POLL: Fox News Viewers are Hopelessly Gaslit Victims of Trump’s Propaganda

The recent release of the redacted version of the report by special counsel Robert Mueller has resulted in a couple of the worst weeks to date for Donald Trump. And that’s despite the fact that much of the most damaging material is still undisclosed. He is being barraged by legal experts who affirm that the report contains ample evidence of crimes and obstruction of justice that warrant consideration of initiating impeachment hearings.

Fox News, Sean Hannity, White House

The public’s view of these matters leans decidedly toward a consensus that Trump is dishonest and likely guilty of criminal offenses. They may be related to the hundreds of contacts by him and his campaign with Russian operatives, or his suppression of documents and testimony that points to his guilt. But there is one notable constituency that is oblivious to the reality of Trump’s wrongdoing: Fox News viewers.

A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll breaks out the opinions of voters by their cable news preferences. And the disparity between those who watch Fox News and those who watch other networks is profound:

These results reveal that Fox News viewers have totally bought into the propaganda that Trump and his fluffers in the right-wing press feverishly disseminate. They are the victims of deliberate lies that don’t remotely resemble reality. This is evident by the extreme differences among the Fox News viewers with their fellow citizens. If the pro-Trump numbers were just a little higher, that might indicate some measure of media bias. But when the numbers are so radically far apart, that can only be the result of cult-like indoctrination.

It simply is not normal for 69 percent of the viewers of one network to say they aren’t worried about Russian interference in the U.S. election, when less that 50 percent of the viewers of all other networks feel the same way. It’s extraordinary that 50 percent of Fox viewers falsely believe that the Mueller report cleared Trump, when everyone else believes that by less than 25 percent. And how can 61 percent of Fox News viewers say that Trump has been honest about Russia, when less than 30 percent of the rest of the nation says that?

These numbers, of course, are reflected in the overall approval of Trump as president. And once again, 73 percent of Fox News viewers are blindly adoring of Trump, while significant majorities of all other respondents vehemently disapprove. What this tells us is that the Fox News audience is living in an alternate world. They are hypnotically devoted to Trump regardless of what he says or does. They even obediently agree with him when he contradicts himself.

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

And for that reason – along with many others – it is absurd for Democrats to consider gracing Fox News with their presence. It’s ludicrous to lend their credibility to a network that hasn’t earned it. And it makes no sense whatsoever to support a brazenly biased channel that exists – from its inception – to malign them, and whose viewers overwhelmingly despise them.

Fox News Boycotts Twitter, So No Reporting on Trump’s Hush Money, Election Results, and More

Last week Tucker Carlson of Fox News was the victim of some unruly protesters who showed up at his home and shouted at his family. It was a particularly dumb exercise that succeeded only in frightening the household and giving Carlson ammunition to attack all progressives as hostile and lawless. Never mind that there was widespread criticism of the ill-conceived protest, even by many of the liberals Carlson most frequently attacked.

Fox News, Twitter

However the most absurd response to the protest is that of Carlson’s network, Fox News. They have decided to to refrain from using Twitter because they are upset with how the social media platform handled posts by SmashRacismDC, the group that reportedly was responsible for the action against Carlson. Fox told a Tribune Media reporter that they would remain tweetless until Twitter removed the posts and apologized. There is no indication of whether or not an apology was rendered, but Twitter suspended the account of SmashRacismDC and deleted the offending tweets two days ago. And yet, two days later, Fox News still has not tweeted anything.

This seems to be a curiously petty reaction to the situation. After all, Twitter was not responsible for the protests, and they did banish the party that was. Is Fox just holding out for the apology because their corporate ego has been bruised? Are they stomping off in a huff until Twitter sends them a Hallmark card? Who do they think they’re hurting?

One consequence of this boycott, intended or otherwise, is that Fox News isn’t reporting some important news events that have taken place in the last couple of days. There is vote counting going on in Florida, Georgia, and Arizona that will have a profound impact on the composition of the next Congress. And so far, the trends are favoring the Democratic candidates for senate and governor in all three. Is Fox News comfortable with not informing their Twitter followers of this news? Or is that their intention?

Furthermore, there was a bombshell story by the Wall Street Journal that reveals hard evidence that Donald Trump not only knew, but led the efforts to pay hush money to women with whom he had sexual affairs, including Stormy Daniels and Summer Zervos. He has previously denied (i.e. lied about) these allegations. That makes this a convenient time for Fox to go dark online so as not to further spread these revelations. Surely Fox News doesn’t want their audience to be exposed to such damning truths, even if it’s coming from a newspaper that is part of their corporate family.

Along with these stories are others concerning the firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the resulting controversy over Trump’s apparent attempts to obstruct justice by hindering the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller. And Trump’s designated “Acting” Attorney General, Matt Whitaker, is facing stiff criticism for his prejudice with regard to Mueller, and his sordid past that includes a connection to a company that engaged in rampant fraud. This is another story Fox would likely want to suppress.

Now Trump is in Paris meeting with foreign leaders with whom he has been feuding. There are devastating fires in California that Trump falsely blamed on “forest mismanagement,” rather than climate change. The recent mass shooting in Thousand Oaks exacerbates the debate on efforts to legislate gun safety reforms. And Trump’s war with media takes a nasty turn as he singles out African-American women for abuse.

All of these are stories that are getting significant play in the press, and on Twitter, but for which Fox News is muzzling itself over a specious complaint about a Twitter problem that is already resolved. And all of these are stories that reflect poorly on Donald Trump, for whom Fox News operates as the State TV mouthpiece. Is it really just a coincidence?

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

UPDATE: It’s day three of the Fox News Twitter boycott. There is a report that a memo was sent to the entire Fox digital team to refrain from tweeting Fox content on either Fox or personal accounts. But for some reason, Fox and Friends seems to be exempt from this network-wide Twitter boycott.

White House Shills Flagrantly Lie About Trump Hobbling the FBI Probe of Kavanaugh

It’s another Pleasant Valley Sunday at the White House as Donald Trump dispatches his surrogates to the Sunday morning news programs to assure America’s Deplorables that everything is fine despite the political fires raging all around them.

Donald Trump

The topic of the day is undoubtedly the pending confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court. His recent testimony regarding allegations of sexual assault against Dr. Christine Blasey Ford did nothing to exonerate him. But he did reveal himself to be a hot headed, ultra-partisan who traffics in preposterous conspiracy theories and has no aversion to lying about himself or others.

As a result of that hearing, rogue Republican Sen. Jeff Flake concluded that he could not vote to confirm Kavanaugh unless there was an FBI investigation into the charges. So Trump was reluctantly forced to comply and instructed the FBI to reopen Kavanaugh’s background check. Unfortunately, our relentlessly deceitful president sought to game the system by putting harsh restrictions on what the FBI could look into. After this underhanded tactic was exposed, Trump whined on Twitter that it wasn’t true. He accused NBC News of having “incorrectly reported” the story, even though it was also reported by the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

On the Sunday Circus of news shows, Trump’s surrogates are now making the rounds to reinforce his false claims. Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told Fox News that “The White House is not micromanaging this process,” and that “the Senate is dictating the terms.” And Senior White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway had this exchange with Jake Tapper of CNN:

Conway: The White House is not getting involved in the FBI investigation in that way. The president very much respects the independence of the FBI and feels, as he said last night, that they should be looking at anything they feel is credible within this limited scope.
Tapper: What does that mean, ‘within this limited scope’?
Conway: That’s up to the FBI. In other words, I’m not involved in those specific conversations.

Of course none of those protestations were true. NBC’s follow up reporting on the matter reiterated that:

“The FBI has received no new instructions from the White House about how to proceed with its weeklong investigation of sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, a senior U.S. official and another source familiar with the matter tell NBC News.

“According to the sources, the president’s Saturday night tweet saying he wants the FBI to interview whoever agents deem appropriate has not changed the limits imposed by the White House counsel’s office on the FBI investigation — including a specific witness list that does not include Julie Swetnick, who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct in high school.”

And furthermore…

“A White House official made clear that the White House is the client in this process. This is not an FBI criminal investigation — it is a background investigation in which the FBI is acting on behalf of the White House. Procedurally, the White House does not allow the FBI to investigate as it sees fit, the official acknowledged; the White House sets the parameters.”

The conservative, Rupert Murdoch owned Wall Street Journal affirmed NBC’s reporting that:

“it was unlikely that the shape of the investigation would change without official communication from the White House that it wanted the bureau to interview other people beyond the list already provided.”

So that’s confirmation that the White House is calling the shots and that they did provide a list of approved witnesses. Clearly Trump is determined to insure that whatever investigation is conducted will not be thorough or impartial. He’s deliberately stacking the deck against Dr. Ford to protect his tainted nominee. That raises the question of whether this process will satisfy Sen. Flake who initiated it. If it doesn’t, he may vote against confirming Kavanaugh, which could sink the nomination.

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

There is also the possibility that the FBI will consider itself empowered to explore any matter that is raised during their investigation, which could include the other witnesses as well as Kavanaugh’s truthfulness during his congressional testimony. There’s abundant evidence that Kavanaugh did perjure himself. So there are significant speed bumps on the road to Kavanaugh’s seat on the Supreme Court. And with any luck this nomination will crash and burn.

Fox News Reports Poll Showing Democrats are ‘Out of Step’, But Guess What They Left Out

The deliberate deceit and hostility of Fox News is escalating as Donald Trump gets closer to being tossed into the dustbin of history. With special counsel Robert Mueller progressing toward the inevitable report of Trump’s criminality, and former insiders like Michael Cohen preparing to truth bomb the President, the weasels at Fox News are just getting more desperate in the most obvious and embarrassing ways.

Fox News Lies

On Saturday’s episode of the Greg Gutfeld show, the eponymous host (who thinks he’s a comedian) introduced the program with the “shocking” results of an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. [Note: Fox and Friends misused the same poll] Among other things it revealed that a majority of respondents (56% to 33%) said that Democrats are “out of step with most Americans’ thinking” That’s a pretty lousy number that indicates some trouble for the party. Although it doesn’t reflect the manner in which Democrats are disconnecting. While Fox News and the GOP want you to think it’s a condemnation of the Party’s embrace of lefties like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, it could be just as easily that they think the Party isn’t embracing them tightly enough.

But what really makes this Fox News segment ludicrous is that they left out another significant result from the poll. Republicans were also deemed to be out of touch, and by a slightly larger margin (57% to 33%). For some reason that statistic was never mentioned on Fox News. Go figure.

In addition to this dissemination of blatantly distorted news, Fox also failed to mention everything else in the poll that revealed how badly the Trump administration is at odds with the American people. For instance:

  • They believe Trump’s tariffs will hurt, not help the economy (46-25)
  • Mueller’s investigation of Trump’s collusion with Russia and obstruction of justice should continue (46-38)
  • Trump is too friendly with Vladimir Putin (46-39)
  • Russia is an adversary, not an ally (72-16)
  • Russia interfered with the 2016 presidential election (65-26)
  • The interference by the Russians affected the outcome of the election (41-18)

Since Fox News went to the trouble of citing this poll, they ought to have reported the results more completely. And particularly with regard to the question of how badly Americans think the Republican Party is out of touch. But then again, Fox has never been known to responsibly cover the news, so why should they start now?

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

With the midterm elections coming up you can count on Fox to lie profusely about the issues and to smother Trump with accolades. Trump has promised to campaign on behalf of GOP candidates “six to seven days a week when we’re sixty days out.” So he’s effectively abdicating his presidency. And Fox News will devotedly air every single one of Trump’s boring, mindlessly repetitive rally speeches in their entirety. Which is certain to increase the incidence of cognitive infirmity among his glassy-eyed Deplorables.

Trump Coverage at Fox News and WSJ is ‘Embarrassing,’ ‘Bats**t Crazy’ Say Staffers

Earlier this week employees at Fox News revealed some serious concerns they have about the network they work for. Turns out even they are embarrassed by the blatantly biased, pro-Donald Trump “reporting” the network does. Speaking anonymously to CNN they were quoted as saying things like “I’m watching now and screaming. I want to quit.” And that “Fox feels like an extension of the Trump White House.”

Rupert Murdoch Donald Trump

Those of us outside of Fox News noticed long ago that it is a network devoted to right-wing propaganda. And more recently it has fallen into the abyss of Trump worship. Hacks like Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson defend every dishonest, ignorant, and hateful thing he says and does. The “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends spend four hours every morning polishing Trump’s – let’s say apples.

Now a new report from Vanity Fair shows that a similar internal revolt is in progress at the Wall Street Journal. Author Joe Pompeo interviewed current and former Journal editors and reporters who were highly critical of the paper’s staunchly pro-Trump editorial slant. Pompeo got Journal staffers to confess that:

  • “The editorial page has been doing crazy shit for a long time.”
  • “It does feel like this is a different level of crazy.”
  • “It’s like living through the Vince Foster years.”
  • “It’s frustrating to have to contend with this.”
  • “I don’t know a single WSJ alum who’s not agog at where that edit page is heading.”
  • “We could disprove half the stuff [the opinion writers] are saying if they just read our own reporting. It’s like living in some alternate universe.”

Pompeo also notes that the Journal has suffered a rash of resignations recently. Many of their top reporters left to join the competition at the Washington Post, the New York Times, etc. There is speculation that those remaining are reconsidering their own prospects for the future at the Journal.

Much of the consternation has been triggered by the Journal’s recent editorials concerning Trump’s unsavory connections to Russia. In particular, some columns have been hypercritical of special counsel Robert Mueller. Pompeo summarizes the seemingly coordinated attacks saying that:

“In recent days, of course, the opinion coverage has produced controversial commentary on Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia investigation, often flying in the face of the Journal’s own news reporting. On October 23, political scientist Peter Berkowitz proclaimed that the probe into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign ‘threaten[s] the rule of law.’ Days later, an October 29 piece by two attorneys from the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations called on President Donald Trump to ‘immediately [issue] a blanket presidential pardon to anyone involved in supposed collusion.'” […]

[One] editorial referred to Fusion [GPS] as ‘sleazy operators’; it didn’t mention that the guys who run Fusion were previously Wall Street Journal reporters. Former high-ranking Journal editor Bill Grueskin spoke for many when he tweeted, ‘WSJ edit page has gone full bats–t.'”

So now, in the same week, stories have emerged that feature employees of Fox News and the Wall Street Journal as being ashamed of those affiliations. It cannot be ignored that both of these entities are owned by ultra-rightist media baron Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch also happens to be a close friend and advisor to Trump. They are said to be talking to each other “almost every day.” Both have much to gain from the relationship. Trump obviously benefits from the fawning attention he gets from Fox News. And Murdoch is angling for government regulatory reforms that will advance his business interests.

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

However, the troops at both organizations appear to be in the throes of revolt. Apparently there is still some measure, however minuscule, of integrity lurking in the dank halls of Rupert’s Realm. And the expressions of disgust are beginning to seep out into the open. It was put into stark terms by former Journal writer Kara Swisher, now with Recode. She empathized with the poor clods still under Murdoch’s sway saying “I feel sorry for every decent reporter at the WSJ for this claptrap from Rupert Murdoch’s ever desiccated soul.”

Kellyanne Conway on Fox News Complains That the Media Isn’t ‘Afraid Enough’ of Donald Trump

The Queen of Alternative Facts, Kellyanne Conway, has been absent from the public eye for a while. But now she has returned to make an appearance on Fox News (of course). And she didn’t disappoint in the delivery of her unique brand of shilling for her boss, Donald Trump.

Kellyanne Conway

Conway was interviewed on Trump’s favorite TV show Fox and Friends (video below). The President has called it “the most honest show on television.” And it’s clear as to why he holds that opinion. They will lie relentlessly for him no matter the subject. And it’s why White House spokespersons appear almost exclusively on Fox News. They know they can get away with saying anything and not be subject to any challenge or criticism. For instance, Conway started right out of the gate slamming the media:

“There’s a huge disconnect between what the media are telling Americans what is important to them and what Americans are telling your pollsters and their pollsters and all of us what is important to them.”

That makes literally zero sense. What the media is telling Americans about what is important comes directly from the the pollsters. And virtually every poll shows Trump floundering personally, and his agenda in tatters. Undeterred, Conway continues:

“I think the media are obsessed with style. I saw a poll this morning. Forty-seven percent of Americans say the media are trying to impede the President’s progress on the agenda as opposed to just report the facts. And Gerry Baker at the Wall Street Journal just yesterday came out and said ‘Listen, you’ve gotta cover this as reporters. This has become opinion commentary disguised at reporting.’ Particularly when the President mentions the media.”

First of all, the poll Conway is referring to is by Rasmussen Reports, an unabashedly biased firm that spins everything to the far right. Secondly, Conway citing the editor-in-chief of Rupert Murdoch’s flagship newspaper as a source of factual reporting is ludicrous. Especially because the quote she highlighted came from an email that has angered the Journal’s staff. Some were so upset that they turned to CNN to vent their frustration:

“At the time, some staffers told CNNMoney they believed that Baker was going out of his way to be deferential to Trump in order to maintain access to the White House and proximity to power. Staffers also chafe at Baker’s insistence on conducting the interviews with Trump himself, rather than letting the paper’s journalists take the lead.”

When reporters at a conservative paper accuse their editorial peers of being “deferential to Trump” you have a real problem. Many have them long demonstrated such deference, but apparently this editor has gone too far, even for the Journal. And they are also disturbed by his habit of usurping their duties when it comes to presidential interviews.

But Conway was only beginning to hit her stride. Answering a question that didn’t involve the media, Conway found a way to resume her attack on the free press. Co-host Steve Doocy’s raised the comments of former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, with regard to Trump’s mental stability. On CNN Clapper described Trump’s condition as “downright scary and disturbing.” And he asked how much longer the country would have to “endure this nightmare.” And Conway replied (skip to 7:50 in the video):

Doocy: A couple nights ago on television, [Clapper] said he wondered whether or not the president was fit to be president, fit to serve. If James Clapper is watching right now, what’s your message to him?

Conway: It’s such an absurd analysis, playing armchair psychiatrist. It’s not just him. It’s a lot of people on TV.

I’m old enough to remember when news stations reported the news and didn’t just have a parade of pundits going out there and opinionating and rendering their opinions and pontificating and conjecturing. And I think it leads to analysis like this, because people end up with very little to say. They are not compelled. They are not forced. Nobody demands that they actually report facts and figures. This is way over the line. You know, the media and other opinion figures, they were way too afraid of President Obama and his administration. They’re not afraid enough here.

It’s jaw-droppingly hysterical that Conway is complaining about pundits “opinionating” to the propagandists at Fox News. The “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends trail only Sean Hannity as Fox’s premiere Trump-fluffers.

More importantly, Conway is actually advocating for some kind of government control of the press. Her notion that journalists should be “forced” to report her alternative facts is contrary to the tenets of the Constitution. She and her White House cohorts are not the arbiters of what is real or fake news. And if America wants state-sponsored reporting, they already have Fox News.

Furthermore, the media should never be afraid of any president, and no president should deliberately intimidate the press. But that’s exactly what Trump has been doing. He is not merely offering criticism. His childish taunts that reporters are sick, dishonest, and bad people who hate America, amounts to overt threats. They could easily lead to violence against journalists who are just doing their job.

When Trump called the media “the enemy of the American people,” he effectively gave permission to his crackpot disciples to take the necessary action to defend the country from its “enemies.” Hopefully Conway and Trump will not get their wish to make the media afraid of Trump. And hopefully nobody gets hurt.

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

Bill O’Reilly FIRED By Fox News: But the Lies and Disinformation Will Continue

BREAKING: 21st Century Fox just released a statement on Bill O’Reilly confirming that he will not be returning to the network:

“After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the Company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel.”

After twenty-one years that is the extent of the separation announcement. This breaking news draws to a conclusion a long-running drama at Fox.

Bill O'Reilly Fox News

Three weeks ago, the New York Times published a story that upended Bill O’Reilly’s career. It revealed attempts by the Fox News star and the network to cover up allegations of his sexual misconduct. Several women who had not previously been disclosed were identified as having been paid large settlements for their silence.

Since then The O’Reilly Factor has seen a mass exodus of advertisers. More than eighty have publicly stated that they will not permit their ads to be aired on his program. As a result, the board of directors at Fox News have put an end to the program.

Even before this announcement reports increasingly leaked out that O’Reilly was already doomed. The Wall Street Journal (also part of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire) reported that:

“Initially, Fox News and parent company 21st Century Fox stood by their highly-rated host … However, as advertisers fled his show, debate inside company ensued over the pros and cons of keeping Mr. O’Reilly on the air.”

Then Gabriel Sherman of New York Magazine weighed in. He has been covering the inside stories on Fox News for several years. He has reliable sources and published the definitive, unauthorized biography of the network’s former CEO Roger Ailes: The Loudest Voice in the Room. His latest article suggested correctly that “Fox News Has Decided Bill O’Reilly Has to Go.”

“The Murdochs have decided Bill O’Reilly’s 21-year run at Fox News will come to an end. According to sources briefed on the discussions, network executives are preparing to announce O’Reilly’s departure before he returns from an Italian vacation on April 24. Now the big questions are how the exit will look and who will replace him.”

Fox News will have to handle O’Reilly’s departure carefully. The network has already lost several high profile figures including disgraced ex-CEO Roger Ailes. On air personalities Megyn Kelly, Greta Van Susteren, and Gretchen Carlson have also departed recently. But O’Reilly is the highest rated host on cable news with a loyal following. Will his fans react to his termination by turning off Fox News? Or will they behave like good cultists and obediently tune in to his replacement?

Speaking of replacements, the names most often mentioned include Eric Bolling, Dana Perino, Jesse Watters, and Martha MacCallum. Tucker Carlson is also in the mix to move his current show into O’Reilly’s time period. None of these prospects have the fame or fan base that O’Reilly has. But the advantage for Fox is that their glassy-eyed viewers are glued to the network and will likely watch whatever comes on.

Fox would be wise to give extra consideration to the women on that list. Given the salacious circumstances that drove out Ailes and (perhaps) O’Reilly, it might serve as a form of redemption. But Fox also doesn’t have any minority hosts in prime time, and never has. However, none of their current staffers (Juan Williams, Harris Faulkner, Geraldo Rivera) appear to be under consideration.

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

The future for Fox News is not especially bright, but neither is it particularly dark. They have suffered some significant setbacks recently, but have a friend in high places. In that regard, Donald Trump’s support for Bill O’Reilly obviously didn’t have any effect. But when the President of the United States is calling in to Fox and Friends, and advertising the network on his Twitter feed, the news isn’t all bad. Well, except for the actual “news” as it’s practiced by Fox.

Donald Trump Plans To Kneecap The Intelligence Community – Playing Into Putin’s Hands

For several months Donald Trump has bitterly criticized the United States intelligence agencies. He has accused them of politicizing intelligence data and making critical errors in analysis and reporting. His public statements give more credence to Russia’s dictator, Vladimir Putin, and WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, than to the agencies on which he must rely as president. That has raised questions as to his loyalties from politicians and pundits across the political spectrum.

Trump/Putin

On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal published a story detailing Trump’s plans to revamp the CIA and other intel ops. The article relied on sources close to the Trump transition team who revealed Trump’s desire to “restructure and pare back” these agencies. One of the insiders quoted said that:

“The view from the Trump team is the intelligence world has become completely politicized. They all need to be slimmed down. The focus will be on restructuring the agencies and how they interact.”

Among those who would eagerly support slimmed down intelligence bureaus is Trump’s BFF, Vladimir Putin. Along with every other nation hostile to American interests. By weakening our intelligence capabilities, our adversaries would gain the upper hand in clandestine activities and diplomacy. However, Trump’s motivation isn’t as simple as siding with our enemies. He is hypersensitive to allegations that his electoral victory was illegitimate. Consequently, any assertion that Russia’s involvement benefited him grates against his ego and must be suppressed. According to the Journal, that’s a view shared by Trump’s team:

“Among those helping lead Mr. Trump’s plan to revamp the intelligence agencies is his national security adviser, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn [and] Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.), whom Mr. Trump selected as CIA director. […] Gen. Flynn and Mr. Pompeo share Mr. Trump’s view that the intelligence community’s position – that Russia tried to help his campaign – is an attempt to undermine his victory or say he didn’t win, the official close to the transition said.”

The Journal also quoted Paul Pillar, a 28-year veteran of the CIA, who said that he finds it “disturbing that the president should come in with this negative view of the agencies.” Another former CIA operative, Evan McMullin, expressed similar concerns. He tweeted that “Trump’s overhaul of CIA is a reprisal for its alerting Americans of Russian interference in the election and its valid concerns about Trump.” And that “In addition to attacking the press, there is no more typical authoritarian tactic than consolidating power in the intel & armed services.” That observation should send shivers down the spine of every American. Remember that Putin himself was a KGB operative prior to becoming Russia’s dictator.

As for Trump, he had his own Twitter statement on the subject early Thursday morning:

Typically, Trump is misrepresenting reality. He actually did praise Assange on several occasions. And quoting him without any critical objection is tantamount to agreement. What’s more, he is outright lying about being a “big fan” of intelligence. He’s done nothing but disparage it and refused to even take the daily briefings on national security.

Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, told reporters on Thursday that the Journal story is false. However, his statement didn’t specify how it was wrong, and left the interpretation wide open. He said that “All transition activities are for information-gathering purposes and all discussions are tentative.” That doesn’t mean that the story was false or that the plans under discussion won’t be adopted. It’s a old-school dodge that the media seems far too willing to accept.

Everything that has come out of the Trump camp in this regard has affirmed the conclusion that he has a deeply held grudge against America’s intelligence professionals. And no matter what the motivation, that can only serve to strengthen the hands of our enemies. It also sets up a potentially dangerous conflict between the White House and the intelligence community.

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

American citizens, and their representatives in Congress, need to be vigilant and active in opposing Trump’s anti-intelligence agenda. Because if he succeeds, so does Russia, and China, and North Korea, and Syria, and Iran, and ISIS. In short, if he succeeds, we lose.

HUSH MONEY: National Enquirer Paid 150K To Cover Up Trump’s ‘Affair’ With A Playboy Model

FBI insiders have spent much of the past week leaking dubious data about Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump’s campaign. It’s a horrifying state of affairs that implicates the agency in election tampering. Meanwhile, salacious information about Donald Trump is getting quashed by his pals in the tabloid media. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that:

“The company that owns the National Enquirer (AMI), a backer of Donald Trump, agreed to pay $150,000 to a former Playboy centerfold model for her story of an affair a decade ago with the Republican presidential nominee, but then didn’t publish it, according to documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal and people familiar with the matter.”

Melania and Donald Trump

Karen McDougal, the 1998 Playmate of the Year, has told friends she was romantically involved with Trump in 2006. He was married to his current wife Melania at the time. The Journal’s sources said that McDougal expected her story to be published, but that AMI never intended to run it. From the beginning it was a means of killing a story that was potentially damaging to Trump’s presidential aspirations.

Imagine that. A sensationalistic supermarket tabloid declining to publish a sex-drenched scandal about a prominent public figure. It has all the elements of the model story for the Enquirer. But even after the Access Hollywood tapes were released and a dozen other women accused Trump of sexual harassment and/or assault, the Enquirer kept the lid on their blockbuster scoop. Why would they do that?

Maybe because David Pecker, publisher of the Enquirer, is a long-time personal friend of Trump and supports his candidacy. He has used his paper to advance Trump’s campaign and attack his opponents. For instance, the Enquirer published a story alleging that Ted Cruz’s father was an accomplice to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Another article purported to expose “Hillary Clinton’s Secret Health Crisis.”

On the other hand, the Enquirer published a series of glowing homages to Trump. These tributes were about, and written by, The Donald with the audacious title “The Man Behind the Legend.” And Trump returned the drooling adoration by publicly wondering why the skeevy tabloid never got a Pulitzer Prize.

The Enquirer denies that they deliberately bought McDougal’s story to kill it. They claim they were paying for her to write fitness columns and to appear on magazine covers. However, the paper never published a single column or photo of her during the two year term of the agreement. There was also an ambiguously worded provision granting AMI the exclusive rights to “any romantic, personal and/or physical relationship McDougal has ever had with any then-married man.” That certainly would have covered Donald Trump without the nastiness of saying so outright.

These are among the benefits of having a media entity in your pocket. You can get them to zealously praise you and to bitterly malign your foes. And you can also have them snatch up lingering problems from your sordid past and prevent them from ever seeing the light of day.

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

Donald Trump is fond of attacking the media in the most vile manner. He has literally made it dangerous to cover his campaign rallies. Many news organizations have had their press credentials revoked when they did something that displeased him. And prominent journalism organizations have condemned his overt threats to freedom of the press. But in his world the National Enquirer is a Pulitzer-worthy publisher that will come to his rescue when needed.

Fox News Airs Phony Footage Of Iran Funds Flight – And Donald Trump Falls For It

The Wall Street Journal recently published a story alleging to have uncovered a secret $400 million payment from the United States to Iran. Never mind that the payment was disclosed by the administration last January and was a settlement of a long standing financial dispute. The WSJ ignited a firestorm of frenzied conservatives falsely asserting that the money was a ransom paid to secure the release of Americans imprisoned in Iran.

Fox News

Among the right-wing media spinners that rushed to wield this story as a cudgel against President Obama and Hillary Clinton was, of course, Fox News. They aired a report that parroted the WSJ (also owned by Rupert Murdoch) along with video that Fox implied was of the transfer of American cash to the Iranians. There’s just one problem. The video was actually of a group of prisoners being released in Switzerland.

Not one to let a fake Fox News story go to waste, Donald Trump took to the stage in Daytona, Florida, to address the matter (video below). But he veered even further into a world of delusion as he unfolded a fable of espionage to which he alone was privy:

“I’ll never forget the scene this morning. Remember this: Iran – I don’t think you heard this anywhere but here – Iran provided all of that footage, the tape of taking that money off the airplane. Right? $400 million in cash. How does the President do that? How do you do that? We’re gonna send $400 million in cash, this is in cash, in currency.”

No, Donald, That’s not right. Iran didn’t take any of that footage, which was shot in Switzerland. And there was no cash in it at all. In fact, the claim that the U.S. loaded shipping palettes with cash was utterly false. Due to economic sanctions, the U.S. has no banking relationship with Iran. Therefore, the money was transferred to Swiss banks where it was converted by the them to currencies that they sent to Iran. Trump continued:

“Now, here’s the amazing thing: Over there, where that plane landed, top secret, you don’t have a lot of paparazzi. You know, the paparazzi doesn’t do so well over there, right? And they have a perfect tape, done by obviously a government camera, and the tape is of the people taking the money off the plane. Right? That means that in order to embarrass us further, Iran sent us the tapes. Right? It’s a military tape, it’s a tape that was a perfect angle, nice and steady, nobody getting nervous because they’re gonna be shot because they’re shooting a picture of money pouring off a plane.”

Once again, that is entirely wrong. Iran didn’t send us the tape, and it’s not from their military. So there was no attempt on their part to embarrass the U.S. There was no top secret landing since the entire affair was publicly disclosed by the government. This whole story is as fictional as Trump’s claim to have seen thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the fall of the World Trade Center towers. That never happened either.

So Trump invented a tale of intrigue wherein he observed a non-existent top secret video of Iranians receiving piles of cash from a clandestine American flight. And just to be clear, his spokesperson, Hope Hicks, was asked by the Washington Post if the video to which he was referring was the one that aired on Fox News. She responded “Yes,” it was “merely the B-roll footage included in every broadcast.” And since we know that that video was not shot in Iran, we also know that Trump’s entire account is pure fiction. Which makes it consistent with pretty much everything else that Trump says (see the Trump Bullshitopedia). and, for that matter, most of what appears 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.

UPDATE: Trump has now admitted that he never saw the video he claimed at least twice to have seen. He gave no explanation for why he falsely claimed to have seen a video that doesn’t exist.