Trump’s Nightmare: Biden Takes the Ratings Crown in Dueling Town Halls

Friday is going to be another Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day for Donald Trump, whose days of late are mostly filled with disappointment, bitterness, anger, jealousy, and fear. With every new poll Trump is falling farther behind Joe Biden, both nationally and in the critical battleground states. Even his favorite pollster, the rabidly biased, right-wing Rasmussen, has Trump facing near certain defeat.

Donald Trump, Joe Biden

After chickening out of the second presidential debate, Trump plotted with NBC to schedule a town hall that would directly compete with the one previously scheduled with Joe Biden on ABC. There was a lot wrong with that decision on NBC’s part, and their poor judgement is not validated by this good news in the aftermath of both town halls (via Variety):

“Biden drew 12.7 million total viewers on the Disney-owned network, while Trump drew 10.4 million in the same 9-10 p.m. time slot on NBC. Across the entire runtime, the Biden town hall averaged 12.3 million viewers. In terms of the fast national 18-49 demographic, Biden is comfortably on top with a 2.6 rating to Trump’s 1.7.” [See updated numbers below]

Biden’s audience exceeded Trump’s by more than two million – 20%. [Note: these are preliminary ratings that will be updated later in the day]. That’s a significant victory that parallels Biden’s lead in both polling and fundraising. Biden pulled in a record $383 million in September, compared to Trump’s haul of only $247.8 million. But best of all, ratings are what Trump cares about more than anything else, and he has utterly failed in that arena. This will surely drive the Narcissist-In-Chief CRAZY(er).

[UPDATE: The total is now in for Trump’s town hall, including MSNBC and CNBC. The three networks combined drew 13.1 million viewers. So Biden’s town hall on ABC, whose final numbers are 14.1 million, still beat Trump by a million viewers]

There were additional differences between the the Trump and Biden town halls that are more substantive than ratings. While Biden made a couple of mistakes, Trump lied frequently in his town hall. He was also challenged – and failed – on issues like…

  • Refusing to renounce the QAnon domestic terrorists
  • Deliberate distortions of data concerning the coronavirus
  • His inability to recall whether he had taken a COVID-19 test prior to the first debate
  • His miniscule tax payments and to whom he owes more than $400 million
  • Disseminating conspiracy theories such as one about Biden killing SEAL Team 6

On that last matter Trump attempted to excuse himself by saying that “it was a retweet,” as if that makes any difference. It’s still Trump passing along a preposterous and dangerous lie. NBC’s moderator, Savannah Guthrie, called him out saying that “You’re not like someone’s crazy uncle that can just retweet whatever.”

All told, the night was a huge defeat for Trump. He embarrassed himself in his own town hall. He likely alienated even more voters. And worst of all, he was beaten up in the ratings by someone he says is a mentally deficient socialist. If Trump can’t even win against that sort of an opponent, what does that make him?

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

NBC Joins Trump PR Team By Staging Town Hall Opposite Biden

Two weeks ago Donald Trump and Joe Biden faced off in their first presidential debate. However, Trump managed to succeed only in thoroughly embarrassing himself by repeatedly interrupting with incoherent and hostile remarks. So it came as no surprise that Trump subsequently chickened out of the second debate when the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) announced that it would be held remotely in the interest of health and safety.

Donald Trump TV Set

Trump undoubtedly noticed that every post-debate poll showed him falling even farther behind Biden after the first debate, including the one by his favorite pollster, Rasmussen. So Trump jumped at the chance to use the CPD’s remote format as an excuse to bail out.

Shortly after Trump’s cowardice forced the cancelation of the second debate, Biden quickly accepted an offer by ABC News to have a town hall at the time the debate was originally scheduled. That has been promoted extensively and will air Thursday. Unfortunately, Biden is not being given the courtesy of speaking to the American people without Trump once again interrupting, this time with the help of NBC.

NBC has announced that they will be hosting a town hall at the same time and date as ABC’s Biden program. NBC had plenty of time to find another time slot, but appears to have made a deliberate decision to compete directly with Biden’s broadcast. This is a dreadful disservice to viewers and the American people as it forces them to choose between the two programs, rather being able to see both in order to make an informed judgment.

There are only two possible explanations for NBC’s abhorrent programming decision. They are either acting out of pure greed and self interest, or they have joined the Trump campaign’s PR team and are acting on their behalf. Or, of course, a combination of both. Either way, it exposes their utter disregard for the fair conduct of the election, the welfare of the nation, and the best interests of voters.

It’s worse than just the obvious gift that NBC is presenting to Trump as he uses them for his nefarious purposes. They are actually rewarding Trump for being a wimp and fearfully fleeing the Commission’s debate. NBC couldn’t be advancing Trump’s campaign objectives any better if they were on his payroll. And this should make people wonder if they are.

Every television news enterprise that uses public airwaves has a legal obligation to serve the public interest. NBC is affirmatively harming the public interest in order to boost Trump along with their bottom line. The American people should be appalled by this partisan counterprogramming. There are reports that even insiders at the network are angry and ashamed by their employer. As any journalist with an ounce of integrity should be.

The result will likely be that more television viewers will tune in to the Trump Hour of Lies and miss the more substantive discussion with Biden. That’s not because they support Trump, but because it holds the promise of a melodramatic meltdown that is the meat and potatoes of TV entertainment. It’s why people watch police car chases. It’s why more people watch the Kardashians than C-SPAN! And this is happening at a time when even Fox News has shown some restraint in declining to air Trump’s rallies live and uninterrupted as has been their practice in the past. Brian Stelter of CNN reports that

“The president held a campaign rally in Johnstown, Pennsylvania Tuesday night, but Fox News only showed small portions of it. Fox took the same approach on Monday. So, for the second night in a row, Trump urged his Twitter followers to watch on OANN, Newsmax or C-SPAN – which indicates that he is aware of Fox’s snub.”

And now Trump can point his glassy-eyed cult disciples to NBC as well. NBC is taking it’s place alongside the ultra-rightist conspiracy crackpots of OANN and Newsmax. Is that really the company they want to keep? It’s despicable, unethical, and contrary to the principles of professional journalism.

The American people should loudly object to this media manipulation. And those of us who are offended by this programming stunt should boycott the Trump show on NBC Thursday and get their friends and families, and even strangers online, to join the boycott of NBC’s cynical, self-serving assault on journalistic integrity. Trump must not be rewarded for his cowardice. And NBC must not be rewarded for their partisanship and greed.

UPDATE: Rachel Maddow brought up this subject during an interview with Kamala Harris and indicated that a lot of people were mad.

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

Trump ‘Loves’ Him Some Whiffleball Questions From Radical Right-Wing ‘Reporter’

Another day, another White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefing. These daily events serve no purpose other than to provide Trump with a forum to repeat his lies and disinform the public. And there is no plausible reason for him to be there except to satisfy his craving for ego-strokes now that he can no longer hold his traveling cult rallies.

Donald Trump

Saturday’s briefing was just a rehash of previous episodes where Trump leads a chorus of hallelujahs by sycophants paying tribute to his heroic awesomeness. In the course of his remarks Trump describes every alleged achievement as a never before seen breakthrough in human endeavors. Suffice to say that none of his barely coherent ramblings provide useful, factual information. The entirety of his presentation is an exercise in glassy-eyed happy-talk that painstakingly avoids the unsettling realities that the American people know all too well. After listening to Trump one might think that there was no pandemic crisis going on at all. Everything is fine and getting better.

In order to promulgate that deceit, Trump made a point of calling on Jenn Pellegrino, a “reporter” from the far-right, conspiracy factory, One America News Network (OANN). Her question, and Trump’s response, did nothing to advance the public’s well-being. physically or mentally. But it give Trump another opportunity to attack his perennial foes in the media (video below):

Pellegrino: This morning the Washington Post ran a story suggesting that you delayed taking action on the virus in January and February. Dr. Fauci has indicated that your action in the Chinese travel ban helped America immensely. What do you say to the Washington Post?
Trump: I love whoever you’re with. Cuz I think that’s such a nice question. I think the Washington Post covers us very inaccurately, covers me very inaccurately. I saw the story. I think it’s a disgrace. But it’s the Washington Post and I guess we have to live with it.

The story that they are obliquely referencing is one wherein the Post revealed that U.S. intelligence had warned him as early as January about the coronavirus and it’s potential risks, but that he disregarded the warnings. The Post reported that even though Trump’s advisers told him that “the system was blinking red […] they just couldn’t get him to do anything about it.”

So without putting the question into context, Trump complimented the Trump-fluffing reporter and her flagrantly biased network. Then went on to insult the Post without ever citing anything in their story that was inaccurate. Trump later noted that China had ejected the Post from the country, which he seems to think bolsters his position. Is that because he thinks China is so well regarded as a beacon of press freedom? And let’s not forget that Trump ejected the Post from the White House and other government offices.

Trump’s response to this question is especially notable considering how different it was from his response to a question he received the day before. Peter Alexander of NBC asked Trump “What do you say to Americans who are watching right now who are scared?” Whereupon, Trump jumped on him like a rabid jackal, calling Alexander a “terrible reporter” and the question “nasty.” But Pellegrino’s question asking “What do you say to the Washington Post,” drew Trump’s “love” for “such a nice question.”

The lesson here is that reporters are safer asking Trump what he has to say to news organizations that everyone knows he hates, than they are asking what he has to say to the American people. That’s because he cares more about attacking those who dare to tell the truth about him, than he does about the citizens of this country, a majority of whom voted against him. And it’s his indifference – and even hostility – to the people he is supposed to be serving, that has resulted in the disastrous way he has bungled the nation’s response to the worst pandemic in generations.

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

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

Donald Trump

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Attorney Genuflect Bill Barr has Fully Morphed Into a Fox News Trump-Fluffer

On Monday the Inspector General of the Justice Department released his report on the origins of the Russia probe. The top-line conclusion was that it “did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced the FBI.” Yet somehow Trump embraced the report with delusional glee. He even boasted that it was “one of our great achievements.”

William Barr, Donald Trump

Now Trump’s Attorney Genuflect, Bill Barr, is disputing the very same IG Report that a deranged Trump said was a victory for him. This is the sequel to the aftermath of the report by special counsel Robert Mueller, when Trump insisted that it “totally exonerated” him, while simultaneously disparaging it as a hoax and a witch hunt. It takes a mind that is either brazenly dishonest or severely dysfunctional to attack a report that you also claim vindicates you. But that is what Trump did then, and is reprising now.

Barr was interviewed by NBC’s Pete Williams on Tuesday morning (video below). The whole interview was a bizarre affair that exposed Barr’s flagrant biases and his abandonment of principle, integrity, and honesty. He demonstrated that he is not the Attorney General for the people of the United States, but a shill for private citizen Trump. His remarks reflected the glassy-eyed devotion of a cult follower whose adoration for Dear Leader is unflappable. Barr began by dismissing three years of criminality by Trump and Company:

“I think our nation was turned on its head for three years based on a completely bogus narrative that was largely fanned and hyped by a completely irresponsible press.”

Barr is forgetting that in the past three years many of Trump’s closest associates have been indicted and convicted, including Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, Micheal Cohen, and Roger Stone. And there were dozens of other indictments that are still pending. Plus, Mueller’s report found at least 270 contacts between the Trump team and Russia-linked operatives. That is hardly the result of a “bogus narrative.”

By blaming his slanderous criticisms on the press, Barr is just parroting his White House Overlord and the glassy-eyed sycophants on Fox News. The AG continued in this vein sounding more like Sean Hannity and Alex Jones than the chief law enforcement officer of the nation. Barr made the ludicrous and unsupported assertion that Trump “was clearly spied upon” by the FBI. Then he continued saying that…

“From a civil liberties standpoint, the greatest danger to our free system is that the incumbent government use the apparatus of the state … both to spy on political opponents but also to use them in a way that could affect the outcome of an election.”

First of all, Trump was not spied on, he was investigated. Barr is using language that is deliberately prejudicial. No police officer engaged in collecting evidence would ever say that they were “spying” on a murder suspect. What’s more, the FBI wasn’t even investigating Trump. They were legitimately probing the suspicious activities of individuals connected to his campaign.

It’s also troubling that Barr refers to valid and justified FBI investigations as “the greatest danger” to our system of government. Apparently he thinks it’s worse than Russians hacking our elections and launching massive campaigns of propaganda in support of Trump. Barr also doesn’t seem concerned that Trump “used the apparatus” – not of the state – but of a foreign state “in a way that could affect the outcome of an election.’ This was evidently not a problem for Barr. In fact, he appears to think it’s commonplace and acceptable:

“Presidential campaigns are frequently in contact with foreign persons. And indeed, in most campaigns there are signs of illegal foreign money coming in.”

WHAT? That’s not only false, it’s insane. No campaign professional would agree that such contact occurs “frequently,” if ever. And if Barr has proof that “most campaigns” are receiving “illegal foreign money,” why on Earth isn’t he prosecuting anyone?

He went on to falsely state that “there was and never has been any evidence of collusion” with Russia. In fact, the Mueller Report said that, while he could not unequivocally establish such collusion, there was actual evidence. Just not enough to indict. What’s more, Mueller affirmed that Trump “welcomed and encouraged” Russian interference in the 2016 election, and then sought to cover it up. That alone should warrant his impeachment.

On Tuesday morning Trump relaunched his attack on the FBI. This time against Christopher Wray, the FBI Director that Trump himself appointed. Wray’s offense was to affirm the findings of the independent Inspector General. The one Barr that is discrediting and publicly humiliating. Bill Barr is a disgrace to the office of Attorney General. He deserves to be impeached and removed from office every bit as much as Trump does. He is purposefully reorganizing the Justice Department as the defense team and PR operation for a corrupt president. And isn’t that Fox News’ job?

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

Trump Goes Off (His Meds) on a Crazed Anti-Media Tweet Tantrum Against – Fox News?

It must be extraordinarily difficult for the President of the United States to get through every weekend without being fawned over by his most devoted supporters and promoters: the weekday primetime hosts on Fox News (aka State TV). Donald Trump’s notoriously fragile ego needs constant stroking or it erupts in an explosion of nonsensical ravings and unbound hostility from his Twitter stronghold.

Donald Trump, Fox News, Strange

That’s the sensitive psychological condition that Trump found himself in on Sunday night when he unleashed a torrent of tweets bursting with self pity and anger at an unfair world that wasn’t sufficiently adoring. This hissy twit included an unexpected barrage of animus aimed squarely at Trump’s media confederates at Fox News. It’s not the first time, but it’s one of the most extended and shrill. And it’s a warning to Fox that if you dare to stray from Trumpian orthodoxy, you are officially guilty of betraying the cause of white-wing nationalism, and Trump personally. It’s Trump’s admission that he regards Fox News as his personal publicity shop. The substance of this tweetstorm is so profoundly disturbing that we can just let it speak for itself.

Poor Trump is suffering the brutal symptoms of withdrawal due to the lack of his weekday Trump-fluffers: Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson, and the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends. Apparently Jeanine Pirro and Mark Levin aren’t sufficient to get him through these lonely weekends. But does he have to be so cruel as to call the Fox weekenders worse than CNN? That’s a low blow coming from Trump.

Deprived of his State TV babysitters, Trump whines about the brass at Comcast. He’s referring to Chairman and CEO of Comcast Brian Roberts and NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke. And he apparently believes that they tell everyone on NBC what to say. That must be because that’s the way the propaganda machine at Fox News operates, so he thinks real news organizations do the same.

He also unloads on what he says was a boring Democratic primary debate. Never mind that it was the most watched Democratic debate in history and drew more viewers on the second night than the first, which is not generally an indicator that the viewers were bored. Then Trump takes an odd, leftfield swipe at the New York Times because, well, what anti-media Trump rant would be complete without it?

Next, Trump takes aim directly at Fox News again, this time accusing them of having “forgot the people who got them there!” As if the network is obligated to behave in the manner that Trump demands or it’s being disloyal. That sentiment is extended with Trump’s complaint that Fox hired Donna Brazile, a former Democratic Party official. He lies about her having given Hillary Clinton debate questions during the 2016 Democratic primary. In fact, Brazile never had any actual debate questions. She only gave Clinton a list of topics and questions that she assumed would be covered. That’s still improper for a CNN contributor who was supposed to be unaffiliated, but it isn’t the same as stealing actual questions and handing them over to a candidate. Ironically, that’s an accusation that was levelled at Fox News for tipping off Trump before a GOP debate.

Finally, Trump insults all of the dayside Fox anchors as “terrible” and takes a swing at Fox’s chief news anchor and managing editor of breaking news, Shepard Smith. Considering how often Smith debunks Trump’s lies, that isn’t surprising. Take, for instance, this brutal fact check on Trump’s lies about Russian collusion. But then he closes this manic episode by proclaiming that he knows what the Fox News audience wants and that Fox is failing in its duty to be a staunchly partisan right-wing mouthpiece by not bending obediently to the bias that Trump thinks is required of them.

It’s difficult to be certain exactly what triggered this meltdown, but it doesn’t take much to set Trump off these days. He is becoming more frightened and unstable with each new poll that shows him losing in 2020, and each new revelation of his rampant criminal activity, including the arrest of his pal Jeffrey Epstein for sex trafficking.

However, there was an entertaining bit of “news” made on Fox Sunday when reporter Greg Palkot was covering reaction to the U.S. winning the World Cup. He was live from a sports bar in Lyon, France when the crowd began chanting “F*** Trump.” Then Palkot interviewed an American patron who cheered the U.S. team’s victory and then proudly exclaimed “Now we need to win in 2020, Democrats. Get that racist out of the White House.” That’s surely something that would gnaw at Trump if he saw it. But it warms the hearts of every truly patriotic American who can’t wait for Trump to booted from office whether by losing an election or well deserved impeachment.

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

POLL: Fox News Viewers are Hopelessly Gaslit Victims of Trump’s Propaganda

The recent release of the redacted version of the report by special counsel Robert Mueller has resulted in a couple of the worst weeks to date for Donald Trump. And that’s despite the fact that much of the most damaging material is still undisclosed. He is being barraged by legal experts who affirm that the report contains ample evidence of crimes and obstruction of justice that warrant consideration of initiating impeachment hearings.

Fox News, Sean Hannity, White House

The public’s view of these matters leans decidedly toward a consensus that Trump is dishonest and likely guilty of criminal offenses. They may be related to the hundreds of contacts by him and his campaign with Russian operatives, or his suppression of documents and testimony that points to his guilt. But there is one notable constituency that is oblivious to the reality of Trump’s wrongdoing: Fox News viewers.

A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll breaks out the opinions of voters by their cable news preferences. And the disparity between those who watch Fox News and those who watch other networks is profound:

These results reveal that Fox News viewers have totally bought into the propaganda that Trump and his fluffers in the right-wing press feverishly disseminate. They are the victims of deliberate lies that don’t remotely resemble reality. This is evident by the extreme differences among the Fox News viewers with their fellow citizens. If the pro-Trump numbers were just a little higher, that might indicate some measure of media bias. But when the numbers are so radically far apart, that can only be the result of cult-like indoctrination.

It simply is not normal for 69 percent of the viewers of one network to say they aren’t worried about Russian interference in the U.S. election, when less that 50 percent of the viewers of all other networks feel the same way. It’s extraordinary that 50 percent of Fox viewers falsely believe that the Mueller report cleared Trump, when everyone else believes that by less than 25 percent. And how can 61 percent of Fox News viewers say that Trump has been honest about Russia, when less than 30 percent of the rest of the nation says that?

These numbers, of course, are reflected in the overall approval of Trump as president. And once again, 73 percent of Fox News viewers are blindly adoring of Trump, while significant majorities of all other respondents vehemently disapprove. What this tells us is that the Fox News audience is living in an alternate world. They are hypnotically devoted to Trump regardless of what he says or does. They even obediently agree with him when he contradicts himself.

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

And for that reason – along with many others – it is absurd for Democrats to consider gracing Fox News with their presence. It’s ludicrous to lend their credibility to a network that hasn’t earned it. And it makes no sense whatsoever to support a brazenly biased channel that exists – from its inception – to malign them, and whose viewers overwhelmingly despise them.

Sunday’s Trump Tweetstorm Calls First Amendment Illegal, ‘Should Be Tested in Courts’

If it’s Sunday, this Donald Trump’s regularly scheduled Twitter tantrum. Like clockwork, the President is firing off nearly incoherent messages that attack his critics, lie about easily verified matters, and promote his favorite source of propaganda, and the PR division of the Trump White House, Fox News. It’s a display of desperation that only serves to make him appear more guilty and afraid of the coming consequences of his criminal acts.

Donald Trump

Leading off Trump’s parade of polemics is a tweet that reinforces Trump’s long-held aversion to free speech and the First Amendment of the Constitution. We are all familiar with Trump’s denouncement of the press in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people,” and his projectile vomiting of invectives at journalists who have the audacity to report what he actually does and says. And now we have Trump literally threatening to legally censor the media for doing its job:

Does Trump really think that Saturday Night Live is a news program that can be put alongside NBC News as a provider of coverage of his administration? Apparently any media entity that fails to kiss up to the Snowflake-in-Chief is subject to his hostile harangues. But this tweet goes even further to demand that the press be constrained by some legal authority to prostrate itself to what he believes is fair. Every president has had to undergo criticism from both journalists and satirists, but Trump’s skin is way to thin to take it. That’s common for cowards and tyrants who feel the need to control society and suppress those who don’t sufficiently worship Dear Leader.

The rest of Trump’s morning meltdown was equally disturbing. He babbled nonsensically about text messages by former FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. His rant was lifted from the ultra-rightist webzine The Federalist, which failed to understand the agency’s report regarding the disposition of those texts:

Trump agreed with the Federalist’s phony assertions that the messages were deleted and lost. They weren’t. The agency recovered and preserved them after a temporary tech glitch. But this triggered his knee-jerk outcry of “Witch Hunt” which he continued in another tweet:

What Trump calls “breaking in” is more commonly referred to as the accumulation of evidence by law enforcement. And the subject of the investigation, Trump’s lawyer, complimented the FBI as “extremely professional, courteous and respectful,” and later pleaded guilty to the charges against him. What’s more, Cohen unambiguously fingered Trump as being the facilitator of the crimes in his case. That’s surely what Trump is really mad about.

As for the bit about Hillary Clinton’s server, she voluntarily gave the FBI a complete copy of it, so they had no need to take physical possession. But having no legal ground to stand on, Trump resorted to dredging up old stories about his nemesis, President Obama.

Trump is falsely claiming that Obama’s immigration policies were “far worse” than what the Trump administration has done by grotesquely seperating children from their parents (which he’s still doing, and even justifying it). That’s demonstrably untrue. It was only Trump’s policy to charge every asylum seeker with felonies that resulted in the separations. And if that obvious attempt at misdirection wasn’t sufficient to deflect attention from his problems, Trump also tried this one:

Really? Ken Starr? He headed up the persecution of the Clintons twenty years ago, and after finding no evidence of any crime, started to dig into Bill Clinton’s sex life. He’s hardly a credible source for anything having to do with Trump’s criminal behavior. And naturally, Trump saw Starr’s comments while watching Fox News.

This frantic outburst on Twitter is just the latest example of a mind that is utterly warped by the trepidation of being caught having committed a historic crime spree. And in utter distress due to the gloomy fate that awaits him, Trump is lashing out like the wounded vermin that he is. And while every untrue utterance he made is bad enough for the nation to be worried about his mental degradation, his calls to punish the press are the most troubling.

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

Trump is acting out the behavior of a fallen dictator desperately trying to hang on to whatever power he has left. But with the walls of justice closing in around him, he has nowhere to hide. A recent report notes that every entity that he has headed – the Trump Org, Trump Foundation, Trump campaign, Trump transition team, Trump inaugural committee, and the Trump White House – are under investigation. When he does go down, he’s going to go down hard.

LATE BREAKING: Trump must not be very busy presidenting today because he posted four more tweets this afternoon (so far).

One was a demand to watch a Fox News interview of conspiracy crackpot Jerome Corsi.

Then two more (here and here), also triggered by Fox News, were about former Trump advisor, and confessed felon, Michael Flynn being “persecuted” by Robert Mueller. Of particular note was Trump saying that Jeff Sessions “should be ashamed of himself” for allowing the “HOAX” to get started. So should Trump’s new Acting AG Whitaker also be ashamed for not stopping it?

And finally, Trump added a tweet that was just boilerplate “Witch Hunt” bashing and denying his collusion. You know, like all innocent people do obsessively.

White House Shills Flagrantly Lie About Trump Hobbling the FBI Probe of Kavanaugh

It’s another Pleasant Valley Sunday at the White House as Donald Trump dispatches his surrogates to the Sunday morning news programs to assure America’s Deplorables that everything is fine despite the political fires raging all around them.

Donald Trump

The topic of the day is undoubtedly the pending confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court. His recent testimony regarding allegations of sexual assault against Dr. Christine Blasey Ford did nothing to exonerate him. But he did reveal himself to be a hot headed, ultra-partisan who traffics in preposterous conspiracy theories and has no aversion to lying about himself or others.

As a result of that hearing, rogue Republican Sen. Jeff Flake concluded that he could not vote to confirm Kavanaugh unless there was an FBI investigation into the charges. So Trump was reluctantly forced to comply and instructed the FBI to reopen Kavanaugh’s background check. Unfortunately, our relentlessly deceitful president sought to game the system by putting harsh restrictions on what the FBI could look into. After this underhanded tactic was exposed, Trump whined on Twitter that it wasn’t true. He accused NBC News of having “incorrectly reported” the story, even though it was also reported by the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

On the Sunday Circus of news shows, Trump’s surrogates are now making the rounds to reinforce his false claims. Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told Fox News that “The White House is not micromanaging this process,” and that “the Senate is dictating the terms.” And Senior White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway had this exchange with Jake Tapper of CNN:

Conway: The White House is not getting involved in the FBI investigation in that way. The president very much respects the independence of the FBI and feels, as he said last night, that they should be looking at anything they feel is credible within this limited scope.
Tapper: What does that mean, ‘within this limited scope’?
Conway: That’s up to the FBI. In other words, I’m not involved in those specific conversations.

Of course none of those protestations were true. NBC’s follow up reporting on the matter reiterated that:

“The FBI has received no new instructions from the White House about how to proceed with its weeklong investigation of sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, a senior U.S. official and another source familiar with the matter tell NBC News.

“According to the sources, the president’s Saturday night tweet saying he wants the FBI to interview whoever agents deem appropriate has not changed the limits imposed by the White House counsel’s office on the FBI investigation — including a specific witness list that does not include Julie Swetnick, who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct in high school.”

And furthermore…

“A White House official made clear that the White House is the client in this process. This is not an FBI criminal investigation — it is a background investigation in which the FBI is acting on behalf of the White House. Procedurally, the White House does not allow the FBI to investigate as it sees fit, the official acknowledged; the White House sets the parameters.”

The conservative, Rupert Murdoch owned Wall Street Journal affirmed NBC’s reporting that:

“it was unlikely that the shape of the investigation would change without official communication from the White House that it wanted the bureau to interview other people beyond the list already provided.”

So that’s confirmation that the White House is calling the shots and that they did provide a list of approved witnesses. Clearly Trump is determined to insure that whatever investigation is conducted will not be thorough or impartial. He’s deliberately stacking the deck against Dr. Ford to protect his tainted nominee. That raises the question of whether this process will satisfy Sen. Flake who initiated it. If it doesn’t, he may vote against confirming Kavanaugh, which could sink the nomination.

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

There is also the possibility that the FBI will consider itself empowered to explore any matter that is raised during their investigation, which could include the other witnesses as well as Kavanaugh’s truthfulness during his congressional testimony. There’s abundant evidence that Kavanaugh did perjure himself. So there are significant speed bumps on the road to Kavanaugh’s seat on the Supreme Court. And with any luck this nomination will crash and burn.

Sexual Predator Donald Trump Hypocritically Threatens NBC’s ‘License’ Over Weinstein Story

As his Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, is being grilled in the Senate, it appears that Donald Trump is striving mightily to shift attention back to himself. So naturally he’s emulating the totalitarian policies of censorship and oppression, especially with regard to the media, that he admires so much. He frequently refers to the press as “the enemy of the people,” a phrase lifted straight from Stalin era tyranny. And even after being schooled on the historical horrors of his reference, Trump persists in his flagrantly anti-constitutional harangues.

Donald Trump, Censorship

On Tuesday morning, during his regularly scheduled Twitter tirade, Trump took another swipe at the press in the most appalling terms. Beginning with his incessant repetition of his now tedious “fake news” rhetoric, Trump launches into a peculiar criticism of NBC News for their handling of Ronan Farrow’s groundbreaking expose of Harvey Weinstein:

To be sure, there were some problems with how the network dealt with the allegations Farrow unveiled. NBC’s brass did not seem to be especially supportive of his efforts. Farrow charges that they tried to prevent him from proceeding with his investigation. NBC, however, claims that they just didn’t think the story was sufficiently documented. But the network didn’t try to interfere with Farrow taking the story to another publisher. In fact, according to Farrow, they suggested it. Subsequently, Farrow’s story ignited the #MeToo movement that has brought accountability to dozens of cretinous characters in the media, business, and politics. And it isn’t over.

What makes this so unbelievable is the shocking obliviousness on Trump’s part to reignite the Weinstein scandal. Of all the people to traffic in the sewer of sexual harassment and assault, Trump would be at or near the bottom of the list. After all, there are still outstanding allegations of the most repugnant misconduct by Trump from at least sixteen women (see video below). These charges have never been properly investigated and Trump has not been held accountable, as others in public life have.

When the President of the United States is credibly charged with actual sex crimes, it ought to be addressed in the press, the Congress, and especially the courts. But Trump has been given a free pass for his assaultive acts. For him to raise the matter of similar behavior by others is an Olympic-grade feat of suppression of self-awareness and shame.

And to make matters worse, Trump adds to the remarkably amoral mindset that led to this tweet by using it as reason to punish NBC via what he calls a “Look at their license.” What exactly does he intend to look at? There is no government authority that grants licenses to news organizations permitting them to engage in journalism. In fact, the Constitution explicitly prohibits it. Perhaps Trump was aiming at the licenses of local broadcasters. But even Trump’s own FCC chief, Ajit Pai, rebuked Trump’s prior license revocation fantasies saying that “The FCC does not have the authority to revoke a license of a broadcast station based on the content.”

So Trump is, once again, just mouthing off in total ignorance as he attempts to threaten the media and chill any effort to criticize him. That isn’t going to work any better now than it has worked in all of his previous attempts at censorship. It just certifies that he is a wannabe dictator who aspires to silence any dissenting voices, much the way his heroes, Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, and Kim Jong Un, have done in their countries, where free speech is a crime against the state. Consequently, Trump will have to be satisfied with his version of State TV, aka Fox News.

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