Studies Prove that Watching Fox News Increases Coronavirus Fatalities

Media scholars and neutral observers almost universally agree that Fox News has been a source of flagrantly biased right-wing propaganda from the day it began broadcasting. It’s founders – an arch-conservative, foreign-born, media baron (Rupert Murdoch), and an ultra-rightist Republican campaign operative (Roger Ailes) – intended that political prejudice to be its primary mission when they launched the network.

Donald Trump, Fox News, Coronavirus

However, the presence of Fox News in a splintered media environment has had a more disastrous impact on the nation than anyone could have predicted. Amidst the spread of the deadly COVID -19 (coronavirus) pandemic, Fox News became the central point of infection to spread disinformation and deliberate lies that can now be shown to have directly contributed to the nation’s tragically high fatality rate. Along with Donald Trump’s negligence, incompetence, and purposeful malfeasance, Fox News deceived dimwitted Americans into volunteering the lives of themselves, their families, and their communities, in the service of partisan political power and the ego of a malignantly narcissistic president.

The Washington Post is reporting that – not one, not two – but three recent studies confirm the role that Fox News played in exacerbating the harm of the coronavirus. [NOTE: the first of these studies was reported here on News Corpse in April, revealing that higher rates of coronavirus deaths could be linked to watching Sean Hannity] Fox News, along with other right-wing media (i.e. Rush Limbaugh, OANN, Breitbart, etc.) distorted and/or invented narratives that downplayed the seriousness of the pandemic. They portrayed it as equivalent to the common flu and mocked health experts who advised cautionary behavior such as social distancing and wearing face masks. According to the Post:

There are many reasons our response to the pandemic tied to more than 120,000 U.S. deaths has faltered, experts say, including the lack of a cohesive federal policy, missteps on testing and tracing, and a national culture emphasizing individualism.

In recent weeks, three studies have focused on conservative media’s role in fostering confusion about the seriousness of the coronavirus. Taken together, they paint a picture of a media ecosystem that amplifies misinformation, entertains conspiracy theories and discourages audiences from taking concrete steps to protect themselves and others.

The end result, according to one of the studies, is that infection and mortality rates are higher in places where one pundit who initially downplayed the severity of the pandemic — Fox News’s Sean Hannity — reaches the largest audiences.

In other words, watching Fox News actually amplifies the mortality rate of an already deadly disease. Their viewers were deceived into believing that the virus wasn’t anything to worry about, and that they could conduct their lives as usual with no added risk. That was recklessly untrue. The Post continued pointing out the lethal mythology that Fox News disseminated:

Administering a nationally representative phone survey with 1,008 respondents, they found that people who got most of their information from mainstream print and broadcast outlets tended to have an accurate assessment of the severity of the pandemic and their risks of infection. But those who relied on conservative sources, such as Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, were more likely to believe in conspiracy theories or unfounded rumors, such as the belief that taking vitamin C could prevent infection, that the Chinese government had created the virus, and that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention exaggerated the pandemic’s threat “to damage the Trump presidency.”

It is no coincidence that all of those conspiracy theories match up precisely with what Trump himself has been saying. Fox News is, after all, his State TV Ministry of Disinformation. And between the two they are unambiguously responsible for deaths of tens of thousands of Americans. But even worse, they are both continuing to spew the same falsehoods that have already proven to be so deadly.

Thankfully, most of the American people do not watch Fox News and will resist the lies that are being told by Trump and his media shills. And hopefully, the majority of us will engage in responsible, cautious, and healthy behavior. Unfortunately, the deluded Foxies and Trump cultists can’t be counted on to take the simple precautions that save lives.. So it would be wise for the rest of us to socially distance from anyone who watches Fox News or attends Trump rallies. For your own sake, and that of your loved ones.

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

Fox News Senior Analyst Inadvertently Admits Fox News is NOT Real News

The schizophrenic ravings of Donald Trump continue to be displayed unabashedly to an astonished world. Trump’s love/hate relationship with Fox News is one of the most bizarre symptoms of mental infirmity ever observed in an American “president.” As often as Trump embraces the daily idolatry of Fox’s sycophantic shills, he likewise condemns them when they fall short of the unflinching adoration that he expects and demands.

Donald Trump Sean Hannity

Among Fox’s most ardent Trump-fluffers is their senior political analyst, and former chief anchor, Brit Hume. On Tuesday morning Trump initiated a series of domino retweets aimed at rewarding Hume for his brazenly biased and oblivious lack of insight. Trump retweeted the rabidly right-wing Washington Examiner’s Mollie Hemingway, who retweeted Hume, saying that…

What Trump via Hemingway via Hume via Byron York (another Fox News contributor), were referring to was a statement by the chief executive of Axios, Jim VandeHei, who told the New York Times that he “he supported staff members’ right to march in public protests, adding that the publisher would cover bail for any employee who is arrested.” That’s not a particularly newsworthy comment. It simply affirms that staffers are permitted to exercise their First Amendment rights. It does not, as Trump et al imply, authorize them to introduce bias into their articles or to report on the events in which they participated. In fact, VandeHei reiterated that in his response to the Times.

What stands out in this criticism by Hume is his ability to dissociate from realty with regard to his own network. There is no mass distributed “news” enterprise that is as blatantly prejudiced as Fox News. Someone should introduce Hume to Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson, Lou Dobbs, Jeanine Pirro, and the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends. The daily on-air performances of these slavish bootlickers is far worse than being a near anonymous individual among thousands at a public demonstration.

Hume should also be reminded that his Fox News colleagues, Hannity and Pirro, did not merely attend Trump campaign rallies, they were featured, on-stage speakers. So Hume is outraged if someone is compelled to express themselves on matters of great social significance, like police brutality and equal justice, but he is silent when his buddies are openly stumping for a political candidate.

This makes Hume’s cranky criticism regarding what constitutes a “real news organization” all the more poignant, especially as it applies to Fox News itself. Open your friggin’ eyes, Brit, and stop feeding Trump false narratives. Real news organizations have usually forbidden that. Which I guess allows Fox to do it since they have never been a real news organization. Thanks for pointing that out.

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

Schizo Trump Loves/Hates Fox News and Misses their Sexual Predator Boss

On Monday Donald Trump unleashed another in his series of desperate deflections from the COVID-19 crisis that he has tragically exacerbated by his negligence and incompetence. He volunteered to a press gaggle that he is taking the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to ward off the coronavirus.

Donald Trump, Fox News

Of course, as with everything Trump says, it needs evidence before it can be regarded as truthful. If he is taking it he is exposing himself to serious health risks for a treatment that has no proven efficacy. If he’s lying he’s encouraging his dimwitted cult followers to assume those risks. Either way it is an obvious attempt to steer the news cycle away from his inept and deadly mishandling of the raging pandemic.

Media manipulation may be the one skill that Trump puts any real effort into refining. He has proven his willingness to manufacture distractions at precisely the moment he is being scrutinized for some act of idiocy or scandal. But he doesn’t really have to be any good at it because he has Fox News to refurbish his floundering PR in the wake of his incessant bumbling. Which makes Trump’s schizophrenic, flip-flopping attitude toward Fox all the more bizarre. Tuesday morning Trump took to his Twitter machine to cheerlead for his favorite Fox News morning show, Fox and Friends.

In addition to celebrating the ratings of his Foxic friends, Trump engaged in the infantile name-calling that is the hallmark of his presidency. He is especially perturbed by MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough who has been an effective critic. Recently Trump began lobbing slanderous allegations that Scarborough murdered an intern twenty years ago. But Trump’s glee over the ratings victory for Fox comes in stark contrast to a tweet he posted just a few hours before:

There is so much wrong with that tweet that it’s really going to need some deeper analysis. First of all, anyone who watches Fox knows that the network is far more pro-Trump now than ever. With a prime time line up that consists of dependable Trump-fluffers like Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and Tucker Carlson, there is a unanimity of opinion that would make North Korea’s media operation jealous. A recent example is how they virtually swapped out their coronavirus coverage in order to hype the phony “Obamagate” conspiracy theory.

Secondly, Trump is not “looking for a new outlet,” he’s already found one. He has been busily promoting the One America News Network (OANN), a tiny, little-watched, video blog that is even more worshipful of Dear Leader Trump than Fox. In fact, some of Trump’s financial backers recently bought OANN, which suggests that it may become his television home after he loses in November.

As for Trump “miss[ing] the great Roger Ailes,” that’s his testimonial to the now deceased CEO of Fox News who was terminated due to mounting evidence of his sexual harassment and assault. Ailes not only committed vile acts himself, but he actively covered up the misconduct of his colleagues like Bill O’Reilly, often paying millions to secure the silence of their victims. Naturally a sexual predator like Trump would find camaraderie in an equally nauseating pervert.

Finally, Trump’s fluctuating opinion of Fox News is just further proof of his mental infirmity. He can’t seem to remember whether he loves Fox or hates it. Here is just a sampling of the frothing hatred Trump has recently aimed at Fox News;

Despite the attacks on Fox above, he has also been dishing out effusive praise to Sean Hannity, Maria Bartiromo, Greg Gutfeld, Laura Ingraham, Brit Hume, Mark Levin, and the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends. Plus, he’s done recent interviews with Fox and Friends, Bartiromo, Hannity, and Jeanine Pirro. Nearly all of his interviews since becoming president have been on Fox. So which is it, Donnie? Is Fox News part of the liberal, Democratic, Deep State, cabal that’s out to destroy you? Or is it Trump’s loyal bastion of unflinching support and blind adulation? Well, it depends on what day it is.

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

Hannity Freaks Out Over Holding Trump Accountable for His Coronavirus Death Toll

Donald Trump is without question the most reckless, ignorant, and incompetent president in America’s short history. Nevertheless, he is renowned for failing to take responsibility for any of his calamitous failures. Trump will vainly shift blame to others, employ awkward deflections, and lie shamelessly to avoid being held accountable. With Trump, the buck is always handed off to an innocent political foe or some hapless flunky.

Donald Trump Sean Hannity

Fortunately for Trump, he has a cadre of glassy-eyed disciples in right-wing media who will cover for him no matter how ludicrous the circumstances. Most of them reside at State TV (aka Fox News), such as his shadow chief-of-staff-infection, Sean Hannity. Trump relies on Hannity as a defensive shield against uncomfortable facts, propaganda dissemination, and contorted political strategy. And on Saturday Hannity fulfilled all three of those roles in a brief blog post.

The headline on Hannity’s harrangue was “A NEW LOW: Schiff Says ’50,000 Americans Are Dead’ Because Trump Wasn’t Impeached and Removed.” He lashed out at Rep. Adam Schiff for what he said were “Schiff’s vicious comments.” Elaborating, Hannity charged that…

“Congressman Adam Schiff escalated his war-of-words with the Trump administration Saturday; saying “50,000 Americans are dead” because the President was not impeached and removed from the Oval Office.”

What Hannity was referencing was a portion of a Schiff interview on Friday with Chris Hayes on MSNBC (video below). Schiff accurately observed about Trump that “A man with no moral compass will never find his way, and this president certainly hasn’t.” The subject of the segment was Trump’s tragically negligent response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Hayes asked Schiff about comments he made at the conclusion of Trump’s impeachment that speculated about the grave necessity of removing Trump from office to avert future catastrophes. Schiff’s response speculated about the degree of damage Trump would still be capable of if he remained:

“How much damage could he really do? We posed that question to the Senate and we answered it by saying that he could do an awful lot of damage. But frankly, Chris, I don’t think we had any idea how much damage he would go on to do in the months ahead.

There are 50,000 Americans now who are dead in significant part because of his incompetence. Because of his inability to think beyond himself and put the country first. I don’t think we would have ever anticipated that his brand of narcissism and his brand of incompetence, sometimes his brand of malevolence, would be so fatal to the American people.

To be clear, Hannity’s assertion that Schiff said 50,000 Americans are dead because Trump wasn’t removed from office is inaccurate. What Schiff is that the deaths were because of Trump’s incompetence. Of course, those deaths would not have occurred had he been removed, but neither would they have occurred had he not been incompetent. What’s more, the severity of the coronavirus casualties is being under reported. The death toll is now over 65,000 with more than 1,100,000 infected.

A month ago Trump said that he would consider a total of 65,000 deaths to be a “victory.” That was an estimate for August that we reached in April. A few days ago his son-in-law (and senior advisor), Jared Kushner, called it a great success story.” But yesterday Trump was busy tearing down and reconstructing the goal posts at 100,000 fatalities. Expect those posts to be pushed back further in a few weeks.

As for Hannity, his concern about not holding Trump accountable for the death toll isn’t surprising. But he is also failing to hold himself accountable. He spent the past couple of months dismissing the coronavirus as an insignificant form of the flu. As a result, a recent study revealed that watching Hannity actually increased one’s likelihood of dying from the disease. So it would be wise to practice social distancing from Hannity as well as all other Fox News viewers and Trump supporters. You can’t be too careful these days.

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

Study Shows Higher Rates of Coronavirus Deaths Linked to Watching Sean Hannity

Anyone who has observed how Donald Trump and Fox News have portrayed the emergence and spread of the coronavirus for the past few months cannot help but notice their trivialization of the pandemic threat. They have contradicted the health experts who have been issuing dire warnings all along. They have insisted, falsely, that it is less deadly than the common flu. They have accused Democrats of creating it as a hoax to bring down the President.

Fox News, Sean Hannity

More recently, the Fox/Trump cartel has been peddling the asinine exploits of astroturf protesters who seek to prematurely end the “stay-at-home” policies imposed by most state governors. These are measures that have been responsible for helping to mitigate the most tragic consequences of the pandemic. They seem to be operating a doomsday cult with a death wish for the nation in order to allow wealthy corporations to return to padding their bank accounts. And they’re too stupid to realize that the only way back to economic prosperity is to protect the health of all Americans by defeating the virus.

Not surprisingly, the field marshal for the COVID-19 militia is Sean Hannity of Fox News. And now his contributions to the success of the contagion have been affirmed by a study conducted by a trio of economists with the Becker Friedman Institute for Economics at the University of Chicago. The study compiled data related to the virus and matched it to television ratings for both Hannity, who routinely downplayed the virus, and Tucker Carlson, who, at least initially, reported on its potential for great harm. The key conclusions from their research reveal a distinct relationship between higher infection and death rates from the coronavirus and viewing of Hannity’s program:

“Using both a poll of Fox News viewers over age 55 and publicly available data on television-watching patterns, they calculate that Fox viewers who watched Hannity rather than Carlson were less likely to adhere to social distancing rules, and that areas where more people watched Hannity relative to Carlson had higher local rates of infection and death.”

While there are caveats to accepting these conclusions without some healthy skepticism (it is just one study and not yet peer reviewed), it satisfies a certain level of common sense. After all, any “trusted” source of information (as Fox News viewers consider Hannity) is likely to exert influence on the consumer of that information. So if Hannity tells his audience that there is nothing to worry about, they will behave in a dangerously cavalier manner that makes them more susceptible to virus transmission and acquisition. And that’s precisely the behavior that would produce the results seen in this study.

The study did not explore more broad associations involving Fox News as compared to other news networks. But it isn’t hard to imagine that the same factors would play out with similar results. In other words, if Fox News tells you it’s okay to go to work and ignore social distancing recommendations, you are probably going to be more at risk than viewers of CNN or MSNBC who are taking prudent precautions.

These conclusions are also aligned with rational logic. News Corpse speculated two months ago that Trump’s cult rallies were potential breeding grounds for the coronavirus due to their willingness to ignore the warnings. What’s more, a recent Gallup survey found that Fox News viewers and Republicans are more likely to buy Trump’s COVID-19 lies. Consequently, they too would have increased vulnerability. Which makes it impossible not to presume that it is far more dangerous to be in the company of reckless Republicans, Hannity viewers, and Trump supporters, than cautious Democrats. Proceed at your own risk.

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

Talk About Desperate: Trump Celebrates an OANN Poll that Doesn’t Exist

On Wednesday Donald Trump unleashed one of his most bizarrely unhinged performances at the Coronavirus Task Force briefing (aka Trump Campaign Rally). He produced a fictional list of corporate executives he said were members of a new economic task force. He reiterated his delusional view that he has “total authority” and threatened to shut down Congress. And of course, he bragged about imaginary achievements and yelled petulantly at reporters. Then he stomped out in huff when he didn’t like the questions.

Donald Trump Pacifier Fox

Trump’s presence at these briefings has been a waste of time from the start. He contributes nothing of substance, but distracts from the experts who actually have some relevant knowledge to impart to the public. Trump has proved that the only things he cares about are those things that advance his personal self-interest and assuaging his voracious ego. That was affirmed on Thursday as he took to Twitter with bitterly partisan posts and flagrant lies.

The first of Trump’s tweets was his celebration of a poll by the ultra right-wing Fox News wannabe One America News Network (OANN). This is the network that doesn’t have a big enough audience to be rated by Nielsen. It’s the network whose reporter was recently booted out of the White House briefings for violating social distancing guidelines, but who got a personal reprieve to stand in the back of the room by Trump’s press secretary (since fired), Stephanie Grisham. It’s a network that has even less credibility than viewers. But Trump promotes them because he can always count on them to kiss his – let’s say ring. He also uses them to needle Fox News when he doesn’t think they are being sufficiently flattering. So Trump tweeted this Thursday morning:

The first thing that makes this tweet significant is that no such OANN poll exists. This is another example of Trump mangling the facts to disseminate whatever “news” he believes will put him the best light, even if it’s fictional. It’s similar to his repeated – and false – claims that he has a 95% approval rating among Republicans. Trump often makes things up on the fly.

There does appear to be a poll that has numbers aligned to Trump’s tweet. It was conducted by the Civitas Institute, a conservative think tank in North Carolina. So even if Trump had gotten the reference correct, it is still not a reputable, non-partisan survey. The notoriously biased Rasmussen poll only has Trump with a 46% approval, 53% disapproval. What’s more, the Civitas results are hardly worth bragging about. The alleged seven point lead over Joe Biden still has Trump below 50% (49-42%). Nationally, Trump has taken a nosedive with the most recent Gallup poll showing a six point drop in approval and a nine point leap in disapproval.

To add another level of irrelevance, the poll was conducted from April 5-7, so it’s a week and a half old. A more recent poll of this North Carolina race by Public Policy Polling shows Biden with a small lead in the state (48-47%), and the Democratic candidate for the Senate, Cal Cunningham, well ahead of the GOP incumbent, Thom Tillis (47-40%).

Trump has also been obsessed with maligning his perceived foes, including, and especially, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of whom he has a mortal fear. He posted two tweets piling on as many derogatory adjectives as he could think of. He called her “crazy,” “weak,” “a poor leader,” “incompetent,” “a pathetic puppet,” and “third-rate.” The first tweet quoted the insults of Sean Hannity of Fox News. The second tweet accused Pelosi of being “responsible for many deaths.” It also accused her of deleting a tweet that she never actually posted.

In other words, Trump was suffering a severe bout of psychological projection. Because those are all characteristics that have long defined Trump himself. Particularly the one concerning responsibility for tens of thousands of deaths that are directly attributable to Trump’s criminal negligence, and incompetence. And to make matters worse, Trump is still insisting that he wants to “reopen” the country, despite the fact that every health expert says it would be disastrous and deadly to do so at this time. Not that Trump or his GOP confederates care.

For the perfect example of how callous, insensitive, and greedy they are, take a look at this clip of Dr. Oz on Hannity Wednesday evening saying that schools should be reopened now because the deaths of 2 to 3% of American children from the coronavirus would be an acceptable “tradeoff” to get the economy back on track. No, really. He actually said that while Hannity nodded approvingly. This is the so-called “pro-life” right-wing:

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

Fox News Warns Their Employees About COVID-19, While Lying to Their Viewers

After nearly two months of rapidly growing infection rates, anxiety, and fatalities, Donald Trump has finally declared a national emergency due to COVID-19 (the coronavirus). This declaration is both an acknowledgement that the problem is far more serious than he has previously let on, and an inadvertent confession that he was wrong to trivialize the all too apparent risks in the first place.

Donald Trump, Fox News, Fake

However, Trump’s press conference continued to paint an unrealistically rosy scenario wherein everything would soon be fine due to the “perfectly” implemented response by his administration. Trump spent much of the presser praising himself and falsely smearing his predecessor, President Obama. Never mind that the Obama administration quickly declared a health emergency at the outset of the H1N1 (swine Flu) virus, and tested a million Americans the first month. It’s been two months since the first reported case of COVID-19, but Trump just got around to declaring an emergency and only about 10,000 Americans have been tested.

RELATED: Trump’s Flagrant Coronavirus Lies Are Turning His Supporters Into Carriers

The coverage of Trump’s declaration by his State TV news outlet (aka Fox News) was predictably sparkling with unflinching adoration and praise. This required a significant turnabout in their editorial stance considering that Fox News had been staunchly supporting Trump’s prior insistence that the coronavirus wasn’t a really a problem at all. For weeks Trump lied (video below) about there being only a handful of cases and that the number was going down. He assured the public that the whole thing would miraculously disappear in short order. And Fox News backed him up a hundred percent. But now that Trump has conceded that this situation requires an emergency declaration, Fox News has flipped their position in tandem with the President’s.

That position, however, is confusing, and perhaps deliberately so. While Trump did declare a national emergency, he continued to speak optimistically about how quickly his “flawless” management of the crisis would result in its timely conclusion. In other words, there is still nothing to worry about. Naturally, Fox News parroted that positivity. On many of its programs the slant was toward how confident the American people should be that Trump would would guide us all to safety. There was little of the caution that the rest of the media is encouraging.

For instance, Fox and Friends co-host Ainsley Earhardt told viewers that “It’s actually the safest time to fly.” This, while medical experts are advising people to avoid non-essential travel such as long plane trips. And that’s especially true for those over 65, which is the bulk of Fox’s audience. Additionally, Trish Regan said that it’s all a Democratic hoax to impeach the President. That’s similar to Trump’s “shadow” chief of staff Sean Hannity’s take that pegged Democrats as the real threat, rather than the virus:

“Since the beginning, all they’ve done is use the virus, politicize the virus to bludgeon President Trump. All the same people who have done the same thing for three straight years. … Russia, Russia. Ukraine, Ukraine. And impeach, impeach. Now, corona, corona.”

What’s most disturbing about this is that, while Fox News is virtually encouraging risky behavior for their viewers, they are giving completely different advice to their employees. A memo that was sent by Fox’s CEO Suzanne Scott and president Jay Wallace told staffers to…

“…cut back on studio bookings and to expect possible programming changes as a result of precautions being taken against the spread of coronavirus.”

And furthermore…

“Fox News told producers and bookers to rely more on remote interviews or interviews conducted via Skype; to cancel all in-person meetings; and to limit vendors for entering the building. Earlier this week, Fox News canceled the in-studio audience for its ‘Greg Gutfeld Show’ on Saturday nights and said it would stop doing a live-audience show for ‘Fox & Friends’ that had been taking place about once every month.”

That’s good advice that is consistent with the guidance given by medical experts. Many companies are instituting similar precautions. But while that’s good enough for the Fox staffers, it isn’t what Fox is telling their own viewers. And that isn’t just the view of outsiders and critics of the network. A Fox producer told CNN’s Brian Stelter that…

“The attempt to deflect and blame the media and Democrats from Trish Regan, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Lou Dobbs, Jesse Watters, and Greg Gutfeld — instead of addressing the coronavirus — is really irresponsible and hazardous to our viewers.”

The stark difference between Fox’s internal personnel guidance and their editorial policy is indicative of their political biases. It also demonstrates that their concerns for their audience (which is largely made up of vulnerable seniors) is focused more on pro-Trump propaganda and advancing his reelection prospects, than on protecting their health and welfare. Which, not surprisingly, is exactly what Trump himself is focused on. That’s why he has failed to implement broad-based testing and continues to understate the still very serious risks.

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

Trump Orders Justice Dept to Persecute His Critics and Pamper His Accomplices

There really is no bottom. Now Wannabe Dictator Donald Trump is bringing fascism to America. He is directing his corrupt Justice Department to investigate and prosecute (persecute) his critics. Meanwhile, he lobbies for light sentences and dangles pardons for his bootlicking sycophantic criminal accomplices. This is not normal. And it demonstrates that Republicans who thought Trump might learn from his impeachment were frighteningly mistaken and/or deluded.

Donald Trump

Trump’s Attorney Genuflect, Bill Barr, announced that he will be revising the sentencing recommendations for convicted felon Roger Stone. The prosecutors who tried the case recommended seven to nine years based on established legal guidelines. But Barr’s intervention is based on nothing more than Trump’s angry tweets. And if that’s not bad enough, Barr is assuming control of virtually everything that comes into the Justice Department that involves Trump. And Trump is obviously pleased…

The spectacle of seeing a president congratulate his toady AG for letting a convicted criminal off the hook should send shivers up the spines of the American people. Stone was found guilty of five counts of lying to Congress, and one count each of witness intimidation and obstruction. But his friend in the White House is pulling strings so that he doesn’t have to pay the price for his crimes. As a result of Barr’s interference, all four of the federal prosecutors who tried the case have quit.

What’s more, Trump’s tweet also makes a dangerously reckless and baseless accusation that former special counsel Robert Mueller “lied to Congress.” Trump doesn’t bother to cite any alleged falsehood, probably because he just made it up to slander Mueller. In a subsequent tweet Trump asserted, also without any foundation, that the career DOJ lawyers who tried Stone are “Rogue prosecutors.”

Trump has frequently weighed in on the criminal prosecutions of his associates. Just the fact that he has so many associates who have been prosecuted and found guilty is horrifying. But his reaction has been to lobby for lighter sentences or to issue pardons himself. Some of this confederacy of felons include his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, his campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, his deputy campaign manager, Rick Gates, his National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, and more.

On the other side of that legal coin, Trump has accused many of his political adversaries of crimes without any evidence whatsoever. In addition to Robert Mueller, Trump charged that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff “is a corrupt politician and a criminal;” that “Nancy [Pelosi] is every bit as guilty;” that “Hillary Clinton lied to the FBI;” and that “The Biden family was PAID OFF.” None of these allegations have an iota of evidence for support. They are purely driven by the animosity and vengeance of a wrathful president.

It has been widely known for years (decades?) that Trump is a vile and vindictive person who relishes punishing his perceived enemies. And he perceives enemies virtually everywhere, as he himself recently confessed. But the fact that he has an administration full of glassy-eyed cult followers who will obediently serve his will makes him all the more dangerous. And the Department of Justice is at the top of that list.

What this means is that there is nothing left to separate America from the totalitarian regimes and their tyrants that Trump so admires. This was articulated well by Sen. Chuck Schumer Wednesday on the floor of the Senate. It cannot be overstated how unusual it is for a speech like this to take place. but his words should be taken seriously if this country is to restore justice and preserve democracy:

“The President is claiming that rigging the rules is perfectly legitimate. He claims an absolute right to order the Justice Department to do anything he wants. And the President has as his Attorney General an enabler. And that’s a kind word. Does anyone think it’s out of the question that Pres. Trump might order the FBI to investigate Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden or anybody else without any evidence that supports such an arbitrary violation of individual rights?

“Oh, I know. Some far-right conspiratorial writer, who has no credibility and who just makes things up, writes it, Fox News puts it on, Sean Hannity or someone talks about it, and then the president says ‘Investigate.’ That is third world behavior – not American behavior.”

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

Trump’s Jealousy of Bloomberg Kicks Off Hannity’s Super Bowl Suck-Up on Fox News

It’s Super Bowl Sunday and Fox News has decided to turn the traditional presidential interview into a Trump-fluffing pageant of propaganda. While Fox likes to pretend that it’s a credible news organization, they can’t help taking every opportunity to prove that that’s a lie. So rather than assign the interview of Donald Trump to one of their alleged “journalists” (Chris Wallace, Bret Baier), they hand it to the Pope of the Cult of Trump, Sean Hannity.

Donald Trump Sean Hannity

Hannity long ago abandoned any pretense of impartiality. He has appeared on stage with Trump at his rallies. He has turned his program into the media campaign headquarters for Trump’s reelection. And he has launched untold smear campaigns against anyone who dared to criticize Trump or tell the truth about him. Hannity’s show is a fountainhead of conspiracy theories and lies in the service of Dear Leader.

So as a teaser to the Super Bowl Sunday Trump interview on Fox News, Hannity released a brief clip to entice potential viewers. Generally the goal of these promos is to offer up something compelling that would make people anxious to tune in. And here is what Fox News and Hannity decided was just the sort of soundbite that would drag in a big audience. Hannity asked Trump what he thought of Mike Bloomberg. And Trump replied…

“I just think of ‘little.’ Now he wants a box for the debates to stand on. Okay, it’s okay, there’s nothing wrong. You could be short. Why should he get a box to stand on, OK? He wants a box for the debates. Why should he be entitled to that? Really? Does that mean everyone else gets a box?”

WOW! Now that’s powerful television. The president of the United States of America blasts one of his potential electoral rivals as being “short.” And that’s the only thing that Trump thinks of when asked about Bloomberg. Naturally, Trump doesn’t think about the fact that Bloomberg, unlike Trump, is an actual billionaire with an estimated net worth of $54 billion. And Trump isn’t thinking about Bloomberg’s promise to spend a billion of that to defeat Trump – even if he isn’t the Democratic nominee. The only thought that flitters around in his empty skull is how he can attach infantile nicknames to a man he is painfully jealous of. As for Bloomberg, he responded with a stinging tweet that refuted Trump’s box blather, for which there is no evidence whatsoever:

So if you’re keeping score:

Trump: Mini Mike is short.
Bloomberg: Trump is a pathological liar who lies about everything: his fake hair, his obesity, and his spray-on tan.

Trump spent the night before this interview road-testing his childishness. He posted a tweet that whined “Mini Mike is part of the Fake News. They are all working together.” This reflects Trump’s crippling paranoia of an all-encompassing cabal that is determined to destroy him. Another tweet asserted that Bloomberg “is getting the DNC to rig the election against Crazy Bernie.” Here Trump manages to fire preadolescent taunts at two rivals at once. All the while pretending to care about the fairness of the Democratic primaries. And Trump’s final midnight tweet raged about the fake box controversy and the imaginary battle “to have the right to stand on boxes.”

If the clip above is what Fox News considers to be the most riveting segment from the Trump/Hannity drool-fest, it’s safe to say that there won’t be anything remotely newsworthy coming out of it. Well, other than further evidence that Hannity is a devoted StormTrumper and Fox News doesn’t give a damn about having any journalistic integrity. But we already knew that. So there really isn’t any reason at all to watch this puerile charade. And low ratings for his Super Bowl butt-kissing with his harlot Hannity would be like needles stabbed into his eyes. So feel free to change the channel, America. Or you could spend that eight minutes whipping another bowl of guacamole.

UPDATE: The interview was even worse than expected. Hannity was a flaming suck-up. And Trump led off with whining about impeachment. Then he just rattled off his petty hatred for Democrats:

  • Biden: He’s Sleepy Joe
  • Sanders: I think he’s a communist.
  • Warren: I call her Fairy Tale.
  • Clinton: I think of emails.
  • Pelosi: I think she’s a very confused, very nervous woman.

This is just further proof that Trump is a low functioning dotard who can’t form a coherent thought or substantive opinion on anything. He just blurts out lame slogans and talking points that might have been written by a temperamental child. And Hannity succeeded in producing a total waste of time, fumbling whatever opportunity he had to be relevant.

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

Sean Hannity and Fox News are Up to Their Hair Plugs in the Lev Parnas Affair

With each new day there are new and damning revelations affirming Donald Trump’s criminal behavior related to Ukraine and efforts to manufacture dirt on Joe Biden and subvert the 2020 election. The latest bombshells come from Lev Parnas, an associate of Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, whose nefarious activities include extorting Ukrainian President Zelensky and surveilling former U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovich.

Fox News Sean Hannity

Parnas was interviewed on MSNBC Wednesday by Rachel Maddow in a wide ranging discussion that made it clear that Trump “knew exactly what was going on” and was lying about his feigned ignorance of Parnas and his mission. But the evidence of Trump’s guilt is abundant. Also interesting is the evidence of Hannity’s guilt, and that of Fox News.

Proof is emerging of Hannity’s relationship with the Giuliani Crew. Hannity himself is in bed with Parnas. They have had communications that resulted in Hannity tweeting about bogus allegations of Ukrainian interference in the U.S. election to help Hillary Clinton. That tweet was deleted, but remains archived. Trump, however, didn’t delete his subsequent tweet promoting Hannity’s story on the subject that same night. Likewise, The Giuliani Crew also communicated with Don Trump Jr, who posted a tweet attacking Yovanovich. So their is an unbroken chain of propaganda circling around between Trump, Giuliani, his Ukraine mob, Fox News, and back to Trump and his crime family.

What’s more, Parnas had much to share about the complicity of Fox News in Trump’s plot to coerce Zelensky into helping him smear Biden. The Giuliani team worked with right-wing author John Solomon to disseminate their lies. At the time Solomon worked for The Hill, but is now employed by Fox News. So naturally Hannity unleashed a furious assault on Parnas and the network that hosted him. Hannity’s rage was so intense that he lapsed into the sort of incoherent outbursts you might hear from a paranoid schizophrenic on a street corner shouting at passing cars (video below). He began…

“Yesterday, last-ditch effort, Hail Mary, smear job, yup the congenital liar attached new documents to the articles of impeachment. Including so-called evidence from a former Giuliani contact. Oh by the way on conspiracy TV. The guy is facing federal charges from the Southern District of New York. You don’t really want to mess with those people.”

Did you follow that? Apparently Hannity is upset that new incriminating evidence about Trump has come out. But he can’t rebut any of it, so he unloads a barrage of nasty adjectives. He glosses over the fact that Parnas is working with Trump’s lawyer, but hones in on his having been indicted. And while Hannity is adamant that that’s a problem for Parnas, it doesn’t seem to be a problem for other Trump comrades who are under indictment or already convicted, including his campaign chairman Paul Manafort, his national security adviser Michael Flynn, his personal attorney Michael Cohen, and his fixer Roger Stone. Hannity continued…

“So [Parnas] goes right to state-run MSDNC conspiracy channel media. Keep in mind when people like him, trying to stay out of jail, think about this, how many times have we heard from the liberals ‘oh you can’t waterboard, or use enhanced interrogation because people will say anything, they’ll lie to make it end.’ Well people trying to stay out of jail, in my humble opinion, they’ll say anything.”

Now Hannity thinks that MSNBC is “state-run” media. You have to wonder what state Hannity thinks that it’s being run out of. It must be the “Deep State.” And it’s cute that Hannity is trying to connect an indicted defendant giving testimony to waterboarding. No one has tortured Parnas. He is simply doing what many defendants do when faced with prosecution. He’s turning state’s evidence. That’s a voluntary action to secure a lighter sentence. And it does not have the pitfalls of torture, where victims will indeed say anything to make it stop. A defendant providing testimony must tell the truth or any agreement made with prosecutors is null and void.

However, Hannity’s description of defendants saying anything to stay out of jail actually fits Trump much better. After all, he is known to be a pathological liar anyway. And he doesn’t have any agreement with prosecutors to worry about voiding. He’s lying through his capped teeth to avoid prison. And he clearly doesn’t care what he says, or how ludicrous the lie, if he thinks it will either deflect from his guilt or help him to evade accountability. The whole lot of them are neck deep in criminal behavior. And if more disclosures like those Parnas is serving up come to pass, they are all going to be sharing a cell block.

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