Viewers Are Drawn To Fox News Like Flies Are Drawn To Bullsh*t (And For The Same Reason)

The Baltimore Sun’s media critic, David Zurawik, wants very badly for his analysis to be taken seriously. But it doesn’t help to burnish his credibility when he makes frequent appearances on Fox News. His objectivity is thrown into question due to the fact that his livelihood in part relies on the network that he is supposed to be reporting on. And whatever shred of objectivity remains was just wiped away by his article pimping what he called “Fox News dominance.”

Fox News McDonalds

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The most shallow observations of the place Fox News holds in the mediasphere are those that herald its ratings as some sort of measure of quality or influence. The truth is that Fox is not the powerhouse news operation that they pretend to be. On their best showing they pull in about three million viewers, which is a pitifully small scrap of the 100 million Americans in the television audience. What’s more, those viewers are not consumers of news so much as they are disciples of a conservative theology seeking affirmation.

Nevertheless, Zurawik’s article, which was picked up by Fox, reads like the Sermon on the Fox News Mount. He begins by inventing a premise that has no basis in reality, saying that…

“Much of the media establishment seems bent on ignoring the incredible ratings success of Fox News.”

Zurawik offers nothing to substantiate that assertion. It is obvious that Fox News has been sitting atop the ratings perch for several years, and everybody knows it. For Zurawik to make this notion that Fox’s ratings are being ignored the foundation for his analysis suggests that he has some sort of ax to grind against the “media establishment” that may be ignoring him.

The big news that Zurawik claims is missing is that Fox News had a couple of ratings successes that he regards as significant. One is that Fox drew more viewers than the network newscasts on election night. That is mainly notable because it something that they almost never do. So why isn’t the news here that the networks routinely slaughter Fox News in the ratings? Zurawik doesn’t address that.

In the process of fluffing Fox, Zurawik revealed his biases by describing MSNBC as being “slavishly devoted to Obama.” However one might feel about the political leanings of MSNBC, for a critic who is writing about Fox to highlight that without also mentioning the slavish devotion of Fox to a far-right ideology is simply journalistic malpractice.

Zurawik continues to explore this fallacy by pretending to be interested in figuring out why Fox is so beloved by such an overwhelming majority of the nation. He advises the need for serious folks like us to…

“…start seriously trying to figure out how and why it has come to pass that Bret Baier and Megyn Kelly matter more to Americans on election night than Brian Williams, Scott Pelley, George Stephanopoulos, Anderson Cooper or Wolf Blitzer.

Of course, as noted above, Bret Baier and Megyn Kelly do not matter more to Americans. they only matter more to the thin slice of zealots who watch what’s on Fox no matter what it is. By far, most Americans were watching something else on election night. In fact. most Americans didn’t even bother to vote that day. Turnout was about 36%, the lowest turnout in over 70 years.

Where Zurawik really goes off the rails is when he tries to explain why fox is, in his mind, so respected.

“I think one of the reasons for this latest evolution of ratings dominance might be that Fox was a far better watchdog on the Obama White House than any other TV news organization.

So the theory here is that by challenging those in power, by taking the heat as a watchdog on behalf of the little people, Fox earned their trust. What makes this absolute nonsense is that Fox was a lapdog during the Bush administration. They were apologists for everything from his mismanagement of the economy by giving the wealthy a big tax cut, to his negligence prior to the terrorist attack on 9/11 (when he ignored an intelligence report that said “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.”), to his launching a war in Iraq that was based on lies.

The people who watch Fox were never interested in a watchdog. They were only interested in having their biases confirmed, and worse, inflamed. Zurawik apparently missed all of that. And he further demonstrated his own bias by declaring that the administration has contempt for Americans and for the truth. But if Americans were to punish anyone for having contempt for the truth, it would be Fox News.

Then Zurawik facetiously offers an alternative theory for Fox News’ success:

“Or maybe, it’s what some critics of Fox say: That those who watch the channel only want to hear one side of the story, and that’s all that Fox gives them. The implication here is that Fox viewers are stupid”

Finally, Zurawik hits on something closer to the real explanation for the one-sided popularity of Fox. It has been revealed in numerous studies that Fox News has an audience that is gravely misinformed. And that result comes from their audience having a cult-like devotion to their brand of disinformation.

In closing, Zurawik makes a disingenuous plea that we “shouldn’t let our biases blind us to the serious media criticism that demands to be done.” The buckets full of irony and gall it took for him to say that would fill a warehouse. His bias is soaking the very article that asks for this consideration. And the fact that he thinks there hasn’t already been scads of serious media criticism on this subject is further evidence of just how distant he is from reality.

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Fox News Responds To Obama’s Immigration Speech: Bitch, Bitch, Bitch

President Obama delivered his address this evening that laid out his proposals for immigration reform. His plan was a balanced collection of enhanced security measures along with the more controversial initiative to delay deportations for family members of citizens.

Obama: We Were Once Strangers Too

The President made an impassioned plea to preserve families and the values that define American character. He supported his authority to take these steps by noting that every president – Republican and Democrat – for the past half century have taken similar actions. And he prevailed upon the Congress to produce legislation that would make permanent reforms and negate entirely the need for this executive action.

And the response from the conservatives who inhabit the Fox News asylum of kneejerk negativity? Well, you can probably guess. There were four main arguments that the right-wing politicians and pundits threw back at the President, and none of them addressed the substance of the issue.

  • One: Obama is overstepping his legal authority and venturing into the realm of an unconstitutional breach of separation of powers. However, most actual legal experts (including Bush’s former Attorney General Michael Mukasey earlier today on Fox News) agree that the specific measures being implemented by Obama are within his authority to take.
  • Two: The president should have waited for Congress to act rather than “going it alone.” But by any objective analysis that would have taken longer than the President has left in office. Congress has shown a distinct disinterest in advancing this issue. There is already a bill that was passed by the Senate on a bipartisan basis that would pass tomorrow in the House if Speaker John Boehner would allow a vote. Don’t hold your breath.
  • Three: They wonder why Obama didn’t get a bill through Congress during the first two years of his first term when Democrats controlled the House and Senate. For the record, Democrats did not have a filibuster proof majority in the Senate for six months after the election while votes were still being counted and contested for Al Franken’s seat in Minnesota. After that there was a full agenda that included health care, recovery from a severe economic collapse, and matters involving the two wars that were still raging in Afghanistan and Iraq. And in the final analysis, it is congress that sets the agenda for what legislation will be taken up, not the President. That’s the same congress that has distinguished itself in the last six years as the least productive in history. More to the point, this has nothing whatsoever to do with the debate today. The only reason it is brought up is to distract from the issue at hand.
  • Four: The Fox contingent accused Obama of hypocrisy for saying in the past that he didn’t have the legal authority to do this, but now he is doing it anyway. However, they are badly conflating two different positions. Obama’s prior remarks correctly stated that he could not assume the authority of congress to make laws such as granting citizenship. But that isn’t what he did today. It is entirely within the President’s purview to instruct his Department of Justice on matters of prosecutorial discretion. Furthermore, it is within his authority direct the law enforcement resources of the Border Patrol and Immigration services.

The problem with Fox News and the GOP is that they complain about the President trying to move forward, but offer no solutions themselves. They allege that he is doing it solely for political purposes. So why don’t they stifle his scheme by passing a bill of their own? Not only would that deny Obama the political high ground they think he is trying to grab, it would nullify the executive action announced today that they so bitterly oppose and believe is unconstitutional. Why do they engage in evasive arguments by reaching back to the President’s earliest days in office, and even before that, to raise irrelevancies that ignore the real issue?

By refusing to act, Congress is demonstrating that all of their whining is no more than a disingenuous and partisan temper tantrum. They prove that they are more interested in having an argument than a solution. Congress has the power to set the course going forward and cast aside what they regard as a presidential power grab, but they won’t exercise it. And until they can explain why, their bitching has to be dismissed as cynical political carping and distraction.

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The Right-Wing Freakout Over An ObamaCare Advisor Is Just More Bullspit

The biggest news for the past few days in the conservative media noise machine has been the remarks of Jonathan Gruber, an M.I.T. economics professor who consulted on the drafting of the Affordable Care Act. Some enterprising wingnut found an old video where Gruber was caught making some extemporaneous, impolitic comments about the passage of the legislation. What he said was that…

“This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure the CBO [Congressional Budget Office] did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. So it’s written to do that. In terms of risk-rated subsidies, in a law that said healthy people are gonna pay in – if it made explicit that healthy people are gonna pay in, sick people get money – it would not have passed. Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to get anything to pass.”

There is no question that such language is damning and an irresistible lure for Republicans salivating at any opportunity to discredit the program and its authors. The problem with the subsequent and expected outcry by the right is that they have entirely misrepresented both the facts and Gruber’s role.

obamacare-conservatives-lie

Contrary to the incessant mantra, Gruber was not the “architect” of ObamaCare. He was one of many consultants to the White House and he served in the same position when Mitt Romney implemented an almost identical bill in Massachusetts. And while his words were poorly chosen, his meaning was not particularly controversial. He was merely pointing out the difficulty of persuading people who often have conflicting interests in enhanced services but an aversion to collecting the revenue necessary to pay for them.

As a result, politicians on both sides dance around the issue of taxes and benefits in order to make successful arguments. And yes, they sometimes are less than completely truthful. And yes, there are Americans who cannot process the complexities of large-scale economic programs and tax policy. So people like Gruber get frustrated by the mindset that demands cheap health insurance, but refuses to consider methods of paying for it. Then he makes ill-considered comments in a public forum stemming from that frustration that give his ideological opponents ammunition to use against him and the policy.

However, when you hear conservatives whine about President Obama or Democrats being untruthful, it is necessary to put their complaints into perspective. For most of the debate surrounding health care, the right has been brazenly dishonest. And their falsehoods were not merely verbal gaffes or misinterpretations. They were outright lies made up from thin air. When scored by PolitiFact there were at least twelve instances where conservatives received “Pants-On-Fire” designations for their patently absurd contentions, as illustrated in this handy infographic.

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Fox News

Anyone with a on open mind who researches these blatant distortions of reality will surely recognize that Gruber’s offense is far less significant than those of the right-wing Fib Factory. Particularly when you factor in that Gruber is not a spokesman for the administration or for Democrats in Congress. However, the lies by opponents of ObamaCare often came from the Republican leaders and banner carriers for their cause. That includes Fox News who is currently burning up their airwaves with condemnations of Gruber and, by extension, ObamaCare. On the Fox News community website, Fox Nation, they posted fourteen articles in one day on this subject.

Fox Nation Obsession

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It is clear that Fox has an activist agenda that is closely aligned with that of the Republican Party. And it is equally clear that they would rather flood the zone with trivialities than to engage in an honest debate about real issues. They are afraid to address the harsh realities that people face when denied access to quality, affordable health care. They would never acknowledge the people who have found renewed hope for themselves and their families since ObamaCare launched. Take for instance this example of a skeptical Republican whose mind was changed when he eventually looked at the facts. It’s just one example of untold thousands that proves that proves that there are things worse than calling people stupid. And that’s treating them that way.

Democrats And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (For Republicans)

Let’s get this out of the way right up front: Election day 2014 sucked elephant balls. It is saddling America with a Republican senate that is notable for being unproductive and adversarial. It’s new leader is a hyper-partisan, Washington fossil whose only agenda is obstructionism. One of its new members is an Agenda 21 conspiracy nut who carries a gun to defend herself from the government she now represents. Florida and Kansas returned to office the two least popular governors in the country. And the right-wing noise machine is going to be gloating feverishly for weeks.

But the real story underlying this election is one that the media will almost certainly fail to address. Despite the election returns, America hates the Republican Party and its policies. The turnout is estimated to be about 38%. That means that the GOP victory was achieved with a majority of a little more than one-third of the electorate, or about 20%. That is not exactly a ringing endorsement of the Republican agenda.

Election Turnout 2014

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The demographic makeup of the voters this year was decidedly older and whiter. It was also more concentrated in the South which accounted for 34% of all votes. The rest of the country came in a substantial nine to twelve points lower.

Just two years ago President Obama was resoundingly reelected along with increasing the number of Democrats in both houses of Congress. The turnout then was 58%, or 53% higher than 2014. Exit polls show that both parties are underwater in voter approval, but Democrats are still favored over Republicans 44% to 40%. Exit polling also gives Obama a 41% approval rating, compared to just 13% for Congress.

On the basis of this fractured and biased sliver of the electorate, Chris Wallace of Fox News declared this morning that “The Democratic Party brand is damaged.” But further examination of the exit polls says that isn’t true. On virtually every policy question, voters sided with the Democrats. That includes ObamaCare, immigration reform, increasing the minimum wage, same-sex marriage, legalizing marijuana, abortion, and climate change. And when asked about preferences for president in 2016, Hillary Clinton is leading every GOP opponent (Clinton 42%, Jeb Bush 29%, Rand Paul 26%, Chris Christie 24%, and Rick Perry 24%).

2016 holds more bad news for Republicans and their new senate majority. The GOP will be defending 24 seats, as compared to only 10 for the Democrats. Nine of the those GOP seats are in states won by Obama in 2012. So are all of the Democratic seats. With a larger and more representative electorate it is almost a certainty that the senate will flip back to the Democrats. And with a popular and history-making candidate like Clinton that outcome is even more likely.

In the meantime, we can expect some epic battles to ensue. Although Mitch McConnell made some perfunctory remarks signalling bipartisan cooperation, his resume suggests a different course entirely. He told supporters last night that “Just because we have a two-party system doesn’t mean we have to be in perpetual conflict.” That coming from the man who presided over more filibusters than any senate in history.

But the battles will not be limited to those between the two parties. McConnell is going to experience some of the misery of John Boehner as he tries to herd the Tea Party contingent of his own party into some semblance of unity. Don’t expect Ted Cruz or Rand Paul or Mike Lee or Joni Ernst to fall obediently in line. In fact, Cruz is already announcing his intention to prosecute the President for many of the phony scandals for which the GOP-run House failed to find any wrongdoing. He told Fox News last night that…

“I hope we begin serious, systematic, sober hearings, examining executive abuse, regulatory abuse, lawlessness, abuse of power. Whether it is IRS wrongly targeting citizens or the debacle of Benghazi and four Americans who lost their lives and why more was not done to save them, or whether it’s the lawlessness that pervaded Obamacare as the president and executive branch has tried to pick and choose which laws to follow. I hope we see serious oversight on those fronts.”

That’s a path that leads to increased animosity and the “perpetual conflict” that McConnell says he hopes to avoid. But with Cruz and Paul and Rubio amongst those in his caucus who are contemplating a presidential run, can McConnell prevent them from hijacking the senate for their own purposes? And will their purposes include attempts to impeach Obama as some Republicans and conservative pundits have already advocated?

The next two years are going to be a bumpy ride for both parties and, unfortunately, the American people. There is much that we cannot anticipate at this time. What we can safely assume is that the extremist, Tea Party wing of the GOP will deliver some histrionics and hilarity. And Fox News will cover all of it as if it were sober statesmanship. So buckle up, folks. And be glad that the ride is over in only two years.

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American Spectator’s Hit Job On Veterans (And Suck Up To Fox News)

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

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

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

American Spectator

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Corruption With Impunity: The Imaginary Exoneration Of Chris Christie

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

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

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

Chris Christie 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“We rate the claim True.”

Fox News Greg Gutfeld

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wars-R-Us: How The Media Promotes War Profiteers

The manic preoccupation of the right-wing media for war is a persistent component of coverage of the Middle East and the rise of ISIL. There is so much sophomoric and useless debate over whether President Obama uses the word “war” or not, that the television punditry seem to have abandoned reporting on what’s actually taking place. New Corpse covered this retreat to surface-level theatrics and partisan politics last week, but an article by Lee Fang in The Nation brings to light another critical element that is dangerously absent from the media presentation.

Wars-R-Us

Fang’s “Who’s Paying the Pro-War Pundits?” reports that the proliferation of former Pentagon and other government officials who comprise much of the commentator class on TV are not disinterested analysts expressing their opinions and showing off their patriotism. In fact, many are self-serving lobbyists and corporate insiders whose war fever will have a direct and positive effect on their bank accounts. For example, Fang cites the frequent appearances of former General Jack Keane, whose advice is invariably supportive of escalating the military conflict. Among Keane’s business interests is the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a think tank he runs with Fox News contributors Liz Cheney and William Kristol. Fang writes…

“Left unsaid during his media appearances (and left unmentioned on his congressional witness disclosure form) are Keane’s other gigs: as special adviser to Academi, the contractor formerly known as Blackwater; as a board member to tank and aircraft manufacturer General Dynamics; a ‘venture partner’ to SCP Partners, an investment firm that partners with defense contractors, including XVionics, an ‘operations management decision support system’ company used in Air Force drone training; and as president of his own consulting firm, GSI LLC.

“To portray Keane as simply a think tank leader and a former military official, as the media have done, obscures a fairly lucrative career in the contracting world. For the General Dynamics role alone, Keane has been paid a six-figure salary in cash and stock options since he joined the firm in 2004; last year, General Dynamics paid him $258,006.”

The Nation’s article contains several more disturbing examples of this conflict of interest in armed conflict. The presence of so many people with a profit motive advocating a full-scale, boots-on-the-ground war, is cause for concern. The American people need to be informed when news networks serve up lobbyists and corporate executives from the defense industry, but fail to disclose their affiliations. The question we must ask ourselves is: Are we being seduced into another quagmire in order to line the pockets of the military-industrial-media complex?

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This is not a war, should not be called a war, and should definitely not become a war. Despite the panicky blatherings of media Chicken Littles, ISIL is not the biggest, most fearsome enemy we’ve ever faced. Al Qaeda had both more fighters and more money. The army of Saddam Hussein was bigger, richer, better armed, and better trained. And much of their wealth, armory, and training came straight from the United States. Remember this when you hear the partisans and profiteers in the media declaring that the fate of the planet rests on defeating this puny brigade of impotent crackpots.

Just As I Predicted, Fox News Hated Obama’s Speech (Surprise)

Just as I predicted this morning, Fox News, and their Republican comrades, marched in lock-step opposition to President’s Obama speech on dealing with the threat of ISIL.

Republicans

Immediately following the speech, Fox News spent the next couple of hours picking it apart with sometimes ludicrous logic. They began with commentary from their White House correspondent Ed Henry who asserted his opinion that Obama, by calling for decisive action to destroy ISIL, had reversed himself on his prior foreign policy which, of course, was to destroy ISIL.

Megyn Kelly, who anchored the post-speech discussion, led with a series of poll results that cast the President in a negative light. She then approached her guests with blatantly leading questions, such as her wondering whether Obama’s heart was in his stated intention to take out ISIL. She also asked whether Obama’s policy to leave Iraq in 2011 caused the situation now where we have to go back “in a way that is even more dangerous.” That question ignores certain facts, such as the date for the departure of U.S. troops which was set by George W. Bush. Also, it can hardly be characterized as “more dangerous” when Obama’s plan will result in about 1,500 American soldiers in Iraq, as opposed to the 140,000 that were there previously. As for what caused the situation that allowed ISIL to emerge, that was solely due to Bush’s plundering of the government of Saddam Hussein (based on lies) and banishing his generals and other military personal, who went on to form ISIL.

Dana Perino, Bush’s former press secretary, said that she liked Obama’s line “If you threaten the United States you will have no safe haven.” But she said that the reason she liked it was because she had heard the same thing before from her old boss when he said “You are either with us or you are against us.” How is that even remotely the same?

However, the most idiotic commentary came from Brit Hume who said…

“If the threat is sufficiently great to American interests and to America itself, then it seems that one would do whatever it takes to eliminate the threat. [Obama] didn’t quite go that far. He said he was determined to destroy ISIS, but you heard at the end when he was talking about what we do in these situations. He said “We do what it takes.” He didn’t say we do whatever it takes.

Are you FRIGGIN’ kidding me? I would love to know what Hume thinks is different about those two statements. Obviously, these cretins are so consumed with finding fault that their cranial synapses are misfiring.

Every guest during the remainder of Kelly’s program was an Obama opponent, including Hume, Perino, General Jack Keane, Chris Stirewalt, and Sen. Ted Cruz. Cruz launched his tirade by saying that Obama’s speech was “fundamentally unserious,” and was representative of the “failed Obama/Clinton foreign policy.” That was his way of injecting politics into the discussion by invoking the name of the women he hopes to challenge in 2016. Kelly’s show was followed by Sean Hannity who added John McCain and Rand Paul to the bitchfest.

Not a single Democrat or pundit supportive of the President or his policy was allowed on the air during the post-speech analysis. So much for the “fair and balanced” network. This is why the prediction I made earlier was so easy. The same prediction can be made for pretty much any event that involves Obama or any progressive politician or policy. Fox News single-mindedly follows the philosophy of Marx (Groucho, that is):

Whatever it is, I’m against it.

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.

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.

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.

GOP ‘Word Doctor’ Inadvertently Admits (And Praises) Blatant Fox News Bias

As one of Fox News’ favorite contributors J. Christ said: “Physician, heal thyself.” That would be good advice for Dr. Frank Luntz, who has dubbed himself “The Word Doctor” for his efforts to deceitfully manipulate language in order to peddle otherwise unpopular conservative policies.

Fox News Frank Luntz

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On Sunday’s episode of MediaBuzz, the Fox News media analysis program, host Howard Kurtz brought Luntz in to discuss the public’s low opinion of the media. The segment turned into a slobbering love fest of Fox News with Luntz heaping praise on the network with almost every answer. However, in one instance he may have provided a little too much information.

Kurtz and Luntz were attempting to demonstrate how “fair and balanced” the notoriously conservative network is with a clip from one of Luntz’s focus groups. Luntz began by asking the group if they trust Fox News. A distinct majority raised their hands to indicate that they did. One of the few dissenters who was asked to elaborate was a woman who said that “I really believe – I know no one wants to hear this, especially here – that Fox is an extension of the Republican Party.” Seizing on that candid opinion, Luntz heralded Fox for being “willing to challenge itself,” and took a swipe at MSNBC, who he said would not have allowed the question. Then he escalated his gushing adulation to say that…

“In 2008, when I did focus groups with Obama and McCain, all three of my sessions during the debates had Obama winning. And Fox still devoted six, seven, eight minutes to those focus groups. They have nothing to fear, and I appreciate that about this network.”

Imagine that. A Republican pollster holds focus groups that favor Obama but Fox aired the results anyway. That’s an open admission that Fox is exactly what the woman in the group said: “an extension of the Republican Party.” Otherwise, why would Luntz regard it as so extraordinary that it deserved special recognition? Luntz was praising Fox for broadcasting the segment even though it was contrary to their Republican political leanings. And of course they have nothing to fear when the other 99.9% of their programming is solid GOP talking points straight from RNC press releases.

But Luntz shouldn’t get so excited about this anomaly. Fox’s version of fairness and balance is anything but. Their oversampling of right-wing pundits and politicians has been well documented. They even provide a platform for Republican candidates to campaign while still employed by Fox as paid contributors. And just last week Bill O’Reilly did a segment that attempted to prove that Fox was ideologically evenhanded, but it backfired badly. His guest, Fox host Heather Nauert, noted that there were nineteen “liberals” on Fox “out of quite a lot” of conservatives, Nauert fumbled.

[FYI: I counted only sixteen liberals (and some of those were questionable) facing off against 121 conservatives according to Fox’s website. The “liberals” are Evan Bayh, Bob Beckel, James Carville, Alan Colmes, Susan Estrich, Santita Jackson, Dennis Kucinich, Mara Liasson, Leslie Marshall, Deroy Murdock, Kirsten Powers, Ellen Ratner, Geraldo Rivera, Julie Roginsky, Joe Trippi, and Juan Williams]

Elsewhere in the MediaBuzz segment Kurtz posed this question to Luntz: “You are saying that the audience has gotten more partisan […] Aren’t people like you in part responsible for that?” Good question, Howie. Here is Luntz’s ludicrous response which Kurtz left unchallanged:

“Well, it’s a simple question. Is the death tax an accurate description of being taxed when you die? Isn’t exploring for energy what oil companies do? Is it opportunity in education, in terms of vouchers or school choice? If you believe that the words that I’m using aren’t accurate, then you’ve got a legitimate point. I believe that these are accurate descriptions, which is why the American people seem to support it.”

Quite clearly these are not accurate descriptions. They are deliberate deceptions that Luntz carefully tested to assure that they would elicit predetermined reactions from voters. The “Death Tax” that Luntz coined is not a tax on dying. It is tax on property that is being transferred from one party to another, which is exactly what would happen if it were being done between two living persons. His “exploring for energy” dodge is meant to disguise the fact that it refers to environmentally risky off-shore drilling that the public opposes. As for “opportunity in education,” that is so vague as to be meaningless, and it dispenses with the truly descriptive phrasing of vouchers, which is what the program is all about.

Luntz is a professional deception specialist. Republicans rely on him for ways to package unpopular GOP policies so that citizens are persuaded to vote against their own best interests. In other words, he constructs lies that he sells to desperate right-wing politicos, and he supports a luxurious lifestyle by doing so.

Fox Nation Outrage: Obama Vacations With White People – And Other Lies And Delusions

The Fox News community website, Fox Nation, is a non-stop parade of deliberate misinformation, biased reporting, and promotion of notoriously disreputable purveyors of propaganda and conspiracy theories like Alex Jones and Breitbart News. [For more documented proof of Fox Nation’s lies, read Fox Nation vs. Reality] This morning that penchant for bullpucky was in full display with a trio of stories that perfectly illustrate the Fox Nation mission.

Fox Nation

Let’s begin with a little item that alleges that “Obama Suggests Conservatives Are Greatest Threat To Nation.” This story was filched from the ultra-rightist Daily Caller (which is run by Fox News host Tucker Carlson) and referenced an interview of President Obama in the New York Times. Obama discussed gridlock in Washington and told the Times that “Our politics are dysfunctional.” That is an indisputable fact that is evidenced by this congress being the least productive in history. The article also said that…

“The president mused, the biggest threat to America — the only force that can really weaken us — is us.”

That’s quite a different statement than what was asserted in the headline. To be sure, it is Republicans that have been boasted of their obstructionism. GOP House Speaker John Boehener even said that the congress under his “leadership” “should not be judged on how many new laws we create. We ought to be judged on how many laws we repeal.” By that measure they still suck because they have repealed precisely zero laws. But the point is made that they are proud of being an obstacle to progress. Nevertheless, Obama placed the blame more broadly on “us,” not conservatives as the liars at Fox Nation and the Daily Caller said.

Next up is an article that was picked up from right-wing media distorters, NewsBusters. They in turn were citing England’s version of the National Enquirer, the Daily Mail, who reported speculation that the former Director of Communications for George W. Bush, Nicolle Wallace, had been chosen to replace Jenny McCarthy on “The View.” Fox Nation turned that item into “Liberal Nicolle Wallace Is the New ‘Conservative’ Host on The View?”

“Liberal?” Wallace, as noted above, was a long-time political operative for the Bush regime. She was also a deputy campaign manager for his reelection in 2004, and headed up Sarah Palin’s communications staff for the McCain/Palin campaign in 2008. Wallace created a stir when she spoke candidly about Palin’s shortcomings after the election. But that doesn’t make her a liberal. It makes her intelligent and honest. On second thought, maybe it does make her a liberal, because those are qualities that liberals respect and conservatives disdain. However, for Fox Nation and NewsBusters to characterize Wallace as liberal after a career of conservative politicking is just plain delusional. Apparently the only replacement they would find suitable would be someone like Ann Coulter or Michele Bachmann.

Finally, the Fox Nationalists went to their resident screeching hyena, Mark Levin, for a taste of his undisguised racism. The headline on Fox Nation said “Mark Levin Blasts Obama for Vacationing at ‘Whitest Place on Earth’” Indeed, Levin seems to have found something objectionable about our African-American president and his family hobnobbing with his Caucasian superiors, rather than serving them drinks and cleaning their rooms as God intended. Levin continued saying to Obama that “We know how you hate whites,” and that Obama would be better off vacationing in the U.S. Virgin Islands. [Remember what happened to Glenn Beck when he said that Obama hates white people?]

But what makes this truly despicable is that Levin is not only racist, he is stupid – or is that redundant? As noted by Mediaite’s Matt Wilstein, Martha’s Vineyard has a richly diverse history:

“While Martha’s Vineyard is no doubt a ritzy island with more than its fair share of white people, Levin is clearly unaware of its rich history as a summer destination for wealthy black families. This is particularly true of Oak Bluffs, where African-American families began summering as early as the 1890s.”

Levin does make a valid point in one respect. Perhaps Obama should stay away from “the whitest place on Earth.” But it isn’t Martha’s Vineyard. It’s Fox News, where vile bigots roam free to disparage the nation, insult its citizens, and preach a brand of faith that exalts the wealthy, white, ruling class.

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As usual, Fox News is rampant with racism, delusion, and bald-faced lies. The articles above are only a small sample of the repulsiveness that is published there every day. It’s astonishing that they get away with this and even attract devoted fans. Obviously, there is still a lot of work to be done in this country to stamp out bigotry and the ignorance from which it stems.

Operation No Name – Or Whatever Obama Does Is Wrong: The ISIS Edition

Conservative critics of President Obama wasted no time in complaining about what they said was his failure to respond to the humanitarian crisis in Iraq where thousands of refugees are trapped on a mountain by ISIS militants. Never mind that only a few days had transpired since learning of the impending tragedy, the armchair generals in Congress and on Fox News had fully assessed the situation and were ready to fly off the handle.

The Senate’s preeminent news video hog, John McCain, blasted the administration for taking “no discernible action.” GOP Rep. Chris Smith said that “The president’s indifference is both numbing and enabling.” His colleague Frank Wolf joined in saying that “The administration has done nothing.” It was a steady chorus of complaints from the Republican caucus. That is, until Obama took decisive action within a few hours of the GOP outcry. From that point on the wingnuts criticized the President for doing something.

Among the complaints by the perennial war hawks are that Obama screwed up by removing American troops from Iraq in 2011 (which was actually Bush’s timetable); that Obama failed to secure a “status of forces” agreement (which actually Bush failed to secure); that Obama didn’t immediately strike ISIS when it first began its campaign, and generally that Obama has been detached, distracted, and even hostile to American interests. In short, the right blames Obama for everything that can possibily go wrong. They blame him for the acts of terrorists (rather than, you know, the terrorists). They blame him for doing what the American people want (which is to keep American ground troops out of Iraq). They blame him for Al Qaeda, for ebola, and for ants at picnics.

And the latest crackpot criticism of Obama is that his Defense Department has not assigned a name to the mission currently in progress. Seriously. There is no name. IMPEACH!

Fox News

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What could the President be thinking by failing to execute this critical function of his role as Commander-in-Chief? It is an insult to the soldiers risking their lives in defense of the American Dream that they don’t have a title to which they can refer. How can they be expected to fulfill their mission if they don’t know what to call it? If the President doesn’t correct this atrocious oversight expeditiously he will go down in history as a traitor to his nation.

There is another possibility that may have escaped the notice of the brilliant war strategists on the right. Perhaps Obama has named the mission “No Name.” This would be an ingenious tactic to confuse the enemy. They would never be able to respond to a ghostly maneuver that they couldn’t identify with a label. Operation No Name may be the shrewdest military gambit in modern times. And it may have been inspired by a uniquely patriotic piece of our cultural history:

I’ve Been Through The Desert On A Horse/Mission With No Name – by America!

It would nice if once – just once – Republicans and Fox News could find something positive in something President Obama does. Their unbroken record of outrage, whatever the issue, only marks them as tunnel-blind extremists who lack the ability to independently assess anything. And if nothing else it proves that their opinions are wholly unworthy of serious consideration.

Fox Nation vs. Reality: Romney Would CRUSH Obama If Fantasy Ruled The World

A new CNN poll was released that asked a frivolous little question that has no real bearing on anything. They asked who respondents would vote for in a hypothetical rematch between President Obama and Mitt Romney. However, the coverage of this poll by Fox Nation not only ignores the broader context of the data, it leaves out some fairly significant facts.

foxnation-reality-poll-obama-romney

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These sort of polls are merely fanciful diversions that have no real world insight or impact. There are several reasons why the results are useless for anything other than political posturing, but perfect for Fox News propagandists. First of all, this poll is only a reflection of the public’s satisfaction with the current state of the nation. It doesn’t really measure any actual campaign contest, nor does it measure Romney’s popularity. In fact, it tracks perfectly with Obama’s job approval rating in most other recent polls.

Secondly, the results of this poll are constrained by the fact that only Obama has a record for which an opinion can be formed. Since Romney lost the election in 2012, he has no record on which the public can make a judgment. If he had won two years ago he would very likely be suffering from the same dissatisfaction with current affairs and, more likely, would fare even worse since his policies would have exacerbated the problems begun by his predecessor, George W. Bush.

Thirdly, the spectacle of Fox News gleefully reporting a Romney victory over Obama is nothing less than hysterical. After all, Fox insisted right up until election day 2012 that Romney was ahead in the polls then. In a fit of poll trutherism, they declared that all other polls were skewed and that Romney was headed for a landslide victory. They even failed to report their own polls when Obama was shown to be leading. On election night, Fox pundit Karl Rove threw a hissy fit, refusing to accept the network calling Ohio, and thus the election, for Obama. Apparently they still can’t accept it.

Finally, the Fox Nationalists plastered a decidedly biased headline on the article that ignores far more relevant data from the same poll. In a hypothetical contest between Romney and Hillary Clinton, Clinton would beat him by an even bigger margin in double digits (55-42). While all polling of this type is speculative, this has more merit in that it represents a real possibility in 2016. While no candidates have confirmed that they are running at this point, we know for certain that Obama will not be one of them. Fox is clearly fixated on the past and is oblivious to the future.

This is a perfect example of how Fox keeps their audience mired in ignorance. They feed them irrelevant information, witthold information that has actual value, and diverts their attention from realistic futures to a past that Fox can alter, dressing it up to look prettier to forlorn conservatives. Hopefully they will keep this up through election day 2014 and 2016.

Myth vs. Reality: Reagan vs. Obama On Planes Being Shot Down

The compulsion of right-wing politicians and pundits to reflexively denigrate President Obama is once again outstripping their devotion to country or respect for the truth. It is uncanny how predictable it is that conservative blowhards will leap at the opportunity to bash the President, even as events of critical significance to our national security are still unfolding.

Reagan vs. Obama

That is the case as information continues to be uncovered concerning the shooting down of Malaysian flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine. Some of the more obscenely irresponsible comments come from the usual suspects, such as…

John McCain: I don’t understand this president … this is what we used to call in the military AWOL. There’s a direct loss of American lives here.
Rush Limbaugh: I don’t want appear to be callous here, folks, but you talk about an opportunity to abandon the Obama news at the border?
Todd Starnes: Obama won’t comment on Malaysian jetliner crash until he’s had a chance to read tomorrow’s paper.

On Fox News there has been a specific effort to compare the response of President Obama to that of President Reagan following the shooting down of a Korean jet on September 1, 1983. Of course the Fox position is that St. Reagan acted quickly and boldly to assert America’s outrage and leadership. However, an examination of the facts present a very different picture.

The gist of the criticism hurled at Obama was that his reaction was too timid, too slow, and tainted by his decision to keep his previous obligations with meetings on his schedule. The evidence provided to illustrate the differences between Obama and Reagan was a video of an Oval Office address by Reagan regarding the Korean jet disaster.

The first notable fact that was undisclosed by the right-wing nags is that Reagan’s Oval Office address came five days after the Korean jet was shot down. The Malaysian jet was downed only yesterday but, according to his critics, that is still too long for Obama to have waited to comment. As for the video itself, the depth of Reagan’s outrage extended to his declaration that the attack was a “crime against humanity [that] must never be forgotten” and that the Russians “owe the world an apology.” That’s telling ‘em, Gipper. Make them say they are sorry.

Compare that to Obama’s initial remarks that stated that the attack was “An outrage of unspeakable proportions,” and included a challenge to Russian President Vladimir Putin to make a decision whether to continue to support violent separatists.

Obama: Time and again, Russia has refused to take the concrete steps necessary to deescalate the situation. […] We have been very clear from the outset that we want Russia to take the path that would result in peace in Ukraine, but so far at least, Russia has failed to take that path. Instead, it has continued to violate Ukrainian sovereignty and to support violent separatists.

There you have it. Obama laid the blame squarely at Putin’s feet and reiterated his demand that Russia take concrete steps to deescalate. Additionally, Obama called for an immediate cease-fire and an end to Russia’s provision of weapons and training to the separatists. It is an unarguably more aggressive first-response than Reagan’s, but he didn’t ask Putin to apologize so he must be weak.

Fox News and other conservative outlets have also been criticizing Obama for not canceling a couple of previously scheduled fundraising events. But there are some very good reasons for not doing so. First of all, the United States president should not be seen as being so easy to manipulate that an isolated terrorist act, not directed at the U.S., can force him to alter his plans. We are not, and must not be, at the mercy of the terrorists. Secondly, the President made an obligation to the people that organized and attended the events and he should honor that unless his presence would prevent him from taking necessary actions elsewhere, which was not the case.

Furthermore, those making the Obama/Reagan comparison also failed to note that Reagan himself jaunted off to fundraising events shortly following the Korean jet attack. On September 14 he helped raise funds for the Republican National Hispanic Assembly. On September 20 he helped fill the coffers of South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond. On September 27 it was a dinner for the Republican Majority Fund. Apparently it’s OK for St. Ronnie to engage in financial glad-handing after an international incident, but not a malingerer like Obama. For the record, less than a month after Reagan’s tour of GOP fundraisers, terrorists blew up the military barracks in Beirut killing 250 Marines. Can we say he was really on the job? Maybe Darrell Issa should open an investigation into that.

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Perhaps the most peculiar change in the right-wing media due to the Malaysian jet attack is that it has soured the right on their former hero, Vladimir Putin. For months pundits at Fox News and elsewhere were singing the praises of Putin as the model of strength, leadership, and Christian purity. Folks like Ben Carson and Sarah Palin expressed their glowing admiration. There was even a featured article on Fox News that asserted that “Putin Is The One Who Really Deserves That Nobel Peace Prize.”

At this point it’s hard to tell who the right admires more: Reagan or Putin. But it’s clear that they have a visceral hatred for our current president. You know, the one who is charged with leading the nation right now, and for whom patriotism would ordinarily compel conservatives to support in troubled times. But for some reason, right-wingers have chosen to disparage their president at every turn and before they even have facts to form a credible opinion. Not that they ever cared about facts. For them it’s shoot first and ignore the facts later. God Bless America.

So F**king What? Fox News Freaks Out Over American Muslims Support For Obama

A new Gallup poll surveyed the job approval rating for President Obama broken down by various religious groups. It’s a mildly interesting batch of data candy for polling nerds to suck on when they’re bored. The overall results average out to about the same level of approval (43%) registered in most other recent surveys. But leave it to the panic-peddlers at Fox to find something worthy of acute hyperventilation.

Fox Nation Poll

The numbers that sent Fox into a tizzy were those that put Muslim approval of Obama’s job performance at 72%. In their defective minds that surely means that Al Qaeda is pleased with the President’s performance in office and they are not ashamed to admit it. To make sure that their block-headed audience didn’t miss the point, Fox illustrated the article with a photo of Obama “bowing” down to his Arab master.

Everything about this posting is designed to stimulate the already excited racism follicles that cover the Fox viewer like an invisible furry hate-detector. But a cursory analysis reveals that there is nothing worrisome or surprising about the results in this poll.

First of all, the respondents in this survey are all Americans. They are not Islamic extremists in unfriendly Middle Eastern nations looking to the U.S. president for inspiration. They are not members of the Muslim Brotherhood seeking to form an Islamic Caliphate with Obama as their Supreme Leader. They are certainly not terrorists, unless the Gallup organization has partnered with Al Qaeda sleeper cells to find participants for their survey operations.

Secondly, who do you think American Muslims would be most inclined to support? Would it be Republicans who regard all of them as potential suicide bombers; who oppose the construction of new mosques and advocate surreptitious surveillance of existing ones; who push for racially profiling people with dark-skin and full beards? Muslims, like every other minority in America, recognize that Democrats are the tolerant party that believes in equality and values diversity. Obviously Obama is going to benefit from that in polling.

Furthermore, the not-so-subtle inference that broad support among Muslims indicates an affinity for Islamic extremists is ludicrous. After all, Obama is the man that executed Osama Bin Laden. There is no one on the planet who is responsible for the demise of more high-ranking terrorists than our current president. If the Muslim respondents in this survey were aligned with terrorism they surely would not be expressing support for Obama. And for a little contrast, Jews also gave Obama a resounding vote of confidence with a 55% majority approval rating.

Returning to the photo that Fox deliberately chose in order to fan the flames of bigotry, it should be noted that they had to reach back to June of 2009 to find a scary Muslim pictured with Obama. The other figure in the photo is the Saudi Arabian King Abdullah, a key American ally. He is awarding Obama the King Abdul Aziz Order of Merit, the highest honor that the Saudis can give to a foreign dignitary. And, yes, Obama is lowering his head so that the King can put the award around his neck.

bush-king-abdullahThis is precisely the way the ceremony was conducted in January of 2008, when George W. Bush received the same award (IOKIYAR). Of course, none of this is revealed by the myth-makers at Fox News who, by the way, are partially owned by the Muslim Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, the second largest shareholder in the corporation after the Murdoch family.

The comments by readers of this article at Fox Nation provide clear evidence that Fox is achieving their goal of stirring the racist pot. So we’ll leave you with a few of those thoughts that so perfectly sum up the Fox mind set. If you want a collection of more than 50 documented examples of Fox Nation blatantly lying, be sure to check out our ebook, Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Community’s Assault On Truth. It’s educational, entertaining, frustrating, humorous, and downright scary. You’ll love it.

Fox Nation Comments

The ObamaCare Success Story: Even Republican Enrollees Are Overwhelmingly Satisfied (InfoGraphic)

It has been four months since the open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) closed, and the most reliable numbers to date are being released. A new survey by The Commonwealth Fund (pdf) reveals that the program has surpassed all estimates of success and is broadly viewed favorably by the American people. Here are some of the highlights of the survey (InfoGraphic below):

  • With 9.5 million fewer uninsured adults, the uninsured rate for those 19-64 decline from 20% to 15%.
  • The uninsured rate for young adults 19 to 34 declined from 28% to 18%, more than any other age group.
  • In the 25 states (and D.C.) that expanded their Medicaid programs, the uninsured rate for low-income adults declined from 28% to 17% (Texas and Florida – neither of which expanded Medicaid – have the highest uninsured rates).
  • More than half of adults with new coverage said their plan included all or some of the doctors they wanted.
  • More than three of five adults who selected a private plan or enrolled in medicaid were uninsured prior to gaining coverage.
  • Two-thirds of those who found a primary care doctor got an appointment within two weeks.
  • More than three-quarters of adults with new coverage said they were very or somewhat satisfied with it (Including 74% of Republicans, 82% of Independents, and 84% of Democrats.

The fact that so many Americans have benefited from this health insurance initiative is in itself good news. But what should make this front page news is that Republicans enrolled in ObamaCare are just as happy with it as independents and Democrats. This illustrates how far afield the Tea Party Republican political miscreants in Washington have strayed from their own alleged constituents. They are impostors holding the reins of power thanks to a minority of extremists in the party who bother to vote. And if rank and file Republicans ever get motivated to show up at the polls, people like Ted Cruz and Michele Bachmann will be lucky to get speaking engagements at trailer-park bible study meetings.

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After enduring the GOP spending four years throwing every mud-soaked brick they could find at ObamaCare, the people have risen above the scare tactics and lies. They rejected the talk of death panels and socialism and economic catastrophe. They saw through the dozens of attempts to repeal the law or challenge it in the courts. And now that they have had a chance to assess it personally, they find that it satisfactorily meets their needs, particularly those who couldn’t get coverage before due to preexisting conditions or financial hardship.

Don’t expect any of this to be reported on Fox News or by any other right-wing media garbage spewer. These are credible results from a respected foundation. They deal with facts and a devotion to representing reality (which, as we know, has a well-known liberal bias). Those are principles that conservative media tries desperately to avoid. If information cannot be used by the right to tarnish the President or progressive causes, it is either ignored or disparaged.

But despite the herculean effort put forth by Fox News, the Koch brothers, and the GOP establishment, the people have made up their own minds. Now if we can just get them to show up at the polls in November and vote for their own best interests, we may be able to roll back the tide of Dark Agist theocons who have infiltrated the halls of our democracy.

ObamaCare Success