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The escalating battle between Trump and Fox News inadvertently exposes one of his most insidious forms of corruption

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- Commentary

On Thursday, Fox News host Neil Cavuto went on an explosive rant against President Donald Trump, reminding him that the network is not his private propaganda channel.

“To fact check him is to be all but dead to him,” Cavuto said. Even more disturbingly, he pointed out that many Trump supporters had contacted him to tell him that “I am either with him totally, or I am a Never Trumper fully.”

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Given that Trump supporters have targeted the president’s perceived enemies in the past–whether immigrants at the border, the Obamas or media networks like CNN–that response could be seen as intimidating.

Writing in the Washington Post, columnist Greg Sargent explains how the feud between Fox News and the president exposes Trump’s most insidious form of corruption.

He starts by pointing to the many problems at Fox. “My purpose here is not to defend Fox. Yes, its news anchors sometimes do cover the administration aggressively, but the news coverage also has a heavy pro-Trump tilt, and its opinion hosts regularly traffic in outright pro-Trump agitprop and white nationalist conspiracy theories,” Sargent notes.

Nevertheless, it’s disturbing for the president to attack them.

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“Rather, what’s interesting here is Cavuto’s declaration that many Trump supporters have come to expect and demand from Fox absolute fealty to their leader.”

Sargent praises Cavuto for standing up to Trump on this issue.

“Cavuto deserves some credit. In his rebuke, he exposed many of the false storylines that intertwine in Trump’s preferred narrative of the last few years: Russia never tried to sabotage our political system on his behalf,” he writes.

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“Trump expects and demands that Fox News hew to this propagandistic narrative entirely. But, even more to the point, he publicly and unabashedly tells his supporters that he expects and demands it.”

“The whole point here is the open declaration that something meant to be a news network should function as his personal 24/7 propaganda and disinformation outlet,” Sargent writes. “It’s a double-fisted declaration of impunity: Trump must be immune from journalistic scrutiny and be permitted to operate and lie with absolute impunity, and he will publicly assert that an ostensibly journalistic institution should be entirely subservient to him with absolute, shameless impunity as well.”

Although Trump is hardly the first politician to lie, he’s taken misinformation to a whole new level.

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“This is a form of insidious corruption — corruption of our discourse. All politicians shade the truth; politics inescapably involves artifice of one kind or another,” Sargent observes.

“But most hew to some kind of underlying belief that gaslighting voters too shamelessly treats them with a form of deep contempt; that at some point, factual reality has to matter; that journalism plays a legitimate institutional role in restraining political dishonesty; and that all this is a necessary foundation for deliberative democracy to function.”


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Kellyanne Conway lashes out at Democratic voters as ‘racist and sexist’ at Ohio GOP dinner

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Making an appearance at a Republican Party dinner in Columbus, Ohio, Kellyanne Conway accused Democratic voters of being "racist and sexist," in a diatribe as she tried to boost the fortunes of her boss, President Donald Trump.

According to a report from Cincinnati.com, Conway attacked the leading Democratic presidential nominees before making her claim.

“Their top three candidates are white, career politicians in their 60s and 70s, which I have nothing against except they (Democrats) certainly do,” Conway reportedly told the crowd. “I don’t know why the heck the Democratic party electorate is so racist and sexist. I can’t figure it out.”

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Betsy DeVos’ DOE threatens to cut university funding for positive portrayal of Islam

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The U.S Department of Education threatened to pull federal funding from a Middle East studies course jointly run by Duke University and the University of North Carolina because it portrays Islam too positively.

The DOE ordered the universities to change their program or lose its federal grant money. In a letter to UNC, the department criticized the program, arguing that topics like Iranian art and film have “little or no relevance” to the Middle East studies program. The letter also argues that the program “appears to lack balance” because its programs are not focused on the discrimination faced by “religious minorities in the Middle East," including Christians and Jews.

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Wall Street is ignoring the omens of recession — here’s why

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The Federal Reserve seems a lot more concerned about the state of the economy than it’s been letting on.

The Fed lowered its target interest rate by a quarter point on Sept. 18, the second such cut since July – and the first reductions since the Great Recession more than 10 years ago.

Judging by the words of Fed Chair Jerome Powell, this isn’t that big a deal. In his statement following the decision, he said: “We took this step to help keep the U.S. economy strong in the face of some notable developments and to provide insurance against ongoing risks.”

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