Serial sexual predator Bill O’Reilly goes Full Psycho in taped rant to the New York Times

If there is anything positive resulting from the disgusting Harvey Weinstein affair, it’s that perhaps the impunity of deviants like him will no longer be tolerated. Women have become emboldened to discuss their experiences and hold violators accountable. The problem will not go away overnight, but this is a necessary, if painful, first step.

Bill O'Reilly Megyn Kelly

Unfortunately, some of the outrage generated by Weinstein is selectively applied. While his career and company are likely over, there are other known abusers still operating in places of power. Including in the White House, where Donald Trump’s admitted crimes have not cost him his privileged position. Part of the reason that Trump gets away with it is that he has supporters at a powerful media outlet who excuse his sexual misconduct. Fox News has fiercely defended the President despite the evidence, and his own confessions.

The irony of that, of course, is that Fox News is guilty of the same repulsive behavior. At the top of the list was their former CEO Roger Ailes, His termination was followed by that of their biggest star, Bill O’Reilly. It has since been discovered that O’Reilly paid $32 million to settle a case of sexual harassment and abuse. And a few weeks later Fox News, with knowledge of the settlement, renewed his contract. There were other victims who were also paid millions prior to this. So the message from Fox News is that they have no problem with employees who commit sexual crimes. You have to wonder how the women at the network feel about that.

However, you don’t have to wonder how O’Reilly feels. He has been thoroughly unrepentant. In fact, he has furiously attacked his accusers despite his having paid many of them to buy their silence. His adamant denials fly in the face of the facts. Even the response by Fox News, who saw the evidence and chose to fire him, speaks to his guilt. But that didn’t stop him from going into a white hot rage when the subject came up in an interview with the New York Times (video below):

“We have physical proof that this is bullshit. Bullshit. OK? So it’s on if you want to destroy my children further. Alright? Cause it’s all crap. Why don’t you be human beings for once? This is horrible.”

“It’s horrible what I went through. Horrible what my family went through. This is crap and you know it. It’s politically and financially motivated. And we can prove it with shocking information.”

Where to begin? Let’s start with O’Reilly’s claim that he has “physical proof that this is bullshit.” If that’s true, then what is he waiting for? Why doesn’t he produce it and clear his name? The only thing that he’s put forward are photos his attorney posted of thank you notes from Megyn Kelly, who has disclosed that she was among his victims. Of course, those notes mean nothing. Abused women are often reluctant to rock the boat. They fear disclosing the circumstances of their abuse due to the prospect of retaliation, shaming, etc. And they have seen their abusers get off scot free while they suffer personally and professionally.

As for O’Reilly’s concern about his children being “destroyed,” that’s a peculiar line of defense. Particularly considering that O’Reilly recently lost a custody battle for his children that included charges of battery against his ex-wife that was witnessed by his young daughter. The children both petitioned the court to live with their mother.

Finally, O’Reilly despicably tries to turn this into a pity party with himself as the victim. Poor Bill. It must have been so horrible for him to be called out for his abhorrent and predatory perversion. And all because he has mysterious, unnamed financial and political enemies determined to destroy the valiant culture warrior.

The only thing this latest audio rant proves is that Bill O’Reilly is an unstable and unremorseful monster. He thinks he’s entitled to hurt anyone he wants to advance his own interests. It’s an acute form of malignant narcissism that has him convinced of his superiority and the irrelevance of others. Remind you of anyone?

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

Shut Down Fox News For Facilitating Sexual Abusers Like Bill O’Reilly – Says Fox News?

A breaking story from the New York Times on Saturday revealed just how ingrained the culture of sexual deviancy is at Fox News. And it underscores their complicity in the abhorrent acts of their employees and management. So far the company has terminated their CEO Roger Ailes and their biggest star Bill O’Reilly. In addition, other executives and on-air hosts like Bill Shine, Eric Bolling, and Jaime Horowitz were jettisoned under similar circumstances.

Bill o'Reilly Fox News

This new story in the Times discloses that Bill O’Reilly paid $32 million to settle a sexual harassment and assault suit in January of 2017. This was after O’Reilly and Fox News made previous settlements involving O’Reilly’s sexual misconduct totaling over $13 million to five other women over a 15 year period. That disclosure led to his termination from Fox News in April. However, following the January settlement, Fox News renewed his contract despite knowing about all of these legal payoffs. Apparently being a serial sexual predator wasn’t disqualifying to be a host on Fox News.

To put this in perspective, Fox News has argued that such behavior is so irredeemable that punishing the abuser isn’t enough. The company employing him should literally be shut down. That assessment was provided by Fox host and pundit Gregg Jarrett in both a column of the Fox website and on the air (video below). Jarrett, however, was referring to movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and his production company. But by simply replacing references to Weinstein with Fox News, the commentary retains its meaning while pointing to an entirely different but equally guilty company. See this annotated version of excerpts from Jarrett’s article:

The Weinstein Company Fox News should immediately shut-down its operations and permanently close its doors. […] The Weinstein Company Fox News surely knew it had a sexual predator at the helm, but did little to stop him. Instead, it willingly fostered and sustained an environment that permitted him to continue abusing women.”

The Weinstein Company Fox News approved a written contract which deliberately enabled Weinstein Ailes, O’Reilly, et al, to sexually harass women and allowed [them] to cover-up the abusive conduct by paying off [their] victims. […] Weinstein’s O’Reilly’s contract appears to encourage or condone his suspected illegal behavior.”

“Viewed another way, the company seems to have aided and abetted Weinstein Ailes, O’Reilly, and others. They handed [them] a piece of paper which granted [them] permission to victimize women with impunity.”

Well, that’s pretty clear. Jarrett is an attorney and should know that his argument remains consistent regardless of the perpetrators. So he is, in effect, advocating that Fox News be shut down. And he isn’t the only one at Fox to say so. Tucker Carlson delivered a rant on the subject last week that made similar points about Weinstein that were easily transferable to Fox News. And let’s not forget another sexual predator to whom these rebukes could apply. Donald Trump has been accused by at least a dozen women of sexual harassment or abuse. And he has even confessed to criminal assault in the infamous Access Hollywood videotape. There are pending federal investigations against Fox News, and Weinstein may soon be be facing the same.

So bring it on, Fox, Let’s see you report on Trump and O’Reilly with the same righteous outrage you direct at Weinstein. And how about shutting down your irreparable and unrepentant operation that has proven to be a hotbed of criminal sexual assault. Any company that can reward cretins like O’Reilly with rich contract renewals despite knowing that he’s a recidivist pervert doesn’t deserve to continue polluting America’s airwaves.

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

Trump pathetically brags on Twitter about his many failures while swinging wildly at the press

Although it may seem like an eternity, it’s only been nine months since Donald Trump was inaugurated. In that time he has managed to take the country from a respected leader of the world community to an embarrassing has been. He has emboldened and praised our enemies and insulted and alienated our allies. His infantile tantrums have brought us to the brink or war. And his domestic agenda is focused narrowly on making life better for the wealthy at the expense of everybody else.

Donald Trump

At the same time, Trump has exalted himself with delusional claims that he has done more in his short tenure than any other president in history. But with a couple of tweets on Sunday morning he actually proved the opposite. The tweets were directed at Peter Baker of the New York Times. His latest column addressed Trump’s sorry record of “achievement” with the headline: “Promise the moon? Easy for trump. but now comes the reckoning.” Baker compared the President’s campaign rhetoric with his results so far. It’s not a pretty picture.

Baker’s article makes the unarguable point that Trump has fallen short on his most prominent campaign promises. While he is trying hard to sabotage ObamaCare, he has neither repealed nor replaced it. There is no border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. NAFTA is still the law of the land. ISIS has not been defeated. His Muslim ban is repeatedly blocked by the courts. The nuclear deal with Iran is still effective, although subject to a decision by Congress. Also punted to Congress was DACA, the program that deferred deportation of child immigrants. Recall that Trump had insisted that all eleven million undocumented immigrants “have to go.”

Responding to Baker’s analysis, Trump once again took his phone to his throne and fired off a couple of missives that were intended to set the record straight. However, anyone with a reasonable grasp of current events, or an Internet connection, would quickly see his departure from reality.

There are reasons that the “failing” New York Times (which is enjoying record digital subscriptions) didn’t mention the items on Trump’s list. It’s because they can hardly be described as successes for his floundering administration. Let’s take them each in order:

  • The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): Trump didn’t terminate it because it was never ratified.
  • The Paris Accords on Climate Change: This wasn’t terminated either. While he did withdraw from the agreement on a federal level, the agreement stands with 195 other nations committed to its objectives. And fourteen U.S. states, along with other cities and companies, have vowed to adhere to the accords.
  • The Keystone XL pipeline: Despite Trump’s approval of the project, it is still mired in lawsuits that have blocked its progress. What’s more, the company building it is reconsidering whether it’s even commercially viable.
  • EPA Cancelations: This is something Trump has actually done. But making the nation’s air and water more poisonous, and damaging environmental sustainability, is hardly a success.
  • Supreme Court: Unfortunately, Justice Gorsuch is now sitting on the Supreme Court. But that was the doing of Sen. Mitch McConnell, who stole the seat from President Obama. And he couldn’t even get Gorsuch confirmed without throwing out the senate rules.

So in the space of two tweets (which were mysteriously twenty minutes apart), Trump proved that he’s a dismal failure. And these are his own examples of alleged accomplishments. But he only validated the experts Baker quoted in his article who said that Trump used “bluff and bombast substituting for actual deeds,” or that he’s “a choke artist at critical moments.” He’s relied on a record number of executive orders (forty-nine to date) to give the illusion of productivity. Remember when he castigated Obama’s executive orders as a “major power grabs of authority”?

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

For a more comprehensive accounting of Trump’s ineffectiveness, see PolitiFact’s tracking of his campaign promises. It completes the picture of a wholly unqualified fraud who was never fit to serve as president. And it further illustrates just how mentally unstable he is for trying to boast about nonexistent accomplishments. The combination of his incompetence and malignant narcissism is a recipe for an expedited apocalypse.

GIGO: White House Aides Reveal That Fox News is Trump’s ‘Primary Source of Information’

A story in Friday’s New York Times affirms something that has been well known to observant White House watchers. Donald Trump relies on a frighteningly narrow range of media outlets to provide him with critical information. He dwells in a bubble of exclusively right-wing propaganda that is nothing more than a shill factory for fact-challenged “news.” And when he isn’t fed the pablum he craves, he becomes inconsolably livid.

Fox News Donald Trump

The Times interviewed numerous insiders about Trump and his relationship with newly installed chief-of-staff, John Kelly. The former general has been trying to impose some order amid the chaos of Trump’s Oval Office party. By all accounts, that has been a difficult job. Trump is described as resistant to any attempt to “manage” him. The Times writes that:

“While Mr. Kelly has quickly brought some order to a disorganized and demoralized staff, he is fully aware of the president’s volcanic resentment about being managed, according to a dozen people close to Mr. Trump, and has treaded gingerly through the minefield of Mr. Trump’s psyche. But the president has still bridled at what he perceives as being told what to do.”

The notion of a president who is so unstable that aides need to tiptoe through his fragile psyche is disturbing. And it isn’t just Kelly who is troubled by this. Sixty percent of the American people regard Trump as “unstable” to various degrees. That’s according to a poll by Fox News.

And speaking of Fox News – – That’s the media outlet that Trump’s aides have described as his “primary source of information.” Kelly has reportedly had some success at curbing Trump’s exposure to the panoply of wingnut rags. But there are limits to how much Trump can be restrained. The Times reports that:

“Mr. Kelly cannot stop Mr. Trump from binge-watching Fox News, which aides describe as the president’s primary source of information gathering.

There is abundant evidence that Trump watches Fox News for hours on end. Many of his his tweets are obviously reactions to something he just saw on Fox. He refers to Fox News more often, and with more confidence, than he does his own intelligence agencies. And most of the time he cites his favorite program, Fox and Friends. This can explain in part why so much of what Trump says is so embarrassingly wrong. Garbage in, Garbage out (GIGO).

In addition to Trump’s addiction to Fox News, he has recently been suffering through a propaganda withdrawal of sorts. Kelly’s management of the White House has resulted in some of Trump’s closest aides being kept at arms length. The people who provided him with his daily dose of conspiracy theories and rabidly partisan screeds are being shut out. A friend of Trump told the Times that he “plaintively asked” where his fix of stories from The Daily Caller and Breitbart News were. And an article in the Daily Beast more specifically noted that:

“Kelly has taken steps to prevent [Omarosa Manigault] and other senior staffers from getting unvetted news articles on the president’s Resolute desk.” […Articles that…] “would often enrage the president, and resulted in him spending at least the rest of the day fuming about it.” “

Unfortunately, Kelly cannot prevent Trump from diving into the right-wing media swamp. While the door to the Oval Office is more closely watched, Trump still has his phone. And he uses it to contact those whose White House privileges have been curtailed. So the President is still being influenced by the same cadre of nutcases and sleazeballs as before Kelly. And the results will be the same as Trump gorges himself on Fox News lies and curses at the rest of the press corps. It’s a presidency that is seriously off track and driven by biased pundits and fake news. How long will Kelly tolerate this circus atmosphere that is harming the country?

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

Fox and Friends Lies About New York Times Calling Them ‘The Most Powerful TV Show in America’

Another morning, another flurry of dishonest reporting by Fox News and their “Curvy Couch” potatoes at Fox and Friends. While pretending to read the newspapers spread out on the coffee table, co-host Steve Doocy made a fake discovery. He held the paper so that the cameras got a good look at an advertisement on the back page. What viewers saw was a full page ad touting Fox and Friends.

Fox News Steve Doocy

The ad was obviously paid for by Fox News to promote the network and the program. It featured a quote attributed to the New York Times saying that Fox and Friends is “the most powerful TV show in America.” Doocy’s faux surprise was echoed by his co-hosts Ainsley Earhardt and Brian Kilmeade. They were pretending to be excited by the praise from an unexpected source:

Doocy: This program, the program you’re watching, according to the New York Times, is the most powerful TV show in America.
Earhardt: You know why Steve? Because we have the best viewers.

Earhardt would have been more correct if she had said “because we have the best viewer.” Because the only person in their audience that they play to is Donald Trump. That point was confirmed when that viewer proudly tweeted the same message Doocy was boasting about:

There’s just one problem. The Fox News crew horribly mangled what the New York Times was saying in their article. Calling the relationship between Fox and Friends and Trump a “Two Way Mirror,” the Times analyzed the perverse relationship between the TV program and the President. The full quote from the Times said:

“Suddenly, for no other reason than its No. 1 fan, it is the most powerful TV show in America,”

In context, the Times was criticizing both Trump and Fox for clinging to one another in a mockery of journalism. They went on to portray Fox’s posture toward Trump as a “Romper Room-style” broadcast intended to flatter our ego-obsessed, narcissistic president:

“President Trump is the show’s subject, its programmer, its publicist and its virtual fourth host. The stars offer him flattery, encouragement and advice. When he tweets, his words and image appear on a giant video wall. It’s the illusion of children’s TV — that your favorite show is as aware of you as you are of it — except that for Mr. Trump, it’s real.”

That’s an entirely different characterization than the one of pride that Doocy and company presented. And let’s not forget that Fox News paid for these ads. It’s an advertising campaign that deliberately distorts the quote they featured in the ad. And it’s further evidence of their aversion to ethics and truth. The author of the Times’ article, James Poniewozik, tweeted his own somewhat snarky thoughts about this saying that he was, “Excited to see @realDonaldTrump endorse my thesis that F&F’s weird childlike sway over him makes it hugely powerful! Thanks, POTUS!”

What’s more, why does Trump and Fox and Friends care what the New York Times has to say about them? Don’t they consider it fake news? In which case, Fox and Friends is not the most powerful TV show in America. And there is something peculiar about Fox News buying ad space in the Times. Trump has appended the word “failing” to every mention he makes of the paper. Fox News has adopted the same juvenile (and false) habit. But with this campaign they are helping the Times to be even more financially successful.

The Times’ article closed by noting that Fox and Friends has a unique mission with regard to Trump. They describe him as “the superfan in the White House who sees it as ‘Fox & Friend’ — singular.” That has been borne out by the numerous times that Trump has watched the show and, shortly after, tweeted what he saw. He has also promoted the program in dozens of tweets that amount to free publicity from the White House. The value of those tweet-vertisements has been put as high $5 million. So there is clearly a parasitical relationship between Fox News and Trump that benefits both. And we can expect that, and the lies, to continue for the foreseeable, lamentable future.

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

Fox News ‘Update’ of a False Story Smearing the New York Times, Just an Excuse to Re-Air It

The frequency of mistakes, gaffes, and outright lies that are broadcast daily on Fox News would be challenging to correct. If, that is, they ever cared to. On the rare occasions when they issue a correction, it is often halfhearted and buried in justifications. Their corrections seem to function more as vindications than apologies.

Fox News Steve Doocy

A perfect example of this occurred Monday morning on Fox and Friends. Co-host Steve Doocy looked sheepishly into the camera to address a segment from Saturday’s program. The segment featured Gen. Tony Thomas making a startling accusation that the New York Times was responsible for allowing a terrorist leader to escape. He said that the Army had a good lead on Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. “Unfortunately,” Thomas said, “it was leaked in a prominent national newspaper about a week later and that lead went dead.” Fox weekend host Pete Hegseth elaborated to charge that Baghdadi would’ve been captured if not for the Times. Of course, there’s no way he could know that.

More to the point, the claim by Thomas was not accurate. The Times responded in detail, pointing out that their original story contained only information that had been previously published elsewhere. What’s more, the Times had cleared their story with the Pentagon who had no objections to publishing it. Nor were there any objections made after it was published, which was two years ago. So the day after Fox’s erroneous report, the Times sent a letter to Fox News requesting an on-air retraction and apology. It said in part:

“Neither the staff at Fox & Friends, nor the writers of a related story on Foxnews.com, appeared to make any attempt to confirm the relevant facts, nor did they reach out to the New York Times for comment. We understand that the segment and story are based on a misleading assertion by Gen. Thomas speaking at a conference in Aspen. However, that does not alleviate Fox News of the obligation to seek information from all the stakeholders in a story. With this segment, Fox & Friends has demonstrated what little regard it has for reporting facts.”

The statement made by Doocy, however, hardly satisfied the request by the Times. He neither apologized, nor conceded that a correction was in order. Doocy described his remarks as “an update,” and then replayed the false comments by Gen. Thomas in full. Finally, Doocy told viewers they could read the Times’ full response on the Fox website, but didn’t provide a URL.

So Fox News exploited the opportunity to correct the record by further distorting it. Their audience got to see the General’s false comments again, but were not told they were false. Fox News never gave a full accounting of the story’s factual flaws, or provided the evidence supplied by the Times. In effect they said “Here’s what we said before, and if you want to know what the Times said, go look it up yourself.”

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

Naturally, Fox’s biggest fan, Donald Trump, was watching when the story was first broadcast. Within half an hour he had tweeted the fake news to his Twitter followers. Two days later his tweet is still online with no comment or correction. That’s typical of Trump, who has even less regard for the truth than his primary source, Fox News.

How Deranged Are Trump Supporters? New Poll Shows That It’s Worse Than You Ever Imagined

In the Era of Trump, Americans have been been subjected to wild diversions from reality. Donald Trump and company have unleashed baseless accusations of “fake news,” and the ceaseless dissemination of “alternative facts.” They have violated constitutional protections of free speech and abused the media in an unprecedented manner. Trump called the media “the enemy of the American people.” And his White House Press Office has discontinued on-camera briefings.

Donald Trump

This overt hostility and flagrant assault on transparency has had an impact on a certain sector of the electorate. Trump voters have evolved into a breed of ill-informed, willfully ignorant yokels whose devotion to their Orange Julius Caesar borders on cult worship. This alarming descent into madness is frightfully illustrated in the results of a new survey by Public Policy Polling (PPP). The depth of the delirium of these lost souls is unimaginable. And yet, the data from the PPP pollsters is clear. Here are some examples from the study:

  • Only 45% of Trump voters believe Donald Trump Jr. had a meeting with Russians about information that might be harmful to Hillary Clinton…even though Trump Jr. admitted it. 32% say the meeting didn’t happen and 24% say they’re not sure.
  • 72% of Trump voters consider the Russia story overall to be ‘fake news,’ only 14% disagree.
  • Only 24% of Trump voters even want an investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, 64% are opposed to an investigation.
  • Only 26% of Trump voters admit that Russia wanted Trump to win the election, 44% claim Russia wanted Hillary Clinton to win, and 31% say they’re not sure one way or the other.
  • Even if there was an investigation, and it found that the Trump campaign did collude with Russia to aid his campaign, 77% of his supporters think he should still stay in office to just 16% who believe he should resign.

What manner of sickness is this? Less than half of the Trump disciples believe that Don, Jr. met with Russians despite his having confirmed it. Do they think he’s lying? More troubling though, is that more than three quarters of the StormTrumpers are comfortable with him serving as president even if he conspired with a foreign hostile enemy to steal the election.

Is there any line he can’t cross? Apparently not. Because the survey also asked a question referencing Trump’s campaign comment that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose any voters. And 45% of Trump voters said they would still approve of him if he shot someone. This is Jonestown-level dementia. When people talk about “drinking the Kool-Aid,” they can’t get closer to that comparison than this.

As a final humiliation to the President, PPP asked respondents to indicate who they trusted more: Trump or various media organizations. Trump lost in every match up:

Voters say they trust NBC and ABC each more than him, 56/38. They say they trust CBS more than him 56/39. They say they trust the New York Times more than him 55/38. Voters say they trust CNN more than him 54/39. And they say they trust the Washington Post more than him 53/38.

Those are significant majorities that favor the “failing” New York Times and “fake news” CNN. Despite Trump’s relentless efforts to negatively brand his media adversaries, he has had no success in doing so. And his continued whining in the face of that rejection is pathetic.

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

However, his glassy-eyed followers will undoubtedly fall in line no matter what atrocities he commits. That’s a sad commentary on the state of the nation. It remains to be seen how they will eventually react when the hammer comes down on his criminality. They may just pretend not to have supported him in the first place. After all, the one thing we’ve learned about them is that they have an unlimited capacity for self-delusion.

Suck It Trump: New Poll Shows Americans Trust CNN/NY Times More Than Lyin’ Donald

Last week Donald Trump tweeted a hostile and childish video showing him body-slamming a CNN character. It was universally condemned as an incitement to violence against journalists. That is, of course, consistent with Trump’s well known animosity for the free press which he demeans at every opportunity.

Donald Trump

However, Trump’s relentless campaign to slander the press does not seem to be persuading anyone but his glassy-eyed disciples. Despite his attempts to brand the New York Times as “failing,” or CNN as “fake news,” the American people are still more inclined to trust the media than the President. This is borne out in a new poll by Survey Monkey. As reported by Axios:

“Among all adults, trust for CNN is 7 points ahead of Trump. Among independents, CNN wins by 15 points. […] Asked whether they trust Trump or the WashPost/NYT more, the newspapers won by 9 points among all adults. Asked about Trump vs. ABC/CBS/NBC, the networks were judged more trustworthy by an 11-point margin.”

So Trump loses to every media entity he was paired against. Whether it is his mortal enemy CNN, the nationally circulated newspapers, or all of the TV broadcast news networks. His furious efforts to vilify the great American institution of journalism has proved totally futile. The only thing he has achieved is making ill-informed wingnuts even more unhinged and unbearable. They’re the only ones who bought into his malicious rhetoric, but they never trusted the media to begin with.

The poll also asked respondents about their news viewing preferences. Not surprisingly, thirty-three percent of Republicans said that they get their news only from Fox News. That’s not “mostly” from Fox News. It’s “ONLY!” A full third of Republicans do not use any other source for news. That explains why so much of the party clings so tightly to easily debunked falsehoods. They believe that Trump had nothing to do with the Russians. They are convinced that a failing economy was rescued by Trump. Many still think that Obama was not born in the United States. They regard whatever they see on Fox News as gospel, and Fox is the PR division of the Trump administration.

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

This poll is not the first time that Trump lost to his media foes. In February, the Quinnipiac poll asked “Who do you trust more to tell you the truth about important issues: President Trump or the news media?” Voters chose the media by a margin of 52 percent to 37 percent. Now, five months later, after five more months of lambasting by Trump, he’s still trusted less than the media he detests. That’s gotta be painful – if his handlers allow him access to that information. And since it won’t be reported on Fox News, he might never know the truth.

Scandal Plagued Fox News Boss Rupert Murdoch is Now Advising Trump on a Daily Basis

The partnership between Fox News and Donald Trump has evolved into an unprecedented fusion of government and media. It is nothing less than an implementation of state-run TV that rivals anything built by the former Soviet Union.

Rupert Murdoch Donald Trump

The Fox News schedule is plastered with unabashedly pro-Trump anchors and guests. Its prime time lineup is fully devoted to Trump advocacy and suppression of any dissenting opinions. The incidental presence of a progressive viewpoint is allowed only as a foil for right-wing attacks or a phony pretense of balance. Obedience to the Fox Doctrine is strict and unwavering. Joseph Goebbels would be proud.

Now New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman is reporting that Fox News chairman Rupert Murdoch is talking to Trump on a daily basis. He is advising the President on matters ranging from the domestic economy to foreign policy. So while Trump was known to be shaping his agenda by watching Fox and Friends, he is now taking his cues straight from the horse’s ass.

There are several serious legal and ethical problems with this relationship. first of all, Fox News is currently under investigation by the Justice Department. DOJ attorneys are probing whether the network violated securities laws by not disclosing settlements with women who reported sexual harassment at Fox. That investigation has recently broadened to include allegations intimidation and invasions of privacy. Murdoch’s contacts with Trump could be used to gain favor and influence the conduct of those inquiries. When Bill Clinton met briefly with then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Fox News portrayed it as scandalous. Now the head of the criminally suspect Fox News is fraternizing regularly with the Attorney General’s boss.

Then there are the pending regulatory issues that have a direct effect on Murdoch’s businesses. He is seeking to expand his ownership of both television stations and newspapers across the country. There are currently caps on the percentage of access any one media entity can control. For Murdoch to expand those caps would have to be raised or eliminated. Trump’s FCC is responsible for setting those standards. If Murdoch can persuade Trump to alter the regulations to his liking, he stands to add significantly to his fortune and influence. And another feather in Murdoch’s monopoly would be the scuttling of the merger between competitors AT&T and TimeWarner. That’s actually a good idea, but not for the selfish reasons Murdoch harbors.

It’s fair to say that Murdoch would not be coming to these deals empty handed. Murdoch can offer Trump nearly unlimited positive coverage by the media outlets he controls. That includes in part Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, and the Fox Business Network. Add to those Murdoch’s international media enterprises and Fox’s digital media. What’s more, Murdoch would not be limited to pro-Trump propaganda. He could just as easily blanket the mediaverse with anti-Democratic fake news and slander.

For his part, Trump isn’t limited either in the ways he can pay Murdoch back for favorable treatment. Trump is already acting as a PR agent for Fox News. He frequently praises the network and encourages his followers to tune in. Simultaneously, he bashes every other media outlet as liars and purveyors of fake news. The estimated value of his free advertising for Fox on Twitter alone goes into the multimillions.

The blatantly improper nature of the relationship between Murdoch and Trump on legal grounds is not the only problem. There is also the ethical dilemma of an alleged news operation having such close proximity to a notable newsmaker. How can Fox News report independently on someone who is being advised by their chief executive? While Murdoch is helping Trump to form opinions on world affairs, his network will be covering and analyzing that advice. Will Fox be able to criticize a policy articulated by Trump knowing that it came from Murdoch?

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

This kind of incestuous liaison makes all parties to it less credible. And it doesn’t help that Trump is also linked to Fox News personalities Sean Hannity, Steve Doocy, Tucker Carlson, Eric Bolling, and others. And speaking of incestuous, Ivanka Trump is close friends with Wendy Wong, Murdoch’s ex-wife and Vladimir Putin’s current girlfriend. Let that sink in.

New York Times Exposes Bill O’Reilly’s Pattern of Sexual Harassment And Cover Ups By Fox News

The New York Times just published an article online that is certain to rattle the executive suites at Fox News. It revealed new information about Bill O’Reilly’s long history of sexual harassment and abusive behavior. The hostile work environment at Fox has been the subject of recent news reports due primarily to the scandals surrounding its now ex-CEO, Roger Ailes. Following allegations from several female Fox employees Ailes was forced to resign. But Ailes was not alone.

Bill O'Reilly Megyn Kelly

Bill O’Reilly has had his own problems with accusations of harassment. One of the more infamous involved a producer who accepted a multimillion dollar settlement to end her legal proceedings. But that didn’t end the boorish behavior by O’Reilly toward the women with whom he worked. While rumors of promises and threats were rampant, details were often hard to nail down. And that’s where the new investigation by the Times comes in. The article’s opening paragraphs set the scene for a salacious workplace drama:

Behind the scenes, the company has repeatedly stood by Mr. O’Reilly as he faced a series of allegations of sexual harassment or other inappropriate behavior.

An investigation by The New York Times has found a total of five women who have received payouts from either Mr. O’Reilly or the company in exchange for agreeing to not pursue litigation or speak about their accusations against him. The agreements totaled about $13 million.

The article continues with disturbing descriptions of O’Reilly’s perverse assaults. The victims candidly disclosed the transgressions they suffered on the job:

“They have complained about a wide range of behavior, including verbal abuse, lewd comments, unwanted advances and phone calls in which it sounded as if Mr. O’Reilly was masturbating.”

From the perspective of Fox News and its parent corporation, 21st Century Fox, these encounters were more than a PR nuisance. They were also a threat to the financial bonanza that O’Reilly represented. The Times noted that just in the past two years “the show generated more than $446 million in advertising revenues.” Consequently, the company stood behind their star. In a statement they defended O’Reilly saying that:

“We have looked into these matters over the last few months and discussed them with Mr. O’Reilly. While he denies the merits of these claims, Mr. O’Reilly has resolved those he regarded as his personal responsibility.”

That’s a deliberately confusing statement. If the claims have no merit, then what does “personal responsibility” mean? They appear to be trying to have it both ways. He didn’t do anything wrong, and he paid his debt for it. But what makes the Times story especially disconcerting is the discovery of victims not previously known. The list goes into some detail and includes the following:

  • Andrea Mackris – A producer on The O’Reilly Factor, Settlement date: 2004
  • Rachel Witlieb – Bernstein Junior producer at Fox News, Settlement date: 2002
  • Rebecca Gomez Diamond – A host on Fox Business Network, Settlement date: 2011
  • Laurie Dhue – Anchor at Fox News, Settlement date: 2016
  • Juliet Huddy – On-air personality at Fox News, Settlement date: 2016
  • Andrea Tantaros – On-air personality at Fox News
  • Wendy Walsh – A guest on The O’Reilly Factor

The first five of these women have already accepted settlements from either O’Reilly or Fox. Those settlements are themselves the subject of another budding scandal. There is an investigation into whether Fox purposefully hid those payoffs from stockholders. That would be a violation of securities laws. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara was in charge of this investigation until he was fired by Donald Trump.

For his part, O’Reilly continues to deny any wrongdoing, despite the growing evidence. He released his own statement declaring his innocence that said in part:

“Most importantly, I’m a father who cares deeply for my children and who would do anything to avoid hurting them in any way. And so I have put to rest any controversies to spare my children.”

That’s a peculiar line of defense considering that O’Reilly recently lost a custody battle for his children that included charges of battery against his ex-wife that was witnessed by his young daughter. The children both petitioned the court to live with their mother. And rather than demonstrating remorse, O’Reilly’s lawyer says he is “considering legal action to defend Mr. O’Reilly’s reputation.”

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

All of this suggests that Bill O’Reilly fits right in with the misogynistic environment at Fox News. What’s more, he seems to be aligned with the abusive attitudes toward women of his close friend Donald Trump. There will surely be more revelations to come regarding these sordid affairs. But for the time being, we have a pretty nauseating picture of what’s wrong with Fox News and the mindset that dominates the American right.