Fox News: The Republican & Trump Propaganda Network

Fox News fair and balanced logoFox News. Remember when their slogan was: 

“Fair and Balanced” ?

Seems like yesterday. But when Fox News founder Roger Ailes was fired in 2016, that slogan was fired also (or, shelved as a marketing tool). In its place, a new slogan emerged:

“Most Watched, Most Trusted.”  

Fox News most watched newer logo

 

Well, at least the newer slogan is true — halfway true, that is.

While Fox may still be hanging on as the “most watched” TV news right now, others like MSNBC are not far behind. However, Fox is not the most trusted news source. In fact, as of April 2018, Fox News was less trusted than CNN and MSNBC. I guess if you slant Fox’s new slogan so that it reads, Most Watched, Most Trusted (By Those Who Watch It), then it would reflect a more completely accurate statement. Personally, I’d prefer a slogan like “Fox News: The Republican & Trump Propaganda Network.” I mean, let’s call a spade a spade… Well, a girl can wish. 

Trump loves to say that CNN, MSNBC, and other mainstream news outlets are all “fake news.” If Sean Hannity didn’t say it (or anyone on Fox News for that matter), it doesn’t seem to count.

I don’t get it.

Anyone can look at the most up-to-date Media Bias Chart. Of all the TV sources that are considered “news,” the networks that rank in the bottom-most red rectangle (meaning: propaganda, misleading info, or contains inaccurate/fabricated material, and/or is considered “nonsense that’s damaging to public discourse”) are listed below. They are ordered from worst, to not quite as bad as “worst,” but close to it. Remember, these are all sources that report the most nonsense, the most not news out of all “news media.” Some are conservative, some are liberal, I’m not trying to claim otherwise. 

In other words: If you’re getting your “news” from any of these sources, you’re receiving the actual fake news: 

  • InfoWars (most extreme conservative)
  • REALfarmacy 
  • WorldTruth.TV 
  • Patribotics
  • Natural News
  • Palmer Report
  • The Blaze 
  • Enquirer 
  • Bretibart 
  • RedState 
  • Occupy Democrats 
  • Newsmax 
  • Bipartisan Report
  • The Daily Caller
  • Conserative Tribune 
  • Daily Wire 
  • Forward Progressives 
  • Fox News (hyper-partisan conservative) 

And there it is. Fox News. On that list. The list of “news media” outlets that contain not news, but nonsense that’s damaging to public discourse. That’s the channel our current President gets all his news from. 

Conversely, within the middle-of-the-line, “neutral” parameter, there are plenty of news media outlets. Neutral here means “minimal partisan bias OR using a balance of biases). These are also classified as news sources that are credible, can be trusted, and have original fact reporting. Among those listed, here are a few:

  • Associated Press (AP)
  • Reuters
  • Bloomberg
  • AFP
  • NBC
  • ABC
  • CBS
  • Politico
  • NPR
  • USA Today
  • PBS
  • BBC
  • The New York Times
  • The Washington Post
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • Time

News sources that are located further down the middle (meaning they’re classified as news with some opinion, but they are of fair persuasion and fair interpretation of the news) are CNN and MSNBC, among others. 

Simply put, as the second sentence of this *MarketWatch story reads:

If you look at this chart and are convinced your “extreme” source belongs in the middle, you just might be part of the problem plaguing America today. 

*MarketWatch is considered a least biased source, containing very few loaded (or emotionally persuasive) words, and the reporting is factual and typically sourced. 

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S - capital S - cursive-graffiti-alphabeto - lowercase o - crazy-graffiti-alphabetellipsis - graffiti font 2 what does all this mean? Well, with the reported viewership numbers, you are likely to know someone who’s a Fox News loyalist. Here’s some information that’s good to know. 

This story was covered on Rachel Maddow on July 5, 2018 (w/Joy Reid filling in), but I’m placing an even older segment from The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell (Chris Hayes filling in) from 2011 that covers the first part of the story here:

In his day (and until he died in 1994), Richard Nixon longed for his views & words to go “directly to the people” rather than be “filtered” through news anchors or press writers. So much so, that a plan was drafted during the time he was in the White House for a partisan “GOP News” channel, to be paid for and run out of the White House. 

Fast forward a few decades, and in 2011 the (now defunct) website Gawker unearthed a 15-page, unsigned 1970 memo titled “A Plan for Putting the GOP on TV News.” Gawker published its content in the article “Roger Ailes’ Secret Nixon-Era Blueprint for FOX News.” The memo was buried deep within the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, and it was just one portion of a larger, 318-page cache of documents detailing Ailes’ work for both the Nixon and George H.W. Bush administrations. 

Among my generation, Roger Ailes was most well-known for his role as the founding, permanent CEO of Fox News, a position which founder Rupert Murdoch appointed him. But decades before molding Fox News to what it is today, Ailes worked as a paid, political media consultant to President Nixon in the ’70s, and President Bush in the ’90s. 

By the time he became chief at Fox News in 1996, he’d had plenty of opportunities to hone the craft of creating a narrative. He’d served two Presidents, and though the Nixon-era blueprint for GOP TV News never came to fruition, Ailes did manage to work on the short-lived right wing news outlet, Television News Incorporated. TVN was launched in the early 1970s, after Ailes was fired from the White House. It was here where, in an attempt to cloak the “news” outlet’s far-right slant, Ailes first coined the phrase “fair and balanced.”

When Gawker uncovered the 15 page blueprint for the GOP TV News, Ailes’ handwritten notes were found scrawled all over the margins of the memo, indicating he was extremely eager to launch the project. That memo was prefaced with a thought process that Ailes seems to have carried over to Fox News:

“Today television news is watched more often than people read newspapers, than people listen to the radio, than people read or gather any other form of communication. The reason: People are lazy. With television you just sit—watch—listen. The thinking is done for you.”

By the time 1996 arrived, the far-reaching impact of cable television gave Ailes the missing piece he needed to further craft the original 1970s plan. Ailes handpicked all of his hosts and anchors, and like the Presidents he’d advised years before, he dictated what they would wear, how they would move, and what they would say on air. 

Before his 2017 death, Ailes stood accused of sexually harassing more than two dozen women at the network. Gretchen Carlson, former co-host of Fox & Friends, bravely went public with these allegations, and shortly after, even more allegations came flooding in. Roger Ailes was ultimately made to step down from the network he created. But during his last year of life, amidst the growing scandals, he saw the election of Donald Trump — a candidate his network had promoted, and whom Ailes had personally advised.  

We all know that today’s Fox News and the Trump White House are in step on everything. Sean Hannity, a mainstay on Fox News has been dubbed Trump’s “shadow” chief of staff, Fox is the only TV network that trump routinely grants interviews to, and Fox has become a veritable pipeline for White House hires.

And now, Trump is essentially merging the two operations (Fox News & the White House) with the recent announcement that he has hired former Fox News executive, Bill Shine, to run White House communications. Shine will be officially known as Trump’s “Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications” – much like the role that was created for Roger Ailes to fill in the Nixon White House. 

Bill Shine was shaped, molded, and tutored by Roger Ailes. There’s no doubt he will bring everything he learned about setting a narrative, and will push extremist right wing talking points even harder. 

It’s also important to know that Bill Shine resigned from Fox News last year amid accusations that he “enabled a culture of sexual harassment at the network.” 

Several women working at Fox alleged in court documents that Shine was “aware of deeply inappropriate behavior against them, and that he deflected, ignored or sought to suppress their concerns rather than take actions to address them constructively.” It eventually became well-known that Roger Ailes had a long, sexually abusive relationship with Laurie Luhn (among others) at Fox, and Bill Shine was the man in charge of preventing her from going public. 

Shine was instructed to read her emails, to cover up her communications, and he even found a psychiatrist to send her to when she suffered a nervous break down, because Roger Ailes was worried about her going public with the allegations… 

This guy, Bill Shine, will now be one of the highest ranking members of the federal government. 

Also worth noting: Bill Shine is a close ally, the former producer of, and personal friend to Sean Hannity. Sean Hannity has always wanted Bill Shine to be the Chief of Staff at trump’s White House. With John Kelly leaving, will that happen? Is this communications position for Shine just a foot in the door?

Bill Shine’s role at Fox was to basically be Roger Ailes’ “enabler.” Shine was reportedly “not someone who pushed back; he was the quintessential yes-man,” and obviously those type of people are who Trump likes: those who pledge loyalty to Trump and Trump alone (forget America and everything we stand for, our ideals, values, and norms).

Trump surrounds himself with people who will indulge his instincts. Bill Shine, protégé of Roger Ailes, in this new position will not serve as any sort of “checks & balances” on Trump, either. In all likelihood, he’s going to be an accelerant on pushing trump’s rhetoric, propaganda, and most divisive messages out to the public. 

So. 

Bill Shine will now be working to set the narrative from inside the Trump White House, backed by his years of experience at Fox News, under the tireless, propagandist eye of Roger Ailes. 

Shine will be Trump’s 4th White House communications director, a position originally created by… Richard Nixon. 

Full circle? 

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P.S. WHITE WOMEN (us, especially) need to come together, collect our people, and mobilize. Get the vote out. Call your representatives, your senators. 

Most importantly, vote in your local elections, because that is where real change has to begin. Vote Democrat across the board (or progressives, like Maryland’s Ben Jealous, or New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) unless you want to continue seeing history reverse itself. And I mean that literally, not the nonexistent, fabricated past that Trump & Co. speaks of and romanticizes. 

Vote Democrat or Progressive. Stop waiting for someone with “a better message,” or someone who you personally find charismatic or “capable of change.” Literally any Democrat would be a vast improvement over this current nightmare we have parading around like circus clowns underneath the White House Big Tent. 

Michael Moore, appearing last week on The Late Show with Steven Colbert, was asked, where does this go? Colbert said, “we’ve got a gerrymandered congress because the electoral college essentially gerrymandered the presidency, and therefore you end up with a gerrymandered Supreme Court… what is the end game for this?”

Michael Moore told it like it is:

When are people going to get off the couch? When are we gonna rise up? Sadly, Trump isn’t going away… he loves the term “President for Life.” The only way we’re going to stop this is eventually, we’re all going to have to put our bodies on the line. You’re gonna have to be willing to do this…

He’s exactly right. Everyone needs to rise up in whatever way they can. When asked about his “hope” for the future, Moore stated:

The majority of Americans are very liberal. They take the liberal position on most issues. They believe women should be paid the same as men, they believe that there’s climate change, go down the list. They don’t believe people should be thrown in jail for smoking marijuana. Go down the list. The majority of our fellow Americans are liberal, and we – the Democrats – have won the presidency, the popular vote in six of the last seven presidential elections. The Republicans have only won once since 1988 (in 2004, with Bush). That’s the only time they’ve won the popular vote. The country we live in doesn’t want the Republicans in the White House! They don’t want them running the country! We’re the majority.”

And ladies (again, especially you), if you need further motivation, please find the nearest computer and google Trump’s “July 5, 2018 Montana campaign rally.” Watch it in its entirety. He openly mocked the Me Too movement (in addition to other garbled word salad nonsense). Hear it with your own ears, and do some deep reflection as to whether this is who you want as your representative, as a role model for your children.

Ladies, gentlemen, folx, humans… our work was not finished with the #WomensMarch, the #KeepFamiliesTogether campaign, or the #MeToo movement. It was just beginning. 

#BlueTsunami

In Defense Of Trans Actors

One way we can all suck a little less at being trans allies: if a trans voice is speaking, listen to that voice. Just listen. Without arguing.

Today on Facebook, a trans female friend shared an article from Themtitled Why Scarlett Johansson — Or Any Cis Actor — Should Never Play Trans Roles. This is the debate du jour. Hollywood golden girl Scarlett Johansson has been cast to play a transgender man, Dante “Tex” Gill, in a new biopic film, Rub and Tug. Of course, it’s worth mentioning up front that the film’s PR team is justifying casting Johansson in this role by claiming that Tex Gill was “a lesbian that preferred to wear men’s clothing.” Continue reading

Enemy Of The People

What Jarrod Ramos, the Capital Gazette shooter, revealed in his Twitter account

hile winding down after a Thursday I thought would never end, I caught the initial news reports releasing the name of the individual who’d allegedly gunned down and killed five people working at the Capital Gazette newspaper earlier that day. My curiosity took over and I went looking online for traces of this monster. I did a quick search on Facebook to see if his name came up. Nothing. But Twitter was a different story.

Jarrod W. Ramos’ Twitter account was listed under his name, exactly as it was reported on the news: Jarrod W. Ramos, but the Twitter handle was @EricHartleyFrnd. Continue reading

Trump And The Cult 45

The end game is that the cult leader becomes the single most defining component of the group, over and above whatever ideology the cult is supposed to represent.

Also published on Medium.

 

 I - capital I, pinterestf - lowercase thick fyou voted for him, are you ready to back down and apologize yet? Can you, even just for a moment, let down your hackles and admit you were wrong — or at least misguided?

If you’re still with him, what more will it take? What is even left to push the outrage threshold any farther? If the leaked audio of crying babies and young children at the southern border, pleading desperately for their parents or relatives whom they were just torn away from didn’t sway you to sanity, what more will it take? Continue reading

Today’s Meme: Feel Free To Trust Parents Of Trans Kids. Please.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve answered the same, tired questions, over and over again, from misinformed people who have no experience with trans people. I mean, I don’t at all mind answering questions that come from a place of good intentions. That’s not always the case, though. Especially online, where there lives an entire community of boring, predictable evil-doers known collectively as “trolls.” They’re easy to spot. They’re the ones who use obvious trigger words and phrases to try and hook their victims readers, and then engage them in never-ending circular arguments that generally spiral into slanderous insults. Trolls deliberately intend to hijack, disrupt, attack, offend, and just generally cause trouble, and their favorite haunt is the comments sections of social media and news sites.  Continue reading

PSA: ‘Transgender’ Is Not A Sexual Orientation

Letter T - Magnolia Boxwelve minutes had passed. As I sat in the waiting room with the electronic intake forms (conveniently located on an iPad, inside of what appeared to be a dog-proof case), I began sinking further into the corner of the comfy leather couch. I yawned. It was too warm in this doctor’s office, and I was feeling sleepier by the second. I glanced at my phone. 8:45 a.m.

“I’ve been completing forms for 15 minutes,” I thought. “There’s nothing else left to cover.” 

As I continued straining to remember which family member — paternal grandmother, paternal grandfather, maternal grandmother, maternal grandfather — had which type of heart condition, cancer, or cholesterol, or thyroid problems, my name was finally called, as always, last name mispronounced.  Continue reading

Gun Violence: Blame Toxic Masculinity

Also published here at Medium. 

It’s not a “mental health” issue. It’s toxic masculinity. 

Friday, May 18, 2018, another school shooting happened – this time in Santa Fe, Texas, just three months after the Parkland, FL massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The death toll at Santa Fe High School in Texas was 10, with 10 others wounded. One of the most compelling moments in the wake of this tragedy was, for me at least, a statement made by this student at the 1:13 mark that was captured during interview:

The interviewer asks Paige Curry, a student at Santa Fe High School, “Was there a part of you that was like, this isn’t real; this would not happen in my school?” Without hesitation, she replies, “no, there wasn’t.” When asked “why so?” Paige simply answers, “its been happening everywhere. I’ve always kind of felt like eventually it was going to happen here, too… so, I don’t know. I wasn’t surprised, I was just scared.” 

I wasn’t surprised.

Let that sink in. Continue reading

That Time Trump Scared The Children And An Easter Bunny Mirrored All Of America

Image result for white house bunny 2018 with trump

Today, in a very bizarre speech before invited guests and media, Trump opened the FLOTUS’ annual White House Easter Egg Roll event by – once again – going rogue with his thoughts. Snarky commentary served up by yours truly… the effect of not having had coffee yet, and it being too early in the morning for my first day of spring break. Bonus: that White House Easter Bunny was a mirror, reflecting back the majority of Americans over the past 1 year, 72 days, 5 hours, 37 minutes, and  34 seconds…

The Torture Of College Application Season: Is It Worth It??

The college application process ain’t what it used to be. At least, it’s not what it was when I was first applying back in 1991. I knew this going in to the process with my oldest child applying last fall, but I didn’t realize exactly how competitive and how much of a cheating game it had become. I’ve been paying enough attention to know that colleges had been getting more and more competitive over the past five to eight years. But I quickly found out that even more recently, as more research has been released and more books on the subject published, many colleges have buckled down even more harshly with regard to admissions, to almost ridiculous proportions, prompting many current college and high school students to ask, “is it even worth it?”  Continue reading