2012 was a year of monumental achievements and deplorable failures. Chief among these are President Obama’s historic reelection despite harrowing obstacles, particularly an economy that was stubbornly weak and an opposition with nearly unlimited resources and animus. Then there was Gov. Romney’s surprisingly incompetent campaign that wasted hundreds of millions of dollars on a losing effort that never seemed to have a coherent strategy.
There was no shortage of contestants in the competition to declare the person who had the most impact on the course of the year. Aspirants as diverse as Karl Rove and Donald Trump and Sandra Fluke and Nate Silver all vied for the top spot. But there can be only one Person of the Year, and in 2012 the person deemed by News Corpse to have had the most striking impact on shaping the affairs of the nation was – The Anonymous 47% Video Guy!
The still unidentified person who caught Mitt Romney at a private fundraiser candidly saying what he actually believes about nearly half the country, exposed what was the most profound revelation of the campaign.
Romney: There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.
With that statement Romney was confessing that his view, and that of the Republican Party, was that middle and lower class Americans were moochers who hinged their votes on what they could scam from the public trough. It was an insensitive and unretractable insult that buried any hopes of Romney gathering enough votes to prevail in November. But we must not forget that Romney didn’t invent this line of attack. He adopted it from other conservative voices, mostly emanating from Fox News. For instance, all of these quotes predated Romney’s speech:
Bill O’Reilly: 50 percent of Americans don’t pay any federal income tax now.
Stuart Varney: About half the people who work in America, half the households, actually, pay any federal income tax at all.
Donald Trump: You do have a problem because half of the people don’t pay any tax.
Dave Briggs: [A]lmost half of this country pays no income tax whatsoever.
Gretchen Carlson: But what does that mean when you factor in that 50 percent of the nation doesn’t even pay federal income tax?
Steve Doocy: With 47% of Americans not paying taxes – 47% – should those who don’t pay be allowed to vote?
Sean Hannity: 50 percent of Americans no longer pay taxes.
Neil Cavuto: I’ve discovered nearly half of this country’s households don’t pay any taxes at all.
Dave Ramsey: This idea that 42% of Americans don’t pay anything…that’s just morally wrong.
Brian Kilmeade: Fifty-one percent of the country isn’t paying any taxes at all.
Eric Bolling: 43 percent of households don’t pay any federal tax.
Glenn Beck: There was like 48 percent say they pay their right amount of taxes and 49 percent don’t pay any tax.
Clearly this was a well coordinated effort to demonize half the electorate. By documenting that Romney himself held the same views that the Fox Borg mind held, the Anonymous 47% Video Guy performed a valuable service to the nation. Romney could no longer toil in his Etch-a-Sketch world inventing himself anew and erasing any prior inconvenient opinions that threatened his fictional character development.
So congratulations to the Anonymous 47% Video Guy on being named the News Corpse Person of the Year. We hope to meet you someday and thank you personally.
2012 was an exciting year full of political ups, downs, intrigue, and scandal. And through it all News Corpse was there to document the egregiously dishonest reporting of Fox News and other conservative media outlets.
Now you have an opportunity to express your gratitude to News Corpse for saving you the trouble of having to suffer though watching and reading all that garbage yourself. By purchasing my new eBook, Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Community’s Assault On Truth, you can help insure another year of commentary, insight, bluster, satire, and sarcasm. The book contains more than fifty examples of Fox’s blatant dishonesty as published on their Fox Nation web site.
When Fox News debuted sixteen years ago, it was crafted from scratch to be a partisan outlet for right-wing propaganda and a platform for advancing a conservative agenda. Its founder, Rupert Murdoch, was already an internationally known purveyor of right-slanted newspapers and broadcasters. Complimenting Fox’s television presence is its Internet community web site, Fox Nation. The statement of purpose posted on the Fox Nation web site says that it is “committed to the core principles of tolerance, open debate, civil discourse, and fair and balanced coverage of the news.”
However, a cursory glance at the site reveals that they have fallen wide of their stated purpose by several light years. Fox Nation vs. Reality chronicles the flagrantly dishonest reports by the Fox Nationalist team of faux journalists. These are not mere differences of opinion or discussions that might have varying degrees of perspective. They are obvious, provable, outright lies, and they are manifestations of a disconnect with the real world.
Your purchase of Fox Nation vs. Reality will help News Corpse to continue to expose Fox and its affiliated accomplices in propaganda. It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s gotta do it. Thanks for your patronage, past and future. And have a happy new year.
The past year has presented a wealth of unintentional comedy from right-wing raconteurs whose generosity in embarrassing themselves was profound. There was Donald Trump and Dick Morris and Allen West and many others vying for the top spot in the Crackpottery Hall of Fame.
However, this year, as in much of the recent past, the competition was too stiff and everyone had to bow, once again, to the Queen of Quackery: Sarah Palin. What follows are just a few of the most memorably humiliating hijinks in a year of world class buffoonery.
In a desperate attempt to counter-program ABC’s Good Morning America, NBC invited Palin to guest host their Today Show. The result was an episode that underperformed NBC’s average and may have been the catalyst that led to ABC eventually beating NBC in the morning news wars for the first time in years.
After former Vice-President Dick Cheney told ABC News that her selection as John McCain’s running mate was “a mistake,” Palin fired back saying that…
“It would have been a mistake to have hunkered down, just lived that luxurious, if you will, comfortable lifestyle in Alaska.”
Of course, we now know that Palin gleefully exploited the notoriety she attained from the nomination. She peddled her books and speaking engagements. She signed a multimillion dollar deal with Fox News. She starred in laughably inept reality TV programs. She increased her net worth many times over, yet recalls wistfully her “luxurious” lifestyle in Alaska. Palin is a notorious grifter and Cheney, for once, is quite right.
When Palin appeared on Fox News with her friend Greta Van Susteren, the conversation turned to some of the nastiness on the campaign trail that Palin thinks is exclusively on the side of the Democrats. In a hilarious demonstration of self-delusion, Palin said…
“Name one — name one prominent Republican who even comes close to what like the Alan Graysons, the Harry Reids, the Joe Bidens come up with and spew to the American public. I can’t think of one prominent Republican who talks the way that they talk.”
Sarah Palin is about the most vituperative, mean-spirited, mud-slinger in America today. But, in her defense, she did specify a “prominent Republican.”
Palin was so upset that John Kerry referenced her in joke that was directed at Mitt Romney that she unleashed this bit of nonsense on Neil Cavuto’s show on Fox News:
“I think he diminished himself by even mentioning my name. How does he even know my name? I mean aren’t these guys supposed to be these big-wig elites who don’t waste their time on the little people like me?”
So Palin is surprised that someone should know her name after running for vice-president, conducting bus tours (and book signings) across the country, hosting in two unintentionally hilarious reality shows on cable TV, and appearing regularly on Fox News as part of her million dollar contract? After all of that she still has some bizarre impression of herself as a little person. Little, perhaps, in mental acuity.
Sarah Palin appeared on her old pal Greta Van Susteren’s show on Fox News where she was asked to comment on Time Magazine’s selection of President Obama as “Person of the Year.” And, what a surprise, the ego-driven Queen of the North could only find nasty things to say about Obama. But she concluded with a statement I agree with wholeheartedly:
“Time Magazine, you know, I think there’s some irrelevancy there to tell you the truth. I mean consider their list of the most influential people in the country and in the world, some who have made that list – yours truly – that ought to tell you something right there regarding the credence that we should give Time Magazine and their list of people.”
It’s interesting to see just how little Palin thinks of herself. She doesn’t think anyone should have heard of her, and she doesn’t think she’s relevant enough to be mentioned in Time. However, these bouts of low self-esteem only seem to flare up when she is being attacked. Whenever she is promoting herself her abundant ego is in full effect.
The big problem Palin has is that many others share her opinion about her being an insignificant has-been. Her books don’t sell, her TV and film ventures bomb, and speculation has it that Fox News will not be renewing her contract next year. Consequently, there is not likely going to be another Palin retrospective at the end of 2013. I miss her already.
In a feat of mental malfunction on an Olympian scale, the Fox Nationalists posted an item that placed the radical hate group, Westboro Baptist Church, on the political left. The item included a photo with the following caption:
“Bikers Turn Out to Protect Newtown Mourners from Left-Wing Westboro Cult.”
The only people deranged enough to believe that are the readers of Fox Nation. Everybody else knows that Westboro is as right-wing as you can get. They are most famous for crashing the funerals of fallen soldiers and brandishing signs that say “God Hates Fags.” No one could reasonably argue that Westboro’s homophobic intolerance, or their extremist Christianity, is consistent with liberal views. However, those are the basic tenets of conservatives and were written into the Republican Party platform.
Fox Nation sourced the item to an article on the Gateway Pundit blog by Jim Hoft. Hoft sourced his piece to the Cochrane Times of Alberta, Canada. The Cochrane Times wrote that…
“Bikers seem to have thwarted attempts by the Westboro Baptist Church to protest the funeral of Newtown, Conn., shooting victim Principal Dawn Hochsprung.
“The vocal right-wing Christian group, whose website is godhatesfags.com, produced a video called ‘God Sent the Shooter,’ and has blamed the massacre on gay marriage.”
Hoft took it upon himself to edit the original story by striking out the phrase “right-wing Christian,” and adding “left-Wing Westboro Cult” to his headline. Then the Fox Nationalists parroted the revised content for their own story.
Clearly there is nothing on Fox that can be taken seriously. This convoluted path to a blatantly false conclusion is typical of Fox Nation’s utter disrespect for journalistic ethics or the truth. And it is further evidence that Fox News does not deserve to be regarded as a legitimate news enterprise.
National Review Magazine hosts an annual cruise where geriatric right-wingers can mingle at sea with luminaries from the conservative cognoscenti. It’s difficult to grasp why anyone would actually pay to be trapped aboard an ocean liner with the likes of Ralph Reed and Jonah Goldberg, but that’s precisely the sort of punishment to which they subject themselves.
Joe Hagan at New York Magazine made the sacrifice to get aboard and mingle with these sailors as they commiserated over the loss of the November election. It’s a fascinating read that reveals much about the passengers on this Loveless Boat.
Here are a few choice quotes from the GOP flounders to wet your appetite and demonstrate what these losers really think and say about politicians and voters with whom they disagree when they think no outsiders are listening:
Who sent Obama here to destroy America?
The people have spoken, the bastards.
White people didn’t get to the polls. There are far more African-Americans voting than they expected.
The thing we have to understand is, these are people who don’t have any morals.
I actually think that Goebbels was more critical of Hitler than the New York Times is of Obama.
These people are so evil. They’re basically Fascists.
Rasmussen: “You show them [minority voters] that you really care, you talk to them as grown-ups on a range of issues, you get them involved … and you accept that you can learn as much from them as you can teach them.” Passenger (and National Review contributor) responds: “That’s bullshit!”
I think we’re going to go into the toilet, and I don’t think there’s anything we can do to stop it.
You notice none of the workers [on the boat] are white. … Well, that’s the way it should be.
What a charming collection of open-minded, tolerant Americans. Just the sort of people who can be counted on to respect democracy and work to make the country better. No wonder the Republicans in congress are so intransigent and bullheaded, even about compromises that are obvious and favored by a majority of citizens – like higher taxes on the wealthy and preserving Social Security and Medicare.
Of course, no article on “fools” would be complete without a mention of their rodent-crowned king, Donald Trump. He may not have been on the cruise, but he is nevertheless drifting with the tides of extreme ignorance. In his weekly visit with the Kindergarten Krew at Fox & Friends, Trump said…
“Look, the Republicans are sitting there with a nuclear weapon, so to speak. They have debt ceiling coming up. They can use that as part of the negotiation, and they should.”
He was referring to the upcoming debate on increasing the debt ceiling, which he said could be “devastating to Democrats if the Republicans want to play that card.” That illustrates just how poorly Trump grasps economics. Meddling with the debt ceiling would not be devastating to Democrats. It would be devastating to America. The last time the GOP tried to obstruct this process, the nation’s credit rating was downgraded. Holding the country hostage in that manner is downright unpatriotic. Especially when they lie about what the debt ceiling is. It does not increase the national debt. It merely permits the country to pay bills it has already incurred. To fail to do so would constitute a default that would cost billions in higher interest payments.
There is so much blatant idiocy on the right that is not countered by rational conservatives due to their fear of being labeled soft and challenged by Koch brothers financed groups like Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks. These cowards are propped up by the propaganda on Fox News and get affirmation on silly cruises hosted by National Review.
The result is the dumbing-down of the Republican Party and turning it into an unelectable political carcass. So maybe the news isn’t all bad.
After a week of silence, the NRA has finally come forward to comment on the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The spokesman for the gun manufacturer’s lobbying group was NRA executive VP Wayne LaPierre.
The speech was a rehash of familiar diversions the NRA uses to absolve themselves of any responsibility for the bloody consequences of the gun culture they advocate. Their obsession with a misreading of the second amendment (which they always ignore makes specific reference to “a well-regulated militia”) takes priority over every other right or freedom in America, including free speech and the right to life.
According to LaPierre, the real killers in America are the producers of movies and video games. And while LaPierre advocates regulating these forms of entertainment, he is adamantly opposed to the sensible regulation of the actual weapons that cause actual fatalities. This is consistent with the hypocrisy of right-wingers who claim to want government off their backs, unless it is to enforce some aspect of their theocratic morality. They chafe at federal efforts to rein in predatory bankers, but are thrilled when government keeps gays from getting married.
The NRA’s core argument against stricter regulation of the most dangerous types of firearms is that “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” The problem with that argument is that it requires everybody have a gun. And, of course, having guns did not help Adam Lanza’s mother. What’s more, statistics show that people with guns in their homes are more likely to be victims of gun violence than those without guns. Often the gunowners weapon is used against them by their assailant.
The only constructive suggestion in LaPierre’s remarks was to hire and station armed guards at every school in America. Aside from turning all campuses into war zones, that would not come close to solving the problem of violence in our society. There are also children at the beach, in shopping malls, at church, in restaurants, and parks, and playgrounds, and libraries. Would LaPierre propose to have armed security at every Chuck E. Cheese and Disney movie?
At one point in his speech LaPierre spun an absurd hypothetical asking what would have happened if there were an armed guard at Sandy Hook. His presumption is that the tragedy would have been averted. However, it might just as likely have resulted in the murder of the guard along with everyone else. Common sense tells us that the killer would be expecting the guard, but the guard would be surprised by the killer. Plus, would the guard be armed with equivalent firepower? If so, that means that all of the guards at the sites we decide to protect would be carrying assault weapons. Seriously? Assault weapons at Chuck E. Cheese and Annie’s Day Care and Toys ‘R’ Us? Surely, nothing bad would come of that.
The NRA approach to public safety would be a throwback to the wild west when everybody was packing heat and there were shootouts in the street. It would turn our society into a battle zone with frightened citizens scrambling to insure that their mode of protection was superior to any other they might encounter. There would be innumerable George Zimmermans patrolling our neighborhoods and slaughtering the innocent.
The NRA manages to find fault in everything but guns. LaPierre cited movies, video games, mental health, and even hurricanes, as the causes of “a recipe for a national nightmare of violence and victimization.” So we are victimized by hurricanes, but not by rapid-fire rifles with 30 round magazines? And at the top of his list was the media about whom he said…
“Throughout it all, too many in our national media, their corporate owners, and their stockholders, act as silent enablers, if not complicit co-conspirators.”
On this point I may have to agree with him. The media has been far too timid about addressing the practical issues surrounding gun policy in America. They are cowed by charges that it is “not the right time” to engage in this debate. But according to the NRA it is never the right time. Even now, LaPierre said that “There’ll be time for talk and debate later. This is the time, this is the day for decisive action. We can’t wait for the next unspeakable crime to happen before we act.” Let the absurdity of that statement sink in. He is saying that this issue is so important that we should act without any deliberation. We should just do something, but we must not, under any circumstances, talk about it first.
Always happy to do its part, Fox News has already signed on to LaPierre’s dictate of silence. It was recently disclosed that a Fox executive sent a memo to their producers ordering them to refrain from discussing gun control. And today, Fox is apparently still operating under that edict. They broke into the LaPierre speech late and left it before it concluded, cutting out a full third of the speech. Then they followed the aborted speech with a fiscal cliff panel. While they didn’t have time to show all of LaPierre’s remarks, they did broadcast in full remarks to the press by three GOP senators on a Benghazi report that was released two days ago.
I feel safer already knowing that Fox News and the NRA are aggressively campaigning for the rights of all Americans to live in a society awash with weapons designed for combat. Heavily armed guards in schools and bookstores can only serve to move this country closer to the utopian models of Somalia or Beirut sought by right-wingers where freedom reigns above all and government is small enough to drown in a bathtub.
The ignorant fables spun by the Fox Nationalists have frequently coasted off the rails of sanity. But none have diverted nearly as far off course as this article, linked to a story by CBS News, about how “Mexican beauty queen Susana Flores Maria Gamez and four others died in the brutal gun battle between Sinaloa cartel members and the Mexican military in November.”
On the basis of information that a gun that had once belonged to an ATF official was found at the scene of this gun battle, Fox Nation asks “Did Holder’s Crew Kill A Beauty Queen?” That’s the sort of deliberately offensive and juvenile question that turns Fox viewers into raving ignoramusi. In their purposeful attempt to deceive, the Fox Nationalists failed to provide any details of what actually occurred, including the fact that the alleged “beauty queen” Gamez was reported to have been armed and fighting with the criminals in the drug cartel and was likely killed by the Mexican military.
Nevertheless, Fox portrays her only as a “beauty queen” and not as a drug trafficker, and accuses Attorney General Eric Holder of murdering her. There is no evidence that any gun associated with the ATF or “Fast and Furious” was responsible for her death, particularly in light of the fact that any such weapons would have been in the possession of her drug-running accomplices, not the law enforcement agents they were fighting.
So to answer Fox’s question: No, neither Holder nor his “crew” killed a beauty queen. However, a more accurate version of the story might have said that a shootout with the Mexican military may have resulted in the death of a female drug trafficker and her comrades.
Fox really had to stretch reality to turn this into an assault on Obama’s Attorney General. And they also had to turn a member of a drug cartel into a sexy fallen hero. But that’s what Fox does. It’s only purpose is to malign their ideological enemies and decorate their distortions with lechery and melodrama. I can almost see the next Fox headline about the Sandy Hook killer, Adam Lanza: Obama Attacks Recently Deceased, Mentally-Challenged, 20 Year Old Orphan.
Last night Sarah Palin once again appeared on her old pal Greta Van Susteren’s show on Fox News. She was asked to comment on Time Magazine’s selection of President Obama as “Person of the Year.” And, what a surprise, the ego-driven Queen of the North could only find nasty things to say about Obama, who was chosen, not as an endorsement of his agenda, but as recognition of the reelection victory that illustrated the changes in America’s identity. Time wrote…
“We are in the midst of historic cultural and demographic changes, and Barack Obama is both the symbol and in some ways the architect of this new America. In 2012, he found and forged a new majority, turned weakness into opportunity and sought, amid great adversity, to create a more perfect union.”
Perhaps Palin was upset that the article accompanying the choice never mentioned her by name, but did note that her characterization of Obama’s tenure as “hopey/changey” was passe. Her sour grapes session criticized Time Magazine’s choice due to some vague, unspecified allegation that Obama doesn’t support the Constitution. She complained that he wants to change the Constitution, which is, of course, constitutional and is provided for in the document. It has been done twenty-seven times already. But she concluded with a statement I agree with wholeheartedly:
“Time Magazine, you know, I think there’s some irrelevancy there to tell you the truth. I mean consider their list of the most influential people in the country and in the world, some who have made that list – yours truly – that ought to tell you something right there regarding the credence that we should give Time Magazine and their list of people.”
She is referring to her place on the Time 100 back in 2010. The tribute to her was composed by washed-up schlock-rocker Ted Nugent, who continues to embarrass himself in public with demented, anti-American rants. And not to be outdone, Palin also embarrassed herself with Van Susteren in a discussion about the newly released report on the State Department’s handling of security in Benghazi, Libya.
Van Susteren and Palin both complained that there was no accountability for security failings, despite the fact that three State Department officials resigned shortly after the report’s release. And they both knew of the resignations because they mentioned them in the segment. Palin also asserted without support that “Americans were lied to.” She went on to whine…
“For the President even to get out there on a national stage and tell Americans untruths about this situation in Benghazi really begs you to ask the question, what else does he say and do that would be deceptive. I believe that it’s many, many things that he would say and do being deceptive.”
Neither Palin nor Van Susteren gave a single example of anyone being less than truthful. And neither did the report, which addressed the security situation in Benghazi, not the subsequent media frenzy Fox tried to incite.
It’s a little sad to see the pathetic scratching on the screen door by Palin who has all but vanished from public view. She is probably milking these appearances with Van Susteren because there is a high probability that her contract with Fox will not be renewed when it expires next year. And who else would have her? Her books don’t sell, her reality TV shows fail, and her own party is so ashamed to be associated with her that she wasn’t even invited to the Republican convention this year.
It may be fair (and balanced) to say that Palin is over – you betcha!
Here is a disturbing report from a local news broadcast in Toledo, Ohio. An Indiana man pleaded guilty to arson for having set fire to an Islamic Center in Toledo. He was sentenced to 20 years today and, in an exchange with the judge, revealed his motivation.
The judge asked him if he knew any Muslims or what Islam is. He said “No, I only know what I hear on Fox News.”
The producers at Fox must be so proud of the prejudice they inspire with their overtly hateful coverage of any subject that deals with Muslims. Their scandal mongering a couple of years ago about the Park51 Islamic Center in Manhattan was evidence of just how biased the network is against Muslims. And numerous Fox anchors and guests have engaged in the slander that all Muslims are terrorists, or that all terrorists are Muslim.
This is a particularly interesting display of prejudice considering that the largest shareholder of News Corp outside of the Murdoch family (and a financier of Park51) is the Muslim Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal of Saudi Arabia. However, there are numerous examples of Fox News taking positions that are in stark contrast to CEO Rupert Murdoch’s publicly stated views. Either Murdoch’s control has been usurped by Roger Ailes or he has become senile and incognizant – or both.
It should not be surprising that one of their loyal viewers decided to commit what he thinks is an act of patriotism. After driving into their heads the notion that Muslims are America’s enemies, even when they are American citizens, congressmen, or soldiers, Fox’s audience has become indoctrinated by the prejudice that gushes from the network’s broadcasts. Now we know that a member of that audience has taken the next step in manifesting the hate that Fox manufactures. And it cannot be explained away as a legal tactic to avoid responsibility because he already pleaded guilty.
This is not the first time something like this has happened either. There was the story about a woman who threatened to fire all of her black employees if they voted for Obama, and she wrote “KKK” on their time cards. Her excuse? “I think I got crazy with FOX News, watching too much FOX News.” And there were at least two maniacs inspired by Fox’s Glenn Beck (here and here).
This is the predictable result of the feverish rantings that occur daily on Fox News. The anchors, producers, and advertisers are responsible for the harm that is done by people they knowingly incite to violence. This does not mean that Fox is directly responsible for the violence itself, but that they have some culpability for having infected their audience with the hateful lies that can lead to these measures. Hopefully someday one of their victims will be courageous enough to hold Fox accountable and make them pay a price for their hate speech.
Just when you thought you’ve heard it all, the sickening blather of the right-wing nuthouse crowd manages to scale to new heights of idiocy and hypocrisy.
Following one of the most horrific mass murders in this nation’s history, Republicans have rushed to the TV cameras and talk radio mics to blame the Newtown massacre on the absence of God in the classroom, the violence of video games, and/or too few firearms in the hands of teachers. The call for turning your child’s faculty members into an elementary school SWAT team has come from GOP leaders, congressmen and NRA spokespersons.
Now Ted Nugent, not surprisingly, has joined the fray. Nugent is on the board of the NRA and has a long history of worshiping weaponry. He was the host of a Discovery Channel special called “Ted Nugent’s Gun Country” (which Discovery just announced will have no further episodes). In his latest column for the “Moonie” Washington Times, Nugent, of all people, blasted what he called a “culture of contempt.” Adding that…
“The ugly and dangerous truth is that we live in an embarrassing, politically correct culture that exalts and rejoices in the bizarre.”
I couldn’t agree more. And Nugent is the perfect example of what is most embarrassing and bizarre in our culture. For Nugent to criticize the alleged contempt in society is something like Hitler criticizing anti-Semitism. Nugent is the guy who recently said…
“I vow that I will use our freedom to get these dirty cock-suckers out of the White House. The president is a bad man. The vice president is a bad man. They’re all bad people. If you don’t get that, you’re a dead motherfucker.”
“If Barack Obama becomes the President in November again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.”
“I was in Chicago last week I said, ‘Hey Obama, you might want to suck on one of these, you punk?’ Obama, he’s a piece of shit and I told him to suck on one of my machine guns. Let’s hear it for them. I was in New York and I said, ‘Hey Hillary, you might want to ride one of these into the sunset you worthless bitch.’ Since I’m in California, I’m gonna find Barbara Boxer she might wanna suck on my machine guns. Hey, Dianne Feinstein, ride one of these you worthless whore.”
Now Nugent thinks he can lecture other Americans on morality and virtuous culture? Nugent is a loathsome and hate-filled misanthrope whose wretched perception of reality is tainted by an all-consuming and diseased ego. He has no standing to judge other people or society in general. It is demented souls like his that contribute to what is worst in our society. And we would be far better off if he were to keep the promise he made a few weeks ago about being either dead or in jail. The sooner the better, Ted.
It is going on five days now that the NRA has maintained a media silence with regard to the Newtown massacre. Their Facebook and Twitter accounts went dark on Friday and have remained so ever since.
Today, however, Fox News reported that the organization is planning to make a statement soon. They posted this notice on their web site with the headline “NRA TO END SILENCE: Rights Group To Answer Gun-Control Lobby.”
That headline is a perfect demonstration of how Fox News deliberately prejudices their reporting to favor groups they support and disparage those they oppose. Fox identifies the NRA as a “rights group” when in fact they are registered lobbyists for the gun industry. Then they call gun control activists “lobbyists,” even though they represent only citizen efforts to reform gun safety legislation. That’s sort of like calling the Tobacco Council a smokers rights group, and the American Cancer Society anti-cancer lobbyists.
Fox News doesn’t seem to care about what the definition of a lobbyist is. So they attach the term, which has deserved negative connotations, to grassroots gun-control advocates in order to cast them in a negative light. And they refrain from properly identifying the NRA as the lobbyists they are in order to promote them more positively. This is an obvious rhetorical tactic to slant the impression they give to their audience. It further indicts Fox for their pro-NRA bias which became clearer yesterday when it was revealed that their program executives instructed their producers to refrain from any discussions of gun control.
And to top it all off, this bit of ironic ad placement was captured on Fox’s web site:
Putting a woman in a bloody t-shirt adjacent to an article about a mass killing is surely no one’s idea of smart marketing. Of course, this occurred due to an automated ad placement by a third-party agency. However, this unintended and unfortunate juxtaposition tells a story that is consistent with Fox’s editorial philosophy. Twenty-seven people are dead in Connecticut, but according to Fox, so far as gun control is concerned, everything is fine.
Never mind that Rupert Murdoch, the CEO of the Fox News parent company, supports taking “bold leadership” to restrict access to assault weapons, executives at Fox News have dictated that the subject of gun control is forbidden on their network. Sources told Gabriel Sherman of New York Magazine that…
“David Clark, the executive producer in charge of Fox’s weekend coverage, gave producers instructions not to talk about gun-control policy on air. ‘This network is not going there,’ Clark wrote one producer on Saturday night, according to a source with knowledge of the exchange.”
This is the sort of overt bias that is practiced at Fox News on a regular basis. There is nothing new about Fox demanding that their anchors and contributors follow the marching orders from the executive suites. They receive a morning memo informing them on the topics of the day and what their positions will be. Even loyal Fox associates like pollster Frank Luntz have revealed that failing to “comport with the outlet’s orthodoxy” will result in getting you blacklisted. Sherman’s sources went on to say that…
“During the weekend, one frustrated producer went around Clark to lobby Michael Clemente, Fox’s executive vice-president for news editorial, but Clemente upheld the mandate. ‘We were expressly forbidden from discussing gun control,’ the source said.”
Sherman noted that there was a bit of discourse on gun control on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. However, he did not mention that the program airs on the Fox Entertainment Network, not Fox News (although it is repeated later in the day on Fox News).
This is how Fox directs the editorial content of the network. They have a heavy hand enforcing what people may, and may not, say on the air. It is not a coincidence that nearly everyone on Fox spews the same talking points throughout their broadcast day. It is by design and it is imposed by an editorial politburo that monitors the dissemination of their propaganda.
Since Fox CEO Roger Ailes is against gun control, then everyone at Fox must be. And if they think that discussing a subject is not in the interests of their agenda, then discussion is shut down. In this case, the network’s censorship is in lock step with the NRA, who have been maintaining media silence ever since the tragedy on Friday. The NRA’s Facebook and Twitter accounts have gone blank. And so has free speech on Fox News, not that it was ever there in the first place.
It’s also worthwhile to note that while Fox has banned all talk of gun control, they have not similarly banished talk of other explanations for the atrocity in Connecticut. For instance, they had no problemn with laying the blame on movies and video games. And Fox host Mike Huckabee was permitted to go on the air and blame the killings on the absence of God in the classroom. That’s is a particularly idiotic theory when you consider that other mass killings have taken place in churches where there presumably was no shortage of Godliness.
If you thought that Donald Trump had embarrassed himself beyond the limits of human tolerance during the presidential campaign, you don’t know The Donald.
This is a man who continues to believe, despite all evidence, that President Obama is a Muslim from Kenya. He is a man who made a pathetic challenge to exchange five million dollars for Obama’s college transcripts. He is a man who thinks that Bill Ayers is Obama’s ghostwriter. He is man who called for a revolution because he thought, incorrectly, that Obama lost the popular vote. So what could he have done since the election to further affirm his world-class idiocy?
The ad above is part of Trump’s effort to kill a wind farm in Scotland near one of his golf courses. He thinks it will hamper the view of the snooty elitists batting little balls around his exclusive club. But it’s not enough that Trump’s dishonest and self-serving ad misrepresents the value of renewable energy resources, Trump goes further to associate an advocate of wind power with the terrorist who brought down an airliner over Lockerbie.
This is about as despicable an act of character assassination as you will ever see. And it is a naked attempt by Trump to further his own greedy interests at the expense of a public servant, Scotland’s environment, and the general concept of dignity. To top it off Trump Tweeted“Windmills are destroying every country they touch— and the energy is unreliable and terrible.” That’s not the least bit hypoerbolic. Just look at the trail of former nations that have been destroyed by windmills. Obviously Trump knows as much about energy as he does about Obama’s birthplace.
The desperation in making such wild and offensive claims is apparent. Trump is proving once again that the only thing he cares about is his own wealth and ego. It’s sad for the rest of the American populace that he is prancing around the world ruining people’s impression of America. If only there were a way that we could refuse to let him back in.
One thing that has been well established through decades of media domination by Rupert Murdoch is that his will was supreme in the organizations he ran. He made virtually every decision of significance with regard to management, economics, and personnel. And he was never shy about imposing his worldview to slant the editorial content of his properties, whether dealing with opinion or hard news.
Politicians around the world were once obliged to pay their respects to the “Dirty Digger” if they hoped to succeed electorally. When he purchased a newspaper or television network his ultra conservative bias would replace whatever he found when he got there. Believe it or not, the New York Post was once a liberal publication (which would make more sense in New York City than the right-wing, money-losing rag that Murdoch transformed it into). The once revered Wall Street Journal always had a conservative opinion page, but since Murdoch’s acquisition the news section has abandoned its thoughtful, long-form journalism in favor of something more of the “yellow” variety.
However, in recent months the Murdochian monarchy seems to have been sapped of its power. There has been none of the reverential genuflecting to the man whose anointment was once compulsory. There has been scant evidence of his presence in the political backrooms where influence is administered. Part of the reason for this apparent weakening of his reign may be the fact that he continues to be embroiled in a consuming scandal in the U.K. that began with the discovery that his reporters were hacking into the phones and computers of hundreds of people, including celebrities, politicians, and even a murdered schoolgirl. The scandal has expanded to include charges of bribery and corruption in Murdoch’s newsrooms as well as British government and police operations.
But those affairs, as troubling as they are, do not fully explain Murdoch’s receding influence. The GOP candidates for president all but ignored Murdoch in 2012. And his presence amongst opinion makers has been negligible. More significant is the fact that his own news enterprises are openly rejecting his counsel. The most recent example is his Tweet following the Newtown school massacre. Murdoch wrote:
“Terrible news today. When will politicians find courage to ban automatic weapons? As in Oz after similar tragedy.”
Technically, fully automatic weapons are already fairly strictly regulated. It’s the semi-automatic types that are all too easily acquired, sometimes without any registration or background check required. But it’s clear that Murdoch was addressing the access to the sort of weapons and large-capacity ammunition clips used in Newtown and other recent scenes of carnage.
However, Murdoch’s advocacy of legal action to constrain the availability of these weapons is not shared by his most prominent news vehicle, Fox News. Fox has not disguised its opposition to reasonable regulations, nor its support for extremist groups like the NRA and the politicians who carry their message. Fox has not only advanced the gun rights movement on their air, but they have contributed to disseminating the most absurd conspiracy theories that circulate in the media fringes. And all of this goes on despite being contrary to the views of Fox’s alleged master, Rupert Murdoch.
Another example is Murdoch’s support for a liberal immigration policy. Murdoch even initiated a campaign with New York mayor Michael Bloomberg for immigration reform that would include a path to citizenship for currently undocumented workers. However, his Fox News is one of the most virulently anti-immigrant news operations in the country. They repeatedly use the dehumanizing slur “illegals” to refer to undocumented immigrants, and they portray them as criminals and low-life parasites on society. That editorial bias directly contradicts Murdoch’s personal and public position.
There is also the subject of Climate Change, which Fox News regards as a hoax aimed at exerting some sort of tyrannical control over businesses and individuals. They provide a platform for unsavory characters with no scientific expertise who rail against the volumes of peer-reviewed studies that have affirmed the dangerous warming of the planet. Fox hosts like Sean Hannity frequently mock as ignorant anyone who buys into what he believes is a global warming scam. But you have to wonder whether he is including Murdoch in that group. Murdoch has explicitly acknowledged that Climate Change is real and is caused by human activity. He has directed his company to take decisive steps to mitigate its carbon footprint and he created a division to manage these efforts. Nevertheless, his view is ridiculed on his cable news network.
These examples demonstrate a stark difference between the powerful Murdoch of the past and the more impotent version of the present. This is not the same Murdoch who once declared that he had tried to shape the Bush administration’s policy on Iraq. It is not the same Murdoch who called off his journalists in France at the request of his business partner Prince al-Walid bin Talal of Saudi Arabia (the largest shareholder of News Corp outside of the Murdoch family).
The frequency with which Fox News contradicts Murdoch is astonishing for an enterprise whose editorial personality has been so closely associated with that of its leader. It no longer appears that the Fox bias leans so strictly toward Murdoch. However, it does lean stridently towards Murdoch’s lieutenant, Roger Ailes, the CEO of Fox News. Ailes, a former Republican media consultant, has succeed in turning Fox into the biggest source of revenue for Murdoch’s News Corp. He has also succeeded in turning Fox into a reflection of his own politics. The GOP candidates who brushed off Murdoch all paraded into Ailes’ office to get his blessing. And while Murdoch seemed to have little influence over the slate of candidates, it was Ailes who openly courted figures like Gen. David Petraeus and Gov. Chris Christie.
What might have been the impetus for this apparent transfer of power? Murdoch is not the sort of person to let go of the reins voluntarily. But at this time in the life of News Corp, there is an abundance of uncertainty. The phone hacking scandal has not only diminished Murdoch, but it has left the company without an obvious heir. Murdoch’s son James is as tainted by the scandal as Rupert. This leaves a power vacuum into which Ailes can insert himself. That objective may also be aided by Murdoch’s advanced age and possible infirmity.
The result is that Fox News continues to lean into far-right extremism, so much so that it openly contradicts the views of its chairman. It will be interesting to watch as this morality play proceeds. Should Murdoch decide to retire and pass the baton on to his children, Ailes may find himself in a bind. The only Murdoch in the company who is unscathed by scandal is his daughter Elizabeth. But she was an Obama supporter and her family viscerally hates Ailes. Her husband was quoted saying…
“I am by no means alone within the family or the company in being ashamed and sickened by Roger Ailes’s horrendous and sustained disregard of the journalistic standards that News Corporation, its founder and every other global media business aspires to.”
Ailes may be trying to consolidate his power within the organization, but without Murdoch’s support he is helpless. The Murdoch family has outright control of the company in their stock portfolio. In a Rupert-less News Corp it is likely that Ailes will decide to retire himself. Where the network would go from there is anyone’s guess.
However, this year there was plenty of chatter about how destructive Fox was to the goals of its patron, the Republican Party. The network took positions that alienated much of the public, including a growing Latino community, younger, more moderate voters, and women incensed by the overt insults and advocacy of legislation that regressed women’s rights by fifty years or more. That is not the way to win elections. Many in the conservative punditry for the first time criticized Fox as an obstacle to their agenda. That’s something that was done here long ago (see Fox News Is Killing The Republican Party).
The usurpation of the Fox News agenda is obvious and disturbing. Roger Ailes is installing himself at the top of the pile in opposition to his boss on some of the most important issues of the day. This can only lead to trouble. Visceral, personal, gut-wrenching, back-stabbing, explosive trouble. In other words: FUN!
In a second Tweet on the subject of guns, Murdoch called on the President take “bold leadership action.” That’s something that Murdoch hasn’t asked Ailes to do, nor has he done so himself. As the head of the top-rated cable news network Murdoch could arguably have more impact on this debate than the President. After all, anything Obama says about this is going to be dismissed by conservatives without even listening to it. However, Fox News speaks to them directly and they take their cues from the network’s stars. Therefore, Fox has a real opportunity to affect the debate and guide public opinion toward sensible legislation.
Ordinarily, I would not advocate that a news organization impose its views on their audience, but Fox is doing this already – only in the wrong direction. What they should now, with Murdoch’s leadership, is correct their course. But don’t hold your breath. Ailes still appears to be in control, and Murdoch still seems to be incapacitated. If Obama does take “meaningful action” as he has suggested he would do, count on Fox News to bash him mercilessly for threatening to confiscate all guns and undermining the Constitution.
The nation is once again grieving the senseless loss of innocent life at the hands of a mentally unstable gunman. Compounding the tragedy, this time the majority of victims were children. As President Obama said this afternoon…
“As a country, we have been through this too many times. Whether it’s an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago — these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children. And we’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.”
Unfortunately, the politics will eventually seep into this as it always does. Gun rights advocates may try to evade a public debate by claiming that it is inappropriate to discuss responsible gun policy after a notorious crime, but in truth there is no better time. And waiting until the nation is crime-free would mean putting off the debate forever (which, of course, is their intent).
The President’s message explicitly addressing the need for meaningful action is bound to set off a flurry of paranoia from the Second Amendment set. It is just the sort of soundbite that triggers their imaginations. During the campaign, NRA president Wayne LaPierre wrote in a fundraising letter that Obama’s re-election would result in the “confiscation of our firearms” His proof of that was the fact that Obama had not taken any actions against gun ownership throughout his first term. To LaPierre, and many other right-wingers, that meant that Obama was lulling gun owners into a false sense of security and that Obama would proceed with the gun roundup in his second term. Of course, Fox News was a principle proponent of these conspiracy theories. Here are a few headlines from Fox’s community web site Fox Nation:
Obama Starts Pushing Gun Control
Obama: We’re Working on Gun Control ‘Under the Radar’
Obama May Use Executive Orders to Bypass Congress on Gun Control Laws
Obama to Push for New Gun Laws in Wake of Colorado Massacre?
Chuck Norris: Obama’s Stealth Gun Control
WSJ: Second Obama Term Could Kill Second Amendment
There were similar conspiratorial prophesies percolating in the midst of the “Fast and Furious” affair. Many conservative pundits and politicians believed the whole thing was a covert plot to impose stricter gun laws in the United States. Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips said as much on Fox News earlier this year.
“This was purely a political operation. You send the guns down to Mexico, therefore you support the political narrative that the Obama administration wanted supported; that all these American guns are flooding Mexico, that they’re the cause of the violence in Mexico and therefore we need draconian gun control laws here in America.”
So I’ll give it about forty-eight hours before some gun nut charges that Adam Lanza was an Obama operative sent to Connecticut to create havoc that would open the door for federal agents to clamp down on the rights of gun owners to possess assault weapons and other military grade munitions that our Founding Fathers could never have imagined. It could be Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh or Allen West or Michelle Bachmann. There are plenty of delusional crackpots on the right who could advance this theme. And if all else fails, the NRA could take it up themselves. Seriously…I wonder how long it will take them to run an ad like this:
Today America is mourning again. We all send our condolences to the families of the victims. But the most meaningful thing we can do for them is to start tomorrow to insist that rational and reasonable steps be taken to prevent tragedies like this from happening in the first place. That means adopting a sane approach to gun ownership and compassionate access to mental health care. Not to do so would be to rub salt in the wounds of everyone who has lost a loved one to gun violence, and it would also be an invitation for more of these horrific events in the future. We need to stop this, and we need to do it now.
A few days ago a Breitbart/Fox News provocateur infiltrated a union protest in Lansing, Michigan with the intention of inciting hostilities. Steven Crowder, whom Fox describes as a comedian/contributor, completed his mission after goading protesters into a brief scuffle and then scurrying away with his video of the manufactured scandal.
In an appearance the next day on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program, Crowder admitted that he went to the protest with provocation in mind saying “I went out here to prove the left for who they truly are. Certainly, these union thugs. And I’ve achieved that.” Crowder’s post-bout media tour took him to several other Fox programs where he basked in his pride for having successfully carried out a preconceived mission to fabricate bad publicity for the workers seeking to defend their rights and their families.
Since then, however, Crowder’s version of events has suffered under scrutiny. The video he released was exposed for having been heavily, and deceptively, edited. Another version came out later that showed that just prior to what was characterized as an assault on Crowder, the union member accused of the assault had been shoved to the ground and was reacting to that when he stood up and swung at Crowder.
Crowder went back on the Hannity show and debated Andy Sullivan, a union representative, who pointed out the new evidence that Crowder may have been the aggressor. Crowder then admitted that the union member was pushed down first and never denied that he was the one who pushed him.
Hannity: You claim he’s inciting this violence? Sullivan: Well listen, first off that tape was very well edited. I happened to have seen some footage where it looked like he had actually pushed the guy down to the ground. And that was the fellow that was actually striking him. That’s the way it looked to me. Crowder: He did go down. He was attacking a tent with people and children in it. [Note: The video does not show the union member tampering with, or even in close proximity to, the tent] Sullivan: Oh, he was attacking a tent? And what were you doing? Crowder: We were there trying to prevent people from being hurt in the tent. [Note: Crowder was not seen helping anyone, and there were no children seen in the video. Then Crowder becomes hysterical] Crowder: You are a liar, sir. You are being swallowed. Your unions are being swallowed. These are babies flailing before being put to bed. They are violent. This was not an isolated event. Look around you, man. This WAS the event. Sullivan: Steve, you should be so proud about taking pot shots at these people who are terrified about losing their jobs and livelihood. [Note: Hannity seems to have noticed that Crowder did not deny initiating the assault, so Hannity did it for him, but Crowder was oblivious and did not follow his lead] Hannity: Wait a minute. Steven, you didn’t push anybody. You sent me the raw tape. I looked at it a number of times. Crowder: You had the unedited tape. Listen, it was a melee there. People, everyone was grabbing and pulling and trying to keep the tent from being torn down. [Note: And there was one more opportunity to deny his aggression, but Crowder again did not do so] Hannity: But some of them attacked Steven. Sullivan: After Steven had his hands on his back, and the guy got up not knowing who hit him. Crowder: They tore down a tent.
Crowder became apoplectic during much of this segment as he alternated between yelling at Sullivan and smirking self-righteously. At no time did he convey the demeanor of someone who had been assaulted. He was clearly enjoying the attention.
The Michigan State Police weighed in on the controversy, noting that Crowder was behaving in a peculiar fashion for someone claiming to be an assault victim. They said that they were available to investigate the alleged crime, but that Crowder refused to cooperate. The police spokesman said…
“If someone assaulted you or your family member wouldn’t you report it immediately to the police? Well, why wouldn’t you, unless there’s a personal agenda there.”
Exactly. Crowder is milking this for all that he can get out of his 15 minutes of infamy. There is also the possibility that he cannot press charges because if the police see all of the video they might learn that Crowder was the perpetrator. His story has so many holes that a prosecutor might not even consider an indictment. Among the inconsistencies is his claim was that his injuries included a chipped tooth. So I found a picture of Crowder from two years ago and compared it to the photo he Tweeted after the incident in Lansing:
From these photos it appears that Crowder already had a “chipped” tooth two years ago in the spot he is now claiming it just occurred. Also, Crowder Tweeted last August that he had chipped his tooth and sustained other injuries (perhaps in an MMA match). It appears that he likes to use this same tooth whenever he’s seeking sympathy. That’s the sort of dishonesty that makes him such a perfect fit to be a Fox News comedian. And it is endlessly perplexing that any legitimate news enterprise would give credence to anyone associated with Breitbart News given their propensity for falsifying video and straight-faced lying.
Update:] Crowder just Tweeted that he has hired “heavily armed” security after receiving death threats. This reeks of more publicity hounding since he still has not made a report to police about the incident or the alleged threats (which are probably just Internet chatter). What’s more, somebody genuinely concerned about impending harm does not disclose such concerns on Twitter. Security professionals would have advised him that it is not wise to make your security methods public where anyone, including an assailant, could see them.
Also, Crowder appeared on Canada’s Sun News (the Fox News of the North) where he admitted to “pushing” people, something he declined to say on Fox, and even failed to correct Hannity when he said that Crowder did not push anyone. The more that comes out about this, the more he is exposed as a liar. And now he can’t keep his own lies straight.
You know that a “news” enterprise is desperately biased when they can’t even report on their own polling honestly. In the case of Fox News, they have been relentlessly advocating the Republican position on the so-called “fiscal cliff.” They believe wholeheartedly that fighting for the wealthiest 2% to get another break on their taxes is so important that it’s worth making every American pay more rather than give in.
In order to support their crusade for the rich, Fox conducted a poll wherein they asked respondents to indicate their preferences for dealing with the budget deficit. In fact, Fox asked the question in a variety of different ways, seemingly to insure that eventually they would get the answer they wanted. And guess what?
After several attempts, Fox managed to find a framing of the issue that produced their desired response. So they went with that in their headline saying “According to voters, spending cuts are a must.”
However, the actual question that produced that response did not reflect any proposal by either side in the budget debate. Here is the question:
“Do you think raising taxes on the wealthy can solve the country’s budget problems — or do you think major spending cuts are necessary also?”
It’s the “also” that tells the real story. Since nobody has proposed raising taxes alone as a method of reducing the national debt, the question is a red herring that proves nothing. Even President Obama, were he asked, would have told Fox’s pollsters that spending cuts were a must. He has consistently said that he is seeking a balanced approach that includes both spending cuts and a small increase in the tax rate for incomes that exceed $250,000.
Despite that fact, Fox News proceeded with a headline that inferred a preference on the part of the public for spending cuts without any mention of higher taxes for the rich. But here’s the fun part. Another question in the poll asked respondents to rank a list of proposals to reduce the federal budget deficit. The most popular item turned out to be “Increasing taxes on incomes over $250,000 a year” (69%). That item was favored by a majority of every political group: Democrats 87%; Republicans 51%; Independents 68%.
You would think that the highest rated option in the poll would make it to the top of the article, yet for some reason the editors at Fox chose a headline that was further down the list of preferences. We know, however, that they were aware of the taxing response because they put it in the second paragraph of the article, although their tone was somewhat dismissive:
“Even so, the most popular proposal among voters for reducing the deficit is, you guessed it, raising taxes on the rich.”
Fox should recognize that the reason their audience would guess this fact is because it has been established in pretty much every other poll that has been conducted on this subject. Also, there was an election held recently (remember that?) during which the question of whether the rich should pay more in taxes was directly addressed. And the candidate favoring higher taxes on the wealthy won by a substantial margin.
Fox News obviously doesn’t care about honest reporting or journalistic ethics. They prove that daily in their mangling of stories to deliberately harm the President and to promote a conservative agenda. But you know they are in deep denial when they have to resort to misrepresenting the results of their own polls. They did this repeatedly during the election, and it doesn’t look like they intend to operate any differently even after their deceit proved to be a losing strategy.
On a side note, the Fox News poll routinely publishes a demographic breakdown of the results with categories that include political party, gender, race, age, and income. One category that has been included for some time now was missing from this poll: The Tea Party. Apparently Fox no longer regards the Tea Party as having enough significance to warrant breaking out their survey results. That omission is pretty significant and ought to make some news itself.
The InterTubes are abuzz with a piddling story about a douchebag from Breitbart/Fox News who got what looks like a popped pimple on his forehead after confronting union protesters in Michigan.
Steven Crowder, is a self-described comedian (though there is no evidence to document that) who is trying to make a name for himself by emulating faux-journalist James O’Keefe. That mission brought him to Lansing, Michigan yesterday where he somehow managed to rile up an otherwise peaceful gathering of 13,000 union protesters. One has to wonder why the only report of hostility just happened to be where Crowder was stationed with his video team.
The video Crowder later posted on line was, in the style of O’Keefe, heavily edited. The portion that showed an alleged union member swinging at Crowder was cut to exclude most of the activity prior to the altercation. However, in a longer clip that was shown on Hannity (below), it could be seen clearly that just prior to the swingfest, the union member was on the ground. There is no explanation for how he got there, such as the possibility that he had been assaulted first by Crowder and was retaliating. Crowder has repeatedly lied in saying that he was sucker-punched, because the video also clearly shows that he was facing the union member at the time the punches were thrown. And it appears that the union member was reacting with the sort of anger that someone who had just been assaulted might be feeling. Also, Crowder rushed the union member after the first punch, displaying his size advantage, but then pulled back as if he just remembered that the cameras were rolling and he had forgotten momentarily his goal of portraying the protesters as violent.
For someone who was allegedly brutalized by fiendish thugs, Crowder seemed rather giddy in his subsequent appearances on Fox News (twice in less than 24 hours). He confessed to Sean Hannity that he intentionally sought to provoke the protesters, saying with a smarmy smile…
“I went out here to prove the left for who they truly are. Certainly, these union thugs. And I’ve achieved that.”
On Fox & Friends Crowder issued a contrived macho challenge to the union member to engage in a Mixed Martial Arts match – an absurd suggestion considering that he is bigger and younger than his opponent, and trained in MMA. Crowder is scheduled for another Fox stint with Neil Cavuto tonight.
The entire demeanor of Crowder in his post-bout media tour is one of someone proud of having successfully carried out a preconceived mission to fabricate bad publicity for the workers seeking to defend their rights. This is not a game to them. They have just been sucker punched themselves by a right-wing state regime that is assaulting their jobs, their livelihoods, and their families. The Michigan governor and legislators rammed this law through without notification or public debate.
To make matters worse, Fox News, and others in the conservative mediasphere, have thrown their own sucker punches at America’s working families by promoting right-to-work (for less) laws that have been proven to result in lower wages, worse working conditions, and have never been shown to create additional jobs. Nevertheless, Fox has characterized the Michigan law as a “victory for capitalism.” They have long sought to portray union members as thugs, rather than as the families they are, struggling to support themselves in a society that permits corporations to make record profits, lavish million dollar bonuses on executives, and then whine that they have no money to fairly compensate their working-class employees.
This sort of misrepresentation and vilification of average Americans goes on daily in the right-wing press. It is emotional abuse that has to pile up over time and create anxiety and frustration. While violence is never an appropriate response to a political dispute, these occurrences have to be evaluated in the broader context of the environment that surrounds them. And when people are being attacked by their so-called representatives, and their lives are being upended by out-of-touch elitists, it is hard not to expect that tempers will flare.
That may have occurred yesterday in Lansing. Or it may be that an overzealous media whore initiated the entire affair with his own provocative behavior and hostility. Time may shed more light on the facts, but it is undeniable that working Americans are not going to give in to the corrupt bosses in executive suites and statehouses. Nor should they. Working people are the backbone of our nation and they deserve better than to be exploited by self-serving politicians and third-rate clowns acting as outside agitators.
Once again, the proclivity for deception and dishonesty as practiced by Republicans and right-wing media has earned them the honor being awarded “Lie Of The Year” by the fact-checkers at Politifact.
There were so many deserving lies told by Mitt Romney and his campaign that it must have been a difficult choice for the folks at PolitiFact. The particular lie that captured the prize this year was Romney’s claim that Barack Obama “sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China” at the cost of American jobs. As noted by PolitiFact:
“It was a lie told in the critical state of Ohio in the final days of a close campaign — that Jeep was moving its U.S. production to China. It originated with a conservative blogger, who twisted an accurate news story into a falsehood. Then it picked up steam when the Drudge Report ran with it. Even though Jeep’s parent company gave a quick and clear denial, Mitt Romney repeated it and his campaign turned it into a TV ad.
“And they stood by the claim, even as the media and the public expressed collective outrage against something so obviously false.”
Indeed, the Romney camp dug in their heels when criticized about the brazen dishonesty of their claim. But then this is the candidate who proudly declared that “We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers [who have] jumped the shark.” It is the campaign whose strategist admitted that they could simply “Etch-a-Sketch” away the extremist conservative positions they touted in the GOP primary. And Romney set a record for assaults on the truth by earning 84 citations of falsehoods (41% in all) by PolitiFact, 19 of which were “Pants-on-Fire.”
It would, however, be unjust to let Romney walk away with all the glory. He had plenty of help from right-wing media, most notably Fox News. Most of the Fox menagerie joined in to defend Romney’s fibbing, including Neil Cavuto, Sean Hannity, and the incorrigible kiddies at Fox & Friends. And, of course, Fox was backed up by notorious prevaricators across the web like the Drudge Report and the anti-fact-checkers at NewsBusters.
Lest anyone come away with the impression that the reality-based community as represented by PolitiFact is secretly in league with the Obama cabal, none other than Fox Nation has endorsed them on numerous occasions, eagerly citing their analyses when it served their purpose. Of course, they also conveniently lost their link to PolitiFact when the results didn’t go their way. That’s the modus operandi of the fair and balanced network.
This addendum to the campaign of 2012 puts a lovely bow around what was the most consistent theme of the GOP throughout the year: Lies, lies, lies. And in the days following the election, Republican operatives have declined to acknowledge that this strategy hurt them in the minds of voters. Consequently, we can expect this sort of duplicity to be a part of future Republican campaigns. The GOP may not be doing all that well getting their candidates elected, but they might very well have a lock on PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year award for many years to come.
Last night on the O’Reilly Factor, Bill O’Reilly delivered his nightly Talking Points Memo on a subject with which he has profound familiarity: Incivility.
The pretext for this sermon on manners was an article by Fox Sports columnist Jason Whitlock. Whitlock was the author of the column that Bob Costas referenced in his now famous remarks about guns in American culture. So O’Reilly invited Whitlock to come on his show and Whitlock rather colorfully declined:
“I don’t have to shuffle off to the big house when summoned. O’Reilly is not Boehner, Pelosi or Obama. He’s a TV entertainer who has spent the weeks after the election crying about the end of the ‘white establishment’ America, the end of the days when an upstanding white man felt entitled to summon whomever he wanted whenever he wanted to the big house to dance. I don’t dance.”
As usual, O’Reilly didn’t take that well. He is well known for his arrogant self-righteousness and his egomaniacal worldview. Anyone with the temerity to challenge him had better steady themselves for battle. O’Reilly devoted his Talking Points to Whitlock, however he framed his retort in the broader context of what he thinks is a new rejection of civil discourse:
“We are living in a country that is rapidly changing. Rules of civility are pretty much finished. [...] There are elements on both the left and the right that are using disgraceful tactics to demean those with whom they disagree.”
O’Reilly then went on to cite two examples, however, both were of liberals allegedly denigrating conservatives. So much for balance. In the first example O’Reilly bashed proponents of marriage equality for referring to “traditional marriage” advocates as homophobes and “haters.” Then O’Reilly called those who favor marriage and love for everyone “haters.” His second example dismissed any suggestion that there are Obama opponents who might be driven by racism, and anyone who implies such a thing is disgraceful.
Even more damning is the fact that a study by researchers at Indiana University documents the intimidation and propagandizing employed by Fox News’ resident bully. The study, sub-titled, “Revisiting World War Propaganda Techniques,” paints an academically verified picture of O’Reilly’s repulsive modus operandi. Contrary to O’Reilly’s assertion that he doesn’t “do personal attacks,” the IU study spells out the truth:
“The IU researchers found that O’Reilly called a person or a group a derogatory name once every 6.8 seconds, on average, or nearly nine times every minute during the editorials that open his program each night.”
The IU study itemized seven propaganda devices as defined by the Institute for Propaganda Analysis. O’Reilly was found to have employed six of them nearly 13 times each minute:
Name calling – giving something a bad label to make the audience reject it without examining the evidence.
Glittering generalities – the opposite of name calling.
Card stacking – the selective use of facts and half-truths.
Bandwagon – appeals to the desire, common to most of us, to follow the crowd.
Plain folks – an attempt to convince an audience that they, and their ideas, are “of the people”.
Transfer – carries over the authority, sanction and prestige of something we respect or dispute to something the speaker would want us to accept.
Testimonials – involving a respected (or disrespected) person endorsing or rejecting an idea or person.
Sound familiar? That’s pretty much a script for every episode of The Factor. O’Reilly is an insult machine who castigates ideological adversaries and interrupts guests even while he bellows about how he thinks the left is “abusing freedom of speech.” Yet he still has the gall to lecture others on the dying of civility in America. It’s that kind of self-delusion that typifies right-wing blowhards like O’Reilly. They simply can’t see their own gaping flaws that lurk behind the towering prejudices they erect to their perceived enemies.
[Update:] On tonight’s program O’Reilly had something to say about being civil to racists:
If you can believe it, O’Reilly is more concerned about the “violence” of labeling than the violence of bigotry.