JOURNALISTS BEWARE: Trump Admits that He Will ‘Use’ and then ‘Dump’ You

In seems implausible that anyone who has paid attention for the last three years could be surprised to discover that Donald Trump is a man utterly without honor. He behaves like a colicky infant, bragging undeservedly, insulting his perceived enemies, and lying about all things great and small.

Donald Trump, Snake Tongue

When this array of acute personality flaws are present in one demented and egocentric man-baby, the result can be catastrophic. And sadly, that’s precisely what we are suffering through now as Trump’s negligent and incompetent mishandling of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has cost tens of thousands of American lives. The dire situation is actually getting worse according to the Trump regime’s own internal estimates that now predict the number of deaths could nearly double to 3,000 per day by June.

Despite these grim facts, Trump continues to flagrantly lie about the tragedies on the near horizon. He’s pushing to “reopen” the country to allow more businesses to operate in ways that will surely contribute to spreading the virus and increasing the death toll. And he persists with his propaganda and happy-talk in order to persuade his glassy-eyed cult followers that the worst is over and that those who still advocate caution are just trying to hurt him. In the end, all Trump really cares about is Trump.

On Monday morning Trump revealed just how afraid he is of his rapidly floundering approval, as well as his declining prospects for reelection. He tweeted one of the most repugnant and desperate comments that’s ever slithered through his Twittery fingers:

The sleazy reference that Trump is alluding to here concerns the death of an intern, Lori Klausutis, who worked in then-congressman Joe Scarborough’s office. Her death was attributed to a heart problem and the autopsy found that there was no evidence whatsoever of foul play. So Trump is reanimating this grotesque conspiracy theory in order to attack Scarborough who is now hosting a program on MSNBC. True to form, Trump resorts to childish insults, calling Scarborough “psycho” and his wife/cohost, Mika Brzezinski, “crazy.” Which are ironic choices for someone as mentally unstable as Trump, and who exhibits many of the symptoms of malignant narcissism and acute dementia. He also displays his perverse fetish with ratings, despite lying about about Morning Joe whose ratings are pretty good.

However, in addition to Trump’s nauseating rehashing of a two decade old intern conspiracy, Trump is also making an interesting confession in this tweet. He says of Scarborough and Brzezinski that he “used them beautifully in the last Election” and “dumped them nicely.” That’s an unambiguous admission of his intentional exploitation of journalists to achieve his nefarious ends.

It’s also a warning to all journalists that they should never trust Trump. Like all sociopaths, he is only in this for whatever benefit he can derive for himself. And he will roll over anyone who he regards as an obstacle. Even to the extent of slandering them with vicious lies. So the press better recognize that obsessive behavior and protect themselves from it.

Trump cannot be trusted and he must not be tolerated. In his own words he admits that it’s his intention to destroy the credibility of the press. As he told Lesley Stahl when she asked why he attacks the media, “You know why I do it? I do it to discredit you all, and demean you all, so when you write negative stories about me no one will believe you.” What more do you need to know?

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

This Trump Tweetstorm is a Frightening Display of a Psychotic Meltdown in Real Time

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

Donald Trump Zombie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rude and Nasty? Trump Panic-Tweets at the Media for Not Fawning Over His Failures

It’s Saturday and time, once again, for the regularly scheduled Donald Trump Twitter Tantrum. The Tweeter-in-Chief didn’t disappoint his glassy-eyed disciples this weekend. He blasted out 48 tweets before mid-afternoon, 29 of which were retweets devoted to falsely accusing Democrats of blocking new funding for small businesses. As is often the case, Trump is just venting because he’s utterly incapable of accomplishing anything via reasoned persuasion or bipartisan compromise the way an intelligent, experienced president would.

Donald Trump

In fact, it’s the Republicans who are living up to their reputation for callous indifference to the needs of the people by refusing to negotiate over including funds for hospitals and workers. Trump’s four dozen tweets were somehow pounded out while he says he was “Spending the morning speaking to @fema and Military relative to CoronaVirus. Also, spoke to leaders of various countries including Poland, South Korea and Bahrain.” They must have been brief conversations, because he was simultaneously suffering a hemorrhage of media madness. He began with a typical lament that members of Congress were not being sufficiently grateful for the generosity he shows them by pretending to do his job:

So Trump is once again upset that Congress and the press have failed to genuflect before his majesty and total authority.” His Tweet thread continued with a complaint on behalf of Vice-President Pence, who Trump says spoke with Democratic Senators and “gave them everything that they would have wanted.” Now really, what’s the likelihood of that being true?

Trump concluded that “nothing that anyone could have said … could make [the Democrats] happy.” Then he accused them of being “RUDE and NASTY.” Which seems improbable considering that’s the standard emotional status of Trump himself. What’s more, he said that this was the Democrats’ “political playbook” that they intended to use “right up to the election on November 3rd,” because “they feel that this is the only way they can win,” and that “America will not be fooled!!!” (Trump’s exclamation points). In other words, history’s most bitterly partisan White House occupant is accusing others of being partisan, albeit with zero evidence other than his petulant whining. However, he’s right that most Americans will not be fooled, which is precisely why he’s so scared.

Trump capped his rage-ranting with a post that rehashed his familiar and false blathering about the media’s use of unidentified sources and “officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity.” Never mind that his own White House communications Office regularly gives “background briefings” that prohibit reporters from attributing the comments to anyone but “senior administration officials.” It’s also notable that no one uses anonymous sources more than Trump, who is constantly claiming that “some people say” some ludicrous things that support whatever lie he’s in the midst of telling.

Trump’s harangue goes on to assert that the media will “make up a phony quote from a person who doesn’t even exist,” and that “The American people should demand NAMES!” Of course, Trump has never been able to document a single case of a non-existent source. To the contrary, he frequently threatens to uncover the “leaker,” which is an admission that one exists and is telling the truth. Otherwise, why would he bother to investigate?

As for the American people demanding names, Trump is wailing impotently into the void. The American people are satisfied that the media is doing its job. They understand that the use of unidentified sources is a long established and necessary means of acquiring inside information that politicians often want to keep concealed. And polls show that people trust the media more than they trust Trump.

Even so, Trump’s desire for a public demand for named sources is less objectionable than one he floated last month when he proposed that the media be forced to reveal their sources. That’s a flagrantly unconstitutional proposal and an assault on the free press. But it isn’t surprising coming from Trump who frequently refers to the media in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people.” Talk about rude and nasty.

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

Happy Easter from Donald Trump During a Pandemic

On this holy day for America’s Christian faithful, Donald Trump has spent the day demonstrating just how important the holiday is to him.

Donald Trump, Twitter

As usual, Trump was manning his Twitter machine and blasting out a flurry of frantic tweets that mainly expressed his rage and hostility and ignorance. It’s hardly what you would call piety. For instance…

Congress was too distracted? Trump himself said he was too distracted to deal with the coronavirus. In other words, he was admitting that he chose to prioritize his impeachment over the lives of the American people.

This is Trump celebrating that there are disaster declarations in all 50 states. That isn’t winning. By definition, it’s a disaster! But Trump’s mind was on his mortal enemy, the free press.

Trump, who said that he takes no responsibility for the management of the coronavirus crisis is shifting that responsibility to others.

For the record, there was no China ban. More than 40,000 came into the country after the alleged ban. Also, Trump just retweeted a message advocating that he fire Dr. Anthony Fauci.

To be clear, Trump is “working hard” to slander the media for telling the truth about him. He warned us that he would do this. When asked by Lesley Stahl why he attacked the press, he replied “You know why I do it? I do it to discredit you all, and demean you all, so when you write negative stories about me no one will believe you.” And there you have it. That’s Easter in the Trump White House.

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

WHAT PANDEMIC? Narcissist-In-Chief Trump Tweets About TV Ratings 3 Days in a Row

The American people are courageously complying with the guidelines set by public health experts to maintain social distancing and other measures to mitigate the harm of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. It’s a profound burden that requires families to be separated, businesses to be shut down, and financial sacrifices to be endured. But there is no alternative if this crisis is to be halted with a minimum of suffering and loss. And then there’s Donald Trump.

Donald Trump TV Set

From the earliest days of the pandemic’s spread, Trump ignorantly neglected to take the necessary actions to avert certain human tragedies. He downplayed the threat as a trivial one that would go away by itself in few days with only a handful of victims. He refused to employ presidential powers to direct American industry to produce vital medical supplies and equipment. He repeatedly mislead the public about the impact that widespread illness would have on the nation and the economy. Who can forget his foolish opinion that the stock market is “starting to look very good to me!” it is currently down 6,000 points from it’s high in February.

And all the while Trump has been – in his own words – acting as a “cheerleader” for the country, as opposed to a truth teller. He’s admitting that he lies in order to disseminate a phony rosy scenario whose only purpose is to juice his approval ratings (which hasn’t worked), and boost his reelection prospects (which are also looking bad). Even Trump’s favorite pollster, the rabidly right-wing Rasmussen, just put him at 43& approval, his lowest standing in over five months.

Amidst Trump’s desperate efforts to distort reality with regard to COVID-19, he is also sharply focused on his own public image. As a well known malignant narcissist, Trump has a voracious ego that consumes his every waking hour. His Twitter account is heavily plastered with tributes to himself and praise for imaginary achievements. Included among them are Trump’s own tweets celebrating what he regards as TV ratings victories. In fact, Trump has tweeted about the ratings of the Coronavirus Task Force briefings three days in a row:

What Trump fails to understand is that these ratings are not indicators of his popularity. Viewers who both support and (mostly) oppose Trump watch these briefings. They are interested in what experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci have to say. The Trump team is actually making that harder by briefly refusing to allow Dr. Fauci and others to appear on CNN unless the network submitted to his unethical editorial demands (quid pro quo?). What’s more, the briefings air on multiple networks simultaneously and, therefore, are not comparable to any single network program rating such as The Bachelor.

Finally, Trump is using the ratings not only to glorify himself, but to justify his incompetent, so-called leadership. He is spewing paranoid fantasies of Democrats and other adversaries conspiring to put an end to the task force briefings. In reality, there is only criticism of Trump’s self-serving participation in the briefings. He has no relevant experience or knowledge of the medical or public health issues at hand. He simply reads a bunch of data (that could be read by an intern), then spends the rest of the time lying, bragging, and yelling at journalists. And it isn’t just Democrats who are put off by Trump’s tantrums:

“White House allies and Republican lawmakers increasingly believe the briefings are hurting the president more than helping him.”

The problem is that Trump is hijacking these briefings and turning them into thinly veiled campaign speeches. This is his alternative to the ego-feasting cult rallies he can no longer hold. And under the circumstances, the media would be justified in delaying their reports for a few minutes so that Trump’s avalanche of lies can be fact-checked. The press is not obligated to air Trump’s lies unchallenged, or to give him free airtime for his campaign.

After the endless propaganda Trump unloads in these affairs, he goes on Twitter to advertise the next episode with boasts of how high the ratings are. This sorry state of affairs proves that Trump is suffering from a unique form of mental derangement that should worry every American. He really can’t distinguish between the presidency and The Apprentice.

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

CLAMPDOWN: Trump’s Politburo Bars Dr. Fauci and Others From Appearing on CNN

The abhorrent tyrannical tendencies of Donald Trump continue to be revealed with each passing day. His admiration for brutal dictators like Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, and Kim Jong Un, has long been established in his own words. They are the models of unchecked power to which he aspires. And they are the political figures he most often refers to as his friends, even while he’s bitterly lambasting fellow Americans like Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi.

Donald Trump

On Thursday morning it was reported that Trump has taken another step toward the authoritarian government he craves. And, not surprisingly, it comes in the form of an attack on the media that he despises and routinely refers to in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people.” CNN is reporting that Vice-President Mike Pence, who Trump appointed to lead the White House Coronavirus Task Force, is prohibiting the health experts on the team from appearing on CNN:

“Vice President Mike Pence’s office has declined to allow the nation’s top health officials to appear on CNN in recent days and discuss the coronavirus pandemic killing thousands of Americans, in an attempt to pressure the network into carrying the White House’s lengthy daily briefings in full.”

This could not be a more blatant assault on the free press, as well as a flagrant breach of the free speech rights of the doctors and other task force members who have critical knowledge and advice about the deadly pandemic that is spreading throughout the nation and the world. Trump is deliberately depriving the American people of potentially life-saving information in order to extort CNN into complying with his self-serving demands.

UPDATE: While these health experts are forbidden to appear on CNN, they are all over Fox News.

What’s more, Trump is imposing the very same sort of quid pro quo that he used to attempt to strong-arm Ukraine into digging up dirt on Joe Biden. Trump is floating access to these health experts, but with a caveat: “I’d like you to do us a favor though.”

The “favor” that Trump is seeking this time is for CNN to submit to his demands to air all of his task force briefings live. That is a wholly improper ultimatum for a president to impose on news organization. But it’s even more ludicrous considering that Trump has transformed those briefings into thinly veiled campaign events to advance his 2020 reelection prospects. Since he can no longer hold the cult rallies that feed his voracious ego, he is hijacking these briefings and expecting the media to roll over and give him all the free ad time he wants.

The press has been struggling with the question of whether to carry the briefings live, or to delay them for a few minutes so that Trump’s avalanche of lies can be fact-checked. There is no reason to air Trump’s ego-fest when it is so devoid of newsworthy content. Both CNN and MSNBC have exercised some limited editorial discretion to avoid airing Trump’s dangerous disinformation and allowing him to engage in politics in the guise of virus updates. That’s something Fox News would never imagine doing. But Trump is singling out CNN, which he regards a his media nemesis, for this fascistic censorship. CNN reports that…

“Fauci, Birx, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn and Surgeon General Jerome Adams have all appeared on NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox during the last week, despite the fact that the broadcast networks have generally not covered the briefings that have included the vice president and health officials.”

The media must not give in to this presidential blackmail. They must continue to report honestly about Trump’s tragic failures in addressing this crisis. They must fearlessly expose his negligence, incompetence, and brazen self-interest. They must independently seek the judgment of experts like Dr. Fauci, in defiance of Trump’s orders. They should ask those experts if they agree with Trump’s gag order when they see them at the briefings.

Finally, the media must stick together. If Trump tries to silence any media organization, the others need to show their support by boycotting his briefings and other public events. That’s the only thing that will get through to the Narcissist-in-Chief. Any acquiescence to Trump’s bullying is a severe blow to the principles enshrined in the Constitution. And it’s as deadly to American democracy and freedom as the coronavirus is to it’s citizens.

UPDATE: After significant bad PR, the prohibition on CNN has been lifted.

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

Trump Freaks Out Over the Press Fact Checking His Lie-Riddled Coronavirus/Campaign Briefings

Donald Trump fears nothing more than being held accountable for the abhorrent things he actually does and says. He proves this every day with his virulent attacks on the free press that he routinely maligns in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people.” And Trump’s fears are justified considering that he lies with such frequency and shamelessness that it’s hard for the press keep up.

Donald Trump

On Wednesday morning Trump unleashed a raving Twitter tantrum that illustrated just how profoundly deranged he’s become. He is a densely packed heap of desperation and paranoia that is on the verge of bursting with atomic force. And he is utterly incapable of containing his rancid outrage:

This outburst is such a bizarre departure from presidential behavior that it requires some additional examination. Let’s start with Trump’s leading attempt to insult his political adversaries as “radical.” Because Trump uses this rhetoric nearly every time he mentions any Democrat, it’s lost any meaning. It’s just a childish, knee-jerk swipe at those he regards as his enemies. As is his baseless and impotent accusation that Democrats have “gone absolutely crazy.”

Getting more into the meat of Trump’s whining, he makes the completely unsupported assertion that Democrats want him to stop doing daily presidential news conferences. That isn’t possible since he has never done such things. What he’s doing now is hijacking the daily Coronavirus Task Force press briefings. And those he should stop doing because he has absolutely nothing to contribute. He has no experience or knowledge of the medical or public health issues at hand. He simply reads a bunch of data (that could be done by an intern), then spends the rest of the time lying about imaginary accomplishments, paying tribute to himself, and yelling at journalists. This is only wasting the time of the experts standing behind him and depriving the public of useful information.

During Tuesday’s briefing Trump dispensed numerous falsehoods including his ridiculous claim of rampant fraud in mail-in voting. Not only is there nearly zero such fraud, Trump himself voted with a mail-in ballot this year. He also continued to offer potentially deadly medical advice by promoting the use of an unapproved drug that can have severe side effects, and that he has a financial interest in. And he spent several minutes attacking the U.S. Postal Service for not not charging Amazon more to ship products (which would just be passed on to consumers). He claimed that companies like Amazon were bankrupting the Postal Service, when the truth is that they are supporting it.

Trump’s assertion that Democrats complained that he didn’t do enough news conferences before is wholly fictional. There were complaints about the White House press secretary discontinuing daily briefings, but no one was looking for more propaganda and bombast from Trump. And no one has ever suggested that he not be allowed to do any briefings. That’s just more of Trump’s invented victimhood. As for his press secretary, he just fired one and replaced her with an even less qualified spokes shill that he poached from his campaign operation.

Eventually, Trump got something right. There has been an effort by clear thinking people who have respect for democracy to “shame” the media into rethinking their coverage of the Task Force briefings. Due to Trump’s flagrant torrent of lies, and his thinly disguised efforts to transform the briefings into de facto campaign events for his 2020 reelection, many people in politics, the press and the public believe the media should alter its coverage. They need to show more deference to truth telling and not allow themselves to be exploited by Trump for his personal political ambitions. The press loses nothing by delaying their reports a few minutes so that what they air can be reviewed for accuracy and relevance. The press is not obligated to air Trump’s lies unchallenged, or to give him free airtime for his campaign.

Finally, Trump demonstrated his pitifully poor comprehension skills by bragging about the ratings for these briefings. He thinks that high ratings are an indication of his popularity. That is decidedly untrue. There are at least as many Trump opponents as supporters who are tuning in to get information about COVID-19. But in Trump’s cartoon brain all that matters is what feeds his voracious ego: ratings and what’s in it for him. He even expressed his disappointment that he wasn’t making a buck off the briefings. Referring to the press, he sarcastically lamented that “sadly, they get it $FREE.”

What is driving this twantrum is Trump’s innate fear of being exposed as the pathological liar that he is. And in an attempt to cut the criticism off at the pass, he is now actually confessing to his deliberate falsehoods. When asked about his prior dismissals of the real threat that COVID-19 represented, he told reporters (video below) that “You have to understand, I’m a cheerleader for this country.” In other words, he lied in order to pacify people with a phony rosy scenario, rather than tell them the more difficult truth, which would have saved lives. And that is as clear a dereliction of presidential leadership as you’ll ever see.

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

BAD FOR AMERICA! Trump Delights In the Suffering of American Workers and Business

In times of crisis, the American people want and expect their leaders to exhibit wisdom and compassion. Difficult problems require both intelligence and judgment to resolve, and at least the appearance of sympathy for the hardships facing the average citizen. The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic is just such a circumstance. Unfortunately, the United States is currently stuck with Donald Trump who has none of these qualities.

Donald Trump Climate Change

The single most reliable feature of Trump’s character (or lack thereof) is his unflinching determination to always do only what is best for him. This selfishness is evident in his reckless and greed-driven proposals to “reopen” the country before any public health expert considers it safe. It’s obvious in his obsession with the polls and TV ratings that define his self-worth. There is virtually nothing that Trump addresses in his Coronavirus Task Force briefings (that he has hijacked and turned into 2020 reelection events) that isn’t directly attached to his personal welfare.

On Monday morning, while the nation was trying to cope with ever more troubling news concerning the spreading pandemic, Trump was, as usual, manning his Twitter machine and pounding out dangerous falsehoods, childish platitudes, and tributes to himself. Among the tweets that he posted was one that was particularly offensive:

What’s “bad for America” is a president who repeatedly maligns the free press in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people.” It’s fair to say that it’s also bad when a president is so stupid that he doesn’t understand that all businesses are presently struggling due to a virtual economic shutdown made necessary by Trump’s negligence and incompetence. Among the businesses that are experiencing financial difficulties are those owned by Trump. In fact, many are currently closed and his net worth has declined by thirty percent.

However, what’s truly repulsive about this tweet is that Trump is openly gleeful that American media companies are being hurt financially along with the rest of the country. These are businesses whose mission is to keep the American people informed, sometimes at great risk to themselves. This is especially difficult when the president is a pathological liar. But they are also businesses that employ tens of thousands of Americans. Clearly Trump couldn’t care less about these people, their families, and communities.

It’s further proof of Trump’s ignorance that he doesn’t know whether the press is suffering financially because of the quality of their reporting or the impact of a global pandemic. Trump is just exploiting the issue to bash the media, which prior to this coronavirus outbreak was having a banner year in both viewership and revenue. And it must be driving him crazy(er) knowing that according to most polls, the American people still trust the media more than they trust Trump.

It’s that public disapproval that is likely contributing to Trump’s downward spiraling emotional state. Not only has Trump not enjoyed a sustained “rally round the flag” polling bounce, he is at a four month low (44%) with his favorite, unabashedly biased, right-wing pollster, Rasmussen. That’s gotta hurt. But it shouldn’t hurt so much that it drives Trump to celebrate the misfortune of thousands of American workers. That’s on Trump.

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

GLOVES OFF: America’s Future Depends on Brutally Honest Media Coverage of Trump’s Failures

The anxiety of the American people continues to grow as they witness more and more of their fellow citizens becoming ill and dying from COVID-19 (coronavirus). Medical experts are not predicting a peak until at least late April or early May. In the meantime, our families, friends, and neighbors can be seen suiting up in masks and gloves before daring to venture outside.

Donald Trump

However, it is now time for journalists to take the metaphorical gloves off. Historically there has been a protocol for the conduct of reporters who cover the president of the United States. They have generally complied with the rule that respect must be shown to the office, if not its current occupant.

Consequently, reporters are accustomed to behaving with a certain meekness when addressing the President. They ask their questions with deference and patiently await a reply. They resist any impulse to interrupt or correct the President if he wanders off topic or supplies a false answer. They lean toward overextending courtesy in order to avoid being seen as rude.

Unfortunately, Donald Trump requires a total rewriting of how the press interacts with the President. His innate paranoia and hostility toward the media that he repeatedly slanders in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people” poses unique challenges for covering him. For example, Trump often won’t allow a reporter to complete a question when he senses that it will be difficult for him to answer. And since it is the reporter’s job to be probing and even provocative, that happens with some frequency. The result is that Trump’s response often fails to address what the reporter was asking. And the reporter isn’t given an opportunity to complete the actual question or to ask a follow up.

This is a tactic that Trump uses to avoid scrutiny of his words, actions, and intentions. It is a bully’s tactic that relies on the victim being too submissive to object. And that is where the conduct of the press needs the most work. Without a more aggressive posture, Trump will simply roll over the press and escape any real accountability. This can be observed daily at the Coronavirus Task Force briefings that Trump has hijacked and is selfishly exploiting as de facto campaign events.

There is no compelling reason for Trump to attend these briefings since he has no relevant knowledge or experience to contribute. He upstages the doctors and scientists whose information is actually useful. Trump’s presence merely allows him to lie with abandon, brag about things he hasn’t done, and insult the press corps and his political foes. He even tracks the ratings of these briefings and vainly attributes any increase in viewership to himself. Which is preposterous since there are at least as many Trump opponents tuning in as supporters.

It’s time for the press to start fighting back. They need to insist that they be allowed to ask questions without being cut off. They need to demand that Trump give answers that are responsive to the question. If necessary, they need to interrupt his incoherent filibusters to drag him back to the topic of the question. And they need to confront him when he tells another obvious, provable lie. He may get away with that when he’s “interviewed” on Fox News (the only cable news network he isn’t afraid to appear on), but that should not be the standard anywhere else.

The press needs to make these adjustments, not for any partisan objective or to disparage the President. They need to do it because at this critical time in our nation’s history people’s lives are dependent on getting credible information and holding the powerful to account. Trump’s ego, belligerence, and pathological lying cannot be allowed to divert the media from its traditional role to shine a light on the darkness of self-serving and/or corrupt politicians. They must meet Trump’s rancor with renewed determination and devotion to the public that relies on them. In the language of the TV reality world that Trump ought to understand: “It’s time to stop being polite and start getting real!”

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

WTF? While Americans Suffer, Trump Brags (and Lies) About TV ‘Ratings’

Well, it had to come to this. With more than 132,000 cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) confirmed in the United States, and 2,300 plus deaths, Donald Trump is showing us what really matters to him. He isn’t expressing condolences to those who have lost loved ones. He isn’t implementing a coherent strategy for combating the pandemic. He isn’t even adhering to the social distancing orders his own task force is recommending.

Donald Trump TV Set

Nope. What matters to Trump now – and always – is his ratings. Trump’s ego is voracious. Throughout this ordeal he has spent more time paying tribute to himself than he has executing a national plan. Whenever he does address things his administration is doing, he prefaces those remarks with superlatives that applaud his actions as “the biggest,” “the most,” and “the best ever.” He simply cannot describe any effort on his part without asserting that it broke some imaginary record for fabulousness.

On Sunday morning Trump went even further to essentially admit that he’s exploiting this pandemic as a means to get free airtime to promote himself and his 2020 reelection campaign. In a flurry of frantic tweets, Trump shamelessly boasted about the ratings for the televised Coronavirus Task Force briefings. He began with a typical swipe at the media that he despises saying that “The Lamestream Media wants us to fail. That will NEVER happen!” And that “Polls are showing tremendous disapproval of Lamestream Media coverage of the Virus crisis. The Fake News just hasn’t figured that out yet!”

Trump’s assertion that the media (which he is now maligning as “lamestream” ala Sarah Palin) “wants us to fail” is not supported by reality. And Trump, as usual, doesn’t provide a single example to prove that reckless claim. Reporting accurately that Trump’s response is failing is not the same as wanting it to fail. As for polls on the public’s approval of coverage of the pandemic, they predominantly show that the majority of Americans don’t trust Trump on the subject of the virus. Even worse for Trump’s fragile ego, Americans trust the media more than they trust Trump. And then there was this:

Notice that Trump refers to the ratings of “my news conferences.” That is not what these briefings are supposed to be, They are supposed to be opportunities to keep the public informed and have questions answered by experts. They should be used to educate the public honestly about current circumstances, and to disclose what the government is doing to keep them safe. But Trump has never been a source of reliable, truthful information. As an example there’s the quote in this tweet from an unnamed “lunatic” whose existence is doubtful. That’s particularly ironic since just yesterday Trump was mightily perturbed about the use of unnamed sources.

However, Trump had only just begun saluting his ratings prowess. Not satisfied with his earlier accolades to himself, Trump unleashed a four-tweet rant quoting an article in the New York Times. Or should I say misquoting? The first tweet stated that…

“President Trump is a ratings hit. Since reviving the daily White House briefing Mr. Trump and his coronavirus updates have attracted an average audience of 8.5 million on cable news, roughly the viewership of the season finale of ‘The Bachelor.’ Numbers are continuing to rise…”

However, here is what the article actually said with the parts Trump excised in bold:

“President Trump is a ratings hit, and some journalists and public health experts say that could be a dangerous thing.

“Since reviving the daily White House briefing — a practice abandoned last year by an administration that bristles at outside scrutiny — Mr. Trump and his coronavirus updates have attracted an average audience of 8.5 million on cable news, roughly the viewership of the season finale of ‘The Bachelor.'”

So Trump left out crucial information, but still put his edits in quotation marks. That is both dishonest and unethical. It should also be noted that viewers who both support and (mostly) oppose Trump watch these briefings. So the ratings are not an indication of Trump’s popularity. What’s more, they air on multiple networks simultaneously and, therefore, are not comparable to any single network program rating such as The Bachelor. Moving on to the second tweet

“…On Monday, nearly 12.2 million people watched Mr. Trump’s briefing on CNN, Fox News and MSNBC, according to Nielsen — ‘Monday Night Football’ numbers. Millions more are watching on ABC, CBS, NBC and online streaming sites, and the audience is expanding. On Monday, Fox News…”

And now for the actual quote from the article with relevant edits in bold:

“Millions more are watching on ABC, CBS, NBC and online streaming sites. […] And the audience is expanding even as Mr. Trump has repeatedly delivered information that doctors and public health officials have called ill informed, misleading or downright wrong.

Most Americans would probably be interested in the fact that Trump is regarded as ill informed by doctors and public health officials. But Trump decided that they shouldn’t know that. Then, in the third tweet Trump said that Fox News…

“…alone attracted 6.2 million viewers for the president’s briefing — an astounding number for a 6 p.m. cable broadcast, more akin to the viewership for a popular prime-time sitcom…”

Really? Does Trump really want to associate his pandemic briefings with sitcoms? In the fourth tweet Trump said that…

“…The CBS News poll said 13 percent of Republicans trusted the news media for information about the virus. Michael M. Grynbaum @NYTimes”

Now don’t be surprised, but Trump left out pertinent information about this as well:

“The CBS News poll said 13 percent of Republicans trusted the news media for information about the virus, versus 72 percent of Democrats.”

What this tells is something we already know if we’ve been paying attention. Donald Trump is an egocentric, malignant narcissist who will lie about all things great and small in order to exalt himself. And he couldn’t care less about the suffering of the people, about whom he rarely expresses any sympathy or condolences. In this Sunday tweetstorm Trump has proved that he is only interested in his ratings. And that, sadly, explains why he has failed so tragically to protect the nation from a pandemic that could have been averted.

UPDATE: A reporter from the ultra-right OANN asked Trump about speculation that networks would cease coverage of these briefings and if his ratings were connected to that. After complimenting the question, Trump replied that “I don’t want high approval ratings from this.” Yeah, right. So what were these tweets all about?

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