No, Masks Aren’t Part of an Anti-Trump Conspiracy

Those who follow me on Twitter know that one of my irritations with the government response to the COVID-19 crisis was the early insistence from the Surgeon General and CDC that wearing masks (that cover the nose and mouth) was completely ineffective at protecting people from the coronavirus. At times, there was even the suggestion that doing so was counterproductive.

The narrative didn’t make a whole lot of sense at the time. After all, we were talking about a respiratory disease. And it’s not as if wearing a mask around infected people to block the spread of germs was a new or uncommon practice. It’s been done all over the world since before any of us were born.

As it turned out, the government was indeed being disingenuous. Dishonest is the better word.

At the time, federal agencies were concerned with a national shortage of medical-style masks for our country’s health care workers (who would be treating an increasing number of coronavirus patients). If regular folks had gobbled them all up, the problem would have gotten much worse. Thus, the answer was a disinformation campaign designed to discourage consumers from buying them.

It apparently worked. And in late March, as infection rates skyrocketed and our national strategy switched from containment to mitigation, the CDC reversed itself. The agency began recommending that everyone cover their face when out among others.

While I’m sympathetic to the situation the government was in, outright lying to Americans was a bad move. It assuredly kept people who already had masks from wearing them, as well as removed any incentive for people to make their own masks, or even wear something as simple as a bandana when they left their home.

Masks aren’t as effective as social distancing, but they do put up a barrier between the droplets that fly out of people’s mouths (when they talk, cough, or sneeze) and individuals within close proximity, which is a common transmission route of COVID-19.

In other words, masks do provide some protection for people. One can only wonder how much slower the virus’s spread could have been, had Americans understood weeks earlier the benefits of wearing them.

Anyway, that fiasco is behind us. Most Americans now get that masks are helpful. Unfortunately, some popular right-wing political commentators seem to want to take us backwards on the issue.

Earlier this week, Vice President Mike Pence took a good amount of criticism over a trip he made to the Mayo Clinic. News footage of a meeting with medical workers and patients revealed that Pence, unlike everyone else on camera, wasn’t wearing a mask. This amounted to a violation of Mayo’s health policies.

Unsurprisingly, Trump defenders in the media felt inclined to defend Pence. And the only way to defend a guy not wearing a mask, in a medical facility that requires masks, is to discount the notion that masks are even important in the first place.

Fox News’s Laura Ingraham was up for the task.

On her show Wednesday night, Ingraham explained that “social control over large populations is achieved through fear and intimidation and suppression of free thought. Conditioning the public through propaganda is also key, new dogmas replace good old common sense.”

Ironically, Ingraham wasn’t referring to the dishonesty campaign I described above, where federal officials under the Trump administration fooled Americans into believing masks were of no benefit in our battle against the coronavirus. No, she was instead taking aim at members of the mainstream media who criticized Pence for his negligence.

“They’ll say this whole mask thing is settled science, just like they do with climate change,” Ingraham said. “Of course, it’s not and they know it. Our own experts have gone from ‘masks aren’t necessary’ to ‘masks are essential, you have to wear them when you go jogging’ in just a few weeks’ time.”

Of course, Ingraham had it somewhat backwards. It wasn’t “settled science” that compelled federal officials to tell us that “masks aren’t necessary.” It was supply and demand concerns. Medical science didn’t factor into it at all. And that’s unfortunate, because if these people had presented the settled science to the public, I think Americans would have been better prepared for the crisis, and our country would be in a better position right now.

As for telling people that masks are “essential,” and that they must be worn while jogging, I’m not sure which “experts” Ingraham is referring to. I’ve certainly heard recommendations, from officials like President Trump himself, that Americans should wear masks when they’re out in public (as in close to other people). And that guidance, as I described above, makes perfect sense. But I haven’t heard any dire warnings about a need for joggers to wear masks — not if they’re maintaining a distance of at least six feet from others. It sounds to me like Ingraham was just tossing out a straw man there.

Regardless, Ingraham thinks she knows the real reason for why masks are now being widely promoted, and to explain it she quoted (or perhaps summarized) something Rush Limbaugh recently said on his radio show:

“The virus itself, as it weakens and states start reopening… The media that has been selling this panic, panic, panic for weeks and weeks and weeks — they have fewer images to sell their hysteria to justify continued lockdowns. But the masks, they’re kind of a constant reminder… You see the masks, and you think you’re not safe. You are not back to normal, not even close.”

Well there you have it, I guess. Masks aren’t being hyped because they block contagious droplets from noses and mouths. It’s because of some U.S. media conspiracy to end capitalism, or to end Trump’s presidency, or maybe both! And the conspiracy is so far-reaching that the rest of the world is doing it too!

I’m sorry, but this is just plain stupid. Worse than that, it’s dangerous. Millions of people watch Ingraham’s show every weeknight (along with the rest of Fox News’s prime-time lineup), and they buy into a lot of such nonsense.

Most of these viewers are rather old, and therefore are at a particularly high risk of serious health complications (and even death) if they get the virus. Why on earth would anyone who values the human condition be suggesting to them that they (or those around them) are contributing to our country’s economic ruin, and the unseating of a president they like, just by taking the simple preventative measure of wearing a mask?

Is defending a gaffe by Mike Pence really worth convincing our most vulnerable citizens to take unnecessary chances with their health and the health of others? Are the ratings spawned by tribal politics and our grievance culture really that important?

Unfortunately, I think I know the answer to both questions.


Bernie’s Q&A: When Geraldo Threatened Me; Dan Rather, Ben Shapiro, The Conways, and More (3/22)

Welcome to this week’s Premium Q&A session for Premium Interactive members. I appreciate you all signing up and joining me. Thank you.

Let’s get to your questions (and my answers):

Several years ago, Geraldo Rivera — on The O’Reilly Factor — threatened to give you a “bloody nose” over some comments you had made about his well-documented bias on Mexican immigration issues. (Editor’s note: the video is embedded below). Do you know if there was any disciplinary action taken against Rivera for physically threatening a network colleague? Also, what was your reaction to his comment? Did you talk to anyone at Fox about it? — Ben J.

I thought he sounded like a jerk and let it go at that.  I doubt Fox said or did anything about it.  Fine with me.  Geraldo gets excitable at times.  No harm no foul.

In light of the views and behavior of Ihan Omar and “AOC”, do you think they are a potential albatross for the dems, or an actual catalyst for bringing socialism to fruition? — Terry H.

Interesting question, Terry. I’m guessing the grownups in the party will give AOC and maybe Omar “movie money” during the campaign to get them away from cameras and microphones.  If they keep talking, yes, it could hurt the Democrats.  But I’m not betting on it.  As you suggest in your question, there are plenty of hard-left “progressives” who love what they’re saying.

I read your books years ago, and there were a few things about Dan Rather that I’m curious about. Was Dan raised in any particular religion, and if so, did he practice any particular religion? Was he religious at all or is he atheist/agnostic? Thank you for these Q&A sessions, Mr. Goldberg. They are much appreciated. — Ted B.

Don’t know about Dan’s religious background.  But he grew up blue collar in Texas so I’ll go out on a limb and say he didn’t grow up atheist.  Sorry I’m not much help on his religious leanings — then or now.  But I’ll say this:  Dan’s a good guy who has one major journalistic flaw:  He’s either unwilling or unable to take serious criticism seriously.  His tendency when the term “liberal bias” pops up is to do what most journalists do:  circle the wagons.  God bless him!

Wanted to get your opinion. I think Laura Ingraham does a great job on Fox and is really bright. Her name didn’t come up on your list of the best commentators. What am I missing, too much pro-Trump? On Juan [Williams], I just have to say that when he said he was concerned that Trump, if he lost in 2020, might not leave office voluntarily, that seemed ridiculous. Trump the businessman, will be happy to get back to his empire. Could the left really think that Trump would balk when the people speak? Juan lost me on that one. — Jim A.

He lost me too.  I know Juan and like him.  He’s a bright guy.  But this is what Trump has done to people:  made them a little nuts.  The notion that Trump wouldn’t leave office struck you as ridiculous.  Struck me the same way.  As for Laura, she is bright.  Ivy League.  Not my cup of tea.  Yes, too pro-Trump and not enough hard-nosed analysis when it comes to the president.  But she’s better than some others on the channel.

Do you think if Robert F. Kennedy hadn’t been assassinated that he would have (i) won the Democratic nomination, and (ii) beaten Richard Nixon? — James P.

That’s like saying, “Besides that Mrs. Lincoln, how’d you like the show.”  Just kidding.  Who knows, but I’d say there would have been a good chance.  He was charismatic unlike Nixon and likable, unlike Nixon.  If I had to guess, I’d say Bobby or Dicky.

Many point to the repealing of the Fairness Doctrine in the late 1980’s as the beginning of extreme one-sided politicized reporting. Fox News was one of the first instigators. What are you thoughts about the doctrine in light of the state of the news today? — Mike S.

I don’t think the federal government should be in the business of dictating content.  But you’re right, without mandated balance broadcasters were free to put on whomever they wanted — and there’s more money in hot opinion than in lukewarm moderation.

Mr G, What’s been your favorite role in your media career? (And it’s OK to brag on how many roles you’ve had – local reporter, network, cable sports, AP, pontificator, NYTimes best selling author and thorn in their side…) — Gregg H.

I never really thought about that, Gregg, so thank you for encouraging me to consider your question.  I think I like long-form TV journalism — magazine news reporting as in my work at Real Sports at HBO — and when it’s not a food fight, I also like doing commentary.  I got my start at the AP and I’m grateful for that.  But wire service writing and reporting, and local TV, were not my favorites.

As a follower of Jesus Christ, my Christian convictions lead me to seek folks rooted in traditional thinking. To that end, Ben Shapiro is a person I trust to give me a fair assessment of any subject worth covering. I’m sure he’s a fan of yours. What is your opinion of him and if invited, would you do a guest interview on his daily show or his Sunday Special? — D-Rock

I have no idea if Ben is a fan or if he even knows who I am.  I like him.  He’s smart.  And yes, if asked, I’d be a guest on either of his shows.

A few years ago, you were on O’Reilly’s show. I think it was a Friday. I forget what the discussion was about. But toward the end of your segment, you said you wanted to voice a criticism of FNC and that O’Reilly might not invite you back as a consequence. O’Reilly kept interrupting you before you could articulate the criticism. Soon thereafter – I think it was the following Monday – O’Reilly had you on and purportedly gave you the opportunity to say what you wanted to say on the show before. I forget what you said, but it was something mealy mouthed. You then proceeded to thank O’Reilly for allowing you to speak freely. What was the criticism of Fox News that you originally wanted to make that you thought might have you disinvited to O’Reilly’s show? If you don’t want to answer the question, I understand. I’m also curious as to the backstory. Did O’Reilly call or e-mail you to warn you about straying too far off the reservation? I know, that’s a second question and you probably don’t want to answer it. O’Reilly was so good to you. It would probably be disloyal to answer this question. — Bob H.

Mealy mouthed?  Me?  Surely you jest.

I remember the incident but have no recollection of the specifics.  O’Reilly is a fair guy and he knew I got short changed.  That’s why he had me back on.  It’s possible that I let his producer know I wasn’t happy.  But whether I did or not, Bill wasn’t afraid to hear me out.

It’s possible that I had just criticized something about the liberal media and wanted to make a point that Fox was guilty too.  That’s what it sounds like, all these years later, but I can’t say for sure.  I barely remember what I had for breakfast.

There is a young progressive YouTuber named Kyle Kulinski. His show is called Secular Talk. While he makes no secret about being a leftist progressive, he does seem to be somewhat fair in his commentary, although I don’t always agree with him. Recently he was supposed to debate Ann Coulter at Politicon, but she backed off. He eventually debated Jessie Lee Peterson on Peterson’s show. I would love to see an honest debate between two intelligent people from opposite ends of the spectrum, like Kulinsky and you or Ben Shapiro. I would say the same thing about you and Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher, and Dan Rather. Is there any chance of you reaching out to Kulinsky for a debate or even a discussion on his show? How about the others I mentioned? — The Emperor

No.  I know nothing about YouTubers.  Sorry.  Old School.  But once upon a time there was a show on TV that you’re yearning for. It was called Firing Line, hosted by Bill Buckley.  Every week Buckley would debate some other smart person.  It was civil and great TV.

I get that TV is a business and TV news is business, big business. So why would large capitalist business’ like NBC, CNN, ABC, CBS seem to push leftist, socialist ideas? Some say George Soros is behind everything, but he can’t possibly “buy” all of these large institutions. Can he? What is the motivation? — Doug R.

I used to wonder the very same thing, Doug.  But then it hit me:  The only thing that trumps money is ideology.  Even if they lose viewers by being too liberal or too conservative, ideology wins out. But then they figured out a way to make money by pushing ideology.  Fox, CNN and MSNBC disseminate  strong liberal and conservative opinions — which pleases their audiences.  Hence, money.

I have concluded that the Democratic Party died when Senator Lieberman retired from Congress and the Republican Party has faded away since Ronald Reagan finished his second term. The Dems should be rebranded the New Democratic Socialist (OXYMORON) Party and the Repubs renamed the RINO WHIG Do NOTHING Democratic Socialist (OXYMORON) Liters. I believe the BIG difference b between the 2 Parties in the 21st Century is that the OXYMORON Party wants “fundamental transformation” NOW and the RINO WHIGS just want the change to be slow. Your thoughts? — Geoff M.

Let me get back to you, Geoff.  I just re-read your question and my head hurts.  That said, you’re not alone in your unhappiness with BOTH parties.  Whichever party captures the middle ground — even if it offends the purists on the ends — will win.  At least that’s been our history.

In your opinion is it becoming hard for President Trump to govern the country with all the personal distractions and accusations he faces everyday? — George V.

Let’s just say it can’t be easy to govern when you’re surrounded by non-stop controversy and at times chaos.  If — and let me emphasis the word IF — the special prosecutor comes up with anything that shouts trouble for the president, these will look like the good old days.  That’s when distractions will really take a toll.  But that’s only “if” at this point.

I think many people are perplexed about the relationship of Kellyanne Conway and husband, George. How about this… When Trump’s done, she’s done. Kinda like what happened to Spicer. George, a Harvard/Yale guy, now becomes the Man, as he had the stones to speak “truth to power”…and, the money machine doesn’t stop. Any validity? — Mike S.

I know nothing about their personal at-home relationship, Mike, but out in the open George is putting his wife in a tough position.  Kind of unfair, I think. He says Trump has a mental disorder.  Trump calls him a “whack job.” And Kellyanne says you think the president is “just should take that sitting down?”  My people have a term for this:  OY VEY!  Would be interesting to be the proverbial fly on the wall when they’re at home and the subject comes up.

Hi Bernie, In the 30+ years that I’ve been visiting Miami, Joe’s Stone Crab has always been my go-to for a great and uniquely Miami place to dine. As a long time resident of Miami, I’m wondering if you have a favorite place to eat for lunch or dinner. — Keith M.

My favorite restaurant ON PLANET EARTH … Is Joe’s Stone Crab on South Beach.  And I don’t even eat the Stone Crabs.   I LOVE the place.  Recommend it highly!!!

Thanks, everyone! You can send me questions for next week using the form below! You can also read previous Q&A sessions by clicking here.

Silencing the Opposition

For the Left in this country, free speech doesn’t matter.  Opposing views need to be silenced.  Period.  Although we hear all the time, “let’s have a national conversation,” the Left really doesn’t want to hear anything other than their own voices.

The latest case on point surrounds the recent shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.  Seventeen-year old David Hogg, one of the high school students, has emerged as the poster boy for young people affected by gun violence.  Laura Ingraham, host of the Ingraham Angle on Fox News, welcomed Hogg on her show right after the shooting.  He was later interviewed by TMZ and said he had been rejected by four UC schools.   Ingraham tweeted “David Hogg Rejected by Four Colleges to Which He Applied and whines about it. (Dinged by UCLA with a 4.1 GPA…totally predictable given acceptance rates.”   (Why she did this, I have absolutely no idea.  She wasn’t debating his view on the shooting, gun control, NRA, March for Our Lives.  His ability or inability to get into a university is irrelevant.)  But, she hurt his feelings and, miraculously, in a matter of hours, he was able to obtain a list of her sponsors and started a Twitter storm asking them to cancel their advertising.  Not surprisingly, she apologized when Fox’s wallet started to be affected.

But that wasn’t enough.  The Left doesn’t want her apology.  They want her voice silenced.  Boycotts aren’t enough.  They want sponsors to stop their advertising, the end game being the cancellation of her show.  Hogg then tweeted:  “I 100% agree an apology in an effort just to save your advertisers is not enough. I will only accept your apology only if you denounce the way your network has treated my friends and I in this fight…” (Emphasis added; grammar mistakes are his.)

Clearly, being manipulated by the Left, he wants her to “denounce” a view with which he doesn’t agree.   In other words, he wants that opposing view silenced.

There are so many things wrong with this situation, where do I begin?

First of all, no matter what grade point average this kid has, he’s not smart enough to so quickly obtain a list of Ingraham’s sponsors on his own.  So who did provide Hogg with the list?

Second, who was behind the “March for Our Lives?”  Within days, March for Our Lives became a registered a 501(c)(4) nonprofit advocacy organization that is not required to disclose its donors.  So who’s providing the financial backing?  George Soros?  Media Matters?

Third, we’ve seen this type of organized effort from the Left in the past.  They were successful in getting Bill O’Reilly off the air.  Glenn Beck and Imus were affected by their tactics.  They were unsuccessful, however, in silencing Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, but I have no doubt these campaigns continue.  (If you don’t believe me, I suggest you read Sharyl Attkinson’s book “The Smear” to understand exactly how the Left is achieving its objection.)

Finally, here’s some advice for Hogg:  You’ll be 18 soon.  If you want to stay in the national limelight, you better grow a thicker skin because life is going to get a helluva lot harder.  You shouldn’t be on the national stage if you don’t want to be attacked or challenged, and, you should stop personally attacking others.  And, whatever you do, recognize that you’re a pawn for the Left.

The only time I heard a call for a boycott by the Right was against the Target Corporation for its transgender bathroom decision.  Target is still standing.

On a personal note, there are many people with whom I disagree:  Rachel Maddow, Joy Behar, Anderson Cooper, etc.  I don’t like what they have to say, so I don’t watch their shows.  I’ve never written a letter asking for them to be fired or contacted their sponsors to cancel advertising.   This is America.  People have a right to express their opinions.  I’ve never asked for their voices to be silenced.  I’ve seen this type of manipulation by the media and I’ve seen “friends” on Facebook personally attack other “friends” because of their views.  Even here on the Island where I live, citizens have called for boycotts of retailers who won’t denounce the NRA.

In America, we don’t shut down someone’s voice because we don’t like what they’re saying.  But that’s exactly what the Left is doing.  It’s all around us if we’re willing to open our eyes.  It’s not only wrong but extremely dangerous to this country.

I don’t get it, but if you do, God bless you.

Donald Trump — Conservative Radio’s Fairness Doctrine

collageWe all remember how big of a topic the Fairness Doctrine was with conservatives, back in the Bush era. As you’ll recall, some in the Democratic party were hoping to reinstate the long-dead FCC policy out of an expressed need to restore political balance to the public airwaves. The regulation, which originally required broadcasters to air opposing points of view on controversial issues, was seen by some on the Left as a way of leveling the playing field against the runaway success and heavy political influence of conservative radio.

Of course, the field wasn’t the problem. The progressive Air America radio network had the same opportunities to succeed as the conservative-media giants, but it simply couldn’t find an audience. It was an abysmal failure, and shut down after six years.

Where free-market attempts to diminish influential conservative voices (and promote liberal ideology) had failed, some liberals felt that they could do it through government regulation. Fortunately, their efforts didn’t get very far in Washington, and there hasn’t been any meaningful revisit of the Fairness Doctrine for about ten years.

Thus, Talk Radio has remained the one information medium in this country where conservative thought has a competitive edge. And it’s a dominant edge — an arena where progressives can barely manage a foothold.

At least that used to be the case.

Things changed in the summer of 2015. That’s when some of the biggest names in conservative radio decided to do the Left a major favor by handing it a gift far more valuable than anything liberals could have gotten out of the Fairness Doctrine.

That gift was The Donald Trump Show.

If you would have told me 18 months ago that some of conservative radio’s top dogs (like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham) would one day show up to work, and start doing everything they could to get Hillary Clinton into the White House, I would have said you were crazy. If you would have told me that they would abruptly suspend their long-preached principles (defending the Constitution, preserving personal liberty, and embracing small-government fundamentals), I’d have laughed you out of the room.

After all, these people were so committed to conservative purity within the Republican party that they had been pressuring political leaders to shut down the government in order to rein in federal spending. They had branded GOP moderates (and not-so-moderates) as “RINOs” and “squishies.” Some had even joined primary campaigns to remove sitting Republicans in congress who they decided were insufficiently conservative.

Yet, when Donald Trump (a personal friend to some of them, and an identified ratings-magnet to others) entered the presidential race, the ideological sanctimony essentially dropped by the wayside.

These people began elevating and normalizing a big-government autocrat, who knew virtually nothing about conservatism (or even relevant policy). They even diminished his genuinely conservative primary opponents. And when the polls and Trump’s hopelessly undisciplined, adolescent behavior made it painfully apparent that Trump couldn’t beat Hillary in the general election, they pushed him even harder.

They lent conservative credentials to a fan of single-payer healthcare and eminent domain, who vowed not to reform our nation’s entitlement programs. They excused his opposition to free trade and freedom of the press. They glossed over his moral and ethical shortcomings, and his advancement of reckless conspiracy theories. The rationalized even his most ridiculous rhetoric, and they forgave him for his political past — a luxury they granted to no other presidential candidate.

Above all, these people knew that Trump wasn’t going to be the next president. They knew his nomination would lead to another decisively liberal U.S. president. Yet they refused to use their conservative clout to keep that from happening.

Rather than practicing what they’d been preaching for years (in some cases, decades), they turned into some of Trump’s most valuable surrogates. The Donald Trump Show (which extended to the blogosphere and cable news) was just too big to fail, or perhaps too big to pass up from a monetary standpoint. Trump’s brand became more important than the conservative cause, and certainly more important than taking back the White House.

Amusingly, now that pretty much everyone is seeing the writing on the wall for November 8, these same media-conservatives are trying very hard to pin the blame for their guy’s approaching loss on those of us who opposed the Republican party’s forfeiting of this election from the beginning.

Talk about pathetic. I would hope that their listeners would eventually come to realize who it was that really betrayed them. I think many already have.

The Democratic party and the progressive movement couldn’t have asked for better allies than those in the conservative media who’ve been carrying Trump’s water for almost a year and a half. The Left knows they have their own terribly flawed candidate in Hillary Clinton, and that she would have been easy pickings for any remotely capable GOP nominee.

But that didn’t happen, in significant part, because the Democrats finally got their Fairness Doctrine. And it has gone a long way toward advancing the liberal agenda.

From a Dead Sleep

From a Dead Sleep — A Sean Coleman Thriller, by John Daly

The Myth That Pro-Trump Pundits Care About the Supreme Court

hannityOver the past couple of weeks, as national and state polling has continued to paint a grim picture of Donald Trump’s chances of winning the presidency, Fox News host (and passionate Trump advocate) Sean Hannity has been on an absolute tear.

On his television program and on Twitter, he has repeatedly lashed out at Republican politicians and prominent conservative voices who have either refused to support, or have actively spoken out against, Trump’s candidacy.

Last night, Hannity brought his frustrations to climax, beginning his show with a rant where he accused such people of sabotaging Trump’s campaign.

Yes, he actually used the word “sabotaging,” and he did so more than once.

Hannity then posed a question to his audience: “If they [anti-Trump Republicans] continue to do what they’re doing, and Hillary Clinton wins, will they be responsible for supporting Hillary Clinton’s radical, left-wing agenda?”

After rattling through a list of who has rankled him the most (which included Bill Kristol, Mitt Romney, Susan Collins, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Ben Sasse, Lindsey Graham, and Meg Whitman), Hannity declared that if they “keep up their stubborn — their stupid — game, and continue to lick their wounds,” they will be responsible for a third term of Obama’s failed policies.

Hannity placed particular emphasis on the certainty that Clinton would nominate liberal Supreme Court justices, which, if approved by congress, would tilt the court decidedly to the left for many years.

“By refusing to support Trump,” Hannity said, “it seems they’re effectively supporting a woman who has proven time and time again that she is a liar and a corrupt politician.” He later added, “Is that the person these Republican crybabies want to be the next Commander in Chief? They want to help her? It’s very disturbing, and it’s disgusting, and it’s fairly dangerous.”

Hannity then brought on fellow Trump enthusiast, Laura Ingraham, who said that the aforementioned Republicans are “clearly cheer-leading Hillary Clinton,” and that, “if you call yourself a conservative and a Republican, it’s actually immoral not to vote for Donald Trump, if only for the reason of the Supreme Court.”

Yes, she actually used the word “immoral”…in defense of a guy who mocks people’s disabilities and trashes Gold Star families.

Now, I must admit that for the sake of my own sanity, I stopped watching Hannity’s show years ago — long before he made a conscious decision to abruptly toss aside his exhaustively-established brand of conservative purity, and turn into a shameless shill for his friend, Donald Trump. Most of my exposure to him now comes in the form of Internet videos, often linked to from people on Twitter, with an accompanying caption like “WTF?” or “What planet does this guy live on?”

But it is important to note that Sean Hannity is still an influential voice in conservative circles, as are other former media-preachers of conservative absolutism (including Laura Ingraham) who turned into early Trump advocates. Throughout primary season, these people tirelessly shoveled coal into the engine of the Trump Train, fueling the effort to normalize and vouch for the conservative credentials of a reflexively liberal, big-government autocrat.

Those efforts certainly paid off. Trump was deemed an acceptable candidate by enough people on the right to win him the Republican nomination, despite poll after poll showing that his temperament, divisive rhetoric, and willful unpreparedness would almost certainly hand Hillary Clinton an easy victory in November.

Now, unbelievably, those same voices are calling Republican holdouts (whose consciences won’t allow them to support Trump) immoral. They’re calling them saboteurs, and claiming that it will be their fault if the Supreme Court turns into a liberal majority.

I’m sorry folks, but such logic is beyond idiotic.

If people like Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Eric Bolling, and the rest of the Trump faithful in the conservative media truly believed that the fate of the Supreme Court were a marquee issue of dire importance (as they exhaustively insist they do), they would have never — and I mean never — advocated for a Trump nomination in the first place. In fact, they would have adamantly opposed it.

The truth is that the Republican Party couldn’t have possibly chosen a worse candidate than Donald Trump to entrust with the future of the Supreme Court. The reasoning comes back to three factors:

1. Trump is not a conservative by any stretch of the imagination. He’s not guided by conservative principles. Time after time, he has revealed an inherent disinterest in the U.S. Constitution. All one has to listen to is Trump’s stated affection for single-payer healthcare and eminent domain, and his repeated questioning of the authority of those who criticize him, to understand how he feels about the rights and freedoms of individuals.

The same media-conservatives who are now arguing that Trump is America’s last best hope would have been calling him a “liberal RINO” for the past year, had he been anyone but Donald Trump.

Sure, Trump released an impressive list of conservative individuals that he says he’ll consider from, if elected. And it was certainly a smart political move to have an actual conservative put together some acceptable names (likely none of whom Trump had previously heard of) to present to the Republican base. The clear purpose of the list was to pacify skeptics on the right, and on some, it seems to have worked.

Of course, putting faith in Trump’s mere word has proven, time after time, to be utterly foolish. Trump’s propensity to lie, change positions, and break promises is what — after all — makes him Trump.

Let’s be honest with ourselves: Republicans are Charlie Brown. Donald Trump is Lucy. That list of prospective justices is the football. Need I say more?

2. The confirmation of conservative justices requires a GOP majority in Washington. Yet, Trump has stated that he doesn’t have a strong preference whether the Republicans maintain control of the U.S. Senate. In an interview last month, when asked about the GOP keeping its majority, he answered, “Well, I’d like them to do that. But I don’t mind being a free agent, either.”

And it looks like, with Trump’s drag on down-ballot Republicans, the loss of at least the U.S. Senate is a very real possibility. Again, this doesn’t seem to phase Trump, who hasn’t been interested in raising money for those candidates’ races. More notably, he has at times actively campaigned against incumbent Republicans who he believes have, in one way or another, slighted him.

Do these sound like the acts of someone who truly cares about conservative justices? Or do they sound like the actions of someone who doesn’t really care about the makeup of the Supreme Court, and will simply “make the deal” with whoever he needs to?

Has Hannity called Trump a saboteur? Has Ingraham called Trump immoral? Of course not.

3. Trump’s nomination was Clinton’s easiest path to victory. Throughout the primary, poll after poll showed that Trump was among the GOP candidates least likely to beat Hillary Clinton in the general election. His vile conduct and radical ideas made him unacceptable to voters, and the vitriol only got worse as time went on.

The pro-Trump pundits knew this, and they doubled-down on their gamble at every opportunity. They worked diligently to ensure that the Republican candidate most likely to result in a liberal Supreme Court won the nomination. And they got their wish.

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Now, they have the gall to say that those who opposed their reckless efforts, stood on principle, and warned of what would inevitably happen, are to blame for the situation conservatives are in? Give me a break.

I do have empathy for people on the right who opposed Trump’s candidacy in the primary, but now support him as the lesser of two evils in the general election. When they say that they believe Trump’s Supreme Court picks would be better than Hillary’s, and they’ll be voting for Trump because of that, I believe them. I also respect their reasoning.

Who I can’t respect are the holier-than-thou Trump sycophants who set fire to our hopes of a conservative Supreme Court, and are now censuring the dissenters for playing with matches. I find that to be “very disturbing”, “disgusting”, and “fairly dangerous.”

If the pro-Trump media is looking for someone to blame for a Hillary victory in November, I suggest they seek out the closest mirror, and take a long hard look.