Tag Archives: Fox News

A new context for ‘America, love it or leave it’?

I cannot quite get past the statement that Laura Ingraham made about immigration and the changing demographics that are being “foisted” on Americans who, like her, don’t like what those changes are bringing.

Ingraham is a noted conservative talk show host and a regular on the Fox News Channel. Her comments have drawn a good bit of criticism from those who accuse her of race-baiting.

Then comes this from CNN’s Chris Cuomo, who blasted Ingraham on his own TV program. “To turn a phrase back on our us-versus-them friends — if you don’t like what America is, you leave,” Cuomo said on his show “Prime Time.”

Read The Hill’s story here.

Do you get the irony in that statement?

A couple of generations ago, when Americans were protesting the Vietnam War, political conservatives bellowed to the hippies, yippies and other far-left protesters that they should leave the country if they disliked it so much.

“America, love it or leave it!” they shouted at them.

What I’m hearing now is that the “love it or leave it” mantra now has become the battle cry of those on the left to hurl angrily at those on the right.

Fantastic, man!

‘What wars have we started?’

Allow me to throw a bouquet at Chris Wallace, the host of “Fox News Sunday,” who this morning asked national security adviser John Bolton a most pertinent question.

“What wars have we (the media) started,” Wallace asked Bolton, who — quite expectedly — dodged the question, avoided giving a direct answer.

The question came from a tweet fired off this morning by Donald J. Trump, who said the following:

The Fake News hates me saying that they are the Enemy of the People only because they know it’s TRUE. I am providing a great service by explaining this to the American People. They purposely cause great division & distrust. They can also cause War! They are very dangerous & sick!

The danger and sickness, allow me to respond, are coming from the president of the United States, whose Twitter messages are sounding increasingly hysterical and detached from reality.

According to The Hill: “That’s the president’s view, based on the attacks the media has made,” Bolton responded, citing past administrations that have clashed with the media.

“I think this kind of adversarial relationship is typical,” he added.

What is not typical is for the president of the United States to accuse the media of potentially causing “war” by offering critical analysis and commentary of public policy.

Scary, man!

Media have become part of ‘the story’

I long have hated the notion of the media becoming part of the story they are covering. Yet that’s what is happening in the current tumult involving Donald J. Trump, the “enemy of the people” and those in the media who love taking pot shots at each other.

CNN White House reporter Jim Acosta, a frequent target of the president’s barbs, fired off this tweet aimed at competitor Sean Hannity, a commentator at Fox News:

Hannity is a propagandist for profit, peddling lies every night. He says he’s just a talk show host, not a journalist. But he’s injecting poison into the nation’s political bloodstream warping public attitudes about the press. I’m confident in the long run the truth will prevail.

Never mind that I happen to agree with Acosta. Hannity is every bit the “propagandist” that Acosta calls him. He is riddled with conflicts of interest, given his professional relationship with Trump’s former confidant, Michael Cohen, and his continuing personal friendship with the president himself.

But, I digress. No need to rehash what you know to be the obvious, which is that I detest Hannity.

Still, I do not like the notion of the media becoming the story in and of themselves. I am a rather old-fashioned sort of guy. I prefer the media simply cover the story to which they are assigned. Report the news. If the subject of their coverage objects to the tone, the tenor or the timing of the story, let ’em rant. Don’t respond. Don’t fire back.

Of course, Trump has ratcheted up the criticism to an unacceptable level. This idiotic mantra about the media being the “enemy of the people” is unhealthy, unAmerican, unpatriotic and totally unacceptable. And for this president, the purveyor in chief of lies and prevarication, to blame others for reporting “fake news” gives hypocrisy a bad name.

That all said, the nature of the media’s role as watchdogs for the public has evolved to a form that makes me quite uncomfortable.

POTUS seeks to control news information flow

Donald J. Trump’s reported anger over first lady Melania Trump’s desire to watch CNN aboard Air Force One brings to mind a curious conversation I had with a key staffer who worked for U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry, a Clarendon Republican who represents the 13th Congressional District of Texas.

Trump wants all the TVs on the presidential jet to be tuned to Fox News, his favorite news/commentary network. He considers CNN and other news networks to be purveyors of “fake news.” What makes ’em “fake”? They report news the president deems to be negative. I presume he’s issued the same edict for the TV sets throughout the White House.

So, negativity equals “fake news.” Got it?

OK, back to my conversation with the Thornberry staffer.

We were visiting some years ago. I was working for the Amarillo Globe-News. This individual was talking about a news report she heard. She then told me in a hushed voice over the phone that she heard the report “on NPR.”

Oh, my! Heaven forbid! A staffer for a conservative Republican member of Congress would get her news from National Public Radio! She didn’t want it heard, I guess, by her fellow staffers that she was listening to NPR.

I laughed at her over the phone. She happens to be a friend and we have had a very constructive and productive professional relationship over the years.

I was able to needle her about NPR and the myth that the publicly funded radio network was somehow a progressive mouthpiece for left-leaning politicians.

It isn’t. Public radio reporters and other staffers have informed me over the years about how they were schooled in the manner they should describe public policy. For instance, one NPR news hound informed that the Affordable Care Act would not be referred to on the air as a “reform” measure; “reform” connoted an improvement over the current system. The term that NPR reporters were instructed to use is “overhaul.”

Are we clear? Good!

Fox News: state media outfit?

What’s up with this?

Donald J. Trump reportedly became angry with staffers aboard Air Force One because they were watching CNN on the presidential jet. Why, he insists on them watching Fox News, the president’s news/commentary network of choice.

He continues to lambaste media outlets that report goings on in the manner that they should, with facts and critical analysis. His favorite network, Fox, continues to slobber all over the president’s shoes (figuratively, of course) while offering nothing but “positive” coverage of his every statement and deed.

Anything negative is deemed “fake news.” Amazing, given that the president is the godfather of “fake news,” as he promoted the lie that Barack Obama was not constitutionally qualified to run for president of the United States. It was that “birther” thing, remember?

So, are we to presume that the president is creating a form of de facto state media?

I believe the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says the government must not interfere in any fashion with a “free press” doing its job.

Whoopi vs. The Judge

I didn’t watch Whoopi Goldberg and Jeanine Pirro plunge daggers into each other’s backs in real time. I caught up with it later.

I am filled with a couple of thoughts I want to share.

First, Goldberg has established herself on “The View,” a network TV show she co-hosts, as an ardent, vehement and feverish opponent of Donald J. Trump. Accordingly, Pirro — a former New York judge — has staked out her role on Fox News as an equally ardent, vehement and feverish supporter of the president.

“The View” invited Pirro on the show to discuss, I presume, the state of affairs regarding the president.

Didn’t anyone on the show — or on Pirro’s staff, for that matter — anticipate that these two foes/enemies would end their confrontation in such a heated manner? Had it occurred to anyone, they might have thought better of inviting this kind of rage to present itself … on daytime television!

Check it out here.

Goldberg should be ashamed of herself for treating a guest on the show in the manner that she did. However, I won’t join the right-wing media campaign to persuade ABC-TV to fire Goldberg and/or cancel “The View.”

But if there was any demonstration of the state of our political discourse these days, it revealed itself on a talk show that over the years has been a breeding ground for the co-hosts and their guests to vent their visceral anger at each other in ways that give “political debate” a bad name.

Let’s settle down.

Conversation (continued) …

I’ve told you already about a fellow I met the other morning. We covered a lot of ground in the 10 or 12 minutes we chatted.

It centered mostly on the congressional hearing involving FBI agent Peter Strzok and his role in the Robert Mueller investigation into the “Russia thing.”

He mentioned he has been retired for 20 years. Then he asked me if I was retired. “Yes,” I said. “I’m a retired journalist. I was a member of the ‘Mainstream Media,'” I added.

He nodded. “Ahhh, that explains why you’re a liberal,” he said.

I stopped him. “No, sir. My job didn’t define me. My inherent bias is what informs my world view,” I told him.

He had described himself as a “libertarian,” who wasn’t aligned with Democrats or Republicans.

It dawned on me a long time ago, but his assumption that my more progressive/liberal tendencies are a result of my occupation drives home a key point.

Conservatives are winning the war of ideologies. They have succeeded in tarring media representatives and outlets as inherently “liberal.” The “liberal media” get blamed for all that is wrong with journalism.

My own view of the term “mainstream media,” though takes a different approach. I long have considered the “mainstream media” to be a much more diverse bunch than the way conservatives label them. I include many conservative-leaning outlets among members of the “mainstream media”: Fox News, The Weekly Standard, The National Review all belong to the MSM; I also might throw in Breitbart News just to get folks’ pulse to race a bit.

Indeed, I worked for three newspaper groups with ownership that was decidedly not liberal in its outlook. Scripps League Newspapers was run by an elderly scion from the E.W. Scripps newspaper empire; then I went to work for the Hearst Corp., another right-leaning outfit; my career ended while working for Morris Communications, which was a far-right-leaning organization led by a man who is the product of the “old South,” if you get my drift.

The media are as diverse as any other craft.

The gentleman with whom I had this exchange over the weekend likely didn’t intend to paint us all with such a broad brush … but he did.

I don’t yet know if I’ll see him again. If I do, I might take the time to inform him of my own view of what comprises the “mainstream media.”

I suppose I could ask him: If the “liberal mainstream media” are so powerful and pervasive, how do all those conservatives keep getting elected to public office?

Connecting some dots inside the White House

I feel like connecting a few dots. So … here goes.

The 2016 Republican Party presidential nominee was revealed in a decade-old recording boasting about how he could grab women by their “pu***” because his status as a “star” gave him license.

The nominee, Donald John Trump, was elected president.

He declares war on media outlets that he finds disagreeable. He calls them “fake news” and then submits to interviews almost exclusively with Fox News, which was run by the late Roger Ailes.

Ailes, meanwhile, gets hit with complaints of sexual harassment by a number of high-profile female journalists; Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson are two of them.

Ailes gets the boot. But his No. 2 man, Bill Shine, stands with him and allegedly covers up for the boss.

Then, just this week, Shine — who left Fox News — has been named deputy White House chief of staff in charge of communications.

So, we have the president — who has a history of sexual harassment complaints leveled against him by many women — hires a guy with a sexual harassment history of his own. The White House underling is now director of communications for the administration.

It’s fair to wonder about Trump’s values. He never rails against accusations of sexual harassment. He defends those against whom these complaints are leveled; he called former Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly — who also faced such accusations — a “good man.”

Trump reportedly takes a dim view of the “Me Too” and “Time’s Up” movements, believing that the women who make accusations against powerful men are off base.

Oh, and then his former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, paid Stormy Daniels $130,000 in hush money to keep quiet about a tryst that Trump says never happened.

What do you suppose is the common denominator here? Let’s see. I think it’s boorish behavior toward women, which appears to have Donald Trump’s fingerprints all over it.

‘These aren’t our kids’

Brian Kilmeade needs a serious whuppin’.

The “Fox & Friends” co-host said this today while defending Donald J. Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, which the president ostensibly ended with an executive order that stops the practice of yanking kids from their parents along the southern border of our nation.

“Like it or not, these aren’t our kids. Show them compassion, but it’s not like he’s doing this to the people of Idaho or Texas. These are people from another country and now people are saying that they’re more important than people in our country who are paying taxes and who have needs as well.”

Let’s hold the phone, dear reader. Time out! Take a breath and digest what this clown has said on national TV.

Has anyone, ever hinted, implied or suggested — let alone say it out loud — that the young immigrants at the center of this immigration firestorm are “more important than people in our country”?

Kilmeade was trying to make some sort of cheap point, I reckon, when he blurted out that misstatement.

It is false. It is yet another lie. He has demonized in one of the most hideous examples we’ve heard in all this tumult the critics of the Trump administration policy that has swept the entire globe.

If the president is going to go after the mainstream media for telling lies, right there is a glittering example of “fake news.”

R.I.P., Dr. Krauthammer

It didn’t take long after all.

Charles Krauthammer, the noted newspaper columnist and commentator for Fox News, announced on June 8 that he only had “weeks to live” after receiving a grim prognosis on his valiant battle against cancer.

Today, Fox announced that Krauthammer lost his fight. He died at age 68 of abdominal cancer. I am saddened in the extreme to hear this news.

Dr. Krauthammer was a Renaissance man in the purest sense. He obtained a medical degree from Harvard University and was a practicing psychiatrist when he decided to enter politics. He went to work in the Carter administration, where he wrote speeches for Vice President Walter Mondale.

Then he gravitated toward journalism. His ideology drifted to the right and he became one of the nation’s premier conservative columnists. He wrote with precision and clarity. Dr. Krauthammer signed on with The Washington Post — and then was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for the commentary he wrote for the newspaper.

I was proud to run his column in the Amarillo Globe-News for all the years I worked at the newspaper. I’ve noted already that although I didn’t subscribe to his world view, I recognize great writing and clear thinking when I see it. Dr. Krauthammer provided both with his commentary — and I always enjoyed reading his work, thinking often at the time, “Damn! I wish I could write like that.”

American journalism has lost a significant voice. Charles Krauthammer was one of the great ones.