Tag Archives: Fox News

Shepard Smith leaves Fox News … but how did it happen?

Let’s see if we can connect a few dots regarding Shepard Smith’s stunning departure as a lead anchor on the Fox News Channel.

  • Smith went on the air and bid farewell, thanking Fox for giving him the opportunity of a lifetime.
  • He has been critical of Donald Trump, while the network that employed him became a presidential favorite.
  • Smith’s departure apparently caught his colleagues by surprise. Business news anchor Neil Cavuto was stunned into speechlessness.

My thoughts: Was the anchor’s departure totally of his own volition? Was it totally as he presented it today on the air? I’m just asking here.

There seems to be a good bit more to this story than we’ve been told.

Whatever. Shepard Smith is a pro. He’s a first-class broadcast journalist. I am almost willing to bet real American money he ends up on another broadcast/cable network … soon!

Fox to POTUS: We don’t work for you!

I’m in a shout-out frame of mind.

Thus, I want to say “good show!” to some of Fox News Channel’s top guns for firing back at Donald Trump’s bitching about what he seems to suggest is a growing “disloyalty” among Fox News’s talking heads.

Longtime journalist Brit Hume brusquely told Trump: “We don’t work for you.” Indeed, the network does not work for Trump, although a few of its commentators occasionally act as if they do.

Trump, though, is griping about the news coverage that Fox is providing.

As The Daily Beast reported about Trump’s recent Twitter-tantrum: The president concluded by complaining that Fox News was “letting millions of GREAT people down” and that he needs to “start looking for a new News Outlet” since the one-time channel “isn’t working for us anymore!”

Fox does have some hard-nosed reporters and news anchors on its staff. I continue to hold up Chris Wallace, host of “Fox News Sunday.” It also has Shep Smith and Brett Baier on anchor desks during the week day.

I won’t offer any commentary on the alleged “work” done by, oh, Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, the “Fox & Friends” co-hosts, or Laura Ingraham. They all are full of opinions and express them regularly. They are entitled, certainly.

However, for Trump to suggest that a major news and opinion outlet should be “loyal” to him is disgusting and disgraceful beyond belief.

The pros at Fox are doing their job.

If only Donald Trump would realize the fundamental truth about Fox. The network might produce more “friendly” or “favorable” coverage than other news outlets, but it does not work for the president of the United States.

I’m glad to hear the Fox superstars pushing back on Donald Trump.

Et tu, Fox News Channel?

You can quibble till the paint dries about the quality of Fox News Channel’s political coverage. I do on occasion. The network that calls itself “fair and balance” is neither of those things.

However, news hands at FNC are capable of doing good work. They conduct public opinion polling on occasion that raises an eyebrow or two, such as a recent poll showing how Donald Trump matches up against his Democratic opponents.

The most recent Fox poll shows the president, for instance, trailing former Vice President Joe Biden by a margin well outside the margin of error.

The president’s response? He went after the “friendly” network, suggesting it has gone to the dark side by casting him in a negative light. The poll has him “losing big to Sleepy Joe,” Trump said on Twitter.

Good grief, dude. Take a rest from the Twitter machine. I mean, you’ve got important work to do. You are seeking to make America great again, isn’t that right, Mr. President? These constant Twitter tirades make America laughable.

As for what the polls are saying more than a year away from the next election, I’ll answer with two words: President Dukakis.

In 1988, polling had the Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis about 17 points ahead of Vice President George H.W. Bush heading into that year’s election campaign season. The election, um, didn’t turn out that way … you know?

Don’t misunderstand me. I do not want Trump to turn those polls around. If anything, I hope whoever he faces next fall widens the gap and trounces the incumbent badly. He needs to back to … wherever.

So, the president needs to chill out. Get to work. Quit busying yourself with idiotic tweets and assorted blathering about polls with which you disagree.

Shut up, Lou Dobbs!

Lou Dobbs doesn’t know what he’s talking about when he calls American general-grade officers “snowflakes.”

The Fox News business correspondent/talking head stepped in it with a comment about the generals’ opposition to the militarization of the Fourth of July celebration set for tonight in the nation’s capital.

“No wonder” they haven’t won a war since 1991, Dobbs wrote on Twitter, which lit up in return over Dobbs’ ridiculous bloviation.

Dobbs takes heat

Just for giggles, I sought to look up Dobbs’ background and came up empty in the hunt for any military experience. I am not suggesting that military critics who didn’t serve are not qualified to offer criticism of the brass. I am suggesting, though, that service in the military might have tempered Dobbs’ statements about the brass’ opposition to what Donald Trump is seeking to do with the nation’s tradition of honoring its independence.

And what, therefore, does the commander in chief think of the criticism from the ranks?

For his part, the president has been tweeting all day, apparently, about the thrill of seeing the finest military hardware on Earth while the nation commemorates its independence from colonial rule in the late 18th century.

What I should tell readers here, given Dobbs’ apparent lack of understanding of these matters, is that the military high command dislikes being used for political purposes. The men and women who serve do so to protect the nation, not to be used as props.

The generals’ opposition is not a matter of “snowflake” sensibilities. It’s a matter of understanding the mission of the world’s mightiest military establishment.

Get a grip, Lou Dobbs. Stick to business reporting and steer far away from — dare I say it? — “fake news.”

Here is what POTUS could have said

I am among the last people on Earth who Donald Trump would ask for advice, but I’ll offer a bit of unsolicited advice anyway.

Trump sat this week in front of rows of graves at Normandy, the site of the epic World War II invasion and battle that sealed the doom of the Third Reich. Fox News interviewer Laura Ingraham asked him some questions about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former special counsel Robert Mueller.

Ingraham was looking to push Trump’s hot button. He took the bait. He swallowed it whole and proceeded to dishonor the men buried behind him by offering a blistering partisan critique of Mueller and Pelosi. He said Mueller “made a fool of himself,” and called Pelosi a “disaster.”

Had the president asked me how to handle such a loaded set of questions, I would have counseled he say the following:

That’s a good question, Laura. However, I am not going to answer it now. Not here. Not in the presence of the men buried behind me.

I came to Normandy to honor the heroism of our brave fighting men and their comrades from Great Britain, Canada, France and many other nations involved in that great war.

I am going to speak very soon at a ceremony attended by some of the men who survived that horrible conflict on the beaches here. I don’t want to sully that event with a partisan commentary on matters back at home. 

It’s been said that “politics ends at the water’s edge.” A great Republican senator, Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan, offered that bit of wisdom. I intend to follow it here.

Now, if you want to ask me about the commemoration we are offering here, I’ll be glad to answer that.

Politics? Let’s wait until we get home. OK?

The president didn’t say that. If only he could understand the solemnity of the moment and appreciate the sacrifice of the men who died in defense of our way of life.

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.