Bill O’Reilly Left Out Of Discussion On Lying Anchors By Fox News Media Liars

On this week’s episode of Fox News MediaBuzz with Howard Kurtz, the host invited TV critic David Zurawik to continue the pummeling of Brian Williams, who NBC just announced would be taking a role on MSNBC rather than returning to the anchor desk on the Nightly News.

Brian Williams has only himself to blame for the predicament he finds himself in. It was wholly uncalled for when he invented an exciting but false narrative of his exploits in Iraq. NBC is justified in reassigning him, as would any network be after discovering that their anchor had embellished his resume with fabrications. The problem here is that Fox News spent an entire segment pontificating on the issue of credibility without paying the least bit of attention to their own disgraced anchor, Bill O’Reilly.

Bill O'Reilly

O’Reilly was discovered to have lied far more seriously and often than Williams. And after being caught with incontrovertible proof, O’Reilly continued to deny the charges and slander his critics. Unlike Williams, he showed absolutely no remorse or contrition. He accepted no responsibility and even hung his former colleagues out to dry, implying that they were lying. For a quick refresher, here is what News Corpse reported when O’Reilly’s lies were first revealed:

ONE: The parade of falsehoods began with O’Reilly’s claim to have been “on the ground in active war zones” during the Falkland Islands war with the United Kingdom. He wasn’t. And now there is video of him reporting from Buenos Aires, Argentina that contradicts the accounts he gave afterward.

TWO: O’Reilly also claimed to have been outside the Florida home of George de Mohrenschildt where he said that he heard the shotgun blast that marked his suicide. De Mohrenschildt was an associate of Lee Harvey Oswald and was scheduled to testify at a congressional hearing on the JFK assassination. However, a recording of a contemporaneous phone call shows that O’Reilly wasn’t even in Florida when de Mohrenschildt died.

THREE: On another occasion, O’Reilly told a story about how he “saw nuns get shot in the back of the head” in El Salvador. That also was not true and O’Reilly himself admitted it in a statement that said he had actually just seen some “images of violence” but did not witness the incidents himself. Oddly, while admitting that his original assertions were false, he neither apologized nor acknowledged any wrongdoing.

FOUR: This was a similar case where O’Reilly spoke of his visit to Northern Ireland. While there he claimed to have witnessed bombings, however, when challenged Fox News issued a statement similar to the one about El Salvador that said he had merely seen pictures.

FIVE: Then there was the time that O’Reilly was covering the riots in Los Angeles sparked by the acquittal of the police officers who beat Rodney King. He claimed to have been the target of attacks by rioters, however, his associates covering the story deny that any of them were assaulted or injured. They do, however, contend that some tensions flared due to O’Reilly being an asshole.

These fabrications by the guy who pretends to be running a “No Spin Zone” are hardly the only times he has lied. There have been numerous other episodes including bragging about winning two Peabody Awards (he didn’t), and claiming to be a registered Independent (he was a Republican for several years at the time).

Some other incidents may not have been lies technically, just horribly wrong statements that he refused to correct. For instance, he once argued that there were no homeless veterans in America; as proof that his boycott of France was working he offered a report by the “Paris Business Review,” which does not exist; and he insisted, after doing extensive research, that no one on Fox ever said that people who didn’t pay ObamaCare penalties would be subject to prison. PolitiFact gave that one a “Pants on Fire.”

All of that was swept under the rug as Kurtz and Zurawik lit into Williams and suggested that he should not have been given a second chance at MSNBC. Zurawik was apoplectic as he insisted that Williams should have been “banished” and sanctimoniously declared that “the moral reasoning here is so tortured that you have to wonder why would NBC not just end its relationship with him.” He went on to preach about journalistic standards saying that “people who lie in the news business, if you give everybody a second chance, we’re going to have no standards.”

Of course, none of this moralizing is meant to refer to Fox’s own primetime dissembler, Bill O’Reilly. And for some reason Zurawik and Kurtz are not concerned about the morality or credibility of a network that not only doesn’t punish their liars, but lets them continue their multi-million dollar careers without so much as a sideways glance. The reason for that, of course, is that O’Reilly’s lies are not regarded as violating Fox’s standards. In fact, he is the perfect representative of the Fox News brand. He’s the biggest liar on the network of lies. If the bulk of your programming is littered with partisan bullcrap, than Bill O’Reilly isn’t a problem at all. He’s your poster boy.

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

Surprise: Hillary Clinton Speech Panned By Fox News As “Class Warfare”

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton delivered a speech today in New York at a rally of thousands of excited supporters. It was the first major event since the declaration of her candidacy. The speech covered many of the issues that are uppermost on the minds of American voters including the economy, national security, immigration, climate change, and civil rights. But that didn’t stop Fox News from narrowing the scope of their perception of the speech to a single divisive concept: Class Warfare.

Hillary Clinton

It is notable that Fox did not air a segment analyzing the speech for about twenty minutes after it was over. That contrasts with the other news networks who immediately brought in analysts to discuss the substance and impact of the speech. It appears that Fox needed some time to decide how they would frame the speech and the speaker in the most unflattering way before committing to covering it.

When Fox did come back to the subject of Clinton’s address, they first interviewed their own media reporter, Howard Kurtz, whose response was lukewarm and devoid of any insight. Then Fox let a couple of pundits spar over Clinton’s event in Crossfire fashion. Finally, after stalling for more than an hour, anchor Uma Pemmaraju introduced conservative pollster and GOP “word doctor” Frank Luntz to lead a segment with the pejorative premise that “Hillary Clinton [is] really playing up the class warfare theme” and that “She’s taking this hard-left turn.” It’s the sort of typical wild swing that Fox News uses to fan the embers of anti-liberal cliches when they haven’t got any coherent argument to make.

Clinton’s full 45 minute speech was actually much more diverse as she offered some personal stories about herself and her family, along with a platform of “four fights” that she intends to lead as a candidate and a president:

  • The first is to make the economy work for everyday Americans, not just those at the top.
  • Now, the second fight is to strengthen America’s families, because when our families are strong, America is strong.
  • So we have a third fight: to harness all of America’s power, smarts, and values to maintain our leadership for peace, security, and prosperity.
  • The fourth fight – reforming our government and revitalizing our democracy so that it works for everyday Americans.

It was likely the “first fight” that triggered the criticism that Clinton was engaging in class warfare. It’s funny, though, that economic policies that favor the wealthy are never called a class war until the people start fighting back. As Bernie Sanders recently said, redistribution of wealth has been going on for decades, from the poor and middle-class to the rich. Policies aimed at reversing that trend are merely to bring back some fairness.

It was that “fourth fight,” however, that produced some of the most striking rhetoric in the speech. Clinton insisted that “Prosperity can’t be just for CEOs and hedge fund managers. Democracy can’t be just for billionaires and corporations.” She made a good case for reform that would restore the the ideals of democracy that have withered at the hands of corporations, billionaires, and the politicians they’ve bought:

We have to stop the endless flow of secret, unaccountable money that is distorting our elections, corrupting our political process, and drowning out the voices of our people. We need Justices on the Supreme Court who will protect every citizen’s right to vote, rather than every corporation’s right to buy elections. If necessary, I will support a constitutional amendment to undo the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United. I want to make it easier for every citizen to vote. That’s why I’ve proposed universal, automatic registration and expanded early voting. I’ll fight back against Republican efforts to disempower and disenfranchise young people, poor people, people with disabilities, and people of color. What part of democracy are they afraid of?

As the campaign season heats up Fox News will predictably try to frame Clinton, and all Democrats, as evil, socialist, godless, incompetents. But it will useful to remember what they were saying about Clinton before they decided she was the next anti-Christ. Here’s a sampling that was compiled by Media Matters:

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

Glenn Beck Returns To Cable News – On MSNBC? (Sort Of)

The ratings troubles on MSNBC have been the subject of much hand-wringing by executives at the cable network and their corporate bosses at Comcast/NBCUniversal. In an attempt to reverse the downtrend MSNBC canceled Ronan Farrow and Joy Reid, moving anchor Thomas Roberts into those time slots. That left an opening in Roberts’ old program, “Way Too Early,” that precedes “Morning Joe.” It appears that Joe Scarborough has now assumed control of his lead-in which is leaning more toward his conservative brand of politics. And that is evident by the person currently anchoring the early show.

MSNBC Amy Holmes Glenn Beck

That’s right – Amy Holmes has been at the helm of Way Too early all this week. For those unfamiliar with her, she is host of a program called “The Hot List” that is part of Glenn Beck’s Internet media venture TheBlaze. Prior to that she was a speechwriter for Bill Frist, a former senator from Tennessee and Republican majority leader.

Giving Holmes this high profile spot as a “news” program anchor is a disturbing step toward the sort of wingnut media that even Fox News couldn’t handle when they fired Beck. Now Beck’s fringe media has a foothold on what has been regarded as the “liberal” cable news network. It’s a foreboding development and one that creates suspicion as to where the new management team at NBC plans on taking the cable net.

One thing that this should put an end to is the talk that MSNBC is the liberal answer to Fox News. That has never been true, mainly because, while MSNBC was generally more progressive, it remained fact-based as opposed to the blatant lying that is the hallmark of Fox. More to the point, Fox News would never give a three hour block of airtime to a liberal ex-congressman, but Scarborough not only has that, but is also featured on NBC’s Meet the Press. Just imagine if Fox & Friends was hosted by Anthony Weiner. [Note: Scarborough also left office amid controversy over the death of intern Lori Klausutis]

Putting Holmes in the anchor chair on MSNBC is the equivalent to replacing Sean Hannity with Rachel Maddow. Fox would never consider such a thing. Even though Fox pretends to be fair and balanced, their schedule is rife with right-wingers and former GOP operatives. There are even four candidates for the Republican primary for president who are former Fox News employees (Mike Huckabee, John Kasich, Rick Santorum, and Ben Carson). And now Glenn Beck’s voice is being heard daily on MSNBC to balance that right-wing cable news bias with some crackpot, conservative, evangelist bias. If MSNBC thinks that this is going to help their ratings, they are sorely mistaken.

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

On Fox News: A White Sexual Abuser Was “Curious” But A Black Victim Of Police Abuse “Was No Saint”

A couple of recent news reports involving children who become entangled with law enforcement matters reveals a striking difference in how they are portrayed by Fox News.

Fox News Megyn Kelly

Fourteen Year Old White Child Molester Was “Curious”

After it was discovered that Josh Duggar of the reality TV show “19 Kids And Counting” had sexually abused several young girls, including his sisters, when he was fourteen, Fox News went out of their way to avoid covering the story. There was hardly a mention of it on the network until Megyn Kelly succeeded in booking members of the Duggar family (not including Josh) for exclusive interviews. The pre-taped conversations were split up to air on two separate nights, multiplying the ratings possibilities for Kelly and Fox.

During the interviews Kelly, a lawyer prior to her work at Fox, acted more like the Duggar’s defense attorney than a journalist. She repeatedly fed Josh’s parents and sisters leading questions that contained the answers she was looking for. The Duggar family played along and joined Kelly in characterizing the controversy as a fabrication of the liberal, secular media that sought to defame their “strong Christian” family. The result was a narrative that cast Josh as “a young boy in puberty and a little too curious about girls.”

So, nothing to see here. Never mind that a budding pedophile never faced criminal consequences for his unlawful acts, nor that he never received professional counseling for a severe psychological problem that is notoriously difficult to treat and is often repeated. And never mind that the parents failed to report Josh’s behavior for a year, or that they agreed to launch a television show that delved into their personal lives knowing the awful secret they were concealing. If anyone was exploiting the media it was the Duggars on the cable show that was making them rich, and later on Fox News as they tried to salvage their slimy career.

Fourteen Year Old Black Girl Brutalized By Rogue Cop “Was No Saint”

After attending a pool party in McKinney, Texas, Dajerria Becton was caught up in one-man police rampage that resulted in her being savagely mistreated. The party dissolved as adults in attendance argued and may have fought over alleged racial slurs directed at African-American kids who were invited guests. When the police arrived witnesses reported that they targeted the black kids, ordered them to the ground, and placed them in handcuffs. Note that these were non-violent, unarmed kids who had broken no laws.

One officer in particular, Eric Casebolt, was noticeably out of control. He was chasing down kids who had done nothing wrong, and even drew his gun on a couple of boys who were clearly not threatening him or anyone else. Among his victims was Becton, a young girl in a swimsuit, who Casebolt grabbed by her hair and threw violently into the pavement. As she called out for someone to call her mother, Casebolt continued to brutalize her, forcing her face into the grass and kneeling with his full weight on her back. You have to wonder what ominous danger he thought she was capable of.

The coverage of this incident by Fox News predictably slanted toward the side of the police. And once again, it was Megyn Kelly who summarized the network’s general take by baselessly slandering Becton saying that “the girl was no saint either.” What did Kelly regard as her sinfulness that justified the beating she took? The only thing Kelly mentioned was that Becton was told to leave the area and she didn’t immediately do so. Apparently Fox News considers that a sufficient crime to warrant throwing a child onto concrete by her hair and pinning to the ground.

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

Moral Equivalency?

Juxtaposing these two incidents, both involving fourteen year old kids, puts the repulsive biases of Fox News on display. It is inconceivable that a rational person would defend the young Josh Duggar as a curious, but essentially good kid who simply made some mistakes, while condemning young Dajerria Becton, who did nothing wrong, as a sinful delinquent who deserved what she got. Yet somehow, Fox News still regards itself as the spokes-network for conservative values including personal responsibility. I suppose they just mean personal responsibility for African-Americans, not white, right-wing Christians.

Tempest In A Tea Bag: Marco Rubio’s Traffic Ticket Troubles And Right-Wing Hypocrisy

The “liberal” New York Times is taking heat for having published an Internet blurb detailing the rap sheet for the Rubio family on file with the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles. It seems that the senator, and aspiring presidential candidate, and his wife racked up some seventeen tickets for speeding, careless driving, etc. The Times’ item was posted on Friday at a time generally reserved for “news dumps.”

It is unlikely that anyone at the Times regraded the story as an earth shattering bombshell and, absent any assistance from self-serving demagogues, it would probably have rolled off the media radar in half an hour or so. And that’s where the self-serving demagogues come in.

Fox News Marco Rubio

The conservative media regulars snapped to attention and immediately began castigating the Times for having reported a true, albeit trivial story. The effect of their accumulated outrage was to turn an online throwaway into a three day (and counting) event. Participating in the bash-fest were…

  • Fox News: Bias Alert: NY Times under fire for ‘scoop’ on Rubio traffic citations
  • Daily Caller: Marco Rubio And His Wife Have Gotten A Bunch Of Traffic Tickets
  • NewsBusters: NY Times ‘Scoop’ Exposes 17 Traffic Tickets for Marco Rubio
  • Breitbart: Media: Never Mind Hillary’s Scandals, Let’s Talk About Marco Rubio’s Wife’s Driving Habits
  • Townhall: Impeach: Rubio and Wife Have Received 17 Traffic Tickets Since 1997
  • RedState: Breaking: Marco Rubio Does Not Abuse his Influence
  • National Review: Marco Rubio — Traffic Violations Like Everyone Else
  • Washington Times: NY Times Goes After Rubio, Wife — For Traffic Tickets

There were, of course, many more, and Fox News has repeated the story numerous times. But perhaps the most offensive contribution to the Times thump-a-thon came from BreitBrat Ben Shapiro, who Tweeted a photo of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy’s car submerged at Chappaquiddick forty-six years ago. Talk about straying off-topic. Kennedy is not currently a candidate for president and he is, sadly, not here to defend himself. Maybe Shapiro would like to comment on the guy that Laura Bush killed in a tragic car accident. That would be just as relevant. Even more so, since her brother-in-law is running for president and she is around to comment on the matter. [This just in: Greg Gutfeld of Fox News also joked about Kennedy as he dismissed Rubios’s poor driving by saying that “At least he didn’t drive anybody off a bridge.” This even caused his co-hosts on The Five to groan disapprovingly]

Most noticeable in this orchestrated defense of the Rubios, however, is the typical wailing of wingnuts who have been caught doing something wrong. Their first response is always to cry “media bias” and to lament their victimization at the hands of the cold-hearted press. It’s the very same reaction that is currently being deployed by the despicable Duggar family’s defense of their pedophile son Josh. These people think that the media reporting on alleged crimes is worse than the the crime itself.

Unfortunately for them, the facts don’t fit with their fantasy narrative. If the media is demonstrating some sort of bias by reporting Rubio’s traffic tickets, then what were they demonstrating when they reported Barack Obama’s parking tickets back in 2008? As published in a story by the “liberal” Washington Post…

“Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama got more than an education when he attended Harvard Law School in the late 1980s. He also got a healthy stack of parking tickets, most of which he never paid.

“The Illinois Senator shelled out $375 in January _ two weeks before he officially launched his presidential campaign _ to finally pay for 15 outstanding parking tickets and their associated late fees.”

Did any of the usual right-wing suspects noted above come to Obama’s defense and condemn the Post for smearing him? Was there any expressed outrage over how the media resorts to trivialities when there are much bigger problems facing the world? Was there any forgiveness from the right because Obama at the time was a poor student and these were just parking tickets, not moving violations like Rubio’s.

Nope, none of that Christian mercy that conservatives are so fond of flashing was on display. That’s because, they don’t really care about the substance of these issues.

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

Instead, they are singularly interested in furthering the spread of their favorite fairy tale that the media is hopelessly liberal and that this unwarranted attack on Rubio is just another example of it. That’s how they can justify stretching this trifling news bite into a multi-day tribulation. It feeds their manufactured stereotype of the media and they will continue to chomp on it until the flavor is gone.

Are Voters Willing To Pay To Combat Global Warming? Don’t Ask Fox News

For anyone looking for additional evidence that Fox News makes people stupid, another splendid example popped up on the Fox Nation website today.

Fox Nation

The article’s headline posed the question “Are Voters Willing To Pay To Combat Global Warming?” Both the question and the original source for the article came directly from the ultra-conservative pollsters at Rasmussen Reports. The folks at Rasmussen answered the question by stating flatly that “Most voters still aren’t ready to pay much, if anything, to fight global warming.” Fox News repeated the same thing without any critical assessment of its accuracy.

It would not be surprising, then, for Fox’s audience to come away believing that the poll showed that Americans are unwilling to pay up in order to prevent the scientifically verified dangers of Climate Change. And if they won’t pay to mitigate the harm, then they must not think it’s very important.

The problem with that conclusion, however, is that it flies in the face of both reality and the actual results of the Rasmussen poll. Reading further on the Rasmussen article (which Fox did not report) reveals a very different representation of the public opinion:

“A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 41% of Likely U.S. Voters say they are willing to pay nothing more in higher taxes and utility costs annually to to generate cleaner energy and fight global warming. But that’s down from 48% last August and the lowest level measured in regular tracking since January 2013. Another 24% are willing to spend only $100 more per year, unchanged from earlier surveys. Twenty-six percent (26%) are ready to spend $300 or more a year to combat global warming, with six percent (6%) who are ready to spend at least $1,000 more annually.”

To sum up, with 24% willing to pay at least $100.00 per year, plus 26% willing to pay over $300.00 per year, plus another 6% willing to pay more than $1000.00 per year, you get 56% (a clear majority) of Americans who believe that Climate Change is a problem that is serious enough to shell out significant funds to address. Yet somehow Rasmussen, and subsequently Fox News, spun the poll results as saying that “most voters still aren’t ready to pay much, if anything.”

So how did they arrive at that obviously contrary conclusion? One guess is that they simply decided that either $100.00 or $300.00 is not “much” money. But that’s a subjective analysis and many Americans would dispute it. Even Fox News would dispute it under different circumstances. For instance, if they thought that someone’s health insurance premium was going to increase $100.00 per year they would regard it as an outrage and renew their calls to repeal ObamaCare.

Another possible explanation for how the poll results were so absurdly twisted is Rasmussen’s methodology wherein they split the responses into four groups (pay nothing, $100.00, $300.00, or $1000.00). The effect is to divide all the responses where there is willingness to pay into three answers, while leaving a single answer for those unwilling to pay anything. Consequently, you get a plurality of 41% who won’t pay, compared to smaller numbers who will pay different amounts. So long as no one adds up those other amounts and realizes that they total 56%, a deceptive pollster could claim that those who won’t pay are the largest single group.

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

Rest assured that the Fox News audience won’t do the math. In fact, they probably won’t even click through to read the article. And for the foreseeable future they will believe, falsely, that the majority of the American people are against any attempt to address Climate Change if it is going to cost them anything. Nice work Fox. Your dishonesty will keep your audience mired in ignorance, just the way you like them.

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?).

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

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.

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 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.
Available now at Amazon.

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?

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

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.