Roy Moore’s Alabama Trainwreck Was a Disaster for Fox News and a Big Win for MSNBC

Alabama’s senate race became a national event due the the unique circumstances that marked the election. Roy Moore’s campaign was emblematic of a new movement to hold sexual predators accountable. And his anachronistic racial and religious rigor was reminiscent of the Spanish Inquisition. Donald Trump also figured into the southern soap opera. Despite his sudden amnesia with regard to Moore, the outcome would be a referendum on the President whether Fox News liked it or not. And they really didn’t like it.

Fox News Sad

You’ll never guess who else didn’t like it. Fox News viewers voted with their remotes Tuesday. As the election returns came in, the ratings for Fox News fell off a cliff. And by the time the race was called for Doug Jones they had lost more than half their audience. In the 9:00 hour Fox’s coverage of the race was pretty strong with about 3.8 million people watching (831K in the 25-54 demo). For much of that time Moore was still leading. Rachel Maddow wasn’t far behind with 3.1 million viewers (760K in the demo).

However, the race was called (first by Fox News, oddly enough) at about 10:30. And that saw a drop off for Fox to about 3.5 million (889K demo). But, Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC took off scoring 3.745 million (1.0M demo). And CNN also spiked with 3.5 million (1.5M demo). And by the 11:00 hour, when it was clear that Jones was victorious, Fox News was pitifully defeated. They ended primetime with just 1.8 million viewers (470K demo). That’s less than half the total audience they had before the returns were in That compared to MSNBC’s 3.7 million (947 demo), about twice Fox’s numbers, and CNN’s 3.2 million (1.4M demo).

Clearly Fox News viewers were too upset to continue watching television. Seeing the pedophile they supported lose to an honorable Democrat was just too painful. Never mind that by the next morning most of them were insisting that Moore was never a viable candidate, they never really liked him, and that they are better off without him in the senate making the GOP look bad. That’s pretty much the view taken by Fox News and, not coincidentally, many Republicans and Donald Trump. Not to worry. They still have sexual predator and Russian collaborator (allegedly) Trump and his devoted Deplorables to make them look bad.

On the other hand, Doug Jones’ victory inspired viewers to tune into MSNBC and CNN en masse at the conclusion of the race. This isn’t because the Democrat won. Americans tuned in to the networks where they thought they would get truthful reporting of the results, without the desperate spin of losers trying to make excuses. That’s why the numbers didn’t increase for Fox News even when there was actual news to report. And the Fox cultists who had tuned in early weren’t going to subject themselves to what they considered bad news. A few more nights like this and Fox News will have to cease broadcasting.

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

Rachel Maddow Crushes Trump-Fluffer Sean Hannity in November Ratings War With Fox News

Two months ago Fox News moved Sean Hannity’s program to 9:00 pm. It was the latest schedule change resulting from the terminations of Fox anchors (Bill O’Reilly, Eric Bolling) accused of sexual harassment and abuse. For Hannity it was a promotion to a more desirable time slot with a potentially larger audience. He must have been excited for the opportunity.

Rachel Maddow

He very likely regrets it now. The latest Nielsen ratings report for November 2017, has some depressing news for Hannity and Fox News. In the new time period Hannity has been losing to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on a regular basis. The programs are not really competing for the same viewers, but the bragging rights for being number one are important for both promotion and advertising revenue. Hannity is especially hurting on the latter as a result of his support for the pedophile senate candidate in Alabama, Roy Moore. Advertisers have been fleeing the program and a successful Stop Hannity campaign was launched.

The Nielsen ratings results for the month of November reveal another bitter loss for Sean Hannity. With the pressure of going up against Fox’s top program, Rachel Maddow managed to score an impressive victory. That makes her the number one program in all of cable News in the coveted 25-54 year old demographic. Her ratings improved year-over-year by forty-eight percent. Fox News was down eighteen percent.

On the strength of Maddow’s popularity, the rest of the MSNBC lineup benefited as well. It was the only cable news network to grow its total audience from last year, rising thirty percent. Meanwhile CNN and Fox News both declined (-49% and -31% respectively). The MSNBC primetime was a strong contender across the board, finishing either first or second.

For early risers, Morning Joe took second place and delivered its best numbers in the twenty-one year history of the network. It was also the only show in the time period to grow its audience. In the 25-54 demo Morning Joe advanced twenty-two percent. CNN was down just three percent. And the “Curvy Couch” potatoes at Donald Trump’s favorite show, Fox and Friends, fell by twelve percent.

This has to be a satisfying victory for Maddow and MSNBC. Having suffered a year of Donald Trump’s infantile whining about fake news and low ratings, the network can boast that it handily outperformed Fox News (aka State-Run TV). It’s an indication that the country is hungry for real, in-depth reporting and analysis that doesn’t talk down to them. And, more importantly, doesn’t lie or engage in humiliating episodes of fawning over and defending the ignoramus in the White House.

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

As we go forward we will likely see more of the same as Trump’s star falls ever further and the legal noose around his neck gets tighter. Hannity and his Fox News colleagues will undoubtedly ramp up the crazy (just as Trump is doing) in a desperate attempt to keep from becoming totally irrelevant. But their desperation will result in even more ludicrous conspiracy theories and lunatic outbursts. Who knows? This might actually end up being kinda fun to watch.

Rachel Maddow Grabs Another Weekly Win From Fox News and Floundering Sean Hannity

A few weeks ago Fox News had to realign their schedule due to all the sexual perverts being terminated. First they lost Bill O’Reilly, and then Eric Bolling. They also lost Megyn Kelly, who was a victim of the sexual abuse from both O’Reilly and Fox News CEO Roger Ailes. These scandals gutted most of the network’s primetime lineup. Today they are left with newcomers Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham.

Rachel Maddow

Sean Hannity is the lone holdover and he’s not not exactly holding his own. For one thing, his support for the pedophile Republican senate candidate in Alabama, Roy Moore, is costing him advertisers (see Stop Hannity). His fear and desperation resulting from that caused a major meltdown on Sunday as revealed in a series of hysterical tweets. But his problems don’t end there.

Last week Rachel Maddow pulled off another ratings victory over her new competition. Not that they are competing for the same viewers, but having a Nielsen win during your time period is an important factor in the television marketplace. Maddow’s strength in the ratings against the biggest draw on Fox News is a significant development and a dire dilemma for Hannity.

Maddow and Hannity actually split the week with each winning two nights (Maddow was preempted on Friday by a special program). However, the average over the four nights favored Maddow. That’s because her wins were with larger margins, and where she came in second it was close. All of this points to the weakness of Hannity’s program despite being the top rated show on Fox.

Maddow’s success has had a positive effect on the rest of MSNBC’s primetime. The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell took on Fox’s new Laura Ingraham show and beat her three out of four nights. The same was true for The Eleventh Hour with Brian Williams in it’s battle with another new entry for Fox, Fox News @ Night. The only weak spot for MSNBC is All In with Chris Hayes. But although it isn’t delivering big audience numbers, it has become a sort of Emmy magnet. Hopefully over time viewers will appreciate the high quality of the show and tune in more.

As for Fox, clearly their replacement programs are not performing particularly well. But the bigger problem is that the cornerstone of the schedule, Hannity, is not only failing to maintain the network’s long-time dominance, but it’s also less viable financially as its advertisers fall away. In their last quarterly report, Fox News disappointed stockholders with a seventeen percent drop in ad revenue.

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

Fox’s troubles are not going to go away anytime soon. Their audience shows signs of weariness with knee-jerk, right-wing propaganda. Some of them want to know what is actually happening in the world, not the Fox News manufactured version of it. And the glassy-eyed ultra-conservatives are starting to drift off to other news outlets like Breitbart that aim to out flank Fox from the right. Even the efforts of Donald Trump, who has been feverishly hyping Fox, have not helped. It’s likely that the fate of Fox News and Trump are going to be tightly bound together in a Titanic sinking. We just have to wait until the iceberg (Russia? Mueller? Sex crimes?) takes its inevitable toll.

Fox News Flack Donald Trump Tries to Save Sean Hannity’s Fast Sinking Program

Following an embarrassing “Make America Gag Again” tour of Asia, Donald Trump slinked back into the White House and immediately took up his Twitter machine to regale in his own wonderfulness. Having achieved nothing of significance, while kowtowing to foreign adversaries, the President needed to sing his own praises because no one else with any credibility was going to do it.

Trump Hannity

However, he has not neglected his primary role in public service since pretending to engage in it. As a candidate and an alleged president, Trump has spent more time promoting his PR department (aka Fox News) than any other “official” duty. Fox News has benefited greatly from this arrangement, scoring millions of dollars worth of free advertising. For example, for just one program, Fox and Friends, Trump has tweeted or retweeted 142 times since the beginning of his campaign. And the “Curvy Couch” potatoes were among his first tweets upon returning to the U.S. Note that most of Trump’s Twitter activity is to promote something he recently saw on Fox. This one is promoting something that has yet to air. Apparently they are sharing their programming schedule with him in advance of broadcast:

Trump also wanted his Twitter followers to know how much he suffered while travelling the world. The itinerary that he pitifully regarded as “almost physically impossible” had the added torture of having to watch something other than relentlessly fawning Fox News coverage (i.e. real news):

What’s more, Trump gave a bigly shout out to his most devoted cheerleader on Fox, Sean Hannity. He retweeted this celebration of Hannity’s ratings:

This is the clearest sign that Hannity is big trouble. He has been losing advertisers at a rapid clip since coming out in support of the pedophile Republican running for the senate in Alabama, Roy Moore. The seventeen percent ad revenue slump at Fox News is evidence of the disastrous impact Hannity is having on the network. Consequently, Trump was called in to help plug the leak. But there are some serious problems with the help he’s providing.

First of all, the positive ratings tweet that Trump retweeted is two weeks old. It doesn’t represent the whole picture of Hannity’s ratings performance. He has been frequently beaten by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. The most recent ratings for this past Monday show Maddow trouncing Hannity. No wonder Trump didn’t post something more timely.

Furthermore, the Twitter user Trump retweeted identifies himself as a media analyst, but his account was created less than three months ago and has only sixty-nine tweets. He follows only two Twitter accounts: Sean Hannity and Rachel Maddow. He’s also a writer for the ultra-rightist web rag, American Thinker. And somehow Trump found a rotting two week old tweet from this nobody and saw fit to relay it to his glassy-eyed disciples.

Hannity must be hanging by a thread. When Fox News fired Bill O’Reilly it wasn’t because of the tens of millions of dollars that they had to pay out to multiple women who O’Reilly harassed and/or abused. Fox was cool with that. It was because his advertisers had ditched the program and it was no longer financially viable. That’s what Hannity is facing now. That’s why Trump is contributing, in his lame way, to Hannity’s rescue. Even Hannity recognizes that he’s sinking fast. Tuesday night he did a double back flip to throw Roy Moore under the bus:

Trump’s post-Asia tweetstorm was typical self-promotion and lies. It conveyed nothing of value to the American people. As usual he is just consumed with himself and fails to do any of the hard work of governing. He complains about being forced (by whom?) to watch CNN and spews endless praises for his pals at Fox. Yet he insists that he doesn’t have time to watch TV (which he also did five months ago). And in all of that Tweeting he left out any updates to this tweet from two days ago:

He must have forgotten what his “major statement” was. Maybe he’s picked up whatever virus caused Jeff Sessions to forget so much of his recent past with Russians. Or Maybe Trump’s aging and distorted memory is just incapable of functioning anymore.

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

Rachel Maddow Pummels Hannity and Fox News in Primetime Ratings Victory

A few weeks ago Fox News was forced to make some drastic programming changes. They had to terminate Bill O’Reilly due to multiple allegations (and settlements) of sexual harassment. They should have seen that coming since they renewed his contract with knowledge of a massive $32 million payoff. And there was another $13 million to half a dozen other victims. Fox News also fired Eric Bolling, the host of the newly launched The Specialists, for sexual misconduct. Do you notice a pattern?

Rachel Maddow Sean Hannity

With these cancellations there were holes in the schedule that needed to be plugged. Consequently, Fox News decided to move Sean Hannity’s 10:00 pm show into O’Reilly’s slot at 9:00 pm. This put him into a head-to-head battle with MSNBC star Rachel Maddow. It also firmed up Fox’s primetime as three hours of fawning Trump-fluffing, beginning with Tucker Carlson, then Hannity, and the all new Laura Ingraham Angle. It’s been four weeks since Hannity’s move and the ratings already have a story to tell.

Hannity is, without a doubt, Donald Trump’s most cloying sycophant on Fox News. He serves as an advisor to the White House and relentlessly defends any and all Trump atrocities. As for Trump, he posts frequent promotional tweets about Hannity (seventeen just since the inauguration) and has sat for three interviews as President.

Hannity front loaded the first week in his new time slot with high profile guests chosen to spike ratings. They included Fox favorites like Steve Bannon, Bill O’Reilly, and Rush Limbaugh. The second and third weeks, however, were skewed by coverage of the tragic shooting in Las Vegas and its aftermath. But now, as the new schedule settles in, Maddow has returned to the top spot. The hopes Fox News had for toppling Maddow by moving Hannity into direct competition have not succeeded, at least so far.

One of the consequences of that failure is that other Fox News programs are getting scared and beginning to attack Maddow in an effort to blunt her success. For example, Fox and Friends did a whole segment on Maddow’s analysis of the death of four Green Berets in Niger. They never laid a glove on her. In fact, they never even bothered to substantively counter anything she said. They just made catty comments about her demeanor and complained that she has opinions. But just the fact that they talked about her is evidence they are scared. If they didn’t think that Maddow was having an impact, Fox would have ignored her. And she is definitely having an impact.

For the week of October 16, Maddow decisively beat her new competition, Sean Hannity. In the critical 24-54 demographic, she won three days out of five outright, and took the whole week’s average. On Wednesday she had the highest rated program on all of cable news. Her powerful leadin helped The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell to win his time period as well. Even Brian Williams’ The Eleventh Hour came out on top. As a result of these victories MSNBC won the entire week in primetime.

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

Television ratings are a fluid measure of popularity and can be influenced by many factors. Breaking news, popular guest bookings, and competing programs across the dial can shuffle the numbers. But the performance of Maddow’s show after being put to the test by Fox’s highest ratings draw is significant. It shows that quality journalism will find its audience. And even if Fox News has a built-in cult status for tunnel-blind partisans on the right, it isn’t enough to overcome well produced, researched, and presented reporting that is honest and touches the lives of all Americans.

Rachel Maddow’s Brilliant Analysis of the Niger Attack Turns Fox News Heads to Mush

To begin with, it must be noted that the headline above is fake news. The heads of those on Fox News, and their viewers, were already mush. That said, their exposure to Rachel Maddow’s program didn’t make that situation any better. On Saturday morning the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends spent several minutes with stunned expressions and babbling recriminations as they struggled to unwind Maddow’s commentary.

Rachel Maddow

On Friday Maddow laid out a detailed and well researched examination of what might have led up to four Green Berets being ambushed in Niger. The whole segment is must-see TV, and a demonstration of what real journalism looks like. The gist is that Donald Trump’s curious inclusion of Chad on his latest Muslim ban may have caused them to pull back on their anti-terrorism efforts in Niger. Since they were effective at suppressing groups like Al Shabaab and ISIS in the region, it left our troops vulnerable to attack.

Maddow’s report was taken up on Fox and Friends in a segment (video below) that featured a graphic declaring that “Maddow Blames Trump For Niger Attack.” And since the mission of Fox News, and especially Fox and Friends, is to defend Trump no matter the subject, the F&F crew went to work. They began by asserting that the events Maddow discussed were entirely separate and had no possible relation to one another. Of course, anyone with a functioning cerebral cortex could see the direct linkage. Lacking any substantive rebuttal, co-host Pete Hegseth attempted to mock Maddow’s thoughtful demeanor rather than her facts. Then he accuses her of spinning a wild conspiracy theory as “the leader of the left.” But perhaps the most idiotic remarks were offered by co-host Abby Huntsman, who said this”

“It’s dangerous when the media starts having conversations about this and putting in their own theories that are, as you said, completely unrelated to what actually happened. It’s dangerous, not only for us in terms of figuring out what did happen. But it’s dangerous to the families that lost loved ones over there because they’re the ones who should be the focus of this conversation and somehow we go down these roads oftentimes and it’s such a distraction and it’s such a disservice to this country and what our job is in the media.”

Really? Fox News is whining about media “putting in their own theories”? Is that supposed to be satire? And they are pretending to be upset that the families of the fallen aren’t the focus the conversation even though Trump has still not spoken of them or paid any tribute. The three co-hosts then collectively complained that Maddow is a “lazy” journalist. Never mind that she did the legwork to put together a cogent analysis that offers a possible explanation for why four American soldiers died in Niger. All the Fox Friends did was bitch about it. And they never countered a single fact that Maddow raised with “alternative facts” of their own. And then Huntsmen launched this bit of unintentional hilarity:

“I can’t tell you how many of my friends I talk to, it’s like, they have no idea where to go to figure out what’s actually going on. I hear that from my family, my friends, people I just talk to on the streets.”

Let that sink in. Her own friends and family tell her that they don’t know where to get reliable news. Which means they don’t think they can get it from her or Fox News either. She may have friends and family that are smarter than she and her Fox colleagues. But still not smart enough to understand Dr. Maddow.

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

Rachel Maddow Tops All Cable News Programs in 3rd Quarter – And Donald Trump is Nervous

The rapid rise of MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow has stunned many in the cable news business. Her show has risen from modest beginnings to dominate her field. And she has achieved something that was thought unthinkable a couple of years ago: beating Fox News. And she has been doing that handily for several months.

Rachel Maddow

There is a segment of television news consumers who are clearly interested in thoughtful, well-researched journalism. Maddow’s brand of intelligent, fact-based discourse is proving to be more popular than Fox News style blather, bellowing, and bullshit. The negativity and ultra-conservative bias that defines Fox News might be wearing thin. Plus, they have the unenviable job of defending Donald Trump’s infantile outbursts, humiliating ignorance, and unpopular positions on nearly everything.

With all of that in mind, it isn’t that surprising that Maddow has taken the cable news crown. What’s surprising is the scope of her victory and its continuing acceleration. Forbes reports the newest Nielsen numbers saying that:

“The MSNBC host just hit a milestone for MSNBC, with her 9 p.m. hour, The Rachel Maddow Show, finishing the third quarter of 2017 as the No. 1 cable news show on television. It’s the first time any MSNBC show has finished first in the Nielsen ratings for an entire quarter.

“Maddow hit her highest ratings among total viewers (2.7 million) and in the advertiser-coveted demographic of adults 25-54 (606,000). That represents an increase of 75% compared to the third quarter of 2016 (total viewers), and 65% (adults 25-54).”

The numbers for Maddow were reflected throughout the MSNBC schedule. Their total day growth was “up +41 percent in viewers and up +27 percent in the demo.” That contrasts with a Fox News decline “year-over-year in total viewers, down -3 percent in total day and down -12 percent in total viewers.” Ironically, Fox’s best performing program was “Shepard Smith Reporting” which was up +19 percent. Lately Smith is the sole voice of sanity on Fox and a frequent critic of Trump. Which is to say that he reports truthfully.

Speaking of Trump, he isn’t taking this news well. In fact, he’s avoiding the reality of it entirely. On Thursday he retweeted his friend Bill O’Reilly congratulating Sean Hannity for a short-term ratings bump.

The disgust of seeing the sexual predator Trump, promoting fellow deviant O’Reilly, was jarring and repulsive. Particularly since this was O’Reilly’s first time back on Fox News since he was terminated for sexually harassing his colleagues and guests. As for Hannity, he just moved to a new time period directly competing with Maddow. So he front-loaded his first week with a bevy of right-wing icons like Steve Bannon, Paul Ryan, Rush Limbaugh, and O’Reilly. He can’t be expected to keep up that pace and his ratings will likely sink back to their prior levels. So any boasting about the numbers for a couple of days is premature and pales in comparison to Maddow’s quarterly trouncing of Hannity and Fox.

But this is all that they have to hang on to. Maddow is a certified success who is putting Hannity to shame. And the fact that Trump is lowering himself to posting TV ratings results is further proof of his unfitness for the presidency. The nation is juggling multiple crises including hurricane catastrophes in Puerto Rico, Florida, and Texas. Trump’s third attempt to kill ObamaCare just went down in flames. He’s now peddling a tax reform scam that will benefit the wealthy and hurt everyone else. He seems intent on starting a nuclear war with North Korea. Our elections systems have been compromised by foreign enemies.

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

Trump himself is at risk for prosecution and possible impeachment for his involvement with Russia, both politically and financially. And now he’s interrupted his racist posting on the NFL to lie about television ratings. We don’t have a president anymore. We have a traitorous, wannabe tabloid hack who would be better suited as a correspondent for the Russian version of TMZ. And even that would be a stretch for him.

Fox News is Taking Drastic Measures to Deal With Rachel Maddow’s Awesome Success

For the past few months Rachel Maddow has been drawing big numbers in the Nielsen ratings. Her show has done what was thought to be impossible a couple of years ago. She is beating her competition on Fox News. On many occasions she has also been the highest rated programs on all cable news networks. And that includes Sean Hannity.

Rachel Maddow

Fox News is now reorganizing their schedule. In part that’s due to having parted ways with Eric Bolling, the co-host of “The Specialists.” Bolling had been on suspension after allegations that he sent lewd pictures to his female Fox colleagues. The suspension has now turned into a termination. Therefore, Fox News has canceled The Specialists and moved “The Five” from its primetime slot to that afternoon time period. That leaves an opening in primetime.

What Fox is doing with that vacancy reveals just how worried they are about Maddow. They are bringing in Laura Ingraham to host their 10:00 pm show, where Hannity has been for years. And they are moving Hannity to 9:00 pm, opposite Maddow. Hannity is Fox’s best performing program. By scheduling him against Maddow they are admitting that she has been hurting them and they need to juice their line-up. It’s a risk because TV audiences are creatures of habit. Fox’s viewers may not know where to find Hannity after he moves. And that could cause his ratings to suffer.

More importantly, if Fox News thinks that their top guy is a shoe-in to man-handle Maddow, they aren’t paying attention. As noted above, Maddow’s ratings have been better than Hannity’s even when they weren’t running head-to-head. There is no reason to expect anything different with Hannity’s move. Other than the viewer confusion previously mentioned. And if Maddow cleans Hannity’s clock in direct competition that would be a withering embarrassment for him.

The new Fox News primetime line-up would also be an unprecedentedly biased schedule with Tucker Carlson leading off, followed by Hannity and Ingraham. All three of these pundits are confirmed Trump-fluffers. Hannity is an unofficial advisor to Trump and even appeared in a ad for him. Ingraham was considered as a replacement for Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer.

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

With every day the Fox News network becomes more and more an arm of the Trump administration. It’s the closest thing that the United States has ever had to state-run TV. But that doesn’t mean that America is going to accept it or like it. The country has already expressed a profound favoritism for Maddow. We’ll know soon enough how the ratings war between Hannity and Maddow turns out. And we can expect Hannity to venture ever further down the path of conspiracy theory nonsense as he tries to generate interest in his noxious brand of spin.

Ex-Fox News Anchor Greta Van Susteren’s Failing MSNBC Show is Abruptly Canceled

Score one for the free market. Six months ago MSNBC hired Greta Van Susteren to host an early evening hour program. It was a peculiar choice considering the network’s success with their more progressive personalities in primetime. There was never a good case to be made for a former Fox News host succeeding on MSNBC. Their existing audience surely wasn’t clamoring for more Fox-style news analysis. And no one who watches Fox would be caught dead tuning in to MSNBC.

Greta Van Susteren

Nevertheless, the network’s management took the plunge. An apt metaphor considering how deep the ratings for Van Susteren’s show sank. The show was virtual sinkhole in the schedule. Both its lead-in and lead-out had more viewers and better ratings. People were clearly changing the channel when Van Susteren’s show started.

Van Susteren’s weakness occurred while the rest of the network’s program’s were soaring to record highs. Rachel Maddow has frequently beaten her Fox News competition and landed at the top of all cable news programming. The same is true for her colleague Lawrence O’Donnell. Van Sustern wasn’t even performing as well as Maddow’s and O’Donnell’s repeats.

So after six months, MSNBC management has seen the light and diplomatically announced a parting of the ways. Network president Phil Griffin said:

“MSNBC and Greta Van Susteren have decided to part ways. Greta is a well-regarded television veteran and one of only a few broadcasters who can say they’ve hosted shows at all three major cable news networks. We are grateful to her and wish her the best.”

Griffin also revealed that Van Susteren’s time slot will be filled by Ari Melber. Melber is the network’s legal analyst and host of the weekend show The Point. He has also been a frequent fill-in host for several of the network’s programs. He should be a capable, if not exciting, addition to the schedule. On the down side, he’s just another cable news white guy. Weekend anchor Joy Reid would have been a better, and more stimulating, choice.

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

It remains to be seen if MSNBC has realized the folly of their ways. They recently hired or promoted other right-wingers like Hugh Hewitt, Bret Stephens, Charlie Sykes, and George Will. And their big get, Fox News star Megyn Kelly, is already off to a disastrous start. Her NBC Sunday Night show premiered to abysmal ratings and went down from there. NBC execs are already somewhat frantic that she will kill the Today Show when she debuts in September. Time will tell.

Fox News Trump Fluffer Sean Hannity Kicks Off a Crackpot Crusade Against Rachel Maddow

The signs of desperation by Fox News in general, and Sean Hannity in particular, are becoming ever more apparent. Their increasingly deranged creation, Donald Trump, ventures farther from reality every day. The bizarre antics on Fox News are reaching epic levels. Perhaps they feel unfettered since having abandoned their “fair and balanced” tagline. Not that it was ever taken seriously to begin with.

Sean Hannity Maddow

This is especially true of Sean Hannity, whose ranting is more unhinged now than ever. He is rapidly approaching levels of lunacy that would make Glenn Beck or Alex Jones proud. Take Wednesday night’s episode for example (video below). Hannity began by saying:

“Tonight we continue to expose the biggest black helicopter, tin foil hat, conspiracy in the Destroy Trump Media: NBC’s Rachel Maddow. This is off-the-hook out of control. And if it wasn’t so serious, it’s actually fully.”

And with that, Hannity launches into a fiery diatribe on what he regards as a major conspiracy theory expose. Would it be on par with the Obama birtherism which he promoted for many years? Or the tragic death of Seth Rich, which Hannity attributes to a cabal of murderous Hillary Clinton associates? Well, hold on to your hats folks. Sean Hannity thinks that Rachel Maddow is behind a dastardly campaign asserting that Jon Ossoff’s election was foiled by the weather. He declares with astonishment that “You can’t make this stuff up.” Which is ironic, because that’s exactly what he’s doing.

The basis for Hannity’s charges of conspiracy theorism is that Maddow asked her colleague, Steve Kornacki, if rain on election day might have depressed turnout in certain areas. Of course, it’s simply reality that inclement weather can have an impact on any election. So without drawing any conclusions, Maddow asked Kornacki if he thought it might have had any impact Tuesday night. She never blamed the weather for the final results or even expressed an opinion on it. She only asked a question. But in Hannity’s cartoon brain she was raving wildly that Mother Nature had purposely sabotaged the Georgia Democrat.

Then Hannity takes up his post as Fox News’ most devoted Trump defender. He complains about Maddow’s frequent (and thoroughly factual) reporting on the allegations of connections to Russia by Trump and/or his campaign. Like many right-wing Trump-fluffers, he insists there is no evidence of any such thing:

“The night cannot go by without Maddow floating some sort of Trump/Russia collusion conspiracy theory, even though nobody says it. Nobody believes it. It’s been debunked. To date there is zero evidence of Trump/Russia collusion. Nothing whatsoever. It’s been a farce, a total fabrication, eleven months of lies and conspiracies made up by people just like Maddow. But despite these facts today, Rachel, she was at it again. Whipping up a new crackpot theory involving President Trump, the mob money, money laundering, and even Vladimir Putin made it into the mix.”

There is so much wrong with that it’s hard to know where to begin. Let’s start with the absurdity that nobody is talking about, or believes, that Trump & Co. have unsavory connections to Russia. Rather than being a debunked, fabricated, farce, it is a fact that has been grudgingly admitted by the very people involved. They include Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, and Jeff Sessions to name a few. In many cases their relationships were hidden and denied until discovered by the press. What’s more, Seventeen independent intelligence agencies agree that Russia engaged in deliberate actions to interfere with the election. Apparently Hannity thinks they are all lying as part of this massive conspiracy.

As for his charge that Maddow is “whipping up” a new conspiracy regarding Trump and mob money, he’s giving her too much credit. It was veteran reporter and executive editor Tim O’Brien who broke this story for Bloomberg News. He wrote a detailed and documented article on “Trump, Russia and a Shadowy Business Partnership.” All Maddow did was cover the subject and interview the author. Hannity never mentioned that or even bothered to cite any actual flaws in the story.

Hannity’s obsession with Maddow ignores the fact that she generally relies on established news sources. He demonstrates this by running a video montage of what he calls “Maddow’s craziest Trump/Russia conspiracy theories.” However, every one of the stories originated from other sources like Reuters or even government agencies like the FBI. And that’s the strategy behind Hannity’s baseless attacks. Even though Maddow gets her information from well researched and vetted journalists, her coverage of it makes it all her invention.

Of course, the real problem Hannity has with Maddow is unrelated to his ludicrous charges. He has a two-fold inspiration for attacking her. First, she effectively covers Donald Trump’s tsunami of scandals. She explains the often complex issues clearly and backs up her explanations with facts. Secondly, Hannity is scared to death because Maddow has overtaken Fox News in the television ratings. Her show is frequently the number one program on cable news. Hannity isn’t used to getting beaten in the ratings, but it is now fairly routine.

Consequently, he is coming out swinging, and swinging wildly, against a superior competitor. And the fact that he isn’t landing any blows must be making him all the more enraged and obsessed. Expect that pattern to continue playing out because Hannity doesn’t have the intelligence or the facts to support his positions. All he has is a drooling frenzy and a shrinking audience of Fox News cultists and Trump loyalists. That, in the end, isn’t going to get him very far, and he knows it.

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