LOSERS: Both Trump and Fox News Came in Last on Saturday

Misery loves company. And there are few experiences more miserable than joining the One Term Club of failed U.S. presidents. That’s where Donald Trump finds himself today, even as he frantically tries to deny reality with his frivolous lawsuits and impotent tweets pitifully claiming that he “won by a lot.” He didn’t. And the American people are not going to miss the abundant abominations of his deviant detour from democracy.

Donald Trump, Fox News, Hate Again

Along with Trump’s humiliating loss to Joe Biden, a candidate that he unsuccessfully tried to demean as a mentally deficient socialist, Fox News has also proved to be a failure in the early stages of the post-Trump era. On Saturday most news agencies called the election for Biden. CNN came first, followed by NBC, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, the Associated Press, and bringing up the rear, a clearly reluctant Fox News.

However, even more troubling from Fox’s perspective, they came in dead last in the ratings against their cable news competition. And it was a distant last place finish at that:

“‘CNN has been the most-watched network for continuing coverage of the 2020 presidential election, and that sterling performance culminated on Saturday, as the network earned by far the most viewers’ during Biden’s victory speech, TVNewser’s A.J. Katz wrote. […]

“CNN averaged 13.6 million viewers during the live coverage; MSNBC averaged 8.5 million; and Fox News had just 3 million. This is a pattern that we’ve seen with Fox for some time — the network fares very well as the ‘voice of the opposition’ to Democrats, but when Dem leaders are speaking live or celebrating something, Fox’s audience fades.”

This is more than just an affirmation that America’s news consumers prefer the honesty of CNN, NBC, etc., to the lies and propaganda of Fox News. It also reveals that Fox’s audience is a brainwashed cult of devotees who are unconcerned with truthful reporting. The audiences for the non-Fox news organizations grew substantially on Saturday, especially for the Biden victory speech. But the three million viewers for Fox were about the same number that they would have had on any other day. So the Fox News audience is apparently just a parish of disciples who will watch no matter what is going on.

Leading those disciples is the cult’s Dear Leader himself. Trump has been conspicuously absent from the media since election day. He hasn’t made a single public appearance or spoken to the press, including his Ministry of Propaganda, Fox News. However, he has been feverishly tweeting video clips of his State TV sycophants. On Sunday night, in fact, he posted ten videos of the Trump-fluffers on Fox News parroting his desperate denial that had Biden had won.

That’s a lot of video posts, even for Trump. Particularly when he has recently been upset with Fox. On election day he phoned into Fox and Friends and complained that the network gave too much airtime to Barack Obama. He also called Fox “a problem” because they’re going the way of CNN, and they’re going the way of MSNBC.” This summer Trump whined that it’s So hard to watch @FoxNews anymore because “The Radical Left has scared Fox into submission.” And there is so much more of this whining due to Fox not being sufficiently worshipful at all times.

Trump, however, seems to still be glued to Fox News because he knows there is nowhere else for him to go for such devoted support with a hefty audience of dimwitted cult followers. The alternatives (i.e. Newsmax, OANN, etc.) are low rated also rans. So Trump will stick with Fox, where the two losers can continue to offer each other solace and unquestioning promotional support. That is, until after he leaves office and decides to build his own, destined to fail, media empire.

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

Trump’s Nightmare: Biden Takes the Ratings Crown in Dueling Town Halls

Friday is going to be another Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day for Donald Trump, whose days of late are mostly filled with disappointment, bitterness, anger, jealousy, and fear. With every new poll Trump is falling farther behind Joe Biden, both nationally and in the critical battleground states. Even his favorite pollster, the rabidly biased, right-wing Rasmussen, has Trump facing near certain defeat.

Donald Trump, Joe Biden

After chickening out of the second presidential debate, Trump plotted with NBC to schedule a town hall that would directly compete with the one previously scheduled with Joe Biden on ABC. There was a lot wrong with that decision on NBC’s part, and their poor judgement is not validated by this good news in the aftermath of both town halls (via Variety):

“Biden drew 12.7 million total viewers on the Disney-owned network, while Trump drew 10.4 million in the same 9-10 p.m. time slot on NBC. Across the entire runtime, the Biden town hall averaged 12.3 million viewers. In terms of the fast national 18-49 demographic, Biden is comfortably on top with a 2.6 rating to Trump’s 1.7.” [See updated numbers below]

Biden’s audience exceeded Trump’s by more than two million – 20%. [Note: these are preliminary ratings that will be updated later in the day]. That’s a significant victory that parallels Biden’s lead in both polling and fundraising. Biden pulled in a record $383 million in September, compared to Trump’s haul of only $247.8 million. But best of all, ratings are what Trump cares about more than anything else, and he has utterly failed in that arena. This will surely drive the Narcissist-In-Chief CRAZY(er).

[UPDATE: The total is now in for Trump’s town hall, including MSNBC and CNBC. The three networks combined drew 13.1 million viewers. So Biden’s town hall on ABC, whose final numbers are 14.1 million, still beat Trump by a million viewers]

There were additional differences between the the Trump and Biden town halls that are more substantive than ratings. While Biden made a couple of mistakes, Trump lied frequently in his town hall. He was also challenged – and failed – on issues like…

  • Refusing to renounce the QAnon domestic terrorists
  • Deliberate distortions of data concerning the coronavirus
  • His inability to recall whether he had taken a COVID-19 test prior to the first debate
  • His miniscule tax payments and to whom he owes more than $400 million
  • Disseminating conspiracy theories such as one about Biden killing SEAL Team 6

On that last matter Trump attempted to excuse himself by saying that “it was a retweet,” as if that makes any difference. It’s still Trump passing along a preposterous and dangerous lie. NBC’s moderator, Savannah Guthrie, called him out saying that “You’re not like someone’s crazy uncle that can just retweet whatever.”

All told, the night was a huge defeat for Trump. He embarrassed himself in his own town hall. He likely alienated even more voters. And worst of all, he was beaten up in the ratings by someone he says is a mentally deficient socialist. If Trump can’t even win against that sort of an opponent, what does that make him?

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

Trump’s RNC Speech Flops in the Ratings, Loses to Biden

Our reality TV game show host president has made it clear over the years that the most important thing to him are his television ratings. He cites them to validate the usefulness of his phony Coronavirus Task Force briefings. In his ego-soaked ignorance, he considers them to be the real polls.” But now he’s going to have to live with the yardstick for success that he created.

Donald Trump

The overnight Nielsen ratings for Trump’s nomination acceptance speech at the Republican Nationalist Confederation were an unmitigated flop. Despite his illegally using the White House for his political campaign, and cramming a couple of thousand cheering sycophants into a small space with no face masks, Trump still managed to underperform. As reported by CNN

“President Trump’s Thursday night convention speech making the case for his reelection was lower-rated than his challenger Joe Biden’s speech one week ago, according to overnight Nielsen ratings.

“About 23.8 million viewers watched coverage of Trump’s RNC address across thirteen cable and broadcast networks, down from 24.6 million viewers who watched Biden’s DNC address on twelve of those same networks.”

This is the method of measuring that Trump has insisted best reflects where the American people stand. He’s wrong! But since he’s made such a big deal of it, it would be unfair not to give it due consideration. Two million more people watched Biden, who Trump has maligned with infantile nicknames such as “sleepy” and “slow.” And the Democratic convention also beat the Republicans for the total four days combined. So where does that leave Trump now?

Even on Fox News immediately following Trump’s 70 minute harangue, Chris Wallace told the Trump cultists watching that the speech was “surprisingly flat,” “far too long,” and lacked substance. Yet somehow, in Trump’s delusional fantasy world, he posted a tweet that contradicted reality:

Seriously, where does he get this stuff? Are his aides purposefully lying to him? Are these his own original lies? Or is he suffering from an acute case of self-deception? Regardless, he is passing these blatant falsehoods on to his worshipful cult disciples who will believe whatever he says.

However, the American people aren’t fooled by any of this. Trump’s approval ratings have not improved since the convention began. In fact, Trump’s favorite pollster, the wildly biased Rasmussen, actually shows him dropping five points. And if that’s the story from the most pro-Trump pollster, guess where the rest of the surveys are going to wind up.

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

UPDATE: Naturally, Trump couldn’t keep his yap shut about this. But who would have expected him to completely defy reality by tweeting…

Well, actually everyone would have expected that. Trump lies like the rest of us breathe. But while it’s not surprising, it’s still shocking and disgusting.

Reality Game Show ‘President’ Trump Thinks TV Ratings are ‘The Real Polls’

Every day seems to provide a new opportunity to declare that Donald Trump has done or said something that is even worse than anything he’s done or said before. It may seem redundant or hyperbole, but somehow Trump actually does rise to the challenge and manages to exceed whatever heinousness he excreted the day before. It’s a gift.

Donald Trump TV Set

On Saturday morning Trump took to his Twitter machine to unleash another series of frenzied, paranoid, and nearly incoherent rants. Among them, he has apparently abandoned his “Sleepy” nickname for Joe Biden and is trying out “Corrupt” because nothing is working for him. Biden continues to expand his lead in national polls, as well as in every swing state. Trump’s desperation shows in his Twittering that is now rampant with QAnon conspiracy crackpots. And he’s touting his efforts to kill healthcare for 20 million Americans during a pandemic in which he has already killed more than 125,000 people. It’s notable that he’s been promising to repeal and replace Obamacare for 4 years, but still doesn’t have a plan. The GOP has been running the same con for 10 years.

Of particular interest is one tweet that reveals just how shallow, delusional, and devoid of substance Trump is. His background as a failed real estate grifter and self-proclaimed King of Debt (with six bankruptcies under his bulging belt) never prepared him for the presidency. Nor did his most recent professional experience as a reality TV game show host. But that’s the one that continues to guide his conduct in office:

Trump is lashing out in a state of dread and hopelessness as he realizes that his prospects for the future more closely resemble his worst nightmares. So he grasps onto the ludicrous notion that television ratings are a reasonable alternative to scientifically conducted public opinion surveys. “These are the real polls,” Trump whines in an attempt spin some something positive out of the dregs of a news cycle that holds only misery for him.

Along with the horrific rise in coronavirus infections and fatalities (which studies prove were intensified by viewing Fox News), Trump is also having to explain the poor attendance at his revived cult rallies. He is saddled with responsibility for an economy in recession. His former National Security Advisor, John Bolton, has exposed Trump’s ignorance in a new book that Trump was unsuccessful in suppressing. Same goes for the book by his niece, Mary Trump. And the New York Times just reported that Russia paid the Taliban to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan, and Trump knew but did nothing. How is that not treason?

With all of that going on, Trump found time to go golfing at his Virginia country club and tweet idiotic tributes to himself. For the record, Trump’s boasting about the TV ratings for his Oklahoma speech and his interview with Sean Hannity are just the ratings for Fox News programming. So naturally his Deplorables would be tuning in. That proves nothing except that he and Fox News are running a bona fide cult whose members have abandoned free thought. Those ratings are only “polls” of people watching that particular network and amount to less than one percent of the American population. That’s the pitiful pittance of viewers that Trump is trying to characterize as “the Silent Majority.”

Trump has been plaintively beseeching the nation to “not believe the Fake News Media” for at least four years now. But his whining has been met with ridicule as the American people continue to reject him by ever larger margins. In fact, the real polls show that more Americans trust CNN than either Trump or Fox News. So nice work, Bunker Boy. Despite tedious repetition and relentless hostility, the “fake news” branding campaign has been an epic flop. Pretty much like everything else Trump does.

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

Trump Reveals What He Cares About Now: ‘Going Around Fake News [to Lie] to the People’

The American people are struggling to cope with a crisis that most have never imagined. They are frightened for the welfare of themselves, their families, and their nation. And with the exception of a few misguided jackasses, they are bringing a profound measure of determination and courage to the fight to defeat the coronavirus pandemic and return to some semblance of normalcy.

Donald Trump Loves

And then there’s Donald Trump. From the outset of his presidency (and actually many decades before) Trump has demonstrated that the only thing he really cares about is himself. That’s repulsive and annoying for a private citizen or a reality TV game show host, but it’s frightfully dangerous for an alleged national leader.

During Monday’s Coronavirus Task Force briefing (aka Trump 2020 Reelection Campaign Infomercial), Trump was asked “Is this really the time for self-congratulations,” with nearly 800,000 Americans infected and tens of thousands dead. He responded by callously saying that “It’s not about me. Nothing is about me.”

Of course, that’s ludicrous. His answer went on to reiterate how, in his view, he is the most put upon president ever, despite all of the miraculous accomplishments that exist only in his cartoon brain. But on Tuesday morning Trump was apparently less than satisfied with his self-exaltations, so he blasted out a series of tweets lavishing more praise on himself. For instance…

These are the ravings of a malignant narcissist whose perception of reality is deeply distorted by his voracious ego. When Trump takes credit for the ratings of the task force briefings, he is proving how little he knows about ratings. He thinks that people of all political persuasions tuning in to get information from health experts about a deadly pandemic is a reflection of his popularity. It isn’t. He has been making this mistake for several weeks and is convinced that he is the Pat Sajak of COVID-19, spinning the “Wheel of Misfortune” for bored television audiences.

More to the point, Trump openly discloses what he cares about during this time of tribulations, pretending that he doesn’t care about ratings (although he can’t stop talking about them), but that “I care about going around the Fake News to the PEOPLE!”

Yep. That’s what Trump says he cares about. He could have said that he cares about the tens of thousands of dead Americans and their grieving families and friends. He could have said that he cares about overcoming the pandemic and restoring the nation’s physical and financial health. But no. He is so consumed with his own PR that he couldn’t even suppress his ego long enough to pretend that he cared about something other than promoting himself and bashing his perceived foes in the press.

Trump elaborated on this theme of self-obsession in a trio of tweets posted along with the one above. In one he confessed that he watched Joe Scarborough on MSNBC and concluded that Scarborough was filled with “hatred and contempt” and that “his mind is shot.” That’s as good an example of pure psychotic projection as you’re ever likely to see.

In another tweet Trump whined that “It is amazing that I became President,” considering what he claims was the “corrupt” and “dishonest” media going after him day and night. He isn’t the only one who thinks his being elected president was amazing. But what’s really amazing is that Trump’s glassy-eyed cult followers aren’t repulsed by his constant and cowardly victimhood.

Finally, Trump bragged that he has a “96% Approval Rating in the Republican Party.” The only problem with that is that he absolutely doesn’t. He frequently posts this lie without ever providing a link to his (non-existent) source. But even if his approval was that high, Trump still doesn’t grasp that he’s not supposed to be the president of the GOP. Which isn’t going to help him in the upcoming election. In three years he’s done nothing to expand his tiny base of dimwits, but he’s determinedly sought to exacerbate division and partisan rancor.

So the most egomaniacal president ever spent much of the morning ignoring a still spreading pandemic and tweeting about himself. And his comments revealed that he cares more about that than about the welfare of the American people. But you can still expect him to show up at today’s task force briefing (that he has no business even attending) where he will resume lying, bragging, and yelling petulantly at reporters. Some things – unfortunately – never change.

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

WHAT PANDEMIC? Narcissist-In-Chief Trump Tweets About TV Ratings 3 Days in a Row

The American people are courageously complying with the guidelines set by public health experts to maintain social distancing and other measures to mitigate the harm of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. It’s a profound burden that requires families to be separated, businesses to be shut down, and financial sacrifices to be endured. But there is no alternative if this crisis is to be halted with a minimum of suffering and loss. And then there’s Donald Trump.

Donald Trump TV Set

From the earliest days of the pandemic’s spread, Trump ignorantly neglected to take the necessary actions to avert certain human tragedies. He downplayed the threat as a trivial one that would go away by itself in few days with only a handful of victims. He refused to employ presidential powers to direct American industry to produce vital medical supplies and equipment. He repeatedly mislead the public about the impact that widespread illness would have on the nation and the economy. Who can forget his foolish opinion that the stock market is “starting to look very good to me!” it is currently down 6,000 points from it’s high in February.

And all the while Trump has been – in his own words – acting as a “cheerleader” for the country, as opposed to a truth teller. He’s admitting that he lies in order to disseminate a phony rosy scenario whose only purpose is to juice his approval ratings (which hasn’t worked), and boost his reelection prospects (which are also looking bad). Even Trump’s favorite pollster, the rabidly right-wing Rasmussen, just put him at 43& approval, his lowest standing in over five months.

Amidst Trump’s desperate efforts to distort reality with regard to COVID-19, he is also sharply focused on his own public image. As a well known malignant narcissist, Trump has a voracious ego that consumes his every waking hour. His Twitter account is heavily plastered with tributes to himself and praise for imaginary achievements. Included among them are Trump’s own tweets celebrating what he regards as TV ratings victories. In fact, Trump has tweeted about the ratings of the Coronavirus Task Force briefings three days in a row:

What Trump fails to understand is that these ratings are not indicators of his popularity. Viewers who both support and (mostly) oppose Trump watch these briefings. They are interested in what experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci have to say. The Trump team is actually making that harder by briefly refusing to allow Dr. Fauci and others to appear on CNN unless the network submitted to his unethical editorial demands (quid pro quo?). What’s more, the briefings air on multiple networks simultaneously and, therefore, are not comparable to any single network program rating such as The Bachelor.

Finally, Trump is using the ratings not only to glorify himself, but to justify his incompetent, so-called leadership. He is spewing paranoid fantasies of Democrats and other adversaries conspiring to put an end to the task force briefings. In reality, there is only criticism of Trump’s self-serving participation in the briefings. He has no relevant experience or knowledge of the medical or public health issues at hand. He simply reads a bunch of data (that could be read by an intern), then spends the rest of the time lying, bragging, and yelling at journalists. And it isn’t just Democrats who are put off by Trump’s tantrums:

“White House allies and Republican lawmakers increasingly believe the briefings are hurting the president more than helping him.”

The problem is that Trump is hijacking these briefings and turning them into thinly veiled campaign speeches. This is his alternative to the ego-feasting cult rallies he can no longer hold. And under the circumstances, the media would be justified in delaying their reports for a few minutes so that Trump’s avalanche of lies can be fact-checked. The press is not obligated to air Trump’s lies unchallenged, or to give him free airtime for his campaign.

After the endless propaganda Trump unloads in these affairs, he goes on Twitter to advertise the next episode with boasts of how high the ratings are. This sorry state of affairs proves that Trump is suffering from a unique form of mental derangement that should worry every American. He really can’t distinguish between the presidency and The Apprentice.

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

Fox News Hits Record High Ratings of a Measly 0.8% of American Viewers in 2019

If there’s one thing we can learn from 2019 it’s that hostile, melodramatic lies can boost the profits of a flagrantly biased organ of propaganda like Fox News. The right-wing network abandoned all pretense of journalistic integrity (what little it had) in order to sign on to the Donald Trump White House’s perverse distortions of reality.

Donald Trump, Fox News, Hate Again

The reward for Fox News was the undying devotion of an audience of willfully blind cult followers who agreed to believe only what they saw on Fox and heard from Dear Leader Trump. And their loyalty helped propel Fox News to the number one cable news network for the year.

Fox News – and their number one viewer, Donald Trump – surely celebrated this achievement. But as the year comes to a close it’s important to place this statistic in perspective. The numbers that produced this “victory” represent about 2.5 million viewers per night, or about 0.8% of the television audience on the United States. That’s not exactly a commanding presence of disinformed boob-tubers with eyes glazed over and chanting wingnut slogans.

Of course, any contribution to the thinly populated MAGA cult is troubling and can have negative consequences. But knowing that they are safely confined within the walled off world of Fox News makes their impact nearly irrelevant. The bigger problem with Fox is when they manage to persuade other news organizations that they have any credibility and use that to further spread their fabrications and slander.

The bragging rights for Fox News have always been the result of their having corralled all of the nation’s conservative TV news audience into their single channel pen. Meanwhile, all the other news networks are splitting up the rest of the viewers, which dilutes their total audience. But in 2019, just the combined numbers for MSNBC (1.75 million) and CNN (972,000) exceed the total for Fox News. So anyone who tries to argue that Fox’s numbers are proof of a conservative majority in the country are engaging in the same sort of dishonesty that is the hallmark of Fox News.

While Fox’s average numbers did earn them the top spot for the year, that doesn’t mean that they resided there the whole time with every program. In fact, Rachel Maddow beat her time period competition, Sean Hannity, for the entire first quarter of the year. She also won the months of September, October, and November. And both “Deadline: White House with Nicole Wallace” and “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” won their time periods for the year outright.

The real ratings disaster for the year was, once again, Donald Trump. He remains the most unpopular president since modern polling began. Even his favorite pollster, the disreputable and biased Rasmussen Reports, has him underwater with only 46% approving. And a recent Fox News poll showed that a majority of Americans (53%) have an unfavorable view of his job performance. In addition to that, a solid majority of 54% in the Fox poll said that Trump should be impeached, with 50% saying that he should also be removed from office. So whatever influence Fox News purports to have by snagging 0.8% of the television audience, it isn’t having much effect on the views of the American people. And that’s something Trump will surely post an angry tweet about before long.

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

Fox News Ratings Continue to Sink During Month of Trump’s Impeachment Hearings

One of the most nauseating things about Donald Trump is how deliberately he has decimated the standards of honesty for the U.S. presidency. And while there is nothing he won’t lie about, his falsehoods are frequently employed to boost his own fragile ego. This is a man who began his term by lying about the size of his inauguration audience. He lies about his popularity among Republicans. He routinely lies about the attendance at his cult rallies. And lately he has been obsessed with lies about the impeachment hearings hurting Democrats.

Fox News, Titanic

Contrary to Trump’s plaintive whining, polls show that it’s his own approval rating that has suffered throughout the impeachment hearings. A majority of Americans still favor his impeachment and removal from office. But that isn’t the only downside for Trump World. His state TV propaganda network, Fox News, is also being dragged down by the loathing he has cultivated for himself and his Republican Nationalist Party.

The numbers for the month of November tell a tale of woe for Trump’s media minions. Year to year, Fox News viewership for the total day in the all-important 25-54 year old demographic declined 11%. That compared to MSNBC’s rise of 5%. Fox’s daytime ratings in the demo declined 5% (MSNBC was up 19%). And Fox’s primetime schedule featuring Trump-fluffers Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, and Sean Hannity, dropped 12% (MSNBC was up 8%).

MSNBC’s strong performance was once again driven by Rachel Maddow. Her program handily beat Hannity with an average audience of 572,000 a night. Hannity, Fox’s top rated program, trailed with only 554,000. But she wasn’t alone. Chris Hayes, Lawrence O’Donnell, and Brian Williams all notched highs for the year in their time periods. Williams ranked No. 1 in his timeslot among adults 25-54. On the dayside, Deadline: White House with Nicolle Wallace was the most-watched cable news show at 4:00pm for the third straight month.

This is the second straight month where MSNBC’s growth outpaced Fox News. And it’s the third straight month that Maddow has topped Hannity. During most of this time the news has been consumed by contentious issues like impeachment and the 2020 election. Fox News has juiced its programming with live, interrupted coverage of Trump’s rallies (19 so far this year). But even that Trumpioid-fix for addicted Trump cultists didn’t keep viewers from fleeing.

Democrats should learn from this that they need to keep up the pressure on Trump. It’s not only educating the public about his criminal activities, it’s having a positive impact on impeachment in the polls, and on ratings for programs that aren’t afraid to tell the truth about Trump. Democrats need to ignore Trump’s impotent wailing about “witch hunts” and lies about how adored he is. He isn’t. And the more we point that out, the lower he sinks into the abyss of his own lies.

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

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.