Trump Threatens NBC’s Broadcast License in a Straight-Up Tyrannical Move

Determined to emulate his hero, Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump has issued a threat that brazenly violates the Constitutional guarantee of a free press. In a couple of utterly idiotic tweets, Trump threatened to challenge NBC’s broadcast license.

Donald Trump

Make no mistake, this is what dictators do. They begin by criticizing the media and ridiculing honest journalists. But they eventually resort to outright censorship and government control. Trump has already been lashing out at the press for years. But his repetitive and tedious cries of “fake news” are actually just whining about stories that he doesn’t like. These are his tweets Wednesday morning:


And This Just In: Another tweet:

First of all, Trump offers no support for his contention that NBC’s story is untrue. NBC is standing by the story which had numerous sources affirming the information. This is typical of Trump’s infantile reaction to anything remotely critical. His fragile ego is constantly on the brink of crumbling.

Secondly, Trump’s threat is another example of his Olympic-grade stupidity. If anyone still doubts that Defense Secretary Rex Tillerson called him a moron, you can set those doubts aside. The problem with Trump’s threat to challenge NBC’s license is that the government does not license television networks. There is no license to revoke. The FCC does license individual TV stations and requires them to serve in the public interest. There’s is no way that Trump could have the licenses pulled from every NBC affiliate throughout the country.

Even if Trump were dumb enough to pursue this, he would have to show that each affiliate deliberately broadcast false information that they knew was untrue. Of course, the network most guilty of doing that is Fox News. If that’s the standard being applied then let’s get Fox off the air ASAP. [NOTE: That isn’t possible either because the FCC rules apply only to broadcast television, not to cable].

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

So once again Trump has demonstrated that he is painfully stupid. And in the process he reaffirmed his devotion to authoritarian control of the media and government. He is clearly unfit to be president and is a danger to the country for this and many other reasons. That’s why an anxious nation is impatiently waiting for special counsel Robert Mueller to complete his investigation and for Congress to initiate impeachment proceedings. It can’t happen too soon.

Wannabe Dictator Trump Proposes Unconstitutional Senate Investigation of the Media

One of the first things that aspiring tyrants do after assuming power is to suppress and/or control the media. That’s a difficult task in a country that has explicitly protected a free press in its Constitution. But that isn’t stopping Donald Trump from trying anyway.

Donald Trump Tyrant Dictator

In his latest Twitter tantrum, Trump has taken another step toward the monarchy that he so fervently desires to lead. He has escalated his relentless (and unsuccessful) smear campaign against what he refers to as “fake” news, but is actually any news that isn’t fawning adulation. On Thursday morning he tweeted this disturbingly fascist proposition:

There are several easy answers to Trump’s frightful question. To begin with, “so much of our news” is not fake. Trump doesn’t bother to offer any proof of his allegation because he doesn’t have any. The media may get things wrong from time to time, but “made up” news is rare and dealt with harshly. Unlike what happens when Trump himself makes things up. He refuses to issue corrections or apologies and, more often than not, repeats the lies after he already knows they are lies. The Washington Post has documented more than 1,100 false or misleading claims since his inauguration. That’s almost five lies per day.

More importantly, what Trump is suggesting is blatantly unconstitutional. He is directing another independent government body to investigate the independent media. The Constitution prohibits Congress from “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” A White House sponsored Senate investigation based on news content is an unambiguous breach of the First Amendment.

Another reason the Senate Intelligence Committee isn’t looking into fake news is that it’s the Intelligence Committee. It has no jurisdiction in that area. Trump’s proposal is a clear effort to deflect the Committee, and the nation, from an entirely different investigation. Already under way is the probe into Trump’s electoral collusion with Russia and related financial corruption. Trump’s obviously afraid of what they’ll discover and is anxious to divert attention away from it.

Another reason Senate Intel isn’t looking into fake news is that it would likely turn up more evidence of fakery by Fox News than by any other media organization. The Republicans in charge of the Committee are aware of this and thus reluctant to pursue it. Fox News has been found to have lied far more often than any of their peers. PolitiFact scored their coverage as “Mostly False, False” or “Pants on Fire” sixty percent of the time. That compares to forty-one percent for MSNBC, and only twenty-seven percent for CNN. So Trump’s favorite network would suffer the most damage from such an investigation were it constitutionally permitted.

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

Trump’s obsession with portraying the media as fake is driven by fear. He’s afraid of reports that correctly describe his ignorance and incompetence. He’s afraid of being caught in bed with the Russians (literally and figuratively). He desperately wants to change the subject and poison the minds of news consumers. And he’s willing to subvert the Constitution in order to assuage his fears and achieve his goals. That’s what dictators do. And Trump has been behaving like a manic tyrant throughout his brief residence in the White House. And for most of his adult life for that matter.

New Poll Has Bad News For Donald Trump and His Smear Campaign Against the Media

Every president has had differences with the media. Some have had overtly hostile relationships with members of the press they considered unfair. For the most part these quarrels were below the surface, but some emerged into the public. However, there has never been a White House so openly antagonistic toward the media than Donald Trump’s.

Donald Trump

Trump has not merely been dissatisfied with the coverage he’s received. He has resorted to personal insults and juvenile ridicule. His vilification has resulted in some reporters requiring additional security protection from his followers. Even worse, he deliberately strives to undermine the public trust in the only profession directly protected by the Constitution. Trump famously maligned our free press, calling it “the enemy of the American people.”

These dangerous and unpatriotic tantrums began even before election day. But they intensified after he was inaugurated. And they continue to this day with his tedious and unwarranted whining about so-called “fake” news. So with more than a year of disparaging commentaries and unbridled contempt, what does Trump have to show for it? The latest polling from Reuters/Ipsos summarizes it like this:

“The poll of more than 14,300 people found that the percentage of adults who said they had a ‘great deal’ or ‘some’ confidence in the press rose to 48 percent in September from 39 percent last November.”

In the past year, amid relentless rhetorical abuse, the public trust in the media increased by nine points. Which means that the American people pointedly ignored Trump’s ravings and embraced the press more strongly than ever. For this to happen despite the bellicosity of Trump and his surrogates is a hard slap in the face for the President. Clearly his self-serving, anti-media opinions were of no interest to most people. And this poll affirms the result of previous polls that came to the same conclusions. Even when put up against the specific news organizations he most detests (CNN, the New York Times, etc.) he wound up the loser.

In addition to these findings, the Reuters poll also revealed that the public trust in Trump declined significantly. That decline occurred simultaneously to the rise for trust in the press. Trump’s high of fifty-two percent was marked at his inauguration in January. It subsequently sunk to forty-eight percent in this poll. That includes a six point drop among Republicans. Reuters didn’t poll an approval rating for Trump in this survey, but Gallup has Trump near his all-time low (34%) at thirty-seven percent.

The abject failure of Trump’s anti-media campaign has not deterred him from persisting with nasty, unsupported assaults on Twitter. Wednesday morning he lashed out at the press calling it dishonest and hilariously asking for an apology. And then he unleashed this tweet that contains a bit of unintentional truth:

Indeed. The American people do have a persistent problem with whatever he does or says. Except contrary to his yammering about fake news, what they object to is him and his unabating stream of bullshit. His complaint can be condensed into throwing fits over any criticism directed at him and his failed administration. And unfortunately for him, there seems to be a never-ending supply of ignorance and incompetence to criticize. You might say he’s out of control.

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

Lyin’ Sean Spicer’s ‘Lack of Credibility’ Gets Him Rejected By All 5 Major News Networks

In August Donald Trump’s Press Secretary, Sean Spicer (Fibby Spice), was advised that his services would no longer be required. He was fired after only six months of loyal lying for the President. At first glance, Spicer seemed to be the perfect person for the job. On his first day at work he assembled the Washington press corps to berate them for telling the truth about the dismal attendance at Trump’s inauguration. And it was all downhill from there.

Sean Spicer

The White House has jettisoned a record number of top staffers in its short tenure. They include his chief of staff Reince Priebus, national security advisor Michael Flynn, and communications director Anthony Scaramucci. Some of Trump’s castoffs have already found new employment with right-wing media outlets like Breitbart News and the Sinclair Broadcast Group. But Spicer is having a rough go of it in his post-Trump career. NBC News reports that:

“The big five news organizations have passed on offering former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer a job as an exclusive paid contributor, network sources confirmed to NBC News on Tuesday.

“Since Spicer exited the White House, his representatives have been holding individual conversations about the possibility of President Donald Trump’s former flack joining one of the major TV networks, which include CBS News, CNN, Fox News, ABC News and NBC News.

“But ‘they won’t touch him,’ said a media industry executive familiar with those conversations.”

The reason given by some of these networks for rejecting Spicer was his “lack of credibility.” Which, ironically, is what qualified him for his job in the Trump administration in the first place. Spicer devotedly backed up Trump’s false assertions that millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 election. He did the same with the claim that President Obama had tapped Trump’s phone. And he supported Trump, Jr.’s description of a meeting with Russian operatives as only about adoption. That was even after Donnie’s emails disclosed that it was actually about getting dirt on Hillary Clinton.

The fact that these networks all passed on Spicer is a notable step in the right direction. But if “lack of credibility” is their standard then you have to wonder why they still employ people like Sean Hannity, Hugh Hewitt, Stephen Moore, etc. There are numerous pundits whose record for honesty, or at least accuracy, is suspect. Yet they continue to keep their jobs. What’s more, these networks also book guests whose comments are brazenly untruthful. They are nothing more than propagandists for the Trump White House. Chief among them is prevaricator extraordinaire, Kellyanne Conway. Reputable news organizations should never allow people on the air who repeatedly and shamelessly lie.

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

Spicer’s career is not totally kaput. There are opportunities for him in the conservative fringe media. He can go on the speakers circuit for some big bucks from corporations. And he has already tested the entertainment waters with his cameo on the Emmys. But if the networks maintain this newly adopted standard of credibility, there may be some hope for the future. Perhaps the media will begin to value truth and honesty over balance and false equivalencies. It’s too soon to draw that optimistic conclusion, but the snubbing of Sean Spicer is a good start.

Unbelievable Hypocrisy and Cowardice Shown By Trump as He Insults the Media – Again

When Donald Trump went to Texas last week he managed to spend the entire time as far away from the devastation and victims as possible. Not surprisingly, he took some flack for that. So his handlers arranged a do-over, sending him back to see if he could muster up some fake sympathy.

Melania Donald Trump

To some extent he achieved his goal while mingling with evacuees at the NRG stadium. Although his remarks were painfully tone deaf as he described the visit as “really nice.” He elaborated saying that “It’s been a wonderful thing,” and that “they’re doing great.” These are people who are suffering tragic losses, both personal and financial. Many of their homes were destroyed. They are sleeping on cots in a vacated sports stadium with thousands of others. “Really nice?”

Then Trump ventured out into the blue skies of a recovering Houston to address the assembled press corps. Ordinarily when he does this without a TelePrompter, he drifts off into effusive praise of himself or attacks on his perceived enemies. And that’s exactly what happened this time. He couldn’t concentrate on the victims for two minutes before he began a nauseating assault on the media. Looking them straight in the eye he said (video below):

“I hear the Coast Guard saved 11,000 people by going into winds that the media would not go into. They will not go into those winds. Unless it’s a really good story, in which case they will.”

SRSLY? He could have easily cut himself off after honoring the courageous work of the Coast Guard. And then perhaps issued a call for Americans to donate to a relief fund (which he has never done). But no. He tacked on an unprovoked slam at journalists, portraying them as exploitative and cowardly.

Trump knows very well that he’s lying. He spent the first few days after Hurricane Harvey hit land watching the reports on television. He must have seen the reporters venturing out into the winds to keep people informed of what was happening. He can’t help but have seen correspondents risking their lives to help secure public safety. There were also the numerous times reporters were shown actually saving victims from serious harm or death.

Journalists were out in the winds to interview people who were trapped and to call for aid. They featured the work of first responders and volunteers who were rescuing endangered residents. And they were right alongside those heroes as they struggled to save lives.

Trump saw all of this from the comfort of whichever White House TV he happened to be viewing. Then he goes to Houston when it’s completely safe and accuses the media of being cowards. His trip was deliberately planned to score some positive PR after his prior fumble. Yet he says the media are exploiting the tragedy. This is what psychologists would call classic projection.

Trump knows that he’s the coward who is selfishly using the pain of others to exalt himself. He’s the same ego-obsessed narcissist who took five draft deferments during the Vietnam war, then disparaged those who served, like John McCain. He regularly exploits the military for photo-ops, but he has never even visited Iraq or Afghanistan. Somewhere deep down he’s well aware of his innate cowardice. So he lashes out with a totally unnecessary attack on people who were admirably doing their jobs and saving lives. And that’s the best that we can expect from this callous and petty so-called president. Sad!

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

In His Own Unhinged Words: Here’s EVERYTHING Trump Said About the Media in Phoenix

On Monday Donald Trump interrupted America’s television viewing to address what he plans to do about the war in Afghanistan. Some pundits regarded his Teleprompter recital as the latest evidence that he had pivoted to a more presidential demeanor. He didn’t. And his speech the next day in Phoenix proved that he is never going to change.

Donald Trump

True to form, Trump spent much of his time whining about what a victim he is. He regaled his glassy-eyed disciples with a string of his “greatest hits.” Build the wall, Democrats suck, some Republicans suck too, repeal ObamaCare, and of course, the media hates America.

Trump actually spent more time on the media than any other single subject. It is an obsession with him that consumes his daily routine of golf and Fox News watching. Plus, he is likely aware of how much trouble he’s in with the the special counsel. This accelerated media bashing may just be in anticipation of the bad news that is coming that may lead to his removal from office.

What follows is just the transcription from the speech of the parts about the press. There is minimal annotation, because it’s already so crazy it hardly needs any.

But the very dishonest media, those people right up there with all the cameras. So the — and I mean truly dishonest people in the media and the fake media, they make up stories. They have no sources in many cases. They say “a source says” — there is no such thing. But they don’t report the facts.

Trump has made this allegation about non-existent sources before. He has never provided any evidence to back it up. However, he has later used the same stories to make a point of his, effectively affirming the credibility of the sources himself.

I’m really doing this to show you how damned dishonest these people are.

Yeah, that’s why he’s doing it. Sure it is.

The failing New York Times, which is like so bad. It’s so bad. Or the Washington Post, which I call a lobbying tool for Amazon, OK. That’s a lobbying tool for Amazon. Or CNN, which is so bad and so pathetic, and their ratings are going down. Right? But all the networks — I mean, CNN is really bad, but ABC this morning — I don’t watch it much, but I’m watching in the morning, and they have little George Stephanopoulos talking to Nikki Haley, right? Little George.

CNN’s ratings are hitting all time highs. And MSNBC, which Trump seems afraid to ever mention, is routinely beating beating former ratings champ, Fox News. Also, for someone who doesn’t watch much, he sure watches a lot.

Do they report that I said that racism is evil? You know why? Because they are very dishonest people. So I said, racism is evil. Now they only choose, you know, like a half a sentence here or there and then they just go on this long rampage. Or they put on these real lightweights all around a table that nobody ever heard of, and they all say what a bad guy I am. But, I mean do you ever see anything — and then you wonder why CNN is doing relatively poorly in the ratings. Because they’re putting like seven people all negative on Trump. And they fired Jeffrey Lord, poor Jeffrey. Jeffrey Lord.

Indeed, CNN fired Jeffrey Lord after he tweeted a Nazi salute aimed at Angelo Carusone of Media Matters.

It’s time to expose the crooked media deceptions, and to challenge the media for their role in formenting divisions. And yes, by the way — and yes, by the way, they are trying to take away our history and our heritage. You see that.

In the middle of this attack, Trump slips in some praise for the Confederacy. Which, by the way, is not the heritage of anyone from Arizona. It’s just racist.

These are truly dishonest people. And not all of them. Not all of them. You have some very good reporters. You have some very fair journalists. But for the most part, honestly, these are really, really dishonest people, and they’re bad people. And I really think they don’t like our country. I really believe that.

He REALLY believes that? Yep. A few months ago he called the press “the enemy of the American people.” It’s a tactic used commonly by aspiring authoritarians and dictators.

The only people giving a platform to these hate groups is the media itself, and the fake news.

Oh, that’s so funny. Look back there, the live red lights. They’re turning those suckers off fast out there. They’re turning those lights off fast. Like CNN. CNN does not want its falling viewership to watch what I’m saying tonight,

Everyone watching CNN when Trump said this must have had a giggle. They aired it live.

These are sick people. You know the thing I don’t understand? You would think — you would think they’d want to make our country great again, and I honestly believe they don’t. I honestly believe it. If you want to discover the source of the division in our country, look no further than the fake news and the crooked media.

Well, look a little further. A recent poll by Quinnipiac shows that sixty-two percent feel that Trump is doing more to divide the country.

I mean, the New York Times has written some stories. How about this? The New York Times essentially apologized after I won the election, because their coverage was so bad. And it was so wrong, and they were losing so many subscribers that they practically apologized.

That never happened.

You have some great networks. I must tell you, Fox has treated me fairly. Fox treated me fairly. They’ve treated me fairly. Hey, I’ll let you know. You know what? Some day they might not treat me fairly, and I’ll tell you about it, OK? But they’ve treated me fairly,

Apparently Trump thinks that Fox News treated him fairly.

I get plenty of bad on Fox, too. But at least it’s within reason. And Hannity? How good is Hannity? How good is Hannity? And he’s a great guy, and he’s an honest guy. And “Fox and Friends in the Morning” is the best show, and it’s the absolute, most honest show, and it’s the show I watch.

How much does Trump get paid for these testimonials?

Not only does the media give a platform to hate groups, but the media turns a blind eye to the gang violence on our streets, the failures of our public school, the destruction of our wealth at the hands of the terrible, terrible trade deals made by politicians that should’ve never been allowed to be politicians.

Now Trump believes that he can decide who should be “allowed” to be a politician.

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

Among the many reasons that Trump is unarguably unfit to serve as president, his hostility to the free press and the Constitution rank near the top. He is a bitter, frightened, man-child who is in way over his head and he knows it. Or maybe he doesn’t, which would be even worse.

Hannity Orders His Trump-Cult Audience to Attack Journalists – Gets Slapped Back HARD!

Donald Trump’s First Amendment foes are assembling the troops in what they think is a massive show of force. They have a new general in the White House, Anthony Scaramucci, who unseated feeble Fibby Spice (Sean Spicer). The Mooch is already parroting the worst of Trump’s anti-media rhetoric. He is an avid supporter of the President’s Twitter tantrums and infantile assaults on free speech. And now he’s got some help from the Trump TV Network (aka Fox News).

Sean Hannity Fox News

Leading the way is Fox News Trump fluffer, Sean Hannity. Always a reliable soldier in the fight against honest journalism, Hannity has ordered a significant escalation. He’s taking the unusual step of enlisting his glassy-eyed audience into battle. On Monday night’s program he issued a call to the recruits to prepare to deploy for an all out offensive. And knowing his audience, they can be pretty damn offensive (video below):

Hannity began by praising the Trump administration for “ramping up one of the most effective tactics for combating all the fake news.” He was referring to the Propaganda Squad that has been fanning out to pick fights with their favorite media foils. They include Kellyanne Conway, Sarah Huckabee-Sanders, and Sebastian Gorka. Hannity lauded them for “standing up to pundits who treat the White House with hatred and disdain.” In reality they were just being jerks and insisting that the press accept Trump’s lies as truth. Then Hannity issued his orders to the troops:

“Members of the Trump administration, they’re beginning to shine a bright light on these dark corners of this fake news industry. And now thanks to social media, you can too. […] You can call out fake news right at the source. For example, you can tell fake news Jake Tapper exactly what you think of his interview with Anthony Scaramucci. You can do it on twitter.”

Tapper was only the beginning. Hannity also made juvenile insults aimed at CNN’s Brian Stelter and MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. His diatribe was filled with childish taunts and ludicrous, debunked accusations against Hillary Clinton. And then he addressed those who might “want to take it to the next level.”

“Write a message to their bosses. Send a tweet over to [Jeff] Zucker over at fake news CNN or Andy Lack from NBC fake news. Right now the media is living in their little bubble. It is our job to remind them that there is an America way outside of New York, D.C., Los Angeles and San Francisco. Tonight, technology is now making it possible for you to take your point of view directly to the source and show America’s elites that the forgotten men and forgotten women of this country voted for this agenda and they want it completed and for them to stop lying to you. Take to the social media, and I think you’re going to have a positive impact.”

First of all, if Hannity is really concerned about the people’s position on Trump’s agenda, he should take notice that Trump is the most unpopular president in modern history. And that goes for his policies as well.

More to the point, Hannity is apparently aware that his viewers don’t already know about Twitter. He has the oldest skewing audience in cable news. Recent demographic studies show that “The median age of the average primetime Fox News viewer is 68 — five years older than MSNBC, and nine years older than CNN.” And the consequences of that disparity can be devastating when reaching out to a more youthful, social media capable, audience. So Hannity’s Twitter blitz produced predictably contrary results, as documented by the Huffington Post:

And as Tapper noted in his reply thanking those tweeters: “I don’t think that turned out the way he intended.”

Hannity will always lose on this battleground. He is too much of an ideologue who spins so furiously that reality is unrecognizable. And his followers are handicapped by being dumb enough to watch him in the first place. There are plenty of problems with corporate media outlets like CNN, but they pale in comparison to the rancid hostility and blatant dishonesty of Hannity and Fox News. And online communities on Twitter and Facebook will continue to let him know how irrelevant he is.

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

Trump’s Disgraceful ‘Freedom Celebration’ Speech Just Exalts Himself, Whines About the Media

Saturday night Donald Trump took a little time away from lounging at his luxurious golf resort in New Jersey. He flew back to Washington to attend an evangelical concert that supposedly honored veterans in advance of Independence Day.

Donald Trump

As with almost every public appearance he makes, it ends up being entirely about him. He obviously doesn’t care about veterans or the anniversary of America’s founding. If he did, he wouldn’t pollute his speech with self-serving, ego-gratifying bullshit like this (video below):

“The fake media is trying to silence us, but we will not let them. Because the people know the truth. The fake media tried to stop us from going to the White House, but I’m president and they’re not. We won and they lost.

The fact is the press has destroyed themselves because they went too far. Instead of being subtle and smart, they used the hatchet and the people saw it right from the beginning. The dishonest media will never keep us from accomplishing our objectives on behalf of the great American people. Will never happen. Their agenda is not your agenda.”

That’s right. In an address intended to celebrate freedom and commemorate the heroes that make it possible, Trump lashed out again at the media. That’s what he considers to be the real “enemy of the American people.” And the context of his attack is, once again, the results of an election that took place eight months ago. His rabid fetish over having lost the popular vote is weighing on him still. And his obsession with blaming the press for all of his own self-destructive behavior persists.

Trump’s preoccupation with these complaints borders on the psychotic. He simply can’t let them go, even at the expense of tributes to heroes. And he wastes time and taxpayer money attending these self-congratulatory rallies because that’s where he gets his validation. These are nothing but political events designed to prop up Trump’s fragile ego.

There has never been a president who was more contemptuous of the press. His words and deeds are explicit incitement to violence. He doesn’t understand the meaning or value of the First Amendment. Otherwise, how could he repeatedly denigrate journalists as “sleazy,” “liars,” and “horrible human beings”? His provocations have resulted in actual physical attacks on reporters. NBC’s Katy Tur had to have security protect her while covering his campaign. Organizations that advance the welfare of journalists have called him “an unprecedented threat” to press freedom. And nothing proves that more than his latest tweet that overtly celebrates violence against the media.

If you thought that Trump had crossed the line before, you underestimated the depth of his hostility and recklessness. This is his juvenile idea of a joke, but it conveys a distinct and abhorrent message. There is no reason to think that he won’t continue to get worse. He wants to discredit and dismantle the media so that he can rule without criticism or accountability. Under his idea of authoritarian leadership there would be only state-run media. All Americans must unite to make sure that he is not successful. It’s a fight that is as consequential as the one for Independence that is being celebrated this week.

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

Conservatives Really Do Hate Facts – Study Shows ‘Striking’ Partisan Divide On Fact-Checkers

The rancorous tirades thrown by Donald Trump about “fake news” have had a profound impact on the public’s perception of the media. Prior to his entry into politics, the press was already regarded suspiciously in certain quarters. But Trump has escalated that to a visceral hostility that has even led to violence.

Donald Trump

This animosity toward the media extends to what is supposed to be the most neutral and independent sector of journalism. Fact-checking entities exist to to review statements by public figures for accuracy. Of course, like any other analytical exercise they can be mistaken or slanted by political bias. However, the most prominent fact-checking sites have generally proven to be – let’s say – fair and balanced. And that’s precisely what outrages right-wingers who dispute their findings.

A new study was just completed by The Reporters’ Lab at Duke University. They analyzed hundreds of references to fact-checkers by critics from both liberal and conservative perspectives. What they found was that conservatives were overwhelming antagonistic toward fact-checking and took every opportunity to disparage it. Liberals, on the other hand, demonstrated that they were not afraid of being fact-checked. The study’s findings revealed that:

“Beyond the use of Pinocchios and Pants on Fire ratings to win the daily skirmishes, fact-checkers have seen anecdotal evidence that conservatives and liberals have different views. Some of the harshest criticism of fact-checking has come from conservative media outlets that say the sites have a liberal bias. By contrast, liberal publications have often seemed more positive about fact-checking – or at least less critical.” […]

“The partisan divide was striking: 86 percent of the negative references appeared on conservative sites, while only 14 percent appeared on liberal sites. By contrast, almost 85 percent of the positive statements came from liberal sites, while 15 percent came from conservative sites.”

This perceptual difference is emblematic of the right’s aversion to truth-telling in the Era of Trump. Our president has imbued his base with a robotic tendency to spurn anything observed in the “mainstream” media as fakery. As a result, the characterization of fact-checking by conservatives is most often dismissed as the product of liberal bias. Never mind the documentary evidence supplied by the fact-checkers to support their analyses.

These views aren’t especially surprising considering that they are fully in sync with the diatribes spouted by Trump. Our president has shown repeatedly that he is unconcerned with dispensing known falsehoods, even after he has been corrected. This is, after all, the administration that invented the notion of “alternative facts.” It is also the administration whose chief White House strategist is former Breitbart News boss, Stephen Bannon. A few years ago Bannon’s website giddily declared that the “Era of Media Fact Checkers Intimidating Republicans Is Over.” In another article they ranted that “When Not Outright Lying, Fact-Checkers Make Fools of Themselves.”

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

It is that attitude that permits Republicans and other conservatives to casually dismiss fact-checkers. The documentation provided by these specialized journalists never sink into the heads of tunnel-blind wingnuts. And that, the study notes, can have “serious consequences for the nation’s fact-checkers.” It demeans the credibility of impartial observers attempting to bring some legitimacy to otherwise partisan arguments. And it obscures the very nature of the truth. But that’s very likely the purpose of the attacks from the right. When their entire agenda is riddled with lies, truth is anathema and fact-checkers are the enemy.

Trump’s Infowars Pals Are Paying Their Crazed Fans to Wear ‘CNN is ISIS’ T-Shirts on TV

Perhaps the one thing that Donald Trump will be best remembered for after his inevitable fall from grace is his relentless and dishonest war on the media. The President’s disrespect for the First Amendment is unprecedented. He has called the media “the enemy of the American people,” while smearing reporters as “sleazy” and “liars.” His press office, led by Sean Spicer (Fibby Spice), is a chaotic mess. That may be why they have floated the notion of eliminating the traditional daily press briefings altogether.

Alex Jones Infowars

Trump’s idea of a credible press corps consists of anointing members like Breitbart News and Alex Jones’ Infowars. These rabidly rightist conspiracy mongers are the perfect emblems of the crapola that Trump regards as journalism. And stepping up to prove the point, Infowars just launched a campaign to recruit paid goons to malign a real news organization. On his website, Jones introduced an initiative to recruit his fans to get on TV wearing “CNN is ISIS” T-shirts:

“We are launching a new contest to stand up to the Left’s calls for violence against the president and against other Americans for simply exercising their right to promote Americana. Infowars is launching a new $200,000 contest to expose CNN’s Kathy Griffin and mainstream media’s call for violence. We will expose the media’s terrorist campaign.”

To collect the prize, Jones’ for-hire hoodlums have to appear in a live broadcast wearing the shirt and audibly plugging Infowars. Each successful clod will earn $1,000 with a total of $200,000 in the pot. The purpose, according to Jones, is to expose CNN as a terrorist organization by virtue of their association with Kathy Griffin. Never mind that Griffin’s over-the-top stunt had nothing to do with CNN, or that she has profusely apologized. And forget that CNN quickly dismissed her from their New Year’s Eve special. The suggestion that Griffin had actually intended anyone to behead Trump is patently absurd.

Nevertheless, Jones is determined to proceed with his own offensive publicity stunt because, well, because that’s his whole shtick. In fact, he recently sweetened the offer to $10,000. The new prize calls for “the first person to say ‘MSM is fake news or terrorist media’ on live television.” And, of course, the all-important Infowars plug is still required.

This is what Donald Trump believes is journalism. He has personally appeared on Jones’ webcast and praised him adoringly saying “Your reputation is amazing.” And Jones has been rewarded for his sycophancy with a White House press pass (at least according to Jones). Just today Trump sent an email to his supporters bragging about pulling out of the Paris Accords on Climate Change. That email featured a link to an article on Infowars.

Let that sink in. The President of the United States sent his followers an official communication that cited Infowars as a credible source for more information. This is the same Infowars that says 9/11 was an inside, government operation. It’s the same Infowars that believes the murders at Sandy Hook were fake and staged by actors. Jones has also called the Boston Marathon bombing a hoax. It’s the very same Infowars run by a conspiracy spewing fruitcake who admitted in divorce court proceedings that he is just a “performance artist.”

It may not be surprising that Trump has an affinity for Jones. They both share a pathological compulsion for lying. Trump, after all, thinks that millions of people showed up for his poorly attended inauguration. He believes he saw thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating 9/11. He brags about his long-standing personal relationship with Vladimir Putin, whom he claims he’s never met. And while he stubbornly clings to the absurdity that Climate Change is a hoax, he never acknowledged that his obsession with President Obama’s birth certificate was one of the most ludicrous hoaxes of all time.

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

We’ll see if anyone manages to collect a prize from Jones’ contest. Last year he attempted a similar stunt where he tried to get fans to appear on TV shouting “Bill Clinton is a rapist.” There may have a been a couple of winners, but the project failed to achieve anything. The same fate is likely to befall this nonsense. In fact, it may provide some pretty good advertising for CNN.