SRSLY? The Fox News Den of Sexual Predators Accuses Democrats of Enabling Weinstein

Leave it to Fox News to politicize anything, no matter how repulsive. The salaciousness of the Harvey Weinstein scandal must have been too much for them to pass up. So for the past several days they have been desperately trying to tar any and all Democrats with Weinstein’s disgusting behavior. It’s a tactic commonly used by the political bottom-feeders on the right, and especially by Fox News.

Fox News Tucker Carlson

On Wednesday night Tucker Carlson, arguably the most annoying man on television, delivered one of his typically sour monologues. In his opening segment he spun furiously in an effort to intertwine Democrats with a story whose focus ought to have been on the victims. But at Fox News it is always more important to cravenly exploit political biases. Carlson made sure to single out Hillary Clinton in his remarks because what’s more relevant than someone who holds no government office, or likely ever will? “Weinstein couldn’t have gotten away with any of this,” Carlson smeared, “without enablers like Hillary Clinton.” And then he unleashed this cognitive mess:

“Sexual abuse is epidemic in Hollywood. The people in charge have covered it up and made excuses for it. In each case protecting the powerful from the powerless and the abused. It is time for the federal government to get involved. The Department of Justice should launch an immediate investigation into Hollywood’s culture of systematic sexual abuse.”

First of all, sexual abuse is epidemic in America. It isn’t unique to Hollywood, and that assertion minimizes the scale of the problem. Which may be deliberate on Carlson’s part. More to the point, Carlson’s statement would actually be more appropriate if applied to Fox News. The list of their high-level perverts began with former CEO, Roger Ailes. Then Fox’s biggest star, Bill O’Reilly, finally succumbed to years of rumored sexual harassment. The president of Fox News, Bill Shine, was also dismissed under a cloud. As were Fox Sports President Jamie Horowitz, Fox News Latino VP, Francisco Cortes, and most recently, host Eric Bolling.

As Carlson noted, “The people in charge have covered it up and made excuses for it. In each case protecting the powerful from the powerless and the abused.” It wasn’t until their victims started coming out publicly that the network acknowledged the cesspool they were wallowing in. So if the Justice Department should launch an investigation, they might want to start with Fox.

Oh wait, they already did. A probe of the personnel and finances of Fox News was initiated in the final days of the Obama administration. The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, was in charge. That is, until Trump fired him.

On Wednesday the Daily Mail reported that Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, has instructed the FBI to open a probe into the Weinstein affair. However, the Daily Mail is an ultra-conservative British tabloid, which makes this story somewhat suspicious. To date it has only been shared on other right-wing websites like Breitbart, Redstate, and Newsmax. But it’s premise is not implausible. Trump is known for taking positions based on something he just saw on Fox News. So if he watched Carlson make this proposal, he might well have directed Sessions to have the FBI initiate an investigation. And a good bootlicker like Sessions would surely have obeyed.

In his segment, Carlson complained that it took Hillary Clinton five days to denounce Weinstein. Donald Trump still hasn’t done so. The only comment he made was “I’m not surprised.” So apparently Trump has known that Weinstein is a sexual predator, but he never bothered to mention it. As for Carlson, his hypocrisy is off the charts. He works for a network that harbored some of the most despicable miscreants imaginable.

There is no evidence that Fox News has cleaned up its act. Carlson owes his program to the departure of Megyn Kelly, who left in part due to sexual harassment from Bill O’Reilly. And now Carlson’s show actually airs in O’Reilly’s old time slot. Meanwhile Sean Hannity has brought O’Reilly back into the Fox fold as his guest, without ever mentioning the reasons he was fired. So if Carlson had any integrity, he might want to reexamine who the real enablers are.

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

Rachel Maddow Tops All Cable News Programs in 3rd Quarter – And Donald Trump is Nervous

The rapid rise of MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow has stunned many in the cable news business. Her show has risen from modest beginnings to dominate her field. And she has achieved something that was thought unthinkable a couple of years ago: beating Fox News. And she has been doing that handily for several months.

Rachel Maddow

There is a segment of television news consumers who are clearly interested in thoughtful, well-researched journalism. Maddow’s brand of intelligent, fact-based discourse is proving to be more popular than Fox News style blather, bellowing, and bullshit. The negativity and ultra-conservative bias that defines Fox News might be wearing thin. Plus, they have the unenviable job of defending Donald Trump’s infantile outbursts, humiliating ignorance, and unpopular positions on nearly everything.

With all of that in mind, it isn’t that surprising that Maddow has taken the cable news crown. What’s surprising is the scope of her victory and its continuing acceleration. Forbes reports the newest Nielsen numbers saying that:

“The MSNBC host just hit a milestone for MSNBC, with her 9 p.m. hour, The Rachel Maddow Show, finishing the third quarter of 2017 as the No. 1 cable news show on television. It’s the first time any MSNBC show has finished first in the Nielsen ratings for an entire quarter.

“Maddow hit her highest ratings among total viewers (2.7 million) and in the advertiser-coveted demographic of adults 25-54 (606,000). That represents an increase of 75% compared to the third quarter of 2016 (total viewers), and 65% (adults 25-54).”

The numbers for Maddow were reflected throughout the MSNBC schedule. Their total day growth was “up +41 percent in viewers and up +27 percent in the demo.” That contrasts with a Fox News decline “year-over-year in total viewers, down -3 percent in total day and down -12 percent in total viewers.” Ironically, Fox’s best performing program was “Shepard Smith Reporting” which was up +19 percent. Lately Smith is the sole voice of sanity on Fox and a frequent critic of Trump. Which is to say that he reports truthfully.

Speaking of Trump, he isn’t taking this news well. In fact, he’s avoiding the reality of it entirely. On Thursday he retweeted his friend Bill O’Reilly congratulating Sean Hannity for a short-term ratings bump.

The disgust of seeing the sexual predator Trump, promoting fellow deviant O’Reilly, was jarring and repulsive. Particularly since this was O’Reilly’s first time back on Fox News since he was terminated for sexually harassing his colleagues and guests. As for Hannity, he just moved to a new time period directly competing with Maddow. So he front-loaded his first week with a bevy of right-wing icons like Steve Bannon, Paul Ryan, Rush Limbaugh, and O’Reilly. He can’t be expected to keep up that pace and his ratings will likely sink back to their prior levels. So any boasting about the numbers for a couple of days is premature and pales in comparison to Maddow’s quarterly trouncing of Hannity and Fox.

But this is all that they have to hang on to. Maddow is a certified success who is putting Hannity to shame. And the fact that Trump is lowering himself to posting TV ratings results is further proof of his unfitness for the presidency. The nation is juggling multiple crises including hurricane catastrophes in Puerto Rico, Florida, and Texas. Trump’s third attempt to kill ObamaCare just went down in flames. He’s now peddling a tax reform scam that will benefit the wealthy and hurt everyone else. He seems intent on starting a nuclear war with North Korea. Our elections systems have been compromised by foreign enemies.

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

Trump himself is at risk for prosecution and possible impeachment for his involvement with Russia, both politically and financially. And now he’s interrupted his racist posting on the NFL to lie about television ratings. We don’t have a president anymore. We have a traitorous, wannabe tabloid hack who would be better suited as a correspondent for the Russian version of TMZ. And even that would be a stretch for him.

Fox News Welcomes Serial Sexual Predator Bill O’Reilly Back as Guest on Hannity

If you’ve been watching Fox News this week (and, for God’s sake, why would you?), you will have noticed some blaring promotions mixed in with your daily dose of right-wing propaganda. Sean Hannity just moved to 9:00pm, taking over for The Five, which moved back to 5:00pm. Prior to that this time slot belonged Megyn Kelly who left Fox News in part due to her personal experience of sexual harassment from Bill O’Reilly.

Bill O'Reilly Sean Hannity

Speaking of which, Bill O’Reilly was fired by Fox News earlier this year. The termination followed a string of accusations that he sexually harassed women colleagues and guests. The tipping point was when news broke that he and/or Fox News paid millions to settle and silence those claims. Thereafter, O’Reilly’s advertisers began to peel off and Fox gave him the boot. It was another in a growing list of Fox News perverts who were jettisoned, including founder and CEO Roger Ailes. The network acquired a reputation for fostering a corporate culture that protected sexual abusers and gender and racial discrimination.

Now Fox News is welcoming back their former star. Sean Hannity will be featuring Bill O’Reilly on his program Tuesday night. It’s the first time that O’Reilly will appear on Fox since his April departure. Apparently the punishment for sexually harassing women at Fox News is a five month suspension from the network. After that, you are greeted with open arms as a respected confederate and news analyst. Maybe Hannity can book Bill Cosby for next week.

A preview of sorts was available on Monday when O’Reilly was a guest on Hannity’s radio show. He spent a fair portion of the time attacking the women who courageously came forward to report his sexual misconduct. The rest of the time was spent promoting the latest book in his terminally repetitious “Killing” series. His guest spot on Hannity’s TV program will likely be more of the same. Except that O’Reilly is already hyping the show with a promise of a “big announcement.”Maybe he landed a gig with his buddy Donald Trump, or a spot on Dancing with the Stars.

In fear of Rachel Maddow, this week’s guest lineup on Hannity is front-loaded with big names from the GOP and wingnut media. He began on Monday with Breitbart’s Steve Bannon. Tuesday is O’Reilly. Wednesday is House Speaker Paul Ryan. And Thursday is “dittohead” king, Rush Limbaugh. These conservative heavyweights will likely deliver good ratings for Hannity. However, he can’t be expected to maintain that pace. And Maddow, who has been scoring the top spot in cable news for several months, should continue to outperform her new competition.

Fox News has some interesting dilemmas with the O’Reilly booking. They are tempting the advertisers who ditched O’Reilly to leave Hannity’s program as well. They already have some incentive due to his irresponsible coverage of the conspiracy theories surrounding the murder of Seth Rich. Advertisers should also be wary of Hannity because of his close relationship with Donald Trump. He has been unabashedly promoting the President and serving as his most prominent media defender and spokesman. In addition to those matters, Fox News is trying to purchase a European network, but they are running into regulatory obstacles due to their dishonest and sleazy reputation. Booking a former host who was fired for sexual harassment is not likely to help Fox over those hurdles.

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

So there doesn’t appear to be any long-term upside to embracing O’Reilly and providing a platform for his revenge. Hannity seems to be poking a finger in his network’s eye to see how much he can get away with. But rest assured that his advertisers will hear about this atrocious booking. They want nothing to do with O’Reilly and may make the same determination about Fox News. The movement to Stop Hannity is gaining steam and O’Reilly’s return will only shovel more coal on that fire.

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.

Fox News is Taking Drastic Measures to Deal With Rachel Maddow’s Awesome Success

For the past few months Rachel Maddow has been drawing big numbers in the Nielsen ratings. Her show has done what was thought to be impossible a couple of years ago. She is beating her competition on Fox News. On many occasions she has also been the highest rated programs on all cable news networks. And that includes Sean Hannity.

Rachel Maddow

Fox News is now reorganizing their schedule. In part that’s due to having parted ways with Eric Bolling, the co-host of “The Specialists.” Bolling had been on suspension after allegations that he sent lewd pictures to his female Fox colleagues. The suspension has now turned into a termination. Therefore, Fox News has canceled The Specialists and moved “The Five” from its primetime slot to that afternoon time period. That leaves an opening in primetime.

What Fox is doing with that vacancy reveals just how worried they are about Maddow. They are bringing in Laura Ingraham to host their 10:00 pm show, where Hannity has been for years. And they are moving Hannity to 9:00 pm, opposite Maddow. Hannity is Fox’s best performing program. By scheduling him against Maddow they are admitting that she has been hurting them and they need to juice their line-up. It’s a risk because TV audiences are creatures of habit. Fox’s viewers may not know where to find Hannity after he moves. And that could cause his ratings to suffer.

More importantly, if Fox News thinks that their top guy is a shoe-in to man-handle Maddow, they aren’t paying attention. As noted above, Maddow’s ratings have been better than Hannity’s even when they weren’t running head-to-head. There is no reason to expect anything different with Hannity’s move. Other than the viewer confusion previously mentioned. And if Maddow cleans Hannity’s clock in direct competition that would be a withering embarrassment for him.

The new Fox News primetime line-up would also be an unprecedentedly biased schedule with Tucker Carlson leading off, followed by Hannity and Ingraham. All three of these pundits are confirmed Trump-fluffers. Hannity is an unofficial advisor to Trump and even appeared in a ad for him. Ingraham was considered as a replacement for Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer.

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

With every day the Fox News network becomes more and more an arm of the Trump administration. It’s the closest thing that the United States has ever had to state-run TV. But that doesn’t mean that America is going to accept it or like it. The country has already expressed a profound favoritism for Maddow. We’ll know soon enough how the ratings war between Hannity and Maddow turns out. And we can expect Hannity to venture ever further down the path of conspiracy theory nonsense as he tries to generate interest in his noxious brand of spin.

STOP HANNITY: Movement Begins to Shame Advertisers on the Trump-Fluffing Fox News Program

The rapid decline of Fox News over the past year has been an awesome spectacle. It began with the allegations of sexual harassment against CEO Roger Ailes. He was later fired and, shortly thereafter, died following a fall in his home. Then Bill O’Reilly was also terminated after numerous allegations of sexual misconduct.

Sean Hannity Fox News

Additionally, some executives were likewise dismissed for their own inappropriate behavior. And Fox News lost their rising star, Megyn Kelly, who joined NBC where her program is a ratings failure. Greta Van Susteren, also quit Fox for a show on MSNBC that has already been canceled. Most recently, Eric Bolling, host of two Fox News programs has been suspended for allegedly sending lewd pictures to network colleagues.

Fox’s reputation for being a brazenly biased mouthpiece for Republican politics is morphing into one of perversion and misogyny. But don’t worry – their mission of right-wing propagandizing is still being pursued in earnest by many remaining shills. Chief among them is Sean Hannity, who has escalated his efforts to promote Donald Trump. His program has become an unabashed platform for exalting and defending Trump no matter the circumstances.

Hannity has been performing some wild rhetorical acrobatics to that end. He has whirled from insisting that Trump was totally innocent of any collusion with Russia, to arguing that such collusion wouldn’t be such a bad thing after all. More offensive are his ventures into conspiracy theories. Hannity has made a project of promoting the totally debunked story about Seth Rich. This fake news asserts that Rich, a former DNC staffer, was murdered for his involvement in hacking the Clinton/Podesta emails and sending them to Wikileaks. It’s a fascinating story that would be even more compelling if any of it were true.

As Hannity has ramps up the crazy on his show, he is beginning to attract some push-back from proponents of ethical journalism. Media Matters has initiated a campaign to “Stop Hannity” from further staining the airwaves with his lies and hate. They have previously engineered similar campaigns that targeted Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly. Both of them were eventually booted from their perches at Fox and now languish in near obscurity. It’s safe to say that Hannity is nervous. The Stop Hannity home page spells out how Media Matters intends to hold him, Fox News, and their advertisers accountable:

“Spreading misinformation is Hannity’s business model, and now he’s doing it on behalf of the Trump administration. His propagandizing has become so odious that he was condemned by some of his coworkers, who reportedly told The Daily Beast that the host was ’embarrassing’ the network and that ‘some people need to be fired.’

“It’s past time for Hannity to go. If Fox won’t fire Hannity, then advertisers should run as fast as they can, or else they run the risk of being complicit in his deceit and recklessness. Advertisers will get burned if they continue to associate with Hannity — plain and simple.”

This movement has only just begun, but it is already showing progress. Most notably, ultra-conservative pundits and websites are rising up in anger about this grassroots activism. The Daily Caller, Newsbusters, Western Journalism, and YoungCons have all posted stories labeling Media Matters a far-left provocateur. What’s more, Hannity’s ratings are suffering among the key advertiser demographic of 25-54 year olds. For the most recent week for which there is complete ratings data, Hannity lost the whole week to his time period competition on MSNBC, The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell. For the same week the Rachel Maddow Show was the highest rated program on all of cable news. Fox News was accustomed to dominating the ratings charts for years, but those days seem to be gone.

Time will tell if this campaign will be as successful as those aimed at Hannity’s former colleagues. But the track record of Media Matters on these actions is formidable. Advertisers have good reasons to be wary of associating themselves with a conspiracy monger like Hannity. And the more people that jump on this bandwagon, the more it can achieve. To that end, be sure to sign up at Stop Hannity and participate in the advertiser education program they are conducting. It’s a worthwhile cause because, as Ted Koppel told Hannity to his face, he is “bad for America.”

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

Hannity Orders His Trump-Cult Audience to Attack Journalists – Gets Slapped Back HARD!

Donald Trump’s First Amendment foes are assembling the troops in what they think is a massive show of force. They have a new general in the White House, Anthony Scaramucci, who unseated feeble Fibby Spice (Sean Spicer). The Mooch is already parroting the worst of Trump’s anti-media rhetoric. He is an avid supporter of the President’s Twitter tantrums and infantile assaults on free speech. And now he’s got some help from the Trump TV Network (aka Fox News).

Sean Hannity Fox News

Leading the way is Fox News Trump fluffer, Sean Hannity. Always a reliable soldier in the fight against honest journalism, Hannity has ordered a significant escalation. He’s taking the unusual step of enlisting his glassy-eyed audience into battle. On Monday night’s program he issued a call to the recruits to prepare to deploy for an all out offensive. And knowing his audience, they can be pretty damn offensive (video below):

Hannity began by praising the Trump administration for “ramping up one of the most effective tactics for combating all the fake news.” He was referring to the Propaganda Squad that has been fanning out to pick fights with their favorite media foils. They include Kellyanne Conway, Sarah Huckabee-Sanders, and Sebastian Gorka. Hannity lauded them for “standing up to pundits who treat the White House with hatred and disdain.” In reality they were just being jerks and insisting that the press accept Trump’s lies as truth. Then Hannity issued his orders to the troops:

“Members of the Trump administration, they’re beginning to shine a bright light on these dark corners of this fake news industry. And now thanks to social media, you can too. […] You can call out fake news right at the source. For example, you can tell fake news Jake Tapper exactly what you think of his interview with Anthony Scaramucci. You can do it on twitter.”

Tapper was only the beginning. Hannity also made juvenile insults aimed at CNN’s Brian Stelter and MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. His diatribe was filled with childish taunts and ludicrous, debunked accusations against Hillary Clinton. And then he addressed those who might “want to take it to the next level.”

“Write a message to their bosses. Send a tweet over to [Jeff] Zucker over at fake news CNN or Andy Lack from NBC fake news. Right now the media is living in their little bubble. It is our job to remind them that there is an America way outside of New York, D.C., Los Angeles and San Francisco. Tonight, technology is now making it possible for you to take your point of view directly to the source and show America’s elites that the forgotten men and forgotten women of this country voted for this agenda and they want it completed and for them to stop lying to you. Take to the social media, and I think you’re going to have a positive impact.”

First of all, if Hannity is really concerned about the people’s position on Trump’s agenda, he should take notice that Trump is the most unpopular president in modern history. And that goes for his policies as well.

More to the point, Hannity is apparently aware that his viewers don’t already know about Twitter. He has the oldest skewing audience in cable news. Recent demographic studies show that “The median age of the average primetime Fox News viewer is 68 — five years older than MSNBC, and nine years older than CNN.” And the consequences of that disparity can be devastating when reaching out to a more youthful, social media capable, audience. So Hannity’s Twitter blitz produced predictably contrary results, as documented by the Huffington Post:

And as Tapper noted in his reply thanking those tweeters: “I don’t think that turned out the way he intended.”

Hannity will always lose on this battleground. He is too much of an ideologue who spins so furiously that reality is unrecognizable. And his followers are handicapped by being dumb enough to watch him in the first place. There are plenty of problems with corporate media outlets like CNN, but they pale in comparison to the rancid hostility and blatant dishonesty of Hannity and Fox News. And online communities on Twitter and Facebook will continue to let him know how irrelevant he is.

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

NIXON? REALLY? Geraldo Rivera Gushes an INSANE Defense of Trump and Praise for Fox News

It must be awfully hard to be a Fox News shill these days. The still flowing flood of incriminating evidence against Donald Trump and his sleazy family is nearly impossible to justify. The contortions that Fox News hosts and pundits have to employ seem painful in the extreme. Some of them aren’t even trying anymore.

Geraldo Rivera

That, however, is not the case with the crew at Fox and Friends, and their Saturday morning guest, Geraldo Rivera (video below). In a discussion about Don Trump, Jr.’s meeting with Russian operatives, the “Curvy Couch” potatoes crawled all over themselves trying to defend the indefensible. Eventually they wound up where they often do – blaming the media.

For his part, Geraldo Rivera set up his remarks by reminding everyone that the Trumps were close, personal friends. He restated his “tremendous respect and admiration” for them. Then he gently chided them for what he characterized as minor goofs. Rivera described the meetings with Russian government operatives promising dirt on Hillary Clinton as “understandable,” but “not criminal.” Legal experts disagree. He did manage some criticism of Don, Jr. for his “dissembling” otherwise known as lying.

And then Rivera went flying headfirst off the tracks. Co-host Abby Huntsman asked a typically asinine question. She wondered whether the media was to blame for the troubles Don, Jr. was undergoing. Because of course it was the media’s fault that Donnie met with unsavory Russians and then lied about it repeatedly. But Rivera’s historical analog to this affair was the presidency of Richard Nixon. His take on it was pure lunacy:

“During the years of Tricky Dick Nixon, 1972 and 1973 principally. If there had been a Fox News then, if there had been a Sean Hannity then, I do not believe President Nixon would ever have been forced to resign. Why do I say that? Because when you see how his story evolves, and he has no one to defend him, how everybody’s deserted him, no on got the other side of the story. So that rinky-dink burglary then metastasized into the cover up, which led to the tumult, the nuclear explosions in the administration, and finally the resignation of the President.”

“I think if we had Sean then, if we had Fox and Friends then, I think that President Nixon would have weathered that storm. Now, I think that President Trump will likewise weather the storm, but I think that it will cause amazing stresses.”

So Rivera blames the downfall of Nixon on the absence of defenders in the media. Not on the fact that he presided over an illegal break-in of the Democratic campaign office. Not on the threats and bribes and lies that marked the cover up. Rivera thinks there was another side to the story of Nixon’s corruption that wasn’t being told. You know, the good side of the corruption.

But the best part of this cognitive meltdown is Rivera’s accidental admission that Fox News is nothing more than an alibi generator for crooked Republicans. He’s saying that despite the obvious crimes, Nixon might have survived if he had Fox News to lie for him. Nixon’s problem wasn’t that he broke the law, violated his oath of office, and had no discernible ethics. It was that he didn’t have someone like Sean Hannity to fabricate excuses and point fingers at innocent bystanders.

By extension, that’s the role that Rivera is admitting that Fox News plays now. They are deliberately denying reality and replacing it with manufactured falsehoods. They are covering for Trump and serving up other sides to the story of his corruption. And they are accusing others (Obama, Clinton, etc.) of crimes without any evidence whatsoever. It’s a strategy of deceive and deflect. And, as with Nixon, despite the obvious crimes, the goal is for Trump et al to skate free. Of course, many observers have already known this about Fox News for years. But it is helpful when one of their top correspondents is dumb enough it out loud on the air.

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

Fox News Trump Fluffer Sean Hannity Kicks Off a Crackpot Crusade Against Rachel Maddow

The signs of desperation by Fox News in general, and Sean Hannity in particular, are becoming ever more apparent. Their increasingly deranged creation, Donald Trump, ventures farther from reality every day. The bizarre antics on Fox News are reaching epic levels. Perhaps they feel unfettered since having abandoned their “fair and balanced” tagline. Not that it was ever taken seriously to begin with.

Sean Hannity Maddow

This is especially true of Sean Hannity, whose ranting is more unhinged now than ever. He is rapidly approaching levels of lunacy that would make Glenn Beck or Alex Jones proud. Take Wednesday night’s episode for example (video below). Hannity began by saying:

“Tonight we continue to expose the biggest black helicopter, tin foil hat, conspiracy in the Destroy Trump Media: NBC’s Rachel Maddow. This is off-the-hook out of control. And if it wasn’t so serious, it’s actually fully.”

And with that, Hannity launches into a fiery diatribe on what he regards as a major conspiracy theory expose. Would it be on par with the Obama birtherism which he promoted for many years? Or the tragic death of Seth Rich, which Hannity attributes to a cabal of murderous Hillary Clinton associates? Well, hold on to your hats folks. Sean Hannity thinks that Rachel Maddow is behind a dastardly campaign asserting that Jon Ossoff’s election was foiled by the weather. He declares with astonishment that “You can’t make this stuff up.” Which is ironic, because that’s exactly what he’s doing.

The basis for Hannity’s charges of conspiracy theorism is that Maddow asked her colleague, Steve Kornacki, if rain on election day might have depressed turnout in certain areas. Of course, it’s simply reality that inclement weather can have an impact on any election. So without drawing any conclusions, Maddow asked Kornacki if he thought it might have had any impact Tuesday night. She never blamed the weather for the final results or even expressed an opinion on it. She only asked a question. But in Hannity’s cartoon brain she was raving wildly that Mother Nature had purposely sabotaged the Georgia Democrat.

Then Hannity takes up his post as Fox News’ most devoted Trump defender. He complains about Maddow’s frequent (and thoroughly factual) reporting on the allegations of connections to Russia by Trump and/or his campaign. Like many right-wing Trump-fluffers, he insists there is no evidence of any such thing:

“The night cannot go by without Maddow floating some sort of Trump/Russia collusion conspiracy theory, even though nobody says it. Nobody believes it. It’s been debunked. To date there is zero evidence of Trump/Russia collusion. Nothing whatsoever. It’s been a farce, a total fabrication, eleven months of lies and conspiracies made up by people just like Maddow. But despite these facts today, Rachel, she was at it again. Whipping up a new crackpot theory involving President Trump, the mob money, money laundering, and even Vladimir Putin made it into the mix.”

There is so much wrong with that it’s hard to know where to begin. Let’s start with the absurdity that nobody is talking about, or believes, that Trump & Co. have unsavory connections to Russia. Rather than being a debunked, fabricated, farce, it is a fact that has been grudgingly admitted by the very people involved. They include Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, and Jeff Sessions to name a few. In many cases their relationships were hidden and denied until discovered by the press. What’s more, Seventeen independent intelligence agencies agree that Russia engaged in deliberate actions to interfere with the election. Apparently Hannity thinks they are all lying as part of this massive conspiracy.

As for his charge that Maddow is “whipping up” a new conspiracy regarding Trump and mob money, he’s giving her too much credit. It was veteran reporter and executive editor Tim O’Brien who broke this story for Bloomberg News. He wrote a detailed and documented article on “Trump, Russia and a Shadowy Business Partnership.” All Maddow did was cover the subject and interview the author. Hannity never mentioned that or even bothered to cite any actual flaws in the story.

Hannity’s obsession with Maddow ignores the fact that she generally relies on established news sources. He demonstrates this by running a video montage of what he calls “Maddow’s craziest Trump/Russia conspiracy theories.” However, every one of the stories originated from other sources like Reuters or even government agencies like the FBI. And that’s the strategy behind Hannity’s baseless attacks. Even though Maddow gets her information from well researched and vetted journalists, her coverage of it makes it all her invention.

Of course, the real problem Hannity has with Maddow is unrelated to his ludicrous charges. He has a two-fold inspiration for attacking her. First, she effectively covers Donald Trump’s tsunami of scandals. She explains the often complex issues clearly and backs up her explanations with facts. Secondly, Hannity is scared to death because Maddow has overtaken Fox News in the television ratings. Her show is frequently the number one program on cable news. Hannity isn’t used to getting beaten in the ratings, but it is now fairly routine.

Consequently, he is coming out swinging, and swinging wildly, against a superior competitor. And the fact that he isn’t landing any blows must be making him all the more enraged and obsessed. Expect that pattern to continue playing out because Hannity doesn’t have the intelligence or the facts to support his positions. All he has is a drooling frenzy and a shrinking audience of Fox News cultists and Trump loyalists. That, in the end, isn’t going to get him very far, and he knows it.

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

Sean Hannity’s ‘Deep State’ Derangement Put’s Him at the Front of Conspiracy Crackpot Parade

The shooting in Virginia on Wednesday has renewed the debate over civility in public discourse. Predictably, Republicans exploited the opportunity to blame Democrats and liberals for the violence directed at their colleagues – this time. Even their pleas for consideration and respect are peppered with partisan attacks.

Sean Hannity Fox News

A perfect example occurred Thursday morning on Fox and Friends. Conservative agitator Michelle Malkin spent over eight minutes with her Fox News pals pretending to seek comity while throwing jabs at “the extreme left.” At one point, the on-screen graphic read “Violent Threats Sent To GOP Lawmakers.” The tone of the whole segment reflected that bias. At no time did they mention the recent threats against Democrats. Two Democratic candidates actually had to withdraw from their races due to death threats from right-wingers. And then there was the Republican candidate who literally assaulted a reporter who was just doing his job. That candidate, Greg Gianforte, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault, won his race, and is now a U.S. congressman.

Sadly, the heated rhetoric that engulfs today’s political scene is viewed by some as an opportunity. Donald Trump notably abused his opponents whether Republican or Democrat. He fantasized about punching critics in the face. He promised to pay the legal fees of supporters who beat up protesters at his rallies. No wonder that, as president, he continues to associate with drooling barbarians like Alex Jones, Michael Savage, and Ted Nugent.

Perhaps those relationships are what is eating at Sean Hannity. He was the most vocal and devoted Trump-fluffer at Fox News during the campaign. His program featured Trump more than any other on television. And he literally endorsed Trump prior to the election, breaching every ethical standard for a news network. However, his access seems to have been curtailed. Trump hasn’t granted him an interview in over five months. In the meantime, fringe characters from Breitbart News and Infowars got passes to White House Press briefings.

This festering jealously might be inspiring Hannity to venture further out onto the crazy cliff’s edge. That seems to be the best way to get Trump’s enfeebled attention. So Hannity abandoned fear (and reason) on Wednesday night’s program to rant about the frightful “Deep State” that is plotting to destroy Trump (video below). The segment dwells on Hannity’s objection to reports that Trump is being investigated for obstruction of justice. Some choice excerpts follow:

“Tonight, and over the next few days, when the media predictably is gonna breathlessly and hyperventilate all kinds of reports and brand new black helicopters and tin-foil hat conspiracy theories to you the American people as they lie again, remember they have zero credibility left.”

Amazingly, he said that all in one breath. However, surveys show that the American people trust the media far more than they trust Trump. And credible news outlets document their stories, unlike what Hannity is doing in this tirade. He continues to deny the reports that Trump is under investigation:

“It’s only a matter of time before this too will be debunked like everything else they’ve reported in pretty much the last eleven months.”

So Hannity is asserting that for the past year “everything” that’s been reported by the media has been debunked. That’s some pretty spicy nutball delusion. Then he launches into what he says are the real crimes. He accuses James Comey and Robert Mueller of conspiring to undermine the President, despite the fact that they are both lifelong Republicans. And naturally, the biggest criminal of all is Hillary Clinton.

“We know Hillary Clinton committed felonies with her email private server scandal. If Democrats wanna talk about collusion, great. Let’s talk about it and take a look at collusion with Vladimir Putin. Uranium One. Twenty percent of the foundational material to make nuclear weapons, while serving as Secretary of State. She signed off on a waiver giving twenty percent of that uranium to Putin, to the Russians. All while people involved in that deal were funneling millions of dollars back to the Clinton Foundation.”

And all of that is total bull crap. Clinton did not sign any such waiver. There was a deal for Russia to acquire certain facilities (not actual uranium) that required the unanimous approval of nine separate government agencies. The State Department alone could not approve the deal. And the donations to the Clinton Foundation all occurred before Clinton was even nominated for the cabinet post. All of this information is publicly available and Hannity has known about it for years. Nevertheless, he persists in spewing information that he knows is false. It’s all part of his “Deep State” saga aimed at convincing his dim-witted audience that a covert, pseudo-government is working behind the scenes to destroy Trump.

Hannity closes with a call to arrest and jail the anonymous sources who talk to the media. He asserts that they are guilty of disseminating classified data. What’s peculiar about that charge is that he also claims the information they provided is false. But he can’t have it both ways. If the data is false, then nothing classified was revealed, no laws were broken, and no arrests are warranted. If the data is true, then Hannity has to concede that Trump is being investigated for obstruction of justice which Hannity rejects as fake news.

By spinning so furiously that his brain is scrambled, Hannity hopes to return to the high place he held with Trump prior to the election. He appears to think that he has to compete with the likes of Jones and Savage for the President’s affections. And he is probably right. Trump’s choice of friends and advisers is driven by their Insanity Quotient. The question is, can Fox News continue to allow a lying conspiracy kook to host a primetime program on their network? Well, why not? He’s been there for twenty years.

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