Tag Archives: Fox News

Hannity fluffs a basic tenet

Sean Hannity’s backside is in a bit of a sling for a reason that could have been dodged with a simple declaration. It would have been a painless admission.

The Fox News commentator was revealed this week to be a “secret client” of Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, the guy who’s been involved up to his armpits in a sleazy tryst that the president allegedly had with Stormy Daniels, a porn star.

The conflict? Well, Hannity has spent a lot of air time on TV and the radio defending Cohen and Donald Trump.

And … he never disclosed that he had a professional relationship with Cohen. He never told his viewers of his clear conflict of interest. Hannity never thought it was necessary to put his defense of Cohen and the president in anything resembling a proper context.

I get that Hannity isn’t a trained journalist. He does participate in a form of opinion broadcast journalism with his nightly TV commentary show and his syndicated radio show. Thus, Hannity should be forced to operate under the rules of conduct that journalists are obligated to follow when they report or comment on the news of the day.

A simple declaration at the front end of every broadcast that features a defense of Michael Cohen and Donald Trump would be a simple task to perform.

One more thing: To its great discredit, the Fox News Channel says it stands by Hannity. The network that actually does employ legitimate broadcast journalists doesn’t see where its right-wing superstar has gone wrong.

Shameful.

Behar apologizes to faith community … good for her!

You think you “know” someone based on what they say on the air … and then they surprise you.

Loudmouth comedian/TV talk show co-host Joy Behar had popped off on “The View” not long ago about how Vice President Mike Pence hears wisdom from Jesus Christ. She said Pence must suffer from some sort of “mental illness” if he hears voices from the Lord himself.

Behar’s comment at the time offended people of faith across the land. I was one of those offended and said so in an earlier blog post.

‘Comedian’ crosses a sacred line

Then we hear from Pence, who told Fox News’s Sean Hannity that Behar had called him immediately after her ill-advised snarkiness and apologized to him for her remarks. Pence told Hannity that as a devout Christian, he extended God’s grace to Behar and accepted her apology, but then said he told her she ought to apologize to millions of other Americans of faith for her comment.

What do you suppose Behar did this morning? She apologized. On the air.  On a segment of “The View.” What’s more, she didn’t offer one of those phony “If I offended anyone” non-apologies. She didn’t try to explain anything. She didn’t say “That’s not who I am.” She apologized. Period.

We live in a strange time, folks.

I am not yet certain that Joy Behar quite understands how faithful individuals receive guidance from Scripture. She likely doesn’t quite get how that guidance doesn’t come in the form of audible voices. The very issue of faith is deeper than that.

The vice president is a man of deep faith and as a devoted Christian he is able and willing to extend grace as it is taught in the Bible.

That’s what he did. Joy Behar did her part, too, in telling the rest of us — through her apology — that she made a mistake.

Good for her.

Trump continues his unpresidential presidency

Can the president of the United States stoop even lower? Is it possible for Donald Trump to go beyond the pale in speaking with vile disregard for other human beings?

Yes and yes.

Trump today decided to take on “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd, calling him a “sleeping son of a bitch” at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania.

He went after the media yet again for its coverage of a planned meeting between Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. He impaled several cable and broadcast networks, saving praise — of course! — for the Fox News Channel.

Yes, the president has “treated” the nation yet again to a demonstration of how little regard he has for the office he occupies.

Calling a respected news anchor a “sleeping SOB”? Is this clown — and I’m talking about Trump — for real?

Sadly, the answer is yes. He’s very much for real.

Oh, but he’s “telling it like it is.”

Despicable.

Another day, another horrific tragedy

Oh, my! It has happened. Again!

What does one say about this latest spasm of senseless gun violence.

A 19-year-old man opened fire in Parkland, Fla., and killed 19 people in a local high school. Our hearts are broken. Once again!

The man was a former student at the high school. He was expelled for disciplinary cause.

As has been the practice of this blog, I won’t mention the shooter’s name. I don’t intend to give this maniac any more exposure other than to chronicle the incident for which he has been charged by Broward County officials.

I cannot yet fathom how this kind of violent explosion is allowed to continue in this country. The debate over gun control is going to commence in due course, if it hasn’t already.

Fox News’s Shepard Smith today read the list of the shootings since the tragedy that erupted at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. “Since Columbine in 1999, there have been 25 fatal, active school shooting incidents at elementary and high schools in America,” Smith said.

Twenty-five! Since 1999!

For the time being — and as the country continues to digest and process this tale of horror — I am left only to mourn and to pray for the souls of the victims.

Sickening.

‘Innocent’ men keep quitting their day jobs

I know in my head — and, yes, my heart — that usually we’re allowed the presumption of innocence when we stand accused of wrongdoing.

But why do all these “innocent” men keep quitting their day jobs when women accuse them of beating them up, sexually abusing them, sexually harassing them?

If they don’t quit, then why do their employers keep firing them?

Roger Ailes got canned as president of Fox News; Bill O’Reilly was shown the door, too, by the same network. They both denied ever doing what the women accused them of doing, even though they and their networks paid out millions of bucks to female accusers. Go figure.

Matt Lauer got canned by NBC after women accused him of improper sexual behavior. Lauer hasn’t yet acknowledged publicly doing anything wrong.

Most recently, we have watched the departure of Rob Porter as White House staff secretary after his two ex-wives and a former girlfriend accused him of beating them. Porter says the allegations are false, but he quit anyway. The president stands by his man, calling him a good guy who did “a good job” while working in the White House.

Al Franken quit the U.S. Senate after he was accused of misbehavior with a female TV journalist; Franken, though, said the allegations weren’t entirely accurate. Huh?

Holy mackerel, man! The list of these clowns quitting while not acknowledging any wrongdoing just baffles me.

The innocence presumption, as I understand it, is reserved for those accused of criminal activity. None of these individuals I’ve mentioned has faced a criminal accusation. They face political accusations, which is a different matter altogether.

Still, I cannot remember when I’ve seen so many “innocent” men pull the plugs on their careers.

Strange, yes? You bet it is!

Memo to CNN: check your anger at the door

Oh, how I hate admitting this, but I feel compelled to do so.

Ari Fleischer — President George W. Bush’s first press secretary — posted a tweet overnight that makes an interesting and quite valid point about CNN’s coverage of all things political.

He said that if you’re an anti-Donald J. Trump (a Democrat) guest, you get all the time in the world to make your case; if you happen to be pro-Trump (a Republican), the CNN anchors will interrupt you constantly. Here’s what he wrote: I’ve been watching CNN’s morning show recently. It seems to have two main topics. 1) What did Trump/GOP do wrong? 2) How bad is the collusion story for Donald Trump. If you’re a Democrat guest , you’re free to speak. If you’re a Republican, you’ll always be interrupted.

I admit to watching it occur in the moment myself. And, oh yes, it annoys me, too.

Let me be clear about something else as well. Fleischer made no mention of the way Fox News on-air personalities treat their pro- and anti-Trump guests. Given that I rarely watch Fox, I am only able to presume that they flip the CNN example on its head, treating the Republicans with fairness and the Democrats with the same level of disdain that CNN shows toward the pro-Trumpers.

I want to hold up an example of how a broadcast or cable news network ought to handle these on-air confrontations: I present ABC News’ “This Week.”

That program, which airs Sunday morning, had former special prosecutor Kenneth Starr on board this past weekend explaining what might drive the investigation into Donald Trump’s alleged involvement with Russian 2016 election hackers. He appeared with ABC News legal analyst Dan Abrams. Starr — who ran the investigation that led to President Clinton’s impeachment — could be construed as someone favorable to the current president. Abrams has revealed a more critical bias toward the president.

The two men made their points without interruption. The moderator, Martha Raddatz, didn’t barge in on either man’s time. She let them argue their points to the viewers — and occasionally with each other.

This is the kind of give-and-take we rarely see on CNN — the cable network that calls itself the “leader” in cable news presentation.

I am a fairly regular CNN viewer. As one who takes the presentation of news seriously, I want to echo Ari Fleischer’s assessment of the perception that CNN creates, which is that it does not present the news fairly and without bias.

And just think: This critique comes from someone who is inclined to agree with the point of view expressed by CNN’s talking heads.

My plea is simple. Check your bias at the door, CNN “news” staff, and don’t let your anxiety over the state of play in politics and public policy get the better of you.

What’s with the GOP war against the FBI?

Up is down, black is white and Republicans who used to revere the FBI have declared war on the agency.

What in the world has become of us, of our political dynamic and of the natural order of things?

The conservative media are sounding the battle cry against the FBI, referring to something called a “secret society,” not to mention the “deep state.”

Here’s the genesis, as I understand it.

Conservative media personalities are so enamored of Donald J. Trump that they simply cannot tolerate the idea that the FBI and other agencies would be examining such things as “collusion with Russians,” or “money laundering” or any conduct that might be construed as “treasonous.”

So, to protect the president’s flank, these media types are attacking the FBI, a once-sacred agency in the eyes of the Republican Party.

The command and control of this attack appears to be inside the Fox News Channel, with its bevy of conservative media personalities. The New York Times reported this week that Trump actually ordered the firing of special counsel Robert Mueller, but backed off when White House counsel Donald McGahn threatened to quit; other media outlets have corroborated the Times’ account.

Fox News blowhard Sean Hannity is dismissing the report out of hand. He just won’t accept what reputable professional journalists are reporting.

Politico reports that there’s something even wider going on: But Hannity’s coverage was just part of a wider trend, observers say. For the past week, Fox News opinion hosts have seized on claims by some Republican lawmakers about a “secret society” at the FBI and “deep state actors” to fashion unproven narratives designed to protect Trump and delegitimize Mueller.

Secret society and deep state actors? What in the world is that all about?

I am afraid to admit that even some of my very own Republican friends have bought into that “deep state” crap. One of them told me this week that the FBI has been “crooked” for far longer than anyone has known.

I am happy to tell you that not all GOP operatives have swallowed the Fox News swill. Again, according to Politico: “The network is increasingly engaged in a misinformation campaign aimed directly at the American people for the purposes of sowing confusing and spinning a web of protective armor around the president, who is being investigated,” said Steve Schmidt, the Republican political strategist who ran John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign.

What is normal has become abnormal in just about any context imaginable.

I’ll just posit the notion that this is a consequence of electing Donald Trump as president of the United States. A man who thrives on chaos and who revels in being the center of controversy — if not outright scandal — is fomenting this hysteria among his most fervent supporters.

He isn’t “telling it like it is.” He is stoking, in the words of conservative Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin, a “whole new level of crazy.”

It’s a CYA moment for the president

In 2013 a wealthy real estate mogul/reality TV celebrity told “Fox & Friends” who he thought should take the heat in the event of a federal government shutdown.

“I mean, problems start from the top and they have to get solved from the top and the president’s the leader. And he’s got to get everybody in a room and he’s got to lead,” said Donald John Trump.

Now, though, that mogul/celebrity is the president. Who takes the hickey in the event of a government shutdown this time? According to Trump, it’s congressional Democrats. They’re the bad guys, he says. They need to be punished politically for the failure to reach an agreement that funds the government over the long term.

But, but … here’s what he told “Fox & Friends”:

“They’re not going to be talking about who was the head of the House, the head the Senate, who’s running things in Washington,” Trump said.

“So I really think the pressure is on the president,” he added.

Hey, which is it, Mr. President? Are you the leader you expected from your predecessor? Or … are you a bystander?

He also has said Republicans shouldn’t fear fear a government shutdown.

Actually, I believe they should. So should the Democrats.

Time is running out.

As for leaders, they don’t worry about covering their own, um, backsides.

Follow Canadian model on immigration? C’mon, Mr. AG!

I cannot believe the attorney general of the United States said it.

Actually, I can.

AG Jeff Sessions told Fox News’s Tucker Carlson that the United States should follow the Canadian model on immigration and restrict entry of those seeking to come here to those with demonstrable skills.

Why should the United States accept people who are “illiterate” in their own countries? Sessions asked.

Sessions has hit me where I live, so to speak.

I happen to be the product of immigrants who came here in the early 20th century from where Donald J. Trump might consider to be “sh**hole countries,” Greece and Turkey. My grandparents produced families comprising individuals who contributed a great deal to this country. My grandparents didn’t possess professional skills; they weren’t well-educated; they were humble folks whose only aim was to come to the United States of America and build a better future for themselves and the families they wanted to produce.

They were just like millions of other immigrants who built this country into the powerhouse it has become.

Thus, I resent terribly any assertion that the United States should somehow limit those who come here through some sort of “merit-based system” that allows only those with certain educational levels or can demonstrate professional skills.

Furthermore, what’s with this idea of patterning our immigration policy after another nation?

Didn’t the president campaign for office on a pledge to “put America first”? Didn’t he in effect tell the rest of the world he cared little — if anything — about how they conduct their internal policies?

The basic principle behind our immigration policy has established the greatest nation on Earth as the beacon for the rest of the world. People want to come here because of the opportunity the United States offers to those who choose to become Americans.

Get a grip, Mr. Attorney General.

Memo to Carlson: POTUS mustn’t talk like that

I certainly expected right-wing TV host Tucker Carlson to give Donald Trump a pass on his “s***hole” comment about Haiti and nations in Africa.

The Fox News host/commentator said the president “something almost every person in America agrees with.” Trump, as you know by now, griped out loud during a White House meeting on immigration about the nation accepting so many immigrants from “s***hole” countries; he mentioned Haiti and those in the continent of Africa. He then lamented whether the United States should encourage more immigration from “countries like Norway.”

I will not argue the point about the quality of life in the nations Trump disparaged in such a reprehensible manner, except to say that the people who live there deserve a level of respect that Donald Trump is incapable of giving them.

However, I want to make a point about what Carlson said in response to the president’s hideous remarks.

Whether “almost every person in American agrees” with what Trump said totally misses a critical point.

I am one American who believes that presidents of the United States shouldn’t make such statements in public. I cannot prevent presidents from thinking such things. However, for crying out loud, the current president needs to exercise some semblance of discretion when discussing issues of keen importance to the United States of America.

That he would make such a ghastly statement reveals what many of us have believed all along about the president: Donald Trump is an ignorant racist.

So, to Tucker Carlson, I will say: Read my lips, young man. I don’t give a damn what you might think of some portions of the rest of the world … but I certainly do care when the leader of my beloved country pops off like a tinhorn thug.