Fox News Intelligence Analyst: ISIS “Are Not Dumb People. We’re The Dumb Ones”

Fox News, and other right-wing media, sometimes make it very difficult to assess where they are coming from. Every now and then you have to sit back and try to figure out the answer to one simple question: Whose side they are on?

Fox News

Case in point: Friday’s episode of Your World with Neil Cavuto featured a segment with former CIA “intelligence” officer, Michael Scheuer, a regular guest on the network. Scheuer is famous for telling Glenn Beck that “the only chance we have as a country right now is for Osama bin Laden to deploy and detonate a major weapon in the United States.” Isn’t that a charming display of patriotism?

Now Scheuer is providing his opinion of the intelligence of Americans as compared to our terrorist enemies. In his discussion with Cavotu, Scheuer complimented ISIS by saying that they were not “silly” enough to forgo the opportunity to infiltrate the United States by sneaking across the southern border. In fact, he elaborated on that praise saying that…

“The Islamists “are not dumb people. They may be brutal, but they are not dumb. We’re the dumb ones.”

Well then, that settles it. The problem we’ve been having all along is that we’re just as smart as our adversaries. And Cavuto, notably, did not challenge that assessment. After all, how can a bunch of hillbillies who are hypnotized by reality television, designer jeans, and flame-broiled Whoppers supposed to be able to compete intellectually with such sophisticated and sociologically advanced opponents? Why did we not see this deficiency before Scheuer brought it to our attention? Oh yeah, because we’re stupid.

It’s unclear who Scheuer is referring to specifically. Does he mean that all Americans are dumb, or maybe our military commanders, or just our leaders? It’s hard to place the blame on the military since they have accomplished nearly every task assigned to them. In the past couple of weeks they have achieved repeated victories pushing ISIS back from cities they claimed to have captured. As for our leaders, the only one who permitted a catastrophic attack on U.S. soil was George W. Bush, and he’s been out of office for six years now. So that leaves just the American people to absorb the brunt of Scheuer’s insult.

In addition to Scheuer’s anti-patriotic stance, another right-wing hack has also contributed to the welfare of ISIS. James O’Keefe pulled off an idiotic stunt last month wherein he filmed himself crossing the Rio Grande in an Osama Bin Laden mask. That story is almost painfully funny, and can be read here. The news emanating from that buffoonery is that his antics are now being cited by ISIS to motivate wannabe terrorists to attempt similar crossings.

Fox News reported that a document obtained from the Texas Department of Public Safety warned that “militants are expressing an increased interest in the notion that they could clandestinely infiltrate the southwest border of US,” and that social media messages “alluded to a recent video by U.S. activist James O’Keefe, who was recorded coming across the Rio Grande valley in an Usama bin Laden costume.”

O’Keefe must be so proud that his little film project has become a source of inspiration to bloodthirsty terrorists. Of course if we needed an argument to refute Scheuer’s characterization of ISIS as being smarter than we are, there couldn’t be better proof of the fallacy of that notion than the fact that they are taking O’Keefe seriously. That’s evidence of a pretty severe intellectual shortfall. Do they really regard O’Keefe’s video as documentation of the state of U.S. border security? Is that really the best source they could scrape up? And if they are relying on that, then we don’t have much to worry about.

This is just further evidence that conservatives are itching for some sort of violent disaster to occur so they can blame it on our secretly Muslim president. They have been haranguing Obama about divulging our strategy to deal with ISIS, which would simultaneously reveal the strategy to ISIS themselves. And when they aren’t advocating tipping our hand, they disparaging Obama and telling the world, and our enemies, that he is weak and incompetent. Which brings us back to the question that opened this article: Whose side are they on?

Fox Nation vs. Reality: Night Of The Living Death Panels

Thank you Sarah Palin. You have managed to poison the public discourse with an utterly insipid and dishonest notion that has attained a measure of immortality due to the persistent ignorance of your followers and the spinelessness of your Tea Party Republican comrades.

Night of the Living Death Panels

That’s right, folks. The Death Panels are baaack. And with no more legitimacy now than when they were first peddled by Palin (who actually stole the idea from wingnut Betsy McCaughey). Of course it is Fox News who is reprising this zombie lie which they had a substantial part in promoting the last time around. This year’s model is back in the news thanks to Fox Nation, the lie-riddled community website whose aversion to the truth is documented in the acclaimed ebook Fox Nation vs. Reality. Their story carries the tabloid-esque headline “Death Panels? Medicare May Start Covering ‘End-Of-Life Discussions’” That phony characterization is a long stretch from the New York Times article to which they link that doesn’t mention death panels in their headline at all: “Coverage for End-of-Life Talks Gaining Ground.”

Fox Nation

The news in this story is that, despite being jettisoned by a nervous Congress, coverage for end-of-life counseling is being taken up by insurance companies on their own as a result of prodding from doctors. That’s because it makes good sense and benefits the patient. It is not an economic issue because, depending on the patient’s desires, health care may cost more (if the patient opts for every life-saving procedure available) or less (if the patient chooses to forego artificial methods of sustaining life).

From the beginning, the death panel term was a perversion of what the actual policy provided. It merely stipulated insurance coverage for voluntary discussions between the patient and the doctor to determine the patient’s wishes in the event of a catastrophic illness. Most medical professionals recommend this because, after an illness strikes, you may not be able to make your preferences known. That leaves it to either the doctors or traumatized family members who often disagree. But the completion of an “Advance Directive” always represents your wishes and never imposes any medical care, or lack of it, on the patient.

Tea Party nut cases took the position that you should not be able to have your insurance cover the preparation of such a directive in consultation with your doctor. They irrationally feared that “end-of-life counseling” was coded language that, when translated by enlightened wingnuts, meant “plotting to kill you.” It’s too bad that such stupidity isn’t covered under ObamaCare. And even though some right-wingers recognized that their misrepresentation of end-of-life counseling was making them look ridiculous, when they adjusted their rhetoric they just switched to a different policy, the Independent Payment Advisory Board, and called that a death panel. They were still wrong. The IPAB was a doctor-run advisory group tasked with identifying the best practices in health care to insure the best outcomes and to avoid unnecessary or exploitative procedures.

When the ultra-conservative National Review agrees that “Insuring End-of-Life Talk [is] Not Death Panels,” then the distance Fox News has traveled from reality becomes ever more clear. They simply don’t care about honestly dispensing information, even when people’s lives depend upon it. And they persist with their campaigns of disinformation even after other conservative outlets have abandoned them.

Feud At Fox News: Sarah Palin Slams Fellow FoxPod Tucker Carlson

Uh oh. The family ties at Fox News are being stretched to dangerously explosive levels. It appears that Sarah Palin’s ire has been aroused by her colleague Tucker Carlson. Ironically, both are losers who have been disparaged by Fox News at various times (Roger Ailes called Palin an “idiot” and, before being hired by Fox, Carlson called them a “mean, sick, group of people” for attacking him), and now they are taking swipes at each other.

Fox News Palin/Carlson

Shameless self-promotion…
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The spark for this fire came from an interview of Dave Berg, a former producer of the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Berg, who is promoting a new book, spoke with the Daily Caller’s Jamie Weinstein and told him that…

“After the campaign, she had a book to promote, and wanted to do the show, but it was difficult to work out the logistics because she didn’t like to be away from her family for long periods of time. Finally, the only way we could get her to come to Burbank was to book a charter jet from Anchorage for $35,000. The jet was big enough to accommodate all of her family members.”

The Diva from Wasilla took offense to this characterization despite the fact that there is long-standing evidence of her extravagant demands for public appearances. But for some reason, she went after the Daily Caller, which is run by Carlson, instead of Berg who made the statements to which she objected. On her Facebook page Palin launched into a tirade replete with personal insults and invective.

“Guess the boys at The Daily Caller spent a bit too much time at the frat house and not enough time in their college library. (Or maybe it’s in one of their Jr. High tree forts where their leader gathers the boys to ‘report’ their ‘conservative’ issues.) Their claims about what I supposedly ‘demanded’ of the Tonight Show are, in their frat boy terms, B.S. This is not the first time we’ve had to correct their sloppy ‘journalism.’ Paraphrasing and dramatizing sure doesn’t fit into any fair and balanced image, especially from a little fella loving his title of FOX News Channel host. Maybe those bow ties are a bit too tight, bros.”

Meow! So according to Palin the Daily Caller is not really “conservative,” nor a practitioner of “journalism” (as if the woman who couldn’t name a single newspaper that she read would know). And she just couldn’t help ridiculing Carlson’s fashion sense, albeit for the bow ties he stopped wearing years ago. What Palin did not do in her rant was to offer any proof that the claims by Berg were false. She would certainly have the evidence if she were interested in refuting what she called “B.S.” Why do you suppose she would decline to provide it?

Obviously Berg’s assertions are probably accurate and Palin, who has criticized Hillary Clinton for her contract riders, is only interested in smearing her critics. As usual, Palin is not the least bit concerned about being factual or truthful. And in this case, the Daily Caller was merely publishing what Berg said, but Palin slams the Daily Caller and thanks Berg “for the kind comments.” Huh? Her reading comprehension is even worse than her verbal “skills” that have produced the some of the most mangled (and hilarious) mutilations of the English language.

Carlson is notoriously thin-skinned, so we may have the good fortune of hearing his retort to Palin and a prolonged public quarrel. It’s notable that Palin chose to belittle Carlson with a reference to his “frat house” immaturity. Just yesterday, Carlson made a similarly insulting remark directed at the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., saying that “This is what happens when you have a foreign policy run by college sophomores like Samantha Power.” For the record, Power is a Pulitzer Prize winner with a distinguished career that puts Carlson, a trust-fund baby, to shame. More to the point, both Carlson and Palin regard college credentials as liabilities, which explains a lot about their mutual affinity for ignorance.

However, what will be truly interesting is to see if Palin is taken to the wood shed for beating up on “little fella” Tucker. After all, Fox News CEO. Roger Ailes, made it clear that he will not tolerate intra-network derision by people in his fiefdom “shooting in the tent.” So they better be careful. They don’t want to make Uncle Roger mad.

(CR)ISIS Strategy: President Obama vs. Republicans And Fox News Pundits

Much is being made of an off-hand sentence fragment taken from President Obama’s press conference yesterday. In response to a question from Chuck Todd about whether he needed Congress’s approval to go into Syria, Obama said

“I don’t want to put the cart before the horse. We don’t have a strategy yet. I think what I’ve seen in some of the news reports suggests that folks are getting a little further ahead of where we’re at than we currently are. And I think that’s not just my assessment, but the assessment of our military as well. We need to make sure that we’ve got clear plans, that we’re developing them. At that point, I will consult with Congress and make sure that their voices are heard.”

Clearly the President was trying to temper speculation in the media that has been rampant with predictions of a U.S. military assault on Syria. That is not the sort of thing that commanders want to be circulating prior to the launch of a mission. So Obama prudently dismissed the gossip and focused on presenting a united front that included the White House, the Pentagon, and Congress. However, conservative politicians and pundits have a different theory that has two primary principles:

  1. Giving away our tactics
  2. Disparaging our Commander-in-Chief.

ISIS Strategy

While the President is working to keep from showing our hand, those on the right are clamoring for him to spill every secret plot that is currently under consideration. They are outraged that Obama has not told the world, and ISIS, what our strategy is for dealing with ISIS in Syria. Certainly ISIS would like to know what we are planning, and Republicans are helping them in that effort.

An example this morning on the Fox News program Outnumbered had guest co-host Pete Hegseth, head of the Koch brothers front group Concerned Veterans for America, saying that “The number one rule in war is that if there is no strategy, don’t tell the enemy that.” Hegseth never mentioned what boneheaded rule book he was referring to, but it is one that contradicts the long-respected wisdom of Sun Tzu whose “The Art of War” advises to “Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.” In other words, it is strategically advantageous to fool your enemies into thinking that you have no strategy. To announce your strategy would only allow them to reinforce their defenses against it.

After advocating divulging our plans, the right goes on to tell our enemies that they have little to worry about because our leadership is incompetent and may even be on their side. For some reason they think that it’s helpful to let ISIS know that some of Obama’s own countrymen have no confidence in him. Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle fantasized about having Vladimir Putin as president for forty-eight hours instead of Obama because, I guess, brutal dictators are always preferable in the eyes of the right. Perhaps they are preparing for 2016:

Putin/Palin 2016

GOP representative Louie Gohmert made an ass of himself (again) by likening Obama to Barney Fife, the bumbling deputy on the old Andy Griffith Show. The problem with that analogy is that Gohmert and the right are more like Fife than Obama. Remember that Fife was the hothead who was constantly itching for a fight and the opportunity to put his one bullet in his pistol. He couldn’t wait to confront the bad guys with deadly force whether or not a real threat existed. Doesn’t that sound like Bush’s adventures in Iraq, and what conservatives are doing right now? Certainly the right wouldn’t approve of Andy Griffith’s Sheriff Taylor, who was well known for being deliberative and resolving problems with diplomacy and intellect. Kind of like President Obama. In fact, Sheriff Taylor was so notorious for his resistance to unnecessary conflict that one episode featured a story line where Mayberry’s Sheriff was wooed by producers from Hollywood to make a movie titled “Sheriff Without A Gun.”

Shameless self-promotion…
Get Fox Nation vs. Reality. Available now at Amazon.

But the problem that the wingnuts are causing is far more serious than asinine analogies. Their criticisms have the dual risk of pressuring the President to divulge sensitive military plans, and emboldening the enemy by creating a false and dangerous impression of Obama as a weakling that they can easily overcome. How is that an expression of patriotism? Let’s face it, the right is more concerned with demonizing the President than they are with defeating ISIS, or with the welfare of our troops, or with national security in general. They are even more concerned with the color of his suit or whether he wears a tie. Gawd bless Amurca.

ISIS ENVY: Fox News Makes Every Enemy Of America The Worst Enemy Ever

It doesn’t take much time to notice that whenever America faces a new threat, it is immediately elevated to the most loathsome and horrifying threat that we have ever faced. The media, and especially the fear mongers at Fox News, work feverishly to instill the deepest sense of doom imaginable. That’s why Iraq was was said to be hoarding weapons of mass destruction that they never had. It’s why we were frantically warned against letting the nonexistent smoking gun become a mushroom cloud.

Today the enemy is ISIS. And, make no mistake, they are not your average, friendly, cornershop terrorists. But neither are they superhuman demons from another world who wield magical powers that we cannot resist. Nevertheless, the media is determined to create an army of monsters who will shortly be on our doorsteps wagging their tongues and tails at our virgin daughters.

Jon Stewart illustrated (video below) the absurdity of this cartoon characterization of these villains with a segment that contained clips from numerous news programs (mostly Fox) whose anchors were dripping with hysteria. They uttered the most cringe-worthy dread they could muster including that ISIS is…

“The most feared terrorists in the world…never seen anything like this…this is Al Qaeda times two…ISIS is pure evil…ISIS is like a cancer…looks like they’re unstoppable………..”

Stewart’s response to this parade of panic was simple yet profound: “You know it is **** like this that makes you almost regret us destabilizing the region in the first place.”

Among the abominations awaiting us is the allegation that ISIS has amassed great wealth and that “they learned how to self finance.” Resident Fox News alarmist K.T. MacFarland told Greta Van Susteren that “They’re thought to have roughly two billion in assets and cash,” and that makes them “not only the best-equipped military,” but “it makes them the richest.” MacFarland then declared that “Their goal is to bring the fight to America.”

For the record, there have been many abhorrent adversaries that America has had the misfortune to encounter. Among them the Nazis with their Final Solution, the Japanese and their Kamikazes, and our own national brothers in a civil war that is still the bloodiest conflict per capita in our history. And lest we forget the terrorist contenders that ISIS seems to have superseded, Al Qaeda. They were not exactly novices at the terror game. And even though Fox News, and other conservative Chicken Littles, have crowned ISIS the new leader in brutality and wealth with their two billion dollar nest egg, Osama Bin Laden had even more, courtesy of America’s Super Patriot, Ronald Reagan.

“In the 1980s, bin Laden left his comfortable Saudi home for Afghanistan to participate in the Afghan jihad, or holy war, against the invading forces of the Soviet Union — a cause that, ironically, the United States funded, pouring $3 billion into the Afghan resistance via the CIA.”

Ronald Reagan / Osama Bin Laden

None of the above is meant to trivialize the very real dangers posed by ISIS, but it is important to remember that, despite their inhumane activities, they are as human as everyone else. They are not omnipotent, and they do not have capabilities greater than we have faced before. We defeated the Nazis who had the the strength and wealth of a nation behind them. They were also brutal and unbelievably savage, but they succumbed.

The United States, in concert with our allies, can defeat ISIS, and we can do it with our sanity in tact and without resorting to delusions of beastly foes from the depths of Hades. Of course for some of us, that will mean not watching any more Fox News, who spend half their time spinning ghastly fables, and the other half whining that our current leaders are inept and worse, are aligned with the enemy.

It takes a heap of anti-patriotic fervor to tell our enemies around the world that we are led by an incompetent whom they can easily outmaneuver. But that’s precisely what Republicans and right-wing media pundits are doing. Talk about emboldening the enemy.

Shameless self-promotion…
Get Fox Nation vs. Reality. Available now at Amazon.

BUSTED: Mitch McConnell Secretly Recorded At The Koch Brothers Donor Summit

Every year the Koch brothers hold one or more conclaves of their conservative millionaire and billionaire pals to discuss future strategies and collect donations for candidates and causes that will benefit their parochial interests. These affairs are put on under the tightest security so as to protect the elite attendees from being identified or from having to encounter the riff raff (i.e. ordinary American citizens) they hope to oppress.

Earlier this year, an event in the California beach resort at Dana Point, the Lear Jet Set gathered as usual, but they had a mole in their midst. A recording was just published by The Nation that includes some frank talk by participants including GOP senate candidates Tom Cotton (AR), Joni Ernst (IA), and Senate Republican Leader, Mitch McConnell. McConnell kicked things off by expressing his gratitude to his wealthy benefactors, Charles and David Koch saying that…

“I want to start by thanking you, Charles and David for the important work you’re doing. I don’t know where we’d be without you.”

Mitch McConnell / Koch Brothers

McConnell’s smarmy sycophancy extended to some blatantly miscast interpretations of the onerous Citizen’s United decision by the Supreme Court. McConnell said…

“What did the case decide? Well as you all know, corporations that own a newspaper or a television station (inaudible), they’re free to say whatever they want to say about anybody at any time. But if you were a corporation that didn’t own a newspaper or didn’t own a television station, you couldn’t. So all Citizens United did was to level the playing field for corporate speech. In other words, no longer did corporations have to own a newspaper or a television station in order to say whatever they wanted. It simply leveled the playing field.”

That is a deliberate bastardization of the decision and McConnell, a lawyer by profession, knows it. Corporations have always been able to say whatever they wanted at any time. They have the money to run ads in those corporate newspapers and television networks. They can fund any number of public relations campaigns to disseminate whatever message they please. And they can hire lobbyists to promote their interests to politicians and the media. They have always had these avenues of communication.

What Citizen’s United gave them was a veil behind which they could covertly mold the political landscape to their liking. They can now contribute unlimited sums to Super PACS without disclosing where the money came from. It wasn’t speech they were angling for, it was anonymity. They needed to disguise their participation in campaigns because American’s know that these upper-crusters don’t have the people’s interests at heart.

It was that secrecy that Citizen’s United provided. It was never about “leveling the playing field.” The field was already slanted severely toward the rich, and this just made things worse. It made it more difficult than ever for the voices of average citizens to compete with the wealthy captains of industry who could shout everyone else down.

Be Sure To “LIKE” News Corpse On Facebook

With the publication of this recording we are afforded a view into the luxury suites of the plutocrats who seek to dominate our society. We have always known their self-serving intentions, but it is chilling to hear it from their own lips when they think no one is listening.

Ted Nugent Found A Black Pastor Who Hates African-Americans As Much As He Does

It must be hard for ultra-right-wing nut cases like Ted Nugent to find credible ways to justify their hate-filled extremism. After they have been exposed as lying, racist, dirtbags so often that the stink just hangs over them like a fog, they must get desperate to grasp unto something – anything – that can rehabilitate their soiled image.

In Nugent’s case he has recently been castigated for calling President Obama a “sub-human mongrel.” In addition he has been on a tear insulting Native Americans, the Japanese, women, and anyone else that doesn’t conform to his narrow definition of an American as a white, Christian, straight, male, gun-toting Teabilly.

Ted Nugent

So when Nugent stumbled across Harlem pastor James David Manning, he must have shot his load – ed pistols into the heavens with delight. Finally, he had found someone with whom he could agree about the inherent inferiority of African-Americans, but without all the nasty charges of racism since, after all, the pastor himself is black. And there could certainly be no allegation that Nugent’s affinity for the opinions of Manning suggested any prejudice on his part, could there? Well, here are a few of the opinions that Manning expressed in the video (below) that Nugent lovingly posted to his Facebook page with the comment (in caps): “TRUER LOVE THERE HAS NEVER BEEN.”

“You can train a black man to be a physician, you can train him to be an astrophysicist, you can train him to be a lawyer, but you can’t train him to understand the world.”

“There’s not two cents worth of difference between a mass murderer, there’s not two cents worth of difference between a petty thief that’s locked away in prison, and a black doctor when it comes to understanding the world.”

“Black people had Africa, that big continent over there. They never built one boat that was seaworthy. Not one.”

“The worst thing that could ever happen to South Africa was when they gave it Nelson Mandela. [...] Because black folk don’t know how to run no nation.”

“Black folk don’t understand the world. You can get mad with me all you want. You can say what you want, but you can’t prove me wrong.”

“There’s something wrong with the black man’s mind. There’s something wrong with his mind. He does not understand the world. He doesn’t. I don’t care if he learned medicine. He doesn’t understand the world.”

“You black women, what’s wrong with y’all? Y’all gonna let that white woman …(picture shown of Obama’s mother)… What’s wrong with you black women voting for Barack? Don’t you understand? It should have been a black womb if you’re gonna have a black president. What’s wrong with you. Y’all aint got no sense, you black women.”

“You niggers are crazy…We’re never gonna get anywhere until we look into the mind of a black man. He doesn’t think correctly. I don’t care what he is. He could be a doctor, he could be an astrophysicist. The nigger aint got no sense.”

“You talk to him. You talk to a black man. He doesn’t understand the world. He’s never built anything. The most the black people have ever done, they did it here in America under white people’s help. When they were in Africa they didn’t do nothin.”

I can’t help but wonder what black Republicans and Tea Party members would think of this, or of Nugent’s embrace of it. Will Dr. Ben Carson denounce it? Will Senator Tim Scott spurn Nugent? Where’s Herman Cain, Larry Elder, Condoleezza Rice, Clarence Thomas, and Allen West? Will any of the conservatives who railed against Rev. Wright have anything to say about this wholly repulsive jerkwad?

It’s no wonder that Nugent has fallen for this guy. He’s saying everything that Nugent wants to say but feels constrained by the liberal media and political correctness. Now he has a spokesman who can be as racist as Nugent wants to be and all Uncle Ted has to do is post the video for his white fans to watch and learn from. They will all come away from this with the knowledge that black men, no matter how accomplished, can’t understand the world or be entrusted to run a nation. Hallelujah brother.

Shameless self-promotion…
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h/t Right Wing Watch

Scandal Monger Darrell Issa Returns To Fox News To Pitch New IRS E-Mail Lies

Since there is nothing else going on in the world, like terrorist armies marching through Syria and Iraq, or Russian convoys crossing into Ukraine, and since domestically the nation isn’t embroiled in controversies over unarmed black teenagers murdered by the police, or thousands of immigrant children suffering harsh conditions along the southern border, Fox News has found the free time time to entertain yet another fable about non-existent IRS emails that allegedly expose massive government corruption.

Darrell Issa Witch Hunter

Darrell Issa, chairman of the Laughing Stock Committee (aka the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform), ventured into dangerously friendly territory last night when he was interviewed by Greta Van Susteren of Fox News. Van Susteren introduced Issa and before she could even ask a question he said:

“Good evening, Greta, and thank you for covering what’s emerging to be just an amazing sequence of cover-up, delay, denial, even what now appears to be a false statement from the new IRS commissioner in which he said he moved ‘heaven and Earth’ to get us Lois Lerner’s lost emails. And now we find out from the Judicial Watch that in fact they exist, but they simply haven’t been asked for. They’re too burdensome. They do exist. And we look forward to finding how the commissioner can say they don’t exist, when, in fact, they do.”

That was Issa’s opening remarks after Van Susteren said nothing more than “Good evening, sir.” Clearly Issa feels comfortable commandeering the program and delivering unchallenged monologues. Just as clearly he isn’t reticent about deliberately lying in order to advance a phony scandal that he has been hustling for years without producing any scrap of evidence. And as for his insistence that the emails do, in fact, exist – no Darrell, in fact they do not.

The “amazing sequence of cover-up” to which Issa is referring was fed to him by the right-wing Judicial Watch, who claimed to have received a “jaw-dropping” revelation in a conversation with an administration official. Judicial Watch president, Tom Fitton, alleged that “The Obama administration had been lying to the American people about Lois Lerner’s missing emails.” However, when contacted for a response the administration flatly denied the charge saying that Judicial Watch’s statement was “off-base” and that Judicial Watch was “mischaracterizing what the government had said.” They continued…

“There is no newly divulged back-up system that was not previously known about,” the official said. “Government lawyers were simply referring to the back-up system at the IRS that Commissioner Koskinen had already disclosed.”

In other words, Judicial Watch failed to understand, or purposefully misconstrued, what they were told by the government official. Never mind that the White House had previously spoken to this issue and laid to rest any discrepancies. But that didn’t stop Judicial Watch from funneling their falsehoods to Issa, a willing participant in the Wingnut Deceit Brigade. Issa then hightails it to Fox News to insure that this lie gets the broadest distribution possible. And to make certain that it is widely dispersed, Fox also aired similar segments on at least two other programs, including their signature nightly news show with Bret Baier.

This is how the Conservative Media Circus whips up manufactured hysteria over phony scandals. The fake story is then blasted across the right-wing mediasphere with help from their partisan partners like Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze, Newsmax, National Review, Breitbart News, Townhall, NewsBusters, and the Koch brothers affiliated Washington Free Beacon. Before long a nation of gullible Tea Party waifs are refueled with high octane bullshit, destroying any hopes for intelligent, fact-based debate. Welcome to Rupert Murdoch’s America.

Is This Ad For A GOP Senate Candidate The Worst Political Ad This Year?

The 2014 election cycle has produced some pretty horrific advertisements including Iowa Republican Joni Ernst’s tales of castrating hogs, the Club for Growth’s anti-Pryor (D-AR) ad featuring a pooping parrot, and even a Republican primary opponent of John Boehenr who crafted an “electile dysfunction” themed ad that said “If you have a Boehner lasting more than 21 years, seek immediate medical attention.” That one was actually pretty funny.

Now we have New Mexico Republican Allen Weh’s ad against incumbent Democratic senator Tom Udall (video below). Weh, the former chairman of the New Mexico Republican Party, has the distinction of being the first candidate grotesque enough to feature the ISIS executioner of American journalist Jim Foley in a campaign ad. However, sitting through the whole ad will reveal that Weh also includes a second shot of another execution before arriving at what must be his campaign theme: associating Sen. Udall himself with ISIS.

Allen Weh / Tom Udall

The visual message of compositing Udall’s face with an ISIS flag is a not-so-subtle implication that Udall is aligned with America’s enemies. And this is no accident. These ads are edited second-by-second to pack the entirety of the message into short clips. Weh’s operatives knew exactly what they were doing.

The audio on the ad is comprised almost entirely of a snippet from an Obama interview conducted before he was a candidate for president, and another repeated snippet of Udall saying “I know, as far as I feel, this diplomatic path that we’re on right now is a good one.” Udall’s comment was not sourced, but it turns it that it came from an interview on September 11, 2013 on CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper. It was also not place in context.

Weh’s ad sought to associate Udall with both ISIS and Obama, creating an ancillary connection between ISIS and Obama as well. However, Udall was responding to Tapper’s question about the speech Obama gave on September 10, 2013 regarding Syria’s chemical weapons. The President spoke about his determination to force Syria to abandon their chemical arsenal, his initial intention to seek authorization from Congress, and his ultimate decision to let the diplomatic efforts run their course.

“Over the last few days, we’ve seen some encouraging signs. In part because of the credible threat of U.S. military action, as well as constructive talks that I had with President Putin, the Russian government has indicated a willingness to join with the international community in pushing Assad to give up his chemical weapons. The Assad regime has now admitted that it has these weapons, and even said they’d join the Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibits their use.

“It’s too early to tell whether this offer will succeed, and any agreement must verify that the Assad regime keeps its commitments. But this initiative has the potential to remove the threat of chemical weapons without the use of force, particularly because Russia is one of Assad’s strongest allies. I have, therefore, asked the leaders of Congress to postpone a vote to authorize the use of force while we pursue this diplomatic path.”

In context, Udall’s comments were in support of a process that eventually succeeded in collecting and neutralizing Syria’s chemical warfare capability that was already responsible for killing thousands of Syrians, including hundreds of children.

So Weh’s ad completely misrepresented Udall’s words, but the worst part was its blatant and nauseating exploitation of Foley, a victim of terrorist brutality less than a week ago. And compounding that repulsiveness, Weh plastered the flag of Foley’s murderers on Udall’s face. If there is an award for reprehensible defamation in political advertising, Weh is currently the runaway winner this year – so far.

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Fox News Imagines Another Covert Plot Against Rick Perry (And America) By George Soros

The folks at Fox News are on the case of yet another scheme by super-villain George Soros who seems to be at the helm of every evil deed that Fox stumbles over. This time they have dispatched Brent Bozell, founder and president of the uber-rightist media watch-mongrel, Media Research Center (MRC), to pull the curtain aside on the Soros machine and reveal that he is the puppet master behind the indictment of Texas Governor Rick Perry.

Fox News Rick Perry

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Bozell’s op-ed for Fox News is titled “Mainstream media censors Soros’ connection to Rick Perry indictment.” He begins his bill of peculiars by alleging that the media has suppressed the truth about Texans for Public Justice (TPJ), the group that originally filed the complaint against Perry. Bozell claims that “the group responsible for that indictment had received a half million dollars” from Soros. However, there is a very good reason that the press failed to disclose this information: It isn’t true.

First of all, TPJ is not responsible for the indictment. They merely filed a complaint that would have been dismissed if it were without merit. It was the Grand Jury, impaneled by a Republican prosecutor who was appointed by a Republican judge, that brought the indictment. As usual, if Republicans are alleged to have broken a law it is always the fault of Democrats. That includes GOP governors Perry, Chris Christy, Scott Walker, Bob McDonnell, and Rick Scott. Detect a pattern there?

Secondly, TPJ never received $500,000 from George Soros. Since Bozell failed to cite his source for that allegation, I had to track it down myself. As it turns out it was reported by the Business & Media Institute (BMI), which just happens to be a division of Bozell’s MRC. Fancy that. BMI describes their mission as being “devoted solely to analyzing and exposing the anti-free enterprise culture of the media.” Searching further I did find a $500,000 donation from the Open Society Institute, which was founded by Soros, to a coalition of groups that came together to ensure that stimulus funds were well spent. From their press release

“The Open Society Institute today announced a $500,000 grant to groups in Texas to monitor stimulus spending, encourage public participation in state-level decisions, and advocate for an equitable distribution of recovery funds. [...] The coalition includes Texas Impact, Texans Together, the Sierra Club, Texas Legal Services, La Fe Policy Research and Education Center, Public Citizen, the Center for Public Policy Priorities and Texans for Public Justice.”

OK then, TPJ was the beneficiary of some amount of largess from Soros, but certainly not half a million dollars. Even if the donation was divided evenly among the members (unlikely because groups like the Sierra Club and Public Citizen are so much larger than TPJ), it would have amounted to only $62,500. It was intentionally dishonest for Bozell to imply that TPJ received the whole amount. Another detail that he left out was that this donation was made five years ago (November 2009). That was long before TPJ had filed its complaint against Perry and even before any of the issues cited in the complaint had occurred.

No objective person could conclude that an organization that received a small portion of a donation five years prior was still beholden to that donor. But Bozell implausibly proclaims that he “wasn’t in the least bit surprised to learn the Soros machine’s fingerprints were all over this brazen, partisan ploy. It’s what they do.” How Soros’ fingerprints got all over an event that took place many years after he made a donation can only be attributed to his well-known omnipotence and clairvoyant powers. Either that or Bozell’s well-known paranoia and aversion to the truth.

Bozell closed by saying that “In this case, the media have gone beyond mere bias and are complicit in the Soros machine’s scheme to take down a conservative leader.” And with that he comes full circle to branding the entire controversy as a Soros scheme. No longer is it a just a partisan ploy by democrats. Bozell has named the perpetrator and his accomplices in the media. And with the help of Fox News this delusional fabrication will become a fact in the minds of wingnuts across America.

Fox News Is The Conservative Daily Show, It Just Won’t Admit It’s A Joke

There is an article on Grantland by Brian Phillips that takes a look back at media satire on television. It focuses mainly on Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update, but mentions everything from Bob & Ray to Monty Python. It’s an interesting read, but this paragraph alone is worth the price of admission:

“Is it strange that, of all the current-events products currently on television, it’s often Fox News that feels most like a ‘Weekend Update’ bit? Critics are constantly asking why there’s no conservative Daily Show, but there is; it just won’t admit it’s a joke. The structure of Fox News is so deeply and basically comic that it’s impossible not to read it into the tradition of news satire. All those weeping paranoiacs! The fist-shaking curmudgeons! The gun-toting robo-blondes! Like ‘Weekend Update,’ Fox succeeded by taking the elements of a normal news broadcast and exaggerating them to ludicrous proportions. Only instead of Opera Man, it has Angry Immigration Crusader; instead of Mr. Subliminal, it has Jowly Operative Insinuating Things About Hillary Clinton’s Health; instead of Gay Hitler, it has Outmatched Token Liberal; instead of ‘Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead,’ it has Benghazi.”

Media Circus

Well said. And thanks to the wingnut brigade at NewsBusters for whining about this entertaining and accurate essay, without whom I probably would never have seen it.

Holy F**k! CNN Explores Joint Venture With Paranoid, Racist, Lunatic Glenn Beck

As if to prove that television news executives are lowest form of life on the planet, CNN recently held talks with Glenn Beck about forming a joint venture between the struggling network and Beck’s lame video blog, The Blaze. According to a report in Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal it would be…

“…a new venture between CNN-parent Time Warner and The Blaze that would replace HLN’s current programming with Blaze programming.”

Glenn Beck CNN

What on Earth could they be thinking? The prospect of bringing Beck back to CNN (or television) makes no sense whatsoever. When Beck left his show on CNN’s Headline News it was in the ratings dumpster. He routinely lost to his competition and was the lowest rated program on CNN’s primetime lineup. He gathered more viewers at Fox News, but only because his toxic philosophy was a better fit for the fear-mongering, right-wing propaganda channel. However, when he left Fox News just two years later he was a pariah who couldn’t keep advertisers due to his rancid rhetoric and hate-filled, paranoid tirades. Even Fox acknowledged that he was a liability. After Beck, pretending that the exit was his idea, said he told himself that “If you do not leave now, you won’t leave with your soul intact,” Fox retorted

“Glenn Beck wasn’t trying to save his soul, he was trying to save his ass. Advertisers fled his show and even Glenn knows what that means in our industry.”

So what exactly did CNN find attractive about the notion of reignited their romance with this loser? He has an even smaller audience now than he did at CNN five years ago. That’s why he is currently on a PR campaign to rehabilitate his noxious image. But despite admitting that he “has said stupid things,” and his other disingenuous attempts to cast himself as repentant for his past vulgarities, he is still the same vituperative huckster of gloom that he has always been. For example, he recently complained about not being able to use the words “fag” and “nigger,” in reference to artwork by a guest on his show. He is also being sued for defamation by a student from Saudi Arabia whom Beck falsely accused of being a key figure in the Boston marathon bombing.

Where does CNN think his advertisers would come from? A visit to TheBlaze website reveals that he has no advertising other than Google Ads. He is still anathema to the Fords, Campbell Soups, Procter & Gambels, Fidelitys, etc. So if Beck can’t produce ratings, and he can’t attract advertisers, but he is widely reviled and divisive, what could explain CNN’s interest in him?

There only two possible answers to that question. One is that CNN is desperate beyond all comprehension. They are like a drowning man grasping for the only thing in the water, even if it’s an anchor. And secondly, CNN is run by tabloid TV king Ken Jautz who was promoted from his position as head of HLN. It was while he was at HLN that Jautz gave Beck his first job in television. So perhaps it is that unique brand of insanity that causes one to do the same stupid things over and over expecting a different result.

The fact that CNN was participating in these talks says something about their health as a news organization. They would not be considering this if they had bright prospects for the future. It also says something about Beck’s media operation. His Blaze video unit is currently financed by viewer subscriptions. If that were as successful as he pretends it to be, he would not be contemplating giving the same programming away for free on cable TV. That would dry up his web subscription base. He would also have to be pretty desperate to consider returning to the network about which he said…

“I used to call it the Pit of Despair because there are all these people plunking out stories like, ‘I just want to hang myself, I just want to hang myself.” [...and...]

“If you ever think that CNN is a rational, normal, non-leftist organization, look who they hired [referring to Crossfire co-host Van Jones as a 'communist revolutionary'].”

More recently, Beck asked himself “Why is CNN in a ratings free fall?” And he gave himself the answer that it was “the unbelievable level of manufactured outrage on the network.” Actually, that may have inspired him to seek out these talks. He may have seen that as a sign that the network was the perfect platform for an outrage manufacturer like himself. But it doesn’t clear up why CNN would seek to recruit someone with such a horrible opinion of the network.

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Reports on the talks indicate that they broke down over financial terms, not ideology. That makes the whole incident even worse. Apparently CNN is cool with Beck’s evangelical, ultra-conservative messaging. And it isn’t just that he’s conservative, but that he is so violently hostile toward progressives that he once said that to stop them “you’re going to have to shoot them in the head.” And despite that sort of vile discourse, CNN only walked away from the negotiations over money. Journalism, honesty, integrity, civility, etc., never entered into it.

[Update:] Brian Stelter, reporting for CNN, says that it was Beck who sought to hook up with CNN, but that from the CNN side “The talks were never serious.” This may just be CNN covering its ass so as not to be embarrassed by the disclosure of the talks, but it also confirms that Beck is scrambling to keep his head above water.

Faux Pas: Fox News Video Gaffe During ISIS Segment Was Ironically Appropriate

During last night’s episode of The Kelly File, Megyn Kelly was having a discussion about the ISIS murder of Jim Foley with Pete Hegseth, CEO of the Koch brothers financed Concerned Veterans for America. Just as Hegseth was getting to the core of his comments, the control room queued up a video to accompany the dialog. But it may not have been the video that Kelly was expecting. Hegseth told Kelly that…

“At this point this is a terrorist army that believes that it controls a state.”

Fox News

However, instead of showing militants in Iraq, the video was of the unrest in Ferguson, Mo. Specifically it showed police officers racing through the protest-clogged streets of the St. Louis community. For those images to be juxtaposed with the words spoken simultaneously by Hegseth was jarring, but it inadvertently transmitted a message that the protesters, and many Americans, would have found apropos to the situation.

Apparently the video was live, breaking news from Ferguson that the producers thought took priority over the Foley issue, but Kelly disagreed and interrupted the discussion to tell them so. Then she and Hegseth continued the segment. They did not appear to have grasped the irony of the video gaffe.

The Vampire Doctor: Fox News “Psycho” Analyst Goes Inside The Mind Of ISIS

When an alleged doctor has already established a reputation as a world class crackpot by, among other things, expressing his admiration for the Unabomber, it may seem that there is no further he could fall into the abyss of madness. But leave it to “psycho” analyst Keith Ablow, a member of the Fox News A Team, to exceed all expectations of depravity.

In a new Fox News editorial, Ablow purports to go “Inside the mind of James Foley’s ISIS executioner.” Ablow has previously gone inside the minds of at least thirty-five other individuals, including President Obama. His prodigious ability to channel the psyche of people whom has never examined, or even met, is itself a symptom of psychosis. But his analysis of an unknown terrorist’s brutality sets new standards for quackery as he associates the behavior with that of a vampire slayer. Call it the Buffy Syndrome.

Keith Ablow

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Ablow begins his analysis of the ISIS executioner with a cringe-worthy attempt to humanize him. Ablow admonishes those who would vilify the man who decapitated Foley with his bare hands as “an unthinking monster,” and reminds his readers that he likely has family and friends, has laughed and wept, and may have read and written poetry. What a guy. This sort of perverse empathy is something that Ablow does not afford to President Obama, who he has pointedly dehumanized saying that…

“…he doesn’t hate us. He simply isn’t there to hate or love. Because, guess what? Long ago he severed himself from all core emotions.”

It says a lot about Ablow’s emotional pathology that he finds consonance with the ISIS butcher, but not with Obama or the millions of Americans who elected him twice. Ablow explains the innermost motivations of the executioner with a peculiar pop culture reference:

“His line in the sand separates worthy human beings from those lost, evil souls whose failure to accept the Prophet Muhammad and live according to a particular interpretation of fundamentalist Islamic law makes them no different from vampires who can infect the rest of the human race with venom and claim them for the plague. [...] the ISIS executioner was in the grip of a psychotic delusion. He wasn’t killing a real person; he was killing a monster”

What a barrel of pseudo-psychological hogwash. How does this fraud get away with calling himself a doctor? The man who murdered Foley couldn’t care less about his politics or his faith. This was nothing more than a depraved PR stunt devised solely for its shock value. They were attempting to coerce the United States into halting its airstrikes targeting ISIS. It was a strategy for which there could be no result other than failure, as evidenced by the airstrikes that immediately followed the execution. And it’s interesting that Ablow’s vampire theory includes rhetoric about infection and venom, because he has used that before with regard to Obama when he proposed the need “to immunize our sons and daughters against the president’s psychologically toxic rhetoric.”

It isn’t the butcher of ISIS who views people as vampires and infectious threats. It’s Ablow. He then goes on to contradict his previous inanities that humanized the enemy by saying that…

“You can’t reason or negotiate from a distance with a person in the grip of a psychotic delusion that defines others as the evil vectors of a horrifying plague. The delusion owns that person’s mind. [...] The only way to stop the ISIS executioner and those in the grip of the same psychotic delusion is to kill the ones who cannot be captured, wherever they can be found, in whatever numbers possible.”

Let’s just set aside the fact that it is Ablow whose delusions own his mind and who has defined Obama as the evil vector of a horrifying plague. He has also abandoned his theory that the terrorists are misguided souls with family and friends who must not be dismissed as unthinking monsters. Now they are delusional psychotics who must be exterminated. And with that, Ablow has adopted the mindset that he previously attributed to the terrorists. And it’s a mindset that he believes is on the ascent when he says that…

“…we cannot believe for one moment that the psychosis will not spread and threaten us all with delusional assassins who are reading poetry and looking at the stars and hugging their kids and dreaming of slicing our throats and those of our children from ear to ear, in order to save the world.”

The message in this that we must all be fearful of the poetry reading undead who are amassing to feast on our blood. It is the Twilight Saga Gone Wild. From Ablow’s perspective it is impossible not to imagine that, if the ISIS executioner were to remove his hood, we would find a dreamy Calvin Klein model whose plaintive expression evoked a tortured and complex soul who only wants to be loved. [Cue eerie music and montage of sighing teenage girls]

STFU About Obama’s Vacations Already And Remember Where Obama Was May 1, 2011

The incessant and ignorant fixation on when, where, and how often President Obama takes vacations is becoming surreal in its frequency and fervor. The President’s critics seem to be obsessed with the issue. Never mind that Obama has taken far fewer vacation days than his predecessors, or that there has never been any negative incident arising from his holidays, or that the presidency travels with the President wherever he goes, the compulsion to relentlessly attack this President is irresistible to the politicians and pundits on the right. And they are not above outright lying about it.

It apparently has never occurred to these crackpots that there are strategic justifications for maintaining a routine schedule. By suddenly altering his itinerary, the President could be tipping off enemies that there is something being planned that they should defend against. And if any evidence is required to support this theory, one need only go back to May 1, 2011, when President Obama was a guest at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner in Washington, DC. He was criticized at the time by conservatives who thought it unseemly that he would attend a party that featured comedians and where he himself would deliver a joke-filled monologue. Setting aside the fact that the event is a charitable fundraiser that has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships, there is another reason why the criticism was unwarranted.

Obama WHCD

On May 1, 2011, a team of Navy SEALS stormed the compound of Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, killing him and ending a decade long search for justice. At the time of the raid Obama was seen laughing at jokes, including some about Bin Laden, without letting on what was occurring 7,000 miles away. It would have been unnecessarily risky for the President to mysteriously cancel his plans to attend the dinner and rush back to the Oval Office. But by playing it with a straight face there was no hint of the covert action for which he had already given the green light.

Today’s critics of the President are in no better position to ascertain what he is doing behind the scenes than they were in May of 2011. They have no way of knowing if there are sensitive operations in progress that the White House needs to keep under wraps. They don’t even care that it is important for America’s leaders to be seen as unwavering and unafraid in the face of adversity, rather than running for cover and shifting gears every time the enemy posts video evidence of their brutality on YouTube. The wingnut media is only interested in how they can fling more mud at the President. And it is that, and not their pseudo-patriotic posturing, that is their primary mission.

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DISGUSTING: The Fox News Response To Obama’s Statement On Foley Murder By ISIS

President Obama gave a statement (video below) this afternoon on the barbaric murder of journalist Jim Foley who had been held in captivity by ISIS for two years. The statement was powerful and resolute, condemning ISIS as terrorists who brutalize Muslims, Christians, and other innocents in pursuit of an extremist agenda. Obama said in part…

“Today, the entire world is appalled by the brutal murder of Jim Foley by the terrorist group, ISIL. [...]

“Let’s be clear about ISIL. They have rampaged across cities and villages, killing innocent, unarmed civilians in cowardly acts of violence. They abduct women and children and subject them to torture and rape and slavery. They have murdered Muslims, both Sunni and Shia, by the thousands. They target Christians and religious minorities, driving them from their homes, murdering them when they can, for no other reason than they practice a different religion. [...]

“We will be vigilant and we will be relentless. When people harm Americans, anywhere, we do what’s necessary to see that justice is done.”

Within seconds of the completion of the statement, Fox News broadcast responses from a couple of their regular contributors, Andrea Tantaros and Pete Hegseth. Their remarks were utterly repulsive, dismissive, and disrespectful to the President, the memory of Mr. Foley, his family, and the nation.

Fox News Tantaros/Hegseth

Tantaros, reaching back to a favorite of Fox’s well worn anti-Obama themes, said “Where is that Rose Garden press conference for Benghazi?” (See update below) This remark is an affront to Foley whose sad fate had nothing to do with Benghazi. It was just an attempt by Tantaros to brazenly exploit Foley’s tragedy in pursuit of her own noxious political goals. But it was also something that Fox News does routinely. They have tied everything from ObamaCare to missing Malaysian planes to Benghazi. They will bring up Benghazi in any circumstance no matter how absurdly unrelated. And in this case they overstepped the bounds of decency by taking advantage of a gruesome murder before even one day had passed. On top that, Tantaros was wrong on the substance of her vile remark because Obama actually did give a statement about Benghazi in the Rose Garden the day following the attack.

Hegseth is supposedly a veteran’s advocate who appears on Fox News to bash the Commander-in-Chief. He is the head of Concerned Veterans for America, a phony front group that is almost entirely bankrolled by the Koch brothers. His remark following Obama’s statement was “I wish he’d put on a tie.” Really? That was what he came away with after the President denounced a horrific act of terrorism against an American citizen? Hegseth is apparently more concerned about the President’s attire than the fate of American victims or the state of our nation’s campaign against terrorism. He is so obsessed with finding fault with Obama that he ignored the tribute to Foley and the passionate promise to exact justice, in favor of acting as the spokesman for the Fox News Fashion Police.

As noted above, these were not opinions developed after thoughtful consideration. They came in mere seconds after Obama stepped away from the podium. That is how close to the top of their minds these sort of depraved ideas linger. These are the kind of commentaries that you can expect from a network whose mission to disparage the President, Democrats, and liberals, takes precedence over honest reporting or even common decency.

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[Update:] Another listening to Tantaros’ remark shows that she said “Where is that Rose Garden press conference after-Benghazi fight and fervor?” She said “after,” not “for.” So apparently she was aware of Obama’s post-Benghazi Rose Garden speech. However, everything noted above still stands with regard to her exploiting the Foley tragedy with an interjection of Benghazi, which had no bearing on it. In fact, this makes it even worse because she is now saying that she wishes that Obama’s response to Foley was more forceful, like after Benghazi. Huh? After Benghazi she, every other GOP/conservative, was adamant that Obama’s response was inadequate. Now, all of sudden, she’s praising Obama’s Benghazi response? There is more than a touch if schizophrenia in this.

FLASHBACK: Sean Hannity Speaks Out Against A “Government Gone Wild”

It was just four months ago that Fox News was covering the “second American revolution” at the ranch of tax-cheat Cliven Bundy. While the network was uniformly supportive of Bundy’s refusal to pay customary grazing fees, it was Sean Hannity who took the lead, featuring Bundy on his program numerous times, heralding him as a hero, and fiercely defending the militia movement’s embrace of armed opposition to law enforcement.

At that time, in the view of Hannity and other conservatives, it was the feds who were overstepping the bounds of decency and behaved like jackbooted thugs. To them it was the manifestation of a dictatorial state trampling on freedom and crushing liberty. Hannity milked the controversy for everything he could squeeze out in regular segments that he called “Government Gone Wild.”

Fox News Sean Hannity

From the right-wing perspective, the government went wild when it responded to a flagrantly delinquent white man in the cattle business who wants to mooch off of federal lands for free. Bundy has a vested interest in this as he owes over a million dollars in fees. Then, when this businessman assembles a posse of armed militia members to confront the tax collector, Hannity and his ilk line up behind the law-breaker and whine about government overreach. Here’s Hannity to Karl Rove:

“Let’s start with the Cliven Bundy situation. All right, maybe he owes grazing fees money. Do you surround his property with snipers and shooters, sharp shooters and tasers and dogs and 200 agents? Is that the way to handle it?”

“No,” says an obedient Rove. After all, it’s just a measly million dollars in grazing fees. And for the record, the federal agents of the Bureau of Land Management did not arm themselves until after they were confronted by Bundy’s militia who swore to kill those who came to enforce the law.

Jump forward to today and it’s the people going wild. The government is now believed to be acting appropriately by shooting an unarmed teenager to death. And his only crime was an allegation (unconfirmed) that he pocketed a few cigars. Then militarized police confront justifiably angry citizens who have no personal stake in the matter other than to insure that justice is brought to bear.

The presence of urban tanks, assault weapons, riot gear, tear gas, and other aggressive means of crowd control, are not considered to be indicative of a government gone wild anymore. Is it because the victim in this case is a poor, black kid, rather than a well-to-do white rancher?

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Bill O’Reilly: “These People Don’t Want Justice.” And Who Knows “Those People” Better Than O’Reilly?

The turmoil in Ferguson, MO continues as another night of confrontation between residents and police brings tear gas, arrests, and Fox News’ demeaning characterizations of aggrieved protesters. Not surprisingly, the disparaging tone is set by Bill O’Reilly who enjoys nothing more than lecturing African-Americans on the moral decline of their culture. O’Reilly, who is on vacation, called into his own show to tell guest host Eric Bolling that he questions the sincerity of the protesters.

Bill O'Reilly

O’Reilly: “No justice, no peace? These people don’t want justice. What if the facts come out and say it was a justifiable shooting by the police officer? This guy was coming at them. What if they say that? You think these people are gonna accept that? They’re not gonna accept it.”

And there you have it. The definitive analysis by a recognized expert on the psychology of the angry black man. Clearly “those people” don’t want justice. And they won’t accept the results of a fair investigation because thugs like them are unable to employ reason and conduct themselves in a civilized fashion. And who would know better than O’Reilly who personally visited a restaurant in Harlem where he was surprised to learn that African-American patrons weren’t constantly screaming, “M-Fer, I want more iced tea.”

Elsewhere on Fox News, there was a story published on their website about the emergence of a video that Fox regarded as significant. Their headline said “YouTube Video Purportedly Captures Witness Backing Police Version In Ferguson Shooting.” Fox posted a link to the video along with a summary of the parts they considered important.

Fox News Video Backs Cop

For instance, the article reports that the video shows “a possible witness saying [Michael Brown] the unarmed 18-year-old charged at the officer who fired the shots.” That’s a pretty damning allegation, except for the fact that it occurs nowhere in the video. In the actual part of the video (Warning: very graphic content) that they quoted a background voice is heard saying…

(about 6:45) “I mean, the police was in the truck [sic] and he was, like, over the truck,” the man says. “So then he ran, police got out and ran after him. The next thing I know, he comes back towards them. The police had his guns drawn on him.”

There is nothing in there about “charging” the police. That characterization was invented by Fox News. In fact, the video account is consistent with other witnesses who said that Brown ran at first, then stopped and turned toward the officer to surrender. Of course, that version wouldn’t align with Fox’s more theatrical rendition of a raging animal on the attack.

From the outset Fox News has sought to portray Brown as a dangerous, possibly drug-addled, criminal. Likewise, they have cast the protesters in the most negative light. In a remote segment from Ferguson, Fox News reporter Steve Harrigan was particularly insulting, which did not go over well with a bystander.

Harrigan: “This is right now a media event, pure and simple. This is people running towards tear gas, running away from it. The dignified protestors went home at dusk. This is just child’s play right now.”

Bystander: “Say that shit. I don’t give a damn you’re on TV, say that shit,” the unidentified man cursed at Harrigan. “We see this shit every day. This is just child’s play? Who is the child playing with toys? That’s them.”

One has to wonder how Harrigan distinguished the “dignified” protesters from the children. Perhaps he had Bill O’Reilly on his cell phone giving him advice as the night wore on. Because a common thread runs through all of Fox’s programming. Those people are immature, violent, and unreasonable. Just look at how upset they get just because another unarmed black kid was shot by a white police officer. What do they want, justice? Well, no, according to O’Reilly.

Sarah Palin Thinks The Texas D.A. Should Resign Due To A DWI? How About These Folks Too?

America’s foremost authority on quitting public service jobs, Sarah Palin, penned a new Fox News editorial to defend Rick Perry who was just indicted for abuse of power. Like every other Perry advocate, she misconstrues the facts with regard to the indictment. Perry is not being accused of issuing a veto. His alleged crime is abuse of power for attempting to coerce an elected officer to resign under threat of official retaliation.

The editorial is typical of Palin’s tunnel-blind perspective wherein every Republican charged with a crime is a victim of a partisan plot. In this case, she asserts Democrats are out to get Perry, despite the fact that the special prosecutor in charge of the case is a Republican who was appointed by a Republican judge.

Never one to be deterred by facts, Palin continues her rant by focusing on the Travis County District Attorney who Perry was trying to strong-arm out of her job. Rosemary Lehmberg was convicted of a DWI. She pleaded guilty, served her sentence, and pledged not to run for reelection. But Perry wasn’t satisfied and proceeded with his unlawful threat.

Palin isn’t satisfied either. She writes that “The appropriate and honorable thing for this powerful D.A. to do is resign.” Then she spends much of the rest of her opinion piece characterizing Lehmberg as a worthless drunk who has no business in public office. Of course, that’s a decision for the voters to make, not Palin and Perry. But if Palin insists that anyone who has ever been cited for driving under the influence be immediately sacked and run out of town, then I suppose we will shortly see her editorials calling for these Republican politicians to resign at once:

  • Republican U.S. Senator Michael Crapo of Idaho
  • GOP State Sen. Roy Ashburn of California
  • Florida Republican state Rep. Dane Eagle
  • Hinds County, MS Republican Executive Committee Chairman Pete Perry
  • Vermont Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Milne
  • GOP Minnesota Supreme Court candidate Michelle MacDonald
  • Illinois Republican State Rep. Randy Ramey
  • Republican District Attorney Bradley Collins of Jacksonville, FL
  • GOP Maryland Rep. Don Dwyer
  • Idaho state Sen. John McGee
  • Missouri GOP State Representative Tom Burcham
  • Republican Georgia State Representative Ben Harbin
  • And many more…

Sarah Palin

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And if that weren’t bad enough, Palin’s husband Todd has his own drunk driving conviction on his permanent record. But don’t hold your breath waiting for Palin’s next wave of editorials. She has no intention of being consistent. Her only goal is to play defense for Perry and to demonize Democrats.

In that regard I have a little sympathy for her. After all, there are four GOP governors who have recently been subjects of speculation as possible candidates for the Republican nomination for president, who are under indictment or investigation: Perry, Chris Christy, Scott Walker, and Bob McDonnell. Certainly in Palin’s mind they are all innocent victims of liberal conspiracies. So she’s going to have a hell of a time writing editorials absolving all of them of any wrongdoing, and pinning the blame on Democrats.

Racist Guest On Fox News Is Offended That He Might Be Viewed As Racist

This weekend’s episode of MediaBuzz on Fox News featured a segment about the press coverage of the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager, by a Ferguson, MO police officer. Host Howard Kurtz booked Joe Concha, a conservative from Mediaite, and Keli Goff, a liberal from The Root, to debate the media’s performance during the aftermath of the shooting (video below).

Fox News

Concha immediately went into a defensive posture from the comfort of his TV studio. He took the side of law enforcement against the reporters who have been exposing the realities in the field, at great personal risk, where a militarized police department was harassing reporters and tormenting the residents they are sworn to serve.

Concha’s tirade began by condemning Wes Lowery, a Washington Post reporter who was arrested for doing his job. Concha accused Lowery of deliberately provoking the arrest and backed up his assertion by saying that Lowery’s media appearances afterward proved his self-interest.

Concha: “And here’s how you know that this was all about Wes Lowery expanding his television career. Right after he was released from custody, It was all about Tweeting out, calling Maddow Now (whatever that is), going on national television, went on CNN, MSNBC after that, Fox News as well. This was a media tour, Howie, that was only rivaled by Hillary Clinton’s. All in the effort to give Wes Lowery’s byline a microphone, a future career, and nothing more.”

Zing! Concha managed to slip in a slap at Hillary Clinton while defaming a reporter who is actually engaged in the practice of journalism, as opposed to Concha who is engaged in the practice of character assassination. And not even Kurtz would abide Concha’s slander and ignorance of the profession.

Kurtz: Alright, I think that’s unfair. Wes Lowery is a good, solid reporter. He was deluged with requests to appear on TV, including from me. He only did a few of those. I don’t think this was as self-promotional as you do.”

When a reporter is arrested while covering a news story with national prominence, that is in itself newsworthy. It is not proper or ethical for the police to target journalists in an effort to prevent them from gathering and providing information about matters of public interest. Apparently Concha thinks otherwise. Keli Goff eloquently explained why it so important to have reporters on the scene covering everything that occurs, including police misconduct.

Goff: “With all due respect to Joe, I would hate to hear the kind of criticism he would have doled out about fifty or sixty years ago to the reporters who may have been a little slow to pack up their gear when they were covering another crisis, which was known as the civil rights movement.

Goff correctly pointed out that there were a lot of reporters who were assaulted during the civil rights movement and that they risked their lives due to their commitment to keep the people informed. She described Concha’s criticism of Lowery’s efforts to record the police officers as bizarre. And she went further to say that it would be irresponsible to NOT record such activity.

Next Kurtz raised the question of whether the volume of coverage was exacerbating the tensions in Ferguson. Concha quickly agreed that the television networks and the Internet were “fueling the flames” and then focused his criticism on MSNBC’s Al Sharpton, who went to Ferguson to beseech the protesters to remain peaceful. Then Concha began an exchange that reveals much about what is wrong with television news coverage.

Concha: “The bottom line is that it is now a cottage industry when a white cop shoots a black kid. Or, we saw it with Trayvon Marin last year, CNN, HLN quadrupled their ratings because of these sort of events. And ISIS and Gaza is happening somewhere overseas. This is domestic. A cheap and easy narrative. And that’s why we’ve seen the coverage go where it has.”

Goff: You call it a cottage industry, those of us who have African-American men in our family consider it a crisis, Joe. It must be nice to have an experience in this country where you can dismiss it as simply coverage.”

Concha: “You don’t get to do that to me, Keli. You’re calling me a racist on national television?”

Huh? When exactly did Goff call Concha a racist? It is telling that Concha perceived this imaginary insult and used it to flip the whole segment to one where Goff was doing something to him. After belittling the significance of the shooting of Mike Brown, Concha is now the making himself the victim. This is where Kurtz jumped in to tell Concha that Goff had not called him a racist. Concha later apologized for “overreacting” with regard to the charge of racism, but he never apologized for the underlying remarks dismissing the shooting, disparaging the reporters covering it, and referring to coverage as “cheap and easy.”

It’s a good thing that Goff was there to counter the insensitivity and aversion to ethical journalism as represented by Concha. And it’s a good reminder of why it’s necessary to not only have journalists in the field who are devoted to informing the public, but to have them in the studio as well to smackdown jerkwads like Concha.

Shameless self-promotion…
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