Trump-Fluffers at Fox News Make Excuses for His Hijacking the Coronavirus Briefings

Throughout his presidency, Donald Trump has exhibited an unprecedented hostility toward the media and the very concept of a free press as enshrined in the Constitution. He repeatedly refers to it in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people.” Trump is currently suing several news organizations and has recently threatened to revoke the broadcast licenses of stations that air ads critical of him. And in his flaming paranoia, he is convinced that the media is a collective entity that is unified in a covert mission to destroy him. “All I see,” whines Trump about every major news network (including Fox News), “is hatred of me.”

Donald Trump, Fox News, White House

Trump’s press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, has never held a press briefing since her appointment in July of 2019. However, she makes frequent appearances on Fox News, but no other network. Trump has been deservedly criticized for his shuttering of the White House from scrutiny by the press. But he believes that his rambling Chopper Talks suffice as an alternative to an orderly exchange of information and timely disclosures regarding White House activities. They are not. They are simply opportunities for Trump to rant incoherently and to berate his perceived foes in the press corps.

With the advent of an international pandemic, Trump is producing a daily, self-serving, reality show in which he is cast as the star attraction. It is a blatantly obvious attempt to exploit the COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis for his own political benefit. These are nothing more than replacement vehicles for the cult rallies and campaign affairs that can no longer be held due to the risk of exacerbating the pandemic.

Not surprisingly, the press has been critical of this crass exploitation and many journalists are advocating that they not be covered, at least until after Trump’s remarks have been fact-checked and other extraneous campaign content is edited out. This has now caused Fox News to claim that there is some hypocrisy on the part of the press for first complaining about the administration’s abandonment of daily briefings, and now complaining that they are taking place. An op-ed on Fox’s website misconstrues that:

“The mainstream media were clamoring for regular press briefings from President Trump and his administration long before the coronavirus crisis escalated. Former press secretary Sarah Sanders stopped the daily routine in early 2019 and they eventually came to a halt altogether — much to the chagrin of many media members.

“But after Trump and his coronavirus team, including Vice President Mike Pence, Dr. Anthony Fauci, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams and Dr. Deborah Birx, began providing them on a daily basis in late February, some media figures said their networks should stop airing them, leading critics to question the sudden about-face.”

What Fox News is missing is that the press was never “clamoring” for staged events where Trump would lambaste the media, brag shamelessly about things he hadn’t done, and lie his asinine head off for two hours. They merely wanted his press secretary to do her job and be accountable to the public that the press represents.

What Trump is giving them instead is an interminable bitchfest that is intended solely to advance his reelection prospects and feed his voracious ego. This is particularly offensive considering the briefings that Trump is hijacking for his own purposes is supposed to be dedicated to informing the public about a deadly and growing pandemic.

If Trump had any real concern for the nation he would leave these Coronavirus Task Force briefings to the experts and stop wasting time with his lies and petulant attacks on reporters. Then he would reinstate the daily White House press briefings with the press secretary. It’s questionable that even under those circumstances we would get much useful or honest information considering how integral lying is to this administration. But at least we would avoid the endless tantrums and dangerous disinformation that Trump is disseminating with things as they are.

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

Wannabe Dictator Trump Threatens to Revoke Licenses of Stations that Air Critical Ads

As Americans sees the rising number of their fellow citizens becoming victims of COVID-19 (coronavirus), they are simultaneously losing confidence in the “leadership” of Donald Trump. From the beginning he downplayed the threat that the virus represented, insisting that the number of those affected was small and that it would shortly be zero. He could not have been more wrong. On Thursday the number of cases in the U.S. surpassed China.

Donald Trump Tyrant Dictator

And while the virus infections and fatalities go up, Trump’s mental state spirals down. He is sinking into a defensive posture that resembles closely the behavior of paranoid authoritarians who perceive enemies all around them. And one of the most common reactions by such persons is to clamp down on what they believe is a hostile media. Thursday’s Coronavirus Task Force (which he really has no business attending) opened with Trump accusing the press of being “corrupt.” That’s nothing new for someone who has repeatedly referred to the media in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people.”

More troubling is that now Trump is going after a progressive group that produced an ad recounting Trump’s failure to respond to the budding pandemic. Priorities USA compiled some of Trump’s own dismissive statements and juxtaposed them with a chart showing the virus’s rate of growth. This upset Trump and resulted in a “cease and desist” from the Trump campaign organization. Here’s the ad that triggered President Snowflake:

It’s bad enough that Trump would try to intimidate a political group by infringing on their First Amendment rights. But it’s even worse than that. The Trump campaign is actually threatening to revoke the broadcast licenses of any television station that airs the ad. That’s a fascist strongman’s solution to pesky critics who dare to speak out. According to a report in Bloomberg News, Trump’s campaign warned that…

“Failure to remove the ad ‘could put your station’s license in jeopardy’ before the Federal Communications Commission, the campaign said in the letter. ‘Your station has an obligation to cease and desist from airing it immediately to comply with FCC licensing requirements.'”

First of all, let’s establish the fact that the stations do not have any obligation to comply with the Trump campaign’s request that they do not air the ad. That request has no legal standing, and would likely fail to succeed if tried in court. The ad is comprised of Trump’s own words, and they were presented in a manner that reasonably represents their meaning. However, the campaign appears to suggest that the campaign has some ability to influence the FCC, a federal regulatory agency whose members are appointed by the President. That would be a wholly improper arrangement and an unlawful abuse of power on the part of the White House. What’s more…

“The FCC doesn’t appear to have grounds to act against the stations for airing contentious ads, said Jack Goodman, a Washington broadcast attorney, said in an interview. The ad ‘is core political speech’ protected by First Amendment guarantees of free speech, Goodman said.”

The primary complaint by Trump’s campaign concerns an audio clip of him referring to criticism from Democrats, saying that “This is their new hoax.” Trump asserts that he wasn’t referring to COVID-19 itself, but to the Democrats criticism. However, in the full context of his remarks he is itemizing events that he considered to be hoaxes. They included the investigation of Russia’s efforts on behalf of his 2016 presidential campaign, and his impeachment over his attempts to coerce the president of Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden. In both of those incidents his allegations of a hoax referred to the charges themselves, not criticism from Democrats. So why would his meaning be any different for the third item in that list?

This isn’t the first time that Trump has tried to use the courts to prohibit free speech. He is currently suing the New York Times, the Washington Post, and CNN for defamation. Trump is known for filing lawsuits – or threatening to – to harass his foes. But this time he has the power of the presidency to bolster those threats with punishment from agencies that are beholden to him. It’s the sort of authoritarianism that he so admires in his pals Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, and Kim Jong Un. But it is anathema to American democracy and he must not be allowed to get away with it. So feel free to circulate the ad above, far and wide.

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

Trump Lashes Out at Reporter Who Made the Mistake of Telling Him the Truth

The media has an abysmal record for the way it has covered Donald Trump. From the very beginning of his campaign in 2015, to the present, the press has given Trump far too much latitude to lie and paid way too much attention to his reality show style hype. They really need to remember that their obligation is to the public, and to keeping them informed. Their mission is to present the truth, not an artificial facade of balance. Reporters are not stenographers.

Donald Trump

Trump is a confirmed self-promoter and a pathological liar. His words cannot be relied upon for anything other than evidence of his mammoth ego and infantile obsession with maligning those he regards as enemies. And considering his severe paranoia, there almost everyone is an enemy. Even under ordinary circumstances, these traits would require special treatment by the press to unravel the intentions of such a person in a position of power. But these are not normal times. The presence of a viral pandemic that is putting the lives of millions at risk makes these times unique and perilous.

On Friday morning Trump provided an outstanding example of what makes him such a difficult character to cover. It occurred at the daily press briefing from the White House. Trump actually should not even be attending these briefings. Presumably he would have more important work to do during this crisis, which is why he assigned his Vice-President, Mike Pence, to head the Coronavirus Task Force. But Trump has been showing up every day because it has replaced the ego-stroking cult rallies that he can’t hold anymore due to the risk of them becoming breeding grounds for the virus.

During the briefing, NBC reporter Peter Alexander was called on to ask a question. It all started off fairly mild, but Trump quickly changed his tone into one of reflexive defensiveness and overt hostility. Alexander began by asking Trump if it was possible that his “impulse to put a positive spin on things might be giving Americans a false sense of hope?” That led to this exchange:

Alexander: What do you say to American who are scared though? Nearly 200 dead. 14,000 who are sick. Millions, as you witnessed, who are scared right now. What do you say to Americans who are watching right now who are scared?
Trump: I say that you are a terrible reporter. That is what I say. I think that’s a nasty question. And I think it’s a very bad signal that you’re putting out to the America people.

Seriously? What Trump has to say to scared Americans is that Alexander is bad reporter? That should make the nation feel better (see Alexander’s response below). Ironically, Trump inadvertently confirmed the premise of Alexander’s questions: that Trump is fixated on blanketing the media with his phony rosy scenarios. As a consequence of his tunnel-blindness, Trump simply cannot abide any discussion of the real-world hardships that the American people are enduring. That’s why he lashed out at Alexander’s reference to sicknesses and fatalities. And he rejected the opportunity to send a message of hope to worried citizens.

Trump cultists are fond of disparaging progressives as “snowflakes.” But what is more representative of that label than Trump’s pitiful inability to deal with the facts about the coronavirus crisis, and the reality that people are fearful for themselves and their families? Trump is only concerned about himself and his public image. And the only reason he wants to see this matter resolved is so that it doesn’t affect his prospects for reelection. Consequently, Trump is really the one who has something realistic to fear. And the sort of childish behavior he exhibited at this briefing will only make it more likely that his fears will come true. That’s the good news.

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

It’s Time to Quarantine Trump From the Coronavirus Briefings

What’s a malignant narcissist to do when his primary source of personal gratification is deemed too perilous to continue. That’s the dilemma that Donald Trump is facing as the COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis puts an end to the cult rallies that feed his ravenous ego.

Donald Trump TV Set

For many weeks Trump denied the obvious signs that the coronavirus was spreading and endangering people’s lives. So he continued to appear at the rallies that may have served as a breeding ground for more infections. But that’s no longer possible as state and federal guidelines are uniformly advising that people refrain from gathering in groups of more than ten. In many cases such gatherings are expressly prohibited. And since his travel has been curtailed, he hasn’t been able to hold court at his “Chopper Talk” sessions on the White House lawn either.

Consequently, the craving for adulation that consumes Trump was going unsatisfied until he decided to show up at the daily press briefings held by his Coronavirus Task Force. There he found himself the center of attention again as he disgorged his hallmark brand of self-exaltation and rancid invective. But his presence there is less than useless, it’s distracting and even destructive.

Trump’s tendency to express everything in frenetic hyperbole was evident in this morning’s press briefing. He spent an inordinate amount of time praising himself for his “tremendous” response to the current crisis, for the best economy ever, and other assorted imaginary achievements. He repeatedly – and falsely – claimed that no one ever thought that this virus could become so harmful, and that “There’s never been anything like this in history. Nobody has ever seen anything like this before.” (Note: whenever Trump says no one has seen/heard something, he means that he hasn’t). He said that, due to the virus, he views himself as a “wartime president,” apparently having forgotten that the U.S. has had troops deployed in three wars (Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria) throughout his presidency.

Trump lashed out at his usual foes, particularly the media. He bashed the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and the Washington Post, as dishonest. And in the same breath he claimed that “I know the the truth. And people out there in the world, they really don’t know the truth. They don’t know what it is.” This is his way of advancing the code of the cult: Only the cult leader tells the truth. Everyone else is lying or stupid. However, the people out there in the world seem better able to discern the truth than Trump would like. A recent poll shows that a broad majority of 60% don’t trust what Trump says about COVID-19.

When he manages to stay on topic, Trump’s coronavirus remarks focus predominantly on unrealistic, rosy scenarios and happy-talk wherein there has been nothing but incredible progress being made. That is not only false, it’s dangerous. It seduces people into a false state of security, believing that they don’t really have to alter their behavior or heed public warnings. What’s more, his presence produces more political rhetoric as he tries to twist every question into something he can exploit for partisan benefit.

Worst of all, Trump lies with abandon. He has told reporters at these briefings that millions of virus tests would be available by now (they aren’t), and that anyone who wants a test can get one (they can’t). He said that vaccines and treatments that will take more than a year to produce, would be available shortly. He invents partnerships with private entities that are later disclaimed. And he interjects vile bigotry such as his now frequent references to the “Chinese virus.”

Trump really needs to be quarantined from appearing at these briefings. He has nothing productive to contribute because he is so pitifully ignorant about the issues at hand. Of course, he regards himself as an expert on everything, so he ends up rambling incoherently about medicine, epidemiology, economics, sociology, and whatever else pops into his shrunken head.

The American people are justifiably worried about their welfare and that of their families and nation. Trump needs to appreciate this and suppress his ego for a while. Just leave these briefings to the experts so that we can all focus on getting through this. He can stay in his bedroom and watch more Fox News.

Unfortunately, that may be too much to ask of Trump. He is too mentally dependent on the attention he steals to think about the needs of anyone else. And that same lack of empathy prevents him from doing what’s necessary to lead the nation to the conclusion of this crisis. Hopefully, saner heads will prevail and take charge. if not, it’s gonna be long pandemic.

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

Here’s a portion of Trump’s aimless rambling at today’s press briefing.

Trump’s Lawsuits Against the Media Could Produce an Avalanche of Evidence – Against Him

This election year has seen norms in political activity be swept away by Donald Trump’s continued rejection of decency and honesty as he tweets his way through a failing presidency. The observations that Trump is either pitifully ignorant and/or severely demented are impossible to dismiss. His symptoms range from bizarre assertions about windmill cancer and toilet flushing, to intense paranoia, delusions of grandeur, and authoritarian aspirations.

Donald Trump, Constitution

In recent weeks Trump has also been escalating his war against the media that he repeatedly refers to in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people,” which he did once again Sunday morning. Now Trump has set out on a path of litigation that is rooted in hostility and vengeance against the constitutional protections of a free press. This is behavior that reeks of fear, desperation, and the all-consuming mania of an unbridled persecution complex. It began with the announcement a week and a half ago that his campaign is suing his perennial nemesis (in his diseased mind), the New York Times for defamation. And in the short time since then, Trump has announced additional lawsuits against a couple of other perceived foes, the Washington Post and CNN.

Virtually every legal analyst who has commented on these lawsuits considers them not only frivolous, but dangerous. They are intended to inhibit free expression and punish those who dare to criticize Dear Leader. It’s a pure dictatorship play by a president who has repeatedly expressed his admiration for tyrants like Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un, and Xi Jinping. Each of these suits explicitly attack published opinions articles, not hard news. For instance, these are the specific citation in Trump’s legal complaints that he is alleging are defamatory:

New York Times
“There was no need for detailed electoral collusion between the Trump campaign and Vladimir Putin’s oligarchy because they had an overarching deal: the quid of help in the campaign against Hillary Clinton for the quo of a new pro-Russian foreign policy, starting with relief from the Obama administration’s burdensome economic sanctions. The Trumpites knew about the quid and held out the prospect of the quo.”

Washington Post
The lawsuit cites a June 13 opinion piece by Greg Sargent that said Trump “tried to conspire with” a “sweeping and systematic” attack by Russia against the 2016 U.S. presidential election. It also cites a June 20 opinion piece by Paul Waldman that asked “who knows what sort of aid Russia and North Korea will give to the Trump campaign, now that he has invited them to offer their assistance?”

CNN
“The Trump campaign assessed the potential risks and benefits of again seeking Russia’s help in 2020 and has decided to leave that option on the table.”

All of these articles are expressing opinions that are rational, fact-based, and affirmed by authoritative sources. Some are even affirmed by Trump himself. After all, he did ask Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails on national television. What’s more, an extensive investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller found that “Trump and his campaign welcomed & encouraged Russian interference.”

To this day, Trump continues to openly solicit political assistance from hostile foreign countries. And his actions prove that he is working in concert with our adversaries to boost his reelection prospects.

While Trump’s wrathful litigiousness is an assault on press freedom, and has an unambiguous chilling effect on journalists, there is a silver lining to his abhorrent conduct. Should any of these lawsuits ever see a courtroom, Trump will be obligated to comply with discovery orders to turn over documents relevant to his complaint. So the defendants can require him to produce materials that he has been refusing to provide to prosecutors and investigators in Congress. And should he do so, he will almost certainly reveal incriminating evidence that could subject him to criminal indictments.

Consequently, it is highly unlikely that Trump will pursue these lawsuits. He may try to use them for publicity for awhile, and to run up the legal fees for the defendants. But in the end he will probably run away (or try to), as he has done throughout his life. However, he may not be able to escape if the defendants countersue and seek a declarative judgment asserting their rights under the First Amendment. In which case, he might still be required to submit to discovery and even testimony. So even though his intentions are loathsome and anti-American, this could still wind up being kinda fun.

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

STFU: Why Did the Media Cover Every Word of Trump’s Post-Impeachment Gloating?

Here we go again. In 2016 the press disgraced itself by falling victim to the reality TV campaign of Donald Trump. They broadcast every rally and public address live and uninterrupted as if it had some news value. It didn’t. They were just providing Trump with millions of dollars of free air time.

Donald Trump Not Exonerated

The press utterly failed in its journalistic obligations during the 2016 campaign with their fixation on a candidate that stuffed his speeches full of lies, insults, and self-exaltation. Their preference for featuring Trump’s cult rallies was blatantly unfair. They were not giving the same amount of time or exposure to any of his opponents during the Republican primary or the general election. Some of the media recognized their profoundly biased and unprofessional conduct after the election and even apologized to the nation for letting them down.

Well, they seem not to learned a damn thing. On Thursday morning Trump gave an address from the White House that he previously tweeted would be “to discuss our Country’s VICTORY on the Impeachment Hoax!” That preview was bad enough, serving as a warning that the speech would be a feast of falsehoods and a celebration of having escaped accountability for his obvious crimes.

Why would the press rush to cover something that Trump himself falsely described as the “country’s victory” and a “hoax”? He telegraphed his intention to exploit the event for his own selfish purposes. And that’s exactly what he did.

The hour plus speech was a rambling disgorgement of a bloated ego combined with back-slapping of the sycophantic, Republican bootlickers in the audience. Trump rattled off the names of every Trump-fluffing apologist who ran his defense in Congress. and he told brief stories about how brilliant they were for adoring him.

Of course, Trump also used this time to lash out at his perceived enemies. He repeated his tiresome charge that he was the victim of a “witch hunt.” He revived his obsession with President Obama, baselessly alleging that “a lot of people would have been in jail” if he had his way. He rehashed the Mueller probe, calling it “bullshit” despite the fact that it affirmed numerous breaches of the law and blatant obstruction of justice. He went off, again, on America’s intelligence community, complaining about “dirty cops” and other evil people. He singled out former FBI Director James Comey for special condemnation, calling him a “sleazebag.” This is the behavior of a “president” whose cult followers are currently denouncing the “decorum” of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for tearing up a copy of his Dystopian State of the Union speech.

But he wasn’t nearly through. He slandered House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff as “corrupt” and a “vicious, horrible person.” Trump unwound his frequent lie that Schiff had misrepresented his remarks in the phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky. He continues to insist that people read the memo that he calls a “transcript” of the call, even though it clearly indicates that he extorted Zelensky to get dirt on Joe Biden.

Naturally, Trump didn’t forget to attack Pelosi. He called her a horrible person also. But he went on to make reprehensible remarks about her faith, asserting that he “I doubts she prays at all.” Earlier in morning he made similar remarks the National Prayer Breakfast, where he attacked Mitt Romney’s faith as well, saying that he “used religion as a crutch.” and that “I don’t like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong.” This, coming from someone who pretends to be a devout Christian but can’t cite a single passage from the bible and brags that he has never asked god for forgiveness because he’s never done anything wrong.

The entire address was nothing but a propaganda filled campaign rally with an audience of StormTrumpers engaged in idol worship. It allowed Trump to lie about being exonerated (he wasn’t) and to malign his critics for a solid hour without any pushback, fact-checking, or concessions to reality. And the media chose to air the whole thing live and without interruption.

For what purpose? There was nothing remotely newsworthy about it. They could have have easily recorded it and aired it later if they found anything that served the public interest. And then they would also have been able to provide context and corrections of his numerous untruths. If this is any indication of how they are going to cover the election between now and November, America is big trouble.

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

Fox News Hack Defends Trump for Making 2019 the ‘Darkest Year Yet for Journalists’

After three years of bootlicking fealty to Donald Trump, there are very few people who would dispute that Fox News is serving as the Ministry of Propaganda for the Trump regime. There has never been a “news” organization more tightly aligned with a political leader and party than Fox News. They even regularly exchange personnel who seamlessly work for both the network and the White House. Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs, and others are card-carrying members of Trump’s “Shadow Cabinet.”

Donald Trump, Fox News, White House

Other than Fox News, Trump has been relentlessly hostile to the press from the beginning of his presidency. He routinely refers to it in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people,” and dismisses any less than adoring coverage as “fake news.” Michael M. Grynbaum of the New York times took note of this in a year-end column that accurately described 2019 as the darkest year yet for journalists He elaborated…

“On Twitter, President Trump deployed the phrase ‘fake news’ 273 times this year — 50 percent more often than he did in 2018. He demanded ‘retribution’ over a ‘Saturday Night Live’ sketch, declared that Washington Post reporters ‘shouldn’t even be allowed on the grounds of the White House,’ and accused The New York Times of ‘Treason.’ […]

Mr. Trump’s vilification of the news media is a hallmark of his tenure and a jagged break from the norms of his predecessors: Once a global champion of the free press, the presidency has become an inspiration to autocrats and dictators who ape Mr. Trump’s cry of ‘fake news.'”

Trump has terminated the daily press briefings that were a decades-long part of White House operations. He replaced them with his “Chopper Talk” harangues on the lawn of the White House where he’ll berate reporters and lie unashamedly while dodging their questions. And his constant assaults on the press creates an environment of imminent risk to the lives of reporters. Trump even whined to Vladimir Putin that he would like to “get rid of them,” expressing his envy of Putin’s ability to assassinate journalists who offend him. That’s the sort of loathsome rhetoric that caused the Committee to Protect Journalists to issue a long and detailed condemnation of Trump as “an unprecedented threat,” and went on to say…

“Donald Trump, through his words and actions as a candidate for president of the United States, has consistently betrayed First Amendment values. […] A Trump presidency would represent a threat to press freedom in the United States.”

In response to the article in the New York Times (a frequent victim of Trump’s attacks), right-wing media hack Joe Concha appeared on Fox News to defend Trump’s malicious behavior (video below). However, he proffered a badly mangled argument that Trump was justified in criticizing the press because they were so critical of him. The problem with that is that no one was suggesting that Trump couldn’t offer his own criticisms. But there is a difference between pointing out what he believes are inaccuracies, and accusing reporters of treason.

Likewise, Concha argued that Trump couldn’t be considered a threat to journalists because he speaks to them directly from time to time. Once again, that doesn’t excuse what he’s actually saying in those encounters. If you threaten reporters with cancellation of their credentials, or with prosecution and imprisonment, you cannot simultaneously claim you’re not a threat because you spoke to them.

Fox and Friends co-host Steve Doocy eagerly agreed with Concha’s premise, saying that Trump often approaches reporters at Mar-A-Lago and takes questions. What Doocy didn’t acknowledge is that those avails are always designed to give Trump the advantage. He takes only the questions he wants, and pretends he didn’t hear the others. And if his answers are insufficient, or totally irrelevant, he refuses follow-ups or any effort to clarify.

The problem with what Concha and Doocy are saying is that they regard Trump’s insults and threats as legitimate critiques of the media. They ignore Trump’s menacing outbursts that cast journalists as criminals and traitors. And they don’t seem to comprehend that labeling everything you disagree agree with as “Fake” isn’t a coherent rebuttal. It’s a flagrant attempt to demean an honorable profession, and the only one protected by the Constitution.

Trump’s purpose is to destroy the public’s confidence in the only institution they can rely on to keep them informed and hold the powerful accountable. In this way Trump hopes to get away with his criminal, amoral, and disloyal, activities. And Joe Concha and Fox News are right there to back him up.

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

IT’S A CULT! Trump’s Assault on the Press has Poisoned a Generation of Republican Chumps

The impeachment of Donald Trump has passed another milestone as the House Judiciary Committee voted to send two Articles of Impeachment to the full House. Article One is “Abuse of Power” and includes Trump’s extortion of a foreign leader, as wells as his efforts to coerce a foreign government to interfere with an American election. Article Two covers “Obstruction of Congress” and Trump’s attempts to cover up the crimes he committed in Article One.

Donald Trump

The prospect of being only the third U.S. president ever to be impeached is gnawing at Trump and driving him to bizarre behaviors such as Thursday’s 123 tweet day, a record for the Tweeter-in-chief. And on Friday Trump’s tweetstorming raged on with an emphasis on how adored he thinks he is by the American people. He posted several tweets alluded to that imaginary popularity, including the following:

The reality is that Trump is struggling in recent polling, including that of his favorite pollster, the utterly biased and disreputable Rasmussen, where he’s dropped three points since the impeachment hearings began. But Trump has even bigger problems as his support narrows to the fringe confines of his most loyal cult disciples. This fact of Trump’s sad life is borne out in a new survey by the Pew Research Center. Their study of how the media is perceived by different sectors of the population reveals that…

“On item after item, Republicans consistently express far greater skepticism of the news media and their motives than Democrats. […] Even more telling, the analysis reveals that divides emerge within party – particularly the Republican Party – based on how strongly people approve of Trump’s performance as president.”

It’s no secret that Trump has conditioned his followers to despise the constitutionally protected free press, which he calls “the enemy of the people.” But even among Republicans, the degree of animosity spikes in concert with the degree of Trump worship. The Pew study found that “The vast majority (79%) of Republicans say journalists have low or very low ethical standards.” Of those about one-third (31%) say journalists have very low ethical standards. However among the most fervent of Trump’s GOP supporters 40% say journalists’ ethics are very low. So the Deplorable set is far more distrusting of the media than their Republican chums.

This is undoubtedly the result of constant disparagement by Trump. He can’t seem to go a single day without instructing his hordes to hate the press. And that hostility is clearly transferring from Trump to his truest believers. But even so, this support is not nearly in the range that Trump says it is. According to Pew, it isn’t 95%, but only about 64% of GOPers who “strongly” approve of how Trump is handling his job as president. Even if you add the “somewhat approvers” (18%) it still only comes to 82%.

So no matter how you slice it, Trump is passing off fake numbers to boost the perception of his alleged acclaim and to massage his fragile ego. The good news for Trump is that his most faithful devotees will believe whatever he tells them. The bad news is that they are a small and dwindling cadre of dimwits.

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

Do Not Believe THEM! That is Trump’s Order to His Faithful Cult Followers About the Media

The messianic aspirations of Donald Trump continue to be displayed by Dear Leader on a daily basis. His reckless pronouncements of acceptable standards of obedience are made clear as he lashes out at any and all sources of criticism, particularly those that have the audacity to tell the truth about him.

Donald Trump Tyrant Dictator

In a recent tweet Trump made it clear that he opposes a common and necessary part of responsible and professional journalism. Unidentified sources are an indispensable part of collecting information that is being actively suppressed or misrepresented. They have been a factor in the uncovering of untold crimes and behavior that is improper and unethical on the part of public officials. And the information they have provided has been praised by members of both parties as well as law enforcement. But then we have Donald Trump…

This is a bizarre commandment issued by a person who is obviously consumed with anxiety and the fear of having his criminal behavior exposed. He is well aware of the criminal activities that he has engaged in and is frantic that others will learn the truths he is hiding. Consequently he has decreed that his subjects close their eyes and ears to reality and believe only what he tells them.

Notice that Trump isn’t merely suggesting that people take care to consider the veracity of what they see and hear. He is instructing them to “not believe ANY article or story you read or see that uses ‘anonymous sources.'” None of them, regardless of how accurate, well documented, and corroborated by named sources. He dictates that only stories with “an actual living name” are acceptable under his doctrine.

This is wrong on many levels. First of all, he’s not really referring to stories with “anonymous” (i.e. unknown) sources. He’s really talking about “unidentified” sources. These are sources whose identity is known to the reporters and editors, but who don’t want their identities to be made public for fear of retribution. In these cases the reporters have confirmed their credibility and suitably to provide information.

Furthermore, Trump’s assertion that “The Fake News Media makes up many ‘sources say’ stories,” is entirely unsubstantiated and as often as he has said it, he has never offered any proof. Trump just brazenly attaches this assertion to any story that he doesn’t like.

Often the unidentified sources that Trump is whining about are people in his own administration. In fact, the White House regularly holds officially, sanctioned anonymously sourced calls with reporters where they demand that the calls be attributed only to “senior administration officials.” And Trump himself routinely cites anonymous sources in his remarks to the press. He frequently prefaces his implausible comments to say that “people say…” or he asserts that “I’ve heard…” this or that nonsensical claim. He also tells stories about people without names who have come to him with ludicrous tales that coincidentally support some ridiculous position he’s taken.

A recent example includes his claim that unnamed “people” are telling him that they have to flush their toilets 10 or 15 times. Really? People who have the unique opportunity to talk to the President of the United States are telling him about their troubles in the bathroom? Setting aside that improbability, if anyone else were reporting this Trump would insist that they not be believed because the sources are not identified.

The Trump commandment that his disciples can “only accept information” under conditions that he deems fitting is just the latest demonstration that he is not leading a political party, but a cult. And as the cult leader, the only truths are those he deems acceptable. But what’s most frightening about this is that there are people who subscribe to this madness. And if Trump tells them not to believe any stories with anonymous sources, they will obey – unless they are his stories.

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

CHOPPER TALK: Corrupt Donald Trump Tells Flagrant Lies About Pretty Much Everything

Our Reality TV president just released the latest episode of his long-running soap opera “Chopper Talk” (or more accurately “Whopper Talk”) wherein Donald Trump swaggers pompously before an assemblage of reporters as he ostensibly responds to questions with “answers” that, more often than not, ignore the reporter’s inquiry. His strained and frequently incoherent responses range from awkward deflections to outright lies. It’s a circus of self-serving propaganda that has no journalistic value whatsoever.

Donald Trump, Chopper Talk

There are many reasons that the press needs to stop covering these slack-jawed sideshows live. They provide almost nothing useful for viewers. Even worse, as Media Matters reports, is that Fox news continues to air all of Trump’s cult rallies live. CNN has cut back almost entirely, airing only ten minutes this year. MSNBC aired none of them.

However, there is one thing that comes from these loopy press avails. They allow a pathological liar to disgorge uninterrupted rants that sound very much like the schizophrenic on the street corner shouting epithets at passing cars. And in Friday’s instalment (video below) Trump was in rare form, excreting nonsense like a haywire word-salad shooter. Just a few of Trump’s fact-challenged falsehoods include…

“Adam Schiff is a corrupt politician. He’s corrupt. He made up a speech, and he put my voice in it.”

FALSE: Schiff merely paraphrased Trump and prefaced his remarks by saying explicitly that they were the “essence” of what Trump said, not a verbatim quote.

“Everyone of those people testified absolutely fine for me. […] You know I don’t even know most of these people. Many of these people I’ve never even heard of.”

FALSE: Most of the people Trump is talking about were appointed by him or by those he appointed. This is a common tactic that he uses to pretend he doesn’t know anyone who criticizes him. What Trump wants you to believe is that he never heard of his National Security Council Russia advisor Fiona Hill, his NSC Ukraine expert Alexander Vindman, his Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sonderland, his Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker, his Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent, and his Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. If he really doesn’t know these high-level White House staffers, that’s just more proof that he’s unfit to serve.

“We are winning so big. My polls are the highest they’ve ever been. I’m leading in all of the swing states.”

FALSE: Trump’s poll numbers are as low as ever. They have hovered around 40 percent since his inauguration, and still do. And he is notably losing in many of the swing states.

And then there’s this: Trump unleashes a bizarre and incoherent rant that meanders from one subject to another without ever approaching reality. But he does manage to threaten to sue the whistleblower’s attorney of treason (which is ludicrous because you can’t sue for treason).

“The whistleblower, I call him the fake whistleblower. He gave a fake report of my phone call. And when I released that call, all of a sudden everybody disappeared. The whistleblower disappeared. What ever happened to the second whistleblower? Why isn’t the first whistleblower gonna testify anymore? You know why? Because everything he wrote in that report almost was a lie. Because he made a phony phone call. My phone call was perfect. He made it sound bad. That’s why I had to release. So the whistleblower is a disgrace to our country. And the whistleblower because of that should be revealed. And his lawyer, who said the worst things possible two years ago, he should be sued. And maybe for treason.

HUH? The whistleblower hasn’t disappeared. His/her identity is still under wraps, despite the efforts of right-wing media, including Fox News, who have offered up a name of someone they can’t confirm is really the whistleblower. And Trump’s “transcript” of his phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky actually confirms the account by the whistleblower, making him/her irrelevant. But Trump’s reckless charges of treason demonstrate why truth tellers in government need the protection of whistleblower status.

The only benefit that can be derived from these demented outbursts is that they are further evidence that Trump is a severely disturbed psychotic who presents a clear and present danger to the nation. The media has a responsibility to refrain from airing his ravings live. They have nothing to lose by reviewing the video and airing it twenty minutes later with added context and fact-checking. And if they don’t take that simple step they are aiding and abetting Trump’s deranged campaign of propaganda and lies. That is dangerous and contrary to the mission of the free press and ethical journalism.

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