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

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

Media Circus

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

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

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

On that basis, here is Attkisson’s list:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A recent study by a conservative news organization highlighted the rampant corruption in many of the right-wing Astroturf enterprises and political action committees. The Washington Post reported that…

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

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

Here We Go Again: The Media Needs To Stop Promoting Terrorist Propaganda

The execution of a Jordanian pilot by Islamic State terrorists has once again shown the world that they are a repulsive, inhumane band of murderers with no agenda other than inciting panic and fear. Unfortunately, it has also shown us that the media is an irresponsible purveyor of propaganda that unambiguously aids our terrorist enemies.

Fox News ISIS Flag

The first thing that people need to realize about these heinous executions is that the terrorists aim is to inflame emotions and draw western powers into a quagmire on their battlefield in the desert. And as if to validate that goal, war hawks among American conservatives are falling for the tactic and calling for an increased military presence in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, etc. It is a pathetic and dangerous submission to the will of the enemy.

Why would anyone want to give the terrorists exactly what they are hoping for? To be sure the method of the executions is gut wrenching and stirs a desire for a visceral response with a measure of brutality that equals that of the terrorists. But succumbing to that vengeful instinct clouds our minds and distorts reality. For instance, many of the those acting on pure instinct have already appeared on television asserting that unless we escalate our military involvement we are losing the war.

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That’s nonsense. What people are forgetting (or not bothering to learn) is that there have been a total of eight executions by the Islamic State in the past six months. During that same time the United States and its allies have conducted bombing campaigns that have killed more than 6,000 ISIL fighters, including more than half of their top commanders, according to the U.S. Ambassador in Baghdad, Stuart Jones. In what playbook does a 6,000 to 8 kill ratio signify a military loss?

Nevertheless, the media is hyping the death of a Jordanian that, while tragic, is in no way an incentive to escalate activities with more American soldiers deployed to the Middle East in combat roles. We are already beating the enemy by any standard and we just need to be persistent and make decisions based on reality rather than emotion. We need to steel ourselves from the enemies tactics which are devised to cause us to make faulty judgments that benefit them.

Fox News

In short we need to ignore the propaganda that the terrorists are engaging in. Likewise, we need to ignore the propaganda that the media is engaging in. When members of Congress like John McCain or Lindsey Graham tell us that we’re losing the war, we need to ignore them and continue on the path that is producing real successes. When pundits like Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity or Bill O’Reilly tell us that President Obama is a weak and vacillating leader, we need to ignore them and stay the course. And even though news outlets like Fox News are helping the terrorists by promoting their propaganda videos, we are not obligated to watch or approve of that journalistic treason.

As I wrote last September after the terrorists executed Steven Sotloff, an American-Israeli journalist…

“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.”

That remains true today. It’s a shame that we have to undergo the trauma that is inflicted by horrific terrorist acts. But it doesn’t help that our media is advancing the goals of the terrorists. Hopefully they will eventually wise up and realize the harm they are doing by failing to put the whole of this battle into proper context. Seriously – 6,000 to 8.

[Update:] Fox News has posted the full video of the execution of the Jordanian pilot by ISIS. It is the only national TV network to do so. A terrorist expert consulted by the Guardian newspaper said that Fox News is “literally – literally – working for al-Qaida and Isis’ media arm … They might as well start sending them royalty checks.”

[Update II:] Since Fox News posted the ISIL propaganda, more conservative websites are joining in to help the terrorists promote their message of fear. So far Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze, Breitbart News, and Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller are now on Team ISIL. They claim that showing the video is the only way that people will be able to grasp the true horror of the execution. That is obviously an idiotic argument, but if they believe it, then why don’t they also post the beheadings of the Americans that ISIL murdered?

DEM Senator: GOP Hearing Turns Into Soundbite Factory For Fox News

Yesterday the Senate Judiciary Committee, meeting for the first time since the Republican Party assumed the majority, held a hearing on the confirmation of Loretta Lynch to be the next Attorney General of the United States. And the new GOP leadership demonstrated just how corruptly tied they are to their propaganda arm at Fox News.

Fox News Soundbite Factory

Now that Republicans have the power to control the proceedings, they began by inviting a panel of overtly biased right-wingers who admitted that they had nothing to say about the AG nominee. The sole purpose of their attendance was to rag on the current AG, Eric Holder, and President Obama. The Republicans were using the hearing to express their hostility toward Holder and to try to make political points against the President that had nothing to do with the confirmation of Lynch.

What’s even worse is that the panel consisted of sham witnesses with notorious biases. They included disgraced former reporter Sharyl Attkisson, Tea Party Sheriff David Clarke, and voter suppression activist Catherine Engelbrecht of TrueTheVote. The giveaway was that these plants left the hearing upon completion of their testimony and hightailed it down to the Fox News studios for a turn on Sean Hannity’s show where they continued their bitchfest. That eventuality was actually predicted during the hearing by Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (video below) who called out the wingnut ringers saying that…

“I regret that this hearing and this solemn occasion has been co-opted to that extent and turned into what appears to be a soundbite factory for Fox News and conspiracy theorists everywhere.”

He could not have nailed it better. The fact that Republicans in Congress will abuse the process to stage a political theatrical affair is not particularly surprising. They have long ago proven themselves to be dismissive of democracy and willing to subvert government institutions in order to achieve their partisan goals. But the blatant exercise of casting a panel of “witnesses” who have dual roles as Fox News flunkies really indicts the new Senate majority as hopelessly corrupt.

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PolitiFact On The New Improved Fox News: Now With Even More Lies

The fact checkers over at PolitiFact have updated their Truth-O-Meter scorecards for the cable news networks and the results are not particularly favorable for Fox News (which is not particularly surprising).

Fox News PolitiFact

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According to PolitiFact, the current results breakdown like this:

  • At Fox 61% of the claims have been rated Mostly False or worse.
  • At MSNBC 44% of the claims have received a rating of Mostly False or worse.
  • At CNN 20% of the claims have received a rating of Mostly False or worse.

The change from their last analysis in September of 2014 shows that both CNN and MSNBC have improved their record, while Fox has sunk deeper into the abyss of dishonesty. Although, from Fox’s perspective that would be regarded as an improvement since it is their intention to deceive.

Some of the types of stories that contributed to Fox’s downward spiral include the ludicrous assertion that Birmingham, England was a totally Muslim city that no one else can enter, and that France has 741 no-go zones itself. Those claims were mercilessly mocked and produced the Twitter hashtag “#FoxNewsFacts” as well as a brilliant response from Le Petit Journal, a French television satire show.

Then there was the report by Fox that a proposal by the Obama administration to close tax loopholes for the wealthy and cut billions of dollars of taxes for the middle-class was actually a tax increase. And Fox also reported repeatedly that the Keystone XL pipeline would create tens of thousands of jobs, when only 35 of them would be permanent. Megyn Kelly did a lengthy segment revealing how Colorado Democrats were plotting to engage in massive voter fraud, except that none of her reporting was true. And Fox’s George Will fear mongered about Ebola saying falsely that it could be transmitted by a cough.

And that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Every day there are new fallacies presented as truths by the practiced liars at Fox. The result is that Fox is the only network that has more false rulings than true by PolitiFact, by a wide margin. And Fox really has to work at failing the truth test 61% of the time. If you had any intention of being honest, you could do better than that by flipping a coin. Which makes it all the more incomprehensible that anyone still considers Fox to be a legitimate news enterprise.

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High Schoolers Scorch Bill O’Reilly/Fox News For Lack Of Journalistic Ethics

[Update 2/2/2015: Fox News has responded to the students’ video]

Fox News has been proven repeatedly to be a purveyor of disinformation and outright lies presented as facts. Knowledgeable observers long ago ceased to take their reporting seriously. However, it’s one thing to be called out for shoddy journalism by experienced media analysts and news professionals. But when a high school class can demolish the highest rated cable “news” network with ease, the folks responsible should reconsider their career choices.

Fox News

Last July O’Reilly sent his stalker/producer Jesse Watters to Bennington, Vermont in order to malign the residents of the city and the state as liberal, pot smoking, ski bums. It was a purely vicious exercise in childish insults that had no news value of any kind. But it is the sort of mean-spirited filler that Watters has made his specialty. Watters is also the founder and editor of Fox’s community website, Fox Nation, mangling the truth is the primary objective. [Note: don’t miss this epic and hilarious take down of Watters by Stephen Colbert]

The students at Mount Anthony Union High School in Bennington happened to be studying journalism when they came upon this piece. So they used it as a case study to conduct a “professional integrity audit” based on the ethics codes of the Society of Professional Journalists. What they discovered was that O’Reilly’s program violated the ethics codes so many times they lost count.

The video produced by the students systematically took apart the Watters segment revealing O’Reilly, Watters, and Fox News to be blatant propagandists with no regard for journalistic integrity. In one short segment they found examples of stereotyping, distortions, manipulation, questionable sourcing, and predetermining outcome.

The students presentation was not what you would call polished. But, hey, they are high school students. They have plenty of time to sharpen their camera skills. The main thing is that the construction of their reporting and their adherence to high standards still makes them more watchable than the arrogant, blow-dried, FoxBots who stare down their noses at decent folks in small Vermont towns.

The video closes with the students articulating their conclusions based on a thorough analysis of the O’Reilly segment as it holds up to ethical scrutiny. The verdict was not something that a reputable journalist would relish:

“Based on our studies about the field of journalism, we have determined that you’re not practicing journalism. You’re practicing rank propaganda.” […]

“By watching Fox News, we have learned buckets about journalism – what to do and, more importantly, what never to do. It is our hope that Fox News can learn the very same from watching us.”

You have to admire their youthful optimism. It is unlikely that Fox will ever acknowledge the complete lack of ethics in their reporting. That’s mainly because they don’t regard it as a flaw. It is deliberate and in keeping with their mission to advance a partisan political agenda, even when it is merely ridiculing innocent victims of their juvenile pranks.

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Addendum: After reading some of the comments below, it is clear that right-wing trolls have descended on this article to attack young people for speaking their mind. What’s sad is that the conservative critics can’t even form coherent arguments to rebut the students on substance. They rely on insults and rhetorical misdirection.

Taking Sides: Fox News Is The Foremost Propaganda Arm For The World’s Terrorists

For several years now Fox News and other conservative media have feverishly demanded that President Obama explicitly associate terrorism with Islam. They have accused Obama of being weak, and even treasonous, for his reluctance to do so. Following the Charlie Hebdo tragedy in Paris, the calls for such symbolic rhetoric have built up to deafening levels as Fox ignores the bigger issues in favor of trivial sloganeering.

However, those who articulate this criticism are missing an important point that demonstrates that, not only is the President right, but the critics are overtly aligning themselves with the terrorists.

The logic is really quite simple. When you look at who is insisting that the terrorists be called Muslims you will see only the terrorists themselves (i.e. Al Qaeda, ISIS, etc.), Fox News, and their allies on the far right. On the other side is Obama, religion and terrorism experts, and most of the world’s Muslims. So the real question here is why is Fox News joining with the terrorists in an effort to brand their heinous activities?

Fox News

What Fox News is doing is a revolting breach of ethics. They are acting as the PR department for the terrorists who desperately aspire to be regarded as the legitimate voice of Islam. They couldn’t ask for a better partner than Fox in their efforts to brand themselves and to disseminate their pro-terror propaganda.

The problem is that most of the world’s Muslims strongly oppose the association of these terrorist groups with their faith. And despite Fox’s apparent self-inflicted deafness, they have made it abundantly clear that they want noting to do with terrorism or violence or hate. Those repudiating the connection include virtually every major Muslim advocacy group and the most prominent Muslim-majority nations.

On the other hand, Fox, and those who support the network’s position, can cite only a single reason for connecting Islam to the terrorist groups. The justification offered generally states that the terrorists themselves identify as Muslims. So what? That is an argument that is so irrelevant that it is hard to grasp why anyone would take it seriously.

The repugnant extremists of the Westboro Baptist Church, who protest at the funerals of slain American soldiers, identify themselves as Christians. Likewise, the bombers of women’s health clinics insist that they represent the true Christian faith. And for decades the Ku Klux Klan has cloaked its message of hate in Christian dogma asserting their strict adherence to what they call God’s principles. Many hate groups even incorporate their adopted faith into their name, such as the Christian Identity Movement.

If those who argue that Islam and terrorism are inseparable because the terrorists call themselves Muslims, then they would have to argue that Christianity and terrorism are also inseparable for the same reason. But you will never hear them do that. They are practicing a one-sided form of perverse logic that is bigoted and indefensible.

Conceding that terrorism is the way of Islam, therefore, amounts to an acceptance of the terrorists terms and definitions. It is a form of appeasement that rewards the terrorists with precisely what they seek: religious legitimacy. And Fox News, along with crusading right-wing pundits and politicians, are playing into their hands. They are, in effect, supporting the goals of the terrorists.

President Obama is absolutely right to deny the terrorists the legitimacy they so desperately want. He is right to respect the majority of Muslims who want nothing to do with the terrorists and have said so repeatedly. The terrorists are no more Muslim than the Westboro freaks are Christian.

By demanding that Obama call the terrorists Muslims, Fox News et al are actually taking the side of the terrorists and helping them to advance their mission. And what makes this even worse is that they are taking that treasonous position solely to harm America’s leadership and standing in the world, and to advance their own petty political objectives and lust for power. It is an abhorrent abuse of their media platform that should offend all Americans.

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And despite their best efforts, a few Muslim guests actually got their points across on Fox News:

#FoxNewsFacts? New Hashtag Addresses Old Problem Of Fox News Aversion To The Truth

This weekend Jeanine Pirro of Fox News invited the in-house Fox “terrorism expert” Steven Emerson to explain the impending apocalypse that is looming over the planet due to radical Islamic terrorism spreading to every nook and cranny of the globe. Emerson warned that the crisis is so severe that murderous Muslims have already taken over some Western cities.

Emerson: In Britain, it’s not just no-go zones, there are actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim where non-Muslims just simply don’t go in.

It didn’t take long for that morsel of fear mongering to be shot down as utterly false. Later in the day Emerson himself apologized profusely for his “terrible error,” however, neither Pirro nor Fox News has issued a retraction. Consequently, Fox News viewers will remain profoundly misinformed, as usual.

The Internet, though, has a certain self-healing capability that tends to just this sort of dishonesty. Before long the hashtag “#FoxNewsFacts” was trending on Twitter with a barrage of both serious and satirical posts asserting a sort of cyber karma.

While it is gratifying to see people taking it upon themselves to set the record straight, the credibility of the facts on Fox News has been non-existent for years. There have so many examples of the network’s outright disregard for the truth that I wrote a book (Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Community’s Assault on Truth) compiling some of the worst episodes. In fact, Fox’s fib factory was so productive that I have just released the second volume of the book:

Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Fox Nation vs. Reality

The book contains more than 50 examples of deliberate falsehoods and blatant propaganda. It’s available now on Amazon and every purchase helps to support the work we do at News Corpse.

The pathological liars at Fox have been particularly busy disseminating disinformation in this aborning new year. In addition to providing a platform for bona fide Islamophobes like Emerson, they have launched an assault on President Obama for not jetting off to Paris to march in a photo op with some other world leaders who Fox usually hate. And today they waxed panicky about what they called a hack into Pentagon computers that was really just a hack into Twitter and YouTube. No government network was accessed, but Fox spent most of the day ruminating on it. It’s what they do.

Fox News Pentagon Hack

2015: Happy News Fears Day

We made it. It’s 2015 and with the new year stretching out before us there is a sense of new hope. At least the hope that 2015 will be nothing like 2014.

Happy New Fears Day

If there is one word that summarizes the media take on life in America for 2014 it is FEAR! Nothing was spread thicker than the notion that we are all living on borrowed time as some looming threat hangs precariously over our heads. Here is a brief retrospective of some of the frightening scenarios that haunted us over the past year and that were feverishly promoted by right-wing media.


Lindsey Graham Is Afraid That We Will “All Get Killed Back Here At Home”

The Chairman of the Panic Caucus has got to be South Carolina’s GOP Senator Lindsey Graham who warned Fox News that “This president needs to rise to the occasion before we all get killed back here at home.” Of course, Graham never specified how this national massacre would be carried out, nor what Obama should do about it. But never mind that. Just get back in your bunker and try to tune in Alex Jones on your ham radio.


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

On an episode of Fox News’s “Bulls and Bears,” host Brenda Buttner introduced a segment warning about “the ISIS border threat we may all regret if we don’t stop it now.” But Stealing the thunder of prominent members of the Psycho-Chicken Little Society was Fox regular Tracy Byrnes. Her hysterical assessment that ISIS is already here led to a pronouncement that terrorists will “infiltrate the minds of children and […] so many of these kids are trained to hate us and potentially kill us.” So if you know what’s good for you, you will start knocking off any unfamiliar children in your neighborhood before they get you.


Dick Cheney Warns of Gizmo-packing Terrorists plotting to blow up Fox News

Dick Cheney, (News Corpse’s Dick of the Year) has once again made news with his unrelentingly pessimistic vision for America. Emerging from his bunker in an undisclosed location in order to raise money for his new SuperPAC, Cheney joined the Curvy Couch Potatoes on Fox & Friends to warn Americans that “there will be another attack. And the next time, it’s likely to be far deadlier than the last one.” Fox’s Steve Doocy agreed with Cheney and elaborated saying that “in a couple of months one of them [terrorists] could be walking in front of our building with some sort of gizmo to wreak havoc.” So all along it is Fox News that has been the target of the terrorists.


A Ton of ObamaCare Navigators Are Criminals

Over at Fox Nation, they posted an item culled from the ultra-conservative National Review Online that alleged that people recruited to assist citizens with ObamaCare enrollments are a “fishy” and unsavory collection of outlaws. And except for the fact that the evidence they cite doesn’t corroborate their claim, it’s pretty scary narrative. The truth is that by portraying ObamaCare as a thinly-veiled assembly of hustlers just waiting to exploit innocent health insurance consumers, Fox is just continuing their “Fright Offensive” to scare people away from exploring the many benefits of the program and, thus, doom it to failure.


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

One of the most over-hyped pseudo-threats of the year was the one alleging that Ebola would decimate America. PolitiFact named the phony crisis their “Lie of the Year.” Expanding on that fallacy, Fox News is among the many media outlets who attempted 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. What’s more, immediately after the election on November 4th, the Ebola pandemic was miraculously cured.


Fox News Reports, As Fact, The Missing Libyan Planes Hoax

And closing on a more bizarre note, 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. But Fox’s Jon Scott was not deterred by those facts as he 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.”

In reality every allegedly missing plane was accounted for and all credible sources repudiated the claims. For this completely made up story 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. And even after the story was thoroughly debunked, Fox never issued a retraction.


One thing is abundantly clear from the editorial tenor of Fox and other media outlets: Fear was the main product of the media in 2014. There is an obvious effort to keep the American people in a constant state of the shivers. Either that or the media has simply determined that horror programming is the path to higher ratings. In any case they are behaving irresponsibly and have something in common with our foreign enemies. They are, by definition, terrorists:

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

And HAPPY NEW YEAR everybody!

The “Damn, These People Are Stupid” Awards For 2014

In a year that was filled to the brim with monumental idiocies, the competition for King of the Dumfux is stiffer than usual. Narrowing down the list of those deserving of special recognition was particularly difficult, but the collection below is a pretty good indication that DEVO was right and that civilization is taking huge leaps backwards. So fasten your neck bolts and let your eyes glaze over as we journey back through a year of hilarious (and frightening) intellectual vacancy.

2014 Stupid People Awards

The “Is Our Children Learning” Award

Leading off the ceremony is a Hall of Famer dolt, Fox News’s Tucker Carlson, who laments that “the problem with American schools is just that kids are…learning too much.” That’s the sort of thinking that makes every other item on this list possible. It is also a recipe for growing new Fox News viewers who appreciate the stupidity of people like Carlson.

An let’s also give Carlson an honorary mention for his screed on “The Wussification Of Popeye.”


The “Speak For Yourself, Douchebag” Award

Former CIA “intelligence” officer, Michael Scheuer, is a regular guest on Fox News. He is famous for telling Glenn Beck that “the only chance we have as a country right now is for Osama bin Laden to deploy and detonate a major weapon in the United States.” But earlier this year in an interview with Neil Cavuto, Scheuer made a surprising distinction between America and the terrorist ISIS operation saying that the Islamists “are not dumb people. They may be brutal, but they are not dumb. We’re the dumb ones.”

Well then, that settles it. The problem we’ve been having all along is that we’re just not as smart as our adversaries. And Cavuto, notably, did not challenge that assessment. After all, how can a bunch of hillbillies who are hypnotized by reality television, designer jeans, and flame-broiled Whoppers supposed to be able to compete intellectually with such sophisticated and sociologically advanced opponents? Why did we not see this deficiency before Scheuer brought it to our attention? Oh yeah, because we’re stupid.


The “Pimp My Ride: Welfare Edition” Award

The lazy-brained right-wing media pounced on a scandalous story about President Obama’s bill to give welfare recipients free cars. And except for the fact that the story was the product of a satirical website, it would have been a great scoop. What makes it worse is that they did same thing the year before and were mercilessly shamed for their idiocy, but that didn’t prevent them from doing it again this year.


The “E Pluribus Ooh Numb” Award

After complaining about a Coca Cola ad that celebrated the diversity of the nation by singing the anthem “America the Beautiful” in several languages, the wingnuts at Breitbart News declared victory when Coke modified the ad by placing the motto “E Pluribus Unum” at the beginning. So let’s get this straight. Coke, they said, “bowed to conservative critics” who insist on English-only by inserting a short phrase in — Latin. Uhhh, OK.


The “Your Wife Is A Fat Fatty” Award

No list of stupidity would be complete without the ravings of Fox’s “psycho” analyst Keith Ablow. There are numerous entries under his name for recognition, but we’ll just settle on one that is both dumb and insulting. While visiting with the women of Fox’s Outnumbered, Ablow dispensed his routine Obama-hating rhetoric, but then added a bit of spice just for this program. As a slap at First Lady Michele Obama, who has been a devoted advocate of healthy diets, Ablow questioned her sincerity by smugly barking “How well can she be eating. She needs to drop a few.” This bit of misogyny even elicited gasps from the conservative ladies of Fox.


The “Republicans Are People Too” Award

In 2014 the Republican Party took on a public relations task that dwarfs all other efforts at opinion-making. They boldly aimed to convince the American people that Republicans are people too. And the method used to achieve this goal was to produce a video that consisted of a montage of stock photos labeled as “average” American Republicans. So the video produced in order to convince everyone that Republicans are real people is populated by fakes. Brilliant.


The “Blind Leading the Old and Stale” Award

Once known as “Bush’s Brain,” Karl Rove has deteriorated into a mentally deficient spewer of rancid rightist partisanship. In an attempt to bash Hillary Clinton, Rove’s wild pitch beaned every senior citizen in the country when he said that “In American politics, there’s a sense you want to be new, you don’t want to be too familiar, you want to be something fresh, you don’t want to be something old and stale.” Never mind that almost every Republican Rove backed for the past thirty years was older or staler than Clinton. The real numbskullery of Rove is that he is insulting the nation’s most reliable voting bloc by implying that they are not fit for public service.


The “Hate Of The Union Address” Award

There is boomlet of commentary on the right that thinks it would be a good idea to prohibit President Obama from delivering the annual State of the Union address to members of Congress. This is a proposal that reeks of personal animosity and is wholly inconsistent with the mission of Congress. What’s more, it certainly doesn’t advance the spirit of cooperation that the GOP pretended to embrace following the midterm election. Speaker Boehner has already nixed this notion, but merely considering it hangs an “i’m a stupid baby” sign around the necks of these cretins.


The “Boobs On The Air” Award

Following reports of a female fighter pilot from the United Arab Emirates who led the UAE’s forces in attacks on ISIL, Fox News host Eric Bolling made what he must have thought was a hilarious joke by referring to her as “Boobs on the ground.” Bolling not only insulted the courageous pilot, but his associates at Fox News as well. He later apologized to his wife and Fox viewers, but egregiously left out the pilot and all other women in the armed services.


The “Flakes On A Plane” Award

Allen West, a disgraced veteran and one-term Tea Party congressman, supplied Fox News with an “exclusive” report about what really happened on the ground in Benghazi. West’s source for his exclusive was an anonymous stranger that happened to be sitting next to him on a plane who said that he knew some other anonymous dude who had the real skinny on the scandal. This is what passes for an “exclusive” news report on Fox News? A third-hand tale of conspiracy theories and previously debunked allegations?


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


As special salute at the conclusion of a year of monumentally asinine behavior, News Corpse is presenting its first “Dumfux Award for Achievements in Stupidy.” Candidates for this honor were many and included Ben Carson, Elizabeth Hasselbeck, Rush Limbaugh, and Keith Ablow. Sarah Palin was eliminated from the competition because her inclusion would have swamped the field. But emerging from the pack was a wholly deserving moron who proved himself through a year of failure and foolishness. So without further ado, here is the 2014 Dumfux Award for Achievements in Stupidity winner:

Darrell Issa

Congressman Darrell Issa of California

Rep. Issa chaired the House Oversight Committee through a maze of fake scandals, including Benghazi, the IRS/Tea Party affair, and ObamaCare. And in none of his persecutions did he manage to prove any of his preconceived allegations. But he sealed his victory for this award on the last day of the last hearing that he will attend as chairman. Having subpoenaed Jonathan Gruber, the economic advisor who inartfully described the American People as stupid, Issa must have believed that he was in a position to embarrass Gruber and, by association, all Democrats and supporters of ObamaCare. But Issa led off his inquisition with this idiotic question:

“Mr. Gruber, I’ve been accused that I’m going to berate you or something and I hope that you won’t feel that way when I get done. But the night before last I was at the Kennedy Center Honors where they honored Tom Hanks, famously ‘Forrest Gump,’ the ultimate in successful stupid man. Are you stupid?”

Gee…I wonder where Issa might have gotten the impression that people thought he would berate Gruber? This may be the single stupidest question Issa has ever asked anyone. What did he expect Gruber to say? And how did he think this line of questioning would benefit whatever investigation he was pretending to conduct? As usual, Issa’s motives were purely hostile and aimed at creating political theater. But by the end he once again demonstrated his impotence as even conservative colleagues and pundits criticized him for scheduling the pointless hearing in the first place. So congratulations Mr. Issa, and best wishes for a new year as a flunky who no one respects.

2014: An Epic Year For Conservative Crackpot Conspiracy Theories

Recalling the bygone year, there were enough examples of political foolishness, public embarrassment, and unabashed propaganda, to fill a trainload of FEMA caskets. But nothing comes close to boggling the mind like conspiracy theories rooted in nothing but psychotic paranoia and partisan dementia.

News Corpse has covered much of what the right-wing media has attempted to pass off as legitimate news, but was actually evidence of severe cognitive failure. So, as a reminder of 2014’s most ludicrous departures from reality, here is a compilation of some of the best (worst?) excretions from the imagination of the conservative hive mind.


CONSPIRACY: President Obama Is Trying To Impeach Himself

The evil genius in the White House orchestrated the whole Obama-hate campaign from its earliest days in 2008 just so that he would be able to use impeachment, which is every president’s dream, as an election strategy six years into his presidency. He had the foresight to anticipate that his anti-America agenda, developed in concert with the Muslims and Marxists in his inner circle, would make the 2014 midterms so difficult that he would need something positive, like having himself prosecuted before Congress for high crimes and misdemeanors, in order to stem the tide of opposition that would rise up.

Impeach Obama


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


Ben Carson Fears That Obama Will Declare Himself President for Life.

The United States and its democratic system has endured for over 200 years, through economic catastrophes, civil and world wars, Nixonian corruption, and assassinations. Yet Carson thinks that it may all soon be over because of our present economy (with it’s soaring stock market, record profits, and low unemployment), and a band of desert rats 8,000 miles away?

Ben Carson


Glenn Beck Asserts That Obama Purposely Planted Ebola In Dallas

Obviously President Obama’s agenda centers around the fact that he hates Dallas so much that he arranged to have an Ebola-infected Liberian fly there and die. […] First and foremost, it is not true that Dallas “doesn’t particularly care for the President.” In 2012 Obama was reelected with 57% of the vote from Dallas County. That’s a larger margin than he won nationally. Obama also beat McCain in Dallas by the same amount in 2008.

Glenn Beck Ebolamania


Steve Doocy Discovers A Mysterious Photo Of Two Men With One Pair Of Legs.

Doocy: Fox News Alert: New questions about those two Iranian men who boarded flight 370 with stolen passports. Did somebody Photoshop this picture of them, because they both appear to have the same legs. That’s leading many to believe there is a cover-up happening. […] The Malaysians are saying ‘No, we didn’t Photoshop or anything like that. They had a Xerox copy and part of the guy on the left was put on top of the duplicate of the guy on the right. Do you buy that?

Fox News Cover Up Passengers


According To “Doctor” Keith Ablow, Obama Orchestrated The World Cup To Distract From [???]

Somehow Obama orchestrated FIFA’s scheduling of the quadrennial games to coincide with whatever scandal is presently infecting Ablow’s brain so that the American people, who usually ignore soccer, won’t notice that FEMA has already begun incarcerating Tea Party leaders and the EPA is deploying new Pentagon technology to increase global temperatures. What a devious plot our Kenyan in the White House has devised.

Keith Ablow


Conservative Media Freak Out Over Obama’s Plan To Grant Amnesty To 34 Million Illegal Aliens

The usual conservative media mouthpieces are 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.

Fox News


Louie Gohmert Accuses Comcast Of Attempting To Silence Glenn Beck

Gohmert found an angle to question the [Comcast/Time Warner] merger that only he could have dreamed up. He believes that Comcast is engaged in a conspiracy to silence Glenn Beck. And Al Gore is in on it along with Al Jazeera who “wanted to get their Sharia law push into the United States.”

Glenn Beck


Pat Caddell Says That It Is Republicans That Want The IRS To Go After The Tea Party

Did the Republicans infiltrate the IRS and orchestrate a strategy to deny Tea Partiers tax-exempt status? Did they conduct sham hearings in the House, led by the crusading committee chair (and recidivist criminal) Darrel Issa, all the while maneuvering secretly to oppress Tea Party organizations and cast the blame on Democrats?

False Flag


GOP Rep Tells Fox News That Obama Plans To Flood U.S. With Foreign Ebola Patients

The plot was discovered by the Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Bob Goodlatte, who claims to have confidential information that came to him via an “inside source” within the administration. Naturally he takes this skimpy, unverifiable gossip to Megyn Kelly of Fox News. The alarmist anxiety of Rep. Goodlatte is typical of the fear mongering that Republican politicians and pundits engage in so frequently.

Fox News Ebola to America


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

Brent 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.

Fox News Rick Perry


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

Fox News anchor Jon Scott introduced a 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.”

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.

Fox News Missing Planes

Fun With Rush: Limbaugh Explains How The Dreaded Polar Vortex Was Created By Liberals

El Rushbo has dusted off his fake degree in meteorology to explain to his dittohead audience how something that has been studied for decades was just invented by some Democrats this week.

Limbaugh: So, ladies and gentlemen, we are having a record-breaking cold snap in many parts of the country. And right on schedule the media have to come up with a way to make it sound like it’s completely unprecedented. Because they’ve got to find a way to attach this to the global warming agenda, and they have. It’s called the ‘polar vortex.’ The dreaded polar vortex. […] Do you know what the polar vortex is? Have you ever heard of it? Well, they just created it for this week.

Rush Limbaugh


And there you have it. Just a taste of the insanity that has infected one of America’s two major political parties. And all of it occurring in just one hilarity-packed year. The only thing that makes these frighteningly absurd episodes of psychosis even more disturbing, is that in 2015 these are the folks who will be in charge of both the United States House of Representatives and Senate. So happy new Year America, and good luck. You’re gonna need it.