Tag Archives: Fox News

Trump salutes ‘great friends’ at Fox

Take all the time you need to come up with an answer to this question: When was the last time you heard a president of the United States salute his “great friends” at a major mainstream media organization?

I know. You can’t remember it. Neither can I.

Yet there he was at an Iowa campaign rally, hollering about all his “great friends” at the Fox News Channel, which has become a sort of de facto state-run media outlet. Fox News is the preferred cable news and commentary network of Donald Trump. Why? Because its commentary gives the president a pass — virtually — on all the mistakes, missteps, misstatements and miscues he commits on a daily basis. Fox doesn’t call the president out on all the lies he tells, nor does it question the policy decisions he makes.

So the president has “great friends” there. He cited Jeannine Pirro, Lou Dobbs, Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Steve Doocy and how they use the term “Dims” to describe Democrats. Funny, huh? Aww, not really.

The media aren’t supposed to be “friends” with politicians, let alone with presidents of the United States. They are charged with asking tough questions, of holding public officials accountable for their actions and rhetoric. Every president prior to Donald Trump has recognized that necessary role the media play in maintaining the strength of our system of government.

This guy, Trump? He labels tough questioners to be purveyors of “fake news” and relies on the feel-good “reporting” he gets from his “friends at Fox News.”

Very weird, man.

Let’s call him ‘Slippery Mitch’

In the spirit of Donald J. Trump’s knack for attaching pejorative nicknames on certain politicians, I want to hang a label on the U.S. Senate majority leader.

Let’s call him “Slippery Mitch” McConnell.

Oh, my. The fellow is hard to pin down, no matter how direct the questioning becomes. Consider what happened this morning on “Fox News Sunday.”

The program moderator Chris Wallace sought to ask McConnell whether the Senate would consider a U.S. Supreme Court nomination in 2020 if one were to become available. Why did Wallace pose the question? Because McConnell blocked then-President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland in 2016 after the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

McConnell said the president shouldn’t be allowed to pick a justice in an election year. He prevented Garland from getting a hearing before the Senate.

But, Wallace wondered … what about 2020, when we’ll have another presidential election?

McConnell wouldn’t answer Wallace’s direct question, which was whether he would proceed with a confirmation process if Donald Trump nominated someone in 2020. McConnell then tossed out the notion that he blocked Obama’s nomination of Garland on the fact that the Senate was led by a party that differed from the president.

Wallace picked up on McConnell’s change of motivation and wanted to know if that rule still applied, given that both the Senate and the presidency could be controlled by Republicans.

McConnell still refused to answer the question, casting it as a hypothetical.

Wallace grills McConnell

And … so it goes on and on.

None of this is a surprise. Politicians by their nature are prone to slip and slide away from direct questions … which I reckon explains why the media and others are so quick to praise those rare politicians who are willing to speak directly and candidly.

“Slippery Mitch” McConnell has shown just how elusive an experienced pol can become.

‘Even the playing field,’ Mr. President? Really?

Donald John Trump offered a straightforward answer to a direct question from a Fox News questioner about why he felt the need to mock a woman who accused a Supreme Court nominee of sexual assault.

Trump told Jeannine Pirro that he felt the need to “even the playing field” because of Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation that Justice Brett Kavanaugh assaulted her when they were teenagers.

Really, Mr. President? You had to use this woman’s allegation as a campaign rally punch line?

He disgraced himself yet again. Sure, Kavanaugh was confirmed by the Senate, has taken his oath of office and will start hearing arguments this week as member of the highest court in the land.

However, the president’s participation in this political debate arguably was one of many “lowest moments” of his term in office.

The president felt some need to denigrate a woman who had leveled a serious accusation. Indeed, he earlier had urged that Ford get a fair hearing and said her allegation needed to be examined with extreme care and deliberation.

Trump scores victory

Then he flew off the rails with that ghastly rant.

He needed to “even the playing field” … or so Trump said.

There were many other ways to accomplish that goal than to do what he did at that campaign rally, drawing hoots, hollers and huzzahs from the crowd gathered in front of him.

His response, as it usually is, sounded so “unpresidented.”

Why the mention of ‘Fox News’?

Is it me or do others hear the same thing from our friends and family members who like to invoke the name of “Fox News” whenever they refer to hearing something on the mainstream media.

I keep getting this specific media reference when the person with whom I am speaking about the news of the day.

You know what I’m talking about, yes?

You’re talking to someone about, oh, a particular event. It might have something to do with politics of public policy; or … it might not. The person to whom you are talking will say, “I heard something on Fox News about that … ”

The Fox News reference might be relevant. So many times, though, it is irrelevant. It lends nothing to whatever discussion is taking place. I generally feel no need to mention the source of whatever item I heard on cable or broadcast TV news networks.

But, hey, that’s just me … I guess.

To be candid, this kind of gratuitous mention of “Fox News” is about as relevant as the individual who says: “I was walking down the street and this colored guy waved at me.”

Do you get where I’m going with this?

It’s as if the Fox News devotees are trying to validate something about their broadcast/cable TV watching preferences. Or, it might be that my friends and family members — knowing that I do not watch Fox News — are trying to get under my skin.

I’m not irritated. I’m just, oh, curious.

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.