Darrell Issa Discovers More Emails He Can Brazenly Lie About On Fox News

In an entirely unsurprising development, rabidly partisan congressman, and recidivist criminal, Darrell Issa, has popped up again on Fox News to peddle his dishonest allegations concerning the trumped up IRS controversy.

Darrell Issa

The latest wrinkle in Issa’s permanently furrowed brow is an email exchange that he selectively leaked that he alleges is the long-lost smoking gun that proves – well, whatever it is that has his panties in a twist that day. The emails are a discussion between the former IRS Tax-Exempt Organizations division director, Lois Lerner, and Maria Hooke from the IT department, wherein Lerner seeks information regarding document storage. Here are excerpts from the emails:

Lerner: I had a question today about OCS [instant messages]. I was cautioning folks about email and how we have had several occasions where Congress has asked for emails and there has been an electronic search for responsive emails–so we need to be cautious about what we say in emails.
Hooke: OCS messages are not set to automatically save as the standard; however the functionality exits within the software. [...] My general recommendation is to treat the conversation as if it could/is being saved somewhere, as it is possible for either party of the conversation to retain the information and have it turn up as part of an electronic search. Make sense?
Lerner: Perfect.

From this rather innocuous exchange, Issa managed to extract something nefarious. His interpretation points to a deliberate attempt to conceal information from congressional investigators. Here is his analysis as adoringly received by Brian Kilmeade on Fox News:

Kilmeade: What do you get from this correspondence?
Issa: What we get is, perhaps what CNN was asking me for a couple weeks ago – a smoking gun. This is Lois Lerner clearly cautioning people not to say things on email. [...] Why? She didn’t want an audit trail for what they were doing, and they were targeting conservatives for their views. No question at all.
Kilmeade: As so many others are choosing not to follow you, we will.

If Issa gets a smoking gun from this, you have to ask what he’s smoking. First of all, Lerner is merely articulating a common business instruction to keep all communications professional. Cautioning her staff about what they say in emails that might later be made public is prudent advice. Not because they are engaging in a cover up, but because people often lapse into inappropriately casual conversations in routine work life. They certainly would not want to have accounts of last night’s party, or off-color jokes, turning up in official investigations.

Issa’s laughably absurd assertion that Lerner is ordering a cover up of emails requires one to accept that she would do such a thing in an email. That would be like calling a criminal accomplice on the phone to tell him not to talk about the crime they just committed because the phone might be tapped. And Issa went further to answer his own question as to why Lerner would issue her cautionary advice. He said it was because she “didn’t want an audit trail for what they were doing.” Of course, the only evidence he has of that is his supernatural ability to read minds.

Perhaps the most blatant distortion Issa whips up refers to Lerner’s response to the IT rep’s explanation of instant message storage. Lerner said simply “Perfect.” Issa contorted that into her being “delighted” that instant messaging wasn’t being tracked. However, that isn’t what the IT rep said. In fact, she said quite the opposite, advising that the messages be treated as if they were saved because either party could do so.

But the worst mangling of this portion of the exchange is that Lerner’s response came immediately following the IT rep signing off her last email by asking “Make sense?” That is what Lerner was responding to when she said “Perfect,” as in “it makes perfect sense.” She was simply acknowledging that she understood the explanation.

This is typical of Issa’s unethical practice of cherry-picking documents from his committee’s hearings that he can spin negatively. It is something that he gets away with because far too many so-called journalists allow themselves to be manipulated by his intentionally deceptive leaks. And, of course, Fox News is all to happy to cooperate with the charade. Already Bill O’Reilly has featured a segment on this subject wherein he referred to these new emails as “hard evidence” of a cover up. Someone needs to give these cretins a remedial course on the meaning of “evidence.”

The O’Reilly Fester: Fox’s Super-Pundit Criticizes Media He Never Watches

Last night on Bill O’Reilly’s show, the Fester aired a segment on whether or not the media can be trusted. You have to wonder whether O’Reilly was looking in a mirror when he came up with this subject.

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However, it wasn’t O’Reilly who went completely off the rails this time. His guest was Charles Krauthammer, widely considered to be the “brainy” Fox fact distorter. Krauthammer was brought in specifically to offer his expertise in media analysis culled from decades of observation and study. Even O’Reilly realized that in order to make informed judgments about something you need to be immersed in it and continually reinforcing your knowledge. It was in that vein that O’Reilly asked Krauthammer…

O’Reilly: You as a commentator…you have to watch the media reports come in. You have to be well informed. You have to be up to date, as do I. Is there anybody that you trust?
Kruathammer: Well, again, apart from Fox, no, of course not.

So the only media outlet that Krauthammer regards as trustworthy is Fox News. That’s a pretty limited range of media sources. Surely he must have reasons for why no other source has any credibility in his view. O’Reilly pressed him (softly) on this to ascertain what he finds lacking at other networks like, for instance, CNN. O’Reilly presumed that “You must watch it.” To which Krauthammer replied…

“I don’t watch it. The only place I watch it is when I’m waiting for an airplane in some lounge somewhere. [...] I have not watched a network newscast on any of the three networks in 20 years.”

Well then. No wonder he is considered an expert in media. His opinion is informed by having never seen any of it since Clinton was in his first term in the White House. Krauthammer is the model of the Fox News pundit. He has absolutely no knowledge of, or expertise in, the subjects he is called upon to pontificate about. What’s more, he has no interest in becoming knowledgeable. That’s how we get people like Sean Hannity talking about military operations; or Neil Cavuto talking about climate change; or Steve Doocy talking about the economy; or Sarah Palin talking about anything. It is also how we get O’Reilly talking about race and poverty.

This does, however, explain why Fox News viewers are less informed than viewers of other media – or even people who watch no news media at all. It is a network devoted to mis/disinformation and ignorance. And to their credit, they are quite good at it.

Curmudgeon Watch: Bill O’Reilly Wags His Finger At Jon Stewart’s Daily Show

Pandering to his geriatric demographic, Bill O’Reilly of Fox News devoted his lead segments to concern-trolling the welfare of Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert. The theme of his Talking Points Memo was whether or not the Comedy Central duo would have to “change their tone” now that “things are not going very well for the Obama administration.”

Bill O'Reilly

O’Reilly opened by asserting that Stewart and Colbert are unrepentant liberals who are committed exclusively to attacking conservatives and promoting President Obama:

O’Reilly: Here’s the problem with these guys. They prop up the Democratic Party and the liberal line, President Obama, by denigrating the opposition, the Republican Party, conservative people. That’s what they do. That’s how they function on a daily basis over there. Does it get more difficult to do that when the President and the party, the Democratic Party, are descending in the court of public opinion?

First of all, O’Reilly’s logic that Republicans cannot be satirized if Obama’s approval ratings decline is ludicrous on its face. If popularity, or the lack of it, is the driving factor as to whether a potential target of satire will be selected by a comedian, then it’s the Republican Party that can breathe a sigh of relief, because no matter how badly the President is doing, he’s miles ahead of the GOP.

But more to the point, O’Reilly is absolutely wrong in his assessment that Stewart props up Democrats and lives to denigrate the right. Apparently he doesn’t watch The Daily Show or even read Fox Nation (which is edited by his own producer, Jesse Watters). Over at the Fox Nation Lie-Fest they have published dozens of articles heaping praise on Stewart for either “destroying, tearing apart, eviscerating, or grilling” Obama and other liberals (see this list here). And if that weren’t enough, they also highlighted the many times Stewart “mocked, roasted, savaged, scorched, ridiculed, and obliterated” the President and his lefty allies (see this list here).

So where does O’Reilly get the idea that Stewart is propping up liberals? Like almost everything else that O’Reilly (and Fox News) spews, it is made up from whole cloth to advance the conservative agenda. But O’Reilly has his sycophantic guests that appear mainly to agree with him. On this program it was Fox News media correspondent, Howard Kurtz, who declared that Stewart and Colbert are now “out of the zeitgeist” due to their alleged failure to criticize the President. And who knows more about the zeitgeist than Kurtz?

However, Kurtz doesn’t seem to be paying any attention to Fox’s reporting either. That’s pretty damning for the person on the Fox roster whose job is specifically the media. Kurtz criticized Stewart’s coverage of the IRS affair because it contained “nothing about a cover up. He glossed over President Obama’s role.” Kurtz must have missed the fact that there is zero evidence of a cover up or any role by the President. That may have something to do with why Stewart left it out.

When Kurtz’s co-host on Fox’s MediaBuzz, Lauren Ashburn, chirped in to disagree with O’Reilly, she was immediately interrupted so that O’Reilly could ridicule her viewpoint and segue to insulting Stewart’s audience as San Francisco liberals smoking pot. That’s actually a reprise of an insult he flung a couple of years ago when Stewart was a guest on his show. At that time O’Reilly slammed the Daily Show audience (which is documented as being younger, smarter, and more successful than O’Reilly’s) by saying…

“You know what’s really frightening? You actually have an influence on this presidential election. That is scary, but it’s true. You’ve got stoned slackers watching your dopey show every night and they can vote.”

If that’s scary, then how much more frightening is it that the imbeciles who watch O’Reilly, and believe the fairy tales he spins, can vote (or buy guns, or operate cars and other heavy machinery)? O’Reilly concluded by thoughtfully worrying about Stewart and Colbert losing their audience since “they are going to have a harder time pleasing them with the collapse of the liberal establishment.” O’Reilly may have buried the lede in this program. Up until now, most people were probably unaware that the liberal establishment had collapsed. That should have been his headline. Of course, it’s just as phony as everything else he says, but why should that matter to the biggest phony on the phoniest network?

Bill O’Reilly Launches His Fourth Feeble Boycott Of Mexico

The people of Mexico must have woken up this morning shuddering in abject fear. The day began with an ominous threat directed at them by a frightful behemoth of American power.

Bill O'Reilly

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That’s right. Bill O’Reilly is mad and his anger cannot be assuaged. Whether it’s immigration, or the arrest of Americans who broke Mexican laws, or heartburn that flared up suspiciously after consuming a Fiery Doritos Taco Supreme, O’Reilly is inconsolable. His fury has been unbound and woe be unto his foes.

Last night on the O’Reilly Factor, the irascible host had had enough and announced that he was not going to go to Mexico. He called on every American to join his boycott of the nation that he said is “not our friend”.

“It is time for all of us to stop going there. That country is not our friend. It knows and helps the millions of people that are crossing its territory to enter the USA illegally. Mexico is allowing that to happen. Why? Because they don’t really like us and they are corrupt. They get money to allow the human trafficking.

“Add to that the Marine, Sergeant Tahmooressi who has post-traumatic stress disorder incarcerated down there. And you have Mexican President Nieto giving us the middle finger. Well you know what Mr. Nieto? You know what? I’m not going to your country. And I’m asking every American to boycott you because you, and your government, is harming the USA.”

And this is no idle threat. O’Reilly is dead serious. Just as he was when he initiated Mexican boycotts on three previous occasions:

  • May 17, 2006: I will call for a total boycott of Mexican goods and no travel to your country.
  • December 19, 2012: I’m calling for a national boycott of Mexico. No one goes and the airlines stop flying there.
  • May 29, 2013: I think this is the end of Mexican tourism. [...] Well, guess who’s gonna lead that boycott?

As the world has seen, those previous economic actions devastated Mexico. Mexican tourism has ended. Unless you count the over 20 million Americans who traveled to Mexico last year making it the most popular destination for American tourists.

Further evidence of O’Reilly’s influence on international travel is evident in his boycott of France in 2003 because they refused to support George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq. Media Matters compiled the damage done by the boycott, including O’Reilly’s claim of declining revenue (which was false) as reported by the Paris Business Review (which doesn’t exist).

Nevertheless, O’Reilly is adamant that the Mexicans deserve to be punished for the unsatisfactory quality of their friendship. This despite the fact that he never offered proof that Mexico doesn’t like us, or that they help millions to cross the border illegally for profit. They have earned his wrath and they shall suffer it. He so upset that he is pushing this boycott even though he regards boycotts as un-American. This is what he said about a boycott aimed at Rush Limbaugh after he insulted then law student Sandra Fluke by calling her a prostitute:

“The entire boycott movement is garbage. The far left threatening sponsors who advertise on programs they don’t like is flat-out un-American. [...] The boycott movement from the left right now is driven by threats.”

So good luck, Mexico. You are in for some trying times as O’Reilly and his minions revamp their travel itineraries to avoid the southern border. I’m sure you are crushed by his criticisms and even more anguished by his personal promise to stay away. There will be no book signings, or paparazzi brigades, or arrogant lectures on the immorality of Spring Break. From now on, Mexico, you are on your own. You will have to find some way to endure without Bill O’Reilly.

Taliban Releases The American Soldier That Fox News Hoped They Would Kill

Good news was released today about an American soldier who has been held captive for five years. As reported by the Washington Post…

“Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was handed over to U.S. special operations forces by the Taliban Saturday evening, local time, in an area of eastern Afghanistan, near the Pakistani border. Officials said the exchange was not violent and the 28-year-old Bergdahl was in good condition and able to walk.”

The release was part of a swap that sent five Taliban prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay to Qatar. So not only have we secured the freedom of a captive American, we reduced the population of Gitmo, hopefully leading to its eventual closure. President Obama issued a statement upon Bergdahl’s release saying that…

“Today the American people are pleased that we will be able to welcome home Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, held captive for nearly five years. On behalf of the American people, I was honored to call his parents to express our joy that they can expect his safe return, mindful of their courage and sacrifice throughout this ordeal. Today we also remember the many troops held captive and whom remain missing or unaccounted for in America’s past wars. Sergeant Bergdahl’s recovery is a reminder of America’s unwavering commitment to leave no man or woman in uniform behind on the battlefield. And as we find relief in Bowe’s recovery, our thoughts and prayers are with those other Americans whose release we continue to pursue.”

foxnews-ralph-peters

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Sadly, not everyone will be pleased about Bergdahl’s homecoming. When it was first reported that he had been captured, Fox News brought in their “strategic analyst” Lt. Col. Ralph Peters to offer his opinion on the matter. Whereupon Peters, without any evidence, declared that Bergdahl was a liar, a deserter, and that “the Taliban can save us a lot of legal hassles and legal bills,” presumably by killing him. (Watch here)

Peters also appeared on Bill O’Reilly’s show where they both demeaned Bergdahl as “crazy,” showing little sympathy for his plight or the suffering of his family. This prompted a bipartisan assembly of congressional veterans to speak out about Peters’ viciously unpatriotic remarks. They sent a letter to Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes saying in part…

“As members of Congress and veterans of the United States Armed Forces, it was with incredulity and disgust that we watched Fox News Strategic Analyst Lt. Colonel Ralph Peters (Ret.) suggest on your airwaves that Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl, ‘abandoned his buddies, abandoned his post, and just walked off,’ and stated that, if this is true, ‘the Taliban can save us a lot of legal hassles and legal bills.’” [...]

“We demand an apology to PFC Bergdahl’s family and to the thousands of soldiers who put their lives on the line for our country. As a member of the military family, Mr. Peters should measure his remarks and remember that the United States will never abandon one of its own.”

They never received an apology, so presumably Peters still wishes that Bergdahl had been executed by our enemies rather than being freed and sent home. O’Reilly never apologized either. Instead, he hosted Peters just a couple of days ago and, barely containing his slobber, told Peters that he should be the successor to outgoing Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.

That’s just what the VA needs. A treasonous miscreant who advocates for American soldiers to be murdered by terrorists. Contributing further to his resume for VA Chief, Peters has also called for military attacks on the media. He alleged that Obama seeks common ground with Al Qaeda. And he is part of the Fox congregation that adores Vladimir Putin.

As repugnant as Peters is, the fact that Fox News keeps him on the payroll despite these repeated, anti-American commentaries, is unfathomable. Apparently Peters fits in well with the cretinous world view of his Fox comrades Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch.

Fox News Suffers Worst Ratings In Thirteen Years – And That’s Not Their Big Problem

Fox News has fallen and it can’t get up. Ratings for the month of May 2014, have just been published, and the numbers are devastating for Fox News. While still occupying the top slot among the cable news networks, Fox saw about a quarter of its audience dissolve across every demographic group and time period.

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Every Fox program in primetime dropped by double-digits, with Bill O’Reilly taking the deepest dive. Sean Hannity posted some of his lowest numbers ever in his new 10:00 pm time slot. And Megyn Kelly’s new, and highly anticipated, primetime show failed to improve on the ratings performance of her predecessor.

To be sure, Fox was not the only network to see declines. In fact, CNN had an even larger dip. The news was much better for MSNBC who was down the least of all the cable news networks. They lost a relatively insignificant five percent of total viewers, but actually saw increases for Morning Joe, and for Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow in primetime.

For Fox to post numbers that they haven’t seen since August of 2001 (before 9/11) is a painful blow to both their reputation and their bank account. But they have even bigger problems. The viewers that do tune in to Fox are significantly older than viewers of their competitors. Fox News has always had the oldest skewing audience in cable news. With a median age of 68.8 years, Fox’s audience is over six years older than either CNN or MSNBC. It’s even worse for their top rated program (O’Reilly) who’s average viewer is over 72 years old. And their Great Blonde Hope (Kelly), who was specifically brought in to draw younger viewers, also exceeded Fox’s average with her typical viewer voyeur being over 70.

An analysis of the audience composition for the three cable news networks shows that, of Fox’s total audience, a pitiful 20% are in the 25-54 age group favored by advertisers. It’s even worse for their primetime schedule where only 15% fall into that group. That compares to CNN with 30%/35% respectively, and MSNBC with 31%/28%. In other words, CNN and MSNBC draw 50% more total viewers in the younger demos, and they double Fox’s ratio in primetime.

This makes it all the more curious that Fox News is barreling forward with a strategy to viciously insult their biggest viewer bloc. Recently, Fox regular Karl Rove launched an attack on Hillary Clinton with vile inferences that she is “old and stale” or perhaps brain damaged. Expressing such open contempt and belittling of the capacity for older persons to be effective leaders is not a particularly sound way to ingratiate oneself with the senior citizens that make up the bulk of ones audience.

Apparently Fox is not satisfied with alienating African-Americans and Latinos and women and youth and the middle-class and workers and, of course, most of America’s liberals and moderates. Now they are aiming to narrow their appeal even more by driving away the last remnants of their audience – senior citizens. Keep up the good work, Fox.

Uh-Oh: Bill O’Reilly Equates Cliven Bundy With Chris Christie

The pathetic conservative media stampede in support of the deadbeat welfare rancher, Cliven Bundy, has produced a tsunami of crocodile tears and back-peddling by anxious right-wingers who prematurely hitched themselves to Bundy’s racist wagon. Despite the fact that many Republicans expressed almost identical views way before Bundy came on the scene, they now are rushing to distance themselves from the would-be hero that they created.

Bill O'Reilly

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Not surprisingly, Bill O’Reilly is leading the retreat with another of his hackneyed “Talking Points Memo” segments. On Friday he began his program by attempting to downplay the extent to which Fox News lavished praise and valuable airtime on Bundy. He characterized the participation of Fox News as merely “a handful” of commentators who “rallied to Bundy’s side,” while declining to mention any names. However, some of the most prominent voices on the network, including Sean Hannity, Megyn Kelly, Steve Doocy, Bret Baier, Eric Bolling, etc., played significant roles in pumping up the controversial story.

After providing absolution for the sins of Fox News, O’Reilly proceeded to condemn the rest of the media, presumably for not balancing their coverage of a tax-evading racist with more positive impressions. He focused on CNN’s Brian Stelter, whom O’Reilly called a “committed left-wing zealot.” Stelter’s offense was to correctly point out that Fox News had been caught in a unique dilemma wherein their pundits championed an unknown crackpot who wound up embarrassing them. Here is the soundbite that O’Reilly cherry-picked from Stelter’s remarks:

“I can’t think of any parallel to this case. I can’t think of MSNBC taking an equivalent story on the left and spending weeks covering it the way Fox News has.”

Well, that was all it took to fire up O’Reilly’s ire. He let loose with a biting, personal attack on Stelter:

“Unbelieveable. So Mr. Stelter, did you miss the months of coverage about New Jersey governor Chris Christie on MSNBC? Did you miss that? Are you that dense? That uninformed that you make an outrageous assertion that MSNBC would not overdo a story for ideological reasons?”

Where to begin? First of all, if O’Reilly is looking for a story that is equivalent to the Bundy saga, it’s interesting that he would choose Christie’s BridgeGate scandal. Is O’Reilly equating the New Jersey Governor to a lawless bigot who doesn’t recognize the United States as existing?

Secondly, O’Reilly seems to think that covering an old cattle rancher in Bunkerville, Nevada, who thinks he’s entitled to free grazing rights on property that he doesn’t own, is a national story on the same level as a state governor who may have unlawfully abused his office and who, at the time, was a leading candidate for the Republican nomination for president. Furthermore, none of MSNBC’s reporting on Christie has turned out to be wrong and/or embarrassing.

Finally, O’Reilly’s assertion that MSNBC’s coverage of Christie was overdone for ideological reasons is an admission of the same about Fox’s coverage of Bundy, since he is making the argument that they are equivalent. Even though he just spent three minutes denying that Fox overdid anything. Apparently, O’Reilly’s outrage is warping his capacity for logic. And since there is abundant evidence that Christie engaged in the behavior attributed to him, if any news organization is to be faulted, it is Fox for soft-peddling the story.

O’Reilly went on to criticize MSNBC for seeking to boost their ratings (which O’Reilly would never do), and to further disparage Stelter as being “far worse than some Fox News commentators sympathizing” with Bundy. To O’Reilly, not being able to recall a story similar to Bundy’s is far worse than turning a despicable desert hick into a hero. Then O’Reilly closed by saying that “You throw away any legitimacy when you jump to conclusions.” That would seem to be a direct assault on his colleague Sean Hannity and the rest of the right-wing media who did just that.

So in one commentary, O’Reilly insulted his fellow Fox News anchor(s) While equating Gov. Christie with a racist, anti-American freeloader. That’s a pretty productive accomplishment for a night’s work. I can’t wait to hear what Hannity and Christie have to say about it. However, it was thoughtful of O’Reilly to candidly admit that “there are many charlatans peddling garbage that hurts people.” Thanks for the warning, Billo, but we’ve known about you for some time.

Koch Brothers Front Group Feeds Fox News Phony Figures On Voter Fraud

A report by Fox News alleges that “Over 40,000 voters are registered in both Virginia and Maryland.” It’s a shocking statistic that stirs fears of massive election fraud that could sway the results of pivotal campaigns and upset the balance of power in Congress.

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There’s just one problem with this report: There is no evidence that any of it is true. Fox News cites as their source an organization (Watchdog.org) that purports to be a news enterprise, but is actually a strand of the tangled web of political and media affiliates funded by the notorious Koch brothers.

Watchdog.org provided Fox News with a story about voter registration in Virginia that implies that thousands of Virginia voters are illegally voting twice in Maryland, saying that…

“A crosscheck of voter rolls in Virginia and Maryland turned up 44,000 people registered in both states, a vote-integrity group reported Wednesday.”

In fact, the data referenced in the report only identifies registrations with similar names, but it does not assert that they are the same people. In addition, it would not be unusual to find numerous cases where people re-registered after having moved from Virginia to Maryland, which is perfectly legal so long as they do not cast votes in both precincts. Even the president of the group that provided the data acknowledges that…

“…the number of voters who actually cast multiple ballots is relatively small. In the case of Maryland and Virginia, he revealed that 164 people voted in both states during the 2012 election.”

So 164 people, out of 44,000 registered voters, are alleged to have voted in both states, although they were more than likely different people with similar names. Yet this utterly insignificant and unfounded assertion of election fraud was elevated by Fox News to a scandal of huge proportions. And this isn’t the first time. Just last week Bill O’Reilly offered a slightly different version of the same story. In his broadcast he referred to allegedly duplicate voter registrations in North Carolina and other states, but his story had the same flaws as the Virginia story.

As for Watchdog.org, News Corpse reported on their propaganda wire service last year finding that…

“Watchdog.org is actually a right-wing, propaganda-spewing project that is funded by the Koch brothers through their Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity. It is an unabashedly partisan source of slanted opinions and attack pieces. [...] A quick Google search on Fox News, and their related Fib Factory Fox Nation, turned up dozens of previous Watchdog-sourced articles that were published by Fox. Many of these articles are hit pieces on unions and environmental science, two issues that deeply interest the Koch brothers whose businesses have fought workers rights and have contributed to dirtying the air and water of every place they have a presence. In none of the articles did Fox provide disclosure of the Koch affiliation to the reporting.”

This is one of the great advantages of being a billionaire who can bankroll a phony news service and funnel the fictional propaganda to friendly media. And by taking the tainted stories from a biased source with vested interests, Fox News proves again that it is nothing more than a PR agency for Republicans and the conservative agenda.

Disgraced CBS Reporter Demonstrates Why She Is Disgraced

Last month Sharyl Attkisson resigned from her job as an investigative reporter for CBS News. She blamed the departure on what she perceived as a liberal bias by the network’s brass that kept her stories off the air. But that excuse has little support behind it considering the fact that the current president of CBS News is David Rhodes, a former executive at Fox News who presided over the most brazenly biased right-wing propaganda that ever masqueraded as news.

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This weekend Attkisson appeared on CNN’s Reliable Sources and was subjected, for the first time, to some pushback regarding her version of the events that led to her separation from CBS. In the course of the interview Attkisson made an irresponsible accusation for which she failed to offer any evidence. She alleged that Media Matters may have been paid (by some mysterious entity she declined to name) to attack her and her reporting:

“I clearly at some point became a target. I don’t know if someone paid them to do it or they just took it on their own. [...] I think that’s what some of these groups do, absolutely.”

Media Matters responded with a prompt denial saying that their coverage of her was “based only on her shoddy reporting.” And Attkisson’s wild claim about Media Matters is an excellent example of such shoddiness. Without a scintilla of proof, Attkisson went on a national news program and made an accusation of the worst sort of journalistic malfeasance. If that’s the kind of reporting she brought to CBS it’s no wonder they spiked her stories. And it is strikingly lazy, unethical, and self-serving to invent and disseminate an unsupported charge against Media Matters.

For the record, this is not the first time that Atkisson has been caught in an embarrassing breach of ethics. She has produced reports on issues like Benghazi and green energy that were riddled with flaws and omissions. But she seems most prone to crossing the line when the story is about her.

Last year she revealed that her computer was hacked by an unknown intruder. She appeared on Fox News with Bill O’Reilly and implied that the only plausible purpose for the hacking was to intimidate her due to her investigations on Fast and Furious and Benghazi. That put the suspicion squarely on somebody in the administration that didn’t like her snooping into those matters.

However, just as with her smearing of Media Matters, she offered zero evidence of her charges. She dismissed out of hand any possibility that she may just have been one of millions of victims of criminal hacking that goes on every day. At one point O’Reilly asked if she knew who the hacker might be and she said “Well, I think I know. But I am just not prepared to go into that.” This all happened nearly a year ago and Attkisson has still not told us what she allegedly “knows” about the identity of the hacker. What she did say was that she would proceed with her investigations and that she had the full support of CBS:

“We’re continuing to move forward aggressively, CBS News takes this very seriously, as do I.”

What’s interesting about that is that she is admitting that CBS was supportive of her efforts, contrary to her new story that they are hopelessly liberal and were holding her back. She described her relationship with Rhodes, the right-wing former Fox News exec, as being one where they had a “meeting of the minds.” That was her opinion at the time she was actually doing the work. Now that she has left CBS, and is preparing to publish a book that is critical of the Obama administration, her view has flipped 180 degrees, just in time to generate some controversy that might raise interest in her book (which is being published by Rupert Murdoch’s HarperCollins). But I’m sure all of that is just a coincidence.

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There is, however, a clear pattern of sloppy journalism and wild claims when Attkisson spouts off about computer hackers, liberal bias at CBS, and paid attacks from Media Matters, none of which is backed up by any proof. Her tendency to fling unsupported allegations at her perceived enemies shows that the disgrace with which she is now viewed by responsible journalists is well deserved. Lucky for her, Fox News regards that sort of bias and unprofessionalism as an asset, so her future employment prospects look good.

Bill O’Reilly Is Scare Mongering Over Millions Of Imaginary Illegal Aliens Voters

One of Bill O’Reilly’s favorite new attack themes is something that he calls the “Grievance Industry.” Apparently it is any person or group who registers a complaint against something that O’Reilly likes. For instance, racial discrimination or tax policies that favor the rich. It’s curious, though, that he would invent a disparaging way of looking at something that is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution: “…to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” And the larger irony is that no one is more of a complainer than O’Reilly himself.

Bill O'Reilly

Take his latest Talking Points Memo segment wherein he makes a case for voter suppression via voter ID laws that do not address any actual problem. He begins with his boilerplate whining about how “the grievance industry believes that requiring an ID to vote is a right-wing plot to deny some Americans their voting rights.” He asserts that the push for voter ID is because of voter fraud, but like everyone else on the right who has beaten this path, he provides no evidence of the fraud that he alleges.

In an effort to belittle his opponents, O’Reilly says that the left denies that there is any voter fraud. That’s a lie. In fact the left acknowledges that there is voter fraud, but that it is on such a small scale as to be insignificant. And it doesn’t come close to justifying the imposition of obstacles to voting for millions of legitimate citizens.

Attempting to introduce some substance, O’Reilly cites an “investigation” into voter fraud in the state of North Carolina. The only problem with that is that it has produced precisely zero examples of any unlawful activity. The project was so flawed that when Dick Morris made the same reference to it as O’Reilly, PolitiFact slapped him down with a rating of “False.” They further pointed out that the data used was previously shown to be utterly unreliable. In Kansas they bragged that they had uncovered 185,000 potential cases of voter fraud. But all that came of it was fourteen referrals for prosecution and zero convictions.

O’Reilly then specifically made an allegation, which he portrayed as a fact, that “at least 81 North Carolinians voted in 2013 after they died.” But there is no evidence to support that claim either. In previous similar incidents there was always a simple explanation such as that the voters had cast absentee ballots and then died prior to election day.

O’Reilly then endorses a plan to put photos on Social Security cards and use those as voter identification. Critics of this proposal note that it would introduce serious privacy risks, a complaint that O’Reilly casually dismisses. However, Social Security cards have a unique purpose in our society and the prospect of making them a universal form of identification does expose people to a greater risk of identity fraud. Your Social Security number was never intended to a form of identification.

Perhaps the most outlandish assertion in O’Reilly’s rant was that “There are about 12 million illegal aliens in the U.S. who could vote without proper ID in place.” Oh my. That’s twice the margin by which President Obama beat Mitt Romney in 2012. So where all of these illegal aliens plotting to corrupt the American electoral system? There certainly isn’t any evidence of them having voted. And they’ve been around for many election cycles. It doesn’t even make any sense that people who are here without documentation would risk jail and deportation in order to cast a ballot for candidates who will not represent them.

The only reason that O’Reilly would even raise this phony issue is to fan the flames of bigotry that are already burning in the souls of his audience and much of the extremist right-wing that he represents. It is a reprehensible and irresponsible appeal to people who are predisposed to hate anyone different from themselves. And sadly, it is an appeal that will find agreement by viewers of Fox News despite the irrationality of the argument.

O’Reilly invented the “grievance industry” concept so that he could dismissively waive off any allegation of prejudice as something unwarranted, trivial, and/or fabricated. It’s his way of belittling those who make observations about the racism that still infects our society. But he is the best example that bigotry, in all its hateful glory, continues to be a problem that the goodhearted American people need to redouble their efforts to eradicate. And we could start with Bill O’Reilly.

Stephen Colbert To Replace David Letterman: Stay Tuned For Right-Wing Freakout

CBS announced this morning that Stephen Colbert, host of Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report, will succeed David Letterman as the host of The Late Show.

Fox Nation vs. Reality - Colbert

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Although Letterman only announced his pending retirement a few days ago, Colbert was almost instantly regarded as a top contender to fill the vacancy. His unique brand of characterture and satire has won him numerous Emmys and even a couple of Peabody Awards. When he assumes the position at the Late Show desk he will immediately challenge his peers to up their game in both raw comedy and creativity. It is fair to expect Colbert to reshape the concept of late-night television.

For extra added entertainment pleasure, watch the conservative martinets of Puritan culture grasp their throats and gasp for air as their lungs veritably burst with outrage. Colbert, and his Comedy Central mentor Jon Stewart, have long been targets of right-wing animosity. To the extent that they manage to get the jokes, they despise them and whine about more liberal domination of the news (as if Stewart and Colbert were actually journalists). They tried in vain to mimic the Daily Show and to launch (or relaunch) careers for conservative comics like Dennis Miller, Steven Crowder, and Victoria Jackson.

Just yesterday, Bill O’Reilly devoted his nightly Talking Points Memo segment to Colbert, whom he called “a deceiver” for mocking O’Reilly’s ludicrous defense of income inequality. O’Reilly went on to say that…

“Colbert can be dismissed as clueless, but the guy does do damage because he gives cover to the powerful people who are selling Americans a big lie, that this country is bad, that it intentionally oppresses many of its own citizens. That is a lie. That point of view is shameful.”

Well, O’Reilly is the authority when it comes to doing damage by giving cover to powerful people selling lies. But even as Fox News blasts Colbert and Stewart as hopelessly biased, they have recognized the falsehood in that characterization. News Corpse documented 29 occasions where the Fox Nation website praised Stewart for taking the conservative side on his program. That, however, has never stopped them from asserting that Stewart is a socialist who only satirizes conservatives.

In response to the Colbert promotion, Breitbart News editor, John Nolte tweeted “Low-Rated Hyper-Partisan Lefty to Replace David Letterman.” He previously critiqued Colbert saying that…

“There’s a HUGE left-wing agenda behind what Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert is doing, and it’s a serious agenda that has nothing to do with satire.”

That’s typical of the viewpoint that Nolte has held for years. In a series of ignorant columns attacking Colbert, Nolte pointed out what he considered to be the poor ratings performance of The Colbert Report. But due to his embarrassing ignorance of the television business, Nolte failed to realize that Colbert’s ratings were better than those of Fox News. What’s more, no knowledgeable person would compare the ratings of a niche cable channel with those of a broadcast TV network. When Colbert moves up to CBS he will inherit the audience that goes along with it.

Rush Limbaugh weighed in saying that…

“CBS has just declared war on the heartland of America. No longer is comedy going to be a covert assault on traditional American, conservative values. Now it’s just right out in the open.”

NewsBusters’ Dan Gainor tweeted…

“Colbert: From liberal asshat pretending to be conservative to liberal asshat who gets to be honest about his asshattery.”

Karl Rove was personally offended by Colbert’s “Ham Rove” bit, which he took as a threat of violence:

“One liberal replacing another one. Only this one apparently knows how to wield a knife.”

Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post published a screed titled “Picking Colbert to replace Letterman? CBS really screwed up,” in which author Kyle Smith (who?) says that Colbert is…

“…only funny if you accept the premise (conservatives are morons) while you snort Mountain Dew out your nose.”

There will surely be more to come from these media geniuses who live in fear of Colbert’s brand of truthiness. If they were smart they would withhold their juvenile insults and accept the fact that CBS made a decision that is in the best interests of their bottom line. They could simply declare that their silly #CancelColbert boycott campaign was a huge success and return to something they have a much longer history of – insulting women and minorities.

The prospect for Colbert’s future as a late-night host are promising. He has an appealing personality and an engaging rapport with the guests he interviews. He is likely to have less political content on CBS, where their Standards and Practices department will keep a tighter rein on him. That will be a loss for those of us who cherish his outlook on society and culture, but you can’t blame him for aspiring to advance his career. And while he may tone it down, he likely will not abandon it altogether.

What many of the people commenting on this news are neglecting to mention is that there will now be a vacancy at Comedy Central. Here’s hoping that Jon Stewart, whose production company put Colbert on as his lead-out, will have some say in the matter of what follows him next. Due to his irreplaceable persona, it will not be possible to slip someone else into the same format. But another snarky news send-up is still the obvious choice to fill out the late-night hour. Perhaps Comedy Central could parody Fox News’ The Five, with a panel show featuring Daily Show regulars like Lewis Black, John Hodgeman, Kristen Schaal, Al Madrigal, Jessica Williams, Wyatt Cynac, etc.

They have no shortage of talent available. And, thanks to Fox News and the rest of the right-wing media circus, they have no shortage of material either.

[Update] On his show last night, Bill O’Reilly ignored the news about Colbert’s new job, but Time Magazine caught up with him and elicited this response: “I hope Colbert will consider me for the Ed McMahon spot.” Proving once again that O’Reilly is hopelessly stuck in the past, his attempt at humor reached back to reference a decades old sidekick, rather than a more relevant choice like Paul Shaffer or Alan Coulter. But O’Reilly would be a good choice for an Ed McMahon role, whose comedic persona was that of an old Irish loudmouth and a notorious drunk.

Bill O'Reilly/Stephen Colbert

Fox News Deceiver-In-Chief, Bill O’Reilly, Calls Stephen Colbert A Deceiver

Late last month Bill O’Reilly offered his rebuttal to the argument that income inequality is contributing to the current state of economic stagnation and the bitter partisanship in political circles. He dismissed any notion that there is a problem with having 400 of the richest Americans controlling more wealth than the rest of the 350 million of us combined. Instead, O’Reilly said that…

“The truth is there will never be equality in this world. That’s impossible, an opium-laced dream. I will never have equality with my fellow Irishman Shaquille O’Neal he is bigger and stronger than I am by nature. I will never be as smart as Einstein, as talented as Mozart or as kind as Mother Teresa. Each human being is born with abilities, but they are not equal abilities.”

Bill O'Reilly

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This demonstrates that O’Reilly doesn’t have an inkling of understanding what the income equality debate is about. It has nothing to do with artificial uniformity of human life forms, physically, intellectually, or emotionally. It is about society sharing responsibilities fairly. It is about insuring that powerful elites and faceless corporations are not permitted to exploit everybody else while shirking their own civic duties. Or as Stephen Colbert said facetiously…

“Shaquille O’Neal is taller than Bill O’Reilly, therefore the richest 1 percent of Americans should control 40 percent of the nation’s wealth.”

Colbert’s hilarious smackdown of O’Reilly (video below) must have gotten to Papa Bear. On last night’s episode, O’Reilly devoted his opening Talking Points Memo to lambasting Colbert in the harshest terms. He called Colbert “a deceiver” and an “ideological fanatic” who is “misguided in the extreme.” But O’Reilly wasn’t done yet. He continued saying that…

“Colbert can be dismissed as clueless, but the guy does do damage because he gives cover to the powerful people who are selling Americans a big lie, that this country is bad, that it intentionally oppresses many of its own citizens. That is a lie. That point of view is shameful.”

Of course, Colbert never said or implied that the country is bad. But he and millions of other Americans recognize that it is flawed with respect to the over-weighting of influence by upper-crusty plutocrats. Recent decisions by the right-wing dominated Supreme Court that give ever-more power to the rich are evidence of the wealth-centric bias that keeps average citizens from having an equal say in public affairs. When money equals speech, the rich get more of it, and the poor can only buy silence. That’s a position that fits squarely with O’Reilly’s world view. Last year he actually lamented the fate of the rich as the ones who were really oppressed.

O’Reilly also sought to school Colbert on the philosophy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. saying that “Maybe Colbert should understand that Dr. King gave his life for equality of opportunity.” But that is a stupendously false and ignorant misreading of King’s message. King gave his life in the fight for actual equality and freedom from oppression, not the “opportunity” of it. And the fight continues to this day with people like O’Reilly who defend a status quo that favors rich folks like himself.

One thing that O’Reilly got right is that “Each human being is born with abilities, but they are not equal abilities.” And clearly O’Reilly doesn’t have the intellectual or comedic ability to go toe-to-toe with Colbert.

Bill O’Reilly: Obama Supporters Are ‘Blatantly Ignorant And Lazy’

In last night’s episode of The O’Reilly Factor, Bill O’Reilly began the program with his routine and hackneyed Talking Points Memo segment. As usual, O’Reilly’s perspective was arrogant, insulting, and entirely devoid of substance or factual basis.

Bill O'Reilly

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The issue that set O’Reilly off on this occasion was a CBS News poll that showed that 53% of the American people say that President Obama has strong qualities of leadership. Obviously there must be something wrong with those results because O’Reilly knows better than everyone else. He asks “How can that be possible?” and asserts that the people are just “confused.”

The first problem O’Reilly sees with the poll is that the respondents were “adults,” rather than registered or likely voters. For some reason he thinks that’s significant. However, he is now demonstrating his own ignorance because those distinctions are only relevant in polls measuring the current status of an election. For polls gauging the opinions of the general public there is no reason to narrow the respondents to voting demographics. O’Reilly is just desperately grasping for some excuse to dismiss the results.

But the worst part of O’Reilly’s spin comes when he expresses an open hostility to pretty much everyone who supports the President:

“The harsh truth is that many of us are blatantly ignorant and lazy. We simply will not pay attention to the world around us. We get our information from other people, who may be as dumb as we are.”

In O’Reilly’s mind it is impossible to have a positive view of Obama unless you are mentally deficient. It isn’t just a matter of a difference of opinion, it is an inherent inability to comprehend the world you live in. So if you disagree with O’Reilly you are just plain dumb. And since the poll shows that 53% of the nation disagree with him, O’Reilly thinks a majority of the American people are ignorant and lazy. Wouldn’t it be nice if the American people told O’Reilly what they think about that?

The best part of O’Reilly’s remarks is that taken by themselves they are a perfect description of his own arrogance and the willful ignorance of his viewers. It is they who blindly follow the fact-free ramblings of a rabidly biased pundit whose mission in life is to deceive and distort and to disparage his ideological adversaries. And that’s the harsh truth that O’Reilly is too ignorant and lazy to grasp.

Between Bill O’Reilly And Two Ferns: Video Proof That Plants Are Smarter Than Fox News Hosts

After Bill O’Reilly did his Superbowl interview with President Obama, O’Reilly predicted that “the interview that I did is going to go down in journalistic history.” So far, the only historical notice taken of the affair is O’Reilly’s boorishness and Narcissism.

Bill O'Reilly

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A much more likely candidate for the history books is the interview conducted by Zach Galifianakis on “Between Two Ferns.” It showcased the comedy stylings of the President while demonstrating his keen awareness of modern media and the impact of the Internet as a communications platform. Following his Ferns outing, which has racked up nearly three million views to date, traffic to Healthcare.gov spiked by 40%.

Bill O’Reilly’s famously sensitive ego must have been severely injured by the popularity of the Ferns bit, because he devoted one of his “Talking Points” segments to criticizing it as “problematic” and “desperate.” In fact, whenever O’Reilly is confronted with challenges to his omnipotence, he responds with venom and vacuous attacks. Another recent example of this is his criticism of CNN’s coverage of the Malaysian airliner. O’Reilly complained on his program that CNN was overdoing it, but the real source of his complaint is more likely the fact that CNN has been crushing him in the ratings ever since the jet went missing. Apparently cable news viewers are satisfied with CNN’s reporting, despite O’Reilly’s whining.

Well, now we have a fresh take on the O’Reilly/Galifianakis battle of the interviews courtesy of HuffPost Comedy. And, if anything, it shows that a fern would be a more than acceptable replacement for O’Reilly.

Bill O’Reilly Says His Obama Interview “Is Going To Go Down In Journalistic History”

Bill O'Reilly

The Titanic ego that we all know as Bill O’Reilly of Fox News, has once again demonstrated the enormity of regard that he has for himself. In an appearance on fellow Foxie Geraldo Rivera’s radio show, O’Reilly critiqued his performance during the Superbowl interview of President Obama saying…

“I’m going to predict that the interview that I did is going to go down in journalistic history as what should be done. It takes a certain skill to pose questions in a factual way and be persistent without being disrespectful.”

I totally agree. It does take a certain skill, one that O’Reilly utterly lacks. However, there are many elements of the interview that merit historical remembrance. For instance, he likely broke his own record for flagrant rudeness by interrupting the President forty-two times. He also earned a place in history by raising only the topics that his bosses at Fox have certified as official scandal bait (the ObamaCare website, the IRS, and of course, Benghazi), or as Jon Stewart described it, O’Reilly was “dipping whole-scale into the full Fox scandal grab bag.” And History will surely note that some 40% of the interview consisted of O’Reilly talking, making him nearly as much the subject of the interview as the President.

After the interview, O’Reilly was taken to task by Dana Milbank of the Washington Post for many of the reasons enumerated above. This caused O’Reilly to bust a gasket, calling Milbank a weasel and a liar, although never once did he specify what Milbank said that was allegedly false. PolitiFact, however, assessed the dispute and gave Milbank a “Mostly True” rating.

It’s endlessly entertaining to watch O’Reilly exalt himself as the journalistic eminence that he clearly believes himself to be. It’s like watching a child brag about his sports ability and then taking his ball and going home after he embarrasses himself. The difference is that O’Reilly is so egotistical that he is impervious to shame. So thanks, bill, for showing us all how it should be done – by negative example.

The O’Reilly Rehash: President Obama’s Superbowl Interview

Today the highly [er, make that barely] anticipated Superbowl interview of President Obama by Bill O’Reilly of Fox News (video below) went off pretty much how you might expect. Hoping to cover matters of importance to the special broadcast’s audience, the irascible O’Reilly jumped right into the discussion with an issue that has been dormant for weeks and went from there to some of the most overwrought pseudo-scandals that Fox has failed miserably to ignite, despite countless hours of effort.

Bill O'Reilly

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O’Reilly led off by asking the President about the website glitches that plagued the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare ) when it launched four months ago. He inquired why Obama hasn’t fired his Secretary of Health and Human Services, as if she had personally written the faulty code. And he asked about Obama’s prior statement that “if you like your plan you can keep it.” Of course, Obama has answered all of these questions numerous times, so O’Reilly’s dredging them up could not possibly have produced any new information.

The next subject was Fox News’ favorite mantra: BENGHAZI! This issue is even older than the website failure. The unique angle O’Reilly sought to mine involved the claims of “some people” who O’Reilly said believe that the White House refused to describe the attack as terrorism in order to help his reelection campaign. There’s just two small problems with that: 1) O’Reilly doesn’t explain how that would help the reelection effort. and 2) The President did describe the attack as terrorism the day after it occurred. Nevertheless, O’Reilly insisted that Obama explain why there are people who believe the false premise. Obama had an excellent explanation saying that “They believe it because folks like you are telling them that.”

Next up for O’Reilly’s inquisition was the infamous allegations that the IRS had targeted Tea Party groups and other conservative organizations who applied for non-profit status. Obama pointed out that, despite extensive hearings in Congress, no evidence has been produced to support the charges. In fact, the evidence increasingly reveals that both liberals and conservatives were given scrutiny by the IRS, as they should be. Obama further noted that, just as with Benghazi, “These kinds of things keep on surfacing in part because you and your TV station will promote them.”

Finally, O’Reilly read a question that had been sent to him by a viewer. The viewer wanted to know “Why do you feel it’s necessary to fundamentally transform the nation that has afforded you such opportunity and success.” Seriously? This idiotic bit of tripe has been swirling around the conspiracy theorist community since the first Obama inauguration when it was posited by Glenn Beck. These brain-damaged twerps can’t seem to grasp that a turn of phrase during an election campaign is not a coded reference to some nefarious plot to unravel the American Dream. The only meaning was that then-candidate Obama intended to repair the damage that the previous eight years of President Bush had caused.

So this was the entirety of O’Reilly’s interview. It was a rehashing of tired rumors and slander. Given this platform to reach an unusually large audience, O’Reilly wasted it with bitterly partisan nonsense. He could have addressed some of the issues that are currently on the minds of the American people, like the economy and jobs, immigration reform, the Keystone XL Pipeline, or the situations in Syria and Iran. He could have dug deeper into the President’s recent State of the Union speech and sought to get him to elaborate on income equality. He might even approached the tribulations of New Jersey governor Chris Christie, or legalizing marijuana.

But no. O’Reilly stuck with the Fox News manufactured scandal mongering related to ObamaCare, the IRS, and as always, Benghazi. As a result, the interview was a pitiful waste of time and more proof that Fox News doesn’t have the first clue about what constitutes journalism. But rest assured they will find some sentence fragment in the segment that they will inflate into humungous proportions that will produce buckets of raw outrage by Monday morning.

Wrong Again! Bill O’Reilly’s State Of The Union Prediction Fails

The biggest ego on cable news is fond of propping himself up and exalting his intellect and insight. Unfortunately, Bill O’Reilly is so often wrong that he becomes a parody of himself.

Bill O'Reilly

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On his program Monday night, O’Reilly embarked on a mission to belittle President Obama and the State of the Union speech that would be delivered the following night. Consistent with the Fox News philosophy of disparaging all things Democratic – even before they occur – O’Reilly asserted that the American people wouldn’t care about the speech, but would be enthralled by Papa Bear himself.

O’Reilly: There is no question that President Obama’s first five years in office have been troubled. Tonight he will try to regroup, but Talking Points believes that few Americans will be paying close attention to him. In fact, I predict that this broadcast you’re watching right now, will be higher rated on the Fox News channel than the president’s actual address. We’ll see.

Yes, we shall indeed see. But first of all, isn’t it cute that O’Reilly refers to himself as “Talking Points,” as if it were an anthropomorphic entity with opinions separate from his own? Well, Mr. Talking Points might be disconcerted to learn that 33 million people watched the State of the Union speech. That is actually fewer than watched in recent years, but still a hefty chunk of viewers that exceeds all other conventional programming.

More to the point, O’Reilly’s prediction that his own show would outperform the speech has blown up in his face. The Factor drew only 3.5 million viewers, which means he was off by a mere 90 percent. O’Reilly’s broadcast didn’t even beat just the viewers who watched the speech on Fox (4.7 million). And since there was no rational way to spin his prognostication failure, O’Reilly simply ignored it last night in his first post-speech broadcast.

This is typical of O’Reilly’s pompous conceit as he strives to present himself as an omnipotent and infallible observer of human events. It recalls his dreadfully wrong prediction that the Supreme Court would overturn ObamaCare, when he promised to admit that he was an idiot if he were wrong. He was wrong, and he broke his promise. But that came as no surprise to those who pay attention to his daily blather.

Does Fox News Have A Culture That Encourages Personal Attacks?

Much of the cable News circus was preoccupied this weekend with remarks made by MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry about Mitt Romney’s family. It was a relatively trivial incident that sought to highlight the blinding whiteness of the Romney clan and, by extension, the Republican Party for which he was was briefly the de facto head. Harris-Perry apologized for the comments and her apology was accepted by Romney and it seemed as if life on Earth would endure.

Enter Howard Kurtz, the media analyst for Fox News. On Friday he published an op-ed, which was followed by a segment on his Sunday Fox News program MediaBuzz, wherein he proposed his theory that MSNBC suffers from a “culture in which harsh personal attacks are encouraged, or at least tolerated.” His evidence for this was a series of recent controversies involving personalities at MSNBC, which he claimed not to be biased against.

Kurtz: I’m not designing this to bash MSNBC, but you had Martin Bashir with the vile attack on Sarah Palin, apologizing and then losing his job. You had Alec Baldwin losing his job at MSNBC over an alleged anti-gay slur hurled at a photographer. Now Melissa Harris-Perry. Is there something in the culture there that tolerates this unacceptable language?

One has to wonder why, if Kurtz did not intend to bash MSNBC, did he focus solely on “unacceptable language” by people on MSNBC. It’s not as if he didn’t have plenty of examples of Fox News anchors and pundits who did much the same thing. Just within the past week Fox’s Mike Huckabee compared doctors at a hospital, that had been caring for a girl who was pronounced brain dead, to the Nazi regime that was responsible for the murder of millions. Fox also hosted a former CIA agent who recently wrote an article that advocated the assassination of President Obama and British Prime Minister Cameron. Neither of these commentaries entered into Kurtz’s examination of the culture of cable news. The only observation that Kurtz deemed notable was his severly skewed impression of how conservatives are viewed by liberals.

Kurtz: If there is a theme to these episodes, it is a view of Republicans and conservatives as so mean-spirited, hard-hearted and clueless that just about any rhetoric against them can be justified.

Thus we had the spectacle of Martin Bashir so reviling Sarah Palin that he not only called her a “dunce” and an “idiot” but prescribed for her an old slave treatment in which he said someone should defecate in her mouth.

Oh my. Bashir called Palin a “dunce” and an “idiot.” Apparently Kurtz has never seen Bill O’Reilly’s program where for years he has had a regular segment in which he called his liberal adversaries “pinheads.” Not that he needed a dedicated segment to disparage his foes. He was found by Indiana University to have called people derogatory names every 6.8 seconds. Recently O’Reilly even expressed his hostile intentions toward the Democratic Majority Leader of the senate, saying…

“Harry Reid, I think you’ll have to kidnap. Tie him to a tree up in Idaho somewhere, leave him there for a few weeks.”

Surely O’Reilly will insist that the was joking about kidnapping and torturing Sen. Reid, but the Harris-Perry segment was premised that it was all in humor. The same cannot be said for Glenn Beck’s declaration that Obama was a racist who hated white people. Neither Beck nor his superiors ever apologized for that. In fact, Rupert Murdoch agreed with it. Perhaps the most glaring example of repulsive rhetoric was that displayed by Fox News contributor Erick Erickson upon the retirement of Supreme Court Justice David Souter when Erickson said

“The nation loses the only goat fucking child molester to ever serve on the Supreme Court in David Souter’s retirement.”

Fox News

Let’s not forget the Fox News community website, Fox Nation. It’s culture is so riddled with hostility that they won’t even refer to some people by their actual names. The Fox Nationalists refer to Sen. Al Franken as Stuart Smalley, after a character he played on Saturday Night Live twenty years ago. They also call comedian Bill Maher “Pig” Maher for reasons no one seems to know. [For more on Fox Nation, read Fox Nation vs. Reality, a book that documents the website's steady stream of lies]

There are, however, some notable differences between the incidents of verbal abuse as articulated by MSNBC and Fox News. At MSNBC the lapses in judgment were followed by apologies and sometimes suspensions or terminations. The lapses at Fox were either celebrated or ignored by management and often repeated with more emphasis by the abuser.

So Howard Kurtz has the gall to wonder if there is culture of harsh personal attacks at MSNBC where such incidents are routinely punished, but he has no concerns about his own network where they are a point of pride. That’s a distinct difference that would enter into the analysis of an honest media critic. Luckily, Kurtz works for Fox so he doesn’t have to worry about being honest.

Father Bill O’Reilly’s Execrable Exhortation On The Pope, Capitalism, And The Far Left

A couple of months ago, Pope Francis delivered an exhortation on the state of global poverty and society’s response to it. It was a rather profound critique of the conservative economic principles that have been the central political focus of the Tea Party and its Republican benefactors. Ever since, right-wingers from Sarah Palin to Rush Limbaugh have walked the tightrope of respecting the Pontiff while blasting his guidance as extreme liberalism and pure Marxism.

Pope Francis
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Now Bill O’Reilly has joined the fray with another of his Talking Points Memos that articulate his notoriously vapid opinions on whatever is irking him that day. He titles this one “The Pope, Capitalism, And The Far Left.” It started out as a rebuke of lefty pundits who have embraced the Pope’s call for income equality. O’Reilly accuses the left of distorting the words of the Pope, but he doesn’t provide a single example of any such distortion. Not one. He does, however, leave out numerous excerpts from the Pope’s writings that explicitly condemn conservative economics like the “trickle-down theory” and advocate on behalf of the poor. For instance:

“[S]ome people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting.” [...and...] “It is vital that government leaders and financial leaders take heed and broaden their horizons, working to ensure that all citizens have dignified work, education and healthcare.”

O’Reilly further declares that “I can tell you with certainty that the Pope opposes” economic justice, which O’Reilly recasts as socialism. From whence he gets his certainty is unexplained. It certainly is not from the Pope’s own words that include…

“[N]one of us can think we are exempt from concern for the poor and for social justice.” [...and...] “We can no longer trust in the unseen forces and the invisible hand of the market. Growth in justice requires more than economic growth,” he said, adding that it requires “processes specifically geared to a better distribution of income.”

The Pope is using very specific and carefully chosen language that demolishes any hope of right-wingers dismissing his meaning. “Social justice” and “distribution of income,” phrases the right has tried feverishly to demonize, are not accidental rhetorical flourishes on the part of the Pope. Nor is it accidental when O’Reilly, nevertheless, dismisses the Pope with hollow posturing by saying that the left “want to impose a nanny-state that redistributes income,” or that “The left doesn’t care about the facts. It’s all about hating America.”

When it comes to hate, O’Reilly has a distinct advantage. Aside from having an academic study prove that he uses derogatory names on his program once every 6.8 seconds, he took this latest opportunity to harshly disparage the people about whom the Pope was talking. O’Reilly assigned blame for the tribulations of the poor only on their own alleged shortcomings, asserting that they refuse to “work hard, be honest, stay sober, and get educated.” He would never acknowledge the responsibility of the government’s institutional bias in favor of wealthy elites for the economic imbalance that clamps down on society’s less fortunate. It’s far easier for those in O’Reilly’s social strata to insult the poor as lazy, lying, drunken, illiterates.

Bill O'Reilly

If O’Reilly actually believed that the left was distorting the Pope’s words, he would have provided an example. Instead he made a blind allegation that he never bothered to support, all the while ignoring the fact that the Pope’s words were not ambiguous in their contempt for compassionless elitists like O’Reilly. It’s an indication of just how desperate the right is to pretend they have a moral alliance with the Pope when, in reality, they are scrambling to avoid any remotely honest discourse about the income inequality that Pope Francis spoke about so eloquently.

Bill O’Reilly Explains The Horrors Of Being Rich (w/Video)

Over the years, Fox News blowhard Bill O’Reilly has said some painfully stupid things. He has claimed that Christianity is not a religion. He promised to admit on his show that he is an idiot if the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of ObamaCare (which he never admitted). He actually boasted that he has more power than anyone except the President. And now he has taken up the case for America’s beleaguered millionaires.

On his program Wednesday (video below), O’Reilly began his hokey Talking Points segment by asking “Do you want to be rich?” He then set about to answer the question with a litany of reasons why any sane person would flee in fear of such a curse. The burden of great wealth is far too cumbersome to be endured and those of us not suffering from it should pity the rich and their miserable existence.

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“Here’s what happens when a person is wealthy,” O’Reilly said, as he commenced his tale of woe. His first complaint was that if you become rich you will simultaneously become a target of people who will want your money and will lie and cheat to get it. Therefore, you will have to hire lawyers to shield yourself from the envious rabble who will be barking at the gates of your mansion. Well then, it’s certainly better to be poor than to have to fraternize with lawyers in order to sustain your life of luxury. Then O’Reilly gravely warned that “Every affluent person in America is in danger. Every one.” As an example he cited the two winners of the Mega Millions lottery, about whom he said…

“The two folks who won the big money this week will see their lives instantly change. And perhaps for the worse.”

Perhaps? It is almost a certainty that the lives of those sad former peasants will spiral downward into a hellhole of having everything they have ever dreamed of for themselves and their families. If they are smart they will dispose of that dirty money as quickly as possible. As a service to these wretches, and at great personal risk to myself, I would agree to take it off their hands so they can continue to have decent lives. That’s just the kind of guy I am.

O’Reilly also stated that the new millionaires would suffer because “Their freedom will be severely curtailed.” Obviously, everyone knows that having untold riches shackles the victim in a pit oppression. Freedom is only really enjoyed when you have no money weighing you down on your estates and your yachts and your villas in international resorts. As O’Reilly notes, “Only one percent of the population is truly financially independent.” That’s why America is a free country. Only one percent has their freedom curtailed by wealth. And if it is up to O’Reilly, that figure will remain at one percent so that more people are not similarly tormented.

Unsaid in this screed is that when O’Reilly is talking about the downtrodden millionaires, he knows whereof he speaks. He is, in fact, talking about himself. So he should be well aware of the damage that wealth does to the hapless souls who suffer from it. He is selflessly enduring a life of subjugation and oppression in order to prevent such tribulations from being forced onto others. And his compassion is evident in his closing remarks where he made a point of raising this injustice to the heavenly doorstep of God:

“So congratulations to the Mega winners. And the best thing that we can do for them is say a prayer.”

Indeed. Let’s all say a prayer for the millionaires and billionaires in our society who are too often forgotten victims of a dastardly fate. And while we’re at it, let’s say a prayer for Bill O’Reilly who is always looking out for the folks, even if he won’t associate with them.