WATCH: C-SPAN Ranks the Presidents and It MIGHT Be Liberally Biased

C-SPAN came out with its Presidential Historians Survey for 2017, and Glenn's co-hosts had a heyday going through the rankings.

"Number 11 is Woodrow Wilson," Stu Burguiere revealed.

"That is unbelievable," Pat Gray chimed in. "Racist, another internment guy, a guy who brought us --- well, this is what they'll love about him, but we hate --- all the progressives policies, the income tax. I mean, so much about him to hate, so much.

Wilson was also a catalyst for reviving the Ku Klux Klan.

"The KKK was essentially . . . he brought them back out of obscurity as president," Stu said.

Other abominations include Calvin Coolidge at #27 (just one slot ahead of Richard Nixon even though Coolidge brought the U.S. out of a devastating depression and into the Roaring '20s), Bill Clinton (#15) listed ahead of James Madison (#17), the father of the US Constitution, and the introduction of Barack Obama at #12.

"Now, this is a disgrace," Stu said.

Listen to this segment from The Glenn Beck Program:

Featured Image: Original cartoon created by Pat Cross Cartoons for glennbeck.com. Pat Cross loves drawing, America and the Big Man upstairs.

PAT: Pat, Stu, and Jeffy in for Glenn on the Glenn Beck Program. 888-727-BECK.

Happy Presidents Day. I guess pretty much every year it's traditional that they -- they do some sort of ranking the presidents who have been president of the United States. And who is this one from, Stu?

STU: That's a good question. By C-SPAN, I believe. C-SPAN does this, I guess, every year, and they get a bunch of historians -- 50 historians or so. One hundred historians. And they believe up with a list of who is the best.

And it's always --

PAT: One hundred historians. You know this is going to be -- this is going to be liberally biased, I would assume.

STU: Uh-huh.

PAT: It's just a wild guess of mine. Just a stab in the dark.

JEFFY: But you don't know that.

PAT: I don't know that for a fact. So...

STU: Shocking, yeah. Number one is going to be -- let's see. Blaze story. Blaze has the list up there.

PAT: Let's see if we can guess who number one is. Who would you think, Jeffy, if you had to guess, 100 historians.

JEFFY: Off the top of my head?

PAT: I'm going to say --

JEFFY: It's going to be -- it's going to have to be either WW, right? Woodrow or Franklin, right? Or Roosevelt.

PAT: It's got to be FDR.

STU: No. Come on, guys. Look, we know they are biased. But you're going to put either Lincoln or George Washington at number one. Is that a surprise?

PAT: Really? No, not usually. A lot of times it's FDR.

STU: My understanding is it's always been Lincoln or Washington.

JEFFY: Oh, okay.

STU: And top ten, number one is Abraham Lincoln.

PAT: Abraham Lincoln is a good choice. I can't argue with that. I mean, I get this email from this Abe Lincoln hater every single time we mention his name.

JEFFY: Yes.

PAT: You do too?

JEFFY: I believe I'm copied on that.

PAT: Like come on, man. Has history not exonerated this guy by now? Because I think so. Did he do some extraordinary things for extraordinary times? Yes, he did. But he gave back the power, which is also extraordinary. The guy was amazing. And I love Abraham Lincoln. And I don't care how many emails I get on the subject, I'm still going to love Abraham Lincoln. So I've got no issue with that, with Abe being number one.

STU: Yeah, you put it in perspective, here's a guy who went through basically the most till --

PAT: Most difficult time in our.

STU: We talk about, "Well, we're very divided." We had a Civil War. We were more divided then, I can assure you.

PAT: Not as divided as we were, that's for sure. So Abe was number one. Was George number two?

STU: George Washington, number two.

PAT: That's pretty good. I'm okay with that so far.

STU: Not a huge surprise. Again, you want to talk about a guy who surrendered power.

PAT: Yes. A guy who was offered to be king. They asked him, in fact, would you -- you should consider being king. And he told them not to even bring that up to him again. Don't even mention that to me again.

STU: Do you think we would get that from today's politicians?

PAT: Oh, jeez. No, no.

STU: Really? So you're saying no?

PAT: No. I'm kind of saying no.

STU: So here's the -- this is looking back. In 2000, Abraham Lincoln was number one. 2009, number one. 2017, number one. So he's been number one for all three of the years they've done this.

George Washington was number three in 2000. Number two, 2009. Number two, 2017. So those two really have been consistent. And number three has been pretty consistent as well. The only time that George Washington wasn't number two, FDR was number two. And he is number three this year.

PAT: FDR, the third -- okay. This -- on the 75th anniversary -- this is the 75th anniversary of the Japanese internment camps. Thank you, FDR. The third best president of all the time.

JEFFY: Was he responsible for that?

PAT: Sure was. Yes, he was. Yes, he was.

STU: Amazingly, the same people who will today come out and bitch about Donald Trump and his immigration roundups across the country --

PAT: Right.

STU: Where there's been 100 -- I think the number is 174, in America since Donald Trump took over. 174 illegal immigrants that were not already criminals for something else have been arrested and deported or in the process of being deported in these raids. 174 people. How many people do we have in this country? Like is it a thousand? Two thousand? I don't know. It would be really disturbing if it was 2,000 people we had in this country.

PAT: Stu, it's 320 million. So it's higher than you thought for sure.

STU: Wow, that's higher. That's much, much higher. So the same people who will be complaining about this will give FDR, the number three president of all time, after he took an entire race of people who were citizens, by the way.

PAT: Yeah.

STU: Not illegal immigrants. They were citizens of the United States of Japanese descent and put into camps because we thought we might not be able to trust them during the war.

PAT: Right. For whatever reason, the other thing about FDR is, they always give him credit for getting us out of a depression.

STU: Right. Which is not true.

PAT: Getting us out of the depression, we were in it for 12 years.

STU: He extended it.

PAT: Virtually his entire administration was the Great Depression. And the only reason why we got out of it was because of amazing manufacturing in World War II. We manufactured so -- we manufactured our way out of the Great Depression. And it had nothing to do with FDR, except for the fact that he asked Congress to declare war. That's about it. I mean, it is -- it's amazing to me that people don't see that the depression lasted for 12 years here. And one or two years everywhere else. That's because of the incredible overreach of FDR.

STU: And a lot of economists have come around to that. For a long time, it was just, that was the truth. FDR was the guy who bailed us out of this Depression, even though he had like 97 terms as president to do so, and it took him all of it.

PAT: Hard to make that case. Yeah.

STU: But really, recently, you start looking at these policies and how they affected the rest of the world, as you pointed out, and things that just really extended it and made it worse. Right?

PAT: Yes. Made it much worse.

STU: You know, everybody likes to praise the Obama recovery in the media. And it's like, it's the worst recovery since World War II.

PAT: When we had another super progressive president.

STU: When we had FDR. Right, yes. It's like, what is the pattern here? Number four.

PAT: Jeez.

Another one that's going to drive you out of your mind.

STU: Yes. Theodore Roosevelt. Now, if Glenn were here to scream about this, he would. It's again another typical pick. He's been fourth every single time.

PAT: Those two progressives right next to each other and always ranked in the top five.

STU: Now, they do have the same last one. Is it possible they're voting for the wrong ones? I don't know.

PAT: I don't know.

PAT: But it does seem like Theodore Roosevelt always gets that.

And this is the -- this is the thing they do to say it's okay for Republicans: See, it's a Republican.

Now, obviously Lincoln. But he's a little bit of an exception to this story. Theodore Roosevelt is like, well, it's John McCain's favorite president. It's Newt Gingrich's favorite president. See, we're not just crazy liberals putting this list together. And that's one of the sad truths that has happened with the Republican Party, that has turned into -- again, the guy ran -- he started the Progressive Party.

Like, this is not --

PAT: It was named that for a reason. Because it was progressive. That's why.

STU: Yeah, that's really what he meant. That's what he meant.

PAT: That's what he really meant, yeah.

STU: Number five is Dwight Eisenhower. And interesting about Eisenhower is in 2000, he was number nine. In 2009 --

PAT: Moving all the way to number five.

PAT: Eight. And then all the way up to number five this year.

PAT: Number five with a bullet.

STU: Now, I don't know what he's done since 2000 to justify this.

PAT: A lot. He's done a lot. Yeah, he's done a lot.

STU: Really? It's weird because you look at a historical legacy of a president, and it might move you over time. You might say, "Wow, that policy worked."

Like, for example, LBJ might have looked like a better president when he left. What he left behind was basically all of our financial problems.

PAT: The scourge.

STU: Right? You know, $100 trillion, where, what? 75 trillion are that are policies that he passed.

PAT: Easily.

STU: I mean, this is a disaster.

PAT: Yeah.

STU: For our country as far as finances go. And over time, I think you can look at his -- you might have left that and think, "Wow, he really wanted to help people." Fifty years later, you're going to say, "Wait a minute. He ruined the country with these policies."

That's not the way that the left looks at it, of course. But I'm surprised to see -- what with Eisenhower has moved people in the last 17 years, where he would go from ninth to fifth?

PAT: Yeah, it's interesting. I don't know. Just maybe over time. And he realized his policies did kind of have a stabilizing effect during the '50s. I don't know. The economy was pretty good during the '50s.

STU: Sure.

PAT: So, you know, maybe -- maybe that's moved them a little bit.

STU: Harry Truman in sixth. Which he's been right around that area for a long time as well. Thomas Jefferson.

PAT: Number seven. Come on. That's ridiculous.

STU: He should be a little higher than that.

PAT: Ridiculous.

STU: JFK at number eight is obviously a controversial one.

PAT: He was in office for about 15 minutes.

STU: Yeah, he had the tragic end. But, I mean, other than that --

PAT: He saw us through the Cuban Missile Crisis. He gets a lot of brownie points for that, for standing up to the Russians and doing that courageously. And he did. He did.

JEFFY: Yes, he did.

PAT: He faced down the Russians, and that was a tough time in American history.

STU: Standing up to the Russians, that's an interesting --

PAT: Yeah, it is.

STU: Yeah. You know, you're right. But, again, that thing almost turned into -- that probably was the closest we came other than mistakes -- because there were some mistakes that we almost went into nuclear war over.

PAT: Oh, yeah, for sure.

STU: But as far as a policy issue, probably the closest we came.

PAT: I'd say definitely, yeah.

STU: And, again, you're right. He was president for 15 minutes. He did cut taxes, which is something the left likes to ignore about his reign.

PAT: Yeah, they don't like to hear that.

STU: But putting him at number eight is, I don't know. How much of that is the rock star dying after his second album and everybody just kind of gives him the full credit for the full career?

PAT: Almost all of it. Almost all of it.

STU: Probably. Right? Kurt Cobain. What's the right guy?

PAT: A Buddy Holly situation. One album.

STU: Yeah, where you just kind of give him credit for twelve good albums, even though they only put out two and then died. It's like, oh, well, he would have had ten more. I mean, look at this, this was unbelievable. That's kind of what you do with musicians. I guess you do that with presidents too.

PAT: Yeah.

JEFFY: Yeah.

STU: Ronald Reagan, number nine. Yeah, Regan should be three, four, five.

PAT: Way too low for Ronald Reagan. I've seen him as -- it seems like I've seen him high as number one. But maybe not. Because usually these historians don't do that.

STU: Yeah, I don't think with the -- you're probably not putting him number one when you're putting him against George Washington. But more than presidents, I would certainly put him as number one. What's the last president you would put potentially -- you don't even have to make the distinction? But like you put in the conversation with -- with Reagan. Coolidge?

PAT: Yes. Yes.

STU: Again, probably you're going back to Coolidge. Which, again, you haven't heard his name yet.

PAT: And he never shows well in these rankings.

STU: No. And here's a really pathetic one, as we just talked about, LBJ coming in at number ten. He's a complete embarrassment.

PAT: Terrible. He should maybe be dead last.

STU: Yeah. There's an argument to be made there, that he should be dead last. Again, we have $100 trillion of unpaid liabilities, future liabilities, along with $20 trillion of debt.

The overwhelming reason we have that are the programs that LBJ started and have sat here and drained our society for a long time. Now, there are some parts of that, that are popular. But, you know, they're not particularly run well. You can't necessarily blame LBJ for how a program that he instituted is run 50 years later. But still --

JEFFY: No, but there's evidence that he knew it was going to happen anyway.

STU: Yeah, the other part of that too is it comes with skepticism of giant federal government. If you go into this thinking, well, the government is wonderful, and they will do these things well, then you start giant programs like this. And when that fails, you should get some of that blame.

PAT: Uh-huh.

PAT: And it's part of the reason why I think -- one of the parts of the reason that I turned on things like the Patriot Act, for example, was I -- you know, you look at the guy who wrote it, Sensenbrenner. He wrote the Patriot Act. And even he says it was implemented in a way that it was not written. They did things that were not allowed in the Patriot Act, according to the guy who authored it. And that's not because the Patriot Act in and of itself was the worst thing that was ever past -- though many argue that it is -- it's because the government takes what they have, and they do 100 percent more every time.

And, you know, you have to be able to see these things because this is the pattern that happens every single time.

So the next two are the most controversial on this show. Number 11 is Woodrow Wilson.

PAT: That is unbelievable.

STU: That is absolutely unbelievable.

PAT: Racist. Another internment guy. A guy who brought us -- well, this is what they'll love about him, but we hate, all the progressives policies. The income tax. I mean, so much about him to hate. So much.

STU: And not to mention, you said the racist part. The KKK was essentially he brought them back out of obscurity as president.

PAT: Yeah, he reignited the KKK.

STU: Yeah. He -- he, you know, screened one of their movies that really tried to reignite the movement. I mean, he really was responsible for the resurgence in that era.

PAT: The movie, wasn't the movie based on a book he wrote?

STU: Yeah, I think that's the -- Glenn would be here yelling at us right now I'm sure.

PAT: Yeah.

STU: Yeah, that's how bad it is. However, I will say, Glenn I think at times -- and you've heard this over the years -- has felt as if -- especially off the air, why we even bother doing this? You know, he gets into those frustrated moments when things don't go the way we want them to go. You know, he'll get frustrated. And that's natural. Right? We all get that way at times. Sometimes you feel you push so hard and you fight so hard for something and you think it's the truth, and then it doesn't come through, and, you know, you beat yourself up over it. Glenn has been talking about Woodrow Wilson for a long time. And I'm not going to give him credit for this. But in 2000, he was ranked sixth. He fell -- in 2009, ranked ninth. In 2017, ranked 11. He's falling.

PAT: Yeah, good.

STU: He's falling down the list of presidents. Again, Woodrow hasn't done much recently to justify a move. People are just waking up to how bad of a president he was.

PAT: Right. Yeah, that he was terrible.

STU: So that's important. And number 12 is the big one.

PAT: Coming in at number 12 with his big debut, Barack Obama.

STU: Barack Obama.

JEFFY: Oh, my gosh.

STU: Now, this is a disgrace.

PAT: It is a discourse. It is. But you know these liberal professors are like, he hailed Obamacare. He insured so many people who otherwise would die from lack of medical coverage. You know that's what they're thinking.

STU: I guess. Look, if you are a progressive, you probably do like the presidency of Barack Obama. And he should get into this more in-depth because it's so revolved.

PAT: Yeah, we should. Yeah, we will. We'll do that coming up here in a second. More of the Glenn Beck Program with Pat, Stu, and Jeffy coming up in a sec.

[break]

PAT: It's Pat, Stu, and Jeffy for Glenn on the Glenn Beck Program. Presidents Day. We're kind of going over this list, ranking all of the presidents in order.

One through 44. Actually 43. Forty-three have finished their terms.

STU: Right. Obviously Trump isn't on this list yet. Barack Obama is the one who had the debut this year. And they went with number 12, which is we're going to come back and hit that after a while. At number 15 is Bill Clinton. And Clinton was -- went from 21 when he left the office all the way up to 15. You'd expect Barack Obama to have the same type of thing, right? He's going to move up. He's not moving down.

JEFFY: Wow.

PAT: Yes.

STU: Because, again, these are mostly liberal historians that are going to love this guy.

PAT: Can you believe Bill Clinton is listed ahead of James Madison? The father of the US Constitution.

STU: Inexcusable.

PAT: Now, I know this is presidency. And they're not necessarily taking the Constitution into account on this. But he was a good president. James Madison certainly was better than Bill Clinton.

STU: How is that -- how is that an argument? How is that an argument?

PAT: I don't know. I don't know.

STU: One of the things they didn't like about Madison is that he is the reason -- he basically made it illegal to -- again, he -- he wrote the -- he wrote some of our important founding documents, if you might remember. So he was kind of the expert of the time on what you were allowed to do. And one of the things he said you were not allowed to do was have direct stimulus from the federal government to states to pay for things like infrastructure. He didn't like that.

So the way they -- they have to go around and have all sorts of hurdles and loopholes and gymnastics to justify these stimulus programs they passed today because they're not allowed. They're straight-out not allowed. So what they have to do is they have to give money to the states for the states to do these things. And with some exceptions. But that's one of the things they don't like about him. But what else is there? I mean, Madison was pretty good. It's James freaking Madison.

PAT: Yeah, he was. These lists are almost always inexplicable.

STU: Oh, yeah.

PAT: When you have John Adams at 19 -- and maybe that's the Alien and Sedition Act.

STU: Yeah.

PAT: Which is kind of understandable, it would drop him down. Ulysses S. Grant at twenty-two. He was one of the worst presidents of all time: Scandal-ridden, controversial, not a good guy. How is he at number two? Unbelievable. We'll talk Obama and finish off the list, coming up.

[break]

PAT: Pat, Stu, and Jeffy for Glenn on the Glenn Beck Program. 888-727-BECK.

Kind of celebrating Presidents Day here with the latest ranking of the presidents in order one to 43. And so once again -- actually this is a decent -- the top of it is pretty good because they've listed Abraham Lincoln number one and George Washington number two. I can easily --

STU: That's fine.

PAT: That's fine. You can change those two if you want.

STU: I think I probably change them, but I'm okay with them. Right?

PAT: They're definitely the top two.

STU: I mean, I'm fine with them being the top two.

PAT: I would actually put Jefferson number three. They selected Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

STU: Yeah.

PAT: FDR number three. And then Theodore number four, followed by Dwight Eisenhower. So that was the top five.

STU: Let me give you -- because we've kind of gone through little bits of pieces of this. We don't need to hit every single name. But let me give you a quick run of presidents here. Twenty-six, Jimmy Carter. Twenty-seven --

PAT: Way too high.

STU: Way too high.

Twenty-seven, Calvin Coolidge, who should be at least top ten for sure.

PAT: Top three. Oh, definitely top ten.

STU: And then 28, Richard Nixon. So you have Coolidge one slot ahead of a guy who was impeached or almost impeached. Then you have -- you have Carter ahead of both of them, which --

PAT: Ahead of Calvin Coolidge. That's an outrage.

STU: And you have to look at like Nixon being an obvious line of demarcation of where they think -- you know, everyone below that was bad for sure, according to these historians. He's number 28.

And then number 33, five spots below George Nixon is George W. Bush.

PAT: That just shows how much they hated the guy.

STU: They just hated the guy. Now, he's risen -- he went from 36 to 33 since the last time they ran this.

But that is -- he is rising a little bit. Then you kind of get down to the real -- I think William Henry Harrison really gets screwed in this. Because JFK is a top ten guy mainly because he got assassinated. And, you know, people look at that and they look at that event as a real moment. And, look, he wasn't in office long enough to be a top ten president. If you take out that part of it, you know, I think he's remembered quite differently. But poor William Henry Harrison. The guy --

PAT: In office only a month.

STU: A month. He should be like number two on this list. Poor guy. He gets a month in office, and they throw him down at 38.

PAT: He got a cold or something. Right? He got pneumonia.

JEFFY: Yeah, because of the inauguration. It was so cold out. He wanted to do it outside. He got too cold. Got sick.

PAT: And died.

STU: That's not how colds work. But, yeah. That is, I believe, what they throw around about him. You don't get a cold because it's cold. That's not how colds work.

PAT: But I think if I have this correct -- if I have this down -- and maybe there's a scientist out there or doctor who can help us. But if you've hardware got the germs, the cold enables is how I think it works. I think the cold creates an atmosphere whereby they can better do their work. I think. I'm not sure about that.

STU: Okay. I will say this. You know, it was 73 yesterday here in Texas.

PAT: Yeah, it was so warm.

STU: And it's freezing in other parts of the country, where we used to live, for example, the northeast. And that decision -- I don't care if it causes. I don't care if warm made you sick, I'd still live here. I don't care at all. It's that devastating.

And then the bottom -- probably the biggest story from this, other than the Obama thing, which we'll get to is the fact that they put the first gay president last on this list. Which is pretty -- pretty offensive to me.

JEFFY: Thank you.

STU: James Buchanan, our first gay president, was -- he's tossed in here as last place. And obviously this shows the hatred towards him.

PAT: Now, James Buchanan, I know this, was maybe the only bachelor among these guys, right?

STU: Hmm.

PAT: And he was forever a bachelor.

JEFFY: Call it what you want, bachelor. Whatever you want, Pat.

STU: You can call it a bachelor. Or you can call it what it was, was he was gay. But had a long relationship as a gay president. First gay president. In-man gay president. And he did roll a little dude heavy. This is actually a real thing that they believe.

JEFFY: Yeah.

STU: Or at least I should say that the gay history project believes, the National Gay History Project.

PAT: Oh, well, then you can't dispute that.

STU: More than 150 years before America elected its first black president, it most likely had its first gay president, James Buchanan. Buchanan, a Democrat from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, was the 15th president of the United States. Lifelong bachelor. Served as president from 1857 to 1861, years leading up to the Civil War.

Historian James Loewen, who, by the way, I have the list right here -- James Loewen, not included on the list of historians to rank these guys because obviously they are anti-gay.

PAT: Obviously.

STU: We're putting that out there right now. It's confirmed.

PAT: Obviously. Uh-huh.

STU: So his research into Buchanan's personal life -- he says he's convinced that Buchanan was gay. Loewen is author of the book Lies Across America, which examines how historical sites inaccurately portray figures and events of America's past. Quote, I'm sure that Buchanan was gay. There is clear evidence that he was gay.

I don't know what clear evidence there would be.

PAT: Wow.

STU: And since I haven't seen any evidence that he was heterosexual, I don't believe he was bisexual. In case you were wondering that. A lot of people are like, wait a minute. I want to know, was he bisexual? We don't think so. Okay?

According to Loewen, Buchanan shared a residence with William Rufus King, a Democratic senator from Alabama for several years in Washington, DC.

JEFFY: Yeah.

PAT: Can you imagine at that time?

STU: I know.

PAT: That must have been so weird.

STU: We talk about crony capitalism -- relationships now between government and everything. Imagine a senator and a president --

PAT: A senator and president living together.

STU: And apparently according to this guy, dating.

PAT: Did they share the White House together? They didn't. I mean, I can't imagine that.

STU: Loewen said contemporary records indicate the two men were inseparable. And they would refer to them as the Siamese twins. Loewen also said Buchanan was fairly open about his relationship with King, causing some colleagues to view the men as a couple. For example, Aaron Brown, a prominent Democrat, writing to James K. Polk -- or, Mrs. James K. Polk, referred to King as Buchanan's better wife, his wife, and Aunt Fancy.

JEFFY: I don't know what's so funny about the man being gay.

STU: It's not.

PAT: Nothing.

STU: There's nothing funny about this at all, Jeffy.

PAT: Except for fact that he's ranked 43rd, dead last.

STU: Right. And that's laughable. Look, if he was our first gay president, he should be number one. I don't care what he did in office. He should be number one.

PAT: Even though he did send the nation hurdling into Civil War.

STU: Right.

PAT: Number one.

STU: I'm pretty sure our standards today are supposed to make him number one. It's hard to read these things.

JEFFY: He's so lucky that Twitter didn't exist.

PAT: Yeah, no kidding.

It's interesting down near the bottom though, you've got George W. Bush at 33, followed very closely by Martin Van Buren, a guy nobody knows anything about. Chester Arthur. Now, you can go through all 43, and you would never name Chester Arthur. Nobody even knows we have a President Arthur in history.

JEFFY: What? The only reason we know we have Chester Arthur is because in Die Hard 3, he played a prominent role, right?

PAT: Did he?

JEFFY: Yeah. It was the elementary school, that one of the bombs was --

PAT: Wow. You are weird on that movie. That is -- that's freaky.

STU: That's three? That's the one he's walking around town, and he's got the N-word on a sign as he walked through --

JEFFY: Yeah, yeah.

STU: That's a hell of a scene, man.

JEFFY: Yeah. Die Hard With a Vengeance.

PAT: Which you could not do now.

And number 36, Herbert Hoover. Then Millard Fillmore. These are all the forgotten guys. William Henry Harrison. John Tyler.

STU: John Tyler is the one, by the way, I would say -- if there was anyone on this list -- and this happened to me many years ago, when I was looking at a list of presidents and I looked at John Tyler, and I'm like, who the hell is that?

Like, he's the guy -- because you said Chester Arthur. Chester A. Arthur to me stands out for some reason. Maybe it's the middle initial, I don't know. John Tyler seems like he wasn't president. I feel like I want to write an article like the first gay president article that says John Tyler wasn't actually president. Because I just don't think he was.

PAT: Look you into that. Because you might be right.

STU: It just doesn't seem like he was, right?

PAT: It would be great to expose that hoax once and for all.

And number 40, this is really egregiously bad: Warren G. Harding is not the 40th best president of this country. He's probably top ten. Certainly top 15. He and Coolidge pulled this nation out of a Great Depression that was actually deeper in 1920 than it was in '29. And they did it by going with a hands off policy. Let's keep government out of this. Let's enable the free market. Let's lower taxes. Let's spur this economy. And they got us out of it in a year. In a year. Not 12, like FDR, who was the most celebrated man of all time, just about. And Warren G. Harding is the 40th worst president? Come on now. Come on.

STU: Come on.

PAT: Forty-one, Franklin Pierce. Then Andrew Johnson. And James Buchanan, our first gay president.

STU: Gay man, gay president. And the fact that you would put him at the bottom of the list says a hell of a lot. A hell of a lot.

PAT: Let me tell you something, that angers us. That angers us.

JEFFY: It sure does.

STU: I mean, here we are, in a nation -- you know, these guys are supposed to be the accepting, tolerant historians. And they put James Buchanan last. It's a shame.

PAT: Right! Our first gay president. And you know that's why. You know that's why.

STU: Yeah.

By the way, included in this list of historians, a really interesting note is Paul Kengor. We've had him on the show before. Really smart guy.

PAT: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, he is.

STU: So it wasn't as if they had no conservatives on the list. Kengor can't believe that it wound up being number twelve for Obama. He thinks it's a travesty. And also, there's an interesting part of the way they do this.

PAT: Did he write the book on his mentor? Right? Didn't Kengor write the book on Obama's mentor?

STU: Yeah. I think so, yeah. That's the -- what's the name of that thing? It was really good. Let's see.

PAT: Frank Marshall Davis.

STU: Yeah, the communist, was it? Yeah, the communist. Frank Marshall Davis: The Untold Story of Barack Obama's Mentor.

Now, this guy voted on this list.

PAT: Wow.

STU: He was in this panel.

PAT: So you know he didn't vote him number 12.

STU: No, he did point out -- he's going to come on with us later this week and discuss it. Because he pointed out that the way they do this is they give you -- essentially one of the main things they have you ranking the presidents on is their effectiveness, right? So how effectively did they implement their agenda? Well, I think you can make a good argument that FDR and LBJ, for example, did a really good job implementing their agenda. But the agenda was --

PAT: They were effectively bad.

STU: Right. But the agenda was terrible for the country. So, you know, saying that they implemented -- I think you could make an argument that Barack Obama implemented some of his stuff, if you're a progressive.

PAT: He was effective. He was effective.

STU: Though the stimulus, Obamacare, which looks like -- well, let's not -- let's not chicken before egg hatching and all those phrases apply here because they haven't done anything yet when it comes to Obamacare. But in theory, in the next couple of years, we're going to see the elimination of Obamacare. After that, what's his electrician? The stimulus project, where they dumped a bunch of money on bridges and --

PAT: Stu, he saved Detroit. He saved the US auto industry. He saved Ford, and Chevy. GM.

STU: You might want to look at that. Bush actually started that.

PAT: But he took the credit. And these historians I'm sure gave him the credit for that.

STU: They certainly didn't give it to Bush.

PAT: And, by the way, they didn't save it anyway. They didn't save it.

JEFFY: Let's not forget he killed the United States' vaunted terrorist.

PAT: That's true.

STU: He did. That's a legitimate good moment of his --

PAT: Yeah. It took the guys six months to even decide to pull the trigger on that operation. Come on.

STU: Again, I'm not going to give him too much credit. It was not the most difficult decision in 500 years, as Joe Biden --

JEFFY: No, it was not.

STU: I always love that one. The most difficult decision in 500 years. To take out the country's biggest enemy --

PAT: It doesn't make any sense.

JEFFY: It doesn't. It doesn't make any sense.

STU: It's not entering World War II where you're putting millions of American lives at stake.

PAT: Especially after you promised you were not going to get into the war.

STU: Right. If it went horribly -- let's look at this -- if it went horribly, what is the result of that? We would have lost some of our best, and that would have been tragic.

However, every conservative in America would have said, you know what, when you have a chance to take out Osama bin Laden, this is what these guys signed up for. And, you know what, every one of them, if they had passed away, would have said, absolutely. We take this chance to get Osama bin Laden.

PAT: Definitely.

STU: Every one of the soldiers who had to go do it.

PAT: Yeah.

STU: So to act as if that was a difficult decision --

PAT: Ludicrous. It's ludicrous.

STU: It took him months after he pulled the trigger. We could have lost it easily. Kind of a crazy one. I've never understood that. But, I mean, I'll give him credit. Look, I'm happy it happened under his watch. And I'm happy it happened. I'm glad Osama bin Laden is dead. And I'm glad our military was able to pull that off. And, you know, whatever. He was commander-in-chief at that time, fine. But outside of that, I mean, the other stuff he was commander-in-chief for, you're going to take credit for that? The world is in a very unstable situation right now.

PAT: Yeah.

STU: The economy, while it's certainly better than while it was in free fall, it was the longest recovery to reclaim a drop like that in history at least since World War II.

PAT: Well, Trump said it last week and he said it very well, I inherited a mess, an absolute mess, domestically, foreign, it's a mess, believe me.

STU: Believe me.

Ryan: Kanye West and the Great Society

Graphic by Alexander Somoskey.

Donald Trump has been name-dropped by nearly every major rapper of the last 30 years, starting with a reference by Beastie Boys on their iconic album Paul's Boutique, the Sgt. Pepper of hip-hop.

He's been mentioned by Jay Z. Ludacris. Young Thug. Nelly. Kendrick Lamar. Juicy J. Rick Ross. Eminem. Big Sean. A Tribe Called Quest. Scarface. Lil Wayne. The Coup. Master P. Ice Cube. Mos Def. Raekwon, Ol' Dirty Bastard, and various other Wu-Tang Clan affiliates. R. Kelly. Pete Rock. Nas. E-40.

And don't forget this surreal moment in our nation's history.

Then-candidate Trump on SNL ... dancing to a Drake parody.(Screenshot from YouTube)

When Bun B referred to Trump on the Chopped-n-Screwed anthem "Pocket Full of Stones," he was keeping with a tradition of rappers admiring Trump. This only changed a few years ago.

But then there's Kanye West, who proudly donned the red MAGA hat after discovering Candace Owens and being called "a jackass" by our nation's first black President. Then Kanye was hugging President Trump in the Oval Office? While wearing a Make America Great Again hat, supposed symbol of white supremacy, Nazism, hate, evil?

(Screenshot from YouTube)

People flipped. Everyone did. Longtime critics suddenly — and bizarrely — embraced Kanye as an ally, while longtime defenders disowned him, abandoned him like nail clippings, often mocking his struggles with mental illness and labeling him, if you can believe it, a white supremacist.

Then, in a moment that changed music history, Kanye released the single "Ye vs. the People."

Ye vs. the People (starring TI as the People) www.youtube.com

In it, he challenges what he sees as the unspoken rule that black Americans have to vote Democrat. He had hinted at the idea on his track "Black Skinhead," from the hauntingly gorgeous album Yeezus, but now he was addressing it head-on, with the passion of a man going to Confession for the first time in a decade.

Why should black folks have to abide by any set of cultural or political or artistic guidelines to begin with? And, he argues, the pressure to adhere to this longheld framework is itself undergirded by a subtle and cleverly masked racism, imposed by a group of people who portray themselves as the champions of race and enemies of white supremacy and destroyers of dumb yokel rednecks with their Rebel flags and monster trucks and fully-automatic AR-15 assault weapons. All of which, it turns out, is some next-level projection.

Kanye also confronts the presence of these expectations and stereotypes in hip-hop. The idea that rappers must invoke a negative persona in order to succeed. And the moment they deviate from that image they are rebuked or ignored, even though the persona is damaging to the black community as a whole. Which is especially ironic given that the people who voice the most outrage tend to be highly privileged, supposedly progressive white folks who love to rant about white privilege and black oppression.

Is it better if I rap about crack? 'Cause it's cultural?
Or how about I'ma shoot you? or f**k your b***h?
Or how about all this Gucci, 'cause I'm f****n' rich?

Best of all, Kanye has answers. And they differ from the erudite solutions offered by, say, A Tribe Called Quest, who, like Kanye, have modeled a healthy, positive image of blackness for the black community.

A central theme within "Ye vs. The People" is empathy as power, rebellion, freedom.

Make America Great Again had a negative perception
I took it, wore it, rocked it, gave it a new direction
Added empathy, care and love and affection
And y'all simply questionin' my methods.

This concept is an extension of the powerful devotion to positive energy that Kanye adopted around that time, a purview he has cultivated into a wild new form of electronic gospel.

But his personal transformation was tough.

That [MAGA] hat stayed in my closet like 'bout a year and a half
Then one day I was like, "F**k it, I'ma do me"
I was in the sunken place and then I found the new me.

This is a struggle that many Americans undergo. Researchers call it the spiral of silence. The idea that the news media and social media present biased opinions as though they are fact, and when the message conflicts with a person's opinions or values, they feel isolated, alone.

Kanye and T.I. during the making of "Ye vs. the People"(Screenshot from YouTube)

As Kanye raps in "Ye vs. the People"

A lot of people agree with me but they're too scared to speak up.

Because we have an incredible ability to sense public opinion. So when we suspect that we hold a belief that rails against acceptable thought, we tend to keep quiet about it. That silence makes the opinion seem even more taboo, resulting in a more widespread silence.

In reality, many of these supposedly taboo opinions are not only popular, they are normal and practical and logical. Healthy, even. And the real danger is in demonizing them. But too many people are afraid they'll be ostracized for expressing their beliefs.

Like how — despite what we've been led to believe — most Americans cannot stand political correctness.

But the small minority of people who champion it are powerful and loud. They're like that cardboard city in North Korea, just visible enough from the border to make it seem like a thriving community. They're the Wicked Witch of the West, or Iago from Othello, or Plankton from Spongebob Squarepants.

So far, they have been successful. Although "success" by their metric is anarchic and primal, all destruction and loudness and people nervous to speak their mind. And the cost of rebellion can be devastating.

By the time Kanye West wrote "Yay versus the People," he had gotten sick of this power dynamic. So he broke the spiral of silence."

*

In the words of German philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer, "Whoever has language has the world."

Humans alone have it.

But in order for us to know freedom in our world, our language has to be public, shared, active. Because each of us thrives constantly with language, a stream of it always in our mind. Aristotle defined "thought" as the infinite dialogue between the soul and itself. Conversation is the exchange of thought between people. When we converse, we simultaneously release our infinite dialogue and accept the other person's. By speaking, we shape the world and free ourselves.

*

Another way to say it is that Donald Trump might have inspired the song that could very well signify the end of Hip-Hop, which is not only the most popular genre of our zeitgeist, it's the most popular, and successful, form of music in American history, which is the most important era of musical history.

If the Beatles were bigger than Jesus, and Drake literally outpaces the Beatles, then, well, you get the point God forgive me. And Kanye is bigger than Drake. So who better to have the final word on the capacities of Hip-Hop than Kanye West?

Nobody.

Every genre must come to a close. There's a reason why people aren't eagerly awaiting the next great disco album, or flocking to arenas to hear the newest bluegrass superstar, or asking to get their hair done like the latest syringe-armed guitarist of Guns N Roses.

(Screenshot from Instagram)

The great era of Rock 'N' Roll ended roughly about the time Radiohead traded their guitars and drums for synthesizers and sequencers, not long after Kurt Cobain took an insane amount of heroin and cradled a shotgun in his guesthouse, only to be discovered several days later by an electrician. Even worse, Nickelback soiled Cobain's legacy with godawful anthems, and who have their own weird and contradictory and hilarious connection to President Trump.

These days, Rock N' Roll lives mostly via nostalgia, as evinced by the explosion of cover bands. Notice how you don't see any hip-hop cover bands. You will, someday. But, for now, Hip-Hop reigns supreme. And Kanye is the King.

The brilliant Nina Simone once told a reporter that "An artist's duty, as far as I'm concerned, is to reflect the times."

Because music accords itself to the gravity and creative truth of the era. And currently we entrust hip-hop with this complicated maneuver.

But the past year, Kanye has been crafting a new sound through his Sunday services, weekly jam sessions with acoustic musicians and a choir and everyone dressed in white, praying through song, herding us into a better place, looking above for guidance. If it's anything like his track "Ultralight Beam," it will bring calm to our divided culture.

Mark my words: The resultant album will usher in an entirely new era, a magical flash in human history.

So far, hip-hop has been the defiant child of R&B and Electronica, the grandchild of Spoken Word and Steve Reich Minimalism, with tinges of Punk. Not for much longer. Kanye will see to that. And, weirdly, President Trump has helped inspire this transformation.

Meaning, Donald Trump will have had a hand in reinventing music as a whole, in spreading a movement of positive reformation. Love him or hate him, it does not matter. What other politician can make that claim?

There's an optimism to this that Dave Chappelle captured in his now-infamous Saturday Night Live monologue, just days after Trump was elected, asking Americans to at least give the man a chance. And again in his special "Equanimity," when he said

I swear no matter how bad it gets, you're my countrymen, and I know for a fact that I'm determined to work shit out with y'all.

In a moment of now-tired irony, the usual suspects heaped a barrage of hate at Chappelle for these remarks. But their outrage does not matter, in the grand scheme of things. Because it is an incredible time to be alive. It's beautiful. We should never forget that, no matter how petty or outrageous daily life gets.

At the moment, we are a country that is — everywhere, secretly — hurting. But we are Americans. Together. This is America. And, every day, God delights in our greatness and our empathy and our endless gift for love. So open your heart and listen. Say what you need to say.

New installments of this series come out every Monday and Thursday. Check out my Twitter or email me at kryan@mercurystudios.com

Ryan: Michael Bennet, Little League

Photo by Sean Ryan

Every day, life getting shorter. Every day, life going faster. Every day, like a roller coaster. These were the kinds of things that Michael Bennet was saying.

Michael Bennet, God bless him, he seemed like a decent lad. All week he had his family there. He said his campaign was their family vacation. He had had prostate cancer but would you believe he survived?

"Life is getting shorter," he said. "Every day."

Photo by Sean Ryan

He was well spoken. Dry. Talked with an air of consultation. Like you were in his office, and he had things to tell you.

Like a Little League coach who could actually be a coach someday.

*

I would encounter Bennet again the next day, at the Iowa State Fair.

Having just seen Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) at a small Baptist church, we ventured to the fair to see Bernie Sanders' riot of a Sunday speech. Bennet was on before him, so I got there early, and I paced off to get a restroom break. The media center is in the basement of the administration building, right by the Political Soapbox stage.

For whatever reason, the first-floor men's restroom has giant windows along the wall, and you can see right out onto the walkway that wraps around the building. I did not realize that this was the path that the candidates take to get to the stage.

Photo by Sean Ryan

And, this far into the 2020 presidential election, they never went many places alone. They had a press swarm and their wives and maybe an old friend who relocated here when the hurricane sank his house.

I was rushing. Panicking, really. Because I heard all the commotion. But nature abides by its own pace. And as I shuffled to the sink to wash my hands, my pants fell all the way down. I was exposed. Out in the open and in such desperation, you clobber yourself outside of time. It was all slo-mo with the Chopped-n-screwed voices as I scrambled to lift my trousers and audibly gasped the words, "Well just no." At that exact moment, that "accidental Renaissance" painting occurred as I locked eyes with Michael Bennet, slowly maneuvering the walkway.

These sorts of things happened, didn't they? There you were in a restroom, at an NFL game or a concert or maybe a bar, and you see someone you work with, or someone from church or school, and you lock eyes for a moment in confusion then revert to cave talk and shrug and get on with what you were doing. But it's weird when only one of you is actively part of the etiquette and allowances of a restroom and one of you is held to a higher standard, for the sake of common decency. Now let's say that you, the restroom occupant, happen to be credentialed press, and the outsider, Michael Bennet, happens to be a candidate for president of America.

Once the herd passed by behind him, I laughed a bit, quietly, because life could be very funny.

*

Onstage, Bennet, a senator from Colorado, gave the performance of a cake falling into a pool. Like he had been ghost-busted. Like he had spent the last two months learning the Fortnite dance moves and now that he had mastered them, suddenly Fortnite was for losers, and Fortnite dances, well, they were even worse.

The Political Soapbox is great because every candidate has 20 minutes. Those 20 minutes were theirs. Most of the time, they got romantic like a Backstreet Boy singing up toward an open window. Occasionally, they lost it. Bennet did neither. He belly-flopped into hay bales.

Photo by Sean Ryan

Remember that the growing crowd had the dangerous feel of a natural disaster. And it was gaspingly warm that day. So neither the crowd nor the environment were ready to give Bennet a freebie.

He gave a ravishing speech, full of neat invective. Then looked up and realized he still had 14 minutes on the clock. Oof. That was most of it, and he'd already done the Floss and the Robot and the Electro Shuffle, and honestly his shoulder was a little stiff from all that dance practice. So he opened the floor for questions.

Now, that was not the greatest idea. For one, this was not the type of place for such a thing. They called it a soapbox because you were meant to live out the phrase "on a soapbox" by ranting and fist-pounding and all other theatrics.

The Bernie Sanders supporters hadn't arrived en masse yet, so most of the people around the stage were clad in Trump gear. And they all had their hands up ready to ask him questions. Well, firebombs, really, masked as interrogative statements. Bennet shouted without breathing, then said, "I want to find a non-male person who has a question."

This did not sit well with the males who did not like the trend of personalizing all things, cautious gendering, and the sudden change of direction so that now they had to just listen.

Most people did not care.

"I do not support Bernie's plan," Bennet shouted. But would you believe the Bernie supporters had literally just arrived, you could smell their hair dye.

They jeered, then acted exactly — and I mean exactly — like the Trump supporters.

"I would rather support free pre-school than free college," he shouted. "Many people talk about... " but the jeering was too powerful. And the Bernie supporters had likely just had quinoa açaí bowls at their pre-Bernie brunch, so they were unstoppable. Well God bless the man for scratching "Give Presidency a Try" off his bucket list. Because at least he had a bucket list.

What did they have? Student debt and a restraining order? They being the growing factions of Bernie and Trump supporters in the audience. You could not see any pavement. It was just people and faces like the Mediterranean in the evening, all the way to the towering walls of the Grandstand.

Looking out at all that chaos, all that latent disaster, Bennet must have felt a deep stirring.

The night before, Slipknot headlined at the Grand Stand, a sold-out show. Rollicking and bursting and howling. How many drumbeats could drummer Jay Weinberg get per minute? At one point, vocalist Corey Taylor unleashed a demonic bellow, then adjusted his mask and looked out to all those people, those devoted fans, because many of them had Slipknot tattoos, and maybe he, like Bennet, indulged a moment for himself, a personalization of the grand setting, then shrieked, then persuaded the audience to lift their hands into the air, maybe toward a constellation of their choosing, and extend their middle finger like it was an egg landing on a pillow, which symbolizes the human condition.




New installments to this series come out every Monday and Thursday morning. For live updates, check out my Twitter or email me at kryan@mercurystudios.com

President Trump couldn't personally make it to Houston for the 3rd Democratic Debate, so he paid $7,500 for a single-engine Cessna to fly in circles over Texas Southern University campus while pulling a banner that said, "Socialism will kill Houston's economy! Vote Trump 2020!"

For four hours, it chugged around up there. You could hear it everywhere. It was the soundtrack of the night.

You can just imagine Trump's face as he had the banner-plane idea. You can hear him putting in the order. You can see his list of demands. And at the very top, "I WANT THE LOUDEST PLANE YOU CAN FIND!!!"

*

Was that Bret Baier in the aisle, adjusting his reading glasses and thumbing at the strap of his comically small backpack as he crossed the blue-carpeted gymnasium? He looked like the human version of Wisconsin. He was saying something but all you could hear was the plane overhead.

Photo by Kevin Ryan

Bret Baier, the stoic host of "Special Report with Bret Baier" on Fox News and the network's chief political anchor. He's underrated, if you ask me. Legacy. Old-school. He just delivers the news, which is what most people want. He talks the way anchors used to talk, with the American accent unique to news anchors even though he was born in New Jersey and raised in Georgia.

I had spent the last year-and-a-half on a series of in-depth profiles on some of the major countercultural figures of our time. People like Jordan Peterson, Dave Rubin, and Carol Swain. So my first impulse was to rush over to Baier and profile the guy. Nobody else would, after all. The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harper's. But they ought to. The man has a hell of a story.
He joined Fox News a year-and-a-half after it was founded, as the southeast correspondent in Atlanta. A few years later, on a Tuesday in September, nineteen terrorists hijacked four passenger airliners and crashed into America.

When the first plane hit, Fox producers told Baier to just get in his car and drive to New York City. They needed back-up reporters for the next day. When the second plane crashed into the south tower of the World Trade Center at 9:03 a.m., they said, "Step on it, Baier."

He and his producer were an hour outside Atlanta when American Airlines Flight 77 slammed into the Pentagon. Still a good 8 hours away, but closer to D.C. than to New York City. So they re-routed to Arlington, Virginia, as fast as they could. Past a blur of fields full of indifferent cows. Past houses full of people who could hardly talk, people who couldn't describe what they were seeing and hearing, all the smoke and the blood and the office-supply confetti. Past towns that barely moved, gas stations with nobody in them, people sunken into a far-away stare.

Yet there was the sun, with only a few bangles of cloud every so often. America had been paralyzed but the earth kept trucking along, quiet and unbothered. It must have felt strange for Baier, to speed down empty highways — toward literal death and chaos — under a perfect sky, below cascading light and color.

Nature doesn't care if we make it out alive.

*

That day, Baier reported live from a Citgo station across the street from the Pentagon, rubble in heaps of flame behind him. It was like he'd fallen onto a different planet and was reporting back to home.

The next day arrived and it was so quiet everywhere. Nobody knew a damn thing. We could not believe our eyes. We all turned to reporters and anchors for answers. Most often, they blurted out whatever they could.

Something about Bret Baier gave audiences a much-needed boost. Reliable, sturdy. Like he said what had to be said and not a word extra.

Fox kept him in D.C., indefinitely. A friend helped him find an apartment. He never went back to Atlanta. Two weeks later, Fox News appointed him Pentagon correspondent, a position that saw him travel the world, including 13 trips to Afghanistan and 12 to Iraq.

Halfway through George W. Bush's second term, Baier became Fox News' White House correspondent.

Then, a year before he would earn his current position as anchor, Baier became a father. His son was born with holes in his heart — five congenital heart defects. Twelve days later, the boy underwent open-heart surgery. Baier and his wife waited in tiled rooms drenched with flowers and ESPN and drab ultraviolet light, surrounded by machines full of beeps and whirring and beeps and whirring.

Baier's son has since undergone two additional open-heart surgeries, nine angioplasties, and one stomach operation. In an interview with Parents Magazine, Baier said that his son's health problems have "given me perspective about my job, going through policy and politics in Washington, D.C., to see the bigger picture."

*Part of the reason I couldn't tell whether or not it was Baier is he's usually up on the main stage. For the 2012 election, he moderated five Republican debates, and co-anchored FNC's America's Election HQ alongside Megyn Kelly.

The 2016 election would propel him into a much larger role. He anchored three Republican debates, but this time he had to handle Donald Trump.

Baier knew Trump personally, from before the election. They'd played golf together. He described Trump as "a nice guy outside of his TV persona" and never thought Trump would actually make a run for the Presidency. Onstage, Trump was much different. And Baier had been tasked with maintaining control.

A devout Roman Catholic, he appreciates a nice glass of wine and a fine cut of steak. He likes a good joke, too. In January, 2019, Baier signed a multi-year deal with Fox News to continue "Special Report." A few weeks later, he and his family went to Montana for a ski trip. The weekend was wonderful. But they had to get back to New York because Baier was scheduled to appear on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" that Tuesday.

Imagine him, again in a car hurtling toward a fateful destination. How he squinted through the frost-pocked windshield and gripped the steering wheel. As he guided the white SUV along the two-lane road to the airport. The land looked haunted, barren, lifeless. Everywhere, the world was frozen white. Snow and ice blanketing the fields, gauze over the sky.

At some anonymous intersection, Baier pumped the brakes, but the tires hit an ice patch, and the SUV spun loose. An oncoming car slammed into the driver's side, launching the vehicle into an embankment, wedged on its side. A man named Zach stopped his pickup truck and helped the family crawl free, and the Montana Highway Patrol rushed them to the hospital.

"Don't take anything for granted," Baier tweeted later. "Every day is a blessing and family is everything. It's always good to remind yourself of that before something does it for you."

Before every debate that he moderates, Baier spends 10 minutes alone, praying.

*

A Freedom of Information Act request in 2011 revealed that Fox News was actually right. That the Obama Administration really did hate them. And had intentionally excluded them from a press pool two years earlier. Then laughed about it.

The documents unearthed snarky emails between various high-ranking aides in the Obama Administration. In one, the Deputy White House communications director bemoaned Baier's reporting on the bias. "I'm putting some dead fish in the [Fox News] cubby — just cause Bret Baier is a lunatic." That same day, deputy press secretary Josh Earnest bragged in an email that "we've demonstrated our willingness and ability to exclude Fox News from significant interviews."

The Trump administration pulled a similar stunt in July, 2018 by banning a CNN reporter from the press pool. Trump and Fox News had developed a beneficial relationship by then. And CNN was a lifelong competitor, a public enemy.
That night, Baier delivered an official statement, "This decision to bar a member of the press is retaliatory in nature and not indicative of an open and free press. We demand better. As a member of the White House press pool, Fox stands firmly with CNN on this issue of access."

Fox News rebuked Trump in solidarity with CNN. It was a heartening gesture between two seeming enemies. Fox News were standing up for truth, defending journalism, rejecting tyranny even though the ban would have benefitted them as a company.

Who knows how many books and dissertations and articles have been written about Fox News, usually in relation to bias, usually with a scathing tone. The conclusions differ wildly, yet each one claims certitude.

Generally, academics and journalists have taken a doomsday tone when talking about Fox News. Accusations of evil, fear-mongering, bigotry, hatred, misinformation, propaganda, racism, homophobia, and so on.

Despite these outcries, Fox News has consistently held its spot as the most-watched network in the country. Imagine how that makes its critics feel.

In an August 3, 2018 appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Baier said, "the biggest problem is that the people who are most critical of Fox are usually people who have not watched Fox News."

Fox News is composed of two distinct departments. Punditry and straight news. Or "opinion news" and "descriptive news." Consistently, surveys of the public rate Fox News as both the least- and most-biased news network.
Last year, a survey found Fox News to be the second most-trusted television news brand in the country, after the BBC.

In a separate study, Democrats rated its bias score at (negative) -87, while Republicans placed it at (positive) +3. Which is like if, at a football game, one referee said "Touchdown," while the other referee said "Turnover, leading to Touchdown for the Defense." It can't be both, can it?

Public opinion may not be the best metric for understanding Fox News, especially in 2019.

Quantitative studies have offered clearer conclusions. In 2016, a content analysis used crowdsourcing and machine learning to examine over 800,000 news stories published over a year by 15 major outlets, from the New York Times to Fox News. They wanted to chart media bias.

What they discovered is that news outlets are far more similar than we believe. Much of the perceived bias is a matter of separating "opinion news" from "descriptive news." For conservatives, it's punditry. For those on the left, it's op-eds and long form investigative pieces, although the left tends to insist that they're not biased, that they are instead just more apt to tell the truth, even though research has disproven this belief.

The researchers found a much larger bias-divide in opinion news, whereas descriptive news was practically neutral. One of the researchers described Fox News' descriptive news as "guided by similar news values as more traditional, legacy media."

University of California Berkeley sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild wrote that "Fox News stands next to industry, state government, church, and the regular media as an extra pillar of political culture all its own."

Say what you want about Fox News, they play a crucial role in the so-called mainstream media. And, despite what Fox News will lead you to believe, they are definitely part of the mainstream. And they are by no means the innocent victim. And certainly not powerless. And they have all kinds of problems that I will not defend. But we'll talk about that in a later installment, the one about Kamala Harris at a gun control rally, advocating for propaganda.

*

After two months of political events, I suspected that different news networks have their own signifiers, like the distinct stripes and markings on various spiders.

Wall Street Journal reporters tended to carry old-timey notepads and interview any bystander they could find. Breitbart usually only sent one person, and he wandered around with his iPhone, recording every single thing. Politico, prim-suited men who could just as easily work on the stock market.

Most of the reporters dressed like that, in stagey business attire. Prim for a high school job fair. Meanwhile, the photographers, mostly men, looked like professional paintball players. The camera crews and technical staff were the only ones decked in tattoos and wearing sandals and generally not caring about the chaos all around them. On-camera talent were covered in makeup and shrink-wrapped into dresses or suits with chip-clips along the spine.

The Washington Post sent the classiest and most bored-looking people I have ever encountered. They never looked at their laptops as their fingers chopped at the keys, and you assumed they were pretending until you read their stories online. You could spot ABC because their camera crew wore faded red ABC hats. Associated Press looked like they had just come back from a battlefield assignment in Syria, and never donned the same press credentials as everyone else, preferring a tattered AP lanyard. And you always knew when someone was with the New York Times because they announced it to the entire room.

And Fox News? At democratic events, they usually hid. But not that day, in Houston, as Bret Baier walked up the aisle to a table a couple rows in front of me.

Most people arrived in the Media Filing Center several hours before the debate. Fox News got there just slightly after that, as everyone was wiggling in their seats and connecting their laptops to a shared outlet.

There were seven or so in the pack of Fox News, all grinning. They all had white to-go sacks from Chick-fil-A. And the room got quieter, so Trump's plane got louder. It was a double trolling event.

As host of the debate, ABC would be providing dinner. This information was included in the credentials email that all of us had received. So nobody else had brought food with them. No need.

Even better, I was familiar enough with that part of Houston to know that there was not a Chick-fil-A anywhere close to us. Who knew where they'd gotten that Chick-fil-A, but odds are it wasn't warm. Who knew if there was even any food in the bags.

They had brought Chick-fil-A into a building full of national media during the third Democratic Presidential debate. The 2020 election was already full of outrage about plenty of things, and one of them was Chick-fil-A. To some folks, the red chicken logo might as well have been a swastika. That very week LGBT activists had vehemently — cartoonishly — protested the opening of several Chick-fil-A's throughout North America. Chicken sandwiches had become yet another flag on the tug-of-war rope in the Culture War of our country.

To be clear, the political left was anti-Chicken and the political right was pro-Chicken. The media tended to lean anti-Chicken, and frequently wrote about anti-Chicken causes, often scolding pro-Chicken voices, or ignoring the struggles of the pro-Chicken community only to deny any opinion on Chicken at all. That was the cowardly part, of you ask me, the pretending like they weren't activists.

The Democratic candidates definitely leaned anti-Chicken. Sometimes they took it so far that it upset moderate anti-Chicken advocates. Because was it really so bad to eat Chicken? Couldn't you be anti-Chicken but also enjoy Chicken occasionally? Why did everything have to be either "all Chicken all the time unless you hate freedom" or "no chicken ever unless you support hate"?

The fight had spread everywhere. Airports, stadiums, malls, campuses. All had served as battlegrounds for the anti-Chicken versus the pro-Chicken.

The previous President was anti-Chicken. In fact, he may well have enflamed the entire movement. During his tenure, there were nationwide protests that saw pro-Chicken advocates angrily and proudly eating Chicken while anti-Chicken advocates protested outside and occasionally engaged in homosexual affection, which was being threatened by Chicken, according to them.

Every time the pro-Chicken folks bit into a Chicken sandwich, it was like they were gnawing away at the anti-Chicken people themselves. Degrading their identity. Because, for them, it was about the identity.

But the current President, unabashedly proud of his pro-Chicken stance, once served Chicken at the White House to some winning sports team, and the anti-Chicken activists saw it as proof that Chicken and hate go together. And maybe Chicken would even lead to the impeachment of the President they hate, which would mean the Vice President would become the President, but he's one of the most pro-Chicken people in America, so they'd have to impeach him, too. And the Supreme Court, it was overrun with pro-Chicken types.

This election, the Democratic front-runners competed for the bolder plan. They would end Chicken in America once and for all. They would obliterate our evil President and his Chicken Supremacy. Their stump speeches relied on harsh criticisms of pro-Chicken voters, who pretended to find the whole anti-Chicken movement amusing but were secretly enraged by it. In fact, they were certain that the anti-Chicken movement had been systematically silencing them for years, and that they had to fight for their Chicken in order to keep everything that they valued, even all the not-Chicken.

The media and the democrats and Hollywood and academia — all hated the Chicken, because they hated the pro-Chicken people. If they had their way, no more Chicken, ever again. And no more pro-Chicken deplorables. And tonight the anti-Chicken politico-culture complex would prove it, with long rants which get confirmed by glowing articles, calculated takedowns about the merits of anti-Chicken and the evils of pro-Chicken.

Yet here was Fox News, with actual Chicken. And they were smiling. Maybe in part because the police who were guarding us all tended to be pro-Chicken. And this was Texas, after all, an incredibly pro-Chicken state. But there were 49 other states and 14 territories, and all of them were fighting for or against Chicken.

Some experts even said we were on the cusp of a Civil War.


New installments to this series come out every Monday and Thursday morning. For live updates, check out my Twitter or email me at kryan@mercurystudios.com

We've heard the catchphrase "follow the money" so often that it's nearly a joke. It gained added attention in the 1976 movie All the President's Men, which follows the story of the two journalists who uncovered Watergate. "Follow the money," their source told them, "and you'll find corruption."

Problem is, corrupters hide their bad behavior remarkably well. They are masters of disguise. But if you look closely enough, you can spot the seams splitting in their choreographed routine.

One technique that magicians use for psychological misdirection is called the false solution. The goal is to distract the audience, to make them believe that they know what's really happening. All the while, the machinations of the actual trick are happening right in front of them, because "implanting an unlikely and unfamiliar idea in the mind can prevent participants from finding a more obvious one."

Billions of dollars. Lost. Gone.

I want to tell you a story of tremendous corruption, masked cleverly, using many of the same techniques that magicians have used for centuries. Only it's not a rabbit disappearing into a hat or a coin vanishing behind an ear. It's billions of dollars. Lost. Gone.

And the people responsible are the same people who have been so monstrously worked up about Trump's impeachment. The same people screaming about Trump's malfeasance with Ukraine are actually the ones misbehaving in Ukraine.

It's essentially an elevated, highly organized form of projection. Only instead of one person lashing out at the world, it's an entire political party, right up to the top. The very top. Barack Obama. It's right there on video.

Or how about the audio recording we uncovered, with Artem Sytnyk, Director of the National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine, openly admitting a connection between the DNC and Ukraine?

So far, the story told by the Democrats and the media has been about Trump and Ukraine. Every so often, you hear mention of Joe Biden's dubious history with the war-torn country.

We were the first to talk about Joe Biden's connections to Ukraine back in April, with our candidate profile on Biden.

It turns out, the whole debacle was much worse than we thought. It stretched further than Uncle Joe. What we found out is that the DNC was working with the Ukrainian government.

This isn't a conspiracy theory. And we have the documents to prove it.

Read on to discover everything you need for a 30-second elevator pitch that you can give to your friend and say, "Look, here's what you need to know. Here's what's really going on."

If anyone is guilty, they should go to jail.

Last night, in Ukraine: The Democrats' Russia I revealed the elaborate misdirection taking place.

I said it last night and I'll say it again: If Trump is guilty, he should go to jail. If anyone is guilty, they should go to jail. Because this is too important to the Republic.

Watch the hands, follow the money.

Here are the documents, video, and audio that we found in our reporting. This is the hard evidence that will help you explain this unbelievable situation to other people.



  • June 2016 State Department memos detailing contacts between George Soros' office and Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland.




As you can see, we did a lot of research on this, and we've done our best to condense it for you. It still requires you to do your own homework, but there's a tremendous freedom to that.

You are seeking the truth.

You are bucking the mainstream media. You are rejecting them. And you are seeking truth. Because they abandoned truth a long time ago and they certainly aren't interested in recovering it now.