Scandal Starved Fox News Devours Moldy Story on Clinton and AG Lynch

Ever since Donald Trump delivered his Dystopian State of the Union address a couple of weeks ago, he has demonstrated his failure to grasp the consequences of having been impeached. He has embarked on a campaign of paranoid expulsions of perceived enemies from his own administration. And he has exposed a diseased and frightened mindset that makes it plain that he hasn’t learned a thing, as some terminally naive Republican senators presumed he would.

Donald Trump, Fox News, Fake

Among the Trumpian atrocities that have occurred in recent weeks is the brazenly biased interference of Trump’s Attorney Genuflect, Bill Barr, in the case of convicted felon, and longtime Trump political guru, Roger Stone. This was an ethical breach so egregious that more than 2,000 former Justice Department officials from both parties have called for Barr’s resignation.

The Trump playbook on responding to charges against him is as predictable as it is shallow. He merely seeks to manufacture similar charges against his opponents. However, there isn’t anything that could be plausibly be asserted with regard to the administration of justice by Democrats that is remotely comparable. So Trump World is stretching completely out of shape to fight back on this one.

What they have apparently settled on is a revisitation of a meeting between Bill Clinton and Attorney General Loretta Lynch at an Arizona airport four years ago. There was never any evidence of anything improper in that meeting, although Republicans latched unto it like a pack of rabid hounds hoping to uncover some wrongdoing. Despite their best efforts, they failed utterly. Clinton, after all, was not the President, and Hillary was no longer in government, so neither had any influence to wield. Therefore, any comparison of that event to Trump putting pressure on Barr is ludicrous.

But that didn’t stop Fox News from interviewing an author whose new book promises “explosive new information” about the “Secret on the Tarmac.” Christopher Sign joined the “Curvy Couch” potatoes on Fox and Friends to discuss what was introduced as “the tarmac meeting that rocked 2016.” Co-host Steve Doocy began by asking Sign a flagrantly leading question (video below):

Doocy: From the get go, this just didn’t add up, did it?
Sigh: Not at all. When I broke this story we knew something had occurred here that was a bit unusual. It was a planned meeting. It was not a coincidence. It was planned. And this details everything that they don’t want you to know and everything they think you forgot. But Bill Clinton was on that plane for 20 minutes and it wasn’t just about golf, grandkids, Brexit.

And that’s the entirety of this “explosive new information.” Sign did not reveal anything else about what took place or what was said. When asked how he knew that something was going on, he replied that “I have a source that walks me through it from point A to point b to point Z. And my source saw it all unfold.” Once again, Sign provides no details about what his alleged source told him. Only that Clinton arrived at the airport and waited briefly until he could board Lynch’s plane, where they spoke for about twenty minutes.

Shocking, isn’t it? There is no evidence of any plot or any even any potential benefit from this allegedly clandestine rendezvous. There is no indication that Sign’s source was on the plane or witnessed any of the discussions. The confirmation that the meeting lasted only twenty minutes suggests that there couldn’t have been anything of importance taking place, and certainly nothing that couldn’t have been discussed on the telephone.

So how does their scenario explain why Clinton and Lynch would have needed to meet at an airport in Arizona? Neither Sign, nor anyone at Fox News, can explain what might have been so controversial about this. And the reliance on an unidentified source should make the whole thing invalid according to Trump, who has frequently insisted that such sources don’t actually exist.

Trump himself weighed in on this pathetic excuse for a scandal at the time, tweeting…

Notice that Trump, as he is wont to do, nearly doubled the time Clinton supposedly spent on Lynch’s plane. And it’s surely no surprise that Trump thinks it would be impossible to talk about one’s grandchildren for half an hour, because he probably can’t even name his. Most grandparents can go on for hours about their grandkids. That’s how desperately wretched this attempt at concocting a scandal is. Fox News is really scraping the bottom of the barrel these days.

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

UH-OH: Trump’s Favorite Fox News Shills Admit He Extorted Ukraine to Smear Joe Biden

The impeachment trial of Donald Trump is entering its second week with his Fox News Legal Team continuing to present a defense that is wholly composed of deflections and lies. And they are sticking with that game plan despite the bombshell revelations from former National Security Advisor, John Bolton, that Trump did indeed threaten to withhold critical military aid from Ukraine in order to coerce them into helping Trump smear Joe Biden.

Donald Trump, Fox News

Bolton’s account of events is soon to be published in his book The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir.” These incriminating disclosures are now frustrating efforts by Senate Republicans to dispense of the impeachment trial quickly. It is becoming much more likely that a sufficient number of Republicans will seek further testimony from witnesses, including Bolton. That could open the floodgates to additional witnesses and document production.

Furthermore, the media is appropriately curious as to what Bolton might have to contribute to the pool of evidence against Trump. And that’s not just what Trump refers to as the “fake news.” Even Trump’s favorite morning show, Fox and Friends, is struggling to deal with these new reports. On Monday morning co-host Steve Doocy addressed the revelations in Bolton’s book (video below) noting that…

“Apparently it says Bolton was told ‘Trump wanted to continue freezing money to Ukraine until they helped with probes of the Bidens.’ But we heard him say in the transcripts he wanted President Zelensky to look into the Bidens and what happened in 2016. So is this a big, big, big story?”

That’s actually a good point, coming from someone who’s not known for making them. We did hear Trump say that he wanted Zelensky to look into the Bidens. Not only in the so-called “transcripts” that Trump keeps imploring people to read, but also in his own words during an episode of “Chopper Talk” wherein he was asked directly what he wanted from Ukraine and replied that…

“I would think that if they’re honest about it they’d start a major investigation into the Bidens. It’s a very simple answer. They should investigate the Bidens.”

It appears that Trump’s staunchest media bootlickers are now conceding that he cannot be defended with blanket denials that he did anything wrong. They can no longer say that it was “a perfect phone call.” They must accept the fact that Trump engaged in overt extortion, but then try to argue that it wasn’t illegal or impeachable.

That’s the argument that Trump-fluffer and Fox contributor Dan Bongino made for most of this segment. Co-host Brian Kilmeade interjected that Trump’s legal team needs to include in their scenario that Trump “was wanting an investigation into what happened with the Bidens in 2016” But in order to do that, Trump would have to repudiate everything he has asserted thus far in his defense. Kilmeade also closed the segment with a bizarre new bit of advice:

“I will say this. I will say the President should take from this, between the Lev [Parnas] and Igor [Fruman] tapes that are now out, and then people writing books about him, he’s got to do better a job vetting his staff to find out if they actually want to work for him or not. Or if they actually want to leak out information about him. So he’s got to do a better job hiring people.”

Really? So the lesson that Kilmeade is conveying to Trump is not that he should take care to comply with the law and refrain from engaging in treasonous acts. It’s that he should be more careful to associate only with those whose blind loyalty can be relied upon to become willing accomplices to his crimes. Good to know that Fox News has Trump’s interests at heart, even when they are contrary to those of the nation.

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

HEY FOX NEWS: Opposing Trump’s Derangement Is Not Support for Iran’s Terrorism

The debate over Donald Trump’s order to assassinate a top Iranian military commander is beginning to take on the familiar tones of the Bush administration’s dishonest and unlawful invasion of Iraq nearly twenty years ago. Following the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani there has arisen a cry from the Trump camp for an unquestioning embrace of the mission that still has not been justified or defined.

Donald Trump, Fox News, Hate Again

Bush’s rationale for invading Iraq was rooted in deliberate falsehoods about nonexistent weapons of mass destruction. His national security team would not provide any proof of the claim, but insisted that the American people get on board and support the President on blind trust. Bush famously admonished rational skeptics that “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.”

This is precisely how the Trump administration is framing its assault on Soleimani and his subsequent threats against Iran. Those threats include outright declarations of Trump’s intention to commit war crimes by targeting “cultural sites” with “disproportionate” force. And Trump is getting plenty of help from his State TV Ministry of Propaganda, Fox News. The memo must have gone out over the weekend to portray all of Trump’s critics as unpatriotic and supporters of Iranian terrorism.

That, of course, could not be farther from the truth. It is not only possible, but necessary for free thinkers to raise questions about Trump’s actions. After all, he has refused to provide any evidence of his implausible contention that Iran was plotting attacks on the United States. And his resume of flagrant lying about all things great and small make him wholly unbelievable as a source for anything more significant than the weather (and he has blatantly lied about that as well).

That, however, isn’t what you’ll from Fox as their sycophantic shills campaign to canonize the Liar-in-Chief. It was evident early on with Trump’s favorite morning program, Fox and Friends, where co-host Ainsley Earhardt engaged in friendly banter with co-host Steve Doocy and squealed giddily that…

Earhardt: I find it so interesting that people are critical of the president’s decisions, of our intelligence community’s decisions, our general’s decisions.
Doocy: They want details.
Earhardt: Well, they can’t have it. They can’t have it. Everything can’t be made public.

That’s an astonishing commentary from the folks who have been lambasting the intelligence community as dishonest and corrupt and anti-Trump “Deep State” traitors, for the past three years. Nor have they been especially respectful of generals, three of whom Trump has fired from senior White House posts, while maligning them fools and insisting that he knows more than all of them.

Earhardt is also arguing that Trump should be permitted to withhold the intelligence that would justify his actions. That’s a bizarre position from someone supposedly in the “news” business whose job is to investigate and report on the government and the politicians who occupy it. Not that there have ever been any actual reporters on Fox News. They are there for one purpose only: to advance the propaganda of the Trump administration and, more broadly, the conservative agenda.

The notion that the media should accept and defend Trump’s secrecy was further articulated later in the day on Fox by commentator Katie Pavlich. During a debate with Democratic consultant Richard Fowler, who argued that the American people should be shown the intelligence that informed Trump’s decision, Pavlich shot back, “You’re not entitled to seeing it because people like you don’t believe in intelligence.”

Once again, this is coming from someone who has been a staunch critic of the intelligence community for years. And she’s directing this thinly veiled personal insult at “people like” Fowler, whose support for America’s intelligence agencies is well documented. What’s more, it’s absurd to suggest that disagreeing with Trump is also disagreeing with the intelligence community. There is absolutely zero evidence that intelligence was the basis for anything that Trump has done. If it was, there is surely some portion of it that he could make public.

The gist of the Fox News position is that anyone who doesn’t devotedly follow Trump and blindly believe whatever he says without question, is unpatriotic. They contend that requiring Trump to explain himself and his decisions is tantamount to sacrilege. They fail to comprehend that true patriotism requires politicians to continually justify themselves, particularly if they are known to be pathological liars.

Americans are not supposed to be regarded as, or treated like, sheep led by aspiring dictators who cannot be challenged or questioned. But according to the Fox Doctrine, Trump must be worshiped as a prophet sent by God to lead the nation into a dystopian future. That’s not how America works. Even if Trump’s lackeys appear on Fox and accuse his critics of “hero worship” of Soleimani, simply because they won’t submit to Trump’s holy version of reality. Which is what Kellyanne Conway did this morning:

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

Fox News Hack Defends Trump for Making 2019 the ‘Darkest Year Yet for Journalists’

After three years of bootlicking fealty to Donald Trump, there are very few people who would dispute that Fox News is serving as the Ministry of Propaganda for the Trump regime. There has never been a “news” organization more tightly aligned with a political leader and party than Fox News. They even regularly exchange personnel who seamlessly work for both the network and the White House. Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs, and others are card-carrying members of Trump’s “Shadow Cabinet.”

Donald Trump, Fox News, White House

Other than Fox News, Trump has been relentlessly hostile to the press from the beginning of his presidency. He routinely refers to it in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people,” and dismisses any less than adoring coverage as “fake news.” Michael M. Grynbaum of the New York times took note of this in a year-end column that accurately described 2019 as the darkest year yet for journalists He elaborated…

“On Twitter, President Trump deployed the phrase ‘fake news’ 273 times this year — 50 percent more often than he did in 2018. He demanded ‘retribution’ over a ‘Saturday Night Live’ sketch, declared that Washington Post reporters ‘shouldn’t even be allowed on the grounds of the White House,’ and accused The New York Times of ‘Treason.’ […]

Mr. Trump’s vilification of the news media is a hallmark of his tenure and a jagged break from the norms of his predecessors: Once a global champion of the free press, the presidency has become an inspiration to autocrats and dictators who ape Mr. Trump’s cry of ‘fake news.'”

Trump has terminated the daily press briefings that were a decades-long part of White House operations. He replaced them with his “Chopper Talk” harangues on the lawn of the White House where he’ll berate reporters and lie unashamedly while dodging their questions. And his constant assaults on the press creates an environment of imminent risk to the lives of reporters. Trump even whined to Vladimir Putin that he would like to “get rid of them,” expressing his envy of Putin’s ability to assassinate journalists who offend him. That’s the sort of loathsome rhetoric that caused the Committee to Protect Journalists to issue a long and detailed condemnation of Trump as “an unprecedented threat,” and went on to say…

“Donald Trump, through his words and actions as a candidate for president of the United States, has consistently betrayed First Amendment values. […] A Trump presidency would represent a threat to press freedom in the United States.”

In response to the article in the New York Times (a frequent victim of Trump’s attacks), right-wing media hack Joe Concha appeared on Fox News to defend Trump’s malicious behavior (video below). However, he proffered a badly mangled argument that Trump was justified in criticizing the press because they were so critical of him. The problem with that is that no one was suggesting that Trump couldn’t offer his own criticisms. But there is a difference between pointing out what he believes are inaccuracies, and accusing reporters of treason.

Likewise, Concha argued that Trump couldn’t be considered a threat to journalists because he speaks to them directly from time to time. Once again, that doesn’t excuse what he’s actually saying in those encounters. If you threaten reporters with cancellation of their credentials, or with prosecution and imprisonment, you cannot simultaneously claim you’re not a threat because you spoke to them.

Fox and Friends co-host Steve Doocy eagerly agreed with Concha’s premise, saying that Trump often approaches reporters at Mar-A-Lago and takes questions. What Doocy didn’t acknowledge is that those avails are always designed to give Trump the advantage. He takes only the questions he wants, and pretends he didn’t hear the others. And if his answers are insufficient, or totally irrelevant, he refuses follow-ups or any effort to clarify.

The problem with what Concha and Doocy are saying is that they regard Trump’s insults and threats as legitimate critiques of the media. They ignore Trump’s menacing outbursts that cast journalists as criminals and traitors. And they don’t seem to comprehend that labeling everything you disagree agree with as “Fake” isn’t a coherent rebuttal. It’s a flagrant attempt to demean an honorable profession, and the only one protected by the Constitution.

Trump’s purpose is to destroy the public’s confidence in the only institution they can rely on to keep them informed and hold the powerful accountable. In this way Trump hopes to get away with his criminal, amoral, and disloyal, activities. And Joe Concha and Fox News are right there to back him up.

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

Trump Brings His Crowdstrike Conspiracy Theory Clown Show to Fox News

No one is going to be surprised to hear that Donald Trump unleashed another flurry of flagrant lies in a barely coherent attempt to extract himself from the impeachment quandary that is burying him. But the weakness of his latest arguments is a cringeworthy display of intellectual impotence.

Donald Trump, Pennywise

Trump made yet another appearance on his favorite Fox News morning program, Fox and Friends. He called in to chat with the “Curvy Couch” potatoes and to rail against his perceived enemies in Congress and the media. It was a forty-five minute spectacle of deranged babbling that even Fox’s hosts seemed to find excessive and exasperating.

Among the myriad of topics that Trump meandered about as he vainly sought to persuade people that he isn’t criminally insane, was one that he has been obsessed with for three years. It is also one that has been certified as Russian propaganda. The subject concerns his bizarre notion that a computer server belonging to the Democratic National Committee contains some unspecified evidence of wrongdoing by Democrats. And that server has somehow been transported to Ukraine for unknown reasons. It’s all pretty ludicrous, but oh so Trumpian. His wildly careening rant eventually led to this screwball soliloquy (video below):

“They have the server from the DNC, Democratic National Committee. The FBI went in they told them ‘Get outta here. We’re not giving it to you.’ They gave the server to Crowdstrike, or whatever you call it. Which is a country…a company owned by a very wealthy Ukrainian. And I still wanna see that server. You know the FBI has never gotten that server. That’s a big part of this whole thing. Why did they give it to a Ukrainian company.”

Literally everything in that outburst is false. There is no evidence whatsoever that Ukrainians have any DNC server. Democrats never told the FBI that they couldn’t have it. Infact, the DNC provided the FBI with a mirror copy of it, which is all the FBI ever asked for. Crowdstrike is not owned by a wealthy Ukrainian. It’s actually a publicly owned U.S. technology company based in Sunnyvale, California. It was founded by two American citizens, one of whom was born in Russia. It would be difficult for Trump to have gotten more wrong in this statement. It was so preposterous that even Fox’s co-host Steve Doocy questioned it:

Doocy: Are you sure they did that? Are you sure they gave it to Ukraine?
Trump: Well, that’s what the word is.

So we have now descended to the point that the President of the United States is justifying his ridiculous conspiracy theories by citing “the word” of unnamed rumor mongers. Trump’s former White House Homeland Security Adviser, Tom Bossert, recently addressed this nonsense saying that “It’s not only a conspiracy theory, it is completely debunked.” Bossert was also troubled by the fact that this theory was being propagated by Trump’s personal attorney, and executive tripe wrangler, Rudy Giuliani.

This isn’t the first time Trump has gone haywire over the Case of the Mysterious Server Just last month he seemed to have had a mental malfunction that produced this unholy gibberish:

“I still ask the FBI, where is the server? How come the FBI never got the server from the DNC? Where is the server? I want to see the server. Let’s see what’s on the server. So the server they say is held by a company whose primary ownership individual is from Ukraine. I would like to see the server. I think it’s very important for this country to see the server. Nobody wants to see it. The media never wants to see it. I’ll tell you, Republicans want to see it.”

And if you think the text of that is wacko, you should see the video It is one of the best arguments for the impeachment of Trump as an urgent necessity. But if that isn’t enough, Trump also told the Fox Friends that “If I didn’t fire Comey, I would be in some trouble right now … It turns out to be the best move I ever made, firing Comey, because they were trying to take me down.” And that is as blatant a confession of abuse of power and obstruction of justice as you’re ever likely to see on television. Trump seems to be determined to impeach himself. So let’s help him out and get it done.

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

Fox and Friends Makes a Damn Good Argument to Vote for Democrats – No, Really!

The pressure is on at the White House as evidence incriminating Donald Trump continues to pile up. The impeachment inquiry is entering a new, more public phase that is exposing facts that are unarguably tying Trump and his cohorts to unlawful activities. And it’s causing him to lash out in ever more incoherent ways. Even his support among Republicans has begun a disastrous freefall.

Donald Trump, Fox News, Strange

Of course, whatever affects Trump also has a symbiotic reaction at the Fox News Channel, the network whose mission is to protect and defend Trump and the conservative wackosphere from all enemies, foreign and domesticated. But the weight of the pressure currently being applied by Congress and the Constitution may be overwhelming Fox’s capacity to respond as programmed. This is creating some bizarre departures from their expected behaviors.

On Wednesday morning, the day after Trump’s Republican Nationalist Party suffered severe electoral defeats in Kentucky and Virginia, the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends engaged in an exchange that began uneventfully with a typically pro-GOP tirade by Ainsley Earhardt. However, it quickly veered off into something that was uncharacteristically (gasp) liberal! It went something like this (video below):

Earhardt: I don’t understand how that message … how she [Elizabeth Warren] is doing so well with that message. That message is saying “You have more than I do. I’m jealous of yours. I wanna take some of what you have.”
Steve Doocy: But if you don’t have anything, that’s a very potent message, believe me.
Earhardt: But that’s not the American way. The American way is to work your tail off. Keep working. Say yes, say yes. Work weekends, work nights, work your way to the top.
Doocy: I get that. But if you have worked really hard and you still don’t have anything … I mean, I’ve been to the Bernie Sanders rallies where there are a lot of people who need help. You know, they didn’t have health care. They have problems with college tuition. And things like that. So for the Democratic message … “Look, you don’t have anything. The government is going to make sure that the most successful people pay extra so you can get a hand up.” That is very powerful. That’s why you look at the number of people with that point of view, you add up all the people that support that, it’s a big number.

WOW! Doocy gave a pretty good summation of Democratic principles that favor providing for the basic needs of all Americans. He seemed to recognized the appeal of programs that insure that no American goes hungry, or is unable to get medical care, or is burdened by undue debts for education, in the richest nation in the world. He even acknowledged that those benefiting from such programs do work hard and are not shiftless layabouts seeking to take advantage of the system.

The people Doocy is talking about are indeed a large group. And their numbers grow exponentially by adding their families, friends, and other compassionate citizens, who care about the less fortunate among us. They are also many of the same people that Trump tries to attract. He calls them the “forgotten Americans,” and they populate his cult rallies. However, the difference between the Democratic solutions and Trump’s is that Democrats think the wealthy should pay more to fill the gap, as Doocy noted, Meanwhile, Trump and the GOP think the wealthy should pay less (in taxes), and the poor should pay more, by giving up benefits like food stamps, housing assistance, college loan aid, and access to health care.

To be sure, whatever caused that glitch in the Fox News system that resulted in them going haywire with concern for others, it will be temporary. Rest assured that there are already people huddling in the executive suites plotting how to correct the malfunction. But in the meantime it was interesting to hear a perspective on the network that wasn’t dripping with rancor, racism, and animosity toward Americans who need a little bit of help from time to time. So enjoy it while it lasts, but don’t get used to it.

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

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

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

Donald Trump, Phone, Pacifier

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fox News Defends Trump’s State-Sponsored Political Extortion as Just ‘The Art of the Deal’

The news that Donald Trump may have promised the president of Ukraine hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid if he would open a bogus investigation into Joe Biden has captured the attention of the press. And rightfully so. This would amount to state-sponsored extortion by Trump in order to smear a political opponent. And it wouldn’t even be the first time that Trump has conspired with a foreign country to steal an election (see: Russia, 2016).

Donald Trump, Fox News, White House

As this scandal continues to build steam, Trump is managing to get himself into even more hot water. In a press avail with the Prime Minister of Australia, Trump gave contradictory answers about what he knew about the affair. In fact, when asked if he read the report he contradicted himself in the space of a single sentence saying, “No I haven’t. I just – I tell you, everybody’s read it. They laugh at it.” He went on to attack the press, as usual, saying that “Our media has become the laughingstock of the world […] You’re a joke.” Which only proves that he is pitifully incapable of recognizing who the world is actually laughing at.

In the midst of this unfolding melodrama, Fox News is adopting their routine position as Trump-fluffing propaganda disseminators. And taking the lead is Trump’s favorite morning show, Fox and Friends. Their defense of Trump is a bizarre spectacle of ludicrous justifications for Trump’s potentially treasonous behavior (video below). Co-host Steve Doocy began by telling his dimwitted viewers to…

“Keep in mind this whistleblower filed this report with the inspector general of the Intel community on August the 12th. That was over a month ago. Then they kicked it around, sent it to the Department of Justice, and said ‘We do not have to hand it over to Congress.'”

First of all, it is entirely improper for the Justice Department to interfere in this process in any way. It negates the whole purpose of the Whistleblower Protection Act if the President’s henchmen (Attorney General William Barr, et al) can suppress information provided in good faith by insiders concerned about national security. And it endangers the welfare of the whistleblower whose identity is disclosed to people who have motive to retaliate.

That said, after having improperly interfered, the Justice Department has no authority to rule that the complaint can’t be turned over to Congress. The law says unambiguously that it “shall” be turned over. So the Justice Department is wrong, and Fox News is wrong to excuse this breach of the law. But Doocy wasn’t finished. He continued…

“The reason the whistleblower apparently said that it was ‘serious’ and ‘urgent’ is because that designation usually automatically triggers it getting to Congress. The Department of Justice says that that is not appropriate, so we don’t have to give it to the Committee. Well, somebody with knowledge of this person’s story didn’t like the fact that Congress wasn’t gonna get it and it wasn’t gonna become public. So they leaked the story to the Washington Post.”

Again, none of this is the Justice Department’s call. But Doocy is also introducing something that was never a part of this. He implies that somebody wanted this to become public. But had the complaint been turned over to Congress, they would have reviewed it privately. The only reason any of this is becoming public is because the process was breached by the administration.

It’s ironic that Fox News is more worried about this complaint leaking than the substance of the complaint which is Trump’s attempts to extort and/or bribe a foreign country and to pressure them into aiding his election fraud. But if you thought that Fox was bothered by any of that, here’s what Doocy’s co-host Ainsley Earhardt had to say about it:

“They say the President was making promises, leaking delicate information to another heads of state. But this is what they do. They talk. They negotiate. And the President’s known for that. The art of the deal. Who’s leaking this? Is it someone that works at the White House?”

So to Fox News this is standard operating procedure in negotiations. They consider it acceptable for Trump to bully foreign leaders into manufacturing political dirt on his opponents. They regard it as simple dealmaking, despite the fact that there are no components of this deal that are in the interests of the United States. It is a purely hostile swipe at Biden, who Trump expects to run against next year. So Earhardt is defending dealmaking that is only intended to disrupt an election. But then again, that’s what Fox News does every day. Disrupting elections by airing distortions and lies is the whole reason Fox News exists.

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

Fox News Shill Geraldo Rivera Confirms Trump is a Racist While Arguing that He Isn’t a Racist

The debate over whether or not Donald Trump is a racist has been over for months, years really. The evidence is in his frequent and virulent hate speech, as well as his policies that are deliberately aimed at disadvantaging people of color. And the fact that he is supported by the nation’s most prominent white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups is further proof of his embrace of bigotry.

Donald Trump, Fox News, Hate Again

Most people upon discovering that KKK leaders are praising them would stop and reflect on what they did or said to attract such loathsome admirers. But not Trump. He actually panders to them and refuses to make any outright criticisms. He invites them to the White House and recycles overtly racist tropes that history has condemned. He even told women of color – who happen to be members of Congress and U.S. citizens – to go back you came from.”

Notwithstanding all of these facts, Fox News continues to pretend that there is nothing remotely racist about Trump. It’s a position that mimics the worshipful fawning of state run media in Russia, North Korea and other totalitarian regimes. And on Trump’s favorite Fox News morning show, Fox and Friends, the “Curvy Couch” potatoes earned their pay by ignoring the truth about Trump and slobbering over Dear Leader’s bottomless capacity for universal love.

Aside from the helpful montage of Democrats correctly pointing out that Trump is a racist, this clip features Steve Doocy wondering why they weren’t asked “What do you mean? What are you referring to?” The fact that he even bothers to ask that question demonstrates just how blind he is to reality, or more accurately, how blind they want their views to be. For the record, Doocy’s question has been answered many times, and this compilation from Vox serves as a convenient resource.

Later in the program, long-time Trump friend and blabbering sycophant, Geraldo Rivera, showed up for another of his regular appearances and began sucking up in the first few seconds of his segment. He started off with a glassy-eyed confession that “I love the President and I’ve known him for 45 years and he is not a racist.” Geraldo then blames Trump’s troubles on “sloppy rhetoric” that “makes him vulnerable” to charges of racism. But as he continues, Geraldo himself outlines Trump’s rancid bigotry that extends far beyond rhetoric:

“When the President says ‘shathole countries,’ and NFL players who kneel are ‘sons of bitches,’ and ‘Mexicans are rapists,’ I think that he should emphasize the positive.”

See? It’s as simple as that. Just ignore the fact that you’ve viciously insulted African countries, African-American athletes, and Latinx refugees fleeing violence and poverty. Focus on imaginary “positives” that can be exploited to brainwash the dimwitted Trump cultists and viewers of Fox News. Geraldo also advised Trump that “His staff should look more like the country. It should be more diverse.” That’s not the sort of advice you give to someone who isn’t noticeably prejudiced.

It’s ironic that Geraldo’s defense of Trump contains such a useful itemization of the evidence that he is, in fact, flagrantly racist. But Geraldo wants you to dismiss all of that and be filled with the same reverential and baseless adoration of Trump that he has. And this isn’t just the position of Geraldo. It’s the same irrational mask of delusion that all Republicans and Fox News hacks wear and that they want to strap onto you. It’s just that you don’t see them tugging at the strings this openly very often.

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

Trump-Fluffing on Fox News: Hosts Promote Bed-Buggy Doral Resort for the 2020 G7

In his closing remarks at the G7 summit in France, Donald Trump managed to deliver an infomercial for his Doral Miami Golf Resort to host the next G7 summit in 2020. It was a painfully self-serving spectacle that is also a likely violation of the Constitution. At the very least it’s a predictably Trumpy exhibit of greed and an utter lack of ethics.

Fox News Friends

Not surprisingly, Fox News weighed in on the idea the following morning. On Fox and Friends the “Curvy Couch” potatoes did a segment (video below) agreeing with Trump that Doral would be the perfect place for the summit. Even though there are thousands of hotels and conference centers across America that would be ideal for such an event. It’s just a weird coincidence that the site owned by Trump happens to be the best place of all. Who would have thought?

The segment began with Steve Doocy introducing Trump’s sales pitch from France. And it was all downhill from there. Brian Kilmeade jumped in to insist that there was no favoritism involved because Trump “would want to do it there anyway. It’s just the perfect site … Trump Tower is not available.” Then Doocy acknowledged the potential legal problems, but also provided an excuse:

“Critics say the use of his property for official business violates the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution. I’m sure the president has asked the lawyers, ‘Hey, how can I donate this, how can we possibly work around it?”

The Emoluments Clause prohibits the President from accepting money, or anything of value, from foreign governments or persons. So if the representatives of the G7 had to actually pay Trump in order to attend the next summit, that’s a pretty obvious violation. Even if the site was donated, the publicity would have to be considered something of enormous value and, therefore, illegal. What’s more, Doocy is playing clairvoyant by surmising with certainty that Trump would have consulted his lawyers. You know, geniuses like Rudy Giuliani. But based on his past, that actually seems like the last thing Trump would do.

Ainsley Earhardt also contributed to the unpaid advertisement by remarking that “It would be a beautiful place, though, for world leaders to go and see what our country looks like.” Because all of America looks exactly like an elite golf spa in Miami? She then declared that Doral was “representative” of the country, before adding that “I’ve never been to Doral.” So in other words, she’s an expert, by Fox News standards.

None of the Fox friends bothered to mention that Doral had a serious problem with bed bugs a couple of years ago. But Trump couldn’t resist bringing it up:

Trump’s denials are in keeping with his tendency to lie about virtually anything. Even though – as in this case – he settled a lawsuit against the resort for the infestation. Trump and the Foxies also neglected to mention that Doral has been suffering a severe financial drought. It’s net operating income has dropped 69 percent in two years. So that would make Trump’s promotion of it even more suspicious as an attempt rescue another one of his floundering business enterprises.

It’s bad enough that Fox News is a 24/7, State TV, propaganda machine for Trump and his Republican Nationalist Party. But is there nothing too unethical for this so-called “news” network to do on behalf of their Dear Leader? They have already appeared at Trump’s political cult rallies. And they can be relied upon to defend any atrocity that Trump commits, while viciously maligning his critics. Now they are even serving as the sales agents for his failing golf resort. It would be oddly comforting if this were the bottom of the Fox News/Trump abyss. But every time it seems we’re there, they find a way dig even deeper.

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