Network of Lies: The Epic Saga of Fox News, Donald Trump, and the Battle for American Democracy by Brian Stelter

Posted in Fox | Comments Off on Network of Lies: The Epic Saga of Fox News, Donald Trump, and the Battle for American Democracy by Brian Stelter

The Fall: The End of Fox News and the Murdoch Dynasty

Here are some highlights from this hilarious 2023 book by Michael Wolff:

* Someone was gay, Murdoch was saying to a few friends — really, his wife’s friends — who had joined him at the patio table in St. Barts. Someone at Fox News, it seemed. But then with an abrupt segue it might seem that it was Ron DeSantis, who Murdoch was increasingly seeing as a powerful alternative to Trump, who was gay, or that someone was accusing the Florida governor of being gay. Someone at Fox — possibly Tucker Carlson — was saying that Trump was saying that DeSantis was gay. The connections here, even making a supreme effort to follow the low voice and interior mumble, were not necessarily clear.
“Rupert, why are you such a homophobe?” his wife interjected with something more than annoyance. Then she directly accused him: “You’re such a homophobe.” Then to her friends: “He’s such an old man.”

* Despite having alienated half the nation, Tucker was an adroit politician. His varied circle included the casino billionaire Steve Wynn, the actress and Harvey Weinstein accuser Rose McGowan, the former New Yorker editor and chattering class doyenne Tina Brown, and the Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof — at whose establishment he lost his virginity at the age of fourteen (taken there, along with his brother, by the family nanny at his father’s direction) and at whose funeral he delivered the eulogy (along with porn star Ron Jeremy). It included, too, every journalist on the hunt for Trump gossip, which Carlson was almost always willing to supply with verve and finely calculated indiscretion. He was liked by almost everyone who had spent time with him. Carlson had devoted great effort to his relationship with the mogul son. Over the resentment of Fox managers, he had come to report directly to the largely absent CEO, meaning, in effect, he had no day – to – day boss and had achieved carte blanche to do with his show what he wanted.

* But for Carlson, sitting with boss and friend in the warm Boca Grande night, the breeze coming off the Gulf, there was another equally obvious side to this. If James did succeed, Carlson’s transformative, cometlike success, would abruptly, and ignominiously, end. That had always been part of the strange alchemy of Fox News. It made you — gave you a singular name: Tucker, Hannity, O’Reilly, Megyn — but somehow did not give you a star’s independent life. Megyn Kelly, Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck, Greta Van Susteren, Paula Zahn, Fox superstars, had tried to go somewhere else and quickly faded away. It was a fate that weighed heavily on Carlson — that, in the blink of an eye, he might not be the second – most – famous and – hated person in the country.
His only alternative might be … to run for president.

* But Hemmer was probably gay — at least Ailes thought he was gay.

* [Roger Ailes thought Lachlan and James Murdoch were gay.]

* The Murdochs hated Hannity. Murdoch was an elitist.

* Laura Ingraham, staggering, reeling, her actual drunkenness a superb rendition of exaggerated drunkenness, latched onto Hannity’s sleeve, imploring: “I needja help, Sean, needja help. Needja plane. You gotta plane, doncha? A plaannne.”
Hannity hardly missed a beat, not hesitating, plowing forward, practically dragging her along until he pulled free, and continuing his commentary: “God, gross, her head in the john. Oh, man. These planes are too small for that!”

* Suzanne Scott, the CEO of Fox News, was largely barred from instructing or even talking to the network’s leading prime – time anchors and major moneymakers, Carlson and Hannity — what could she tell them, after all, that their ratings did not already say? It was Scott’s management mantra: don’t fix what isn’t broken. Truly, what else could you say in the face of all that cash flow?

* In the variegated ecosystem of Fox misogyny, Ingraham was derided as a hopeless drunk, a bad drunk, a puke – spewing drunk (Hannity’s account of barring her from his plane had gone far and wide). And, too, that she had thrown herself, drunk or not, at every man in the conservative movement — this since her undergraduate years at Dartmouth, that particular hotbed of conservatism, in the 1980s, where she had first made her reputation. And yet never sealed the deal. (In a story that has long haunted her, she used a garden hose to flood the basement of a boyfriend who jilted her.) She had three adopted children now. She was, in the telling of many men at Fox and throughout a socially unreconstructed conservative movement, gross, pathetic, drunk, and a skank — cue the huge peal of laughter.

* Every on – air woman at Fox was selected for the feminine role she could fill. Ailes was very precise about who he was casting and for what role. Beyond that each woman needed to be not just white, but not ethnic — not to look Italian, Jewish, Hispanic, Greek, or too far from an Anglo – Saxon, Irish, Nordic standard — well – proportioned, long – legged, usually blond and in a hair style that said somewhere other than New York, and generally, to Ailes’s specification, “a former beauty pageant type.”
Each needed to have a more particular sexual – role function. The girl next door. The vixen. The disciplinarian. It was casting.
Perhaps most importantly, all had to rise to what Ailes called “the American blow – job test.” This was a homegrown Ailes theory, which he was pleased to frequently expand upon, about every man’s evaluation of whether or not a woman would give head and with what verve and style (one of his favorite formulations: “To get ahead, you have to give some head”).

…This was part of his belief that his particular news specialty was picking the talent. “News is a variety show,” he offered, harkening back to that favorite form of television programming from the 1960s. “It’s sexy girls and outrageous men. It has to be clear what role everybody is playing — everybody needs to play broad, big, to character. Don’t try to be subtle. This is America.”

* “The look of cable news,” at the time when he launched Fox News in 1996, “was for somebody else. It was classroom stuff. I wanted Fox to look more like daytime television — or like daytime television used to look,” he explained years later. Stubbornly unmindful of the new requirements for how to discuss gender in American culture, he went on, “So the women were important. Their job was to be familiar to other women in a nonthreatening way and yet still to have men want to fuck them — accomplishing both of those things was the vital part. Fox women are not yuppie women or aspirational women or professional women — they’re television women. Game show girls. They come out of the American imagination. Television put them there.”

Bud: “I always believed that Desantis is a closeted homosexual. The facial expressions, the boots, the snarkiness.”

Posted in Fox | Comments Off on The Fall: The End of Fox News and the Murdoch Dynasty

Rape as a weapon of war in the Arab-Israeli conflict (11-26-23)

01:00 My Fourth Day On Adderall,
08:00 Hamas releases 40 hostages
19:30 Who is Defeated in Gaza: Israel or Hamas?,
50:00 Is The West An Unreliable Ally?,
59:00 Rape & The Arab-Israeli Conflict,
1:04:40 Tucker Carlson talks to Glenn Greenwald about free speech, conservatives, Israel, Ukraine,
1:19:00 Israel, Hamas, and the Laws of War,
1:29:45 Polls show Joe Biden losing to Donald Trump
1:35:00 Israel’s Evacuation Orders,
1:42:00 The Daily Reprieve,
1:43:00 Shim F – ”It Works if You Work It”,
1:49:00 Elliott Blatt calls in about medication, nicotine gum
2:10:00 Elliott on psychoactive mushrooms
2:33:00 Dooovid joins,
2:34:00 Dooovid talks about his failure as a Jew,
2:45:00 Dooovid’s appearance with Mario Nawfal,
2:54:00 CNN: Suspect in killing of Detroit synagogue leader Samantha Woll is released from custody, lawyer says,
2:58:00 Transmigration of Souls, Neuroscience, Metaphysics, Tensor Fields; Church of Entropy & Kevin McCairn,
2:59:00 Week in Review 11-12-2023 My Failures as a Jew 2, Zoubida, Christian, Multiple Truth Hypothesis,
3:06:00 Creating your own online community vs participating in real life Orthodox Judaism

Posted in ADHD, America, Israel | Comments Off on Rape as a weapon of war in the Arab-Israeli conflict (11-26-23)

Rape & The Arab-Israeli Conflict

One of the good things I’ve repeatedly heard about Israel’s armed forces is that they rarely rape, but according to this Washington Post article, Palestinians have rarely raped Israelis (until the October 7 Hamas attack on southern Israel).

Some forces in the Middle East, including those of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Islamic State, have used systematic rape as a weapon. But many armed groups consider the act taboo, even in war. The practice has never been used systematically in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to experts.

Many pundits routinely proclaim the non-rapey nature of the IDF but I don’t recall any of them noting that Palestinians have largely abstained from this behavior as well in their battle against Israel.

When I mention this to my Zionist friends (and I consider myself a Zionist), they tend to angrily deny it.

Sam Vaknin claims that the Hamas fighters who attacked Israel October 7 were disciplined, and that the rapes were committed by regular Gazans.

My intuition says that higher IQ people are more capable of empathy and therefore are less likely to rape than lower IQ people.

Posted in Israel, Rape | Comments Off on Rape & The Arab-Israeli Conflict

Is The West An Unreliable Ally?

I’m noticing this trope from many pundits — that America and the West are not stalwart allies.

Is anyone a stalwart ally? I fail to see how the West is less reliable than other entities.

Betrayal is inevitable in all relationships, including international ones between states. As soon as you form any connection, you generate fantasies about the other party’s priorities which will inevitably be dashed. It is built into the human condition to imagine that the world and other people and ourselves are more stable than we really are. To reduce our anxiety, we believe things that are not true (such as that there is an essential nature to ourselves and others, a true self, while in reality we are all different in different circumstances and often the situation will have more influence on our behavior than our personality). For example, we will tend to explain away our friends and our own bad behavior as not truly reflective of who we are. We will be quick to make excuses for ourselves and other to avoid changing our minds.

Betrayal is simply the hyperbolic term we give to others having different priorities than what we expected. If your best friend sleep with your wife, you may well call it a betrayal of your friendship, but for your friend, he was simply placing his relationship with your wife at a higher level of importance than his relationship with you. His priorities were different from what you expected.

If you knock yourself out at work and do the work of three men, and then you get fired because in your zeal for productivity you didn’t cross all the Ts and dot all the Is, you might be feel betrayed by your boss, but all that has happened is your employer has different priorities from what you expected.

In the above video, Israeli Sam Vaknin says: “We are in the throes of a global reordering of powers similar to the period of the 1950s and 1960s when the US tried to contain both the USSR and communist China. Now the United States is a much diminished and spent force. It is polarized. It is paralyzed. It’s democracy is threatened from within. It doesn’t even have a regular budget, only stopgap ones. The USA can scarcely provide to more than two allies or proxies at any given time. NATO is under-funded and under-trained. As Ukraine and Israel will find out soon, the West is not a reliable or long-term ally. The axis of resistance (Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Hamas) is becoming aware that the West is not what it used to be. It is a facade, a potemkin power.”

Many pundits have noted diminishing American support for Ukraine and Israel. If true, that is not an indictment of the fickleness of America. It is simply an acknowledgment of reality — that the previous level of American support for these countries was not aligned with America’s best interests.

When America withdrew its forces from Afghanistan in August of 2021, it looked bad, but it was in America’s best interests. There are many times in life when it is best to leave something in a shambolic way than to hang around to try to preserve your dignity. America’s influence does not ultimately depend upon such appearances. Rather, it springs from America’s military and economic might.

So can you depend on America? Yes, if your interests and America’s interests are aligned.

Posted in America | Comments Off on Is The West An Unreliable Ally?