Hannity Worries as Fox News Insiders Complain ‘We’re Being Defined By the Worst People on Our Air’

There has been much speculation about the future direction of Fox News following Disney’s acquisition of most of the Fox entertainment assets. Rupert Murdoch remains at the helm of the cable “news” network, while his son Lachlan runs the new, shrunken Fox Corporation. Insiders are wondering about whether the network will continue to be the State TV division of the Donald Trump administration.

Fox News Sean Hannity

Now Gabriel Sherman of Vanity Fair is reporting that some changes may be in store for Fox News. Sherman has been a reliable source about what goes on behind the curtains at Fox. He wrote the definitive biography of the late, disgraced Fox CEO Roger Ailes, The Loudest Man in the Room. In his new article he sheds some light on the rumblings within an organization that has widely come to be seen as a propaganda mouthpiece for an authoritarian style White House regime:

“Donald Trump’s alliance with Fox News has been one of the few constants throughout his shambolic presidency. But in recent days, that bond has shown signs of fraying. […] Fox journalists, bristling at being branded an arm of the Trump White House, are lobbying Fox News C.E.O. Suzanne Scott and President Jay Wallace to rein in Fox & Friends, Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs and Pirro. ‘Reporters are telling management that we’re being defined by the worst people on our air,’ a frustrated senior Fox staffer told me.”

Actually, most Fox News reporters are doing much of that branding themselves. While the primetime StormTrumpers set the tone for the network (with few signs that they are being reined in), the other hosts and contributors either back them up or decline to repudiate the lies and insults that are the red meat of Fox’s editorial mission.

Trump recently took a gentle swipe at Fox News for briefly suspending one of his favorite fluffers, Jeanine Pirro due to her virulently racist comments about Muslim representative Ilhan Omar. He also propped up Tucker Carlson following his offensive remarks on a shock-jock radio show, and gave what he must believe is the ultimate insult to Shepard Smith by saying that he belongs on CNN.

Sherman writes that the alleged “civil war” at Fox will be decided by Lachlan Murdoch, who is described as a “Libertarian conservative, not a MAGA diehard.” He suggests that the hiring of former DNC chair Donna Brazile signals a change in direction for Fox. That’s a weak argument considering that they also just hired the radical wingnut former congressman Trey Gowdy, who led the GOP-controlled committee that wasted years and millions of dollars on Benghazi hearings that produced nothing but ridicule for the Republican Hillary fetishists.

One of the most compelling disclosures in Sherman’s reporting concerned Sean Hannity, Trump’s shadow chief-of-staff:

“Sources said Hannity is angry at the Murdochs’ firing of Ailes and Bill Shine, Hannity’s close friend and former producer. Hannity believes the Murdochs are out to get Trump. ‘Hannity told Trump last year that the Murdochs hate Trump, and Hannity is the only one holding Fox together,’ a source who heard the conversation told me. Hannity has told friends that he intends to leave Fox when his contract expires in early 2021, two people who’ve spoken with him said.”

You have to wonder where Hannity would go if he left Fox News. Other Fox alum have not fared so well outside that fortress of rightist disinformation. For instance, where are Glenn Beck, Greta Van Susteren, Bill O’Reilly, and Megyn Kelly today? What’s more, Hannity’s egotistical opinion that he’s the glue binding Fox together is laughable. For one thing, he’s losing his time period to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. For another, his Fox stablemate, Tucker Carlson, is outperforming him on Fox. And the network still has Laura Ingraham, Neil Cavuto, Jesse Watters, and the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends slobbering all over Trump.

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

Finally, Sherman’s sources tell him that Fox News could be on the auction block. That would be an interesting development that would leave the Murdochs with just the broadcast entertainment network, their station group, and some cable sports channels. But even if Rupert were willing to let go (doubtful), who would buy Fox News? What media enterprise would benefit from owning a disreputable news outlet whose advertisers are fleeing in droves? Would the Murdochs (who are still the majority shareholders) allow a sale to Jeff Bezos? Or would they look for a conservative billionaire to ride up on a white (nationalist) horse? Time will tell.

Trump’s Abuse of Power: New Democratic Intel Committee Chair to Probe Attacks on the Media

The success of the Democratic “Blue Wave” that rolled over the Republican Nationalist Party last Tuesday – and continues still – is certain to have a profound effect on the next Congress. With a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, every committee chair will be a Democrat who is now free to hold the Trump regime accountable for its many unlawful and unethical acts.

Donald Trump

One of those new chairs is Adam Schiff of the House Intelligence Committee. He has a broad mandate to investigate the administration on everything from the Russia collusion to obstruction of justice to Trump’s unsavory relationships with foreign dictators like Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un. And on Sunday morning Schiff identified another topic of inquiry that is critically important to the nation’s security and freedom.

Schiff told Axios that he is planning to hold hearings on Trump’s reckless and anti-constitutional assaults on the free press. This is long overdue for a censorious president who whines “fake news” whenever he doesn’t like the facts about him being accurately reported. It’s overdue for notorious liar who repeatedly refers to the media in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people.”

Just this week Trump attacked several journalists, calling them “stupid” and “rude” and “racist” and otherwise insulting them personally and professionally. And it is not inconsequential that three of those reporters were African-American women. Trump also suspended the White House pass for CNN’s Jim Acosta, falsely accusing him of “placing his hands” on an intern who was trying to grab the microphone away from him. Later, Trump threatened to revoke more passes in the future.

According to Axios, there two primary issues that Schiff cited as worthy of further inquiry:

1) Schiff said Trump “was secretly meeting with the postmaster [general] in an effort to browbeat the postmaster [general] into raising postal rates on Amazon.”

“This appears to be an effort by the president to use the instruments of state power to punish Jeff Bezos and The Washington Post,” Schiff said. Jeff Bezos is founder, chairman and CEO of Amazon, and owns the Washington Post.

2) Schiff said Congress also need to examine whether Trump attempted to block AT&T’s merger with Time Warner as payback to CNN.

“We don’t know, for example, whether the effort to hold up the merger of the parent of CNN was a concern over antitrust, or whether this was an effort merely to punish CNN,” Schiff said.

Trump is an infantile grudge holder who fervently despises CNN and regularly seeks to disparage the network without any valid cause. That’s why he unsuccessfully opposed the merger with AT&T. Likewise, Trump hates (and is jealous of) real billionaire Jeff Bezos, who’s ownership of the Washington Post triggered Trump’s baseless attacks on Amazon.

These and other acts of Trumpian tyranny warrant investigation and sanction of the President. Not merely to slap the wrist of a crybaby wannabe dictator, but to preserve the sanctity of the free press and the Constitution. Schiff is doing the right thing and his plans should remind Trump and his GOP co-conspirators that elections have consequences.

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

‘Far More Fiction than Fact’: Trump Tweets the Perfect Description of His Own Twitter Feed

Heaven forbid that a single Sunday would go by without Donald Trump assuming his position on his throne and proclaiming the way the world is – or should be – on Twitter. His pronouncements have become a regular feature of the daily life of the White House. And this Sunday was no different as Trump took on everything from Hillary Clinton to Syria’s “Animal Assad” to President Obama.

Donald Trump Toilet

Of particular note was Trump’s latest broadside at Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his Washington Post. The tweet was a familiar attack on the newspaper that he hates so viscerally. And it all stemmed from an article that revealed the diminished status of his Chief of Staff, John Kelly.

Notice that Trump’s criticism is as substantively vacant as usual. He doesn’t cite one story that is “made up garbage.” He doesn’t give one example of anything being “poorly written.” And he can’t backup his delusional assertion that “many of [the sources] don’t exist.” He is just ranting uncontrollably in a fit of sweaty rage, unable to contain his anxiety or support the wild notions he is spewing. It’s another symptom of the fear that is eating him up. Although it is an excellent description of the blather he posts on Twitter.

The article in the Washington Post that got him all riled up was titled “‘When you lose that power’: How John Kelly faded as White House disciplinarian.” The Post did extensive research and was “based on interviews with 16 administration officials, outside advisers and presidential confidants, many of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to assess the chief of staff.”” The use of undisclosed sources is a critical part of journalism. It protects people in positions to know detailed and intimate facts from the retribution of powerful bosses. Every legitimate news enterprises uses them. Trump even uses them and cites articles where they’ve been used, so long as the article advances his interests.

For some idea of what made Trump go berserk this Sunday morning, here are a few choice excerpts from the Post that paint an accurate picture of the chaos in Trump’s White House:

“The recurring and escalating clashes between the president and his chief of staff trace the downward arc of Kelly’s eight months in the White House. Both his credibility and his influence have been severely diminished, administration officials said, a clear decline for the retired four-star Marine Corps general who arrived with a reputation for integrity and a mandate to bring order to a chaotic West Wing.”

“After White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly pressured President Trump last fall to install his top deputy, Kirstjen Nielsen, atop the Department of Homeland Security, the president lost his temper when conservative allies argued that she wasn’t sufficiently hard line on immigration. ‘You didn’t tell me she was a [expletive] George W. Bush person.'”

“Kelly neither lurks around the Oval Office nor listens in on as many of the president’s calls, even with foreign leaders. He has not been fully consulted on several recent key personnel decisions. And he has lost the trust and support of some of the staff, as well as angered first lady Melania Trump, who officials said was upset over his sudden dismissal of Johnny McEntee, the president’s 27-year-old personal aide.”

“White House chief of staff John Kelly grew so frustrated on the day Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin was fired that both Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Defense Secretary James Mattis attempted to calm him down.”

Candid observers have noticed that Trump is increasingly perturbed with Kelly’s attempts to shackle him and rein in his worst impulses. According to one source, Trump said that he was “tired of being told no” by Kelly. Consequently, Trump has been leaving Kelly out of the loop on important matters. For instance, Kelly was not around when the President called Vladimir Putin to congratulate him on winning a sham election. Nor was Kelly consulted about the hiring of John Bolton to be his next national security adviser.

The article quotes Bill Clinton’s Chief of Staff, Leon Panetta saying that “There are few things worse than being an impotent chief of staff. When you lose that power you become a virtual White House intern, being told where to go and what to do.” However, in Trump’s mind there are things much worse than that. Like losing the popular vote to Hillary Clinton, or allowing DREAMers to remain in the only country they know as home, or being exposed as a collaborator with Russian enemies to win an election and then obstructing justice to hide the truth.

But the most heinous atrocity that Trump can experience is the fact, and public awareness, that he is a loser at the things he thinks he excels at (which, of course, is everything). And that may be why he is so maddened by Jeff Bezos. It’s an embarrassment that was perfectly stated by this Washington Post editor to CNN’s Brian Stelter. And it is very likely the root cause of Trump’s derangement:

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