The CEO of News Corp, parent company of Fox News, has been tweeting up a storm lately. Much of it was silliness about Tom Cruise’s marital troubles and his view of Scientology as “creepy, maybe evil.” But some of it was revealing and noteworthy.
The first tweet above is interesting because it is so openly disparaging of Mitt Romney’s campaign team. He does not disguise his opinion that they are amateurs who came to their posts by being Romney cronies. More interesting is the vague introduction wherein he says that he “Met Romney last week.” That’s a news bite that had not previously been disclosed.
As it turns out, Romney met with 40 to 50 fatcat supporters at a secret meeting in Manhattan including Murdoch, investment banker Ken Langone, Goldman Sachs head Lloyd Blankfein, and other business barons and political operatives. It’s somewhat disturbing that a meeting with this kind of firepower went unreported until after Murdoch let it slip on Twitter. One thing we learned from the meeting was why Romney has been so hesitant to take an actual position on immigration. He told the group that…
“I know I took some positions in the primary that are” hard to contend with in a general, Romney said, according to two sources. “I am not going to be a flip-flopper,”
He is admitting that, were he to take a position, it would be contrary to what he told conservative audiences during the GOP primaries, so he says nothing instead. The Etch-a-Sketch has spoken. He believes that he can get by with Latino voters by relying on surrogate Marco Rubio and one of his sons who speaks Spanish. Yeah, right.
The second Tweet above is even more revealing. It was Murdoch’s response to all of the flack he got after criticizing Romney. It’s bad enough that he openly states that he wants Romney to win, but what goes farther over the line is his reasoning. He says that he wants Romney to “save us from socialism.”
After years of hearing Fox News anchors and guests making delusional comments about President Obama being a socialist, you sort of grow accustomed it. It’s easy to dismiss (and ridicule) wingnuts like Eric Bolling, Sean Hannity, and Sarah Palin. But now we know where they get their marching orders. Rupert Murdoch himself believes that Obama is a Manchurian candidate bent on delivering America into the arms of our commie adversaries. The conspiracy obsessed right-wing media has a leader and a hero in Murdoch. That little tweet explains a lot.
Stanley Kubrick’s brilliant cinematic satire, Dr. Strangelove, produced one of the most enduring characterizations of the dangers posed by paranoid crackpots in positions of power. His profoundly disturbed Gen. Jack D. Ripper is an object lesson in the risks we face when lunatics are granted authority.
Now, the Congressman most likely to be committed to a mental institution has spoken up again. Allen West appeared on Fox & Friends (Ignoramusi Televiso) this morning to pontificate on the deadly and clandestine “stealth jihad” that is percolating through our nation. West has already distinguished himself as a commie-phobic, Nazi-baiting extremist who engaged in mock executions against innocent Iraqis before leaving the Army and running for congress. He proudly serves on the board of a known hate group. And now he has come to Fox News to express some eerily familiar comments in response to an NPR report that the FBI has investigated cases of alleged radical Islamists in the military:
Col. Allen “Ripper” West: You are witnessing an infiltration of not just the defense systems, but our financial systems, our cultural, religious, political, systems. So this is a whole-hearted stealth jihad type of attack.
First of all…what attack? The FBI’s report has not confirmed a single case of an Islamic extremist infiltrating the Army. Yet West is already speaking in terms of current attacks on a vast array of our national institutions, even though the FBI is not even investigating anything relating to finance, politics or religion. That’s a paranoid escalation of the story hatched in West’s demented imagination. The story by NPR speculates that the FBI’s action may just be an over-cautious response to the deadly shootings at Ft. Hood that caught the Army and law enforcement by surprise. However, Fox portrays it with graphics that state as a matter of fact that there are presently “100 Muslim extremists in the U.S. military.”
Leave it up to Allen West (who thinks the Congress has been infiltrated by communists) and Fox News (who hype phony scandals 24/7) to push the panic button and raise the level of hysteria to its limits. They are shamelessly hyping threats that do not exist in order to stir up fear in the hearts of their dimwitted audience. They might as well bring back Gen. Ripper. He’d make a good host to follow the O’Reilly (Fear) Factor.
It was announced yesterday that Greg Burke, the Fox News correspondent in Rome, has accepted the position of senior communications adviser in the Vatican’s secretariat of state. The article in the Associated Press notes that the Vatican has been having a number of problems such as “a scandal over Vatican documents that were leaked to Italian journalists,” [...] “Benedict’s now-infamous speech about Muslims and violence, his 2009 decision to rehabilitate a schismatic bishop who denied the Holocaust, and the Vatican’s response to the 2010 explosion of the sex abuse scandal.”
When an institution as prominent as the Vatican requires professional guidance through a maze of public relations challenges as steep as these, it only makes sense that they reach out to experts in the propaganda arts. Conveniently, Burke was at hand in Rome and, as a member of the ultra-conservative Catholic prelature, Opus Dei, his accordance with Church dogma is not in doubt.
Presumably the Vatican is confidant that Burke will bring some measure of expertise to his new duties whitewashing the Vatican’s malfeasance. However, Fox News is better known for their prowess in inventing scandals that never occurred (i.e. Birthers, voter fraud, war on Christmas, fast and furious, etc.), rather than in quelling actual scandals. Nevertheless, Burke’s first statements after the hiring suggest that he is precisely what the Vatican is looking for:
Burke: You’re shaping the message, you’re molding the message, and you’re trying to make sure everyone remains on-message.
In other words, Burke will be doing for the church exactly what Fox News has been doing for the Republican Party for years. Which raises a question far more interesting than the one about a Fox News correspondent going to work for the Vatican: What was a member of Opus Dei doing covering the Vatican for an alleged “news” organization for the past ten years? That would be indisputably unethical. It would be fine if he were assigned to farm subsidies or Wall Street, but not the church with which he is so closely associated. That would be like having a top Republican strategist working as a political analyst at a news network.
Oh wait…Karl Rove is already doing that at Fox News. And Fox also employed four prospective GOP presidential candidates in the past year. And they also employ executives who were caught instructing their news staff to slant their reporting to favor Republicans. And they invite Republican politicians and advocates to appear on the air far more often than Democrats or liberals. Mitt Romney alone as appeared on Fox & Friends 21 times in the last year, while appearing only once on any Sunday network news program.
It may be indisputably unethical, but it’s also the Fox News business model. Whether or not it works at the Vatican remains to be seen. However, the Republican Party and the Vatican have much in common. They are both trying to sell stories on faith to ill-informed people who are motivated by fear.
In attempting to monitor the outrageous bias and relentless dissemination of propaganda that appears on the Fox News web site, Fox Nation, sometimes the burden is overwhelming. The editors at Fox Nation are just too fast and too furiously committed to their mission of deceiving their glassy-eyed readers, that keeping up becomes an Olympian task.
Just yesterday the stream of craziness was so intense that I am forced to compile them all here in abridged form.
Let’s begin with the most repulsive and unsubstantiated item. The Fox Nationalists post things like this fairly often just to keep the impression of a lawless administration active in the minds of their readers.
Next up, an absurd an irrelevant item about a man that President Obama met only twice in his life, as a child. But if Fox can make a connection about him to the President, even if the allegation is tenuous, they will jump at the opportunity.
There actually is no enemies list as referenced in this headline. The article is about an FEC complaint filed by the Obama campaign to force Karl Rove’s blatantly political PAC to be treated under the law as any other PAC. Which means that they would have to disclose their donors. Arguing against this is to advocate to maintain a system that permits secretive billionaires to buy elections.
After disingenuously complaining about intimidation tactics in the item above, the Fox Nationalists persist in their intimidation campaign against Media Matters. With no new news whatsoever, Fox & Friends devotes yet another segment to slandering the group and its founder David Brock.
This one is pretty funny. The Fox Nationalists post an item taking Bill Maher to task for making a comedic animal reference with regard to the Republican Party. And in doing so they call him a pig (as they have done many times before). Also note the comment that is typical of the Fox Nation community whenever the opportunity arises to hurl a racist insult at the President.
And we’ll close with my personal favorite. The Fox Nationalists posted this item asserting that Obama is not the only president to have been interrupted by reporters in the middle of an address. However, the video they offer as proof shows Reagan being interrupted only after he finished his prepared remarks and was turning the podium over to someone else.
Bear with me, folks. I’m trying to keep up. but it isn’t easy. The Fox Nation editors are masters of deception and they have abundant resources. They are also a closely guarded secret. Unlike every other news enterprise, Fox will not reveal who is responsible for the content on Fox Nation. They have no masthead and have ignored inquiries as to the identity of their staff. I suspect it’s a class of remedial 13 year olds at an evangelical reeducation camp in the basement of News Corp headquarters.
CNN, the network that is presently struggling in third place in the cable news field it once dominated, has published an interview of Glenn Beck that sets a new standard for obsequious pandering. The article is not much more than a promotional vehicle for Beck’s new media enterprise and fails to disclose that two Beck employees currently work for CNN (Amy Holmes and Will Cain).
The article’s lede concerns Beck’s announcement that he is folding his GBTV web video unit into his web tabloid site TheBlaze. The author, Steve Krakauer, makes little mention of Beck’s vulgar rhetoric and conspiratorial delusions, instead describing Beck euphemistically as “a man full of complexities.” The only complex that can be associated with Beck is his Messianic one. He also doesn’t bother to offer any analysis of whether the merger is the result of rapid success, as Beck claims, or due to poor performance necessitating a merger to reduce costs.
Krakauer takes Beck’s claims of his alleged success at face value. He repeats estimates for subscriber numbers without attempting to verify the claim or inquire as to whether they are actually paying for the service. GBTV offers free trials for new subscribers, but does not reveal how many subscribers are paying or how many cancel after the free trial expires.
Then Krakauer gets into some truly puzzling territory when he permits Beck to assert his brand of fairness and balance. Krakauer cites what he calls the “clear non-Beckness” of TheBlaze, and lets Beck complete the picture by saying that “If you just look at the comments section, there are people who read the Blaze all the time but hate my guts.” Why that would surprise anyone is beyond comprehension. The Internet has a wide open, frontier ethos that allows everyone access to everything. It stands to reason that Beck’s adversaries would visit his site, just as Tea Partiers show up at the DailyKos. That is not evidence that TheBlaze is independent of Beck, just that it is online. And Krakauer’s next example of Beck’s alleged impartiality is no better. He cites an incident when TheBlaze criticized a fellow conservative:
“[O]ne of the most memorable and talked about series of articles on TheBlaze.com was a meticulous debunking of the James O’Keefe NPR videos, which claimed to show an NPR executive denigrating the Tea Party, that ran on an Andrew Breitbart-associated website.”
Indeed, TheBlaze did publish a detailed breakdown of O’Keefe’s slanderous hoax. But what Krakauer leaves out is that Beck was not acting out of any sense of journalistic integrity. He and Breitbart were engaged in a bitter feud at the time, with each alleging the other was a backstabbing phony. That may have had something to do with Beck’s takedown of Breitbart’s protege. However, Krakauer uncritically lets Beck get away with portraying himself as even-handed, but misunderstood:
“I think that’s people forgetting who I was and what I was saying when I was on CNN before Barack Obama. [...] Nobody ever, ever gives me credit for the times I’ve said on the air ‘the president is right on this, did this right’ or ‘the media is unfair by trying to say this about the president,’ or ‘the right is unfair.’ I bet I do that at least once a month.”
That’s just revisionist history on Beck’s part. He was broadly criticized for his dishonest and hateful rhetoric on Headline News. And, of course, it was that very rhetoric that got him his job at Fox after CNN ditched him. And the reason he doesn’t get credit for commending the President is because it occurred so rarely and only between accusations of fascism, socialism, racism, and threats of destroying America.
Astonishingly, Krakauer writes without any sense of irony that “Beck isn’t outwardly supporting either of the two major candidates in the 2012 election.” If he believes that he’s ready for the guys in white suits with the butterfly nets to take him to the friendly asylum in the country with the barbed wire fences. Does Krakauer think for a second that Beck would consider supporting the man he characterizes as a Stalinist bent on assuming tyrannical control of the nation and executing all resistors? Beck may not have endorsed Romney in so many words, but he has stated explicitly that America cannot survive another four years of Obama. So who do you think he’s supporting?
The article concludes with Krakauer gifting Beck with a closing statement that makes him appear to be some sort of visionary:
“We are on the threshold of something I think is as powerful as the Industrial Revolution was, except this one will happen in a very short period of time.”
Really? The threshold? Sorry but this revolution began at least twenty years ago. And many true visionaries were (and are) way ahead of Beck. The only thing Beck has done is to post web videos and publish an online tabloid-style news site. That has been done so much it’s almost passe. Every brick and mortar television station and newspaper has been doing it for years. Where’s the innovation? Saying his unoriginal venture is on par with the Industrial Revolution is like saying that starting a new blog today is on par with Gutenberg. Never mind that millions of bloggers have been doing for years.
This puff piece appearing on CNN is in line with their recent editorial direction. They have been heading ever more determinedly toward a Fox-Lite state that has done nothing for them but land them in the ratings cellar (a condition I wrote about just a couple of weeks ago). It’s a sad state of affairs for both CNN and the viewing public who would be better served by an honest, professional news provider than another megaphone for right-wing propaganda.
It has been well documented that Fox News is a disreputable enterprise that shuns any semblance of journalistic ethics. The most recent example, producing and airing an anti-Obama campaign-style video, perfectly demonstrates how far afield they are from a being legitimate news organization. Amongst the traits of Fox News that separate them from the pack is their tendency to attack their peers in the news business. That is almost unheard of from other cable networks, newspapers, or other outlets.
Today Fox News continued in that vein by leaping on the Nielsen ratings reports for May 2012. To be sure, CNN’s ratings were dismal. But so were the ratings for Fox which declined double digits and notched a primetime low that they haven’t seen since 2008. Nevertheless, Fox reported only on CNN’s numbers and ignored their own sickly showing. And nowhere in their story did they note that the decline was primarily due to the inflated ratings in May 2011, when the killing of Osama Bin Laden, hurricanes in the Midwest, and Casey Anthony were dominating the airwaves.
That said, Fox is inadvertently correct about a debacle at CNN, but not the way they mean. CNN is suffering a decline in viewership that is historic mainly because they pioneered the concept of the 24 hour cable news network but are now languishing in last place. But if they are perplexed by the sorry turn of fate they have experienced in recent years it is only because of their own willful blindness to the circumstances that led to it.
When Fox News began to approach and overtake CNN in the ratings, CNN management made the foolish mistake of concluding that Fox’s success was related to their blatant conservative bias and abandonment of journalistic principles. While that was (and is) the model for Fox’s programming, that played only a small part in their success story. The real reason that Fox excelled was that they had switched the deck. They were not in any practical sense a news network. Their programming was (and is) closer to an entertainment channel than anything else. They feature shallow, sensationalistic stories that rely heavily on melodrama, controversy, emotion and sex – the main characteristics of soap operas and reality shows. And they decorate their broadcasts with flashy graphics and sound effects that would be more appropriate for game shows. That’s what draws their viewers in, and that is always more compelling than actual news content.
However, CNN panicked and decided that the way to compete with Fox was to emulate their right-wing partisanship and theatrics. Ironically, even Fox’s business network recognized that emulating Fox News was a losing strategy. Fox Business Network VP Kevin Magee sent a memo to his staff saying that…
“…the more we make FBN look like FNC the more of a disservice we do to ourselves. I understand the temptation to imitate our sibling network in hopes of imitating its success, but we cannot. If we give the audience a choice between FNC and the almost-FNC, they will choose FNC every time.”
Unfortunately, no one at CNN could grasp that simple truth. Instead they installed Ken Jautz, a rabidly right-wing promoter, as it’s chief. Jautz was the man who gave Glenn Beck his first job in television. Then CNN went on a hiring binge that consisted of the most unsavory figures from Wingnutlandia including: Amy Holmes (of Glenn Beck’s GBTV), Will Cain (of Beck’s The Blaze), Erick Erickson (of the uber-conservative blog RedState), Dana Loesch (of Breitbart News and the Tea Party), and E.D. Hill, a former Fox anchor and Bill O’Reilly guest host, who is most famous for saying that a friendly fist bump between the President and the First Lady was really a “terrorist fist jab.”
CNN demonstrated its new found rightist perspective by producing programming that was straight out of the conservative PR playbook. They were the only cable news network to broadcast live Michele Bachmann’s Tea Party response to Obama’s State of the Union address. They co-sponsored a GOP primary debate with the corrupt Tea Party Express. They also co-sponsored a debate with the ultra-right-wing Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute.
For a network that claims to be the only truly neutral source for news, CNN has conspicuously failed to permit a representative from MoveOn.org to respond to a presidential address, nor to co-host a debate with the Center for American Progress. They have navigated toward a full-on Foxification of the network without any pretense to objectivity or balance.
And what have they got for it? A steep collapse to last place in the ratings, an embarrassing forfeiture of credibility, a severe loss of viewer loyalty and respect, and the pleasure of becoming a target of Fox’s ridicule.
As a division of TimeWarner, CNN has the resources to brand itself as a powerhouse news provider. They have more domestic and international news bureaus than any television news enterprise. They have access to the talent and technology that could set them apart from their competitors. Yet they fail to take advantage of these assets. And worse, they squander them in the vain hope of being FoxLite.
That’s what I call an historic debacle. And it’s why CNN just posted their worst ratings in twenty years. It’s also why they are now seen as an object of sympathy as Fox News batters them in the ratings and in the press. The first step in rehabilitating themselves would be to recognize their problem and clean house. Then they would need to fight back. If they would aggressively hammer at Fox as a lightweight purveyor of lies in a flashy, soap opera package, they might just begin to recover some measure of pride and start their long trek back to legitimacy.
This morning on Fox & Friends, the program’s hosts, two couch potatoes and one couch tomato, introduced a video that purported to examine “Four Years of Hope and Change.” What it was in reality was a four-plus minute campaign video attacking President Obama that presented a variety of soundbites by the President accompanied by ominous graphics and eerie music that falsely implied that his campaign promises were unkept. The video addresses subjects such as…
The national debt (which ballooned as a result of Bush’s tax cuts for the rich, bailouts for banks, and two wars).
The unemployment rate (which Fox failed to note has fallen from 10.1 to 8.1, and which was the result of an economic collapse precipitated by Bush’s pandering to, and deregulation of, Wall Street).
The price of gas (which at $3.63 a gallon is still lower (and falling) than at the height of the Bush administration when it reached $4.12).
And a variety of statistics that one would expect in a recession that were caused by the economic mismanagement enumerated above.
The video (which Media Matters thoroughly debunks here) could not have been a more pro-Romney, anti-Obama attack had it been produced by the Republican National Committee. When critics observe that Fox News is the PR arm of the GOP, it is precisely because of brazenly biased political activism like this. If there were ever a time for Fox News to be investigated by the Federal Elections Commission for improper political contributions, it is now.
Apparently Fox News has also recognized the gross inappropriateness of their anti-Obama attack ad. Minutes after the video was posted online it was removed from every place it had been posted. On Fox Nation a reader would have been greeted by a “Lost at Sea” page indicating that the content was no longer at that address. On the Fox & Friends site the video was replaced by an error message saying that they “were unable to play the media you selected.” What could have prompted Fox to bury their own video that had already been broadcast on the air?
Approximately an hour later the video reappeared on Fox Nation. However, it had been edited to remove all of the footage of the Fox & Friends crew introducing it and summing up at the conclusion. It’s almost as if Fox were trying to destroy any evidence of their involvement with the video.
Unfortunately for the propagandists at Fox, the evidence persists. Media Matters captured the whole production and made it available for all to see:
It was nice of the Fox Friends to credit the video’s producer, Chris White, for the fine job of partisan obfuscation he had done. Steve Doocy beamed, “No kidding. He remembered everything everybody said over the last three and a half, four years.” Well, actually he only remembered to piece together random bits from Obama’s speeches juxtaposed with negative graphics and false conclusions.
This should put an end to any talk that Fox News has been trying to moderate their bias, as some pundits suggested last year. Fox hasn’t changed at all. They are just as committed to falsifying their reporting, promoting their far-right agenda, and making imbecilic drones of their audience, as they ever were. This video would be ample evidence of that all by itself, but add to the mix Fox’s attempt to surgically excise their responsibility for it and you know all you need to know about their deceitful and dangerous intent.
Update: 2:30: The video has mysteriously disappeared again from the Fox web sites. Update: 3:40: Now information is emerging that Fox News has been taking considerable heat for their bad behavior. It appears that the video has been disappeared by Fox. A weaselly statement was issued by Fox EVP Bill Shine who said…
“The package that aired on FOX & Friends was created by an associate producer and was not authorized at the senior executive level of the network. This has been addressed with the show’s producers.”
One has to wonder what happened to Fox’s “Zero Tolerance” policy that was instituted after a series of stupid mistakes. Now it seems that Fox is merely scapegoating an underling despite the glowing treatment that the Fox Friends gave the video and their effusive praise for the producer. The New York Times is reporting that Fox CEO Roger Ailes “was not aware of the video” even though he has previously taken a keen interest in the program. However, a lot of people were aware of this video because it was not only broadcast on air, it was posted to several sites online.
A few weeks ago a couple of NBC employees misleadingly edited an audio tape of George Zimmerman’s call to 911. NBC fired them and announced it publicly. Don’t expect the same from Fox. They don’t bother with trivialities like journalistic ethics. All they will do is say that it’s been addressed and then probably give the producer a bonus. That’s how Roger Ailes can make the ludicrous claim that “in 15 years we have never taken a story down because it was wrong.”
There is no way that Fox can avoid responsibility for this atrociously unethical affair. By now it is so obvious that Fox exists to promote Republicans and bash Democrats that this video fits squarely within their mission. The only difference this time is that they got caught crossing a line that they obviously weren’t worried about. That’s because they are so comfortable wandering across it that they’ve lost all cognizance of the line’s existence.
The kids at Breitbart News, or as I call them, the Breitbrats, are giddily wallowing in their “exclusive” discovery of “evidence” that President Barack Obama is indeed a secret Kenyan usurper to the American presidency.
That’s right. Now it finally comes out. “Obama’s Literary Agent in 1991 Booklet: ‘Born in Kenya’” This is front page news at the Breitbrat site. And why not? It proves that the President is an illegitimate occupier of the White House. Maybe now the Breitbart Tea Partiers can revoke health care and make all the tax cuts for the wealthy permanent while expanding offshore oil drilling and outlawing abortion and gays.
Except that, for some reason, the article heralding this monumental news is prefaced by an editorial disclaimer saying…
“Andrew Breitbart was never a ‘Birther,’ and Breitbart News is a site that has never advocated the narrative of ‘Birtherism.’ In fact, Andrew believed, as we do, that President Barack Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on August 4, 1961.”
Hmmm. That sort of contradicts the whole point of the article. Or rather, the article contradicts the whole point of the disclaimer. Either way, it reflects the amateurish efforts of the Breitbrats as they endeavor to smear Obama regardless of whether their assertions make any sense.
The article by Joel Pollak is an unfocused rambling of accusations that lead nowhere. He aimlessly recites the content of a pamphlet that is promoting the clients of a literary agency that includes a young Barack Obama, and he bores readers with his description of the typography, as if it had some special significance. Then he seeks to impress with his questions directed at individuals associated with the agency, except that he doesn’t get any actual answers. And all the while he insists that his examination of the evidence that Obama is Kenyan isn’t really an attempt to suggest that Obama is Kenyan.
Perhaps even worse is a follow up article by Breitbrat John Nolte who begins his harangue by stating that…
“Never once have I doubted that President Obama was born in Hawaii. There’s no way in the world that little constitutional issue would ever have got past the Clintons during the 2008 Democratic primary. Now that we’re clear on that…”
So the only reason he discounts the claims that Obama is not an American is that Bill and Hillary would have told him if it were true. He does not discount them because they are demonstrably false and that documentary evidence is readily available. The big problem, as Nolte defines it, is “the abject failure of the mainstream media to vet” Obama, and this clipping from a twenty year old pamphlet is proof of that even though he denies that the pamphlet proves anything. Still, Nolte considers the existence of this pamphlet as proof that the media has fallen down on its duty to investigate the President.
Let’s look at that claim a little closer. Nolte is saying that the media failed because they didn’t discover and report on a pamphlet that Nolte concedes means nothing. So according to Nolte, in order for the media to have done their job properly, they should have published this story about a meaningless blurb in an old pamphlet that has zero significance to Obama’s identity. Seriously. Nolte goes on to ask “what will the humiliated media do?” But I still can’t figure out how they were humiliated if the pamphlet, by Nolte’s own reckoning, is not indicative of anything.
Not to be deterred, Nolte insists that “there are plenty of follow-up stories here; plenty of questions to ask and reporting to do.” But the only questions he suggests are “If it wasn’t a mistake, let’s ask why. If it was a mistake, let’s ask how.” But he just finished making repeated assertions that it was a mistake and that he is certain that Obama is an American citizen born in Hawaii. That leaves the only question to be how the mistake was made. I think the answer to that would be “Who cares?” It was just a mistake. And the media cannot be regarded as irresponsible for not reporting that a mistake was made twenty years ago on a promotional pamphlet that was never distributed to the public.
Nolte and Pollak need to make up their twisted little minds as to whether this is a trivial error that in no way reflects on the President’s lineage, or it is proof that the Birther conspiracy has been revealed. And via their repeated declarations, they obviously believe that Obama was born in Hawaii and, therefore, this pamphlet has no news value and the media are blameless for not harping on it – the way the Breitbrats are.
For the record, a real journalist actually did what journalists do and contacted the person responsible for the pamphlet. Taegan Goddard then reported that Miriam Goderich, of the literary agency that produced the pamphlet, issued the following statement to Political Wire:
“You’re undoubtedly aware of the brouhaha stirred up by Breitbart about the erroneous statement in a client list Acton & Dystel published in 1991 (for circulation within the publishing industry only) that Barack Obama was born in Kenya. This was nothing more than a fact checking error by me — an agency assistant at the time. There was never any information given to us by Obama in any of his correspondence or other communications suggesting in any way that he was born in Kenya and not Hawaii. I hope you can communicate to your readers that this was a simple mistake and nothing more.”
Case closed. Except for all the hysteria that still embroils the infected brains at Breitbart News and their fellows in the Birther community. And the ghost of Andrew Breitbart rolls his eyes.
What kind of a news enterprise would promote an author with a record of outrageous lies, uncorroborated allegations, and a stream of denouncements from across the political spectrum?
Look no further than the online community for Fox News that is published by a super-secret cabal that refuses to identify their editors: Fox Nation.
The author in this case is Edward Klein. He has spewed more delusional conspiracies and slanderous insults than anyone this side of Glenn Beck. He has called Hillary Clinton a lesbian, Bill Clinton a rapist, and, of course, Obama a Muslim usurper from Kenya. His previous works have been blasted by staunch conservatives like Kathleen Parker, John Podhoretz, and Peggy Noonan, whose Wall Street Journal review described his book as “poorly written, poorly thought, poorly sourced and full of the kind of loaded language that is appropriate to a polemic but not an investigative work.”
However, in the past few days the Fox Nationalists have posted six separate stories based on allegations from Klein’s new book. None of the allegations have been affirmed by any independent source, but they are repeated at Fox Nation as if they were facts. Here is the recent rundown of the phony articles:
When was the last time Fox Nation featured six stories from any other single source? But now they have posted six articles all based on the same book by a notably disreputable character. That’s a pretty generous contribution of free PR for a marginal author and an untrustworthy collection of hearsay. There are only two reasons why the Fox Nationalists would go to these lengths.
1) The slander proffered by Klein achieves the primary goal of everything on Fox: disparage President Obama. It doesn’t matter if it’s true or even plausible. Just shout as loudly and as often as possible the most asinine garbage you can think of and you’re liable to get your book promoted by Fox.
2) Fox Nation is wholly unaccountable for their ranting. They do not publish the identities of any of their editorial or administrative personnel. No one can be held responsible or asked to justify their work product. That’s convenient because so much of what appears on Fox Nation is so childish and embarrassing that no one would want to take credit (or blame) for it anyway. It is highly unusual for a legitimate news organization to keep their editorial team secret. Fox Nation is the only one I can think of who does so, but then they have an excuse – they are not a legitimate news organization.
In this election season we can expect to see more of this. There will be other books by sleazeballs like Klein that will get the same treatment on Fox and other right-wing media platforms. These people are not concerned with journalism. They are focused only on negative propaganda. And for that you don’t need credentials or that pesky detail that honest journalists call truth. Fox News has perfected the promotion of this dreck, and they will surely continue to lead the way.
Let’s face it, conservatives are becoming more desperate and delusional every day. They hate their nominee for president and, in order to avoid the unthinkable prospect of President Obama’s reelection, they are literally hallucinating as they report on campaign events.
The Fox Nation posted an article they sourced from Twitter (that’s right, the anonymous news pros at Twitter) that featured a photo taken at Obama’s rally in Ohio yesterday. The headline reads “Not The ‘Overflow’ Crowd Obama Hoped For.” However, the photo contradicts the headline by showing thousands of supporters in the stadium’s stands. While it does not appear to be a full house, it is clearly well-attended. Officials estimated the crowd to be approximately 14,000. It should also be noted that the Twitter photo appears to have been taken prior to the start of the rally as other photos show the area in front of the stage to be packed with supporters.
The severity of delusional dysfunction was even more acute at Breitbart where they posted the same Twitter pic with the headline “Obama Launches Campaign In Empty Arena.” Empty? Really? Their readers must suffer from extreme cognitive impairment if they can read this tripe without falling down laughing. They even have a visual aid to make clear that the arena was far from empty. The arena holds 20,000, so it was more than two thirds full for an event six months prior to election day.
The brazen dishonesty of the the Breitbrats and the Fox Nationalists seems to have no lower boundary. They just keep descending into ever more surreal fantasy. By posting these hilariously mislabeled images they invite real world comparisons – which I have provided above. With rallies on the same weekend, Obama inspired thousands more than Romney’s paltry meetup. Which audience would you rather have if you were running for president?
You really have to wonder what motivates these wingnut propagandists. Surely they could produce better material than this. Maybe I’m giving them too much credit. Maybe this really is the best they can do. Or maybe the GOP has been overrun by a cell of Dadaist comedians and this is their idea of humor. God, I hope it’s the latter. That would explain things, because this is truly hysterical.
In the annals of advertising, there are some notorious chapters wherein misguided persons or organizations justified displaying disgusting and hateful images and messages on billboards. However, it will be a long time (I hope) before anyone comes close to sinking as low as the Heartland Institute has done with its new series of advertisements promoting its upcoming anti-environment conference in Chicago.
The Heartland Institute is a far-right think tank that denies the scientific reality of climate change. It is notoriously anti-science and has previously taken positions that rejected claims that tobacco was bad for your health. The reason for their advocacy of the absurd is that they are funded by corporations with vested interests in deceiving the public (i.e. Phillip Morris, ExxonMobil, Pfizer, etc). Additionally, they receive grants from ultra-conservative zealots like the Kochs, Scaifes, Waltons, etc.
This billboard campaign is particularly repulsive in that it associates honest and clear thinking advocates for the environment with some of the most horrific creatures of crimes and atrocities. In addition to the Unabomber, the Heartland’s campaign features Charles Manson and Osama Bin Laden. The argument they are making is that these monsters believed in climate change and therefore you are also a monster if you believe in it. That is not an implied interpretation. It is what they say explicitly in their own justification:
“These rogues and villains were chosen because they made public statements about how man-made global warming is a crisis and how mankind must take immediate and drastic actions to stop it.” [...]
“Because what these murderers and madmen have said differs very little from what spokespersons for the United Nations, journalists for the ‘mainstream’ media, and liberal politicians say about global warming. [...]
“The point is that believing in global warming is not ‘mainstream,’ smart, or sophisticated. In fact, it is just the opposite of those things. [...]
“The people who still believe in man-made global warming are mostly on the radical fringe of society. This is why the most prominent advocates of global warming aren’t scientists. They are murderers, tyrants, and madmen.”
Aside from being grossly insulting, the Heartlanders are 100% wrong. The vast majority of scientists, climatologists, and other experts agree that climate change is occurring and that human activity is at the very least a significant contributor. There is no dispute among reputable scientists. The only dispute comes from conservative politicians, pundits, and researchers working for the corporations profiting from the destruction of the planet’s ecosystem.
The tactic of recruiting murderers and madmen for this campaign disparages all of the sincere people who are fighting for a better, cleaner, healthier world. But it also opens the door to reciprocal attacks on the Heartlanders. For instance:
That’s right. Osama Bin Laden, Timothy McVeigh, Scott Roeder, Eric Rudolph, and others, were all anti-abortion extremists and terrorists. Does that mean that all pro-life activists can be lumped together with these despicable characters just because…
“…what these murderers and madmen have said differs very little from what spokespersons for the [National Right to Life Committee], journalists for the ‘mainstream’ media, and [conservative] politicians say about [abortion]?”
See how easy this is? Hitler was anti-union. Stalin opposed gay marriage. Anders Breivik hated Marxism. I could go on. The obvious conclusion is that conservative principles inspire mass murderers, right?
The propaganda purveyors at the Heartland Institute have demonstrated that they are not a serious organization whose opinion matters to people who truly care about this issue. The media ought not to provide a platform for their views and politicians who associate themselves with this group should be asked whether they endorse the hate mongering that flows from these phony Heartlanders. There is simply no room in the debate for this sort of irresponsible rhetoric. Especially when it comes from an enterprise that has been lying about the substance of the matter for years.
After a week of Fox News fabulists going bonkers over President Obama’s use of the word “Forward” and declaring that he was a socialist because of it (never mind that Fox also used it their promos), we now have Fox Nation publishing a piece that aligns Obama with Fidel Castro:
Not surprisingly, there is very little in that headline that is true. Obama did not “rip” the United States, he did not “compliment” Cuba, and there is no evidence that he ever said anything remotely similar to that “quote” to any visitor. The one thing that the Fox Nationalists got right is that Castro said something.
What happened is that Fox Nation’s editors found an article by Kyle Olson of the Education Action Group. EAG is a far-right, Koch-funded cell of anti-unionists in Michigan. Olson pulled a quote from a column by Castro that was published on Counterpunch.org. In that article Castro bragged about Cuba’s beneficial relationship with allies like Venezuela, and added…
“President Obama knows this only too well and has talked about it with some of his visitors. He candidly told one of them: ‘The problem is that the United States sends soldiers while Cuba, however, sends doctors.’“
Castro doesn’t say when, where, or to whom, Obama allegedly said this. There is no record of any visitor that was ever told any such thing, or how Castro would have heard about it. Did some mysterious visitor rush back to his hotel, get Cuba on the line and beam “Hey Fidel, guess what Barack just told me?” However, it is certainly a useful and self-serving tale for Castro to weave.
But let’s set aside all of those points, that suggest that this whole thing is a hoax, and just examine the substance of the quote. There have been plenty of discussions about foreign policy strategies that weigh the benefits of military aid and humanitarian aid. The question of whether the U.S. should seek to strengthen it’s relations with other countries by sending doctors or soldiers is one that is reasonable and proper. It is neither a rip nor a compliment. It is simply good diplomacy to analyze and arrive at an effective balance.
Clearly the editors at Fox Nation have bought into the story as they posted Castro’s quote as if it were fact. It’s ironic, and more than a little unpatriotic, that they put more faith in what Castro says than their own president. If one didn’t know better it would appear that the Fox Nationalists are cozying up to the communist dictator who they obviously regard as a truthful source. Perhaps Rep. Allen West, who is so anxious about the possibility of communists in congress, should look into whether Fox is secretly harboring traitors in their newsroom.
It is also interesting to note the graphic that the Fox Nationalists chose to accompany their article. I’m sure they innocently selected a photo of Obama applauding in front of a banner that says “CUBA.” Certainly they would have had no intention of conveying any message that the President supported the communist state. And it’s surely not relevant that another angle of the same event reveals that Obama was speaking at a conference of the Cuban American National Foundation, an anti-Castro group based in Miami:
In 2004 the campaign for president was tarnished by a band buttheads who thought that it would be appropriate to smear the military record of a decorated veteran who risked his life in Vietnam (John Kerry), in order to support a frat boy who evaded combat by leaning on the connections of his famous family (George W. Bush).
The Swiftboat Veterans for Truth launched a well-financed campaign of distortions and lies in order to prevent Kerry from gaining any popular support for his service to the country. And now a similar campaign has begun by a shadowy group called “Veterans for a Strong America” to deny President Obama any credit for his role in finding and killing Osama Bin Laden.
This video is brazenly dishonest in its portrayal of Obama as negligent in praising the efforts of all of those who had a role in Bin Laden’s demise. Obama has repeatedly and effusively honored everyone from foot soldiers to intelligence operatives to diplomats to civilians to the Navy SEALs, etc. There is abundant evidence of that praise had the liars responsible for this video cared to review it. Instead they chose slap together some deliberately deceitful soundbites of the President speaking in the first person.
As usual, it took the Daily Show’s Jon Stewart to set the record straight. He not only shames the producers of the video above by demonstrating how easy it is to be honest, he also makes the undeniable point that any politician would seek and expect some credit for having orchestrated this sort of dangerous mission and seeing it through to success.
Republicans would like to steal every speck of gratitude that the President deserves for having been in charge of this operation. They seem to think that the SEALS planned, executed, and gave themselves the order to proceed without any intervention from the Commander-in-Chief. They also seem to believe that the order was a foregone conclusion that anyone would have made in similar circumstances. However, we know that that is untrue because Mitt Romney said specifically that he would not have chased Bin Laden into Pakistan and he criticized Obama for proposing it.
In 2004 there were, unfortunately, way too many gullible people who fell for the fallacies of the Swiftboat Liars. Hopefully that will not be the case today. President Obama was not solely responsible for determining Bin Laden’s fate. He knows that and says so frequently. But he did play an important role and is entitled to list it on his resume.
Obama Derangement Syndrome has spread to infect every cell of the conservative brain. The depth of their sickness has finally become so severe that it negates any hope of recovery.
The “Moonie” Washington Times published an article with the headline: “New Obama slogan has long ties to Marxism, socialism.” There is nothing new about the rabid right’s delusional assertions that President Obama is a Marxist, socialist, Kenyan, Muslim, Anti-Christ, who is conspiring with communists, Al Qaeda, the New Black Panthers (all four of them), and Sesame Street to subvert democracy, indoctrinate our children, and deflower our women. But this particular incident is rooted so firmly in dementia that it deserves closer attention and merciless ridicule.
The problem cited by the Washington Times, and picked up by Fox Nation and Breitbart among others, is that the word “Forward,” used prominently in a new Obama campaign video (posted below), is inherently wicked and representative of dastardly evildoers seeking to establish a tyrannical, Islamic, atheist, caliphate throughout the world – or something. The article states that…
“The Obama campaign apparently didn’t look backwards into history when selecting its new campaign slogan, ‘Forward’ — a word with a long and rich association with European Marxism. Many Communist and radical publications and entities throughout the 19th and 20th centuries had the name ‘Forward!’”
So there you have it. By using a word in the English dictionary that means “ahead, onward,” the Obama camp has revealed their commitment to worldwide socialist rebellion. Never mind that the associations cited in the conservative press are a hundred years old, or that the word has been used in innumerable other contexts before and after those associations. For instance, the pinko Ronald Reagan Society at his alma mater, Eureka College, uses the phrase “Reagan Forward.” Even Fox News used it in their on-air promos:
Initially, when the Obama video was released, the cry from the right was that the campaign had lifted the slogan from MSNBC which uses the phrase “Lean Forward.” That allegation was carried by conservatives from Fox News contributor Michele Malkin to the New York Post to Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze, and others. Apparently that didn’t stir up enough bile among the right-wing faithful, so they had to escalate the attack to suggest this affiliation with ancient enemies.
Ironically, it was Fox News who took great offense to an allegation by John Aravosis of AmericaBlog late last year, that Mitt Romney’s campaign had adopted a slogan previously used by the Ku Klux Klan:
On several occasions Romney included a phrase in his stump speech that closely resembled one that the KKK used frequently in the 1920s: “Keep America American.” Subsequently there was some debate as to whether Romney actually said “Keep America America,” a small difference of the single letter “n” at the end. The outrage from the right was immediate and fierce. How could those awful liberals insinuate that Romney was a Klan member? Fox News was all over the story with even their top program, The O’Reilly Factor, devoting segments to it.
Of course, nobody ever implied that Romney was a Klan member. They merely noted that his campaign had not sufficiently researched the language that they were making such a prominent part of their strategy. And they made the additional point that, if it were a Democrat whose slogan could be tied to some past perceived ignominy, Republicans would have feasted on the gaffe. Aravosis seems prescient in retrospect for having facetiously said…
“In an era in which it’s apparently okay for Republicans to accuse President Obama of being a socialist, I guess we now need to ask if Mitt Romney is a Ku Klux Klansman. Not whether Romney inadvertently is using the KKK’s number one slogan from the 1920s on the stump, no, the Republicans would say, if this were a Democrat, that clearly the candidate was a closet member of the KKK.”
Now that speculation has been made real by a conservative effort to advance their smear campaign against Obama. And their is nothing facetious about the right’s belief that the President is a socialist. When an anchor on MSNBC reported the story about Romney’s slogan, the right swung back hard in retaliation. MSNBC then issued a quick and thorough apology on the air. And that’s where the comparison ends. The right proudly and obstinately clings to their abhorrent missteps – probably because they aren’t missteps, but deliberate slander.
Conservatives have been making unfounded claims that the President is a socialist since before his inauguration. These were not merely observations about similarities in rhetoric, but outright accusations that they assert as fact. And now they are engaging in the exact same tactic that just last December they condemned as character assassination.
This is about as good an example of the ethical vacancy of the modern right as there will ever be. Their fixation on inventing new methods of tarnishing the President has devolved to condemning him for using the English language. So today the word “forward” is off-limits. Tomorrow will it be “progress” or “justice” or “the” or [fill in the blank].
Seriously…these people have totally lost their friggin minds.
[Update] Fox Business Network joins the club castigating forwardness. Tonight Lou Dobbs jumped in with the added attraction of one of Glenn Beck’s surplus blackboards.
In their ongoing effort to insure that the Fox News audience is the most ill-informed collection of dimwits on God’s flat Earth, Fox Nation published a story that makes the incredulous claim that “New Research Shows Wind Farms Cause Global Warming.”
Of course the research referenced shows nothing of the sort. Even the first line of the Reuters article, to which the Fox Nationalists linked, specifically says that the effect the wind farms “might” have is limited to the “local” climate. There is no finding in the research that suggests any global impact.
“[it is very likely that] wind turbines do not create a net warming of the air and instead only re-distribute the air’s heat near the surface, which is fundamentally different from the large-scale warming effect caused by increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases.”
This is part of a continuing pattern of conservative media misrepresenting scientific research in order to deceive their audience and promote policies that benefit their wealthy, corporate backers. These right-wing “journalists” never bother to correct the record even when the scientists they misquote insist that their work has been mangled. That’s because reporting the truth is not part of Fox’s mission. Advancing their partisan disinformation is the only reason they are in business.
The classic symptoms of obsessive paranoia are exhibiting themselves again in the psyches of delusional right-wingers. The villainous shadows they conjure up in every corner of their warped minds betrays how desperately sick they have become.
The latest blood vessel to burst in these over-anxious conservative foreheads is displayed in an article published yesterday in the Wall Street Journal, the once respected financial paper that Rupert Murdoch has transformed into another of his tabloid rags. The item’s headline blared ominously that, “The President Has a List” (cue spooky music).
OMG! Is he checking it twice? The article’s author, Kimberley Strassel, seems to be alleging that President Obama has usurped the powers of Santa Claus and is preparing to rain a frosty judgment down on Republicans who were naughty this election year. They know who they are, and now, with his new North Pole Initiative, so does Obama. He even knows when they’re asleep and/or awake.
The article’s sub-head went into a little more panicky detail saying, “Barack Obama attempts to intimidate contributors to Mitt Romney’s campaign.” That’s a pretty scary thought. What will become of our democracy if powerful political players go around harassing the financial backers of their opponents? It could end up instigating slanderous attacks on private citizens who merely want to participate in the democratic process. The GOP would never contemplate doing such a thing to backers of Democrats. Notice the respect with which they always regard George Soros and Barbara Streisand. Nevertheless, Strassel rolls out the big guns with allusions to the famously paranoid Richard Nixon:
“Richard Nixon’s ‘enemies list’ appalled the country for the simple reason that presidents hold a unique trust. Unlike senators or congressmen, presidents alone represent all Americans. Their powers—to jail, to fine, to bankrupt—are also so vast as to require restraint. Any president who targets a private citizen for his politics is de facto engaged in government intimidation and threats.”
Exactly! So if mega-wealthy conservative activists drop boatloads of cash into dishonest campaigns designed to demonize the President as an anti-American, Marxist, alien, aligned with Al-Qaeda, the President and his supporters should just shut their mouths and permit those poor billionaires to do as they please. If God didn’t want filthy rich robber barons and corporations to pervert democracy he wouldn’t have given them the Citizen’s United Supreme Court decision.
The source of this bubbling cauldron of conservative angst is a web site that the Obama campaign operates to counter the abundant feces-flinging from the right. It is produced by Obama’s “Truth Team” and consists entirely of disseminating documented information with the ghastly purpose of helping people to make informed decisions. In particular, there is an article titled “Behind the curtain: A brief history of Romney’s donors” that reveals who is bankrolling Romney’s campaign and what their motivations might be. It begins by saying…
“As the presumptive GOP nominee, Mitt Romney is relying on a cadre of high-dollar and special-interest donors to fund his campaign. Giving information about his real policy intentions and high-level access for cash, Romney and Republicans are working hard to pull in as much money as they can from wealthy lobbyists, corporations, and PACs.”
No wonder the right is worried. We certainly can’t have people going around telling the truth about wealthy special interests who are trying to help Romney buy this election. And even though none of the atrocities Strassel mentions in her column (“to jail, to fine, to bankrupt”) are occurring, it’s bad enough that truthful biographies and affiliations are being brought into the light of day.
Adding to the cacophony of crazy is Rupert Murdoch’s cable crew at Fox News. Neil Cavuto took up the very same topic as Strassel’s WSJ story (by coincidence, I’m sure) and engaged in a profound exchange with Fox legal analyst Lis Wiehl:
Cavuto: Called out for shelling out. Private donors to Mitt Romney outed on an Obama campaign web site. The site ripping their record, even saying that they’re betting against America by giving cash to Romney’s campaign. Is this legal? Lis Wiehl: It may be. I went on the web site today. It is frightening. I mean, I don’t like to get on any list, unless it’s a birthday party list or something like that, but a Nixon enemy list, McCarthyism…
First of all, Cavuto and Wiehl are just plain delusional in speculating that there is anything illegal about posting truthful information about political donors. And while Cavuto is just an idiot, Wiehl is a lawyer and should know better. Secondly, the web site does not say that Romney donors are “betting against America by giving cash to Romney’s campaign.” It says they are betting against America by outsourcing American jobs, closing American factories, and unlawfully foreclosing on American homeowners. Then they take their tainted winnings and parlay them into Romney’s Wheel of Nefarious Fortune. But the best example of the looming dementia on the part of these dimwits is Wiehl’s allusion to her sterling investigative skills. She seemed so proud of herself for navigating the byzantine maze that Obama’s functionaries constructed to hide their true identities. She bragged to Cavuto that…
Wiehl: You’ve got to through a few links. It’s not that easy. I’m not a computer person, but I did manage to do it myself.
Here is the maze of deception through which Wiehl had to rummage:
How on earth did she ever discover the real source of this web site? Only a crack investigator with Wiehl’s superior legal experience could have figured out how to scroll to the bottom of the page. Those Obama web developers are mighty crafty, but no match for Wiehl.
This isn’t the first time that the Murdoch empire has attempted to associate Obama with Nixon and McCarthy. A couple of months ago the Wall Street Journal published an article by Ted Olsen that accused the President of similar list crimes. On that occasion it was the infamous Koch brothers who were being set up for presidential attacks. It’s too bad that the billionaire Koch brothers are so defenseless that they have to resort to having their lawyer (Olsen) be given space in the Wall Street Journal to whine about being criticized by the president they have vowed to destroy.
It’s also a little ironic that the right is so vociferously disturbed by tactics made popular by people they now regard as heroes. Both Nixon and McCarthy have been the beneficiaries of recent rehabilitations by their fellow Republicans. We even have GOP stars like Allen West declaring that commies are running rampant through the corridors of congress. McCarthy would be so proud. And Glenn Beck sanitized Nixon’s enemies list by saying that it was “just about who’s not coming to state dinners.” Yet conservatives will still site these historical scumbags in a negative sense if they think they can tarnish the President with it. Oh what a tangled web…..
In October of 2009, then White House Communications Director, Anita Dunn, made an observation that was well known to most media watchers, but was unique and courageous for a political operative in the White House:
“The reality of it is that Fox News often operates almost as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party. And it is not ideological…what I think is fair to say about Fox, and the way we view it, is that it is more of a wing of the Republican Party.”
Since then Fox has labored diligently to confirm Dunn’s analysis. And lately Fox is performing their PR duties without even attempting to disguise their intentions. On the Fox Nation web site they have taken to posting Republican campaign ads with open praise and support for the message. These are just from this week:
Celebrity Obama Crushed By Rove Ad
Karl Rove’s super PAC group American Crossroads has released a devastating new ad targeting the celebrity of Obama.
DEVASTATING AD UNLEASHED ON OBAMA
A non-profit Republican organization is poised to run $2 million worth of ads in battleground states attacking President Barack Obama for controversies involving tax payer dollars, according to the group [American Future Fund].
Devastating Ad Shreds Celebrity Obama: You’re Not Funny, Mr. President
The Republican National Committee looked to draw a contrast between Mitt Romney’s victory speech on Tuesday night, and President Obama’s appearance on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.”
Notice the Fox Nationalist’s fetish for the word “devastating.” It seems that the GOP PR machine is incapable of producing anything that isn’t devastating. Either that or Fox is such a desperate practitioner of mind control that they have to take their dimwitted readers by the leash and instruct them on how they should react to these doggy treats. [Note: Fox Nation is no stranger to over-the-top hyperbole]
It was only a couple of weeks ago that Fox Nation attempted to get away with posting the same GOP-friendly spot twice in order to double its exposure. The second posting was labeled as “new” despite it being a repeat, demonstrating how brazenly Fox will lie to their audience in pursuit of their mission to brainwash the gullible waifs.
None of this accidental. The campaign ads posted by the Fox Nationalists are not there for any news value. They never post ads from the Obama campaign for fairness and/or balance, which a legitimate news operation would do. The sole purpose of this editorial prejudice is to advance the electoral prospects of Republican candidates, and to smear President Obama. The funny thing is, they aren’t even very good at that. Take a look at the latest ad from the Republican National Committee:
Of course, the goal of the RNC is to propel the GOP brand and, with the help of their Fox associates, take advantage of the free publicity from Fox News. But from my perspective, they have just produced an ad that reminds viewers how much cooler Obama is than their flaccid candidate. It is comforting to know that there is a GOP strategist(s) somewhere in the corridors of the RNC with a pocket-protector and taped-up spectacles who actually thinks that he is doing his side a favor with this video showing a stiff and insincere Romney, juxtaposed with a smooth Obama demonstrating his sense of humor.
So keep up the good work. And if Fox wants to continue disseminating this counterproductive flopaganda, they have my hearty consent.
Despite the seemingly constant stream of racist propaganda and rhetoric emanating from Fox News, they still manage to exceed their own repulsive standards with ever more dishonest and hateful distortions of the news. After publishing stories that blame Trayvon Martin’s demise on his clothing, and pictures that deliberately seek to put Trayvon in a negative light, Fox has rocketed to new heights of blatant prejudice and painfully perverse journalism.
In Mobile, Alabama, a white man was hospitalized from a beating by a group of African-Americans after a dispute over the use of the street for a game of basketball. The assault was inexcusably brutal and the police are searching for suspects who deserve to be punished to the full extent of the law. But that would not be a sufficiently sensational reaction for the twisted editors at Fox News. They published their stories on Fox News and Fox Nation this way:
The facts of this crime are fairly clear. It was an extreme overreaction to a neighborhood argument that concerned only the parties involved. It had absolutely nothing to do with the incident in Florida last month where an unarmed teenager was shot to death while walking home from the market. The only connecting factor was the claim by the victim’s sister that she heard one person say “Now that’s justice for Trayvon.” There have been no other witnesses who have corroborated her account, but even if there were the only significance of it would be that one of the perpetrators was a jerk in addition to being a thug.
That’s not how Fox News sees it. Their headline at Fox Nation veritably declares that the hoodlums who committed the assault were a “Justice for Trayvon Mob,” as if it were a political statement emanating from the Florida incident. Nothing in the facts of this crime point to that in even the most remote sense. The headline on Fox News itself states matter-of-factly that the “mob invoked Trayvon.” However there is only one unconfirmed report that a single witness alleged that a single person brought Trayvon’s name into this. That hardly justifies associating the whole mob’s actions with Trayvon. Fox’s headline also implies that this should be designated a hate crime despite any evidence of that being the case.
The entire purpose of these overt distortions is to fuel racial animus directed at Trayvon Martin specifically, and to African-Americans generally. There is a stench of incitement in Fox’s words that suggest their desire to stir up other racially motivated crimes or even full-on race riots. It is horribly irresponsible for a so-called news enterprise to sink to these depths of cynicism and antagonism.
From the very beginning of the Trayvon Martin incident, Fox News has tried to advance the impression that African-Americans are animals on the verge of erupting into violence. Fox has suggested that riots would occur if George Zimmerman were not arrested, or if he were not convicted. The view at Fox is that African-Americans are incapable of respecting the progress of justice. And even when no riots ensue, Fox can sit back smugly and celebrate having created the impression that civil unrest was narrowly averted.
It’s a good thing that African-Americans (and most Americans in general) are far more civilized than the bigoted neanderthals at Fox. These brazen tactics are designed to manufacture potentially dangerous hostilities and are more at home in the quarters of Klans and racist militias. How Fox News gets away with this is unfathomable. Their audience should find it revolting and their peers in the press should speak out against this sort of noxious activism. Although it is unlikely to succeed, it certainly can’t help. This isn’t news, it’s hate speech.
Republicans have lately been busy pushing a manufactured fallacy that there is rampant, in-person voter fraud destroying fair elections across America. Of course, they haven’t put forth any evidence of it, but they are pushing nonetheless. They held a hearing in the House last week that was brimming with emptiness and misinformation. And they have retained their personal PR machine – aka Fox News – in the effort.
Now, just when you thought that the GOP/Fox News racket was already so far gone that reality for them was a distant memory, they dispatch their inbred cousins at Fox Nation to dispense a story that is rooted in nothing but a frantic illusion.
Let’s set aside the irony that Fox is now fronting for allegations emanating from Wikileaks, an enterprise they have previously discounted as disreputable and even traitorous. More troubling is that they have utterly misunderstood the data Wikileaks has released. The data at issue is emails that were acquired through the hacking of the secretive, private intelligence firm Stratfor. In particular there was an email from one Stratfor executive to another that Fox is alleging reveals vote tampering on the part of Democrats in the 2008 election. However, that is not what the email says:
“The black Dems were caught stuffing the ballot boxes in Philly and Ohio as reported the night of the election and Sen. McCain chose not to fight. The matter is not dead inside the party. It now becomes a matter of sequence now as to how and when to ‘out.’”
Clearly the email states the alleged tampering was “reported the night of the election.” So that is not the revelation. If anything is considered newsworthy here it is whether the McCain camp chose to make an issue of news that was already known. But even that is dubious in that there are no reports I can find of any vote tampering in Ohio or Philadelphia post-2008 at all. So this may just be some wild speculation between a couple of private, right-wing spooks upset that their guy lost. It is certainly not evidence of anything by any stretch of the imagination. Where are the “black dems” who were supposedly caught? None of that, however, stopped the Fox Nationalists from publishing the questioning headline above at the top of their web site.
To compound the fabricated propaganda, Fox also posted a story alleging “Massive Voter Fraud Uncovered in Virginia.” And once again, the story was a phony piece of hyper-sensationalized nonsense. Fox was attempting to portray the news as proof of voter fraud that would justify enacting discriminatory voter ID laws. Had any of Fox Nation’s glassy-eyed readers bothered to click through the deceitful headline to the source article, they would have read this:
“The majority of cases reviewed by The Times-Dispatch that resulted in arrests in central Virginia involved felons who either illegally registered to vote or who illegally voted in the general election, or both. Felons cannot vote in Virginia unless their rights are restored by the governor.
“None of the cases appeared to involve someone who misrepresented his or her identity at the polls to vote.“
That’s right, none of the cases would have been prevented had there been strict requirements for photo IDs that disenfranchise thousands of legitimate voters. The article explains that prospective voters were told by registration collectors that their felony status would not impair their voting privileges. So this appears not to be a case of voter fraud at all, but a case of registration errors wherein the voter was doing what they believed to be proper. The person registering the voter may be guilty of something if they made knowing misrepresentations to the registrant. But in either case, the proposed voter ID laws would not have prevented any ineligible votes because the voter would have presented their own ID and would have been permitted to cast a ballot.
Laws already exist that address the legal conduct of voting registration agents and, as this case demonstrates, they are being enforced. There are also procedures in place to purge ineligible voters from voting rolls (i.e. felons), and they can be enhanced by new technologies to become more accurate and efficient.
This is another example of an allegation of massive voter fraud that failed to verify any such claim. This embarrassing dishonesty follows a special report on Fox News this weekend titled ‘Fox News Reporting: Stealing Your Vote.” As an analysis by Media Matters shows, there were no certified incidents in the entire hour long program of any votes being stolen that could have been prevented by new voter ID laws.
For a problem that Fox and Republicans are trying so hard to build into a nationwide crisis, they are having an awfully difficult time of coming up with even a sliver of evidence. And of course the reason is that there is none. Their only aim is to hype the phony controversy so that they can get laws passed that will prevent thousands of mostly Democratic voters from being able to exercise their right to vote. This is a despicable campaign by a political party and their media accomplice to subvert democracy and dishonestly gain control of government that they otherwise cannot win fairly.
Much of what is seen on Fox News is either false or twisted beyond all recognition to anything resembling reality. That is well known and extensively documented. But recently I have noticed some journalistic peculiarities that are curious editorially and affirm Fox’s reputation for incredulous and unethical reporting.
The first example of this odd behavior that I observed occurred last week when perusing the Fox News home page where I saw an article headlined “White House ‘Birther’ Strategy Backfires.” Since I couldn’t recall any current strategy concerning the Birther controversy emanating from the White House, I clicked the link to find out what it was about. What I found was an article that seemed dated and irrelevant. After poking around I eventually discovered that the article was actually dated April 27, 2011. At the time I just wrote it off as a clumsy attempt by Fox to inject some additional negative news about President Obama, as if all the other negative stories adjacent to it were not enough.
Today, however, I came across another incident of the same type. This article on Fox’s home page, where they post breaking news, was headlined “Hollywood Finally Admits It Discriminates Against Conservatives.” Once again, I had not seen any other news that addressed this topic so I clicked through to the article and discovered that it was originally written and posted on July 13, 2011. This item was an opinion piece by Breitbart protege Ben Shapiro and prominently promoted a book that had been published at about the same time that the article was first posted.
It is no longer surprising to find Fox misrepresenting the facts about news items they publish or broadcast. That is, after all, their mission. But this tactic of reprising stale articles that have no current news value is entirely unique in journalism. To be sure, some news entities will republish an older item when it has some relevance to current events. But they always identify it as a flashback or otherwise reveal its origins. What Fox is doing is posting old stories without any indication that they are old. A reader not paying close attention would never know that what they were reading was not breaking news like the other stories on the Fox home page. And while I have only stumbled across a couple examples of this, there are likely more that have gone unnoticed.
So why would Fox News do this? The easy answer is that they are just piling on the disparaging content they prefer in order to smear the President. But they have plenty of new articles they can (and do) distort for that purpose. The only other explanation is that they want to make certain that the old phony controversies they disseminated in the past are not forgotten by their disinformed audience of dimwits. Maybe Fox is just so proud of their prior lies that they hate to see them fade into obscurity. Or maybe they just like to see how far they can drift from ethical reporting before anyone notices.