Saturday, September 24, 2016

White House - Home Of The Whoppers! Whoopi and The Political Acid Reflux Syndrome. Savannah Crime. Ayn Rand!   

and a world in constant denial:

Another lie by Obama? Is The White House truly the home of the whopper? (See 1 and 1a below.)
Tomorrow night Trump will be on stage debating Hillary, the choice of the mass media after having rejected her some 8 years ago for reasons they now ascribe to Trump, ie. unqualified, racist etc..

Trump's appearance has to be galling for the likes of those who write editorials for the New York Times, Washington Post and their fellow travelers in the media.

These "elitists" believe it is their responsibility to determine America's culture, what reactions we should have to what happens in their PC defined world.

Frankly, I do not share nor do I care about Hollywood values and as for Whoopi Goldberg, she is more than welcome to leave America and take a lot of  NFL football players with her all wrapped in the flag of a foreign nation they most love.

Time will tell whether a majority of the voters and electoral numbers will force these"elites" to swallow hard and not choke on Trump becoming president. I call it the political acid reflux syndrome.
I have warned that a spreading war is not out of the question. Now an op ed in The Wall Street Journal goes beyond even my own fears. (See 2 below.)
Savannah has a serious crime problem and some idiot wrote a letter calling for the firing of our police chief who is a true professional and who did an outstanding job in Athens for decades.  I wrote this letter in response:

"Rather than fire a dedicated and proven professional Chief of Police we should fire the parents who are raising the animals committing crime.  As long as Savannah is infested with youth who have no concept of what it is to be a good citizen and weapons and drugs are prevalent there is going to be crime and gun related killings and attacks.. 

When our mayor took over, the police force was understaffed by 129 officers.  It is now up to strength but these "rookies" are not yet out patrolling and doing community service, nor did the incoming Police Chief have the equipment etc. he needed and worked with in Athens.

It takes time to correct the omissions of an entire department which was run by a servant of the people now in prison. That is not the fault of the current excellent police chief but he and we are paying the price.

Finally, when young people get a solid education. learn to read at an appropriate age and are raised in a family environment that stresses education there is less crime. For instance, I do not see a lot of crime being committed by the Asian community. Maybe they know something that could be instructive.

Stop with the nonsense about firing the police chief."

Whether it gets published is another matter but I get really ticked when some jerk believes firing a competent person is the solution to a problem that has depth and is systemic.  

The problem is a culture that does not elevate education, a family structure that has been decimated by do good liberals , lack of employment , prevalence of drugs and frankly, a black president who is an apologist,  has engaged in class warfare and pitted his segment of society against our police because it furthers his anarchist attitude and angst he has against America.
How did FOX News get where they are?  An article sent me by a very dear, long standing friend and fellow memo reader. (See 3 below.)
I cut my teeth on Ayn Rand who is despised by liberals.

The ideas she expressed in "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead" are un-achievable and very lofty.  Her writing was a bit long and ponderous and had Hemingway written Rand's books they would have been shorter and more readable but she saw the future;

This was sent by a very long time friend and fellow memo reader. ;(See 4 below.)
1) Obama used a pseudonym in emails with Clinton, FBI documents reveal

President Barack Obama used a pseudonym in email communications with Hillary Clinton and others, according to FBI records made public Friday.

The disclosure came as the FBI released its second batch of documents from its investigation into Clinton’s private email server during her tenure as secretary of state.

The 189 pages the bureau released includes interviews with some of Clinton’s closest aides, such as Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills; senior State Department officials; and even Marcel Lazar, better known as the Romanian hacker “Guccifer.”

In an April 5, 2016 interview with the FBI, Abedin was shown an email exchange between Clinton and Obama, but the longtime Clinton aide did not recognize the name of the sender.

"Once informed that the sender's name is believed to be pseudonym used by the president, Abedin exclaimed: 'How is this not classified?'" the report says. "Abedin then expressed her amazement at the president's use of a pseudonym and asked if she could have a copy of the email."

The State Department has refused to make public that and other emails Clinton exchanged with Obama. Lawyers have cited the "presidential communications privilege," a variation of executive privilege, in order to withhold the messages under the Freedom of Information Act.

The report doesn't provide more details on the contents of that particular email exchange, but says it took place on June 28, 2012, and had the subject line: "Re: Congratulations." It may refer to the Supreme Court's ruling that day upholding a key portion of the Obamacare law.

A report on the FBI's June 7, 2016 interview with "Guccifer" confirms FBI Director James Comey's claim that Lazar falsely asserted that he'd surreptitiously accessed Clinton's server.

"Lazar began by stating that he had never claimed to hack the Clinton server. [An FBI agent] then advised that Fox News had recently published an article which reported that Lazar had claimed to have to Clinton server. Lazar then stated that he recalled the interview with Fox News, and that he had lied to them about hacking the Clinton server."

Additional FBI interviewees whose reports were made public Friday included Jake Sullivan, Clinton's policy planning director; Bryan Pagliano, a former Clinton technology aide; Monica Hanley, a veteran Clinton aide who worked for her in the Senate and at State; and Sidney Blumenthal, Clinton’s longtime confidant.

Hanley revealed in her FBI interview that she had no idea where a thumb drive she used to store an archive of Clinton's emails had gone. Hanley searched for the thumb drive, which the FBI described as "something she happened to have laying around the house," several times but was unable to find it.

The interviews provide more insight into Clinton's lack of technical acumen. According to the FBI's Abedin writeup, she "could not use a computer"; Hanley said Clinton had no idea what her own email password was, and had to rely on aides.

The so-called "302" reports also detail FBI interviews with former Secretary of State Colin Powell, former CIA acting director Mike Morell, State Department official Pat Kennedy, State Department Inspector General Steve Linick, Bill Clinton aide Justin Cooper, former diplomatic security chief Eric Boswell and longtime diplomat Lewis Lukens.

Some of the interview reports had the subject's name removed on privacy grounds before the records were released. Many of those people seem to be computer technicians or lower-level State Department officials.

The FBI published 58 pages of documents earlier this month that revealed Clinton had relied on others’ judgment to not send her classified material during email correspondences.
“Clinton did not recall receiving any emails she thought should not be on an unclassified system,” the FBI said in its Sept. 2 report. “She relied on State officials to use their judgment when emailing her and could not recall anyone raising concerns with her regarding the sensitivity of the information she received at her email address.”


Hillary's "blizzard of lies"

·         NormanL

The national press is in a tizzy over Hilary Clinton's declining poll numbers. They all have theories (some rational, others panicked) as to why she may be losing ground to Donald Trump But we think the reason is simple: it's her character.
This 1996 gem of a column (link is external) from the late Bill Safire reminds us that Hillary's character problems aren't new:
Americans of all political persuasions are coming to the sad realization that our First Lady -- a woman of undoubted talents who was a role model for many in her generation -- is a congenital liar.
Drip by drip, like Whitewater torture, the case is being made that she is compelled to mislead, and to ensnare her subordinates and friends in a web of deceit.
1. Remember the story she told about studying The Wall Street Journal to explain her 10,000 percent profit in 1979 commodity trading? We now know that was a lie told to turn aside accusations that as the Governor's wife she profited corruptly, her account being run by a lawyer for state poultry interests through a disreputable broker.
She lied for good reason: To admit otherwise would be to confess taking, and paying taxes on, what some think amounted to a $100,000 bribe.
2. The abuse of Presidential power known as Travelgate elicited another series of lies. She induced a White House lawyer to assert flatly to investigators that Mrs. Clinton did not order the firing of White House travel aides, who were then harassed by the F.B.I. and Justice Department to justify patronage replacement by Mrs. Clinton's cronies.
Now we know, from a memo long concealed from investigators, that there would be "hell to pay" if the furious First Lady's desires were scorned. The career of the lawyer who transmitted Hillary's lie to authorities is now in jeopardy. Again, she lied with good reason: to avoid being identified as a vindictive political power player who used the F.B.I. to ruin the lives of people standing in the way of juicy patronage.
3. In the aftermath of the apparent suicide of her former partner and closest confidant, White House Deputy Counsel Vincent Foster, she ordered the overturn of an agreement to allow the Justice Department to examine the files in the dead man's office. Her closest friends and aides, under oath, have been blatantly disremembering this likely obstruction of justice, and may have to pay for supporting Hillary's lie with jail terms.
Again, the lying was not irrational. Investigators believe that damning records from the Rose Law Firm, wrongfully kept in Vincent Foster's White House office, were spirited out in the dead of night and hidden from the law for two years -- in Hillary's closet, in Web Hubbell's basement before his felony conviction, in the President's secretary's personal files -- before some were forced out last week.
And yes, it was in the New York Times -- a leading Clinton cheerleader then, and even more so now.
Hillary Clinton's lies are an integral part of who she is. Do other politicians have problems with the truth? Absolutely. But Hillary is in a class by herself

The Gathering Nuclear Storm

Lulled to believe nuclear catastrophe died with the Cold War, America is blind to rising dragons.

Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, China’s Xi Jinping, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.ENLARGE
Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, China’s Xi Jinping, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. PHOTO: ZUMA PRESS(3)/GETTY IMAGES
Even should nuclear brinkmanship not result in Armageddon, it can lead to abject defeat and a complete reordering of the international system. The extraordinarily complicated and consequential management of American nuclear policy rests upon the shoulders of those we elevate to the highest offices. Unfortunately, President Obama’s transparent hostility to America’s foundational principles and defensive powers is coupled with a dim and faddish understanding of nuclear realities. His successor will be no less ill-equipped.
Hillary Clinton’s robotic compulsion to power renders her immune to either respect for truth or clearheaded consideration of urgent problems. Theodore Roosevelt’s secretary of state once said that he was “pure act” (meaning action). Hillary Clinton is “pure lie” (meaning lie), with whatever intellectual power she possesses hopelessly enslaved to reflexive deviousness.
Donald Trump, surprised that nuclear weapons are inappropriate to counterinsurgency, has a long history of irrepressible urges and tropisms. Rather like the crazy boy-emperors after the fall of the Roman Republic, he may have problems with impulse control—and an uncontrolled, ill-formed, perpetually fragmented mind.
None of these perhaps three worst people in the Western Hemisphere, and few of their deplorable underlings, are alive to the gravest danger. Which is neither Islamic State, terrorism, the imprisoned economy, nor even the erosion of our national character, though all are of crucial importance.
The gravest danger we face is fast-approaching nuclear instability. Many believe it is possible safely to arrive at nuclear zero. It is not. Enough warheads to bring any country to its knees can fit in a space volumetrically equivalent to a Manhattan studio apartment. Try to find that in the vastness of Russia, China, or Iran. Even ICBMs and their transporter-erector-launchers can easily be concealed in warehouses, tunnels and caves. Nuclear weapons age out, but, thanks to supercomputing, reliable replacements can be manufactured with only minor physical testing. Unaccounted fissile material sloshing around the world can, with admitted difficulty, be fashioned into weapons. And when rogue states such as North Korea and Iran build their bombs, our response has been either impotence or a ticket to ride.
Nor do nuclear reductions lead to increased safety. Quite apart from encouraging proliferation by enabling every medium power in the world to aim for nuclear parity with the critically reduced U.S. arsenal, reductions create instability. The fewer targets, the more possible a (counter-force) first strike to eliminate an enemy’s retaliatory capacity. Nuclear stability depends, inter alia, upon deep reserves that make a successful first strike impossible to assure. The fewer warheads and the higher the ratio of warheads to delivery vehicles, the more dangerous and unstable.
Supposedly salutary reductions are based upon an incorrect understanding of nuclear sufficiency: i.e., if X number of weapons is sufficient to inflict unacceptable costs upon an enemy, no more than X are needed. But we don’t define sufficiency, the adversary does, and the definition varies according to culture; history; the temperament, sanity, or miscalculation of leadership; domestic politics; forms of government, and other factors, some unknown. For this reason, the much maligned concept of overkill is a major contributor to stability, in that, if we have it, an enemy is less likely to calculate that we lack sufficiency. Further, if our forces are calibrated to sufficiency, then presumably the most minor degradation will render them insufficient.Consider two nations, each with 10 warheads on each of 10 missiles. One’s first strike with five warheads tasked per the other’s missiles would leave the aggressor with an arsenal sufficient for a (counter-value) strike against the now disarmed opponent’s cities. Our deterrent is not now as concentrated as in the illustration, but by placing up to two-thirds of our strategic warheads in just 14 submarines; consolidating bomber bases; and entertaining former Defense Secretary William Perry’s recommendation to do away with the 450 missiles in the land-based leg of the Nuclear Triad, we are moving that way.
Nor is it safe to mirror-image willingness to go nuclear. Every nuclear state has its own threshold, and one cannot assume that concessions in strategic forces will obviate nuclear use in response to conventional warfare, which was Soviet doctrine for decades and is a Russian predilection now.
Ballistic missile defense is opposed and starved on the assumption that it would shield one’s territory after striking first, and would therefore tempt an enemy to strike before the shield was deployed. As its opponents assert, hermetic shielding is impossible, and if only 10 of 1,500 warheads were to hit American cities, the cost would be unacceptable. But no competent nuclear strategist ever believed that, other than protecting cities from accidental launch or rogue states, ballistic missile defense is anything but a means of protecting our retaliatory capacity, making a counter-force first strike of no use, and thus increasing stability.
In a nuclear world, unsentimental and often counterintuitive analysis is necessary. As the genie will not be forced back into the lamp, the heart of the matter is balance and deterrence. But this successful dynamic of 70 years is about to be destroyed. Those whom the French call our “responsibles” have addressed the nuclear calculus—in terms of sufficiency, control regimes, and foreign policy—only toward Russia, as if China, a nuclear power for decades, did not exist. While it is true that to begin with its nuclear arsenal was de minimis, in the past 15 years China has increased its land-based ICBMs by more than 300%, its sea-based by more than 400%. Depending upon the configuration of its missiles, China can rain up to several hundred warheads upon the U.S.
As we shrink our nuclear forces and fail to introduce new types, China is doing the opposite, increasing them numerically and forging ahead of us in various technologies (quantum communications, super computers, maneuverable hypersonic re-entry vehicles), some of which we have forsworn, such as road-mobile missiles, which in survivability and range put to shame our Minuteman IIIs.
Because China’s nuclear weapons infrastructure is in part housed in 3,000 miles of tunnels opaque to American intelligence, we cannot know the exact velocity and extent of its buildup. Why does the Obama administration, worshipful of nuclear agreements, completely ignore the nuclear dimension of the world’s fastest rising major power, with which the United States and allies engage in military jockeying almost every day on multiple fronts? Lulled to believe that nuclear catastrophe died with the Cold War, America is blind to rising dragons.
And then we have Russia, which ignores limitations the Obama administration strives to exceed. According to its own careless or defiant admissions, Russia cheats in virtually every area of nuclear weapons: deploying missiles that by treaty supposedly no longer exist; illegally converting anti-aircraft and ballistic missile defense systems to dual-capable nuclear strike; developing new types of nuclear cruise missiles for ships and aircraft; keeping more missiles on alert than allowed; and retaining battlefield tactical nukes.
Further, in the almost complete absence of its own “soft power,” Russia frequently hints at nuclear first use. All this comports with historical Soviet/Russian doctrine and conduct; is an important element of Putinesque tactics for reclaiming the Near Abroad; and dovetails perfectly with Mr. Obama’s advocacy of no first use, unreciprocated U.S. reductions and abandonment of nuclear modernization. Which in turn pair nicely with Donald Trump’s declaration that he would defend NATO countries only if they made good on decades of burden-sharing delinquency.
Russia deploys about 150 more nuclear warheads than the U.S. Intensively modernizing, it finds ways to augment its totals via undisguised cheating. Bound by no numerical or qualitative limits, China speeds its strategic development. To cripple U.S. retaliatory capability, an enemy would have to destroy only four or five submarines at sea, two sub bases, half a dozen bomber bases, and 450 missile silos.
Russia has 49 attack submarines, China 65, with which to track and kill American nuclear missile subs under way. Were either to build or cheat to 5,000 warheads (the U.S. once had more than 30,000) and two-thirds reached their targets, four warheads could strike each aim point, with 2,000 left to hold hostage American cities and industry. China and Russia are far less dense and developed than the U.S., and it would take more strikes for us to hold them at risk than vice versa, a further indictment of reliance upon sufficiency calculations and symmetrical reductions.
Russia dreams publicly of its former hold on Eastern Europe and cannot but see opportunity in a disintegrating European Union and faltering NATO. China annexes the South China Sea and looks to South Korea, Japan and Australasia as future subordinates. Given the degradation of U.S. and allied conventional forces previously able to hold such ambitions in check, critical confrontations are bound to occur. When they do occur, and if without American reaction, China or Russia have continued to augment their strategic forces to the point of vast superiority where one or both consider a first strike feasible, we may see nuclear brinkmanship (or worse) in which the United States—startled from sleep and suddenly disabused of the myth of sufficiency—might have to capitulate, allowing totalitarian dictatorships to dominate the world.
Current trajectories point in exactly this direction, but in regard to such things Donald Trump hasn’t the foggiest, and, frankly, Hillary Clinton, like the president, doesn’t give a damn.
The way to avoid such a tragedy is to bring China into a nuclear control regime or answer its refusal with our own proportional increases and modernization. And to make sure that both our nuclear and conventional forces are strong, up-to-date, and survivable enough to deter the militant ambitions of the two great powers rising with daring vengeance from what they regard as the shame of their oppression.
Mr. Helprin, a senior fellow of the Claremont Institute, is the author of “Winter’s Tale,” “A Soldier of the Great War” and the forthcoming novel “Paris in the Present Tense.”

Twenty years of Fox News — and ‘post-truth politics’

How the network upended American politics and news
ByChristopher Caldwell

Today Fox News can claim vindication. On October 7, it will celebrate 20 years on the air amid a presidential campaign fought largely over immigration, executive over-reach and other issues that it — and sometimes it alone — took seriously. The sports channel ESPN aside, no other cable network has more viewers. Fox News’s success has turned all American media, not just television, upside-down. Its fans applaud its responsiveness to viewers, and to median Americans. Its critics see the tabloidification of everything, and a decline in the prestige of facts so steep that they speak of a “post-truth politics”.
It was Roger Ailes, the politically savvy producer Murdoch brought in to shape the new network, who saw that there was no longer any logic, or money, in playing news straight down the middle. “On the air” TV news remained until the end of the century what it had been in the aftermath of the second world war — a semi-official oligopoly. The three large networks were joined, once cable TV became the norm in the 1980s, by CNN. Here was a new product available around the clock, but CNN’s assumptions about the culture of American television departed not a whit from those of the network behemoths. A news channel was a natural monopoly, a profitmaking public utility. Each channel was supposed to appeal to the maximum possible number of “normal” Americans.
Suddenly, though, with hundreds of channels instead of a handful, there was an entire landscape of news ideological real estate ready to be squatted on. In essence, Ailes and Murdoch turned the US television news industry into something like the British newspaper industry. Just as learning the truth about a controversial Westminster scandal can require triangulating between the Guardian, the Telegraph and the Mirror, American politics can now be read in its Fox version, its MSNBC version or its CNN version, and Fox is far from the most opinionated of these. A 2013 Pew Research Center study found 85 per cent of MSNBC’s news coverage consists of commentary and opinion, versus 55 per cent for Fox. But opinion is on the rise everywhere. People demand it. Even the New York Times is not immune. The page-one headline the paper published over a “news analysis” piece last weekend, after Donald Trump admitted, contrary to previous insinuations, that Obama had been born in the US, said: “Trump Gives Up a Lie but Refuses to Repent.” (“Repent”! You’d think the News of the World had bought out the L’Osservatore Romano.) All US papers, apparently, now deal in niche truths.
Fox News’s niche was, roughly speaking, conservatives. The Republicans who claimed to represent them politically held a majority in Congress. But television outlets made no effort to appeal to them. Now Fox News did. In 2006, with the country on edge over terrorism, its commentators were up in arms over the acquisition by Dubai Ports World of the contract to manage six US shipping ports. A year later, the network was the command centre for opposition to George W Bush’s attempted liberalisation of US immigration laws. After Obama took office in 2009, Fox pursued Solyndra, a solarpanel company bankrolled and run by Obama’s campaign donors. It went bankrupt in 2011 after receiving a half-billion-dollar loan guarantee — the very first issued under the Obama “stimulus package”. Attorney-general Eric Holder was a beloved target. Fox News showed footage of a cosh-wielding man in military garb at a polling station, in order to question why Holder’s Justice Department had dropped a voter-intimidation case against a group called the New Black Panther Party. Fox News later attacked Holder for his role in “Fast and Furious”, a botched attempt to entrap Mexican gunrunners that wound up putting high-powered weaponry into the hands of drug cartels.

These were all great stories. They are presumably what Abramson meant when she urged her colleagues to tune in. Fox News’s producers — and above all Ailes — had a genius for narratives that were readily grasped by the simplest spirits and served as parables of the most serious business of government. Fox News was operating in the space where serious journalism shades into demagogy. Sometimes demagogy was all there was. The network’s insinuation, night after night, about Vietnam veteran John Kerry’s distinguished military record during the 2004 campaign could be defended on the grounds that all’s fair in love, war and political campaigning — but on journalistic grounds it was a disgrace. In 2010, Fox’s website publicised a video carelessly drawn off the internet, which wrongly portrayed Obama administration agricultural adviser Shirley Sherrod as a racist. The administration fired Sherrod.

Like the constitution-revering Tea Party that arose half a decade ago, Fox News was a Republican institution that was always taken more seriously by Democrats than Republicans. Obama feared, baited and emulated it. He and Mrs Clinton declined to participate in a Fox-sponsored candidates’ debate in 2007. His aide Anita Dunn called Fox News a “wing of the Republican party”. His communications director said the White House would “stop abiding by the fiction, which is aided and abetted by the mainstream press, that Fox is a traditional news organisation”. They shut Fox out of “pool” coverage. If it was shocking when the late Tony Snow left his show on Fox News Radio to become George W Bush’s Press secretary in 2006, it was less so when Jay Carney left his job as Time magazine’s Washington bureau chief to work for Joe Biden in 2008 (and later for Obama).

In power, the Republican pols and advisers who manned Fox’s panels could inform. Out of power, it seemed, they could do nothing but complain. There was an element of hackery. In 2011, New York magazine ran a list of politicians, most of them Republicans, who had been on the Fox payroll. It ran into the dozens. A low point came on election night 2012, when Karl Rove, chief of staff in the Bush White House, could not bring himself to accept Fox’s own announcement that Obama had won the state of Ohio, and had therefore been re-elected. In fact, Rove began to rattle off figures about how many votes were still to be counted. “Is this just math that you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better,” election night anchor Megyn Kelly asked, “or is this real?”Fox News was politically hyperactive without being politically sophisticated. Having diagnosed an absence of media voices who represent the country’s vast population of small-C conservatives, the network itself turned out to have no reliable stable of conservative commentators, nor much interest in setting one up. What it had was an open door to the Republican party and its operatives. During the George W Bush administration, this closeness had its advantages. It meant scoops, insider access. The network made up in information what it lacked in internal balance. Fox’s biggest boost in ratings came in the months after the September 11 2001 attacks — it passed ahead of CNN in all daytime and evening programming in February 2002.

The same question can be asked, in the most sweeping way, of Fox News itself. By the night of Rove’s meltdown it was pulling in 2m primetime viewers. That was still only a fraction of what the older broadcast networks reach but it was more than Fox’s liberal cable rivals, CNN and MSNBC, combined. Fox pulled off this feat over two decades when the audience for network news was shrinking. Still, juggernaut though the network may seem, its 20-year reign has been a period of Republican decline. It has served as a foil for an Obama administration that has built an ever-larger institutional power base and advanced its agenda even as Republicans sputtered. David Frum, former speech writer for George W Bush, said: “Republicans originally thought that Fox worked for us, and now we are discovering we work for Fox.”

New York magazine essayist Frank Rich has been prominent among those who thought Fox News more a hindrance to Republicans than a help. It kept them swaddled in an unrealistic view of the world, Rich thought. What is more, it was so geriatric — with an average viewer aged over 65 — that it was “in essence a retirement community”. As Rich himself noted, people who watch TV news are, on average, a doddering bunch. MSNBC’s watchers average 61 years old and CNN’s 60. One of the most commonly heard dinner-party complaints among metropolitan Americans in their forties is that it used to be a delight to talk politics with their fathers, who now only mouth off like Fox talk host Bill O’Reilly.

Ailes had an ability to recruit characters the public saw as vivid and sincere. O’Reilly — the sort of garrulous Irish know-it-all familiar to anyone who grew up in the American north-east — was one. The network’s biggest political star in the early Obama years was the bizarre Glenn Beck — the kind of person who can’t stop talking about how a book he bought at a jumble sale changed his life. In an age of hypocrisy, their realness counted for everything. “You know why other executives always hire phonies?” Mr Ailes said to Esquire magazine. “Because they’re phonies. They hire phonies because they like phonies. They’re comfortable with them.”

Fox News’s more genuine commentators changed the rest of journalism. MSNBC began to rise in the Nielsen rankings when it hired Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes as evening talkers. They no more please all viewers than Fox’s anchors do, but they are people of conviction, wit and spontaneity. Finding such people is not simple, and Fox’s rivals bent themselves into the strangest shapes trying to imitate it. During the Bush administration, CNN hired Fox’s Paula Zahn and then tried to market her as a news anchor who was “provocative, super-smart … oh, yeah, and just a little sexy!”

“People expect to see a human being,” Ailes reportedly told newscaster Megyn Kelly, now the network’s most recognisable star. People expect to see Kelly, a 45-year-old beauty and a quick, confrontational interviewer, a lot. She has disrupted this year’s presidential campaign and the Fox hierarchy along with it. Donald Trump is friends with Ailes, but not, reportedly, with Murdoch. According to Ailes’s biographer Gabriel Sherman, “Murdoch blamed Ailes for laying the groundwork for Trump’s candidacy,” and wanted Fox News’s correspondents to grill him aggressively. When Kelly did so at an August 2015 debate, Ailes suddenly found himself at odds with his boss, his top star, and the next Republican presidential nominee.

Last year Murdoch’s sons Lachlan and James took over command of 21st Century Fox, Fox News’s parent company. Over the summer, they pushed for the ousting of Ailes over allegations of sexual harassment. Their political views are greener, more liberal, and more like those of a conventional One Percenter than their father’s were. When Hillary Clinton collapsed at a 9/11 memorial service in New York two weeks ago, the post-Ailes Fox accepted the Clinton camp’s explanations of what happened with the same deference the other networks showed. The younger Murdochs appear to be abandoning populism for elitism in the middle of the biggest populist upsurge in a generation. One can admire their business acumen and still question whether this is a wise move. This anniversary feels less like a jubilee than the end of a reign.

Fox News’s competitors, with a few exceptions like Abramson, always sold it short. They were wrong to. Fox News succeeded because it was brilliant enough to identify a market failure, not because it was sleazy enough to cause one. Murdoch, Ailes and those who built up Fox News did so by identifying a group of news consumers who were being ignored by news producers. It is only now, in the election season of 2016, that we can see how dire a problem this snub revealed, not just for the media but for the whole political system. It was a sign that the informed opinions of the broad public had ceased to count in American political and social life.

The Fox News people understood that you can’t solve this problem by being “more objective”. When it is being ignored by elites, the broad public prefers opinions to facts — because, while everyone has opinions, as the saying goes, facts are increasingly things that get handed down by experts. In short, Fox News bet 20 years ago that the “objectivity” of a nation’s elites could be a kind of bias. The past year’s events in the US show that it has won that bet.

Christopher Caldwell is a senior editor at the Weekly Standard

Scoops, lawsuits and presidential squabbles

1996 Fox News debuts on October 7. Rupert Murdoch, its founder, paid US cable providers an estimated $300m to carry the channel, ensuring access to an audience of 17m from its inception. For the first time there was a right-leaning news source available 24/7 across the US.

1997 The Fox umbrella becomes the largest and most powerful broadcasting network in the US following the $2.5bn acquisition of New World Communications. This gave Fox coverage of more than 40 per cent of the country.

2001 September 11, 10.49am: Fox News becomes the first broadcaster to introduce a permanent ribbon of text running across the width of the screen — used on this occasion in the wake of the terrorist attacks that had begun two hours earlier. CNN launched its own permanent news ticker less than half an hour later.

2009 President Obama refuses to appear on Fox News and a feud develops between the news channel and the White House. Fox hosts Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly claim that the president has “declared war on Fox”. Beck went on to suggest that Obama must be a racist.

2012 Fox News spends more than any of its rivals — more than $800m, up 11 per cent from the year before, with costs ranging from big salaries for Fox’s star personalities to vast maintenance costs for its many bureaus. In the same year CNN was estimated to have spent $682m, and MSNBC $240m.

2014 A junior Fox News reporter lands an inadvertent scoop: a two-part interview with Robert O’Neill, the former US Navy Seal who was reported to have fired the shots that killed Osama bin Laden. More than 3m people tuned in, making it the most-watched documentary in the history of Fox News.

2015 At a Republican debate in August 2015, Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly confronts Donald Trump over his misogynistic comments. Trump, seen above with her earlier this year, takes to Twitter to accuse her and Fox News of bias, and boycotts the next debate.

2016 Chief executive Roger Ailes is forced to resign after multiple allegations of sexual harassment. Former anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a lawsuit against him prompting many other staff to come forward. Despite the scandal, this is the highest-rated year in Fox News’s history. The current top 10 most-watched programmes on cable news are all from Fox News.
Laura Garmeson

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4)Words for today from a modern ‘prophet’,  Ayn Rand... Author of Atlas Shrugged...

“When you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing; when you see that money is flowing to those who deal not in goods, but in favors; when you see that men get rich more easily by graft than by work, and your laws no longer protect you against them, but protect them against you. . . you may know that your society is doomed.” 

The book depicts a dystopian United States, wherein many of society's most prominent and successful industrialists abandon their fortunes and the nation itself, in response to aggressive new regulations, whereupon most vital industries collapse...

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