The Fox News Presidential Candidate For 2016: John Ellis “Jeb” Bush

It’s official. The Fox News primary has declared a winner as dictated by its captain and CEO, Rupert Murdoch.

Rupert Murdoch

Speaking at a forum by the ultra-right-wing Manhattan Institute (a Koch brothers funded, climate change denying, free-market “think” tank), Murdoch made his preferences for president publicly known for the first time. He was interviewed by his employee, disgraced former New York Times reporter, current Fox News contributor, and Manhattan Institute fellow, Judith Miller.

According to Politico, Murdoch dismissed the latest speculative entrant to the race, Mitt Romney saying that “He had his chance,” and that he was “a terrible candidate.” Murdoch also was upset at Romney “for failing to deflect criticism that he was ‘super rich.'” That seems like a rather personal complaint by another member of the “super rich” society. But it is totally in keeping with Murdoch’s position from 2012 when he announced that he wanted Romney to win and “save us from socialism” but was not impressed by his campaign.

Murdoch went on to lavish faint praise on several other prospective candidates, while taking it back in the same breath. He said that he liked Rand Paul very much, but was skeptical about his foreign policy. He granted that he “wouldn’t write off Chris Christie,” which is a way of conceding that Christie was already written off by many others. He called Scott Walker “an interesting candidate” who lacked charisma. And he saved his harshest remarks for Ted Cruz about whom he said meeting him was “quite an experience,” but that he had “a record of very questionable political judgment.” The one candidate whose compliments were not offset by criticism was Jeb Bush, about whom he said simply that “I like Jeb Bush very much.”

Having spilled his guts to the media, Murdoch has once again demonstrated his utter disrespect for his role as the baron of a massive journalism empire. His ethical lapses have an impact that transcends this little gathering of wingnut colleagues. It is impossible for his minions at Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, and the rest of his fiefdom, to ignore his choices. Indeed some of them are already falling in line. Fox News contributor Karl Rove warned that Romney’s “reticence” would do him in as a candidate. And Sarah Palin was adamant that Romney sit it out because the party needs “new blood. Fox’s alleged Democratic pollster (who always seems to find fault with Democrats), Doug Schoen, said that Bush “gives the Republicans their strongest candidate.”

So when the campaigns begin in earnest later this year, what will we make of reporting from Fox News and other Murdoch properties that skewer Romney, Cruz, etc, while promoting Bush? Would that be cast as mere coincidence, or direction from the boss? Time will tell.

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Sarah Palin Calls Obama A “Chicken” For Not Calling Terrorists Names

The second season of Sarah Palin’s Amazing America (the Sportsman Channel series that no one knows exists) is premiering Thursday, and Palin is pumping out promos for it. Among them, she appeared on Inside Edition (video below) where host Deborah Norville asked her about the fabricated and idiotic controversy over whether President Obama should append an “Islamic” prefix every time he refers to terrorists. [He shouldn’t and here’s why]

Sarah Palin

Palin’s response was a jumble of her trademarked word salad in which she resorted to calling the President names because she doesn’t think he calls people names enough.

Palin: “It is, in a sense, being a chicken, as was made manifest when we didn’t have a high-ranking official go over and unify with other world leaders to say, ‘No, this Islamic fundamentalism that is resulting in such terror across the globe, we’re not gonna have that in our land.”

Just to be clear, Palin is calling the man who ordered the attack that killed Osama Bin Laden a chicken. She is demeaning the resolve of a leader who is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of terrorist operatives, including many of their leaders. In Palin’s view, attaching a word to a description of a terrorist is a more courageous act than flying drones over their compounds and dropping bombs on them. And she actually thinks that it would have been a significant gesture to fly to Paris to participate in a staged photo-op with a bunch of political luminaries that she actually despises (i.e. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, the socialist president of France François Hollande, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov).

This might be viewed as the sort of mentality that reveres rhetoric over resolute action, except that that doesn’t really explain Palin’s remarks. A more accurate explanation would be that she is simply looking for any excuse to demean the President and insult America’s leadership.

Palin, on the other hand is a paragon of courage. As the mother of a child with Down’s Syndrome, she has spoken out boldly against those who use language that disparages people with disabilities. She has castigated those who use the word “retard” as a generalized insult. Palin called out Rahm Emanuel for using the term saying that it was “indecent” and “unacceptable.” She also lashed out at Bill Maher via Twitter for what she called “hatefully mock[ing]” of special needs kids.

Which is funny because Ted Nugent just did the same thing, referring to people in the media as “retards” who “screw farm animals.” But Palin is welcoming him as a featured guest on her program in a couple of weeks. That’s just how brave and committed to principle she is.

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French TV: Laughing At The Credibility Of The Fox News Clowns And #FoxNewsFacts

Earlier this week Fox News hosted Steven Emerson, an alleged terrorism expert, who claimed that the entire city of Birmingham, England was occupied by radical Muslims and was inaccessible to anyone else. His remarks were widely ridiculed, including by David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, who called Emerson an “idiot.” Emerson later recanted and apologized for his “terrible error.” But Fox wasn’t done embarrassing itself with false tales of horror.

Fox News

Over at Fox & Friends, Elisabeth Hasselbeck interviewed a former Air Force pilot who claimed to have personal knowledge of the deterioration of French society. Nolan Peterson said that there were “741 no-go zones throughout France.” Peterson described his adventures in the wilds of Paris saying that…

“It was pretty scary. I’ve been to Afghanistan and Iraq and Kashmir, India, and at times it felt like that – those places in these no-go zones. […and that…] You see young men wearing Osama Bin Laden t-shirts in a hookah shop.”

Really? This veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq was scared of Paris? The segment was seen by Yann Barthès, the host of the French television program “Le Petit Journal.” His response was to mercilessly flog Fox and Peterson while exposing the glaring errors in their analysis. For instance, Fox made reference to a poll that said that 16% of the French people had a favorable view of ISIS. However, that poll was debunked by the Washington Post, a point that Barthès noted.

Fox also displayed a map of the so-called no-go zones in Paris which brought spontaneous laughter from the residents of Paris in the audience who knew better. In fact, the map was a document that indicated urban renewal areas where the government would direct resources for improvement. It had nothing to do with Muslims or terror. But Fox’s “mistake” inspired Barthès to courageously send his crew into the falsely slandered no-go zones for some person-on-the-street interviews. And just to be on the safe side, they were suited up in safety gear and helmets, which turned out not to be necessary.

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Here is the video of Le Petit Journal with English subtitles (h/t Raw Story):

Fun Fact: Bill O’Reilly declared a boycott of France in 2007 because they refused to support George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq. In fact, you can still buy a Boycott France Bumper Sticker from his website.

[Update 1/18/2015:] So, after Fox News characteristically resorted to fear mongering and spreading disinformation, their lies on this occasion were so egregious that they were forced to apologize – FOUR TIMES!

For the record, the apologists were Anna Kooiman, Eric Shawn, Julie Banderas, and Jeanine Pirro. Don’t hold your breath waiting for Fox to do this the next time they lie (which happens multiple times every day).


Taking Sides: Fox News Is The Foremost Propaganda Arm For The World’s Terrorists

For several years now Fox News and other conservative media have feverishly demanded that President Obama explicitly associate terrorism with Islam. They have accused Obama of being weak, and even treasonous, for his reluctance to do so. Following the Charlie Hebdo tragedy in Paris, the calls for such symbolic rhetoric have built up to deafening levels as Fox ignores the bigger issues in favor of trivial sloganeering.

However, those who articulate this criticism are missing an important point that demonstrates that, not only is the President right, but the critics are overtly aligning themselves with the terrorists.

The logic is really quite simple. When you look at who is insisting that the terrorists be called Muslims you will see only the terrorists themselves (i.e. Al Qaeda, ISIS, etc.), Fox News, and their allies on the far right. On the other side is Obama, religion and terrorism experts, and most of the world’s Muslims. So the real question here is why is Fox News joining with the terrorists in an effort to brand their heinous activities?

Fox News

What Fox News is doing is a revolting breach of ethics. They are acting as the PR department for the terrorists who desperately aspire to be regarded as the legitimate voice of Islam. They couldn’t ask for a better partner than Fox in their efforts to brand themselves and to disseminate their pro-terror propaganda.

The problem is that most of the world’s Muslims strongly oppose the association of these terrorist groups with their faith. And despite Fox’s apparent self-inflicted deafness, they have made it abundantly clear that they want noting to do with terrorism or violence or hate. Those repudiating the connection include virtually every major Muslim advocacy group and the most prominent Muslim-majority nations.

On the other hand, Fox, and those who support the network’s position, can cite only a single reason for connecting Islam to the terrorist groups. The justification offered generally states that the terrorists themselves identify as Muslims. So what? That is an argument that is so irrelevant that it is hard to grasp why anyone would take it seriously.

The repugnant extremists of the Westboro Baptist Church, who protest at the funerals of slain American soldiers, identify themselves as Christians. Likewise, the bombers of women’s health clinics insist that they represent the true Christian faith. And for decades the Ku Klux Klan has cloaked its message of hate in Christian dogma asserting their strict adherence to what they call God’s principles. Many hate groups even incorporate their adopted faith into their name, such as the Christian Identity Movement.

If those who argue that Islam and terrorism are inseparable because the terrorists call themselves Muslims, then they would have to argue that Christianity and terrorism are also inseparable for the same reason. But you will never hear them do that. They are practicing a one-sided form of perverse logic that is bigoted and indefensible.

Conceding that terrorism is the way of Islam, therefore, amounts to an acceptance of the terrorists terms and definitions. It is a form of appeasement that rewards the terrorists with precisely what they seek: religious legitimacy. And Fox News, along with crusading right-wing pundits and politicians, are playing into their hands. They are, in effect, supporting the goals of the terrorists.

President Obama is absolutely right to deny the terrorists the legitimacy they so desperately want. He is right to respect the majority of Muslims who want nothing to do with the terrorists and have said so repeatedly. The terrorists are no more Muslim than the Westboro freaks are Christian.

By demanding that Obama call the terrorists Muslims, Fox News et al are actually taking the side of the terrorists and helping them to advance their mission. And what makes this even worse is that they are taking that treasonous position solely to harm America’s leadership and standing in the world, and to advance their own petty political objectives and lust for power. It is an abhorrent abuse of their media platform that should offend all Americans.

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And despite their best efforts, a few Muslim guests actually got their points across on Fox News:


The Handy-Dandy Fox News Terrorist Color Chart

For Americans concerned about how to identify the terrorists in your neighborhood, Fox News has created a convenient tool to be certain that nefarious characters are not overlooked and permitted to wreak havoc.

The Fox News Terrorist Color Chart

Fox News Terrorist Color Chart

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Inspired by the comments of Fox News anchor Shannon Bream during an episode of Outnumbered, this chart is an essential part of every patriot’s anti-terror toolkit. Bream was responding (video below) to co-host Kennedy’s observation that ordinary profiling may not be an effective prevention policy because “sometimes bad guys don’t look like bad guys.” Whereupon Bream offered this bit of wisdom:

“That’s my question about these guys. If we know they were speaking unaccented French and they had ski masks on, do we even know what color they were, what the tone of their skin was? I mean, what if they didn’t look like typical bad guys as we define them when we think about terror groups.”

Yeah, what about that? Obviously the only way we can be sure to keep America safe from bad guys is to have a reliable means of categorizing them so that they can be segregated from the rest of the population and punished appropriately. And thankfully the folks at Fox News are on the case and looking out for us good (i.e. white) guys.

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Bream comments begin at 3:10 in this video:

h/t/ Alexander Jones


#FoxNewsFacts? New Hashtag Addresses Old Problem Of Fox News Aversion To The Truth

This weekend Jeanine Pirro of Fox News invited the in-house Fox “terrorism expert” Steven Emerson to explain the impending apocalypse that is looming over the planet due to radical Islamic terrorism spreading to every nook and cranny of the globe. Emerson warned that the crisis is so severe that murderous Muslims have already taken over some Western cities.

Emerson: In Britain, it’s not just no-go zones, there are actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim where non-Muslims just simply don’t go in.

It didn’t take long for that morsel of fear mongering to be shot down as utterly false. Later in the day Emerson himself apologized profusely for his “terrible error,” however, neither Pirro nor Fox News has issued a retraction. Consequently, Fox News viewers will remain profoundly misinformed, as usual.

The Internet, though, has a certain self-healing capability that tends to just this sort of dishonesty. Before long the hashtag “#FoxNewsFacts” was trending on Twitter with a barrage of both serious and satirical posts asserting a sort of cyber karma.

While it is gratifying to see people taking it upon themselves to set the record straight, the credibility of the facts on Fox News has been non-existent for years. There have so many examples of the network’s outright disregard for the truth that I wrote a book (Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Community’s Assault on Truth) compiling some of the worst episodes. In fact, Fox’s fib factory was so productive that I have just released the second volume of the book:

Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Fox Nation vs. Reality

The book contains more than 50 examples of deliberate falsehoods and blatant propaganda. It’s available now on Amazon and every purchase helps to support the work we do at News Corpse.

The pathological liars at Fox have been particularly busy disseminating disinformation in this aborning new year. In addition to providing a platform for bona fide Islamophobes like Emerson, they have launched an assault on President Obama for not jetting off to Paris to march in a photo op with some other world leaders who Fox usually hate. And today they waxed panicky about what they called a hack into Pentagon computers that was really just a hack into Twitter and YouTube. No government network was accessed, but Fox spent most of the day ruminating on it. It’s what they do.

Fox News Pentagon Hack

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SCANDALOUS: Fox News Is Appalled That Obama Didn’t Jet To Paris For Unity Rally

While more than a million people took to the streets to pay tribute to the victims of the terrorist attack on the satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, the miscreants at Fox News were concocting new ways to exploit the tragedy to demean President Obama. A rapidly forming theme at Fox is that Obama snubbed the rally by not dropping everything and boarding Air Force One to Paris.

Fox Nation

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It needs to be noted that most of the world leaders who attended the rally were not more than an hour away from Paris. Obama’s trip from Washington, D.C. would have been more than five hours there, and five more back. The U.S. Ambassador to France was already there, as was Attorney General Eric Holder. They could both ably represent the United States in a rally that had an important symbolic purpose, but would not have any productive impact on diplomacy or other legal matters related to international terrorism.

A presidential visit might have been nice, but it certainly was not required. And the fact that Obama is now taking heat for not attending is irrelevant because he would have been criticized just the same if he had gone. It’s falls into the Fox News editorial mission of being against the President, no matter what he does or says. I can just imagine the headlines that Fox and other right-wing media would have generated if he had chosen to go to Paris:

  • President Obama Spends $12,000,000 To Attend Street Rally In Paris
  • President Obama Jets To Paris While Congress Is Working To Restore Jobs In America
  • President Obama Links Arms With Socialist French President François Hollande, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas
  • President Obama Pays Tribute To Murdered Parisian Cartoonists, But Would Not Attend Funeral of Murdered New York Cops
  • President Obama’s Security Detail Disrupts Paris Unity Rally

See how easy it is when you know how Fox thinks?

The tone of the article on the Fox News community website, Fox Nation, suggests not only that Obama doesn’t care about the victims (note the dismissive wave), but also that he must be pro-terror for not participating in an anti-terror rally (even though it was actually a “unity rally”). But it is hard not to notice that there weren’t any Republicans there either, so they must all be uncaring terrorist supporters too.

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In the final analysis, Fox News has demonstrated that they will take the most trivial things and blow them up into phony scandals that draw attention away from the issues that matter most. And they will exploit any opportunity to malign the President or other Democrats regardless of how it harms individuals, institutions, or the nation.

[Addendum] As Fox doubles and triples down on this alleged story, let the record show that of the 50 leaders reported to have participated in the Paris staged photo-op (they didn’t actually march in the rally), 35 (70%) were from nearby European countries. Most of the remainder were from Africa and the Middle East. There was only one from the Americas (Canada sent their Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney). There were none from Asia.

For your sharing pleasure (on Facebook):

Fox News Obama Paris Headlines


Fox Nation vs. Reality: Republican vs. Democratic Billionaires

The toxic effect of the billions of dollars in special interest donations to political candidates and causes can be seen every day in the way that politicians rewards their most generous benefactors. It is not a coincidence that the first bill brought to a vote in the Republican-dominated 114th Congress was one to advance the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline favored by wealthy oil barons like the Koch brothers.

The current corrupt state of political funding was made possible by the notorious Citizen’s United decision that freed donors to make virtually unlimited contributions without disclosing their identity. Despite the fact that Republicans defend this practice, their media mouthpiece, Fox News, tries to play both sides of the debate by accusing Democrats of being equal offenders. Or, in the case of a new item posted on Fox Nation, even worse.

Fox Nation

According to Fox, “Dem Billionaires Donate More To Politicians Than Republicans.” The article that the Fox Nationalists cited as their source was originally published by Politico. Fox posted the first three paragraphs from the Politico story that said in part…

“Democrats spent much of the 2014 campaign castigating Republican big money, but, it turns out, their side actually finished ahead among the biggest donors of 2014 – at least among those whose contributions were disclosed.”

The key portion of that quote are the eight words at the end. It is impossible to do an analysis of political donations without taking into consideration the “dark money” made possible by Citizen’s United. In the beginning of Politico’s article they noted that donations attributed to Democrats from disclosed sources totaled $174 million in 2014. Donations from Republicans came to only $140 million. And from that data Fox declared that Democrats were the bigger donors.

However, in the fourth paragraph of the article, the one right after the point where Fox Nation cut off their excerpt, a far more relevant statistic was reported:

“Of course, that edge doesn’t take into account contributions to deep-pocketed non-profit groups that don’t disclose their donors. They heavily favored Republicans […] For instance, the network of mostly secret-money non-profit groups helmed by the billionaire industrialist Koch brothers was on pace to spend $290 million in 2014.”

So the truth is that the Koch brothers all by themselves donated more money than all of the Democrats cited by Fox combined. It’s a fact that Fox left out of their excerpt and blatantly lied about in their headline.

To illustrate how dishonest it is to use numbers that only include disclosed donors, David and Charles Koch rank only 10th and 29th on the list of such contributions. But clearly they are number one by a wide margin if all of their donations are counted, including those from the dark money organizations they run like Americans for Prosperity, Freedom Partners, and Donors Trust. But don’t expect to learn about any of this from Fox News. Their mission is to disinform and to prop up the right-wing elitists, bankers, and captains of industry.

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See also this analysis of the stark differences between the Republican rich and the Democratic rich: What’s The Difference Between Wealthy (Koch) Republicans And (Soros) Democrats?


Super-Patriotic Fox News Military Analyst Declares Victory For Terrorists

You really have to wonder whose side these cretins are on. When Fox News turns to one of their many retired military officers (turned wingnut pundits) for some insight into the war on terror, they frequently call Lt. Colonel Ralph Peters (whose name translates to “vomiting penises” in Slanglish).

Fox News - Ralph Peters

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Peters is a particularly disgusting choice for commentary about the heinous assault on French publishers considering that Peters has advocated for censorship and, worse, military strikes on U.S. media. A few years ago he said that

“Rejecting the god of their fathers, the neo-pagans who dominate the media serve as lackeys at the terrorists’ bloody altar. […] Although it seems unthinkable now, future wars may require censorship, news blackouts and, ultimately, military attacks on the partisan media.”

Nevertheless, Fox News recruited him again to spew his repugnant views on the tragic murders of the staff of the satirical Charlie Hebdo newspaper in Paris. And the primary theme of his analysis is that the terrorists won.

“The terrorists scored yet another terrific victory by taking the entire global media hostage for, not only two and a half days, but we’re still their hostage. We’re still talking about it this morning.”

The notion that the terrorists were victorious due to the fact that they succeeded in killing some innocent people is a tribute that only a deranged Foxoid could concoct. This act of mindless brutality did not advance any goal of the terrorists, much less provide a victory by any definition. In fact, it incited Muslims around the world to repudiate the killers, including the governments of Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Egypt, Iran, and many more. There has never been more agreement between Muslim nations and the West than there is today, at least with regard to the activities of a few extremist jihadis.

What’s more, Peters made a fool of himself by criticizing the media for reporting these events, even as he was rambling on about them incoherently. It takes a special kind of stupid to castigate people for continuing to talk about it while he was still talking about it. And he went to portray the coverage of this major international news story as PR for the terrorists:

“We have to cover the news. We must discuss it. but they leveraged us, they judo’ed us into being, pro-bono, the greatest PR firm in history for terror.”

Of course, It was Peters himself who was providing the positive PR with his declaration that the terrorists had won. The bad guys must have loved that judgment being broadcast on American television by a former Army officer. Most of the rest of the press condemned the perpetrators and showered sympathy on the victims. But for Peters and Fox every opportunity to demean President Obama (and consequently, the American military’s response to terrorism) is too good to pass up. And so we get more of this kind of ranting:

“We’ve never tried the basic thing you do in war, which is killing your enemy in large numbers and continue to kill them until they quit. […] President Obama uses drones to kill terrorists. That’s great, except that he only kills the people he doesn’t want to have to send to Guantanamo.”

Huh? So there are some terrorists that Obama has to send to Guantanamo and others that he doesn’t have to send there? And the ones he doesn’t have to send are getting a pass on the drone treatment? Can anyone explain how that makes any sense at all?

Setting aside the fact that Peters directly contradicts himself in those remarks, he seems to be implying that the terrorists killed by drones would have otherwise been collected and transported to Guantanamo. That’s just plain idiotic. Is Peters suggesting that Obama should have sent soldiers into harms way to capture the terrorists? The one thing that we can be certain of is that Peters loves the fact that the drones produce civilian casualties. He comes right out and says so.

“Get the lawyers out of the fight. Accept that there is collateral damage in war. You don’t apologize for it. […] You leave behind smoking ruins and screaming widows.”

This isn’t the first time that Peters has praised the loss of innocent lives. In the same article referenced above he lamented that America’s tolerance for “acceptable casualties – hostile, civilian and our own – continue to narrow fatefully.” Note that he includes in his lament that America is too concerned about even “our own” casualties. Peters then went on to laud the “greatest generation” of World War II veterans for firebombing Germany and killing soldiers and their families. He also praised the dropping of atomic bombs on Japan, which killed tens of thousands of civilian men, women, and children.

This man is a sociopathic maniac with a lust for blood – even that of Americans. And the fact that Fox News repeatedly invites him on the air to articulate that message of hate and genocide is a lot worse than their typical unfair and unbalanced political propaganda. It is an admission that the editors and executives at Fox agree with him and have the same hostility for the values that most Americans hold dear.

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Right-Wing Media Lusts For Images That Offend Muslims

The murders of the staff of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris are universally regarded as a heinous assault on humanity and free expression. Virtually every public commentary on the crime repudiates the killers and the violently extremist ideology they claim to represent. That includes the prominent Muslim advocacy organizations like the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and the major Islamic governments of Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Egypt, Iran, and more.

Yet even as this international chorus of condemnation resounds throughout the world, there are some petty voices in the media that seek to take political advantage of the situation. One of the tactics they employ is to attempt to cast shame on any media enterprise that fails to publish the offensive images that are reputed to have incited the attack on Charlie Hebdo. Many conservatives are calling anyone who doesn’t repost the images cowards and terrorist appeasers.

Why is the willingness to give more attention to a specific example of insulting imagery a test of dedication to a free press? Certainly the right to publish such material is one that must not be infringed in a free society, but that doesn’t make it a requirement for everyone to do so. It is possible to protest censorship, intimidation, and terrorism aimed at free speech without engaging in the same speech.

For instance, conservative extremists like Ted Cruz have every right to compare supporters of ObamaCare to Nazis, as he did on the Senate floor. But that doesn’t mean that in order to uphold his rights I have to stand up in public and make the same asinine comparison. It is quite enough for me to articulate my opinion that he is free to say whatever idiotic and inflammatory bullcrap he wants.

The problem is that there is an ugly underpinning to the calls by the right to post offensive images of Mohammed everywhere. And that is that they get off on it. They are only too happy to malign the prophet of a religion that they hate and regard as an evil enemy. Never mind that, by far, most Muslims are as appalled by the Paris murders as everyone else. The rightist, Christian martinets of virtue won’t be happy until every magazine, newspaper and television program has featured the images on their front pages and at the top of every broadcast.

It goes without saying (though I’ll say it anyway) that these same defenders of freedom would never insist on such widespread reproduction if the images maligned their sainted Ronald Reagan. Can you imagine Todd Starnes of Fox News calling out the cowards in the media for not prominently displaying an offensive picture of Reagan? Of course not. But that’s what he did to those not displaying the Mohammed cartoons.

A few years ago there was a movie about a fictionalized assassination of President Bush. It wasn’t even a political film, but rather a crime drama that delved into the complexities of an investigation into the killing of a president. Conservatives were apoplectic, complaining about the film and demanding that it be pulled from distribution. CNN and NPR refused to air advertisements for it.

The Dixie Chicks had the temerity to exercise their rights to free speech by saying merely that they were ashamed that Bush was from Texas. That rather tame bit of criticism led to record burnings, concert boycotts, and even death threats. No one was demanding that everybody play their music on the radio to demonstrate a commitment to free speech.

And then there was the notorious parody ad that appeared in Larry Flynt’s Hustler Magazine. It was a mock ad for Compari that played off of the liquor’s ad campaign at the time. However, Hustler’s version put televangelist Jerry Falwell in, shall we say, a compromising position. The response to that was both outrage from offended Christians and a lawsuit from Falwell. Eventually, Flynt prevailed in the Supreme Court, scoring a victory for free speech. But none of the conservatives today who are so anxious to see more public displays of Mohammed cartoons were clamoring for such a movement of solidarity in defense of Flynt. And it should not be forgotten that Flynt was also the victim of a terrorist attack when he was shot by a white supremacist, severing his spinal cord and leaving him confined to a wheelchair.

Jerry Falwell Compari

What is painfully clear is that conservatives would never condone reproducing images, or promoting other forms of speech, that they find offensive. But they are drooling ravenously to see more of the images that offend Muslims. And it’s all in the name of defending free expression. But beyond the obvious hypocrisy, it is apparent that they are more interested in satisfying their own repugnant desires to denigrate their perceived foes than in standing up for freedom.

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[Addendum] As an example of some of the intrepid Fox News soldiers of press freedom, these statements were recently broadcast:

Ralph Peters: The correct response to this attack by all of us in journalism – we pretend to be so brave. If we had guts those cartoons would be reprinted on the cover pages of the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the L.A. Times, the Washington Post tomorrow. They won’t be. We’ll cry, but we’ll continue to self-censor.

K.T. McFarland: If there is any guts, if there is any courage, if there is any role that a free media has, it is to go out and call it what it is. If we are already self-censoring, if we are already cowering under the desk because we’re afraid of this, we’re afraid of that, then you know? Free speech is already lost.

Note that the official position of Fox News is to not display the images from Charlie Hebdo. They issued a statement saying that “The safety of its correspondents and questions of taste are at issue.” So apparently, free speech is already lost. But if they are still interested in publishing images to demonstrate their solidarity with oppressed journalists, maybe they will publish this image of a cardinal giving Jesus a blow job on the cross. It was featured on the cover of the German satire magazine, Titanic, who have encountered their own problems with censorship and could use the support.

Titanic