If Facebook Bans Alex Jones and Farrakhan, as ‘Dangerous’, What About Fox News and Trump?

For many years there have been repulsive hate mongers littering the social media platforms used by millions of Americans. They spread their ludicrous rumors and lies in order to divide the nation, advance their ultra-conservative agendas, and pad their wallets. On Thursday some of these miscreants suffered a setback that, while welcome, was long overdue.

Donald Trump, Fox News, Hate Again

The reigning shrine of social media, Facebook, announced that it is removing the accounts of several of the worst offenders in the hierarchy of hatred. While this doesn’t completely prevent them from continuing to infect our society with their loathsome ideas, at least it denies them one of the most popular vehicles for promoting themselves and recruiting followers. Consequently, this is good news:

“In an effort to contain misinformation and extremism that have spread across the platforms, Instagram and its parent company, Facebook, have banned Alex Jones, Infowars, Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson, Laura Loomer, and Paul Nehlen under their policies against dangerous individuals and organizations. They also banned the Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has repeatedly made anti-Semitic statements.”

Good riddance. The online world will be better for their absence in it. But this round of exclusions won’t entirely solve the problem. There are many others online who trafic in the same despicable and dangerous activities. In fact, one of them is considered by many to be a legitimate news enterprise.

Fox News has proven itself to be just as careless with facts as people like Alex Jones, and just as devoted to intolerance as Farrakhan. It was Fox News host Sean Hannity who promoted the absurd and debunked conspiracy theory that Seth Rich was murdered by agents of Hillary Clinton. Although Fox News removed some of that content from their website, Hannity never retracted his slanderous lies nor apologized. But that’s not all.

  • Fox News contributor Wayne Allyn Root called for the GOP to hire “attack dogs … that have killed people” to counter liberals and Democrats.
  • Steve Doocy of Fox and Friends accused former FBI director James Comey of releasing top secret materials. Doocy later retracted that charge because it wasn’t true.
  • Fox News contributor Gen. Tony Thomas accused the New York Times of allowing a terrorist leader to escape. Fox’s Pete Hegseth later elaborated on the accusation. The Times responding by proving that the charge was false.
  • Many of Fox’s hosts and guests have peddled the lie that Hillary Clinton sold U.S. uranium to Russia. That nonsense was utterly demolished by everyone with knowledge of the facts, including Shepard Smith of Fox News.

It’s often hard to tell the difference between the crackpottery of Infowars and the nearly identical conspiracies fostered by Fox News. Fox News has actually cited Infowars as a source in their reporting of a Clinton smear alleging that Google was suppressing stories about the “Clinton body count.”

But there’s another culprit whose presence on Facebook should be questioned for violating their terms of service. Donald Trump is the indisputable leader in hate speech. His relentless references to the media in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people” puts the safety and lives of journalists at risk. His frequent use of incendiary and racist language incites hate crimes around the country. The same is true for his characterization of Latino asylum seekers as “rapists,” “murders,” and “invaders.”

It certainly doesn’t help matters when Trump validates white nationalists as “very fine people.” Especially when he does so while talking about the one who committed murder in Charlottesville. What’s more, Trump has appeared on Jones’ Infowars program praising his “amazing” reputation. And an Infowars “correspondent” was actually granted a press pass by Trump’s White House.

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

None of this is new for Trump. He has been using dangerously inflammatory rhetoric since the beginning of his campaign for the presidency. That includes how he has spoken reverentially about murderous dictators like Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un, and others. And it even goes back further to his birther attacks on President Obama’s citizenship. So it seems fair to question whether Trump and Fox News should be considered “dangerous figures” by Facebook’s standards, and warrant being banned as well. How are they different than the cretins that Facebook just cut loose?

Fox News vs Itself: Shep Cuts Off Conspiracy Nut’s Notre Dame Fire Rant, Hannity Embraces It

The heartbreaking news from Paris has caused shock and despair around the world as the famed, iconic, 800 year old Notre Dame Cathedral was engulfed in flames. The sight of this majestic testimony to the brilliance and creativity of humankind crumbling into ashes was literally painful to watch. Every decent citizen of the Earth is feeling the loss today.

Notre Dame

So that leaves the indecent cretins with plenty of opportunity to demonstrate how repulsive they can be. And they lost no time in taking advantage of this tragic event. One of them was French official, Philippe Karsenty, who called into to Fox News and was interviewed by Shepard Smith. Karsenty is a right-wing character who regularly espouses ludicrous conspiracy theories and was recently convicted of defamation. His exchange with Smith nearly devolved into another fruitcake tirade until Smith cut him off (video below):

Karsenty: It’s like a 9/11, it’s a French 9/11. It’s a big shock. We’ve had churches desecrated each and every week all over France. So, of course, you will hear the story of the political correctness which will tell you it’s probably an accident.
Smith: Sir, sir, we’re not going to speculate of the cause of something that we don’t know. If you have observations or you know something, we would love to hear it.

Of course, Karsenty had nothing to offer other than his wild speculation. So Smith ended the interview and gave this admonition to any other conspiracy theorists and the weak, gullible minds they seek to disinform:

Smith: We’re not doing that here, not now, not on my watch. The man on the phone with us has absolutely no information of any kind about the origin of this fire and neither do I. The fire investigators will at some point come to a determination about what caused this and conspiracy theories about anything are worthless and in many cases counterproductive and injurious to society. And those who entertain them are not acting in the best interests of the people of this planet.

Well said, Shep. As for “those who entertain” such nonsense, one of Shep’s network colleagues may be among the first to dive further into the conspiracy soup. Sean Hannity told his radio audience that terrorism may have played a role in this fire. He had no facts, or even vague insinuations, to back that up. It was pure exploitation and fear mongering. What’s more, the wingnut Gateway Pundit and ex-Sputnik shill, Cassandra Fairbanks, praised Hannity and called Smith an “arrogant pompous douche.” And finally, Donald Trump himself weighed on the fire story:

Really? Trump is telling the French first responders to “act quickly,” something they probably never thought of. And his advice to have tankers drop thousands of pounds of water on the already damaged and fragile structure was immediately dismissed as incredibly stupid. But then, what else would you expect from Trump?

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

Rachel Maddow is the #1 Cable News Program for First Quarter of 2019 Despite Trump’s Fox News Hype

The Rachel Maddow Show has achieved yet another milestone in her program’s ratings surge. She has been outperforming her competition since the midterm election last November. That includes staggering routs of Fox News and its primary Trump-fluffer, Sean Hannity.

Rachel Maddow

In a press release from MSNBC, Maddow is shown to have beaten “all other FOX News and CNN shows, according to Nielsen data from December 31, 2018 through March 28, 2019.” Furthermore, “this quarter was ‘Maddow’s’ highest-rated quarter ever in total viewers, averaging 3.07M total viewers at 9pm.” It’s a record-breaking achievement that demonstrates the audience appeal for an aggressively honest brand of reporting that respects the viewer and delivers facts that are well-sourced and documented.

The success of Maddow’s program was mirrored by much of the MSNBC schedule. The network’s Monday-Friday, 9:00am-5pm, viewing grew by a larger margin (17%) than Fox News, which actually declined two percent. The same goes for total day viewing that saw a nine percent increase for MSNBC versus a two percent drop for Fox News.

Additionally, The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell bested its Fox competition in its time period to be the #1 program for the quarter in both the 25-54 year old demographic and total viewers. It also outperformed Fox by growing ten percent compared to a seven percent decline for Fox. And another bright spot for MSNBC was Nicolle Wallace’s Deadline: White House, which also rang in at #1 against Fox’s long time host Neil Cavuto. And the press release notes that:

“Multiple MSNBC programs also achieved total-viewer ratings highs, including weekdays during ‘MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle,’ ‘MSNBC Live with Hallie Jackson,’ ‘MSNBC Live with Craig Melvin,’ ‘Andrea Mitchell Reports,’ ‘MSNBC Live with Velshi & Ruhle,’ ‘MSNBC Live with Katy Tur,’ ‘MSNBC Live with Ali Velshi,’ ‘MTP Daily,’ ‘The Beat with Ari Melber,’ ‘Hardball with Chris Matthews,’ ‘All In with Chris Hayes,’ and ‘The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell’; and Saturdays during ‘UP with David Gura’ and ‘Weekends with Alex Witt.'”

It must be especially painful for Fox News considering how hard Trump worked to promote his State TV division. At times it was impossible to tell whether Trump was the President of the United States, or of Fox’s Marketing and PR department. At one point in March Trump posted ten Fox News videos in one flurry of weekend rage-tweeting.

This quarter also saw the publishing of an in-depth expose of the clinging embrace between Trump and Fox News by Jane Mayer of the New Yorker. Trump also came to the defense of two of Fox’s most offensive hosts, Jeanine Pirro and Tucker Carlson, whose prafane and insulting rants have cost them most of their advertisers. The Democratic National Committee made a profoundly wise decision to ban Fox from hosting any Democratic primary debates. That decision was affirmed shortly thereafter by a survey that revealed the depth of Fox’s right-wing nuttery. Meanwhile, Trump kept tweeting what he thought was good news about his favorite network.

All in all, it’s another stellar quarter for MSNBC, a network that was once written off as an also-ran that would always trail the perennial leader. And for Fox News it’s a bitter humiliation as their relentless and biased advocacy for Donald Trump, and shameless lying about his critics, proves to be a drag in the ratings race.

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

Poor Fox News is Pathetically Bragging About a Few Days of Beating MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow

Fox News was once the dominant news network on cable TV. It was so far ahead of its competition that it seemed unthinkable that it could be challenged. That’s mainly because they corralled all of the Deplorable right-wingers into one barnyard pen, while the rest of the television news was dispersed across many other channels. But it was still a marketing angle they could use as a cudgel against their competitors.

Fox News, Rachel Maddow

In recent years that domination has has dissipated substantially. And particularly in the past few months, MSNBC has caught up, and quite often surpassed Fox news in the ratings. Rachel Maddow’s program has been crushing Sean Hannity, her direct time period competitor, on a nearly nightly basis ever since the midterm elections last November.

In what seems to be a reaction to the surging performance of MSNBC, Donald Trump took measures to prop up Fox News which acts as his personal, state TV mouthpiece for propaganda. He’s has fervently promoted his fave hosts including Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson, and Jeanine Pirro. He even did so on Thursday night at his latest cult rally in Michigan. It’s often hard to tell whether Trump thinks he’s working for the American people or for Fox’s PR department.

Fox News has also started to boast about their ratings. They featured a story on their website’s home page that celebrated what they called “Maddow’s Deep Dive.” What makes this extraordinary is that this isn’t the sort of thing that any network does. When was the last time anyone has seen CBS or CNN make a story about their ratings a news item? That’s generally reserved for the TV trade press. But even more embarrassing for Fox is that they have to do this at all. They are effectively conceding that they have been the big losers of late and now are proud that they’ve had a few days where they aren’t in the ratings cellar. It’s an admission that they are underperforming MSNBC and it is therefore cause for joy that they came out on top for a while.

It should be noted that this “success” for Fox News is occurring just after the release of a four page letter by Trump’s plant in the Justice Department, Attorney General William Barr. The letter purports to be a summary of the 400+ page report by special counsel Robert Mueller. But it is a gross misrepresentation of that document by all accounts. And that includes the account of Fox’s senior legal analyst, Judge Andrew Napolitano, who says that there is evidence of conspiracy and obstruction of justice in the full report. So it’s natural for Maddow’s viewers to take a break from what can be considered a slow news cycle, while Fox’s viewers pile in to get their pro-Trump fantasies gassed up.

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

Whether or not this constitutes a trend in the ratings, or is a temporary blip remains to be seen. But the fact that Fox News was compelled to throw a party simply because they edged out Maddow – who rose from nowhere to become a giant killer – just proves that Fox is worried and has to brag about briefly beating a show that they used to ignore as unworthy of their attention. Maddow and MSNBC are clearly making Fox so nervous that they can’t even hide it. That’s great news for MSNBC.

Trump Pumps Fox News Ratings Despite Their Primetime Shows Losing to MSNBC Four Months Straight

There is a stench of desperation in seeing a president so brazenly genuflecting to a sycophantic “news” enterprise. Especially one that serves as his personal State TV mouthpiece. But that’s what has transpired between Donald Trump and Fox News. It’s gotten to the point where he appears to be acting more like the president of Fox News PR and Marketing than of the United States. Just last week he posted ten videos of Fox programs touting his eminence.

Donald Trump Sean Hannity

Trump’s devotion to Fox News is so all-consuming that it takes up more than half of his Twitter feed. He tweets more about Fox News than about “witch hunts,” although many of his tweets combine both of those subjects thanks to Fox’s own obsession over that particular conspiracy rant. But on Tuesday Trump took the additional step of bragging on Fox’s behalf about their ratings:

There’s a lot to unpack here. First of all, Trump already declared that the media has lost its credibility many times, going back nearly two years. Secondly, the Mueller investigation that he calls a “witch hunt” has produced dozens of indictments and seven convictions, so far. And with the release of the Barr Letter (allegedly summarizing the Mueller Report), Trump even praised special counsel Robert Mueller as “honorable.” Thirdly – well, we don’t really need to go into the absurdity of Trump’s self characterization as “your all time favorite duly elected President, me!” His historically low approval polling settles that question.

Finally, Trump leaped into the TV marketing and promotions game by hyping what he thinks are good numbers for Fox News. It needs to be noted that that is NOT his job! But he persists in boasting as if Fox’s performance reflects on him personally, which in many ways it does. But his analysis is pitifully ignorant. His assertion that the Mueller news affected the ratings race is based solely on the steam emanating from the various orifices in his head (and perhaps other body parts as well). But more importantly, Mueller has been in the news all month and the ratings over the course of more than just the one day that Trump is focused on tell a completely different story.

For the month of March so far, Rachel Maddow has beaten her competition, Sean Hannity, in the all-important advertising demographic of 25-54 year olds. And in total audience they are separated by a miniscule fifty thousand viewers, with both coming just short of three million on average per night. Longer term, though, Maddow has crushed Hannity for the past four months straight.

So Trump is going out of his way to celebrate the ratings on a single night that has no bearing on the overall ratings picture. It’s what losers in the media do when they haven’t got a real story of success to pitch. And Trump is going all out to help his pals at Fox. He has scheduled his first post-Barr Letter interview for Hannity’s program Wednesday night. Although it’s a stretch to call these love fests interviews since they mainly consist of Hannity feeding Trump narratives he can brag (and lie) about. Undoubtedly the faithfull MAGA cultists will tune in for more of their regularly scheduled propaganda. But the real test will come in the days and weeks following these staged, reality TV style events.And if the past four months is any indicator, we won’t be seeing any more of these Trump pumps on his Twitter feed.

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

Hannity Worries as Fox News Insiders Complain ‘We’re Being Defined By the Worst People on Our Air’

There has been much speculation about the future direction of Fox News following Disney’s acquisition of most of the Fox entertainment assets. Rupert Murdoch remains at the helm of the cable “news” network, while his son Lachlan runs the new, shrunken Fox Corporation. Insiders are wondering about whether the network will continue to be the State TV division of the Donald Trump administration.

Fox News Sean Hannity

Now Gabriel Sherman of Vanity Fair is reporting that some changes may be in store for Fox News. Sherman has been a reliable source about what goes on behind the curtains at Fox. He wrote the definitive biography of the late, disgraced Fox CEO Roger Ailes, The Loudest Man in the Room. In his new article he sheds some light on the rumblings within an organization that has widely come to be seen as a propaganda mouthpiece for an authoritarian style White House regime:

“Donald Trump’s alliance with Fox News has been one of the few constants throughout his shambolic presidency. But in recent days, that bond has shown signs of fraying. […] Fox journalists, bristling at being branded an arm of the Trump White House, are lobbying Fox News C.E.O. Suzanne Scott and President Jay Wallace to rein in Fox & Friends, Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs and Pirro. ‘Reporters are telling management that we’re being defined by the worst people on our air,’ a frustrated senior Fox staffer told me.”

Actually, most Fox News reporters are doing much of that branding themselves. While the primetime StormTrumpers set the tone for the network (with few signs that they are being reined in), the other hosts and contributors either back them up or decline to repudiate the lies and insults that are the red meat of Fox’s editorial mission.

Trump recently took a gentle swipe at Fox News for briefly suspending one of his favorite fluffers, Jeanine Pirro due to her virulently racist comments about Muslim representative Ilhan Omar. He also propped up Tucker Carlson following his offensive remarks on a shock-jock radio show, and gave what he must believe is the ultimate insult to Shepard Smith by saying that he belongs on CNN.

Sherman writes that the alleged “civil war” at Fox will be decided by Lachlan Murdoch, who is described as a “Libertarian conservative, not a MAGA diehard.” He suggests that the hiring of former DNC chair Donna Brazile signals a change in direction for Fox. That’s a weak argument considering that they also just hired the radical wingnut former congressman Trey Gowdy, who led the GOP-controlled committee that wasted years and millions of dollars on Benghazi hearings that produced nothing but ridicule for the Republican Hillary fetishists.

One of the most compelling disclosures in Sherman’s reporting concerned Sean Hannity, Trump’s shadow chief-of-staff:

“Sources said Hannity is angry at the Murdochs’ firing of Ailes and Bill Shine, Hannity’s close friend and former producer. Hannity believes the Murdochs are out to get Trump. ‘Hannity told Trump last year that the Murdochs hate Trump, and Hannity is the only one holding Fox together,’ a source who heard the conversation told me. Hannity has told friends that he intends to leave Fox when his contract expires in early 2021, two people who’ve spoken with him said.”

You have to wonder where Hannity would go if he left Fox News. Other Fox alum have not fared so well outside that fortress of rightist disinformation. For instance, where are Glenn Beck, Greta Van Susteren, Bill O’Reilly, and Megyn Kelly today? What’s more, Hannity’s egotistical opinion that he’s the glue binding Fox together is laughable. For one thing, he’s losing his time period to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. For another, his Fox stablemate, Tucker Carlson, is outperforming him on Fox. And the network still has Laura Ingraham, Neil Cavuto, Jesse Watters, and the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends slobbering all over Trump.

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

Finally, Sherman’s sources tell him that Fox News could be on the auction block. That would be an interesting development that would leave the Murdochs with just the broadcast entertainment network, their station group, and some cable sports channels. But even if Rupert were willing to let go (doubtful), who would buy Fox News? What media enterprise would benefit from owning a disreputable news outlet whose advertisers are fleeing in droves? Would the Murdochs (who are still the majority shareholders) allow a sale to Jeff Bezos? Or would they look for a conservative billionaire to ride up on a white (nationalist) horse? Time will tell.

Is Donald Trump the President of the United States, or of Fox News Marketing and PR?

The torrid love affair between Donald Trump and Fox News has never been exactly secret. Fox has given him more free airtime than any other public figure. And he has granted them more interviews (40+) than all other news networks combined. And all of the exposure has been unceasingly adoring. Trump even had a weekly segment on Fox and Friends (Mornings with Trump) long before his presidential aspirations.

Donald Trump, Fox News, Fake

The recent article in the New Yorker by Jane Mayer neatly sewed together much of the evidence proving that Fox News is not merely a conservative leaning network, but a blatantly biased propaganda mouthpiece for the President. And to demonstrate that it isn’t a relationship they are ashamed of, both Fox and Trump have escalated their fetishistic fondness for one another since the article was published. Trump, in particular, has unleashed a rash of promotions of Fox News and the shills who call it home. Just in the last four days Trump has posted ten videos from Fox:

  1. Lou Dobbs on Trump’s phony national emergency
  2. Lou Dobbs with cartoon pundits Diamond and Silk
  3. Outnumbered ranting about a “Witch Hunt”
  4. Jason Chaffetz exhibiting his undying Hillary Clinton fetish
  5. Fox and Friends pushing Trump’s idiotic vanity wall
  6. Maria Bartiromo obediently maligning the FBI
  7. Mark Levin spending seven minutes fluffing Trump with Bill Bennett
  8. Tucker Carlson doing the fake history of the Russia “hoax”
  9. Sean Hannity lying about a Democratic conspiracy against Trump
  10. Sean Hannity succumbing to his ludicrous “Deep State” dementia

Remember, this is the president who says that he doesn’t have time to watch TV because of all the documents that he has to read (as if he can read). But not only does he have plenty of time to watch TV, he even has time to feverishly post tweets of his viewing. And this doesn’t even count the numerous textual tweets that reference things he just saw on Fox News.

Last week Trump’s viewing was sufficiently disturbed that he plaintively pleaded with Fox News to return Jeanine Pirro, who Fox briefly suspended due to her flagrantly racist comments about Muslim representative Ilhan Omar. He also stood up for Tucker Carlson whose past bigotry, and boorish profanity, was revealed in recordings from his radio guest spots with Bubba, the Love Sponge.

These promos for Fox News are pure puffery on behalf of the President for his favorite bootlicking broadcaster. It is wholly unprecedented in American politics. And the marketing executives at Fox News must be thrilled. The question is whether Trump is volunteering this assistance to Fox, or if Fox is directing it.

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

Flip-Flop: Glenn Beck Now Says that Not Reelecting Trump Would Be ‘The End of the Country’

Rising from the ashes of his failing media dung heap, Glenn Beck has reemerged to prove that nobody is a better at hyperbolic inanities than the once and future master of the blackboard arts. Best known as a conspiracy crackpot, Beck has faded into the ether while grasping desperately at straws to revive his joke of a career.

Glenn Beck

However, Fox News, the one platform that still honors the brand of idiocy that Beck excels in, has thrown him a anchor in the hopes of inflating the prospects of Donald Trump’s reelection. What could go wrong?

Beck appeared with Sean Hannity on Monday night and was characteristically Beck-ish. The key take-away from this love fest between two Trump-fluffers was Beck’s frantic assertion that “If the Republicans don’t win in this next election, I think we are officially at the end of the country as we know it.”

That’s a bold statement. Especially coming from someone who said that ObamaCare would be the country, and that Obama’s reelection would be the end of the country, and that gay marriage would be the end of the country, and that Common Core education reform would be the end of the country, and that fluorides poisoning our vital fluids (h/t Dr. Strangelove) would be the end of the country. Virtually everything that Beck ever mentioned would produce the onset of an apocalypse that would be unavoidable. Including Donald Trump.

Glenn Beck, November 2016: “This guy [Trump] is dangerously unhinged. And, for all the things people have said about me over the years, I should be able to spot Dangerously Unhinged.”

So what might have brought about this 180 degree flip-flop on the part of Beck, who is ordinarily so stable and consistent (that’s sarcasm, btw)? Could it have something to do with the fact that his media empire is floundering? The guy who previously tried to rescue his sinking career by admitting that “So much of what I used to believe was … a sham,” has suffered an economic Armageddon of his own. His Blaze Media enterprise, which once boasted aspirations of being the next Disney, has run through a throng of executives and pallets of cash. Recently it agreed to a desperation merger with CRTV, a puny right-wing video blog run by Fox News’ Mark Levin.

Apparently, that wasn’t enough to save his sorry arse either. So he shows up Sean Hannity’s Trump Suck-Up Hour to try to reinvent himself once more in the mold of the neo-fascist demagogue he originally sought to be. But with an even more pathetic and subservient demeanor that kowtows to both Hannity and Trump. It would sad if it weren’t so gratifying that these jerks eventually get what they deserve.

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

Trump Confirms that Fox News is State TV in Bonkers Defense of Bigotry, Pirro, Carlson, et al

Now there can be no further dispute. Donald Trump has made it absolutely clear that Fox News is unambiguously State TV, and that the Trump White (Nationalism) House is inextricably intertwined with the network’s mission of propaganda and right-wing tyranny.

Donald Trump

During Trump’s regularly scheduled Sunday Tweetstorm, the President unleashed one of his most deranged outbursts of all time. It was a sustained assault on the free press, freedom of speech, the First Amendment, and a democratic government that honors individual freedom. While Trump has always been an opponent of the media – which he refers to in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people” – he has taken his hostility to a new low that provides incontrovertible evidence that his regime and Fox News are conjoined partners in undermining the free society principles that the United States were founded on.

Trump began his Sunday sermonizing with an attack on Saturday Night Live, which he seems to be unaware was a rerun:

That’s right. The flailing Snowflake-in-Chief is now spending his time barking at comedians, even though there supposedly a “national emergency” in progress. But even worse, he thinks that his government agencies should have the power to investigate these comics due to their having the audacity to make fun of him. If he doesn’t like it, he shouldn’t give them so much material. But his inclination to use oppressive state measures to silence them should worry every patriotic American. And it wasn’t the first time he’s done this either.

What’s more, his impotent swings at SNL also include crazy allegations that the funny folks on late night TV are the ones colluding with Russia, a nation not well known for its sense of humor. And he follows that up with the false assertion that he enjoys a fifty-two percent approval rating. He got that from an ultra-biased Rasmussen poll that is now a moth old. Rasmussen currently has him at forty-eight percent, while most other polls put him the thirties.

However, if you think any of that was proof that Trump has lost his mind, you might want to sit down. Because he was just getting warmed up. His next tweets contained more of his psychotic whining about a “Witch Hunt,” followed by a personal attack on John McCain’s intelligence. How utterly repulsive for Trump to go after a dead senator/veteran who can’t defend himself. Especially for something that Trump is notably lacking in. Trump even had his “fixer” threaten his schools to keep his records secret.

Finally, Trump disgorged himself with a what could only be described as a slobbering suck-up to Fox News, the network that defends his every atrocity and maligns his critics with outright lies. What triggered Trump was the news that one of his adoring bootlickers, Jeanine Pirro, was bumped Saturday for a rerun of a tabloid documentary. While Fox wouldn’t comment on the preemption, it has been credibly speculated that they didn’t want her program to air so soon after the massacre at Muslim mosques in New Zealand, because of her recent Islamophobic comments. Based on that, Trump went to work on behalf of his bosses at Fox News:

Holy Crap! Trump is totally confirming that he and Fox News are locked in a political/governmental embrace that this country has never seen before. Not that we didn’t already know that, but Trump is shedding any pretense of independence that either of them might have sought to convey. And this comes at a time when Fox News has been trying to convince people that they are a legitimate news network capable of hosting a Democratic Party primary debate. Well, that’s blown all to hell now, isn’t it?

Trump has taken on the role of chief PR and marketing president for Fox News. And he’s offering advice that they “stay strong and fight back with vigor. Stop working soooo hard on being politically correct.” When exactly have they ever done that? Trump implores Fox to “fight for our Country,” by which he clearly means to fight for him. And he warns them to “Be strong & prosper, be weak & die!” Obviously Trump sees this as a war, and he expects casualties.

As with his own delusional perception of his approval, Trump thinks that America is on the side of Fox News. But MSNBC has been beating them regularly for several months. Rachel Maddow is crushing her competition, Sean Hannity, nearly every night. And because of the obsessive bigotry of hosts like Pirro and the disgusting Tucker Carlson, Fox News is losing audience, advertisers, and revenue at an alarming rate.

If it wasn’t enough that Trump is virtually drooling over his Fox sycophants, he also found it necessary to bash the few people on the network that have a modicum of integrity:

For the record, Shepard Smith just won a First Amendment award from the Radio Television Digital News Association. And in his speech he gave a backhanded slap at the “opinion” hosts on the network that he fervently tries to disassociate himself from. But if you aren’t a fawning Trump-fluffer you can expect him to bring his tiny “mushroom” hammer down on you.

This Twitter tirade is the best evidence yet that Fox News cannot be taken seriously as a news network. They certainly cannot be trusted to host a Democratic primary debate. They shouldn’t even be considered as a platform for interviews by anyone but devout Trumpists. If Trump thinks that crazed outbursts like this are helpful to Fox News, he is, as usual, pitifully mistaken. It only certifies that Fox is a brazenly partisan mouthpiece for Trump and his Republican Nationalist Party.

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

If Fox had any integrity they would repudiate Trump’s comments and insist that they don’t support such media bias. But don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen. Fox News knows that their audience is comprised mainly by loyal Trump cultists and they aren’t going to do anything that might alienate them or the racist white nationalists and neo-Nazis who wallow in this filth. These are the core components of their wretched business model.

Shepard Smith Brutally Roasts Fox News in First Amendment Award Acceptance Speech

There has been one voice on Fox News who has dared to challenge the doctrinal mission of America’s most nauseatingly right-wing network. Shepard Smith is an anomaly whose continued presence is something of a mystery. As part of the so-called “news” side of Fox News (which doesn’t really exist), Smith has repeatedly exposed the lies that his own colleagues disseminate on a daily basis.

Fox News, Shepard Smith, Donald Trump

Smith has done segments where he slammed the network’s narrative on former Donald Trump advisor Michael Flynn. He ridiculed the administration’s immigration hysteria. He spelled out precisely why the Mueller investigation is legitimate and warranted. He even got into a war of words with Sean Hannity and the other “opinion” meisters on Fox, separating himself from whatever it is that they do:

“We serve different masters. We work for different reporting chains, we have different rules. They don’t really have rules on the opinion side. They can say whatever they want. If it’s their opinion. I don’t really watch a lot of opinion programming. I’m busy.”

Smith must have some pretty embarrassing photos of Rupert Murdoch locked away somewhere. His departure from the approved political Foxisms frequently contradicts the commentaries by other hosts and contributors. By provided detailed and factual reports on issues that Fox regulars routinely lie about, he’s exposing them as purposefully dishonest. But he’s getting away with it, so far.

The most recent swipe at his network pals came while Smith was receiving a First Amendment award from the Radio Television Digital News Association (video below). His remarks did not explicitly identify any individual or program, but the tone was unmistakably critical of the flagrantly biased Trump sycophants who litter most of the Fox News schedule. Smith said that:

“Being accurate and honest and thorough and fair is our primary mission. It’s our professional calling. And everyone on my team takes it extremely seriously. […] We must never manipulate or invent. We must never knowingly deceive. Because to do so is a disservice to our audience and potentially injurious to our society. I am convinced that upon those who intentionally misinform, history will poorly reflect. The times ahead will test all of us as finders and disseminators of accurate information.”

Those words must sting Hannity, and Laura Ingraham, and Tucker Carlson, and the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends, like holy water stings the devil. Their whole reason for being is to manipulate, invent, and deceive. They are Trump’s first line of defense, as well as the hostile flank assembled to malign Democrats and other Trump critics.

Fortunately, the glow of Fox News is weakening as both their audience and their advertisers are fleeing the network. They are rapidly tiring of the relentless negativity and lies. And Fox isn’t helping themselves by allowing blatant hate speech to be broadcast without any repercussions. The result is that MSNBC has been beating Fox on a regular basis for the past four months, with Rachel Maddow leading the way as the most watched program on cable news.

You have to wonder how much longer Shepard Smith will be able to make fools of his Fox associates and keep his daily program. The cult of Fox News (aka the cult of Trump) is not exactly comfortable with Smith, who they demand be fired at once. Their hostile and profane attacks are proof that the network is aimed at a hive-mind audience of blind followers who can’t tolerate any exposure to facts, or diversity of opinion. Consequently, Smith is trying their patience by providing some occasional truths and having the audacity to win awards that honor the First Amendment – something that Fox News and Trump bitterly oppose.

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