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.

Fox News Marches Lock-Step with ‘Impeaching Trump Will Hurt Democrats’ Talking Point

This week just keeps getting worse for Donald Trump. First it was revealed that a whistleblower charged him with serious breaches of national security in a conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Then he was forced to release the memo containing an account of that phone call that was disturbing and incriminating. And on Thursday the text of the whistleblower’s complaint was also released after the White House could no longer persist in suppressing it. Simultaneous to this, his Director of National Intelligence, Joseph Maguire, was grilled about his conduct with regard to the whistleblower complaint in a pair of congressional hearings.

Fox News, Impeach Trump

In addition to that, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that the House or Representatives would be formally conducting an impeachment inquiry. Much of the work on that had already begun, but this made it official. Trump’s response to these events was to panic-tweet dozens of bootlicking testimonials by worshipful disciples in politics and the press. It was a barrage of sycophantic adoration and utterly dishonest rationalizations for his flagrantly unlawful acts. It was most assuredly not the behavior of an innocent man.

Not surprisingly, Fox News was prominently featured among these tributes to Trump’s treason. Their mission to shield Trump from any and all harm continues as the news gets ever more precarious for his dangling presidency. And what appears to be a coordinated offensive by Fox news is taking shape. Thursday’s messaging was strikingly aligned across many of its programs. What they are pitching is that, regardless of how terrible this all looks for Trump, it’s really much worse for Democrats. For instance:

  • Karl Rove on Fox’s Daily Briefing told host Dana Perino that “Impeachment is a losing issue for Democrats.”
  • Rush Limbaugh warned Democrats that “They’re not thinking about blowback.”
  • Newt Gingrich offered his stale analysis that “When [Pelosi] starts an investigation the person who’s gonna get clobbered is Joe Biden.”
  • Tucker Carlson turned to frightening Democrats, saying that they “have just become so obsessed with destroying Donald Trump, that they’re destroying themselves.”
  • Sarah Huckabee Sanders summed it all up by asserting that “All this is doing is helping [Trump] get reelected.”

WOW! That sounds pretty darn awful for Democrats. And by extension, it sounds like Trump and his Republican Nationalist Party should be celebrating. In fact, they ought to be thanking Democrats and promoting their efforts to impeach Trump at every opportunity. After all, it’s only going to help Trump get reelected and crush the Democrats’ hopes for majorities in Congress. If Republicans really believe what they are saying, then all of this drama over impeachment should be putting them in good mood.

However, for some reason that isn’t the case. Even after insisting that the Democrats are destroying themselves, and that Trump will be the beneficiary, they are still whining incessantly and demanding that all efforts to impeach Trump be halted. Trump himself is threatening legal action, which is not an option with regard to impeachment. And his Twitter feed is blowing up with more tweets and retweets than ever, almost all which are nasty reactions to his pending impeachment.

Apparently, Trump and his minions are not really as happy about him being impeached as they are trying to pretend. The reality is that his violations of law, ethics, and his oath of office, are more than sufficient to warrant impeachment and removal from office. And no one knows that better than Trump. He is aware of what he’s done and what the consequences are. And that is why he – and the Cult of Deplorables he leads – have been scared into incoherence. It’s almost pathetic enough to feel sorry for them. Nah, not really.

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.

Trump Thinks He’s Still on Reality TV, Doesn’t Know Fox News is an Entertainment Network

The fact that Donald Trump is suffering from a crushing array of delusional departures from the real world is unarguable. He regards himself as The Chosen One.” He believes that only he can solve America’s problems (despite the fact that he’s failed to deliver on his campaign promises), In his warped mind he knows more than anyone on every subject. And these delusions are separate and apart from his ceaseless lies (more than 12,000 so far).

Donald Trump TV Set

However, there is a common thread that weaves through much of the hallucinatory fallacies that clutter his emotionally and intellectually stunted brain. He has an all-consuming fetish with his perceived popularity. Crowd size seems to be a stand-in for his virility. And often his craving for attention is manifested in his obsession with polls. But unfortunately for him, they mostly reflect how bitterly despised he is by most Americans. Even polls from Fox News and his favorite ultra-biased pollster, Rasmussen, show him in dire straits.

But polls are just the political equivalent of a mode of survey that Trump has had much more exposure to: The Nielsen Ratings. His fourteen years as the host of a reality TV game show has permeated his world view. And it is the prism through which he sees everything related to his life and presidency. This contorted mindset produced a Sunday morning tweet attacking sitcom star Debra Messing:

Here Trump is renewing his competition with other celebrities while also wholly inventing their alleged admiration for him. (I’d bet the limit at the Trump Taj Mahal that Messing never called him “sir”). He’s also demonstrating that he gauges his self-worth by his comparison – not to other presidents – but to other Hollywood luminaries. That’s his benchmark of approval. What’s more, he measures the value of news media by the same criteria. It isn’t insight or knowledge or experience that validates the media. It’s ratings. Which is why Trump also tweeted this tribute to his pal Sean Hannity:

First of all, Hannity is not the number one show on cable television. It’s the number one “news” show on cable television, which is a much smaller set of programs. Secondly, Trump isn’t the “favorite president” of anyone but his glassy-eyed cadre of Deplorables. But more importantly, there is no significance to the fact that the Fox News Trump-fluffers in primetime have higher ratings than the rest of the network’s programming. There’s a reason that time is called “prime.”

What Trump is doing here is trying to rescue himself from some painfully idiotic comments made last week admonishing Fox for failing to be 100% adoring. In a fit of hurt feelings he ordered his cult followers to “start looking for a new news network” because Fox “isn’t working for us anymore.” This was his way of reassuring Hannity that he still appreciates his up-sucking.

Trump’s intense focus on ratings is evidence that he has never left the realm of television ranking and marketing. Nothing matters to him except for how he is perceived by the standards of Hollywood. That explains why the only thing that was important to him about his visit to the hospital in El Paso where shooting victims were recovering was making sure that everyone knew how much he was loved. He wasn’t. In fact every patient refused to see him.

Trump’s single-minded concentration on ratings is matched by the market positioning of Fox News. They place a similar weight of stature on numbers, rather than quality or honesty. That’s because they have long considered themselves to be part of the entertainment sector of television, not news. Their late, disgraced CEO, Roger Ailes, even admitted it, dismissing his news competition to tell the Hollywood Reporter that “We’re competing with TNT and USA and ESPN.” And the product they put on the air proves that. Even the Fox News website promotes their programs as entertainment, rather than news. That particular promotion was for Tucker Carlson, who Fox thinks people should watch because he’s such an asshole.

Fox News has redefined television “journalism” by fundamentally transforming it from an information medium to an entertainment medium. They dress up their pseudo-news segments in the same reality TV, soap opera packaging that entertainment outlets use: conflict, scandal, mystery, and hyper-charged emotions including hero worship and fear. Fox employs flashy graphics and attention-grabbing audio whooshes and gongs to decorate their reports that are presented as ‘ALERTS’ regardless of the news value. And always there is sex. Fox’s roster of hosts has more former beauty pageant contestants that journalists.

So Fox News is the perfect chronicler of the bizarre presidency of Donald Trump. They are, in fact, recording the trials and tribulations of a fictional character, that they helped to invent, as he stumbles through his sappily scripted, melodramatic existence. And Trump embraces that rendering of his White House antics. It’s playacting on a world stage. The problem is that for the rest of the world’s inhabitants it’s all too real and frightening and dangerous. This show needs to be canceled ASAP if the we want to survive until next season.

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

One more thing, just for fun: In October of 2009, the Daily Show with Jon Stewart covered this subject in a brilliant and hysterical segment entitled FOR FOX SAKE! Fox News defends itself against an attack by the Obama administration by explaining that most of their shows aren’t real news.” ENJOY!

Fox News is Spinning (Lying) Furiously to Cover Up A Devastating Exodus of Advertisers

You almost have to feel sorry for the poor shills at State TV (aka Fox News). Their corporate mission is inextricably tied to defending Republican policies and politicians. And with Donald Trump gumming up the works every day with tirades that stretch the boundaries of either hate speech or humor, their jobs cannot be easy. In fact, it must be a downright nightmare having to make lame, impotent excuses for their Chosen One.”

Fox News, Titanic

In addition to facing Trump’s rapidly declining poll numbers, Fox is also having to absorb incoming rhetorical missiles from Trump, the guy they are working so hard to promote and protect. It’s a complex tango that results in everyone getting their toes stepped on. But Fox is up to the challenge. They just announced the hiring of Trump’s former Press Secretary and confessed liar, Sarah Huckabee Sanders. She’s expected to be running for Arkansas governor, so this job is Fox’s campaign contribution.

Fox News is simultaneously suffering through some difficult financial times due to the noxious commentaries of some of their top program hosts. Particularly Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham. In April of this year Variety reported that “ad dollars attached to ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’ fell 47.8%, to $48.3 million from almost $92.7 million in 2017.” That’s a nearly 50 percent haircut. The numbers of ads on his program dropped a similar percentage to only fifteen from thirty-six last October. Laura Ingraham is experiencing the same drop-off in advertisers. So what could be causing these financial calamities while their viewership remains as passionately loyal as any cult?

Well, it could be that Tucker Carlson’s flagrant bigotry is a staple of his nightly program and advertisers are reaching their breaking point. His most recent controversy was triggered by his preposterous statement that white nationalism “is a hoax.” Never mind that most acts of domestic terrorism are by white nationalists, according to the Trump-appointed FBI Director, Christopher Wray.

Meanwhile, Laura Ingraham’s problems began after she attacked the survivors of the Parkland, Florida, high school shooting. These are kids who suffered a nightmare that no one should ever face, but who Ingraham considered fair game for even more abuse. She is also notorious for her racist and elitist views, such as when she said that basketball legend and philanthropist LeBron James should shut up and dribble.”

Fox News, however, is fiercely defensive and unrepentant. They insist that they haven’t lost any revenue as a result of their loathsome hosts because the ads are merely shifted to other programs. That’s an outright lie. It would mean that the other programs had unsold ad inventory that these ads could be slipped into. If that’s true they are admitting to even bigger problems selling ads throughout the day. But even if we accept Fox’s explanation, that still means they lost money because moving a primetime ad to a less expensive daypart would require significant discounting. What’s more, Fox programming is now cluttered with unpaid Fox News promos and cheesy, low cost ads for reverse mortgages and MyPillow.

Any other business would be concerned about this sort of dwindling revenue. But since Fox News is a political operation first and a business second (and never a news enterprise), they are willing to take the hit. While they are surely as greedy as any other corporation, they are more committed to advancing the interests of Trump and the GOP. If that’s a costly proposition, they regard it as money well spent to disinform their audience and spread right-wing lies. And unless the movement to defund Fox escalates significantly, expect this to continue throughout the 2020 election cycle and beyond.

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

Trump Says Hollywood is Racist Because of Alleged Bias Against – Conservatives?

The rise of white supremacy and openly bigoted white nationalist groups has been going on for many years and has intensified since the election of Donald Trump. It’s so obvious that even Trump’s own FBI Director, Christopher Wray, gave congressional testimony warning that homegrown violent terrorism is the single biggest threat to the country. “A majority of the domestic terrorism cases we’ve investigated,” Wray told the Senate Judiciary Committee, “are motivated by some version of what you might call white supremacist violence.”

Donald Trump, MAGA

Tragic confirmation of that was evident in the massacre of innocent people, mainly Latino, in El Paso, Texas, last weekend by an avowed anti-immigrant Trump supporter. But the determination by Trump and the Republican Party to address this problem cannot be taken seriously. Neither Trump, nor his political confederates, have made any substantive effort to mitigate the violence and hatred that flows freely in right-wing circles. On Fox News, host Tucker Carlson actually devoted a segment to his theory that white supremacy is a hoax.

It’s hard to imagine that any solutions will be forthcoming from the Trump camp considering that he has been the chief spokesperson for the white nationalist movement and that most of their leaders – and followers – have endorsed him. They are his base and he has demonstrated his loyalty as well as his fear of offending them.

What’s more, Trump can hardly take a position against racism when he doesn’t even seem to understand what it is. In a response to a reporter’s question on Friday morning about political bias on Twitter, Trump awkwardly twisted his response into an attack on Hollywood. He began with a threat that “We’re gonna be very tough with them.” And it just got worse from there (video below).

“They’re treating conservatives very unfairly. Hollywood … is really terrible. You talk about racist … Hollywood is racist. What they’re doing with the kind of movies they’re putting out is actually very dangerous for our country. What Hollywood is doing is a tremendous disservice to our country. We have now, in a little while, all of the heads of the biggest companies coming in and we’re gonna talk to them. They treat conservatives, Republicans totally different than they treat others. And they can’t do that.”

This is representative of the paranoia that Trump and his GOP crybabies commonly exhibit. Everyone is always out to get them: Hollywood, Twitter, Facebook, the press, etc. Any form of media that exercises their First Amendment rights is regarded as dangerous. And their solution is bullying and intimidation. Where Trump gets the idea that he can dictate what Hollywood can and can’t do is pretty obvious. He gets it from his heroes Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un, whose unrestricted totalitarian control of their respective countries is something that Trump envies.

What makes Trump’s whining especially disturbing is that he’s flatly asserting that Hollywood is racist because they are allegedly biased against conservatives. What does that even mean? How would a bias against conservatives be racist? Is he suggesting that such a bias is a racial attack because conservatives are predominantly white and, therefore, any discrimination against them is due to anti-whitism?

Notice that Trump never bothered to provide any examples of the alleged racism he’s accusing Hollywood of engaging in. Perhaps he’s just upset that whenever there’s a racist character in a movie he is portrayed as a villain. Trump would probably like to see some balance where there are some racist heroes on the big screen. That would be consistent with his support for Confederate generals and the statues honoring them.

See? Trump is just a civil rights advocate who seeks equality for people who hate black and brown Americans. And he’s going to take measures to achieve that end. If it means forcing Hollywood to produce only certain types of movies, so be it. After all, If Vlad and Kim can do it, why not Trump?

[UPDATE:] Trump posted a couple of tweets on this subject:

The movie Trump is referring to (but refused to name) is The Hunt,” a satire that Trump, and the knee-jerk conservative pundits and politicians railing against it, clearly doesn’t understand. The plot features a group of wealthy, entitled liberals who hunt right-wing hicks for sport. But it’s not glorifying the liberals. Rather, they are portrayed as evil nutcases and their right-wing “prey” as the victims. The movie’s hero is one of the hunted who fights back.

But Trump’s tweets are pitifully stupid for another reason. He resists the label of “elites” being assigned to the movie’s rich villains. That’s because he considers himself elite and wants to retain that “privilege” for himself and his ilk. He seems to be more aligned to the wealthy villains in this movie than the poor conservatives he panders to. Also, there is absolutely no racial component to any of this.

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

Trump Won’t Condemn White Nationalist Domestic Terrorists for Fear of Offending His Base

The casualties are piling up as gun violence in America continues unabated. And it is impossible to tolerate any longer the right-wing mantra of “thoughts and prayers” while they do absolutely nothing constructive to solve the problem. To the contrary, Republicans in Congress work affirmatively to obstruct common sense solutions that the American people want in unprecedented majorities.

Donald Trump

This isn’t about mental health. It’s not about video games or prayer in school. It’s about easy access to weapons of war and the flagrant racism and hate speech of Donald Trump and his ilk. There have been more mass shootings (250) in 2019 than there have days (219). And while Democrats have passed bills in the House of Representatives, Republicans, and particularly GOP leader Mitch McConnell, have refused to even allow a vote on any of those bills.

For his part, Donald Trump remains aloof and unable to tear himself away from his golf game, or Fox News, long enough to address this crisis with any measure of the seriousness it demands. A real president would deliver an Oval Office speech condemning the white nationalists who are responsible for the majority of fatalities related terrorism in the U.S. That’s a conclusion that even the Trump-appointed FBI director affirmed. It would be nice if we had a real president.

But Trump himself will not even acknowledge that there is a problem with right-wing violence. In fact, he literally downplays any significant occurrence of it. Following the slaughter at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, Trump dismissed the growing threat of white nationalism saying that “I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems.”

The words “white nationalist terrorism” have never passed through Trump’s lips. And this is despite his being one of the most vocal critics of President Obama for not using the inaccurate and inflammatory phrase “radical Islamic terrorism.” Trump even called for Obama to resign on Twitter asking…

Trump has made it a hallmark of his presidency to maliciously portray refugees as criminals and terrorists “invading” our country. Never mind that his exclusionary view of “our” country ignores the fact that it is populated, and was built, by refugees. Yet he demands that they “go back where they came from,” even they happen to be U.S. citizens and elected representatives in Congress. The rhetoric of “invasion,” and “criminal,” and “go back,” is exactly the same language that appears in the manifestos of these racist murderers.

It’s also the same language that is used by Fox News. Tucker Carlson’s White Nationalist Hour frequently bemoans the “darkening” of America. He has said that immigration “makes our own country poorer, and dirtier.” His colleague Laura Ingraham worries that “the America that we know and love doesn’t exist anymore [due to] massive demographic changes … that most of us don’t like.” And in the wake of two tragic massacres, Fox sought to blame ISIS or video games rather than the clearly guilty movement of alt-right bigotry.

There’s a reason that Trump won’t go after these domestic terrorists. He is scared. He’s a shivering wisp of a man who is afraid of offending his base. He’s afraid that the attendance at his cult rallies will decline. He’s terrified of losing support from the neo-Nazis who comprise the most activist faction of his hateful crusade. And Republicans in Congress won’t act either because they are afraid of offending Trump.

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

Trump is so unashamedly beholden to his cretinous disciples that he recently joked about shooting migrants. And considering the clarity that Trump gives to his hate speech, no one should be surprised when his followers take up the call. When they do, don’t expect Trump to denounce them. But the rest of the nation needs to come together and condemn Trump’s hatred and incitement to violence. We need to hold him accountable for the pain and grief he purposefully encourages. And if he can’t “finally mention the words [white nationalist terrorism], he should immediately resign in disgrace!”

Fox News Emails Sound Like ‘White Supremacist Chat Room’ – Have They Ever Watched Fox News?

Donald Trump spoke at the annual convention for the National Rifle Association (NRA) on Friday. Despite the organization’s unrepentant support for terrorists and felons and spousal abusers having unfettered access to guns, Trump felt it was necessary to help prop up their sagging approval ratings (and his own) with hias Deplorable base.

Fox News, KKK

These are the same sort of cretins who attended the white nationalist rallies in Charlottesville, VA, that Trump also defended as “very fine people.” In the aftermath of those repugnant remarks, Fox News struggled mightily to protect Trump from the fallout for having praised neo-Nazis. And apparently, they are still doing it. Trump is also still defending those remarks with new distortions of reality.

Friday morning it was revealed that an internal email exchange between some Fox News reporters devolved into a flagrantly pro-Trump brainstorming session. They were discussing how to respond to charges made by Joe Biden in his campaign announcement wherein he reminded people of Trump’s affection for torch-carrying racists.

The fact that they were brainstorming Trump defenses is bad enough. That isn’t the job of legitimate reporters. But their rationalization of such hatred makes matters worse. So much so that even one of the reporters in the email chain got fed up with what he was reading. After Fox’s Doug McKelway implied that Biden was lying, he drew this response from Fox News Radio’s Jon Decker:

“I really don’t understand the point you are making. Jarrod Kuhn was one of those individuals in Charlottesville holding a tiki torch while the mob chanted “Jews will not replace us. […] Your posts read like something you’d read on a White Supremacist chat room.”

While it’s admirable that Decker had the courage to forthrightly renounce McKelway and his other colleagues, there is a bigger problem that is left unchanged. It isn’t just that email thread that sounds like a “White Supremacist chat room.” It’s much of the programming on the air at Fox News. Tucker Carlson has become the voice of America’s white nationalists with nearly every show advancing their rhetoric and agenda. Laura Ingraham frequently launches brazenly racist diatribes, particularly against minority celebrities and sports figures. And the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends take every opportunity to smear politicians of color.

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

So if an email exchange sounds like a “White Supremacist chat room,” the Fox News Channel sounds like the Aryan Broadcasting Network. More of Fox’s reporters need to take a lesson from Decker and call out their racist confederates. The network is already suffering an exodus of advertisers who don’t want to be associated with such hate speech. Now the anchors and guests need to step up and denounce the racist culture that permeates Fox News. Will they have the courage to do publicly what Decker did in an email that he thought was private?

Trump ‘Congratulates’ CNN for Having Low Ratings, Even Though His Are Much Worse

Having a healthy ego is a requirement for anyone who aspires to be President of the United States. But there has never been a president with the kind of psychotically twisted self-image as Donald Trump. He has explicitly declared himself as the best in the world at whatever subject he happens to be babbling about at the time. Whether it’s taxes or war or energy or finance or women, Trump is adamant that he knows more than anybody else (see the video below). It’s rather impressive that he can be so self-aggrandizing and so wrong at the same time.

Donald Trump, Loser

So naturally Trump is obsessed with rankings and ratings and other measures of ability that he can exploit to make himself feel like he isn’t the miserable failure that he knows he is deep inside. And since he regards Fox News as an extension of himself, the cable TV ratings are a big part of Trump’s notion of self-worth. That’s why when he saw some ratings data (from the Daily Caller, the ultra-rightist website run by Fox News host Tucker Carlson) that noted the poor performance of CNN, he leaped at the chance to sarcastically congratulate the network as if these results were specifically heralding him.

Of course, anyone who follows the cable news business already knows that CNN has been lagging behind both Fox News and MSNBC. So it’s hard to figure out why Trump got so excited. But more interesting is the fact that Trump’s joy seems to ignore an important part of reality: Trump’s approval is even worse than CNN’s ratings. In fact, as disclosed in a recent poll, the American people trust CNN more than they do Trump or Fox News:

“Attacks on the ‘fake news’ media have been a staple of President Donald Trump’s messaging as both a presidential candidate and commander in chief, but new polling from Morning Consult/The Hollywood Reporter suggests that when it comes to credibility, that rhetoric really only resonates with Republicans.”

This poll shows that a majority of 53 percent regard CNN as “credible.” The same goes for another target of Trump’s, the New York Times. And all three broadcast networks came in higher than 60 percent. Fox News was below all of them at 52 percent. And that’s with 70 percent of Republicans believing it’s credible (a number that affirms the cult nature of their relationship with both Fox and Trump). Numerous other polls have been conducted on the question of trust, and in every single case the American people said that they trust the media more than they do Trump.

Meanwhile, Trump’s own ratings have achieved a dubious distinction as being lower than any president in history. So Trump is right about being the best – at least at being hated. Even the disreputable, right-wing, pro_Trump pollster, Rasmussen, has Trump down five points (to 47%) since the release of the redacted Mueller report less than a week ago. The more reliable Reuters poll shows that Trump has declined to a dismal 37 percent.

So to shore up his faltering standing with the public, Trump has spent Monday morning frantically posting clips of Fox News slobbering all over him. No less than five such clips were tweeted featuring crackpots like Lou Dobbs and Mark Levin. It’s the only way he can manage to salve his wounded and fragile ego. He is a man consumed by fear. And every tweet wherein he lambastes special counsel Robert Mueller, and the “witch hunt,” and the “Angry Democrats,” and the media, just reinforces his guilt and his desperation to suppress it.

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