The Fox Nationalists are working overtime to scare up horror stories about FrankenObama and his dastardly schemes. The latest episode features President Obama plotting to erase the memory of Ronald Reagan from the history of all mankind. As might be expected, they are lying.
In order to facilitate this nonsense. Fox scoured the InterTubes to find a posting at the “Moonie” Washington Times by a reader. He was not a part of the newspaper’s editorial staff whose credibility is already in tatters. He was merely a member of the community who posted an entirely speculative comment.
The allegation that Obama was planning to bulldoze Reagan’s childhood home to make way for his presidential library is false on many levels. First of all, the apartment building in question was not a significant place in Reagan’s early life. He lived there for less than a year when he was four years old. The city’s Landmark Commission had ruled it not to be of any historical value. Secondly, the building is being razed by the University of Chicago’s medical school to expand their facilities, not anyone associated with Obama. Thirdly, Obama could not possibly have ordered the demolition on behalf of his library because he has not even decided where to build it. Certainly Chicago is on the short list, but so is Hawaii.
None of this matters, however, to Fox Nation because the phony perception of Obama trampling the memory of Reagan was just too good to pass up – or to fact check.
Continuing a downward spiral that began last September during the Democratic National Convention, Fox News primetime ratings, in the key 25-54 year old demographic, have declined to numbers they haven’t seen since August of 2001. These are numbers that revert Fox back to the George Bush, pre-9/11 era when Fox was struggling for attention.
9/11 was an integral part of the rise of Fox News. It was the catalyst that formed their America-first persona and thrust them into a role as cheerleaders rather than journalists.
These twelve year lows for their best known programs portend trouble for Fox as their audience tires of a schedule that hasn’t changed in more than a decade. Creaky old timers O’Reilly and Hannity have been in their time slots since the network launched in 1996. Worse yet for Fox, their slump is occurring at a time when MSNBC is soaring. For most of the time since last November’s election, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell have been beating Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity in the demo. In addition to those victories, most of MSNBC’s programs are the top performers among 18-34 year olds, which means that they have a significant advantage with the next generation of television news consumers. MSNBC is also number one with African-American viewers, a status they have enjoyed for 36 consecutive months.
The graying Fox News is a phenomenon that is occurring with both their programs and their audience. While many of Fox’s shows held steady in total audience, they plunged in the younger demos. This was true across the board with primetime and all other dayparts, including their three hour morning block, Fox & Friends. Conversely, MSNBC’s audience was up in both the demo and total audience. The ratings story for MSNBC is no longer merely one of faster growth and higher percentage gains. They are now beating their Fox competition head-on in primetime and challenging them respectably in daytime.
For the most part it appears that MSNBC’s gains are coming from new, younger viewers. They certainly are not luring dissatisfied Fox viewers over to their channel. However, Fox now has to worry about a rebuilding CNN. Their new president Jeff Zucker is shaking up the roster with announcements of hirings and firings both in front of and behind the camera. Considering that the previous management at CNN was so inept and oblivious to the news marketplace, it is hard to believe that Zucker won’t produce some improvement. And with Fox viewers abandoning the network that has been lying to them so brazenly, CNN may start to look like a plausible alternative.
Of course, as the ratings race heats up, Fox may decide to stop standing around watching their lead disappear. They will need to take bold steps to keep up with the competition. While O’Reilly is still pulling in decent numbers, Hannity is ratings loser and an embarrassment in terms of credibility. He has to be the first to go. Greta Van Susteren’s claim to fame was as an O.J. Simpson groupie who has never risen out of the tabloid mold in which she was formed. Now that her best pal and frequent guest (55 times), Sarah Palin, has been dumped by Fox, Van Susteren would be wise to update her resume. The most likely candidate to fill one of those vacancies would be Megyn Kelly, who has emerged as Fox’s most stridently biased anchor in the daytime.
There are those at Fox who know that a big part of the explanation for their decline is that the audience at large is no longer interested in the vitriolic smear jobs that Fox has specialized in for most of the past decade. They just watched President Obama get reelected, along with Democratic gains in both houses of Congress, despite their fierce determination to kneecap the Democrats and prop up the flailing GOP. They did the best they could to install a Republican regime with a coordinated campaign of propaganda and hate speech, but they failed miserably even in races they were expected to win. So they are aware that the public has rejected their best arguments and lies.
The trick will be to moderate their political biases in order to appeal to a broader audience without causing their loyalist legions to pull up stakes and camp out on Alex Jones’ web site plotting a restoration of the Confederacy from their bunkers. Spurned conservative extremists of the sort that form the foundation of the Fox audience are a vengeful lot. They primary long-serving GOP incumbents and replace them with crackpots who have no chance of winning. And that’s the sort of reaction they would have to any attempt by Fox to become less wingnutty. The Fox regulars would not only stop watching a more moderate Fox, they would turn against it with the force of a swarm of rabid squirrels deranged by disease and paranoia.
That leaves Fox in the impossible position of having to cater to their faithful fringe while reaching out to more rational viewers. It simply can’t be done and they would displease both. The only sensible course for Fox would be to accept a few seasons in the cellar as they regroup with a focus on responsible journalism. But that isn’t the style of the hardcore rightists in the Fox executive suites. Neither Rupert Murdoch nor Roger Ailes would be inclined to surrender the platform they built for wealthy elitists, captains of industry, Christian evangelists, and other power mad egomaniacs who are convinced that God has selected them to rule.
The good news is that their self-centered intransigence will insure that Fox continues to slide into obscurity and the people will have a better opportunity shape a more equitable society. Of course, the people would still have to overcome the rest of the media-corporate-government complex that has long been the biggest obstacle to a truly democratic nation. But it’s a start.
Earlier this week President Obama correctly noted that the penchant Fox News has for punishing Republicans who dare to work cooperatively with Democrats has the effect of discouraging Republicans from such cooperation. That rather modest observation has sent Fox News into a tizzy that all but validates the President’s point. They are simply incapable of processing anything this president says in a rational manner. In this case, all he said was this:
“One of the biggest factors is going to be how the media shapes debates. If a Republican member of Congress is not punished on Fox News or by Rush Limbaugh for working with a Democrat on a bill of common interest, then you’ll see more of them doing it.”
That fired up the outrage machine at Fox. Fox Nation declared it to be a threat. Steve Doocy cast it as an attack on the First Amendment. Of course, any reasonable reading of it would find nothing approaching either of those wild overreactions. A threats implies consequences which were never articulated by the President. Nor was the First Amendment infringed upon because the free speech rights of Fox were never in any danger.
Doocy also lamented that Obama has some “scared Republicans in his camp.” By characterizing Republicans who have found some common ground with the President as “scared,” Doocy has also validated the President’s point that Fox punishes such agreement. In Fox’s world compromising with Democrats to move the country forward is evidence of cowardice. That sort of derision is exactly what Obama was referring to.
And it gets worse. Fox’s Peter Johnson, Jr. visited his kiddie pals at Fox & Friends to say that the First Amendment is now “seriously in doubt.” He interpreted Obama’s remarks to mean that the President regards anyone who disagrees with him as “an enemy of the state.” Where does he get this stuff? Johnson was so apoplectic about Obama expressing his opinion (which is also permitted by the First Amendment) that he wedded Fox News to the very concept of freedom saying “Without a free Fox, there is not a free America” Apparently, therefore, there was not a free America prior to 1996; there was not a free America during the entire Reagan Administration.
On the Fox News web site, fake Democrat Kirsten Powers wrote a scathing editorial bashing Obama as waging a war of terror on Fox News. She complained that “President Obama was back to his grousing about the one television news outlet in America that won’t fall in line and treat him as emperor.” Powers has gulped down massive quantities of the Fox Kool-Aid. But she is representative of the so-called Democrats that appear on Fox only to criticize other Democrats. The Fox version of fairness and balance is when Republicans and Democrats hate Democrats equally.
Ironically, the claim that the President makes about Republicans being vulnerable to Fox’s criticisms is one that Fox makes about itself. They consider themselves the last stand against the socialism they imagine is emanating from the White House. As Johnson said, they regard themselves as “the bulwark of our democracy.” Fox’s CEO Roger Ailes once assured Glenn Beck that he would have a free hand because “I see this as the Alamo. If I just had somebody who was willing to sit on the other side of the camera until the last shot is fired, we’d be fine.”
Fox freely admits that their intent is have an impact on government. They actually boast about the influence they have over representatives in Washington. Then, when the President notes that that is occurring, they explode with indignation over his alleged assault on freedom. It’s a cognitive disconnect that could span the Grand Canyon.
Most of all, it is whining of the highest order. No network bitches more about how they are perceived than Fox News. They spend innumerable hours complaining about their treatment by politicians, other pundits, and the whole of what they call the “mainstream media.” Sean Hannity has devoted whole programs to it. Fox & Friends denounces every media analyst as corrupt or even crazy. Bill O’Reilly has made the destruction of these scoundrels his life’s ambition, saying…
“[T]here is a huge problem in this country and I’m going to attack that problem. I’m going to attack it. These people aren’t getting away with this. I’m going to go right where they live. Every corrupt media person in this country is on notice, right now. I’m coming after you…I’m going to hunt you down [...] if I could strangle these people and not go to hell and get executed…I would.”
Setting aside O’Reilly’s insane vigilantism, the thing that Fox fails to understand is that the First Amendment applies to everyone, including the President. Fox seems to think that free speech is a one-way street and that if they express their brazenly biased views, anyone who who disagrees with them is trampling on their Constitutional rights. It’s a perspective that reeks of the censorship they pretend to be disturbed by.
The Fox Nationalists are very concerned about the allegation that “ObamaCare Makes Smokers Pay $5,100 More A Year.” It’s a display of empty outrage because insurance companies have required smokers to pay higher premiums for years. And why shouldn’t they? Smokers are willfully engaging in behavior that will result in severe and expensive health problems that may cause their premiums to rise.
So F**king What?
If smokers don’t pay more for coverage, their hospital bills will be dispersed to everybody in the plan. That would raise premiums for people who have healthier lifestyles and keep health care costs down. Is that fair? Whatever happened to the conservative principle of personal responsibility? Now that ObamaCare is being rolled out, conservatives think that smokers should not be charged for the expenses they ring up. All of sudden Fox is for socialist medicine?
If America is going to continue to be the only industrialized nation to lack national health care, then the free market insurance programs (which is what ObamaCare is) have a right to establish conditional premiums based on health models and actuarials. If smokers are able to pay, then they must do so. They always have the option to quit smoking which would remove them from the high risk group as well as improve their health and make them less annoying to others.
A study just released by the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs reveals that Fox News paid a pretty penny for former beauty contestant runner-up and Tea Party queen, Sarah Palin. Here are the highlights of the study’s findings:
Appearances on Fox News: 151 (Average 50 per year).
Cost per appearance: $19,868.
Cost per word: $15.85 (189,221 words total).
Appearances on Hannity: 55 (Total cost: $1,092,740).
Appearances on Greta Van Susteren: 55 (Total cost: $1,092,740).
Appearances on O’Reilly and Fox News Sunday (combined): < 20 (Total cost: < $397,360).
Number of mentions of Obama: 786.
Number of mentions of Reagan: 41.
For the term of her contract Palin worked an average of about one day a week. Often she was literally phoning it in from home, where Fox had built her a million dollar studio. She obviously preferred the lame opinion shows with friendly hosts who would not challenge her shallow diatribes. Or perhaps the other shows withheld invitations because they knew she couldn’t grasp anything of substance.
Of course, we need to take into consideration Palin’s unique style of communication. Her “Word Salad” run-on sentences significantly increased the word count and lowered the average cost-per-word. The anchors on Fox, who work every day, get paid significantly less and were probably not thrilled with the compensation their part-time colleague received. It’s clear why Fox did not want to renew her contract. Six months from now they could probably pick her up for $15.85 per hour (if they were foolish enough to want her).
Much has been made of the news that Tea Party queen Sarah Palin and Fox News, the cable network that served as the PR agency for the Tea Party, have parted ways. The reporting generally implied that Palin had turned down Fox’s offer to renew her contract. That is, in all likelihood, exactly what happened.
However, contract negotiations are more complex than that. And now we have reporting from CNN’s Howard Kurtz that fleshes out some of the ambiguities of the original stories. On his program Reliable Sources, Kurtz expanded on the matter by saying…
“My reporting shows that Fox News did offer Sarah Palin a new contract, but it is what I would call a low-ball offer, significantly less, a fraction of the million dollars a year she had been paid.”
In other words, Fox deliberately made an offer that they knew Palin would reject because they had no interest in retaining her beyond her current contract. As speculated previously here at News Corpse, Fox probably “offered her a moose burger and parking validation to re-up – and even that would have been more than she’s worth.” After all, why would Fox continue to overpay someone about whom Fox CEO Roger Ailes reportedly said he thinks is an idiot?
Palin’s star has been fading fast. Fox News only posted a modified AP story about the separation on their web site. Fox Nation, known for its rabid partisanship and rank dishonesty, didn’t report on it all. As evidence of Palin’s rapidly declining value, her first post-Fox stop was at the Internet’s home of doctored videos and right-wing propaganda, Breitbart News. There she answered a couple of vacant questions from BreitBrat Stephen Bannon, the sycophantic producer of the fawning Palin crockumentary, “The Undefeated” (the most ironically named box office bomb ever, considering it chronicles one of modern history’s most frequently defeated political failures).
In response to Bannon’s query about what she planned to do next, Palin had no answer other than vagaries about her desire to quit “preaching to the choir.” She spoke of “sharing more broadly the message of the beauty of freedom” to a larger audience. She didn’t give any indication of where she would find an audience receptive to her wingnuttery that she thinks is larger than Fox News from which she was just ousted. The narrow appeal of her conservative extremism is unlikely to find much acceptance beyond the tiny choir that is currently singing from her warped hymnal.
Then Bannon asked her where she thinks the country stands today and she launched into a dirty laundry list of every worn out criticism the right has lobbed at Obama for four years. She spoke of deficits and unemployment – problems that resulted from George Bush’s mismanagement of the economy and have improved under Obama. Of course, she also included fabricated controversies about ObamaCare, Benghazi, and gun control, that are a staple of the right’s outrage machine.
Palin told BreitBrat Bannon that “Conservatism didn’t lose.” She blames the 2012 GOP debacle entirely on Mitt Romney, despite the fact that he ran as a “severely conservative” candidate embracing every position held dear to the Republican far-right fringe. And she declares that “we haven’t begun to fight! But we delight in those who underestimate us.” In that regard she must be filled to the brim with delight, because it would hard to have a lower estimation of the woman who thinks a “gotcha” question is “What magazines do you read.”
On the basis of that level of insightful commentary, it’s no wonder that Fox chose to insult Palin with a pittance of her prior pay, and free her to tarnish the reputation of some other news enterprise (i.e. Breitbart). Apparently somebody at Fox has concluded that their reputation has already been tarnished enough.
President Obama just sat down for a wide-ranging interview with The New Republic. In the course of the discussion he articulated what is a long-standing problem for Republican politicians that prevents them from engaging in reasonable legislative compromises. The President said…
“One of the biggest factors is going to be how the media shapes debates. If a Republican member of Congress is not punished on Fox News or by Rush Limbaugh for working with a Democrat on a bill of common interest, then you’ll see more of them doing it.”
That is an astute observation. Many Republicans live in fear of being criticized in the conservative media. They regard people like Roger Ailes and Rush Limbaugh as Godfathers whose rings must be kissed. And divergence from the doctrine prescribed by the most extreme elements of the far-right can land them in primary trouble with Tea Partiers. The President also recognized that dilemma:
“The House Republican majority is made up mostly of members who are in sharply gerrymandered districts that are very safely Republican and may not feel compelled to pay attention to broad-based public opinion, because what they’re really concerned about is the opinions of their specific Republican constituencies.”
The result of having to cater to perpetually outraged absolutists on the right is that GOP attention whores will do or say anything that gets them more airtime. And the media is all too happy to accommodate them. Obama addressed that journalistic failing as well.
“Nobody gets on TV saying, ‘I agree with my colleague from the other party.’ People get on TV for calling each other names and saying the most outlandish things.”
That’s a theory that has been proven many times over by folks like Glenn Beck, Allen West, Donald Trump, and a menagerie of other bombastic loudmouths.
The interview is well worth reading in its entirety, however, the observations about the press and anxiety-driven Republicans are a refreshing blast of realistic insight. It is important for these truths to be articulated by the President. Now it remains to be seen if Obama will apply that insight to his actions when dealing with those in the media and the Republican Party who engage in kneejerk opposition to anything proposed by the White House or Democrats in congress. Because, as the President noted in the interview…
“Until Republicans feel that there’s a real price to pay for them just saying no and being obstructionist, you’ll probably see at least a number of them arguing that we should keep on doing it.”
Exactly! Make them pay the price. And the price is the respect and support of the American people who are sick and tired of the games played by Washington’s opportunists.
A source close to Sarah Palin says she has declined to accept the offer from Fox News to renew her contract which expired at the end of 2012. This brings an end to the three year relationship wherein Fox sucked in hordes of dimwitted Palin fans and Palin peddled her almost literate books. A classic case study in parasitic synergy.
This news should not come as a surprise to media watchers who will remember that Roger Ailes was reported to have told confidants that “he thinks Palin is an idiot.” That probably set the stage for contract negotiations that resulted in unsatisfactory terms for the Tea Party queen. Perhaps Ailes offered her a moose burger and parking validation to re-up – and even that would have been more than she’s worth.
Palin’s star has been fading for quite some time. Her books have brought in sequentially less with each new release. Her cable reality show was canceled after losing viewers every week. Her movie was a colossal box office bomb. Her popularity has been in a steep dive for the past couple years with a 55% unfavorable rating and two-thirds of the country saying she was not qualified to be president.
What more could be expected from a woman who was plucked from obscurity by a desperate John McCain, lost the election, quit halfway through her one term as governor, and proceeded to rack up embarrassments like her “Lie of the Year” from PolitiFact for the famous “Death Panel” nonsense.
With her departure from Fox comedians across the country will be mourning. However, she is now free to join fellow losers like Glenn Beck and Allen West in their basement InterTubes studios (although Palin’s is a million dollar facility at her home in Wasilla that she scammed out of Fox while still in their good graces), webcasting to glassy-eyed disciples in their jammies.
Fox has released a statement thanking Palin for her service and ominously saying “We wish her the best in her future endeavors.” That particular phrase has some baggage attached to it. When Fox wishes you well it is often a back-handed slap at anyone they regard as undesirable. For example, Fox hammered George Clooney with it saying “We wish him well in his struggle to regain relevancy.” So should we infer something from that?
Palin still has her Facebook page and an army of Mama Grizzlies who will prop her up for a while. But given her already cratering career, the loss of her platform on Fox signals the closing act in her public farce, just as Glenn Beck’s exodus lowered his profile to near invisibility. While it may be bad for comedy, it will be good for America. And for those who need one last fix, here is the Palin retrospective for 2012 published on News Corpse at the end of last year. My personal favorite was her saying that you “diminished [yourself] by even mentioning my name.” I may be compelled to agree.
Can anyone explain what the Fox Nationalists find so newsworthy about this?
A billboard that gives information about where people can go to learn more about Islam doesn’t seem like something that would stir up much controversy. It isn’t espousing a point of view. It isn’t disparaging any other faith. It would only be of interest to people who have a desire for the information.
Nevertheless, Fox manages to fire up the panicky bigots who populate their web site by focusing on a small disclosure at the bottom of the billboard that simply says “Se Habla Espanol.”
So F**king What?
It’s not enough that Fox News routinely maligns Muslims by associating them all with terrorism. Now they seem to be matching up their viewers fear of Muslims with their anxiety over Latinos, whom they regard universally as illegal aliens. It’s a Fox twofer. With a single news item they can whip up hysteria about Islamic terrorists sneaking into the country, taking our jobs, and blowing them up, all while refusing to learn our language. Ethnic and religious bigotry all rolled up into one posting about a conventional advertisement that has the audacity to address Spanish speakers in (of all places) south Florida.
Colonel Eugene Householder on opposing reforms to combat protocol:
“The army is not a sociological laboratory; to be effective it must be organized and trained according to the principles which will ensure success … Experiments are a danger to efficiency, discipline and morale and would result in ultimate defeat.”
That was the argument in 1941 against integrating army units and permitting black soldiers to fight alongside white soldiers. It is the same argument that is used against gays in the military. Bigots have a tendency to declare that morale and unit cohesion will suffer if soldiers are asked to serve with like-minded patriots who they regard as “different.” And now this insipid and disproven viewpoint is being aimed at women in the wake of the recent order by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to integrate women into combat units under certain conditions.
Allen West: “Now is not the time to play a social experiment with our ground combat forces…This is the misconceived liberal progressive vision of fairness and equality which could potentially lead to the demise of our military.”
Nothing hyperbolic about that, is there? It’s the typical alarmist overreaction that one would expect from West, who has so little faith in the integrity and loyalty of America’s soldiers that he actually believes that serving with women (which already occurs) would “lead to the demise of our military.” And there is retired Army Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin, whose military career ended after making disparaging remarks about Muslims. Boykin is currently an executive at the right-wing Family Research Council. He had this to say about Panetta’s decision:
Boykin: “The people making this decision are doing so as part of another social experiment, and they have never lived nor fought with an infantry or Special Forces unit.”
It is not a coincidence that the arguments in favor of discrimination sound so similar. They are always efforts on the part of intolerant, exclusionary elitists to dismiss the humanity of those they cannot abide. They aspire to keep the military (and America) a straight, white, male club that designates everyone else as second-class citizens. And, not surprisingly, Fox News concurs with those aspirations by promoting the views of the bigots.
As if America’s school children don’t already have enough to worry about since the Sandy Hook tragedy, now Fox News is complaining about a proposal to put seat belts on school buses.
An op-ed by John Stossel was published today that took the administration to task for the seat belt initiative. He characterized the safety measure as another boondoggle by big government. He mocked the agency that was proposing the new standards. He also argued that it was too expensive and that some studies have concluded that they were unnecessary. But what really destroys his case is that the evidence he relies on to bash the government is from – the government. In fact, it’s the very same agency that he’s bitching about, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
Stossel wrote that a few years ago the NHTSA conducted a study that concluded that seat belts on school buses were “of no value in the majority of fatal accidents.” He listed six additional items culled from the report. He didn’t cite the specific study or the year it was published. There was a study in 2002 that found that seat belts were not effective in severe frontal collisions. However, it also found that the benefits more than offset the risks, particularly with regard to preventing ejections. Apparently there are more types of collisions than just from the front.
Bottom line: Stossel is criticizing the NHTSA’s big government decision to install seat belts in school buses and supporting his criticism with older NHTSA big government data that he misinterprets. But to pile on the stupidity, take a look at the headline from Fox that mangles both spelling and syntax.
That’s an apt demonstration of how idiotic the right-wing is in their haste to condemn any government initiative, even those designed to protect kids. They derisively portray Team Obama as spending wastefully on seat belts, just as they cast Obama as a Stalinist gun-grabber when he proposes safety measures to reduce gruesome shootings.
[Update] Fox News has removed this article entirely from their web site. That seems like a drastic reaction to a couple of grammatical errors. Could they have realized that Stossel’s argument was idiotic? Nah … if that bothered them they’d have to take down 80% of their site.
The conservative congregation of gun worshipers is pulling out all the stops to prevent any dialogue on gun safety and common sense measures that might protect citizens from the sort of mass carnage that has shocked Americans recently in places like Newtown, Aurora, and Tuscon. With the help of right-wing media, notably Fox News, they are promulgating fear and hostility as a response to a political difference of opinion over how to make our communities safer.
They mantra from the right is that Obama is a tyrant who will abolish the Constitution and confiscate all guns. While there is not even an inkling of evidence that any of that is true, the terrifying specter of a dictatorial slave state is flushing through the veins of pseudo-patriots who pretend to revere America and the soldiers who defend it, but are adamant that they retain sufficient firepower to massacre them if necessary. That’s how they thank our heroes for their service.
In the rhetorical battle to preserve their alleged right to carry weapons of carnage into schools and bars and laundromats and baseball stadiums, the Gunnies are now declaring that every threatened or oppressed group of people would have been better off if they had been armed to the hilt and prepared to blow away their assailants. Reality is at variance with these apocryphal claims, but that doesn’t lessen their feverish insistence that a fire-with-fire response to every conflict will bring about a peaceful, secure society. Despite the obvious contradiction in that view, conservative mouthpieces are expressing remarkably similar themes that arrive at the same conclusion: If [fill in the blank] had guns the good guys would always win and violence would become a thing of the past (er, like the wild west?). It’s a Fox Nation style argument that dispenses with truth in favor of hyperbole and historical revisionism. For instance…
If Civil Rights Activists Had Guns…
Rush Limbaugh:“If a lot of African-Americans back in the ’60s had guns and the legal right to use them for self-defense, you think they would have needed [to march at] Selma?”
This astonishingly blockheaded statement ignores the fact that the civil rights activists protesting segregation and discrimination in Selma, Alabama were devoted to peaceful change. They were led by Martin Luther King who was inspired by the non-violent methods practiced by Gandhi. It was a successful strategy that resulted in profound changes in both government and people’s hearts. In effect Limbaugh is expressing solidarity with the Black Panthers and suggesting that armed protesters shooting at southern sheriffs would have brought about a better result. However, the presence of guns would only have put everyone in greater danger, sapped the moral advantage of the protesters and produced more corpses all around. And Limbaugh would have been the first to condemn them for their reliance on violence.
If Slaves Had Guns…
Gun advocate Larry Ward:“If African Americans had been given the right to keep and bear arms from day one of the country’s founding, perhaps slavery might not have been a chapter in our history.”
Of course. If the slave traders had given each of their human “cargo” a musket along with their shackles they would have been able to kill off their prospective masters and enjoy life in the new world. I’m sure that Ward and the others propounding this theory would have been delighted to hear that armed slave rebellions had put folks like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson in their graves before they ever got around to declaring independence from the British. Furthermore, the unorganized, disoriented, involuntary African immigrants would have had no problem dispatching the southern slave states that a civil war with the rest of the nation struggled with for years at horrendous human cost.
If Jews Had Guns…
Judge Andrew P. Napolitano, Fox News:“If the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto had had the firepower and ammunition that the Nazis did, some of Poland might have stayed free and more persons would have survived the Holocaust.”
Once again, the dimwits on the right think that civilians of an oppressed minority would have managed to overcome a military power that held at bay most of the free world. Apparently Napolitano believes that the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto had some superpowers that, were they armed, would have made them a more ominous opponent than the Americans, the Russians, the English, and the French combined.
If Schools Had Guns…
Ann Coulter:“Only one policy has reduced these mass shootings and the number of casualties, and that is concealed carry permits. If you want to reduce the number of dead, and the number of times this is going to happen in an area, you sort of sense this, because they so often happen at public schools.”
Something that the Gunnies seem all to willing to excise from the debate is the fact that prior incidents of shootings at schools occurred despite there being armed guards present. That was the case at Columbine. It was also the case at Virginia Tech where they had a whole armed police squad on campus. Despite their best intentions, guards cannot be everywhere at once. And they also are often at a disadvantage when confronted by an assailant with a military style arsenal and bullet-proof gear who gets the jump on them.
If Teachers Had Guns…
Pat Robertson:“The truth is, if teachers had guns in classes, these shooters wouldn’t come in because they would be afraid of getting shot themselves.”
The truth is, that teachers are frequently the first victims of school shootings. The time it would take them to retrieve a weapon from a place that is safe enough for it to be stored in a classroom full of students would be plenty of time for an assailant with an AR-15 to riddle them with bullets. Robertson also forgets that most of these assaults are perpetrated by people who end up taking their own lives, so it is ridiculous to regard them as being afraid of getting shot themselves. And the presence of others with weapons certainly didn’t deter the shooter at the Ft. Hood Army base in Texas, where he certainly had reason to believe that there were other armed persons in the vicinity.
The speculative query as to whether there would have been a different outcome in any of these situations if [fill in the blank] had guns is just plain lunacy. It would be dubious under any circumstances to pretend to predict what might have occurred in these after-the-fact scenarios, but the specific examples chosen by these Gunnies demonstrate how blinded they are by their prejudices and violent, video game fantasies. The speculation could go on indefinitely. What if the women suffragettes had guns? What if the students at Kent State had guns?
What if Jesus and his disciples had guns? Pontius Pilate might have been riddled with armor-piercing bullets. There would have been no crucifixion. In fact, the soldiers and pharisees who arrested Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane would have been slaughtered. It was there that Jesus admonished his disciple Peter, who took up his sword to defend him, saying “He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword.” That’s a lesson the sanctimonious gun evangelists still haven’t learned 2,000 years later.
Sometimes the dementia of right-wing fabulists is a richer vein of comedy than a Marx Brothers marathon. And speaking of Marx (Karl), his press agent, Glenn Beck, is contributing more than his fair share of unintentional hilarity to a nation thirsty for humor.
On his silly and mostly ignored webcast, Beck set out to warn his flock of the dangers of getting sucked into conspiracy theories. He expressed his deep concern that people understand that the real reason these tall tales are disseminated is to distract unsuspecting citizens from the evils being perpetrated by the government. You know…evils like the conspiracy theories Beck espouses.
Beck is America’s preeminent source for conspiracy theories. He just published a book titled “Agenda 21″ that is based on a nightmare fable of the United Nations subjugating the world to slavery on the pretense of building sustainable communities. He produced a three day Fox News spectacular revealing that George Soros is also plotting to rule the world. He’s certain that the art and architecture of Manhattan conceals communist propaganda. And who can forget his sermons on the Islamic cabal, in league with Western European socialists, to restore the ancient Caliphate and, of course, rule the world.
Now the master of conspiracy madness is revealing a deep cover plot too scandalous to believe (video below). Beck has discovered that the whole birther mess was actually devised and implemented by a scheming White House in an attempt to divert attention away from a dastardly blueprint to bankrupt America and deliver its carcass to her enemies.
Beck: “The only time you ever heard about [Obama's birth certificate] was from the lunatic fringe – and I mean a very, very, small group of people that were talking about it – but the White House was the one that was constantly bringing it up and stirring the pot.”
That’s right. It was a very small group of people consisting mainly of Fox News anchors and pundits, right-wing activists and Tea Partiers, and the lunatic fringe more commonly known as the Republican Party. The mini-faction included unknown, media-shy characters like Mitt Romney surrogate, Donald Trump. This tiny, almost imperceptible, collective of outliers had little influence on public opinion unless you count the polls that show nearly half of “staunch conservatives” saying that they think Obama was not born in the U.S.
Now that Beck has exposed the truth that conspiracy theories are really covert diversions, the only unanswered question is whether the conspiracy theories Beck spins are themselves distractions from the government’s clandestine plots. How can we know that Beck is not a part of the plot to draw attention away from far more fiendish exploits contrived by federal super-villains? If conspiracy theories are government plots, and no one is more adept at constructing them than Beck, well ….. connect the dots.
The congressional hearings on Benghazi continued today with their star attraction, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. It was as predictable a production of theatrics as might have been expected with Republicans spewing outlandish accusations at Clinton and Democrats rushing to her defense.
Watching from their secret lair, the editors of Fox Nation picked apart the testimony looking for soundbites they could misrepresent. They found one in an exchange with GOP Sen. Ross Johnson (WI-Tea Party) and quickly posted it with a thoroughly dishonest headline: “WH Says It Agrees With Hillary When She Said ‘It Doesn’t Make A Difference’ Who Killed 4 Americans In Benghazi.”
There are two obvious falsehoods contained in that item. First, Clinton never said that it “doesn’t make a difference who killed 4 Americans,” or anything remotely similar. She was responding to a question from Johnson about the early descriptions of what had taken place. There are still varying reports that are being sorted out. Clinton was saying that the debate over what was said in the first few hours or days after the assault was not as important as completing the investigation and bringing the perpetrators to justice. Here is the whole exchange:
JOHNSON: Again, we were misled that there were supposedly protests and then something sprang out of that, an assault spread out of that and that was easily ascertained that that was not the fact and the American people could have known that within days and they didn’t know that.
CLINTON: With all due respect, the fact is, we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or because of guys out for a walk one night and decided to go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator. Now honestly, I will do my best to answer your questions about this but the fact is that people were trying in real time to get to the best information. The I.C. [Intelligence Community] has a process, I understand, going with the other committees to explain how these talking points came out. But to be clear, it is, from my perspective, less important today, looking backwards, as to why these militants decided they did it than to find them and bring them to justice and then maybe we’ll figure out what was going on in the meantime.
Clinton’s statement was the exact opposite of what the Fox Nationalists wrote in their headline. She was unambiguously stating that her specific concern was about who killed the Americans at the Benghazi facility. That could not have been missed unless it was a deliberate attempt to deceive.
The second falsehood in the headline is, of course, that the White House was not agreeing with the false characterization that Fox posted. They did, however, agree with what Clinton actually said. In fact, press secretary Jay Carney was explicitly agreeing that “whatever was said — based on information provided by the intelligence community – on a series of Sunday shows bears no ultimate relevance.”
So the statements of Clinton and Carney were in alignment, while the reporting of Fox was delusional. And as a small side note, Fox Nation sourced their report to the Washington Post in a link that went somewhere else. If you clicked the “WaPo” link you would have been taken to a right-wing blog called Weasel Zippers. That’s just another example of why you can’t trust anything you read at Fox Nation.
Sun TV is a rabidly right-wing cable network in Canada that has been compared to Fox News. However, Canadians do not seem to be as gullible as America’s Teabaggers and are not tuning in. From the Hollywood Reporter:
“To get Sun News back on its feet, the Quebec media giant is asking for a mandatory distribution order from the CRTC. That would force the all-news channel on Canadians by ensuring carriage on all domestic analog and digital basic services.”
Mandatory distribution? Sounds like socialism! The level of hypocrisy required for a conservative network to beg the government to force private companies into doing business with them is off the scale. What ever happened to the free market? It appears that Canadian viewers have made their choice, but Sun isn’t satisfied and wants to shove their programming down the throats of viewers who don’t want it. In the process they would compel cable operators to pay them fees against their will.
Just imagine how conservatives would react if MSNBC tried to do the same thing. They are presently carried on fewer cable services than Fox, and where they are carried they are often relegated to higher tier packages while Fox is on the basic tier.
This is a brilliant example of the right-wing hypocrisy that condemns welfare when it is provided to low-income Americans who are struggling to get by, but supports welfare for wealthy corporations in the form of subsidies and tax relief. They reject government if it serves the people. They embrace it when it serves the rich.
Monday’s presidential inauguration was a television event that was heavily promoted by all of the networks covering it. But one network was conspicuously short of viewers during President Obama’s speech and throughout the broadcast day.
While overall viewing was down for all three cable news networks compared to 2009′s inauguration, Fox took the deepest dive. CNN led during the President’s address with 3.1 million total viewers. MSNBC came in second with 2.3 million. Fox was dead last with 1.3 million. In the critical 25-54 year old demographic the numbers for Fox were even more dismal: CNN had 1.1 million in the demo. MSNBC had 706,000. Trailing significantly was Fox News with only 294,000, which was less than half of MSNBC and just over a quarter of CNN.
To some extent it is not surprising that the network that appeals most to Obama haters did not deliver their audience of whiny-ass sourpusses. It’s a constituency of sore losers who aren’t interested in staying informed and were probably busy cuddling their Bushmasters and forwarding chain emails about tyranny and the collapse of civilization.
What’s most startling in the ratings data is the relative disparities between the networks and their declines. Fox News was off a jaw-dropping 75% (82% demo) from 2009. CNN sunk a hefty 61% (67% demo). MSNBC, by comparison did fairly well with a mere 25% decline (37% demo). Digging deeper, these numbers tell us something that is even more foreboding for Fox. The percentage of their audience composed of the lucrative younger demos falls way below that of their competitors. CNN’s demo audience was 35% of their total viewers. MSNBC has 31% in the demo. But only 22% of Fox’s viewers are 25-54 years old.
That means that the next generation of news consumers is avoiding the severely conservative channel in droves. What’s more, MSNBC’s primetime anchors Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell were number one in their time slots for 2012 in the 18-34 demo. MSNBC has also led in African-American and Latino viewers. So by every measure MSNBC is positioned for future gains, while Fox is bracing for the bottom to fall out.
These numbers are not merely tabulated for bragging rights. They represent the potential for ad revenue. As the numbers fall, so do Fox’s profits. And with their dearth of the desirable youth demos, the advertising Fox maintains will command lower rates.
However, it is also true that the lion’s share of that plunge was the 75% of Fox viewers who tuned out. Apparently Fox is so intent on publicizing information that they believe reflects badly on the President that they didn’t even notice that it looks even worse for themselves. Well, nobody ever accused them of being brainiacs.
Seconds after the first inauguration of President Obama, Chris Wallace of Fox News speculated that he wasn’t really president because the oath was flubbed by Chief Justice John Roberts. That suggestion that Obama was not a legitimate president foreshadowed what would become a cacophony of Birthers and Republicans determined to reject any and all of what Obama put forth.
On this morning’s broadcast of Obama’s second inauguration, Fox News continued their dismissive coverage of the President. They led it off with the kiddies at Fox & Friends who exhibited their respect for this historic day by reporting what an awful day it is.
Steve Doocey: “As if a cold Monday in January wasn’t dreary enough, today has been dubbed ‘Blue Monday’, the most depressing day of the year.”
I’m quite sure that the day of Obama’s inauguration is decidedly depressing for the these remedial, right-wing buzzkills. But Fox was not through casting aspersions on this day and the President. Immediately following the inaugural address, Fox’s panel of sourpuss pundits picked apart the speech, which they universally agreed was a partisan screed aimed at bashing the GOP.
Chris Wallace: “This was an unyielding, uncompromising espousal of a liberal agenda.” Brit Hume: “This is utterly bereft of an outreach to the opposition.”
Never mind that the President repeatedly spoke of how the nation’s greatest accomplishments were achieved by working together and how that was a necessity for moving forward today in light of the difficulties that lie ahead. Fox is positioning itself for another four years of blind opposition to anything that might help this president – or this country while this president is in the White House.
Their community web site, Fox Nation, went to even further extremes to disparage the President with at least five derogatory articles by virulent Obama adversaries, including their headline piece featuring Mark Levin who was quoted from a Breitbart interview where he ripped the President in the most repulsive terms.
Levin: “I think there’s a lot of perverse thinking that goes on in Obama’s mind, radical left-wing thinking. He was indoctrinated with Marx and Alinksy propaganda.”
And this is how Fox News covers Obama on the day of his inauguration, a day usually set aside to celebrate America’s democratic principles and offer best wishes for the new administration’s efforts to meet the challenges facing the nation. We can hardly wait to see what Fox is dreaming up for tomorrow, or the next day, or the next four years. And Fox wonders why they are shunned by the White House.
“The movement must address itself to the question of restructuring the whole of American society. There are forty million poor people here. And one day we must ask the question, Why are there forty million poor people in America? And when you begin to ask that question, you are raising questions about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth. When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy. And I’m simply saying that more and more, we’ve got to begin to ask questions about the whole society.
We are called upon to help the discouraged beggars in life’s marketplace. But one day we must come to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. It means that questions must be raised. You see, my friends, when you deal with this, you begin to ask the question, Who owns the oil? You begin to ask the question, Who owns the iron ore? You begin to ask the question, Why is it that people have to pay water bills in a world that is two-thirds water? These are questions that must be asked.”
President Barack Obama, 2013:
For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it [...] Our journey is not complete…”
On several notorious occasions Fox News has “accidentally” labeled dishonest or scandalized Republicans as Democrats. It seems to be a strategy on their part to protect the GOP from bad publicity while tarnishing their opponents. And despite their “zero tolerance policy” for such errors, they never air corrections or apologies.
Consequently, it should not come as a surprise that Fox, in tandem with the uber-rightists at NewsBusters, have ratcheted up a phony controversy concerning the party affiliation of former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin, who was just indicted by a federal grand jury on 21 counts of conspiracy, bribery, money laundering, tax fraud and filing false tax returns.
The right’s panic over whether or not the media should have identified Nagin as a Democrat ignores the fact that his association with the Democratic Party was a matter of political opportunism. Nagin had been a registered Republican for most of his adult life. He only switched parties when he decided to run for mayor of the heavily Democratic city of New Orleans. Even after his election he associated with, and behaved as, a Republican. As mayor he routinely favored the interests of his business constituents over the people. He was an avid supporter of George W. Bush prior to his election, and GOP governor Bobby Jindal afterwards. The most damning evidence that Nagin is, and always has been, a Republican is the nature of the crimes for which he was indicted.
“Nagin used his public office and his official capacity to provide favorable treatment that benefited the business and financial interests of individuals providing him with bribery or kickback payoffs.”
That’s pretty much the hallmark of Republican politics. Were he a Democrat there would have been charges connected to union malfeasance or public works projects. But Nagin was acting on his nature as the life-long Republican he truly is. Neither Fox nor NewsBusters bothered to point out these facts.
A study out of the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs ranked the number of times various news outlets were called on by President Obama in a press conference. The results have stirred some controversy with regard to whether certain outlets were favored, or disfavored, by the President.
The University’s Smart Politics blog revealed their own prejudicial assessment in a headline that declared “FOX Still Shunned at Obama Press Conferences.” There is much to ponder in that headline. For instance, the characterization of Fox being shunned “still” made no sense because they never bothered to establish that Fox had been shunned previously. But even worse, the overall assertion that Fox was shunned is not borne out by the study’s results.
Fox earned a ninth place showing by having been called on for questions fourteen times. That is only two fewer nods than CNN and the New York Times received. And if Fox can be described as having been shunned, then the Washington Post, USA Today, and NPR were victims of blatant and deliberate neglect since they came in even lower than Fox at tenth, eleventh, and thirteenth.
Nevertheless, Fox seems to be the only news outlet that is complaining about their treatment by the President. They devoted a segment of their Fox News Watch program to whining that they aren’t getting enough attention, poor things. Host Jon Scott started the bitch session by crying “Why does the president not like to call on us?” Jumping in without being recognized was Fox’s fake Democrat Kirsten Powers who shot back “Because he doesn’t want to be embarrassed. When Ed Henry asks questions to Jay Carney, inevitably Jay Carney ends up looking stupid because he doesn’t know how to answer the question. He’s used to pushing people around.” And she’s supposed to be the voice of the left on Fox’s fair and balanced roster.
With friends like Kirsten Powers who needs enemas? And that is a perfect illustration of why Obama ought to start shunning Fox News. It has never been a credible journalistic operation. It is an unabashed agent of the Republican Party whose only purpose is to bash the President and support the right-wing agenda.
While the study’s results show that Fox was treated no worse than several other prominent news outlets, the record of overt bias exhibited by Fox should excuse the administration if it decides to banish Fox altogether from the White House press room. They are no more deserving of press credentials than the Sasquatch Gazette or the Journal of the American Astrological Society.