Donald Rumsfeld Resurfaces On Fox News To Remind Everyone Why We Stopped Listening To Him

The cable “news” network best known for serving up obvious lies; for its open hostility toward President Obama and other Democrats; and for its flagrant dumbing down of every issue, has reached out to the architect of the Iraq debacle for analysis and advice on how to move forward in the horrific environment that he was so instrumental in creating.

Fox News Donald Rumsfeld

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Donald Rumsfeld was the Secretary of Defense during the Bush years who gave us “shock and awe,” and “long, hard slogs,” and “known unknowns.” His prosecution of the war on terror left the Middle East a broken region ripe for exploitation by militarized radicals. So obviously his opinion of where we go from here would be highly valued by the propagandists at Fox News who believe that if we call the terrorists “Islamic” they will fall apart (Even though that is exactly what they want us to call them).

Rumsfeld was invited to appear on Neil Cavuto’s program to discuss some of the recent developments in the war on terror, including reports of threats against domestic shopping malls. Cavuto characteristically treated Rumsfeld gently, providing opportunities for him to ramble on in his trademark fashion. Early in the interview Cavuto birthed this freakish inquiry:

“What do you think of that, that we’re making too big a deal out of ISIS, that they’re thugs, that they’re murderers, that they’re butchers, that they burn people alive, that they take their heads off, they kill Christians, but we’re assigning far greater importance to them than is warranted and responding far more differently than we should.”

Wow. That was some loaded question. Did Cavuto leave anything out? The terrorists also rape and pillage, and I’m pretty sure they don’t floss. Despite the massive girth of the question, Rumsfeld bit into it hungrily saying…

“Well, I was gonna start to say it’s nonsense but I would rephrase it to say it’s not credible. I mean the fact of the matter is, cutting off the heads of people is something that needs to be reported. And I would have to add that I think the United States government, over a period of a good number of years now, has been rather inept in dealing with this problem from an ideological sense.”

Setting aside the fact that nobody has suggested banning all reporting of terrorist activities, Rumsfeld’s response latched onto that straw-man argument just long enough to disparage the United States government during the “good number of years” that he hasn’t been screwing it up. He continued saying that…

“What we do is we don’t recognize that the terrorists have media committees. They sit down and figure what they can do that will call attention to them. And they are right. It does call attention to the ISIS and the Al Qaeda, and the terrorist activities. The fact that somebody goes in and blows up a shopping center or shopping mall is newsworthy, and blaming it on the fact that it’s reported is utter nonsense.”

Wait a minute. I thought he wasn’t going to call it nonsense. Maybe it’s just a known non unknown sense. But more to the point, Rumsfeld is arguing that the terrorists are adept at manipulating the media to achieve their goals. Whether it be recruiting, or intimidating their foes, or promoting their alleged successes, Rumsfeld is keenly aware that the media is being used as tool by savvy propagandists. Nevertheless, he immediately reverses his point by concluding that the media is in no way to blame for doing precisely what he just blamed the media for doing.

He was right the first time. The media does play right into the hands of the terrorists with relentless repetition of their PR. While responsible coverage of significant events is the duty of the press, endless redundancy only helps the bad guys to get their message out. It’s free advertising in the biggest and most valuable media market in the world. And Rumsfeld made those remarks on the only major television network to post the full propaganda video of the Jordanian pilot that ISIL burned alive.

After mangling his answer to the previous question, Rumsfeld was asked by Cavuto “What would you do differently that we’re not seeing now?” His response was no more coherent than the one he just concluded.

“I think we have to decide what we can do effectively and what we can’t do effectively. And we can’t nation-build. We haven’t solved the problem of the poverty in our own country. The idea that we can solve the poverty around the world, and until such time as we do, that we have to sit back and take terrorist attacks is silly. That’s just not the case.

“It seems to me you do what you do well, and what we do well is – obviously no one’s going to compete with us during this period with our Army, Navy, or Air Forces. They look for weaknesses, and the weakness that exists is real. We are vulnerable. As a modern country, as an open country, as a free people, we are vulnerable.”

And there you have it. The only thing that we do well is wage war. Consequently, Rumsfeld’s advice is to continue in an endless military campaign against stateless terrorists who are perfectly satisfied to martyr themselves in suicide missions. That’s what he says needs to be done that is different than we’re not seeing now. How it’s different he doesn’t bother to say. And since the U.S. has led a coalition for the past six months that has conducted thousands of airstrikes, killing more than 6,000 terrorist fighters, the difference is hard to detect.

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This interview with Rumsfeld is just another brick in the wall of stupid that Fox News is building. It doesn’t contribute to any realistic solution. It doesn’t even make sense from one sentence to the next. And contrary to their BS sloganeering about fairness and balance, there will be no rebuttal to Rumsfeld’s foolishness. But you can rely on Fox to continue promoting the ends of the terrorists with every new atrocity that they commit. Unfortunately, there will be new atrocities, and when there are, Fox News will edit them into a loop and run them for days on end. And the terrorists will send them thank you cards.

Fox News Surrenders: Domestic Recovery Forces Narrative Shift To Foreign Policy For 2016 Election

The Republican News Network (aka Fox News) is taking a hard turn away from domestic issues in advance of the 2016 election cycle. For the past several years Fox and the rest of the Right-Wing Media Circus has focused heavily on matters that hit close to home like the economy, unemployment, immigration, marriage equality, education, and relentlessly, healthcare – or more accurately, opposition to it.

Unfortunately for the GOP, every one of those issues has been trending favorably for the Obama administration and the Democratic Party. The economy has grown by historic rates. The stock market has hit record highs. The deficit has declined by two-thirds. Unemployment dropped from 10.1 to 5.7 percent and wages are beginning to rise. The majority of the public support the President’s positions on immigration. Marriage equality is being affirmed by courts across the country. Both academic and financial education reforms proposed by Obama are hugely popular. And ObamaCare reached new plateaus of success signing up more than 11 million new people this year.

Fox News

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Also influencing the right is a Gallup poll released this week showing that terrorism has jumped in importance to the electorate. Fox News immediately began promoting this poll as evidence that Americans are convulsed with worry about being blown up in a cafe on Main Street. What they don’t mention is that terrorism in the poll shot up to a mere 8% and is still in fifth place behind four domestic issues. Also not mentioned is that another Gallup poll released the same day shows the President’s standing is on the rise. The poll shows him making significant gains with independents and even Republicans. And those gains are seen both personally and for his stance on issues.

So what is an obsessively hostile cable TV “news” network with a mission to promote conservative policies and Republican candidates to do? Of course, they have to pivot to foreign policy in a desperate bid to find a narrative that will advance their political goals. That is what’s happening now as this exchange from Fox News yesterday demonstrates:

Charles Krauthammer: This is going to be be one of those rare presidential runs in which foreign affairs is one of the dominant issues […] That is a very ripe field for the Republicans.
Ron Fournier: Charles is right. This is going to be a foreign policy election. I think that’s going to be really tough for Hillary given her last job.

Huh? Fournier didn’t elaborate on why Hillary Clinton’s last job as Secretary of State would make things harder for her if foreign policy were to take precedence. Running the State Department for four years would ordinarily be seen as a prime resume enhancement in an environment that prized international experience. Presumably the right is hankering for an opportunity to beat the Benghazi drum some more, but since they have failed to produce any evidence of wrongdoing after three years and dozens of investigations (including findings that exonerate Clinton and Obama by the GOP led House Intelligence Committee), it seems rather far-fetched that they can make an issue of it now. And when the election heats up Clinton will have a strong record of achievement about which to brag.

More to the point, the effort by Fox to divert attention away from the positive domestic news is bound to fail for three reasons. First, whatever plausible case they have to make against Obama and/or Clinton on foreign policy, they aren’t making it. Instead, they are wasting breath on such ludicrous trivialities as whether or not the word “Islamic” is appended to every mention of terrorism. Their mantra on this is that you have to “call it what it is” in order to win. They seem to believe that just changing the rhetoric all by itself would cause the bad guys to throw in the towel. That, of course, is absurd. The truth is that tarring all Muslims with an association to terrorism would only alienate the Islamic allies we need to prevail. The only parties who insist on this language are GOP/Fox News conservatives and the terrorists themselves. So why is Fox taking their side? That’s a question that Fox News will answer by shouting as loudly as possible, “Benghazi!”

The second reason that latching unto a foreign affairs campaign theme would fail is that, in addition to not making a negative case against Clinton, Republicans are also not making an affirmative case for themselves. Their fierce condemnations of Obama as being weak and incompetent (besides being somewhat unpatriotic by their own definition) imply that their alternative would be to recklessly leap back into a war footing around the world with fronts ranging from Iraq to Iran to Syria to Afghanistan to Ukraine, and even to Russia and North Korea. That would be a hard sell to the American people. What’s more, Republicans are already leaning on the same people that so profoundly wrecked the nation’s international relations as the would-be architects of the next GOP administration’s foreign policy.

Finally, after failing to make a foreign policy case against Clinton or for themselves, Fox and the GOP are forgetting the universal truth about presidential campaigns. As immortalized by James Carville, “It’s the economy, stupid.” No matter how much the right wants to avoid the domestic progress the nation has made in the years since George W. Bush and his cronies cratered the economy, that will always be the primary driver in voting for a national leader. And on that subject Republicans have nothing but failure to point to, while Democrats under Obama have an increasingly prosperous country and an agenda advocating on behalf of the middle-class. In addition, Clinton happens to be married to the last president to balance the budget while producing strong economic growth and job creation.

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It’s no wonder that Republicans don’t want to run on domestic issues. And as their PR division, Fox News is valiantly striving to help them to change the subject. But no matter how hard they pray their wishes will not be realized. 2016 will be decided by an economic debate, just like every other presidential election. That fact, however, won’t deter the right from trying to elevate foreign policy because it’s all they have. And in a presidential election year, when turnout is higher, demographics favor Democrats, and the GOP has more at-risk seats than their foes, the outlook for Republicans is filled with the gloom that they have been trying to project on Democrats ever since the black guy moved into the White House.

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.

Get the ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
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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.


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


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!