So F**king What! Fox Nation Fixates On Jay Carney’s ‘Commie’ Art

Fox Nation is a website that traffics in the most pure form of propaganda the American news media has ever produced. On a daily basis they disseminate lies and slander aimed at their ideological enemies (which is anyone to the left of Attila the Hun). Which makes it all the more ironic that they are now hyperventilating over a piece of historical art that was hung in the kitchen of Press Secretary Jay Carney’s home.

Fox Nation

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A fluffy human interest piece in the Washingtonian Magazine profiled Carney’s wife, journalist Claire Shipman. The feature included a photograph of the Carney’s at home making breakfast. But lurking in the background was evidence of the nefarious associations that everyone in the Obama administration has to the dark evil of communism. So, of course, Fox Nation posts an item that points the bony finger of accusation and bellows that “Jay Carney Decorates Home With Soviet Propaganda.”

In fact, the artwork in question is a classic example of Russian Constructivism from the 1930’s. It is a historically significant period style that is collected by art connoisseurs and museums. The specific piece was created by a well known Russian artist, Dmitry Moor and was used as a recruiting poster in Russia’s war against Hitler and the Nazi regime of Germany, in much the same way the United States used its “Uncle Sam, I Want You” posters.

As usual, Fox Nation leaves out all of the relevant context that might inform their readers about the subject on which they pretend to report. That’s because the mission of Fox News is never to inform, but to indoctrinate. In this case, Fox omitted the fact that Carney and his wife first met while on assignment in Moscow for their respective news agencies, Time Magazine and CNN. Adding that factoid to the story makes the presence of the poster less ominous and more romantic. Also, Fox chose to only publish a version of the Russian artwork (and the wrong version at that) rather than the actual photo from the Washingtonian that reveals a rather charming and thoroughly American family enjoying their morning at home.

Carney Family

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Frightening, aren’t they? And notice that they are engaged in some sort of witchcraft, cackling as they mysteriously levitate chicken embryos.

For Fox Nation to get so flustered by this innocent display of artwork is typical of their efforts to take the most petty trivialities and blow them up into subversive acts of villainy. And while the Fox Nationalists froth at the mouth over art of a bygone age that offends no one, they are never bothered in the least by present day American Tea Party rightists who wave the Confederate flag that still represents slavery and oppression to millions.

[Update 4/13/2014] Not surprisingly, the Kiddie Crew on the Curvy Couch of Fox & Friends regurgitated the inane criticism of the Carney family’s decor. But host Tucker Carlson inexplicably made an argument that implied his frustration at not being able to display his Nazi posters saying, “Why is it OK to put Soviet propaganda posters up but not Nazi propaganda posters?” Poor Tucker. He will probably have to keep his KKK posters locked up in the garage too.

It’s Official: James O’Keefe’s Videos Are Legally ‘Political Disinformation’

In February of this year, the unrepentant liar and alleged pervert, James O’Keefe, released another in his series of dishonest, pseudo-journalistic video escapades. In it he falsely asserted that Battleground Texas, a local organization that promotes voter participation, had violated state laws while registering citizens to vote.

James O'Keefe

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The News Corpse analysis of the video proved that O’Keefe was badly misinterpreting the law and making unfounded accusations against civic-minded volunteers. That is the hallmark of his body of work as a lying propagandist. And he almost always attacks people or organizations that seek to assist the poor or other disadvantaged constituencies. The aforementioned analysis said in part that…

“What O’Keefe did was to clip a portion of the Texas election code that says ‘The registrar may not transcribe, copy, or otherwise record a telephone number furnished on a registration application.’ What he either fails to understand, or is deliberately misrepresenting, is that this section of the law applies only to the Registrar of Voters and other county officials. It does not apply to the volunteers or organizations that distribute and collect voter registration forms.”

Now a team of Special Prosecutors in Texas have affirmed that O’Keefe’s video hackery fails to expose any wrongdoing on the part of Battleground Texas. It can’t be over-stressed that these are Texas-based prosecutors who were assigned by a Texan judge to investigate the charges raised by O’Keefe in his video project. The prosecutors report concluded that…

“The Veritas video was little more than a canard and political disinformation. The video was particularly unprofessional when it suggested that the actions of Battleground Texas were advocated by a Texas gubernatorial candidate and the that actions of a single volunteer deputy registrar may even involve private health data, which is not involved in the voter registration process.”

The report also explicitly addressed the question of whether the Texas election code prohibited the transcription of voter data, including phone numbers. What they concluded, with citations from the current Texas Attorney General (who is running for governor against Democrat Wendy Davis), is that the “statutory provision applies only to the official county registrar, not to a volunteer deputy registrar.” And that just happens to validate the analysis published here on News Corpse two months ago.

The Special Prosecutors closed their report with a recommendation that “the complaint be dismissed for insufficient evidence and failure to state an offense.” The judge agreed and signed the order to dismiss. This marks only the most recent embarrassment for O’Keefe who regularly engages in fraudulent activity in pursuit of his radical, partisan agenda. Some of his other antics have resulted in his arrest and conviction in a Louisiana senator’s office and a legal order to pay a $100,000 settlement to a former ACORN employee he defamed. He himself has broken voter registration laws in a failed attempt to defend suppressive voter ID legislation. And let’s not forget his sleazy plot to seduce a CNN reporter aboard his “Love Boat.”

O’Keefe has not yet commented on this ruling that certifies his blatantly unethical behavior. It is also notable that none of the media outlets that promoted O’Keefe’s lie-riddled video have bothered to report this legal development. Apparently they don’t think it is newsworthy that their trusted source has been deemed a purveyor of “political disinformation” by Texas legal authorities. Amongst those who giddily peddled O’Keefe’s video, but now ignore the legal smackdown, were National Review, Breitbart News, WorldNetDaily, NewsBusters, FreedomWorks, The Daily Caller, Townhall, and Human Events. And of course, Fox News also hyped the video on their Fox Nation (a website that regularly spreads political disinformation and outright lies). This is to be expected from the conservative media circus that is only there to distort and confuse rather than to inform.

ABSOLUTELY UN-AMERICAN: Fox News And Darrell Issa Squelch Democrats In IRS Hearing

In an extraordinary hearing Wednesday morning, Republicans put on a display of tyrannical suppression of speech that would make the Taliban green with envy.

Fox News

Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee (and recidivist criminal), called to order a hearing on allegations that the IRS targeted conservative groups for enhanced scrutiny on their applications for tax-exempt status. The sole item on the agenda was testimony from former IRS official Lois Lerner. Lerner had previously notified the committee that she would be exercising her Fifth Amendment right to decline to answer questions. Ignoring that, Issa scheduled the hearing anyway as a sideshow that he hoped would embarrass his Democratic colleagues. His strategy blew up in his face.

After making a five minute opening statement, Issa proceeded to ask a series of questions, each time eliciting the same response from Lerner saying that, on advice of counsel, she was exercising her constitutional right to decline to answer. Since Issa already knew that Lerner would not be testifying, it is clear that his only purpose was to hear himself ask a bunch of questions that he framed to imply something incriminating. But it’s what happened next that demonstrates just how disreputable and dictatorial Issa is. [Full video of the hearing via C-SPAN]

Upon completing his opening statement and faux inquiry, the committee’s ranking Democrat, Elijah Cummings, began his opening statement, as is the practice of congressional proceedings. However, Issa immediately cut him off and ordered the hearing adjourned. Issa did not permit Cummings, or any other Democrat to utter a single word on the record. And after silencing Cummings, Issa stomped out of the hearing room.

Not surprisingly, this outraged Cummings who insisted on having his time to address the committee and the witness. Whereupon Issa instructed his staff to cut Cummings microphone off. Cummings valiantly persevered without a mic and made his objections known. He pointed out that Issa’s behavior was one-sided, wrong, and “absolutely un-American.”

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The coverage on Fox News of this shameful display of Republican hubris was pretty much what you might expect. Fox broadcast most of Issa’s opening statement and questions. Then, when Cummings began to speak, Fox curtailed their coverage after showing a brief portion of the dust-up between Issa and Cummings. Fox did not show any of the remarks Cummings made after Issa walked out of the room. Ironically, Fox host Martha MacCallum said that “We’re trying to give equal time to both of these gentlemen here.” Apparently equal time on Fox News is seven uninterrupted minutes of a Republican harangue and 42 seconds of a Democratic response.

Following the hearing, the same measure of biased coverage occurred when Issa and Cummings addressed the press. Fox again broadcast Issa’s press conference in its entirety, but cut away as Cummings approached the same podium from which Issa had just finished speaking. Fox aired none of Cummings remarks to the press. [Full video of the press avails via C-SPAN]

To matters even worse, Fox aired a segment about the hearing shortly afterward with a reporter from U.S. News and World Report. In addressing concerns by Lerner that she was getting death threats, Fox host Jon Scott made this unbelievably grotesque comment:

“I can see why if you’re getting death threats, maybe you wouldn’t want to open yourself up to more scrutiny. But at the same time, it would seem that answering some of the questions might cause some of these people who are so angry to ease up if she’s got legitimate answers for why the IRS did what it did.”

In other words, just comply with the demands of those making death threats and maybe they won’t kill you. See? Problem solved.

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After numerous hearings, testimony from more than three dozen IRS employees, and review of thousands of pages of documents, the Issa Inquisition has proven none of its allegations about corruption, partisanship, or White House involvement. What Issa has proven is that he is a brazenly dishonest hack who has repeatedly deceived the public and the media by issuing reports and releasing documents that he purposefully manipulated to create a falsely negative impression of malfeasance by Democrats. In the process he would systematically remove any data that contradicted his fictional version of events.

As for Fox News, they could not have been more obviously biased in their coverage of this affair. In all they broadcast about a quarter hour of Issa’s propaganda and less than a minute of the Democratic side of the debate. What’s more, they are already promoting appearances by Issa (and only Issa) on Fox News later today. And not once has Fox made note of the fact that Issa, and his GOP led committee, held an unprecedented hearing where only he was allowed to speak.

[Update 3/6/14] The Congressional Black Caucus has put forward a motion to condemn Darrell Issa for his tyrannical abuse of power and to remove him from the chairmanship of the committee. However, Speaker John Boehner has already expressed his continuing support for Issa whom Boehner believes acted appropriately.

Also, Media Matters has obtained and posted the emails that Issa referenced during his sham hearing. Consistent with Issa’s repeated acts of deception and partisan cherry-picking of information to make public, these emails actually prove that IRS director Lois Lerner was taking great pains to avoid any politicization of the agencies activities. As usual, when all the information is made available, it shows that Issa and Co. have lied through their teeth.

IRS Email

WARNING: Climate Science Imposter On The Loose On Fox News

Be On The Lookout: In recent days a disreputable character has been making the rounds on Fox News claiming to be a co-founder of Greenpeace while peddling PR spin straight from the ivory tower suites of the energy industry.

Fox News

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This imposter is Patrick Moore. He was last seen on the Sean Hannity program where he continued to misrepresent his association with Greenpeace. Hannity’s introduction was typically dishonest and dripping with animus as he declared that “For years the left has been spinning their lies about global warming, all in an effort to push through their radical agenda.” And he took full advantage of Moore’s subterfuge by noting that his climate science denial was surprising “coming out of your mouth.” What is surprising is that Moore is getting away with passing himself off as a co-founder of Greenpeace and an environmentalist.

The recent sightings of Moore in the media have been exploited by conservative outlets eager to dismiss the broad agreement in the scientific community that the Earth’s climate is changing at a rapid pace, and that it is caused by human activity. In fact, 97% of the scientists in the field have affirmed this in peer reviewed publications and research.

That hasn’t stopped Moore from conducting his charade wherein he asserts that there is “zero evidence that the earth is warming because of human activity.” His persistence is understandable with the knowledge that he is a paid representative of a variety of nuclear power and energy firms. Without any credentials in the field of climatology, Moore makes broad allegations that are not supported by verified research. Then he invents a vast liberal cabal that he claims is conspiring to build some sort of holy congregation of environmental opportunists:

“It is a powerful convergence of interests among a very large number of elites including politicians who want to make it seem as though they’re saving the world, environmentalists who want to raise money and get control over very large issues like our energy policy, media for sensationalism, universities and professors for grants [...] it is a kind of nasty combination of extreme political ideology and religious cult all rolled into one.”

Contrary to his false identification as a co-founder of Greenpeace, Moore actually became affiliated with the group’s Canadian branch after it was already operating for a year. He left Greenpeace in 1991 to cash in on the lobbying fees he could collect from America’s pollution industries. And that’s what he has been doing for the last twenty-plus years. Greenpeace set the record straight about Moore a couple of years ago refuting any claim that Moore represents Greenpeace. They posted a detailed description on their website that revealed the facts of their past association and Moore’s current pro-pollution activities:

“Patrick Moore, a paid spokesman for the nuclear industry, the logging industry, and genetic engineering industry, frequently cites a long-ago affiliation with Greenpeace to gain legitimacy in the media. Media outlets often either state or imply that Mr. Moore still represents Greenpeace, or fail to mention that he is a paid lobbyist and not an independent source.”

This is just another example of how Fox News deliberately deceives their audience. With full knowledge of the false representations, and utter disregard for the truth that qualified scientists provide, Fox dispenses a litany of lies that keeps their viewers ignorant. For more information about Moore’s deceit, and the cooperation from Fox News and other rightist media organizations in proliferating his hoax, see the analysis by Media Matters.

Congenital Liar James O’Keefe Makes False Charges Of Illegality Against Battleground Texas

James O’Keefe has just released the latest of his long-running series of intentionally deceitful videos. In this episode O’Keefe returns to one of his favorite themes: harassing civic-minded volunteers who commit their time to registering voters and honoring America’s tradition of democracy. If there is one thing that extremist conservatives like O’Keefe hate, it’s people participating in the electoral process or helping others to do so. Especially if they are minorities, the poor, and other disenfranchised citizens.

James O'Keefe

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The new video purports to have captured illegal activity engaged in by volunteers for Battleground Texas, a local organization that promotes voter participation. O’Keefe’s hidden camera records a volunteer named Jennifer Longoria describing a part of the process for engaging voters and encouraging them to turn out on election day. Longoria explains that Battleground Texas keeps contact information gathered from the voter registration forms they collect. It is this practice of saving names and phone numbers that O’Keefe alleges is illegal.

The only problem with O’Keefe’s allegation is that it is utterly false. What O’Keefe did was to clip a portion of the Texas election code that says “The registrar may not transcribe, copy, or otherwise record a telephone number furnished on a registration application.” What he either fails to understand, or is deliberately misrepresenting, is that this section of the law applies only to the Registrar of Voters and other county officials. It does not apply to the volunteers or organizations that distribute and collect voter registration forms. In fact, the Texas Secretary of State website addresses this matter directly in their “Frequently Asked Questions” for volunteers:

Q: May I photocopy a completed application before turning it in to the county voter registrar?

A: No. Section 13.004(c-1) of the Code requires the county voter registrar to ensure that certain information, such as the telephone number, on a registration application is redacted from photocopies of voter registration applications from her office. In our opinion, this means that a photocopy of an application must come directly from the county voter registrar’s office, so that he or she may ensure the required information has been blacked out or otherwise obscured. With that said, we believe that a volunteer deputy registrar may photocopy the receipt. You may also copy the relevant information from the application in writing just as you would be able to do if you went to the registrar’s office and pulled a copy of the original application.

So actual photocopies are not allowed, but manually recording the data is expressly permitted. And that’s all that Battleground Texas is doing. The purpose of the applicable code is to prohibit confidential voter information from being published or otherwise made public by people on the government payroll who could have motive and opportunity to abuse their power. But Battleground Texas is not a government agency, nor are they publishing any of the data. Also, the information defined as confidential is specified in the code and includes things like the social security number and driver’s license number, but not the phone number.

The fact that James O’Keefe is thoroughly shredding the most basic standards of ethical journalism should not surprise anyone. His previous escapades have resulted in his arrest and conviction in a Louisiana senator’s office, and a legal order to pay a $100,000 settlement to a former ACORN employee he defamed. He himself has broken voter registration laws in a failed attempt to defend suppressive voter ID legislation. And let’s not forget his sleazy plot to seduce a CNN reporter aboard his “Love Boat,” or harassment allegations by a former associate that he tried to drug and kidnap her. His videos have been criticized by a broad array of media analysts for editing that blatantly misrepresents reality. Even Glenn Beck condemned his deceptive tactics.

However, what is truly disturbing is that, after having established a reputation as a shameless scam artist, there are still media outlets that provide a platform for his lies. Almost as soon as O’Keefe posted the new video it was picked up by Fox News on their Fox Nation website. From there it was swept up into the conservative media vortex that includes National Review, Breitbart News, WorldNetDaily, NewsBusters, FreedomWorks, The Daily Caller, Townhall, Human Events, TeaPartyOrg, and conspiracy kingpin Alex Jones’ Infowars.

Despite sensationalistic headlines about “Busted Dems,” none of these so-called news enterprises bothered to actually look into the law and ascertain whether a violation had occurred. They have simply taken the word of a known purveyor of falsehoods. That’s because their role is to distort and confuse rather than to inform. And that’s why O’Keefe can always find an outlet through the wingnut-o-sphere to peddle his phony investigations that invariably attack disadvantaged Americans and are a coordinated part of the Republican war on voting. The state of Texas has one of the lowest rates of voter participation in the nation, and O’Keefe and his GOP allies want to keep it that way.

Fox Business Network Debunks Fox News/Koch Brothers ObamaScare Story

From the very first days of the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) Fox News and other right-wing media have work their butts off trying to frighten people away from it. Their ultimate goal is to sabotage the program by suppressing participation. But with more than three million enrollments, and millions more covered by Medicaid or parental plans, the Fox strategy appears to be failing miserably.

That, however, has not dampened their resolve to do damage to the program and the millions of Americans who are already benefiting from it. Recently an ad that was produced by the Koch brothers-financed Americans for Prosperity, featured a Tennessee woman who suffers from Lupus. In the ad Emilie Lamb claims that she was forced from a state-sponsored insurance plan (which conservatives usually oppose) that cost her $57.00 a month, to an ObamaCare plan that cost $373.00. On the surface that sounds pretty awful. But as usual, there is much going on just below the surface.

Fox News

Consumer Reports health care expert Nancy Metcalf, writing for the Fox Business Network, added some necessary context to this story. Her article titled “Don’t be fooled by another ‘Obamacare horror story,'” spells out why Lamb’s claim that her previous policy satisfied her needs may not have been entirely true. For instance, Lamb’s CoverTN plan had a cap of $25,000, but Metcalf notes that most Lupus patients spend far more than that each year for routine medication and doctors visits. If she has a flare up or requires treatment for more severe symptoms, Lamb’s medical expenses could easily exceed six figures. Metcalf writes that…

“Under her old plan, they would not have been covered. Under her new plan, they will be. I used HealthCare.gov’s window-shopping feature to identify what she purchased: a Platinum plan with a $1,500 out-of-pocket limit. There is no deductible, 25 percent coinsurance for pretty much all services, and, most critically, no upper limit on what the plan will pay out for medical care. So if she ever has a complication of her disease, or needs one of those expensive drugs, the most she’ll have to pay out of pocket in a year is $1,500. The insurance company will pick up the rest of the tab, no matter how costly.”

One of the incentives for implementing health insurance reform was the number of bankruptcies filed by working Americans whose insurance failed to cover them after they had the audacity to get sick. While Ms. Lamb is understandably disturbed by the higher premiums she is facing now, it is preferable to a financial (and health) disaster should her disease take a turn for the worse. In addition, the evidence actually suggests that Lamb’s costs will be lower under ObamaCare due the $1,500 annual out of pocket maximum, and the absence of any lifetime cap. Under her previous policy she would be responsible for much more over time.

The Koch brothers and Fox News have been relentlessly hyping this story as proof that ObamaCare has not served patients like Lamb. They have featured it on the air with reports that provide no opinion counter to that of the Fox angle. They have posted it on their lie-riddled community website, Fox Nation. They published an op-ed by Lamb in Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post. So it is somewhat curious that they permitted their hype to be debunked on their little-viewed Fox Business Network website.

This may be their way of buying a little insurance of their own. When the bottom falls out of their propaganda machine, they can claim that they were “fair and balanced” after all. Even though their blurb on the FBN blog can never match the magnitude of their attacks on ObamaCare throughout the rest of their media empire. And don’t expect to see Nancy Metcalf providing Fox News viewers with her analysis anytime soon. She’s not likely to be invited onto the O’Reilly Factor given the factual nature of her reporting.

To Fox, it’s best to keep people like Metcalf segregated to the FBN web ghetto so the Foxbots aren’t exposed to the sort of truthful information that contradicts conservative spin and rattles right-wing media.

New York Times Demolishes Benghazi Hoax – Fox News Freaks Out

After what was described as an “exhaustive investigation” the New York Times has published a report that thoroughly debunks right-wing accounts of attacks on the United States mission in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. The story concludes that there was no direct Al Qaeda involvement and that many of the participants in the attack were motivated by an anti-Islam film, an explanation that Republicans and conservative media had dismissed.

The months following the attack led to a relentless campaign by Fox News and others to promulgate their Benghazi Hoax theory of events, but they were never able to supply the evidence to support their wild accusations against President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, UN Ambassador Susan Rice, and other administration targets of their politically inspired wrath.

Benghazi Hoax

Excerpts from the New York Times article: A Deadly Mix in Benghazi

Months of investigation by The New York Times, centered on extensive interviews with Libyans in Benghazi who had direct knowledge of the attack there and its context, turned up no evidence that Al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault. The attack was led, instead, by fighters who had benefited directly from NATO’s extensive air power and logistics support during the uprising against Colonel Qaddafi. And contrary to claims by some members of Congress, it was fueled in large part by anger at an American-made video denigrating Islam.

The violence, though, also had spontaneous elements. Anger at the video motivated the initial attack. Dozens of people joined in, some of them provoked by the video and others responding to fast-spreading false rumors that guards inside the American compound had shot Libyan protesters. Looters and arsonists, without any sign of a plan, were the ones who ravaged the compound after the initial attack, according to more than a dozen Libyan witnesses as well as many American officials who have viewed the footage from security cameras.

[O]n Sept. 8, a popular Islamist preacher lit the fuse by screening a clip of the video on the ultraconservative Egyptian satellite channel El Nas. American diplomats in Cairo raised the alarm in Washington about a growing backlash, including calls for a protest outside their embassy.

There is no doubt that anger over the video motivated many attackers. A Libyan journalist working for The New York Times was blocked from entering by the sentries outside, and he learned of the film from the fighters who stopped him. Other Libyan witnesses, too, said they received lectures from the attackers about the evil of the film and the virtue of defending the prophet.

Republican arguments appear to conflate purely local extremist organizations like Ansar al-Shariah with Al Qaeda’s international terrorist network.

The leaders of Ansar al-Shariah…lauded the assault as a just response to the video.

Not surprisingly, Fox News reacted swiftly to the New York Times reporting to defend their vested self-interest in advancing some sort of conspiracy on the part of members of the Obama administration. First to take Fox’s fire was Hillary Clinton. On Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace asked GOP Rep. Mike Rogers a particularly loaded question whose premise was not supported by any evidence.

Wallace: Do you think there was a political motivation for this Times report? Some people have suggested that, well, this is trying to clear the deck for Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Rogers: (saying that he “finds the timing odd”) I don’t know but I find it interesting that there was this rollout of stories.

Wallace never identified who the people were who suggested that the Times was clearing the deck for Hillary. He simply used the old “some people” contrivance to disguise the fact that it was Wallace himself who making the ludicrous suggestion.

Fox’s Catherine Herridge also did a report about the Times story that dismissed much of its findings, but offered no substantive rebuttal to the facts as they were laid out by the Times. In addition, she brought along a uniquely preposterous angle that did little to advance the discourse:

“Fox News was able to review the findings of an independent data mining firm which assessed the social media traffic in Benghazi in the 24 hours leading up to the attack and the 24 hours after the attack and, significantly, the first reference to this anti-Islam video was in the day following. It was in a retweet of a Russia Today story. So once again, this does not comport with the idea that this was in response to the anti-Islam video.”

This is a demonstration of Fox’s desperation to belittle the Times’ story. Trying to tie references to Twitter mentions of the event with affirmations of its execution is absurd in the extreme. Especially when there were verifiable accounts of information about the film being broadcast on local Libyan television, and many witnesses testified of its impact as an inspiration for the violence.

Stalwart proponents of the Benghazi Hoax also appeared on TV this weekend to defend their rapidly dissolving positions. They included GOP super-hawk Peter King and the mastermind of a flurry of fake scandals, Darrell Issa, who said on Meet the Press that “We have seen no evidence that the video was widely seen in Benghazi, a very isolated area, or that it was a leading cause.” If Issa hasn’t seen any evidence, he obviously hasn’t been paying attention. Or more likely, he is deliberately diverting his attention to the dishonest horror stories he prefers to peddle.

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Fox News has behaved true to form in the wake of the revelations published by the Times. They circle their wagons and defend their phony and sensationalist version of what they laughably call “news.” They fail to address any of the specific assertions in the story and retreat to friendly interviews with conservative characters who will plod forward with their false narratives. The last thing Fox wants is for people to be exposed to actual journalism that presents information in a coherent and factual manner. That would destroy the whole Fox business model if it got out of hand.

Addendum: You didn’t think that Fox Nation was going to be left out of this hoax-mongering, did you? They jumped in with two stories about the New York Times article, and both were typically dripping with lies and partisan distortions, as they have been known to do (see abundant proof in the acclaimed ebook Fox Nation vs. Reality).

Fox Nation

Fox Nation vs. Reality: A Birther’s ObamaCare Conspiracy Pushed By Fox News

In my book, Fox Nation vs. Reality, I document more than 50 examples of outright, provable lies that appeared on the Fox News community website. Obviously, no one expects an enterprise that cares so little about truth to demonstrate much integrity. However, it is still jarring when a major news organization mainlines reporting from disreputable outlets like WorldNetDaily.

WND is America’s Birther Headquarters. It’s founder and editor, Joseph Farah, has been the most aggressive skeptic of President Obama’s national origin. Farah financed a billboard advertising campaign with the message “Where’s the Birth Certificate?” And Farah’s publishing arm put out the widely ridiculed book with the same title by crackpot conspiracist Jerome Corsi.

Fox Nation

Sitting atop the Fox Nation website yesterday was a feature article by Aaron Klein, the author of the WND published book of bullcrap, Impeachable Offenses. Klein’s headline declared that “Media Matters Funded ObamaCare Deceit.” Clicking through to the WND source revealed a rehashed jumble of articles that Klein had written years ago. The centerpiece of his so-called reporting was his unsupported assertion that Media Matters had bankrolled an imagined campaign to deceive the public about ObamaCare. However, the only thing the article succeeded in revealing was the fact that a progressive think tank, the Herndon Alliance, was the beneficiary of support from a Media Matters affiliated entity, along with a couple of hundred other progressive groups. There was no evidence presented of any Media Matters role as the financier of anything having to do with ObamaCare. Neither was there any evidence of any intent to deceive. But there was an abundance of wild accusations and fear mongering about Saul Alinsky and George Soros, two of the right-wing, tin-foil hat brigade’s favorite bogeymen.

Apparently WND and Fox News found it shocking that like-minded progressive organizations would rely on one another to advance their common interests. Conservatives never do that. Unless you count the highly coordinated activities of the Koch brothers, Americans for Prosperity, FreedomWorks, Club for Growth, the Heritage Foundation, the Heartland Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Mackinac Center, Tea Party Nation/Express/Patriots, the Franklin Center, the State Policy Network, the Family Research Council, the National Rifle Association, the Republican National Committee, [oh, I could go on] and of course Fox News.

There really is a “Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy,” and it is working feverishly to fabricate the existence of a vast left-wing conspiracy, while concealing its own nefarious activities. And Fox News, as a founding member of the VRWC, is doing its part to slander progressive groups by promoting the dishonest cretins and professional liars at WorldNetDaily who are obsessed with impeaching our gay, Kenyan, Muslim, socialist president.

Serial Liar, James O’Keefe, Releases Another Deceitfully Edited Video: ObamaCare Edition

Some people are just gluttons for punishment. Take James O’Keefe for instance. The petulant, wannabe ambush journalist has already been exposed as a purveyor of dishonest videos that are deceptively edited in order to slander his victims. He was caught trying to execute a perverse scheme to seduce a CNN reporter. He had to pay a $100,000 to settle a defamation suit brought by a former ACORN staffer. And he was convicted of criminal behavior in a stunt he tried to pull in Louisiana.

James O'KeefeSince then his projects have been few and even many of his former allies declined to promote them. But now he has a new video that purports to expose some malfeasance on the part of some ObamaCare “navigators” who are helping people to acquire health insurance. As I’ve noted before, O’Keefe’s inner sadist assures that his projects are almost always aimed at attacking people and programs that serve the less fortunate. That’s true in this case as well.

The ObamaCare association seems to have loosened up those who abandoned him in the past, including Bill O’Reilly of Fox News. However, his reputation for producing video fiction is fully intact. In the new video he sends in a shill to pretend to inquire about enrolling in a health care plan. In the process, the shill attempts to trick his unsuspecting victims into giving bad advice. However, we can’t know for sure whether they did that because the videos are so heavily edited that there is no way to discern the actual context. Also, the people O’Keefe’s shill spoke with weren’t certified navigators, but were in fact trainees. So the prospect of them making a few mistakes shouldn’t shock anyone.

In one case, though, it is apparent that the navigators did not do what O’Keefe accused them of doing. O’Keefe alleged that the navigators advised the shill to misrepresent his income. In reality, they simply told him to report on the ObamaCare website the same amounts he reported to the IRS. It’s his responsibility to file his income taxes honestly. But the conclusions drawn in the video conceal that. That’s just one example of how creative editing can distort the true picture of what occurred.

Given that Fox News is immersed in an obsessive campaign to cripple ObamaCare, they must have given the green light to O’Reilly to readmit O’Keefe into their good graces – sort of. O’Reilly devoted most of his opening segment to O’Keefe’s video, but without ever mentioning his name. That may have been wise considering the disrepute associated with O’Keefe and his band of dissemblers. O’Reilly only identified the video as the work of Project Veritas, which he helpfully explained to his viewers means “truth,” something with which O’Reilly and O’Keefe have limited experience.

Even Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze couldn’t post O’Keefe’s video without disclaiming that “It should be noted that the video is heavily edited and employs deceptive tactics in order to catch the navigators offering the shocking advice.” When Beck’s crew is disturbed by deceptive tactics, you know you’ve crossed a line that most charlatans never see in their whole lives.

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Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Community’s Assault On Truth

What’s worse, a United States senator, John Cornyn, Republican of Texas (where else?), also cited the O’Keefe video as evidence that ObamaCare needs to be stopped immediately. Cornyn said that “This behavior is unacceptable, and is yet another broken piece of a deeply flawed system. The Obama administration should stop this program immediately.” Obviously – if a trainee tells a dishonest, partisan shill something that isn’t quite accurate, in a video produced by a known liar and criminal, then an entire government program that was set up to help 48 million previously uninsured Americans get access to health care should be thrown out.

That’s the quality of the logic in use by Republican and Tea Party opponents of ObamaCare. And, as such, is more than ample justification for ignoring them completely. It also explains how the pathetically amateurish video fabrications of James O’Keefe get taken seriously by idiots in politics and the press.

[Update 11/14/2013] Another Fox News program is hyping the O’Keefe lies. Sean Hannity did a segment during which he also referred to Project Veritas as the video’s producer and never mentioned O’Keefe’s name. He also spewed other lies about the cost of the website, the navigators not getting background checks, and the scope of the people whose current plans will be terminated by insurance companies.

Fox News Publishes Phony ObamaCare Attacks From Koch Brothers Funded “News” Service

In their three year effort to prevent Americans from getting affordable health care, Fox News has partnered with numerous conservative propagandists in the media, partisans in politics, and professional lobbyists and think tanks. However, recently they have begun incorporating the most extreme right-wing opinions disguised as journalism and originating from a blatantly self-serving source.

Watchdog.org
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Watchdog.org is a right-wing, propaganda-spewing project that is funded by the Koch brothers through their Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity. It is an unabashedly partisan source of slanted opinions and attack pieces. And Fox is now utilizing it as an affiliated reporting service. In effect, the Koch brothers have co-opted Fox to get their Tea Party agenda disseminated to Fox’s national audience.

In just the past month, Watchdog.org has blasted out a flurry of fiercely critical articles about ObamaCare. In every case they contained significant distortions of the truth and omissions of fact. But in no case did they disclose that they are flunkies of Koch Industries.

There have been 27 articles published by Fox just this month with Watchdog.org bylines. Many of them were hit pieces on unions and environmental science, two issues that deeply interest the Koch brothers whose businesses have fought workers rights and have contributed to dirtying the air and water of every place they have a presence. But at least ten of them were dedicated to ObamaCare, which they have been vocal in opposing. For instance…

  • What’s wrong? It’s been a week, and ObamaCare website still not working
  • Plenty of Oregonians interested in ObamaCare, but none can enroll online
  • Hype over ObamaCare small business tax credit is misleading
  • Blue Cross hires temp workers to deal with ObamaCare glitches
  • ObamaCare effect? 9 companies exit Nebraska’s health insurance market
  • You know that one guy who successfully signed up for ObamaCare? He didn’t
  • Healthy young, key to Obamacare, aren’t buying it
  • Reports of ObamaCare fraud emerge in Tennessee
  • Some Nebraskans’ premiums to triple under ObamaCare
  • New ObamaCare advertisement features a keg stand

Koch/Fox NewsFox News has always been a megaphone for rightist doctrine. But now they have upped the ante with their embrace of the brazen biases of an activist corporation with vested interests in the stories they pretend to cover. The network that celebrated the repugnant Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United that transformed corporations into persons, now also regards corporations as journalists. And if, like the Koch brothers, you can afford to create your own fake wire service, you can get fake news networks like Fox to distribute your PR.

Is Fox News The Most Flaccid Propaganda Tool Ever?

Twelve days ago the Tea Party dominated Republican House caucus shut down the United States government in an attempt coerce the majority of the Congress into defunding, delaying, or otherwise crippling the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare).

They were aided and abetted by their partners in political crime, Fox News. In fact, Fox News took a leadership role in disseminating disinformation aimed at either preventing ObamaCare from being implemented or poisoning public opinion to oppose it based on the lies that Fox manufactured.

Fox News
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The ferocity of the Fox campaign was dialed up to maximum volume with absurdly dishonest claims that tested the boundaries of hyperbole. They coordinated their attack plan to traverse the Fox empire including their business network, the Wall Street Journal, and the notorious Fib Factory, Fox Nation. They spoke of non-existent death panels, encroaching socialism, largest tax increases in history, comparisons to slavery, and endless references to tyranny, Hitler, and the total destruction of America.

So what did Fox gain from that virulent assault on a law that was passed by Congress, signed by the President, deemed constitutional by the Supreme Court, and affirmed by the reelection of Obama? They emboldened the most strident extremists on the right who pursued a suicidal mission to impose their unpopular will on the nation. And their ultimate reward is that ObamaCare is now regarded more favorably than it was before the government shutdown (or “slimdown” as Fox calls it):

“[W]hat is perhaps even more worrisome for the GOP is the ‘boomerang’ effect: As the party has used the shutdown and fiscal fight to campaign against the nation’s health-care law and for limited government, the poll shows those efforts have backfired.

“For one thing, the health-care law has become more popular since the shutdown began. Thirty-eight percent see the Affordable Care Act (or ‘Obamacare’) as a good idea, versus 43 percent who see it as a bad idea – up from 31 percent good idea, 44 percent bad idea last month.”

Ted CruzNot only that, but while America has been warming up to ObamaCare (which most are only now getting there first personal exposure to), their dislike for Republicans is growing exponentially. For that they can thank the Tea Party nutjobs like Ted Cruz and the tiny faction of Teabaggers in the House who have such a firm grip on John Boehner’s cojones:

“By a 22-point margin (53 percent to 31 percent), the public blames the Republican Party more for the shutdown than President Barack Obama – a wider margin of blame for the GOP than the party received during the poll during the last shutdown in 1995-96.

“Just 24 percent of respondents have a favorable opinion about the GOP, and only 21 percent have a favorable view of the Tea Party, which are both at all-time lows in the history of poll.”

While this epic cratering of support was unfolding, President Obama’s favorability actually went up two points in the last month.

The inescapable conclusion to be drawn from this is that, despite Fox’s inflated ego and boastful self-importance, it is really a pathetically lame distributor of rightist propaganda. They threw everything they had at Obama and his eponymous health care program and came out farther underwater than when they started. This result is similar to last year’s election when Fox targeted Obama as something just shy of the Anti-Christ, but he still won by a sizable margin. And, not to be overlooked, it was a campaign that focused heavily on ObamaCare. More recently, Fox’s efforts to stir up their fringy malcontents to get them to take to the streets ended in an embarrassing flop.

There are plenty of reasons to worry about the destructive influence of Fox News. It is a bad example for other news outlets who think that conservative extremism might be a viable business model. It provides a platform and encouragement for crackpots like Cruz, Michele Bachamnn, Louie Gohmert, Donald Trump, Ben Carson, etc., to cling to positions that are wildly out of touch with the American people. It muddies the debate over critical public affairs with misrepresentations and lies. But one thing we do not have to worry about is whether Fox is effective at persuading Americans to join their Blockhead Brigade. On that measure Fox has proved to be pitifully feeble despite their exhaustive and desperate intentions.

Journalistic Malpractice: A Forensic Analysis Of A Fox News Lie About ObamaCare

As the country is mired in an unnecessary financial crisis courtesy of the Republican Tea Party establishment, Fox News is continuing to do its part in disseminating false information and right-wing propaganda.

Fox News Jim Angle

Yesterday’s Special Report with Bret Baier featured reporting by Fox News Chief National Correspondent, Jim Angle, on the harried first day of access to the health insurance exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare). Angle presented an error-ridden account of the new law’s benefits and grossly misrepresented the facts. The core conclusion that he built up to was embarrassingly inept, untrue, and biased.

Angle: Without subsidies, many will be paying more than they would now. Not only that, we’re now learning what the wide range of deductibles will be, in addition to widespread reports of large increases in premiums, especially for the young. Those buying even the least expensive plan under ObamaCare will have a large deductible to pay before getting any insurance coverage.

Let’s dissect Angle’s remarks in detail to see the depth of his dishonesty:

“Without subsidies, many will be paying more than they would now.” Of course they will. That’s why ObamaCare included the subsidies in the first place. It is absurd to report the cost of the unsubsidized premiums that few if any Americans will pay. It’s sort of like advertising the sticker price of a new $30,000 car when every dealer in the country is selling it for $23,000 due to manufacturer incentives.

“…in addition to widespread reports of large increases in premiums…” Angle never documents the alleged reports of premium increases, nor what he regards as “widespread.” In all likelihood, he is referring to his own false reporting that omits the subsidies.

“Those buying even the least expensive plan under ObamaCare will have a large deductible to pay before getting any insurance coverage.” No kidding! This is the most ignorant part of Angle’s report. The least expensive plans are always the ones with the highest deductibles. Angle is spinning this as a flaw in the system when, in fact, it’s precisely how the insurance actuaries devised it from the earliest days of insurance. It’s a trade off between cost and risk. The more risk you’re willing to assume, the less you have to pay. The more you pay, the less your exposure to risk. Do you think Angle doesn’t know this?

The blatantly biased misrepresentations in Angle’s report are certainly nothing new for Fox News. At the same time that they are broadcasting Angle’s mutilation of the truth, they are spinning the government shutdown as a “slimdown,” as if it were diet program that will make us all deliciously svelte. And this isn’t the first time that Angle has lied openly in his reporting either.

Angle did a story last month about a man and his family in Kentucky that he said would suffer a tripling of their insurance premium. But Angle left out a couple of pertinent facts: 1) That subsidies available under ObamaCare could reduce the premium to an amount lower than the family currently pays. And 2) That the man in the report is the vice-president of the Association of Mature American Citizens, a conservative alternative to the AARP and an adamant opponent of ObamaCare.

That second fact is a wholly unethical failure of journalistic standards of disclosure. Surely an executive working for an anti-ObamaCare organization is going to have a built-in prejudice and an incentive to negatively portray the law. His occupation is a salient fact that any reputable reporter would mention. Angle certainly knew the man’s identity and his professional affiliation, but he deceitfully withheld that information from the audience.

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All of this adds up to journalistic malpractice on an Olympian scale. No news enterprise with an ounce of credibility would permit this sort of obfuscation and deception. Which is, of course, why Fox News not only permits it, they encourage it. And it is why Fox News viewers are so often proven to be more ill-informed than even people who watch no news at all. This is not an accident. It is the mission of Fox News to create as many idiots as possible, who will vote against their own interests and enhance the power and wealth of the upper-crusty corporatists who exploit them.

Fox News Renames Government Shutdown A “Slimdown” – And Hurricane Katrina Was A Gentle Breeze

Yesterday Republicans forced the nation into shutting down hundreds of government services and putting nearly 800,000 Americans out of work. The impetus for this tantrum was the GOP’s tiny Tea Party faction’s obsession with crippling ObamaCare, a goal they cannot conceivably accomplish.

The effect of this shutdown will be devastating to many citizens, particularly those who are seeking home loans, attempting to pay taxes, traveling abroad, operating businesses in or around national parks, relying on food safety inspections, and victims of natural disasters and workplace discrimination. The shutdown is estimated to cost taxpayers $300 million per day.

Nevertheless, Fox News is editorializing their reporting with a distinctly unfair and unbalanced misrepresentation of the crisis. They have taken to calling the shutdown a “slimdown,” as if it were part of a beneficial dietary program, rather than an expensive, destructive, and painful disruption of the people’s government.

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Fox News Government Slimdown

This is like calling a hurricane a gentle breeze. And this is not merely the product of an off-hand op-ed, it is a policy that has spread across multiple stories. For instance:

  • Why the Government ‘Shutdown’ Is More Like a ‘Slimdown’
  • The government slimdown’s effect on Hollywood
  • Obama shortens Asia trip due to government slimdown
  • Government slimdown leaves travelers in a state of flux
  • D-Day cemetery among the victims of government slimdown
  • Government slimdown blocks some seeking NIH research treatment
  • What are next steps in resolving government slimdown?
  • Americans turn to social media to air feelings on slimdown
  • Obama just as responsible for government ‘slimdown’ as Republicans
  • House to try again to pass 3 emergency funding bills amid government slimdown
  • Lawmakers, World War II vets rise up against government slimdown at war memorial
  • ObamaCare takes center stage in gov’t slimdown
  • Heated rhetoric in blame game over government slimdown
  • Hume: WH eager to see people ‘feel’ the gov’t slimdown
  • Welcome to ObamaCare activation and government slimdown week
  • Rep. Rigell calls for clean bill to end gov’t slimdown
  • Congressional stalemate rings in government slimdown
  • Government slimdown will weaken ability to track disease, flu outbreaks
  • Slimdown Showdown: Are Dems, Obama seeking political coverage by making it hurt?

That’s twenty instances of this erroneous affectation in just one day that cut across the Fox empire including the news network, the business network, the web site, and the lie-riddled Fox Nation. This is a blatant attempt to deceitfully manipulate public opinion by inserting prejudicial language into what should be straight-forward reporting. Fox News is deploying the term they coined in stories where the actual content uses the correct term, shutdown. They even plaster their invented term, via headlines, over stories from other news sources (e.g. Associated Press) who never use the term themselves.

This is not really anything new for Fox News who have engaged in this propaganda tactic before. They call undocumented residents “illegals” even if they never broke any laws, including immigration laws for those who were brought into the country as children. Fox invented the term “homicide bomber” to use in place of the more accurate phrase “suicide bomber.” All terrorist bombings with fatalities involve homicide, but they were not all conducted by perpetrators who killed themselves. Fox adopted the phrase “government-run health care” to replace the “public option” after focus groups expressed a more positive response to the latter. In keeping with their opposition to reform, Fox chose to use the phrase that would generate the most unfavorable reaction. And Fox repeatedly made references to “job creators,” which they used to avoid talking about the ultra-rich, corporate exploiters of America’s workforce.

Clearly Fox has abandoned any pretense of objectivity with regard to the budget debate. They have ceased to apply ethical journalistic standards to their reporting, instead assuming an activist role on behalf of the Tea-publican extremists in congress. And their insensitive adoption of the artificially weakened “slimdown” rhetoric to describe something that is having such a harsh impact on the lives of citizens who are not responsible for this crisis, illustrates the depth of the callousness to which Fox will sink in order to advance an agenda that benefits the wealthy and corporations at the expense of ordinary Americans.

Fox News Carries Articles From Koch Bros-Funded “News” Service

An odd item appeared this morning on the Fox News web site attacking the progressive organization MoveOn.org. It was the sort of substanceless filler that generally appears on rabid anti-Obama fringe sites. Beneath a headline reading “MoveOn.org tries to sideline Tea Party over shutdown fears,” the article revealed the shocking news that MoveOn.org is a liberal outfit that is seeking donations. You don’t say?

In the few paragraphs posted, Fox included a defamatory reference to a passage in MoveOn’s email that said “If we play our cards right, 2013 could become known as the year the tea party relegated itself to the dustbin of history.” In an effort to manufacture a negative association, the article asserted that the phrase “dustbin of history” was “borrowed” from Leon Trotsky. In fact, the phrase and its variations had been in use long before Trotsky uttered it, and it has even been used by Republican candidate for sainthood, Ronald Reagan, who said in June of 1982 “The march of freedom and democracy will leave Marxism and Leninism on the ash heap of history.”

The reason that this article was loaded with such blatant conservative rhetoric quickly became apparent. The item was sourced to a web site called Watchdog.org that presents itself as sort of a wire service. However, Watchdog.org is actually a right-wing, propaganda-spewing project that is funded by the Koch brothers through their Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity. It is an unabashedly partisan source of slanted opinions and attack pieces. But now Fox is utilizing it as an affiliated reporting service. In effect, the Koch brothers have co-opted Fox to get their Tea Party agenda disseminated to Fox’s national audience in the guise of journalism.

Koch News
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As an example of the deceit employed by Watchdog.org, they castigated MoveOn for its early support from George Soros and for “putting a bulls-eye on the conservative Koch Brothers.” However, while defending the Koch brothers, nowhere in the article did the authors disclose that they actually work for the Koch brothers. That’s a pretty egregious omission. Furthermore, as a measure of their journalistic neutrality, the Watchdog reporter sought out quotes from four people for the article: the chair of the Tea Party Express, the chair and vice-chair of the Virginia Tea Party Patriots Federation, and the chair of Tea Party Fort Lauderdale. Fair and balanced, my ass.

A quick Google search on Fox News, and their related Fib Factory Fox Nation, turned up dozens of previous Watchdog-sourced articles that were published by Fox. Many of these articles are hit pieces on unions and environmental science, two issues that deeply interest the Koch brothers whose businesses have fought workers rights and have contributed to dirtying the air and water of every place they have a presence. In none of the articles did Fox provide disclosure of the Koch affiliation to the reporting.

It is clear that the infiltration by the Koch activists is complete. Fox News has long been associated with the conservative politics of the GOP, the Tea Party, and right-wing enterprises like Breitbart News, the Drudge Report, and even WorldNetDaily. But now they have turned a corner and embraced the brazen biases of an activist corporation with vested interests in the stories they pretend to cover. So now, in the warped universe of Fox News, corporations are not only people, they are also journalists. And if, like the Koch brothers, you can afford to create your own fake wire service, you can get fake news networks like Fox to distribute your PR.

Fox Nation vs. Reality: Fox News Recycles Three Year Old ObamaCare Lie

The professional prevaricators at Fox News really had to extend themselves to achieve their latest pinnacle of dishonesty. The lead story on their community web site, and Home of Flagrant Fallacies, Fox Nation, was another in their series of attacks on the Affordable Health Care Act (aka ObamaCare). The blazing headline read “Even Obama Buddy Warren Buffett Has Soured on ObamaCare: Scrap It and Start Over!”

Fox Nation

That would be a disconcerting development if it were true. But like so many things on Fox, it is not only untrue, it is an embarrassing fictionalization that reputable news enterprises avoid at all costs. Fox, it seems, seeks out this sort of malarkey.

Here’s the story. An obscure web site (Money Morning) that appears to thrive by hooking readers into dubious investment schemes, published an article that purported to be a recent interview with the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett. The article, titled “Buffett: Scrap Obamacare and Start All Over,” presented quotes that were portrayed as his current, and negative, opinions about ObamaCare. For instance…

“We have a health system that, in terms of costs, is really out of control,” he added. “And if you take this line and you project what has been happening into the future, we will get less and less competitive. So we need something else.”

There are just two little problems: 1) The comments were actually made three years ago and 2) They were so far removed from context that Buffett’s spokesman disavowed them. The truth is that Buffett was commenting on a draft version of health care reform that was being debated in the senate in 2010. Contrary to the impression left by Money Morning that Buffett was criticizing ObamaCare in its current state as the law of the land, Buffet was merely offering his opinion of what he would prefer while the bill was still being crafted.

It is fair to say that Buffett had some constructive criticism at that stage of the bill’s development. However, when asked directly whether he would support the bill, he said that he would favor it over the other option of no bill at all. So Money Morning misrepresented the timing of the quotes, as well as the substance of their meaning. And to make matters worse, their blunder was picked up by numerous right-wing news outlets who were more than happy to hype what they thought was a falling out between Obama and Buffett.

Along with Fox Nation, the false story was published by the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, and the highly choleric NewsBusters. Since the publication, Money Morning edited their article to reflect that the content was three years old, but they did not acknowledge that their previous version was wrong (here is a link to the cached original text). Both the Weekly Standard and NewsBusters posted corrections. But neither of Rupert Murdoch’s properties, the Wall Street Journal and Fox Nation, have bothered to set the record straight.

The degree of dishonesty exhibited here was documented by PolitiFact, who did a thorough analysis. Their conclusion was that the misrepresentation of Buffett’s comments was a “Pants On Fire” lie. It is well worth reading their entire article. Included in their findings is the fact that Buffet expressed his support for ObamaCare just last year, and he praised the Supreme Court’s decision upholding it.

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It’s noteworthy that the Fox Nationalists posted their phoney story well after it was already known that it was wrong. And they have had plenty of time to discover the error and correct it, but have not done so. That’s because they don’t care whether their reporting is true or not. They only care if they can influence their gullible audience, even if that means misinforming them. And that is something that they do better than just about anybody else.

Pravda (Hearts) Tea Party: American Conservatism Embraced By Russian Propaganda Press

If this doesn’t cause Tea Party heads to explode, I don’t know what will.

[Actually, I do know what will: Anything President Obama says; or showing that the health care law is working; or suggesting that billionaires be tapped for more taxes instead of poor people; or saying anything bad about Sarah Palin. Actually, lots of things make Tea Party heads explode]

Today the Russian Communist Party’s internal organ, Pravda, published an article extolling the virtues of American conservatism and its natural harmony with the politburo mouthpiece. The article by Xavier Lerma was titled “Why Conservative Americans Admire Putin.” This is a rather astute observation considering how the GOP has so lovingly embraced the Russian president during the Syrian crisis. They have hailed him as a true leader and even proposed that Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize be given to Putin instead.

Fox News
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It has long been recognized that the authoritarian Russian right shares much in common with their comrades in the Tea Party. From subjugating women and opposing reproductive freedom, to denying rights to homosexuals and forbidding marriage equality, to clinging to radical nationalism; to replacing education with indoctrination and science denial; and most of all, they share a common hatred for the U.S. government. Now we can add religious fundamentalism and Obama Derangement Syndrome to the mix. Here is how the Pravda article opened:

“America’s president has torn his land into a thousand pieces. The propaganda media machine covers Obama’s trail of blood and shows the president in a good way without a word of dissent.”

That could have been copied almost verbatim from a Rush Limbaugh broadcast. But it gets even worse. After Pravda laments that “The modern Tea Party’s success was short lived by Obama’s illegal interference,” they pivot to a conspiracy theory of election theft that would make the late Andrew Breitbart proud. The article swallows whole the phony IRS scandal and offers it as evidence of Obama’s corruption, despite the utter lack of any evidence connecting him to it. Then the author asserts that “Americans watch Obama destroying their own country and the world [...and...] With no hero to save them they become frustrated and look to Putin,” whom they see…

“…kneeling at Christ’s Holy Sepulcher which Obama never does when visiting Jerusalem. They see him going to church when they know Obama favors Muslims who attack Christians and their churches. They see Putin establishing laws to protect the church and laws against homosexuality. This they admire and this brings them hope. Hope in their upside down world where there is a leader willing to follow Christ. They have no Reagan but they see Putin whom they wish was their president.”

There you have it. Obama is an anti-Christian, Muslim lover, while Putin is the Second Coming of Ronald Reagan. A devout, law and order Christian who can inspire the Teabagging masses. Putin is their 21st century savior who can restore America and the world. The article even includes emails that the author received from Americans wishing Putin could be the U.S. president. And to top it all off, it closes with an evangelical sermon lambasting the “lamestream” media and exalting Putin’s piety and the glory of Christ’s guidance to the “Truth.” [FYI: Pravda, in Russian, means truth].

“American conservatives hear only lies from their TV but what they see on the internet from Russia regarding Putin is true because Christ guides them to see the Truth. The Holy Spirit does not fail them and inspires them to see Russia. They know a tree by its fruit. Putin obviously respects the Christian Church but Obama and their American government does not.”

Apparently Glenn Beck has been moonlighting as a ghostwriter for Pravda. The lunacy of this article proves that the Russians are just as capable of composing dishonest blather as the world champions at Fox News and, especially, Fox Nation (see my ebook Fox Nation vs. Reality for a collection of documented falsehoods put out by Fox’s professional lie-mongers). But the ideological affinity expressed in the article reveals that, whatever distance separates Pravda from the American wingnut, the doctrine espoused is just their cup of tea.

Putin/Palin

Fox News Dementia: Media Is Not As Hard On Obama/Syria As They Were On Bush/Iraq

On Fox News this morning there was a segment debating the media coverage of the “Crisis in Syria” (video below). On any other network this would have been a legitimate subject for debate and a fascinating topic. But leave it to Fox News to broadcast a version of history that makes Snow White’s adventures with seven diminutive forest dwellers look like a PBS documentary.

Fox’s Martha MacCallum opened the segment with a declarative motion for which she provided no factual basis: “Critics are suggesting that the media is not nearly as hard on President Obama about the potential of going into Syria, as they were on President Bush and his war that he fought in Iraq.” The reliance on a ghostly assemblage of unnamed critics is a variant of the “some say” tactic of inventing a premise with which a lazy commentator can project a dishonest argument. But it was just the lead-in that conservative guest Monica Crowley required to say this:

“Most of the media were very skeptical about any kind of military intervention in Iraq. They raised a lot of very legitimate questions. They also pounded President Bush and his team relentlessly in the run-up, during the war and of course even still to this day over that war. [...] It was just the fact that it was President Bush prosecuting this war. When you look at the difference between that coverage and the coverage of President Obama…in this run-up to a possible action in Syria, it’s like night and day.”

Fox News
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Indeed, it is like night and day. But not in any way meant by Crowley. Prior to the Iraq war, the media was in virtual unanimity with respect to supporting Bush and his fraudulent escapade. Even the factions of the media that are most often regard as liberal enclaves were banging the drums of war.

Recall that it was the New York Times that employed Judith Miller (now with Fox News) who was instrumental in providing cover for the Bush administration’s pro-war agenda. She was a trusty vessel for the dissemination of propaganda from Bush’s war hawks. She was the reporter most responsible for validating false intelligence on Saddam Hussein’s weapons capabilities and ambitions.

If you watched MSNBC at the time, you might recall that the top rated program was hosted by talk show legend Phil Donahue. He was a prominent skeptic of the looming U.S. invasion of Iraq. Consequently, the management of MSNBC viewed him as a “difficult public face for NBC in a time of war.” His show was canceled in February of 2003, shortly before the invasion.

The media presentation of dissent was nearly non-existent. Despite the fact that millions of Americans took to the streets to protest the war, the media declined to cover the demonstrations. Contrast that with the way they slobbered over a few malcontents in a tiny and unpopular political sect known as the Tea Party, and a handful of their hollering rubes at town hall meetings ranting about their opposition to health care.

The characterization of the media as going soft on Obama with regard to Syria is also delusional in the extreme. As expected, Fox News has been harshly critical of Obama no matter what he does. Last week they hammered him for taking a unilateral stance and failing to consult Congress on a possible reprisal for Syria’s chemical weapons deployment. This week they are bashing him for wasting time with congressional consultations and weakening the presidency by seeking them. What’s more, Obama has come in for criticism by pundits on the left like Rachel Maddow and Thom Hartmann and even Jon Stewart.

The right-wing directive to refrain from criticizing a president during international hostilities is apparently only in effect when a Republican is in the White House. Critics of Bush were often called traitors when they expressed their opposition to his policies. But outraged Tea-publicans are now encouraged to disparage the Commander-in-Chief in the most vile terms. Today it is the President who is called a traitor by right-wing protesters who fancy themselves as patriots.

In light of these facts, it is incomprehensible how Crowley can take to the Fox News channel and offer a twisted version of history wherein Obama is getting a pass and Bush suffered outrageous slings and arrows. And what is even more disturbing is that so many Fox News viewers are too dimwitted to separate the Fox fallacy from reality.

Fairly Unbalanced: Fox News Politburo Purges Democrats At Senate Hearing On Syria

When President Obama announced that he would seek the opinion of Congress with regard to a military response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria, the hypocrisy of the right immediately rose to the surface of the debate. Many of the same people who had previously condemned the President for not seeking congressional approval, shifted to criticizing him for doing so.

Fox News
For more Fox [distortions of the] News read
Fox Nation vs. Reality.

However, nothing illustrates the transparent intention to oppose Obama regardless of what he does as the coverage of the Senate hearings on Syria that commenced today.

Fox News was generous enough to broadcast the opening statements of Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, as well as those of the committee chairman Robert Menendez and ranking GOP member Bob Corker. From there on, however, their coverage had a much more partisan hue.

At about 4:00 pm (ET), Fox cut away from the hearings for an interview with former congressman Ron Paul. Fox then methodically skipped questioning from Democratic senators as if they were mere interruptions. Then, when it was Tea Party darling Marco Rubio’s turn, Fox went back to the live broadcast. But their return was just for Rubio’s opening statement and initial question. They immediately cut away again when Sec. Kerry began his answer. Fox then skipped the next Democratic senator completely, but aired the accusatory inquiries of GOP Sen. Ron Johnson. Guess what happened when Johnson finished his question and the cameras turned to the witness table – live coverage stops. This pattern repeated itself again with Democratic Sen. Coons getting cut, followed by John McCain getting covered in full.

At one point during the coverage, while Fox was airing a series of right-wing analysts bashing Obama, Neil Cavuto promised that as soon as Rand Paul’s turn came around, he would return to the live hearing. It was an explicit admission that Fox had no intention of airing any other part of the hearing that might include Democrats, but would faithfully broadcast their pal Rand Paul. And since Cavuto’s program ended before Paul’s time came, the promise was repeated by Dana Perino in the next Fox program. Lo and behold, Fox refrained from airing anything else from the hearing until Paul, then left the hearing again when Democrat Tim Kaine began his question time.

This couldn’t have been a more blatant demonstration of bias. Democratic senators were virtually ignored. After Republican questions were aired, the answers by the Democratic representatives of the administration’s cabinet were likewise ignored. This was clearly an editorial decision, and it is further evidence that Fox cannot be taken seriously as a news network. They are an openly partisan propaganda outfit for the benefit of the Republican Party. Their mission is to advance a conservative agenda, and that means preventing their already ignorant audience from being exposed to opinions that differ from those of the right-wing commentariat.

Conservative Propaganda 101: Write Articles On 4th Grade Level

Fox Nation vs. Reality
Fox Nation vs. Reality
is available now at Amazon.

David Corn of Mother Jones Magazine has published another epic investigative report uncovering a super-secret right-wing cabal formed to shape public opinion via coordinated messaging and organized smear campaigns.

Groundswell is an amalgamation of conservative activists and politicos including Ginni (Mrs. Clarence) Thomas, John Bolton, Frank Gaffney, Allen West, and many more. They also count as members folks from the media including Fox News, Breitbart News and the Daily Caller. They use Google Group correspondence and regular meetups to brainstorm their schemes. Corn obtained some of the emails distributed through their network and what they reveal is at turns frightening and funny. His article is a must read, but here are a few excerpts:

A certain amount of secrecy cloaks Groundswell’s efforts. Though members have been encouraged to zap out tweets with a #GSW hashtag, a message circulated to members of its Google group noted that the role of certain advocates should be kept “off of the Google group for OPSEC [operational security] reasons.” This “will avoid any potential for bad press for someone if a communication item is leaked,” the message explained.

Apparently they were engaging in activities that they themselves considered to be potentially embarrassing if discovered. And apparently they were right on that score.

The participation of journalists in coordinating messaging with ideological advocates and political partisans raises another set of issues. Conservatives expressed outrage when news broke in 2009 about Journolist, a private email list where several hundred progressive-minded reporters, commentators, and academics exchanged ideas and sometimes bickered.

Interestingly, the allegations that JournoListers engaged in message coordination were never substantiated, but the Groundswellers emails prove they were doing exactly that. Also interesting is the fact that Fox News went ballistic when the JournoList was revealed, however, they have not had a single report about Groundswell.

From a secret Groundswell email: “Our country is in peril. This is a critical moment needing critical leadership. We want to protect the strategic collaboration occurring at Groundswell and build on it. Please be careful about bringing guests and clear them ahead of time. [...] What Groundswell is not is a room of note takers. The goal of Groundswell is to sync messages and develop action from reports and information exchanged.”

There’s your smoking gun with regard to their coordinated propaganda goals.

The Groundswellers feel that they too often lose the political narrative to their progressive rivals. One memo that circulated among members declared, “We must reclaim the language and put ‘a face’ on our messages; tell stories. Write articles on 4th grade level!”

Yeah, that’s their problem. They have been reaching over the heads of their constituents by communicating at 5th grade levels and above. What were they thinking? Or perhaps it’s the other way around. Maybe they were communicating at a 3rd grade level all along and this is a directive to bump it up a notch. Considering the rampant idiocy of some of what we hear from the right, that seems like the more likely scenario.

Groundswell has forged a particularly close relationship with Breitbart. Matthew Boyle, one of Breitbart’s more prominent reporters, has attended Groundswell meetings, used the group as a source for tips and a mechanism to promote his stories, and joined in its efforts to whip up coordinated bullet points to be deployed by conservative advocacy shops.

“…conservative advocacy shops…” like Breitbart, Fox News, Daily Caller, etc. Corn’s piece contains many more bits of prime right-wing posturing and paranoia. The discovery of Groundswell is not particularly earth-shattering in and of itself. It has been clear for years that the right was clandestinely harmonizing their attacks. But by putting out this formerly classified data, it affirms what we’ve known and adds some juicy details to the mix.

Zombie Journalism: Fox News Must Be Running Out Of Fake Scandals

Imagine how frustrating it must be for the folks at Fox News who have been struggling so furiously to tar President Obama with one atrocity or another, but are having no success due to their total lack of evidence. Fox, and their cohorts in the Republican Party, have dedicated themselves to inventing phony crimes, and attempting to pin them on the President, to the exclusion of every other activity. But whether it was “Fast and Furious,” the IRS, Benghazi, gun confiscation, or the global warming hoax, not a single allegation has had any effect on the President or the White House. It has been a total loss for Fox, having expended enormous energy and resources, but getting no return whatsoever. On the air, in print, online, including their Lie Factory Fox Nation – a total bust.

The visceral pain and disappointment of Fox has visibly manifested itself on the air with increasingly ludicrous rhetoric and even more far-fetched charges. But what can Fox do when all of their best efforts to smear Obama have fallen short of their goal? Well, they can dredge up some past bit of melodrama and present it as if it is breaking news:

Fox News

The zombie story that Fox is reincarnating here is one from October of 2009, after Anita Dunn, then the White House Communications Director, correctly noted that

“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.”

This is not a follow-up story. There is nothing new added. It isn’t even a new posting. It is a link to an old, irrelevant article that is as out of place as a pet rock.

Why would Fox post this four year old item in their list of current news stories? Besides being ancient, it is unrelated to anything else that is going on in on today’s news cycle. It seems to be merely a wild swing at the President and an awkward reminder of Fox’s paranoia and persecution complex. But overall, it’s simply another example of the way Fox does business. They have no ethical rudder and are running a self-serving, partisan public relations agency for right-wing propaganda. Up next on Fox: Obama “palling around with terrorists.”

[Update 7/14/2003] Two days later, the breaking political stories on Fox News have changed several times with one exception: the zombie “War of Words” story remains in firmly planted on their home page.