WTF? Nikki Haley Slams the Grammys Because She ‘Loves Music Without the Politics’

The 60th Annual Grammy Awards show aired Sunday night with the customary pomp and circumstance that accompanies these galas. New stars and legends took the stage to celebrate the music industry’s creative achievements of the last year. It will certainly be viewed by millions of fans for whom music is as necessary as air.

Hillary Clinton

One viewer out there, however, is no longer a fan. Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, was not pleased by a humorous sketch (video below) that featured a number of big stars reading from Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury. The book caused a stir by revealing some of the inside dirt at Donald Trump’s White House. That political comedy was too much for Haley who tweeted:

Is she friggin’ kidding? Music and politics are hardly a new combination. In fact, the social condition has been the subject of music compositions for centuries. And particularly with regard to contemporary music, political themes have inspired some of the greatest music and artists of all time. If Haley were to have her way, the artists whose music was fiercely political that she would do away with would include:

  • Rage Against the Machine
  • Eminem
  • The Clash
  • James Brown
  • U2
  • Crosby, Stills & Nash
  • Neil Young
  • Public Enemy
  • Dead Kennedys
  • Green Day
  • Frank Zappa
  • Marvin Gaye
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • The Beatles
  • Bob Marley
  • The Sex Pistols
  • Bob Dylan
  • Kendrick Lamar

And that’s not nearly a complete list. Haley’s ignorance of the importance of expressing real life issues in the musical arts is really just her own aversion to free thought and creativity. She never complained when her idiot boss, Donald Trump, attacked Jay-Z, John Legend, Cher, Neil Young, Snoop Dogg, or the cast of Hamilton.

But read a few lines from a book critical of Trump for a comedy sketch and Haley is outraged. And another thing that makes her whining absurd is that the bit didn’t have any music in it. So how could any music have been “ruined” by this brief segment? The truth is that Trump’s night was ruined by some some artists making fun of him, which he richly deserves. And Haley had to defend her crybaby master’s ego. It’s just plain pathetic, but so very typical.

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

Fox News Host Accidentally Admits that Trump Colluded with the Russians to Win the Election

The Trump defenders at Fox News have been striving feverishly to dismiss any and all claims that Donald Trump had any connection to Russia’s documented interference with the 2016 presidential election. Many of them, along with Trump, deny that there was any interference at all. This campaign to rewrite reality has been relentless and intense, with absurd and slanderous allegations that the FBI, the Justice Department, and special counsel Robert Mueller are all corrupt, left-wing partisans.

Last week Michael Wolff released his book, Fire and Fury, that raised additional questions about the mental state of Trump and his fitness for office. The controversy surrounding it was the launching point for a segment on Monday’s episode of “The Five” on Fox News. Co-host, and emotionally stunted kindergarten dropout, Jesse Watters, leaped at the opportunity to twist this topic into another Fox-errific Trump-fluffing moment. He warmed up by calling the book’s author a “Wolff in sheep’s clothing” whose only motivation was “to take down Trump and actually lead to impeachment.” Then Watters let this zinger fly (video below):

“The main point of the book was that Trump didn’t want to win. So then, if he didn’t want to win, why did he collude with the Russians to win? The whole thing doesn’t make sense.”

Precisely. It makes no sense at all. According to Watters, it is the fact that Trump colluded with Russia that proves his intention to win the election. Therefore, Watters is conceding that Trump colluded with Russia. Thanks Jesse. We’ve been saying that for months.

The only other alternative is that Watters was mocking the allegations of Trump’s collusion. But then, if he didn’t collude, that destroys Watters’ argument that Trump wanted to win the election. Therefore, the assertions in Wolff’s book are validated. You can’t have it both ways.

This is the type of ignorance that Fox News viewers consume with relish, although only the good American kind and none of that unpatriotic Grey Poupon stuff. They regard these nonsensical contrivances as the intellectual foundation of their fantastical belief systems. And Fox News is all too happy to pump them out in a continuous 24/7 loop with smug, self-satisfied pundits assuring their glassy-eyed audience that it’s all true.

It’s not difficult to sell this BS since it’s aligned so perfectly with the same brand of BS that Trump spits out to the uneducated disciples at his rallies and on Twitter. Recall that Trump himself told us during the campaign: “I love the uneducated.” And why wouldn’t he? They are the only ones dumb enough to buy his deranged drivel.

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

Trump is a ‘Very Stable Genius’ Who Mindlessly Repeats What He Just Saw on Fox and Friends

The questions about Donald Trump’s apparent psychological decline are rapidly becoming more than partisan speculation. And the person most responsible for affirming the President’s mental infirmity just happens to be Donald Trump. The more he talks about his own cerebral frailty, the more feeble he appears to be.

Fox News Trump

On Saturday morning Trump thought it was necessary to defend himself against the allegations that have been made by politicians, pundits, and mental health professionals. But his comments were a pathetic mess of ego and delusion. He tweeted that:

It is notable that these tweets were posted less than ten minutes after a segment on this subject was aired on Fox and Friends. This is a pattern that is repeated frequently by Trump who obviously watches the program religiously, despite saying that he doesn’t have time for television. The message in the tweets is one that should be of concern to all Americans.

First of all, the investigation into his involvement in Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election has not been proven to be a hoax. Quite the contrary. There have already been four indictments with two guilty pleas. The rest of what has been uncovered by the special counsel, Robert Mueller, is still under wraps. And PolitiFact awarded Trump it’s Lie of the Year for repeatedly making this statement about the matter being a hoax.

Secondly, no one has ever recognized Trump’s two greatest assets as his “mental stability” or “being, like, really smart.” And if he wants to make that claim himself he probably shouldn’t sound so much like a “Valley Girl.” (fer sure). His true assets were actually having been born into a wealthy family and having the shameless lack of character that permits him to lie, cheat, and steal to get what he wants.

His boasts about education are a lame attempt to cling to some alleged glory from half a century ago. And it’s all the more irrelevant since he refuses to release his college transcripts. Also, Trump has never been a successful businessman. He would be far richer if he had just invested his inheritance in an S&P 500 indexed mutual fund. With at least four bankruptcies, he can hardly lay claim to any business prowess. And like his college claims, Trump refuses to release his tax returns to validate his alleged success in business.

Finally, Trump’s self-exalting assertions about his sanity and brilliance are downright surreal. When was the last time you heard “a very stable genius” say he was a very stable genius? Smart people are the last people to say that they are smart. Trump’s bragging is actually a sort of certification of his ignorance and instability. And he elaborated on that theme in brief remarks to reporters at Camp David when a reporter asked “This morning you were tweeting about your mental state. Why did you feel the need to tweet about that this morning?”

Whereupon Trump regurgitated his tedious refrain about having been an “excellent student” and becoming a successful businessman and TV star. Then he drifted off into a diatribe against Fire and Fury author, Michael Wolff, and his former top White House aide, Sloppy Steve Bannon. Watch this video and see for yourself if he ever approaches a coherent answer to the question regarding his mental state:

Remember, the question was “Why did you feel the need to tweet about [your mental state] this morning?” The answer was aimless blather about his perception of his own awesomeness and his perceived enemies. That isn’t the response of someone who is either stable or a genius. If anything, Trump’s response this morning affirms the broadly held assessment that he is unfit for the office he holds. His inability to maintain a focus on the topic is a symptom of cognitive dysfunction. It’s a cry for help that everyone – from his family to his Republican peers – is ignoring. And the peril this represents to the nation, and the world, cannot be overstated.

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

Donald Trump ‘Absolutely Believes in the First Amendment’ – And Won’t Rest Until It’s Dead

Okay, so it’s still only the first week of the new year. Nevertheless, the reigning champion of flagrant dishonesty, Donald Trump, is making a strong showing for Lie of the Year 2018. In 2017 PolitiFact “honored” him for his relentless insistence that Russia’s interference in the 2016 election was a hoax. Trump stubbornly maintained that he believed Vladimir Putin’s denials more than the conclusions of every American intelligence agency that investigated the issue.

Donald Trump

And now the White House has made a declaration so absurd that it has jumped to the head of the pack for this new year of presidential lies. During the daily briefing, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked to comment on Trump’s regard for the First Amendment. She replied that:

“The President absolutely believes in the First Amendment. But as we’ve said before, the President also believes in making sure that information is accurate before pushing it out as fact when it certainly and clearly is not.”

Whenever one asserts their belief in a core constitutional principle, it’s bad form to follow it with “but…” And in this case the qualification is outright bizarre. To suggest that Trump gives a damn about “making sure that information is accurate” flies in the face of his lie-riddle Twitter feed. He has a deep rooted aversion to the truth and he proves it every day. What’s more, the Washington post has documented almost 2,000 lies Trump has told since his inauguration.

The specific lie featured here is especially egregious because Trump’s fealty to the First Amendment has always been a bad joke. After all, Trump has been attacking the free press since he launched his presidential campaign. He routinely refers to it in general terms as “fake news.” He has vilified reporters as “liars, sleazy,” and “horrible people.” And he famously called out the media in Stalinesque terms as “the enemy of the America people.”

The question that drew Sanders’ response was specifically about Trump’s reaction to the new book by Michael Wolff, Fire and Fury. He had his lawyers threatened to sue the author and his publisher. Included in the threat was a demand that strikes at the heart of the First Amendment. The letter warned that:

“Mr. Trump hereby demands that you immediately cease and desist from any further publication, release or dissemination of the Book.”

So the President who “absolutely believes in the First Amendment” is attempting to force a journalist to halt publication of a book that is critical of the President. That is such an obvious contradiction in terms that it strains credulity. But it fits neatly into a pattern of oppressive behavior that is typical of Trump. There has never been a president who was more hostile to the First Amendment and those whose profession relies on it. The assertion that he believes in the First Amendment is nothing more than an acknowledgement that it exists. But he clearly regards it as an obstacle to his tyrannical aspirations and is doing everything he can to kill it.

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

Bill O’Reilly’s Incoherent Defense of Trump Affirms the Acute Mental Impairment of Both

The new book by Michael Wolff, Fire and Fury, has exposed many of Donald Trump’s flaws and psychological frailties. The first-hand account from Trump’s allies in the White House is confirmation of what most Americans have observed for themselves for the past two years.

Bill O'Reilly Donald Trump

Now, in an apparent attempt to defend his long-time pal, Bill O’Reilly has actually caused further damage. His lame brown-nosing blurb is a disastrous failure as positive PR, but it’s likely O’Reilly doesn’t even know it. In a posting on his website, O’Reilly said that:

“The media is crazed over a new book that dishes some dirt about the Trump White House, but I say so what? As someone who has known the President for 30 years, I’m not surprised by anything he says in his private moments.”

Alrighty then. So if you’re not surprised by anything he’s reported to have said in the book, you are in effect confirming the accounts of him saying the deranged things that prove him to be “semi-literate,” “a f**king moron,” and “unfit to serve.” Thanks for joining the rest of the country in recognizing Trump’s inability to comprehend the job he’s allegedly doing. For someone who brags about being Trump’s friend, it is nice to see you respond so candidly about revelations that he’s ignorant and spiraling down into ever more sever mental infirmity. However, it’s a little troubling that your reaction is a callous “So what?” We’re talking about the supposed leader of the free world. But you’re comfortable with this behavior:

“Mr. Trump is a stream of consciousness guy, a man who says whatever is on his mind. Two minutes later, he may change his mind and say something contradictory. He has no inner editing voice, that I can tell you as an ear witness!”

Indeed. Trump has no inner editor, or more importantly, outer babysitter. The “quality” of not being able to retain a thought for more than two minutes is hardly something people look for in a national leaders. And your advice for the media is somewhat peculiar. You say that “what the media should be doing” is “to strengthen this country and expose corruption in government.” Which is precisely what they are doing when they reveal Trump’s failures and flaws.

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

Trump’s utter lack of honesty and principle puts the nation in peril. But you obviously have an affinity for your troubled friend because of all the things you have in common. Like him, you are a serial sexual predator who paid out a massive $32 million settlement to just one of your many victims. And being an apologist for Trump’s treason and corruption make you an accomplice. To which I’m sure your response would be “So what?”

Certified Nutcase Donald Trump Tries His Hand at Psychoanalyzing Steve Bannon

The fate of the world is shifting by the minute. On Tuesday Donald Trump was tweeting threats to Iran, Pakistan, and North Korea, and comparing the size of his “nuclear button” to that of Kim Jong Un. By Wednesday the battle royale was between Trump and his former friend and White House aide, Steve Bannon.


A new book by Michael Wolff, Fire and Fury, presents a revealing look into the Trump White House. Some of the first publicly released excerpts show how Bannon really feels about the president he once served with such apparently fawning loyalty. And it’s not a pretty picture. Bannon is reported to have said that Don Junior’s meetings with Russians were treasonous and that Daddy Trump knew about them, despite his denials.

The book contains many other revelations that expose Trump as a flagrant fool who commanded no respect from those around him. Rupert Murdoch, CEO of Fox News, reportedly called him a “f**king moron.” And an aide tasked with explaining the Constitution described Trump as becoming bored and unwilling to continue past the Fourth Amendment. But it’s the Bannon comments that have caught the attention of Trump and, therefore, the media. Consequently, Trump released an official reply from the White that was as unhinged as anything we have ever seen from this acutely disturbed pseudo-president. He said in part:

“Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency. When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind. Steve was a staffer who worked for me after I had already won the nomination by defeating seventeen candidates. […] Steve was rarely in a one-on-one meeting with me and only pretends to have had influence to fool a few people with no access and no clue.”

This is typical Trumpian behavior that he employs to distance himself from close associates he later turns against. Although the degree of unrestrained anger reflects someone shockingly unglued from rational thought. Often Trump’s wrath is aimed at those he regards as having personally betrayed him. Even when he initiated the break in the relationship as he did in this case by firing Bannon. Shortly after his termination, Trump had this to say about his former senior counselor: “Now Sloppy Steve has been dumped like a dog by almost everyone.”

Contrary to Trump’s outburst, Bannon was not merely a “staffer” on the sidelines of his presidency. Bannon was his campaign manager, and later the White House Chief Strategist with a seat on the National Security Council. In other words, the coffee boy. And Trump had a decidedly different opinion on the day that Bannon was released from his White House duties last August:

Just prior to his dismissal, Trump described Bannon in glowing terms calling him “a good person and I think the press treats him frankly very unfairly.” Now Trump asserts that Bannon has “lost his mind.” That’s a subject that Trump can claim some expertise on. Many psychiatric professionals have concluded that Trump is “too mentally ill to serve.” A group of psychiatric doctors and academics who met at Yale University found that Trump displays symptoms of a variety of mental illnesses, including antisocial and narcissistic personality disorders. That assessment agrees with others that found Trump suffering from “malignant narcissism” and an “inability to distinguish between fantasy and reality.” More recently, a doctor writing for The Atlantic noted Trump’s abnormalities in speech and movement that justified implementing routine mental evaluations for presidents.

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

Trump’s unbridled rage and fluctuating opinions are obvious symptoms of an acute mental disorder. And if something isn’t done about it soon, we can expect it to manifest in ever more perilous ways. That includes the potential for anything from continued soap opera melodrama in the White House to military conflicts and nuclear showdowns. And the more Trump feels threatened, either by former colleagues or special counsel investigations, the more dangerous he will become.

Is The Murdoch Mob Coming Under FBI Scrutiny?

MurdochalypseAuthor and Rupert Murdoch biographer, Michael Wolff, is reporting that Murdoch and his crime family may be staring down charges under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act:

“Among the areas that the FBI is said to be looking at in its investigation of News Corp. are charges that one of its subsidiaries, News America Marketing, illegally hacked the computer system of a competitor, Floorgraphics, and then, using the information it had gleaned, tried to extort it into selling out to News Corp.; allegations that relationships the New York Post has maintained with New York City police officers may have involved exchanges of favors and possibly money for information; and accusations that Fox chief Roger Ailes sought to have an executive in the company, the book publisher Judith Regan, lie to investigators about details of her relationship with New York police commissioner Bernie Kerik in order to protect the political interests of Rudy Giuliani, then a presidential prospect.”

Wolff documents the magnitude of the corruption at News Corp that has become so integral to their corporate culture that they don’t even regard what they’re doing as corrupt. Wolff also notes the mechanism by which Murdoch has evaded justice to date:

“…it’s because the fundamental currency of the company has always been reward and punishment. Both the New York Post and Fox News maintain enemy lists. Almost anyone who has directly crossed these organizations, or who has made trouble for their parent company, will have felt the sting here. That sting involves regular taunting and, often, lies.”

No kidding. Fox News, in particular, brazenly lies about their perceived enemies who include pretty much any Democrat. Certainly President Obama has been the frequent target of dishonest attacks. Currently Media Matters is the victim of a sustained campaign that misstates the law in order to challenge their tax-exempt status. And the Fox-led assaults against ACORN, Climate Change, immigrants, and voting rights have all been subject to the fabrication factory run by Murdoch and company.

The RICO statutes may be just the vehicle to rein in these crooks. Here’s hoping that the legal authorities will crack this case and bring the Murdoch Mob to justice.

More Consensus On The Fox Opinion Channel

It’s only been a little more than a week since Anita Dunn made her initial remarks about Fox News being “the communications arm of the Republican Party.” At the time I regarded it is a purely positive development that exhibited courage and honesty. It seemed to me that inciting a discussion of Fox’s journalistic legitimacy could only do harm to Fox. Their unprofessionalism and ingrained biases would do them in and the formerly reluctant media would find their spine:

“For some reason, the targets of Fox’s attacks never seem to fight back. Well now they have an opening to do so in the form of addressing the allegations from the White House. If they miss this opportunity they are either incompetent or have a death wish.”

Much of the reaction by media pros to Dunn’s comments were a kneejerk condemnation of the White House for expressing what is a fairly non-controversial observation. Rather than conceding the obvious, they appeared to be taking a position that protected their own interests in some future administration when they may be on the outs. But so long as your reporting is honest, you have nothing to worry about. That’s where Fox goes off the rails – they lie.

Well, now some of the Conventional Media stalwarts have re-thought their original assessments:

Eugene Robinson (Washington Post): [I]t bothered me that virtually everyone I knew felt the same way. And then I came across a piece by media writer Michael Wolff in which he posits an interesting theory: That this might be a shrewd gambit to draw bright lines around the Fox ‘no to everything’ line. If the ideological struggle can be defined as Fox viewers vs. everybody else, the White House wins.

Michael Wolff (Newser): So I am revising my theory of what the Obama administration is doing in its frontal assault on Fox: I think they want us to take sides. Are you a Fox person or not a Fox person? And I think they want to identify Fox as the standard bearer of American conservatism. If you’re a conservative, you’re for Fox (ie, is that who you want to be?).

Peter Roff (US News): Now the White House is drawing conservative attention off onto other things […] And now, thanks to the White House’s provocation, there are those who are spending time trying to motivate the public to act in defense of Fox.

Each of these views recognize that by having a discussion about the proposition that Fox is not a news organization inures to the detriment of Fox. A network whose anchors air doctored video clips, read RNC talking points complete with the original typos, and take every opportunity to disparage their ideological opposites, is going to lose that argument every time.

Does Rupert Murdoch Despise Bill O’Reilly?

The question of Rupert Murdoch’s relationship with his top-rated TV blowhard, Bill O’Reilly, has come up before. Now, courtesy of Michael Calderone at Politico, an excerpt from Michael Wolff’s upcoming biography of Murdoch is asserting that:

“It is not just Murdoch (and everybody else at News Corp.’s highest levels) who absolutely despises Bill O’Reilly, the bullying, mean-spirited, and hugely successful evening commentator, but Roger Ailes himself who loathes him. Success, however, has cemented everyone to each other.”

If Murdoch and Ailes “absolutely despise” O’Reilly, I can only hope they come to despise me as much. The apparent reward for such hatred is endless fawning, copious perks, and a brand new multimillion dollar contract renewal. But I wouldn’t get too excited. Wolff provides very little support for his conclusion, and what he does provide is weak and contradicted by past comments and behavior.

Wolff suggests that Murdoch’s purchase of Dow Jones, publisher of the Wall Street Journal, was in part to distance himself from the tenor of Fox News. Though why he thinks that the famously conservative newspaper is a departure from the obvious partiality of Fox is a mystery. Wolff seems to think that Murdoch finds the more sedate bias of the Journal preferable to the loudmouth variety at Fox. However, he doesn’t consider the more likely scenario that Murdoch will turn up the volume at the Journal. He has already said publicly that wants the Journal to publish shorter, punchier stories, with less business and more general news. And Wolff, at least in this excerpt, doesn’t consider that a major factor in purchasing the Journal was to beef up resources for Murdoch’s recently launched Fox Business Network.

Politico’s Calderone curiously opines that Murdoch’s political views are “difficult to pin down.” In support of this he cites Murdoch’s backing for Thatcher, Reagan, Blair, Koch, and McCain. That seems pretty easy to pin down to me. They are all notable conservatives with the exception of Tony Blair, who started out as a progressive Labour Party leader, but ended up as a Bush lapdog. And rumors have it that Murdoch and Blair made a pact early on that if Blair did not interfere with Murdoch’s business aspirations, Murdoch would see to it that News Corp. enterprises (including the London Times, the Sun, and the Sky News satellite network) would stand behind Blair.

As further evidence of Murdoch’s squishy liberalism, the article cites the New York Post’s endorsement of Obama over Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary. But the endorsement from the Post reads like an outright condemnation. Here are some highlights from the Post’s column endorsing Obama:

  • “…an untried candidate, to be sure…”
  • “Obama is not without flaws.”
  • “For all his charisma and his eloquence, the rookie senator sorely lacks seasoning…”
  • “Regarding national security, his worldview is beyond naive…”
  • “His all-things-to-all-people approach to complicated domestic issues also arouses scant confidence”
  • “…he is not Team Clinton…That counts for a very great deal.”
  • “…we don’t agree much with Obama on substantive issues.”

With friends like that, who needs enemas? The Post eventually endorsed McCain in the general election. And unlike the Obama endorsement, it was enthusiastic and complimentary.

I don’t for minute believe that Murdoch has become disenchanted with O’Reilly or Fox News. His views are as consistent as ever. In September he lashed out at Obama saying that he is a naive, 60’s style Socialist, and that his administration would worsen inflation, ruin America’s relationships with other nations, and drive companies to leave the country. All achievements for which George W. Bush can already claim credit.

Shallow analysis like that of Wolff and Politico has been asserted before. In the end, Murdoch is who he has always been: an irredeemably conservative corporatist, consumed with lust for money and power. As long as O’Reilly contributes to those goals, Murdoch’s love for him will endure.

Hilarious Update: Kara Swisher at All Things Digital has dredged up a laughably appropriate example of Michael Wolff’s deficiency of insight. In 1998 Wolff said:

“I think the myth of the Internet is that it is going to come into everybody’s home.”

Good call, Mikey.

Obama “Lit Into” Ailes At Secret Meeting With Murdoch

Michael Wolff, contributing editor at Vanity Fair, is preparing to release an authorized biography of News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch. The book, appropriately titled “The Man Who Owns The News,” will be out some time between December and February, depending on what source you believe, and the author was given significant access to his subject. In advance of publication Wolff has written an article describing his encounters with the Media Mephistopheles that includes an account of a secret meeting with a reluctant Barack Obama.

“Obama…was snubbing Murdoch. Every time he reached out (Murdoch executives tried to get the Kennedys to help smooth the way to an introduction), nothing. The Fox stain was on Murdoch.”

“It wasn’t until early in the summer that Obama relented and a secret courtesy meeting was arranged. The meeting began with Murdoch sitting down, knee to knee with Obama, at the Waldorf-Astoria.”

This version of events is somewhat curious in that Obama had begun appearing on Fox News as early as January of 2008, six months prior to this meeting. I was highly critical at the time of Obama’s guest shot on “Fox & Friends,” probably the second worst booking he could have made after “The O’Reilly Factor” (on which he has still, so far, declined to appear [Update below]). After an inconsequential chat with Murdoch, Roger Ailes took his place before Obama, and that’s when the fireworks began:

“Obama lit into Ailes. He said that he didn’t want to waste his time talking to Ailes if Fox was just going to continue to abuse him and his wife, that Fox had relentlessly portrayed him as suspicious, foreign, fearsome – just short of a terrorist.”

Ailes, unruffled, said it might not have been this way if Obama had more willingly come on the air instead of so often giving Fox the back of his hand.

A tentative truce, which may or may not have vast historical significance, was at that moment agreed upon.

From the exchange as related here, Obama forthrightly expressed the precise reasons that he was disinclined to show Fox News any respect. But as I noted above, he was not uniformly able to maintain his will power to say “no” to Fox.

However, it is Ailes’ response that is striking in its arrogance. By suggesting that Obama’s standoffish position with regard to Fox resulted in the rancidly slanderous coverage, Ailes is in effect blaming Obama for the dirty work for which Ailes himself is responsible. He is also admitting that the coverage was as predominately negative as Obama contended. That, of course, validates Obama’s decision to stay away from the network in the first place. And perhaps worse than any of that, Ailes is implying that he orchestrated the bad press as revenge for Obama not accepting Fox’s invitations to be abused on their air. Ailes has thus confessed that he believes that it is appropriate for a journalist to bash public figures who don’t obey a demand to appear. This is a position that Bill O’Reilly himself articulated when he threatened Democrats that, “If you dodge us, it is at your peril.” Fox is to journalism what Capone was to the beverage industry.

Elsewhere in the article, Wolff offers some insight into what he believes is an evolving Murdoch who may not be as enamored with either Ailes or O’Reilly as he once was.

“Fox has been his alter ego. For a long time he was in love with the Fox chief, Roger Ailes, because he was even more Murdoch than Murdoch. And yet now the embarrassment can’t be missed-he mumbles even more than usual when called on to justify it; he barely pretends to hide the way he feels about Bill O’Reilly.”

This allegedly stormy forecast for these media titans echoes a report last June in Gawker that queried whether Murdoch was about to fire Ailes. I struck down that theory at the time, and I stand by my position. But perhaps things are not so rosy as I thought. Perhaps Murdoch is evolving in ways I cannot imagine. When Wolff asked Murdoch for advice on who to vote for in November, he elicited this response from Murdoch:

“He paused, considered, nodded his head slowly: ‘Obama – he’ll sell more papers.'”

I guess Murdoch is getting both softer and greedier with age.

Update: Just a few hours after this posting, O’Reilly announced that Obama will appear on his show this coming Thursday. Here is my analysis of this development.