Tuesday, May 30, 2017


This is about Donald Trump and his lack of consciousness of others, the result of being raised to never feel the consequences of his actions.  It is interesting and well-written by Rebecca Solnit, whose book, *A Paradise Built in Hell* I highly recommend to you.  
A sample from this piece: "The rich kids I met in college were flailing as though they wanted to find walls around them, leapt as though they wanted there to be gravity and to hit ground, even bottom, but parents and privilege kept throwing out safety nets and buffers, kept padding the walls and picking up the pieces, so that all their acts were meaningless, literally inconsequential. They floated like astronauts in outer space."



May 30, 2017  By Rebecca Solnit

Once upon a time, a child was born into wealth and wanted for nothing, but he was possessed by bottomless, endless, grating, grasping wanting, and wanted more, and got it, and more after that, and always more. He was a pair of ragged orange claws upon the ocean floor, forever scuttling, pinching, reaching for more, a carrion crab, a lobster and a boiling lobster pot in one, a termite, a tyrant over his own little empires. He got a boost at the beginning from the wealth handed him and then moved among grifters and mobsters who cut him slack as long as he was useful, or maybe there's slack in arenas where people live by personal loyalty until they betray, and not by rules, and certainly not by the law or the book. So for seven decades, he fed his appetites and exercised his license to lie, cheat, steal, and stiff working people of their wages, made messes, left them behind, grabbed more baubles, and left them in ruin.

He was supposed to be a great maker of things, but he was mostly a breaker. He acquired buildings and women and enterprises and treated them all alike, promoting and deserting them, running into bankruptcies and divorces, treading on lawsuits the way a lumberjack of old walked across the logs floating on their way to the mill, but as long as he moved in his underworld of dealmakers the rules were wobbly and the enforcement was wobblier and he could stay afloat. But his appetite was endless, and he wanted more, and he gambled to become the most powerful man in the world, and won, careless of what he wished for.

Thinking of him, I think of Pushkin's telling of the old fairytale of The Fisherman and the Golden Fish. After being caught in the old fisherman's net, the golden fish speaks up and offers wishes in return for being thrown back in the sea. The fisherman asks him for nothing, though later he tells his wife of his chance encounter with the magical creature. The fisherman's wife sends him back to ask for a new washtub for her, and then a  second time to ask for a cottage to replace their hovel, and the wishes are granted, and then as she grows prouder and greedier, she sends him to ask that she become a wealthy person in a mansion with servants she abuses, and then she sends her husband back. The old man comes and grovels before the fish, caught between the shame of the requests and the appetite of his wife, and she becomes tsarina and has her boyards and nobles drive the husband from her palace. You could call the husband consciousness—the awareness of others and of oneself in relation to others—and the wife craving.

Finally she wishes to be supreme over the seas and over the fish itself, endlessly uttering wishes, and the old man goes back to the sea to tell the fish—to complain to the fish—of this latest round of wishes. The fish this time doesn't even speak, just flashes its tail, and the old man turns around to see on the shore his wife with her broken washtub at their old hovel. Overreach is perilous, says this Russian tale; enough is enough. And too much is nothing.


The child who became the most powerful man in the world, or at least occupied the real estate occupied by a series of those men, had run a family business and then starred in an unreality show based on the fiction that he was a stately emperor of enterprise, rather than a buffoon barging along anyhow, and each was a hall of mirrors made to flatter his sense of self, the self that was his one edifice he kept raising higher and higher and never abandoned.

I have often run across men (and rarely, but not never, women) who have become so powerful in their lives that there is no one to tell them when they are cruel, wrong, foolish, absurd, repugnant. In the end there is no one else in their world, because when you are not willing to hear how others feel, what others need, when you do not care, you are not willing to acknowledge others' existence. That's how it's lonely at the top. It is as if these petty tyrants live in a world without honest mirrors, without others, without gravity, and they are buffered from the consequences of their failures.

"They were careless people," F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote of the rich couple at the heart of The Great Gatsby. "They smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made." Some of us are surrounded by destructive people who tell us we're worthless when we're endlessly valuable, that we're stupid when we're smart, that we're failing even when we succeed. But the opposite of people who drag you down isn't people who build you up and butter you up.  It's equals who are generous but keep you accountable, true mirrors who reflect back who you are and what you are doing.

"He is, as of this writing, the most mocked man in the world."

We keep each other honest, we keep each other good with our feedback, our intolerance of meanness and falsehood, our demands that the people we are with listen, respect, respond—if we are allowed to, if we are free and valued ourselves. There is a democracy of social discourse, in which we are reminded that as we are beset with desires and fears and feelings, so are others; there was an old woman in Occupy Wall Street I always go back to who said, "We're fighting for a society in which everyone is important." That's what a democracy of mind and heart, as well as economy and polity, would look like.

This year Hannah Arendt is alarmingly relevant, and her books are selling well, particularly On the Origins of Totalitarianism. She's been the subject an extraordinary essay in the Los Angeles Review of Books and a conversation between scholar Lyndsey Stonebridge and Krista Tippet on the radio show "On Being." Stonebridge notes that Arendt advocated for the importance of an inner dialogue with oneself, for a critical splitting in which you interrogate yourself—for a real conversation between the fisherman and his wife you could say: "People who can do that can actually then move on to having conversations with other people and then judging with other people. And what she called 'the banality of evil' was the inability to hear another voice, the inability to have a dialogue either with oneself or the imagination to have a dialogue with the world, the moral world."

Some use their power to silence that and live in the void of their own increasingly deteriorating, off-course sense of self and meaning. It's like going mad on a desert island, only with sycophants and room service. It's like having a compliant compass that agrees north is whatever you want it to be. The tyrant of a family, the tyrant of a little business or a huge enterprise, the tyrant of a nation. Power corrupts, and absolute power often corrupts the awareness of those who possess it. Or reduces it: narcissists, sociopaths, and egomaniacs are people for whom others don't exist.

We gain awareness of ourselves and others from setbacks and difficulties; we get used to a world that is not always about us; and those who do not have to cope with that are brittle, weak, unable to endure contradiction, convinced of the necessity of always having one's own way. The rich kids I met in college were flailing as though they wanted to find walls around them, leapt as though they wanted there to be gravity and to hit ground, even bottom, but parents and privilege kept throwing out safety nets and buffers, kept padding the walls and picking up the pieces, so that all their acts were meaningless, literally inconsequential. They floated like astronauts in outer space.

Equality keeps us honest. Our peers tell us who we are and how we are doing, providing that service in personal life that a free press does in a functioning society. Inequality creates liars and delusion. The powerless need to dissemble—that's how slaves, servants, and women got the reputation of being liars—and the powerful grow stupid on the lies they require from their subordinates and on the lack of need to know about others who are nobody, who don't count, who've been silenced or trained to please. This is why I always pair privilege with obliviousness; obliviousness is privilege's form of deprivation. When you don't hear others, you don't imagine them, they become unreal, and you are left in the wasteland of a world with only yourself in it, and that surely makes you starving, though you know not for what, if you have ceased to imagine others exist in any true deep way that matters. This is about a need for which we hardly have language or at least not a familiar conversation.

A man who wished to become the most powerful man in the world, and by happenstance and intervention and a series of disasters was granted his wish. Surely he must have imagined that more power meant more flattery, a grander image, a greater hall of mirrors reflecting back his magnificence. But he misunderstood power and prominence. This man had bullied friends and acquaintances, wives and servants, and he bullied facts and truths, insistent that he was more than they were, than it is, that it too must yield to his will. It did not, but the people he bullied pretended that it did. Or perhaps it was that he was a salesman, throwing out one pitch after another, abandoning each one as soon as it left his mouth. A hungry ghost always wants the next thing, not the last thing.

This one imagined that the power would repose within him and make him great, a Midas touch that would turn all to gold. But the power of the presidency was what it had always been: a system of cooperative relationships, a power that rested on people's willingness to carry out the orders the president gave, and a willingness that came from that president's respect for rule of law, truth, and the people. A man who gives an order that is not followed has his powerlessness hung out like dirty laundry. One day earlier this year, one of this president's minions announced that the president's power would not be questioned. There are tyrants who might utter such a statement and strike fear into those beneath him, because they have installed enough fear.

A true tyrant does not depend on cooperative power but has a true power of command, enforced by thugs, goons, Stasi, the SS, or death squads. A true tyrant has subordinated the system of government and made it loyal to himself rather than to the system of laws or the ideals of the country. This would-be tyrant didn't understand that he was in a system where many in government, perhaps most beyond the members of his party in the legislative branch, were loyal to law and principle and not to him. His minion announced the president would not be questioned, and we laughed. He called in, like courtiers, the heads of the FBI, of the NSA, and the director of national intelligence to tell them to suppress evidence, to stop investigations and found that their loyalty was not to him. He found out to his chagrin that we were still something of a democracy, and that the free press could not be so easily stopped, and the public itself refused to be cowed and mocks him earnestly at every turn.

A true tyrant sits beyond the sea in Pushkin's country. He corrupts elections in his country, eliminates his enemies with bullets, poisons, with mysterious deaths made to look like accidents—he spread fear and bullied the truth successfully, strategically. Though he too had overreached with his intrusions into the American election, and what he had hoped would be invisible caused the whole world to scrutinize him and his actions and history and impact with concern and even fury. Russia may have ruined whatever standing and trust it has, may have exposed itself, with this intervention in the US and then European elections.

The American buffoon's commands were disobeyed, his secrets leaked at such a rate his office resembled the fountains at Versailles or maybe just a sieve (this spring there was an extraordinary piece in the Washington Post with thirty anonymous sources), his agenda was undermined even by a minority party that was not supposed to have much in the way of power, the judiciary kept suspending his executive orders, and scandals erupted like boils  and sores. Instead of the dictator of the little demimondes of beauty pageants, casinos, luxury condominiums, fake universities offering fake educations with real debt, fake reality tv in which he was master of the fake fate of others, an arbiter of all worth and meaning, he became fortune's fool.

He is, as of this writing, the most mocked man in the world. After the women's march on January 21st, people joked that he had been rejected by more women in one day than any man in history; he was mocked in newspapers, on television, in cartoons, was the butt of a million jokes, and his every tweet was instantly met with an onslaught of attacks and insults by ordinary citizens gleeful to be able to speak sharp truth to bloated power.

He is the old fisherman's wife who wished for everything and sooner or later he will end up with nothing. The wife sitting in front of her hovel was poorer after her series of wishes, because she now owned not only her poverty but her mistakes and her destructive pride, because she might have been otherwise, but brought power and glory crashing down upon her, because she had made her bed badly and was lying in it.

The man in the white house sits, naked and obscene, a pustule of ego, in the harsh light, a man whose grasp exceeded his understanding, because his understanding was dulled by indulgence. He must know somewhere below the surface he skates on that he has destroyed his image, and like Dorian Gray before him, will be devoured by his own corrosion in due time too. One way or another this will kill him, though he may drag down millions with him. One way or another, he knows he has stepped off a cliff, pronounced himself king of the air, and is in freefall. Another dungheap awaits his landing; the dung is all his; when he plunges into it he will be, at last, a self-made man.

Rebecca Solnit
Rebecca Solnit
San Francisco writer, historian, and activist, Rebecca Solnit is the author of seventeen books about geography, community, art, politics, hope, and feminism and the recipient of many awards, including the Lannan Literary Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. She is a contributing editor to Harper's, where she is the first woman to regularly write the Easy Chair column (founded in 1851).

Monday, May 29, 2017

ANS -- FEAR & UNbalanced: Confessions of a 14-Year Fox News Hitman

This article confirms that Fox News is scripted entertainment designed to get America's grandparents addicted to the rush of hormones they produce.  It's revealing, and sad.  
This is why I have been saying for a long time that we need to take back the media -- or have laws that you can't lie and call it news.  Read this! Know what you're up against!

FEAR & UNbalanced: Confessions of a 14-Year Fox News Hitman

How Roger Ailes & Fox News Got Rich Scamming America's La Z Boy Cowboys and Selling Out America's Soul

Since his death many folks have asked me about my 14 years at Fox News and my experiences with Roger Ailes. I can tell you he was top 5 best public speakers I have ever heard. I can tell you like anyone who knew him he was funny as hell and the MOST competitive person I ever met in business. He also prized loyalty above all else and repaid that loyalty in spades when needed.

BUT…in 2000 when I started at Fox as a paid contributor (aka "hitman') and asked my new boss (like my pal Joan Walsh from Slate.com asked him in 2000 as well"So Roger tell me…who is your Fox News target audience and what turns 'em on?"

What he told me . . . of course "off-the-record" . . . should not be shocking. But now that he is gone, it's time to be real and tell the truth about Fox News . . about everything I lived and experienced in my 14 years as a paid contributor and part-time anchor on Fox Business Network.

According to Roger:

"Toby . . . I created a TV network for people 55 to dead," Ailes said.

"What does our viewer look like?

"They look like me…white guys in mostly Red State counties who sit on their couch with the remote in their hand all day and night."

"What do they want to see"

"They want to see YOU tear those smug condescending know-it-all East Coast liberals to pieces . . limb by limb . . . until they jump up out of their LaZ boy and scream "Way to go Toby…you KILLED that libtard!"

He did NOT tell me what he told Joan (who recently reported her brief one-time conversation in 2000) discussing a new more liberal show idea (as she shared in her recent Nation.com article):

"And Joan they don't want to see anyone like you," looking directly at my liberal friend . "They don't want to see you — they don't even want to know that you exist!"

Well it's obvious now: Partisan conservative politics staged and acted out as performance art was Roger's "gift" to America. Above all else, Roger understood and practiced the concept of "culture trolling" before the term "trolling" ever became commonly used.

But he not only created an alternative partisan universe for mostly older, politically partisan red zip code living white males (FYI — the average age of Fox viewer today is 68 — that means half of Fox viewers are OLDER that 68). . .

. . . he perpetrated the biggest TV scam ever . . . against the most vulnerable and gullible senior Americans . . . one that makes the game show fixing scandal of the late 50's look like a tea party.

The media obsesses on the obvious: it's not just that in Roger's alternative world "visuality" mattered; the competition was audio-only conservative talk radio so adding another media dimension was core strategy. But what mattered most at Fox was to create an entertainment product out of political/military/economic news and opinion that

By careful design and staging Fox News manipulated (and ultimately addicted) the most vulnerable people in America to the most powerful drug cocktail ever: Visceral gut feelings of outrage relieved by the most powerful emotions of all . . . the thrill of your tribe's victory over its enemy and the ultimate triumph of good over evil.

Sure women in Roger's world were mostly blonde and wore short tight skirts and lower cut tops with makeup and hair right from a high end strip club. "Visuality" as Roger always said counts big for TV ratings.

Many times when I was on set Roger would call down from his 2nd floor office packed with TV screens to tell female anchors during breaks ("I have a call for you from the Second Floor) to "tart it up — tits up and necklines down."

For the non-endowed female anchors like my dearest friend (and now sadly deceased) Brenda Buttner, host of the weekly "Business Block" show Bulls & Bears in which I co-starred for 14 years, this meant Brenda being required to wear an uplifting "water-bra" while on set to meet Roger's idea of what a female host on Fox should look like.

The older Brenda got, the bigger the water bra got and the hair/eyelash extensions got too.

But what the mostly older, trusting, small city/rural living Fox News fan never seem to understand about Fox's partisan performance art programming was this:

The outcomes for Fox's "panel debates" have ALWAYS been carefully fixed by the producers so that the home team (i.e, the conservative panelists like me) ALWAYS won.

MORE simply: The staged gladiatorial-like rhetorical fight to the death the Fox viewer loves to watch are ALWAYS fixed by the show producers for the conservative actor to win…always.

Just like pro-wrestling, the panel opinion programs are carefully staged and choreographed by Fox producers so the viewers home team (in WWE language the "Baby Face") always wins over the "Heel" aka the poor pathetic "libtard."

"Fair & Balanced" was not just an ironic tagline…the opinion debate segments have always been a staged scam. . . with a scripted narrative and story line almost exactly like pro wrestling.

In fact, when Fox hired my dear friend WWE Superstar John "JBL" Layfield as a paid contributor (at my recommendation) I chuckled to myself every time JBL and I would perform on our weekly show "Bulls & Bears"…it was too perfect.

John Layfield: WWE Superstar & Fox News Contributor

It's 'always been a scam; the Fox News tagline in reality should be "Fear & Unbalanced."

Roger knew it was easy to manipulate the elderly audience raised on 3 broadcasting channels (CBS, NBC & ABC plus PBS) who grew up trusting the news and Walter Cronkite. He knew better than anyone (coming from a small conservative town in Ohio) that in their endless desire to confirm the righteousness of their right wing tribalism they would NEVER see the Big Lie perpetrated every day to them by Fox News on their beloved TV screen.

The Fox News opinion panel scam works like this. More often than not, in my panel segments I was the protagonist or "designated hit man" aka the one called on by the host (as instructed by the producers in my ear or the ear of the host) to "kill 'em." You'd know I was the designated hit man when the panel show hosts tossed the final death blow 15–20 seconds to me when they say "Toby you have the final word."

But before I delivered the final rhetorical death blow …the producer of the segment had given me my script 24 hours BEFORE the show started . I knew 24–48 hours in ADVANCE of how the designated liberal was going to argue his/her point…and more important how I was going to win.

All I had to do was perform my lines with conviction and leave the host enough time to "tease" the next totally choreographed and contrived segment.

But Conservative contributors were expected to play their designated roll on the air…especially on the "The O'Reilly Factor"

Bill O'Reilly was the only on-air talent that, when you were a guest expert on this show and on the Fox payroll, told you what he wanted you to say.

He would literally come into your earpiece before your "hit" aka appearance on a Factor segment and say "Smith…here's how it goes down. You said last time oil prices were going higher…I said lower…well they are lower and I'm going to blame the oil companies. You bit is to support them, capiche?"

Well…he was dead wrong and I told him that and his answer was "Is this the Tobin Smith show? If it is, say what you want. But if this is the O'Reilly show you give what I want."

OK Bill…and that was the last time I was on The Factor after 40+ appearances.

Linda Chavez, a long time Fox conservative contributor, basically became a nonperson when she took the position in favor of more legal immigration — even though her position had been consistent for 30+ years and is based on her belief in markets over central planning.

As Linda tells the story "One producer basically told me that it was "confusing" to have me on to discuss the subject because conservatives were supposed to be for less immigration and liberals for more. Another time, O'Reilly spoke in my earpiece from NY when I was in the DC studio to warn me not to confuse everybody with a lot of facts and statistics. "You have your facts and I have mine, so keep it general."

Key Point: IF your role on Fox News is to be a conservative, you are expected to play that role IF you are getting paid as a contributor. IF you are a unpaid conservative and don't act like one on the air, your number is lost and your Fox talking head career is over. Period.

At Fox ALL the actors are expected to play their roles according to their partisan political ideology in the 8-minute performance art act being staged.

And what about those designated liberals aka "libtards" on my shows?

I can tell you (with very few exceptions) that a big part of the Fox News "fair and balanced" scam is also built from this reality: articulate, principled, worldly liberals — especially women — don't exist in Roger's Fox News world.

The designated liberals job was simple: make the viewer so enraged from their recitation of hated liberal/progressive ideology (theology that the Fox viewer of course had been taught to hate from listening to thousands of hours of conservative talk radio for decades) that the viewer literally felt like "throwing a brick through my TV screen."

Key Point: the viewer's rage set their brain's pleasure giving dopamine delivery system into high gear . . .and when their fellow conservative protagonist tribal hero (aka me the hitman) turned the liberal's own words against them and vanquished the sniveling apostate into living hell on live TV…WOW…the pleasure chemical rushed through the Fox viewer's brain like a deep hit of crack cocaine (btw its the dopamine system in the brain that cocaine stimulates and makes it so addictive).

The other reality of Fox opinion programming is even more diabolical than simply fooling old people into believing they are watching a "fair fight":

The goal at Fox News is explicit: Produce outrage inducing partisan performance art in sufficient emotional intensity to produce enough pleasure/dopamine to get their dopamine addicted viewer the high the need until the NEXT Fox News opinion program.

Neuroscience has known for years that "news junkies" or "political junkies" were in fact addicts…junkies…who got their addictive dopamine hit from the emotional roller coaster of unbridled outrage followed by the dopamine releasing experience derived from the thrill of watching the victory/denouement of the ideological apostate.

In short: there is NO better feeling in life than when a person's existing beliefs are attacked and then a smart sounding expert PROVES you right all along. Fox News turns this process of ideological attack and ultimate victory of the righteous into partisan performance art of steroids.

Yes one part of the Fox News strategy is the tried and true conservative media narrative to insulate their audiences from opposing views — in part, by continually denouncing the mainstream media(i.e., other news sources) 24/7/365 as "liberal, biased, and not to be trusted."

Fox of course also follows the traditional conservative partisan good guy/bad guy narrative in general. As long time Fox & Friends host Bob Sellers shared with me:

"Most of the stories on our morning show had a good guy and a bad guy, and the anchor was on the side of justice. This gave every story a narrative that followed through to the end of the story or to the next news cycle.

I always knew to pick the good guy and follow the narrative through. You could say almost anything, as long as it followed that good guy-bad guy narrative and you sought justice. It's actually brilliant in providing dopamine hits to the viewer."

But Fox News takes their viewer addiction strategy and techniques to a much more unseemly level (that the academic liberal "studies" like this Yale news release miss). At Fox it's not just turning politics and partisan tribalism into performance art — the Fox programming scam is WAY more contrived and even sinister: Their game is to simply manipulate the emotions and trust of their elderly and gullible senior audience.

To sell Fox New's "Big Lie", Fox manipulates and stages everything it does in opinion programming to create/facilitate actual addiction. The master Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels would be impressed at the lengths Fox goes to in staging their partisan performance art aka propaganda-like programming.

First and most obviously, with an older male core audience good looking women are obviously stimulative. Hosts on Fox have progressively gotten younger and sexier. The busty ex-prosecutor Kimberly Guilfoyle is the woman I am asked most about these days.

Liberal female opponents/antagonists on Fox debates have always been selected for their looks too…and definitely not their rhetorical chops or or subject matter expertise.

So called "Democratic Consultants" with dark skin are always desired and important to liberal/enemy typecasting (and just about any African American liberal who calls herself a "Democratic Strategist" will get at least one call from segment producers for a segment "hit" and tryout).

But yet another big part of the Fox News scam is that many times the "Democratic Strategist" label was a ruse — let's call them "fake analysts".

For example Kirsten Powers (now a contributor for CNN) was promoted by Roger as a "Democratic Strategist" with experience in the "Clinton White House."

In reality she is a prime example of the fake political analysts Ailes launched with fudged or outright fake resumes. For years I would hear from ACTUAL democratic strategists in my DC hometown that they had no idea who Kirsten was and that she had no significant political experience at all.

So… voila! Kirsten was given a column at Murdoch-owned NY Post and then introduced as a "political columnist" instead of Dem strategist. She claimed she worked in the "Clinton White House." At the time in reality she had merely worked in a low and mid-level job in a non-cabinet agency the Office of US Trade Representative.

Then of course another feature of compelling Fox News scripted performance art are the fake/contrived "cat fights." What male DOESN'T love a good girl-on-girl fight in high definition TV?

My long time friend and Conservative columnist Cheri Jacobus shared with me one of her experiences in how Fox News producers constantly are trying to gin up "Battle Royales" between attractive partisan females (note: the WWE analogy is on purpose).

According the Cheri "About 12–14 years ago I was blackballed (for several years) at Fox News because when I was asked to have a "catfight" with "democratic strategist" Kirsten Powers. I said I'm happy to have a spirited debate, but no catfight.

Kirsten (then a paid contributor and thus expected like me to follow the orders of segment producers) had tried to start one with me a few days earlier on the air with me. When I refused to play ball . . .the Fox booker phone stopped ringing."

The same kind of rigged outcome and selection of demonstratively weak opposition is part of Fox's military debates.

My fellow Fox News contributor Bob Bevelacqua recently shared

"Tobin, I read your article on "fixed debates" at Fox. I can say the same thing happened on the Military analysts side of the house and is the main reason I tore up my contract in 2005 with Fox. Thank you for telling the truth!"

So what about the male opponents . . . the "liberal dudes?"

Liberal dudes aka "libtards" are mostly selected out of Liberals Central Casting… the smugger, nerdier and more ethnic looking the better.

In the 8 minute Kabuki performance art of Fox News opinion segments, my hitman role was to use the script the producers gave me pre-taping (and that I had rehearsed) to, as Roger had instructed me "shred the libtards into pieces . . . but with a smile." Even diehard right wingers don't want to watch people insult each other to the point of anger…that's uncomfortable (us male WASPs hate confrontation of course).

"Kill em with a smile" was the direction I learned early on. IF I threw in a facial contortion while the liberal ranted though, so much the better; that guaranteed me more TV time for the "reaction shot."

In the "fear and unbalanced" scam that Roger created and taught his team to produce, I won when the "contest" when I got the so-called "liberal tears" flowing from the left and the fist bumping/blood racing "atta boys" from the right wing folks riding their Lazy Boy steeds 6–8 hours everyday.

All the successful conservative opinion contributors and hosts were the best performance artists. Those who did not get this reality did not last. In over 2000 segments on Fox News and Fox Business Network I played the character of an angry (but smiling and pithy) partisan warrior for whom the white La Z Boy cowboys would want to shake hands with and congratulate with their always heartfelt

"Man you KILLED that Libard on Saturday Tobin…I loved it!"

Over 14 years I heard that compliment a lot of Red States — in airports, restaurants, on the street and always the same thing. "Way to go Tobin… I wanted to throw a brick through my TV screen…but then you KILLED that idiot libtard."

What the La Z cowboys and cowgirls never figured out was the game they had just watched was a scam…it was fixed so their home team couldn't lose.

What the average elderly Fox News fan never knew was this fact of life at Fox News:

I knew what the "libtard" was going to say because their "POV" aka point of view talking points were in my hands BEFORE the segment ever taped.

Before the camera light ever came on I had my DETAILED bullet point arguments from the segment producer pounded into my brain. I always knew what was coming and how I'd shut the liberal actor down. I just added my sparkling personality and pained looks of incredulity for visual effect and BOOM…the socialist apostate was once again conquered by the righteous hero.

What continues to blow me away to this day is . . most Fox News fans STILL don't seem to get that the Fox opinion programming they are addicted to is just as fixed and fake as pro wrestling.

But the worst part of this "news" farce is how families and children are losing their fathers (and some mother's too) into the abyss of Fox News performance art. Hundreds of thousands of >70 aged men, addicted to rush they feel as they watch the staged gladiatorial fight of good and evil for hours a day, have simply lost touch with non-Fox reality.

As author Edwin Lyngar shares in his book "How I Lost My Father to Fox News:"

How did I lose my Dad? He consumes a daily diet of nothing except Fox News. He has for a decade or more. He has no email account and doesn't watch sports. He refuses to so much as touch a keyboard and has never been on the Internet, ever. He thinks higher education destroys people, not only because of Fox News, but also because I drifted left during and after graduate school.

I do not blame or condemn my father for his opinions. If you consumed a daily diet of right-wing fury, erroneously labeled "news," you could very likely end up in the same place. Again, this is all by design. Let's call it the Fox News effect. Take sweet, kindly senior citizens and feed them a steady stream of demagoguery and repetition, all wrapped in the laughable slogan of "fair and balanced." Even watching the commercials on Fox, one is treated to sales pitches for gold and emergency food rations, the product cornerstones of the paranoid.

To some people the idea of retirees yelling at the television all day may seem funny, but this isn't a joke. We're losing the nation's grandparents, and it's an American tragedy.

Most Fox News fans just seem to think the liberals always lose because they are inferior libtards. But in reality At Fox News, political and economic opinion programming is nothing more than a scripted, fixed outcome partisan performance art product…a parallel universe silo morphed into a scripted entertainment mashup of the WWE and ESPN.

Roger Ailes created and directed this scam for 20 years…and I am sure is somewhere still critiquing the on-air talent cleavage and denouements of the designated libtards by the designated righteous hitmen like me.

Copyright 2017 Tobin Smith "Fear & Unbalanced: Confessions of a Fox News Hitman"