Fox News Bosses Told Hannity and Other Trump-Fluffers Not to Identify Whistleblower

The right-wing media machine has been chomping at the bit to expose the identity of the intelligence community whistleblower. He/she has been at risk since filing a complaint with the Inspector General regarding Donald Trump’s “quid pro quo” phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky. That complaint led to Trump being pressured to release a “summary memo” of the phone call, that he falsely asserts is a verbatim transcript.

Fox News, Sean Hannity, White House

Ever since the complaint was filed, Trump has been rattled and fearful due to the obvious legal jeopardy that it puts him in. He has repeatedly tweeted “READ THE TRANSCRIPT” in an effort to exonerate himself. Nevermind that even his edited memo incriminates him further. Trump’s desperate objections have wandered into deranged territory. And subsequent to the whistleblower’s complaint, additional witnesses and evidence has emerged that make his/her account moot.

Nevertheless, Trump and his propagandist media continue to demand that the whistleblower’s identity be revealed and that he/she testify in person before Congress. That would violate the security measures that the whistleblower statutes were designed to protect. And it would subject the whistleblower to potential harm. Consequently, Fox News found it necessary to advise their on-air “personalities” to refrain from reporting the alleged name of the whistleblower that has been floating around in wingnut media circles. CNN acquired a copy of the Fox News memo and reported that…

“…on October 31, a Fox executive sent an email to staffers that said the network had not ‘independently confirmed [the] name or identification of the anonymous whistleblower.’ A copy of the email was obtained by CNN Business.

“The executive further advised production staffers to ‘NOT fulfill any video or graphic requests’ related to the whistleblower’s identity.”

Among the hosts on Fox that were given these instructions was Sean Hannity. CNN reported that Hannity claimed to have “confirmed independently” the identity of the whistleblower, but declined, so far, to name the person on air. “But you know what?” Hannity said, “I will play the game for a little bit.” Then he pretended to not be afraid of being sued by the whistleblower’s attorney.

CNN’s report also included a paragraph that should be required in every article about Fox News:

“Much of Fox effectively operates as a messaging arm of the White House. Its opinion hosts have defended the President at nearly every turn, and the network employs a stable of pro-Trump contributors who appear throughout the day to offer commentary. Fox’s news anchors and journalists also frequently cover the day’s news from angles beneficial to the Trump White House.”

Well said. But Fox’s admonition to it’s personnel is not likely to be sufficient protection for the whistleblower. Hannity and others on the network have defied their bosses before, with little or no consequences. And people like Sen. Rand Paul are also claiming to know the whistleblower’s identity and threatening to release it. The StormTrumpers are fully prepared to violate the whistleblower statute without concern for the his/her welfare, or for the principle of confidential reporting of wrongdoing in the government.

Their intention is to scare off any other potential whistleblowers who discover criminal or unethical behavior. Which is a pretty good indicator that there is more illegal activity that has yet to be revealed. Hopefully, the patriots in government will stand strong and do what’s right despite these threats. They are a lifeline to keeping government honest and holding wrongdoers accountable.

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

Thanks Trump! The Pumpkinhead President Scares Fox News Ratings Into an Abyss

The month of October has been a frightening experience for Donald Trump. His Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney, admitted on national TV that there was a quid pro quo with Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden. His personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, had a nervous breakdown on Fox News. He was forced to reverse an idiotic plan to host the 2020 G7 summit at his Doral golf resort in Miami. And his one bit of good news – the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – produced a paltry two point bounce in a poll by his favorite, ultra-biased pollster, Rasmussen. Scary, huh?

Donald Trump, Fox News, Halloween

Trump was so terrified throughout the month that he fear-posted 104 panic-tweets attacking the fearsome chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff. And as if the Offender-in-Chief doesn’t already have enough reasons to soil his trousers, the Trump-fluffing “news” network that he relies on to prop him up with worshipful propaganda, Fox News, fell on some hard times as well. The ratings for October reveal that impeachment has been good news for both America and Fox’s chief competitor, MSNBC.

The total day ratings for Fox News declined by a whopping 27 percent in the all-important 25-54 demographic, compared to October of 2018. In the same period MSNBC rose 12 percent. MSNBC also increased total prime time viewers 25 percent, and prime time demo viewers 16 percent.

This growth was driven by impressive gains by The Rachel Maddow Show, which was the #1 cable news program for the month among adults 25-54. Her show was up 13 percent, while Fox News’ Hannity declined 21 percent in that time slot. In total viewers Maddow was up 22 percent, compared to Fox’s 2 percent drop. She beat her direct competition, Sean Hannity, as well as Fox’s other prime time stars, Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham.

These gains were also present in other MSNBC programs. The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell was up 20 percent (Fox News dropped 22 percent). The 11th Hour with Brian Williams finished #1 in the 11 p.m. hour, up 25 percent (Fox News declined 31 percent). The Beat with Ari Melber delivered the network’s most-watched month ever in the 6 p.m. time period, up 34 percent (Fox News down 12 percent). Deadline: White House with Nicolle Wallace was #1 in total viewers, up 13 percent (Fox News dropped 27 percent). All In with Chris Hayes was up 24 percent (Fox News was down 19 percent). Even the weekend had great news with total day gains of 10 percent (Fox News dips of 32 percent).

There could be several explanations for this powerful performance by MSNBC and the simultaneous collapse of Fox News. Trump’s impeachment might have stirred more interest by progressive news consumers to tune in more. At the same time, it might have discouraged conservatives from watching the news at all. But there’s another possible factor that drove Fox’s viewers away: Donald Trump. He spent a fair amount of time bashing his own own best media outlet and even telling his followers to turn off Fox.

For instance, after a Fox poll showed him losing to Biden, Trump tweeted that “I have NEVER had a good @FoxNews Poll. Whoever their Pollster is, they suck.” And then there was the time he tweeted that “@FoxNews doesn’t deliver for US anymore. It is so different than it used to be.” And not mincing words, Trump told his Deplorables that “We have to start looking for a new News Outlet. Fox isn’t working for us anymore!”

It’s hard to determine whether Trump’s Fox bashing had any real impact on their ratings. But it isn’t hard to see that he is a fickle and vengeful narcissist who demands 100 percent adoration at all times, lest you be cast into the corn fields, aka TrumpScorn. However, it is more likely that television audiences were simply more interested in getting honest presentations of the news by real journalists instead of slobbering, glassy-eyed sycophants. And since a majority of Americans favor Trump being impeached and removed from office (even in that Fox News poll), even the opinion side of MSNBC would figure to be more popular.

If Trump has anything going for him at this time, it’s the “bloody highway crash” appeal that might cause viewers to tune to Fox in order to see exactly how his mental breakdown will unfold in real time. Sure, it’s morbid and gruesome, but hell, it’s Halloween. Everybody may just be in a weird mood.

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

Shepard Smith Suddenly Signs Off at Fox News the Day After Bill Barr met with Rupert Murdoch

The most jarring news in the media world today is that Shepard Smith of Fox News announced on the air that he was anchoring his last broadcast at the network. No one had anticipated his departure and there had been no speculation about it. His colleagues were dumbstruck and issued their own emotional reactions.

Fox News, Shepard Smith, Donald Trump

Smith was out of place at Fox News. He was frequently reporting the actual facts of a story even while his primetime colleagues (Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson) were deliberately lying and even maligning his work and his honor. Carlson engaged in an on-air feud with Smith just last month after his guest, Trump flunky Joe diGenova, called Smith a fool for daring to report honestly. However, despite the open hostility, Smith bravely endured in a losing war to inform Fox’s viewers. One of his recent valiant efforts involved setting the record straight on the Russia probe and the Mueller report. And on another occasion Smith brutally, yet subtly, roasted Fox News while accepting a First Amendment Award.

It cannot be ignored that Smith announced his departure (video below) the day after Donald Trump’s shill Attorney General, William Barr, had a private meeting with the overlord of Fox News, Rupert Murdoch. That confab was originally suspicious because it occurred the day after Fox News released a poll showing that a majority of voters favored Trump’s impeachment and removal from office. Trump, who has long despised Smith, naturally expressed his disappointment with Fox tweeting falsely that “I have NEVER had a good @FoxNews Poll. Whoever their Pollster is, they suck. […] @FoxNews doesn’t deliver for US anymore.” And then Barr traveled to Murdoch’s lair to kiss his ring.

However, this new development makes it all even more suspicious. There is no way of knowing at this time if that meeting had anything to do with Smith leaving Fox News. His on-air farewell was nothing but grateful and gracious. But it is extraordinarily rare for a figure so closely tied with a broadcaster (Smith was at Fox from day one) to leave without any notice. Normally one would announce they are going off to pursue other opportunities, and that their last day would be a week or a month away. But Smith is already gone. And in his goodbye he noted that there is an agreement with Fox that he will not work as a journalist anywhere else for some unspecified period of time.

There is already speculation that Smith was forced out. And of course, there is already speculation that that speculation is false. But get real. If Smith wasn’t forced out overtly by his bosses who were through tolerating his independence, then he was forced out covertly by the way he was treated. In the matter of his feud with Carlson, it was Smith who management reprimanded.

No doubt Smith’s departure will bring great joy to Trump. And he will surely tweet something nasty about it before long. But Fox News has lost one of its only connections to ethical journalism. And it could not have come at a worse time. Trump is suffering a hysterical meltdown as Congress gets closer to his inevitable impeachment, but which he insanely has taken to calling a “coup.”. Just last night he delivered what may be the most disgusting performance of his short residency in Washington.

What’s left at Fox News will be an increasingly sycophantic cadre of true believers who literally describe their Dear Leader in terms generally reserved for kings or gods. As Trump’s megalomaniania, paranoia, and malignant narcissism become more severe, his martinets at Fox News will become more unbearably worshipful. So as we heartily wish good luck to Shep, we nervously wish it also for ourselves.

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

Rachel Maddow Rides Impeachment to Ratings Victory Over Trump-Fluffer Sean Hannity

In the week since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that Donald Trump is the subject of an official House impeachment inquiry, there have been some extraordinary developments. Trump himself blew a gasket and began flinging rhetorical feces at Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, and what he called Democrat Savages,” and even his faithful defenders at Fox News. Trump descended head first into paranoid rants accusing his perceived enemies of treason and assorted other imaginary atrocities.

Rachel Maddow

What’s more, the public has been rapidly accepting that Trump is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors warranting his removal from office. Recent polls show a net 20 point swing in favor of impeachment. The Ukraine affair has the advantage of being quickly understood without the complexities of Trump’s unsavory connections to Russian and the 400 page Mueller Report that reveals criminality and obstruction of justice – if people would read it.

As the impeachment story heats up it is also having an impact on television news viewing. The past week saw MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow spike significantly as she focuses on Trump’s tribulations. Among the all-important advertising demographic of 25-54 year olds, Maddow handily beat her Fox News competition, Sean Hannity. Maddow averaged 586,000 viewers a day for the week, compared to only 550,000 for Hannity. This is good timing for Maddow whose new book – Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth – comes out today.

As the ratings and the polls consistently reflect the trouble Trump has caused for himself, he is becoming ever more desperate for the sort of flattery that fuels his tender ego. He typically finds it in the cultish sycophancy of Fox News and the utterly disreputable polling by Rasmussen. But lately he has been feuding with Fox and Rasmussen just reported a five point drop in his approval in the past week. Consequently he resorted to posting the results of an online poll at Breitbart “News.”

You might think it’s pathetic that Trump would rely on such a blatantly biased and unreliable survey of the crackpots who patronize Breitbart. But what’s even worse is that a poll taken in his own Twitter feed, with more than twice the number of respondents, has support for impeachment exceeding 90 percent.

It’s apparent that the movement to impeach Trump is only going to pick up steam as it goes forward. And along the way more people will be exposed to the facts offered by Rachel Maddow, while Hannity’s viewers slink off to the comforting seclusion of the underside of the rocks they call home. But this is no time to get complacent. Trump’s exploding derangement is going to spray psycho-shrapnel everywhere. And his most devoted disciples will even threaten civil war. In fact, both he and they and Fox News already have. So stay alert and engaged Resistors. This is just the beginning.

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

Lacking Any Coherent Impeachment Defense, Trump Deploys An All Fox News Blitzkrieg

On Wednesday morning Donald Trump released the transcript White House provided, non-verbatim memo of his July phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. It was somewhat anticlimactic considering that he had already admitted that he pressured Ukraine to smear Biden, and even declared Biden “corrupt” and subject to the electric chair. Still, he has been saying for days that the call was “perfect,” that he had done nothing wrong, and promised that it would exonerate him. What the hell was he thinking!

Donald Trump, Phone, Pacifier

Keeping in mind that several days prior to this phone call, Trump had frozen nearly $400 million dollars in military aid to Ukraine, who were engaged in a conflict with Russian troops on their eastern border. With that as context for Trump’s remarks, here are some relevant and incriminating parts of the memo (full document below):

“I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. […] I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it. As you saw yesterday, that whole nonsense ended with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance.”

“Whatever you can do, it’s very important that you do it. […] I heard you had a prosecutor who was very good and he was shut down and that’s really unfair. A lot of people are talking about that, the way they shut your very good prosecutor down and you had some very bad people involved. Mr. Giuliani is a highly respected man. He was the mayor of New York City, a great mayor, and I would like him to call you. I will ask him to call you along with the Attorney General. Rudy very much knows what’s happening and he is a very capable guy. If you could speak to him that would be great.”

“The other thing, There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me.”

So Trump starts out by asking for “a favor.” That’s precisely how Godfather Don Corleone began his conversations with shakedown victims when he made them “an offer you can’t refuse.” Zelensky knew that the aid his country needs was at risk. This is as close to a quid pro quo as is ever encountered in organized crime. And having that followed up by a request to meet with Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, and his Attorney General, William Barr – which is a new and troubling revelation – only makes Trump’s clearly unlawful intentions more clear.

The fact that Trump bothered to malign special counsel Robert Mueller is another indication that he is tying this call to his own political tribulations. And directly warning Zelensky that “it’s very important that you do … whatever you can do,” is hardly a subtle nudge. Trump then brings up the Ukrainian prosecutor who he calls “very good” despite being held in disrepute by the U.S. government, the European Union, the World Bank, and other international institutions.

Trump then got to the real point when he brought up Joe Biden and made the objectively false statement that he “stopped the prosecution” of Biden’s son. In fact, the corrupt prosecutor wasn’t even actively pursuing the case. And every investigation into the matter found zero evidence of any wrongdoing by Biden. Nevertheless, Trump pressed this issue repeatedly in the phone call and kept pressing for a meeting with Giuliani and Barr.

If this is Trump’s idea of an exculpatory document, you have to wonder what he considers incriminating. Trump is seen here explicitly abusing his power by recruiting a foreign leader to interfere with an American election. And he is using funds allocated by Congress to extort the illegal results he wants. There is no defense for this criminal behavior. Trump couldn’t even provide one, so he claimed on Wednesday that it should all be ignored because the stock market went up. Really? For the record, the market today is stagnant at best. It’s exactly where it was in January of 2018, a year and a half ago. Trump is also arguing his innocence based on his leading poll numbers. Except that he’s losing to every top Democrat. In fact, a Fox News poll saying just that was released a week before Trump called Zelensky. Coincidence?

Then Trump turned to his goto protectors at Fox News to vainly try to spin this in his favor. He posted (so far) twelve (12!) tweets of Trump-fluffing sycophants that contained no factual refutation of the damning contents of the White House summary phone call. They included:

  • Fox News contributor Mollie Hemingway writing that the whistleblower’s attorney worked for Hillary Clinton and “Schuck” Schumer. That was for short internships nearly twenty years ago.
  • Fox host Mark Levin asserting that the is media trying to protect Biden.
  • Sean Hannity interviewing Attorney Joe DiGenova, whose reputation was so bad that he couldn’t be added to Trump’s staff.
  • Tucker Carlson interviewing Jenna Ellis, a member of the Trump 2020 Advisory Board.
  • Sean Hannity interviewing GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham, a sellout who once called Trump an idiot and a liar, but who now kowtows to him in the most embarrassing fashion.
  • Lou Dobbs interviewing Harmeet Dhillon from the Republican National Lawyers Association.
  • Sean Hannity (again), this time with Kevin McCarthy, House Republican Leader.
  • Lou Dobbs and Jeanine Pirro, another Fox News host and shameless Trump-fluffer.
  • Yet another Hannity reference saying that the whistleblower has a political bias.
  • Fox and Friends asserting that “Democrats have been talking about Impeaching Donald Trump since before he was inaugurated. @SteveDoocy @foxandfriends”
  • Fox host Bret Baier saying that “You don’t see a direct quid pro quo in this.”
  • Fox’s White House correspondent, John Roberts, saying that there was no quid pro quo in the memo.

Someone who has a good argument for innocence wouldn’t have to resort to a cadre of notoriously biased pundits and Fox News propagandists for legal help. But this is Trump’s whole modus operandi. Remember, his preparation for the presidency was hosting a reality TV game show for fourteen years. His entire reference to his job is tied to television and celebrity. So rather than accumulate knowledgeable defenses from intelligent, reputable people, he leans on dishonest TV personalities talking to partisan hacks. You know, people just like himself.

UPDATE: The whistleblower complaint has been declassified and released. It’s available here with a few redactions.

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

Trump Summons Fox News White House Correspondent to Oval Woodshed for a Spanking

There is little in the current news cycle that is less important than Donald Trump’s absurd and pointless lies about Alabama being in the path of Hurricane Dorian. For the record, Alabama was ruled out as being at risk two days before Trump issued his warning to residents of that state. But despite the facts that were confirmed by the National Weather Service’s Hurricane Center, Trump has elevated this nonsense to ridiculously atmospheric heights.

Donald Trump

There is a case to be made that Trump’s lying is significant because it might have unnecessarily rattled Alabamians or even shifted resources to areas where they weren’t needed. But more troubling is that it puts Trump’s severe mental instability on display. He could have just said that a mistake was made and this story would have slipped quietly away. Instead he turned his egotistical aversion to ever being challenged up to twelve – that’s twelve pile-on tweets insisting that he was correct, contrary to reality.

The latest of these demented tweets came on Friday morning when he accused the media of being fixated on the story he has been obsessively ranting about. “They went Crazy,” he tweeted, “hoping against hope that I made a mistake (which I didn’t).” Well, yes he did, and all the evidence affirms it. He went on to whine about not getting an apology that he doesn’t deserve, including for “the Witch Hunt, or SpyGate!” Nevermind that the Mueller probe (aka “witch hunt” in Trump’s cartoon brain) produced abundant evidence of Trump’s illegal activities, and “SpyGate” was a figment of his imagination.

However, the most deplorable action on Trump’s part during this vacuous waste of time occurred on Thursday when, as reported by CNN, Trump ordered the Fox News White House correspondent, John Roberts, to appear before him in his chambers. Trump was very unhappy with the reporting by Roberts and Fox News anchor Shepard Smith. This was not the first time that Trump has lashed out at Fox for not being being sufficiently adoring. Just last week he even ordered his cult followers to “start looking for new news outlet.” But this may be the first time that he has reprimanded a Fox reporter in the oval Office.

In an email by Roberts that was provided to CNN, he said that Trump “insisted that it is unfair to say Alabama was never threatened by the storm.” Roberts wrote that Trump was “looking for acknowledgment that he was not wrong” when he falsely claimed on Sunday that Alabama was in the path of Hurricane Dorian. By that time it was already known that Dorian had turned sharply to the north and east. But that didn’t stop Trump from lobbying Roberts with outdated information and charts. Even in those old projections there was only a 5-10 percent chance of a slight brushing of a sliver of Alabama, while Trump had said that there was 95 percent probability of landfall in Alabama.

CNN also reported that Trump “voiced his displeasure about Fox News anchor Shepard Smith’s skeptical reporting about the Alabama map,” and asked Roberts “to hit back at Shepard Smith.” This would be regarded as wholly inappropriate for any president to say to any journalist, but this is Trump and Fox News, so all pretensions to credibility are irrelevant. What Trump was fuming about was Smith’s commentary (video below) on the Alabama non-controversy wherein he said that…

Some things in Trumplandia are inexplicable. This week’s edition, the President’s ongoing claim that Alabama was at risk from hurricane Dorian. It wasn’t. Maybe he got some bad info, somebody maybe he made a mistake. Maybe he was confused. We don’t know. But he was wrong. Everybody makes mistakes. Instead the next day, the president blamed the media for his own inaccurate warning and started to rewrite history on the matter. […]

Why would the president of the United States do this? He decries fake news that isn’t and disseminates fake news that is. Think China pays the tariffs. The wall is going up. Historic inauguration crowd. Russia probe is a witch hunt. You need an ID to buy cereal. Noise from windmills causes cancer. It’s endless.

Indeed, it does seem to be endless as Trump prolongs this spectacle into the weekend. And along with trying to bully his friends at Fox News, Trump ordered his Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor, Rear Admiral Peter J. Brown, to issue a flagrantly false work of propaganda that backed up Trump’s ever-expanding web of lies. And not surprisingly, Trump’s BFF, Sean Hannity, took to the air to criticize the “psychotic jackasses in the media mob” who he said were misreporting that Trump lied, even though they merely reported the actual events as they occurred.

The only reason this preposterous story persists is that Trump can’t keep his narcissistic mouth shut for thirty seconds. His deranged insistence that he be perceived as right in all matters at all times forces him to defend even the most trivial blather that oozes from his pie hole on an all too frequent basis. And this time he even tried to browbeat a friendly Foxie into complicity with his dishonest drivel. The fact that it didn’t work may be a sign of trouble ahead for Trump. We can only hope.

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

The President’s ‘Experts’ on Any Subject are Mainly Trump-Fluffing Fox News Hacks

There is no question that Donald Trump has ushered in an era of presidential firsts: The first president to welcome and encourage Russian election help; the first to enrich himself by patronizing his own properties; the first to brag about committing sexual assault; the first to tell more than 12,000 lies; the first to engage in childish name-calling; the first to never have a positive favorable polling; the first to malign the media in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people;” the first to express more loyalty to foreign dictators than to our allies and even our own intelligence community; the first to rip babies from their parents and lock them in cages; the first to … oh hell, this could go on forever.

Donald Trump Sean Hannity

Another first that Trump has achieved concerns his inner circle of advisors and White House staff. The President of the United States is uniquely positioned to have access to the most experienced and intelligent people in the world. The issues that any president faces require that level of advice and counsel, whether it is about economics, diplomacy, legislation, healthcare, the military, and so much more. But Trump has assembled a confederacy of dunces in his Cabinet who know little about the departments they have been appointed to manage. Rick Perry knows nothing about energy. Ben Carson never spent five minutes studying urban planning. Betsy DeVos has no education background whatsoever. And the rest of the Cabinet is similarly incompetent.

However, none of that really matters because Trump doesn’t turn to them for guidance on any issue anyway. Instead, he consults his “Shadow Cabinet,” the presenters and contributors of Fox News. In many cases Trump has actually tapped Fox hosts for White House jobs. But even when he hasn’t, he still relies on their advice which he gets from his many hours of watching Fox News instead of doing any actual work.

The result of Trump’s addiction to Fox is that he is getting the most shallow, inappropriate, and dangerous advice available from people who have never studied the subjects on which they pontificate on TV. A quick examination of Trump’s Twitter feed revealed that every single person he quoted in the past five days was a TV talker. For instance:

  • Businessman Sam Zell, on CNBC
  • Activist Charlie Kirk on Trish Regan’s Fox News show
  • Lawyer Alan Dershowitz on Lou Dobbs’ Fox Business show
  • Host Lou Dobbs of Fox Business
  • Host Steve Hilton of Fox News
  • Evangelical Robert Jeffress on Lou Dobbs’ Fox Business show
  • Attorney Joe DiGenova on Fox News
  • Former GOP congressman Jason Chaffetz on Fox News
  • Jason Riley, Wall Street Journal on Fox News
  • Legal analyst Gregg Jarrett on Lou Dobbs’ Fox Business show
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham on Fox News
  • James Trusty on Fox News
  • Rep. Pete King on Fox News
  • Bryan Dean Wright on Fox and Friends

That’s just the past five days. He didn’t quote a single expert from any professional or academic source. And these are in addition to dozens of videos posted by Trump of Fox News personalities and contributors like Jeanine Pirro, Sean Hannity, and Tim Fitton of the ultra rightist Judicial Watch. Their political tips contain such useful insights as this one from Lou Dobbs:

Remember, that’s the ranting of a host on an alleged “news” network who is accusing all Democrats of hating America. A more plausible assessment would be that the only way to truly love America is to hate Trump. After all, he’s the one who is constantly tearing down the cherished institutions of the country, from the Constitution, to the the media, to law enforcement, to the military, and more. He’s the one who is trying to destroy America’s natural resources, preserves, air, water, and climate. And he’s the one who is siding with our enemies abroad and the wealthy elites domestically at the expense of the majority of the people.

For the Commander-in-Chief to rely on such a pitifully ignorant cadre of television shills should worry every citizen. But they shouldn’t be surprised. Trump’s prior job was hosting a TV game show, and that’s what he believes reflects a reality that exists only in his diseased brain. He still thinks he’s doing a reality TV show and he doesn’t know that Fox News is an entertainment network. And that delusional departure from sanity is not just a curious quirk.It has the potential to cause great harm if he isn’t stopped – and soon.

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

Trump Thinks He’s Still on Reality TV, Doesn’t Know Fox News is an Entertainment Network

The fact that Donald Trump is suffering from a crushing array of delusional departures from the real world is unarguable. He regards himself as The Chosen One.” He believes that only he can solve America’s problems (despite the fact that he’s failed to deliver on his campaign promises), In his warped mind he knows more than anyone on every subject. And these delusions are separate and apart from his ceaseless lies (more than 12,000 so far).

Donald Trump TV Set

However, there is a common thread that weaves through much of the hallucinatory fallacies that clutter his emotionally and intellectually stunted brain. He has an all-consuming fetish with his perceived popularity. Crowd size seems to be a stand-in for his virility. And often his craving for attention is manifested in his obsession with polls. But unfortunately for him, they mostly reflect how bitterly despised he is by most Americans. Even polls from Fox News and his favorite ultra-biased pollster, Rasmussen, show him in dire straits.

But polls are just the political equivalent of a mode of survey that Trump has had much more exposure to: The Nielsen Ratings. His fourteen years as the host of a reality TV game show has permeated his world view. And it is the prism through which he sees everything related to his life and presidency. This contorted mindset produced a Sunday morning tweet attacking sitcom star Debra Messing:

Here Trump is renewing his competition with other celebrities while also wholly inventing their alleged admiration for him. (I’d bet the limit at the Trump Taj Mahal that Messing never called him “sir”). He’s also demonstrating that he gauges his self-worth by his comparison – not to other presidents – but to other Hollywood luminaries. That’s his benchmark of approval. What’s more, he measures the value of news media by the same criteria. It isn’t insight or knowledge or experience that validates the media. It’s ratings. Which is why Trump also tweeted this tribute to his pal Sean Hannity:

First of all, Hannity is not the number one show on cable television. It’s the number one “news” show on cable television, which is a much smaller set of programs. Secondly, Trump isn’t the “favorite president” of anyone but his glassy-eyed cadre of Deplorables. But more importantly, there is no significance to the fact that the Fox News Trump-fluffers in primetime have higher ratings than the rest of the network’s programming. There’s a reason that time is called “prime.”

What Trump is doing here is trying to rescue himself from some painfully idiotic comments made last week admonishing Fox for failing to be 100% adoring. In a fit of hurt feelings he ordered his cult followers to “start looking for a new news network” because Fox “isn’t working for us anymore.” This was his way of reassuring Hannity that he still appreciates his up-sucking.

Trump’s intense focus on ratings is evidence that he has never left the realm of television ranking and marketing. Nothing matters to him except for how he is perceived by the standards of Hollywood. That explains why the only thing that was important to him about his visit to the hospital in El Paso where shooting victims were recovering was making sure that everyone knew how much he was loved. He wasn’t. In fact every patient refused to see him.

Trump’s single-minded concentration on ratings is matched by the market positioning of Fox News. They place a similar weight of stature on numbers, rather than quality or honesty. That’s because they have long considered themselves to be part of the entertainment sector of television, not news. Their late, disgraced CEO, Roger Ailes, even admitted it, dismissing his news competition to tell the Hollywood Reporter that “We’re competing with TNT and USA and ESPN.” And the product they put on the air proves that. Even the Fox News website promotes their programs as entertainment, rather than news. That particular promotion was for Tucker Carlson, who Fox thinks people should watch because he’s such an asshole.

Fox News has redefined television “journalism” by fundamentally transforming it from an information medium to an entertainment medium. They dress up their pseudo-news segments in the same reality TV, soap opera packaging that entertainment outlets use: conflict, scandal, mystery, and hyper-charged emotions including hero worship and fear. Fox employs flashy graphics and attention-grabbing audio whooshes and gongs to decorate their reports that are presented as ‘ALERTS’ regardless of the news value. And always there is sex. Fox’s roster of hosts has more former beauty pageant contestants that journalists.

So Fox News is the perfect chronicler of the bizarre presidency of Donald Trump. They are, in fact, recording the trials and tribulations of a fictional character, that they helped to invent, as he stumbles through his sappily scripted, melodramatic existence. And Trump embraces that rendering of his White House antics. It’s playacting on a world stage. The problem is that for the rest of the world’s inhabitants it’s all too real and frightening and dangerous. This show needs to be canceled ASAP if the we want to survive until next season.

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

One more thing, just for fun: In October of 2009, the Daily Show with Jon Stewart covered this subject in a brilliant and hysterical segment entitled FOR FOX SAKE! Fox News defends itself against an attack by the Obama administration by explaining that most of their shows aren’t real news.” ENJOY!

Trump Threatens Fox News: ‘I’m Not Happy with Fox and I’m the One Who Calls the Shots’

The evidence that Fox News is just a subdivision of the Republican Party (or vice versa) continues to pile up. And the closeness of that relationship has never been stronger than it has during the administration of Donald Trump. Fox News and Trump share a profound intimacy wherein the State TV network will unceasingly defend the President and malign his critics, while he generally sings the praises of his most devoted Trump-fluffers. Leaked emails recently revealed the existence of a literal Propaganda pact between Fox News and Trump.

Donald Trump, Fox News, Strange

However, on occasion Trump will have a brief falling out with his PR team at Fox. It usually occurs when a Fox News pundit has the audacity to tell the truth about Trump or to challenge his perceived omnipotence. Foxies like Chris Wallace and Shepard Smith have periodically been victims of Trump’s wrath. But his complaints are never based on any identifiable error in content or facts. Trump just lashes out in unhinged tantrums when someone at Fox is not sufficiently worshipful.

That rare moment of independence presented itself recently when Fox News released the results of its latest poll. The numbers were decidedly negative for Trump, including the finding that the top four candidates for the Democratic nomination for president (Biden, Warren, Sanders, and Harris) handily beat Trump in 2020 general election match ups. Trump never even broke forty percent. The poll’s respondents also gave a much higher favorability rating to the Democratic Party (51/45), than the Republican Party (41/54), which they rated as significantly unfavorable. And in a searing rebuke of Trump’s assessment of his own ability to unify the nation, 59 percent of voters said that he is “tearing the country apart.”

Predictably, Trump went bonkers at Fox daring to deflate his messianic self-image. And he frantically unloaded his outrage during another episode of his “Chopper Talk” reality show that has replaced White House press briefings. It was a jaw-dropping spectacle that confirmed that Trump regards Fox News as an affiliate of the White House that must always be obedient to his demands (video below). He began…

“Fox is a lot different than it used to be, I can tell you that. […] Fox has changed. And my worst polls have always been from Fox. There’s something going on with Fox, I’ll tell you right now. And I’m not happy about it. I don’t know what’s happening with when they have a Juan Williams who’s never said a positive thing. And yet when I show up at the Fox building he’s out there, “Oh sir, can I have a picture with you? Can I have a picture? He’s 100 percent nice.”

First of all, Trump has complained before about Fox News polls that he says “have always been terrible to me.” However, this collection of his own tweets proves that Fox’s polling has often been favorable to him, and he knows it. And it’s interesting that he considers that Juan Williams being polite somehow makes him a hypocrite. That actually tells you something about Trump’s boorish and infantile personality. Then he continued…

“Fox is different, there’s no question about it. And I think they’re making a big mistake because Fox was treated very badly by the Democrats. Very, very badly. Having to do with the debates and other things. I think Fox is making a big mistake because, you know, I’m the one who calls the shots on the really big debates. I guess we’re probably planning on three of them. And I’m not happy with Fox. I’m certainly happy, I think, Sean Hannity and Lou Dobbs. I think Tucker Carlson and Laura, Jesse Watters and Jeanine. We have a lot of great people.”

Trump is unambiguously threatening Fox News here. He’s saying that if they don’t start delivering more favorable polling results he might just prohibit them from hosting election debates. He believes that Fox’s polls should not be honest, representative samples of the electorate but, instead, should be aligned with the views of his favorite shills (Hannity, Dobbs, Carlson, etc.) And if they aren’t, then Fox will be punished. Also, his assertion that “WE” have a lot of great people, is a clear indication that in his mind Fox News is part of his regime. TrumpenFox is a monstrous creation that crossbreeds news and politics.

This would be a good time to point out that Trump’s assertion that he “calls the shots” is bullshit. The apolitical, independent Commission on Presidential Debates has sponsored general election presidential debates in every election since 1988. So unless Trump intends to unilaterally rescind that process, he won’t be deciding which networks host the debates.

Of course, given his recklessness and ignorance, Trump just might try to nix the Commission and impose his own terms for debate. That, however, wouldn’t go down well with the Democratic nominee who likely oppose any such move. And if the debates are canceled as a result, it would just make Trump look petty, stubborn, childish, and most of all, scared. Which is unquestionably the true state of his diseased psyche, considering his utter failure to deliver on his campaign promises, and the teetering state of the economy. The American people would see in real time that the Donald Trump who dodged the draft is the same coward dodging the debates.

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

The Fake Fox News Story About Seth Rich Was Planted By Russia and Promoted By Hannity

Michael Isikoff of Yahoo News has just published an extensive investigative report revealing that the bogus story about the murder of the Democratic National Committee staffer, Seth Rich, was originally planted by Russian intelligence. (Insert SHOCKED! face here). This was a completely fabricated piece of actual fake news that was prominently pushed by Fox News, and particularly Sean Hannity.

Fox News, Sean Hannity, Vladimir Putin

The article by Isikoff went into stark detail about the origins of the callous claims that Rich was actually the source of hacked emails the were published by Wikileaks. Those who told and spread these lies had no compassion whatsoever for the family that was grieving the loss of a loved one. Likewise, they didn’t care that they were disseminating falsehoods created by Russian spies intended to disrupt an American presidential election. Isikoff reported that

“The conspiracy claims reached their zenith in May 2017 — the same week as Mueller’s appointment as special counsel in the Russia probe — when Fox News’ website posted a sensational story claiming that an FBI forensic report had discovered evidence on Rich’s laptop that he had been in communication with WikiLeaks prior to his death. Sean Hannity, the network’s primetime star, treated the account as major news on his nightly broadcast, calling it ‘explosive’ and proclaiming it ‘might expose the single biggest fraud, lies, perpetrated on the American people by the media and the Democrats in our history.'”

“In fact, the Fox story was a ‘complete fabrication,’ said [U.S. attorney Deborah] Sines, who consulted with the FBI about the Fox News claims. There was ‘no connection between Seth and WikiLeaks. And there was no evidence on his work computer of him downloading and disseminating things from the DNC.'”

In an interview on MSNBC, Isikoff elaborated on what his investigation uncovered (video below):

“The timing is so interesting here. The week that this breaks on Fox News, in the story they later had to retract and acknowledged didn’t ‘meet their editorial standards,’ Sean Hannity is shouting it from the rooftops. What’s going on that week? It’s the week that [special counsel Robert] Mueller was appointed. It’s the week [FBI Director James] Comey was fired. It’s when the Russia story was blowing up.”

Isikoff noted that Hannity’s guest was Trump’s attorney for the Russia affair, Jay Sekulow. He had just been hired by Trump, but Hannity left that fact out of the segment. Together they were pushing the phony Rich story as a means to undercut the Russia narrative.

Fox News later issued a mushy retraction that admitted no fault. They said they would conduct an internal investigation to ascertain where they went wrong, but any findings from the alleged investigation remain undisclosed. However, Hannity never conceded any wrongdoing at all. To the contrary, he insisted that his “reporting” was accurate and would continue:

“I am not Fox.com or FoxNews.com, I retracted nothing. For those accusing me of pushing a conspiracy theory, you are the biggest phony hypocrites in the entire world. This issue, it’s so big now that the entire Russia collusion narrative is hanging by a thread. […] These are questions that I have a moral obligation to ask, and I will do the mainstream media’s job like I have most of my career.”

True to form, Hannity never did retract his lies about Rich. But he did delete all of his tweets about Rich (you can still see them here). He is exhibiting the same dishonesty, arrogance, and stubbornness as his bestie in the White House, Donald Trump. They both will cling to the most ludicrous assertions, even after they have been proven to be utterly false. The truth plays no part in their determined propaganda crusades. And neither does patriotism, as both Hannity and Trump have now been been shown to be willing confederates (aka “useful idiots”) of covert Russian operations.

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