It’s Official: Fox ‘News’ Is Not News And is Allowed to Lie, Says UK Communications Agency

The mission of Fox News from its inception was to advance the agenda of America’s conservatives and the Republican Party. That could not have been more obvious due to its founding by ultra-rightist Rupert Murdoch and GOP media strategist Roger Ailes. The network has spent the last twenty years defaming liberals and Democrats while vigorously supporting right-wing politicians and policies.

Fox News Lies

Much of what Fox News produced brazenly ignored the standards of professional journalism. They aired overtly biased “news” stories that were filled with misrepresentations and outright lies. PolitiFact has rated sixty percent of their their work as “Mostly False,” “False,” or “Pants on Fire.” The other cable news networks don’t even come close to that dubious achievement. This shameful record may have contributed to Fox News being yanked from British television for what they said was lack of viewers.

Now Fox News CEO Rupert Murdoch is trying to acquire the remaining portion of Sky Broadcasting (a European network) that he doesn’t already own. The U.K. has some stringent requirements for approving media deals that will impact the independence of the nation’s journalism. They also review any deal that could put too much power into the hands of a single outlet. On those grounds their Office of Communications (OFCOM) has been investigating Murdoch and his 21st Century Fox corporation.

Unfortunately for Murdoch, concerns about Fox News are stalling, and might kill, the approval process. The network is awash in scandals involving presenters and executives engaging in sexual harassment and related misconduct. They fired their now-deceased CEO Roger Ailes, their top star Bill O’Reilly, host Eric Bolling, among others. That doesn’t look good to the regulatory body considering the acquisition.

And that’s not all. Fox News is also being scrutinized for its reporting and its chumminess with Donald Trump and his administration. Talking Points Memo writes that:

“British authorities have increased scrutiny of the impending deal following several complaints raising concerns that the Fox News parent company is not fit to own Sky News. That scrutiny followed several resignations at Fox News over allegations of sexual harassment, as well as a lawsuit alleging that the network worked with the Trump administration to push a conspiracy theory about a murdered Democratic National Committee staffer.”

The characterization of the personnel matters as “resignations” is overly generous. These slimeballs did not leave voluntarily. But their terminations were also not likely due to Fox having a moral awakening. In fact, it was more likely a self-serving attempt to appease the U.K. regulators by trying to show that they were correcting their problems.

However, the most troubling conclusions coming out of OFCOM’s review were related directly to the editorial content of Fox News. In an ironic twist wherein the agency was actually defending approval, they offered an odd justification for why Fox’s misreporting should not stand in the way:

“In dismissing complaints about certain claims made on Fox News shows, Ofcom determined that ‘Hannity,’ ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight,’ and ‘Fox and Friends’ are not news programs and therefore do not have a ‘due accuracy requirement.'”

To be clear, the agency is making a judgment call that those programs do not qualify as “news.” Consequently, they have no obligation to report factually or even to tell the truth. Anyone who has watched for more than a couple of minutes already knows that those shows have abandoned fact-checking and honesty. And now their flagrantly unethical standards may actually help the company’s acquisition bid. But they would have to accept the argument that they are allowed to lie because they aren’t really news. So far, Fox News has not complained about this characterization of their programming. What does that tell you?

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

Is America Next? Fox News Booted Off the Air in the U.K. for Lack of Viewers

We have good reason to celebrate the intelligence and common sense of our friends in Britain. They have been suffering from Donald Trump’s reign from afar and have not been especially pleased. London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, asked him not to visit. Massive protests were being organized to greet him should he come. And last June Trump himself told Prime Minister Theresa May that he wouldn’t come at all until she could promise a warm welcome. The fact that he still hasn’t been there should tell you something.

Fox NOT News

Now it’s being reported that the PR division of the Trump administration, Fox News, has been dumped in the U.K. The Guardian published the report Tuesday morning and Fox News confirmed it:

“[Fox] has decided to cease providing a feed of Fox News Channel in the UK,” said a spokeswoman for the company. “Fox News is focused on the US market and designed for a US audience and, accordingly, it averages only a few thousand viewers across the day in the UK. We have concluded that it is not in our commercial interest to continue providing Fox News in the UK.”

The failure of Fox News abroad is not as trivial a matter as they seek to make it. England is a nation that is closely aligned with the U.S. and deeply concerned about our policies and politics. The dearth of viewers has nothing to do with the “focus” of the network. The Brits are more likely repulsed by the obvious bias and propaganda. They have many other news sources, including several from the U.S., to find out what America is up to. CNN isn’t having any trouble attracting a British audience.

What’s more, Fox’s excuse that their programming is America-centric is an admission that it isn’t actually news. Honest journalism is the collection and reporting of facts that reflect reality. It is not impacted by geography. Reports on the war in Afghanistan, a hurricane in Texas, or trade relations with the EU, should be identical regardless of the place of publication. But Fox’s programs are littered with an extraneous spin that reeks of American superiority. How could anyone in Liverpool or Dublin listen to two minutes of Sean Hannity or Tucker Carlson without retching?

Fox News may have another reason for ditching their British flank. Fox’s chairman, Rupert Murdoch, has been trying to acquire the sixty percent of Sky Broadcasting that they don’t already own. But there are regulators in the UK that have to approve the deal. At present it is under investigation by Ofcom to ascertain whether they meet broadcasting standards. And there is some question as to how that will come out. The Guardian reports that:

“In the past decade, Fox has notched up 22 breaches of its licence and Ofcom’s codes and rules. Of those, seven were against Fox News, with four last year including against a programme which featured a guest who said that Birmingham was a city ‘where non-Muslims just simply don’t go’.”

Add to that the hacking scandal a few years back where Murdoch’s newspapers were found to have illegally accessed the emails and cell phones of politicians, celebrities, and even a murdered schoolgirl. It’s that sort of behavior that caused Murdoch to temporarily suspend his acquisition aspirations. But he is now actively pursuing the matter again.

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

Having a “news” network that is notorious for lying and disparaging foreign nations, while disseminating White House propaganda, cannot be particularly helpful when trying to persuade British regulators to give it even more power. In the meantime, the UK will enjoy the relief of not having Fox News polluting their airwaves and insulting their viewers. America awaits its opportunity to enjoy such relief.

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.

What Did Fox News Know About Trump, Jr.’s Russia Collusion, and When Did They Join It?

Much to the chagrin of Donald Trump, the media is still tightly focused on the question of his unsavory connections to Russia. The latest news centers around the activities of his son, Don, Jr. The younger Trump’s ill-advised meeting with a Russian lawyer in an attempt to score dirt on Hillary Clinton has created a tsunami of controversy.

Rupert Murdoch Donald Trump

While many observers ponder the legal jeopardy that Trump faces, others are consumed by the stark foolishness of the affair. Capping the series of unfortunate events was the release of the emails detailing the meeting’s agenda. They explicitly state the purpose as an exchange of information from the Russian government to the Trump campaign.

Some of the reporting has noticed the timeline that sheds light on certain activities that previously seemed unrelated. For instance, Donald Trump’s June 7, 2016 announcement that he would soon give a “major” speech about Hillary Clinton’s alleged criminality. That announcement came just four days after his son’s email exchange with the contact that set up the meeting. It was also just two days prior to the meeting itself. Did Trump get a head’s up about some detrimental data on Clinton that was about be acquired?

The meeting took place on June 9. That was also the day that Trump first tweeted about Clinton’s 33,000 emails that were allegedly deleted? He subsequently returned to that talking point frequently, even soliciting the Russians to hack and reveal the emails.

The promised speech took place on June 13, but not on the promised subject. That could be because no useful information was received at Don Jr.’s meeting. That would jibe with his assertion that his source failed to come through. However, it could also be because the information was so highly charged that they decided to roll it out strategically. Which would square with what occurred a few weeks later. It was on July 24 that the first emails that were hacked from the Democratic National Committee were made public. That release via Wikileaks was closely tied to Russian hackers.

However, there is a another event in the same timeline that hasn’t gotten any attention. On July 25, the day after the DNC hacks came out, Donald Trump himself had a significant meeting. On a golf course in Scotland, the then-candidate met privately with Rupert Murdoch, the CEO of Fox News. Up until that time, Trump and Murdoch had a rocky relationship. Trump was bashing Fox News and its star host, Megyn Kelly. But Trump had just virtually secured the nomination and the time for a reconciliation between the two Republicans seemed ripe.

This opens up an entirely new avenue of investigation. Did this meeting include any discussion of the DNC hacks? Did it cover any data that might have been acquired from Don, Jr.’s tryst with the Russian lawyer? Was there any coordination between Trump and Murdoch on the strategy for rolling out damaging info on Clinton? It is clear that Fox News worked feverishly for Trump’s election. They gave him more airtime and positive commentary than any other media organization. But just how closely were they integrated into this scandal? And should we even mention that Murdoch’s ex-wife, Wendy Deng, is Vladimir Putin’s current girlfriend?

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

These and other questions still need to be answered. But the proximity of these events is a little more than curious. They could all be coincidental, like all of the connections to Russians by multiple Trump associates. But, seriously, what are the odds?

Fox News Succumbing to Reality? Network Ditches Their ‘Fair and Balanced’ Slogan

The past year has seen some profound changes in the conservative world. And it’s not just the election of Donald Trump. Although that was a tectonic shift that put a novice political enigma with no discernible principles at the helm of the GOP (Greedy One Percent). And as if that wasn’t earth-shattering enough, the party of family values fell in line behind an adulterous, irreligious, walking contradiction machine. Somehow Republicans were able to embrace a narcissistic, wannabe dictator who spent years insulting them.

Fox News

In the right-wing mediaverse, Fox News has also undergone an upheaval. They lost their founder and CEO, Roger Ailes, and their biggest Star, Bill O’Reilly, to sex scandals. The same improprieties resulted in several other notable Foxies leaving the hen house. They include Megyn Kelly, Greta Van Susteren, Gretchen Carlson, Andrea Tantaros, and Bill Shine, the executive who replaced Ailes. While Rupert Murdoch is still the lord master of Fox, it’s his kids who are the operational managers now.

As if to finish off the old era of Fox News, it was just revealed that they are abandoning their long-time slogan, “fair and balanced.” Of course, they never lived up to that or even tried. It was just a marketing scheme to disparage all other news networks as being hopelessly biased. Fox used it to corral their disciples into the cult, where only the cult leader is to be believed. Veteran Fox-watcher, Gabriel Sherman of New York Magazine had the scoop:

“As Fox News moves further into the post–Roger Ailes era, the network is shedding one of its most iconic elements. According to network executives, Fox News has abandoned the marketing slogan ‘Fair & Balanced.’ The decision was made last August after Ailes’s ouster by Fox News co-president Jack Abernethy, because the phrase had ‘been mocked,’ one insider said. Another executive explained that the tagline was ‘too closely associated with Roger.’ Fox executives have been instructed by management to market the network by its other tagline: ‘Most Watched. Most Trusted.'”

Cutting ties to disgraced former management is a generally a good idea. Ailes, who died last month, has become a figurative leper. Even the Ohio University scholarship in his name was discontinued. The same embarrassment of association occurs with the ousted Bill O’Reilly. Megyn Kelly, who resigned to take a new job with NBC, is already showing signs of weakness. Her Sunday night program debuted to meager ratings. And it got worse from there. The second episode dropped by forty-two percent and a 60 Minutes rerun beat it with twice as many viewers. Now there are advertiser boycotts stemming from her decision to interview conspiracy theory kingpin, Alex Jones.

Perhaps the funniest part of this decision to drop the “fair and balanced” lie is that they are replacing it with another lie. The new slogan is “Most Watched. Most Trusted.” Neither of those assertions are true. For the past few months MSNBC has been beating Fox in primetime with the most valued viewer demographic. Rachel Maddow is leading the way, often placing as the highest rated program on all of cable news. And as for “trusted,” Fox News isn’t even in the top twenty according to a survey by Pew Research. It falls well behind all three broadcast networks, CNN, New York Times, Washington Post, and MSNBC.

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

So Fox is continuing in their tradition of deceiving their audience with blatant falsehoods. And regardless of what their slogan is, we can depend on them to be true to their mission of lying. Despite all of the changes taking place at Fox, what is not changing is their intention to serve the propaganda of the right generally, and to always exalt Trump in particular. Some things will never change.

REPORT: Chaffetz Is Ditching His Job Spinning in Congress to Do It Professionally on Fox News

Much has been made of Donald Trump’s rise to the presidency from the ranks of reality TV game show hosts. And that surely was a dumbfounding development, with an emphasis on dumb. However, it is less often mentioned that Trump is also a former Fox News personality. He had a regular weekly phone-in segment on Fox & Friends called “Mondays with Trump.” Now that he’s in the White House the lines between Fox News and the Republican Party continue to blur. It’s often difficult to tell the players a scorecard.

Jason Chaffetz Fox News

This weekend a new report surfaced that offered an explanation for the sudden retirement announcement of Jason Chaffetz. The Republican chair of the House Oversight Committee recently disclosed that he would not be running for reelection. Sources also speculated that he would resign before his current term ended. The only explanation that Chaffetz himself provided was the familiar desire to spend more time with his family.

Now his GOP colleagues are revealing that Chaffetz has confided in them what he intends to do after leaving Washington. According to the Washingtonian:

“Chaffetz has been telling people he’ll take on what one source calls a ‘substantial role’ in on-air talent at Fox News Channel, possibly as early as July. […] ‘Let’s just say that when Jason told us he was headed to Fox, no one was surprised,’ says one senior House Republican aide.”

What is meant by “substantial role” is unclear, but implies that he will have more to do than guest commentaries. Perhaps he is angling for his own show. That would make him the third Republican politician to host a program on Fox News. Previously Mike Huckabee and John Kasich anchored shows even as they pursued elected offices. Chaffetz would be in the same position as he is expected to run for governor of Utah in the future.

Along with Huckabee and Kasich, Chaffetz would be following a well worn route from GOP politician to Fox News personality. Others include former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Massachusetts senator Scott Brown, and Sarah Palin. The list gets longer when you include party operatives like Karl Rove, John Bolton, and Dana Perino.

And the road runs both ways. The Trump administration has already recruited several people from Fox News. They include Heather Nauert, Richard Grennell, K.T. McFarland, Ben Carson, Sebastian Gorka, and Jonathan Wachtel. Most recently Trump nominated Fox contributor Scott Brown to be ambassador to New Zealand.

And the rumor mill is churning new speculation that Trump is looking for even more Foxies to adorn his White House. Unhappy with his current communications staff, Trump is said to be interested in hiring producers from his favorite network. Even Press Secretary Sean Spicer isn’t safe. Trump insiders are telling the media that he’s souring on Spicey and “wants Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle to take his place.”

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

The symbiotic relationship between Fox News and the Republican Party is making it difficult to tell where the GOP ends and Fox begins. Is Fox the PR division of the GOP? Or is the GOP the operational unit of Fox News? It hardly matters. The bottom line is that they have effectively merged into a single entity. Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch is openly backing the Trump administration, and Trump is repaying the favor with nearly exclusive access and free advertising on Twitter. It’s a match made in Hell for America and what remains of its free press and democracy.

Scandal Plagued Fox News Boss Rupert Murdoch is Now Advising Trump on a Daily Basis

The partnership between Fox News and Donald Trump has evolved into an unprecedented fusion of government and media. It is nothing less than an implementation of state-run TV that rivals anything built by the former Soviet Union.

Rupert Murdoch Donald Trump

The Fox News schedule is plastered with unabashedly pro-Trump anchors and guests. Its prime time lineup is fully devoted to Trump advocacy and suppression of any dissenting opinions. The incidental presence of a progressive viewpoint is allowed only as a foil for right-wing attacks or a phony pretense of balance. Obedience to the Fox Doctrine is strict and unwavering. Joseph Goebbels would be proud.

Now New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman is reporting that Fox News chairman Rupert Murdoch is talking to Trump on a daily basis. He is advising the President on matters ranging from the domestic economy to foreign policy. So while Trump was known to be shaping his agenda by watching Fox and Friends, he is now taking his cues straight from the horse’s ass.

There are several serious legal and ethical problems with this relationship. first of all, Fox News is currently under investigation by the Justice Department. DOJ attorneys are probing whether the network violated securities laws by not disclosing settlements with women who reported sexual harassment at Fox. That investigation has recently broadened to include allegations intimidation and invasions of privacy. Murdoch’s contacts with Trump could be used to gain favor and influence the conduct of those inquiries. When Bill Clinton met briefly with then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Fox News portrayed it as scandalous. Now the head of the criminally suspect Fox News is fraternizing regularly with the Attorney General’s boss.

Then there are the pending regulatory issues that have a direct effect on Murdoch’s businesses. He is seeking to expand his ownership of both television stations and newspapers across the country. There are currently caps on the percentage of access any one media entity can control. For Murdoch to expand those caps would have to be raised or eliminated. Trump’s FCC is responsible for setting those standards. If Murdoch can persuade Trump to alter the regulations to his liking, he stands to add significantly to his fortune and influence. And another feather in Murdoch’s monopoly would be the scuttling of the merger between competitors AT&T and TimeWarner. That’s actually a good idea, but not for the selfish reasons Murdoch harbors.

It’s fair to say that Murdoch would not be coming to these deals empty handed. Murdoch can offer Trump nearly unlimited positive coverage by the media outlets he controls. That includes in part Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, and the Fox Business Network. Add to those Murdoch’s international media enterprises and Fox’s digital media. What’s more, Murdoch would not be limited to pro-Trump propaganda. He could just as easily blanket the mediaverse with anti-Democratic fake news and slander.

For his part, Trump isn’t limited either in the ways he can pay Murdoch back for favorable treatment. Trump is already acting as a PR agent for Fox News. He frequently praises the network and encourages his followers to tune in. Simultaneously, he bashes every other media outlet as liars and purveyors of fake news. The estimated value of his free advertising for Fox on Twitter alone goes into the multimillions.

The blatantly improper nature of the relationship between Murdoch and Trump on legal grounds is not the only problem. There is also the ethical dilemma of an alleged news operation having such close proximity to a notable newsmaker. How can Fox News report independently on someone who is being advised by their chief executive? While Murdoch is helping Trump to form opinions on world affairs, his network will be covering and analyzing that advice. Will Fox be able to criticize a policy articulated by Trump knowing that it came from Murdoch?

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

This kind of incestuous liaison makes all parties to it less credible. And it doesn’t help that Trump is also linked to Fox News personalities Sean Hannity, Steve Doocy, Tucker Carlson, Eric Bolling, and others. And speaking of incestuous, Ivanka Trump is close friends with Wendy Wong, Murdoch’s ex-wife and Vladimir Putin’s current girlfriend. Let that sink in.

Bill O’Reilly FIRED By Fox News: But the Lies and Disinformation Will Continue

BREAKING: 21st Century Fox just released a statement on Bill O’Reilly confirming that he will not be returning to the network:

“After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the Company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel.”

After twenty-one years that is the extent of the separation announcement. This breaking news draws to a conclusion a long-running drama at Fox.

Bill O'Reilly Fox News

Three weeks ago, the New York Times published a story that upended Bill O’Reilly’s career. It revealed attempts by the Fox News star and the network to cover up allegations of his sexual misconduct. Several women who had not previously been disclosed were identified as having been paid large settlements for their silence.

Since then The O’Reilly Factor has seen a mass exodus of advertisers. More than eighty have publicly stated that they will not permit their ads to be aired on his program. As a result, the board of directors at Fox News have put an end to the program.

Even before this announcement reports increasingly leaked out that O’Reilly was already doomed. The Wall Street Journal (also part of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire) reported that:

“Initially, Fox News and parent company 21st Century Fox stood by their highly-rated host … However, as advertisers fled his show, debate inside company ensued over the pros and cons of keeping Mr. O’Reilly on the air.”

Then Gabriel Sherman of New York Magazine weighed in. He has been covering the inside stories on Fox News for several years. He has reliable sources and published the definitive, unauthorized biography of the network’s former CEO Roger Ailes: The Loudest Voice in the Room. His latest article suggested correctly that “Fox News Has Decided Bill O’Reilly Has to Go.”

“The Murdochs have decided Bill O’Reilly’s 21-year run at Fox News will come to an end. According to sources briefed on the discussions, network executives are preparing to announce O’Reilly’s departure before he returns from an Italian vacation on April 24. Now the big questions are how the exit will look and who will replace him.”

Fox News will have to handle O’Reilly’s departure carefully. The network has already lost several high profile figures including disgraced ex-CEO Roger Ailes. On air personalities Megyn Kelly, Greta Van Susteren, and Gretchen Carlson have also departed recently. But O’Reilly is the highest rated host on cable news with a loyal following. Will his fans react to his termination by turning off Fox News? Or will they behave like good cultists and obediently tune in to his replacement?

Speaking of replacements, the names most often mentioned include Eric Bolling, Dana Perino, Jesse Watters, and Martha MacCallum. Tucker Carlson is also in the mix to move his current show into O’Reilly’s time period. None of these prospects have the fame or fan base that O’Reilly has. But the advantage for Fox is that their glassy-eyed viewers are glued to the network and will likely watch whatever comes on.

Fox would be wise to give extra consideration to the women on that list. Given the salacious circumstances that drove out Ailes and (perhaps) O’Reilly, it might serve as a form of redemption. But Fox also doesn’t have any minority hosts in prime time, and never has. However, none of their current staffers (Juan Williams, Harris Faulkner, Geraldo Rivera) appear to be under consideration.

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

The future for Fox News is not especially bright, but neither is it particularly dark. They have suffered some significant setbacks recently, but have a friend in high places. In that regard, Donald Trump’s support for Bill O’Reilly obviously didn’t have any effect. But when the President of the United States is calling in to Fox and Friends, and advertising the network on his Twitter feed, the news isn’t all bad. Well, except for the actual “news” as it’s practiced by Fox.

Fox News Is Becoming The Propaganda Ministry Of The Trump Administration

The relationship between Donald Trump and Fox News goes back years. Long before he was running for president he had a regular segment on Fox and Friends called “Mondays with Trump.” It served as the launching pad for his eventual campaign and a platform from which he could attack President Obama. In addition to that free political infomercial time, Trump was close friends with Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and Roger Ailes.

Donald Trump Fox News

This parasitic partnership served both the ego of Trump and the greed of Fox. Consequently, it’s not especially surprising that it would continue into his presidency. However no one could have predicted the depths it would reach. From the outset of the nascent Trump administration, he has used the right-wing network as a virtual farm team. The only other comparably rich pool of potential White House recruits was Goldman Sachs. This week two new Foxies became the beneficiaries of Trump’s job creation program.

Heather Nauert was most recently a co-host and news presenter on Fox and Friends. Now she has been tapped as spokeswoman for the State Department. This is her first government job.

Following her to Trumpville is Fox contributor Richard Grennell. He served as Director of Communications for the U.S. representative to the United Nations from 2001 to 2008 before signing on at Fox. That means he was the key spokesman throughout the Iraq war debacle. Now Trump is nominating him to be the ambassador to NATO. What’s peculiar about this is that Trump has repeatedly criticized the U.S. invasion of Iraq that it was Grennell’s job to defend. And now Trump wants to put him at NATO, an organization Trump said was outdated.

These two Foxugees are joining three former colleagues already on Team Trump. K.T. McFarland, Ben Carson, and Sebastian Gorka. There would have been four but Monica Crowley withdrew from the National Security Council after being exposed as a plagiarist. She’s back at Fox now. Appearing on Hannity Tuesday night she whined that she had been the victim of “a straight up political hit job.” She also said that her publisher backed her up but, in fact, they halted all sales of her book.

Still more Fox personnel have been considered for administration roles. Trump appears to be building a de facto Ministry of Propaganda out of the White House. All of the elements are falling into place. He’s assembled a cast of characters that has experience in developing fiction and defending the indefensible. Now on the inside they can be counted on to continue showering him with praise and deflecting criticism.

On the other side of this partnership, Fox News is well positioned to take advantage of their unique circumstance. They can expect to be excluded from Trump’s tirades against “fake news.” More importantly, the network’s corporate parent can count on Trump to shepherd through regulations that benefit the company. Fox would love to have the FCC relax TV station ownership caps so they can monopolize markets by buying up more stations. Also high among the priorities of Fox’s CEO Rupert Murdoch, is scuttling the merger of competitors AT&T and TimeWarner. That’s actually a good idea, but not for the selfish reasons Murdoch harbors.

Finally, how can Fox News fairly cover an administration that’s lousy with its own former employees? This presents a conflict that is unprecedented. Those involved are closely associated with one another, and they likely expect to return to Fox after their government service. So neither will want to antagonize the other for fear of hampering future opportunities.

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

Trump’s promise to “drain the swamp” is being kept by draining it right into the White House. The stench of corruption stemming from his unsavory connections to Russia now has a media machine to mask the odor. It’s the sort of thing that one observes in the regimes of dictators. There has never been anything similar in the United States. It’s up to what’s left of the independent press to make sure it doesn’t take hold. So we may be in big trouble.

Publisher Pulls Book By Trump’s National Security Nominee Due To Plagiarism

Last week reports surfaced alleging that Monica Crowley had plagiarized significant parts of her 2012 book, “What The (Bleep) Just Happened.” Ironically, that title poses a good question considering that her publisher just announced that it’s pulling the book from publication:

“The book, which has reached the end of its natural sales cycle, will no longer be offered for purchase until such time as the author has the opportunity to source and revise the material.”

Monica Crowley

Donald Trump recently nominated Crowley to be the strategic communications director of the National Security Council. She was previously a contributor for Fox News. CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski identified more than fifty instances of text that was lifted in whole or in part from other sources. The “borrowed” words came from newspapers, magazines, websites, and even from a colleague at Fox News. After publication of the expose, Trump’s transition team called it a politically motivated attack and said they stood by Crowley.

Now the publisher, HarperCollins, has concluded that the allegations have merit. It should be noted that HarperCollins is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. Murdoch is also the owner of the parent company of Fox News. CNN reached out to Trump’s team again for an updated response but did not immediately receive one.

In addition to this news, the Trump people have to deal with allegations that Crowley also plagiarized portions of her doctorate dissertation. According to Politico:

“An examination of the dissertation and the sources it cites identified more than a dozen sections of text that have been lifted, with little to no changes, from other scholarly works without proper attribution. In some instances, Crowley footnoted her source but did not identify with quotation marks the text she was copying directly. In other instances, she copied text or heavily paraphrased with no attribution at all.”

With the removal of Crowley’s book from publication it seems impossible for Trump to continue to dismiss this as partisan. Rupert Murdoch’s publishing company isn’t part of a Democratic cabal. Crowley’s fate would be sealed in any other political context. But Trump’s operation has been rife with impropriety, dishonesty, and a determination to double down when faced with adversity. So it’s anyone’s guess where Crowley will be tomorrow. After all, Trump’s wife Melania was also caught in a plagiarism scandal, and she’s still around.

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