In the reality-challenged world of Fox News and GOP-friendly polling, Donald Trump is awesome – but you wouldn’t know it from the biased “fake news.” Take heart, news consumers. Fox & Friends is here to set the Trump record straight!
Rasmussen Reports isn’t exactly the gold standard in polling, as it consistently shows a mean-reverted bias towards the GOP. But a recent Rasmussen pushbutton phone-call poll gives Trump a – drum roll please – 50% approval rating which is, praise be to Fox News, higher than Barack Obama’s at the same point in his presidency. And that’s why Trump’s Fox & Friends friends were just thrilled to pieces on Friday’s show during which they admonished the “fake news” for not getting on the Trump polling bandwagon.
On Friday morning, Trump’s morning BFFs could barely contain their glee as they reported the good news which, unmentioned, was Thursday’s number on a daily tracking poll. And in keeping with their role as Trump’s propaganda mouthpiece, they accused the mainstream media of ignoring the polling data. For added points, they claimed that 91 to 92 percent of Trump’s mainstream media coverage is negative – a number taken from the biased, right wing, Trump-loving Media Research Center.
Cohost Steve Doocy said that folks are just scratching their heads, wondering how, with all the bad publicity, Trump’s popularity is so high.
While boy genius Brian Kilmeade did admit that Rasmussen is “friendly,” he claimed this number “shows a trend.” He didn’t mention that by Friday, the approval number had dropped to 48% (trend?) and the disapproval had gone up from 49 to 50%. He also ignored the RealClear Politics average of polls which gave Trump an unfriendly 43% approval and a 53% disapproval.
Kilmeade advanced the VERY IMPORTANT FOX MESSAGE about the nasty mainstream media when he asserted that “most of the press is negative” and how, on other nasty, bad networks, people “are talking about negative stories” and that “makes you wonder if the media is being bypassed” because Trump controls social media. (?!) He added that when voters see their increased paychecks (?) they’re happy with Trump.
When Ainsley Earhardt claimed that Trump’s number is higher than Obama’s was at this point, Doocy made sure to remind us that Obama had a much more “sympathetic” press.
But not to worry, Doocy informed us that if the “fake news” (yes, he said the phrase as fact) is critical of Trump, he’s critical of them. As an example, Doocy recounted how Trump pointed to “the fake news” at his recent Pennsylvania rally. The gang giggled.
Not mentioned was the rude and threatening behavior of the Trump fans toward the press – behavior that would send Fox into paroxysms of rage if directed against Fox News.
The conversation turned to Pennsylvania Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, Lou Barletta. Video of his effusive praise of Trump, at the Wilkes-Barre rally, was played. (Did you know that “the wall is being built”?) More giggling ensued. The cohosts agreed that despite Trump’s endorsement of Barletta (who has “energy, aptitude, and podium presence”) Barletta and other GOP candidates need to work hard to win their elections. (Barletta is behind his Democratic incumbent by 16 points).
From Trump’s mouth to the set of Fox & Friends. Talk about fake news!!!
Watch Fox & Friends talk about “fake news” from the Friday, August 3, 2018 show.
The most important thing that the Dems can do is show up and vote whenever and wherever they can. The wind is against them thanks to the massive gerrymandering and the current Senate election schedule, but if they all make the effort and fight for it, they can at least make the point that the Dems did show up this time.
“……. Which means that the automatic withholding levels have been artificially goosed – people may be seeing more in their weekly checks, but it’s money that they still owe in taxes. In the present moment, they may be seeing extra money and thinking they’re doing well, but in reality, they’re looking at a potentially nasty surprise come tax time in early 2019. These numbers translate to someone getting an increased tax bill of $3000 or more……..”
Once again, this only reaffirms Universal Tax Rule #1 from the Pulitzer Prize winning tax journalists Donald Barlett, James Steele and David Cay Johnston: no matter how you slice it, when rich individuals and big multinational corporations don’t pay taxes or pay less than their fair share, SOMEONE ELSE MUST MAKE UP THE DIFFERENCE IN THE END! Us working class Americans not fortunate enough to “hit the birth lottery” like Fuehrer Adolf Twitler know all too well who that someone else always is.
Okay, first, Rasmussen. They’re not just biased toward the GOP – they’re HEAVILY BIASED to the Right Wing. They are far from the most accurate of pollsters and they play some fairly devious tricks in their methodology, which we’ve repeatedly documented here. The usual approach of Rasmussen is to put their thumb on the scale throughout a presidential or other campaign so that it will look like the Right Wing candidate is going to win, potentially in a landslide. Rasmussen does this both to show numbers that may depress the Dems’ turnout and to poison the well of the poll aggregators, like Real Clear Politics or 538. When Nate Silver noted what Rasmussen was doing, he began generating an algorhythm to balance them back to normalcy. (He does this with all pollsters to keep everyone within an actual statistical level of reliability.) But Rasmussen tends to take this a step farther. When they get within a week of an election actually being held, they’ll suddenly switch to razor-accurate numbers, which will suddenly show the race either tightening up or indicating that the Dem is ahead. This is again for dual effect. One effect is to shock the Right Wing voting base into redoubling their efforts to get out and vote and get their friends out. The other effect is to allow Rasmussen to claim to be the MOST ACCURATE of all the pollsters. Right Wing propaganda outlets like Fox News then happily cite Rasmussen throughout an election cycle and try to have it both ways – enjoying the false positive numbers for Right Wingers throughout while blindly insisting that Rasmussen is just the best there is. Rasmussen finally went too far in 2012, when they actually left their thumb on the scale all the way up to Election Day in predicting a Romney victory. Gallup made the same mistake, and both services were appropriately embarrassed by the actual results that year – with Barack Obama handily winning re-election.
So Rasmussen is an unreliable, biased service that exists to prop up GOP candidates and causes, and to give outlets like Fox News some highly skewed numbers to wave around as though they meant something. I note that in 2012, Right Wingers were so entranced by the false Rasmussen numbers that they couldn’t accept the real numbers coming from nearly everywhere else. This was when we began to hear about “unskewed polls” and about the legitimate polling services were deliberately oversampling Dems. I would call that an earlier version of the Pence White House’s gaslighting. And again, I wouldn’t give these people anything more than a shrug and an eyeroll. Rasmussen has been desperately trying to prop up the Pence White House since it began its dark work in early 2017, and their numbers have never aligned with any other pollster. They are an obvious outlier, generating false materials in the hopes that Fox News can continue their spins. And no, their false numbers don’t indicate a trend in anything other than the Right Wing’s continuing hopes that they can get people to ignore reality. And that reality is that the Pence White House is actually the most unpopular presidency we’ve seen in modern times, with most people actively showing disgust for the behavior and attitude of this vicious group.
As for the Media Research Center and Brent Bozell, that’s another biased and unreliable group. Bozell is a FAR RIGHT pundit who hates most media outlets and generates biased reports to fit his hypothesis – that the media are all a bunch of lefties who don’t tell the Right Wing truths that Fox News viewers just know to be the case. (Things like how Bill Clinton is a secret predator and criminal, or about how Barack Obama is a sinister foreigner, etc.) Bozell’s Media Research Center and its offshoot, the Parents Television Council, have repeatedly gotten into trouble for mis-representing, libeling and slandering those whom they’ve been attacking. The most notorious example of this was when Bozell decided he’d throw mud at the WWE and it’s “Smackdown” show by saying in 2000 that the WWE’s programming had led to the deaths of four children. (Bozell was trying the gaslighting approach himself as a retaliation for the fact that Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting had advocated about an increase in domestic violence against women during the Super Bowl – something that was itself disputed, but for which FAIR was able to at least show real numbers) The WWE responded to Bozell’s nonsense by suing him and his group for defamation and easily winning both a 3 ½ million dollar payment from Bozell and a humiliating apology that Bozell was forced to publicly make. Given that situation, Brent Bozell is not someone I’d look to as a bastion of accuracy about anything. Further, Bozell’s conclusion about supposed media “bias” against the Pence White House ignores most of the actual data points. Bozell assumes that just because a news story is written that is unflattering to Trump that it must be based on bias. Bozell never looks to see if the story is about facts – such as Trump repeatedly lying, such as Trump’s sycophants and staffers repeatedly scrambling and lying, such as the negative effects of Pence’s cruelty. It isn’t a negatively biased story to note that Donald Trump throws Twitter tantrums and to actually quote them. It isn’t a negatively biased story to show Donald Trump throwing tantrums in person. It isn’t a negatively biased story to point out how Trump and his cronies are taking openly, aggressively vicious steps to attack the rest of the country and the world – through the gutting of the EPA, through his bizarre behavior when dealing with foreign leaders, etc. In short, Bozell seems to be upset that the non- Fox News media is actually reporting the facts of what’s happening at the Pence White House, rather than the cozy spin we regularly see from the Right Wing outlets.
Regarding voters having “increased paychecks”, that’s actually a laugh-out-loud, snort-your-drink-out-your-nose line. In the first place, most voters didn’t see a real increase in their paychecks. If their income is fairly modest, they might see an actual difference of 10 bucks per week, maybe – the numbers were down to a couple of percentage points, so someone seeing an income of, say 500 bucks per week would thus see maybe 10 bucks. Maybe. If the person is earning more than that, the brackets actually start INCREASING so that they’re actually being taxed MORE. My own brackets have skyrocketed so that my tax burden has gone up by thousands of dollars per year. My weekly paycheck has taken a beating and has been reduced by hundreds of dollars in real numbers. Now, there is one other little trick that the Right Wing has been trying here, and it’s just as devious as the Rasmussen thumb trick – perhaps more so. Because the GOP controls the various agencies that handle these matters, they were able to set the withholding levels on our paychecks. As a test earlier this year, I reverted my voluntary withholding to the 2017 levels for a brief day job I did at the beginning of May, just to see what would happen under the new tax code. The two paychecks came back inflated by between 80 and 100 bucks each. Which means that the automatic withholding levels have been artificially goosed – people may be seeing more in their weekly checks, but it’s money that they still owe in taxes. In the present moment, they may be seeing extra money and thinking they’re doing well, but in reality, they’re looking at a potentially nasty surprise come tax time in early 2019. These numbers translate to someone getting an increased tax bill of $3000 or more when they may have thought they were paid up or getting a refund. But those people won’t know this til tax time if they’re not paying attention. So they’ll think that they got a tax cut, happily vote GOP or not vote at all, and then get a stinger next March or April. (And if the GOP keeps their majorities this November, next year will be when they use the “Pay as You Go” rules to gut Social Security and Medicare for everyone under 57, and means test whatever is left)
Finally, I wouldn’t dignify the nonsense of “fake news” or any of the other childish retorts we keep hearing from these people. This nation is more mature than that, and we don’t need to resort to playground silliness just because the Pence White House and the Right Wing don’t know any better. Let them continue to bury themselves in the historical record. When this miserable epoch is done and we have an actual President again, these guys will not be able to walk back their statements or actions.