Trump Confirms that Fox News is State TV in Bonkers Defense of Bigotry, Pirro, Carlson, et al

Now there can be no further dispute. Donald Trump has made it absolutely clear that Fox News is unambiguously State TV, and that the Trump White (Nationalism) House is inextricably intertwined with the network’s mission of propaganda and right-wing tyranny.

Donald Trump

During Trump’s regularly scheduled Sunday Tweetstorm, the President unleashed one of his most deranged outbursts of all time. It was a sustained assault on the free press, freedom of speech, the First Amendment, and a democratic government that honors individual freedom. While Trump has always been an opponent of the media – which he refers to in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people” – he has taken his hostility to a new low that provides incontrovertible evidence that his regime and Fox News are conjoined partners in undermining the free society principles that the United States were founded on.

Trump began his Sunday sermonizing with an attack on Saturday Night Live, which he seems to be unaware was a rerun:

That’s right. The flailing Snowflake-in-Chief is now spending his time barking at comedians, even though there supposedly a “national emergency” in progress. But even worse, he thinks that his government agencies should have the power to investigate these comics due to their having the audacity to make fun of him. If he doesn’t like it, he shouldn’t give them so much material. But his inclination to use oppressive state measures to silence them should worry every patriotic American. And it wasn’t the first time he’s done this either.

What’s more, his impotent swings at SNL also include crazy allegations that the funny folks on late night TV are the ones colluding with Russia, a nation not well known for its sense of humor. And he follows that up with the false assertion that he enjoys a fifty-two percent approval rating. He got that from an ultra-biased Rasmussen poll that is now a moth old. Rasmussen currently has him at forty-eight percent, while most other polls put him the thirties.

However, if you think any of that was proof that Trump has lost his mind, you might want to sit down. Because he was just getting warmed up. His next tweets contained more of his psychotic whining about a “Witch Hunt,” followed by a personal attack on John McCain’s intelligence. How utterly repulsive for Trump to go after a dead senator/veteran who can’t defend himself. Especially for something that Trump is notably lacking in. Trump even had his “fixer” threaten his schools to keep his records secret.

Finally, Trump disgorged himself with a what could only be described as a slobbering suck-up to Fox News, the network that defends his every atrocity and maligns his critics with outright lies. What triggered Trump was the news that one of his adoring bootlickers, Jeanine Pirro, was bumped Saturday for a rerun of a tabloid documentary. While Fox wouldn’t comment on the preemption, it has been credibly speculated that they didn’t want her program to air so soon after the massacre at Muslim mosques in New Zealand, because of her recent Islamophobic comments. Based on that, Trump went to work on behalf of his bosses at Fox News:

Holy Crap! Trump is totally confirming that he and Fox News are locked in a political/governmental embrace that this country has never seen before. Not that we didn’t already know that, but Trump is shedding any pretense of independence that either of them might have sought to convey. And this comes at a time when Fox News has been trying to convince people that they are a legitimate news network capable of hosting a Democratic Party primary debate. Well, that’s blown all to hell now, isn’t it?

Trump has taken on the role of chief PR and marketing president for Fox News. And he’s offering advice that they “stay strong and fight back with vigor. Stop working soooo hard on being politically correct.” When exactly have they ever done that? Trump implores Fox to “fight for our Country,” by which he clearly means to fight for him. And he warns them to “Be strong & prosper, be weak & die!” Obviously Trump sees this as a war, and he expects casualties.

As with his own delusional perception of his approval, Trump thinks that America is on the side of Fox News. But MSNBC has been beating them regularly for several months. Rachel Maddow is crushing her competition, Sean Hannity, nearly every night. And because of the obsessive bigotry of hosts like Pirro and the disgusting Tucker Carlson, Fox News is losing audience, advertisers, and revenue at an alarming rate.

If it wasn’t enough that Trump is virtually drooling over his Fox sycophants, he also found it necessary to bash the few people on the network that have a modicum of integrity:

For the record, Shepard Smith just won a First Amendment award from the Radio Television Digital News Association. And in his speech he gave a backhanded slap at the “opinion” hosts on the network that he fervently tries to disassociate himself from. But if you aren’t a fawning Trump-fluffer you can expect him to bring his tiny “mushroom” hammer down on you.

This Twitter tirade is the best evidence yet that Fox News cannot be taken seriously as a news network. They certainly cannot be trusted to host a Democratic primary debate. They shouldn’t even be considered as a platform for interviews by anyone but devout Trumpists. If Trump thinks that crazed outbursts like this are helpful to Fox News, he is, as usual, pitifully mistaken. It only certifies that Fox is a brazenly partisan mouthpiece for Trump and his Republican Nationalist Party.

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

If Fox had any integrity they would repudiate Trump’s comments and insist that they don’t support such media bias. But don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen. Fox News knows that their audience is comprised mainly by loyal Trump cultists and they aren’t going to do anything that might alienate them or the racist white nationalists and neo-Nazis who wallow in this filth. These are the core components of their wretched business model.

Rachel Maddow Stomps Sean Hannity with 4th Straight Monthly Win vs State TV (aka Fox News)

A couple of years ago Fox News was regarded as an invincible monolith on cable news that no other network could challenge. It was a fallacy created by their catering to a hard-core right-wing constituency that behaved like mesmerized cult worshipers, but it had the effect of corralling the whole demographic into a plurality of viewers while the other networks divided the rest of the audience.

Rachel Maddow, Sean Hannity, Fox News

However, that tactic has lost its potency. Ever since the midterm election in early November, the Rachel Maddow Show has dominated her time period and helped to boost the ratings of her MSNBC colleagues. For four straight months Maddow has beaten the previous time period champ, Sean Hannity, by significant margins.

For the month of February Maddow’s ratings improved by nine percent over the prior year. She was the most-watched cable news program among adults 25-54. She won all but three nights in the entire month. Meanwhile, Fox News has been struggling to keep people tuned in. Tucker Carlson was down four percent year-over-year in total viewers. Laura Ingraham was down six percent. And Hannity was off seven percent. In the coveted advertiser demo of 25-54 year olds, Hannity has lost nearly a quarter (23%) of his audience. In fact, the whole Fox News primetime roster is down in the demo by twenty percent.

The dominance of Maddow’s program has increased over time. And on February 27 (the day following the House Oversight Committee’s hearing with testimony by Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen), she had the highest rating ever for her show. This performance has resulted in MSNBC achieving ratings records overall. From Morning Joe in the AM, to Nicolle Wallace in the afternoon, to primetime, MSNBC has enjoyed double digit growth.

In addition to Fox’s ratings woes, they are also suffering an exodus of advertisers. Some of that is due to their declining ratings, but most of it is because advertisers just don’t want to be associated with programs that advocate bigotry and promote violence. It’s gotten so bad that the ad sales folks at Fox are afraid to even try selling these shows to advertisers. Consequently, Trump has had to be enlisted in a campaign to rescue the failing network’s biggest “stars.” And it’s a two-way street with Fox hosts like Hannity and Jeanine Pirro showing up at Trump’s cult rallies.

Television ratings can be fluid and swerve back and forth between various networks and programs. But the rise of MSNBC has defied the predictions of most analysts. And their sustained dominance over many months has been particularly surprising. This is no fluke. And it is not likely a coincidence that this success has occurred as Democrats have increased their presence in Washington, and the legal peril for Trump has exploded.

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

As Trump’s prospects continue to decline, more people will tune in to MSNBC for the real news that Fox ignores and suppresses. And as more people become informed, Trump’s fortunes will wither even more. It’s beautiful downward spiral for a criminal president and his TV sycophants.

Trump is Silent About a Real Domestic Terrorist’s Plot to Kill Democrats and Journalists

Early Wednesday morning Donald Trump posted another tweetstorm that ranted incoherently about the media being “the enemy of the people” and wishing for them to “go bust,” putting thousands of Americans out of work and leaving only State TV outlets like Fox News to provide their lies to the nation. It was the sort of reckless tirade that can (and has) lead to bloodshed.

Trump Charlotsville

Later in the day came news that just such an unthinkable act of mass murder was foiled by law enforcement officers of the FBI and the Coast Guard. According to NBC News:

“A U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant working in the nation’s capital lived a secret life as a “domestic terrorist” who aspired to mass murder and compiled a target list of prominent politicians and journalists, federal prosecutors allege in court papers.”

The suspect, Christopher Paul Hasson, was arrested on drug and gun charges, but prosecutors said that he was intent on committing a killing spree against journalists and Democratic politicians. He described himself as a “white nationalist” and searched for pro-Russian and neo-Nazi literature online. The report went on to provide details of Hasson’s proposed victims:

“Prosecutors say the list included designations they believe referred to Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal, Chuck Schumer, Elizabeth Warren, Tim Kaine, Kirsten Gillibrand and Cory Booker; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; and House Democrats Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Maxine Waters, Ilhan Omar and Sheila Jackson. Also on it was former Rep. Beto O’Rourke and former Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.

“Media figures on the list included [Joe] Scarborough, MSNBC hosts Chris Hayes and Ari Melber, and CNN’s Don Lemon, Chris Cuomo and Van Jones.”

This is the sort of deadly, crackpot white nationalism that comes from watching too much Fox News and listening Trump’s deranged sermons at his cult rallies. Hasson is without a doubt a domestic terrorist with a determination to carry out the most hostile version of the dystopia advocated by Trump. But Trump has said nothing about his plot or arrest. However, Trump did post a tweet announcing that he gave an order to prohibit Hoda Muthana from reentering the U.S.

Muthana is an American citizen who traveled to Syria allegedly to join ISIS. She now regrets her decision and expresses remorse for her “naive, angry, and arrogant” behavior. Whatever you may think of her, or her desire to return to her family and birthplace, Trump’s participation in the matter is absurd. This is a decision that is generally made way below the presidency. So the only imaginable purpose for Trump’s involvement is the publicity.

Nevertheless, Trump doesn’t seem the least bit interested in publicizing the arrest of a straight-up domestic terrorist whose views are aligned with his own. And he doesn’t seem to think that it might be useful to condemn such actions in order to deter others like Hasson from concocting their own plots. Trump’s banning of Muthana will have negligible impact on anything. But his silence on Hasson will be viewed as greenlighting the revolution that his Deplorables dream about.

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

Tucker Carlson of Fox News Parrots Trump’s ‘No Collusion’ Mantra in the Stupidest Way Imaginable

The competition for “The Stupidest Person on Fox News” is always a heated affair with way too many deserving candidates. With people like like Sean Hannity (a perennial leader, but ratings loser), Laura Ingraham, Steve Doocy, Lou Dobbs, Jeanine Pirro, etc., in the running, it’s may be impossible to name a single winner. But if anyone holds the inside track it’s usually Tucker Carlson.

Fox News, Tucker Carlson

On Tuesday Donald Trump caved in again to his superior, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, over the funding for his idiotic vanity wall along the southern border. The deal that the bipartisan committee in Congress hammered out actually allocates less money to the wall than the deal Trump rejected before his shutdown. So in an effort to draw attention away from yet another example of his pitiful negotiating skills, Trump went back to his whining about the numerous investigations of his criminality that are in progress. He tweeted this on Wednesday:

Of course that tweet, like almost everything Trump says, is totally false. The Senate Intelligence Committee did not make the statement that Trump is attributing to them. It was just the opinion of Sen. Richard Burr, the Republican chair of the committee. The Democrats disputed Burr’s opinion on its face and noted that their probe is not even complete. What’s more, Burr didn’t even say that there is “no evidence of collusion.” He said that he hadn’t seen any “direct” evidence. Which leaves plenty of room for circumstantial evidence or the simple fact that they had not seen the volumes of evidence that special counsel Robert Mueller has.

Naturally, Trump isn’t interested in the complexities of the truth. His mission is to simplify and distort everything to the point where his dimwitted Deplorables can be fooled into thinking he’s winning. He previously tweeted a “Thank You” note to MSNBC for airing a segment that reported Burr’s comments. But Trump cut off the video just before it went into the detail that exposed the very real legal jeopardy that Trump faces.

Enter Tucker Carlson. It won’t surprise anyone that Carlson acted out his sycophantic infatuation with Trump as he always does. He agreed with Trump’s mistaken comments about the Senate committee’s non-conclusion. And he went into great (but malformed) detail to make his point. He insisted that, according to the Senate committee “There is no evidence whatsoever that the Trump campaign conspired in any way with the government of Vladimir Putin during the last presidential election.” As noted above, none of that is true. But what makes Carlson’s suck-up a candidate for awards in stupidity is how he frames his phony argument:

“If you’ve been following the story at all, and of course you have been, you will not be surprised by this. “No Russian collusion” is a lot like the moon landing actually happened, or the abominable snowman was probably a long-haired mountain goat. You knew that already because you are not an idiot.”

So Carlson is arguing that the proof that there was no collusion is that it’s self-evident, that that’s just the way it is and everyone knows it. Never mind all the indictments, convictions, and disclosures of secret meetings with Russians by dozens of Trump associates. You just know it couldn’t be and, therefore, it wasn’t.

And here is where the dumbness becomes Olympic-grade. Carlson later quotes former Navy intelligence officer, Malcolm Nance, saying on MSNBC that there was no direct evidence implicating Benedict Arnold in treason, but that “everyone knew it was treason when they caught the man.” Carlson found this out-of-context soundbite so absurd that he repeated three times. And not once in those repetitions did he realize that he was ridiculing exactly the same reliance on something being self-evident that he relied on himself a few minutes earlier. He apparently has the attention span of brain-damaged gnat.

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

What’s really disturbing is that this is precisely the sort of logical malfunction that works so well among Trump’s cult followers and Fox News viewers. They won’t catch the obvious contradictions or cognitive failures that define the right’s crackpot ideology in the Era of Trump. But they will follow along blindly with whatever their Dear Leader and his State TV surrogates tell them is the truth. Which makes one wonder whether their stupidity is even worse than that of Carlson, Fox News, and Trump.

Trump Tweets ‘Thank You MSNBC’ with Video that He Deceitfully Edited to Clear Himself of Collusion

It isn’t often that Donald Trump will offer praise to any TV news network other than his pals at Fox News. In fact, he generally denies that he ever watches anything else. His Twitter feed is filled with examples of his live-tweeting whatever he’s watching on Fox. But somehow he finds out what the others are saying about him and whines about it for days. That’s when he isn’t smearing them in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people.”

Donald Trump, Fox News, Fake

But on Tuesday Trump saw a segment on MSNBC that warmed his shriveled heart. Host Hallie Jackson was interviewing NBC News intelligence and national security reporter, Ken Dilanian, about the breaking news that the Senate Intelligence Committee had concluded that they had not found any “direct evidence” of Trump colluding with Russia. Trump was so gleeful upon hearing this that he dropped everything and posted the video on Twitter with these words: “Thank you to @MSNBC!”

There’s just one problem. Trump cut off the video while Dilanian was still talking. And what he had to say had a direct bearing on how Trump’s involvement with Russia should be perceived. For instance, Dilanian said that Democrats on the committee never thought they would find “a contract between Trump and Vlad saying ‘Hey, let’s collude.'” And what Dilanian said immediately after the point where Trump cut the video was this (video below):

“The disagreement comes, though, over that pattern of contacts that we’ve all seen and heard about over the last few years. More than a hundred contacts between Trump campaign officials and Russians. The Democrats say that those remain highly suspicious and that there’s a pattern here that still raises questions. […] And Robert Mueller still has yet to weigh in. And that’s a big question because Robert Mueller knows things that the Senate investigators do not have access to.”

You have to wonder if Trump would have still thanked MSNBC if he had the courage and honesty to present the full video in context. What’s more, Dilanian also tweeted that “The Senate intelligence committee has not found evidence exonerating Trump, either.” And that’s the heart of the matter. The Senate committee deliberately limited the scope of their investigation to avoid stepping on Mueller’s toes. So their conclusions are not what anyone would describe as, well, conclusive. But they still couldn’t clear Trump af anything, and the final word rests with Mueller.So Trump should not be planning his big exoneration party just yet. However, if he wants to thank MSNBC for anything, perhaps it should be for how they are killing Fox News in the ratings. Thanks indeed.

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

Fox News Primetime Shows are Bleeding Audience, Advertisers, and Revenue Due to Excessive Assholery

The news just keeps getting worse for Donald Trump’s favorite television network. Over the past three months Fox News has been thrashed in the Nielsen ratings by MSNBC, particularly by Rachel Maddow who has topped her competition, Sean Hannity, almost every night since the November midterm election.

Fox News, Titanic

Now TheWrap is reporting that Hannity’s primetime colleagues have problems of their own. Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham have both been the targets of advertiser boycotts as a result of commentaries that were especially loathsome. Not that their regular topics don’t routinely offend decent people. But even these weasels can cross lines that are impossible to ignore:

“According to an analysis for TheWrap by advertising data firm Standard Media Index, Fox News’ 10 p.m. slot, hosted by Ingraham, was down at least $16 million in ad revenue in 2018. Carlson’s show, which airs at 8 p.m., has lost another $2.2 million thanks to an ad boycott that began in December after he said mass immigration makes the U.S. ‘poorer, and dirtier, and more divided.'”

Tucker Carlson’s flagrant white nationalism has become a staple of his nightly program. It’s unconscionable that any advertisers continue to support him. But the exodus of ads has definitely proven to be more than a temporary setback. Carlson is currently is running about half of the ads he had prior to the boycott. And they have been replaced by unpaid Fox promos and public service announcements.

Laura Ingraham’s problems began after she attacked the survivors of the Parkland, Florida high school shooting. These are kids who suffered a nightmare that no one should ever face, but who Ingraham considered fair game for even more abuse. She is also notorious for her racist and elitist views, such as when she said that basketball legend and philanthropist LeBron James should shut up and dribble.” Now her advertisers have also been cut in half.

Fox News is standing behind their repugnant hosts. They insist that they will not be bullied by lefties like Media Matters and Sleeping Giants. What’s more, they contend that they haven’t lost any revenue as a result of these boycotts because the ads were merely “shifted to other dayparts.” That’s an outright lie. It would mean that the other programs had unsold ad inventory that these ads could be slipped into. But even if they do, that means they still lost money because they were only replacing one ad for another. Additionally, an ad in primetime costs much more than other dayparts, so such shifting would require those ads to be discounted.

And that’s not all. With MSNBC taking the number one spot in most of the primetime cable news market, Fox News would have to lower their ad rates because advertisers aren’t going pay a premium for a number two network. And with that change in leadership comes an even bigger problem for Fox. Like every cable channel, Fox News makes most of its profits through licensing fees from cable system operators. They currently have a very lucrative contract that was negotiated at the height of their ratings success. Now that they are no longer the leader, those contracts will decline in value when they are up for renewal.

All of this is due to Fox’s determination to advance a radical right-wing agenda and to serve as the State TV mouthpiece for Donald Trump. It’s an unsustainable business model as the nation wakes up from its temporary lapse in judgement and rejects Trump and the sycophantic, cult-like GOP that he commandeered.

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

The midterm election that produced a historic shift in party control in the House of Representatives was just the beginning. And as the legal consequences of Trump’s criminal and treasonous activities unfold, Fox is going to find itself in ever deeper trenches of muck. That’s surely not going boost their bottom line.

Rachel Maddow Leads MSNBC to a January Freeze-Out of Sean Hannity and State TV (aka Fox News)

The new year has started off with big bang for MSNBC and its star anchor Rachel Maddow. For the past couple months her program has been smothering her Fox News competition, Sean Hannity. It began immediately after the midterm election on November 6th and hasn’t slowed down since. And January’s results confirm that it was no fluke. Maddow has definitely caught fire and her sharp analysis and engaging manner of unfolding complex subjects is clearly winning over viewers.

Rachel Maddow, Sean Hannity

Some of the highlights from the January Nielsen ratings include that Maddow was the number one non-sports show on all of cable, not just just news programming. She dominated in both total audience and the advertiser friendly 25-54 demographic. Her success helped drive up the performance of her primetime colleagues Lawrence O’Donnell and Brian Williams. In fact, that bloc of programming won every hour for the entire month.

Maddow’s show contributed to MSNBC’s impressive audience growth. It gained fourteen percent in total day, and six percent in prime time versus January 2018. During the same time period Fox News declined significantly. It’s total day viewership was down eleven percent. In primetime Fox News lost ten percent. And those numbers were even worse for in the 25-54 demo: down twenty-one percent total day, and twenty percent in the demo.

Almost as satisfying as Maddow’s success is the failure of Fox’s Sean Hannity. Once the unchallenged cable news champ, Hannity’s total ratings crashed nineteen percent since the midterms in November. His fall in the demo was a massive thirty percent. His Fox News lead-in, Tucker Carlson, didn’t fare any better. He was Fox’s top program, but he trailed Maddow by seventeen percent in total audience, and by nineteen percent in the demo. It’s a relief to know that America’s television viewers are recognizing the hatred and racism that emanates from the likes of Carlson and Hannity and are changing the channel.

What’s more, Carlson and Laura Ingraham are suffering from an advertiser exodus due to their offensive positions. Carlson mainly for his open advocacy of white nationalism. And Ingraham for her attacks on the kids from Parkland, Florida, who survived the school shooting last year. So their shows are not only losing viewers, but they aren’t making any money either.

In addition to the solid wins by Maddow, there was good news in January’s numbers for the rest of the MSNBC roster. The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell and The 11th Hour with Brian Williams were both number one in both total audience and the demo. Morning Joe rose fourteen percent while its competition, Fox and Friends, sunk ten percent. Hardball was number one in total viewers. And the programs hosted by Chris Hayes, Ari Melber, Stephanie Ruhle, Hallie Jackson, Craig Melvin, Andrea Mitchell, Ali Velshi, and Katy Tur all posted record numbers. One particular standout was Deadline: White House with Nicolle Wallace, which was number one in total viewers, beating perennial Fox News host Neil Cavuto.

The days of Fox News dominating the cable news ratings are definitely over. And thanks for that should go to Rachel Maddow for redefining how a successful news program can be produced. She does not follow the daily tweetstorming of the President, and never hosts panels of belligerent partisans yelling over each other. She presents detailed examinations of serious issues in an honest and accessible way, and respects her audience.

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

But some thanks should also go to Donald Trump for behaving like a loathsome cretin whose flagrant lies are driving away whatever few rational thinkers are still left watching Fox News. Those who remain are the barrel-bottom crud who enjoy wallowing in ignorance and will never be pried loose from their cult worship.

Scared Bro? Trump is Featuring Rachel Maddow in His Phony ‘Media Accountability’ Come-Ons

Throughout his public life – and especially while president – Donald Trump has demonstrated what an awful poker player he would be. He has what pros call a “a tell” that gives away what cards he’s holding. And for the most part, Trump is holding a hand that is panic full of fear. He displays that on a nearly daily (hourly?) basis with his insipid “Witch Hunt” tweets and his frantic attacks on special counsel Robert Mueller.

Donald Trump, Rachel Maddow

Of course, Trump is also squarely focused on the media that he refers to in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people.” His frightened reaction to every new disclosure of wrongdoing by him or his crime family is obvious to anyone paying the least bit of attention. And the more he attacks CNN or the New York Times or whatever reporter happens to ask him the probing question of the day, the more he reveals what’s scaring him the most at that moment.

So what’s clearly scaring Trump now is MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. Trump’s “Make America Great Again” reelection committee just posted an ad Facebook that asks his dimwitted cult followers to take a survey, and Rachel Maddow is featured in the ad’s graphic, although not in the video to which it links. She’s the bait for this campaign that implores his fans to “Take the Survey.”

The alleged “survey,” however, is an old marketing trick aimed at getting respondents to sign up and divulge personal information, including their email addresses. These are later used to beg for donations and organize political events. The results of the fake survey are never published, and if they were they wouldn’t have any real value due to the smarmy tactics used to lure respondents. Like everything else Trump does, it is hardly scientific.

So what’s the news that has triggered Trump’s assault on Maddow, someone he rarely even mentions? Right now Maddow is perhaps the most insightful and effective commentator on Trump’s exploding legal problems. She is dissecting them in a coherent and relatable manner. But is that enough to set him off. After all, he has never tweeted about her since becoming president. Although he did retweet his son Eric once, nearly a year ago. And that retweet contains a clue:

Trump is very concerned about his friend, and “shadow” chief of staff, Sean Hannity. Lately Maddow has been beating the pants off of Hannity. She has dominated him in the ratings ever since the election last month. So far in December she has beaten him every single day in both total viewers and the all-important advertising demo of 25-54 year olds. So it looks like Trump is rushing in to rescue the floundering Hannity. Or maybe someone at Fox News reached out for this aid.

Let’s not forget that the former president of Fox News, Bill Shine (who was fired for mishandling the sexual misconduct of Fox CEO Roger Ailes and host Bill O’Reilly) is now Trump’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications. Or that Shine was Hannity’s producer before being bumped up to the executive suites. So it isn’t particularly surprising that Maddow would suddenly appear as the face of the “Mainstream Media … out to bring down [his] Administration.” In reality, he’s doing that pretty much on his own. Maddow is merely providing a factual chronicle of the criminal path that Trump chose for himself. But consistent with his warped character flaws, he’s determined to blame it on someone – anyone – else.

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

The Blue Wave Swept MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Into First Place for November 2018

The 2018 midterm elections truly lived up to the pre-election hype. All the talk of a “Blue Wave” panned out as Democrats took the majority in the House of Representatives with more gains (40 seats) than any election since Watergate. In addition, they flipped seven governorships, seven statehouse majorities, and almost 400 state legislative seats. It was an unambiguous blowout for the Trump Resistance.

Rachel Maddow

But there was a victory that was not related to the the electoral one. The campaign for the eyes and ears of America’s television news viewers also tilted broadly to the left. The perennial leader, Fox News, suffered a decline in November versus their numbers for November 2017. So did CNN. But MSNBC had a notable gain. And that increase was driven by the popularity of their primetime anchor, Rachel Maddow.

Following the election on November sixth, the ratings for Maddow went steadily up. She was the top performing program on cable news for the rest of the month. Her competition, Sean Hannity, was unable to keep up. Maddow pulled in total 2.9 million viewers on average per night, compared to Hannity’s 2.8 million. And in the advertiser demographic of 25-54 she did 527,000, far exceeding Hannity’s 497,000.

Throughout much of this time period the election was still in progress as many districts continued to count votes in close races. That might have held the interest of viewers for Maddow, but you have to wonder why it didn’t do the same for Hannity’s audience. The difference may be that the election wasn’t the only story being told.

Donald Trump was doing his part by inflaming new scandals every other day. They included his callous response to the California fires; his ever-present battle with the media; the ongoing inaction to the murder of a journalist, and U.S. resident, Jamal Khashoggi; his embarrassing neglect of respect for fallen troops during his junket to France; and so many more it’s hard to keep track.

Maddow was studiously reporting on all of these issues and more. While Fox News was desperately trying to figure out ways to avoid these subjects altogether. Consequently they wound up recycling their typically ludicrous “War on Christmas” fare or regurgitated segments about Hillary Clinton’s emails. No wonder even Fox’s viewers turned away.

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

Whatever the reasons, Maddow showed that she is still a force to reckoned with. And as the new year brings a myriad of stories about congressional investigations into Trump and his crime family, along with the expected release of a report by special counsel Robert Mueller, the future looks bright for Maddow and MSNBC. Meanwhile, Fox viewers can look forward to more of this:

Trump’s Attack on the Free Press Escalates with Help from His Shadow Cabinet: Fox News

Having just returned from embarrassing America overseas, Donald Trump is resuming his obsessive campaign against the free press and the Constitution. This preoccupation with what he calls “the enemy of the people” is being pursued in lieu of honoring fallen troops on this Veterans Day, directing aid to the victims of the California fires, or performing any other routine presidential duties.

Donald Trump, Censorship

One thing that Trump can be expected to never neglect is his “Executive Time,” otherwise known as tweeting and watching Fox News. And on Monday that’s precisely what has been occupying his short attention span. In particular was a tweet wherein Trump complained about the alleged antitrust violations of the media megalith Comcast/NBCU:

Note that Trump is quoting from a comment by Fox Business contributor Charlie Gasparino, because Trump is incapable of having an original thought. Trump (via Gasparino) is terribly concerned about a report that the “American Cable Association has big problems with Comcast.” For those unfamiliar with the television video distribution market, the ACA is a lobbying group that represents small cable and broadband providers. It isn’t especially surprising that they are troubled by the business practices of a giant competitor.

To be clear, there are legitimate reasons to oppose Big Media enterprises like Comcast or AT&T/Time Warner or Verizon. But rest assured that Trump has no idea what those reasons are. He is narrowly focused on only what affects him personally. That’s why he opposes the AT&T/Time Warner merger (TW owns CNN). And it’s why he’s whining about Comcast/NBCU today (they own NBC/MSNBC). The fact that such mergers wind up giving consumers fewer choices and that cost more money never enters Trump’s ego-driven, cartoon brain.

Fortunately, the incoming chair of the House Intelligence Committee is planning to hold hearings on Trump’s flagrantly self-serving assaults on the media. Among other things, they should prove that Trump couldn’t care less about antitrust laws. You’ll notice that he never complains about Disney, which owns ABC and just bought most of the assets of the parent corporation of Fox News (but not including Fox News). And he strongly supported the planned Sinclair/Tribune merger, which was blocked by his own Justice Department. Those are both rabidly right-wing media firms that shill for Trump on a 24/7 basis. Never mind that the merger would have resulted in a conglomerate that owned more local television stations than any other in America.

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

So while fires rage in California, our foreign allies are laughing at us, our veterans are neglected, our cities are tormented by mass shootings, our economy is declining, and democracy is being subverted by Republican Nationalist Party efforts to suppress voting in Florida, Georgia, Arizona, and elsewhere, Trump is keeping his powder (and his orange bird’s nest of a wig) dry by staying indoors and live-tweeting Fox News. And the rancid smell of his panic is only going to become more pungent as the January inauguration of the new Democratic majority in the House of Representatives gets closer.