Sarah Sanders Uses Bible to Defend Trump’s Heinous Policy of Ripping Apart Families Seeking Asylum

The White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, is best known for her ability to dispassionately lie about any matter that arises in the course of the daily press briefings. It’s a skill that most of the rabid zealots in Donald Trump’s administration sorely lack. But it often comes across as callous when the subject requires some measure of empathy.

Sarah Huckabee-Sanders

That was exhibited in spades on Thursday as Sanders was questioned about the heart-wrenching policy that Trump has enacted to rip crying children from the arms of their terrified parents. This policy has drawn broad condemnation from across the political spectrum, yet Trump and Co. refuse to halt its enforcement. That position took a peculiar turn when Attorney General Jeff Sessions cited a bible verse to justify his nauseating actions. However, the quotation he addressed only referred to obedience of the law, but made no reference to tearing families apart. Even Trump-supporting evangelical Franklin Graham called the policy “disgraceful.” At the daily press briefing, Sanders was asked by CNN’s Jim Acosta to comment on the remarks by Sessions (video below):

Acosta: On these children that are being separated from their families as they come across the border, the Attorney General earlier today said that somehow there is justification for this in the bible. Where does it say in the Bible that it’s moral to take children away from their mothers?
Sanders: I’m not aware of the Attorney General’s comment or what he would be referencing. I can say say that it is very biblical to enforce the law. That is actually repeated a number of times throughout the Bible.
Acosta: You just said it’s in the bible to follow the law…
Sanders: That’s not what I said. And I know it’s hard for you to understand even short sentences, I guess.

Huh? That’s exactly what she said just seconds before denying that she said it. This is advanced level gaslighting. And in the process of flagrantly lying about what she just said, Sanders delivers a wholly inappropriate insult with regard to Acosta’s ability to understand her short (dishonest) sentences. It’s notable that other reporters raised the same inquiries, but Acosta, a Latino reporter from CNN, was the only one she insulted. And if Sanders is looking for an appropriate bible verse to quote, she might try this one referring to refugees (sojourners) from Leviticus (19:33-34) which, when President Obama cited it, Fox News went berserk:

“33. And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not do him wrong. 34. The stranger that sojourneth with you shall be unto you as the home-born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were sojourners in the land of Egypt.”

Sanders then went on to accuse Democrats of being responsible for the law requiring the separation of undocumented children from their parents. But there is no such law. It is being done as a result of an arbitrary policy implemented solely by the Trump administration. Nevertheless, Sanders said that Trump has called on Democrats to change the (nonexistent) law. But she fails to explain how Democrats could do that when they are in the minority and have no power to introduce or pass such legislation. Likewise, she ignores why Republicans, who do have the power, don’t just change the law themselves. Since they have the majority, they could make this issue go away overnight. What’s stopping them?

Among the other journalists questioning Sanders about this were Paula Reid of CBS, who advised Sanders, in vain, that there was no law mandating the separation of children. Also Brian Karem of Sentinel Newspapers made an impassioned plea asking “Sarah, you’re a parent. Don’t you have empathy for what these people are going through?” Sanders responded by recognizing a different reporter for an unrelated question. And that’s fairly typical of how she and Trump deal with difficult issues that require compassion and some expression of humanity.

Also brought up in the briefing were reports that Sanders and her deputy, Raj Shah, are planning their exit from the White House sometime this year. She would neither confirm nor deny the reports, but still criticized the reporting. We’ll see what she say when she actually leaves, which is all but certain. And we’ll also see what direction Trump will take when he names her replacement. I’m betting on Kimberly Guilfoyle of Fox News since she’s already sleeping with Don, Jr.

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

Kid Reporter Steals Show at WH Press Briefing, But Sanders Ducks Question on School Shootings

The Wednesday edition of the White House Press briefing was mostly in line with previous sessions. Sarah Huckabee Sanders conducted her routine delivery of lies posing as responses to reporters’ questions. Although there were some inquiries that are unique to Donald Trump’s administration. Such as how the President justifies his baseless claims that his campaign was infiltrated by FBI spies. Or whether Trump had spoken to Roseanne Barr after her show was cancelled due to her racist tweeting.

Sarah Huckabee-Sanders

However, the most extraordinary moment of the briefing was when Benje Choucroun was recognized for a question. Choucroun is a student at Marin Country Day School and was attending the briefing as a correspondent for Time for Kids magazine. His question was one that has special significance for all of America’s kids, and adults as well. He asked (video below):

“At my school, we recently we had a lockdown drill. One thing that affects mine and other students’ mental health is worrying about the fact that we or our friends could get shot at school. Specifically, can you tell me what the administration has done and will do to prevent these senseless tragedies?”

Considering that it has been less than two weeks since the most recent fatalities at the shooting at Santa Fe High School, this is a pertinent question that deserves a straight answer. Unfortunately, he was directing it to someone who had no intention of providing that kind of answer. Sanders very obviously evaded the question, declining to address it with the specifics that Choucroun requested:

“I think that as a kid and certainly as a parent, there is nothing that could be more terrifying for a kid to go to school and not feel safe, so I am sorry that you feel that way. This administration takes it seriously and the school safety commission that the president convened is meeting this week in an official meeting to discuss the best ways forward and how we can do every single thing within our power to protect kids in our schools and to make them feel safe and make their parents feel good about dropping them off.”

It’s notable that Sanders’ voice broke with apparent emotion while giving this reply. But that didn’t make the answer any less hollow and devoid of substance. She basically said that it’s too bad that you have to suffer like this and we are holding meetings to talk about it. She didn’t mention that the meetings were often restricted to the leadership of the National Rifle Association, or other partisan groups who refuse to acknowledge that guns are a major part of the problem. This administration has sold out the lives of America’s children for the profits of the NRA and its weapons manufacturer members.

It will be interesting to see what Choucroun’s report looks like when it’s published. For the most part, it has been the kids who have provided the most honest and effective dialog on this issue, beginning with the courageous students from Parkland, Florida’s Stoneman Douglas High School. And while it’s disappointing that Trump’s spokesperson so brazenly dodged Choucroun’s question, it’s inspiring that he asked it so profoundly and articulately.

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

Way Out of His League? Sarah Huckabee Sanders Has Delusions of Trump’s Grandeur

While Donald Trump cowers in the safety of his White House residence (or his Palm Beach resort), his press secretary shows up on State-TV (aka Fox News) for a pity party with Sean Hannity. They spend much of their segment whining about how Trump is a victim of the press that just doesn’t like him no matter how awesome he is.

Fox News, Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Sarah Huckabee Sanders has the unique distinction of turning the daily White House press briefings into an extended presentation of lies and propaganda that surpasses any of her predecessors. The media participants in these charades, from across the political spectrum, openly lament that they can’t believe what comes out of her mouth. That absence of confidence is a real threat to the American system of democracy that relies on a free press. But since she represents a president who has repeatedly referred to the media in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people,” it would be naive to expect anything resembling honesty or integrity from her or this administration.

And so it was on Friday as Sanders canoodled with Hannity to malign the media in general and CNN’s Jim Acosta in particular (video below). “it’s unreal,” she grumbled, “the amount of negative coverage that comes from the media covering this White House.” Continuing, she said:

“Not just because it’s so one-sided, but because there’s so many good things they could be talking about. The economy is booming. ISIS is on the run. Remaking of the judiciary. Getting rid of the individual mandate. The foreign policy and the relationships that this president has built. Every single day there’s a good news story to tell. And yet ninety percent of the coverage is negative.”

For the record, the economy was booming for seven of the eight years Obama was president, after he guided it to recovery from the Bush recession. Trump stumbled into this expansion and immediately took credit for it. However, now that he has been at the helm for a year, the economy has rapidly cooled. It’s almost six months into 2018 and the Dow Jones is laying flat year-to date.

As for the other items that Sanders regards as “good news,” remaking the judiciary is a euphemism for packing it with ultra-conservatives who will favor corporations over people; getting rid of the ObamaCare individual mandate is already resulting in higher premiums and fewer people being covered; and Trump’s foreign policy is a perverse shift from alignment with our allies to cuddling up to totalitarian foes like Vladimir Putin and Xi Xiaoping. His biggest so-called accomplishments are a scheduled meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un (which may never happen, or produce the results he’s promised), and moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem (which has already cost more than sixty lives).

Still, Sanders insists that there’s “a good news story to tell” every day, even as reports pile up about Trump’s collusion with Russia and corruption connected to his business and personal affairs. There has never been an administration so mired in political malfeasance as the Trump Crime Family. And yet, Sanders and Hannity place all the blame on the media for doing their job. Sanders even addresses a direct challenge to CNN’s Acosta who expressed an interest in interviewing Trump:

“Just a little note to Jim. I think he should stick to going one-on-one with me because President Trump is way out of his league. And I don’t think he wants to take on that challenge cause he’s definitely not gonna win.”

First of all, Sanders has never gone one-on-one with Acosta, and she likely never will. She only encounters him in the daily briefings where she usually cuts him off without answering his questions. As for Trump being out of Acosta’s league, if that were true Trump would jump at the chance to be interviewed by someone he believes he could shred. The fact is that Trump has not had allowed an interview with anyone outside of the friendly media bunker he’s sheltered in for over a year. And he hasn’t had a solo press conference since the one he gave just after his inauguration.

Trump is quite obviously afraid to face someone who might ask questions relevant to his conduct as president. It’s Trump who’s afraid to take on the challenge of an interview with Acosta or anybody else other than bootlickers like Hannity and Jeanine Pirro and the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends. It’s the same reason that Trump is scared to sit for an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller. He and his handlers are afraid – with good reason – that Trump will get himself in deeper trouble by lying. Because when it comes down to it, Sanders is right when she says that Trump is out of their league. He’s way below them in every way imaginable.

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

Donald Trump Accuses Members of His Own White House Staff of Treason

The morale at the White House just took another deep dive into the abyss of the Shakespearean tragedy it has become. Donald Trump’s administration is already notable for suffering the worst retention rate in history with dozens of top-level staffers resigning or being fired in just the first year. This is a crumbling house of cards that Trump’s press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, called “a very functioning place of business.”

Donald Trump

The White House has recently been described in strikingly negative terms. One account calls it “the most toxic working environment on the planet.” The official who told this to Axios went on to say that:

“Usually tough times bring people together. But right now this atmosphere is ripping people apart. There’s no leadership, no trust, no direction and this point there’s very little hope. Would you want to go to work every day not knowing whether your future career was going to be destroyed without explanation?”

In the midst of that turmoil, it isn’t surprising to see many insiders anxious to leak to the media. According to a new report by Axios they are doing so, in part, to set the record straight and protect themselves from jealous coworkers. So Trump’s response to this dreadful lack of leadership was to post this harangue on Twitter:

Note the obvious paranoid psychosis in that brief tirade. First of all, if he’s referring to “so-called leaks” by the “Fake News Media,” then there isn’t really anything to complain about as far as leaks go. In his view the information is false and, by definition, not a leak. Secondly, Trump doesn’t need any help from anyone to “look as bad as possible.” He’s doing that very well on his own.

Nevertheless, Trump is outraged that anyone in his employ would exercise their free will and talk with people in the media about the train wreck over which he presides. And his response to that demonstration of disloyalty to the King is to accuse the fiends of treason and threaten them with capture and punishment.

This president is certainly not the first one to be stung by insiders talking out of class. But he is the first to charge them with crimes punishable by death. And that is what makes Trump’s totalitarian tactics so dangerous and unambiguously contrary to the American values of freedom and democracy.

If Trump wants to stop leaking from his staff, the best and easiest way is to inspire them to have admiration and respect for his leadership. He’s quite clearly incapable of that, so he resorts to this sort of intimidation and bullying. Which isn’t going to work. In fact, it will just make things worse for him. So, Mr. Trump, please proceed.

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

Serial Sexual Predator Bill O’Reilly Offers to Protect Sarah Huckabee Sanders From the Media

Donald Trump’s press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, has been called a lot of things. Most notable (and on target) is a lying propagandist for a criminal chief executive. But she has never been criticized for being a wallflower who can’t defend herself under fire. Especially when the fire is coming from the Washington press corps who she encounters on a near daily basis.

Fox News, Bill O'Reilly, Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Enter Bill O’Reilly: The disgraced has-been who struggles to get attention for his lame blog now that he has been banished from his Fox News perch. O’Reilly has become a pathetic wretch who thinks he can still corral an audience after the disclosures of numerous payoffs to women accusing him of sexual harassment and abuse. At least New York’s Attorney General had the decency to resign.

The Hollywood Reporter caught up with O’Reilly at a party for Richard Grenell, Trump’s new ambassador to Germany (and a former Fox News contributor). They witnessed a discussion that O’Reilly had with Sanders that tells you something about both of them. According the Reporter O’Reilly said that he “feels for” Sanders, who he said is “not able to fight back when attacked by beat reporters, unlike her boss, President Donald Trump.” O’Reilly posted their exchange on his website:

“I said, ‘Ms. Sanders, with all due respect, if you ever need me to stand next to you in those press briefings, I will volunteer to do that. And, if somebody gets out of line, I will tell them exactly what I think of their behavior,’ “

Horrors! O’Reilly’s threatening to tell some unsuspecting reporters what he thinks of them (like they care). And where in that self-serving slobber was any hint of “due respect” for Sanders? O’Reilly is implying that lady-folk Sanders can’t do her job. And although she sees her job as lying to the American people everyday, she’s doing that pretty well. She obviously doesn’t need the “loofah man” to rescue the poor defenseless female from the mob of ravaging journalists. Let’s face it, the only thing O’Reilly wants to do is get some airtime on real TV, as opposed to the little-watched videos he makes in his Long Island basement. He went on to babble:

“I told her that she is doing a great job, in the sense that it’s not a partisan play. She’s representing her country in very difficult circumstances, extremely difficult, and she’s a patriot — you know, she’s taken enormous amount of abuse, enormous.”

In O’Reilly’s cartoon brain what Sanders does isn’t partisan? That’s a symptom of acute grey matter rot. And he attempts to portray the press secretary as being on a par with the military. Come on, what’s so difficult about answering questions from reporters? And if anything makes this more difficult than usual, it’s the dishonesty and ignorance of the president she works for.

The Reporter’s article says that Sanders laughed when O’Reilly made this suggestion. That’s a fairly appropriate response. But it doesn’t go nearly far enough to shame O’Reilly for belittling the woman whose job it is to speak for the President. O’Reilly’s misogyny is evident in his presumption that he would be necessary or helpful as a protector for Sanders. If anything, he would probably seek to take advantage of her to advance his own interests. Because that’s what narcissistic misogynists like O’Reilly (and his pal Donald Trump) do.

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

Conservative Leader Says ‘Journalists Shouldn’t Be the Ones to Say Trump is Lying’

America’s right-wing has distinguished itself as a vocal opponent of the free press and the First Amendment. For many decades they have made reporters a convenient foil for their failures and an object of their hatred. And today they are obediently following Donald Trump’s lead in casting the media in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the American people.”

Donald Trump

When Michelle Wolf performed a comedy routine at the White House Correspondents Dinner on Saturday, the wrath of the right was triggered once again to malign her for going to far with her jokes. They were bitterly offended that she had the gall to call out Trump and his chief spokesperson, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, for repeatedly and brazenly lying to the public. Never mind that what Wolf said in jest on Saturday was nowhere near as offensive as what Trump says seriously every day. And his petty revenge rally held the same day as the WHCD provided several examples.

Among those outraged by Wolf was Matt Schlapp, TV talking head and the chairman of the American Conservative Union, which produces the annual Conservative Action Political Conference (CPAC). Schlapp, it should be noted, never bothered criticizing Trump for mocking a disabled reporter, or attacking Mika Brzezinski’s “bleeding face,” or grabbing women by the pussy, or any number of other atrocious remarks. But he couldn’t stop himself from complaining about Wolf’s completely valid criticism of Trump and Huckabee as liars. In an interview with CNN’s Alisyn Camerota (video below), Schlapp said that Wolf’s routine was beyond the pale, and that:

“We have big political disagreements in this country. And I thinbk it’s wrong for journalists to take that next step. And granted, she’s a comedian, but plenty of journalists do it as well – is they take the next step. Just present the facts. Let the American people decide if they think someone’s lying.

“Journalists shouldn’t be the ones to say that the President or his spokesperson is lying. Because what that does to fifty percent of the country is it makes them feel they are not credible to listen to.”

At risk of stating the obvious: Journalists should absolutely be the ones to say that the President or his spokesperson is lying. It is the express duty of reporters to present the facts at all times. And when any public official misrepresents or distorts the facts, they need to be corrected unambiguously. And it’s much more than just pointing out that a comment differs from reality. The honesty of our political representatives is a crucial part of democracy, and they shouldn’t be let off the hook when they lie.

Conservative journalists have never been shy about calling Democrats liars. They used the term when criticizing President Obama for saying about the Affordable Care Act that “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” They said Hillary Clinton lied about Benghazi. Trump himself accused Clinton (falsely) of lying under oath to the FBI. But suddenly it is now “beyond the pale” to point out Trump’s lies.

Perhaps the rightist snowflakes have to draw a line because of the unwieldy quantity of lies that Trump exudes. Admittedly, it is a huge burden to have to monitor his unrelenting mendacity. But it has to be done, and journalists are exactly the right people to do it. They have the facts at their disposable and a platform for setting the record straight. Which is why Trump and shills like Schlapp hate the press so much.

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

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

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

Fox News, Laura Ingraham

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tough Guy Trump is a Trembling Coward – Too Scared to Face the Media He Says is Fake

It has been 441 days since Donald Trump was inaugurated. Less than one month later he held his first news conference. And despite innumerable scandals, outrages, embarrassments, and crimes, he hasn’t held another one since. That’s right, the President of the United States has only had one solo news conference during his entire term in office to date. What’s more, he hasn’t sat for an interview with a major news network other than Fox News for more than a year.

Donald Trump

For most that time, Trump has been a vocal opponent of the free press and the First Amendment. He has called the media “the enemy of the American people.” He banned certain news organizations from his rallies. He proposed licensing of journalists and/or revoking licenses of broadcasters he regarded as too critical. The Committee to Protect Journalists declared that Trump is “undermining global press freedom.” And his relentless (and tedious) repetition of “fake news” whenever someone in the press tells the truth about him has become the hallmark of his presidency.

For all his tough talk it is apparent that Donald Trump is a coward. He is a whining baby whose impotent rants only illustrate how scared he is of the media he tries to bully. And now he has informed the White House Correspondents Association that he will not be attending their annual dinner for the second year in a row. And why should he? He has called the other attendees sleazy, dishonest, corrupt, and horrible people. So he’s sending his press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, to fill in for him as the designated liar for the administration. She should be a suitable substitute for the Liar-in-Chief. It’s just like her day job.

Trump’s failure to hold a news conference breaks decades old practices of presidents answering to the American people through their media surrogates. His single appearance contrasts with the far more accessible policies of his predecessors. Barack Obama, in his first year in office, held seven news conferences. George W. Bush did four. Bill Clinton did eleven. George H. W. Bush did twenty-seven. Ronald Reagan did six. Jimmy Carter did twenty-two. Gerald Ford did four. And Richard Nixon did six.

And it’s not as if Trump doesn’t recognize the importance of news conferences. During the campaign he criticized Hillary Clinton for what he regarded as a wholly improper avoidance of the media:

If Clinton’s alleged media shyness for seven months was an indication that she had a terrible record that could not be defended, then what does that say about Trump’s fourteen months of cowering in the safety of the White House and his private resorts? It is unmistakable that his outbursts are the result of an inner terror of being held accountable. In the past year there have been dozens of incidents that the American people want and deserve to hear the President explain. From Russia to porn stars to racism to economic crises, this president refuses to answer questions in a setting where reporters can challenge his authoritarian tactics.

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

At some point the media needs to make this an issue. If Trump will not hold a news conference, or venture out of his Fox News cocoon, they should stop covering his rallies and propaganda photo ops. He can communicate via Twitter and call-ins to Fox and Friends. But the press has stop tolerating his delegitimization of the media. There are plenty of other ways to inform the public about his activities. Including gavel-to-gavel coverage of his impeachment.

Was EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt Ambushed on Fox News Under Orders From Donald Trump?

Every now and then somebody on Fox News strays from the herd and does or says something critical of Donald Trump. It’s a rare event that is mostly confined to outliers like Shepard Smith or a courageous guest. In most cases it is treated as the aberration that it is and quickly buried under the rush of Fox’s typical pro-Trump propaganda.

Fox News, Scott Pruitt, EPA

On Wednesday, however, the criticism came from an unlikely source. Ed Henry, the chief national correspondent for Fox News, interviewed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator, Scott Pruitt (video below). In what Pruitt must have assumed would be a friendly media encounter, he was surprised by the aggressive tone of Henry’s inquiries. The questions addressed some of the most controversial scandals that have erupted during his tenure at the EPA.

Henry asked Pruitt why he went around Trump to give two top aides raises after the President refused the request. When Pruitt said that it was staffers who did that and that he didn’t know anything about it, Henry pushed back asking Pruitt to confirm that he didn’t know what was going on in the department he was supposedly running.

Henry also asked how renting a Washington, D.C. apartment at sweetheart rates from the wife of a lobbyist with business before the EPA was “draining the swamp.” Pruitt replied that there was nothing untoward about the arrangement. So Henry offered examples demonstrating that his $50.00 a night rental was way out of line with Washington rates for residences or hotels.

This appearance of actual journalism at Fox News is peculiar in general, but downright bizarre for Ed Henry.. He is one of the most squishy Trump-fluffers on Fox News. He is a frequent co-host of Trump’s favorite Fox show, Fox and Friends. There was a time in the past when Henry passed himself off as a straight-up reporter. But then he was suspended by Fox for having had an extramarital affair. When he returned to the air it was like he had been given a new mission to serve as a Trump sycophant. Perhaps it was the price of his reinstatement.

So why would Henry suddenly show some gumption and take on Trump’s EPA boss? The most plausible theory is that he was ordered to do so. And those orders could only have come from one place: Donald Trump. Fox wouldn’t independently direct Henry to go on the attack. They would have to have had instructions. And Trump has reasons to want Pruitt to look bad in public. With the scandals he has brought to the White House, including ludicrous spending for things like first-class air travel and a $40,000.00 secure phone booth in his office, Trump might be looking for excuses to fire him.

The signs are cropping up throughout the White House. When asked about Pruitt’s status Wednesday, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said it was “under review.” Deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley was similarly non-committal saying that he “can’t speak to the future of Scott Pruitt.” It sounds very much like Trump’s people are bailing on Pruitt. They would not do that without permission. Nor would Fox News. So it would be interesting to find out if there were any communications between Trump and his State-run TV network that directed Henry to filet Pruitt. He has been meeting with Fox Newsers much more in recent weeks, which suggests that their already close relationship is getting even closer.

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

LOL: Trump’s Press Secretary Says the White House is ‘a Very Functioning Place of Business’

The morning after Donald Trump’s chief economic advisor, Gary Cohn, resigned, the White House PR machine went to work pretending that there is nothing the least bit wrong in Trumpland. Never mind that there has been a higher rate of turnover than any presidency in history, or that competent, qualified people are rejecting offers to work in Trump’s administration. Even current staff are delaying departure because they can’t find new employers who will hire them. That’s how toxic the association with Trump is.

trump-departures

The Wednesday press briefing at the White House was a typically shallow affair where press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders spent much of the time replying to questions with non-answers. For instance, she would repeatedly say something like “the President has made his feelings clear on that matter and I have nothing further to add.” So what the heck are you doing there?

Today’s briefing included a couple of questions (videos below) related to White House staffing problems which, according to Sanders, don’t exist. She is parroting Trump’s obviously false contention that he has his choice of “the 10 top people” for any open position because “everybody wants to be there.” That is contradicted by the very fact that he keeps having so many openings. Clearly people don’t want to be there. And this deficit of talent has even Trump supporters worried:

Q: Republican senator Cornyn said today “I’m concerned who the President will turn to for advice.” Should he be concerned?
A: No. The President’s got a number of very accomplished, smart, capable people around him. And he is going to continue to lean on a lot of those people. But at the end of the day the American people voted overwhelmingly for President Donald J. Trump. They voted for his policies, his agenda, and for him to be the ultimate decision maker.

Sanders is right. There is indeed a number of “very accomplished, smart, capable people” around the President. Zero is a number, isn’t it? However, Sanders is totally wrong about Trump being elected overwhelmingly. In fact, Hillary Clinton got three million more votes than Trump. And his policies and agenda have only gotten less popular in the past year. He still has the lowest approval rating of any president on record. And his popularity doesn’t seem to be any higher within his administration than it does with voters.

Q:Why are so many people people leaving this administration?
A: Look, this administration has had a historic first year. We’re gonna continue to do great things. This is an intense place, as is every White House, and it’s not abnormal that you would have people come and go.
Q: But it is actually abnormal. No administration in recent history has had this rate of turnover.
A: But it’s not abnormal to have turnover.
Q: If this is not the definition of chaotic, how would you describe what’s happening in these recent weeks?
A: If it was then I don’t think we’d have been able to accomplish everything that we’ve done. The economy is stronger than it’s been in ages. ISIS is on the run. The remaking of the judiciary. Jobs are coming in at record numbers. There are historic things that have taken place in the first year. Sounds like a very functioning place of business.

So Sanders is reduced to asserting that losing staff is not abnormal, even though the turnover rate in Trump’s White House is historically high. That’s like your doctor saying that losing blood isn’t abnormal while you’ve got an open vein gushing like a fire hose. Everything will be just fine. And her rundown of Trump’s achievements is really a list of the successes that President Obama handed down to Trump. But nothing that has transpired in the past year reflects a functioning workplace. Sanders – and Trump – have an impressive capacity for self-delusion.

The people populating Trump’s administration have never been especially well regarded. Those still remaining include Ben Carson, Rick Perry, Scott Pruitt, and Betsy DeVos. That makes the prospect of Trump selecting new staffers extremely troubling. One name already being floated for Cohn’s job is Larry Kudlow, currently a Fox Business Network contributor. Also being mentioned as a replacement for National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, is another Fox News pundit, John Bolton. It seems that Trump’s only recruiting pool is from those people he sees on TV. And if that’s true, get ready for Secretary of State Sean Hannity, and Attorney General Jeanine Pirro. These are indeed scary times.

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