Trump for everything, including rainstorms and rush hour traffic.”

What’s reprehensible? Critics noting that Trump’s assault on the free press creates a toxic environment? That’s simply the truth. And Kurtz’s snide remarks about weather and traffic don’t bring any light to the discussion. He’s just exacerbating the problem he’s pretending to be so upset over. What’s reprehensible is for a media analyst to further the lie that journalists are spreading Trump’s “guilt” even though he can’t show any evidence of it. And if that weren’t enough, he then engaged in this brief and ludicrous exchange with Ingraham:

Kurtz: Too many organizations are playing to an anti-Trump audience.
Ingraham: A shrinking audience.
Kurtz: Yes, that is true.

WTF? On what basis do these two shills for State TV get the idea that the anti-Trump audience is shrinking? Trump’s approval ratings have skirted the all-time lows for the whole of his presidency. The American people are more disgusted by his ignorance, crudeness, corruption, and criminality than ever. These Fox News hacks are delusional and devoutly committed to spreading blatant lies and propaganda. And lucky for them, there is a faction of the television audience that is just vulnerable enough to their cult tactics for them to get some traction.

Topping it off was a comment by Kurtz that wrapped up the whole segment with a lovely bow of fake concern. He lamented the fact that five journalists were dead, but that that has been “overshadowed by all of this overheated political rhetoric.” Which is funny because that’s what this entire segment was doing. It was ten minutes of overheated political blather that ignored the real world tragedy.

And it was all the more absurd considering that they completely ignored the fact that their own Sean Hannity was the first to “rush to judgment” when he blamed Rep. Maxine Waters and President Obama for the shooting within minutes of the news breaking. Such world-class hypocrisy is emblematic of Fox News who have made it their mission to Make America Gullible and Asinine.

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

Fox News Ignores Trump’s Attack on ObamaCare – While Criticizing the Media for Ignoring It

Last week Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that he would not mount a defense of the provision in the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) that prohibits insurance companies from discriminating against people with preexisting conditions. It is now the official position of Donald Trump’s Justice Department that if you have ever been diagnosed as diabetic, a had migraine, been pregnant, taken cholesterol medication, or suffered any of a thousand other common maladies, your insurance company should be allowed to charge you exorbitant rates or refuse to cover you at all.

Fox News, Howard Kurtz

This decision could result in millions of citizens losing their health insurance and risking the lives of themselves and their families. It is a coldhearted and utterly unnecessary action on the part of an administration that long ago proved it doesn’t care about ordinary Americans. The decision was covered by most news organizations last week. Perhaps not with the frequency and urgency it warranted, but there was broad coverage by the likes of the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, NBC, ABC, and CBS. Notice anyone missing?

The conspicuous absence of Fox News in this list should not surprise anybody. The Justice Department, under direction of the White House, has just taken a position that could seriously damage the electoral prospects of dozens of Republican candidates. The provision protecting for preexisting conditions may be the most popular part of ObamaCare. So Fox News appears to have made a deliberate decision to bury the story. And that possibility became more plausible on Monday when Fox’s chief media correspondent addressed the matter in a web-only video. Howard Kurtz, host of Fox News MediaBuzz, acknowledged both the significance of the issue and the limited coverage (video below):

“It was the most important issue in American politics for years. I’m talking here about ObamaCare. You’ll recall that the House Republicans – what – repealed ObamaCare about a thousand times while President Obama was still in office.” […]

“Now the Trump administration seems determined to strangle the law. And this news, it was covered and there’s been some newspaper stories but very little on television. The administration is now going to court – or getting involved in a court suit in which it says it will no longer defend really the pillar of ObamaCare which is no ban on preexisting conditions. This is pretty stunning news because if there’s one thing that almost everybody likes about the law – and lots of things that people did not like about the law – but it was the idea that if you were sick, you had a condition, you had a heart problem, you had cancer, whatever it was, insurance companies could not turn you down or charge you four times as much as any other people who got insurance.”

There’s just one glaring problem with this video. It never aired on Fox News. Kurtz spent four minutes decrying the sparse treatment this issue received on TV, but he said nothing about it on his own hour long media-focused program on Sunday. In this video he says that the “relatively little television coverage” the matter got was “striking” to him. But if he thought it was that important, then why didn’t he bring it up it on his show? And why didn’t he note that every other national television news network did multiple segments on it, but not Fox News? He is as guilty as his colleagues of ignoring this story, and maybe more hypocritical.

However, Kurtz is right about this issue needing more attention from the media. And it will likely get that attention as the November election gets closer and Democrats make an issue of it. Kurtz even pointed out that a recent poll showed that seventy-five percent of Democrats, and sixty-three percent of Republicans, approve of the law protecting people with preexisting conditions. He even noted that Trump had supported it during the 2016 election. But the only coverage you’ll see of this on Fox News will be in the service of Republicans as they attack proponents of healthcare during their upcoming campaigns. Or maybe in web-only videos that most people will never see.

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

Forgetful Fox News Hack Whines That SNL is Anti-Trump Because of Stormy Daniels’ Bit

It goes without saying that Fox News will leap to the most extreme conclusions in order to delegitimize any entity or person they regard as less than adoring of Donald Trump. Their automatic bias is dialed up to eleven at all times, as is their phony outrage.

Fox News Stormy Daniels

However, an example of this from Sunday’s episode of Fox’s MediaBuzz jumps off the charts as host Howard Kurtz complains about Saturday Night Live recruiting Stormy Daniels to play herself in the cold opening of the program. Kurtz and his guest, Kat Timpf, were both very unhappy that SNL would demonstrate such obvious political partisanship. Here is their exchange (video below):

Kurtz: Does SNL putting on Stormy Daniels herself kind of remove any last pretense that this program is virulently anti-Trump and it’s just about comedy?
Timpf: Yeah, absolutely. It’s very, very anti-Trump. And it’s not as funny because of it. Because we already know where all the jokes are gonna be going. We don’t watch the sketch and see Alec Baldwin and say, “Oh, I wonder what the punchline is gonna be here. The punchline is gonna be “Oh, the President’s an idiot. The President’s a liar.” And the bottom line is the people who are watching it and enjoy it, they are gonna hate President Trump no matter what. But the people who support him, they don’t care about Stormy Daniels. They don’t care about any of this. So it’s not like they’re changing any minds with any of these sketches.
Kurtz: Right. It’s not like Alec Baldwin hasn’t made clear that as a person he detests President Trump.
Timpf: You can tell by the way he acts.
Kurtz: I wouldn’t have any problem with a Stormy Daniels actrress, but Stormy Daniels herself? Really?
Timpf: I’ve had enough Stormy Daniels.
Kurtz: I think our viewers might agree with you.

If knowing what people with obvious agendas are going to say in advance negates their positions, then no one ever needs to watch anything on Fox News. We already know what the punchlines are and they aren’t the least bit funny. Although it’s interesting that Kurtz admits that his audience is a single-minded borg community who all think alike.

However, what really exposes Kurtz and his colleagues at Fox News as partisan propagandists is his deliberate blocking out any part of reality that contradicts his preconceived notions. Here’s why: He’s furious at SNL for casting Stormy, and insists that having done so is proof that the show is anti-Trump. So what did it mean in November of 2015 when Donald Trump was the host of the program for the whole hour and a half? Wasn’t that proof that SNL is hopelessly biased to the right and pro-Trump (despite the universally bad reviews)?

How Kurtz could have forgotten this infamous episode that created a huge stir in the press at the time is unfathomable. But he and his guest somehow managed to latch onto a couple of minutes in this weekend’s program and declare it evidence of a rampant liberal bias, while pretending that Trump’s hosting gig never existed. And Kurtz is the top media correspondent on Fox News. He should – and probably does – know better.

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

HUH? Fox News Wonders ‘How Can Professional Commentators Go On the Air and Speculate?’

From its inception, Fox News was determined to disguise their political biases. They fashioned a network that they would claim is “fair and balanced,” but would never even attempt to live up to that standard. Last year they finally abandoned that slogan and replaced it with one that was obviously and shamelessly inspired by Donald Trump’s anti-media histrionics: “Real News.”

Fox News, Howard Kurtz

So it isn’t surprising when the chief media correspondent on Fox News, Howard Kurtz, would host a discussion on his show about media bias that flagrantly ignores it own ethical breaches. Sunday’s episode of MediaBuzz delved into the controversy surrounding Fox News host, and official Trump-fluffer, Sean Hannity. This week Hannity was revealed in court to be another client of Trump’s beleaguered attorney, Michael Cohen. He vehemently denied that which, in effect, means that he’s calling Cohen a liar. That’s something that Trump himself seems to be preparing to do.

Kurtz was disturbed by the media reaction to Hannity’s unambiguous ethical lapses (video below). Primarily, he found fault with the coverage of this story by his competitors on cable news. He led off the conversation saying that:

“In the aftermath, and it was such intense media reaction to this, a couple of people went on the air on other cable news channels and kind of just got out there.”

As examples of this alleged “outness,” Kurtz played video of two guests that appeared on MSNBC, but no other cable news channels. They raised questions about the undeniably conflicted relationship between Hannity and Cohen. The guests were Danielle Moodie-Mills, a SiriusXM talk show host, and Jennifer Rubin, a conservative opinion columnist from the Washington Post. Both observed the coincidence that Hannity had secured the services of Cohen, a “fixer” who had facilitated payoffs to the mistresses of his other clients (Trump and RNC official Elliot Broidy).

Since Hannity refused to disclose the nature of his relationship with Cohen, it’s entirely fair for pundits to assemble available data and offer analyses that seek to provide a coherent explanation. But that’s not how Kurtz sees it. He asked his guest, Shelby Holliday of the Wall Street Journal:

“How can professional commentators go on the air and speculate, without a shred of evidence right after this happened, that ‘Oh, there must have been a woman involved or something’ and there is absolutely no evidence to support it?”

Seriously? This is Fox News wondering whether it’s appropriate to speculate about public figures. It’s the network that spent years asserting that Barack Obama was an illegitimate president due his birth in Kenya. It’s the network that tried to blame Hillary Clinton for deliberately causing the deaths of American diplomats in Benghazi. It’s the network that advanced wild conspiracy theories like the child sex slave ring in the basement of a Washington, D.C. pizza parlor. And it’s the network that pushed ludicrous allegations that DNC employee Seth Rich’s murder was a clandestine, “Deep State” political assassination. That last one was Hannity’s baby. And those are just a few of Fox’s innumerable adventures in ridiculous and defamatory speculation.

Holliday responded to Kurtz’s inquiry by agreeing that “Journalistically that’s out of bounds. No reporters or news people should be speculating like that.” Of course, the examples that Kurtz played were opinion commentators, not reporters. And to her credit, Holliday did point that out to Kurtz. But Kurtz shot back that “Fine. You can criticize him all you want, but you can’t make stuff up and speculate.”

Well, thanks for that completely obvious and, for Fox News, hypocritical advice. Being told by Fox not to speculate is like being told by Donald Trump not to lie. And the fact that their specialist in media is so woefully lacking in self-awareness makes anything he has to say about the press unworthy of consideration. It’s asinine comments like these that make laughter the only appropriate response to anything Fox News says.

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

In Defense of Fox News (?): Trust in Media Graphic Was Early, Not Censored

There is no question that Fox News is the most brazenly biased right-wing distorter of reality that has even been broadcast. It’s executives, hosts, and contributors are almost entirely devoted to disseminating conservative propaganda, much of it dictated by Donald Trump’s White House. Even worse, Trump’s positions are often dictated by Fox News.

Fox News Lies

That said, there has been a story circulating around the InterTubes that is just plain wrong. It asserts that Howard Kurtz, host of Fox’s MediaBuzz, was surprised by a graphic that showed Fox News as being the least trusted cable news network, and that he called for it to taken down in order to suppress that anti-Fox information. There is a lot wrong with that assertion.

First of all, there was a graphic that appeared during Kurtz’s program that was out of place. Kurtz did ask that it be taken down. But that’s only because it was out of sequence. When that part of the discussion came up a couple of minutes later, he showed that graphic again at the proper time. There was no attempt to censor it. (See video below).

Also, the argument that this graphic was taken down because it showed Fox News as trusted less than MSNBC and CNN is not accurate. The Monmouth University survey that was the basis for the graphic’s data did not compare the networks’ trustworthiness. It compared whether respondents trusted Trump or the media more. That’s actually worse from Trump’s perspective. Although that misreading is largely the fault of Fox News. The graphic needs to be read left to right, not top down. By highlighting the column instead of the rows Fox invited the misinterpretations. As News Corpse previously wrote about this poll:

“Like other polls before it, Monmouth found that Americans trust the media more than they do Donald Trump. That’s gotta sting the President who has been striving furiously to turn the nation against the press. The detail shows that 48 percent of Americans trust CNN more than Trump (35% trust Trump more). Forty-five percent trust MSNBC more than Trump (32% for Trump). Even 30 percent trust Fox News more than Trump (20% for Trump). Although the Fox numbers also show that a plurality of 37 percent trust both equally. This affirms that Trump’s base is still immovably stuck in the low thirties.”

The original story asserting that Fox News was embarrassed by an errant graphic and deep-sixed it appears to have been published by the Associated Press. They have since corrected their story. But it’s important that the record be correct in the progressive media so as to preserve our moral claim to being reality-based. There are more than enough legitimate examples of Fox News lying. And the findings in the poll are bad enough for Trump that they don’t need to be muddied up with misunderstandings.

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

The Desperate Fox News Effort to Spin the Nunes Memo is a Pretty Bogus ‘Bombshell’

The Republican chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, Devin Nunes, spent the last couple of weeks alleging that he had proof of an all-consuming, “deep state” conspiracy to destroy Donald Trump. He didn’t. But that didn’t stop him from beating the drum for partisan drivel that was giddily embraced by many of his GOP colleagues, as well as the conservative media echo chamber.

Not surprisingly, Fox News was the first, and most enthusiastic, torch carrier for the overblown hype that Nunes was peddling. Take a look at how they presented the “news” announcing the memo’s release:

Fox News

Okay, that last one in the bottom-right was from Saturday Night Live, but even they have better journalistic ethics than Fox News does. The others are from Fox’s primetime Trump-fluffers Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, and Saturday’s pitiful wannabe propagandist, Jesse Watters. And what they all have in common is the compulsion to characterize the super-dud Nunes memo as a “Bombshell.”

Let’s be clear, the memo fell as flat as the Earth that Fox’s science deniers are perpetually squawking about. It failed utterly to prove any of the allegations its authors and promoters had put forward. In fact, it literally proved the case made by Democrats that the FISA court’s granting of a surveillance warrant for Trump flunky Carter Page had nothing to do with the Russia investigation or the work of special counsel Robert Mueller. If anything, that was the “bombshell” produced by the memo. And even several Republicans who sit on the Intelligence Committee agree. As reported by Talking Points Memo:

  • Trey Gowdy (R-TN): “I actually don’t think it is has any impact on the Russia probe.”
  • Brad Wenstrup (R-OH): “I don’t think it really has anything to do with” Mueller’s probe.
  • Chris Stewart (R-UT): “This memo has frankly nothing at all to do with a special counsel.”
  • Will Hurd (R-TX): “I don’t believe this is an attack on Bob Mueller.”

None of these Republican members of Nunes’ committee agree with Nunes. Nor do they agree with Trump’s deranged tweet that the Nunes Memo “totally vindicates” him. The measure of psychosis that Trump displays by his narcissistic self-delusion is off the scale. And therefore, so is the hyperbolic, pro-Trump editorializing of the well-orchestrated Fox News “bombshell” amen chorus. They can’t even tell the truth when their own side is dismissing the vacuous memorandum (with an emphasis on the “dumb”).

And don’t expect the designated media expert of Fox News, Howard Kurtz, to set the record straight. He is currently promoting his new book, Media Madness, that is a right-wing take on how much the media allegedly hates Donald Trump. (To be accurate, it isn’t just the media. It’s the vast majority of Americans, but that’s another subject). One of the reasons that Kurtz’s book has rocketed up to #710 on Amazon is that he is undoubtedly the worst media analyst in the business. In one of his recent book tour appearances on Fox News (of course) he said that…

“There is something about Donald Trump, the candidate and now the president, where many journalists and commentators believe they have some kind of mission to save the country from an erratic president. And that’s not journalism.”

Actually, that absolutely is journalism. Kurtz apparently thinks that the mission of the media is to be an obedient lap dog that serves no purpose other than presidential stenography. But the Founding Fathers put a unique protection in the Constitution for freedom of the press specifically because it is sometimes required to take positions that will offend the powerful. It is the duty of the press to alert citizens when their leaders are corrupt, lying, treasonous, ignorant, and even erratic. And it’s all the more critical when we have a president who is all of the above. That is, without a doubt, a real bombshell that is ready to blow bigly.

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

Severely Delusional Fox News Guest Declares That Donald Trump Has Never Incited Violence

Last week the CNN offices in Atlanta received a barrage of threatening phone calls by a man who claimed he was on his way over to “gun down” everyone at what he called the “fake news” network. His language was straight out of Donald Trump’s playbook for intimidating the media that he despises so much. Any objective person would recognize that the deranged caller was inspired by what he heard Trump saying for the past two years.

Fox News Kurtz

That said, it might be unreasonable to expect to find many objective persons at Fox News. And Sunday Morning on MediaBuzz proved that point. The program hosted by Fox’s media correspondent, and right-wing tool, Howard Kurtz, raised the subject of the threats against CNN with his panel of analysts (video below). Among them was Emily Jashinsky of the ultra-rightist Washington Examiner. When asked whether she thought Trump bore any responsibility for the threats, Jashinsky said that…

“I don’t think there’s anything specific that you can point to that Donald Trump himself has said or done that is directly inciting violence.”

SRSLY? Has Jashinsky been held in captivity in underground Idaho bunkers by Apocalyptic cultists for the past couple of years? If not, her ignorance exposes a profound cognitive fracture. There are too many examples of Trump’s overtly hostile rhetoric to list here. But a few of the more heinous ones include:

  • Calling the media “the enemy of the American people.”
  • Praising neo-Nazis as very fine people after a march where a counter-protester was murdered.
  • Posting a tweet of him body-slamming a CNN character in a video.
  • Posting a tweet of a train running over a CNN character in a video.
  • Speculating about whether he might kill reporters covering his campaign.
  • Asking his supporters at a rally to “knock the crap out of” protesters, and promising to pay their legal fees.
  • Yearning for the days when a protester would be carried out in a stretcher,” and saying that he’d “like to punch him in the face.”
  • When speculating about the possibility of Hillary Clinton nominating Supreme Court justices, Trump was comforted by the the thought that “the Second Amendment people” could stop her.

What’s more, Trump regularly refers to the press as “sleazy,” “dishonest,” and “the most horrible people.” He portrays the media, individually and as an institution, as corrupt and committed to destroying his presidency and the country. It isn’t hard to imagine that an unstable Trump supporter (are there any other kind?) might take those verbal attacks to the next level and be convinced that he’s carrying out Trump’s wishes.

As for Kurtz, he is a dyed-in-the-wool Trump sycophant who is no less culpable for this violent rhetoric. During the campaign Kurtz was aghast at what he incorrectly thought was negative treatment of Trump by the press. Kurtz said it was “almost like the press put out a mob hit on Donald Trump.” See? Nothing remotely violent in that kind of language. And nothing that would spur a Trump-worshiping nutcase to take matters into his own hands and “make America great again.”

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

Fox News = The Astrology of Journalism: Cries ‘Fake News’ While Burying Their Own Fakery

On Sunday morning Fox News has a program that ostensibly covers what’s happened in the media during the prior week. MediaBuzz is hosted by Howard Kurtz, a reliably right-wing shill who spins almost every story in favor of Donald Trump and conservative Republicans. The latest episode had plenty of red meat to chew on, but Kurtz predictably managed to shift the focus to the so-called “liberal” news outlets while letting his own network off the hook.

Fox News Howard Kurtz

The program began by dedicating the whole A-block to Trump flunkies Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie. They spent several minutes bashing Democrats with provably dishonest statements. Kurtz never once challenged them or questioned the phony basis for their remarks. And when he eventually wrapped up this Trump Lovefest, Kurtz moved on to devote much of the rest of the program to comparatively minor media mix-ups.

In the first instance Kurtz pressed his panel to discuss a CNN story that misstated the date of an email (September 14 rather than 4). The main point of the story was to reveal a communication with the Trump campaign about Wikileaks and Hillary Clinton’s hacked emails. That was little changed by the differences in the date. It’s still significant that Trump and his associates were alerted to the Wikileaks data almost immediately after it was posted. Nevertheless, several minutes were spent discussing the story that CNN had quickly corrected.

Kurtz also featured a tweet of a photo that showed low attendance at Trump’s Pensacola rally for Roy Moore. Dave Weigel, a Washington Post reporter retweeted the photo on his personal account, not as a WaPo item. He later apologized saying that the photo was taken before Trump’s arrival (although other photos seem to confirm that the venue was not “filled to the rafters”. as Trump said). Trump also addressed this tweet and, in a tweet of his own that breaches the constitutional protections of a free press, he called for Weigel to be fired.

A date mix-up and a reference to Trump’s crowd size are typical of the trivia that Fox News seems to be perpetually obsessed with. They blow up stories like these into major catastrophes because they haven’t got any legitimate criticisms to report. And they conclude from these trite examples that the media is hopelessly biased and infested with fakery. Trump himself lied about these mishaps being “vicious and purposeful,” when there is no basis whatsoever for that hyperbolic and delusional reaction.

What makes the focus of Kurtz’s program all the more troubling is that Fox News also had a problem this week with a report that they had to correct. Of course, they have lots of problems every week that they never bother to correct. But this story resulted in Fox News editing their story and headline because it was too dishonest even for them.

The story was about Roy Moore, the GOP senate candidate in Alabama who has been accused of sexual assault on a minor (among other atrocities). Fox’s headline falsely asserted that “Roy Moore accuser admits she forged part of yearbook inscription attributed to Alabama Senate candidate.” There was just one little problem with that. The accuser, Beverly Young Nelson, never admitted any such thing. All she did was reveal that she made a notation, next to Moore’s yearbook message and signature, to recall the date and location it was signed. Nothing was forged, and there was no attempt to deceive anyone into thinking the notation was Moore’s handwriting.

Fox News changed the headline (although not the URL) to read “Roy Moore accuser admits she wrote part of yearbook inscription attributed to Alabama Senate candidate.” But that’s also untrue. She did not write Moore’s inscription and she did not attribute the notation to Moore. Fox’s correction fell beneath ethical standards expected of professional journalists. And the magnitude of the mistake was far more serious than those of CNN and the Weigel. In fact, Fox News literally accused Ms. Nelson of the crime of forgery, something she could sue them for.

That seems like it would be an excellent story for a program that reports on the media to cover. But Kurtz gave the Fox News story a whopping three seconds. He mentioned it in passing as he immediately segued back to other alleged media faux pas. He didn’t criticize Fox for the error or allow his panel to discuss it. He quite obviously and deliberately buried the story. And that’s pretty much his mandate for the program he hosts. It’s a regularly scheduled propaganda machine to make all other media look bad, while sweeping Fox’s far more blatant problems under the rug.

Most intelligent media consumers are aware that mistakes happen. Reporters are human. And the presence of errors does not translate into “fake news.” To the contrary, when a mistake is made an ethical news operation will acknowledge and correct it. That’s actually evidence of their honesty and dedication to the truth. Conservative David Frum put it perfectly Sunday morning on CNN’s Reliable sources when he said:

“These mistakes are precisely why people should trust the media. Astronomers make mistakes all the time because science is the process of the discovery of truth. Astrologers never make mistakes, or at least they never own up to them. Because what they are offering is a closed system of ideology and propaganda.”

And that could not be a better description of the difference between Fox News and responsible journalism. Fox is the astrology of news. They report what they believe their audience wants to hear. And it doesn’t matter if they have to make it up or bend it to fit a preconceived viewpoint. It’s purpose is not to inform, but to make the audience feel better about themselves and to affirm what they already believe (or hope) is true. And the way Fox News reads the stars somehow always divines good news for Trumpians and bad news for Democrats and liberals. Funny how that happens, isn’t it?

And this just in: Leland Vittert of Fox News was having a discussion this morning about fake news when he interjected that Dave Weigel had been fired from the Washington Post. That is fake news.

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

WTF: Fox News Media Critic Says ‘The Press Put Out A Mob Hit On Donald Trump’

There is always an unmistakable moment when desperation sets in for people or organizations that are undergoing difficult times. That moment came yesterday for Fox News and their advocacy of Donald Trump. The evidence is the commentary by their media correspondent (video below), Howard Kurtz, who hosts Fox’s MediaBuzz, has been a consistent proponent of Trump from the outset of his campaign.

Godfather

Kurtz was interviewed on Fox Monday by Abby Huntsman who introduced the segment by asking “what is going on here” with the media bias against Trump. Kurtz responded fervidly that he had “never seen anything remotely like this, and I have been saying this for months.” He was visibly roused about what he perceived as an unusually shrill display of partisanship by the press. Continuing on that path he ranted about:

“The obvious distaste, bordering on disgust, that many journalists and commentators have for Donald Trump – he was able to defeat that during the primaries – but it’s been going on for quite a while. In the last ten days it is almost like the press put out a mob hit on Donald Trump. The imbalance is so overwhelming on almost every media site and outlet that it can no longer be denied.”

Is he freakin’ serious? First of all, there is only one person responsible for the media coverage of Donald Trump and that’s Donald Trump. Granted, the last ten days has been a veritable shitstorm for Trump. But no one in the press forced him to insult the grieving parents of an American hero. He wasn’t coerced by some reporter to lie about having seen palettes of cash being unloaded from a plane. His whining about “rigged” elections didn’t come from the media. Calling Hillary Clinton the devil was his idea. Declaring his affection for Vladimir Putin and his animosity for NATO can only be attributed to him. Absolutely none of that is the fault of the media, and covering it is not an expression of distaste or disgust. It’s actually called journalism.

Secondly, the general chaos and disunity of a Republican Party led by a self-absorbed bigot was not invented by a twisted journalist obsessed with destroying Trump. It was the predictable consequence of putting a pitifully ignorant and thoroughly unhinged narcissist at the helm of the GOP. If anything, the reporting on Trump has been insufficiently critical. Reporters too frequently resort to timid descriptions of Trump as merely being wrong or mistaken when in reality he’s a pathological liar. Likewise, they characterize his frothing, infantile insults as simply negative opinions.

For Kurtz to assert that reporting on the offensive and ludicrous behavior of Trump is in any way analogous to a mob hit is not only dreadfully out of bounds, it reveals Kurtz’s own partisan prejudices. He has been serving as The Donald’s chief fluffer for over a year now. Clearly his role at Fox News is to carry forward Trump’s hostility to the press from the inside. And Trump has returned the favor by largely limiting his press availability to Fox News.

Finally, Kurtz’s assertion of an overwhelming imbalance that can’t be denied is downright delusional. It is especially troubling for someone who professes to be a media expert. The truth is that Trump received far more coverage, and more favorable coverage, than any of his opponents, including Hillary Clinton. This was proven by a study conducted by Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy. What’s more, this is a study that any reputable media analyst would be aware of. So Kurtz’s failure to address it marks him as either disreputable or dishonest (or both). Which makes him the perfect media correspondent for a disreputable and dishonest network like Fox News.

UPDATE: Consistent with the right’s inclinations toward violence, Donald Trump was speaking today about the prospect of Hillary Clinton nominating Supreme Court justices. He complained that there was nothing that could be done about that if she were president. Then he added that “the Second Amendment people” could stop Clinton. It was a blatant call for someone to assassinate her. I really don’t know how his campaign survives crap like this.

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