The Cult Of Fox News: New Study Affirms Blind Devotion To Cable’s Church Of Disinformation

One of the fundamental methods employed by cults to assure unwavering loyalty is to demand that devotees believe only in the doctrine bestowed by the cult. All others are presumed to be deceivers and unworthy of trust.

With that in mind, consider the results of the new Pew Research study on “Political Polarization & Media Habits.” The year-long research surveyed American news consumers and categorized their relationships to thirty-six sources for news and information about government and politics by political ideology. The differences in the levels of trust exhibited by consistent conservatives and liberals are profound.

The study reveals that conservatives have drastically constrained their access to news to a very few, hard-right outlets. They behave as if any exposure to a conflicting viewpoint would be tantamount to fraternizing with Satan. Consequently, they rely almost solely on Fox News for their information intake. That is how Fox maintains their ratings position, by herding all of the conservative cattle into one corral.

Pray for Fox News

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Nearly half (47%) of conservatives identify Fox News as their “main source” for news. Nothing else even comes close. Compare that to liberals who cite CNN as a main source only 15% of the time with a half dozen other sources closely competing for their attention. What’s more, conservatives obediently trust Fox News by a larger margin (88%) than any other group of viewers. And the only other sources they trust more than 50% of the time are similarly far-right partisans: Sean Hannity (62%), Rush Limbaugh (58%), and Glenn Beck (51%). Of course, none of those sources are objective news providers, or even journalists.

While Conservatives have only four sources that they trust more than 50% of the time, liberals express trust for nine different sources at that rate: NPR (72%), PBS (71%), BBC (69%), New York Times (62%), CNN (56%), NBC (56%), MSNBC (52%), ABC (52%), and CBS (51%). Note that they are all (with the exception of MSNBC) generally regarded as legitimate journalistic enterprises. Except, that is, by conservatives who trust none of them. In fact, conservatives only have greater trust than distrust for twelve of the thirty-six sources in the study. So consistent with the cult maxim, conservatives actively distrust twenty-four (two-thirds) of the sources. Liberals flip that stat, having greater trust for twenty-eight of the sources and distrust for only eight.

The mission of Fox News from the beginning was to divide the nation by ideology. It is why they came up with their “fair and balanced” slogan with the implicit accusation that the other news providers were neither. They deliberately sectioned off their audience and told them that everyone else was lying to them. Subsequently, when they lied to their viewers (which they do constantly), there is no place for them to turn for the actual truth. The Fox version of events becomes the unqualified gospel for their audience/disciples despite being riddled with falsehoods and rancid partisanship. And additional proof of that is seen in the studies that show that Fox viewers are less informed than those who watch other media, or even those who watch nothing at all. And the more you watch Fox, the less you know.

The correlations to cult status are unmistakable: Proselytize relentlessly (Fox is #1); repeat/preach the cult’s doctrine (anti-Obama, anti-government, Benghazi); reinforce obedience with fear (tyranny, terrorism, Ebola); glorification of idols (Ronald Reagan, Ted Cruz, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin); demonization of competing views (Democrats, the rest of the media); and fabricating a comforting home for faithful followers by casting experienced propagandists and appealing, mostly blonde, presenters as reporters. It’s a closed loop society that succeeds by keeping the flock secluded, ignorant, and artificially happy. I just hope they don’t start serving Kool-Aide.

Crackpot Conservative Conspiracy Theory: Obama Secretly Planning Amnesty For Millions

Here we go again. The right-wing nut cases who think that Ebola infected terrorists are streaming across the border to confiscate our guns, get free abortions, vote for Democrats, and gay marry atheist children, have a new delusion to occupy their twisted attention.

Fox News

The usual conservative media mouthpieces like WorldNetDaily, Breitbart News, Townhall, Newsmax, and of course, Fox News, are all reporting that there is a plot afoot by the Obama administration to grant amnesty to some 34 million “illegal” aliens soon after the midterm election. To put that number into perspective, that’s more than three times as many undocumented immigrants as are currently estimated to be in the United States. It’s a third of the entire population of Mexico. If they all occupied a new state it would be the second most populous state in the country after California with 38 million.

Where would they all go? No one is saying. It’s enough just to float the conspiracy and get the Tea Party dimwits riled up and fearful of something other than Ebola and ISIS for a couple of hours.

This new panic attack was triggered by a report that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services put out a call for a vendor that could produce between four and nine million Green Cards and/or work permits a year for a five year contract. What the idiots in the rightist press conclude from that is that Obama is planning to issue all 34 million of those documents in a mass ceremony sometime around Christmas.

We have seen this sort of stupidity crop up before. The last incarnation of this sort of nonsense was a frightful scenario wherein the Department of Homeland Security had published a vendor request for more than a billion bullets. In the minds of the nutcases on the right, that was evidence that the DHS was plotting a response to some impending Zombie-driven civil unrest that would require the government to shoot every person in America five times.

In both of these cases of mass hysteria there was a simple explanation. The government, like any large enterprise, purchases routine supplies in advance and in bulk in order to get better rates. With the bullets, they were used in both field work and, more often, in ongoing training exercises. As for the immigration documents, they are often issued for new arrivals as well as replacements for lost or damaged documents. In many cases they are temporary and reissued for various types of applicants including migrant workers and technology consultants and even rock stars who come and go many times throughout the year. Work permits are even issued to American minors who take summer jobs.

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But leave it to Fox News and their sleazier cousins to make this into a doomsday plot by a determined and evil president bent on destroying the purity of our white, Christian utopia. Seriously, do these people ever get tired of being scared by fake pronouncements of doom? Do they feed off of fear like some Star Trek alien life form? Maybe if the rest of us all keep thinking happy thoughts it will weaken and float away into space. Wouldn’t that be a happy thought?

BUSTED: Pathological Liar James O’Keefe Is Caught Attempting To Commit Voter Fraud

Fresh on the heels of a pathetically dishonest scam in Kentucky, James O’Keefe took his medicine show to Colorado. This time his con was to entrap supporters of Democratic senator Mark Udall into agreeing to participate in a voter fraud scheme.

James O'Keefe

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According to the report published by Mother Jones, O’Keefe’s operatives approached Udall supporters and offered to help the campaign by submitting fraudulently obtained mail-in ballots.

“Last Tuesday, a man who appeared to be in his twenties showed up at a Democratic field office in Boulder wanting to volunteer to help elect Udall and Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), according to a Democratic staffer who met with him and asked not to be identified. The man introduced himself as ‘Nick Davis,’ and he said he was a University of Colorado–Boulder student and LGBT activist involved with a student group called Rocky Mountain Vote Pride. Davis mentioned polls showing the race between Udall and Gardner was tight, and he asked the staffer if he should fill out and mail in ballots for other college students who had moved away but still received mail on campus. The Democratic staffer says he told Davis that doing this would be voter fraud and that he should not do it.”

Of course, the group that the phony “supporter” claimed to represent doesn’t exist and the staffer properly shot him down and sent him packing. But that didn’t stop the O’Keefe operation from trying it several more times. That is the key methodology of his hoax manufacturing outfit. He fishes around for a gullible victim and then throws out all of the evidence of people who did the right thing. It may take him ten or twenty times to find a sucker. Then he pretends that the few people he may have duped were the only ones he encountered. It’s an editing deception that defines O’Keefe’s unscrupulous activities.

On this occasion the O’Keefe con was cracked wide open. His minions were were unmasked and even he was recognized in a lame disguise as he tried to lie through another attempted political smear job. As noted previously, this convicted scumbag seems to have no limit to the copious quantities of shame he can endure at his own hand. And hopefully more people will be wary of this sort of unethical racket and continue to put him in his place.

For the record, here is a boilerplate background on James O’Keefe:
O’Keefe is best known for making an ass of himself on video while imagining an acclaim that is shared by no one outside of the Tea Party Home for the Chronically Delusional. Some of his other recent antics have resulted in his arrest and conviction in a Louisiana senator’s office, a legal order to pay a $100,000 settlement to a former ACORN employee he defamed, and a sleazy plot to seduce a CNN reporter aboard his “Love Boat.” More recently his “Cinema Veri-tasteless” earned him a rebuke from a team of Special Prosecutors in Texas (yes, Texas) who officially concluded that his video “was little more than a canard and political disinformation.” And he staged a remarkably juvenile stunt wherein he crossed the Rio Grande wearing an Osama Bin Laden mask.

OUTBREAK: Millions of Americans Exposed To Ebola-Phobia By Hysterical Media

There is a debilitating pandemic that is rapidly spreading across the nation and infecting millions of Americans. What’s more, it is airborne and spread indiscriminately by irresponsible entities that are licensed by the government.

It isn’t Ebola. It is Ebola-Phobia – the irrational fear that an extremely difficult to acquire viral fever is threatening every man, woman, and child in America. The transmission vehicle for Ebola-Phobia is a common carrier known as television news. And a new survey has revealed that the more one is exposed to an infected news source, the more likely the virus will spread, and the more serious the consequences for those infected. As reported on NJ.com

“Those who claim to be following the outbreak the most closely also have the most inaccurate information about it.

“For example, people who are paying a lot of attention to Ebola are twice as likely to hold the erroneous belief there is effective medicine to treat it. They are also more likely to believe it is spread easily, even though the deadly fever is less contagious than the flu.”

This is a shocking development. How can it be possible that accumulating more information about a news event results in being less informed about it? That is the exact reverse of what ought to be the case for conscientious news consumers.

The problem rests primarily in the fact that the news producers are not particularly conscientious. They are deliberately stirring up panic and contributing to a wholly irrational hysteria. For instance, take a look at this headline from the Fox News community website, Fox Nation:

Fox Nation Ebola Outbreak

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Outbreak? Is that an appropriate characterization of a viral infestation that has grown to engulf fewer people than can fit into a Mini-Cooper? It is if your purpose is to frighten rather than inform. Fox News and other media outlets may be more interested in curing their ratings deficiencies than in delivering factual data.

In addition to the survey from New Jersey, a national poll by the Harvard School of Public Health was recently concluded that shed some light on the adoption of misinformation by the American people.

“The HSPH/SSRS poll found people with less education are more likely to be concerned about an outbreak in the U.S. (less than high school 50% vs. some college 36% vs. college grad or more 24%). People with less education are also more concerned they or their family will get sick with Ebola (less than high school 37% vs. some college 22% vs. college grad or more 14%).”

There is a disturbing inference from the combination of these two studies. It tells us that people with less education who watch more news are the most likely to have incorrect impressions of the facts. It has already been established that Fox News ranks near the bottom of all news sources for education level of its audience, and it is the most watched cable news network. That sets the stage for a massive epidemic of ignorant panic over Ebola (or ISIL, or Benghazi, or ObamaCare, or the IRS, or gay marriage, etc.). And the proof of this rests in surveys that confirm that the more one watches Fox News, the more misinformed one is.

The fact that Fox News would portray the discovery of a second Ebola patient from the same Texas facility that produced the first one as an “outbreak,” shows how deliberately dishonest they are. Next they will probably report that the infection rate has increased by 100%. And while that’s technically correct, it obviously doesn’t advance the understanding of what is occurring. And that is what Fox intends to do with so much of their reporting – impede the advance of understanding.

[Addendum] Shortly after this was published, Fox News Anchor Shepard Smith delivered a rare and inspiring commentary that put Ebola into realistic perspective. It’s a must read/watch.

Ebola Terror Threat? The Best Fox News Horror Story Since Boob Bombs

The Ebola crisis in West Africa is a truly disturbing situation that is tragically taking the lives of hundreds of people. But as painful as that is, the compulsion to turn it into a geopolitical hazard is unfounded and irrational.

Fox News Ebola

Nevertheless, Fox News is among the many media outlets who are attempting to unduly frighten the American people by speculating that terrorists are going to embrace Ebola as a mechanism for their homicidal escapades. Of course, anyone with any knowledge of biology is aware that Ebola would be an awful candidate for weaponized bioterror. It is difficult to work with without infecting oneself, and it isn’t even an effective agent because of how hard it is to spread. Every good terrorist knows that anthrax, ricin, or sarin, among others, would be far more effective. Even the conventional flu virus, which already kills about 36,000 American each year, would be a better choice.

What is abundantly clear is that the right-wing media is obsessed with turning every scary news story into a prospective terror plot. Children cross the southern border into Texas and suddenly terrorists are disguising themselves as twelve year old immigrants. A women is decapitated by a disgruntled former co-worker and now beheadings can be expected across the nation. A single man is found to have placed a bomb in his shoe in a failed attempt at bringing down a jetliner and now millions of people have to remove their shoes to board a plane.

Perhaps the most ludicrous nightmare fantasy came from Fox News when they published an article sourced to the ultra-fringe WorldNetDaily that announced that British spies were “Hunting Breast Implants of Death.” That’s right, folks. Boob Bombs have arrived to terrorize our helpless mammary-fixated nation. And while that was over four years ago, there has still not been a breast-related attack, unless you count a few angry Hooters waitresses.

To date, the number of deaths attributable to Ebola in the United States is zero. Contrast that with the 8,000+ homicides committed by guns. There is a good argument to be made that the NRA is a bigger threat to America than Ebola. In fact, the U.S. currently has no Surgeon General (a figure who could be instrumental in educating the nation during this alleged crisis) because the NRA has conservative members of Congress scared of confirming the nominee that President Obama put forward, specifically because of his views that firearms play a role in public health. That view is affirmed, of course, by the statistic cited above.

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And if you’re not already sufficiently afraid of infectious terrorists from Mexico with exploding breasts hiding in every shadow, then think about this: Jihad Monkeys: A ridiculous story about the Taliban training monkeys to do battle with American soldiers. The story, sourced to the People’s Daily in China, was published by at least two Murdoch properties, Fox Nation and the New York Post. No, really. Here’s “proof.”

New Ad Campaign Attempts To Convince Voters That Republicans Are People

The modern advertising industry has developed unprecedented techniques to persuade, cajole, and seduce the American people into directed patterns of consumption and lifestyles. Our decisions about which cars to drive or sodas to drink are all influenced by a steady stream of commercial messaging nearly everywhere we go. But now the Republican Party has taken on a public relations task that dwarfs all other efforts at opinion-making. They boldly aim to convince the American people that Republicans are people too.

Republicans Are People

GOP media manipulator, Vinny Minchillo, is the mastermind of this crusade to remake the Republican image into one that embraces a human component. He tried to do the same thing a couple of years when for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. Now Minchillo has created a website called “Republicans Are People Too.” and posted a video there to make a case for that dubious proposition (video also posted below). But the text accompanying the video conveys only a determination to whine about the plight of the poor, mistreated Republican. He moans that…

“It isn’t easy being a Republican these days. [...] We love political discourse. We encourage political discourse. But when did “Republican” become a dirty word?”

Perhaps the answer to that question is: When Republicans started calling Democrats fascists, communists, moochers, whores, traitors, and devils.

Minchillo’s video is a simple production that seeks to enumerate a series of “regular” folks that he labels with a the hashtag “IAmARepublican.” It is a fairly comprehensive list of average Americans who are not generally associated with the exclusivity, racism, and intolerance of the Republican Party. It is no wonder that the GOP is yearning to attract more of the type of people in the video, because it is a cross-section of the nation that represents its diversity, a word that makes the right tremble. The video consists of a parade of alleged party members and asks “Did you know Republicans…”

Drive Priuses, recycle, listen to Spotify, put together IKEA furniture, are white, black, Hispanic, Asian, read the New York Times, use Macs, are grandmas, daughters, moms, are left-handed, are doctors, welders, teachers, donate to charity, enjoy gourmet cooking, shop at Trader Joe’s, like dogs, and cats, have tattoos, have tattoos and beards, have feelings, are people who care.

The problem with the argument that Minchillo is making is that the people claiming to be Republicans in his video are not actually Republicans. And by that I don’t simply mean that those types of persons are not Republican, which on the whole they are not. I mean that those specific people in the video are not. In fact, they were photos taken from stock image suppliers. A search for a random selection of the photos in the video found many of them in the iStockPhoto website’s library of images. The persons in the paragraph above that are links will lead you to the stock image page for each one.

So the video produced in order to convince everyone that Republicans are real people is populated by fakes. They are models pretending to be the characters that the video claims represent actual members of the Republican Party. And that’s about as real as it gets for the GOP.

This would be a hilarious aside to the pathetic PR that is constantly pushed by right-wing propagandists. But it is actually just another rung in their ladder of deception. It is reminiscent of the effort by Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign to persuade voters that “We’re Not Stupid.” When you have to mount an advertising blitz to sell the public on the notion that you’re not stupid, you have already lost the battle. And the same thing goes for a campaign to assert your people-ness. If the public doesn’t already know that you’re people, good luck trying to convince them.

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Sharia Law vs. The NRA: The Politics Of Beheading And Guns

The news of a grisly murder in Oklahoma has once again brought out the panic peddlers who are always watching out for any gruesome event that they can exploit to advance their nightmare scenarios. While there is still a deficit of actual facts, knee-jerk Islamophobes leap forward to cast aspersions on people whom they regard as universally barbaric. Therefore, any chance to defame a Muslim is quickly pounced on and embellished in the most hostile manner. However, according to the Washington Post, all that is actually known about the murder at this time is that…

“A man who had just been fired by an Oklahoma City-area food processing plant allegedly severed the head of one of his former co-workers and attacked another before being shot by the company’s chief operating officer, according to police. [...]

But the FBI, which is assisting in the investigation, has so far found no links to terrorism, the officials said. There was also no indication that Nolen was copying the beheadings of journalists in Syria by the Islamic State, the officials said, adding that they are treating this as an incident of workplace violence.”

The fact that the investigation is in the early stages has not prevented the Fear Merchants from going totally overboard with their hysteria. Undoubtedly Sen. Lindsey Graham, who warned that ISIL is on their way to America to “kill us all,” is probably thinking, “One down, 359,999,999 to go.” And the folks at Fox News are doing their part by boldly declaring in all caps that “SHARIA LAW IS COMING!!!”

Fox Nation

Fox posted their warning on their community website, Fox Nation (See the acclaimed ebook Fox Nation vs. Reality to learn more). The alarmist story was sourced to the uber-rightist blog, The Daily Caller, which is run by Fox host Tucker Carlson. The exclamation about the coming of Sharia law was taken from the Facebook page of Alton Nolen, the suspect in the Oklahoma crime, but Fox doesn’t disclose that in their headline or their article. They leave it to appear that there is just some sort of impending doom that is approaching that will foretell the end of civilization as we know it.

The Daily Caller’s article was written by Patrick Howley, a disreputable hack who has confessed to unethical and unlawful tactics to smear his ideological foes. Howley includes ridiculous and irrelevant observations such as the fact that Nolen had a tattoo that read “as-salaamu ataikum,” a Muslim greeting meaning “peace be upon you.” Nolen also had a tattoo of Jesus and a pair of Christian praying hands. So what does that say about Christianity?

Of course, it is utterly absurd to imply that a murder, even if it is determined to be related to terrorism, suggests that Sharia law is about to be implemented in America. What happened in Oklahoma was a crime and will be treated as such. It will never be tolerated as lawful in this country under some warped interpretation of Islam. So even if there are additional crimes linked to terrorists, Sharia law is most definitely not coming to America.

If Americans are determined to be afraid of something, they may want to put this recent crime into perspective. In 2014 so far, there has been one beheading in the United States. Compare that to the more than 8,000 deaths by guns this year. [Estimate based on data from 2012]

Guns vs. Beheadings

That’s more than double the fatalities of 9/11. Which makes it all the more ludicrous that right-wingers are now clamoring for unwieldy and unwarranted measures to address their fantastical notions about domestic terrorism. They propose strengthening border security, spying on mosques, prohibiting immigration from Muslim countries, and even building concentration camps.

However, you will not hear any similar commitment to eradicating the true epidemic of deaths and injuries by guns. To the contrary, conservatives are pushing for more guns to be carried and for fewer restrictions on firearms. They are against regulations to keep guns out of the hands of felons or spousal abusers. They fight efforts to prohibit cop-killer bullets. They oppose smart-gun technology that would prevent unauthorized persons from using a firearm. They are even against laws that prohibit people on the terrorist watch list from purchasing guns.

Nevertheless, a single beheading, as horrific as it is, whips wingnuts into a frenzy, while 8,000 deaths, many of them children, doesn’t move them to lift a finger. This leads to a fundamental question that needs to be asked by the American people and the media: Who represents a bigger threat to the country, ISIL or the NRA?

Fox Nation vs. Reality: Zombie Reagan’s Fake Declaration Of War

When you are relentlessly bombarded with exaggerated, alarmist calls to fear every shadow in your path, grasping onto anything that provides even temporary comfort becomes a necessity to retain some semblance of sanity. That’s the position many gullible adherents to the fear-mongering war-hawkery of the right find themselves in. They are so inundated with panicky howling that America, and the world, are succumbing to certain and imminent doom that they need to suck on psychological pacifiers to keep from having mental breakdowns.

Fox Nation

Thus, an enterprising yarn spinner at a conservative blog composed a fairy tale that perfectly fits the bill for these unstable Tea Party types. And it was promptly posted on Fox Nation, the community website for Fox News. The tale comes in the form of an imaginary speech by their long dead savior, Ronald Reagan. But how this can assuage the anxiety of these worrywarts is a mystery considering how absurdly constructed it is.

It begins by asking “How different would our response as a nation be if the Commander-in-Chief were Ronald Reagan?” The answer to that, however, cannot be reliable surmised since the only military conflict that Reagan oversaw was the invasion of the tiny Caribbean island of Grenada. That was not exactly a proud victory for the armed forces of the world’s biggest superpower.

The fantasy speech lays out the justification for unbridled fright by saying that “Today we face a threat the likes of which we have not seen since the darkest days of World War II and the Cold War.” This specious claim mirrors that of today’s Republican scaredy-cats like Sen. Lindsey Graham who believe with all their hearts that the desert rats in Syria are coming to our shores to slaughter us all. Never mind the reality that there are only about 30,000 ISIL fighters, which is far less than the Axis forces of World War II that numbered in the millions. They can hardly be capable of doing the sort of damage that Hitler and his comrades did. The important thing for the fear trade is to convince the peasants that every enemy is the worst the world has ever seen.

Continuing on that theme, Zombie Reagan says that “We never faced members of the SS or the KGB prepared to be suicide bombers. Today we do.” I suppose we can forgive the Gipper for having a bad memory since he is, you know, dead. But the Japanese famously deployed Kamikaze pilots who were into suicide missions long before Al Qaeda thought it was cool. What’s more, many wartime tactics involve plans that the soldiers know they are not likely to return from. Just because they are not officially designated as suicide missions doesn’t mean that the soldiers aren’t aware of the expected outcome. Yet they follow their orders despite that knowledge.

Of course, for this declaration to be plausibly Reaganesque, it has to contain some of the movie hero bravado that was such a big part of his public imaging. He had to reflect the egocentrism that is the hallmark of the American Exceptionalist crowd. Only the U.S. of A. can send the message that will send our foes into shivering spasms of dread. Ergo…

“Our Muslim and Arab allies must be the frontline in this conflict, but without America’s fighting with them, this war will not be won. Not simply because our forces are so superior, but because if we are not prepared to send our people in harms way to fight the barbarians that wish to destroy our civilization, then we send a very simple message to the Enemy and to the world: our civilization is not worth saving.”

Zombie Reagan closes by articulating a theory that sounds very much like the Obama Doctrine. And if any of the Reaganites ever catch wind of that they will immediately flip-flop and refute it. But it is unmistakably reminiscent of the tactics favored by the current administration.

“Our enemy is not ISIS, the Islamic State, or even Al Qaeda; it is the ideology that drives all such barbaric groups. [...] But we must learn the lessons of the past. When fighting totalitarians, it is never enough to defeat them militarily. One must defeat their ideology.”

Not very Reagany, is it? Fox News has been working overtime to convince the nation that there is only one solution to the ISIL problem. It was prosaically proffered by their military analyst Lt. Col. Ralph Peters (whose name translates to “vomiting dicks” in Slanglish), who said the measure of success is “acres and acres of dead terrorists.” Now, after advancing that plan, Zombie Reagan comes along to adopt Obama’s method of draining terrorism of its appeal and recruiting capability.

The ultimate folly with resurrecting Reagan to rally the wingnut troops is that it can’t help but remind people that his leadership was rampant with failure. How different would our response be if Reagan were running things? Well (as Reagan would say), he cut and run after 200 Marines were murdered in their barracks by a suicide bomber in Lebanon. He sold weapons to our enemies in Iran in violation of international law. He used the proceeds of those sales to finance death squads in Nicaragua in violation of federal law. He failed to respond after an Iraqi jet aircraft fired missiles at the USS Stark, killing thirty-seven Navy personnel. He neglected the suffering of blacks in South Africa, called Nelson Mandela a terrorist, and opposed the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act, which was passed by Congress over his veto. Obviously, Reagan’s legacy is not one of vanquishing dangerous foes. But he wasn’t bad at asking, in stern tones, for walls to be torn down. Even that milestone didn’t occur until the administration of his successor, George H.W. Bush.

All in all, it’s a good thing that Reagan isn’t running things today. If Republicans want to pretend that he would have produced better results than we are seeing now, they are welcome to indulge their fantasies. That’s mostly what they do anyway by watching Fox News all day. But America, and the world, have big enough problems that we certainly don’t need them exacerbated by one of the worst presidents of all time.

Unhinged Fox News Reporter Warns Of Immigrant Children Trained By ISIL To Kill Us

The frenzy of frightened Fox News figures who have been consumed by panic over the threat of ISIL terrorists invading our tranquil communities continues to grow in numbers and intensity. On Saturday morning a panel of business correspondents took up the issue on Fox’s Bulls and Bears (and Immigrant Children, oh my).

Fox News Kids Trained To Kill Us

The segment (video below) was introduced by host Brenda Buttner as “the ISIS border threat we may all regret if we don’t stop it now.” She summarized the imminent doom facing America from terrorists plotting to sneak across our porous southern border to wipe us out as we sleep. This gruesome prospect was presented as more than speculation and she wondered how many more warnings would be required before Washington “gets it.”. Of course she never offered any evidence that any terror suspects had entered the U.S. in this manner, or that there was any credible intelligence of it . She just unloaded a series of allegations without any factual basis.

That was enough for the first panelist, John Layfield, a retired professional wrestler, to spew a stream of unrelated assertions involving ISIL’s alleged blueprint for international terrorism and the presence of murderous drug cartels in Mexico. Layfield’s background makes him the perfect guest to provide analysis on these sort of national security issues. He was rebutted rather effectively by Gary B. Smith, a hedge fund manager, who wisely kept his commentary limited to his area of expertise, the economic aspects of securing the border. He questioned the efficacy of building a border fence for an estimated $22 billion when none of the perpetrators of 9/11 entered the country illegally and other border barriers like the Berlin Wall were commonly breached thousands of times a year.

But Stealing the thunder of prominent members of the Psycho-Chicken Little Society like Lindsey Graham, was Fox regular Tracy Byrnes. Her hysterical assessment of the looming threat was riddled with indignation that nobody was treating the situation with the appropriate measure of urgency.

“It’s really serious and this has been something that has been bothering me for a while now. We are not taking it serious enough. ISIS is here. I don’t care what anybody says. They’re here.”

How typical of a Fox News commentator to declare that she doesn’t care what anybody says. She has her own delusional, nightmare scenarios firmly affixed in her mind and she will not be distracted by reality. But she’s only just getting started. She goes on…

“What scares me the most, Brenda, is that they infiltrate the minds of children and when children cross the border everyone, you know, the tears start coming down. We want to take care of them, but so many of these kids are trained to hate us and potentially kill us. And yet we are just letting them in, welcoming them with open arms, paying for their medical, paying for everything and it’s just going to come back to bite us.”

Exactly! Somehow ISIL has gotten to these gullible waifs, who are fleeing violence in their native countries, and brainwashing them to hate the Americans who are providing them with safety, food, and health care. All the while these kids are plotting to grow up and cut our throats or blow up our shopping malls. Byrnes didn’t reveal where the terrorists were conducting this training or why children who have been rescued from lives of misery, danger, and fear would succumb to an ideology that just perpetuated it and was directed at their rescuers.

Surprisingly, other than Byrnes and Layfield, the panel was fairly united in dismissing the most outlandish claims by the Fear Caucus. The frantic whimpering of the bed-wetting set has been shown to be utterly without foundation. Recently PolitiFact assessed a claim by GOP/Tea Party Rep. Trent Franks, who said that “It is true that we know that ISIS is present in Ciudad Juarez (Mexico)” And except for the fact that it isn’t true and that we don’t know it, it was a pretty good soundbite. PolitFact rated it “mostly false,” while noting that similar false claims were made by Sen. Marco Rubio and many in the right-wing media such as the Daily Caller, Breitbart News, and Sean Hannity. PolitiFact also revealed that the source of the claim was the ultra-conservative organization, Judicial Watch. When asked for more information to affirm their allegations, JW’s president Tom Fitton simply refused.

Not to be outdone, Fox host Jeanine Pirro served up her own steaming plate of crazy with a paranoia drenched tirade that boosted the profile of ISIL over the tyrant King George of England, Jefferson Davis’ Confederacy, Hirohito’s Japan, Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda, and even the genocidal regime of Adolf Hitler:

“Tonight America faces the single biggest threat in her more than 200-year history. Worse than what we faced in World War I, World War II, the attack on Pearl Harbor, and Al Qaeda on 9/11. [...] The damage will be painful and it will be extensive. [...] I’ve been telling you for months that you need to be afraid.”

Pirro’s grasp of history is pitifully weak. For the record, ISIL is, so far, responsible for the deaths of two Americans. They have a long way to go before they can be regarded as worse than World War I (116,000 fatalities), World War II (405,000), the Civil War (625,000), or even Al Qaeda who lag behind at 9,700 if you include 9/11 plus all casualties endured during both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars (which, of course, are not all attributable to Al Qaeda). And on the basis of her stupendously ignorant raving, she boasts that “for months” she’s been telling her wretched viewers that they “need to be afraid.” How dumb do you need to be to continue following her advice?

The fanatics at Fox News are desperately trying to drive their viewers into a sky-is-falling state of psychotic distress, and they have no qualms about using blatant lies to achieve their ends. It’s a shameful and unethical tactic that squarely fits the definition of terrorism (ter-uh-riz-uh m) – noun: The use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.

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Benghazi A Mini Iran/Contra? Fox News Should Ask Their Own In-House Felon

Earlier this week Fox News helped to promote a shoddily constructed story by a discredited reporter about an alleged effort by the State Department to dispose of documents that might be harmful to then-Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. The story, that they laughably called a “bombshell,” did not provide a single bit of evidence and relied entirely on allegations by a former State Department official who had been reprimanded for being “grossly inadequate” and who clearly had an ax to grind.

Fox News Oliver North

Today Fox News upped the ante by adding new scenarios with even less connection to reality. On Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade introduced a segment with retired Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer saying that…

“Anything that could have got them into trouble, Colonel, was grinded up, was shredded, and the review board never got all the documents.”

Of course, none of that was ever verified, and the allegations were merely speculation by someone who the reporter admits never witnessed any such thing. So in order to take the focus off of how thin this whole fictional account is, Kilmeade allowed his guest to offer up a complete fantasy that neither of them bothered to support with any facts.

Shaffer: Some of these documents we’re talking about were probably the direct link to some of the bad incidents, to include the holy grail here that nobody wants to talk about, is the obtaining of weapons from the Libyan rebels, moving them out of the country, to the Turks, through Turkey to the Syrian rebels. Some of those rebels ended up being the ISIS threat we’re now facing.

Kilmeade: So you mean this is almost like a mini Iran/Contra thing?

Shaffer responded “Absolutely,” to this question, apparently ignorant of what the Iran/Contra scandal was all about. Shaffer’s invention of a plot to transfer weapons that were lawfully provided to Qaddafi foes in Libya, to dubious characters in Syria, is nothing like Iran/Contra, and there is no evidence that it even happened. In the Reagan era scandal weapons were illegally sold to Iran while the nation was under an international arms embargo. The proceeds were then used to illegally fund the Nicaraguan Contras, which was explicitly prohibited by federal law.

The funny thing about this is that Fox News could have gotten all of this straight if they had instead interviewed their own employee, Oliver North. It was North who ran the Iran/Contra affair and was convicted by a jury for his felonious behavior. However, he is now a Fox News anchor and military commentator for the network. You have to wonder whether it was his violations of federal and international arms trading laws, or his perjury conviction for lying under oath to Congress, that made him such an attractive candidate for employment at Fox.

Actually, it may be overly optimistic to suggest that North would have straightened anybody out, since he has been lying about the scandal for more than two decades. But it’s interesting that Fox is now using Iran/Contra as an example of grossly unlawful practices with their comparison to the fiction they are hyping about the Clinton State Department purging documents. If this “holy grail” that they are now trying to smear Clinton with is so bad that they are calling it a “mini Iran/Contra,” then how can they ethically employ the leader of the actual, full-sized Iran/Contra?

Of course, the answer to that question is that Fox News has never considered it within their charter to act ethically. That makes their job of lying and distorting the news a lot easier.

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.

Fright-Wing News: Fox News Reports, As Fact, The Missing Libyan Planes Hoax

Given the acute paranoid tendencies of the Fox News management, they spend an inordinate amount of time either inventing or disseminating hoaxes aimed at frightening their dimwitted and gullible viewers. It’s why they promoted so many horror stories about the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) that never had a smidgen of truth to them. It’s why they squeal incessantly about the threat of immigrant children amassing to conquer America. It’s why they are convinced that our Manchurian president from Kenya is conspiring to confiscate their guns and declare himself emperor of the United Global Caliphate. Fear is their drug of choice.

Consequently, it should surprise no one that Fox News broadcast a story that is nothing more than a hoax perpetrated by wingnut bloggers and a coalition of disreputable pseudo-news sources. On Friday, Fox anchor Jon Scott introduced the segment saying…

“A potentially terrifying scenario is playing out as we approach September 11. Nearly a dozen airplanes are missing – flat out missing – from an airport in Tripoli, raising new fears of the possibility of another terror attack from the air.”

Fox News Missing Planes

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OMG! That is truly terrifying. I can almost hear the roar of a dozen jet engines filling the sky with thunderous evil as they aim for defenseless skyscrapers packed with unsuspecting victims. Why doesn’t Obama raise the threat level to “Unrestrained Panic” and evacuate America’s cities?

Perhaps because the story is not true. Snopes researched the allegations and found that they originated from highly suspect blogs and emails in North Africa. And then…

“…translations of the blog posts began to be picked up by news outlets in Western Europe and passed on as fact rather than gossip; by early September those tales from translations of blogs had spread to the United States under the guise of real news.”

However…

“…there have been no statements from the State Department, the Department of Defense, Homeland Security, or any other authority warning of stolen airliners.” [...and that...] “…several of the planes claimed in rumors as ‘missing’ or ‘stolen’ have actually been accounted for, having been either caught outside of Tripoli at the time the airport fell to opposition forces or relocated by their operators (Air Contractors pf Dublin) to an airport in Malta for safekeeping. Some of the other airliners were likely destroyed in the fighting or damaged beyond the possibility of operation.”

Fox News relied on the reporting of the Washington Free Beacon, an ultra-rightist conspiracy theory disseminator that is affiliated with Republican operatives and the Koch brothers. The Beacon’s Bill Gertz was interviewed by Fox and related a story that consisted of nothing but speculation and unnamed sources. In his article for the website he wrote that…

“Intelligence reports of the stolen jetliners were distributed within the U.S. government over the past two weeks and included a warning that one or more of the aircraft could be used in an attack later this month on the date marking the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against New York and Washington, said U.S. officials familiar with the reports.”

Of course, there are no documents that confirm the alleged reports and no officials were on record corroborating Gertz’s claims. In fact, when Gertz sought a comment from the State Department they explicitly told him that “We can’t confirm that.” But that didn’t stop Gertz, and subsequently Fox News, from reporting the fake news as fact.

Since the debunking of this phony story, Fox news has not bothered to update their reporting with a correction or any acknowledgement of the dubious allegations and sources. That is in keeping with their practice of deliberately misinforming their audience and spreading lies that are intended to create fear and an artificial sense of impending doom. It is the Apocalyptic mindset of pseudo-journalistic propagandists seeking to advance an extremist political agenda through intimidation and inciting panic. It is, in fact, the definition of terrorism.

Terrorism (ter-uh-riz-uh m): noun – The use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes. [See Fox News]

[Update:] Fox News has still not retracted this phony story, nor issued any correction that notes the dubious sources. However, I did find an earlier segment of this on Fox & Friends (surprise) that aired September 3, two days before this segment.

The Media Needs To Stop Promoting ISIS Propaganda Videos – NOW!

Today there was a report of another horrific murder of an American Journalist. Steven Sotloff was the victim of a gruesome assault carried out by ISIS terrorists. And just as with the previous murder of James Foley, the media reacted by serving the interests of the terrorists by repeatedly showing pictures of the assault. Such a reaction has a disastrous effect. It is also egregiously hypocritical, but more on that later.

Media Inciting Violence

What needs to be mentioned with regard to these pictures is that they serve only one purpose. They were distributed by ISIS in order to advance their mission of terror. Their goal is to spread fear in the west and to promote recruitment to their cause among extremist Muslims. And like every other public relations campaign, the more the pictures and videos are shown, the better for ISIS.

The American media is providing free advertising for these cretins, and they must stop it. While it is reasonable to report on the brutality that is being engaged in throughout the Middle East, and particularly in Iraq and Syria, there is no useful purpose in blanketing the airwaves with images created by terrorists for their own benefit.

The murder of Sotloff is certainly a tragedy, but it is no more tragic than the hundreds, thousands, of others, many of them Americans, many of them journalists, whose names we were never told because they were killed in more “conventional” ways. The spectacular method of Sotloff’s execution wrenches our hearts, but leaves a corpse that is not one bit more dead. We have to stop assigning an artificial significance to the tactic, because that is exactly what the terrorists want us to do. Why are we accommodating them?

The United States has conducted hundreds of bombing missions against ISIS in the last few weeks, with over eighty yesterday alone. We have driven ISIS back from cities they boasted about capturing. These actions have resulted in the deaths and injuries of untold terrorist fighters. In response, the impotent whack jobs of ISIS choreograph a horror show that takes the life of a single man and we’re supposed to tremble with uncontrollable fright? Hell no. We continue to pursue our interests, bring aid to victims, and get on with our lives. It would probably be advantageous for President Obama to go golfing after every killing of this type that occurs. Don’t validate their tactics by reacting in precisely the way they hope.

It’s ironic that the media is so supportive of the ISIS PR effort. Not too long ago some of them were blasting reporters for going to Ferguson, Missouri to cover the shooting of an unarmed black teenager. In that case media critics like Howard Kurtz of Fox News asserted that “The journalistic invasion of Ferguson is absolutely inflaming the situation on the streets.” He wrote an editorial titled “What if we just pulled the plug on Ferguson?” that suggested the press should pack it in and leave town. Bill O’Reilly said much the same thing about coverage of another murdered teenager, Trayvon Martin, when he asked “Is the media now inciting racial violence?”

Isn’t it interesting that when the media is covering the murders of unarmed African-American kids they are accused of being accomplices to an escalation of hostilities, but when it comes to Americans executed by terrorists thousands of miles away, there is no similar implication of incitement even though that is the indisputable objective of the killers? The real question is: What if we just pulled the plug on ISIS?

Fox News inflaming Violence

There is a demonstrable purpose to reporting on the overly aggressive behavior of American police officers. Such publicity, and subsequent reform, can have an impact on their future behavior and improve relations between law enforcement and the public they are pledged to serve and protect. The same cannot be said of reporting, or more accurately advertising, the behavior of terrorists. We are not going to dissuade them from committing their crimes by publicizing them. Quite the contrary. They will only increase their deadly plots when they see the attention it brings them.

So the only way to react to these events is to acknowledge that they occurred and then stop obsessing over them. Then we can conduct our retaliatory response calmly and decisively. But by no means should we panic, tear out our hair, and give the enemy the impression (and satisfaction) that they have crushed our spirit and won a victory. They haven’t won a damn thing by exposing themselves as savages and taking the life of a single, innocent victim. Rather than helping to advance their PR, we should be publicizing their barbarism, impotence, and desperation. And a big part of that requires the media to refrain from furthering the marketing goals of the terrorists.

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

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

Night of the Living Death Panels

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

Fox Nation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ronald Reagan / Osama Bin Laden

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

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

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

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

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

Fox News Rick Perry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMPEACH! Fox News Reports That “Obama Danced to Avoid Clintons At Party”

Adding more fuel to the Republican obsession with removing President Obama from office, Fox News invited disgraced author and unrepentant birther, Edward Klein, to reveal the results of his fantasy investigation of the alleged friction between Obama and Hillary Clinton. Klein’s latest news flash, and Fox News headline, is that “Obama Danced to Avoid Clintons at Party.”

Fox News - Edward Klein

Klein appeared on Fox & Friends with the brown haired dude who is not Steve Doocy (Brian Kilmeade) to recount his tale of presidential acrimony. The discord supposedly began after Clinton expressed her opinion that more should have been done to clamp down on ISIS when they emerged in Syria. That’s a perfectly reasonable position, although one fraught with controversy. At that time there were few Syrian rebel groups that could be trusted to pursue the interests of the United States. Indeed, many of Syrian President Assad’s opponents were associated with what became ISIS.

Subsequent to the initial media frenzy over Clinton’s alleged attempt to distance herself from Obama, Clinton denied that there was any rift between her and the President. As evidence she called Obama to assure him that she had not meant to criticize his overall foreign policy. In addition, she was already scheduled to attend a birthday party for a mutual friend that the Obamas would also be attending. The media falsely turned this into some kind of a peace summit between the once, and possibly future, presidents. Of course in the real world it was a birthday party.

This is where Klein steps in to unveil his long-squawked theory that Clinton and Obama are mortal enemies. He told Kilmeade that…

“My sources tell me that what happened there at the party is that instead of it being a hug-a-thon, it became a freeze-a-thon, and the Clintons essentially ignored the Obamas, and the Obamas got up from the table and danced almost the entire night in order to avoid having to talk to the Clintons.”

OMG! The President and the First Lady were dancing as means of politically oppressing a perceived foe. It’s a tyrannical tactic that even Hitler never tried to use against his enemies. As for Klein, one has to wonder if these are the same sources that told him that Hillary was dropping out of the presidential race; or that Obama was secretly planning on endorsing Elizabeth Warren to succeed him; or that Chelsea Clinton was the spawn of Bill Clinton raping his lesbian wife, Hillary.

Klein’s sources appear to be imaginary trolls inhabiting his otherwise vacant cranial cavity. He never authenticates his allegations or conducts even the most basic principles of journalism ethics. But what he said immediately after his shocking revelation about Obama’s dance of distraction is more informative than anything that appears in any of his lie-riddled books:

“What I’m trying to say is, in a sense, what happened there in the Vineyard was ripped from the pages of my book “Blood Feud” because the blood feud continues.”

And there you have it. This is nothing more than an advertisement for his cheesy book. And Fox News is gleefully participating in the ad campaign by hosting an author who has nothing substantive to say. Although from Fox’s perspective it is another opportunity to bash both Obama and Clinton that they couldn’t pass up.

The problem that Fox, and their Republican cohorts, have is that while they have been feverishly condemning Obama’s policies, they were thrown into a cognitive mind warp when Clinton appeared to do the same. After all, what were they to do? Embrace the position of Clinton who they are expecting to face in the presidential election in 2016? Or renounce her and effectively endorse the Obama doctrine?

In the end they are awkwardly trying to do both. Obama is wrong because, in their fetid brains, he’s always wrong. But Clinton isn’t right, she is merely being looked up to for disagreeing with Obama, but even that is only for political reasons. It’s a typical right-wing illogic-loop that can spin for eternity – or at least until the hypnotic trance that Fox has imposed on their cult members (aka viewers) has faded.

Serial Liar James O’Keefe Trades In His Pimp Outfit For Osama Bin Laden Mask

The news from around the world has been getting more intense with conflicts raging in Israel/Gaza, Syria/Iraq, and Ukraine/Russia. Not to mention an Ebola outbreak in West Africa and police shooting unarmed citizens here in the U.S. So that makes it the perfect time for a self-indulgent purveyor of puerile political pranks to post another in his series of odes to his own desperate cries for attention.

O'Keefe/Osama

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Abandoning his pimp persona, James O’Keefe ventured down to the U.S./Mexico border to prove that a lily-white American, in the company of a local Sheriff, could wade around in the ankle-deep waters of the Rio Grande unhindered. O’Keefe produced a video showing himself crossing what he said was the border, although with his track record it might have been a puddle at W’s old Crawford Ranch. O’Keefe repeatedly sought to build a melodrama around this desert hike by insinuating that the border was an open door to criminals and terrorists.

What he didn’t say was that there was a nearby road where U.S. Border Patrol agents keep watch on the very stretch of land that O’Keefe was prancing around. Nor did he think it was notable that the presence of an American citizen and his Sheriff companion might not peak the interest of the feds. Neither did he bother to inform his viewers of the resume for this particular Sheriff. Gawker, however, was generous enough to provide some background on him:

“Here are some fun facts you may not learn about [Sheriff Arvin] West from O’Keefe’s fawning video treatment: The sheriff is famous for arresting celebrities, from Willie Nelson to Fiona Apple, whose pot-filled tour buses use the nearby stretch of Interstate 10; he’s been found guilty of illegally arresting an El Paso police officer and violating his civil rights; and he has a reputation for being a right-wing and anti-immigrant media hound who calls President Obama ‘full of shit.'”

To add some extra punch to the production number, O’Keefe donned an Osama Bin Laden mask and repeated his crossing of the river. What made him think that the result would be any different by wearing an obviously phony Halloween accessory is anyone’s guess. Especially after having already established that there was no one monitoring the theatrics that he and his Sheriff sidekick were engaging in. And again, why would anyone be monitoring these two clowns? The Border Patrol have actual work to do.

As has become the norm, O’Keefe’s video was virtually ignored by the media who have become inured to his dishonest brand of faux journalism. The only outlets that continue to pay him any attention are the the most disreputable of the right-wing media circus, like Breitbart News, Newsmax, and the “Moonie” Washington Times. What must have been particularly painful for Jimmy was the reaction from ultra-conservative Fox News host Eric Bolling, who addressed the video on his program The Five and spoke directly to O’Keefe saying…

“What’s not helpful [...] filmmaker James O’Keefe donning an Osama Bin Laden mask and crossing the Rio Grande. Shtick like that doesn’t work. We have honest-to-God serious problems with the border. O’Keefe, give it a rest, my man.”

O’Keefe is best known for making an ass of himself on video while imagining an acclaim that is shared by no one outside of the Tea Party Home for the Chronically Delusional. Some of his other recent antics have resulted in his arrest and conviction in a Louisiana senator’s office, a legal order to pay a $100,000 settlement to a former ACORN employee he defamed, and a sleazy plot to seduce a CNN reporter aboard his “Love Boat.” His last “Cinema Veri-tasteless” earned him a rebuke from a team of Special Prosecutors in Texas who officially concluded that his video “was little more than a canard and political disinformation.”

The ultimate goal of this project became apparent when a visit to his website revealed a reference to this video on his donations page where O’Keefe whined that “To complete this investigation, Project Veritas spent over $74,242 in legal fees, investigators salaries, and travel expenses.” He really does have a problem if it cost him 74 grand to hop a plane to Texas to stroll across a puddle with a pair of high-water jeans and a rubber Osama mask. With that kind of budget he could have hired a bearded Muslim actor and a couple of coyotes with a motor boat, added some pyrotechnics and a love interest, and entered it at Sundance.

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.

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!

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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.