Trump Echoes Fox News to Politicize Terrorist Attack in New York and Falsely Blame Democrats

Sadly, another terrorist attack has taken place in New York City. This tragedy has taken the lives of eight innocent victims and injured a dozen more. At times like these Americans are called upon to unite against such senseless brutality and to come together in support of those affected. It’s a manifestation of the strength and resolve that we have to endure and prevail.

Donald Trump Fox News

However, it is also sad that Donald Trump doesn’t share these principles. The President’s first reactions to the carnage were blathering assertions that what had just happened in America can’t happen in America. But what he later sought to convey, after having slept on it, was even more repulsive. In a series of brazenly political tweets, he declined to criticize the terrorist or the extremist views that inspired him. Instead, Trump lashed out at fellow Americans in Congress. Specifically, Senate Minority Leader (and the representative of the state that was attacked) Chuck Schumer and Democrats in general:

It’s nauseating that Trump appears to be more upset with Sen. Schumer than with the terrorist. What’s more, he is predictably misrepresenting the truth. The Diversity Visa Lottery program was supported by Schumer as an amendment to the Immigration Act of 1990. That bill passed in the Senate by a whopping 89 to 8 vote and was signed into law by George H.W. Bush. It was also supported by some notable Republicans including Chuck Grassley, Orrin Hatch, and current Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell. Funny, Trump didn’t attack any of them.

Something else Trump left out was that in 2013 a bipartisan group of senators, including Schumer, proposed to eliminate the Diversity Visa program. Known as the “Gang of Eight,” they offered a compromise immigration reform bill that would have ended the lottery. The bill was killed by conservative Republicans in the House.

Trump’s comments fly in the face of his response to last month’s terrorist attack in Las Vegas. After that horrific mass murder Trump and the GOP were aghast that anyone would talk about solutions to gun violence. And after the murder in Charlottesville, Virginia, by neo Nazis, Trump declared that he couldn’t talk about it until he had the facts. But just a few hours after the attack in New York, while the investigation was still in progress, Trump was already pushing his partisan agenda and lying about his political foes.

Not surprisingly, it’s easy to figure out where Trump got these talking points. He was obviously watching Fox News. In the hours following the attack, Fox News hosts and pundits were pushing their biases out onto the airwaves. And their stridently anti-Muslim bigotry was on full display. Here are some examples:

  • Tucker Carlson: It seems obviously tied to immigration, why is the country unwilling to have that conversation, to face that?
  • Pamela Geller on Hannity: The fact is Muslim immigration means more Islamic terrorism. It’s just that simple.
  • Laura Ingraham: Why must we take the risk, knowing that we can’t tell if an Islamic individual is going to be radicalized?
  • Zuhdi Jasser on Tucker Carlson Tonight: [Americans] are in denial if we don’t believe that nonviolent Islamism is a precursor to militant Islamism.

Trump’s TV was typically tuned in to Fox and Friends. That’s where he got the Schumer connection, which was not even confirmed at the time. Co-host Steve Doocy said so when he stated that:

“According to Mark Levin, and I looked online, and there are a bunch of websites that say that Chuck Schumer was one of the sponsors. We have not independently confirmed that through our brain room yet.”

Let’s just set aside the dubious assertion that Fox News has a “Brain Room.” The network was admittedly disseminating rumors in order to blame political adversaries for a terrorist attack. And that was enough for Trump to regurgitate it and give Fox News credit. Doocy’s colleague, Brian Kilmeade, contributed to this deliberate disinformation. Undoubtedly, this is the first time Trump had connected the visa lottery to the attack:

“All right, let’s talk about how he got here. He applied to a lottery system, the diversity visa program […] And congratulations, you win the lottery and then eight people are run over in this case eventually down the line because of this.”

For the record, the Diversity Visa Lottery program was not a free pass to American citizenship. Recipients had to be vetted by all of the same criteria as any other immigrant applying for entry. They are also subject to the same requirements and waiting periods. Kilmeade’s description was patently dishonest and purposefully misleading.

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

The fact that Trump relies on the disinformation and lies of Fox News is appalling and dangerous. They clearly don’t have the credibility to be the foundation for government policy. But Trump puts more faith in them than he does in the intelligence agencies he oversees. This morning he called his own Justice Department “a joke and a laughingstock.” The result is ignorant policies that are infused with noxious racism and bigotry. Not to mention the corrosive division that is sown by a President who regards his political opponents, and the media, as worse than our nation’s real enemies.

Fox News is Scaring Off Advertisers With Their Relentless Trump-Fluffing, Lies, and Racism

The Fox News chickens are coming home to roost. Or perhaps more accurately, they are flying the coop. Since its inception, Fox News has devoutly propelled a far right-wing agenda. They have steadfastly promoted conservative politicians and policies and shamelessly defended Republicans from any and all criticism. Their reward for such partisan bias was the devotion of glassy-eyed regressives whose loyalty produced high ratings and revenue.

Donald Trump Fox News

However, there was also a price to pay. In 2011 they discovered the hard way that wingnut extremism was not a sustainable business model. That’s when they were forced to fire Glenn Beck for venturing too far into bigotry and conspiracy theories. Beck’s audience was still substantial, but advertisers were shunning him like the plague. So Fox News eventually cut the cord.

Sadly for Fox News, they don’t seem to have learned anything from that disaster. In the years that followed, Fox has continued to spew propaganda and outright falsehoods in the service of GOP politics. And since the inauguration of Donald Trump the level of bombast and junk journalism has grown precipitously. In the past year Fox News has exceeded their wildest dreams as purveyors of state-approved disinformation. Primetime on the network is stuffed with Trumpeteers, and the rest of the day’s roster is no less reverential.

Recently Fox lost some of its star power due to sexual misconduct allegations. Their biggest attraction, Bill O’Reilly was fired after multiple woman came forward with stories of harassment and abuse. Eric Bolling was also dismissed for similar reasons. Megyn Kelly chose to leave due to her own experiences with deviants like O’Reilly and CEO Roger Ailes. However, while their replacements may be free of salacious scandal (for now), they are decidedly more extreme in their politics. Consequently, the advertising prospects for Fox News are once again in decline. TVNewser is reporting that:

“Fox News has taken the most significant hit with -17 percent less spend on news programming in September 2017 vs. September 2016. CNN also saw a small decrease, down -1 percent, while MSNBC was up +2 percent.”

The fact that Fox’s competitors didn’t suffer the profound losses that Fox did is evidence that the problems at Fox News are not due to some industry-wide weakness. It’s more likely due to the reluctance of advertisers to be associated with nutcases like Sean Hannity. There’s confirmation of that in the reporting of the unit cost for ads on Fox. Newcomer Tucker Carlson is pulling in $12,200 per ad. Hannity is getting only $8,500. What makes that significant is that Hannity is the higher rated program of the two. In fact, it’s the highest rated show on Fox News.

So Hannity is valued thirty percent less than a lower rated program. That can only be because ad buyers are scared off by Hannity’s increasingly lunatic conspiracies and brazen Trump-fluffing. The effect is likely leaking into other programs as well. As Carlson’s lunacy becomes more evident, expect his ad buys to shrink. Likewise, the Laura Ingraham Angle, which premieres next week, is already generating bad press.

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

All of this is very troubling for Fox News. But it’s heartening for America. One of the right’s favorite societal institutions, the free market, is demonstrating the folly of an alleged “news” network abandoning all pretenses of legitimate journalism. Will this force Fox News to change their ways. Doubtful. Fox’s management, Rupert Murdoch and family, have plenty of money with which to prop up their propaganda outlet. But they will be less able to disguise their deceitful intent, and will likely continue to shed advertisers and viewers.

Shut Down Fox News For Facilitating Sexual Abusers Like Bill O’Reilly – Says Fox News?

A breaking story from the New York Times on Saturday revealed just how ingrained the culture of sexual deviancy is at Fox News. And it underscores their complicity in the abhorrent acts of their employees and management. So far the company has terminated their CEO Roger Ailes and their biggest star Bill O’Reilly. In addition, other executives and on-air hosts like Bill Shine, Eric Bolling, and Jaime Horowitz were jettisoned under similar circumstances.

Bill o'Reilly Fox News

This new story in the Times discloses that Bill O’Reilly paid $32 million to settle a sexual harassment and assault suit in January of 2017. This was after O’Reilly and Fox News made previous settlements involving O’Reilly’s sexual misconduct totaling over $13 million to five other women over a 15 year period. That disclosure led to his termination from Fox News in April. However, following the January settlement, Fox News renewed his contract despite knowing about all of these legal payoffs. Apparently being a serial sexual predator wasn’t disqualifying to be a host on Fox News.

To put this in perspective, Fox News has argued that such behavior is so irredeemable that punishing the abuser isn’t enough. The company employing him should literally be shut down. That assessment was provided by Fox host and pundit Gregg Jarrett in both a column of the Fox website and on the air (video below). Jarrett, however, was referring to movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and his production company. But by simply replacing references to Weinstein with Fox News, the commentary retains its meaning while pointing to an entirely different but equally guilty company. See this annotated version of excerpts from Jarrett’s article:

The Weinstein Company Fox News should immediately shut-down its operations and permanently close its doors. […] The Weinstein Company Fox News surely knew it had a sexual predator at the helm, but did little to stop him. Instead, it willingly fostered and sustained an environment that permitted him to continue abusing women.”

The Weinstein Company Fox News approved a written contract which deliberately enabled Weinstein Ailes, O’Reilly, et al, to sexually harass women and allowed [them] to cover-up the abusive conduct by paying off [their] victims. […] Weinstein’s O’Reilly’s contract appears to encourage or condone his suspected illegal behavior.”

“Viewed another way, the company seems to have aided and abetted Weinstein Ailes, O’Reilly, and others. They handed [them] a piece of paper which granted [them] permission to victimize women with impunity.”

Well, that’s pretty clear. Jarrett is an attorney and should know that his argument remains consistent regardless of the perpetrators. So he is, in effect, advocating that Fox News be shut down. And he isn’t the only one at Fox to say so. Tucker Carlson delivered a rant on the subject last week that made similar points about Weinstein that were easily transferable to Fox News. And let’s not forget another sexual predator to whom these rebukes could apply. Donald Trump has been accused by at least a dozen women of sexual harassment or abuse. And he has even confessed to criminal assault in the infamous Access Hollywood videotape. There are pending federal investigations against Fox News, and Weinstein may soon be be facing the same.

So bring it on, Fox, Let’s see you report on Trump and O’Reilly with the same righteous outrage you direct at Weinstein. And how about shutting down your irreparable and unrepentant operation that has proven to be a hotbed of criminal sexual assault. Any company that can reward cretins like O’Reilly with rich contract renewals despite knowing that he’s a recidivist pervert doesn’t deserve to continue polluting America’s airwaves.

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

SRSLY? The Fox News Den of Sexual Predators Accuses Democrats of Enabling Weinstein

Leave it to Fox News to politicize anything, no matter how repulsive. The salaciousness of the Harvey Weinstein scandal must have been too much for them to pass up. So for the past several days they have been desperately trying to tar any and all Democrats with Weinstein’s disgusting behavior. It’s a tactic commonly used by the political bottom-feeders on the right, and especially by Fox News.

Fox News Tucker Carlson

On Wednesday night Tucker Carlson, arguably the most annoying man on television, delivered one of his typically sour monologues. In his opening segment he spun furiously in an effort to intertwine Democrats with a story whose focus ought to have been on the victims. But at Fox News it is always more important to cravenly exploit political biases. Carlson made sure to single out Hillary Clinton in his remarks because what’s more relevant than someone who holds no government office, or likely ever will? “Weinstein couldn’t have gotten away with any of this,” Carlson smeared, “without enablers like Hillary Clinton.” And then he unleashed this cognitive mess:

“Sexual abuse is epidemic in Hollywood. The people in charge have covered it up and made excuses for it. In each case protecting the powerful from the powerless and the abused. It is time for the federal government to get involved. The Department of Justice should launch an immediate investigation into Hollywood’s culture of systematic sexual abuse.”

First of all, sexual abuse is epidemic in America. It isn’t unique to Hollywood, and that assertion minimizes the scale of the problem. Which may be deliberate on Carlson’s part. More to the point, Carlson’s statement would actually be more appropriate if applied to Fox News. The list of their high-level perverts began with former CEO, Roger Ailes. Then Fox’s biggest star, Bill O’Reilly, finally succumbed to years of rumored sexual harassment. The president of Fox News, Bill Shine, was also dismissed under a cloud. As were Fox Sports President Jamie Horowitz, Fox News Latino VP, Francisco Cortes, and most recently, host Eric Bolling.

As Carlson noted, “The people in charge have covered it up and made excuses for it. In each case protecting the powerful from the powerless and the abused.” It wasn’t until their victims started coming out publicly that the network acknowledged the cesspool they were wallowing in. So if the Justice Department should launch an investigation, they might want to start with Fox.

Oh wait, they already did. A probe of the personnel and finances of Fox News was initiated in the final days of the Obama administration. The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, was in charge. That is, until Trump fired him.

On Wednesday the Daily Mail reported that Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, has instructed the FBI to open a probe into the Weinstein affair. However, the Daily Mail is an ultra-conservative British tabloid, which makes this story somewhat suspicious. To date it has only been shared on other right-wing websites like Breitbart, Redstate, and Newsmax. But it’s premise is not implausible. Trump is known for taking positions based on something he just saw on Fox News. So if he watched Carlson make this proposal, he might well have directed Sessions to have the FBI initiate an investigation. And a good bootlicker like Sessions would surely have obeyed.

In his segment, Carlson complained that it took Hillary Clinton five days to denounce Weinstein. Donald Trump still hasn’t done so. The only comment he made was “I’m not surprised.” So apparently Trump has known that Weinstein is a sexual predator, but he never bothered to mention it. As for Carlson, his hypocrisy is off the charts. He works for a network that harbored some of the most despicable miscreants imaginable.

There is no evidence that Fox News has cleaned up its act. Carlson owes his program to the departure of Megyn Kelly, who left in part due to sexual harassment from Bill O’Reilly. And now Carlson’s show actually airs in O’Reilly’s old time slot. Meanwhile Sean Hannity has brought O’Reilly back into the Fox fold as his guest, without ever mentioning the reasons he was fired. So if Carlson had any integrity, he might want to reexamine who the real enablers are.

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

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.