What Conservatives (And Politico) Still Don’t Understand About Fox News

Earlier this month Bruce Bartlett published a paper titled “How Fox News Changed American Media and Political Dynamics.” Bartlett is a veteran conservative operative who worked in both the George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan White Houses. His paper’s premise is that Fox News has had a harmful effect on the Republican Party’s electoral appeal by herding its already right-wing flock into an even fringier parish where it is shielded from differing views. Bartlett appeared on CNN’s Reliable Sources this morning and said…

“I think many conservatives live in a bubble where they watch only Fox News on television, they listen only to conservative talk radio, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, many of the same people. When they go on to the Internet, they look at only conservative websites like National Review, Newsmax, World Net Daily, and so they are completely in a universe in which they are hearing the same exact ideas, the same arguments, the same limited amount of data repeated over and over and over again, and that’s brainwashing.”

Fox News Bad For GOP

Brainwashing is not too strong a word. Fox News has become the central authority in a cult-like cabal of rightist true-believers who envelope themselves in the scripture as preached by Fox. This has been proven by in-depth studies that show how conservatives have drastically constrained their news sources to a narrow collection of like-minded, far-right outlets. There’s an implicit belief that exposure to a contrary ideological creed would be a breach of faith and a mortal sin.

It is encouraging, therefore, to see a conservative with an open mind and the ability to recognize the toxic role that Fox has played in the media and in politics. Bartlett’s paper is an interesting and well-documented read. However, it took him long enough to come to these conclusions. News Corpse published an analysis of how Fox News Is Killing The Republican Party six years ago, with an update expanding on the theme last year. I wrote in part that…

Fox has corralled a stable of the most disreputable, unqualified, extremist, lunatics ever assembled, and is presenting them as experts, analysts, and leaders. These third-rate icons of idiocy are marketed by Fox like any other gag gift (i.e. pet rocks, plastic vomit, Sarah Palin, etc.) […and that…] Fox is driving the center of the Republican Party further down the rabid hole. They are reshaping the party into a more radicalized community of conspiracy nuts. So even as this helps Rupert Murdoch’s bottom line, it is making celebrities of political bottom-feeders. That can’t be good for the long-term prospects of the Republican Party.

Conservatives, of course, are appalled by the treasonous utterings of Bartlett. A good representative example of the reaction comes from Politico’s Jack Shafer who wrote a column that seeks to reveal “What Liberals Still Don’t Understand About Fox News.” However, in his attempt to rebut Bartlett he fails to even grasp the logical concepts being discussed. Nowhere is that more evident than when he writes that…

“Fox in its current incarnation is neither a help nor a hindrance. Fox News — and its Svengali Roger Ailes — aren’t the Republican kingmakers they’re made out to be. […] the network is better at employing presidential candidates than electing them.”

Let’s set aside the fact that this alleged rebuttal actually agrees with Bartlett’s core thesis that Fox is having an adverse effect on Republican politics. Where Shafer really goes off the rails is arguing that Fox’s failure to succeed in electing Republicans is not a negative for the Party. If creating a field of losers is not a hindrance, what is?

Shafer goes on to correctly note that Fox’s power is often exaggerated. What is bragged about as ratings dominance is, in reality, a rather minor victory. Shafer notes that “Fox’s most popular program, The O’Reilly Factor, pulls in about 3.3 million viewers on its best nights.” Once again, Shafer is late to the party. That is something News Corpse pointed out six years ago with some additional perspective:

“[S]uccess in the Nielsen ratings has no correlation to public opinion polling […because it is…] focused on consumers, not voters […and that…] There are many reasons people choose to watch TV shows, the most frequent being its entertainment value. So any attempt to tie ratings to partisan politics is a foolish exercise that demonstrates a grievous misunderstanding of the business of television.”

O’Reilly’s 3 million viewers is less than 1% of the American population. It’s also fewer viewers than World Wrestling Entertainment, SpongeBob SquarePants, and the CBS Evening News (the lowest rated broadcast network news program).

So what ever power Fox has is not vested in its audience. And this where Shafer, and most other conservative media pundits, fall off the wagon. Fox’s viewers were not turned into conservatives by watching Fox. They watch Fox because they are conservatives who need to have their preconceptions validated. Then, by being exposed to the bias and disinformation that makes up Fox’s programming, they become ignorant, radicalized conservatives.

The real power that Fox wields is with Republican office-holders, candidates and party strategists. They have been fooled into believing that Fox’s ratings are an indication of the nation’s political mood. Consequently, they believe that taking positions aligned with the extremist right-wingers on Fox will advance their electoral goals. That has cost the party dearly in the last two national elections. In fact, they were so befuddled by Fox that the election results, which most Americans could have predicted, were a shock to many Republicans and Fox pundits (recall Karl Rove’s tantrum on election night?).

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Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
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All of this should make the next few weeks oodles of fun as GOP candidates seek to please the Fox-gods so that they win a spot on the debate stage. Fox announced that only the top ten candidates in an average of certain polls (that Fox will decide) will be included in the debates. Therefore, between now and then the candidates on the edge will have to take aggressive measures to appeal to the people who they think are likely to be polled.

That means more chest-beating about war with Iran, more hate-speech about gays, more talk of bigger, stronger fences on the border, more promises to slash taxes and government programs, and much more bashing of President Obama and Hillary Clinton. And that competition to become the most extreme wingnut will filter into the campaign strategies of the rest of the GOP field as they struggle to become the Fox favorite.. All of which will result in making them completely unelectable in the fall of 2016.

Ignored By Fox News: Christian Terrorist Pleads Guilty In Plot To Massacre American Muslims

Whenever there is an act of terrorism that conservatives can attribute to Muslims, they jump at the chance to condemn the entire Islamic faith as inherently violent. And at the same time, they advance their ingrained superiority by asserting that only Muslims would ever engage in such behavior. They insist that Christians would never resort to violence in response to a perceived insult or political disagreement.

Never mind the ample evidence of Christian attacks on those with whom they disagree, including the murder of Dr. Tiller, the Atlanta Olympic bombing, the extremist in Norway who murdered dozens of children, or the tragedy in Oklahoma City that killed 168 innocent people. The Christian defenders simply don’t see what they don’t want to see. Although, to some extent they also don’t see what is deliberately kept from them. That’s because Fox needs to reinforce the racist theme that all terrorists are dark-skinned foreigners.

Fox News Terrorist Color Chart

The media often fails to publicize acts of Christian terrorism in the manner they do with Muslims. An example of that occurred this week when court records were revealed describing Robert Doggert, an ordained minister in the Christian National Church, who pleaded guilty to plotting a massacre of the citizens of an upstate New York community of Muslims known as Islamberg. The records showed a detailed plan to kill people and destroy buildings, churches and schools. Doggert was quoted as saying “We will offer [our] lives as collateral to prove our commitment to our God.” In other words, it was a suicide mission not unlike those committed by Islamic extremists, and for the same reason.

In keeping with the right-wing media determination to insure that their audience remains biased and ignorant, the Fox News Channel failed to report the story. This failure is all the more egregious considering the complicity that Fox News has in Doggert’s scheme.

Doggert, who was working with right-wing militias that share his view that President Obama was guilty of treason, told the FBI in his confession that he “justified his attack on lslamberg by claiming that the residents of Islamberg were planning a terrorist attack.” And where did he get this groundless notion? In January Bill O’Reilly hosted, Ryan Mauro, a “national security analyst” who claimed that Muslims were forming “no-go zones” in the United States where they would train and launch domestic attacks. These claims were never substantiated by credible sources in law enforcement, and the organizations to which Mauro belonged were well known anti-Islamic propagandists.

That didn’t stop Fox News from inviting Mauro back numerous times to spread his false and inflammatory smears. It is that sort of disinformation that gives Doggert, and so many other Fox News viewers, the wrong impression of Islam along with an unwarranted fear of peaceful fellow citizens. It is the same sort of dishonest “journalism” that prevents Fox News, and other conservative media outlets, from reporting the other side of the terrorism story that reveals the criminal activities of Christian extremists like Doggert.

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Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
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Fox News has a long history of fear mongering about Muslims while neglecting news stories involving right-wing extremists. A couple of years ago another Christian terrorist was arrested – and ignored by Fox. Earlier this year Fox became hysterical about a study produced by the Department of Homeland Security that warned of right-wing domestic terrorists. They believed that this demonstrated the government’s anti-conservative bias. What they never told their viewers was that a similar study had also been produced previously that addressed the same sort of threats from radical left-wingers.

That’s the sort of deceptive biases that Fox engages in routinely. And it’s why people like Doggert become radicalized on behalf of insane conspiracy theories. Should any of the crackpots who buy into this nonsense succeed in carrying out one of their plots, Fox News should share in the responsibility for the damage done.

Free Speech At Fox News: Offensive To Muslims OK – Critical Of Police No Way

A few weeks ago a well known Islamophobe and professional instigator, Pamela Geller, held what she pretended was a contest to “Draw the Prophet Muhammad.” In reality the affair had nothing to do with art or free expression, but was a deliberate attempt to incite violence.

Geller’s hate-fest was praised as a courageous expression of liberty by sympathetic bigots at Fox News. They regarded her repugnant message as patriotic and celebrated the death of the two idiots that Geller was successful in provoking into senseless violence. But if you want to know what the same Fox News blowhards who revere Geller really think about free speech, just keep watching and they will reveal their true disgust for the First Amendment when it protects speech that they don’t like.

Fox News Free Speech

Last week Eric Bolling delivered a commentary about an art exhibit by students at a New Jersey high school. The exhibit was called “Law Enforcement – Police Brutality.” It was a subject chosen by the students and was open to, and included, opinions from all sides of the debate. Bolling, of course, focused solely on the work that was critical of the police, and he was not shy about expressing his desire for censorship.

Bolling: OK, I get the idea of free speech but … hey, teachers at Westfield would you put up an art exhibit showing teachers abusing students? I don’t think you’d do it. Nor should you have done this. I’d like to see that thing taken down.

Judging by this comment it is not particularly clear that Bolling really does “get the idea of free speech.” These students have every right to express their own opinions of significant current events that affect their communities. Suppressing the artwork they produce is a clear breach of those rights. But hypocrites like Bolling continue to expose themselves as having variable principles that permit freedom only to those with whom they agree. This is illustrated best by what Bolling himself said a couple of weeks prior in defense of Geller and her hate exhibit.

Bolling: Free speech is protected no matter how inciting it may be. We’re becoming too politically correct. We worry that offending Muslims somehow overrides our won Constitutional rights.

It should surprise no one that Bolling never suggested that Geller’s exhibit should be “taken down,” nor that he never stood up for the students’ free speech “no matter how inciting it may be.” To Bolling and his Fox News cohorts, Geller’s anti-Muslim bigotry makes her a standard bearer of American virtue, but the students’ concerns about abuse of power by law enforcement makes them snotty little delinquents who should be neither seen nor heard.

On a side note, why is Fox News so obsessed with demeaning high school students? Check out this previous attack on students in Vermont after they defended their state from disparaging remarks by a Bill O’Reilly producer.

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Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
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Icing on the flake: The following day, Bolling responded to criticism he received for his overt hypocrisy. In his whiny, self-defense he insisted that he is a stalwart proponent of free speech and all that he meant to convey was that he also had the right to say that he didn’t approve of the student art show. However, there a couple problems with that “clarification.” First, he didn’t say that he didn’t approve, he said that he would like to see it taken down. Second, he never acknowledged that critics of Geller’s phony exhibit also have a right to disapprove. He still regards them as anti-free speech, once again proving that his rights are legitimate and everyone else should shut up.

Stephanopoulos Isn’t The Only Media Donor To The Clinton Foundation (Is He, Fox News?)

The conservative media circus is furiously banging their drums to chastise George Stephanopoulos, host of ABC’s Good Morning America and This Week, for his failure to disclose a donation to the Clinton Foundation. This oversight is being portrayed as an unforgivable offense of partisan bias. As with any matter that can be hyper-dramatized by zealous punditry, Fox News took the lead in running Stephanopoulos through the metaphorical grinder.

Fox News Stephanopoulos

A couple of notes need to be raised in order to fairly assess this situation. First of all, Stephanopoulos donated to a charitable organization, not a political campaign. Thus, it cannot really be regarded as partisan in that the Clinton Foundation does not engage in any political activities. Its mission is purely philanthropic and no fair observer has ever alleged any ideological leanings. Furthermore, unlike a corporate donor or a foreign entity, there isn’t any conceivable benefit that Stephanopoulos might have been seeking in exchange for a donation. Even his critics do not allege that his motives were anything but altruistic.

That said, there are problems with his failure to disclose that impact his reporting when the subject is the Foundation itself. For instance, Stephanopoulos recently interviewed the author of “Clinton Cash,” a book that alleges improprieties on the part of Hillary Clinton in connection to donations to the Foundation. The fact that the book was filled with factual errors and failed to prove its premise does not excuse Stephanopoulos from an ethical duty to reveal that he was also a donor.

Taken in its entirety, this scandalette hardly seems to approach the degree of significance that is being assigned to it by Fox News and other conservative media. There was no effort to extract any personal gain and the ethical lapse did not result in any reportorial distortion. But that hasn’t stopped right-wing muckrakers from attempting to whip it up into a full-blown catastrophe for Stephanopoulos. He has been maligned as hopelessly biased and there have been calls for him to resign or be fired. Fox’s Howard Kurtz described the affair as…

“…such a bombshell that George Stephanopoulos has now had to withdraw as ABC’s moderator in the Republican presidential debate next year.”

What makes the debate moderation move somewhat comical is that last November the chairman of the Republican Party, Reince Priebus, ruled out anyone that he regarded as being unfriendly to the Party’s interests.

Priebus: [the] thing that is ridiculous is allowing moderators, who are not serving the best interests of the candidate and the party, to actually be the people to be deposing our people. And I think that’s totally wrong.

Priebus reinforced that edict yesterday saying that “I’ve been very public about this. George Stephanopoulos was never going to moderate a Republican debate anyway.” Somewhere Priebus got the impression that debate moderators are supposed to serve the interests of the candidates. Certainly the interest of the voters never entered into it. And the last thing that the GOP wants is a debate that is truly spirited and informative. They are looking for something more on the order of an infomercial.

Amidst this tumultuous uproar over the fate of Stephanopoulos and his relatively modest $75,000 gift, what has gone unmentioned is that he is not alone in making donations to the Clinton Foundation. In fact, Fox News has been even more generous than Stephanopoulos. Rupert Murdoch’s son James, the COO of 21st Century Fox (parent company of Fox News), made a donation in the range of $1,000,000-$5,000,000. The News Corporation Foundation contributed between $500,000-$1,000,000. Fox regular Donald Trump forked over between $100,000-$250,000.

There might be more of these types of ethical problems involving media personalities on the right donating to Republican charities like the Bush Foundation. However, we can’t uncover them because the Bush Foundation doesn’t disclose their donors like the Clintons do. Curious, isn’t it?

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So the question is: How can Fox News criticize George Stephanopoulos for his undisclosed donations to the Clinton Foundation, when they have made far bigger donations without disclosing them? What’s more, the donations from the Fox media empire can be regarded as possible bribes since, unlike Stephanopoulos, they have pending business before the government and its regulatory agencies. If Fox News wants to pretend to be “fair and balanced” they need to immediately come clean. And if Stephanopoulos is denied the opportunity to moderate any GOP debates, then Fox News should be prohibited from airing them.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for Fox to act ethically in this matter. They will neither remove themselves from the debate schedule, nor cease their attacks on Stephanopoulos. That’s just the way Fox does business and it will continue despite the obvious hypocrisy and lack of journalistic principle.

Book By Fox News ‘Liberal’ Uses Free Speech To Claim Liberals Are Killing Free Speech

The network that markets itself as “fair and balanced” has spent years proving their commitment to that slogan by balancing their right-wing infused “news” delivered by GOP mouthpieces with right-wing infused “news” delivered by people they falsely claim are liberals. The roster of fake Democrats on Fox News is extensive and includes rabid rightists like Pat Caddell, Doug Schoen, Mara Liasson, Juan Williams, and Kirsten Powers, all of whom freely express their contempt for the Democratic Party.

Kirsten Powers has long been a member of the Fake Democrat Society. She invariably agrees with her Fox News colleagues whenever she engages in a so-called debate on current events. Fox will predictably call on her to discuss issues that they know will reflect poorly on other Democrats. So if there is bad news for President Obama or Hillary Clinton making the rounds, Powers will get extra airtime to pile on. And she can be relied upon to make incendiary comments like the time she accused Obama of sympathizing with terrorists. Plus, she gets the benefit of the Fox marketing machine when she has a liberal bashing book to promote.

Fox News Kirsten Powers

This new book by Powers, The Silencing,” has the not-at-all derogatory subtitle of “How the Left is Killing Free Speech.” What could be more appropriate for the network that daily exercises its free speech to disparage lefties while complaining about being victims of official censorship? And what better message for a supposedly liberal pundit to devote to an entire book? And while we’re at it, how dumb is it for someone exercising her free speech in a book (and daily on Fox News) to complain about free speech being killed?

The truth is that this book is a petty and self-serving response by Powers to the derision she endures for her conservative activism while pretending to be a liberal. For some reason she thinks that she can get away with wearing a Democratic label and bashing Democrats, but never be criticized for it. So she wrote a book to further hammer away at those with whom she professes to be aligned. What better way to demonstrate loyalty than to accuse your so-called friends of “killing” free speech?

In some respects this book is just the sequel to Muzzled: The Assault on Honest Debate,” the book her fellow fake Dem, Juan Williams, wrote a couple of years ago on pretty much the same subject. Both books attack what they regard as political correctness as exercised by a liberal establishment that objects to Fox News passing off right-wingers as Democrats.

As evidence of the rightward ideological slant of Powers, her book was published by the uber-conservative Regnery Publishing, the literary home to Dinesh D’Souza, Ed Klein, Michelle Malkin, Laura Ingraham, Newt Gingrich, Mark Levin, Ann Coulter, Ted Nugent, and Patrick Buchanan. That is not the sort of company kept by real liberals. However, Powers’ book fits right in with the other tomes lambasting liberalism and chronicling the exploits of our allegedly treasonous and foreign-born president.

Additionally, Powers has been lauded by the ultra-rightist Breitbart News on numerous occasions, even as they joined the charade that Powers is not one of them. And the first excerpts of her book were published by the house organ of the Heritage Foundation, now led by former GOP Senator and Tea Party icon Jim DeMint. These are associations that expose the ulterior motives that Powers is pursuing with her partisan diatribe. Those motives are further revealed on the inside flap of her book:

“Free speech and freedom of conscience have long been core American values. Yet a growing intolerance from the left side of the political spectrum is threatening Americans’ ability to freely express beliefs without fear of retaliation.”

First of all, the notion that free speech comes with a shield from retaliation is contrary to the definition of free speech. What conservatives like Powers want is the ability to say all the nasty, dishonest things they like without being subject to rebuttal or criticism. It’s free speech for them, but no one else.

From a broader perspective, however, this book just reveals an effort to take down liberals for perceived intolerance, while completely ignoring the same from conservatives. If Powers were the least bit concerned about representing a progressive worldview, she would have authored a more balanced assessment of the matter. The fact that she limited her inquiry to the alleged crimes of liberals shows exactly where her heart lies.

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Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
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Furthermore, the inside flap also declares that the reader will “learn how the illiberal left is obsessed with delegitimizing Fox News.” And that, in the end, is its whole reason for existing. It is a flagrantly self-serving attempt to promote Fox News, excuse their blatant biases, and restore the credibility she and Fox have lost due to their rampant dissemination of lies, which PolitiFact has found is the majority of their reporting.

Fox News PolitiFact

America Wants A Black Jon Stewart For President – Or Center-Right Nation My A…

The conventional (alleged) wisdom from mainstream media punditry has been telling us for years that America is a center-right nation. Never mind the contrary evidence that polls reveal about a populace that favors higher taxes on the rich, marriage equality, action to mitigate Climate Change, immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship, enhanced gun safety measures, breaking up big banks, fewer foreign military engagements, an end to gerrymandering and voter suppression, and greater access to healthcare. Somehow the pundit class still manages to define the electorate much farther to the right than reality dictates.

Jon Stewart

Two polls this week illustrate the fallacy of the media perception of where America stands. These aren’t the first polls to set the record straight, but coming out within a couple of days of each other as a new presidential election cycle begins to gear up is instructional and ought to have an impact on how the press frames the political discourse for the next few months.

The first poll is from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal. It asked respondents to indicate their comfort levels with various traits of potential candidates. The poll produced an index that expressed the mood of the voters with regard to these traits. Topping the list as the most acceptable trait was “African-American,” with a rating of 75. Those that followed with ratings above fifty were women (74), persons under age 50 (66), Hispanics (63), military background (62), governors (62), and Catholics (57).

Even more telling (and troubling for Republicans) were those at the bottom of the list with negative ratings. They were persons with no prior elected experience (-39), Tea Party leaders (-28), and persons with no college degree (-22). Notables in those categories include Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and college dropout Scott Walker. Additionally, our allegedly center-right nation is more comfortable with a gay or lesbian presidential candidate (33), than with an evangelical Christian (7), or any of the previously mentioned bottom dwellers.

By contrast, when the poll is segmented by party affiliation, Republicans are exposed for their overt biases. They do not rank an ethnic minority until the fifth and sixth spots: Hispanic (69) and African-American (66). Women don’t rate until ninth place with a comfort level barely above fifty (54). However, as might be expected, gays and lesbians are second to last with a negative 15 rating.

The other poll is from Reuters who surveyed Americans to ascertain their favorite pundits. On this poll Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert were in a virtual tie with about 47% saying they admired them. The same two topped the charts on the question of who “generally shares your view of the world.” Rush Limbaugh brought up the rear with only 25% giving him any admiration. And it was all right-wingers (Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, Glenn Beck, etc.) at the bottom for both the admiration and the world view questions.

One pundit in the survey must be particularly pissed off by these results. Bill O’Reilly ranked significantly lower than Stewart and Colbert on every issue. Since he has been obsessed with attacking them as “deceivers” and the “key components of left-wing television,” he isn’t going to take well the news that large majorities of Americans prefer the Comedy Central duo to him.

The real question is: When will the media take notice that the United States is not the center-right nation they keep pretending it is? We now have evidence that covers both policies and personalities that undeniably paints the country as more progressive. And the only reason that our political representation doesn’t reflect that is because of the corruption of money in campaigns and the corruption of gerrymandering in drawing legislative districts.

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Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
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Were those problems resolved we would see where the nation really comes down ideologically. But don’t count on Republicans to willingly allow more fairness and honesty in the electoral process. The corruption in the system currently is the only reason they have any power now and they aren’t about to let it go. It will have to be taken from them by committed proponents of true democracy. In the words of Patti Smith: “People Have The Power. The power to dream, to rule, to wrestle the world from fools.” We just need to exercise it.

Slander vs. Pander: How Fox News Exploits Bigotry Against Latinos For Political Gain

This week Hillary Clinton revealed some details of her platform on immigration. She expressed support for a pathway to citizenship and a policy that…

“…treats everyone with dignity and compassion, upholds the rule of law, protects our border and national security, and brings hard-working people out of the shadows and into the formal economy so they can pay taxes and contribute to our nation’s prosperity.”

That is a position that most recent polling shows is favored by most Americans. This puts the Republican Party in a bind of their own making due to their long-standing opposition to Latino issues and to what they falsely call amnesty. And as if to exacerbate that problem, Fox News weighs in with a dishonest and cynical approach to journalism that tries to cut both ways.

Fox News

On the the Fox News Latino website, Fox posted a report on Clinton’s policy address with a headline reading “Hillary Clinton makes deportation protection, path to citizenship central to campaign.” That’s a fairly straightforward description of the remarks Clinton made and treats the subject seriously and without prejudice.

Now lets travel over to the Fox Nation website to see how they covered the same story. Their headline reads “Hillary Clinton Vows to Expand Obama Amnesty to More Illegals.” That begins by lying about the Obama policy which contains nothing even resembling amnesty. For the record, amnesty is a “general pardon for offenses,” however, the Obama doctrine is one that contains considerable prerequisites for eligibility and takes years to satisfy.

More offensive is the use of the term “illegals” to describe undocumented residents. Most reputable news agencies have banned the use of the word as an epithet that does not properly describe the subjects it is insulting. Fox News Latino is among those who have banned the term. But Fox News and Fox Nation use it routinely.

What is happening here is something that News Corpse has documented in the past. Fox News is attempting to pander to Latinos, the fastest growing demographic group (and voter bloc) in the nation, by treating issues that affect them in a more balanced way on their Latino-themed website. At the same time, Fox is resorting to their standard stance of overt prejudice on their main outlets so as not to alienate their bigoted audience that is clamoring for an electrified border fence with a fiery moat stocked with alligators.

This is a cynical attempt to con the Latinos segregated on the Fox Latino site into believing that Fox News has their interests at heart. But a quick look at the rest of Fox News reveals that their bias is openly on display. This phony media strategy is also an effort by Fox to repair the damage that Republican candidates do to their electoral prospects by maligning a critical community of voters. The GOP cannot win a national election without a substantial percentage of the Latino vote, and if the candidates are too beholden to their Tea Party constituency to show these voters respect, Fox has taken on the responsibility of cleaning up their mess.

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Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
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Fox News must think that Latinos are pretty stupid if they believe that they will fall for this ruse. In the end Fox will not only fail to lull the Latino community into compliance, they will earn their enduring distrust. After Obama’s reelection in 2012, the Republican Party did an exhaustive study of what went so horribly wrong. One of the main conclusions was that the party failed to reach out to minorities and women, and that they would have to improve upon that in the future. Since then their outreach programs have mainly served to drive more minority voters away, except when they weren’t ignoring them completely. And the fact that Fox News still finds it necessary to engage in this sort of duplicity is proof that the party continues to fall behind in the race to represent all of America.

NewsBuster’s Hysterical Defense Of Rush Limbaugh’s Lies About The Clinton Foundation

Last week Rush Limbaugh told his dittohead audience that “Eighty-five percent of every dollar donated to the Clinton Foundation ended up either with the Clintons or with their staff.” Consequently, Limbaugh asserted, only fifteen percent was spent on actual charitable activities. This attack on the Clinton’s finances is just the latest right-wing effort to invent controversies where none exist. It comes as a new book smearing Bill and Hillary Clinton is about to hit the shelves. That book, “Clinton Cash,” has already been debunked in a major way and it won’t even be out until next week.

Rush Limbaugh

Limbaugh’s contribution to the Clinton bashing stems from an article written by Sean Davis for the Federalist blog. The article’s analysis was fatally flawed and misleading. Nevertheless, Limbaugh ran with it and even spun its conclusions further from reality. PolitiFact evaluated his remarks and declared them Mostly False.”

In short, the Federalist/Limbaugh contention was based on Clinton Foundation tax returns that report that approximately 15% of their funds were distributed as grants to other charitable organizations. They then surmised that all of the remaining 85% went into the Clinton’s pockets. However, what they failed to grasp is that the Clinton Foundation is not a grant-making institution. Rather, they spend their money on charitable operations that they implement in-house, with 88% of their funds going directly to their charitable projects. It’s comparable to the Red Cross that also does not give grants to outside groups, but runs their own relief missions. For comparison, the Red Cross only gave out about 6.5% of their funds in grants in 2013. And, once again, that’s not because Red Cross executives are lining their own pockets, it’s because they finance their own internal projects. PolitiFact explained these differences like this:

“When most people in the charitable world think of foundations, they think of organizations that give away a lot of money in the form of grants to others who go out and do good works. The Clinton foundation works differently — it keeps its money in house and hires staff to carry out its own humanitarian programs.”

These facts were not only lost on Limbaugh and the Federalist, but also on Tom Blumer of NewsBusters who wrote an article defending Limbaugh’s ignorance and criticizing PolitiFact’s “Mostly False” determination. Blumer embraced the same misunderstanding of the Clinton Foundation’s finances and referenced an article by the Washington Examiner’s T. Becket Adams (formerly of Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze) that sought to dismiss PolitiFact’s analysis by alleging that the fact-checking site is biased in favor of the Clintons.

The evidence that Adams claimed exposed PolitiFact’s bias was that the Ford Foundation was a donor to both PolitiFact and the the Clinton Foundation. By this warped logic, every recipient of a donation from the extremely generous Ford Foundation is also tied to the Clintons (That’s almost 3,000 organizations in 2013). That, of course, is utter nonsense and a brazenly desperate attempt at guilt by fantastically tenuous association.

Newsbusters thinks it is an unforgivable failure that PolitiFact did not disclose that they received funding from Ford which also donated to the Clinton Foundation. [For the record, Newsbusters receives funding from the rabidly anti-Clinton, anti-Democratic Koch brothers, but made no disclosure of that in their article] And surprisingly, that wasn’t the stupidest thing in Blumer’s column.

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

To further drive home his incoherent point, Blumer also cited a report by Fox News that he said supports Limbaugh and the Federalist. Now if you have to rely on Fox News for affirmation you are already in deep trouble. But in this case the report Blumer cited actually did agree with the data Limbaugh used from the Federalist. However, that’s because the source Fox News used for back-up was – are ya ready? – the Federalist. That’s right, Blumer is defending sketchy data published by the Federalist with a Fox News story quoting the same guy who wrote the article in the Federalist.

This is how it works in Wingnutlandia, where you get to provide corroboration for yourself. Just make an outlandish claim on your blog. Then make the same outlandish claim to Fox News. Then some schmuck at Newsbusters will say that Fox News backs you up. It must be nice to live in that reality-challenged, psycho-looping sphere of anti-logic.

[Update 5/8/2015] Now Peter Schweizer, author of the widely debunked smear book “Clinton Cash,” is also regurgitating the phony Clinton Foundation charitable expenditures. Although Eric Shawn of Fox News called it “incredibly misleading.”

Not News On Fox News: Pope Francis Calls Male/Female Pay Disparity A ‘Pure Scandal’

The bias in journalism is as much evident in what news editors chose to report as it is in what they chose not to report or in how they slant stories that make it to the air. Therefore, by recognizing the omissions of news enterprises you can identify their biases.

This is particularly true when a media outlet fails to cover a story that would ordinarily be of interest to it. For instance, Fox News is a devoutly religious news organization. They are not shy about expressing their faith personally or in relation to a news item they are covering. Most of their anchors are avowed Catholics, and the inclusion of Christian themes in their reporting is routine. They have a Catholic priest on the payroll as a regular contributor (Father Jonathan Morris), and their Todd Starnes is an aggressive advocate for evangelical causes and a critic of perceived, imagined, and fabricated slights.

So it should come as no surprise that Fox News has failed to report on the views expressed today by Pope Francis. In his regular “catechetical reflection,” the Pope came out squarely in favor of equal pay for equal work, a social reform that has long been a goal of the feminist movement. This is not, however, a reform that is favored by business interests, Republicans, and consequently, Fox News. As a result, they shut out of the news cycle the Pope’s message that…

“…as Christians, we must become more demanding in this regard […] supporting with decision the right to equal retribution for equal work; disparity is a pure scandal.”

The last thing that Fox News and other right-wing media outlets want is to advertise that the head of the Catholic Church agrees with feminists and Democrats on the issue of fair pay. That would only extend the list of issues on which the Pope has taken sides with liberals, including the judgement of gays, Climate Change, economic inequality, and health care, to name a few.

The fact is that many right-wingers have already given up on this Pope calling him ignorant, delusional, leftist, Marxist, etc. Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck, are among those who have explicitly denounced him. And in an act of utter absurdity, the Republican House balked at honoring the Pope because he “sound[s] like Obama.”

Pope Francis

No really, it’s true. GOP House Speaker John Boehner refused to even bring up the resolution for a vote, so it died in committee. That’s how severe the epidemic of Obama Derangement Syndrome is. And it isn’t getting better any time soon. After Obama leaves the White House its next occupant could be Hillary Clinton. Should that occur, look for the Republican Party to cut the salary of the President by thirteen percent.

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 Buries Bad News For Ted Cruz And Marco Rubio On Latino Website

In October of 2010, Fox News launched the Fox News Latino website in order to mitigate the massive disadvantage Republicans faced with Latino voters. Latinos are the fastest growing demographic in the nation and their voting power is increasing with each election. So even though the Republican Party has been alienating this constituency with blatantly detrimental policies, Fox News was determined to try to save the GOP from its own prejudices.

The Fox News Latino site has been used as the dumping grounds for stories that Fox News was uncomfortable with presenting to their 99% white audience. So it is common to see Fox sequester stories with ethnic themes on the Latino site so they can avoid offending their much larger audience on the Fox News mothership. News Corpse has documented numerous examples of this, and here are just a few.

In another twist on this journalistic fraud, Fox News published an article that exposed Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio as a couple of the Senate’s biggest truants. Despite the fact that they are both in their first terms, they have missed more votes and/or committee hearings than most of their colleagues.

Cruz/Rubio

Just today, Cruz gave a venomous condemnation of Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch and the importance of voting against her, then skipped out without voting. [Lynch was confirmed 56 to 43] So it’s interesting that these freshmen senators are currently among the leading candidates for the GOP nomination for president.

Not only are they lacking the most basic qualifications for the job they seek (particularly from the Republican perspective that claimed President Obama was unqualified), but they haven’t even been doing the job that represents their only plausible qualification. What they’ve been doing, of course, is running for president. But maybe they should have acquired some experience first, or at least done some work in their current jobs.

The story revealing the poor attendance records of Cruz and Rubio was prominently displayed on the Fox News Latino web site. However, Fox News didn’t bother to report it either on the air or online. With this strategy Fox can say that they covered the story somewhere, but they don’t wind up giving a great deal of negative exposure that might cause electoral headaches for their Republican pals. Especially those who are favorites of the far-right, Tea Party contingent that makes up most of the Fox audience.

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

There is no valid argument for restricting this story to just the Latino website. While Cruz and Rubio obviously share a heritage that is relevant to the site, their position in a national campaign makes this news relevant to the whole nation. Apparently Fox News doesn’t want the nation to know about this, so it’s downgraded to an ethnic niche site that most of their audience will never see.

Imagine if Fox News had only reported stories about Obama in 2008 on a separate African-American website. What Fox is doing is dishonest and racist. It is a disservice to their audience and a corruption of journalism. In other words, it is business as usual at Fox News.