Certified Nutcase Donald Trump Tries His Hand at Psychoanalyzing Steve Bannon

The fate of the world is shifting by the minute. On Tuesday Donald Trump was tweeting threats to Iran, Pakistan, and North Korea, and comparing the size of his “nuclear button” to that of Kim Jong Un. By Wednesday the battle royale was between Trump and his former friend and White House aide, Steve Bannon.

Trump/Bannon

A new book by Michael Wolff, Fire and Fury, presents a revealing look into the Trump White House. Some of the first publicly released excerpts show how Bannon really feels about the president he once served with such apparently fawning loyalty. And it’s not a pretty picture. Bannon is reported to have said that Don Junior’s meetings with Russians were treasonous and that Daddy Trump knew about them, despite his denials.

The book contains many other revelations that expose Trump as a flagrant fool who commanded no respect from those around him. Rupert Murdoch, CEO of Fox News, reportedly called him a “f**king moron.” And an aide tasked with explaining the Constitution described Trump as becoming bored and unwilling to continue past the Fourth Amendment. But it’s the Bannon comments that have caught the attention of Trump and, therefore, the media. Consequently, Trump released an official reply from the White that was as unhinged as anything we have ever seen from this acutely disturbed pseudo-president. He said in part:

“Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency. When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind. Steve was a staffer who worked for me after I had already won the nomination by defeating seventeen candidates. […] Steve was rarely in a one-on-one meeting with me and only pretends to have had influence to fool a few people with no access and no clue.”

This is typical Trumpian behavior that he employs to distance himself from close associates he later turns against. Although the degree of unrestrained anger reflects someone shockingly unglued from rational thought. Often Trump’s wrath is aimed at those he regards as having personally betrayed him. Even when he initiated the break in the relationship as he did in this case by firing Bannon. Shortly after his termination, Trump had this to say about his former senior counselor: “Now Sloppy Steve has been dumped like a dog by almost everyone.”

Contrary to Trump’s outburst, Bannon was not merely a “staffer” on the sidelines of his presidency. Bannon was his campaign manager, and later the White House Chief Strategist with a seat on the National Security Council. In other words, the coffee boy. And Trump had a decidedly different opinion on the day that Bannon was released from his White House duties last August:

Just prior to his dismissal, Trump described Bannon in glowing terms calling him “a good person and I think the press treats him frankly very unfairly.” Now Trump asserts that Bannon has “lost his mind.” That’s a subject that Trump can claim some expertise on. Many psychiatric professionals have concluded that Trump is “too mentally ill to serve.” A group of psychiatric doctors and academics who met at Yale University found that Trump displays symptoms of a variety of mental illnesses, including antisocial and narcissistic personality disorders. That assessment agrees with others that found Trump suffering from “malignant narcissism” and an “inability to distinguish between fantasy and reality.” More recently, a doctor writing for The Atlantic noted Trump’s abnormalities in speech and movement that justified implementing routine mental evaluations for presidents.

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

Trump’s unbridled rage and fluctuating opinions are obvious symptoms of an acute mental disorder. And if something isn’t done about it soon, we can expect it to manifest in ever more perilous ways. That includes the potential for anything from continued soap opera melodrama in the White House to military conflicts and nuclear showdowns. And the more Trump feels threatened, either by former colleagues or special counsel investigations, the more dangerous he will become.

Women at Fox News Blast CEO Rupert Murdoch for Trivializing Sexual Abuse: ‘I’m Sick of This Sh*t’

This week Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and CEO of Fox News and 21st Century Fox, made some shocking statements regarding sexual harassment and abuse at Fox News. His brazen distortion of reality was either a deliberate attempt to rewrite the recent and abhorrent history of the network, or signs of acute dementia. But some outraged women who experienced the misogynistic culture of Fox News first hand aren’t sitting still for this bullshit.

Fox News Rupert Murdoch

Murdoch’s comments trivialized, and even downright denied, the actual events that have been documented and admitted in public statements by Fox News. When asked about the charges leveled at Fox personnel and whether they would impact the business, he said that they were…

“All nonsense, there was a problem with our chief executive [Roger Ailes], sort of, over the years, isolated incidents. As soon as we investigated it he was out of the place in hours, well, three or four days. And there’s been nothing else since then. That was largely political because we’re conservative. Now of course the liberals are going down the drain — NBC is in deep trouble. CBS, their stars. I mean there are really bad cases and people should be moved aside. There are other things which probably amount to a bit of flirting.”

Let’s address this heinous commentary in order. First of all, Murdoch conceded that there was a “problem” with Fox News CEO Roger Ailes. But adds “sort of?” Ailes was accused of serial sexual assault by at least eleven women. And an independent review of his actions resulted in his termination. That isn’t “sort of,” a problem. And it isn’t “isolated incidents” either.

Then Murdoch stated that “there’s been nothing else since then.” Can he possibly believe that? The biggest star on his network, Bill O’Reilly was fired after the disclosure of millions of dollars in settlements to victims of his abuse. He personally shelled out $32 million to one victim. Also, numerous other Fox on-air and executive personnel were fired for sexual misconduct. The number of deviants on the Fox payroll points to a serious internal breakdown. The network was even called “a sex-fueled Playboy Mansion-like cult” by a long-time program host and victim.

Finally, Murdoch tried to dismiss the whole subject as being purely political. But in the same breath he conceded that both conservatives and liberals had their share of perverts. So he contradicted his own excuse. However, just trying to make this a partisan issue shows the depths of depravity to which he will sink. He is laser-focused on disparaging liberals in all matters, which was the founding mission of Fox News. And he proved what a despicable old coot he is by tacking on his opinion that sexual harassment and flirting are somehow synonymous.

Which brings us to the reactions of ten women contacted by Yasher Ali of the Huffington Post. Their disgust upon hearing Murdoch’s remarks was expressed with fierce determination and, as one stated, a hunger for justice. Here are some examples of their comments:

  • “I have had to put up with a hostile work environment for years, and now I’m told that it doesn’t exist by a man who doesn’t have to walk these halls every day?”
  • “Hey Rupert – stop with the lies or we’ll go public with the truth. All of it. Including about the talent and executives you still employ who have harassed us and don’t give a damn about workplace respect – only money.”
  • “What kind of company pays close to 100 million dollars to keep ‘flirting’ quiet?”
  • “Sexual harassment has nothing to do with politics. Many of us are conservative and want the truth to come out.”
  • “The harassment was persistent and ongoing. It was personally and professionally devastating for some of my colleagues and me. When the person who signs your paycheck and is responsible for promotions and demotions harasses women who rely on him, it’s more than ‘sort of’ a problem.”
  • “The culture at Fox News won’t change until you publicly accept that it has been a breeding ground for sexual misconduct over the past two decades.”
  • “I’m contacting a lawyer tomorrow. I’m sick of this shit.”

That’s a pretty damning summation of what it’s like to work at Fox News. And considering the broad corroboration among so many women who suffered, and continue to suffer, at Fox, Murdoch’s repulsive remarks ought to be reconsidered and a public apology made ASAP. And you can expect that to occur at around the same time that Donald Trump apologizes for his rampant, sexual predatory assault.

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

Fox News is So Desperate They’re Hyping an ‘Implausible’ Discrimination Lawsuit Against CNN

The current news cycle is jam-packed with stories that reflect badly on Donald Trump and the Republican Party. Trump is bumbling his way through an embarrassing junket to Asia. Among other things, he has already flipped on his hard-line stance against China trade deals. In fact, he insulted American leaders and praised Chinese President Xi Jinping for taking advantage of their “incompetence.” In addition, The GOP’s candidate to fill Jeff Sessions’s senate seat in Alabama, Roy Moore, is mired in a pedophilia scandal. And last Tuesday Democrats swept the elections in Virginia, New Jersey, Washington, and more.

Fox News Lies

This puts Fox News in a difficult position. They have virtually nothing positive to report about their Dear Leader in the White or his flailing party. They’ve already been swinging wildly at bogus and irrelevant Hillary Clinton hogwash to the point where it’s just tiresome. And the must-pass Republican tax bill is faring no better than their much despised attempts to kill ObamaCare.

So Fox News is hitting the shelves for some ripe fiction they can disseminate. What they found was a lawsuit against their arch rival CNN for racial discrimination. Fox News giddily latched onto that and posted a wholly dishonest article on their website. The headline is a brazen lie that screams “CNN faces another racial discrimination lawsuit.”

The first thing to note is that CNN is not facing “another” lawsuit. The first paragraph reveals that it is the same lawsuit that was filed previously and thrown out of court for being inadequate. The judge ruled that “it doesn’t meet a plausibility threshold.” He also said that it was “unsupported by factual allegations sufficient to support the inferences claimed by Plaintiffs,” and that it was “littered with conclusory assertions, rank speculation, confusing statements, and generalized allegations.”

However, in the Fox News story the attorney for the alleged plaintiffs is confidant that the suit will prevail the second time around. He claims that he will refile sometime this year, ignoring the judge’s admonition that “any amendment would be futile.” So Fox News based the entire story on a failed lawsuit that has not been, and might never be, refiled. Fox didn’t bother to interview the plaintiffs to try to validate their claims, or do any thing else that resembles journalism.

What Fox News did do was was plant this totally unrelated landmine in the article: “The news comes as CNN continues to cause problems for parent company Time Warner as it tries to complete an $84.5 billion deal with AT&T.”

For the record, CNN isn’t causing any problems with regard to the merger. It’s Trump’s Justice Department (and possibly Trump himself) who are threatening to prohibit the merger unless the new company divests of CNN. There are plenty of reasons to oppose this merger, but CNN isn’t one of them. AT&T has no news division that would raise anti-trust concerns. This is clear case of abuse of power as the Trump administration seeks to punish a media outlet they despise.

If any news operation is causing problems for their parent company, it’s Fox News. They are making it unlikely that Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox will be able to acquire the European SKY satellite network. The U.K.’s Ofcom regulatory agency is studying whether Murdoch’s business is a “fit and proper” owner, and whether it would comply with local rules on broadcasting standards. Given the history of Fox’s overt political biases, it’s tight embrace of Trump, and the terminations of multiple senior staff (Roger Ailes, Bill, O’Reilly, etc.) for sexual harassment and abuse, that’s gonna be a high bar to hurdle.

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

Finally, for some reason the Fox News article left out any mention of the lawsuits against Fox for racial and sex discrimination. Over two dozen current and former Fox News employees now suing the network. These are actual suits that are proceeding, not imaginary ones that were previously tossed out of court. But why would Fox include these facts in an article that was only published as a diversion from all of the bad news that is currently staining Trump and the right-wing cabal he is leading? As noted above: Desperation.

And remember: Racism is an integral part of the business model of Fox News. So this hypocritical and false story is almost funny (almost).

Trump Coverage at Fox News and WSJ is ‘Embarrassing,’ ‘Bats**t Crazy’ Say Staffers

Earlier this week employees at Fox News revealed some serious concerns they have about the network they work for. Turns out even they are embarrassed by the blatantly biased, pro-Donald Trump “reporting” the network does. Speaking anonymously to CNN they were quoted as saying things like “I’m watching now and screaming. I want to quit.” And that “Fox feels like an extension of the Trump White House.”

Rupert Murdoch Donald Trump

Those of us outside of Fox News noticed long ago that it is a network devoted to right-wing propaganda. And more recently it has fallen into the abyss of Trump worship. Hacks like Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson defend every dishonest, ignorant, and hateful thing he says and does. The “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends spend four hours every morning polishing Trump’s – let’s say apples.

Now a new report from Vanity Fair shows that a similar internal revolt is in progress at the Wall Street Journal. Author Joe Pompeo interviewed current and former Journal editors and reporters who were highly critical of the paper’s staunchly pro-Trump editorial slant. Pompeo got Journal staffers to confess that:

  • “The editorial page has been doing crazy shit for a long time.”
  • “It does feel like this is a different level of crazy.”
  • “It’s like living through the Vince Foster years.”
  • “It’s frustrating to have to contend with this.”
  • “I don’t know a single WSJ alum who’s not agog at where that edit page is heading.”
  • “We could disprove half the stuff [the opinion writers] are saying if they just read our own reporting. It’s like living in some alternate universe.”

Pompeo also notes that the Journal has suffered a rash of resignations recently. Many of their top reporters left to join the competition at the Washington Post, the New York Times, etc. There is speculation that those remaining are reconsidering their own prospects for the future at the Journal.

Much of the consternation has been triggered by the Journal’s recent editorials concerning Trump’s unsavory connections to Russia. In particular, some columns have been hypercritical of special counsel Robert Mueller. Pompeo summarizes the seemingly coordinated attacks saying that:

“In recent days, of course, the opinion coverage has produced controversial commentary on Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia investigation, often flying in the face of the Journal’s own news reporting. On October 23, political scientist Peter Berkowitz proclaimed that the probe into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign ‘threaten[s] the rule of law.’ Days later, an October 29 piece by two attorneys from the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations called on President Donald Trump to ‘immediately [issue] a blanket presidential pardon to anyone involved in supposed collusion.'” […]

[One] editorial referred to Fusion [GPS] as ‘sleazy operators’; it didn’t mention that the guys who run Fusion were previously Wall Street Journal reporters. Former high-ranking Journal editor Bill Grueskin spoke for many when he tweeted, ‘WSJ edit page has gone full bats–t.'”

So now, in the same week, stories have emerged that feature employees of Fox News and the Wall Street Journal as being ashamed of those affiliations. It cannot be ignored that both of these entities are owned by ultra-rightist media baron Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch also happens to be a close friend and advisor to Trump. They are said to be talking to each other “almost every day.” Both have much to gain from the relationship. Trump obviously benefits from the fawning attention he gets from Fox News. And Murdoch is angling for government regulatory reforms that will advance his business interests.

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

However, the troops at both organizations appear to be in the throes of revolt. Apparently there is still some measure, however minuscule, of integrity lurking in the dank halls of Rupert’s Realm. And the expressions of disgust are beginning to seep out into the open. It was put into stark terms by former Journal writer Kara Swisher, now with Recode. She empathized with the poor clods still under Murdoch’s sway saying “I feel sorry for every decent reporter at the WSJ for this claptrap from Rupert Murdoch’s ever desiccated soul.”

Fox News Launch Party for Laura Ingraham Show Draws Ivanka Trump and Lots of GOP Suck-Ups

Monday night Fox News will premiere a new primetime program featuring ultra-rightist pundit, and radio talker, Laura Ingraham. She is the latest in Fox’s schedule shake up resulting from the terminations of Bill O’Reilly and Eric Bolling. They were jettisoned after multiple allegations of sexual harassment and abuse. Fox News also lost Megyn Kelly, who quit in part due to harassment from O’Reilly and former CEO Roger Ailes.

Rupert Murdoch Laura Ingraham

Fox News chairman Rupert Murdoch threw a party for Ingraham last week to celebrate the show’s pending debut. The guest list says a lot about what sort of program Ingraham will host, and about Fox News in general. On the Twenty-First Century Fox blog a post described the soiree saying:

“In addition to Rupert, host Laura Ingraham and some of her closest family and friends joined more than 40 members of Congress to celebrate the launch of the series. Special guests included Ivanka Trump, Sen. Roger Wicker and wife Gayle, Sen. Lindsey Graham, Sen. Orrin Hatch, Sen. Todd Young, Sen. Richard Burr, Rep. Bill Flores, Rep. Bill Johnson, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Rep. Virginia Foxx, and Rep. Scott Taylor.”

So the President’s daughter, and senior advisor, showed up to celebrate with Ingraham. She was joined by a phalanx of exclusively Republican members of Congress. Some of whom are close allies of Trump and his administration. In addition, Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul were sighted at the exclusive affair. These are just the sort of people who will likely be guests on the program in the weeks ahead. That makes parties like these wholly inappropriate for anyone pretending to practice journalism. The chumminess of these politicians and the program hosts at Fox News destroys any pretense of independence. And the absence of any Democratic guests put to rest any notion that Ingraham’s show will be “fair and balanced” (a slogan that Fox has retired).

Of course, Fox News has never been known as an impartial player in the punditry business. The primetime lineup that Ingraham is joining also features Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity. The three of them will be the most sycophantic flock of Trump fluffers ever assembled on television. It’s a three hour block of non-stop GOP propaganda and lies. They have all demonstrated a devotion to the President that borders on cult worship. Ingraham herself was briefly considered for a post in the administration as chief media basher and BS disseminator communications director.

It is, therefore, more accurate than ever to describe Fox News as State-Run TV. It’s purpose is to advance the conservative agenda and to defend Trump from any and all criticism. Ingraham has already announced that she will be interviewing Trump in the near future. That would make it his twentieth interview for Fox News. For perspective, the news entity next on that list is the New York Times with only four interviews. And if Ingraham’s sit down is anything like the others on Fox it will only be good for laugh. See this compilation of the network’s suck-ups:

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

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.