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Hannity has to find a new set of lies to defend Trump now that Mueller blew up his ‘no obstruction’ rants

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On Thursday, Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple analyzed how Sean Hannity, one of President Donald Trump’s prime cheerleaders on cable news, has sharpened his focus into directly attacking former special counsel Robert Mueller in the wake of his resignation speech on Wednesday.

“Fox News host Sean Hannity savaged special counsel Robert S. Mueller III for his statement earlier in the day on the findings of his nearly two-year investigation. ‘Now, today, he officially resigned from the Office of Special Counsel but not before showing the world, of course, what we already know on this program, his partisan hackery true colors, if you will,’ said Hannity, in his typical spitfire delivery,” wrote Wemple. “Riffing and ripping, Hannity decided to assert his all-encompassing expertise and wisdom: ‘Number one, Mr. Mueller doesn’t know the law. He’s basically full of crap, and the special counsel’s regulations, they are very clear,’ said Hannity.”

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Mueller’s words, Wemple argued, were among the only time many of Hannity’s viewers would be exposed to the straight facts of the case, getting nearly all of their media diet from a tightly-woven circle of conservative sources spinning Mueller’s report to the benefit of the president.

And because what Mueller said so baldly contradicted Hannity’s narrative, he had no choice but to go on the offense.

“What happened? Television happened: Mueller stood before the cameras and summarized his findings,” said Wemple. “The affair was covered by every media outlet of consequence. It was such an event that the major cable news networks speculated about it for more than an hour before it happened. They couldn’t talk about anything else, even though it hadn’t even happened yet. This very spectacle — the special counsel, in his first public remarks on the investigation — forced Hannity and many others to reckon with the Mueller team’s actual findings. As opposed to the findings that Hannity had been announcing to his viewers in the intervening weeks.”

As Wemple pointed out, Hannity has spent the better part of several weeks proclaiming the Mueller report details “no collusion, no obstruction.” Mueller, by contrast told Fox viewers yesterday what every other network explained from the start: that the report did not exonerate Trump and laid out incidents of obstruction that Congress could use to impeach the president.

“Propagating misinformation, as it turns out, is a complicated business,” concluded Wemple. “To properly air the ‘no collusion’ mantra, Hannity has to hype the Mueller probe’s investigative thoroughness. To properly air the ‘no obstruction’ mantra, Hannity must simultaneously aver that Mueller is ‘basically full of crap.’ It’s one of the luxuries of Hannity’s bubbled existence at Fox News that he will never be forced to choose between the two.”

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Expert explains how Dems can mobilize righteous anger and fight Trump’s claims on ‘the economy’

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After months of denial regarding the spread COVID-19, Donald Trump first embraced the role of being a “wartime president,” then shifted again to wanting the war over immediately, saying, “We don’t want the cure to be worse than the disease.” A chorus of conservative voices quickly echoed him, suggesting older Americans should be happy to die to save the economy “for their children.” Although Trump has temporarily retreated on that front, he appeared to feint toward that message again this week, and we’ll be hearing echoes of it again, repeatedly.

This new line of argument vividly reminded me of the “South Park” episode “Margaritaville,” discussed in striking fashion in Anat Shenker-Osorio’s 2012 book, “Don’t Buy It: The Trouble with Talking Nonsense about the Economy,” which I enthusiastically reviewed at the time. “Don’t Buy It” was based on three years of research into how economists, journalists, advocates, think tanks and others think and communicate about the economy, and the breadth of Shenker-Osorio’s research made it all the more striking how well that episode captured a fundamental truth about our pervasive economic confusion — a confusion that’s now deadlier than ever.

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Trump launches bizarre attack on mail-in voting — after admitting he voted in Florida by mail

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President Donald Trump Tuesday evening attacked voting by mail—a solution many rights advocates argue is particularly necessary amid the ongoing public health crisis—as a "terrible thing" even after admitting that he cast a mail-in ballot in the 2020 Republican presidential primary in Florida (presumably for himself) just last month.

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Critics claim Trump’s ‘confession’ on permanent payroll tax cut is ‘an excuse to destroy our Social Security system’

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President Donald Trump on Tuesday once again voiced his support for slashing the payroll tax—the primary funding mechanism for Social Security and Medicare—and said he would be calling for such a cut even if the U.S. were not currently in the midst of a nationwide public health and economic emergency.

"I would love to see a payroll tax cut," Trump, who has repeatedly vowed to "save" Social Security, said at the end of the Coronavirus Task Force briefing Tuesday evening. "I think on behalf of the people it would be quick... There are many people who would like to see it as a permanent tax cut."

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