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.

Fox News Hits Record High Ratings of a Measly 0.8% of American Viewers in 2019

If there’s one thing we can learn from 2019 it’s that hostile, melodramatic lies can boost the profits of a flagrantly biased organ of propaganda like Fox News. The right-wing network abandoned all pretense of journalistic integrity (what little it had) in order to sign on to the Donald Trump White House’s perverse distortions of reality.

Donald Trump, Fox News, Hate Again

The reward for Fox News was the undying devotion of an audience of willfully blind cult followers who agreed to believe only what they saw on Fox and heard from Dear Leader Trump. And their loyalty helped propel Fox News to the number one cable news network for the year.

Fox News – and their number one viewer, Donald Trump – surely celebrated this achievement. But as the year comes to a close it’s important to place this statistic in perspective. The numbers that produced this “victory” represent about 2.5 million viewers per night, or about 0.8% of the television audience on the United States. That’s not exactly a commanding presence of disinformed boob-tubers with eyes glazed over and chanting wingnut slogans.

Of course, any contribution to the thinly populated MAGA cult is troubling and can have negative consequences. But knowing that they are safely confined within the walled off world of Fox News makes their impact nearly irrelevant. The bigger problem with Fox is when they manage to persuade other news organizations that they have any credibility and use that to further spread their fabrications and slander.

The bragging rights for Fox News have always been the result of their having corralled all of the nation’s conservative TV news audience into their single channel pen. Meanwhile, all the other news networks are splitting up the rest of the viewers, which dilutes their total audience. But in 2019, just the combined numbers for MSNBC (1.75 million) and CNN (972,000) exceed the total for Fox News. So anyone who tries to argue that Fox’s numbers are proof of a conservative majority in the country are engaging in the same sort of dishonesty that is the hallmark of Fox News.

While Fox’s average numbers did earn them the top spot for the year, that doesn’t mean that they resided there the whole time with every program. In fact, Rachel Maddow beat her time period competition, Sean Hannity, for the entire first quarter of the year. She also won the months of September, October, and November. And both “Deadline: White House with Nicole Wallace” and “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” won their time periods for the year outright.

The real ratings disaster for the year was, once again, Donald Trump. He remains the most unpopular president since modern polling began. Even his favorite pollster, the disreputable and biased Rasmussen Reports, has him underwater with only 46% approving. And a recent Fox News poll showed that a majority of Americans (53%) have an unfavorable view of his job performance. In addition to that, a solid majority of 54% in the Fox poll said that Trump should be impeached, with 50% saying that he should also be removed from office. So whatever influence Fox News purports to have by snagging 0.8% of the television audience, it isn’t having much effect on the views of the American people. And that’s something Trump will surely post an angry tweet about before long.

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 Legal Analyst on Trump: ‘The Remedy of Impeachment is Acutely Needed’

The impeachment of Donald Trump is finally being debated in the House of Representatives. The outcome is not expected to surprise anyone. Trump will be be impeached and will wear that mantle of disgrace for the rest of his life. Even if the Senate fails to remove him from office, the stain of impeachment is an indelible affirmation that Trump breached his constitutional duties and betrayed his country.

Donald Trump Walking the Plank

The partisan players in this battle are easily recognizable in most instances. Republicans and Fox News pundits are staunchly devoted to Trump regardless of what laws he has been shown to have broken. But every now and then someone steps out from behind the curtain of political prejudice to act as an advocate of truth and justice.

Now, as Trump’s impeachment looms, a lone voice from Fox News is standing up to the right-wing group-think that the network so rigidly enforces. Andrew Napolitano is Fox’s Senior Legal Adviser. And on Wednesday morning, as Congress was weighing Trump’s fate, Napolitano penned an op-ed with the headline: “Trump impeachment: Undisputed evidence that he abused his power.”

The article was published in the arch-conservative Washington times. For some reason, Fox News has been spiking Napolitano’s commentaries that support Trump’s impeachment. And this article had some blunt opinions on the matter. For instance…

“In Mr. Trump’s case, we have undisputed evidence that he abused his power by inviting a foreign government to interfere in the 2020 presidential election and then compounded this by directing subordinates to refrain from giving congressionally commanded evidence of his behavior.”

“It is undisputed that Mr. Trump withheld the delivery of the $391 million in military aid to Ukraine that Congress authorized and ordered and that Mr. Trump himself signed into law. He said he withheld that aid because he first wanted “a favor” from the president of Ukraine. The favor, requested by others on Mr. Trump’s behalf, was the announcement of a Ukrainian government criminal investigation of Mr. Trump’s potential political adversary, former Vice President Joe Biden.

“In the language of the streets, this is a shakedown; it sought to enhance Mr. Trump’s personal political needs and bears no relationship to American foreign policy.

Napolitano went on to describe the criminal violations Trump committed. They included the federal prohibition on soliciting campaign aid from a foreign government, and bribery. He also explained that these acts are crimes whether or not they are consummated by the exchange of money or services. It is the solicitation that triggers the offense.

And that’s not all. Napolitano also noted the criminal obstruction of justice by Trump for having “directed his subordinates to disregard congressional subpoenas, lawfully issued and validly served.” And he was troubled by Trump’s apparent belief that he is above the law. Napolitano made clear that this was dangerous, and that there is something that the Founders had in mind for just such a problem:

“Everyone who believes in the rule of law should be terrified of a president who thinks and behaves as if it does not apply to him. As the DOJ has stated repeatedly, impeachment is the proper constitutional remedy for that.”

Trump has been frantically trying to dodge accountability for his clearly impeachable activities. But his legal basis is virtually nonexistent, and he has refused to even defend himself before the committees of jurisdiction in Congress. Instead, he relies on bootlicking Fox News hacks like Gregg Jarrett and Alan Dershowitz (each of which he retweeted six times on Wednesday) for legal advice. Even worse, his idea of “legal scholars.” is Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson.

Former federal judge Napolitano, on the other hand, says that “the remedy of impeachment is acutely needed.” But you can rest assured that Trump will dismiss that as fake news and malign Napolitano (who was a close friend of Trump’s for decades) as a Never-Trumper. That’s just how the mind of a paranoid narcissist works.

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

Trump’s Impeachment in the House is All that Matters – The Senate Cannot Acquit

The United States House of Representatives is set to impeach Donald Trump next week, making him only the third American president to suffer this indignity. However, many pundits and pro-Trump media bootlickers are misrepresenting the gravity of this affair. There is a contingent of excusers who seek to dismiss its significance if the Senate doesn’t vote to remove Trump from office.

Donald Trump, Impeach

Trump himself has been making noises that he is anxious to have the impeachment move from the House to the Senate where he believes he will be coddled by sycophantic Republican loyalists. That, however, is a thinly veiled facade of bravado that is betrayed by his frantic tweetstorming (hitting a record of 123 in one day). Clearly Trump is consumed with fear and anxiety at the thought of being branded for life with impeachment.

The argument circulating the GOP drain is that a failure to oust Trump from office is tantamount to an acquittal. But that relies on the false analogy that the House impeachment vote is akin to an indictment, after which the Senate conducts a trial. But a more accurate analogy would be to cast the House as the de facto courtroom and impeachment there is a conviction. After all, the language of the Articles of Impeachment state flatly that “President Trump has abused the powers of the Presidency in a manner offensive to, and subversive of, the Constitution.” Note that it doesn’t say he is charged with abuse of power, but that he “has abused” his power. Consequently, a “yes” vote is a finding of guilt.

The Senate’s role is, therefore, not one of a trier of fact, but more that of a sentencing hearing. The House establishes the facts and will shortly rule that Trump is guilty. The Senate decides if he should be punished by removal from office, or pardoned and allowed to complete his term. But the conviction stands.

Trump knows this and it is eating him up. That’s why he is putting so much pressure on his Senate defenders. It’s why Republican majority leader, Mitch McConnell, told Sean Hannity of Fox News that “I’m going to take my cues from the president’s lawyers.” McConnell went on to say that…

“Everything I do during this I’m coordinating with the White House counsel. There will be no difference between the president’s position and our position as to how to handle this […adding that he’ll be in…] total coordination with the White House counsel’s office and the people who are representing the president in the well of the Senate.”

What’s more, the GOP Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, Lindsey Graham, told CNN that “I will do everything I can to make it die quickly […] I’m not trying to pretend to be a fair juror here.”

So the chairman of the Committee of jurisdiction and the majority leader have both stated publicly that they have no intention to conduct a fair, impartial hearing. In fact, they are openly conspiring with the defendant (Trump) to allow him to escape any punishment for his crimes. Which means they are admitting in advance to violating the oath that they will be taking prior to commencement of the hearing, which states that…

“I solemnly swear that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of Donald John Trump, president of the United States, now pending, I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws: So help me God.”

This tells you precisely what these Republicans think about the Constitution, the law, and even God. That they are willing to brazenly and shamelessly breach this oath is evidence that their word is meaningless. And in taking this position before they begin deliberating, they are effectively cancelling any validity that their role in this might otherwise have had. As a result, the outcome of the Senate hearing is irrelevant. Which leaves the House vote to impeach as the final word on what will become Trump’s tarnished legacy. And if yo think that isn’t driving Trump nuts, see 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.

SRSLY? Trump Cites Fox News Shills as ‘Legal Scholars’ to Dismiss Impeachment Report

The impeachment of Donald Trump has now moved from the House Intelligence Committee to the House Judiciary Committee. And with that the legal arguments for the constitutional grounds for impeachment are coming to the forefront of the public discourse. A panel of law professors are the first witnesses to appear before this committee. But Trump has his own laughably obtuse ideas on the matter.

Donald Trump, Constitution

Trump held several press avails with foreign leaders during his trip to London for the NATO summit. In each of them he managed to deliver blatantly political screeds that exalted himself and maligned his critics. But on one occasion he offered his opinion of the report written at the conclusion of the House impeachment hearings. Not surprising, he was less than impressed. He had the following exchange with a reporter (video below):

REPORTER: Do you want to comment on the House Democrats impeachment report that came out last night and the hearing today?

TRUMP: Well, I saw it and it’s a joke. Everybody is saying it. I watched reviews. I watched Sean Hannity. I watched Laura Ingraham. I watched Tucker Carlson. I watched a lot of other legal scholars.

REALLY? So now Trump is passing off right-wing hacks on Fox News as the “legal scholars” he relies on to shape his views of impeachment. That’s even worse than his actual lawyers (i.e. Rudy Giuliani) and the other TV attorneys that he depends on for advice. And he’s admitting to watching an awful lot of TV while he’s at this international summit. He went on to site his longtime friend Alan Dershowitz and the Bill Clinton special prosecutor, Ken Starr, as additional sources of his legal opinions.

For some reason Trump failed to note that Fox News’ Senior Legal Analyst, Andrew Napolitano, concluded that the evidence of Trump’s impeachable behavior is overwhelming. He also left out the commentaries by Napolitano and staunch pro-Trump sycophant Andrew McCarthy, who both disputed the anti-impeachment arguments of committee witness Jonathan Turley. However, Trump did go on to repeat some of his recent lies relating to his popularity:

“I will tell you it’s a uniform statement pretty much right down the road. What they’re doing is a bad thing for the country. It’s of no merit. And the Republican Party has never been more unified, ever. They have never been as unified as they are right now.

“I’ve never seen anything like it where you have 197-0 where the Senate is very angry about it. I think the Senate I can say is angry. The Republican Party is angry. A recent poll came out 95% approval rating for me in the Republican Party which is a record. “

Nevermind that it is entirely irrelevant whether the Republican Party is unified. They are expected to be united in defense of their president. That doesn’t have any bearing on his guilt. And more to the point, Trump’s assertions as to the unity of the GOP being uniformly in favor of Trump is simply false. He has never been able to provide a source for 95% approval, but a recent poll put the number at 74%. And majorities of the American people are solidly in favor of impeaching Trump and removing him from office.

Trump is living in a fantasy world where he is beloved by all and everyone agrees with him on everything. The truth is that he is the most unpopular president in modern times who has never even hit 50% approval. And it’s downright pathetic that he has to resort to partisan hacks like Hannity to justify his delusions on the legality of impeachment. He might as well be citing Lionel Hutz.

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

Fox News Ratings Continue to Sink During Month of Trump’s Impeachment Hearings

One of the most nauseating things about Donald Trump is how deliberately he has decimated the standards of honesty for the U.S. presidency. And while there is nothing he won’t lie about, his falsehoods are frequently employed to boost his own fragile ego. This is a man who began his term by lying about the size of his inauguration audience. He lies about his popularity among Republicans. He routinely lies about the attendance at his cult rallies. And lately he has been obsessed with lies about the impeachment hearings hurting Democrats.

Fox News, Titanic

Contrary to Trump’s plaintive whining, polls show that it’s his own approval rating that has suffered throughout the impeachment hearings. A majority of Americans still favor his impeachment and removal from office. But that isn’t the only downside for Trump World. His state TV propaganda network, Fox News, is also being dragged down by the loathing he has cultivated for himself and his Republican Nationalist Party.

The numbers for the month of November tell a tale of woe for Trump’s media minions. Year to year, Fox News viewership for the total day in the all-important 25-54 year old demographic declined 11%. That compared to MSNBC’s rise of 5%. Fox’s daytime ratings in the demo declined 5% (MSNBC was up 19%). And Fox’s primetime schedule featuring Trump-fluffers Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, and Sean Hannity, dropped 12% (MSNBC was up 8%).

MSNBC’s strong performance was once again driven by Rachel Maddow. Her program handily beat Hannity with an average audience of 572,000 a night. Hannity, Fox’s top rated program, trailed with only 554,000. But she wasn’t alone. Chris Hayes, Lawrence O’Donnell, and Brian Williams all notched highs for the year in their time periods. Williams ranked No. 1 in his timeslot among adults 25-54. On the dayside, Deadline: White House with Nicolle Wallace was the most-watched cable news show at 4:00pm for the third straight month.

This is the second straight month where MSNBC’s growth outpaced Fox News. And it’s the third straight month that Maddow has topped Hannity. During most of this time the news has been consumed by contentious issues like impeachment and the 2020 election. Fox News has juiced its programming with live, interrupted coverage of Trump’s rallies (19 so far this year). But even that Trumpioid-fix for addicted Trump cultists didn’t keep viewers from fleeing.

Democrats should learn from this that they need to keep up the pressure on Trump. It’s not only educating the public about his criminal activities, it’s having a positive impact on impeachment in the polls, and on ratings for programs that aren’t afraid to tell the truth about Trump. Democrats need to ignore Trump’s impotent wailing about “witch hunts” and lies about how adored he is. He isn’t. And the more we point that out, the lower he sinks into the abyss of his own lies.

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

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

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

Fox News, Sean Hannity, White House

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Donald Trump, Fox News, Halloween

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fox News, Shepard Smith, Donald Trump

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rachel Maddow

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

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

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

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

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

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