A majority of Republicans believe Donald Trump should not be impeached under any circumstances, even if it is proven that he colluded with Russia during the 2016 presidential election. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation has moved deep into Trump’s inner circle, leading to prison sentences for his national security adviser, his former lawyer, and the head of his 2016 campaign. But no public evidence or allegation so far has pointed to Trump directly working with Russia. Even if it were proven that Trump worked with Vladimir Putin to meddle in the election and help defeat Hillary Clinton, a new poll found that most Republicans wouldn’t want to see him impeached. The survey from You Gov/The Economist asked respondents whether they would support articles of impeachment against Trump if it were proven he accepted Russia’s help in winning the 2016 election, which would be against the law. Most Republicans — 63 percent in total — said they would oppose impeachment under any scenario, including collusion with Russia.
Despite the seemingly never-ending controversies that have bedeviled the Trump administration, Republican voters continue to support the President at high levels. According to a Gallup poll, Trump’s approval rating among Republicans is at 90 percent. On Friday, Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson wondered why, noting that Trump has failed to deliver on most of his campaign promises. “I’ve got the perfect slogan for President Trump’s reelection campaign,” Robinson writes. “Promises Made, Promises Not Kept, But I’m Betting My Voters Are Too Stupid to Notice.” Robinson lays out all the promises Trump has broken, chief among them his pledge to build a wall that Mexico would pay for. “Trump promised to build a wall along the 2,000-mile southern border, with the cost of the “big, beautiful” barrier to be borne by Mexico,” Robinson writes. “Result: Not a single mile of Trump’s wall has been built.”
But that’s not the President’s only failure. There’s also the global economy. “Trump promised to reverse trade policies that he said allowed the rest of the world to play Americans for suckers,” Robinson writes. “Result: The Commerce Department announced Wednesday that the overall U.S. trade deficit in goods last year soared to an all-time high of $891 billion. The deficit with China, Trump’s principal target — the amount by which the value of imported goods exceeded the value of exported goods — reached a record $419 billion.” Trump has also not lived up to promises on North Korean de-nuclearization, a revamp of the Affordable Care Act, infrastructure, and his promise to “drain the swamp” in Washington. “Result: Perhaps the most corrupt administration in U.S. history, riddled with nepotism and teeming with swamp creatures.” Given all of that policy failure, Robinson concludes that Trump must be banking on the stupidity of his followers to get re-elected. “He apparently believes his loyal supporters are the dumbest, most gullible people on earth. We shall see if he’s right.”
Naive People Can Really Be Made to Believe These Nutty Conspiracies?
Apparently so! It’s bad enough so many in the GOP base have so helplessly lost their grasp on reality, but the more radical among them have really gone around the bend. See these unleashed kooks who are downright scary described in this post from trump-gone-america-will-
Fox News has become the bastion of far-right conspiracy theory, which amounts to little more than good business, considering that 46 percent of Trump voters believe that Hillary Clinton’s emails include details regarding “Pizzagate” — the theory that the former secretary of state and first lady was running a pedophile sex ring from the back room of a Washington pizza parlor. Sixty-two percent of Trump voters believe that “millions of illegal immigrants” cast votes, presumably for Clinton, in the 2016 race. Brett Kavanaugh, some might recall, during his testimony in front of the Senate asserted that Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations that he had sexually assaulted her was orchestrated as “revenge for the Clintons.”
Trump’s base does not represent a political movement as much as it constitutes a nervous breakdown in motion. Like any psychotic detachment from reality, it will not happen without painful consequences. Two-thirds of terrorist attacks in the United States are now tied to right-wing extremist groups, the ADL reports a staggering increase in right-wing incidents of anti-Semitism, and everything from white supremacist organizations to state militias continue to show an increase in membership as “conservative” Americans are becoming radicalized to believe anything, and adopt hostility toward the very idea of multicultural democracy. Two Trump supporters, just in the past year, have plotted to assassinate leading figures in the Democratic Party and the most prominent pundits of the “fake news.” Neither story attracted the attention it deserved, perhaps because the would-be terrorists were unsuccessful. Will we be so lucky next time? America is playing with matches. Eventually, it will get burned.
The radicalism, resistance to objective fact and comfort with violence on the far right undresses a few of the most prevalent bromides in mainstream reportage and commentary. First, “both sides” are not to blame for the dysfunction of American political culture. Anyone who says as much is willfully ignorant, and deserves permanent placement on mute. Democratic socialism, as much of Western Europe can attest, is not “extreme.” Even if it does strike some voters as overreaching, it is not remotely comparable with anything that the contemporary right espouses. Second, liberals are not “to blame” for the antisocial politics of the far right. Even if some liberal commentators can seem smug, and even if American pop culture often reduces the heartland to flyover status, that would not justify, or logically explain, the right’s celebration of xenophobia, acceptance of paranoid rambling as substitution for historical knowledge, and comfort with the countless character defects and leadership deficiencies of Donald Trump.
But this was the same Trump who as a presidential candidate referred to the size of his manhood during a Republican debate. He said about protesters at his campaign events, “In the good old days, this doesn’t happen, because they used to treat them very, very rough.” He asserted that “Islam hates us” and that Mexicans are “rapists.” Not only did he get away with those offenses, but they somehow made him stronger. And he’s gone even further as president. After each episode, Trump’s critics have been as scandalized as they have been ineffective, just as they were after the speech at last weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference. During the campaign, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) called Trump “the most vulgar person to ever aspire to the presidency,” and see how far that got Rubio.
In fact, demagogues like Trump are almost always undignified. That is a feature, not a bug, of their politics. When Hillary Clinton infamously described his supporters as a “basket of deplorables,” Trump swiftly converted the comment into a badge of honor. It turned out that he wanted his followers to trumpet themselves as “Les Deplorables” — because that was already his argument. While their critics think demagogues hurt themselves politically by violating the standards of polite society, they’re doing the opposite: They’re doubling down on an unorthodox but potent politics. In other words, we must understand why Trump’s CPAC performance was rational from his perspective before we can begin to understand how to deal with it. And that means taking Trump, his supporters and his “undignified” performances seriously. A textbook demagogue meets four tests. First, he identifies as a man of the masses, usually by attacking elites. Second, he creates great waves of passion. Third, he uses that passion for political benefit. Fourth, he tests or breaks established rules of governance. Taken together, this approach enables the demagogue to create a state within a state — a massive cult — that follows him alone.
CNN is a Real News Organization
And they can spot a propaganda outlet when they see one! The CNN chief is just stating facts which should be self-evident in describing Fox News, seen in this article from jeff-zucker-cnn-fox-news-
CNN’s Jeff Zucker ripped into what he dubbed “propaganda” outlet Fox News on Saturday. It all happened, according to The Daily Beast, during a Q&A with Vanity Fair media reporter Joe Pompeo at the South by Southwest festival. Zucker did not mince words. After calling Fox News a “propaganda” outlet during a conversation about the Democrats’ decision to not allow a primary debate on Fox News, Zucker said this: “I think the question should be, is Fox state-run TV or is the White House state-run government by Fox TV?” He also wasn’t buying the argument that Fox News has excellent journalists who could do the job of hosting a Democratic primary debate. Shortly after learning the Democrats did not want them hosting one of their primary debates, Fox News put out a statement touting the “ultimate journalistic integrity and professionalism” of Chris Wallace, Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum and asking the DNC to reconsider. “They chose to work at Fox and they don’t get to hide behind the fact that they’re excellent journalists or anchors,” Zucker said during the Q&A, slapping Fox News’ argument down. “The fact is they work at a place that has done tremendous damage to this country.” During the same conversation, Zucker also unloaded on the “political motivation” for the $85 billion merger between AT&T and Time Warner he says comes directly from President Donald Trump.
Given First Amendment protections, Fox News can do pretty much what it wants on the air. It can shrug at Hannity’s excesses. It can allow Tucker Carson’s misleading rants on immigrants and crime. It can constantly undermine special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation of Trump. But for mainstream journalists to suggest that there be no consequences or even recognition is willfully blind — and smacks of an unseemly inside-the-Beltway solidarity. What Fox News has become is destructive. To state the obvious: Democracy, if it’s going to function, needs to be based on a shared set of facts, and the news media’s role is to seek out and deliver those facts. Most news organizations take that seriously, though they may flounder badly at times. When they do, they generally try to correct themselves — that’s why you see editor’s notes, lengthy corrections, on-air acknowledgments, suspensions and even firings of errant news people. Not at Fox News.
The rule at Fox is to stonewall outside inquiries, and to close ranks around its rainmakers. And, of course, to double down on its mission, described aptly by my colleague Greg Sargent: “Fox News is fundamentally in the business of spreading disinformation, as opposed to conservative reportage.” And that disinformation “is plainly about deceiving millions into believing that core functionings of our government — whether law enforcement or congressional oversight — no longer have any legitimacy.” Sometimes, as with Hannity’s rally appearance or the Rich reporting, there will be a passing acknowledgment that standards haven’t been met. But we never know what those standards might be. Unlike most news organizations, Fox News doesn’t seem to have a department in charge of ethics and standards, and it certainly doesn’t publish its guidelines as some do.
So, yes, Fox News can continue to function as something close to Trump TV. It can go on spreading disinformation. But everyone ought to see it for what it is: Not a normal news organization with inevitable screw-ups, flaws and commercial interests, which sometimes fail to serve the public interest. But a shameless propaganda outfit, which makes billions of dollars a year as it chips away at the core democratic values we ought to hold dear: truth, accountability and the rule of law. Despite the skills of a few journalists who should have long ago left the network in protest, Fox News has become an American plague.
These Far-Right Nutwings are not Experts, but the GOP Base regard them as such
Looks like Fox pulls the same dirty tricks NDA’s as the White House in suppressing free speech to hide the truth: diana-falzone-calls-on-
Contributors are presented as experts when, more often than not, they’re just another person with an opinion. We absorb their hot take on the day’s events often without questioning what lies behind them. Anyone with an opinion is invited on to TV or radio, without a hint of critical analysis. The more outrageous and controversial, the better. Executives and presenters alike know that it’s much more exciting for the audience to see two people engage in a shouting match where one person has to spend the entire interview debunking complete nonsense from the other party. Constructive discussion with people who have relevant experience, expertise or qualifications is a rarity. While information has never been more accessible, it is also easy to get lost in the vast enormity of the internet and fall down a rabbit-hole of misinformation disguised as facts or concern. It’s easy to be swayed by an article you read, or a video you saw, which an algorithm will use to push you towards more similar content. This is particularly true when it comes to emotive issues like climate change, immigration, or human rights. Online radicalisation is a real problem – and is reflected all too often in what is presented to us in mainstream broadcasting. When right-wing host Glenn Beck was removed from Fox less than 10 years ago, the idea that he would ever seem relatively moderate was far-fetched. But look at the talking heads the US network welcomes now. And the UK is not immune: Spiked contributors regularly appear on the BBC. Views that were beyond the pale are now commonplace.
That’s why it’s important that we as consumers are critical of what we are hearing and watching, and are aware of where it’s coming from. We need to stop mindlessly accepting that everything we are fed is objective, be critical of the sources and who’s speaking. I constantly get contacted by media platforms to debate a range of topics related to trans issues — despite having no expertise in the specific topic being discussed — simply because I’m a trans person. Lived experience is important, but that doesn’t mean I can comment on the specific effects of testosterone on people’s bodies. For that you need a scientist. And if I’m being approached by media outlets like that without any critical analysis of my qualifications, I can assure you that this happens on other topics as well. An example of this — which touches on a wider problem with the way this country is governed — is politicians talking about issues or policies they’ve worked on, when they obviously have no expertise in the area, and seem not to have consulted, or listened to, people who do. There is nothing more frustrating than seeing those responsible for some of the biggest problems in the country feigning ignorance about something we depend on them to solve. This is why we need to more evidence-based discussion. We need to demand that people with either relevant expertise or those directly affected are at the centre, and not just anyone, and certainly not people with nothing to back up their claims except meaningless crowd-pleasing generalisations. Otherwise we will be stuck in a climate where it is hard to differentiate fact from fiction.
Not Crazy like a Fox, but Fox is just Crazy!
So let’s see, we’ve got a president who’s unstable & a GOP base that’s uninformed, which for the ratings Fox fake news has managed to exploit the situation, which has placed us in quite a risky predicament as reported in these excerpts from heres-the-one-thing-that-
It has been clear for a while now that Fox News is nothing more than a propaganda arm for Donald Trump. What Fox News does is develop an audience that is devoid of facts and perpetually pissed off—to the point that they attack anyone who veers from their script. That is why, when Fox starts talking about “Second Amendment remedies” and a new civil war in this country, it is so incredibly dangerous. The question raised by Mayer’s piece is whether we’d have a President Trump if not for Fox News. We can debate that one. If the Access Hollywood tape didn’t end his candidacy, I’m not sure that an affair with a porn star would have. The situation right now is even more dire. We have a president who is obviously mentally unstable with a whole host of criminal behavior being investigated. In the midst of all that, we have Fox News dishing out propaganda that keeps his supporters uninformed and ready to respond at a moment’s notice to their bat[shit] signal.
There is no historical precedent for that. Nixon was a crook, but he wasn’t as mentally unstable as Trump and he didn’t have the Fox News propaganda machinery to back him up. While it was slow to unfold, our constitutional system was able to handle that one. Our founders couldn’t foresee the current situation, which is why they didn’t prescribe a remedy that fits the occasion. The only thing we can do right now is keep our eyes open to the reality of what’s happening—and not be lulled into normalizing it in any way. Since Trump got elected, I’ve been saying that things won’t get better, they can only get worse. I suspect that we’ve still got a ways to go before that is no longer true.
Laurel & Hardy were funny. Abbott & Costello were funny. Trump & Hannity are dangerous! We can see that from the article posted below. As they strategize together with their delusional intentions, they’re selling our country down the river. And the way the echo has for years been ginning up their base with such demagogic garbage, it was destined to produce a leader for their cause like Trump: the-reactionary-mind-
After spending two years carefully studying President Donald Trump’s rhetoric — listening to his speeches, watching videos of his political rallies, and analyzing his tweets — I came to one unambiguous conclusion: Sean Hannity is the most powerful and dangerous person in America. After the 2016 presidential election, many people feared that Fox News would become a mouthpiece for the president, amplifying his message of division and hate. The truth, however, is significantly more alarming. The president has become a mouthpiece for Fox News generally and Sean Hannity specifically. Consider what we know. First, the president is driven by his ego, not some commitment to a core set of beliefs. He is neither a principled person nor a person of principles. Second, the president is notoriously disinterested in matters of policy. He is too intellectually lazy to read reports, study issues, learn facts, or even listen to his advisers. Third, the president spends significant portions of his day in “executive time,” meaning he obsessively watches television, principally Fox News. Fourth, the president’s staff regularly present him with printed copies of the chyrons, the all-caps text at the bottom of the screen, from his favorite television programs. He apparently really enjoys seeing his name (as if this weren’t already clear from his buildings). And fifth, the president not only watches Hannity regularly, he also speaks with Hannity regularly. In fact, he has even had Hannity on stage with him at political rallies.
Considering these facts and given that the president often tweets things he has just seen on Fox News, is there anyone who genuinely believes that Trump is the one telling Hannity what to say? The president is clearly not a person of ideas; he’s barely a person of coherent thought, as his recent two-hour rambling “off-script” speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference reaffirmed. Simply put, Sean Hannity is not spreading Donald Trump’s endless stream of lies, self-aggrandizing delusions and wild conspiracy theories, he’s authoring them. And Donald Trump is obediently repeating and tweeting them. That should be alarming to every American. It should be alarming not simply because Hannity was never elected by the American public to lead anything, but also because Hannity is widely trusted. As Adweek recently reported, Hannity was the most widely watched program on cable news in 2018 (for the second year in a row), drawing 3.2 million viewers on average. But the popularity of Hannity is based on a fundamental deception. Hannity has convinced a wide swath of the American public that he is a journalist and that his show on Fox News is a news program. Both of these things are demonstrably untrue.
To be clear, I’m not suggesting that Hannity is “fake news” or even biased news. I’m pointing out that Hannity is not news at all. As both Sean Hannity and Fox News have somewhat reluctantly acknowledged, Hannity is a political opinion program. Sean Hannity told The New York Times in August 2016, for instance, that he has “never claimed to be a journalist,” and he affirmed that fact on Twitter in October 2016 when he tweeted he’s a “talk host” and “not a journalist.” Hannity’s employer, Fox News, concurs, and on Nov. 15, 2017, the network noted that, “Shep (Smith) is an outstanding journalist, and Sean is an outstanding opinion commentator.” But Hannity has also claimed to be a journalist, albeit an “advocacy journalist.” This idea, combined with the fact that Hannity airs on a network with “news” in its title is, to put it mildly, frightening. This is the state of American politics and democracy: We have a political opinion commentator on the far right (who’s not a journalist, has no journalistic credentials, and follows no journalistic code of ethics) accusing real news outlets like CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post of being “fake news.” Meanwhile, that same right-wing opinion commentator is telling the sitting president what to say and think. Welcome to President Hannity’s America.
Democrats should not be fooled by Fox News’ recently discovered concern for the party’s political future. In reality, the only reason these employees for Trump’s favorite propaganda network are trotting this line out is because they are afraid what these investigations will do to Trump and the Republicans, not the ways they might hypothetically damage Democrats. Conservative pundits desperately want the public to see these investigations as a form of payback for the years of phony investigations Republicans ran during Barack Obama’s administration, such as holding 33 hearings into the “Benghazi” conspiracy theory that was so convoluted even its own adherents couldn’t really understand it. It’s true that by abusing its oversight powers in that way, the Republican congressional majority did a good job of fixing the idea in the public’s mind that investigations can be little more than worthless partisan theatrics. Trump’s followers will be happy to imagine that this is just Democrats doing to Trump what Republicans did to Obama — even if that means tacitly admitting that “Benghazi” was never a real investigation.
But the big difference between the Benghazi investigation and the various investigations into Trump’s epic corruption is simple: The latter are based in reality. Conservative pundits are betting that won’t really matter, and they aren’t necessarily wrong. Over the years, they’ve been able to kick up enough smoke and dust to confuse the basic distinction between reality and conspiracy theories. Primarily, however, their success have come in leading people to believe in not-real things, such as the WMDs in Iraq or unnamed “scandals” lurking in Hillary Clinton’s emails. Hiding something that is really real, such as Trump’s likely criminality, might prove a more difficult task than making up conspiracy theories and feeding them to the mainstream media.
A Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday shows this. Nearly two-thirds of Americans, or 64 percent, believe that Trump committed crimes before becoming president. Somewhat fewer, 45 percent, believe he continued to do as president. On one hand, those numbers could be read as depressingly low, since there are a number of well-documented Trump actions that are probably criminal and could have resulted in arrest if he hadn’t been president. Obstructing justice, witness tampering and tax fraud are all well-documented. Trump was also implicated as a co-conspirator by Cohen in a conspiracy to commit campaign finance fraud with the Stormy Daniels payoff. Ideally, 100 percent of Americans should believe Trump to be a criminal, as that’s clearly the smartest bet based on the publicly available evidence. Still, considering the enormous propaganda machine geared toward confusing the issue, coupled with mainstream media’s understandable wariness about labeling Trump a criminal without a conviction, these numbers are good. They suggest that the truth is breaking through the wall of obfuscation thrown up by right-wing propagandists, who are the only or primary source of “news” in much of the country.
And all this is even before the Democrats have started to collect the evidence from those 80-plus document requests, and before they reveal the findings of their closed-door sessions with Cohen. Of course, it’s also before any version of the Mueller report has come out. There’s every reason to believe that much more information will be coming. And Trump’s efforts to block the flow of information only serve to make him look guiltier, especially since he’s breaking with the expectation of transparency with the American people, for whom he supposedly works. As that information flow increases, the tone of desperation on Fox News and in Trump’s Twitter feed, which is already shrill, will probably reach heights that Mariah Carey can’t sing. But if the recent past is prelude, this kind of clawing denialism isn’t going to work. Trump has been screaming “witch hunt” for two years now, and fewer people believe it all the time. What happens when Democrats produce his cauldron and his eye of newt?
The Trump team’s relationship with the truth has always been a complicated one, not least because Trump himself has made more than 9,000 false or misleading claims as president. Even Friday morning, Trump incorrectly claimed for about the 200th time that a legal proceeding had cleared him of collusion when it had done no such thing. But Trump and his team’s prosecution of the PR case against Cohen in recent weeks has been particularly rich, given their elevation of Manafort, and the likes of Giuliani have previously dismissed lying to investigators as merely a “process crime.” They seem to regard people who hurt Trump as irredeemable liars but those who have lied and helped Trump as people just caught up in overzealous prosecutions. (It was the same with former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and it’s looking the same with Trump friend Roger Stone, though he hasn’t been convicted.) They have even tried to argue that proven liars like Manafort are somehow principled because, while they’ve been willing to lie about certain things, they’ve been unwilling to lie specifically to hurt Trump. So they’re liars, but not that kind of liar.