Watch the Dumbest Man on Fox News Fail to Grasp Russia’s Cyber War in Debate With Rob Reiner

Every day seems to bring a new revelation about Donald Trump’s unsavory connections to Russia. The most recent include the business relationship of his campaign manager, Paul Manafort, with a Kremlin-affiliated oligarch. And special counselor Robert Mueller is digging ever deeper into the White House’s personnel and documents. All of this has Trump in a panic. And that has resulted in more rabid, diversionary outbursts on Twitter attacking the media and Hillary Clinton.

Fox News Tucker Carlson Rob Reiner

The accelerated implosion of the Trump administration is also roiling his defenders at Fox News. Chief among the Trump-fluffers is Tucker Carlson. He has distinguished himself as a devoted disciple whose knee-jerk support is as predictable as a sunrise. On his Thursday night program he invited director Rob Reiner to discuss a new initiative to “Investigate Russia.” The Committee to Investigate Russia is a non-partisan group that brought together experts like James Clapper, Norman Ornstein, and David Frum, to inform the public and advocate for open, comprehensive investigations. They put out this public service announcement featuring Morgan Freeman:

After running a brief clip from that video, Tucker Carlson began his debate with Rob Reiner (video below) asking a question that demonstrates an acute disability to understand simple concepts:

Carlson: So we’re at war. How would you respond if President Trump took you seriously and sent a B-52 to St. Petersberg or blockaded the Gulf of Finland? Would you support that?

That’s an interesting question. Not because it raises substantive issues. But because it exposes Carlson as incapable of differentiating between a conventional war and a virtual one fought in cyberspace. He seems to think that the use of the word “war” can only be interpreted as involving soldiers and tanks. The notion of any other kind of international conflict is beyond his mental capacity. Any high school student would have no trouble with these concepts, but Carlson is hopelessly stumped.

The other interesting thing about the question was its insulting slap at Trump. Apparently Carlson thinks that Trump might react to Reiner’s talk of a cyber war and call out the bombers. Sadly, I think he could right about that. It’s the sort of simplistic behavior that is emblematic of Trump. Nevertheless, Reiner immediately sought to correct him, which led to this exchange:

Reiner: When we say we’re at we’re talking about a cyber war.
Carlson: It doesn’t make that clear. It just says where Morgan Freeman – who everyone trusts … we’re at war. So you don’t really believe we’re at war. Why are you saying it then?
Reiner: Well, because if you watch the entire video it talks about cyber warfare. It talks about how he was able to use the Internet and cyber tools to attack the democracy. Which is what they did.
Carlson: But shouldn’t you say somewhere in there ‘We’re not really at war. We’re just taking creative license. We’re just trying to get you all pumped up.’ It’s not really war. And we shouldn’t respond as you would if you were in a war. Why not just say that so you don’t confuse people?
Reiner: Well, as I say, if you watch the whole video you wouldn’t be confused about it.

Indeed. Carlson’s confusion is dumbfounding (with an emphasis on the “dumb”). Is there anyone with a functioning brain stem who doesn’t understand what it means to be in a cyber war? Is Carlson really this idiotic, or is he just being a douchebag? (You don’t have to answer that).

This discussion went on for another six-plus minutes with Carlson never getting the point. Reiner, to his credit, remained remarkably calm and tolerant of Carlson’s determined and deliberate ignorance. Carlson, on the other hand, continued to ask ridiculous questions that illustrated his intellectual infirmity. And the whole time his face was contorted into an expression that’s a mix of bewilderment and annoyance. Either that or he would start cackling at inappropriate times. It was prime Carlson. And it’s why he’s known as the dumbest man on Fox News.

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

It’s Official: Fox ‘News’ Is Not News And is Allowed to Lie, Says UK Communications Agency

The mission of Fox News from its inception was to advance the agenda of America’s conservatives and the Republican Party. That could not have been more obvious due to its founding by ultra-rightist Rupert Murdoch and GOP media strategist Roger Ailes. The network has spent the last twenty years defaming liberals and Democrats while vigorously supporting right-wing politicians and policies.

Fox News Lies

Much of what Fox News produced brazenly ignored the standards of professional journalism. They aired overtly biased “news” stories that were filled with misrepresentations and outright lies. PolitiFact has rated sixty percent of their their work as “Mostly False,” “False,” or “Pants on Fire.” The other cable news networks don’t even come close to that dubious achievement. This shameful record may have contributed to Fox News being yanked from British television for what they said was lack of viewers.

Now Fox News CEO Rupert Murdoch is trying to acquire the remaining portion of Sky Broadcasting (a European network) that he doesn’t already own. The U.K. has some stringent requirements for approving media deals that will impact the independence of the nation’s journalism. They also review any deal that could put too much power into the hands of a single outlet. On those grounds their Office of Communications (OFCOM) has been investigating Murdoch and his 21st Century Fox corporation.

Unfortunately for Murdoch, concerns about Fox News are stalling, and might kill, the approval process. The network is awash in scandals involving presenters and executives engaging in sexual harassment and related misconduct. They fired their now-deceased CEO Roger Ailes, their top star Bill O’Reilly, host Eric Bolling, among others. That doesn’t look good to the regulatory body considering the acquisition.

And that’s not all. Fox News is also being scrutinized for its reporting and its chumminess with Donald Trump and his administration. Talking Points Memo writes that:

“British authorities have increased scrutiny of the impending deal following several complaints raising concerns that the Fox News parent company is not fit to own Sky News. That scrutiny followed several resignations at Fox News over allegations of sexual harassment, as well as a lawsuit alleging that the network worked with the Trump administration to push a conspiracy theory about a murdered Democratic National Committee staffer.”

The characterization of the personnel matters as “resignations” is overly generous. These slimeballs did not leave voluntarily. But their terminations were also not likely due to Fox having a moral awakening. In fact, it was more likely a self-serving attempt to appease the U.K. regulators by trying to show that they were correcting their problems.

However, the most troubling conclusions coming out of OFCOM’s review were related directly to the editorial content of Fox News. In an ironic twist wherein the agency was actually defending approval, they offered an odd justification for why Fox’s misreporting should not stand in the way:

“In dismissing complaints about certain claims made on Fox News shows, Ofcom determined that ‘Hannity,’ ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight,’ and ‘Fox and Friends’ are not news programs and therefore do not have a ‘due accuracy requirement.'”

To be clear, the agency is making a judgment call that those programs do not qualify as “news.” Consequently, they have no obligation to report factually or even to tell the truth. Anyone who has watched for more than a couple of minutes already knows that those shows have abandoned fact-checking and honesty. And now their flagrantly unethical standards may actually help the company’s acquisition bid. But they would have to accept the argument that they are allowed to lie because they aren’t really news. So far, Fox News has not complained about this characterization of their programming. What does that tell you?

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

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

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

Rachel Maddow

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

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

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

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

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

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

WATCH: Assaulting a CNN Reporter is Hilarious to Tucker Carlson of Fox News

On Wednesday the White House press briefing briefly turned into rhetorical warfare. Donald Trump’s senior advisor, Stephen Miller, went ballistic on CNN reporter Jim Acosta. The issue was Trump’s latest xenophobic position on immigration reform. Acosta, the son of Cuban immigrants, asked if Trump’s policy amounted to “trying to engineer the racial and ethnic flow of people into this country.” Miller appeared to take the question personally. He lashed out at Acosta, calling him “outrageous, insulting, ignorant and foolish.”

Fox News Tucker Carlson

Miller’s juvenile response typifies the emotional immaturity of the Trump administration. We should probably be grateful that Miller didn’t hurl profanities or feces. But the worst reaction to this exchange came from Fox News on the program hosted by proud Trump Fluffer, Tucker Carlson. Carlson’s guest was right-wing crackpot Mark Steyn, who unleashed a tirade of vitriol and bile (video below). He said that:

“One of the reasons we need immigrants to come here and do the jobs Americans won’t do is because one of the jobs Americans won’t do is drag Jim Acosta out of there, kick him to the sidewalk, and say ‘If you wanna do the Jim Acosta Show there’s a rusting boxcar round the back of the freight yards with three semi-comatose hobos who are interested in it. But nobody else here is.'”

So Steyn ignored everything that Acosta said and dismissed all of the substance of the debate. However, he did propose physically assaulting Acosta and denying him the free press rights guaranteed in the Constitution. The notion of violently attacking a journalist struck Carlson as hilarious. He repeatedly laughed at the thought of a beaten reporter being kicked out of a press briefing. This is what tickles the pro-Trump media during an era in which even the President has encouraged violence against reporters. Trump famously denigrated the media as the enemy of the American people.”

Steyn went on to adopt a view of the Statue of Liberty that has been a staple of white supremacists for years. He said that:

“The French gave the Americans a pretty great Statue of Liberty. And then the Americans hammered a lousy poem by Emma Lazerus onto it and turned a pretty great Statue of Liberty into a Statue of Immigration. I regret that.”

Steyn is joining the Hate America First crowd by insulting the contributions of a poet whose “lousy” work was used to finance the pedestal of the Statue. But he is also echoing the White House. Miller made a similarly belittling comment at the press briefing, saying that:

“The Statue of Liberty is a symbol of liberty and light in the world. It’s a symbol of American liberty lighting the world. The poem that you’re referring to that was added later is not actually part of the original Statue of Liberty.”

And both of those comments reflect the abhorrent views of avowed white supremacist Richard Spencer:

For the record, the poem “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus made a simple plea of compassion and acceptance:

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

Notice that there is nothing in there about skilled labor, education, preferred language, or personal wealth. It is plainly reaching a hand out to people in need. It’s a standard based on the necessity of the immigrant rather than the greed of the host nation. Unfortunately, the only standard recognized by Fox News and Tucker Carlson is personal self-interest and unfettered political power. And if that means committing assaults against journalists with whom you disagree, well that’s just hysterical, isn’t it?

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

Fox News Military Analyst To Tucker Carlson: You Sound Like a Nazi Apologist

Donald Trump’s bizarre affinity for Vladimir Putin and Russia has astonished most Washington insiders, outsiders, and well, just patriots. It would be an unprecedented betrayal of loyalties by any citizen, but coming from the President it’s dumbfounding. With an emphasis on the “dumb.” And the problem doesn’t end with just Trump’s Putin worship. Many in the the Republican Party continue to support the President. They range from those too cowardly to speak up about this naked treason, to those who fervently embrace it.

Tucker Carlson Fox News

Those on the right side of American patriotism face a harsh rebuke from the Trump cultists. But there are a few who are still brave enough to call out a traitor when they see one. An example of this was found in an unexpected place Tuesday night. On Fox News, host Tucker Carlson engaged in heated debate on this subject with military analyst Col. Ralph Peters. It went quickly from heated to blazing inferno:

CARLSON: It’s hard to see why — I’m not vouching for Putin’s character, he seems like a shady guy, a strong man for sure. Wouldn’t want to live there.
PETERS: He’s a killer.
CARLSON: Hard to see why he’s a threat to us. How many wars can we fight at once? And how many people can we be in opposition to at once? Why not just accept that people who are bad people share our interest and side with them?
PETERS: You sound like Charles Lindbergh in 1938 saying, “Hitler hasn’t attacked us.”
CARLSON: I beg your pardon? Slow down. Slow down, Colonel. You cannot compare me to somebody who makes apologies for Hitler. And I don’t think Putin is comparable to Hitler. I think it’s a grotesque overstatement, actually. It’s insane.
PETERS: I think Putin is — fine, you can think it’s insane all you want.
CARLSON: You Just up compared me to a Nazi apologist because I asked a simple question. Which is, – slow down, slow down – which is, why does it contravene American interest to the common cause with a group that’s trying to kill ISIS?
PETERS: Because Vladamir Putin invaded his neighbors, broke the long peace in Europe, he assassinates dissidents and journalists. He bombs women and children on purpose in Syria. He is as bad as Hitler. And I am sorry, if you don’t like the Charles Lindbergh thing, I will retract that. But let’s just say you sound like someone in 1938 saying “What’s Hitler done to us?” Putin is the equivalent of Hitler.

Peters went on to point out correctly that Putin hates America and wants to hurts us. He was outraged that some people, including Carlson, suddenly think Putin’s a good guy and that Russia’s OK. Carlson then complained that if the U.S. can’t have common cause with any country whose leader is “evil,” it takes most of the world off the table. “Most countries,” he said, “are run by really bad people.” That’s a strikingly stupid remark that he never bothered to support.

Throughout the discussion, Carlson did his best to defend the ludicrous notion that Russia should be regarded as an ally. Their alleged cooperation in Syria and the war on terrorism was sufficient reason, according to him, to ignore decades of brutal dictatorship and human rights violations. Peters, however, steadfastly argued that Putin’s international criminality could not be overlooked. While Peters is a staunch, far-right, conservative, he is also an unyielding opponent of Russian tyranny and aggressive ambitions.

No one should mistake Peters for a heroic liberal advocate. He was once briefly suspended by Fox News for calling President Obama a “pussy” on the air. But his honest comparison of Carlson to the fascist sympathizers of the 1930s was a long overdue rebuke of Carlson. His ignorance, smug self-righteousness and perpetually furrowed brow makes Carlson a legitimate target for a smack down. And he sure got one last night by his own guest on his own show.

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

Fox News Host Exposed as Running a Scam Charity That Received Funding from Trump

The journalistic fraud that is Fox News is well known. It’s a network that was contrived as a right-wing spin factory, but dishonestly marketed as being “fair and balanced.” They have a revolving cast of scripted characters who alternately play politicians and pundits. Often the same person in both roles. Their commitment to partisan deceit is rooted deeply in the foul culture nurtured by its founders Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes.

Tucker Carlson Fox News

However, a new investigation proves that ideological fraud is not the only unethical practice employed by Fox News. Following the scandal-driven departures of Ailes and Bill O’Reilly, a new cretin was crowned as the top Foxie. Tucker Carlson was awarded O’Reilly’s prized time slot that anchors the network’s primetime lineup. Never mind that Carlson has a record of failure on the three previous networks foolish enough to hire him. Fox News put all their faith behind Carlson. And he soon proved that he was totally undeserving. Last month, for the first time in seventeen years, MSNBC’s primetime beat Fox News.

Now it has come to light that Carlson is more than just a terrible TV host. The Center for Media and Democracy conducted an exhaustive investigation into the stewardship of his website, The Daily Caller (TDC). Carlson launched the site six years ago and it quickly became a staple of wingnut propaganda. The Washington Post published CMD’s findings with this summary of the scam:

“Most of the roughly 50 journalists who produce content for the Daily Caller actually work for the Daily Caller News Foundation, a tax-exempt organization with 501(c)(3) status that is ostensibly separate from DailyCaller.com. The two entities share the same floor of the same Washington office, however, and virtually everything produced by the foundation — which accepted $3 million in donations in 2015, according to an IRS filing — appears on the for-profit website, which sells advertising on the articles.

In short, TDC takes in tax-free donations to finance their for-profit newsroom. Then they use the articles written by foundation authors to populate a commercial website that receives advertising revenue. The Post cites legal experts that describe this an obvious tax dodge:

“‘It’s a huge rip-off for taxpayers if the Daily Caller News Foundation is receiving revenue that it doesn’t pay taxes on, to produce stories that are used by the for-profit enterprise, which then makes money on the stories through ads,’ said Lisa Graves, a deputy assistant attorney general in the Clinton administration who now serves as executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy.”

The unscrupulous business practices that Carlson employs are part of an established pattern. TDC was first bankrolled by Republican stalwart and notorious climate change denier, Foster Friess. He laid out $3 million to get the site off the ground. The Koch brothers were also generous with Carlson’s new venture. They contributed over $800,000 to the effort.

More recently, Carlson enjoyed the benevolence of an even more prominent financier. During the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump sought out Carlson’s help to reach out to conservative voters. Trump purchased the use of TDC’s mailing list to solicit both votes and contributions. The CMD estimates that Carlson took in about $150,000 for his services.

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

So Carlson was feverishly promoting Trump, hosting his surrogates, and even interviewing him on Air Force One after the inauguration. However, he failed to inform his audience that he was paid substantial sums of money by Trump. It’s an unambiguous lapse of ethics that calls into question Carlson’s integrity and motives. Furthermore, Fox News is equally unprincipled for allowing Carlson to go on the air under these circumstances. But in neither case would anyone familiar with the Fox code of ethics be surprised. It’s just standard operating procedure for a network that was born to deceive.

Business as Usual: Fox News Fired Bill O’Reilly for Gross Misogyny, Then Promoted Four Misogynists

It’s been about a week since Fox News sent Bill O’Reilly packing over allegations of sexual harassment. But in the aftermath of the scandal, Fox News is demonstrating that they’ve learned absolutely nothing. The schedule changes they made to fill the gap left by Bill O’Reilly’s departure perpetuate what was worst about their fallen star. Let’s take a look at the characters Fox chose to remedy their O’Reilly problem:

Fox News/Playboy

Tucker Carlson

With his relentlessly confrontational blathering, Tucker Carlson has managed to rise up the Fox News food chain. Now he has taken over the time slot that Bill O’Reilly held for two decades. But Carlson is no improvement on O’Reilly when it comes to respect for women. He recently interviewed Teen Vogue writer Lauren Duca. The discussion covered issues like Ivanka Trump’s role in the White House and Donald Trump’s efforts to “gaslight” America. But when he realized that he couldn’t outsmart her, Carlson resorted to demeaning her. He abruptly ended the interview by saying “You should stick to the thigh-high boots.” That should not be surprising coming from someone who once said that Democrats “made up the concept of sexual harassment.”

Eric Bolling

One of the smarmiest personalities on Fox News, Bolling has a long record of sexist remarks. Now the afternoon show he co-hosts, The Five, is being moved up to prime time. However, he’s staying behind to host his own new show. Bolling once derisively laughed at the notion that “Anything a guy can do, a woman can do better.” On another occasion he complained that a young girl wanting to play football was “the wussification of American men.” But he reached a plateau when reporting a story about a female pilot for the United Arab Emirates who was running bombing raids against ISIS. He denigrated her by “joking” about whether that would be considered “boobs on the ground.”

Greg Gutfeld

Gutfeld is one of the co-hosts of The Five who will stay with the program at its new prime time airing. Along with his colleague Bolling, Gutfeld insulted the UAE pilot with a tired cliche about women drivers. He said that “Problem is, after she bombed it, she couldn’t park it.” More recently, Gutfeld cracked a joke about another colleague, co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle. After she praised her dress designer and suggested he deserved a raise, Gutfeld remarked that Guilfoyle was “giving America a raise.”

Jesse Watters

Apprenticing under Bill O’Reilly for several years, Watters, also has his own weekend show. In addition to that he is taking over Bolling’s spot on The Five. As O’Reilly’s ambush reporter and stooge on the street, Watters delivered frequent segments that were either racist or sexist. He was thrown out of a National Organization for Women conference after mocking the participants. He once stalked a female reporter while she was on vacation. But this week he expanded his sexist routine by commenting on a recent appearance by Ivanka Trump.. Along with a hand gesture that implied oral sex, he said that he “really liked how she was speaking into the microphone.” Now Watters is on an unscheduled “vacation” himself, during the week that he premieres in prime time.

These are the people who Fox News selected to represent the network following the departure of Bill O’Reilly. Apparently Fox has learned nothing about why viewers and advertisers objected to O’Reilly. They appear to be committed to a corporate culture of contempt for women that has been in place for years. Carlos Maza of Vox perfectly captured this culture with a montage of Fox’s misogyny:

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

LMFAO: A New Fox News Promo for Tucker Carlson Portrays Him as a Major D*ck

Now that Bill O’Reilly has been exiled to sexual harasser’s purgatory, Fox News is pouring on the coals to heat up his replacement, Tucker Carlson. The story of Carlson’s career is one of a silver spoon elitist failing upward for years until he found a home at Fox. He has had programs canceled at PBS, CNN, and MSNBC before supplicating himself to his Fox masters.

Tucker Carlson Fox News

Fox News is clearly worried that their new prime time lineup isn’t going to hold up without O’Reilly anchoring the effort. Carlson’s record of failure continued even at Fox where he was losing to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow prior to his move into O’Reilly’s slot. So Fox put their marketing department into action to create a promotional video that they plastered all over Twitter the day after his premiere. Befitting the subject, it’s a festival of fail they call “Eight Reasons to Watch Tucker Carlson” (video below).

The video consists of eight soundbites from Carlson’s program that Fox seems to think will excite viewers into making his show appointment television. In reality, the video showcases what is most obnoxious and repellent about him. It’s a chronicle of what made his programs on other networks so unwatchable. Each clip is just a brief, but abrasive, remark that only succeeds in making Carlson look like a jerk. Let’s break down the eight reasons here:

  1. “You’re just repeating dumb liberal talking points.”
    Carlson spit this out at a Northeastern University student, Elan Axelbank, wearing a “Socialist Students” t-shirt. And the best argument that he could could muster was a vacuous insult that ignored the segment’s topic.
  2. “So much of this you don’t know. You pretend that you know, but you don’t know.”
    Carlson aimed this empty rant at Science Guy Bill Nye, a recognized expert in science and education. Those are two of the many fields about which Carlson is painfully ignorant.
  3. “If you want to make America great again, you’ve gotta make work cool again.”
    This was actually spoken by Carlson’s guest, Mike Rowe, a reality TV host of Dirty Jobs. And it manages to regurgitate Donald Trump’s airhead slogan with a Soviet style platitude intended to keep workers docile and productive.
  4. “You’re incapable of writing a clear sentence…I couldn’t understand any of them.”
    This was Carlson’s response to George Ciccariello-Maher, PhD., a Drexel University Associate Professor in the Department of Politics, Global Studies and Modern Languages. No wonder Carlson couldn’t understand him.
  5. “This is performance art. I’ve never had an interview like this in my life. Nobody’s getting anything out of this.”
    Here we see Carlson bragging that he can’t conduct an interesting interview. I’m sure his puzzled guest, Newsweek author Kurt Eichenwald, felt the same.
  6. “You have no principles…All the things you’ve been saying for the last eleven minutes are totally untrue.”
    Once again Carlson seems proud to have wasted eleven minutes of his viewers’ time. And New York University grad student Kouross Esmaeli must have been wondering what principles Carlson was demonstrating, other than being a dick.
  7. “I want to believe that the U.S. government is not secretly collecting information on me and then use it against me for political ends. That is what they have done. You’re fully aware of that.”
    Actually, Rep. Jim Hines (D-CT), was only aware that Carlson had ventured completely off the subject of Trump’s ludicrous tweet that accused President Obama of wiretapping him. Carlson had entirely ceased to address the subject, or make any sense.
  8. “The idea that people take a crackpot like you who would throw something out there with no evidence is distressing, and shame on the Huffington Post for promoting garbage. The interview is over, Alex. Done!”
    That’s how Carlson abruptly cut off his guest, Alex Mohajer of the Huffington Post, without allowing him to respond. It’s typical of Carlson’s style wherein he insults people, strays from the subject, and then kills any substantive discourse.

That’s what Fox News considers compelling television. It’s the cream of their programming crop. At Fox News mindless conflict and yelling is their idea of journalism. Although in the first promos for Carlson they posted ads on the Fox News website that labeled the show “entertainment,” not journalism. So maybe I’m expecting too much.

You’ll notice that not a single clip in the promo shows Carlson exhibiting any signs of intelligence or integrity. It’s just a montage of a bullheaded, petulant preppy lashing out like a cornered rat. Yet Fox thinks so highly of this sort of bombastic bellowing that they devoted the whole promotional video to it. They think these are affirmative reasons to watch their loathsome successor to O’Reilly. But then, in that context, Carlson seems like a good choice to follow The Factor. He should easily slide right into O’Reilly’s clown shoes.

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

FINALLY: CNN Calls Out Trump For ‘A Presidency Shaped By Fox News’

From the beginning of Donald Trump’s candidacy he was fawned over by adoring anchors and pundits on Fox News. They rushed to defend him at every turn and praised whatever lame-brained or hateful scheme he would propose. The network turned over so many hours of valuable airtime they should have been designated as campaign contributions. He had a long-running regular segment on Fox and Friends called “Mondays with Trump.” And Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity kept the door open for him to appear, or call in, at his convenience.

CNN Brian Stelter

Since becoming president, Trump has made a habit of harvesting topics from his obsessive viewing of Fox. There have been numerous instances of him tweeting about something that had aired shortly before on his favorite network. He clearly relies more on conspiracy theories from Fox than he does on the intelligence agencies that work for him. It’s a perverse and frightening state of affairs.

Sunday, on CNN’s Reliable Sources, host Brian Stelter delivered a commentary about this titled “Welcome to the Fox News Presidency.” It was a long overdue examination of the incestuous relationship between Trump and Fox. Stelter began by noting that:

“Five of his seven sit-down TV interviews since taking office have been with Fox News. Trump watches Fox. He tweets about Fox. He uses Fox graphics to advance his agenda. He’s hired Fox talking heads. He promotes Fox as fair while denigrating its rivals as fake. All of this amounts to a Fox News presidency. What I mean by that is a presidency shaped by Fox News in all sorts of ways, big and small.”

Indeed. Trump has exhibited an abject fear of taking questions from any news organization other than his pals at Fox. His assaults on the free press are frequent and biting (as well as childish and false). But his compliments for Fox are effusive and unrestrained. Meanwhile, anyone critical of Trump often finds themselves locked out. Just ask Megyn Kelly and George Will. Independent thought is not a value favored by Fox executives. Perhaps Shepard Smith should watch his back.

In addition to the Trumpification of Fox News, there has been a simultaneous Foxification of the Trump administration. Former Foxies on the White House payroll include K.T. McFarland, Ben Carson, Sebastion Gorka, Heather Nauert, and Jonathan Wachtel. Fox’s Monica Crowley was also hired by Trump, but she was forced to resign after the rampant plagiarism in her book was revealed. This is an unprecedented migration of media hacks to political flacks.

Stelter’s commentary is an encouraging, albeit late, beginning for the media honestly characterizing the formation of Trump’s Ministry of Propaganda. More of this reporting will be necessary as Trump continues to steamroll the First Amendment and blur the lines between media and politics.

Trump recently told Fox’s Tucker Carlson that “When I have close to 100 million people watching me on [social media…] I have my own form of media.” Someone should tell him that another term for a president with his “own form of media” is “state-run media.” The press is not supposed to be a tool for the president’s communications. That’s how it’s done in dictatorships, but not in America. Maybe Trump has been consulting too much with his BFF, Vladimir Putin.

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

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Just Beat Fox News and Every Other Primetime Program On TV

For several weeks now Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC program has been picking up steam. Last Monday she rose into the ratings top ten in her time period. And that momentum continued for the rest of the week. As a result, she just snagged a victory over every primetime program for the week of March 6-10.

Rachel Maddow Donald Trump

The Hollywood Reporter noted the achievement saying that:

“Rachel Maddow, MSNBC’s star player, is enjoying one hell of a ratings run right now.

“The cable news network’s 9 o’clock host outrated every other primetime show during the week of March 6. Not only did that make her show No. 1 among adults 25-54 in her time slot with an average 624,000 viewers, she even beat cable news’ perennial victor — Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly.”

A showing this strong is evidence of a titanic shift in the television audience. Bill O’Reilly has been the cable news king of the hill fairly consistently for years. He hasn’t seen any real competition since Keith Olbermann. In her time period, Maddow’s weekly average crushed her direct competition, Fox’s newest primetime host Tucker Carlson. And her victory included both total audience and the key advertising demographic of viewers 25-54. The smug superiority of Carlson was quickly embraced by Fox’s viewers. However, his bewildered and annoyed shtick seems to be wearing thin.

Maddow’s rise has occurred simultaneously with Donald Trump’s collapse. Trump’s approval ratings started in the cellar with the lowest numbers ever recorded for a new president. And they have just gone down from there. This week alone he sunk five points to a pitiful 39 percent.

Consequently, Fox News is pulling out all the stops to prop up their propaganda. Sean Hannity blasted Maddow on Monday for daring to report on Trump’s ties to Vladimir Putin and Russia. Ordinarily Hannity wouldn’t bother to speak her name aloud. But now he is featuring her in his rants. First he complained that she didn’t have “a shred of evidence” tying Trump to Putin. That’s true. She doesn’t have a shred, she has truck load. Then Hannity asked the most blitheringly ironic question ever: “Do these people have any intellectual honesty?” No comment on that is necessary.

As for Carlson, he just announced that he will be interviewing Trump on Wednesday. Given Trump’s toxic presence, that might not be a great programming move. Fox’s glassy-eyed loyalists will love it, but the broader TV audience will likely stay away. What could they possibly learn from television’s most sycophantic Trump fluffer spending an hour with his idol?

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

That’s a problem that Fox News is going to have to contend with for the foreseeable future. Their star attraction is viewed by most Americans as an ignorant bigot who is intent on taking away their healthcare. During the campaign Trump was still a novelty and many people watched just to see if he would burst a blood vessel in his neck or slap an immigrant child. But the public knows Trump now and they’ve lost interest in his juvenile antics. And the more he is paraded out on Fox News, the better it will be for Maddow and MSNBC. Maybe CNN should start paying attention.