Is Rupert Murdoch A Climate Change Denier Or A Senile Old Schmuck?

One of the most frustrating features of our time is just how oblivious some people are to the advances in knowledge that our times provide. What could be more annoying than having to suffer fools who think that facts are debatable? And it’s bad enough when those encounters are with ignorant Tea Party clods, but the annoyance factor soars when the idiocy emanates from someone who is considered to be accomplished, intelligent and/or educated.

Rupert Murdoch - Stephen Colbert

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Which brings us to the CEO of the media empire that controls (and distorts) much of the world’s news. It would be hard to portray Rupert Murdoch as an ignorant man. He is a billionaire who built a small Australian billboard advertising company into an international news and entertainment conglomerate. So what would possess him to tweet this chunk of hogwash yesterday?

“Just flying over N Atlantic 300 miles of ice. Global warming!”

The inherent stupidity of that thought transcends reason. Murdoch, it is assumed, knows that it is currently winter, a seasonal phase that generally produces icy conditions in the northern hemisphere. The fact that some portion of the ocean is frozen over in February is not particularly surprising to most people with an IQ higher than the temperature. Murdoch is seriously expressing a concept that Stephen Colbert brilliantly articulated as a joke:

“Global warming isn’t real because I was cold today! Also great news: World hunger is over because I just ate.”

But the dumbness factor is not even over for Murdoch. His observation of an icy Atlantic Ocean was made without any context whatsoever. Why does he think it is significant that there is 300 miles of ice? His inference is that there is more than enough ice to disprove the overwhelming scientific consensus that the planet is warming. But he doesn’t seem to grasp the notion that the ice he is witnessing is actually far less than there was a few short years ago. What’s more, the global climate could increase incrementally but still be low enough for ice to form. If the sea temperature went from 28 degrees to 30 degrees there would still be ice in the sea, and the climate would still be warming.

So what could lead a presumably intelligent person to make such an obviously idiotic statement? Especially when the same person has previously taken positions on climate change that were far more reasonable. Is it hypocrisy, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s? Murdoch has warned that Climate Change poses “a catastrophic threat,” but also bragged about his companies achieving carbon neutrality. Simultaneously, his Fox News, and other international media outlets, have produced the most highly misinformed populations on this subject and many others. [See Global Climate Enemy Number One: Rupert Murdoch]

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The glaring contradictions in Murdoch’s public stance on these matters is cause for alarm. Not only is he doing immense damage to the gullible members of the public who ingest his propaganda, but he is exhibiting signs of mental failure that should worry his family. Of course, the problems associated with his personal health are limited to those who care for him. However, his poisoning the minds of millions of people around the world is dangerously irresponsible. And just as troubling is the fact that he can do that in a manner that casts him as an imbecile, but so many people still buy into it. We are in big, friggin’ trouble if this keeps up.

Now THIS is Comedy: The Conservative Political A-Hole Conference (CPAC)

The annual parade of wingnuttery known as the Conservative Political Action Conference has been steaming along for a couple of days now. Most of the star attractions have had their say and the general message that we can take away from the affair is that President Obama is an Islamic terrorist, Hillary Clinton is an old liberal, and ObamaCare, Common Core, the IRS, and immigrants must all be abolished.

How’s that for an electoral platform for 2016? It’s pretty much the same agenda that has been broadcast on Fox News for the past six years. And the clapping conservo-bots in the CPAC conference hall responded precisely the way they were trained to respond. Not a single speaker said anything new or insightful. It was hour after hour of regurgitated right-wing dogma, and it absolutely thrilled the glassy-eyed audience who couldn’t have been more predictable if they were hooked up to a machine.

GOP Dream Team

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However, just for the sake of entertainment, there were a couple of moments that deserve some special attention. And it wasn’t Ted Cruz whining about ObamaCare, or Sarah Palin pretending to support the troops, or Scott Walker comparing American working people to terrorists, or Ben Carson calling for unity after saying that, because of liberals, America is very much like Nazi Germany. None of those easily foreseeable sentiments earn much more than a yawn. But there was some unintentional comedy displayed at the conference.

First of all, we have Duck Dynasty’s patriarch Phil Robertson. This long-haired, bearded, headbanded, camo-clad freak took a swipe at hippies. Has he ever seen one (or looked in the mirror)? Somehow that clean living, nature loving subculture that faded into obscurity forty years ago is to blame for every sexually transmitted disease in America today. Now that’s a powerful message for a 21st century Republican Party.

Robertson was invited to the conference to receive the Andrew Breitbart Defender of the First Amendment Award, which is not even worth the time or energy to make fun of. In his remarks Robertson divided the nation into the pious patriots for whom the Constitution was written and “any other” treasonous sinners who are not entitled to its liberties:

“You know what’s happened GOP? We’ve got too many “any others” in the White House. It [the Constitution] wasn’t written for them. […] Stand on the Bible, stand on the Constitution, don’t budge. Hold on to your weapons. That’s what brought us here. We had to have all three to run the Brits back to where they came from.”

Let’s just set aside the divisive elitism that Robertson evokes in order to elevate himself above those he regards as his inferiors. Robertson’s assertion that we needed the Bible, weapons and the Constitution to beat back the British has a glaring flaw. There was no Constitution until four years after the Revolutionary War was won and over. And the British also had weapons and the same Bible, but it didn’t lead them to victory.

The other moment of hilarity was the speech by Donald Trump, the reality TV show host who is so bad at real estate that he couldn’t profitably run a casino (a casino!), and has declared bankruptcy four times. Trump, as usual, spent his time bragging and promoting himself as the bestest, toughest, smartest, conservativest person in the room. He said that he is 80% sure that he is running for president. You could still make a bundle betting against it. He will pull out as soon as he is asked to release his financial statements.

Trump ventured back into the birtherism that he has long espoused. He claimed that Obama “wrote a book when he was a young man and it said born in Kenya.” That’s a flat-out lie. Trump also bragged that he was responsible for Obama releasing his birth certificate. That’s a flat-out lie. Then he bleated “Now we have to find out whether or not it was real.” So Trump is still a full-bore birther. Funny, he has never told us what happened to his team of investigators that he claimed he sent to Hawaii. Does he ever get tired of making a fool of himself? What’s worse is that there was a room full of people who applauded his raving madness.

If you thought that 2012 was fun, with its circus of right-wing loonies, you aint seen nothing yet. 2016 is already shaping up to be even wingnuttier. I really can’t wait for the campaign season to get started.

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Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

To Rachel Maddow: Fox News Doesn’t Give A Fig About Bill O’Reilly’s Lies And Threats

The scandal engulfing Fox News, and its star blowhard Bill O’Reilly, is picking up steam as well as new allegations of dishonesty and flagrant self-glorification. The latest episodes of O’Reilly inventing harrowing journalistic adventures include his false assertion that he was present at the suicide of a figure associated with the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and his claim to have witnessed nuns being executed in El Salvador.

The initial response to the evidence that O’Reilly repeatedly lied about his experiences in Argentina as a “war zone” correspondent “in the Falklands” was to launch an attack on the reporters who exposed him and the so-called “liberal” media overall. He called them “liars, guttersnipes,” and “far-left zealots.” Even worse, when approached by a reporter from the New York Times he warned her that if he was unhappy with the story “I am coming after you with everything I have. You can take it as a threat.”

Bill O'Reilly

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Last night on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show, the issue was raised to inquire as to whether O’Reilly’s turpitude might disturb his employers or colleagues (video below). Maddow did an excellent job of explaining the events that led up to O’Reilly’s threats, but then she entertained the following scenario:

“Fox News has a bunch of folks like Mr. O’Reilly on their shows. It’s part of why I call them Republican TV. But they also have a lot of real reporters on staff who do real reporting all day long on real news. They have White House correspondents, and congressional reporters, and even media reporters. And I’m sure they don’t take kindly when their own reporters get threatened for trying to do their jobs. But it is hard to imagine what this is going to do to the work environment at Fox News Channel for the Fox News Channel’s real reporters, and they do have them.”

Maddow surely has decent intentions in characterizing Fox News as a network that employs real reporters. However, there is scant evidence that it is true. Their main anchor, Bret Baier, presides over a daily roasting of President Obama. Their chief White House correspondent, Ed Henry, is a deeply biased right-winger with open hostility to the President. Their media analyst, Howard Kurtz, went out of his way to defend O’Reilly in an embarrassing display that evoked either fear or fawning or both.

But one thing in particular that Maddow said was way off the mark. It is not hard at all to imagine what this is going to do to the work environment at Fox News. It isn’t going to do a damn thing. As fake news guy Jon Stewart correctly pointed out: “No one’s watching [O’Reilly] for the actual truth.” And referencing O’Reilly’s “No Spin Zone” tag line Stewart noted that “Misrepresenting the zone he is in is kind of his hook.”

Fox News is a network born of deceit and devoted to the dissemination of propaganda. They couldn’t care less if they are discovered to be distorting reality because that is what they were created to do. Their founder and CEO, Roger Ailes, has no scruples when it comes to stuffing his roster with partisan clowns, as evidenced by the existence of Steve Doocy, Sean Hannity, Judge Jeanine Pirro, Donald Trump, Elizabeth Hasselbeck, Keith Ablow, and, of course, Bill O’Reilly.

When some of his mouthpieces began to fray at the edges of sanity, Ailes admitted to keeping them on the air long after he had determined that they were detrimental with justifications that were purely political. The reason Ailes gave for putting off Beck’s departure was that he “didn’t want to give MoveOn and Media Matters the satisfaction.” And with regard to why he re-signed Sarah Palin after first letting her contract expire, he said that he hired her back to “piss off the people that wanted her dead.” How does that comport with the production of “real news.”

As for O’Reilly, he is a known ratings winner who satisfies the lust for wingnut outrage that boils in the withering hearts of the Fox News audience. Ailes isn’t going to risk that without some intense pressure being applied, and maybe not even then. He knows that O’Reilly is a hate monger whose persona is dripping with animus and ego. A study done a few years back by Indiana University revealed the depth of O’Reilly’s bullying attitude:

“The IU researchers found that O’Reilly called a person or a group a derogatory name once every 6.8 seconds, on average, or nearly nine times every minute during the editorials that open his program each night.”

Consequently, Fox News is well aware of how O’Reilly behaves and they approve. The only thing that might impact their decision to stand by him is if advertisers bail out in droves, which is what happened to Glenn Beck. And then they still kept his show on for a period of time to avoid looking like they caved in. In O’Reilly’s case, they would more likely announce his retirement after some twenty years on the network. It would then be announced that he would produce occasional specials and continue to write books about killing people. Which is an especially appropriate legacy for a bully like him to pursue.

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Media Matter and MoveOn have a petition calling for Fox News to Hold Bill O’Reilly Accountable. Go add your name to it and let the advertiser community know that America’s television viewers aren’t going to stand for this.

Donald Rumsfeld Resurfaces On Fox News To Remind Everyone Why We Stopped Listening To Him

The cable “news” network best known for serving up obvious lies; for its open hostility toward President Obama and other Democrats; and for its flagrant dumbing down of every issue, has reached out to the architect of the Iraq debacle for analysis and advice on how to move forward in the horrific environment that he was so instrumental in creating.

Fox News Donald Rumsfeld

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Donald Rumsfeld was the Secretary of Defense during the Bush years who gave us “shock and awe,” and “long, hard slogs,” and “known unknowns.” His prosecution of the war on terror left the Middle East a broken region ripe for exploitation by militarized radicals. So obviously his opinion of where we go from here would be highly valued by the propagandists at Fox News who believe that if we call the terrorists “Islamic” they will fall apart (Even though that is exactly what they want us to call them).

Rumsfeld was invited to appear on Neil Cavuto’s program to discuss some of the recent developments in the war on terror, including reports of threats against domestic shopping malls. Cavuto characteristically treated Rumsfeld gently, providing opportunities for him to ramble on in his trademark fashion. Early in the interview Cavuto birthed this freakish inquiry:

“What do you think of that, that we’re making too big a deal out of ISIS, that they’re thugs, that they’re murderers, that they’re butchers, that they burn people alive, that they take their heads off, they kill Christians, but we’re assigning far greater importance to them than is warranted and responding far more differently than we should.”

Wow. That was some loaded question. Did Cavuto leave anything out? The terrorists also rape and pillage, and I’m pretty sure they don’t floss. Despite the massive girth of the question, Rumsfeld bit into it hungrily saying…

“Well, I was gonna start to say it’s nonsense but I would rephrase it to say it’s not credible. I mean the fact of the matter is, cutting off the heads of people is something that needs to be reported. And I would have to add that I think the United States government, over a period of a good number of years now, has been rather inept in dealing with this problem from an ideological sense.”

Setting aside the fact that nobody has suggested banning all reporting of terrorist activities, Rumsfeld’s response latched onto that straw-man argument just long enough to disparage the United States government during the “good number of years” that he hasn’t been screwing it up. He continued saying that…

“What we do is we don’t recognize that the terrorists have media committees. They sit down and figure what they can do that will call attention to them. And they are right. It does call attention to the ISIS and the Al Qaeda, and the terrorist activities. The fact that somebody goes in and blows up a shopping center or shopping mall is newsworthy, and blaming it on the fact that it’s reported is utter nonsense.”

Wait a minute. I thought he wasn’t going to call it nonsense. Maybe it’s just a known non unknown sense. But more to the point, Rumsfeld is arguing that the terrorists are adept at manipulating the media to achieve their goals. Whether it be recruiting, or intimidating their foes, or promoting their alleged successes, Rumsfeld is keenly aware that the media is being used as tool by savvy propagandists. Nevertheless, he immediately reverses his point by concluding that the media is in no way to blame for doing precisely what he just blamed the media for doing.

He was right the first time. The media does play right into the hands of the terrorists with relentless repetition of their PR. While responsible coverage of significant events is the duty of the press, endless redundancy only helps the bad guys to get their message out. It’s free advertising in the biggest and most valuable media market in the world. And Rumsfeld made those remarks on the only major television network to post the full propaganda video of the Jordanian pilot that ISIL burned alive.

After mangling his answer to the previous question, Rumsfeld was asked by Cavuto “What would you do differently that we’re not seeing now?” His response was no more coherent than the one he just concluded.

“I think we have to decide what we can do effectively and what we can’t do effectively. And we can’t nation-build. We haven’t solved the problem of the poverty in our own country. The idea that we can solve the poverty around the world, and until such time as we do, that we have to sit back and take terrorist attacks is silly. That’s just not the case.

“It seems to me you do what you do well, and what we do well is – obviously no one’s going to compete with us during this period with our Army, Navy, or Air Forces. They look for weaknesses, and the weakness that exists is real. We are vulnerable. As a modern country, as an open country, as a free people, we are vulnerable.”

And there you have it. The only thing that we do well is wage war. Consequently, Rumsfeld’s advice is to continue in an endless military campaign against stateless terrorists who are perfectly satisfied to martyr themselves in suicide missions. That’s what he says needs to be done that is different than we’re not seeing now. How it’s different he doesn’t bother to say. And since the U.S. has led a coalition for the past six months that has conducted thousands of airstrikes, killing more than 6,000 terrorist fighters, the difference is hard to detect.

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This interview with Rumsfeld is just another brick in the wall of stupid that Fox News is building. It doesn’t contribute to any realistic solution. It doesn’t even make sense from one sentence to the next. And contrary to their BS sloganeering about fairness and balance, there will be no rebuttal to Rumsfeld’s foolishness. But you can rely on Fox to continue promoting the ends of the terrorists with every new atrocity that they commit. Unfortunately, there will be new atrocities, and when there are, Fox News will edit them into a loop and run them for days on end. And the terrorists will send them thank you cards.

Who Hates America? Here Are Three Haters Who Happily Admit It

Rudy Giuliani’s recent comment that he doesn’t believe that President Obama loves America is just another example of the “othering” of the nation’s first African-American president by the pseudo-patriots of the right. As previously noted here on News Corpse, Giuliani has begun channeling Glenn Beck with increasingly ludicrous right-wing blathering.

However, if you really want to know who hates America, just look to conservative politicians and pundits who actually come right out and admit to it. In fact, it’s getting to be a regular thing with them.

Beginning with the latest diss on America by the noted war-mongering senator, John McCain, who said that he is “Ashamed of my country.”

John McCain Ashamed

But before that there was Sean Hannity, the Fox News patriopath, who wanted us to know that he is “Humiliated for my country.”

Sean Hannity Dumbass

And who can forget Rush Limbaugh informing us all that he too is “Ashamed of my country.”

Rush Limbaugh

Do you notice a pattern? And all of this explicitly articulated despising of America is coming from the same people who constantly complain that liberals and Democrats are insufficiently worshipful of this nation’s alleged exceptionalism (which is just a made up word for supremacy). This language would be regarded as treasonous were it to come from anyone on the left. First Lady Michelle Obama was virtually tarred and feathered for merely expressing her pride in how far America had come after the election of her husband.

So now it’s open season on America for conservatives. And they aren’t going to let any opportunity to disparage the country get by. But just let a liberal try to offer even mild criticism and all hell will break loose. We are definitely living in Bizarro World.

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Rudy Giuliani Channels Glenn Beck: Obama Is A Communist Alinsky-ite Who Hates America

The controversy over remarks by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani have taken a turn for the absurd. Last week Giuliani spoke at an event for Wisconsin Governor and prospective Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker. During the affair he charged into a rhetorical minefield by questioning the patriotism of President Obama saying…

“I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America. He doesn’t love you, and he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.”

So he doesn’t love you, and he doesn’t love me, and he doesn’t love his green eggs or ham or country. As for whether Obama was brought up like Giuliani, it’s clear that he was not. After all, Obama’s father was not a felon and mob loanshark like Giuliani’s. And his family values resulted in him staying married to the same woman, rather than, like Giuliani, cheating on his wives of which he’s had three so far.

You have to wonder why Giuliani would continue talking after admitting that he was about to say something horrible. But he, like many of his pals on the far-right, has adopted the tactic of “othering” the President – the practice of portraying Obama as different, foreign, even treasonous, but always as something removed from the American experience and people, and viscerally opposed to American values. Never mind that a majority of the American people voted for him twice.

Giuliani’s subsequent remarks defending himself went even further. He is now mimicking the fringy slander of everyone’s favorite delusional conspiracy theorist, Glenn Beck. You may recall Beck’s attempt to brand the President as not particularly fond of America when he told Fox News that…

“This president, I think, has exposed himself as a guy, over and over and over again, who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.”

Rudy Giuliani - Glenn Beck

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Beck went on to spin paranoid fantasies about Obama’s past that painted him as a child of a communist sleeper cell with subversives as nannies and revolutionaries as tutors. Now Giuliani is weaving the same tales. He told Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post that the nine year old Obama “was influenced by Frank Marshall Davis, who was a communist.” He raised the specter of Saul Alinsky, a favorite bogeyman of Beck’s, saying that he too was “another bad influence” on the future president. He resurrected the Rev. Jeremiah Wright from the wingnut graveyard of yesterday’s smears and said that “Obama never left that church,” which might be an interesting point except for the fact that he very publicly left way back in June of 2008, before he was president.

Giuliani is reading straight out of Becks hymnal. Whatever anyone thought of Giuliani before, there is no escaping the fact that he is now no more credible than the fruitcake that was even too nutty for Fox News. But Giuliani has his own trail to blaze. He’s convinced that his comments cannot be racist because Obama’s mother was white. That, of course, counteracts any racial effect arising from the color of his skin. Giuliani even has his own death threats to brag about, stealing Beck’s Messiah complex and making himself the victim in all of this. Nevertheless, he heralds his own heroism as he congratulates himself because…

“Somebody has to raise these issues with the president. Somebody has to have the courage to stand up.”

Exactly. And it was Glenn Beck who stood up six years ago to trumpet this nonsense. He was joined by Alex Jones, Donald Trump, Michelle Bachmann, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, and more conservative crackpots than you can count. But Giuliani apparently thinks there’s still time to join the parade and he’s determined to worm his way to the front of it. Well, he’s making a good start.

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Fox News Helps Bill O’Reilly Defend His Combat Lies By Lying Even More

[Be sure to see this update (2/22/15) with O’Reilly’s interview on Fox’s MediaBuzz]

Two weeks ago News Corpse reported that Bill O’Reilly had committed substantially the same sins of historical “embellishment” that got NBC’s Brian Williams a six month suspension. He said on numerous occasions that he had been personally involved in combat situations where his life was at risk. None of it was true.

Fox News Bill O'Reilly

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This week David Corn of Mother Jones did a more in-depth article that documented additional instances of O’Reilly misrepresenting his war reporting. Corn’s piece was a fair investigation into O’Reilly’s own accounts of his past that significantly differ from reality. It’s a must read to understand the full measure of O’Reilly’s dishonesty.

Not surprisingly, Fox News and O’Reilly himself are hitting back hard to dispute Corn’s well researched article. O’Reilly has resorted to the most childish sort of response by calling Corn names such as “guttersnipe, irresponsible, liar,” and that old O’Reilly stand-by, “far left zealot.” What he never does is refute a single charge made in the article with any facts. The whole of O’Reilly’s defense is his insistence that “Everything I’ve reported about my journalistic career is true.” If that’s so, then why doesn’t he prove it?

The Fox Nation posted an advance transcript of O’Reilly’s Talking Points Memo that he delivers at the start of every broadcast. This is possibly the first time that has ever been done, which speaks to the gravity of this problem and how seriously O’Reilly considers the potential fallout. In the transcript O’Reilly repeats the insults aimed at Corn that he previously gave to reporters and adds more invective directed to his publisher, saying “Mother Jones … which has low circulation … considered by many the bottom rung of journalism in America.”

The “many” to which O’Reilly refers is likely his family and the dimwits who watch his program. In the real world Mother Jones is a respected publication that has distinguished itself by winning numerous journalism awards including honors from the National Press Club, The PEN American Center, American Society of Magazine Editors, Society of Professional Journalists, Online News Association, and a 2012 George Polk Award for Corn’s investigation of the now famous 47% speech by Mitt Romney. The Polk Award may have provided the harshest sting because it is one that O’Reilly was caught lying about having received himself. It was now-Sen. Al Franken who exposed that O’Reilly fib.

Rushing to O’Reilly’s aid is Fox’s media analyst and host of MediaBuzz, Howard Kurtz. In an article posted to the Fox News website, Kurtz whitewashes O’Reilly’s self-mythologizing by asserting that “the Mother Jones piece appears to turn on semantics.” Then Kurtz posts some of O’Reilly’s false statements that are not remotely semantic in nature. For instance:

–In a 2001 book, O’Reilly said: “I’ve reported on the ground in active war zones from El Salvador to the Falklands.”

–In a Washington panel discussion, O’Reilly said: “I’ve covered wars, okay? I’ve been there. The Falklands, Northern Ireland, the Middle East. I’ve almost been killed three times, okay.”

–In a 2004 column, O’Reilly wrote: “Having survived a combat situation in Argentina during the Falklands war, I know that life-and-death decisions are made in a flash.”

Kurtz writes that in these statements “the dispute comes down to O’Reilly’s shorthand use of the Falklands and the term “war zone.” Huh? What on Earth does that mean? Is Kurtz excusing outright lies with the explanation that O’Reilly was using the lies as shorthand for the truth, and therefore it’s OK?

It’s clear from the statements that Kurtz himself referenced that O’Reilly had put himself “on the ground in active war zones,” and said that he was “there…in the Falklands,” and that he “survived a combat situation in Argentina.” Since there was no combat anywhere in Argentina other than on the Falkland Islands, O’Reilly is implying that that’s where he was. Which he wasn’t. He also was not in Argentina “during the Falklands war,” but arrived after it was over.

Kurtz ignored all of these obviously mis-factual statements in order to absolve O’Reilly of any guilt. Later Kurtz writes that “Corn’s own piece largely backs up O’Reilly’s account of the dangerous situation.” No, actually, it does not. Corn did point out that some of the statements O’Reilly made were corroborated by other accounts, but he never came close to dismissing the multiple assertions by O’Reilly (like those above) that were blatantly false.

In the end Kurtz attempted an awkward exoneration of O’Reilly by claiming that Corn’s reporting was “a far cry from a bogus claim of having been shot down in a helicopter.” How so? By any fair standard O’Reilly’s remarks that placed him in harm’s way on a battlefield (“almost been killed three times”) are at least three times worse than Williams’ mis-remembering of a single event.

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

O’Reilly’s lies are a repulsive attempt to exalt himself and his faux bravado. He has repeated these lies for decades in books, on television, and in personal appearances, and now, even after being caught, he refuses to apologize. If anyone deserves to be suspended for an extended period of time, it’s O’Reilly. But he has nothing to worry about on that score. Fox News has never acquitted itself in a respectable manner, particularly when it comes to journalistic integrity. They aren’t about to start now.

However, the stain O’Reilly leaves has now spread to Howard Kurtz, whose groveling and desperate defense is deceitful, unethical, and embarrassing. He should be suspended as well for aiding and abetting O’Reilly’s fraudulent fabrications. Of course, Kurtz will also escape accountability. It’s a perk that comes with working for Fox News. Unscrupulous dishonesty will never be a cause for punishment. At Fox News it is more likely to earn a promotion.

UPDATE: The festering ego we know as Bill O’Reilly came to his own rescue last night by devoting a chunk of his program to piling on more lies about his war reporting. He recruited his pals Bernie Goldberg and Geraldo Rivera as his character witnesses. Meanwhile, actual war correspondents are coming forward to criticize O’Reilly and veterans groups are calling for Fox News to take O’Reilly off the air:

VoteVets: “NBC acted completely appropriately in taking Brian Williams off the air and looking into claims he’s made over the years. Fox News has to do the same thing. […] Men and women have fought, died, been wounded, and scarred by war. There are many journalists who actually were in the crossfire, who died, trying to bring the story to the American people. What Bill O’Reilly has done is steal their valor, and it is wrong.”

The Queen Of Astroturf Doesn’t Know The Meaning Of Astroturf

When Sharyl Attkisson left CBS over her flagrant insertion of conservative political bias into the stories she covered, she might have tried to rehabilitate her decaying reputation by affiliating herself with a credible news organization. Instead, she immediately signed up with Fox News (not exactly the place to prove your aren’t shilling for the right) and took a position with the The Daily Signal, the pseudo-news Internet outlet run by the ultra-rightist Heritage Foundation.

Media Circus

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Her post-CBS work has mainly been limited to three areas of shameless whining: 1) Bashing those in her past that she felt had discriminated against her freedom to propagandize; 2) Promoting her anti-Obama diatribe “Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington;” and 3) Telling paranoid (and ultimately debunked) tales of being spied on by shadowy, unnamed enemies in the government determined to destroy her professionally and personally.

Continuing her transparently prejudiced crusade against a select group of imagined adversaries, Attkisson has published her list of “The Top 10 Astroturfers.” In the process she has demonstrated that she is viscerally determined to persist in slandering her perceived foes. What’s more, she is proving that she doesn’t have any idea what Astroturfing is. For the record, here is the generally recognized definition of this neologism:

Astroturf: An apparently grassroots-based citizen group or coalition that is primarily conceived, created and/or funded by corporations, industry trade associations, political interests or public relations firms. It seeks to disguise a powerful special interest as a popular movement.

On that basis, here is Attkisson’s list:

  1. Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Everytown
  2. Media Matters for America
  3. University of California Hastings Professor Dorit Rubenstein Reiss and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Dr. Paul Offit
  4. “Science” Blogs such as: Skeptic.com, Skepchick.org, Scienceblogs.com (Respectful Insolence), Popsci.com and SkepticalRaptors.com
  5. Mother Jones
  6. Salon.com and Vox.com
  7. White House press briefings and press secretary Josh Earnest
  8. Daily Kos and The Huffington Post
  9. CNN, NBC, New York Times, Politico and Talking Points Memo (TPM)
  10. MSNBC, Slate.com, Los Angeles Times and Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times, MSNBC and Jon Stewart.

There is not a single group on the list that meets the definition of an Astroturf enterprise. The one that comes closest is Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense due to its relationship with another group founded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. However, MDA was started by an actual mom in Indiana and has a membership of more than 150,000. The rest of the list is patently absurd.

Media Matters is a watchdog group that documents conservative bias in the media. It does not lobby any government entity, organize citizens to demonstrate, or otherwise engage in social activism. However, it is one of Attkisson’s most effective critics and thus won the number two slot on the list.

The U.C. professor and Children’s Hospital have worked on educating the public about the importance of vaccinations. Apparently that has stirred Attkisson’s ire. Also in this category are a few science-related blogs. However, Attkisson doesn’t explain why they should be on the list other than because they have a point of view. She never even bothers to try to connect them to some well-heeled benefactor. In any case, universities, hospitals, and independent blogs are not Astroturfers by any stretch of the imagination.

The most well-represented group on the list are media enterprises. They range from mainstream outlets like CNN, NBC, and the New York Times, to established magazines and Internet sites like Mother Jones, Salon, and Politico, to more alternative sources like Daily Kos, and the Huffington Post. The only conceivable reason for Attkisson citing these media players on her list is that they are all regarded by conservatives like herself as left-leaning, and therefore deserving of her wrath. But they are certainly not Astroturf.

Attkisson really goes off the rails by including the White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest and the Daily Show’s Jon Stewart on the list. How can anyone define either of them as faux grassroots-based citizen groups backed by wealthy special interests? More than any other people or groups on the list, these two show that Attkisson cannot be taken seriously.

Attkisson describes her list as “an informal, non-scientific survey.” Her footnote reveals that “the results represent 169 Twitter respondents who answered a public query either directly or through direct message.” What could possibly be more ludicrous as a sampling of opinion than a tiny group of respondents to her own Tweet? Is Atkisson purposely sabotaging her reputation in a public spectacle of professional suicide? The remainder of her commentary accompanying the list essentially redefines Astroturfing to fit her personal enemies list. It’s like dieters defining cupcakes as vegetables so they can eat more of them.

If she wants some examples of bona fide Astroturfers, she need look no further than her employer the Heritage Foundation, which began as a right-wing think tank, but with new leadership provided by former Republican senator Jim DeMint, it has become a full-fledged factory for fake activism. Under DeMint’s tenure it launched the Daily Signal which publishes highly biased articles including those by its new correspondent, Sharyl Attkisson.

Other Astroturfers include the Tea Party Express, which was founded by a Republican public relations firm and is notorious for funneling nearly all of the donations it receives back into its own pockets. Karl Rove’s American Crossroads. Numerous Koch brothers funded entities like Americans for Prosperity, FreedomWorks, Generation Opportunity, The LIBRE Initiative, Concerned Veterans for America, and many more. Even Sarah Palin has joined the con game with her Super PAC and the subscription Internet site she launched that often has no content for days on end. In all of these cases there is little evidence of public support, but massive bankrolling by wealthy conservative rainmakers.

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Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
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A recent study by a conservative news organization highlighted the rampant corruption in many of the right-wing Astroturf enterprises and political action committees. The Washington Post reported that…

“Right Wing News released a report on a group of conservative PACs that took in millions of dollars in contributions in 2014, ostensibly for the purpose of electing Republicans, but spent almost none of it on actual political activity. Instead, the money went into the pockets of the people who run the PACs and their associates.”

This appears to be the rule, and not the exception. And part of why it becomes so easy to rip-off the ignorant wingnut community is that fakers like Attkisson permit the scams to proceed without consequence. By shining her spotlight on an array of organizations that in no way qualify as Astroturf, Attkisson allows the grifters to operate freely while their victims are lost in a maze of false accusations.

An Open Letter To Rush Limbaugh From The Deranged, Literally Insane, Filled With Hatred, Democrat Party Base

Dear Rush,

Have you finally gone completely off your titanium-reinforced, bubble-enclosed, Viagra IV-fitted, rocker? Not that anyone could tell the difference from what you have been spewing for the last quarter century, but your latest tirade is either evidence of a severe thrombotic stroke, or you are deliberately providing late night comedians with new material.

Rush Limbaugh

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Your re-imagining of recent history with regard to the catastrophic falsehoods that were dispensed by the Bush administration in order to justify the invasion of Iraq is simply preposterous. Rather than recognizing the reams of documentation that the Bush administration mislead the nation and the world about “Weapons of Mass Destruction,” you attempt to turn that fact into a lie saying that…

“One of the biggest lies told during the Iraq war was that Bush lied us into war. That lie, that propaganda has done more damage to this nation’s ability to take on legitimate terrorism with confidence and assurity (sic) and defeat it. For however many years the Iraq war went on, every night on Comedy Central, practically every night, the audience there heard about it was all a lie. That Bush lied, people died, Bush Hitler.”

So it’s Comedy Central’s fault that America has failed to eradicate terrorism from the planet? [Damn you Jon Stewart!] And because of them the U.S. military has been drained of its legitimacy and confidence? That’s a pretty nasty remark to make about the heroes who are defending your freedom. Setting aside your contention that “practically every night” they were associating Bush with Hitler (which is more like never on any night), the assignment of responsibility to a cable comedy network for what you believe to be damaging to military readiness should be cause for concern by those who care for you. But you didn’t stop there:

“Every night for whatever number of years, seven years, six years, Comedy Central, Stewart, Colbert, you name it, Bush lied. The mainstream media, every day, every week, Bush lied. What did that do? In the minds of young skulls full of mush, it turned around the Iraq war into a joke, number one. It turned Bush into a joke. It turned the country into a joke, and it told everybody that everything we were doing over there was illegitimate because we had no business being there, that there was no terrorism.”

For your information, Bush didn’t need any help to be turned into a joke. And America’s “Young Skulls Full Of Mush” [YSFOM: The name of my next punk rock band] had the same opinion as most of the rest of the nation about his criminal adventures in the Middle East. We didn’t have any business being there since it had nothing to do with the attacks on 9/11, and all of the evidence presented as validation was fabricated.

For much of your rant you diverted to subjects that had no bearing on your topic. For instance, you found some excuse to complain bitterly that feminist extremists were pushing an agenda that defined all sex in college as rape. I have a disturbing notion that you are subconsciously projecting your own experiences during your truncated college years which, by all indications, were unsuccessful both academically and socially. And when you returned to the harangue of the day, your hostility could no longer be restrained and was loosed with a fury at the innocent and unsuspecting fans of a television comedy channel:

“Many of these people make up the deranged, literally insane, filled with hatred, Democrat Party base. And Obama can’t call it terrorism because his comedian buddies have spent seven years saying it didn’t exist.”

Well that settles it. Now that you have established that the millions of “literally insane” hate-mongering viewers of political satire are the core of the Democratic Party it will be much easier to dismiss them when they point out that your insights about the President are completely without merit. Where, for instance, did you get the idea that Obama’s comments about terrorism were influenced by “his comedian buddies?” Even if that were true, it’s better than being influenced by the terrorists, which is the case for you, Fox News, and other right-wing bloviators.

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

In closing, it is hard to fathom your assertions that the YSFOM ever accused Bush of lying about ISIS since there was no ISIS when Bush was president. Maybe you are conceding the fact that his ill-advised policies resulted in the creation of ISIS and led to a rise in terrorism worldwide. But that would require an assumption that there is still some remnant of sanity in your diseased brain. Lacking any other corroborating evidence of that, it would be safer to assume otherwise.

Yours truly (if you still know what that means),
The Deranged, Literally Insane, Filled With Hatred, Democrat Party Base.
cc: Young Skulls Full Of Mush

Dr. Ben ‘Strangelove’ Carson Advocates Abandoning The Geneva Conventions

One of this year’s official candidates in the Fox News Republican primary for president is former pediatric brain surgeon, Ben Carson. The road to the White House for this neophyte politico has been fraught with embarrassing missteps such as his opinion that America is “very much like Nazi Germany,” and that ObamaCare is “the worst thing in this nation since slavery.”

Ben Carson

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This morning Carson visited his temporarily former employer, Fox News, and spoke with anchor Bill Hemmer about the war on terrorism. Much of the interview consisted of worn out cliches and anachronistic quotes, but eventually Hemmer asked Carson what he would if he were president. Carson said that…

“Our military needs to know that they’re not going be prosecuted when they come back, because somebody has said, ‘You did something that was politically incorrect.’ There is no such thing as a politically correct war. We need to grow up, we need to mature. If you’re gonna have rules for war, you should just have a rule that says no war. Other than that, we have to win. Our life depends on it.”

So the warhawk doctor is proposing that the United States withdraw from the Geneva Conventions. He believes that American soldiers should be free to commit atrocities, war crimes, and other brutalities that are generally associated with our enemies. And if our side does engage in such acts, they should not be held accountable in any way.

Obviously Carson is completely ignorant of the factors that led to the world adopting the Geneva Conventions in the first place. It was not merely a document intended to define humane behavior during wartime (a specious concept to begin with). Its purpose was also to protect Americans from being mistreated and abused by other countries with whom we were in conflict.

Carson’s doctrine of “no rules” would expose Americans, military and otherwise, to torture, cruel prison conditions, humiliation, and execution. And it would not enhance the prosecution of the war on terror in any way. However, it would affirm the image of the United States, in the eyes of many nations, as being hypocritical, untrustworthy, and convinced of its own superiority. These are not traits likely to advance our interests in international diplomacy.

In the end, the Carson doctrine would only harm our ability to defeat the terrorists by alienating our allies and validating the tactics of the enemy. That is a doctrine that is bound to fail, but it is also one that stems from inexperience and the arrogance of the ignorant. Carson is not a deep thinker and his strategies would lead to disaster. Consequently, he will remain one of the GOP’s top candidates for the foreseeable future.

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

UPDATE: Carson was interviewed Monday on NewsmaxTV and went even further to suggest that if the Department of Homeland Security is not funded prior to running out of money this month, then Obama might be guilty of treason. So according to Carson, soldiers should be permitted to commit atrocities without consequence, but Obama should be subject to execution if the GOP’s tactic of holding legislation hostage results in a shutdown. Sheesh!