Oblivious Alert: Megyn Kelly Slams Media Coverage Of Fox News Darling Donald Trump

There is something terribly fishy frying at Fox News. Their star primetime anchor, Megyn Kelly, has been making the media rounds and hinting at a possible separation between herself and her current employer. The rift first showed up in an interview wherein she said that she is not sure whether she will renew her contract at Fox. While Kelly says that she believes that Fox has backed her up during some recent controversies, she nevertheless is ambiguous about her future with the network. She told Variety that…

“I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’ve had a great 12 years here, and I really like working for Roger Ailes. I really like my show, and I love my team. But you know, there’s a lot of brain damage that comes from the job.”

Donald Trump Megyn Kelly

Brain damage? That’s a peculiar way to characterize her work experience. Is she referring to her colleagues Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity? That would be understandable. Or is she addressing what Fox has called Donald Trump’s sick obsession with her? Or is that how she feels after having to spew right-wing propaganda incessantly? She went on to say that she loves covering the news but that “I just don’t think that’s the perfect thing for me.”

Perhaps not. Judging from a subsequent interview with Katie Couric at the 2016 Women in the World Summit in New York City (video below), she seems to have some serious problems with the unprofessional conduct of her media peers, specifically with how they have covered Donald Trump. Although Kelly never directly indicts Fox News as being guilty of journalistic wrongdoing, what she describes as the failings of the press in general sound more like Fox than any other network.

For example, Couric referenced reporting that estimated the value of Trump’s free media coverage at nearly two billion dollars. She alluded to the “hand-wringing” going on at various media outlets over their responsibility for the excessive attention lavished on Trump and the impact it’s had on the race. Couric even noted comments by media executives who excused their fetish by saying that Donald Trump is good for business,” and asked Kelly if that bothered her. Kelly answered that “It does bother me, and I don’t think it’s right.” She described some of the early coverage and then related a conversation she had with her executive producer:

“I could see all of the other media starting to do it, and I said when the post mortem is done on the coverage of Donald Trump, wherever this race goes, let’s make sure we’re on the side of the angels.”

I’m afraid that cloud has blown away. From there Kelly set about absolving herself of any of the Trump-worship that infected just about every news outlet. She said that “our show has not taken those pressers,” and that “We won’t wallpaper the show with a Donald Trump campaign event.” because “we also have to worry about our souls and journalism.” She noted that “it’s not fair” and that they “don’t do that for the other candidates.”

The problem with Kelly’s assessment is that it simply isn’t true. Donald Trump’s press events and stump speeches have been broadcast during the Kelly File’s time period. Perhaps that wasn’t a decision made by her or her producers, but she is not an innocent bystander in this. What’s more, no network has been more solicitous to Trump than Fox News. Kelly’s protestations are lame attempts to pretend that Fox didn’t create Trump. And she makes those excuses even while laying blame at her competition for making similar excuses.

“Now other journalists are trying to defend themselves by saying ‘Well we asked Ted Crux and he doesn’t say yes, we ask Donald Trump and he says yes.’ OK, that’s fine when it comes to interviews. That doesn’t explain all the phoners that the Sunday shows allow Trump and not the other candidates. Phoners! Fox News Sunday hosted by Chris Wallace is the only Sunday show that from the beginning said we’re not doing it.

Actually, Fox News Sunday did allow Trump to conduct interviews by phone, however they were the first Sunday show to put an end to it. But Kelly conveniently leaves out the fact that virtually every other program on Fox continues to this day letting Trump phone it in. Fox & Friends, Neil Cavuto, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, etc., all take Trump’s calls. Fox News Sunday is just one hour a week and it isn’t even on the Fox News Channel (its first run is on the Fox Entertainment Network). But Kelly isn’t through yet.

“And not only that, we’re talking about the campaign events. When have you ever seen news stations take campaign events? We don’t do that for anybody. We don’t do that for Hillary. We don’t do that for Cruz. We never did it for Rubio or Scott Walker. Only one candidate. And the media would sit there and say ‘It’s amazing how the polls are just up, up…’ It’s like you’re putting your thumb on the scale.”

Excellent points, Kelly. It has been patently obscene watching the media slobber all over Trump and helping him to realize his narcissistic dreams. But serious media critics have been making these points for months. Where have you been all this time? And even as Kelly says all the right things in this interview, her network is still doing all of the wrong things about which she is complaining. She seems to be totally oblivious to her own criticisms.

Fox News crafted Donald Trump from the raw clay of their partisan ideology and their desire to manipulate the news to achieve their political goals. Kelly has been an integral part of the plan from the beginning of her tenure at Fox. Now she is suddenly denouncing the business model in which she has been so much a part. And by extension she is denouncing her colleagues who continue to engage in the shoddy behavior she is railing about. They are gonna love that.

The fact that Kelly is being so openly critical of the unprofessionalism of the people she works with and for, while at the same time is glaringly vague about her intentions to remain at the network, suggests that she has other ideas. Most likely she is dreaming of being the next Barbara Walters or Oprah, and she isn’t worried about burning a few bridges behind her on the way to that destination. Unfortunately, in the process she and most of the rest of the media have saddled America with the closest thing it has ever had to a fascist leading a major political party.

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

To Kill A Meme: No Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton Did Not Start The Birther BS

There must be something in the DNA of right-wingers that prevents them from grasping simple truths and retaining them for periods longer than a Vine video. Case in point: Conservatives who for years have been suckling on the moronic accusations that President Obama is not legally qualified to serve because, they say, he was born in Kenya, have also disseminated a related bit of idiocy that Hillary Clinton was the first Birther. Despite the easily obtainable facts that prove that Clinton was not in any way involved in birthing Birtherism, wingnuts cling fiercely to the lie in an attempt to divert attention from the fact that they have been fully immersed in this nonsense from the beginning. And it isn’t just some fringe characters who have this trouble differentiating fantasy from reality.

Ted Cruz Birther

In an interview with Katie Couric on Yahoo News, Sen. Ted Cruz, a candidate for the Republican nomination for president, was asked about critics who raise his Canadian birth as an obstacle to his candidacy. Rather than simply repudiating them as idiots who don’t understand the Constitution, he veered from Couric’s question to this wholly unrelated and irrelevant drivel:

“The whole birther thing was started by the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2008 against Barack Obama.”

If you think that a sitting U.S. senator and aspiring president should know better than to spew demonstrably false information like that, then you don’t know Ted Cruz (or most of the GOP). This charge against the Clinton campaign has been around for seven years now. And some proponents of the lie attribute the meme to Clinton herself (see the headline from Fox Nation above). However, a little research shows that the roots of Birtherism lie with an extremist group of hard-core Clinton supporters who were not affiliated with the campaign. As revealed by Daily Beast editor John Avlon:

“[T]he Birther conspiracy theory was first concocted by renegade members of the original Obama haters, Party Unity My Ass, known more commonly by their acronym, the PUMAs. They were a splinter group of hard-core Hillary Clinton supporters.”

The theme was then taken up by Philip Berg, a 9/11 Truther who filed the first Birther lawsuit. He also had no connection to Clinton or her campaign. Thereafter, it spiraled out of control online and in emails. And all the while it was Republicans furthering the fallacy. Many of of them were prominent figures in the party, notably another current candidate for the GOP nomination, Donald Trump. [Fun Fact: Cruz is, so far, the only Republican candidate who is defending Trump’s repulsive and bigoted comments about immigrants for which Cruz doesn’t think Trump has any need to apologize]

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

It is significant that Cruz employed this dodge to answer a question that had nothing to do with Hillary Clinton. He wants to duck allegations by the lunatics questioning his own national origin without calling them lunatics and alienating an important GOP constituency who still believe that Obama is a foreigner unlawfully squatting in the White House. This is how Republicans embrace ignorance and pass it along to their followers. And no one is a better representative of that mission than Ted Cruz.

Today Show Ratings Down With Sarah Palin As Guest Host

Sarah PalinYesterday Sarah Palin was the guest co-host of the Today Show on NBC. It was a desperation move on the part of NBC who was reacting to ABC’s booking of Katie Couric for the whole of this week. And apparently it didn’t do them much good.

The Today Show won the time period as expected. They have long been the #1 morning network news program with ABC’s Good Morning America coming in second. However, the ratings for Tuesday on the Today show were 5.497 million total viewers, and 2.209 million in the 25-54 year old demo. That’s down from their average for the February 2012 sweeps period (5.55 Total/2.47 Demo). So Palin obviously didn’t do anything to help out the program.

By comparison, Good Morning America was able to beat their February sweeps average in total viewers with the help of Couric. Tuesday’s program pulled in 5.141 million viewers with 1.917 million in the demo. That was an improvement in total viewers over their February sweeps averages (5.03 Total/2.05 Demo).

So if anyone were analyzing the benefits of the bookings for these programs, it is clear that ABC got more out of Couric than NBC did from Palin. That may seem to be a predictable result since America mostly hates Palin and Couric is America’s sweetheart. But Palin doesn’t help herself by appearing on NBC and twice referring to “the failed socialist policies” of President Obama. And I can’t believe that doing cooking segments with Tori Spelling do much to improve her image either.

The sooner the media (and Palin) realizes that Palin is old news and has nothing to offer, the sooner they can quit pretending that she has some sort of relevance that they can exploit. By all indications NBC might have done better in the ratings with Kim Kardashian or Octomom as a co-host.

Bill O’Reilly’s Bald-Faced Lies About His Ratings

On his program Monday, Bill O’Reilly had another episode of Ratings Derangement Syndrome. I first reported this malady exactly one year ago when O’Reilly became unhinged at what he believed was a conspiracy by Nielsen to destroy him:

“The bottom line on this is there may be some big-time cheating going on in the ratings system, and we hope the Feds will investigate. Any fraud in the television rating system affects all Americans.”

Of course the Feds have no oversight authority to investigate private polling firms. And O’Reilly had no evidence of wrongdoing anyway. It’s also interesting to note that O’Reilly has no problems with Nielsen’s data now that they are reporting a rosier picture of his program’s performance. But he still has his knickers in a twist over any media critic who dares to question his primacy. This most recent outburst began with a declaration dripping in hyperbole and delusions of grandeur.

“Fox News is now the most powerful news organization in the United States of America, and that means in the world.”

It is statements like that that require linguists to create new adjectives, because supercilious, delusional, and narcissistic, simply don’t cut it anymore. O’Reilly still doesn’t get that Fox reaches a mere 1% of the American public. The vast majority of news consumers are opting to watch programs other than his. O’Reilly was responding to criticism from Time Magazine’s Joe Klein, who raised O’Reilly’s ire by saying that, “Fox News peddles a fair amount of hateful crap.” O’Reilly ought to be grateful to Klein for being so gentle. The truth is Fox News peddles a huge amount of hateful crap. But instead, O’Reilly’s misguided indignation led him to spew a batch of unmitigated lies:

“Look what’s happened. Fox News thirteen years on the air, OK?. Wipes out every other cable network, OK?. It’s not even close. Now, we’re approaching, the Factor is approaching Katie Couric numbers. We’re real close to Katie Couric numbers. We beat everybody else. Good Morning America. Nightline. I think the Today show is a little bit ahead of us, but it’s close.

First of all, Fox News does not wipe out every other cable network. They lead only amongst cable “news” networks. TBS, ESPN and USA, routinely beat Fox News (it’s not even close), but O’Reilly failed to make that distinction.

Secondly, O’Reilly’s contention that he is approaching Katie Couric numbers is laughable. Primarily because it wouldn’t be that much of a feat. Couric is the worst performing broadcast news program. But to compound his comedic dishonesty, he doesn’t come close to Courics ratings. Couric’s average of approximately 5.5 million is almost twice O’Reilly’s 3 million viewers. and the top rated NBC News brings in about 8.5 million, nearly triple O’Reilly.

Finally, O’Reilly doesn’t beat Good Morning America. Nightline, or the Today show. Setting aside the fact that these shows don’t even compete with O’Reilly, and their time periods have an entirely different potential audience, he still fails to best them. In fact, the Today Show also nearly doubles O’Reilly’s numbers even though it is on in the early morning hours while O’Reilly is on in primetime.. He could have claimed a victory over CBS’s perennial loser, The Early Show, but for some reason didn’t bother.

In the end, this is just another display of O’Reilly’s dishonesty and arrogance. And despite his objections, and his egotistical fantasies, he is only illustrating why knowledgeable observers do not regard Fox as a news network. It is merely a platform for self-serving propaganda, manic paranoia and partisan disinformation.

Glenn Beck: McCain Would Have Been Worse Than Obama

Katie Couric is premiering a new Internet interview program tomorrow. Her first guest will be Glenn Beck. In a teaser for the episode, Couric asks Beck what he thinks of Hillary Clinton. That set off an interesting exchange:

Beck: How about this? I think John McCain would have been worse for the country than Barack Obama. How’s that?

That’s pretty remarkable. Considering that Beck has alleged that Obama is marching the nation to socialism; he asserts that Obama is both a Marxist and a fascist; he connects Obama to all sorts of figures that Beck regards as evil and/or corrupt; he believes emphatically that Obama is intent on destroying every principle on which our country was founded; he insists that, due to this administration, these are the most dangerous and frightening days of his lifetime.

I have to wonder then, how does it get worse than that? What does Beck think McCain might have done that would exceed in horror the destruction of America? Beck’s characterization of McCain as a “weird progressive like Theodore Roosevelt,” doesn’t seem to be enough to validate his fear. After all, Roosevelt served as president for eight years and the country survived and is still here a hundred years later.

I will be interested to see if Beck explains his position further in the Couric interview. Can he possibly present a coherent argument that justifies his bombastic assertion? And if he does, then how on earth can he remain silent about such an existential threat that still occupies a prominent place in the United States government?

Ever since Obama was inaugurated, Beck has been on a televangelistic crusade against some relatively low level administration advisors and non-governmental organizations. But McCain is the ranking member of the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee, he serves on several other important committees, and he is a frequent guest on television news programs. Yet despite the risk Beck sees in him, Beck has never bothered to alert his audience to the danger. If McCain is truly worse than Obama, shouldn’t Beck do a week-long series exposing him? Shouldn’t McCain be driven from office to protect our nation’s future?

On the surface, I have to agree with Beck (did I just say that?). McCain would indeed have been worse than Obama. But my reasons for that opinion have nothing to do with a paranoid and foreboding sense of doom, nor even a belief that McCain would have reduced America to rubble. This outburst is just further evidence that Beck is suffering from a dementia that may be deeper than modern psychology can address.

Cafferty To Blitzer: Don’t Make Excuses For Her (Sarah Palin)!

This has to be enshrined as one of the premiere moments in television news.

CNN’s Jack Cafferty rolled tape of Sarah Palin’s interview with Katie Couric. Couric asked Palin about the expense of the White House’s Wall Street bailout proposal. Palin gave a rambling and non-responsive answer. But what came after is even more startling.

When the camera returned to Cafferty he merely stared into it for a few profound seconds and then said that that was one of the most pathetic things he has ever seen. He said if you aren’t afraid that she is a 72 year old heartbeat from the presidency, you should be.

Then Wolf Blitzer tried to cover for Palin by saying that she was just trying to squeeze a lot into her answer. To which Cafferty replied:

“Don’t make excuses for her. That was pathetic.”

Cowed, but still deferential, Blitzer said it wasn’t one of Palin’s best moments. Does anyone have an example of one of Palin’s best, unscripted moments?

This is more evidence for why it so important for McCain to loosen the chains on Palin and let her speak. Most of the media doesn’t have the honesty and courage of Cafferty. But our nation’s future is riding on this: The Palin Watch

Addendumb: Later on Blitzer’s program he interviewed Lou Dobbs about tonight’s debate. Dobbs defied the reality that he is an anchor for one of the most prominent news enterprises in the world when he said…

“Imagine what it would take for the liberal national media to declare McCain the winner.”

Did he mean the same liberal national media for whom he works? Or maybe Fox News? Or GE, or Disney, or Viacom, or Simmons, or Comcast, or Tribune, or AP, or ….. ? The same media that employs Blitzer, Palin’s official apologist? Besides, Dobbs must not have heard that McCain won the debate before it even started.

TVNewser Completes Its Descent Into Tabloid Drudgery

Last night on the CBS Evening News, Katie Couric presented another in her series of Primary Questions to the candidates for president of both parties. The question for this installment dealt with marital fidelity and whether it should be a determinative factor when deciding for whom to vote.

This question, while not as elevating to the debate as questions about Iraq, global warming, the economy, or health care might have been, could still have produced some observable squirming from a number of the candidates. But in reporting on Couric’s broadcast, the rapidly deteriorating TVNewser was more interested in propagating rumors than in objective journalism. In an item by Steve Krakauer, who joined TVNewser last month and previously worked for Fox News, two candidates were singled out as having answers that would “be of interest.”

The first was Hillary Clinton, for whom a case could be made for a potentially interesting exchange. Although it should be noted that it was not Hillary, but her husband, who was guilty of infidelity. Since the context of the question was whether someone who was not true to their spouse could be trusted to be true to the country, it really did not apply directly to any behavior on her part. And despite their troubles, a decade has past since the affair and they have managed to keep their marriage and family together.

The second candidate Krakauer cited was John Edwards. And this is where Krakauer demonstrates either a woeful inability to mask his prejudice, or a professional immaturity that borders on incompetence. This is how he presents his next point:

“Also, with reports of a Sen. John Edwards extra-marital affair and subsequent pregnancy, his answer will be looked at more carefully as well.”

By referring to “reports” of Edwards’ “affair” Krakauer implies that there are credible allegations from responsible journalists and sources. The truth is that there is only a single allegation by an anonymous source as reported to the “National Enquirer” (to which I refuse to link) which is nobody’s idea of a responsible journal. And not a single reputable news organization has yet to follow the Enquirer’s smarmy lead, although Matt Drudge headlined it (good company).

The Enquirer’s story is fraught with ambiguity and error. Both Edwards and Rielle Hunter (the alleged other woman) describe the charges as untrue and ridiculous. Hunter, who is pregnant, has identified the father as Andrew Young, with whom she worked on Edwards’ campaign. Young confirmed his paternity, but that didn’t stop the Enquirer from asserting, with no evidence whatsoever, that everybody was just trying to cover up for Edwards. The Enquirer even faulted Edwards for not nipping the scandal in the bud early on by revealing the relationship between Hunter and Young. Of course Edwards could not have done that because he didn’t know anything about the relationship, as Young told the Enquirer.

This is the level of unsubstantiated innuendo that Krakauer pretends is newsworthy. In fact he is engaging in the most vile sort of rumor-mongering. He doesn’t even bother to explicitly inform his readers that his source is the Enquirer (he hides it in a link). And if all of this isn’t bad enough, in an article about the relevance of the breaking of marriage vows, Krakauer smears two candidates for whom there is no evidence of such behavior, but fails to mention others with known multiple marriages (McCain and Thompson) and notorious philandering (Giuliani).

So Krakauer thinks rumors spread by tabloid rags are interesting, but Mayors who keep their mistresses in the Mayor’s residence and use city funds to pay for trysts in the Hamptons are not even worth mentioning. What’s truly interesting and sad is how low TVNewser has sunk and how useless it has become. It is no better now than its new partner the Enquirer or, as I lamented in an earlier article, the Drudge Report. What an embarrassment for everyone involved.

Feel free to let TVNewser know what a pack of ethically-deprived journalistic lowlifes they are:

Chris Ariens, Editor, Exec. Producer
Laurel Touby, Founder, CEO