Fox News Hits Record High Ratings of a Measly 0.8% of American Viewers in 2019

If there’s one thing we can learn from 2019 it’s that hostile, melodramatic lies can boost the profits of a flagrantly biased organ of propaganda like Fox News. The right-wing network abandoned all pretense of journalistic integrity (what little it had) in order to sign on to the Donald Trump White House’s perverse distortions of reality.

Donald Trump, Fox News, Hate Again

The reward for Fox News was the undying devotion of an audience of willfully blind cult followers who agreed to believe only what they saw on Fox and heard from Dear Leader Trump. And their loyalty helped propel Fox News to the number one cable news network for the year.

Fox News – and their number one viewer, Donald Trump – surely celebrated this achievement. But as the year comes to a close it’s important to place this statistic in perspective. The numbers that produced this “victory” represent about 2.5 million viewers per night, or about 0.8% of the television audience on the United States. That’s not exactly a commanding presence of disinformed boob-tubers with eyes glazed over and chanting wingnut slogans.

Of course, any contribution to the thinly populated MAGA cult is troubling and can have negative consequences. But knowing that they are safely confined within the walled off world of Fox News makes their impact nearly irrelevant. The bigger problem with Fox is when they manage to persuade other news organizations that they have any credibility and use that to further spread their fabrications and slander.

The bragging rights for Fox News have always been the result of their having corralled all of the nation’s conservative TV news audience into their single channel pen. Meanwhile, all the other news networks are splitting up the rest of the viewers, which dilutes their total audience. But in 2019, just the combined numbers for MSNBC (1.75 million) and CNN (972,000) exceed the total for Fox News. So anyone who tries to argue that Fox’s numbers are proof of a conservative majority in the country are engaging in the same sort of dishonesty that is the hallmark of Fox News.

While Fox’s average numbers did earn them the top spot for the year, that doesn’t mean that they resided there the whole time with every program. In fact, Rachel Maddow beat her time period competition, Sean Hannity, for the entire first quarter of the year. She also won the months of September, October, and November. And both “Deadline: White House with Nicole Wallace” and “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” won their time periods for the year outright.

The real ratings disaster for the year was, once again, Donald Trump. He remains the most unpopular president since modern polling began. Even his favorite pollster, the disreputable and biased Rasmussen Reports, has him underwater with only 46% approving. And a recent Fox News poll showed that a majority of Americans (53%) have an unfavorable view of his job performance. In addition to that, a solid majority of 54% in the Fox poll said that Trump should be impeached, with 50% saying that he should also be removed from office. So whatever influence Fox News purports to have by snagging 0.8% of the television audience, it isn’t having much effect on the views of the American people. And that’s something Trump will surely post an angry tweet about before long.

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

Fox News Poll: Voters Want to Impeach Trump, Who They Say is a Deceitful Crook

The mental state of Donald Trump has been precarious for years. He is a diagnosed malignant narcissist with megalomaniacal tendencies. He clings to ignorance and a distorted, fantastical perspective that reinforces his self-delusion. And his stunted, prepubescent emotional maturity only exacerbates the severity of his behavioral problems.

Donald Trump, Fox News

Trump’s infantile antics are routinely displayed in his name-calling and frantic Twitter outbursts. But there are deeper and darker examples of how far he has declined into a psychotic abyss. He is now firmly entrenched in the “bunker mentality” defined by one’s inability to associate with reality. Thus, every word and deed – by himself and others – is assessed by how closely it hews to his derangement. And this manifested in a recent tweet about the media that he fears and despises:

So it’s all there. Childish taunts, nicknames, and wild declarations that his perceived foes will “all die together,” while only his defenders will survive. It’s an embarrassing blast of blather that is hostile, demented, and patently false.

First of all, MSNBC frequently beats Fox News in the ratings. Fredo, Trump’s name for CNN’s Chris Cuomo, has increased viewing since taking over that time period. And former Fox News anchor Shepard Smith is probably doing just fine. He’s waiting out his non-compete clause and will then likely be courted by every network.

But of course, Trump singles out Fox News as his most favored media martinet. And he insists that “only pro-Trump Fox shows do well.” That would mean all Fox shows, because they are all pro-Trump, and always there to shield him from his persecutors. Well, almost always.

A new poll just published by Fox News contains some very bad news indeed for Donald Trump. It begins by revealing that a majority of Americans (53%) have an unfavorable view of his job performance. That, despite his relentless self-praise wherein he takes credit for the economy, jobs, make-believe trade and foreign policy treaties, a variety of legislation he had little to do with, and a border wall that hasn’t added a single foot.

The Fox News poll also asked if Trump should be impeached. A solid majority of 54% said that he should be impeached, with 50% saying that he should also be removed from office. That debate is currently raging in the House of Representatives, and will shortly be sent to the Senate. Although the Senate’s role has been largely invalidated by the Republicans who are running the show and have admitted that they are colluding with the White House.

The poll also found that a majority of voters (53%) say that Trump abused his power as president. And significantly more respondents say that Trump also obstructed Congress (48%) and committed bribery (45%), than say that he didn’t. Drilling further into the details, a plurality of voters said that they believe Trump held up military aid to pressure the Ukrainian president to investigate his political rivals (47%). And when asked if that was proper for a president to do, they resoundingly said “NO” by a 60%-24% margin.

And that’s not all. The poll found that a majority of 52% said that Trump is not cooperating with the Congressional impeachment inquiry. As for whether the Democrats presiding over the hearings in the House were conducting them fairly, a plurality of voters (45%-42%) said that they were. Voters also regard Republicans as being more partisan. By a 16-point margin they say that Republicans just want to protect Trump rather than believe that what he did is not impeachable. Conversely, they say that Democrats genuinely believe that Trump is guilty, rather than just being interested in hurting him politically.

Here’s some additional poll potpourri: 64% say they are the same, or worse off, since Trump’s election. Which does not bode well for his reelection. 68% favor a wealth tax. 66% want some version of Medicare-for-all. 52% oppose Trump’s border wall. And every candidate the poll pitted against Trump in 2020 beat him.

To be sure, Trump will attack this poll as being biased against him. He has attacked Fox News polling in the past, saying that they “have always been terrible to me.” But that is not only untrue, Trump has frequently praised Fox’s polling when it was positive. This is just another example of Trump’s dissociation from reality. If he encounters something negative, he will criticize it and insist that they’ve always been against him. But when he comes across something positive, he embraces it as irrefutable proof of his awesomeness. That isn’t a sane expression of opinion. It’s an illness. And Trump is getting sicker by the day.

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

UPDATE: As I predicted…

TRIGGERED II: Trump is Clearly Losing It – Fear of Impeachment Has Fried His ‘Brain’

On Wednesday Donald Trump displayed an astonishing capacity for hysterics by posting 77 tweets in one day. His twittering was done mostly in the morning while Congress was holding hearings on his impeachment. It was a horrifying spectacle that exposed Trump as a whining coward who is incapable of controlling his frayed emotions.

Donald Trump, Toilet, Bathrobe

Now on Thursday, Trump has surpassed his all-time record for daily tweets. Once again, he accomplished this feat before lunchtime by posting 108 tweets, 86 of which were retweets of primarily GOP members of Congress and bootlicking media sycophants. This brings a total of 437 tweets in the past week.

Trump is apparently trying to flood the zone with inanity, because there was almost nothing of substance in this avalanche of social media ego-stroking. You have to wonder who he thinks is reading this bullcrap, other than weary media analysts. And he seems to have quit the presidency, because his OCT (Obsessive-Compulsive Tweetery) is a full time job.

The vast majority of Trump’s tweets were tiresome clips of Republicans evading the facts that so compelling affirm Trump’s guilt. Their talking points were so tightly aligned that you could hardly tell one from another. However, there were a few tweets that merit attention, primarily due to their utter assholiness. And leading the list would have to be Trump’s attack on 16 year old climate crisis activist Greta Thunberg:

So Trump took some time out of his tweetstorming to bully a girl who is showing real courage in the fight for her future and that of the Earth. No doubt Trump is perturbed that Greta was named Time Magazine Person of the Year instead of him. And his complaint that she has an anger management problem is pure projection considering his near constant state of frothing rage.

Also notable is Trump’s brazen self-promotion of his own private business, the Mar-a-Lago golf club in Palm Beach, Florida.

It takes some real cojones to violate the Constitution while you are being impeached. But that’s exactly what Trump is doing here. It violates the Constitution’s emoluments clause to exploit the office of the presidency for personal profit. And by using his official Twitter page to announce that the resort’s season is open, Trump can’t wave this off as just posting his itinerary.

And what Trump tweetfest would be complete with his attack on the free press:

Not only is Trump disparaging – and lying about – the media, he is wrapping his assault in a blanket of narcissism. He is crediting the ratings of Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC, for good or ill, to himself. What’s more, he believes that by reporting positively about him, any network would enjoy greater success. Which of course is absurd considering the fact that MSNBC frequently beats Fox.

A couple of other tweets merit some note. In one he says that he is “Getting VERY close to a BIG DEAL with China.” But he’s said this many times before and it has never been true. What’s he’s really doing is manipulating the stock market that reacts feverishly to any remarks from the White House. In the other tweet of note, Trump complained “Why aren’t Germany, France and other European countries helping Ukraine more?” The only thing wrong with that is everything. Those countries are helping Ukraine with over $16 billion in aid. So Trump is, as usual, lying.

UPDATE: Trump finished the day with a grand total of 123 tweets!

The sheer volume of tweets by Trump is indicative of his crippling anxiety. To post that many tweets requires hours of scrolling, reading and watching videos. So it’s safe to say that Trump isn’t doing anything else but tweeting. It’s also safe to say that he is not just concerned about the impending impeachment, he is profoundly disturbed and suffering from a severe mental infirmity. This puts the nation at grave risk. and it makes it all the more urgent that he quickly be impeached and removed from office.

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

Fox News Ratings Continue to Sink During Month of Trump’s Impeachment Hearings

One of the most nauseating things about Donald Trump is how deliberately he has decimated the standards of honesty for the U.S. presidency. And while there is nothing he won’t lie about, his falsehoods are frequently employed to boost his own fragile ego. This is a man who began his term by lying about the size of his inauguration audience. He lies about his popularity among Republicans. He routinely lies about the attendance at his cult rallies. And lately he has been obsessed with lies about the impeachment hearings hurting Democrats.

Fox News, Titanic

Contrary to Trump’s plaintive whining, polls show that it’s his own approval rating that has suffered throughout the impeachment hearings. A majority of Americans still favor his impeachment and removal from office. But that isn’t the only downside for Trump World. His state TV propaganda network, Fox News, is also being dragged down by the loathing he has cultivated for himself and his Republican Nationalist Party.

The numbers for the month of November tell a tale of woe for Trump’s media minions. Year to year, Fox News viewership for the total day in the all-important 25-54 year old demographic declined 11%. That compared to MSNBC’s rise of 5%. Fox’s daytime ratings in the demo declined 5% (MSNBC was up 19%). And Fox’s primetime schedule featuring Trump-fluffers Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, and Sean Hannity, dropped 12% (MSNBC was up 8%).

MSNBC’s strong performance was once again driven by Rachel Maddow. Her program handily beat Hannity with an average audience of 572,000 a night. Hannity, Fox’s top rated program, trailed with only 554,000. But she wasn’t alone. Chris Hayes, Lawrence O’Donnell, and Brian Williams all notched highs for the year in their time periods. Williams ranked No. 1 in his timeslot among adults 25-54. On the dayside, Deadline: White House with Nicolle Wallace was the most-watched cable news show at 4:00pm for the third straight month.

This is the second straight month where MSNBC’s growth outpaced Fox News. And it’s the third straight month that Maddow has topped Hannity. During most of this time the news has been consumed by contentious issues like impeachment and the 2020 election. Fox News has juiced its programming with live, interrupted coverage of Trump’s rallies (19 so far this year). But even that Trumpioid-fix for addicted Trump cultists didn’t keep viewers from fleeing.

Democrats should learn from this that they need to keep up the pressure on Trump. It’s not only educating the public about his criminal activities, it’s having a positive impact on impeachment in the polls, and on ratings for programs that aren’t afraid to tell the truth about Trump. Democrats need to ignore Trump’s impotent wailing about “witch hunts” and lies about how adored he is. He isn’t. And the more we point that out, the lower he sinks into the abyss of his own lies.

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

Thanks Trump! The Pumpkinhead President Scares Fox News Ratings Into an Abyss

The month of October has been a frightening experience for Donald Trump. His Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney, admitted on national TV that there was a quid pro quo with Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden. His personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, had a nervous breakdown on Fox News. He was forced to reverse an idiotic plan to host the 2020 G7 summit at his Doral golf resort in Miami. And his one bit of good news – the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – produced a paltry two point bounce in a poll by his favorite, ultra-biased pollster, Rasmussen. Scary, huh?

Donald Trump, Fox News, Halloween

Trump was so terrified throughout the month that he fear-posted 104 panic-tweets attacking the fearsome chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff. And as if the Offender-in-Chief doesn’t already have enough reasons to soil his trousers, the Trump-fluffing “news” network that he relies on to prop him up with worshipful propaganda, Fox News, fell on some hard times as well. The ratings for October reveal that impeachment has been good news for both America and Fox’s chief competitor, MSNBC.

The total day ratings for Fox News declined by a whopping 27 percent in the all-important 25-54 demographic, compared to October of 2018. In the same period MSNBC rose 12 percent. MSNBC also increased total prime time viewers 25 percent, and prime time demo viewers 16 percent.

This growth was driven by impressive gains by The Rachel Maddow Show, which was the #1 cable news program for the month among adults 25-54. Her show was up 13 percent, while Fox News’ Hannity declined 21 percent in that time slot. In total viewers Maddow was up 22 percent, compared to Fox’s 2 percent drop. She beat her direct competition, Sean Hannity, as well as Fox’s other prime time stars, Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham.

These gains were also present in other MSNBC programs. The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell was up 20 percent (Fox News dropped 22 percent). The 11th Hour with Brian Williams finished #1 in the 11 p.m. hour, up 25 percent (Fox News declined 31 percent). The Beat with Ari Melber delivered the network’s most-watched month ever in the 6 p.m. time period, up 34 percent (Fox News down 12 percent). Deadline: White House with Nicolle Wallace was #1 in total viewers, up 13 percent (Fox News dropped 27 percent). All In with Chris Hayes was up 24 percent (Fox News was down 19 percent). Even the weekend had great news with total day gains of 10 percent (Fox News dips of 32 percent).

There could be several explanations for this powerful performance by MSNBC and the simultaneous collapse of Fox News. Trump’s impeachment might have stirred more interest by progressive news consumers to tune in more. At the same time, it might have discouraged conservatives from watching the news at all. But there’s another possible factor that drove Fox’s viewers away: Donald Trump. He spent a fair amount of time bashing his own own best media outlet and even telling his followers to turn off Fox.

For instance, after a Fox poll showed him losing to Biden, Trump tweeted that “I have NEVER had a good @FoxNews Poll. Whoever their Pollster is, they suck.” And then there was the time he tweeted that “@FoxNews doesn’t deliver for US anymore. It is so different than it used to be.” And not mincing words, Trump told his Deplorables that “We have to start looking for a new News Outlet. Fox isn’t working for us anymore!”

It’s hard to determine whether Trump’s Fox bashing had any real impact on their ratings. But it isn’t hard to see that he is a fickle and vengeful narcissist who demands 100 percent adoration at all times, lest you be cast into the corn fields, aka TrumpScorn. However, it is more likely that television audiences were simply more interested in getting honest presentations of the news by real journalists instead of slobbering, glassy-eyed sycophants. And since a majority of Americans favor Trump being impeached and removed from office (even in that Fox News poll), even the opinion side of MSNBC would figure to be more popular.

If Trump has anything going for him at this time, it’s the “bloody highway crash” appeal that might cause viewers to tune to Fox in order to see exactly how his mental breakdown will unfold in real time. Sure, it’s morbid and gruesome, but hell, it’s Halloween. Everybody may just be in a weird mood.

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

NOTE TO MEDIA: Stop Airing These Psychotic Trump Lie-Fests Without Fact-Checking

This is really getting tiresome. During the 2016 campaign, all of the cable news networks would air Trump’s stump speeches live and uninterrupted. They wouldn’t do the same for any other candidate. And after the election CNN and MSNBC admitted that it was a mistake. There were too many falsehoods being spread without proper journalistic scrutiny.

Donald Trump

Fox News, of course, has continued to faithfully air everything Leader Trump does as it happens and rarely provides any context or corrections, even after Trump is done. That’s something we can expect from Fox News as it is their corporate mission to advance the Trump Cult. But CNN and MSNBC had been behaving more responsibly in the months following the election.

However, if Monday is any indication, CNN and MSNBC are backsliding. They both aired Monday morning’s complete Trump Cabinet meeting that was rife with lies and myths and Trumpian insults. It is a disservice to the American people to shove this dishonest blather down the throats of news consumers and it’s long past time for these networks to put an end to it. Here is just a taste of the preposterous ramblings of Trump this morning:

  • Trump said that he has great respect for ambassadors that he also said he’s never heard of.
  • Referring to ISIS, Trump said that “I’m the one that did the capturing.”
  • Trump mangled the Constitution, complaining about what he called the “phony Emoluments Clause.”
  • Trump said that he gives away his presidential salary that is close to $450,000. It’s exactly $400,000.
  • Trump accused President Obama of violating the emoluments clause by striking book and movie deals. Which he didn’t do until after he left office.

Along with the nonsense above, Trump crammed several ludicrous remarks into a concise segment of his rant (video below). He began by praising himself for allegedly losing 2-5 billion dollars due to his having to suffer through being president. But not to worry because he went on to say that “I don’t care. If you’re rich it doesn’t matter. I’m doing this for the country, I’m doing it for the people.” Really? Then why does actually helping the country by paying a few dollars more in taxes matter? If it really didn’t matter, Trump wouldn’t have pushed through tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy. and he wouldn’t be funneling money to his own real estate properties every time he stays at one of his resorts. And he certainly wouldn’t have tried to book the 2020 G7 summit at his Doral golf club in Miami – a scam that blew up in his face.

Trump went on to brag about what he said are “my best poll numbers.” Nevermind that he is at or near the lows of his presidency with the average of polls at about 42 percent approval. Even the wildly biased Rasmussen, has Trump dropping to 45 percent, within a point of his low for the year by his favorite pollster. Then he launched into a rabid dog rant aimed at his congressional foes:

“I have my best polls now. I think it’s because people think it’s terrible what they’re doing. Pelosi, Shifty Schiff, Schumer, these people are trying to destroy the country. It’s a very bad thing what they’re doing. The President of the United States should be allowed to run the country, not have to focus on this kind of crap.

Trump has been accusing Pelosi, Schiff, and Schumer of treason for months simply because they are pursuing remedies for Trump’s political poison that are written into the Constitution, a document he has either never read, or can’t understand. And proof of that is his assertion that he “should be allowed to run the country” as if he were an unimpeded dictator.

It is episodes of derangement like these that make it necessary for the media to refrain from blasting out Trump’s hysterical bluster. It creates needless anxiety along with the misinformation that Trump intends to spread. It harms both the public and the press. It serves no purpose other than the propaganda mission of the White House and the Republican Nationalist Party. And it must end if we are ever to get this nation back on an even keel.

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

Rachel Maddow Rides Impeachment to Ratings Victory Over Trump-Fluffer Sean Hannity

In the week since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that Donald Trump is the subject of an official House impeachment inquiry, there have been some extraordinary developments. Trump himself blew a gasket and began flinging rhetorical feces at Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, and what he called Democrat Savages,” and even his faithful defenders at Fox News. Trump descended head first into paranoid rants accusing his perceived enemies of treason and assorted other imaginary atrocities.

Rachel Maddow

What’s more, the public has been rapidly accepting that Trump is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors warranting his removal from office. Recent polls show a net 20 point swing in favor of impeachment. The Ukraine affair has the advantage of being quickly understood without the complexities of Trump’s unsavory connections to Russian and the 400 page Mueller Report that reveals criminality and obstruction of justice – if people would read it.

As the impeachment story heats up it is also having an impact on television news viewing. The past week saw MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow spike significantly as she focuses on Trump’s tribulations. Among the all-important advertising demographic of 25-54 year olds, Maddow handily beat her Fox News competition, Sean Hannity. Maddow averaged 586,000 viewers a day for the week, compared to only 550,000 for Hannity. This is good timing for Maddow whose new book – Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth – comes out today.

As the ratings and the polls consistently reflect the trouble Trump has caused for himself, he is becoming ever more desperate for the sort of flattery that fuels his tender ego. He typically finds it in the cultish sycophancy of Fox News and the utterly disreputable polling by Rasmussen. But lately he has been feuding with Fox and Rasmussen just reported a five point drop in his approval in the past week. Consequently he resorted to posting the results of an online poll at Breitbart “News.”

You might think it’s pathetic that Trump would rely on such a blatantly biased and unreliable survey of the crackpots who patronize Breitbart. But what’s even worse is that a poll taken in his own Twitter feed, with more than twice the number of respondents, has support for impeachment exceeding 90 percent.

It’s apparent that the movement to impeach Trump is only going to pick up steam as it goes forward. And along the way more people will be exposed to the facts offered by Rachel Maddow, while Hannity’s viewers slink off to the comforting seclusion of the underside of the rocks they call home. But this is no time to get complacent. Trump’s exploding derangement is going to spray psycho-shrapnel everywhere. And his most devoted disciples will even threaten civil war. In fact, both he and they and Fox News already have. So stay alert and engaged Resistors. This is just the beginning.

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

The ‘It’ Fracture: Crybaby Trump is Afraid of Joy-Ann Reid and Thinks Journalism is Showbiz

If it’s Saturday, it’s time for another regularly scheduled Donald Trump Tweetstorm. And the “stable genius” occupying the White House doesn’t disappoint. In fact, he even reminded everyone of his alleged stability in a tweet thanking some unnamed admirer for recognizing his alleged genius. In a normal world that would be sufficient proof that he’s a flaming fruitcake.

Donald Trump, Pennywise

Among the Twitticisms that Trump posted was a celebration that Republicans son a couple of seats in bright red districts that they were always favored to win. Although one of them was pulled out by a razor-thin two point margin. Another tweet bragged about his 94 percent support among Republicans, which in reality is only 83 percent. Which is irrelevant anyway because, contrary to his dementia, he isn’t running for president of the GOP. Then he dropped a couple of tweets that consisted only of his tiresome campaign quotes (MAGA, KAG) that he’s hammering into the numb skulls of his cult followers.

However, the most Trumpian eruption of the morning was one that attacked the media, of course. It’s his goto wankery when nothing on Fox News ignites his smoldering emotional tinder. And this time Trump lashed out at MSNBC’s Joy-Ann Reid for something that Trump didn’t bother to explain:

To answer Trump’s first question, Joy-Ann Reid has been a commentator and host on MSNBC for five years and currently hosts her own popular Saturday morning program, AM Joy. Not that Trump really needed this prompting. Despite pretending that he doesn’t know Reid, his own tweet goes on to reveal that he’s pretty familiar with her show, her reputation, her network, her reporting, and her ratings (she averages more than a million viewers each week). Although much of what he thinks he knows is wrong, as usual. Reid is also the author of a New York Times bestselling book that Trump surely knows about, but hasn’t read: The Man Who Sold America: Trump and the Unraveling of the American Story,”

What’s troubling about Trump’s attack on Reid – besides being another assault on an African-American journalist – is his bizarre characterization of her as lacking “the ‘it’ factor,” something he asserts is “needed for success in showbiz.” That’s right, “Showbiz!” Because that’s what Trump thinks journalism is. In fact, that’s what Trump thinks his presidency is. His job before becoming president was hosting a reality TV game show, which he did for 14 years. That’s not a hobby, it’s a career. And he still sees everything from within that Hollywood bubble.

So what might have triggered this outburst by Trump? He frequently insists that he never watches MSNBC, but with all of the whining he does about it, it’s obvious he watches every day. And today Reid did an extended segment on impeaching Trump (full video below). Undoubtedly he was watching while getting drool all over his Egg McMuffins. And his tweet tantrum makes much more sense when we know what he was almost certainly responding to.

Reid’s guests itemized a long list of impeachable offenses by Trump, beginning with obstruction of justice and continuing through encouraging Russia to interfere with the election, exploiting the presidency to enrich himself, violating campaign finance laws by paying hush money to his mistresses and not reporting it, defying subpoenas and suppressing evidence, and much more.

It’s easy to see why Trump is so afraid and desperate this morning. He knows what he did, and he knows that the truth is coming out. And he knows that changing the channel to Fox News won’t prevent the inevitable accountability he will be forced to face. So he resorts to this sort of deranged panic-tweeting. Expect more of this madness as Congress uncovers more of Trump criminal behavior. And expect it to get worse before it gets better.

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

America First? Trump’s Attacks on the Media are Both Ignorant and Anti-American

Another day, another malicious assault on the Constitution and its First Amendment protections for a free press. Donald Trump is continuing to march toward a totalitarian state where he controls the media. And in his latest manic outburst on the subject he goes further than ever to lie about and threaten both journalists and American workers employed by the media that he so desperately hates.

Donald Trump, Rachel Maddow, Shepard Smith, Anderson Cooper

Trump’s noxious tweetstorm began with a gleeful nod to the news that an “activist investor” has acquired a bundle of AT&T stock:

Trump’s celebration of this investment is a typically shallow analysis considering the investor purchased a share of AT&T that is only a little more than one percent of its outstanding shares. That isn’t gong give him any real leverage, and he’ll have no role in board or management decisions. What’s more, shareholders have absolutely zero influence over the editorial content of a news network, nor should they. So Trump is wandering around in a fantasy world that he clearly knows nothing about.

Trump also knows nothing about the state of the cable news business. His hatred for CNN notwithstanding, the network is enjoying the highest ratings and revenue in its history. This is an example of Trump expressing the delusions in his diseased brain as if they had some correlation to reality. But what’s worse about this Twitter tantrum is that Trump is maligning an American company before the whole world. That is recklessly inappropriate for the President of the United States, and a betrayal of the thousands of American workers at CNN and AT&T.

In addition, Trump repeated the flagrant lie that foreign leaders have asked him “Why does the Media hate the U.S. sooo much?” Perhaps Vladimir Putin or Kim Jong Un might have asked him that, but they probably also ask why he doesn’t arrest and/or assassinate them. After all, he has openly yearned for those powers himself. For the record, the media doesn’t hate America, and they don’t even hate Trump. They hate lies, corruption, treason, and ignorance. It isn’t their fault that Trump exemplifies all of those abhorrent traits. But Trump wasn’t through ranting:

Once again, MSNBC’s ratings and revenue are growing rapidly. Trump may wish that news networks that tell the truth about him were failing, but the opposite is true. Meanwhile, at Fox News their ratings are still impressive, but their revenue is in a steep decline because advertisers don’t want to be associated with the Trump-fluffing, white supremacist dogma that is the hallmark of Fox. And if Trump is tiring of negative stories about him, he might try doing something positive for once. Or at least stop doing so many things that are objectively stupid, destructive, racist, and/or corrupt.

Trump went on to bash the media in general as “an arm of the Democrat Party.” without providing any proof whatsoever. But that’s been his modus operandi for years. And coming from someone who leans so heavily on his State TV network (aka Fox News), it’s starkly hypocritical. His intent is to drag down the reputation of the press to prevent people from taking it seriously when they report what he’s actually doing and saying. He actually admitted that to Leslie Stahl when she asked why he attacks the press. “You know why I do it?” he replied. “I do it to discredit you all, and demean you all, so when you write negative stories about me no one will believe you.”

Everyone needs to remember that whenever they hear him criticize the media. By his own admission he isn’t doing it to correct the record or to stand up for the practice of journalism. He’s doing it to brainwash anyone dimwitted enough to fall for his deliberately deceitful disparagement of honest reporting. Sadly, there are way too many Deplorables who are happy to wallow in the filth that Trump spews, even after they’ve been told – by him – exactly what he’s doing.

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

Big Baby Trump Threatens to Sue MSNBC, O’Donnell Over Report that Russians Co-Signed Loans

Poor Donald Trump. He thought that all of his misdeeds and corruption would remain secret in perpetuity. Unfortunately for him, his methods of deception have been just as incompetent and ineffective as everything else he does. Consequently, each new day brings another revelation of some legal or ethical breach that he hoped would stay buried.

Donald Trump

The latest bit of bad news for Trump comes in the form of a speculative report that aired on MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell. On Tuesday night the program revealed allegations from a confidential source who said that some of Trump’s loans from the shady Deutsche Bank were co-signed by Russian oligarchs connected to Vladimir Putin. This could be a bombshell story that would explain much of Trump’s affinity for – and coddling of – Russia generally, and Putin in particular.

The public disclosure of this sort of financial arrangement would be devastating for Trump. Consequently, he is punching back with all his impotent might. Trump had his personal attorney, Charles Harder, dash off a letter with a stern warning to O’Donnell and the network that should make them think twice:

“We write concerning the false and defamatory statements published by Lawrence O’Donnell and NBC Universal […] The Program and Tweet make the false and defamatory statements that ‘Russian oligarchs’ cosigned loans provided to Mr. Trump by Deutsche Bank, and described these ‘co-signers’ as ‘Russian billionaires close to Vladimir Putin.'” These statements are false and defamatory, and extremely damaging.”

Demand is hereby made that Mr. O’Donnell and NBCU immediately and prominently retract, correct and apologize for the aforementioned false and defamatory statements. [and that] Failure to do so will leave my clients with no alternative but to consider their legal options which could include immediate legal proceedings against Mr. O’Donnell and NBCU.”

This is an entirely bogus threat that is highly unlikely to ever be carried out. The allegations that O’Donnell reported were presented as speculative from the outset. He presented it that way in a teaser at the beginning of the show where he said that “I want to stress that it is a single source that has not been confirmed by NBC News [and that] it’s going to require a lot more verification before that can be a confirmable fact.” He repeated these disclaimers in the segment that aired later. He could not have been more clear, repeatedly prefacing his remarks by saying “If true…” Therefore, he never presented it as fact, only the assertions of his source, as is evident in the video of the segment:

Trump is well known to engage in legal bullying, wherein he threatens people with lawsuits, but usually chickens out before filing any. In fact, he’s done that before with O’Donnell. In 2011 he threatened to sue O’Donnell for saying that Trump was not really a billionaire. That lawsuit never materialized. And neither will this one. O’Donnell has already taken the high road by tweeting that he “made an error in judgment” by reporting the unconfirmed story.

It’s hard to know if his walking this back was due to his own journalistic standards or pressure from the network which might have been spooked by the threat of litigation. But there are good reasons why they need not worry. This lawsuit, if pursued, could have some unintended consequences for Trump and company. First, it would disseminate to a much larger audience the allegation that he needed Russian oligarchs to co-sign his loans. That would confirm already known facts regarding Trump’s dire financial status and inability to secure loans on his own from reputable institutions. The lawsuit would also result in a discovery process which would require Trump to provide otherwise confidential documents to the legal representatives of O’Donnell and MSNBC. That requirement by itself will likely scare Trump out of ever actually filing any lawsuit.

So no one should be getting out the popcorn to watch this goofy episode of Trump’s reality show. It is almost certainly going to be preempted by some other Trump nonsense like buying Greenland or nuking hurricanes. This will just end up being another infantile tantrum thrown by our Crybaby-in-Chief that will amount to nothing but blather and the pathetic hissing of a wounded weasel.

UPDATE: True to his word, O’Donnell opened his program Wednesday night with a statement about the Deutsche Bank story. He reiterated the story had not gone through “the rigorous verification process” at MSNBC. Along with the retraction, he also pointedly noted that “We don’t know whether the information is inaccurate. But the fact is we do know that it wasn’t ready for broadcast. And for that I apologize.”

Interestingly, although O’Donnell provided everything Trump’s lawyer’s asked for (a retraction and an apology), Eric Trump demonstrated why the Trump word is worthless. He tweeted that “Apologies are not enough,” and that “we will be taking legal action.” So there’s still hope that a lawsuit will proceed and the discovery process will force Trump to hand over documents they would otherwise keep secret. It’s still more likely that Trump will chicken out, but given his profound stupidity, he might just be dumb enough to go through with it.

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