Fox News Gets No Emmys For News (Again). Maybe Reporting Some News Would Help

Today much of the electronic journalism world will be talking about the television ratings for the just-concluded third quarter of 2014. As expected, Fox News topped the cable news category, as it has for several years. Also, as expected, Fox will hype the crap out of this non-newsworthy information that is only an affirmation of Fox’s ability to herd all of the conservative viewers/cattle into their cable corral.

To put this news in perspective, earlier this year Fox News posted their worst ratings in thirteen years. So their achievement spotlighted in this report is that they are now slightly higher than their worst showing in thirteen years. They must be so proud.

Go Fox Yourself

However, there was another less noticed announcement today that has far more significance. The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences released the recipients of the Emmys for news and documentaries. And the winners were: PBS with eleven Emmys; CBS News won ten; ABC News won three; NBC News and the BBC each got two; and CNN and Al Jazeera America both received one Emmy.

Conspicuously missing from that list was Fox “News.” Or perhaps the real surprise would be if they had actually won an Emmy. Fox has been stiffed by the Academy since their launch in 1996. That is largely due to the fact that Fox doesn’t broadcast any news. They are strictly an entertainment network that is filled with fiction, drama, scandal, soap opera, soft-porn, and a prodigious amount of unintentional comedy. What’s more, their entertainment projects are slanted heavily in favor of the Republican right for whom Fox serves as a PR agency. For instance, see if you can find a pattern in these special “Fox News Reporting” investigations:

  • Benghazi: The Truth Behind the Smokescreen.
  • Benghazi: White House Cover-Up Revealed?
  • 13 Hours In Benghazi.
  • Charles Krauthammer: A Life That Matters.
  • The Great Food Stamp Binge.
  • Behind the Obama Breakdown.
  • Surrendering America.
  • Behind Obama’s Green Agenda.
  • Live Free Or Die: Obamacare In New Hampshire.

Those are just a few of the blatant attack pieces produced by Fox to smear the Obama administration. They were laden with rumor, innuendo, unsubstantiated allegations, and outright lies, that never resulted in any noteworthy revelation. Like all of Fox’s scandal mongering, they went nowhere because there were no facts to support their made-up premises. Is it any wonder why Fox can’t snag an Emmy?

A few years ago, in an impudent rant, Fox publicly stated that they were refusing to compete in the Emmy contest, accusing the Academy of being biased against them. However, in order to take that complaint seriously, you would have to believe that all of their peers in the business were biased, because it is they who vote. The Academy merely tabulates the votes. So Fox is admitting that their own colleagues have no respect for them as journalists. Hence, they took their deflated ball and went running home whining “We don’t want your crummy Emmy anyway.” So there.

Shameless self-promotion…
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American Spectator’s Hit Job On Veterans (And Suck Up To Fox News)

The fallout from an offensive “joke” told by Fox News host Eric Bolling has quite properly reverberated throughout the media. Bolling callously insulted jet fighter pilot, Major Maryam Al-Mansouri of the UAE Air Force, as “boobs on the ground,” even as she was putting her life at risk in combat against the ISIL terrorists. Bolling’s colleague Greg Gutfeld joined in the misogyny with a childish taunt that she wouldn’t be able to park her aircraft.

It was encouraging to see the widespread condemnation of these remarks, including from many on the right. One of the responses came from a coalition of veterans who wrote an “Open Letter to Fox News” to express their outrage and disappointment. The letter signed by sixty veterans and called on Fox News to apologize.

However, the ultra-rightist magazine American Spectator couldn’t join the responsible members of our society in recognizing the harm of the Fox News hosts’ infantile remarks. They published an article that maligned the veterans as “partisan hacks” and dismissed their justifiable rage as deceptive and self-righteous. The article, by former Reagan White House political director Jeffrey Lord, was titled “The Hit Job On Fox News,” as if the veterans concern for the welfare of soldiers in the field were nothing but a slam on a notoriously biased cable news channel.

American Spectator

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The gist of the Lord’s argument was centered on the identity of the vets who signed the letter. Lord complained that the vets were only identified by their name and the branch of service they were in. To Lord this was an opening to attack the vets as politically motivated. So he did a little research and found that some of them could be affiliated with Democratic organizations or officeholders. Oh my freakin’ Gawd, somebody call 911.

The first problem with Lord’s idiotic gripe is that it disparages the views of veterans if they have a political ideology that is different than his own. He is, in effect, dishonoring vets by dismissing them unless they agree with him. If some of those who signed the letter are in fact affiliated with Democrats that is their right. They fought for it and they are entitled to express themselves.

On a more fundamental level, Lord’s painfully trite analysis comes up far short of the conclusions he makes. There are sixty veteran signatories on the letter, but Lord only provided additional information on sixteen of them. That means that 70% of the signatories were not connected to Democrats and Lord has no idea if they are Democrats or Republicans. Nevertheless, he maligned the whole lot as partisan hacks who should be ignored. That is extraordinarily flawed logic and further indicts him as generally anti-veteran.

Lord exacerbates his anti-vet stance by actually defending against what he calls “an attack on Fox News and two of the co-hosts on the Fox show The Five — Eric Bolling and Greg Gutfeld.” Apparently Lord doesn’t believe the Fox hosts warranted the criticism they received. He goes out of his way to distract from the original offensive comments and bizarrely twist the narrative around to a conspiracy against Fox and an attack on women’s advocates. Lord says that…

“…this isn’t really about Eric Bolling or Greg Gutfeld. What this is really all about is a hardcore and on-going political effort to smear Fox News. This time as part of that ‘war on women’ business liberals need to survive politically.”

In other words, Lord wants us to forget about Bolling’s insult to soldiers and women, and turn our attention to the poor, beleaguered, defenseless, Fox News. That is, if nothing else, a creative take on the matter. But it doesn’t succeed unless the whole of the audience is as dimwitted as that of Fox itself.

The bottom line is that Lord’s position is even more insulting than Bolling’s because it encompasses all veterans, not just a single pilot, and denies them the respect they have earned. And all that Lord has done is to confirm the phoniness of the right’s alleged patriotism and support of the troops. Conservatives only adhere to those principles when it benefits them, or they can use it to bash liberals.

New Ad Campaign Attempts To Convince Voters That Republicans Are People

The modern advertising industry has developed unprecedented techniques to persuade, cajole, and seduce the American people into directed patterns of consumption and lifestyles. Our decisions about which cars to drive or sodas to drink are all influenced by a steady stream of commercial messaging nearly everywhere we go. But now the Republican Party has taken on a public relations task that dwarfs all other efforts at opinion-making. They boldly aim to convince the American people that Republicans are people too.

Republicans Are People

GOP media manipulator, Vinny Minchillo, is the mastermind of this crusade to remake the Republican image into one that embraces a human component. He tried to do the same thing a couple of years when for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. Now Minchillo has created a website called “Republicans Are People Too.” and posted a video there to make a case for that dubious proposition (video also posted below). But the text accompanying the video conveys only a determination to whine about the plight of the poor, mistreated Republican. He moans that…

“It isn’t easy being a Republican these days. [...] We love political discourse. We encourage political discourse. But when did “Republican” become a dirty word?”

Perhaps the answer to that question is: When Republicans started calling Democrats fascists, communists, moochers, whores, traitors, and devils.

Minchillo’s video is a simple production that seeks to enumerate a series of “regular” folks that he labels with a the hashtag “IAmARepublican.” It is a fairly comprehensive list of average Americans who are not generally associated with the exclusivity, racism, and intolerance of the Republican Party. It is no wonder that the GOP is yearning to attract more of the type of people in the video, because it is a cross-section of the nation that represents its diversity, a word that makes the right tremble. The video consists of a parade of alleged party members and asks “Did you know Republicans…”

Drive Priuses, recycle, listen to Spotify, put together IKEA furniture, are white, black, Hispanic, Asian, read the New York Times, use Macs, are grandmas, daughters, moms, are left-handed, are doctors, welders, teachers, donate to charity, enjoy gourmet cooking, shop at Trader Joe’s, like dogs, and cats, have tattoos, have tattoos and beards, have feelings, are people who care.

The problem with the argument that Minchillo is making is that the people claiming to be Republicans in his video are not actually Republicans. And by that I don’t simply mean that those types of persons are not Republican, which on the whole they are not. I mean that those specific people in the video are not. In fact, they were photos taken from stock image suppliers. A search for a random selection of the photos in the video found many of them in the iStockPhoto website’s library of images. The persons in the paragraph above that are links will lead you to the stock image page for each one.

So the video produced in order to convince everyone that Republicans are real people is populated by fakes. They are models pretending to be the characters that the video claims represent actual members of the Republican Party. And that’s about as real as it gets for the GOP.

This would be a hilarious aside to the pathetic PR that is constantly pushed by right-wing propagandists. But it is actually just another rung in their ladder of deception. It is reminiscent of the effort by Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign to persuade voters that “We’re Not Stupid.” When you have to mount an advertising blitz to sell the public on the notion that you’re not stupid, you have already lost the battle. And the same thing goes for a campaign to assert your people-ness. If the public doesn’t already know that you’re people, good luck trying to convince them.

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Ben Carson Reveals Himself To Be A Delusional Conspiracy Theorist On Fox News Sunday

This weekend Fox News Sunday interviewed the Tea Party flavor of the week, Dr. Ben Carson. The interview (video below) was notable for some of the uncharacteristically clear-headed questions from host Chris Wallace that exposed Carson as the extremist nut case that he is.

Ben Carson

Wallace introduced the segment by noting that Carson has made some controversial remarks for which he will be held to account. That is an understatement, to say the least. Comparing ObamaCare to slavery, and America to Nazi Germany are not your conventional campaign slogans. Wallace even told Carson point blank that “I think you would agree that, at best, your a distinct long shot.” But the statement that Wallace singled out was when Carson warned that, somehow, the 2016 election would be canceled. It was a profoundly stupid notion without any rational foundation, which Wallace seemed to recognize when he asked his question.

Wallace: You said recently that you thought that there might not actually be elections in 2016 because of wide spread anarchy. Do really believe that?

Carson: Well, I hope that that’s not going to be the case, but certainly there is the potential because you have to recognize that we have a rapidly increasing national debt, a very unstable financial foundation, and you have all these things going on like the ISIS crisis, that could very rapidly change things that are going on in our nation. And unless we begin to deal with these things in a comprehensive way, and in a logical way, there is no telling what could happen in just the matter of a couple of years.

Huh? There is a potential that democracy will be dispensed with because of the national debt and ISIS? What in holy hell is he talking about? The United States and its democratic system has endured for over 200 years, through economic catastrophes, civil and world wars, Nixonian corruption, and assassinations. Yet Carson thinks that it may all soon be over because of our present economy (with it’s soaring stock market, record profits, and low unemployment), and a band of desert rats 8,000 miles away?

It is stunning that anyone would take this man seriously as a candidate for president. But the party that has previously placed at the top of their presidential wish list people like Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Donald Trump, Rick Perry, and Sarah Palin, is just the party to hoist Carson’s flag. He recently placed a close second (after fellow Tea-publican Ted Cruz) in a straw poll by attendees of the right-wing, evangelical Values Voters conference.

For a party that vehemently castigated President Obama as lacking the necessary experience to be president when he launched his campaign, the Republicans have an intense infatuation for candidates with even less experience. Wallace also addressed this hypocrisy in the interview with a cleverly worded question.

Wallace: After looking at Barack Obama and what’s happened with his lack of political experience in the last six years, wouldn’t putting Ben Carson in the Oval Office be akin to putting a politician in an operating room and having him perform one of your brain surgeries?

Carson: I don’t think so. What is required for leadership is wisdom.

Indeed. And the wisdom demonstrated by a political neophyte who thinks that there may not be an election in 2016, but if there is it will be dominated by voters who “have been beaten into submission,” is exactly what the “doctor” ordered, if that doctor is Dr. Strangelove.

Even the Wall Street Journal noticed that the bizarre rantings of Carson were trouble for the GOP. Columnist Peter Wehner, who served in the past three Republican administrations, wrote that “This is the kind of rhetorical recklessness that convinces many Americans that Republican leaders are extreme, irresponsible, and fundamentally unserious.” [...and that...] “Dr. Carson’s comments are evidence of a political mind that is not simply undisciplined but also fanatical.” [...and that...] “Any political party or movement that is associated with such utterances will pay a price.”

Carson recently declared that the “likelihood is strong” that he will run for president, despite his having none of the requisite knowledge or skills for the job. His putative candidacy rests entirely on his support from Tea Party zealots and Fox News who, in breach of every code of journalistic ethics, continues to employ him as a commentator despite his admitted status as a candidate.

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Sharia Law vs. The NRA: The Politics Of Beheading And Guns

The news of a grisly murder in Oklahoma has once again brought out the panic peddlers who are always watching out for any gruesome event that they can exploit to advance their nightmare scenarios. While there is still a deficit of actual facts, knee-jerk Islamophobes leap forward to cast aspersions on people whom they regard as universally barbaric. Therefore, any chance to defame a Muslim is quickly pounced on and embellished in the most hostile manner. However, according to the Washington Post, all that is actually known about the murder at this time is that…

“A man who had just been fired by an Oklahoma City-area food processing plant allegedly severed the head of one of his former co-workers and attacked another before being shot by the company’s chief operating officer, according to police. [...]

But the FBI, which is assisting in the investigation, has so far found no links to terrorism, the officials said. There was also no indication that Nolen was copying the beheadings of journalists in Syria by the Islamic State, the officials said, adding that they are treating this as an incident of workplace violence.”

The fact that the investigation is in the early stages has not prevented the Fear Merchants from going totally overboard with their hysteria. Undoubtedly Sen. Lindsey Graham, who warned that ISIL is on their way to America to “kill us all,” is probably thinking, “One down, 359,999,999 to go.” And the folks at Fox News are doing their part by boldly declaring in all caps that “SHARIA LAW IS COMING!!!”

Fox Nation

Fox posted their warning on their community website, Fox Nation (See the acclaimed ebook Fox Nation vs. Reality to learn more). The alarmist story was sourced to the uber-rightist blog, The Daily Caller, which is run by Fox host Tucker Carlson. The exclamation about the coming of Sharia law was taken from the Facebook page of Alton Nolen, the suspect in the Oklahoma crime, but Fox doesn’t disclose that in their headline or their article. They leave it to appear that there is just some sort of impending doom that is approaching that will foretell the end of civilization as we know it.

The Daily Caller’s article was written by Patrick Howley, a disreputable hack who has confessed to unethical and unlawful tactics to smear his ideological foes. Howley includes ridiculous and irrelevant observations such as the fact that Nolen had a tattoo that read “as-salaamu ataikum,” a Muslim greeting meaning “peace be upon you.” Nolen also had a tattoo of Jesus and a pair of Christian praying hands. So what does that say about Christianity?

Of course, it is utterly absurd to imply that a murder, even if it is determined to be related to terrorism, suggests that Sharia law is about to be implemented in America. What happened in Oklahoma was a crime and will be treated as such. It will never be tolerated as lawful in this country under some warped interpretation of Islam. So even if there are additional crimes linked to terrorists, Sharia law is most definitely not coming to America.

If Americans are determined to be afraid of something, they may want to put this recent crime into perspective. In 2014 so far, there has been one beheading in the United States. Compare that to the more than 8,000 deaths by guns this year. [Estimate based on data from 2012]

Guns vs. Beheadings

That’s more than double the fatalities of 9/11. Which makes it all the more ludicrous that right-wingers are now clamoring for unwieldy and unwarranted measures to address their fantastical notions about domestic terrorism. They propose strengthening border security, spying on mosques, prohibiting immigration from Muslim countries, and even building concentration camps.

However, you will not hear any similar commitment to eradicating the true epidemic of deaths and injuries by guns. To the contrary, conservatives are pushing for more guns to be carried and for fewer restrictions on firearms. They are against regulations to keep guns out of the hands of felons or spousal abusers. They fight efforts to prohibit cop-killer bullets. They oppose smart-gun technology that would prevent unauthorized persons from using a firearm. They are even against laws that prohibit people on the terrorist watch list from purchasing guns.

Nevertheless, a single beheading, as horrific as it is, whips wingnuts into a frenzy, while 8,000 deaths, many of them children, doesn’t move them to lift a finger. This leads to a fundamental question that needs to be asked by the American people and the media: Who represents a bigger threat to the country, ISIL or the NRA?

UPDATE: The Daily Show Airs Segment On Racists Upset About Looking Like Racists

This is to update an article from September 20 wherein the Daily Show interviewed some Redskins fans who later objected to being portrayed as the racists that they are. Last night the segment in question ran with commentary by Jon Stewart on the dispute. What follows is an excerpt from the original article and the video from the Daily Show.

Rednecks

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The setup for the segment involved four Redskins fans who the Post reports “eagerly signed up, most of them knowing that they might be mocked in their interview with correspondent Jason Jones.” The problem arose when they were surprised by a group of Native Americans who confronted them regarding their support for a term that is widely viewed as derogatory.

The Post describes one of the team’s fans as so upset that “she left in tears and felt so threatened that she later called the police.” Seriously? This woman felt threatened by peaceful civil rights activists engaging her in conversation with cameras rolling for a comedy show? The police, of course declined to take any action since there was no real threat and no laws were broken. But the fact that she felt compelled to report this act of felonious funning as a crime speaks to her own guilty conscience.

The fans complaining about how the segment unfolded were fairly open about what troubled them. They did not seem to regret their support for the team name or their own offensive comments. In fact, the Post noted that “All four fans said they still would have gone on the show if the producers had told them in advance that there would be a debate.” What they objected to was that they were allegedly not told that they would have to face some of the people they were maligning. One fan said that he would not have worn his Redskins jacket had he known there would be Native Americans there (Isn’t that considerate of him?)

In other words, they were perfectly happy to use insulting slurs against Native Americans so long as there weren’t any around to hear them. It’s not unlike racists who routinely use the N-word, except when there are African-Americans in the vicinity. It’s the same reason that the KKK wear hoods to conceal their identity. Bigots know that their views are repulsive and insulting, so they take pains to keep from expressing them in the company of those to whom their hate is directed.

Read the whole article here.

Fox Nation vs. Reality: Zombie Reagan’s Fake Declaration Of War

When you are relentlessly bombarded with exaggerated, alarmist calls to fear every shadow in your path, grasping onto anything that provides even temporary comfort becomes a necessity to retain some semblance of sanity. That’s the position many gullible adherents to the fear-mongering war-hawkery of the right find themselves in. They are so inundated with panicky howling that America, and the world, are succumbing to certain and imminent doom that they need to suck on psychological pacifiers to keep from having mental breakdowns.

Fox Nation

Thus, an enterprising yarn spinner at a conservative blog composed a fairy tale that perfectly fits the bill for these unstable Tea Party types. And it was promptly posted on Fox Nation, the community website for Fox News. The tale comes in the form of an imaginary speech by their long dead savior, Ronald Reagan. But how this can assuage the anxiety of these worrywarts is a mystery considering how absurdly constructed it is.

It begins by asking “How different would our response as a nation be if the Commander-in-Chief were Ronald Reagan?” The answer to that, however, cannot be reliable surmised since the only military conflict that Reagan oversaw was the invasion of the tiny Caribbean island of Grenada. That was not exactly a proud victory for the armed forces of the world’s biggest superpower.

The fantasy speech lays out the justification for unbridled fright by saying that “Today we face a threat the likes of which we have not seen since the darkest days of World War II and the Cold War.” This specious claim mirrors that of today’s Republican scaredy-cats like Sen. Lindsey Graham who believe with all their hearts that the desert rats in Syria are coming to our shores to slaughter us all. Never mind the reality that there are only about 30,000 ISIL fighters, which is far less than the Axis forces of World War II that numbered in the millions. They can hardly be capable of doing the sort of damage that Hitler and his comrades did. The important thing for the fear trade is to convince the peasants that every enemy is the worst the world has ever seen.

Continuing on that theme, Zombie Reagan says that “We never faced members of the SS or the KGB prepared to be suicide bombers. Today we do.” I suppose we can forgive the Gipper for having a bad memory since he is, you know, dead. But the Japanese famously deployed Kamikaze pilots who were into suicide missions long before Al Qaeda thought it was cool. What’s more, many wartime tactics involve plans that the soldiers know they are not likely to return from. Just because they are not officially designated as suicide missions doesn’t mean that the soldiers aren’t aware of the expected outcome. Yet they follow their orders despite that knowledge.

Of course, for this declaration to be plausibly Reaganesque, it has to contain some of the movie hero bravado that was such a big part of his public imaging. He had to reflect the egocentrism that is the hallmark of the American Exceptionalist crowd. Only the U.S. of A. can send the message that will send our foes into shivering spasms of dread. Ergo…

“Our Muslim and Arab allies must be the frontline in this conflict, but without America’s fighting with them, this war will not be won. Not simply because our forces are so superior, but because if we are not prepared to send our people in harms way to fight the barbarians that wish to destroy our civilization, then we send a very simple message to the Enemy and to the world: our civilization is not worth saving.”

Zombie Reagan closes by articulating a theory that sounds very much like the Obama Doctrine. And if any of the Reaganites ever catch wind of that they will immediately flip-flop and refute it. But it is unmistakably reminiscent of the tactics favored by the current administration.

“Our enemy is not ISIS, the Islamic State, or even Al Qaeda; it is the ideology that drives all such barbaric groups. [...] But we must learn the lessons of the past. When fighting totalitarians, it is never enough to defeat them militarily. One must defeat their ideology.”

Not very Reagany, is it? Fox News has been working overtime to convince the nation that there is only one solution to the ISIL problem. It was prosaically proffered by their military analyst Lt. Col. Ralph Peters (whose name translates to “vomiting dicks” in Slanglish), who said the measure of success is “acres and acres of dead terrorists.” Now, after advancing that plan, Zombie Reagan comes along to adopt Obama’s method of draining terrorism of its appeal and recruiting capability.

The ultimate folly with resurrecting Reagan to rally the wingnut troops is that it can’t help but remind people that his leadership was rampant with failure. How different would our response be if Reagan were running things? Well (as Reagan would say), he cut and run after 200 Marines were murdered in their barracks by a suicide bomber in Lebanon. He sold weapons to our enemies in Iran in violation of international law. He used the proceeds of those sales to finance death squads in Nicaragua in violation of federal law. He failed to respond after an Iraqi jet aircraft fired missiles at the USS Stark, killing thirty-seven Navy personnel. He neglected the suffering of blacks in South Africa, called Nelson Mandela a terrorist, and opposed the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act, which was passed by Congress over his veto. Obviously, Reagan’s legacy is not one of vanquishing dangerous foes. But he wasn’t bad at asking, in stern tones, for walls to be torn down. Even that milestone didn’t occur until the administration of his successor, George H.W. Bush.

All in all, it’s a good thing that Reagan isn’t running things today. If Republicans want to pretend that he would have produced better results than we are seeing now, they are welcome to indulge their fantasies. That’s mostly what they do anyway by watching Fox News all day. But America, and the world, have big enough problems that we certainly don’t need them exacerbated by one of the worst presidents of all time.

The Fox News War On Women Presents: Boobs On The Air

Yesterday’s broadcast of The Five on Fox News featured a brief segment (video below) wherein Kimberly Guilfoyle delivered a rather inspiring tribute Maj. Maryam Al Mansouri, a female fighter pilot from the United Arab Emirates who led the UAE’s forces in attacks on ISIL.

Guilfoyle aimed her comments directly at the terrorists saying “Hey ISIS, you were bombed by a woman.” She highlighted the poetic justice of religious extremists who won’t even allow women to drive cars, getting blown away by a competent, accomplished female soldier from an Arab nation. Unfortunately, the response from her male colleagues on the program was somewhat less dignified.

Fox News

The panel’s resident troll, Greg Gutfeld hurled a stereotypical insult at the Major saying that “The problem is, after she bombed it, she couldn’t park it.” Then Eric Bolling chimed in with a demeaning and sexist query, “Would that be considered boobs on the ground?” And all Guilfoyle could do was plaintively ask why they were ruining her piece.

If that were the only example of offensive, juvenile, anti-woman behavior by Fox News jerks it would be bad enough. But this came shortly after Brian Kilmeade and Steve Doocy of Fox & Friends made “jokes” about the lesson from the video of Ray Rice beating his girlfriend into unconsciousness is that he should have taken the stairs where there were no cameras to capture his assault. It came after Fox News “psycho” analyst Keith Ablow belittled First Lady Michelle Obama’s efforts on behalf of healthier children saying that “How well can she be eating. She needs to drop a few.” It came after Fox’s Anna Kooiman introduced right-wing YouTubers, the PolitiChicks, as “A lot of hotness on the couch this morning.”

The pattern of demonstrating such brazen disrespect for women is a familiar part of Fox News programming. They regard women as little more than eye candy for their predominantly old, male viewers. Fox CEO Roger Ailes has been reported as insisting that his female anchors wear skirts and show leg. But to carry this boorishness over to demean a woman who is putting her life on the line against terrorists is especially repulsive. Sadly though, it is not unexpected from Fox News.

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[Update] The following day Bolling made an apology of sorts. He said…

“I realized some people didn’t think it was funny at all. I said sorry to my wife and I apologize to all of you as well.”

So he was only apologizing because the joke wasn’t funny, not because it was brazenly offensive and demeaning to women and soldiers? And the “apology” was only directed to his wife and Fox viewers, but not to the pilot or others he insulted? Typical Fox avoidance of responsibility and ethics.

Fox & Friends Lament “The Wussification Of Popeye”

The competition for most epically stupid program on Fox News is always a thrilling spectacle. With contestants like Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Elizabeth Hasselbeck, Steve Doocy, and so many more, it’s impossible to predict who will hold the top spot at any given moment in time. However, for this week the prize has to be awarded to the weekend cast of Fox & Friends for their in-depth analysis of “The Wussification Of Popeye” (video below).

Fox News Popeye

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This nearly unbearable babbling by three of the most puerile pundits in television kicked off with a segment on some possible modifications to the Popeye character in an upcoming movie. Here is how the exchange began:

Clayton Morris: According to leaked photos, the new Sony Pictures version of Popeye will look like this – without the iconic anchor tattoo and the smoking pipe. Are they wussifying Popeye?

Tucker Carlson: Of course they’re wuss… Nothing is scarier to a modern liberal than tobacco. If Popeye were driving around giving the morning after pill to fourth graders, that would totally fine. But smoking a pipe – a single (sic) of freedom and masculinity in America itself – the reason this country exists – tobacco – that’s like, oh, that’s outrageous.

There is so much idiocy in that brief observation it needs to be broken down into pieces for examination.

First of all, if liberals are scared of tobacco it may have something to do with the fact that it kills 400,000 Americans every year. That’s more than a hundred 9/11’s, not once thirteen years ago, but every single year. And that’s not counting the thousands of victims who survive with debilitating health problems that devastate families emotionally and financially.

Secondly, while Carlson may not fear the epidemic of cancer, he does seem to be afraid of fourth graders who aren’t pumping out babies. His snarky hyperbole about giving out morning after pills is a deliberate trivialization of a serious problem. Nine year old girls should have options to avoid pregnancy in the event that they have engaged in sex, which at that age is often the result of an rape or incest. Apparently Carlson is fine with forcing children to become parents before they enter junior high school.

Thirdly, Carlson’s characterization of pipe smoking as a symbol (?) of freedom is best represented by a man who is a notorious pipe smoker and certainly a hero of Carlson’s – communist dictator Joseph Stalin. The notion that smoking a pipe is uniquely American exists only in his cartoon-fed brain. And by invoking tobacco as “the reason this country exists” Carlson is also reminding us that the tobacco trade was largely successful in our country’s early days because the plantation owners had the benefit of free (i.e. slave) labor. If that’s his idea of an iconic symbol of freedom, there may be several million Americans who disagree. The legacy of tobacco in America is one of bondage and brutality and suffering and death.

The truth is that Carlson and his cranky cohorts are rattling off an old wingnut whine about what they perceive as political correctness. They think it’s the PC police who demand that Popeye quit his filthy habit and stick with spinach. However, it is actually the fact that we have learned a thing or two about the health risks of tobacco and most parents don’t want their children to be exposed to positive images of a product that will kill them. Would Carlson be just as happy if his kids were influenced by an alcoholic superhero guzzling whiskey in between clobbering villains?

The video of this derpitude is proof that the Fox & Friends crew have earned special recognition for ass-holiness this week. And for extra credit, they segued from the Popeye story to one about Wonder Woman wherein they complained that her new costume wasn’t sexy enough. That’s just another example of these pathetic wretches projecting their fetishes on kids by advocating sexualizing cartoon characters.

On Hannity: Fox News Strategic Analyst Calls For More Civilian Casualties

The hopelessly hysterical war hawks and fear mongers that populate Fox News seem to have no bar too low to slither under. Their primary mission is to lambaste President Obama no matter what he does. The President is in a perpetual no-win spiral of knee-jerk negativity from his robo-critics on the right.

As an example, following the horrific beheadings by ISIL terrorists, panicky conservatives demanded that Obama respond without hesitation. Never mind developing a plan or assembling allies, the need to act was more urgent than the need to act effectively. Consequently, Fox News contributor and bloodthirsty former diplomat, John Bolton, accused Obama of orchestrating a politically motivated October Surprise.

Bolton: I have the sinking feeling, based on six years of performance, particularly the timing of this attack, last night had more to do for the President’s politics than for national security.

Setting aside the fact that it is still September, Bolton’s unfounded criticism comes after being one of those who complained that if action were not taken immediately it would be tantamount to dereliction of duty. So the President acts and all of sudden his action is denounced as political. In Bolton’s twisted view, any delay until after the November election would be treasonous, but any strike prior to it is electioneering. As noted above, the President cannot win with these nutcases.

However, the new standard for nauseating tirades was unleashed later in the day when an utterly deranged rant on the Sean Hannity program was delivered by Fox News strategic analyst, Ralph Peters (video below). The dripping bile in his painfully falsetto caterwauling was steaming with rancid hostility as he proposed that the United States emulate the ruthless brutality of our enemies.

Fox News Ralph Peters

Peters: Another thing we’ve gotta get over. This nonsense about you can’t have any civilian casualties. War is ugly, sloppy, and messy, and sometimes there are civilian casualties, especially when your enemy uses human shields. If you’re gonna go after ISIS you gotta suck it up and do what’s right. And by the way, civilian casualties? Look what ISIS is doing and it’s actually gaining them recruits as they slaughter civilians.

There you have it. If ISIS can attract new recruits by slaughtering civilians, then why shouldn’t America do it? After all, we are seeking the same sort of psychologically demented murderers that ISIS is, and leaving a trail civilian corpses throughout Syria and the Middle East would only endear us to the regional population. Right?

This isn’t the first time that Peters has suggested something so inhumane and contrary to American values. He has advocated for letting terrorists murder American soldiers (Bowe Bergdahl). He accused Obama of seeking common ground with terrorists. Indeed, on last night’s Hannity he asserted that the airstrikes in Syria were “designed to limit terrorist casualties.” But his repeated advocacy of what amounts to international war crimes is what sets him apart from your run of the mill wingnut. Here are a few quotes from Peters:

“We must dispose of one last mantra that has been too broadly and uncritically accepted: the nonsense that, if we win by fighting as fiercely as our enemies, we will ‘become just like them.'”

“Sometimes a heavy hand and brutality works. [The Russians] don’t do stop-and-frisk, they do stop-and-frisk and beat the hell out of you. And you know what? It’s brutal, it’s ugly, and sometimes it works.”

[In calling for attacks on the media] “Rejecting the god of their fathers, the neo-pagans who dominate the media serve as lackeys at the terrorists’ bloody altar.”

Pair this with the idiocy of Bill O’Reilly’s recent plan to build an army of mercenaries to combat terrorists around the world, because what could be better than legions of paid fighters with no loyalty to anything but their paycheck? And of course, their moral standards would be out of our control. O’Reilly seems to think these sort of characters would be immune to accepting a higher bid for their services and turning on their American bosses. He also rejected the criticisms of military experts on his own program who called the idea “ridiculous.” Even his pal Charles Krauthammer couldn’t dissuade him from his crackpot theory.

The tendency of right-wingers with undisguised blood-lust to tolerate, and even advocate, barbarism and criminal atrocity exposes them for the heathens they are. They want to turn America’s sons and daughters in the armed forces into savages and then expect them to come home and live normal lives. And they believe that by acting like terrorists, America can eradicate terrorism. That’s how irreparably delusional they are. It is more than wrong, it is dangerous. And it doesn’t belong in the discourse of a civilized society.

Shepard Smith Owes Obama’s Press Secretary “Every Penny He Will Ever Make” At Fox News

The military operation executed last night against ISIL in Syria surprised many in the nation and the media by its timing and force. However, there was another consequence of the mission that will have an impact on a much smaller scale, except for those involved.

Fox News

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White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest just became a very rich man. Last week he was interviewed on Fox News by Shepard Smith (video below) about the coalition that President Obama was building to “degrade and destroy” the terrorist organization ISIL. In the course of their discussion they had this exchange that included a very specific challenge from Smith to Earnest in the form of a wager:

Earnest: We are going to have Muslim majority countries, Muslim led countries, as part of this coalition. This is not going to be the United States against ISIL. This will be the international community, including the Muslim world, against these extremists.

Smith: Like Saudi Arabia’s going to have some boots over there, or Jordan.

Earnest: Well, I will let the individual members of the coalition announce the commitments that they’re prepared to make.

Smith: There will be no commitment from those two. On this I will bet every penny I will ever make at this network.

Earnest: That’s a substantial bet.

Smith: It is a big bet, and it is a good bet, because it’s not going to happen and the whole world knows it.

Of course the whole world now knows that the United States led a series of airstrikes last night in Syria against ISIL and other terrorist operations. The mission was conducted with substantial participation from neighboring Muslim nations. According to the Pentagon

“U.S. military forces and partner nations, including Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, undertook military action against ISIL terrorists in Syria overnight.”

So the question is: How and when will Smith pay up? Will he even acknowledge the debt he owes or his horribly off-base prediction? At the very least he should apologize to Earnest, as well as to his viewers for misinforming them.

The smug and mocking tone Smith used when challenging Earnest only exacerbates his pitiful analysis of the situation. However, he proved that he fits right in on the network that gets everything else wrong, particularly when it comes to reporting on anything this president is doing, plans to do, or has done.

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Fox News Feminism: A Lot Of Hotness On The Couch This Morning

In recent weeks Fox News has been promoting a new book by a trio of conservative women who purport to have an inside track into “What Women Really Want.” The authors, Gina Loudon, Ann-Marie Murrell, and Morgan Brittany, comprise the Internet video non-sensation, Politichicks.

Fox News

The PolitiChicks contend that modern feminism is hurting women and does not represent their interests. But it’s hard to take them seriously when they appear on Fox & Friends with an introduction by co-host Anna Kooiman saying that there are “A lot of ladies, a lot of hotness on the couch this morning.” Not a lot of wisdom, or a lot of dignity, or experience, or intelligence, but that all-important component of feminine identity, hotness. Now try to imagine three men promoting a book on the male agenda in American politics being described that way. Kooiman went on to assert that “Feminists claim they help empower women, but are they really suppressing them? Our next guests say yes.”

The whole segment, and a similar one on Fox’s Huckabee program, conveyed much of the same offensive attitude. Their basic contention is that a women’s movement is no longer necessary because “We earned the right to vote. We have equality in the workplace.” Well, one out of two is pretty good for a Tea Partier. But despite the book’s title claiming to reveal what women want, the discussion on these programs was primarily about what they don’t want, most of which, according to the PolitiChicks, was the liberal brand of feminism. For instance, Murrell said that…

“[Feminism] has nothing to do with empowering women anymore. Everything they’re about now is from the head down. It has nothing to do with women’s brains or their hearts.”

First of all, Murrell might want to take a refresher course in anatomy, because the heart happens to below the head. As for her assertion about the focus on issues that involve women’s bodies, there is some truth to that. But that’s only because the men in power have been so insistent on forcing their decisions on them with regard to their health care and reproductive freedom. It is a proper area of concern for women’s advocates. Continuing to enumerate the things women don’t want, Loudon offered that…

“Women don’t want to be objectified, and what the feminist movement has successfully done is sexualize women instead of feminizing women.”

Indeed, objectification is a dehumanizing act, but it’s one that feminists have fought against from the start. What Loudon means by “feminizing” women sounds very much like a contradiction that would result in further objectification. Particularly when you pair it with her later comment that…

“It’s time for women who really want to be women, who want to be feminine, who want to be what God designed them to be.”

Apparently Loudon has a fixed notion of what women are and what God intended when he built them from Adam’s spare rib. That sort of intransigence conflicts with her accusation that it’s “old feminism” that puts women in shackles. What could be more confining than a divinely dictated state of being? And if that weren’t bad enough, Murrell added that…

“[Feminists] are like cave women waiting for a caveman to bonk them on the head and drag them into the cave by the hair.”

With that comment you have to wonder if Murrell has ever met a feminist. These authors keep going back and forth between advocating choices for women (including forsaking a career to stay at home and raise kids), and confining them to narrow gender roles that have long ago been discarded as sexist. And they don’t seem to recognize the irony in their positions as they advance choice, but not in all things. As an example, Brittany correctly noted that…

“Women want less government in their lives, they want to make their own decisions, they want freedom to choose for their children, for their families.”

However, that doesn’t apply to reproductive choice. In that case the PolitiChicks defend big government’s role in making the most personal of decisions for women, who cannot be trusted to decide for themselves with the counsel of their doctors and their family. They even support forcing women to undergo unnecessary and invasive procedures and endure arbitrary waiting periods and patronizing lectures. That is not a position in accord with small government or free choice.

The hypocrisy and disrespect that is represented by these so-called feminists does nothing to improve the status of women in America. It does not end discrimination, or wage disparity, or harassment, or the welfare of children. What it does is advance the agenda of extremist, right-wing Christianists who seek to impose their beliefs on the nation’s women, and men too, for that matter.

The PolitiChicks are being aided and abetted by Fox News who are providing them with a platform to deliver their partisan sermons. But if they think that this is the way to appeal to women voters who have been staunchly supporting Democrats, they will be sorely disappointed. Their method of reaching out to voter constituencies by advocating positions that are detrimental has not worked for Latinos or African-Americans, or seniors, or students. And it won’t work on women either. They are all much smarter than Republicans give them credit for, and they won’t fall for this wingnut propaganda.

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Corruption With Impunity: The Imaginary Exoneration Of Chris Christie

Last week the Department of Justice gave a statement to NBC News regarding their investigation into New Jersey governor Chris Christie. The statement was an update on “Bridge-Gate,” the dangerous, unlawful, and politically motivated closure of several lanes of the George Washington Bridge orchestrated by his administration. It didn’t take long for NBC’s story to become widely misinterpreted by much of the conservative media. According to NBC News

“The U.S. Justice Department investigation into Gov. Chris Christie’s role in the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal has thus far uncovered no evidence indicating that he either knew in advance or directed the closure of traffic lanes on the span, federal officials tell NBC 4 New York.”

That statement formed the basis of a broad campaign to rehabilitate the sagging public image of Christie who is anticipated to be a candidate for the Republican nomination for president in 2016. Many pseudo-news enterprises published stories that described Christie as “vindicated,” “innocent” or “falsely accused.” Calls from right-wing media critics went out to insure that coverage of Christie’s alleged exoneration was equal to that which took place while the allegations were being investigated. There’s just one problem.

Chris Christie 2016

Christie has not been exonerated. The report by NBC News said only that no evidence had been uncovered “so far.” The feds explicitly stated that the investigation is ongoing and that no conclusion has been reached. What’s more, there is still an investigation being conducted by New Jersey state officials that is separate from the federal probe and involves different violations of law.

The Christie thumpers need to reserve their celebration until all of the pending investigations are concluded. That does not appear to be imminent. And even if Christie manages to squirm out of any finding of direct culpability, he still needs to answer for how so many of his senior staffers were involved in a sleazy, criminal conspiracy without his knowledge. Either he knew and has successfully covered it up, or he didn’t know and is an incompetent who can’t control his felonious underlings.

That’s not a great place from which to shape a presidential campaign. Your starting off with a significant disadvantage if you have to choose between these slogans: “Christie: He got away with it,” or “Christie: Because he don’t know nothin.”

The last shoe has yet to drop in this affair. These sort of political shenanigans often take some time to unwind as the players jockey for position in order to cop a plea and avoid the consequences of their shady behavior. It is way too soon for Christie to pop the Champagne corks. Likewise, it is too soon for his media boosters to begin writing his victory speech.

Unhinged Fox News Reporter Warns Of Immigrant Children Trained By ISIL To Kill Us

The frenzy of frightened Fox News figures who have been consumed by panic over the threat of ISIL terrorists invading our tranquil communities continues to grow in numbers and intensity. On Saturday morning a panel of business correspondents took up the issue on Fox’s Bulls and Bears (and Immigrant Children, oh my).

Fox News Kids Trained To Kill Us

The segment (video below) was introduced by host Brenda Buttner as “the ISIS border threat we may all regret if we don’t stop it now.” She summarized the imminent doom facing America from terrorists plotting to sneak across our porous southern border to wipe us out as we sleep. This gruesome prospect was presented as more than speculation and she wondered how many more warnings would be required before Washington “gets it.”. Of course she never offered any evidence that any terror suspects had entered the U.S. in this manner, or that there was any credible intelligence of it . She just unloaded a series of allegations without any factual basis.

That was enough for the first panelist, John Layfield, a retired professional wrestler, to spew a stream of unrelated assertions involving ISIL’s alleged blueprint for international terrorism and the presence of murderous drug cartels in Mexico. Layfield’s background makes him the perfect guest to provide analysis on these sort of national security issues. He was rebutted rather effectively by Gary B. Smith, a hedge fund manager, who wisely kept his commentary limited to his area of expertise, the economic aspects of securing the border. He questioned the efficacy of building a border fence for an estimated $22 billion when none of the perpetrators of 9/11 entered the country illegally and other border barriers like the Berlin Wall were commonly breached thousands of times a year.

But Stealing the thunder of prominent members of the Psycho-Chicken Little Society like Lindsey Graham, was Fox regular Tracy Byrnes. Her hysterical assessment of the looming threat was riddled with indignation that nobody was treating the situation with the appropriate measure of urgency.

“It’s really serious and this has been something that has been bothering me for a while now. We are not taking it serious enough. ISIS is here. I don’t care what anybody says. They’re here.”

How typical of a Fox News commentator to declare that she doesn’t care what anybody says. She has her own delusional, nightmare scenarios firmly affixed in her mind and she will not be distracted by reality. But she’s only just getting started. She goes on…

“What scares me the most, Brenda, is that they infiltrate the minds of children and when children cross the border everyone, you know, the tears start coming down. We want to take care of them, but so many of these kids are trained to hate us and potentially kill us. And yet we are just letting them in, welcoming them with open arms, paying for their medical, paying for everything and it’s just going to come back to bite us.”

Exactly! Somehow ISIL has gotten to these gullible waifs, who are fleeing violence in their native countries, and brainwashing them to hate the Americans who are providing them with safety, food, and health care. All the while these kids are plotting to grow up and cut our throats or blow up our shopping malls. Byrnes didn’t reveal where the terrorists were conducting this training or why children who have been rescued from lives of misery, danger, and fear would succumb to an ideology that just perpetuated it and was directed at their rescuers.

Surprisingly, other than Byrnes and Layfield, the panel was fairly united in dismissing the most outlandish claims by the Fear Caucus. The frantic whimpering of the bed-wetting set has been shown to be utterly without foundation. Recently PolitiFact assessed a claim by GOP/Tea Party Rep. Trent Franks, who said that “It is true that we know that ISIS is present in Ciudad Juarez (Mexico)” And except for the fact that it isn’t true and that we don’t know it, it was a pretty good soundbite. PolitFact rated it “mostly false,” while noting that similar false claims were made by Sen. Marco Rubio and many in the right-wing media such as the Daily Caller, Breitbart News, and Sean Hannity. PolitiFact also revealed that the source of the claim was the ultra-conservative organization, Judicial Watch. When asked for more information to affirm their allegations, JW’s president Tom Fitton simply refused.

Not to be outdone, Fox host Jeanine Pirro served up her own steaming plate of crazy with a paranoia drenched tirade that boosted the profile of ISIL over the tyrant King George of England, Jefferson Davis’ Confederacy, Hirohito’s Japan, Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda, and even the genocidal regime of Adolf Hitler:

“Tonight America faces the single biggest threat in her more than 200-year history. Worse than what we faced in World War I, World War II, the attack on Pearl Harbor, and Al Qaeda on 9/11. [...] The damage will be painful and it will be extensive. [...] I’ve been telling you for months that you need to be afraid.”

Pirro’s grasp of history is pitifully weak. For the record, ISIL is, so far, responsible for the deaths of two Americans. They have a long way to go before they can be regarded as worse than World War I (116,000 fatalities), World War II (405,000), the Civil War (625,000), or even Al Qaeda who lag behind at 9,700 if you include 9/11 plus all casualties endured during both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars (which, of course, are not all attributable to Al Qaeda). And on the basis of her stupendously ignorant raving, she boasts that “for months” she’s been telling her wretched viewers that they “need to be afraid.” How dumb do you need to be to continue following her advice?

The fanatics at Fox News are desperately trying to drive their viewers into a sky-is-falling state of psychotic distress, and they have no qualms about using blatant lies to achieve their ends. It’s a shameful and unethical tactic that squarely fits the definition of terrorism (ter-uh-riz-uh m) – noun: The use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.

For more examples of Fox’s fear fetish…
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Racists Are Upset About Looking Like Racists On Daily Show “Redskins” Segment

News Corpse would like to thank NewsBusters, the uber-rightist, ethically-challenged answer to Media Matters, for bringing to our attention an article in the Washington Post that describes a “tense showdown with Native Americans [and] Redskins fans.” The face-off occurred during the filming of the Daily Show who, according to NewsBusters’ executive editor Tim Graham, lied to the unsuspecting bigots assembled to defend the offensive NFL team’s name.

Rednecks

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The setup for the segment involved four Redskins fans who the Post reports “eagerly signed up, most of them knowing that they might be mocked in their interview with correspondent Jason Jones.” The problem arose when they were surprised by a group of Native Americans who confronted them regarding their support for a term that is widely viewed as derogatory.

The Post describes one of the team’s fans as so upset that “she left in tears and felt so threatened that she later called the police.” Seriously? This woman felt threatened by peaceful civil rights activists engaging her in conversation with cameras rolling for a comedy show? The police, of course declined to take any action since there was no real threat and no laws were broken. But the fact that she felt compelled to report this act of felonious funning as a crime speaks to her own guilty conscience.

The fans complaining about how the segment unfolded were fairly open about what troubled them. They did not seem to regret their support for the team name or their own offensive comments. In fact, the Post noted that “All four fans said they still would have gone on the show if the producers had told them in advance that there would be a debate.” What they objected to was that they were allegedly not told that they would have to face some of the people they were maligning. One fan said that he would not have worn his Redskins jacket had he known there would be Native Americans there (Isn’t that considerate of him?)

In other words, they were perfectly happy to use insulting slurs against Native Americans so long as there weren’t any around to hear them. It’s not unlike racists who routinely use the N-word, except when there are African-Americans in the vicinity. It’s the same reason that the KKK wear hoods to conceal their identity. Bigots know that their views are repulsive and insulting, so they take pains to keep from expressing them in the company of those to whom their hate is directed.

This is behavior with which the victims of prejudice are all too familiar. Although at times they also experience outright bigotry, such as occurred in a different part of the Daily Show segment. As reported by the Post…

“The Native Americans endured some abuse, too, when they were taken to FedEx Field on Sunday to interact with Redskins fans who were tailgating before the home opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars. That also got ugly. At several points, according to one of the Native Americans, Redskins fans yelled obscenities at them.”

Notably, while NewsBusters re-posted nearly the entire Washington Post article, they left out only that paragraph, and one other that they paraphrased instead. So NewsBusters’ account of this story deliberately withheld the evidence of the racism that is a common component of the Native American experience. The other omitted paragraph related the complaint of a fan that the Native Americans were more media savvy than the group of fans. NewsBusters regarded that as unfair, despite their approval of the same tactic when used by conservatives like notorious Fox News ambusher Jesse Watters.

It is a sad testament to the state of race relations in America when people caught expressing their prejudices are not upset because they were caught. They openly admit that they would have been comfortable with the interview had they not been forced to confront the objects of their hate. So being exposed as racists is fine, just as long as they don’t have to do it around “those” people. And for some reason, NewsBusters thinks this reflects badly on the Daily Show, not the racists.

PolitiFact Proves Fox News Bias On ISIL Hearings – Also That Greg Gutfeld Is An Ass

On Tuesday Media Matters published their analysis of Fox News bias during coverage of a Senate hearing on President Obama’s plans for dealing with ISIL. Media Matters showed that during Fox’s broadcast they would air remarks by Republicans on the committee and then cut away when Democrats began to speak. The result was that Republicans were given twice as much airtime as Democrats on the allegedly “fair and balanced” network. This is an old tactic by Fox which News Corpse documented last year in another Senate hearing.

Today PolitiFact weighed in with an article seeking to confirm the data that Media Matters reported. They found that…

“Media Matters said that Fox News gave Republican senators twice as much air time as Democratic ones during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. They said Republicans got 16 minutes compared to the Democrats’ eight. That matches our count.

“We also found that other networks provided more time and more evenly divided time to members of both parties.

“We rate the claim True.”

Fox News Greg Gutfeld

This is not exactly breaking news. Media Matters is a reliably consistent source for accurate information about the biases and partisan excesses of right-wing media. What makes this interesting at this time is that it occurred almost simultaneously to a feverish rant by Fox’s Greg Gutfeld, co-host of The Five. Gutfeld was perturbed by reports that cited Media Matters research showing the obsession that Fox News has for the Benghazi hoax. The study revealed that Fox aired nearly 1,100 reports on the subject, most of which were decidedly slanted to the right. For instance, 97% of the congressional interviews on Fox relating to Benghazi were with Republicans.

The accuracy of Media Matters’ reporting, however, was immaterial to Gutfeld’s rightist indignation. He let loose on Media Matters saying that…

“…the left-wing hacks would just work from Media Matters’ press releases [...] It’s much easier than doing original research to just read from a press release.”

That’s true. And it’s also hilariously ironic coming from a Fox News flunky. The reporting that Gutfeld was complaining about just happened to be unarguably correct, as noted by PolitiFact. But his griping over journalists using research from Media Matters is just plain stupid. Every media organization uses research from independent sources to augment their reporting. Often they latch onto providers with viewpoints that are aligned to their own. And, of course, Fox News is one of those media enterprises that does this. In fact, Fox’s Brit Hume gave a slobbering endorsement to one of the most blatantly partisan research outfits, the Media Research Center. Hume praised them saying…

“I want to say a word, however, of thanks to Brent and the team at the Media Research Center [...] for the tremendous amount of material that the Media Research Center provided me for so many years when I was anchoring Special Report, I don’t know what we would’ve done without them. It was a daily buffet of material to work from, and we certainly made tremendous use of it.”

So according to Gutfeld, Hume is a “lazy hack sitting with his laptop, covered in Cheetos.” And if that weren’t bad enough. Gutfeld must have entirely missed the scandal when Fox News was caught red-handed reporting verbatim from a Republican Senate press release as if it were their own reporting, complete with a typo that appeared on the original. And then there was the time that Fox’s Megyn Kelly did the same thing with a press release issued by the Republican National Committee, pretending it was authored by the Fox news staff.

Clearly Gutfeld doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He’s too focused on being the comic relief for the network, but instead comes off like the boneheaded sitcom neighbor who mistakenly thinks he is either funny or suave. In the end he is little more than a troll working for a network that has once again been proven to be an unrepentant purveyor of lies. And their practice of airing Democrat-free Senate hearing just insures that their audience of misinformed dimwits will remain ignorant.

And speaking of Fox News lies…
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Rush Limbaugh’s Defense For His Justification Of Rape Makes Matters Worse

When Rush Limbaugh took to the air to vindicate every rapist who ever claimed that the woman “really wanted it,” he found himself the subject of widespread revulsion and ridicule – again. His comment that “No means yes, if you know how to spot it,” gives permission to assault women after they’ve explicitly asked to be left alone. According to Limbaugh, those with advance perception skills know what women actually want and to deny these male mind-readers satisfaction “takes all the romance out of everything.”

Rush Limbaugh

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was one of thousands of critics blasting Limbaugh for his boorish advocacy of violence against women. As a part of their campaign to publicize Limbaugh’s comments, they sent emails to supporters that included a petition to persuade advertisers to shun Limbaugh. It also included a request for donations, as do all DCCC emails. Not surprisingly, this produced a response from the Limbaugh camp complaining that he had been taken out of context and that…

“The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee emails about Rush Limbaugh are an intentional lie, using 10 words carefully selected from his full comments to imply the opposite of what he actually said.”

Nowhere in the response did Limbaugh’s spokesman indicate what the alleged lie was. Nor did he bother to put Limbaugh’s remarks in what he considered to be the proper context. And as to whether a full reading of Limbaugh’s remarks would reveal that he was saying the opposite of what was implied, well, you can listen to 346 words and decide for yourself:

The actual context of these statements was with regard to a policy at Ohio State University aimed at reducing the incidence of sexual assault and date rape. Limbaugh was criticizing the policy and arguing that consent is not a prerequisite for sexual activity. He further mocked it by claiming that it would only lead to frivolous lawsuits. What’s more, Limbaugh believes that it’s absurd to expect men to be respectful of women because their compulsion for sex overpowers their capacity for rational decision making.

“I don’t know how men can be held to that Ohio State agreement, policy, anyway, because everybody knows in sex men don’t think with their brains. Not the one in their heads, anyway. It’s just so silly.”

So in his argument that women are so dumb that they can be ignored when they express their wishes, Limbaugh actually asserts that men are too dumb to make responsible decisions. This tells us something about Limbaugh’s experiences with women and his own ability to conduct himself civilly. He is advancing a concept of gender relations that is more aligned with our prehistoric ancestors than with modern society.

Given his perverse view of sexuality and the welfare of women, it explains why he is on his fourth wife and has had to acquire massive quantities of Viagra on the black market.

Shameless self-promotion…
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Benghazi A Mini Iran/Contra? Fox News Should Ask Their Own In-House Felon

Earlier this week Fox News helped to promote a shoddily constructed story by a discredited reporter about an alleged effort by the State Department to dispose of documents that might be harmful to then-Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. The story, that they laughably called a “bombshell,” did not provide a single bit of evidence and relied entirely on allegations by a former State Department official who had been reprimanded for being “grossly inadequate” and who clearly had an ax to grind.

Fox News Oliver North

Today Fox News upped the ante by adding new scenarios with even less connection to reality. On Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade introduced a segment with retired Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer saying that…

“Anything that could have got them into trouble, Colonel, was grinded up, was shredded, and the review board never got all the documents.”

Of course, none of that was ever verified, and the allegations were merely speculation by someone who the reporter admits never witnessed any such thing. So in order to take the focus off of how thin this whole fictional account is, Kilmeade allowed his guest to offer up a complete fantasy that neither of them bothered to support with any facts.

Shaffer: Some of these documents we’re talking about were probably the direct link to some of the bad incidents, to include the holy grail here that nobody wants to talk about, is the obtaining of weapons from the Libyan rebels, moving them out of the country, to the Turks, through Turkey to the Syrian rebels. Some of those rebels ended up being the ISIS threat we’re now facing.

Kilmeade: So you mean this is almost like a mini Iran/Contra thing?

Shaffer responded “Absolutely,” to this question, apparently ignorant of what the Iran/Contra scandal was all about. Shaffer’s invention of a plot to transfer weapons that were lawfully provided to Qaddafi foes in Libya, to dubious characters in Syria, is nothing like Iran/Contra, and there is no evidence that it even happened. In the Reagan era scandal weapons were illegally sold to Iran while the nation was under an international arms embargo. The proceeds were then used to illegally fund the Nicaraguan Contras, which was explicitly prohibited by federal law.

The funny thing about this is that Fox News could have gotten all of this straight if they had instead interviewed their own employee, Oliver North. It was North who ran the Iran/Contra affair and was convicted by a jury for his felonious behavior. However, he is now a Fox News anchor and military commentator for the network. You have to wonder whether it was his violations of federal and international arms trading laws, or his perjury conviction for lying under oath to Congress, that made him such an attractive candidate for employment at Fox.

Actually, it may be overly optimistic to suggest that North would have straightened anybody out, since he has been lying about the scandal for more than two decades. But it’s interesting that Fox is now using Iran/Contra as an example of grossly unlawful practices with their comparison to the fiction they are hyping about the Clinton State Department purging documents. If this “holy grail” that they are now trying to smear Clinton with is so bad that they are calling it a “mini Iran/Contra,” then how can they ethically employ the leader of the actual, full-sized Iran/Contra?

Of course, the answer to that question is that Fox News has never considered it within their charter to act ethically. That makes their job of lying and distorting the news a lot easier.

Lindsey Graham Is Afraid That We Will “All Get Killed Back Here At Home” (w/Daily Show Video)

Never let it be said that the Republican war hawks ever underestimated the threats that America faces at all times. Despite the fact that we are the wealthiest nation in the world, with largest military, and a defense budget that dwarfs the rest of the planet (in fact, we currently spend more on defense than the next 8 countries combined), some Americans think that we should be in permanent panic mode.

Lindsey Graham

The Chairman of the Panic Caucus has got to be South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham. This weekend he told John Roberts on Fox News Sunday that “This president needs to rise to the occasion before we all get killed back here at home.” That sober assessment can be illustrated by some examples of what would have to occur in order for that bloodcurdling outcome to be realized:

  • Of the estimated 30,000 ISIL fighters, each one would have to kill 12,000 Americans.
  • ISIL would have to pull off the equivalent of 120,000 9/11’s.
  • A nation the size Monaco would have to be able to destroy the U.S. and wipe out its population.

Of course, with all their money they could just buy Phillip Morris, whose tobacco products kill 400,000 Americans a year. That’s more than a hundred times the number of Americans killed by Osama Bin Laden. But at the current rate of cigarette sonsumption they would still have to wait about a thousand years for the victims to die off, and then assume that none of them procreate. The upside being that it would be perfectly legal and even profitable.

So Sen. Graham’s paranoia leads him to insist that President Obama “rise to the occasion” and do what exactly? Graham and his ilk say that we should put more “boots on the ground,” which ironically is just what ISIL wants us to do. They would then have more American targets on their battlefield and the prospect of more captives whom they could feature in future execution videos. These right-wing war mongers still can’t explain why that is a better option than having Iraqis and other regional soldiers carry the burden of policing their own neighborhood.

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Here’s how Jon Stewart handled it on The Daily Show:

Benghazi “Bombshell” Dropped Just In Time For The New Committee’s Maiden Hearing

The theatrics that go into the Fox News production of right-wing scandal mongering rival the most ambitious Broadway presentations. There is drama and conflict and complex stage management that grabs the audience and drags them through a narrative that is lurid and mysterious.

Gowdy DoodyThat applies nowhere more fully than to their long-running Benghazi blockbuster. It is what they turn to whenever they need a quick jolt of fabricated controversy. And with the first public hearing of Trey Gowdy’s brand spanking-new “Committee to Politicize Benghazi” scheduled for this week, Fox News has aired a promotional extra to accompany the premiere. Anchor Eric Shawn introduced the segment and correspondent Doug McKelway saying…

“We have a Fox News Alert, a ‘bombshell’ as they say, in the Benghazi terror attacks investigation. Turns out a former State Department employee speaking out in a new report now claims that aides to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, they claim, took part in after-hours sessions to quote ‘separate’ damaging documents before those allegedly damaging documents were handed over to investigators.”

Golly willikers, this can’t be good news for Miss Hillary. Even though Fox has, in conjunction with Darrell Issa’s Committee on Overstepping, declared numerous other disclosures to be bombshells that turned out to be nothing but duds, this one is fer-sure a bona fide bombshell. That’s because it was discovered by Sharyl Attkisson, the disgraced former CBS reporter who was fired as a result of her shoddy and biased reporting including about Benghazi. Attkisson’s new story was published by The Daily Signal, an arm of the uber-rightist Heritage Foundation. It contains zero evidence of the alleged activities and relies on a single, and decidedly partial, source. No wonder she was fired by CBS, but found work at the Heritage rag. Attkisson writes that…

“As the House Select Committee on Benghazi prepares for its first hearing this week, a former State Department diplomat is coming forward with a startling allegation: Hillary Clinton confidants were part of an operation to ‘separate’ damaging documents before they were turned over to the Accountability Review Board (ARB) investigating security lapses surrounding the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.”

There were a couple of notable omissions by Fox News that even Attkisson’s blatantly biased article included. First of all, Alec Gerlach, a State Department spokesman, said that “The range of sources that the ARB’s investigation drew on would have made it impossible for anyone outside of the ARB to control its access to information.” In other words, no documents could have been separated out and withheld because they would have been available elsewhere. Secondly, Attkisson’s sole source, Raymond Maxwell, was not someone who could be plausibly described as neutral. He was a deputy assistant secretary who had responsibility for North Africa. The New York Times reported in December of 2012 that he was one of…

“…four State Department officials [who] were removed from their posts on Wednesday after an independent panel criticized the ‘grossly inadequate’ security at a diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, that was attacked on Sept. 11, leading to the deaths of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.”

Maxwell was a disgruntled employee who had filed grievances with the State Department’s Human Resources Bureau and the American Foreign Service Association. Whether or not his allegations are true, he cannot be regarded as impartial due to his obvious personnel entanglement. However, the ARB’s investigation does contain a certain measure of credibility because it was headed by Thomas Pickering, a veteran diplomat who served in the Ford, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton administrations, and Admiral Michael Mullen (Ret), a Navy vet who was appointed Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff by George W. Bush. These are not Clinton partisans hired to whitewash her record as Secretary of State.

The emergence of this phony bombshell on the eve of the Benghazi committee’s debut is an extraordinary coincidence. And its presentation on Fox News that left out critical details is likewise a convenient happenstance. If nothing else it allowed anchor Shawn to conclude with a smarmy “Some wonder if this could be a smoking gun of a potential cover-up.” So the bombshell is also a smoking gun, and it’s all part of a cover-up. At least to a mysterious “some” who are wondering. This masterpiece of fiction has blockbuster written all over it.