Tag Archives: Fox News

No, Sen. Paul . . . it is not time to investigate former president

I want to direct this brief post to U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.

Sen. Paul, please give up this notion of dragging former President Obama into the Russia matter involving Donald J. Trump.

The special counsel has concluded that the president’s campaign team did not collude with Russians who attacked our electoral system in 2016. That part of the probe is over.

Now, though, you say it’s time for Congress to examine what role Obama allegedly played in prompting the investigation. Good grief, man! Obama is out of office. What do you think you’re going to gain from examining it now?

Obama got word in 2016 of the FBI looking at potential Russian interference, but was advised to keep it quiet because of potential blowback as it being an effort to help Hillary Clinton. Who advised him to keep quiet? Sen. Mitch McConnell, your fellow Kentuckian.

Oh, and I chuckle at your citing some Twitter post from Kimberly Guilfoyle, the former Fox News personality, who has said it is time to examine the circumstances that pre-date Trump taking the presidential oath.

Why chuckle? Guilfoyle is dating Don Trump Jr., the president’s loudmouth eldest son. She is hardly an impartial bystander.

I am left to shake my head and mutter, “big . . . deal.”

POTUS demands Fox bring back the judge . . . imagine that

You would think the president of the United States would have a plate that overflows with crises that demand his undivided attention, that he would have no time to burst out Twitter tirades railing against the “fake news” media and other imagined enemies.

But no-o-o-o!

Not this guy.

Donald J. Trump fires off a Twitter message that reads, in part:

Bring back @JudgeJeanine Pirro. The Radical Left Democrats, working closely with their beloved partner, the Fake News Media, is using every trick in the book to SILENCE a majority of our Country. They have all out campaigns against @FoxNews hosts who are doing too well.

Fox condemned Pirro for remarks she made about Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Muslim elected to Congress in 2018 from Minnesota. Pirro said Omar favors teaching Sharia law in classrooms. Why? Because she wears a hijab.

Fox issued a strongly worded statement condemning Pirro’s utterance. She’s been off the air for about a week.

So then Donald Trump enters the fray, demanding that Fox return Pirro to the air.

C’mon, Mr. President! Focus your attention — to the extent that are able — on issues that matter. A media outlet’s personnel decision is its to make.

You, sir, have matters of state that should concern you.

Rookie congresswoman elevated to star status

The Onion is a brilliantly written satire of current events. It is so brilliant that one might actually be inclined to believe its content is true. It isn’t.

Still, the publication has produced something that might as well be true, given the conservative media’s fixation with a rookie Democratic congresswoman from New York City.

The Onion “reports” that Fox News has launched a new premium channel that devotes 24/7 coverage of U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, aka AOC, the well-known (already) socialist who represents a New York City congressional district. Ocasio-Cortez made a big splash in the spring of 2018 when she defeated longtime Rep. Joseph Crowley in the Democratic Party primary; Crowley was considered a potential speaker candidate and already was a member of the Democratic caucus leadership in the House of Representatives.

Ocasio-Cortez was the main attraction at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference, with right-wing pundits and pols standing at the podium pontificating on how she wants to destroy the American way of life.

Yep. This freshman member of the House — one of 435 members of the lower legislative chamber — is going to dismember the American economic and political superstructure all by her lonesome.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are ascribing way too much power to an individual who doesn’t deserve it. She hasn’t earned it. She is a loudmouthed congressional newbie who has managed to capture the attention of the right wing and has ingratiated herself with the far left of her own Democratic Party.

She isn’t the bogeywoman the far right calls her.

Still, I am amazed, astonished and astounded at the attention she is attracting from those who detest her politics. By demonizing her in the manner that they are doing they are elevating her profile to a far greater level than she deserves.

Give her time. She might eventually earn the iconic status some have bestowed on her. Or . . . she might flame out.

Leave it to The Onion, though, to highlight the far right’s goofy fixation with AOC.

WH communications chief: worst job in D.C.

I have determined that the worst job in Washington, D.C., is one that should be the most fun. It is the White House communications director.

Bill Shine is leaving that post in the Donald J. Trump administration. Shine is the fifth individual to have served as communications director in the two years of Trump’s time as president.

Let’s see, I can think of Hope Hicks, Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci . . . OK, I’ve lost track of the rest of them prior to Shine.

I just know that there have been five of them. Who’s next? Who in the world would want the job?

It’s being reported that Shine — a former protégé of the late Roger Ailes, the founder of Fox News — had fallen out of favor with the president in the weeks prior to his sudden resignation; he is going to work as a senior adviser to the Trump re-election campaign.

I guess evidence of Shine’s lack of input into Trump’s communication strategy must rest in that hideous rambling rant the president gave a week ago at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Trump set a presidential speech record, blabbing unscripted for 2 hours, 2 minutes at CPAC. It was, to put it bluntly, a ghastly performance.

Do you think Shine had any say in that demonstration of Donald Trump at his worst? I do not think so.

The question then becomes: Who in the world would ever want to take on the job of managing this president’s communications strategy? This individual, the president, is unmanageable. He is incoherent and he is incorrigible.

Yep, this is what Donald Trump calls his “fine-tuned machine.”

Yikes.

Trump keeps making media the ‘story’

I long have considered it a terrible journalistic sin for the media to become part of the story they are covering.

I worked in the media for nearly four decades and I managed over that span of time to steer clear of any discussion of an issue I was covering. Occasionally an organization that employed me would get entangled in the story; they would manage to wriggle themselves free.

The Age of Trump has produced an entirely different dynamic.

He labels the media the “enemy of the people.” His followers buy into it. They demonstrate in front of cable, broadcast and print reporters seeking only to do their job.

It’s getting weird to watch the news these days and hear all these references to cable networks involved so deeply in the covering of current events. For instance:

  • Fox News Channel has been banned from Democratic primary presidential debates because it has become a virtual arm of the Trump administration. Its commentators are known to be in constant communication with Donald Trump, reportedly offering policy advice to the president.
  • CNN, MSNBC are on the other end of the spectrum. Their commentators take great delight in chastising their colleagues at Fox. Meanwhile, Fox fires back at their competitors/colleagues. Oh, and the president hangs “fake news” labels on all media that report news that he finds disagreeable.

It all reminds of an athletic event where the attention turns to the referee. You want to concentrate on the athletes, not the individuals who discern whether they’re breaking the rules.

We’re concentrating increasingly on the media reporting of the issues at hand, and less so on the actual issues that are being discussed.

It’s a distressing trend that appears — to my way of thinking — to have no possible exit for the media.

It’s no longer ‘Shine’-ing in WH communications office

Bill Shine is gone from the White House communications office.

He’s the fifth such communications director to come and go in little more than two years of the Donald Trump administration.

What gives here?

Shine is moving to the Trump re-election campaign as a senior adviser. He gets to spend more time with his family, or so it’s been reported.

As for the communications operation, well . . . this White House needs one. Badly. Bigly. Whatever. However, it doesn’t exist.

No more Shine at WH

It’s fair to ask: Does the president want a communications operation? He damn sure needs one, given the chaos and confusion that emanates daily — if not hourly — from the White House.

Tradition has been tossed into the crapper by this president. One traditional item involves a communications office that coordinates the message being delivered by the White House. It ain’t happening with this operation.

The president sends out a Twitter message communicating policy on a whim and an impulse. The communications office is caught flat-footed, unable to catch up with what Trump is saying.

Shine came aboard after serving a stint as an executive with the Fox News Channel, the president’s media outlet of choice. I guess Shine’s Fox connection wasn’t enough to keep him at his new White House post for very long.

The word is that Trump and Shine never really developed much of a bond. Imagine that. Near as I can tell, the president doesn’t develop personal bonds with anyone who’s not named “Trump” or who is not married to someone with a Trump name.

Whatever future awaits this president, the smart money now suggests that Donald Trump well might be his own communications director.

Oh . . . brother. This’ll be fun to watch.

Trump, Fox News form frightening alliance

Presidents of the United States have enjoyed cordial relationships with the media over the past 200 years of our republic.

John F. Kennedy was pals with Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee. Ronald Reagan and Walter Cronkite were known to be quite friendly. There have been others, too.

Have any of them, though, sought actual policy advice from media pundits the way Donald J. Trump has reportedly done with Fox News Channel anchors and other on-air personalities?

There is a certain strangeness that crosses the line into frightening about the Trump-Fox relationship. It is unseemly, particularly given the “fake news” tag the president plasters on other news organizations, be they print or broadcast.

This peculiar alliance has prompted the Democratic National Committee to ban Fox from hosting any of the planned Democratic primary presidential debates coming up later this year. DNC chairman Tom Perez made it clear: Fox has become entirely too intertwined with the Trump administration to be considered a fair and impartial media organization. So the DNC won’t allow Fox to participate in the party’s series of debates.

When a Fox News talking head, Sean Hannity, takes the microphone at a Trump campaign-style rally, he crosses the line from an ostensible “journalist” to becoming a campaign flack.

There can be little doubt, therefore, about the correctness of the DNC decision to shut Fox News out of the party’s nominating process.

POTUS to block ‘fake news’ outlets? No can do

Oh, please, Mr. President. You cannot do what you are threatening to do.

Just because the Democratic National Committee chairman, Tom Perez, has decided that Fox News is too much in bed with you and your administration and has ruled that Fox cannot host any Democratic primary debates this coming year, you cannot invoke the power of your high office to retaliate.

Really, Mr. President? The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution expressly forbids that kind of interference from the government in the affairs of a free press. Really. It’s in there, Mr. President.

Tom Perez’s gambit falls outside the constitutional prohibition of such activity, given that the Constitution doesn’t even mention political parties.

What you are threatening to do, sir, flies directly in the face of what the founders intended when they provided specific protections for a private enterprise known as the “free press.” It’s the only such protection written into the Constitution. You would do well to read it, grasp what it means and stop this idiotic tit-for-tat game you’re playing with the media.

But I get that it plays well with your base. They love the grandstanding, the posturing, the hyperbole. They think you’re “telling it like it is.”

Actually, Mr. President, you’re telling it like you believe it is. Since your true believers agree with you, that’s all that matters to you.

Settle down, sir. Just stop that idiotic relationship with Fox News. Stop calling Sean Hannity and asking him for policy advice. He doesn’t know enough about the real world to give you any counsel that’s worth a damn as it is.

DNC slams door in Fox News’s face

This story gives me a mild case of dyspepsia.

I’ll struggle through it and suggest, though, that the Democratic National Committee is rightfully angry with the Fox News Channel. Thus, the DNC has decided that Fox News will not play host to any of the party’s presidential joint appearances scheduled for this year and next.

The other major cable and broadcast networks will be allowed to present questions to the candidates during their debates. Fox, though, is out of the game.

The DNC is angry over Fox’s amazing relationship with the president of the United States, Donald J. Trump. Indeed, the president himself has cozied up to the network’s prime-time and early-morning stars by showering gratuitous praise on them while denigrating and disparaging the work done by the other so-called “fake news” outlets.

Trump has become a semi-regular guest on Sean Hannity’s talk show, allowing Hannity to slobber all over himself in praise of the president. To be honest, I find it shameful that Hannity has been allowed to grovel as he does at the president’s feet. He even took the microphone at a Trump campaign-style rally a while back, interjecting himself directly into a partisan event.

“Fox & Friends,” the network’s early-morning gabfest has been shameless in its fawning over Trump. The president reciprocates to his pals, most notably Steve Doocy, one of “F&F”‘s co-hosts.

DNC Chairman Tom Perez has declared that Fox has become a de facto arm of the Trump administration. Therefore, the DNC has determined that the network cannot be a fair and impartial participant in activities relating to the Democratic Party’s presidential nominating process.

According to The Hill: In a statement, Fox News senior vice president and Managing Editor Bill Sammon said the network hoped the DNC would reconsider, citing the network’s journalists Chris Wallace, Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, “all of whom embody the ultimate journalistic integrity and professionalism.”

“They’re the best debate team in the business and they offer candidates an important opportunity to make their case to the largest TV news audience in America, which includes many persuadable voters,” Sammon said in an emailed statement.
I’ll acknowledge that this decision troubles me. Fox does have some first-class journalists who do good work for the network. They are being undermined and undercut by their bosses and by their colleagues at Fox who pander shamelessly at the feet of the president.

My indigestion will go away over time. If only Fox would recognize the mistake it makes when it allows its on-air personalities to act as if they are on the government payroll.

An abuse of presidential power?

I want to share a brief item posted on Facebook by Robert Reich, a fiery critic of Donald J. Trump. Reich writes:

Another impeachable offense. Trump personally tried to block AT&T’s merger with Time Warner as retribution for CNN’s coverage of him, according to a new report. In meetings with his advisors, he demanded that the Department of Justice’s antitrust division to stop the merger. The move would have also been a huge victory for Rupert Murdoch, who owns Fox News and viewed the AT&T-Time Warner as a threat to his business.

If these reports turn out to be true, this would be a clear violation of the First Amendment’s protection of freedom of the press — conspiring to block a merger for the sole purpose of limiting press coverage. We must not become inured to this unconstitutional behavior.

What do we make of that? Reich, a former labor secretary during the Clinton administration, believes the president of the United States has interceded in direct violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

We’ve been hearing a lot in recent days and weeks about “conspiracy to obstruct justice,” about “alleged collusion with Russian operatives” who attacked our electoral system.

We now might start hearing more chatter about “abuse of presidential power.”

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee has launched an expansive investigation into an array of questions regarding Donald Trump’s conduct as president of the United States.

The committee’s agenda is overflowing.