Fox News Surrenders: Domestic Recovery Forces Narrative Shift To Foreign Policy For 2016 Election

The Republican News Network (aka Fox News) is taking a hard turn away from domestic issues in advance of the 2016 election cycle. For the past several years Fox and the rest of the Right-Wing Media Circus has focused heavily on matters that hit close to home like the economy, unemployment, immigration, marriage equality, education, and relentlessly, healthcare – or more accurately, opposition to it.

Unfortunately for the GOP, every one of those issues has been trending favorably for the Obama administration and the Democratic Party. The economy has grown by historic rates. The stock market has hit record highs. The deficit has declined by two-thirds. Unemployment dropped from 10.1 to 5.7 percent and wages are beginning to rise. The majority of the public support the President’s positions on immigration. Marriage equality is being affirmed by courts across the country. Both academic and financial education reforms proposed by Obama are hugely popular. And ObamaCare reached new plateaus of success signing up more than 11 million new people this year.

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Also influencing the right is a Gallup poll released this week showing that terrorism has jumped in importance to the electorate. Fox News immediately began promoting this poll as evidence that Americans are convulsed with worry about being blown up in a cafe on Main Street. What they don’t mention is that terrorism in the poll shot up to a mere 8% and is still in fifth place behind four domestic issues. Also not mentioned is that another Gallup poll released the same day shows the President’s standing is on the rise. The poll shows him making significant gains with independents and even Republicans. And those gains are seen both personally and for his stance on issues.

So what is an obsessively hostile cable TV “news” network with a mission to promote conservative policies and Republican candidates to do? Of course, they have to pivot to foreign policy in a desperate bid to find a narrative that will advance their political goals. That is what’s happening now as this exchange from Fox News yesterday demonstrates:

Charles Krauthammer: This is going to be be one of those rare presidential runs in which foreign affairs is one of the dominant issues […] That is a very ripe field for the Republicans.
Ron Fournier: Charles is right. This is going to be a foreign policy election. I think that’s going to be really tough for Hillary given her last job.

Huh? Fournier didn’t elaborate on why Hillary Clinton’s last job as Secretary of State would make things harder for her if foreign policy were to take precedence. Running the State Department for four years would ordinarily be seen as a prime resume enhancement in an environment that prized international experience. Presumably the right is hankering for an opportunity to beat the Benghazi drum some more, but since they have failed to produce any evidence of wrongdoing after three years and dozens of investigations (including findings that exonerate Clinton and Obama by the GOP led House Intelligence Committee), it seems rather far-fetched that they can make an issue of it now. And when the election heats up Clinton will have a strong record of achievement about which to brag.

More to the point, the effort by Fox to divert attention away from the positive domestic news is bound to fail for three reasons. First, whatever plausible case they have to make against Obama and/or Clinton on foreign policy, they aren’t making it. Instead, they are wasting breath on such ludicrous trivialities as whether or not the word “Islamic” is appended to every mention of terrorism. Their mantra on this is that you have to “call it what it is” in order to win. They seem to believe that just changing the rhetoric all by itself would cause the bad guys to throw in the towel. That, of course, is absurd. The truth is that tarring all Muslims with an association to terrorism would only alienate the Islamic allies we need to prevail. The only parties who insist on this language are GOP/Fox News conservatives and the terrorists themselves. So why is Fox taking their side? That’s a question that Fox News will answer by shouting as loudly as possible, “Benghazi!”

The second reason that latching unto a foreign affairs campaign theme would fail is that, in addition to not making a negative case against Clinton, Republicans are also not making an affirmative case for themselves. Their fierce condemnations of Obama as being weak and incompetent (besides being somewhat unpatriotic by their own definition) imply that their alternative would be to recklessly leap back into a war footing around the world with fronts ranging from Iraq to Iran to Syria to Afghanistan to Ukraine, and even to Russia and North Korea. That would be a hard sell to the American people. What’s more, Republicans are already leaning on the same people that so profoundly wrecked the nation’s international relations as the would-be architects of the next GOP administration’s foreign policy.

Finally, after failing to make a foreign policy case against Clinton or for themselves, Fox and the GOP are forgetting the universal truth about presidential campaigns. As immortalized by James Carville, “It’s the economy, stupid.” No matter how much the right wants to avoid the domestic progress the nation has made in the years since George W. Bush and his cronies cratered the economy, that will always be the primary driver in voting for a national leader. And on that subject Republicans have nothing but failure to point to, while Democrats under Obama have an increasingly prosperous country and an agenda advocating on behalf of the middle-class. In addition, Clinton happens to be married to the last president to balance the budget while producing strong economic growth and job creation.

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It’s no wonder that Republicans don’t want to run on domestic issues. And as their PR division, Fox News is valiantly striving to help them to change the subject. But no matter how hard they pray their wishes will not be realized. 2016 will be decided by an economic debate, just like every other presidential election. That fact, however, won’t deter the right from trying to elevate foreign policy because it’s all they have. And in a presidential election year, when turnout is higher, demographics favor Democrats, and the GOP has more at-risk seats than their foes, the outlook for Republicans is filled with the gloom that they have been trying to project on Democrats ever since the black guy moved into the White House.

An Open Letter To Rush Limbaugh From The Deranged, Literally Insane, Filled With Hatred, Democrat Party Base

Dear Rush,

Have you finally gone completely off your titanium-reinforced, bubble-enclosed, Viagra IV-fitted, rocker? Not that anyone could tell the difference from what you have been spewing for the last quarter century, but your latest tirade is either evidence of a severe thrombotic stroke, or you are deliberately providing late night comedians with new material.

Rush Limbaugh

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Your re-imagining of recent history with regard to the catastrophic falsehoods that were dispensed by the Bush administration in order to justify the invasion of Iraq is simply preposterous. Rather than recognizing the reams of documentation that the Bush administration mislead the nation and the world about “Weapons of Mass Destruction,” you attempt to turn that fact into a lie saying that…

“One of the biggest lies told during the Iraq war was that Bush lied us into war. That lie, that propaganda has done more damage to this nation’s ability to take on legitimate terrorism with confidence and assurity (sic) and defeat it. For however many years the Iraq war went on, every night on Comedy Central, practically every night, the audience there heard about it was all a lie. That Bush lied, people died, Bush Hitler.”

So it’s Comedy Central’s fault that America has failed to eradicate terrorism from the planet? [Damn you Jon Stewart!] And because of them the U.S. military has been drained of its legitimacy and confidence? That’s a pretty nasty remark to make about the heroes who are defending your freedom. Setting aside your contention that “practically every night” they were associating Bush with Hitler (which is more like never on any night), the assignment of responsibility to a cable comedy network for what you believe to be damaging to military readiness should be cause for concern by those who care for you. But you didn’t stop there:

“Every night for whatever number of years, seven years, six years, Comedy Central, Stewart, Colbert, you name it, Bush lied. The mainstream media, every day, every week, Bush lied. What did that do? In the minds of young skulls full of mush, it turned around the Iraq war into a joke, number one. It turned Bush into a joke. It turned the country into a joke, and it told everybody that everything we were doing over there was illegitimate because we had no business being there, that there was no terrorism.”

For your information, Bush didn’t need any help to be turned into a joke. And America’s “Young Skulls Full Of Mush” [YSFOM: The name of my next punk rock band] had the same opinion as most of the rest of the nation about his criminal adventures in the Middle East. We didn’t have any business being there since it had nothing to do with the attacks on 9/11, and all of the evidence presented as validation was fabricated.

For much of your rant you diverted to subjects that had no bearing on your topic. For instance, you found some excuse to complain bitterly that feminist extremists were pushing an agenda that defined all sex in college as rape. I have a disturbing notion that you are subconsciously projecting your own experiences during your truncated college years which, by all indications, were unsuccessful both academically and socially. And when you returned to the harangue of the day, your hostility could no longer be restrained and was loosed with a fury at the innocent and unsuspecting fans of a television comedy channel:

“Many of these people make up the deranged, literally insane, filled with hatred, Democrat Party base. And Obama can’t call it terrorism because his comedian buddies have spent seven years saying it didn’t exist.”

Well that settles it. Now that you have established that the millions of “literally insane” hate-mongering viewers of political satire are the core of the Democratic Party it will be much easier to dismiss them when they point out that your insights about the President are completely without merit. Where, for instance, did you get the idea that Obama’s comments about terrorism were influenced by “his comedian buddies?” Even if that were true, it’s better than being influenced by the terrorists, which is the case for you, Fox News, and other right-wing bloviators.

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In closing, it is hard to fathom your assertions that the YSFOM ever accused Bush of lying about ISIS since there was no ISIS when Bush was president. Maybe you are conceding the fact that his ill-advised policies resulted in the creation of ISIS and led to a rise in terrorism worldwide. But that would require an assumption that there is still some remnant of sanity in your diseased brain. Lacking any other corroborating evidence of that, it would be safer to assume otherwise.

Yours truly (if you still know what that means),
The Deranged, Literally Insane, Filled With Hatred, Democrat Party Base.
cc: Young Skulls Full Of Mush

Untrue Grit: Fox News Thinks America Needs Fake Cowboys To Defeat The Terrorists

An editorial on the Fox Nation website takes on the profound question of what sort of hats our presidents should wear. But this isn’t an allegory for the duties assumed while governing the world’s greatest superpower (i.e. economist’s hat, general’s hat, etc.). No, it is far more shallow and childish than that. The headline alludes to the “Musings Of An Average Joe: We Need A Cowboy, Not A Community Organizer.” Accompanying this simplistic nonsense is a collage of some American presidents including Ronald Reagan and George Bush wearing cowboy hats, while Obama sports a safety helmet for bicycling.

There is so much wrong with this before even getting to the substance of the article. First of all, Ronald Reagan was born in Illinois and spent the whole of his adult life in big cities, primarily Hollywood. His association with cowboys is mostly due to having played them in movies. What could be more artificial? Well, perhaps the notion of Bush, a Connecticut native, Yale/Harvard grad (barely), as a western hero. And finally, it isn’t difficult to find photos of these same presidents in different hats, if all Fox is interested in is playing dress-up.

Fox Nation

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The article is an homage to uncontrolled rage. The premise revolves around the opinion of Fox’s alleged “average” Joe Billelo that Obama did not go sufficiently bonkers upon learning about the death of Kayla Mueller at the hands of ISIL terrorists. He wondered…

“Why didn’t Obama address the nation and the world that very day with genuine anger and rage? A rage that can’t be expressed with a teleprompter. Why didn’t he assure the American people that this brutality will not stand on his watch?”

In other words. why didn’t Obama rip out his hair and run around the room screaming banshee-style while throwing lamps at his aides and ordering the Pentagon bomb something – anything. Essentially, Joe wants to know why the President didn’t react in precisely the manner that the terrorists hope when they commit their murderous acts. It’s called “terror” -ism because it’s the intention of the perpetrators to instill the fear that terror produces into the hearts of their enemies. And every time anyone capitulates to that tactic they are advancing the goals of the terrorist.

President Obama is absolutely right to respond in a calm but assertive manner by issuing strong condemnations and promising justice. The notion that Obama has not given assurances that he will not tolerate such brutality is only plausible to the most vacant, tea-soaked brains. While professional Obama-haters like this Average Joe call for pointless, physical manifestations of drooling fury, Obama has efficiently disposed of more than 6,000 actual terrorist fighters, including more than half of their top commanders. While rightist pundits and politicians whine impotently about symbolic trivialities like the President not appending the word “Islamic” to every mention of terror, Obama forges alliances with the true representatives of the Muslim world who are offended by those who would allow terrorists to falsely appropriate the mantle of their faith.

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In light of the ludicrous arguments made in this editorial, it isn’t surprising that it would use the image of a cowboy to make a point about international diplomacy. Calling someone a cowboy generally means that they are dangerously impulsive and untrustworthy. They are the sort that shoots first and asks questions later. They are, therefore, exactly what the images of Reagan and Bush project. They are phonies who mistake movie bravado for real-world courage and wisdom. And they believe that slapping a cowboy hat on an urban faker makes him a gunslinging champion of freedom. That’s how superficial and dimwitted these cretins are. And what’s even worse, they appear to be proud of it.

Wingnuts Pan Obama’s Funny Video As Undignified, Praise Netanyahu’s As Delightful

There is something about the modern conservative establishment that fosters a deep infatuation with foreign leaders. Whether it be Vladimir Putin or King Abdullah or, most recently, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Konservative Komedy

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This fascination with tyrants and other non-American heads of state is decidedly unpatriotic. And coming from these Tea party, Republican, nationalist zealots, it is also extraordinarily hypocritical.

This week President Obama and Buzzfeed produced and released a short video to alert citizens that the open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) would end on February 15, and that anyone interested in acquiring health insurance would need to to do so before then. The video was a humorous affair that sought to inform without banging people over the head with a rhetorical sledgehammer.

The reaction from the rightist killjoys was not dissimilar to that of radical Islamists who would stone people for the sin of dancing. How dare the President lower himself to expressing humor in order to give out useful information. Obviously he’s the Anti-Christ. This is identical to the response by tight-assed GOP’ers to the President’s appearance on Zach Galifianakis’ “Between Two Ferns,” and his interviews with three YouTube celebs. Some of the criticisms include

  • Brain Kilmeade, Fox News: Bad message to friends in peril & heartening to our enemies.
  • Jim Geraghty, National Review: We’re not living in silly times, but we have a silly president.
  • Marc Thiessen, Washington Post: What president says YOLO [You only live once]? It’s just not funny.
  • Michelle Malkin: America’s commander-in-chief is goofing off w/Buzzfeed while the world burns.
  • Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Fox News: On the very day Kayla Mueller is confirmed to be dead at the hands of terrorism, how does our president respond? “YOLO.”

And you wonder why there aren’t any conservative comedians? Maybe because they don’t have the slightest hint of a sense of humor. Maybe because they can watch that video and conclude that it is “heartening to our enemies.” And maybe because what they actually do regard as funny is Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu pretending to be a “Bibisitter,” in a campaign ad. The reaction to Netanyahu’s fairly lame ad by right-wing aficionados of funny included:

  • KT McFarland, Fox News: Whoever said Bibi netanyahu doesn’t have sense of humor? Watch the Bibisitter campaign add – it’s hilarious!!
  • Laura Ingraham, Fox News: Hilarious Benjamin Netanyahu Election Campaign Advertisement.
  • National Review: Bibi Sitter: Benjamin Netanyahu’s new campaign commercial. Very funny.

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No one can argue that the world around Israel is less embroiled in hostilities than the United States. The Middle Eastern nation is surrounded by enemies devoted to their destruction. Yet somehow it’s OK, even hilarious, for Netanyahu to make “funny” videos to promote himself during a reelection campaign despite the turmoil his nation faces. But if Obama makes a funny video to help, not himself, but others who will benefit from having health insurance, he is an ogre who spits on the graves of murdered hostages.

There is an Olympian heap of irony in the fact that conservatives spent years pushing the insane conspiracy theory that Obama was not born in this country, but at the same time they openly yearn for foreigners, some of them unabashed dictators, to take control of America. And yet they still regard themselves as patriots as they feverishly insult our democracy, our President, and the majority of Americans who voted for him twice.

WTF? Now Conservatives Love The Lamestream Media Because – Obama

The only thing that tingles the naughty parts of right-wingers more than bashing President Obama over some trumped up scandal or context-deprived sentence fragment, is railing against the greatest threat to America since gay, Ebola-infected, terrorist children sneaking across the border – The “Lamestream” Media (which, ironically, was responsible for most of the panic about gay, Ebola-infected, terrorist children sneaking across the border).

Ever since Sarah Palin’s speech writers pretended to coin the term, conservatives have vociferously criticized the conventional media outlets that they regarded as hopelessly corrupted by liberal bias and deference to the powers that be. They blasted the broadcast networks and cable news channels (except for Fox News, the biggest, most mainstream of them all) with condemnations of their allegedly slanted reporting and anti-American partisanship. Never mind that all of the major news enterprises are divisions of giant, multinational corporations that benefit directly from the hyper-capitalist, free-market mutations that Randian conservatives worship.

Invariably it is Fox News leading that attack pack to blister those associated with the big media organizations. And everyone on the far right gets in line to wield blows. But now they have an ally seeking to join the parade of criticism. An unwanted ally, apparently.

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In what must be a deliberate attempt to upend the rightist ideologues’ mission, Obama made some remarks in an interview with Vox.com, an alternative Internet media company, that has shaken the press sparling’s brains into a state of utter confusion. decrying what he called “the balkanization of the media,” Obama said that…

“You’ve got the Fox News/Rush Limbaugh folks and then you’ve got the MSNBC folks… [it] allows us to narrow our point of view. […and that…] My advice to a future president is increasingly try to bypass the traditional venues that create divisions and try to find new venues within this new media that are quirkier, less predictable.”

That, of course, is precisely what the right has been saying ever since the black guy occupied the White House. Rightist thought bleeders like Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck have relocated to cyberspace outposts where they enjoy the freedom to pontificate as incoherently as they please. And everyone from Wingnut Land has advocated the very same advice that Obama offered about finding new venues.

Despite that apparent agreement, conservative hypocrites, upon learning of Obama’s support for new and alternative media, have now flipped their stance and are furious that Obama would say anything derogatory about the conventional press. They have adjusted their blinders so that all they can see are Obama’s comments regarding Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. The single-note chorus erupting from the right-wing choir is that Obama is specifically blaming just those two sources for all of his problems, despite his having mentioned MSNBC in the very same breath. And the fact that he would consent to being interviewed by an Internet media publisher like Vox is an insult to the good people who toil so valiantly in the now wonderful mainstream media.

This is not new complaint from the right. They howl when Obama appears with popular comedians like Stephen Colbert and Zach Galifianakis. They grumble when he hosts Google Hangouts. More recently, they went totally bonkers when he allowed YouTube stars, with audiences bigger than Fox News, to interview him. On that subject, Fox contributor Jonah Goldberg of the ultra-rightist National Review whined that Obama “only likes to talk to people who think he’s awesome.” That will come as some surprise to Fox’s Bill O’Reilly and Bret Baier, who have both interviewed Obama.

The lesson here for the President is that he must hunker down in the White House basement and speak to no one. Because if he conducts an interview with ABC News he is a pandering to the lamestream elitists who are in the tank for him. And if he bypasses them he is insulting the indisputable dignity of the American press and proving that he’s afraid of tough questions. As always, Fox News and the right have constructed a bullet-proof, lose-lose scenario from which Obama cannot hope to escape. Unless, of course, he uses simple logic and reason, concepts that escape the ability of the right to comprehend.

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Obama Vox Interview

Obama Condemns All Acts Of Barbarism Due To Perversion Of Faith – Fox News Freaks Out

In a speech at the National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama acknowledged the “sinful tendency that can pervert and distort our faith,” and broadly condemned the use of religion to justify barbaric acts of terrorism. So leave it to Fox News to surgically extract a fragment of the speech in order to disparage the President.

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The portion of the address that ruffled Fox’s fur was a snippet wherein Obama referenced the Crusades to remind the audience that “people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.” Fox News latched unto that phrase and, for much of the day, used it to distort the President’s meaning in order to denigrate him as anti-Christian. But the President’s remarks were much more inclusive of the evil done by all perpetrators of violence in the name of religion. Here are some more extended excerpts of what he actually had to say:

“From a school in Pakistan to the streets of Paris, we have seen violence and terror perpetrated by those who profess to stand up for faith, their faith, professed to stand up for Islam, but, in fact, are betraying it. We see ISIL, a brutal, vicious death cult that, in the name of religion, carries out unspeakable acts of barbarism. […] We see sectarian war in Syria, the murder of Muslims and Christians in Nigeria, religious war in the Central African Republic, a rising tide of anti-Semitism and hate crimes in Europe, so often perpetrated in the name of religion. […]

“And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”

Any reasonable person would have to agree with what was expressed in the whole of the speech. But, as usual, reasonableness was not in attendance at Fox News. As a representative example of the departure from reason and fair discourse, Fox’s Neil Cavuto brought in Catholic League extremist Bill Donohue to rant feverishly about Obama’s alleged insult to the world’s Christians (video below):

Donohue: Had he said just said that, that people have killed in the name of their God and it’s not unique to one religion, who could argue with that? But he didn’t do that, did he? He spoke with specificity. he singled out the Crusades and the Inquisition.

Actually, Obama did not single out anyone. Quite the opposite. He specifically identified numerous religions that have all had issues with violent extremism. But the only thing that Donohue heard was the bit about the Crusades. The same is true for Cavuto who later demonstrated the essence of a loaded question by asking “Do you think [Obama] is dismissive of religion in the aggregate?” Huh? Did Cavuto even bother to listen to the speech which was dripping with piety and deference to God? The ludicrous question gave Donohue the opportunity to further slander Obama’s commitment to faith by excitedly responding that Obama is “a thoroughgoing secularist. I don’t think he believe’s in anything.”

This is typical of the Fox News editorial mission to cherry-pick Obama’s remarks and present them in the most negative way possible. It furthers their criticism of the President for his reluctance to associate the terrorists of ISIL with Islam. In that regard, he got some support today from Jordan’s Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, who said that “If there was any doubt that this is an organization that has anything to do with any religion on the face of this planet, that doubt is gone.”

Judeh’s comments are additional proof that the world’s Muslims are united in rejecting the violence of terrorism and the false accusation that it is inherently connected to the Muslim faith. In fact, the only people who are determined to make that link are the terrorists themselves and Fox News, which has the disturbing effect of putting Fox squarely on the side of the terrorists.

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To top it off, the following morning Fox’s Gregg Jarrett made the wholly delusional statement that “It struck some people in an odd way that the President was justifying ISIS.” Really? Which people? Jarrett doesn’t say. And how could these imaginary people reach that insane conclusion? Jarrett doesn’t say. But just to keep things fair and balanced, Joe Scarborough on MSNBC also took up the criticism of Obama for telling the truth about religion’s bad actors.

Fox News Airs Fake Story While Slobbering Over Another Foreign Dictator

It doesn’t take much to bring out the veneration for tyrants among the wingnut characters on Fox News. The conservative DNA is predisposed to favor authoritarianism. Last year it was Vladimir Putin who got them all hot and bothered, even to the point of wishing that the Russian dictator was the leader of the United States.

Fox News

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Now it is King Abdullah of Jordan who warms their cockles. During a segment of Fox & Friends (video below), the Kurvy Kouch Potatoes let their emotions spew forth about the Jordanian he-man who they were fooled into believing had personally stormed into battle against ISIL. The news that King Abdullah piloted air strikes in Syria was never authenticated, but that didn’t stop Fox from trumpeting the bravery and conviction of the monarch. Steve Doocy led off with the undeserved praise, followed quickly by an overheated Elisabeth Hasselbeck:

Doocy: Now this morning there is news that the King, who is also a trained pilot, the Jordanian media is reporting that there is a possibility that the King could have taken part in some of the air strikes.
Hasselbeck: He is stepping up with strong leadership and clarity. So what is our president doing?

First of all, a Jordanian spokesman made it clear that the King did not participate in the air strikes. What’s more, they said that it was incorrect to suggest that he is or ever was a fighter pilot. So virtually everything that Doocy said was wrong. That’s a state of affairs with which he should be quite familiar by now.

Secondly, the slap that Hasselbeck took at the American president was evidence of both her ignorance and her utter disrespect for America and its leadership, as well as her adulation of foreign dictators. The argument that Jordan has done more to fight ISIL is rooted in open disdain for President Obama.

The truth is that Jordan executed a couple of prisoners who were already sentenced to death, and then flew some missions to bomb terrorist fighters in the field. Obama has been doing that for months. His campaign against ISIL has already resulted in over 6,000 terrorist casualties, including more than half of their top commanders.

And yet, the Fox News crew thinks that Obama should be more like King Abdullah. For Obama to do that he would need to scale back his current efforts considerably and only step forward when some tragedy occurs. For the record, the U.S. score vs. ISIL is about 6,000 to 3.

Let’s face it – Nobody at Fox is going to give this President credit for anything, even when the facts show that he is by far outperforming the international community’s response to global terror. Their only goal is to belittle the President, and by extension, America, in order to advance their bitterly partisan and purely political agenda. How exactly do they think that it helps our nation when they insult our Commander-in-Chief and accuse him of being weak? It’s a veritable invitation to the enemy to escalate their attacks. And that is how patriotism is practiced by the right-wing zealots who run and watch Fox News.

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Jealous Media Hacks Bash Obama’s YouTube Interviews (w/Video)

Anyone who doubts that the media has a powerful and influential impact on society and its forward progress is probably still trying to tune in radio broadcasts of The Lone Ranger. And part of recognizing that impact is paying attention to the ways that technology and evolving trends change how people interact with information.

The old guard is notoriously resistant to any disruption of their domain. So it is not surprising that staid, conventional media players are outraged and offended that President Obama has once again bucked their banalities to hobnob with more edgy communicators and reach out to a broader, more modern audience.

Obama YouTube Interviews

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Obama’s White House interviews with three YouTube stars is emblematic of the shift in media access. The lucky video hosts may not have journalism credentials, but they do have a refreshing sincerity and massive audiences. In fact, they reach more people than would be reached by traditional media. Hank Green’s Vlogbrothers has a YouTube subscriber base of 2.4 million. The flamboyant Glozell draws 3.4 million. And Bethany Mota pulls in a whopping 8.1 million people. That’s about four times the viewers of Bill O’Reilly on Fox News.

Nevertheless, the dinosaur newsers have been fairly unanimous in their condemnation of the President for granting these interviews. Fox’s media analyst, Howard Kurtz, called it “beneath the dignity of the office to be hanging out with some of these YouTubers.” Glenn Beck called it “truly obscene” and compared it to going on a burlesque show. The folks at RightScoop called their fellow vloggers “a bunch of idiot YouTube stars.” And just about everybody focused solely on Glozell, the most outrageous of the three inquisitors, virtually ignoring the substance of the questions overall.

Ever mindful of protecting their turf, many in the press complained that Obama was dodging “serious” reporters by staging these Internet affairs. They must have forgotten that he just did a full court press conference last month. And the questions asked at that event were no better than those asked by the YouTubers. To the contrary, the YouTube questions were often far more substantive and relevant to the lives of real people. What’s more, the biggest issue that emerged from last months press availability seemed to be the right-wing indignation over the fact that all of the reporters called on were women.

Another logical failing on the part of conservative critics is that despite their relentless harping about how the “lamestream” media is a useless and outdated institution populated by elitist, partisan, know-nothings, they bust cranial blood vessels when the President steps outside the bubble to dialogue with an alternative to the mainstream. Apparently they will only be satisfied if he agrees to sit down with Ann Coulter or Rush Limbaugh.

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Here is the White House video of all three YouTube interviews that has already been viewed more than 750,000 times.

KNEE-JERKS: The Predictable Ass-Holiness Of Fox News And The GOP Post-SOTU

In a development that will surprise only a few mentally deficient cave dwellers, President Obama’s State of the Union speech was greeted by Republican politicians and conservative pundits with barefaced disdain. Naturally, Fox News took the lead in developing a hostile rapid response in order to provide the President’s foes with an easily referenced collection of attack themes. In fact, Fox was so diligent that their oppositional strategy was actually launched before the speech even began.

To set the scene, Obama presented a rosy picture of the nation after six years of his presidency. He spoke of the economic renewal that has created more than 11 million new jobs, reduced the deficit by two-thirds, and produced unprecedented private sector growth. He addressed many of the issues that have long been a part of the Democratic agenda including tax reform that eliminates loopholes for the rich and benefits the middle-class, enhancing opportunities for education, reducing our dependency on foreign oil and advancing the development and use of alternative fuels, Climate Change, equal pay for women, raising the minimum wage, Net Neutrality, and access to affordable and effective health care. And he noted that the successes of the last six years were achieved despite the fact that “At every step, we were told our goals were misguided or too ambitious; that we would crush jobs and explode deficits.”

So how did the right respond to these facts? By denying them, of course. And they topped that off with some distractions and ad hominem insults. The apparent primary line of attack from the right is to accuse Obama of not having heard the message sent by voters last November. However, if there was any message at all it was delivered so faintly that the President could be excused for not hearing it. It was the lowest voter turnout in 70 years. Sixty-two percent of Americans didn’t vote at all, and the Republican victories were achieved with about 20% of eligible voters. That’s not exactly a mandate.

The GOP complained that the American people want him to work with Congress. But their definition of that is to abandon his principles and capitulate to Republicans. Obama tried to work with the GOP for six years and was rebuffed at every turn. It’s ironic that Republicans demand that Obama pay heed to the election results when they so flagrantly ignored them in 2008 and 2012, even plotting to oppose everything he did from day one of his administration. Where were the Republicans insisting on respect for the decision of the voters when Mitch McConnell declared, on inauguration day, that his first priority was making Obama a one term president? And it should be noted that Obama enjoyed landslide victories with much larger voter participation.

It didn’t take long for one of the points Obama made in his speech to get rolled over by the Fox News editorial positioning. The President sought to inspire a more substantive relationship between the White House and Congress saying…

“There are a lot of good people here, on both sides of the aisle. And many of you have told me that this isn’t what you signed up for?-?arguing past each other on cable shows, the constant fundraising, always looking over your shoulder at how the base will react to every decision. […] A better politics is one where we debate without demonizing each other; where we talk issues, and values, and principles, and facts, rather than ‘gotcha’ moments, or trivial gaffes, or fake controversies that have nothing to do with people’s daily lives.”

The response to this by Fox anchors and guests was to embrace trivialization and fake controversies. Within seconds of the end of the speech, Bret Baier complained that Obama had not said the name “Al Qaeda” during the address. Of course, Obama did speak at length about terrorism and his administration’s commitment to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the enemy. The problem is that if you don’t specifically say “Al Qaeda” you are criticized for it. If you do say it you are criticized for not saying “jihad.” If you do say that you are criticized for not saying “Islamist.” If you do say that you are criticized for not saying ….. Well, you get the idea. Obama would have to make a list of every word the right obsesses over and make sure to stuff them all into every one of his speeches.

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The Fox News collective, and the Republican Party they serve (or is it the other way around) suffers from Oppositional Defiant Disorder: a persistent pattern of tantrums, arguing, and angry or disruptive behavior, generally associated with children. A perfect illustration of this is the way the Fox Nation website characterized a post-SOTU article by the Associated Press. Their headline was “AP Fact Check Obliterates Obama’s SOTU.”

Fox Nation SOTU

To be sure, the AP took a decidedly biased and negative tone, as the so-called liberal media usually does, but even so, they could not find substantive fault with Obama’s speech, much less obliteration. Here are the “facts” they allegedly checked:

  • Obama: At this moment – with a growing economy, shrinking deficits, bustling industry and booming energy production – We have risen from recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on Earth.
    — The AP’s analysis essentially concurred saying that “Job growth has been healthy. […] Inflation-adjusted median household income…is about 4 percent higher than when it bottomed out in 2011. […] Booming energy production is indeed a reality.”
  • Obama: I am sending this Congress a bold new plan to lower the cost of community college to zero.
    — This, of course, is not a refutable fact and the AP didn’t bother to refute it. They simply argued that Republicans in Congress will not be receptive to the plan. But that knee-jerk obstructionism has been the GOP stance ever since Obama became President.
  • Obama: We’ve set aside more public lands and waters than any administration in history.
    — The AP acknowledged that this is true saying that “Expansion of the massive Pacific islands monument puts Obama on top.”
  • Obama: Thanks to a growing economy, the recovery is touching more and more lives. Wages are finally starting to rise again. We know that more small-business owners plan to raise their employees’ pay than at any time since 2007.
    — Yes, said the AP: “A survey of small businesses by the National Federation of Independent Business does show that a rising proportion plans to raise wages.”

It appears that Fox News is confusing the concept of “obliteration” with the diametrically opposed concept of “nearly complete concurrence.” That degree of cognitive failure explains the antsy grumbling of FoxPods and the GOP who are distressed that Obama has not concluded that the last two years of his presidency are irrelevant and that he should work on his presidential library and let Republicans in Congress govern the country. And it also explains how they can insist that his speech was defiant and combative despite these closing remarks:

“If you share the broad vision I outlined tonight, join me in the work at hand. If you disagree with parts of it, I hope you’ll at least work with me where you do agree. And I commit to every Republican here tonight that I will not only seek out your ideas, I will seek to work with you to make this country stronger.”

It would be naive not to recognize that this sort of rhetorical communion is common in political discourse and is often insincere. But it was nevertheless an outstretched hand and the GOP ought to at least try to grasp it before they swat it down. But that would be totally out of character for a party that has made rancid animosity the hallmark of their tenure.

Fox Nation vs. Reality: Billions In Tax Hikes Are Actually Cuts For Most Americans

In the upcoming State Of the Union speech, President Obama is expected to call for a variety of tax reforms aimed at helping the middle-class to finally participate in the nation’s historic economic recovery. The proposals comprise a common sense approach that recognizes the harm caused by income equality and are supported by a majority of the American people. They include…

  • Closing the “Trust Fund” loophole that allows billions of dollars of the ultra wealthy to go untaxed.
  • Raising the capital-gains tax rate from 23.8% to 28% (the rate in effect during the Reagan administration) for couples with annual incomes above $500,000.
  • Imposing a new fee on financial firms that engage in high volume trading. Not only will this raise significant revenue, it will discourage the sort of trading that makes the stock market unnecessarily volatile.

The funds raised from these measures would be used to provide enhanced benefits for middle-class taxpayers. For instance, there would be a new $500 credit for working families, improved retirement savings plans, an increase of the tax credit for childcare to $3,000 per child, and free tuition at community colleges.

So how does Fox News present this plan to the readers of their Fox Nation website? They shamelessly spin it to portray the measure as exclusively tax hikes and ignore the tax cuts and other benefits that most citizens will receive: “Still Not Paying Your ‘Fair Share’? Obama To Seek Billions In New Tax Hikes”

Fox Nation

Fox fails to point out that those who would pay more under this proposal are the few one-percenters who have benefited most for the last six years as the stock market has soared to record levels and corporate profits exceeded all previous highs. They can certainly afford these modest increases and they owe it to the country to let the other 99% enjoy some of the success for which we are partly (mostly) responsible.

Throughout most of the 2012 election season, Republicans, along with their PR allies at Fox, were quick to point to the one economic metric that has failed to keep pace with the rest of the recovery: middle-class wage growth. They tried to use this as as evidence that Obama’s policies were not working, despite all of the other evidence of unparalleled progress. And even as they made this disingenuous argument, they opposed any solutions that would actually address the problem. They obsessed over Benghazi and Ebola and gay marriage and repealing ObamaCare, rather than getting behind infrastructure funding to create jobs or raising the minimum wage, two obvious initiatives that would directly improve the lot of the middle-class.

Now Republicans are already declaring Obama’s tax reforms to be “dead on arrival” in the newly fortified GOP Congress. They are just as obstructionist as ever when it comes to helping working Americans. And they are just as obstinate as ever when it comes to protecting the wealth of the corporations and individuals who shower them with campaign cash. Consequently, it is unlikely that these measures will pass any time soon, but they will become fodder for debate during the 2016 presidential election cycle.

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So which side do you think the people will be on? Especially if the GOP nominee is the Original Bankster, Mitt Romney, or the next in line in the Bush Dynasty, Jeb Bush (whom the overlord of Fox News has already endorsed)? The remainder of the field aren’t any better on matters of economic fairness. They are a cabal of extremist Ayn Rand disciples who regard the less fortunate members of society as scum who deserve their lowly place. And with the way that the Fox Nationalists are characterizing the President’s proposals it’s clear that they mean to actively assist the GOP/Tea Party in misleading their flock and advancing the interests of the super-rich.