The right to free speech might mean that you’re safe from the government…but you’re definitely not safe from the people that have to listen to you. Green screens and makeup may fool the eyes, but in the end, it’s the media personalities who are fooling themselves when they believe those are enough to cover up their lies, laziness, and lechery. With the spotlight fully upon the news media in the Trump-era, hypocrisy and scandals are being uncovered every single day. It won’t be long until all the skeletons in these celebrities’ closets will be enough to create the graveyards of their careers. Read on to see which scandalous media personalities in no way deserve their wealth.
A Man of the People, Old and Young
1988 saw the introduction of several enduring icons of American culture, different flavors for everyone’s tastes. Nickelodeon Jr. for the kids, Die Hard for the teenagers…and Rush Limbaugh for the Reaganite generation. Unlike many others of its time, The Rush Limbaugh Show effectively created the modern talk show format as we know it today.
His balance of conservative monologue, fiery rhetoric, and easygoing humor built and maintained one of the largest radio audiences for nearly three decades at 14 million weekly listeners. Fortunately for Limbaugh however, his wealth has matured far better than his hairline, earning a contract that doles out 80 million every year.
Draft Evader Turned Veteran Shamer
In September 2007, during a phone interview with an antiwar Republican and an American soldier, Rush Limbaugh called service members who wanted to withdraw from the costly Iraq War “phony soldiers.” The irony is, Limbaugh has no right to criticize soldiers. During the Vietnam War, he took active measures to avoid the draft. Until now, he kept both his evasion and his reasons why a secret, for understandable reasons.
Turns out the culprit was a pilonidal cyst. To put it lightly, “pilonidal” refers to the area of Rush’s rear end, or as his critics affectionately prefer to call it, the mouth that he enjoys talking out of. In the end, this patriotic American was taken out of commission by a large pimple.
In No Rush to Check Facts
As younger generations begin to think more liberally, Limbaugh has had to abandon many of his early standards of conduct in order to retain an audience. Viewing famed actor and Parkinson’s Disease sufferer Michael J. Fox as an easy target, he went on live webcam during a show in October 2006 to mock Fox’s muscle spasms.
Although Fox’s net worth of $65 million pales in comparison to Limbaugh’s $550 million, you’d be wrong to believe that this was an underdog story. Behind Fox stood his eponymous foundation with over $700 million in philanthropic donations. Limbaugh’s attacks on Fox quickly backfired, as massive backlash labeled him a bully. Forced to beat a hasty retreat, Limbaugh is the ultimate example that money cannot buy wisdom.
The New Face of the Liberal Media?
Catholic-raised, yet openly gay. Female in a heavily conservative district, yet ambitious and free-willed enough to achieve degrees from both Stanford and Oxford University. Rachel Maddow is the perfect concentration of contradictions and cultural departures that characterizes the heart of the young liberal generation.
She represents a news anchor that young generations can easily identify with; sarcastic and witty, but topical. Since The Rachel Maddow Show’s debut in 2008, she’s received largely positive reviews, with ratings exploding in 2017 with the help of the White House’s antics. With what seems like a long and successful career ahead of her, her current estimated net worth and salary of $20 million and $7 million respectively are set to grow at massive rates.
Sensationalism or Integrity On The Rachel Maddow Show?
Barely two months after his inauguration, a series of foreign policy gaffes and missteps had united most non-Trump die-hards against his administration. At 7:36 p.m., an hour-and-a-half before her show began at the 9 p.m. primetime slot, Maddow lit the internet and political discussion forums on fire with a tweet.
It read: “BREAKING: We’ve got Trump tax returns. Tonight, 9pm ET. MSNBC. (Seriously)” Alas, when 9 p.m. rolled around, viewers were left hanging when the “big reveal” of Trump’s 1040 tax documents from 2005 revealed absolutely nothing incriminating. What followed wasn’t pretty. Without any dirt on the president, viewers saw the real Maddow, and she wasn’t calm or collected.
One Small Misstep for the Media, One Giant Fall for America
The entire modern media battle can be boiled down pretty easily. Liberal media sources accuse conservative media sources of publishing intentionally misleading or divisive stories, while conservative media sources accuse liberal media sources of selectively targeting anyone that doesn’t fit their agenda.
Whichever side you believe, Maddow’s baiting tweet and irresponsible journalism stained the integrity of MSNBC. The sensationalist behavior aligned with everything she hated of her conservative counterparts. Her statement, “Don’t blame me if Trump tax-return story was dud,” represents a worrying departure from the past standards of her work that she’s exhibited.
Deep Pockets Ranting About the Deep State
For many, conspiracy theories are like fun stories: enticing and realistic with plenty of scares and twists sandwiched in between. As for Alex Jones, he’s turned them into his job. Every day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., this storyteller spins his web of tales. Known for his websites Infowars and PrisonPlanet, he has amassed a huge following with his eccentric personality and tendencies to beat his desk harder than a dead conspiracy horse.
Love him or hate him, you can’t deny that he’s good at what he does. Self-made, his proprietary supplements, radio shows, and media websites generate revenues of over $10 million a year.
That’s 10 million reasons for Alex to continue yelling about the homosexual frogs. Wait, what?
CIA, FBI, and the NSA, Oh My!
Yes, you heard that correctly. Jone’s most infamous tirade was directed at supposed government chemicals that made some of our amphibian friends swing the other way. While the thought of frogs romping around on the lilypads may be harmless, some of the other theories presented on the Alex Jone’s Show have had much more serious consequences.
In the aftermath of the tragic Boston Marathon bombing, Jones performed his usual act, accusing the government of orchestrating everything. In a cruel twist of irony, it was revealed that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the elder of the bomber brothers, read Infowars like it was his religion. Tsarnaev’s crimes against humanity serve as a grim reminder that commercialized fear is a volatile product, and Jones is its main dealer.
A Parent Should Know Better
The fact that Alex Jones himself is a parent of three makes this next story inexcusable. In 2012, a lone gunman massacred 20 children and seven adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. Rather than a message of support and compassion, Jones chose the route he has always taken. Since 2012, Jones has attacked any media sources that covered the tragedy, declaring, “The whole thing is a giant hoax.”
Soon after, families of victims such as Noah Pozner (pictured above) began to receive death threats online from conspiracy theorists. Grieving families were terrorized by strangers mocking the death of their children, insulting them as terrible actors. Jone’s not only failed to comfort victims of Sandy Hook but incited a wave of hate against parents who had just buried their own children.
Keeping Up With The Joneses: Scam Finally Revealed?
Despite the vast variety of male supplements that Jones promotes on his show, (including the bestselling “Super Male Vitality”) Alex Jone’s wife, Kelly Jones, seems to be no longer enamored by his macho pheromones. During an ongoing custody battle over the couple’s three children, Jones’s attorney argued: “He is a performance artist” and simply “playing a character” when questioned about his client’s on-screen behavior and fits of rage.
If Alex’s lawyer is right, then millions of right-wing conspiracy theorists have been following a false idol. If not, then even more terrifying will be the realization that such a hot-tempered and inflammatory speaker so easily won over the minds of millions of Americans. No wonder he has the full vocal support of the President.
A steadfast rock of Fox News and right-wing media, Sean Hannity has been a host on the network since its inception in 1996. He’s kept up a strong performance, holding the #3 spot in primetime news ratings despite rising competition from both liberal rivals and conservative coworkers.
Both his fame and his notoriety rose during the 2016 presidential election with his vocal support for not only the president but several conspiracy theories as well a la Alex Jones. However, that hasn’t stopped his success at all, as he boasts the highest salary of all people in the news business, a whopping $29 million a year. Few can compare to his influence, and none can compare to his wealth.
If there is one thing you should know before reading ahead, it’s that Hannity is history’s most successful troll. Liberals and conservatives watch his show all the same; one group wants to get mad, one group wants to feel appeased. Like it or not, he’s good at what he does, and his paycheck reflects that.
However, with the internet still relatively new, news anchors still are the main source of information for the majority of Americans. Thus, with the trust of so many people behind them, people like Hannity have a special responsibility to tell only the facts and their opinions.
But at the same time, people like Hannity have also negligently corrupted murder investigations.
Denying Facts, Denying Justice
On July 10th, 2016, walking home after a night in the pub, DNC staffer Seth Rich was tragically murdered. His death immediately sprouted several conspiracy theories, most of them claiming the crime being the deed of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Blind accusations such as these provided the perfect tinder that Hannity ignited into a political uproar. Unfortunately, the fire that he stoked started to spread from conspiracy into reality.
Despite protests from both police and Rich’s parents, his actions, in Mary Rich’s words, “damaged attempts to find her son’s killer.” The grieving couple then went on to denounce Fox New’s coverage as “blown-up BS.” With DC police phones jammed day and night with people calling investigators shills, Hannity’s actions have essentially set murderers home free.
Gilded and Decorated
The former face of the O’Reilly Factor, Bill O’Reilly has maintained a relatively clean performance record for most of his career. As the recipient of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Governors’ Award as well as several local Emmy’s, it’s not so much his reporting that’s the problem, it’s pretty much everything else.
What’s definitely not a problem for him though, is money. We’re talking $25 million a year and almost a clean $100 million saved in the bank. Of course, that was all prior to his firing.
Hint hint, just like our president, he might have a little bit of a problem keeping his hands to himself.
Oh Really, O’Reilly?
Sexual assault is no new phenomenon in the showbiz. Newcomers desperate for opportunities oftentimes are coerced into giving up their bodies for them. O’Reilly was no stranger to this. In April 2017, Fox News, after internal investigations, had settled over five lawsuits against O’Reilly with some dating back to 2002. With his termination, O’Reilly has since continued to plead his innocence, expressing regret at “not fighting back enough” while claiming that his celebrity status doomed him.
Of course, that’s ignoring many other high-profile cases including those against Britney Spears, Al-Gore, and fellow Fox News pundit, Tucker Carlson, all of whom were acquitted of any wrongdoing after proper investigation. We doubt he’s hurting though when Fox sent him off with a $25 million goodbye gift.
Drake isn’t the only one with ghostwriters. Explosive revelations from Tobin Smith in May 2017 reveals a web of deceit that connects almost every show on the Fox News repertoire. One statement sums it up, “The outcomes for Fox’s “panel debates” have ALWAYS been carefully fixed by the producers so that the…conservative panelists like me ALWAYS won.”
Bill O’Reilly’s most iconic and proudest stance was his insistence that he was simply someone who valued the truth with no political bias. Seems like the only truth he believed in were the scripts that his higher-ups enjoyed shoving down his throat. A man whose morals can be bought for money; he’d be laughable had the American public not bought his charade for decades.
The Real First Lady of America?
Kellyanne Conway embodies most of the American Spirit. Growing up in a single parent family, she developed a strong work ethic from summers spent working on a blueberry farm and the rest spent in school playing sports and achieving good grades. Graduating magna cum laude from Trinity Washington University and earning a J.D. from the George Washington University Law School, she proved herself a capable and strong independent career woman.
She, alongside her husband, George T. Conway III, have disclosed $39.3 million in assets, which is sure to grow under all the attention her polling firm now receives. Many praise her for her accomplishments but more blame her for the rapid degradation of truth in the White House.
Conway the Con-woman
Years from now Kellyanne won’t be remembered for her pioneering attitude, nor her accomplishments as a woman in politics. Alternative facts will forever tarnish her legacy. It may be one thing to lie about inauguration crowd sizes, but it’s a different playing field when the lies can cost thousands of American lives.
During an interview regarding the Senate GOP bill which would’ve gutted, she had the audacity to lie once more. Despite the Congressional Budget Office warning of the loss of life, she denied any possibility of harm. For a woman who has grown up around people on Medicaid, her callous attitude is a perfect representation of the “I’ve got mine” attitude that throws the disadvantaged under the bus.
However, with increasing numbers of hosts banning her from their shows, another blonde star is slowly stealing the spotlight.
Tomi Lahren may be young, but don’t let that fool you. The New York Times in 2016 described her as a “rising media star” with similar praise from the BBC. The symbol of a new, young generation of conservatives, she routinely engages in political commentary in a format similar to many late-night talk shows.
Apart from hosting her own show, she also participates in discussions and debates with other media stars. Her net worth, although small in comparison to some industry giants, is still very respectable for a 25-year-old barely out of college. $3 million is only the start for this ambitious young woman, but some early symptoms of hypocrisy are already showing.
Entitled, or Ignorant?
Still inexperienced, most of Tomi’s slip-ups happen all on their own. Take, for example, Trevor Noah grilling her on a tweet early last year that compared Black Lives Matter to the KKK. In that interview, her hypocrisy was slowly revealed when he brought up her defense that generalizations, especially against Trump supporters, were unjustified.
Don’t let that platinum blond hair fool you, this is definitely a case of the pot calling the kettle black. Next, let’s take a look at her stance on Obamacare. Outspoken about her unwillingness to pay taxes for healthcare, she was still more than happy to reveal that she still used her parent’s healthcare, a special Obamacare privilege. How typical for someone who takes success for granted.