Fox News Primetime Shows are So Offensive that Fox is Afraid to Sell them to Advertisers

There’s been a pretty steady stream of bad news lately for Fox News. Most prominent is the success of MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, along with many of her colleagues. She has beaten her Fox competition, Sean Hannity, nearly every night since early November, after the midterm election. Fox is also hurting from the exodus of advertisers due to the racist commentaries of their featured hosts. And they can’t be happy about Donald Trump coming to their aid, with all the baggage he brings along.

Donald Trump Fox News

On top of that, Fox is embarrassing itself with ludicrous lies, flagrant Trump sycophancy, and hosts who brag that they have nauseating personal hygiene practices. And in the midst of these self-made messes, Fox has to pitch their network to advertisers in the upcoming “upfront” sales season when networks make their cases to the advertising community for the new year. Given their ratings failures and sinking reputation, Fox is going to have a hard time making their network seem appealing. According to Variety:

“Whether or not they watch Fox News Channel regularly, a lot of people talk about its primetime hosts: Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson. Now executives at the network hope to spark new conversation about its news anchors, like Martha MacCallum, Bret Baier and Chris Wallace.” […]

“Fox News sparks the new initiative at a time when its opinion programs have come under scrutiny from advertisers. Some sponsors have pulled their advertising from Tucker Carlson’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight” or Laura Ingraham’s “The Ingraham Angle” after remarks made by the hosts in 2018 and amid subsequent protest from advocacy organizations.”

In other words, Fox is trying to downplay the programs hosted by their biggest stars during primetime, the most watched daypart. This is an unprecedented display of cowardice for a television network. It would be like CBS trying to downplay “The Big Bang Theory” and “CSI” in favor of some daytime game shows. Variety quotes a Fox advertising executive as saying that they want to press “against the notion that the network is only for conservatives.” It’s way too late for them to sell that nonsense. Fox doesn’t even use the “fair and balanced” slogan anymore. They ditched it for “Real News,” an obvious suck-up to Trump.

Everyone knows that Fox News is now just a surrogate for the White House. They have become the closest thing to State TV that America has ever known. And now the ad sales people think that advertisers can be fooled into believing that Fox is “transcending its own genre and becoming popular culture, thanks in part to the Trump presidency.”

But there are two problems with that theory. First, Trump is decidedly unpopular. He has record low approval ratings hovering in the upper thirties on most polls (despite Trump’s lame effort to convince people that he’s universally beloved). And secondly, by positioning the network as popular culture, Fox is admitting that they are not news.

Of course, anyone who has been paying attention already knows that Fox hasn’t been a legitimate news network in years, if ever. They have few, if any, reputable journalists. They have never won a journalism award from the Pulitzers, the Emmys, or any other industry association. Their program hosts are more like cheerleaders for Trump, who actually appear on stage with him at his rallies.

The problem for Fox is that advertisers are not the sort of ignoramuses who watch Fox. They deal with multimillion dollar budgets and they know what they’re buying. By pretending that Fox isn’t the equivalent of Trump TV, their ad sales people will only be insulting the intelligence of the media buyers. And if Fox thinks that’s going to pump up sales, they’re as stupid as their audience – and their President.

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

Donald Trump Lamely Tries to Rescue ‘Failing’ Sean Hannity’s Arsekissing Hour on Fox News

Donald Trump would not be president today were it not for the donation of millions of dollars of free airtime to his candidacy by Fox News. The broadcast of his hate-filled cult rallies in their entirety for the months preceding the election allowed Trump to disseminate his message of divisiveness and bigotry to an audience he would never have been able to reach otherwise.

Donald Trump Sean Hannity

Since the election Fox News has continued to serve Trump as his own personal propaganda outlet with hosts and guests who furiously defend everything he says and does, while fiercely attacking his critics. And he continues to get preferential treatment with regard to airtime and interviews. He has done more than forty interviews as president with Fox News, but zero with CNN and MSNBC. And he has another Fox interview next Monday with Laura Ingraham.

However, Trump’s biggest booster on Fox News is indisputably Sean Hannity, who has even appeared on stage at his rallies in violation of Fox News “standards,” such as they are. Hannity devotes most of his program to his sycophantic admiration for Trump and deranged conspiracy theories about everyone from Hillary Clinton to special counsel Robert Mueller. Last summer Hannity let two of Trump’s lawyers guest host his three hour radio show. And, of course, Trump has granted him more interviews than any other television personality.

None of that, however, has prevented Hannity’s show from declining in the ratings. What used to be the number program on cable news now loses on an almost nightly basis to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. Hannity’s total ratings crashed nineteen percent since the midterms in November. His fall in the coveted, advertiser-friendly 25-54 year old demographic was a massive thirty percent. He is also suffering from an exodus af advertisers along with his colleagues Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham due to their offensive and racist rhetoric.

Consequently, Trump is coming to the rescue of his friend and “shadow” chief-of-staff. On Saturday morning Trump retweeted three of Hannity’s tweets that were typically flattering to the President. The first was an article from Hannity’s website about remarks by the Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee concerning his opinion that no evidence of Trump’s collusion with Russia has been found. That opinion was refuted by the ranking Democrat on the committee, but Trump wasn’t interested in that. Nor was he interested in the mountains of evidence found by the special counsel, other than to whine incessantly that it’s a hoax.

The second retweet was an article on Hannity’s website asserting that Ford was investing a billion dollars in two Chicago-area factories, and giving Trump credit for it. But as with every other announcement of this kind, it was either something that had been planned long before Trump was president, something that was merely a proposal with no guarantee, or something that would never actually come to pass. And none of that has ever stopped Trump from taking credit anyway.

The third retweet was Hannity’s posting of an article on TheHill by right-wing shill and Trump flunky, John Solomon. The article posited a ludicrous conspiracy theory that Rep. Adam Schiff, the new Democratic chair of the House Intelligence Committee, had met secretly last year with GPS Fusion founder Glenn Simpson, whose company hired the author of the Steele Dossier. No such meeting ever took place, and the article provided no evidence of it. Nevertheless, Hannity posted it and Trump retweeted that posting.

Trump often live-tweets what he’s watching on Fox News. And by the frequency of it, he seems to do nothing else all day long. But he rarely posts multiple tweets in succession promoting a single program. Doing so now, at a time when Hannity’s show is sinking like a rock, seems like Trump is throwing a life preserver to his drowning pal. But this can’t possibly help. If Trump’s followers on Twitter aren’t already watching Hannity, they aren’t ever going to start now. And his retweets certainly aren’t going to slow the rapid growth of Maddow’s program.

The problem with Hannity’s show isn’t that there aren’t enough Trump supporters watching it. It’s that Hannity is a repugnant jerkwad whose asskissing is so tedious that even conservatives and Republicans are sickened by it. The problem is that Hannity offers the same noxious blend of lies and insults every night, aimed at the same “villains” he’s been attacking for years. His program is both annoyingly repetitive and presented by an angry mouth-breather who seems less coherent than the schizophrenic on the street corner shouting at passing cars. That has never been a winning formula for television viewing.

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

Fox News Primetime Shows are Bleeding Audience, Advertisers, and Revenue Due to Excessive Assholery

The news just keeps getting worse for Donald Trump’s favorite television network. Over the past three months Fox News has been thrashed in the Nielsen ratings by MSNBC, particularly by Rachel Maddow who has topped her competition, Sean Hannity, almost every night since the November midterm election.

Fox News, Titanic

Now TheWrap is reporting that Hannity’s primetime colleagues have problems of their own. Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham have both been the targets of advertiser boycotts as a result of commentaries that were especially loathsome. Not that their regular topics don’t routinely offend decent people. But even these weasels can cross lines that are impossible to ignore:

“According to an analysis for TheWrap by advertising data firm Standard Media Index, Fox News’ 10 p.m. slot, hosted by Ingraham, was down at least $16 million in ad revenue in 2018. Carlson’s show, which airs at 8 p.m., has lost another $2.2 million thanks to an ad boycott that began in December after he said mass immigration makes the U.S. ‘poorer, and dirtier, and more divided.'”

Tucker Carlson’s flagrant white nationalism has become a staple of his nightly program. It’s unconscionable that any advertisers continue to support him. But the exodus of ads has definitely proven to be more than a temporary setback. Carlson is currently is running about half of the ads he had prior to the boycott. And they have been replaced by unpaid Fox promos and public service announcements.

Laura Ingraham’s problems began after she attacked the survivors of the Parkland, Florida high school shooting. These are kids who suffered a nightmare that no one should ever face, but who Ingraham considered fair game for even more abuse. She is also notorious for her racist and elitist views, such as when she said that basketball legend and philanthropist LeBron James should shut up and dribble.” Now her advertisers have also been cut in half.

Fox News is standing behind their repugnant hosts. They insist that they will not be bullied by lefties like Media Matters and Sleeping Giants. What’s more, they contend that they haven’t lost any revenue as a result of these boycotts because the ads were merely “shifted to other dayparts.” That’s an outright lie. It would mean that the other programs had unsold ad inventory that these ads could be slipped into. But even if they do, that means they still lost money because they were only replacing one ad for another. Additionally, an ad in primetime costs much more than other dayparts, so such shifting would require those ads to be discounted.

And that’s not all. With MSNBC taking the number one spot in most of the primetime cable news market, Fox News would have to lower their ad rates because advertisers aren’t going pay a premium for a number two network. And with that change in leadership comes an even bigger problem for Fox. Like every cable channel, Fox News makes most of its profits through licensing fees from cable system operators. They currently have a very lucrative contract that was negotiated at the height of their ratings success. Now that they are no longer the leader, those contracts will decline in value when they are up for renewal.

All of this is due to Fox’s determination to advance a radical right-wing agenda and to serve as the State TV mouthpiece for Donald Trump. It’s an unsustainable business model as the nation wakes up from its temporary lapse in judgement and rejects Trump and the sycophantic, cult-like GOP that he commandeered.

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

The midterm election that produced a historic shift in party control in the House of Representatives was just the beginning. And as the legal consequences of Trump’s criminal and treasonous activities unfold, Fox is going to find itself in ever deeper trenches of muck. That’s surely not going boost their bottom line.

Rachel Maddow Leads MSNBC to a January Freeze-Out of Sean Hannity and State TV (aka Fox News)

The new year has started off with big bang for MSNBC and its star anchor Rachel Maddow. For the past couple months her program has been smothering her Fox News competition, Sean Hannity. It began immediately after the midterm election on November 6th and hasn’t slowed down since. And January’s results confirm that it was no fluke. Maddow has definitely caught fire and her sharp analysis and engaging manner of unfolding complex subjects is clearly winning over viewers.

Rachel Maddow, Sean Hannity

Some of the highlights from the January Nielsen ratings include that Maddow was the number one non-sports show on all of cable, not just just news programming. She dominated in both total audience and the advertiser friendly 25-54 demographic. Her success helped drive up the performance of her primetime colleagues Lawrence O’Donnell and Brian Williams. In fact, that bloc of programming won every hour for the entire month.

Maddow’s show contributed to MSNBC’s impressive audience growth. It gained fourteen percent in total day, and six percent in prime time versus January 2018. During the same time period Fox News declined significantly. It’s total day viewership was down eleven percent. In primetime Fox News lost ten percent. And those numbers were even worse for in the 25-54 demo: down twenty-one percent total day, and twenty percent in the demo.

Almost as satisfying as Maddow’s success is the failure of Fox’s Sean Hannity. Once the unchallenged cable news champ, Hannity’s total ratings crashed nineteen percent since the midterms in November. His fall in the demo was a massive thirty percent. His Fox News lead-in, Tucker Carlson, didn’t fare any better. He was Fox’s top program, but he trailed Maddow by seventeen percent in total audience, and by nineteen percent in the demo. It’s a relief to know that America’s television viewers are recognizing the hatred and racism that emanates from the likes of Carlson and Hannity and are changing the channel.

What’s more, Carlson and Laura Ingraham are suffering from an advertiser exodus due to their offensive positions. Carlson mainly for his open advocacy of white nationalism. And Ingraham for her attacks on the kids from Parkland, Florida, who survived the school shooting last year. So their shows are not only losing viewers, but they aren’t making any money either.

In addition to the solid wins by Maddow, there was good news in January’s numbers for the rest of the MSNBC roster. The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell and The 11th Hour with Brian Williams were both number one in both total audience and the demo. Morning Joe rose fourteen percent while its competition, Fox and Friends, sunk ten percent. Hardball was number one in total viewers. And the programs hosted by Chris Hayes, Ari Melber, Stephanie Ruhle, Hallie Jackson, Craig Melvin, Andrea Mitchell, Ali Velshi, and Katy Tur all posted record numbers. One particular standout was Deadline: White House with Nicolle Wallace, which was number one in total viewers, beating perennial Fox News host Neil Cavuto.

The days of Fox News dominating the cable news ratings are definitely over. And thanks for that should go to Rachel Maddow for redefining how a successful news program can be produced. She does not follow the daily tweetstorming of the President, and never hosts panels of belligerent partisans yelling over each other. She presents detailed examinations of serious issues in an honest and accessible way, and respects her audience.

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

But some thanks should also go to Donald Trump for behaving like a loathsome cretin whose flagrant lies are driving away whatever few rational thinkers are still left watching Fox News. Those who remain are the barrel-bottom crud who enjoy wallowing in ignorance and will never be pried loose from their cult worship.

Rachel Maddow Beats Her Fox News Competition Every Single Day for the Whole Month of December

The new year is beginning with an incredible boost from the remarkable performance of Rachel Maddow’s program on MSNBC. She has been dominating her Fox New competition, Sean Hannity, ever since the midterm election in early November. But her numbers for December are truly spectacular and may indicate a monumental shift.

Rachel Maddow, Sean Hannity, Fox News

The success of Maddow’s program may even be getting to Donald Trump. While he has never tweeted about her since becoming president, he did run an ad on Facebook that featured her as his top nemesis. Trump is notoriously frightened by strong women (see his fearful behavior around House Speaker Nancy Pelosi). And he has good reason to be scared of Maddow. Her program provides some of the most incisive, detailed accounts of Trump’s criminality and analyses of the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller. That attention to the facts in a comprehensible form has paid off for Maddow.

The Nielsen ratings for The Rachel Maddow Show have exceeded in almost every way possible. She beat the Sean Hannity show every single day for the entire month of December. Granted, he was on vacation for a small part of that time, but so was she. The numbers weren’t even close. Maddow topped Hannity by a whopping forty-seven percent in total viewers. She also whooped him by twenty-one percent in the all-important advertising demographic of 25-54 year olds.

What’s more, Maddow powered MSNBC to historic highs. The network was the third most-watched channel in primetime for all of cable TV, not just cable news. And it was the second most-watched basic cable network across the 24-hour day for 2018. It was the only network that posted double-digit growth over the prior year. And it was number one among African-American viewers for the year.

The rest of the MSNBC schedule also enjoyed record ratings. Lawrence O’Donnell, Brian Williams, and Nicole Wallace regularly beat their time-period competitors. And the dayside programs with Katy Tur, Andrea Mitchell, Ali Velshi, Stephanie Ruhle, Chris Hayes, etc., leaped to new highs. And all of this happened while Fox News either declined or made impotent gains of one or two percent.

This should inform the rest of the media that intelligent, honest, reporting and analysis is a winning programming strategy. The public is tired of deliberately hostile panels and ridiculous attempts to balance facts with lies and nonsense. And as the new year progresses with more revelations from Mueller and the expected oversight hearings in the new Congress, the media needs to rise to the occasion and fulfill its obligations to the people.

That means rejecting Trump’s anti-constitutional assaults on the free press that he frames in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people.” Maddow proves that when the press respects the principles of ethical journalism, rather than devolving into State TV flunkies (aka Fox News) the people will reward them them with their viewership, trust, and loyalty.

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

Scared Bro? Trump is Featuring Rachel Maddow in His Phony ‘Media Accountability’ Come-Ons

Throughout his public life – and especially while president – Donald Trump has demonstrated what an awful poker player he would be. He has what pros call a “a tell” that gives away what cards he’s holding. And for the most part, Trump is holding a hand that is panic full of fear. He displays that on a nearly daily (hourly?) basis with his insipid “Witch Hunt” tweets and his frantic attacks on special counsel Robert Mueller.

Donald Trump, Rachel Maddow

Of course, Trump is also squarely focused on the media that he refers to in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people.” His frightened reaction to every new disclosure of wrongdoing by him or his crime family is obvious to anyone paying the least bit of attention. And the more he attacks CNN or the New York Times or whatever reporter happens to ask him the probing question of the day, the more he reveals what’s scaring him the most at that moment.

So what’s clearly scaring Trump now is MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. Trump’s “Make America Great Again” reelection committee just posted an ad Facebook that asks his dimwitted cult followers to take a survey, and Rachel Maddow is featured in the ad’s graphic, although not in the video to which it links. She’s the bait for this campaign that implores his fans to “Take the Survey.”

The alleged “survey,” however, is an old marketing trick aimed at getting respondents to sign up and divulge personal information, including their email addresses. These are later used to beg for donations and organize political events. The results of the fake survey are never published, and if they were they wouldn’t have any real value due to the smarmy tactics used to lure respondents. Like everything else Trump does, it is hardly scientific.

So what’s the news that has triggered Trump’s assault on Maddow, someone he rarely even mentions? Right now Maddow is perhaps the most insightful and effective commentator on Trump’s exploding legal problems. She is dissecting them in a coherent and relatable manner. But is that enough to set him off. After all, he has never tweeted about her since becoming president. Although he did retweet his son Eric once, nearly a year ago. And that retweet contains a clue:

Trump is very concerned about his friend, and “shadow” chief of staff, Sean Hannity. Lately Maddow has been beating the pants off of Hannity. She has dominated him in the ratings ever since the election last month. So far in December she has beaten him every single day in both total viewers and the all-important advertising demo of 25-54 year olds. So it looks like Trump is rushing in to rescue the floundering Hannity. Or maybe someone at Fox News reached out for this aid.

Let’s not forget that the former president of Fox News, Bill Shine (who was fired for mishandling the sexual misconduct of Fox CEO Roger Ailes and host Bill O’Reilly) is now Trump’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications. Or that Shine was Hannity’s producer before being bumped up to the executive suites. So it isn’t particularly surprising that Maddow would suddenly appear as the face of the “Mainstream Media … out to bring down [his] Administration.” In reality, he’s doing that pretty much on his own. Maddow is merely providing a factual chronicle of the criminal path that Trump chose for himself. But consistent with his warped character flaws, he’s determined to blame it on someone – anyone – else.

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

The Blue Wave Swept MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Into First Place for November 2018

The 2018 midterm elections truly lived up to the pre-election hype. All the talk of a “Blue Wave” panned out as Democrats took the majority in the House of Representatives with more gains (40 seats) than any election since Watergate. In addition, they flipped seven governorships, seven statehouse majorities, and almost 400 state legislative seats. It was an unambiguous blowout for the Trump Resistance.

Rachel Maddow

But there was a victory that was not related to the the electoral one. The campaign for the eyes and ears of America’s television news viewers also tilted broadly to the left. The perennial leader, Fox News, suffered a decline in November versus their numbers for November 2017. So did CNN. But MSNBC had a notable gain. And that increase was driven by the popularity of their primetime anchor, Rachel Maddow.

Following the election on November sixth, the ratings for Maddow went steadily up. She was the top performing program on cable news for the rest of the month. Her competition, Sean Hannity, was unable to keep up. Maddow pulled in total 2.9 million viewers on average per night, compared to Hannity’s 2.8 million. And in the advertiser demographic of 25-54 she did 527,000, far exceeding Hannity’s 497,000.

Throughout much of this time period the election was still in progress as many districts continued to count votes in close races. That might have held the interest of viewers for Maddow, but you have to wonder why it didn’t do the same for Hannity’s audience. The difference may be that the election wasn’t the only story being told.

Donald Trump was doing his part by inflaming new scandals every other day. They included his callous response to the California fires; his ever-present battle with the media; the ongoing inaction to the murder of a journalist, and U.S. resident, Jamal Khashoggi; his embarrassing neglect of respect for fallen troops during his junket to France; and so many more it’s hard to keep track.

Maddow was studiously reporting on all of these issues and more. While Fox News was desperately trying to figure out ways to avoid these subjects altogether. Consequently they wound up recycling their typically ludicrous “War on Christmas” fare or regurgitated segments about Hillary Clinton’s emails. No wonder even Fox’s viewers turned away.

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

Whatever the reasons, Maddow showed that she is still a force to reckoned with. And as the new year brings a myriad of stories about congressional investigations into Trump and his crime family, along with the expected release of a report by special counsel Robert Mueller, the future looks bright for Maddow and MSNBC. Meanwhile, Fox viewers can look forward to more of this:

Fox News Accuses Rachel Maddow of Pro-Mueller Bias, Ignored Hannity Campaigning with Trump

The hypocrites at Fox News are out in force following the midterm elections that returned Democrats to the majority in the House of Representatives. Which isn’t really any different than the way the Fox News hypocrites were behaving before the midterms. But it’s clear that they intend to continue distorting reality for their glassy-eyed and willfully ignorant viewers.

Rachel Maddow, Fox News

In an article on the Fox News website Thursday, their media correspondent, Brian Flood, sought to criticize MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow for exhibiting a bias in favor of special counsel Robert Mueller. The piece was not addressing anything she did on her program, but rather a tweet she posted that reported the grassroots reaction to Donald Trump firing his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions. That dismissal, and the appointment of Trump flunky Matt Whitaker as Acting Attorney General, was the latest attempt by Trump to obstruct justice by undermining the Mueller probe. Maddow’s tweet simply reported that there were protests planned to advocate for members of Congress to protect Mueller from any interference by the Trump regime:

That tweet was the basis for the article by Flood who characterized it as pro-Mueller and implied that there was something untoward about Maddow posting such a comment. He wrote that:

“Maddow is a leftist activist but was recently paired with Brian Williams during MSNBC’s Election Night coverage. News organizations typically use nonpartisan anchors for such assignments.”

Setting aside the false assertion that Maddow is a leftist activist (to which Maddow had a light-hearted reply), Flood is actually admitting that Fox is not a “news organization” because their election night programming used flagrantly partisan anchors – Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham – in their coverage. They were planning to use Sean Hannity as well, according to their pre-broadcast press release, but Hannity was an unexplained no-show. You have to wonder if that had anything to do with Hannity’s campaign stumping for Trump on stage with the President at his last cult rally of the election season.

What’s interesting is that Flood found it necessary to publish a misleading article about Maddow’s alleged bias, but he never published anything about Hannity nuzzling up to Trump on stage, or the anchor chairs occupied by Carlson and Ingraham. It’s a good thing Fox News abandoned their “fair and balanced” slogan last year. Because their own media correspondent can’t live up to it.

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

Rachel Maddow is Leading MSNBC to Record Ratings, the Only Cable News Net to Gain Viewers

While Donald Trump is dragging his presidency down to the depths of the abyss, he might deserve some credit for lifting MSNBC up to the heights of ratings Valhalla. For the month of August MSNBC achieved a significant milestone, becoming the the second-most-watched network across all of basic cable. And the network’s star, Rachel Maddow, had the number one show for total viewers on cable TV for the last week of August.

Rachel Maddow

This ratings bonanza took place as Trump’s world was crumbling. His campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was convicted on eight felonies. His personal attorney, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to eight felonies of his own. And Trump’s inner circle suffered some serious ruptures. His long-time friend, and publisher of the National Enquirer, David Pecker, was granted immunity by federal prosecutors. The same goes for the CFO of the Trump Organization, Allen Weisselberg. Immunity is not handed out unless the recipients were exposed to serious legal jeopardy and had something useful to trade for their get-out-jail-free card.

These sort of news events may have brought viewers hungry for credible reporting to MSNBC resulting in their ratings wins last week. But the whole month notched gains that were noteworthy. In fact, MSNBC’s primetime rose over their draw in 2017, while both CNN and Fox News declined. Maddow’s contribution to that was scoring the top show rating in all of cable TV for the whole month in the 25-54 demographic. To be clear, she not only beat Sean Hannity head-to-head, but every other show of any type on basic cable.

The remainder of the MSNBC schedule was equally as successful with viewers. Everyone from Chris Hayes to Lawrence O’Donnell to Ari Melber to Brian Williams to Joy Reid, enjoyed record breaking numbers. The daytime crew, including Ali Velshi, Stephanie Ruhle, Hallie Jackson, Nicolle Wallace, and Katy Tur, all notched substantial gains as well.

If this is any indication of how the content of the news can affect ratings, there is sure to be more good news to come. Manafort’s next trial in Washington, D.C. is scheduled to begin in mid September. And almost every day there are new revelations that bring Trump’s dismal fate closer to realization. Much of them unveiled by his own big mouth and fat Twitter fingers. And as events continue to unfold, America’s television viewers will continue to seek out truthful accounts of the breaking news.

That’s good news for MSNBC. And as for Fox News, they can surely rely on their cult followers to keep their numbers pretty high. After all, they will need those extra doses of fake propaganda and blurred reality from State TV to anesthetize them into their cozy states of semi-consciousness.

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

Fox News Must Fire Sean Hannity for Refusing to Disclose His Relationship with Donald Trump

Anyone who has been paying attention is well aware that the most devoted promoters of Donald Trump are on State TV (aka Fox News). And the biggest Trump fluffer on Fox News is Sean Hannity. He has been relentless in his shameless support for the President with a nightly program that is an hour long prostration to Trump interspersed with vicious and dishonest attacks on his critics.

Fox News, Sean Hannity, White House

However, Hannity apparently doesn’t think it’s enough. He was interviewed by Forbes Magazine Tuesday and further exposed the depth of his sycophancy to Dear Leader. The interview began by addressing Hannity’s all too obvious infatuation with Trump. The first question referenced well documented reports that Hannity and Trump speak on a nearly daily basis with Hannity being the last call that Trump receives each night before bed time:

“I ask him about the regular reports that he has daily conversations with the president of the United States — even, it has been suggested, that he is often the last person Donald Trump talks to at night.

“‘I don’t have a nightly call with anybody,’ Hannity tells me. ‘I read these things about me that are total bullshit. Quote it. It’s just not true.’

“So how much access to the president does Hannity have? That’s one of the few questions he won’t answer. ‘I really kind of enjoy that nobody knows, and I’m just going to leave it that way,’ he says. ‘But I can tell you this: Nobody has ever gotten my relationship with Donald Trump right, ever'”

It’s bad enough that insiders attest to the romantic loyalty of their relationship. It’s something that even outsiders recognize without those reports. After all, Hannity has literally appeared in Trump advertisements. And Trump returns the favor by promoting Hannity on Twitter and granting him “interviews” that are more accurately described as infomercials. Trump even hired Hannity’s ex-producer, and former president of Fox News, Bill Shine, as his Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications at Hannity’s urging. Shine, you may recall, was fired by Fox News for misconduct related to the sexual harassment and abuse by Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, and others.

But the most troubling part of the Forbes interview is Hannity’s callous disregard for ethics. His explicit refusal, even delight, with regard to keeping his affairs with Trump secret would be intolerable at any legitimate news network (which lets Fox off the hook). By boasting that he won’t reveal how closely he is tied to Trump he’s making every interaction between them cause for suspicion of collusion and propaganda. It’s unprecedented in journalism or even the sort of political advocacy that Hannity engages in. Why is he afraid to tell the truth about his relationship with Trump? Well, we know why.

Also in the Forbes interview were a couple of morsels that deserve some attention:

“At MSNBC, Rachel Maddow was capitalizing on the Trump presidency, building some of the highest ratings in her network’s history. ‘We lost 75% of our prime time,’ Hannity said of that time. ‘And we’re still No. 1.'”

Indeed, Fox News has cratered with the exodus of a substantial block of their viewers. So even though Hannity finds solace in still being the top rated cable news program (a big fish in a small swamp), it doesn’t undo the fact that Americans are turning off Fox News in droves. And then there’s this:

“Does it weigh on him to be accused of using his platform to prop up President Trump, spread conspiracy theories and blur the line between news and rabid partisanship? ‘The amount of time I spend caring about it is zero. I don’t care,’ Hannity says.”

That’s not surprising. Why would Hannity care that he’s a propaganda tool for the administration? Or that he’s disseminating lies and crackpot conspiracies that hurt innocent people? Or that he’s breaching journalistic ethics? He’s actually doing all of that deliberately. Those are pretty much the entire purpose for his existence. And for the existence of Fox News, for that matter. Which is precisely why Fox will not fire Hannity, no matter how much it is required by principle and morality.

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