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

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

Donald Trump, Fox News, Halloween

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rachel Maddow

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fox News Smears Democratic Debate Host Rachel Maddow in a Fit of Hysterical Hypocrisy

The first night of the 2020 Democratic primary debate was a refreshing departure from the infantile politics of the Donald Trump era. There was no childish name-calling; no hostile outbursts; no hateful displays of misogyny, racism, or other forms of bigotry; no narcissistic delusions of grandeur; and no shameless lies. Remember when politics used be like that?

Rachel Maddow, Fox News

However, Trump himself was watching and couldn’t help injecting his unique brand of loathsome immaturity. He began with a typically whiny criticism in a one-word tweet that just said “BORING.” Probably because it lacked the histrionics of a kindergarten full of cholicky crybabies like Trump. And it went downhill from there. He later mocked a brief technical glitch that lasted about six seconds. And he followed that up with a fake video of the glitch.

It didn’t take long for State TV (aka Fox News) to weigh in with their own “fair and balanced” debate analysis. It consisted of a report by their media correspondent Brian Flood, and was headlined “PEACOCK PROPAGANDA? Media critics blast NBC over far-left opinion host Rachel Maddow’s role at Democratic debate.” It’s cute that Fox News still has the gumption to criticize other networks for being biased. But this report really stretched the boundaries of idiocy.

First of all, Flood quoted four “media critics” for his article. All four of them from ultra-rightist outlets that could be relied on to despise MSNBC and Rachel Maddow regardless of how they performed. They included Glenn Beck’s BlazeTV, the noxious Accuracy in Media, the venerable wingnuts at the Media Research Center, and the Daily Caller, a website founded by Fox’s own Senior White Nationalist, Tucker Carlson.

Flood began his rant by lying about Maddow being “too biased for The New York Times.” In fact, the Times only indicated that they would prefer their reporters sticking to programs that were focused on news without opinion. Flood failed to mention that the Times had the very same restrictions on almost every program on Fox News.

Then Flood tried to portray Maddow’s debate questions as a “softball fest” because she asked about things like climate change and the report by special counsel Robert Mueller. Of course these are serious issues that every candidate should address. Particularly Democratic candidates because these are the issues that are most important to their constituents.

Holding candidates accountable on the subjects that matter most to the electorate is apparently being too soft according to Flood and Fox News. But then again, Fox is the network that has been working overtime to spin the Mueller report as having exonerated Trump when it explicitly said that it didn’t. And lately they have been frantically trying to sweep the latest allegations of rape against Trump under the carpet.

Finally, Flood posted a flurry of tweets that criticised Maddow and MSNBC. They included frequent Fox News contributors like Mollie Hemingway, Jonah Goldberg, and Dan Bongino. Every one of them are virulent opponents of all things liberal or Democratic. Is it any wonder that Flood’s article concluded that “media critics” were universally negative toward the debate? He didn’t bother to ask anyone who was independent or left leaning.

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

It would be interesting to see how Fox News would handle a Republican primary debate. But it doesn’t appear that we’ll have the opportunity, even though there is a credible candidate running against Trump. Bill Weld is the former two-term Republican governor of Massachusetts, but he can’t even get a town hall or an interview on Fox News. Did they get an order from Trump to bury Weld? What do you suppose they are afraid of? Other than – obviously – Rachel Maddow.

Hannity Attacks Maddow and Winds Up Admitting that He and Fox News are ‘Fake News’

MSNBC just announced that their panel of moderators for the first Democratic primary debate will include Lester Holt, Savannah Guthrie, José Diaz-Balart, Chuck Todd, and Rachel Maddow. And as might be predicted, the last name on that list has already stirred some controversy.

Rachel Maddow, Sean Hannity, Fox News

Rachel Maddow is unambiguously opinionated. Her program covers the news from a liberal perspective, although always dedicated to presentations that rely on factual sources. Whether or not it’s appropriate for her to be a moderator for a political debate is – well, debatable. But it’s MSNBC’s decision to make and her performance can be judged on the merits. That is, unless you’re Sean Hannity of Fox News. In which case Maddow must be preemptively denounced with childish nicknames (ala Donald Trump) like “Roswell Maddow” and absurd slurs that portray her as “left of Mao, by public admission” (an admission that exists only in Hannity’s cartoon brain).

Hannity devoted a whole segment of his program on Tuesday to this manufactured controversy, and brought in Sean Spicer and Jesse Watters to add their “unbiased” analysis (video below). Hannity led off by referring to Maddow as…

“Tinfoil hat-Maddow, the single biggest liar, conspiracy theorist in the country, the person that pushed the Russiagate lies night after night.”

Never mind that the role of “biggest liar, conspiracy theorist” has long been held by Hannity himself. He has pushed destructive falsehoods ranging from Obama’s birth certificate, to Pizzagate, to the Seth Rich murder, and to countless and malicious assaults on special counsel Robert Mueller. But Hannity was unable to cite a single alleged conspiracy theory promoted by Maddow. With regard to Trump’s unsavory connections to Russia, and his obstruction of justice, Maddow has actually broken stories that have held up over time. But that wasn’t the worst of Hannity’s drooling outburst. In response to the news of Maddow’s selection as a moderator, he offered a programming proposal of his own:

“Here’s what we’re going to do. We’ll have a debate moderated by me, the Great One [Mark Levin], Rush Limbaugh, Jesse [Watters] can join us, and Laura [Ingraham] and Tucker [Carlson]. How’s that?”

How’s that? That’s actually pretty funny. Hannity just slogged through several minutes of whining about how prejudicial and dishonest Maddow is, and thus unfit to be a moderator. So what’s his method of balancing out this partisan tilt? Countering it with his own flavor of prejudice and dishonesty. He is, in effect, admitting that he and his Fox News colleagues are as unfit to moderate a debate as he says Maddow is. It’s kind of like Hannity telling a schoolmate “You’re mother would win an ugly contest, unless my mother was a contestant. How’s that?”

For the record, Maddow already moderated a Democratic primary debate. Back in 2016, she was on a panel during a debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. At the time, Howard Kurtz of Fox News didn’t think she was the right choice. But he nevertheless said that “Rachel Maddow did a pretty good job in questioning Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders at MSNBC’s Democratic debate last night.” And why wouldn’t she? She’s a Stanford graduate and a Rhodes Scholar with a doctorate in political science. Hannity is a dropout who rose to fame as a radio shock jock.

Hannity’s meltdown over this issue is typical of his bombastic response to everything that Democrats or liberals do, whether or not there is any cause. He is oblivious to the fact that a primary debate (as opposed to the general election) is a partisan event to begin with. He’d probably be shocked to learn that every one of those debaters are Democrats. And it’s not as if he and Fox News have distinguished themselves during their many interviews (aka tongue baths) with Trump, who is too scared to be interviewed by anyone on MSNBC or CNN. So much for being fair and balanced.

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

Snowflake Trump is Morbidly Afraid of MSNBC, CNN, While Democrats Hold Town Halls on Fox News

In the week since the redacted report by special counsel Robert Mueller was released, Donald Trump has clearly demonstrated what he really thinks of it. Although he said that it “totally exonerated” him, his actions belie his words. He has done nothing but criticize it and try desperately to discredit it and its authors. That’s not what an innocent person does to a report that he believes vindicates him.

Donald Trump, Rachel Maddow, Shepard Smith, Anderson Cooper

Trump’s reaction affirms his overall state of mind, which is an all-consuming fear of what his future holds. He knows what he did and is terrified that everyone else is going to find out. Consequently, he has receded into his bunker and refuses to deal with anyone other than loyal subjects, cult rally attendees, and of course, Fox News.

This strategy of hiding under the Lincoln Bedroom bed reveals that Trump and his Deplorables still languish in a fantasy world where they believe that he is a pillar of strength. There has been relentless criticism of the Democratic Party’s decision not to allow Fox News to host a Democratic primary debate. The StormTrumpers say that Democrats must be afraid of Fox. To the contrary. They are aware that Fox News is an overtly hostile environment that only exists to denigrate them.

Nevertheless, several Democratic candidates for president have either already agreed, or are holding talks, to appear on a Fox News hosted town hall. There are big differences between town halls that are aimed a broad audience, and primary debates that are more narrowly intended for voters of that particular party. And every survey shows that there aren’t very many Democrats watching Fox News.

The list of Democrats looking at Fox town halls includes Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, Julián Castro, Eric Swalwell, Tim Ryan, John Delaney, and Michael Bennet. They would follow Bernie Sanders, who already did one and was immediately castigated by Trump for doing so. That’s a clue to what the others should expect.

What’s interesting about this is that while Republicans are quick to attack Democrats for avoiding Fox News (which obviously isn’t true), the same Republicans never bother to note that Trump is petrified of MSNBC and CNN. He has never permitted these networks to interview him as president. Trump’s abject fear is palpable. It’s why he constantly maligns the media in Stalist terms as “the enemy of the people.” He will not allow himself to be in a situation where he can’t control the dialog.

So Trump and his GOP cohorts in politics and punditry should STFU about Democrats going on Fox News. At least until Trump appears in a town hall hosted by Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell, or even “Morning Psycho” Joe Scarborough. Or maybe Anderson Cooper, Don Lemon, or Jake Tapper.

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

But don’t hold your breath. Trump won’t even sit for an interview with Fox’s Shepard Smith, Bret Baier, or Chris Wallace. That pleasure (?) is reserved exclusively for Sean Hannity, Jeanine Pirro, and the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends. These are Trump’s safe spaces where he knows he won’t be challenged or met with anything other than adoring sycophancy. And the contrast between the relationship between Democrats and Fox News, to Trump’s panic-stricken dread of MSNBC or CNN, shows who the real snowflake is.

Rachel Maddow is the #1 Cable News Program for First Quarter of 2019 Despite Trump’s Fox News Hype

The Rachel Maddow Show has achieved yet another milestone in her program’s ratings surge. She has been outperforming her competition since the midterm election last November. That includes staggering routs of Fox News and its primary Trump-fluffer, Sean Hannity.

Rachel Maddow

In a press release from MSNBC, Maddow is shown to have beaten “all other FOX News and CNN shows, according to Nielsen data from December 31, 2018 through March 28, 2019.” Furthermore, “this quarter was ‘Maddow’s’ highest-rated quarter ever in total viewers, averaging 3.07M total viewers at 9pm.” It’s a record-breaking achievement that demonstrates the audience appeal for an aggressively honest brand of reporting that respects the viewer and delivers facts that are well-sourced and documented.

The success of Maddow’s program was mirrored by much of the MSNBC schedule. The network’s Monday-Friday, 9:00am-5pm, viewing grew by a larger margin (17%) than Fox News, which actually declined two percent. The same goes for total day viewing that saw a nine percent increase for MSNBC versus a two percent drop for Fox News.

Additionally, The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell bested its Fox competition in its time period to be the #1 program for the quarter in both the 25-54 year old demographic and total viewers. It also outperformed Fox by growing ten percent compared to a seven percent decline for Fox. And another bright spot for MSNBC was Nicolle Wallace’s Deadline: White House, which also rang in at #1 against Fox’s long time host Neil Cavuto. And the press release notes that:

“Multiple MSNBC programs also achieved total-viewer ratings highs, including weekdays during ‘MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle,’ ‘MSNBC Live with Hallie Jackson,’ ‘MSNBC Live with Craig Melvin,’ ‘Andrea Mitchell Reports,’ ‘MSNBC Live with Velshi & Ruhle,’ ‘MSNBC Live with Katy Tur,’ ‘MSNBC Live with Ali Velshi,’ ‘MTP Daily,’ ‘The Beat with Ari Melber,’ ‘Hardball with Chris Matthews,’ ‘All In with Chris Hayes,’ and ‘The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell’; and Saturdays during ‘UP with David Gura’ and ‘Weekends with Alex Witt.'”

It must be especially painful for Fox News considering how hard Trump worked to promote his State TV division. At times it was impossible to tell whether Trump was the President of the United States, or of Fox’s Marketing and PR department. At one point in March Trump posted ten Fox News videos in one flurry of weekend rage-tweeting.

This quarter also saw the publishing of an in-depth expose of the clinging embrace between Trump and Fox News by Jane Mayer of the New Yorker. Trump also came to the defense of two of Fox’s most offensive hosts, Jeanine Pirro and Tucker Carlson, whose prafane and insulting rants have cost them most of their advertisers. The Democratic National Committee made a profoundly wise decision to ban Fox from hosting any Democratic primary debates. That decision was affirmed shortly thereafter by a survey that revealed the depth of Fox’s right-wing nuttery. Meanwhile, Trump kept tweeting what he thought was good news about his favorite network.

All in all, it’s another stellar quarter for MSNBC, a network that was once written off as an also-ran that would always trail the perennial leader. And for Fox News it’s a bitter humiliation as their relentless and biased advocacy for Donald Trump, and shameless lying about his critics, proves to be a drag in the ratings race.

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

Poor Fox News is Pathetically Bragging About a Few Days of Beating MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow

Fox News was once the dominant news network on cable TV. It was so far ahead of its competition that it seemed unthinkable that it could be challenged. That’s mainly because they corralled all of the Deplorable right-wingers into one barnyard pen, while the rest of the television news was dispersed across many other channels. But it was still a marketing angle they could use as a cudgel against their competitors.

Fox News, Rachel Maddow

In recent years that domination has has dissipated substantially. And particularly in the past few months, MSNBC has caught up, and quite often surpassed Fox news in the ratings. Rachel Maddow’s program has been crushing Sean Hannity, her direct time period competitor, on a nearly nightly basis ever since the midterm elections last November.

In what seems to be a reaction to the surging performance of MSNBC, Donald Trump took measures to prop up Fox News which acts as his personal, state TV mouthpiece for propaganda. He’s has fervently promoted his fave hosts including Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson, and Jeanine Pirro. He even did so on Thursday night at his latest cult rally in Michigan. It’s often hard to tell whether Trump thinks he’s working for the American people or for Fox’s PR department.

Fox News has also started to boast about their ratings. They featured a story on their website’s home page that celebrated what they called “Maddow’s Deep Dive.” What makes this extraordinary is that this isn’t the sort of thing that any network does. When was the last time anyone has seen CBS or CNN make a story about their ratings a news item? That’s generally reserved for the TV trade press. But even more embarrassing for Fox is that they have to do this at all. They are effectively conceding that they have been the big losers of late and now are proud that they’ve had a few days where they aren’t in the ratings cellar. It’s an admission that they are underperforming MSNBC and it is therefore cause for joy that they came out on top for a while.

It should be noted that this “success” for Fox News is occurring just after the release of a four page letter by Trump’s plant in the Justice Department, Attorney General William Barr. The letter purports to be a summary of the 400+ page report by special counsel Robert Mueller. But it is a gross misrepresentation of that document by all accounts. And that includes the account of Fox’s senior legal analyst, Judge Andrew Napolitano, who says that there is evidence of conspiracy and obstruction of justice in the full report. So it’s natural for Maddow’s viewers to take a break from what can be considered a slow news cycle, while Fox’s viewers pile in to get their pro-Trump fantasies gassed up.

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

Whether or not this constitutes a trend in the ratings, or is a temporary blip remains to be seen. But the fact that Fox News was compelled to throw a party simply because they edged out Maddow – who rose from nowhere to become a giant killer – just proves that Fox is worried and has to brag about briefly beating a show that they used to ignore as unworthy of their attention. Maddow and MSNBC are clearly making Fox so nervous that they can’t even hide it. That’s great news for MSNBC.

Trump Pumps Fox News Ratings Despite Their Primetime Shows Losing to MSNBC Four Months Straight

There is a stench of desperation in seeing a president so brazenly genuflecting to a sycophantic “news” enterprise. Especially one that serves as his personal State TV mouthpiece. But that’s what has transpired between Donald Trump and Fox News. It’s gotten to the point where he appears to be acting more like the president of Fox News PR and Marketing than of the United States. Just last week he posted ten videos of Fox programs touting his eminence.

Donald Trump Sean Hannity

Trump’s devotion to Fox News is so all-consuming that it takes up more than half of his Twitter feed. He tweets more about Fox News than about “witch hunts,” although many of his tweets combine both of those subjects thanks to Fox’s own obsession over that particular conspiracy rant. But on Tuesday Trump took the additional step of bragging on Fox’s behalf about their ratings:

There’s a lot to unpack here. First of all, Trump already declared that the media has lost its credibility many times, going back nearly two years. Secondly, the Mueller investigation that he calls a “witch hunt” has produced dozens of indictments and seven convictions, so far. And with the release of the Barr Letter (allegedly summarizing the Mueller Report), Trump even praised special counsel Robert Mueller as “honorable.” Thirdly – well, we don’t really need to go into the absurdity of Trump’s self characterization as “your all time favorite duly elected President, me!” His historically low approval polling settles that question.

Finally, Trump leaped into the TV marketing and promotions game by hyping what he thinks are good numbers for Fox News. It needs to be noted that that is NOT his job! But he persists in boasting as if Fox’s performance reflects on him personally, which in many ways it does. But his analysis is pitifully ignorant. His assertion that the Mueller news affected the ratings race is based solely on the steam emanating from the various orifices in his head (and perhaps other body parts as well). But more importantly, Mueller has been in the news all month and the ratings over the course of more than just the one day that Trump is focused on tell a completely different story.

For the month of March so far, Rachel Maddow has beaten her competition, Sean Hannity, in the all-important advertising demographic of 25-54 year olds. And in total audience they are separated by a miniscule fifty thousand viewers, with both coming just short of three million on average per night. Longer term, though, Maddow has crushed Hannity for the past four months straight.

So Trump is going out of his way to celebrate the ratings on a single night that has no bearing on the overall ratings picture. It’s what losers in the media do when they haven’t got a real story of success to pitch. And Trump is going all out to help his pals at Fox. He has scheduled his first post-Barr Letter interview for Hannity’s program Wednesday night. Although it’s a stretch to call these love fests interviews since they mainly consist of Hannity feeding Trump narratives he can brag (and lie) about. Undoubtedly the faithfull MAGA cultists will tune in for more of their regularly scheduled propaganda. But the real test will come in the days and weeks following these staged, reality TV style events.And if the past four months is any indicator, we won’t be seeing any more of these Trump pumps on his Twitter feed.

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

Hannity Worries as Fox News Insiders Complain ‘We’re Being Defined By the Worst People on Our Air’

There has been much speculation about the future direction of Fox News following Disney’s acquisition of most of the Fox entertainment assets. Rupert Murdoch remains at the helm of the cable “news” network, while his son Lachlan runs the new, shrunken Fox Corporation. Insiders are wondering about whether the network will continue to be the State TV division of the Donald Trump administration.

Fox News Sean Hannity

Now Gabriel Sherman of Vanity Fair is reporting that some changes may be in store for Fox News. Sherman has been a reliable source about what goes on behind the curtains at Fox. He wrote the definitive biography of the late, disgraced Fox CEO Roger Ailes, The Loudest Man in the Room. In his new article he sheds some light on the rumblings within an organization that has widely come to be seen as a propaganda mouthpiece for an authoritarian style White House regime:

“Donald Trump’s alliance with Fox News has been one of the few constants throughout his shambolic presidency. But in recent days, that bond has shown signs of fraying. […] Fox journalists, bristling at being branded an arm of the Trump White House, are lobbying Fox News C.E.O. Suzanne Scott and President Jay Wallace to rein in Fox & Friends, Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs and Pirro. ‘Reporters are telling management that we’re being defined by the worst people on our air,’ a frustrated senior Fox staffer told me.”

Actually, most Fox News reporters are doing much of that branding themselves. While the primetime StormTrumpers set the tone for the network (with few signs that they are being reined in), the other hosts and contributors either back them up or decline to repudiate the lies and insults that are the red meat of Fox’s editorial mission.

Trump recently took a gentle swipe at Fox News for briefly suspending one of his favorite fluffers, Jeanine Pirro due to her virulently racist comments about Muslim representative Ilhan Omar. He also propped up Tucker Carlson following his offensive remarks on a shock-jock radio show, and gave what he must believe is the ultimate insult to Shepard Smith by saying that he belongs on CNN.

Sherman writes that the alleged “civil war” at Fox will be decided by Lachlan Murdoch, who is described as a “Libertarian conservative, not a MAGA diehard.” He suggests that the hiring of former DNC chair Donna Brazile signals a change in direction for Fox. That’s a weak argument considering that they also just hired the radical wingnut former congressman Trey Gowdy, who led the GOP-controlled committee that wasted years and millions of dollars on Benghazi hearings that produced nothing but ridicule for the Republican Hillary fetishists.

One of the most compelling disclosures in Sherman’s reporting concerned Sean Hannity, Trump’s shadow chief-of-staff:

“Sources said Hannity is angry at the Murdochs’ firing of Ailes and Bill Shine, Hannity’s close friend and former producer. Hannity believes the Murdochs are out to get Trump. ‘Hannity told Trump last year that the Murdochs hate Trump, and Hannity is the only one holding Fox together,’ a source who heard the conversation told me. Hannity has told friends that he intends to leave Fox when his contract expires in early 2021, two people who’ve spoken with him said.”

You have to wonder where Hannity would go if he left Fox News. Other Fox alum have not fared so well outside that fortress of rightist disinformation. For instance, where are Glenn Beck, Greta Van Susteren, Bill O’Reilly, and Megyn Kelly today? What’s more, Hannity’s egotistical opinion that he’s the glue binding Fox together is laughable. For one thing, he’s losing his time period to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. For another, his Fox stablemate, Tucker Carlson, is outperforming him on Fox. And the network still has Laura Ingraham, Neil Cavuto, Jesse Watters, and the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends slobbering all over Trump.

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

Finally, Sherman’s sources tell him that Fox News could be on the auction block. That would be an interesting development that would leave the Murdochs with just the broadcast entertainment network, their station group, and some cable sports channels. But even if Rupert were willing to let go (doubtful), who would buy Fox News? What media enterprise would benefit from owning a disreputable news outlet whose advertisers are fleeing in droves? Would the Murdochs (who are still the majority shareholders) allow a sale to Jeff Bezos? Or would they look for a conservative billionaire to ride up on a white (nationalist) horse? Time will tell.

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

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

Donald Trump

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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