Fox News Chugs Trump Kool-Aid: ‘The Only Way Forward is to Unify Behind His Agenda’

The cable “news” network that has distinguished itself as the most fawning propagandist of the Era of Trump is without contest Fox News. It’s programming and personalities are shamelessly sycophantic, disgorging White House propaganda 24/7. Sean Hannity is even being referred to as Trump’s “shadow” chief-of-staff. That’s when he isn’t being associated with alleged criminal activity and real estate fraud. But perhaps the most the beleaguered host on Fox News currently is Laura Ingraham. After attacking a teenage survivor of the Parkland school shooting, Ingraham has lost most of her advertisers and is hanging on to her job by the sheer stubbornness of the network bosses.

Fox News, Laura Ingraham

In response to the controversy, Ingraham is ramping up her idolatry of Trump. Since she isn’t earning the network any money, she may believe that pouring on some adoration of the President will help fortify her position. So on Monday night Ingraham took a hard right and lashed out at Republicans who she thinks aren’t sufficiently deferential to Trump. While the rest of the Fox roster is already hammering their usual Democratic targets, Ingraham is focusing on corralling the GOP herd into strict obedience to Dear Leader. That mentality leads to segments with soliloquies like this one (video below):

“When will they learn? More than a year into Donald Trump’s first term, you’d think that all the Republicans would understand that the only way forward is to unify behind his agenda. It’s resonating with the American people. It’s bringing international foes to the negotiating table. And it’s having a positive impact on the economy. But some Republicans cannot help but lend aid and comfort to the President’s political enemies.

“So as Trump slowly but surely begins to remake the GOP to be more responsive to working class Americans, the globalist wing of the party is still in total denial. And the old guard resistance to Trump – of course, big shocker – is being amplified by a media machine that’s been trying to take him down ever since he first came down that golden escalator.”

You hear that Republicans? Get in line and stop thinking independently and representing your constituents. Your only duty is to follow the approved doctrine of the Trumpiate Politburo or keep your mouths shut if you can’t pledge unyielding loyalty.

Ingraham’s call for blind fidelity to Trump is the sort of demand that is generally made by entrenched dictators. She is advocating a perverse brand of patriotism that flows through this administration. Just yesterday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders offered her version of this faith-based Trumpism by asserting that total dedication to Trump is synonymous with patriotism. She said that “Democrats have to decide whether they love this country more than they hate this President.” In Sander’s view people can’t simultaneously oppose Trump and love America. In reality, people oppose Trump “because” they love America.

In addition to Ingraham’s command for compliance, she offered some reasons to persuade the supplicants. But each one was more ludicrous than the one before it. Trump’s agenda is absolutely not resonating with the American people. He is the most unpopular president in modern times. His policies are soundly rejected by wide majorities of voters. That’s why most political analysts are predicting a “Blue Wave” at the polls in November. Ingraham’s assertion that Trump is bringing international foes to the negotiating table is a fantasy. His administration has not achieved a single foreign policy goal in over fourteen months. And her praise for the economy is striking on a day that the markets suffered a huge drop, and the Dow presently sits over 2,000 points below it’s high.

These are not the metrics of a successful presidency that everyone should rally around. They are warnings of political catastrophe. A week ago Trump boastfully tweeted his standings in the rabidly biased Rasmussen poll:

Not surprisingly, he hasn’t said anything since. In just the past week his approval rating has declined three points to forty-eight percent, with fifty percent disapproving. And his “strongly disapprove” numbers have been higher than his “strongly approve” numbers throughout his presidency, with the exception of a few days in the first month. And remember, this is according the right-wing pollsters at Rasmussen. Given the reality of Trump’s dreadful and despised tenure, asking people to unify behind him is like asking people to board the Titanic after it hit the iceberg. But that’s Ingraham’s position, and God bless her, she’s sticking to it.

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

Sucks To Be Trump: More Americans Trust the ‘Fake’ News than the President

It’s always easy to tell when Donald Trump is frightened by the political and legal perils he encounters. His first reaction is predictably to grab his phone and tweet out incoherent rants. They might be about issues he incompetently tries to advance, or about people he perceives as enemies. But often it’s about the media that he despises for doing their job.

Donald Trump

Most of the time Trump disparages the free press in a transparent attempt to inoculate himself from criticism. It’s a pathetic spectacle that everyone can see through, but worse, it’s anti-democratic. Sometimes he goes on the attack just to convince himself that he is loved by the American people, despite reality. On Tuesday morning Trump did the latter with a tweet lauding his alleged popularity:

Let’s just set aside the baseless and deranged “Cheatin’ Obama” crap (who cheats more than Trump? Ask any of his three wives) and focus on the substance. Rasmussen is one of the most egregiously biased pollsters, well known for skewing their results to favor Republicans and conservatives. So Trump’s numbers in this poll are unreliable and far outside the range of every other pollster. The RealClear Politics average for Trump currently shows an approval of 41.8 percent, disapproval 53.2 percent. That negative 11.4 percent gap averages the latest twelve surveys. Rasmussen is the only pollster who gives Trump a positive (+1) rating. The next closest is Fox News, whose number (-7) is not exactly something to brag about. No poll (except for Rasmussen) gives Trump a rating higher than 45 percent. Gallup has his approval at only 39 percent.

It’s also notable that since Trump posted his tweet, even the Rasmussen numbers have become negative, flipping to 50 disapprove. That’s one of the risks of depending on polls for your self-esteem. They change. Nevertheless, Trump is likely still wallowing in his delusional state of magnificence. However, by tweeting “Thank you to Rasmussen,” he is demonstrating that he doesn’t know what polls are. They are not favors to the subjects of the surveys and it’s peculiar to thank them for their results. Well, maybe Rasmussen is an exception to that as well.

UPDATE: Two days later, Trump dips again in Rasmussen poll. He’s now at 47% approve, 51% disapprove, with 41% strongly disapprove.

Another survey that was released Monday was from Monmouth University and covered the public view of Trump and the media. Like other polls before it, Monmouth found that Americans trust the media more than they do Donald Trump. That’s gotta sting the President who has been striving furiously to turn the nation against the press. The detail shows that 48 percent of Americans trust CNN more than Trump (35% trust Trump more). Forty-five percent trust MSNBC more than Trump (32% for Trump). Even 30 percent trust Fox News more than Trump (20% for Trump). Although the Fox numbers also show that a plurality of 37 percent trust both equally. This affirms that Trump’s base is still immovably stuck in the low thirties.

There are some other interesting results in this survey. Notably the fact that most Americans believe that the media, at least occasionally, reports “fake” news. And many them believe that it is done deliberately “in order to push an agenda.” That’s indicative of the harm done by a leader who has no respect for the free press and seeks to delegitimize journalism generally in order to escape accountability. But it also makes Trump’s trust levels even worse in context. The American people still trust the media more than Trump even though they think that what the media reports is occasionally fake. Which means that they think Trump is even more fake. Let’s see if he tweets anything about that.

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

Fox News Wins the First Annual Trump Trophy for Fake News – Rasmussen Poll

Donald Trump’s relentless campaign against the free press has been in progress for a couple of years now. At every opportunity he disparages news organizations and reporters as dishonest, corrupt, sleazy, and even called the media “the enemy of the American people.” It’s a transparent attempt to make people distrust what they see and read in the press so that any bad news about Trump is dismissed as fake.

Fox News Lies

Earlier this week Trump posted a proposal on Twitter to have a contest to determine the most dishonest television network. How ironic that the former reality TV game show host thinks this would be an appropriate method of establishing journalistic credibility. Needless to say, his proposal was somewhat skewed by his prejudices:

Let’s just set aside his delusional suggestion that he is our favorite president (He’s not). The idea of competing for a fake news trophy is as silly as any of the childish notions that infect Trump’s cartoon brain. Nevertheless, it was taken up by Trump’s favorite pollster, Rasmussen Reports. Rasmussen is a notoriously right-wing outfit that exists to provide biased data to Republicans and conservative political operations. Which makes the results of this survey all the more interesting.

Rasmussen asked the respondents which network should win the hypothetical Fake News Trophy postulated in Trump’s tweet. They ignored his insistence on leaving Fox News out of the competition. And the results point to why that might have been. According to Rasmussen:

“The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 65% of Likely U.S. Voters consider fake news a big problem […] But 40% of all voters think Fox News should be the winner of the first annual Fake News Trophy.”

So Fox News was the runaway leader in the Fake News pageant. A distant second place went to CNN with only twenty-five percent of the vote. Rounding out the field were MSNBC with nine percent, and ABC, CBS and NBC each received less than 5 percent. The partisan breakdown by party was also notable. Not surprisingly, a majority of Democrats (53%) voted for Fox News to take the honors. However, a sizable chunk of Republicans (24%) felt the same way.

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

This poll affirms what many previous polls have found. Fox News is not regarded as a credible news source. And despite Trump’s attempts to smear the media, most Americans continue to trust the press more than they trust the President. It’s not even close. Trump’s record of distortions, dodges, and deliberate lies has demonstrated his malice for the truth. Or worse, his inability to distinguish truth from lies, or reality from delusional fantasies.

Pathetic: Trump is Relying on His Warped Imagination to Convince Himself That He’s Popular

The historically low approval ratings for Donald Trump are no longer news. It is a state of affairs that is cemented in the public zeitgeist as this President continues to flounder. The American people have made up their minds that he is an offensive blowhard whose policies reek of bigotry, ignorance, greed, and narcissism. That’s a recipe for catastrophe and given his obstinance and inability to learn or repent, there is little hope that anything will change.

As an illustration of just how blinded Trump is to reality, he just posted a tweet bragging about his approval ratings. That’s right, he’s managed to find something positive about being the worst president in history. However his tweet reveals signs of a mental collapse on several points:

Let’s break that down. First of all, Trump is praising Rasmussen Reports as “One of the most accurate polls.” Anyone with knowledge of Rasmussen knows that his reputation as a pollster is toxic. His results are notoriously over-weighted in favor of Republicans and conservatives. The experts at FiveThirtyEight give him a C+, which is generous. Rasmussen polls are conducted by robocalls, a methodology that is widely discredited amongst statisticians. The only reason for his survey company to exist is to provide biased data to wingnut “news” operations and pundits.

Secondly, Trump dismisses all other polls as “fake news.” It’s his typical way of avoiding any facts that don’t exalt him as the beloved Messiah he envisions himself to be. The fact that almost every poll taken by reputable survey organizations place Trump in the thirties is an affirmation of their accuracy. But Trump pulls his MAGA hat down over his eyes and plugs his fingers in his ears to prevent any exposure to the sad truth that he’s universally despised.

Thirdly, Trump drops one of his famous “some people” diversions into the mix. If there is any poll putting Trump’s favorability in the fifties he should be able to cite it. Not even the ultra-right Rasmussen goes there. The only voices articulating those numbers are in Trump’s head.

Finally, if Trump is so pleased with Rasmussen’s survey results he should probably make a more complete presentation of them. Then people would know that his forty-six percent approval rating has already dropped two points to forty-four. His disapproval is at fifty-four percent, hardly anything to boast about. Even worse, Rasmussen tracks his ‘Strongly Disapprove” rating which sits at forty-five percent. That compares to his “Strongly Approve” rating at a pitiful twenty-eight percent. According to Rasmussen, that gives him a negative seventeen percent approval index.

Donald Trump

These are the dismal numbers that got Trump so excited he had to get on the Twitter machine and rejoice. But the only thing these numbers reveal is the depths of his psychological impairment. And his celebration of how much America hates him is just another reason he needs to be removed from office and confined to a padded cell.

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

Kellyanne Conway on Fox News Complains That the Media Isn’t ‘Afraid Enough’ of Donald Trump

The Queen of Alternative Facts, Kellyanne Conway, has been absent from the public eye for a while. But now she has returned to make an appearance on Fox News (of course). And she didn’t disappoint in the delivery of her unique brand of shilling for her boss, Donald Trump.

Kellyanne Conway

Conway was interviewed on Trump’s favorite TV show Fox and Friends (video below). The President has called it “the most honest show on television.” And it’s clear as to why he holds that opinion. They will lie relentlessly for him no matter the subject. And it’s why White House spokespersons appear almost exclusively on Fox News. They know they can get away with saying anything and not be subject to any challenge or criticism. For instance, Conway started right out of the gate slamming the media:

“There’s a huge disconnect between what the media are telling Americans what is important to them and what Americans are telling your pollsters and their pollsters and all of us what is important to them.”

That makes literally zero sense. What the media is telling Americans about what is important comes directly from the the pollsters. And virtually every poll shows Trump floundering personally, and his agenda in tatters. Undeterred, Conway continues:

“I think the media are obsessed with style. I saw a poll this morning. Forty-seven percent of Americans say the media are trying to impede the President’s progress on the agenda as opposed to just report the facts. And Gerry Baker at the Wall Street Journal just yesterday came out and said ‘Listen, you’ve gotta cover this as reporters. This has become opinion commentary disguised at reporting.’ Particularly when the President mentions the media.”

First of all, the poll Conway is referring to is by Rasmussen Reports, an unabashedly biased firm that spins everything to the far right. Secondly, Conway citing the editor-in-chief of Rupert Murdoch’s flagship newspaper as a source of factual reporting is ludicrous. Especially because the quote she highlighted came from an email that has angered the Journal’s staff. Some were so upset that they turned to CNN to vent their frustration:

“At the time, some staffers told CNNMoney they believed that Baker was going out of his way to be deferential to Trump in order to maintain access to the White House and proximity to power. Staffers also chafe at Baker’s insistence on conducting the interviews with Trump himself, rather than letting the paper’s journalists take the lead.”

When reporters at a conservative paper accuse their editorial peers of being “deferential to Trump” you have a real problem. Many have them long demonstrated such deference, but apparently this editor has gone too far, even for the Journal. And they are also disturbed by his habit of usurping their duties when it comes to presidential interviews.

But Conway was only beginning to hit her stride. Answering a question that didn’t involve the media, Conway found a way to resume her attack on the free press. Co-host Steve Doocy’s raised the comments of former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, with regard to Trump’s mental stability. On CNN Clapper described Trump’s condition as “downright scary and disturbing.” And he asked how much longer the country would have to “endure this nightmare.” And Conway replied (skip to 7:50 in the video):

Doocy: A couple nights ago on television, [Clapper] said he wondered whether or not the president was fit to be president, fit to serve. If James Clapper is watching right now, what’s your message to him?

Conway: It’s such an absurd analysis, playing armchair psychiatrist. It’s not just him. It’s a lot of people on TV.

I’m old enough to remember when news stations reported the news and didn’t just have a parade of pundits going out there and opinionating and rendering their opinions and pontificating and conjecturing. And I think it leads to analysis like this, because people end up with very little to say. They are not compelled. They are not forced. Nobody demands that they actually report facts and figures. This is way over the line. You know, the media and other opinion figures, they were way too afraid of President Obama and his administration. They’re not afraid enough here.

It’s jaw-droppingly hysterical that Conway is complaining about pundits “opinionating” to the propagandists at Fox News. The “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends trail only Sean Hannity as Fox’s premiere Trump-fluffers.

More importantly, Conway is actually advocating for some kind of government control of the press. Her notion that journalists should be “forced” to report her alternative facts is contrary to the tenets of the Constitution. She and her White House cohorts are not the arbiters of what is real or fake news. And if America wants state-sponsored reporting, they already have Fox News.

Furthermore, the media should never be afraid of any president, and no president should deliberately intimidate the press. But that’s exactly what Trump has been doing. He is not merely offering criticism. His childish taunts that reporters are sick, dishonest, and bad people who hate America, amounts to overt threats. They could easily lead to violence against journalists who are just doing their job.

When Trump called the media “the enemy of the American people,” he effectively gave permission to his crackpot disciples to take the necessary action to defend the country from its “enemies.” Hopefully Conway and Trump will not get their wish to make the media afraid of Trump. And hopefully nobody gets hurt.

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

Death Spiral: Trump’s Favorite Poll Shows His Approval Rating at an All-Time Low

Donald Trump must be finding it harder than usual to maintain his delusional rosy mental state. Despite a rash of crushing scandals, he tweeted recently that it’s “A great day at the White House!” and that there is “No WH chaos!” That was after his new (and now fired) communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, unleashed a profane rant against his White House colleagues. And his Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus, got the boot. Also, his attempt to kill healthcare went down in flames. He misfired with an illegal proposal to discriminate against transgender soldiers. And the Boy Scouts felt compelled to issue a public apology after Trump’s politicized rant at their Jamboree. What a great day.

Donald Trump Rasmussen

Now Rasmussen Reports has updated their daily tracking poll of Trump’s approval rating. It shows Trump having sunk to an all-time low of 39 percent. Bear in mind that that Rasmussen is a stridently right-wing survey outfit that generally has more positive results for Trump than any other pollster. Trump himself has lauded them for their accuracy. In June the President tweeted proudly that:

First of all, that wasn’t higher than Obama’s numbers. But Trump’s lying isn’t exactly news anymore. Don’t hold your breath waiting for Trump’s tweet about these new numbers. He is notorious for ignoring any information that is less than gratingly adoring. But with so little material that he will find flattering, he has to resort to making up criticisms that no one has offered. That explains the substance of his new tweet about his use of social media:

The embattled President doesn’t supply any evidence of these “enemies” clamoring for him to cease tweeting. To the contrary, it is supporters who are constantly shocked and and embarrassed by his Twitter tantrums. They frequently advise him to quit and they stutter while trying to defend his latest irrational outburst. His opponents couldn’t be happier about his tweet-storming. It presents his erratically unhinged temperament to the public better than they could with standard criticisms.

Some cable news pundits are mistakenly suggesting that the hiring of Gen. John Kelly as White House chief of staff marks a new beginning for Trump. But how many times have they reported that he was finally pivoting to a more presidential posture? It’s not going to happen, and Kelly isn’t going to help. Trump is a seventy-one year old narcissist who lacks any measure of self-awareness. Not only is he unable to change, he is unwilling.

Consequently, we can expect his tweets and ludicrous off-hand comments at speeches to continue. As for his approval ratings, he is already the least popular president in modern history so he has nothing to prove on that scale. But he is likely to achieve ever new lows that put the record out of reach for any aspiring dumbfucks that succeed him. He may want watch this video for helpful tips as he sinks lower into the muck.

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

Donald Trump’s Approval Rating Nears Its All-Time Low in His Favorite, Fawning Poll

While Donald Trump has been embarrassing America in Europe (again), his approval rating at home has been declining (again). The meeting of the G20 in Germany produced nothing that benefits the United States. Trump was the only leader who dissented on an agreement on climate change. He left his unqualified daughter Ivanka to represented the country at an important session on Africa. And his attacks on American media, intelligence agencies, and his predecessor, Barack Obama, violated long-held diplomatic protocol against criticizing the country while on foreign soil. The only beneficiary of this trip was Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin. According to reports, he got Trump to agree that Russia had no role in the election tampering last year.

Donald Trump

Not surprisingly, Trump’s pathetic performance on the world stage has earned him failing grades from across the political spectrum. Presidential historian Douglas Brinkley went beyond “embarrassing” to call it “juvenile” and “crazy.” But perhaps most damaging from Trump’s own perspective is that his poll numbers have dropped precipitously at the one pollster in whom he has any confidence.

Rasmussen Reports is well known as a stridently right-leaning survey enterprise. Their polling methodology, which relies heavily on robo-calls exclusively to landlines, is not especially well regarded by statisticians. But the results are often heralded by Republicans in general, and Donald Trump in particular. Just two weeks ago he took to Twitter with a post bragging about his rise to fifty percent favorability. Never mind that that means half the country has an unfavorable opinion of him, or that most other polls put him below forty percent. It was a moment he considered worthy of celebration.

Something tells me he isn’t going to tweet the most recent results from Rasmussen. In just two short weeks, Trump has fallen to forty-four percent on his favorite poll. His all-time low on Rasmussen was just one point lower. Fifty-six percent disapprove. But even these low numbers are significantly higher than most other polls. For instance, the Gallup tracking poll currently has Trump with only thirty-eight percent approval.

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

The nation’s disdain for the President is only partly based on his foreign misadventures. He is also the driving force behind legislation to repeal ObamaCare. Most Americans are opposed to that, with support numbers in the teens. They are also opposed to his immigration bans, his rejection of climate science, and his ludicrous border wall. And his Twitter tantrums attacking the media aren’t getting much support either. Polls asking who is trusted more reveal that the public sides with the press in every instance. So don’t hold your breath waiting for Trump to tweet about that either. He’ll just lash out wildly at the so-called “fake news” and rely on his glassy-eyed disciples to prime his insatiable ego. SAD!

Trump Brags About Having Higher Approval Ratings than Obama – In His Warped Imagination

Donald Trump is reportedly holed up at Camp David this weekend. It’s the first time that he’s visited the official presidential retreat since taking office. He prefers to stay at his own luxury golf resorts where taxpayers have to shell out for his lodging. Taxpayers also foot the bill for the dozens of staff and security personnel who accompany him.

Obama Trump

But while at Camp David, Trump still found time for exalting himself on Twitter. He boasted about how well his agenda is doing, despite a record of profound failure. All of his most prominent campaign promises have gone unfulfilled. He has been unable to repeal ObamaCare. There is no hint of a wall along the southern border. Tax reform hasn’t even begun. Terrorism is just as big a problem as ever. His attempts to implement a ban on immigration were repeatedly struck down by federal courts.

The most peculiar tweet of this Sunday morning TwitFit is one that sought to pump up his ego. Yeah, I know that applies to most of his tweets. But this one was more flagrant than most:

First of all, no one regards Rasmussen as an especially reliable survey outfit. They are brazenly biased toward Republicans and conservatives. And their accuracy lies closer to the bottom of the pack. What success they have is only because they often rejigger their findings at the end of a campaign to be more in line with other polls. That improves their averages, but is wholly dishonest. FiveThirtyEight gives them only a C+ rating. Their survey method employs automated phone calls to landlines. Most polling services regard operator-assisted calls as more reliable. And capturing the opinions of cell phone users is a requirement for accurate results.

That said, Trump’s assertion that his fifty percent approval rating is higher than President Obama’s is just plain false. According to Rasmussen’s website, Obama had an approval rating of fifty-five percent at this point in his presidency. During his first five months, Obama got as high as sixty-three percent, and never dropped below fifty-three. Trump, on the other hand, has marked record lows for a president in his first five months. This new personal high of fifty percent comes after an unlikely and unexplained seven point leap in two days.

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

Let’s set aside for the moment the fact that Trump outright lied about beating Obama’s numbers. And also the fact that Rasmussen is overtly biased. The spectacle of Trump getting excited about an approval rating that leaves half the country dissatisfied is kind of pathetic. What’s more, Rasmussen breaks down his numbers to reveal that only thirty-one percent “strongly approve” of Trump while forty-two percent “strongly disapprove” (a net negative index of -11%). Yet this is something that Trump thinks is cause for celebration. That’s the sign of a desperate and delusional man.

Worst.President.Ever: Trump Hypes Biased Poll That Still Shows Him At 50 Percent Unfavorable

From the day Donald Trump was inaugurated he has suffered through the lowest approval ratings of any president on record. And his repeated failures in office haven’t helped to dig him out of that hole. Consequently, he resorts to diversionary tactics to take attention away from his floundering administration. More often than not that includes lashing out at the media, bragging about his November victory, or accusing President Obama, or other Democrats, of imaginary felonies.

Donald Trump

On Monday morning Trump employed another of his favorite diversions: promoting partisan polls that he thinks make him look good. He re-tweeted the Drudge Report which posted a link to Rasmussen Reports, a brazenly right-wing polling firm. Rassmussen published the results of their latest poll saying:

“The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Monday shows that 50% of Likely U.S. Voters approve of President Trump’s job performance. Fifty percent (50%) disapprove.

“This is the first time the president’s overall approval rating has been back in the 50s in nearly a month.”

The fact that Trump gets excited about a poll where as many people dislike him as like him shows how desperate he is for any good news. But since this is a Rasmussen poll, that achievement isn’t even credible. The RealClearPolitics average of all Trump polls puts him at negative nine percent. Rasmussen’s tie is the best showing of the last seven polls which range from negative six to negative twelve percent. The highest approval he reaches in any of them is 43 percent.

Further examination shows that even Rasmussen was not especially kind to Trump in the recent past. Two weeks ago Rasmussen had Trump down by eight points. The week before that he was down by twelve. So it’s rather startling that Trump surged to a tie in such a short time. Well, it would be for any pollster other than Rasmussen.

For some background, CNN’s Chris Cillizza published an article enumerating the reasons to be skeptical of Rasmussen. Among them are the pollster’s questionable methods of selecting a representative sample of voters. Or their automated telephone polling that excludes the younger demographic of cell phone users. But in general, Cillizza faults Rasmussen for failing to disclose their methodology:

“In an industry in which transparency is the name of the game, Rasmussen just doesn’t show very much of how they do what they do. That’s not to say what they do is wrong; it’s only to say we have no way of knowing how closely they adhere to accepted polling standards.”

He’s being generous. Rasmussen’s results vary widely from every other poll. And they are notorious for posting results that favor Republicans. Many media organization won’t cite them because their methods don’t satisfy the recognized standards for statistical analysis.

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

On a tangential point, it’s a little unseemly for a president to be flattering himself with poll results. I can’t think of another time when that was done outside of a campaign. It’s really just a form of low-grade propaganda when it comes direct from the White House. And for his trouble, Trump is relying on a pollster with little credibility for numbers that aren’t particularly positive. But when you’ve set records for low performance, and most of the country opposes you and your policies, I guess you take whatever crumbs fall onto your plate. And in Trump’s case, you pretend they are Creme Brulee and brag about having the best recipe ever.

Are Voters Willing To Pay To Combat Global Warming? Don’t Ask Fox News

For anyone looking for additional evidence that Fox News makes people stupid, another splendid example popped up on the Fox Nation website today.

Fox Nation

The article’s headline posed the question “Are Voters Willing To Pay To Combat Global Warming?” Both the question and the original source for the article came directly from the ultra-conservative pollsters at Rasmussen Reports. The folks at Rasmussen answered the question by stating flatly that “Most voters still aren’t ready to pay much, if anything, to fight global warming.” Fox News repeated the same thing without any critical assessment of its accuracy.

It would not be surprising, then, for Fox’s audience to come away believing that the poll showed that Americans are unwilling to pay up in order to prevent the scientifically verified dangers of Climate Change. And if they won’t pay to mitigate the harm, then they must not think it’s very important.

The problem with that conclusion, however, is that it flies in the face of both reality and the actual results of the Rasmussen poll. Reading further on the Rasmussen article (which Fox did not report) reveals a very different representation of the public opinion:

“A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 41% of Likely U.S. Voters say they are willing to pay nothing more in higher taxes and utility costs annually to to generate cleaner energy and fight global warming. But that’s down from 48% last August and the lowest level measured in regular tracking since January 2013. Another 24% are willing to spend only $100 more per year, unchanged from earlier surveys. Twenty-six percent (26%) are ready to spend $300 or more a year to combat global warming, with six percent (6%) who are ready to spend at least $1,000 more annually.”

To sum up, with 24% willing to pay at least $100.00 per year, plus 26% willing to pay over $300.00 per year, plus another 6% willing to pay more than $1000.00 per year, you get 56% (a clear majority) of Americans who believe that Climate Change is a problem that is serious enough to shell out significant funds to address. Yet somehow Rasmussen, and subsequently Fox News, spun the poll results as saying that “most voters still aren’t ready to pay much, if anything.”

So how did they arrive at that obviously contrary conclusion? One guess is that they simply decided that either $100.00 or $300.00 is not “much” money. But that’s a subjective analysis and many Americans would dispute it. Even Fox News would dispute it under different circumstances. For instance, if they thought that someone’s health insurance premium was going to increase $100.00 per year they would regard it as an outrage and renew their calls to repeal ObamaCare.

Another possible explanation for how the poll results were so absurdly twisted is Rasmussen’s methodology wherein they split the responses into four groups (pay nothing, $100.00, $300.00, or $1000.00). The effect is to divide all the responses where there is willingness to pay into three answers, while leaving a single answer for those unwilling to pay anything. Consequently, you get a plurality of 41% who won’t pay, compared to smaller numbers who will pay different amounts. So long as no one adds up those other amounts and realizes that they total 56%, a deceptive pollster could claim that those who won’t pay are the largest single group.

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Rest assured that the Fox News audience won’t do the math. In fact, they probably won’t even click through to read the article. And for the foreseeable future they will believe, falsely, that the majority of the American people are against any attempt to address Climate Change if it is going to cost them anything. Nice work Fox. Your dishonesty will keep your audience mired in ignorance, just the way you like them.