Remember Ebola? Apparently The Election And Fox News Cured It

Remember way back a week ago when Ebola was the most fearsome threat America faced since The War Of The Worlds? Fox News and other media portrayed the virus as the harbinger of the Apocalypse. We were all just an errant sneeze away from contracting a deadly disease that was certain to sweep through the nation unabated.

Well, last Tuesday there was an election that seems to have put an end to the panic that had previously consumed the press. And just in time since Fox is now focused on helping Republicans to scuttle health care which is no longer needed by anyone. So, no longer are there hourly updates on the raging pandemic. No longer are politicians and pundits jumping in front of every camera to proclaim that the End of Days are upon us. No longer do psycho Chicken Littles rant about how President Obama is personally responsible for the uncontrollable outbreak.

Fox News Defeats Ebola

But it was just a week ago that Ebola was the calamity of choice for Fox News fear mongers. And since that is so far back in the distance past, News Corpse is providing a public service to remind everyone of the horrendous doom we narrowly escaped. For instance…

Remember when…

…a travel ban on anyone from West Africa was the Republicans’ most important immigration issue in the nation?

GOP Tents America

Remember when…

Bill O’Reilly insisted that the administration was lying to us and demanded that the CDC chief resign if he wouldn’t appear on his show?

Fox News Bill O'Reilly

Remember when…

…Fox’s “psycho” analyst Keith Ablow accused President Obama of wanting Ebola to spread in America because he “sees Americans as having infected others with our deadly economic policies?”

Keith Ablow

Remember when…

…Fox News was consumed by the threat of terrorists streaming across the southern border dripping with Ebola?

Fox News Ebola

Remember when…

…the transmission of Ebola to a second American nurse constituted an “OUTBREAK?”

Fox Nation Ebola Outbreak

Remember when…

…Bill O’Reilly brought in Glenn Beck to accuse Obama of facilitating the spread of Ebola in Dallas because Dallas hates him (even though Dallas voted for Obama in larger majorities than he won nationally)?

Glenn Beck Ebolamania

Who knew that an election would be such an effective cure for Ebola? In the end the virus infected only two people in the United States, and only one foreign national died. When you think about the hysteria that surrounded the contrived crisis, it is curious that there isn’t a similar outcry over the guns that kill over 30,000 Americans every year. There is a good case to make that the NRA is more dangerous to Americans than Ebola ever was. So is tobacco, influenza, pollution, and lightening. In fact, you are even more likely to die by your own hand (39,000 annual suicides) than to be killed by Ebola. So whatever you do, don’t get on any plane that you are on.

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Bill O’Reilly: American Women Are Emotional, Gullible, And Don’t Care About The Country

In his Talking Points Memo segment last night, Bill O’Reilly demonstrated his overt bigotry along with a pitifully shallow analysis of public polling. He cited a poll from Politico that found that 64% of respondents from battleground states believe that “things in the U.S. feel like they are out of control.” O’Reilly then reported that the poll also found that if congressional elections were held today, 41% would vote for Democrats and 36% for Republicans.

Uh oh. O’Reilly must now find a reason for that snub of his conservative pals. So he contends that the poll results are illogical and blames the ignorant American people. He can’t understand why anyone would vote for a Democrat if 64% of the people think things are out of control. Let’s help him out.

Fox News Bill O'Reilly

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The main problem is that he is assuming that the people who think things are out of control hold the Democrats responsible for it. That is the result of an inherent tunnel-blindness that wingnuts like O’Reilly suffer from wherein everything bad is the fault of President Obama and the Democrats, and that the whole country concurs. In fact, every poll in recent years show that it is Congress that the people hold in contempt with an approval rating of about 12% (compared to Obama’s 41%), and those polls also show Republicans with a much lower approval rating than Democrats. So if the people believe that things are out of control, it is more likely that they blame the Republicans in Congress.

O’Reilly goes on to say that America is “a much weaker country” since Obama has been in office. To make make that argument requires O’Reilly to recall 2008 as a year that the United States had not just suffered the worst financial calamity since the Great Depression. He would have to have forgotten that there were 150,000 American troops slogging through battlefields in Afghanistan and Iraq. He would have to believe that a national deficit more than twice as large as the current one was evidence of weakness. He would have to prefer a nation where millions of Americans were unprotected by health insurance and threatened with bankruptcy and/or devastating medical problems. In short, he would have to be suffering from an acute form of ideological amnesia, because who in their right mind would want to return to the nightmare of 2008?

O’Reilly makes the absurd assertion that voting for Democrats is an act of selfishness and that “if you’re voting for the country, you’re less likely to support the Democrats.” That’s the old right-wing canard of calling your opponents unpatriotic. But it gets even worse. O’Reilly surmises that the reason people favor Democrats is emotion, and he puts the blame for that on women who he says, in effect, are too emotional and/or gullible to know what’s good for them. That, he says, is why “American women continue to favor Democrats, no matter what happens to the nation.”

Can right-wingers really still be confused about why so many Americans regard the GOP as engaging in a war on women? With their banner-carriers alleging that women are emotionally-driven dimwits who don’t care about the country, it seems pretty obvious that women would reject them. Yet the GOP continues to say these sort of idiotic and insulting things out loud, and on national television.

O’Reilly’s confusion as to why anyone would vote for a Democrat would be better expressed as why any woman would vote for a Republican. And that can be extended to why any African-American, Latino, working, or middle-class citizen would vote for the party that regards them as lazy, criminal, moochers, and spends all its time and effort tearing down democratic principles and obstructing progress on behalf of wealthy special interests and partisan prejudice.

Glenn Beck’s Lunatic Ebola Conspiracy Theory: Obama Hates Dallas

Whenever two of America’s most delusional alarmists get together to fan irrational panic, you know the combination is going to produce fireworks. That’s what happened Wednesday night on the O’Reilly Factor when Bill O’Reilly (who thinks the CDC chief is a lying propagandist who should resign) hosted Glenn Beck (who is Glenn Beck).

Glenn Beck Ebolamania

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In this soon-to-be classic episode, Beck erroneously says about Ebola that “With every single person that gets it, it mutates and it changes. Danger.” That claim must have come directly from the “Pundit’s Butt Reference,” which Beck keeps conveniently on his office chair. Then he continues, making the ludicrous assertion that the recent stock decline was the result of “two people in the hospital right now with Ebola,” ignoring the actual causes: the weak economies in Asia and Europe, an anticipated “correction” following one of the longest bull markets in history, and routine profit-taking. O’Reilly never refuted any of Beck’s nonsense.

As if this wasn’t enough idiotic speculation and misinformation, Beck was just getting warmed up. He still had a thorough;y insane conspiracy theory up his sleeve that he was waiting for just the right moment reveal. And when that moment came, Beck said…

“If this were happening in Washington, D.C. right now do you think the president and his administration would be acting like this? Do you think that Congress would be acting like this? This is happening in Dallas, Texas. This is a top ten city in the United States of America. Happens to be one that doesn’t particularly care for the President all that much and his policies. One that the President has not been too favorable on. We are already being squeezed on our southern border. Now we’re being squeezed on Ebola. Is there an agenda here?”

Good question, Glenn. Obviously President Obama’s agenda centers around the fact that he hates Dallas so much that he arranged to have an Ebola-infected Liberian fly there and die. In the process, Obama’s plot somehow made sure that two of the nurses attending the patient were also infected. How Obama managed to accomplish all of this is a greater mystery than how Bigfoot shot Kennedy and escaped to the moon on the alleged “landing.”

Unfortunately for Beck, his theory falls apart when facts are brought into the conversation (which never occurred on the O’Reilly show). First and foremost, it is not true that Dallas “doesn’t particularly care for the President.” In 2012 Obama was reelected with 57% of the vote from Dallas County. That’s a larger margin than he won nationally. Obama also beat McCain in Dallas by the same amount in 2008. What’s more, the current mayor of Dallas is Mike Rawlings, a Democrat. These facts make it difficult for Beck to peddle his theory based on Obama’s alleged vendetta against the city.

Like all of Beck’s theories, this one is rooted in falsehoods mixed with deranged fantasies and never approaches any sense of plausibility. They are merely vehicles for him to spread fear and panic among his gullible disciples, which translate into dollars thrown into his collection plate by desperate waifs who believe that he will save them. And Fox News cooperatively provides him a platform to advance his apocalyptic vision to a broader, but still dimwitted, audience.

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Bill O’Reilly’s Ebola Ultimatum: CDC Chief Must Appear On My Show Or Resign

The 800 pounds of gorilla ego that is better known as Bill O’Reilly of Fox News, is bitterly dismayed by the refusal of Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, to accept his invitation to be abused for eight minutes on The Factor.

Fox News Bill O'Reilly

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O’Reilly believes that since he is the only living entity with the superpowers necessary to unravel the heinous plots that public health officials are devising to wipe out western civilization, submission to his brand of ignorant battering is mandatory for continued service. That’s why O’Reilly devoted his program’s opening Talking Points segment to lecturing the absent Dr. Frieden and calling for his resignation.

“We have asked Dr. Frieden a number of times to appear on the Factor. He will not because he is afraid. He knows that I know he’s not being candid, that he is spinning the situation and not being forthcoming about how the disease is being spread. Frieden should resign.”

Notice that O’Reilly never explains what Dr. Frieden is not being candid about or how Ebola, in his warped imagination, is actually being spread. And without any factual basis he called Dr. Frieden the government’s chief propagandist. This is typical O’Reilly intimidation tactics. He routinely accuses anyone who declines to be browbeaten on his program of being afraid of him. Of course, there are many good reasons to refuse his invitation, not the least of which is that he is an ignorant and hostile host with an inability to grasp any logic that conflicts with his pre-chewed biases. That’s the only thing scary about O’Reilly.

So now O’Reilly is terribly concerned that some horrible secret is being kept from the American people. He seems to think that Ebola is spreading by some undisclosed method that will ultimately put everyone at risk of certain death. He asserts that a second case of Ebola (count ‘em, two) in Dallas is proof of a budding pandemic that threatens to engulf the nation, and that “Americans are rightly concerned that their government will not protect them.”

The segment’s headline, “Why The Government Is Not Protecting Us,” paved the way for O’Reilly to float a bunch of loony conspiracy theories alleging that we are not being protected, but he failed to answer his own question as to why. Is it because Obama wants to punish America for slavery as Rush Limbaugh says? Is it so he can declare martial law, throw people into FEMA concentration camps, and cancel the 2016 elections, as Ben Carson asserted? Or is he simply evil and wants to see people suffer as he fulfills his mission as the Anti-Christ?

O’Reilly never bothers to say why Obama would deliberately neglect his duty to protect the nation, even though that was the premise of the whole segment. However, he does make a bold prediction saying that…

“Talking Points is just asking for common sense, which the Obama administration is rejecting outright. But I will predict tonight, they will soon reverse course.”

Specifically, O’Reilly was referring to whether or not there should be a travel ban on Ebola-infected countries, which he neglects to realize includes the U.S. (The faulty reasoning for a travel ban was covered after “doctor” Keith Ablow, another Fox News crackpot, suggested it). But a quick recap of O’Reilly’s track record with predictions exposes a pitiful success ratio. For instance, he predicted that his program would have higher ratings than President Obama’s State of the Union address. He was wrong. But my favorite flub was when he insisted that the Supreme Court would strike down ObamaCare and that he would replay his prediction and admit he is an idiot if they didn’t. Of course the Court did not strike down the law, but O’Reilly never apologized or admitted his error or his obvious idiocy.

If refusing to appear on the O’Reilly Factor is justification for forcing someone to resign from their job, then 75% of the government should be dusting off their resignation notices. Fortunately, the reverse is a better gauge of an effective public servant. That is, anyone who is smart enough to turn O’Reilly down is automatically regarded as being better suited to public service as evidenced by their good judgment to snub him.

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On Hannity: Fox News Strategic Analyst Calls For More Civilian Casualties

The hopelessly hysterical war hawks and fear mongers that populate Fox News seem to have no bar too low to slither under. Their primary mission is to lambaste President Obama no matter what he does. The President is in a perpetual no-win spiral of knee-jerk negativity from his robo-critics on the right.

As an example, following the horrific beheadings by ISIL terrorists, panicky conservatives demanded that Obama respond without hesitation. Never mind developing a plan or assembling allies, the need to act was more urgent than the need to act effectively. Consequently, Fox News contributor and bloodthirsty former diplomat, John Bolton, accused Obama of orchestrating a politically motivated October Surprise.

Bolton: I have the sinking feeling, based on six years of performance, particularly the timing of this attack, last night had more to do for the President’s politics than for national security.

Setting aside the fact that it is still September, Bolton’s unfounded criticism comes after being one of those who complained that if action were not taken immediately it would be tantamount to dereliction of duty. So the President acts and all of sudden his action is denounced as political. In Bolton’s twisted view, any delay until after the November election would be treasonous, but any strike prior to it is electioneering. As noted above, the President cannot win with these nutcases.

However, the new standard for nauseating tirades was unleashed later in the day when an utterly deranged rant on the Sean Hannity program was delivered by Fox News strategic analyst, Ralph Peters (video below). The dripping bile in his painfully falsetto caterwauling was steaming with rancid hostility as he proposed that the United States emulate the ruthless brutality of our enemies.

Fox News Ralph Peters

Peters: Another thing we’ve gotta get over. This nonsense about you can’t have any civilian casualties. War is ugly, sloppy, and messy, and sometimes there are civilian casualties, especially when your enemy uses human shields. If you’re gonna go after ISIS you gotta suck it up and do what’s right. And by the way, civilian casualties? Look what ISIS is doing and it’s actually gaining them recruits as they slaughter civilians.

There you have it. If ISIS can attract new recruits by slaughtering civilians, then why shouldn’t America do it? After all, we are seeking the same sort of psychologically demented murderers that ISIS is, and leaving a trail civilian corpses throughout Syria and the Middle East would only endear us to the regional population. Right?

This isn’t the first time that Peters has suggested something so inhumane and contrary to American values. He has advocated for letting terrorists murder American soldiers (Bowe Bergdahl). He accused Obama of seeking common ground with terrorists. Indeed, on last night’s Hannity he asserted that the airstrikes in Syria were “designed to limit terrorist casualties.” But his repeated advocacy of what amounts to international war crimes is what sets him apart from your run of the mill wingnut. Here are a few quotes from Peters:

“We must dispose of one last mantra that has been too broadly and uncritically accepted: the nonsense that, if we win by fighting as fiercely as our enemies, we will ‘become just like them.'”

“Sometimes a heavy hand and brutality works. [The Russians] don’t do stop-and-frisk, they do stop-and-frisk and beat the hell out of you. And you know what? It’s brutal, it’s ugly, and sometimes it works.”

[In calling for attacks on the media] “Rejecting the god of their fathers, the neo-pagans who dominate the media serve as lackeys at the terrorists’ bloody altar.”

Pair this with the idiocy of Bill O’Reilly’s recent plan to build an army of mercenaries to combat terrorists around the world, because what could be better than legions of paid fighters with no loyalty to anything but their paycheck? And of course, their moral standards would be out of our control. O’Reilly seems to think these sort of characters would be immune to accepting a higher bid for their services and turning on their American bosses. He also rejected the criticisms of military experts on his own program who called the idea “ridiculous.” Even his pal Charles Krauthammer couldn’t dissuade him from his crackpot theory.

The tendency of right-wingers with undisguised blood-lust to tolerate, and even advocate, barbarism and criminal atrocity exposes them for the heathens they are. They want to turn America’s sons and daughters in the armed forces into savages and then expect them to come home and live normal lives. And they believe that by acting like terrorists, America can eradicate terrorism. That’s how irreparably delusional they are. It is more than wrong, it is dangerous. And it doesn’t belong in the discourse of a civilized society.

OOPS: Bill O’Reilly Advises People Not To Believe His Partisan Distortions

Jon Stewart has been doing exceptional work ridiculing the systemic racism that was demonstrated so tragically by the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Last week, for instance, Stewart laid into Bill O’Reilly (video below) for returning to his program early from a vacation because he was “furious” – not about the the needless loss of life – but about how it was being reported. O’Reilly took offense at this and scolded Stewart for “distorting” his words. He then attempted to defend himself by playing a clip from his program showing him expressing some sympathy for Brown:

O’Reilly: “What happened to Michael Brown shouldn’t happen to any American. […] Eighteen year olds make mistakes … If Michael Brown did something wrong, it doesn’t mean that you end up dead in the street.”

OK, fine. But while O’Reilly managed to utter some rather tepid sympathy for Brown, that was not the reason he cut his vacation short and rushed back to the studio. He didn’t hurry back because he was furious that an unarmed black teenager, who witnesses say had his hands up and posed no threat, was killed by an over-zealous, white police officer. His fury didn’t compel him to get back on the air because of the militarized Police department response to mostly peaceful protesters, and even members of the press. Nope, he was “furious about how the shooting of Michael Brown, 18, is being reported and how some are reacting to it.”

So Stewart’s criticism of O’Reilly for being outraged about the reporting, but not the shooting, was entirely on target. The whole point of that portion of Stewart’s program was that O’Reilly’s fury only surfaced after he saw the how the media was covering the story. The story itself wasn’t sufficient to abort his holiday. O’Reilly’s defense never even addressed the reason that Stewart had mocked him in the first place, which makes O’Reilly’s smug satisfaction that, in his mind, he had demolished Stewart’s mockery seem pretty pathetic.

Well, O’Reilly’s fury at Stewart had the ancillary effect of clouding his mind to the point where he actually said something that was true, albeit inadvertently. His Tip of the Day was…

O’Reilly: When you hear something on a partisan program, do NOT believe it … Distortions are how some people make a living.”

Bill O'Reilly

Thanks, Billo. That’s excellent advice. Now we all know how we should regard the grade A crapola you dish out every day, not to mention the steaming heap that the rest of the Fox News crew shovels 24/7.

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Bill O’Reilly: “These People Don’t Want Justice.” And Who Knows “Those People” Better Than O’Reilly?

The turmoil in Ferguson, MO continues as another night of confrontation between residents and police brings tear gas, arrests, and Fox News’ demeaning characterizations of aggrieved protesters. Not surprisingly, the disparaging tone is set by Bill O’Reilly who enjoys nothing more than lecturing African-Americans on the moral decline of their culture. O’Reilly, who is on vacation, called into his own show to tell guest host Eric Bolling that he questions the sincerity of the protesters.

Bill O'Reilly

O’Reilly: “No justice, no peace? These people don’t want justice. What if the facts come out and say it was a justifiable shooting by the police officer? This guy was coming at them. What if they say that? You think these people are gonna accept that? They’re not gonna accept it.”

And there you have it. The definitive analysis by a recognized expert on the psychology of the angry black man. Clearly “those people” don’t want justice. And they won’t accept the results of a fair investigation because thugs like them are unable to employ reason and conduct themselves in a civilized fashion. And who would know better than O’Reilly who personally visited a restaurant in Harlem where he was surprised to learn that African-American patrons weren’t constantly screaming, “M-Fer, I want more iced tea.”

Elsewhere on Fox News, there was a story published on their website about the emergence of a video that Fox regarded as significant. Their headline said “YouTube Video Purportedly Captures Witness Backing Police Version In Ferguson Shooting.” Fox posted a link to the video along with a summary of the parts they considered important.

Fox News Video Backs Cop

For instance, the article reports that the video shows “a possible witness saying [Michael Brown] the unarmed 18-year-old charged at the officer who fired the shots.” That’s a pretty damning allegation, except for the fact that it occurs nowhere in the video. In the actual part of the video (Warning: very graphic content) that they quoted a background voice is heard saying…

(about 6:45) “I mean, the police was in the truck [sic] and he was, like, over the truck,” the man says. “So then he ran, police got out and ran after him. The next thing I know, he comes back towards them. The police had his guns drawn on him.”

There is nothing in there about “charging” the police. That characterization was invented by Fox News. In fact, the video account is consistent with other witnesses who said that Brown ran at first, then stopped and turned toward the officer to surrender. Of course, that version wouldn’t align with Fox’s more theatrical rendition of a raging animal on the attack.

From the outset Fox News has sought to portray Brown as a dangerous, possibly drug-addled, criminal. Likewise, they have cast the protesters in the most negative light. In a remote segment from Ferguson, Fox News reporter Steve Harrigan was particularly insulting, which did not go over well with a bystander.

Harrigan: “This is right now a media event, pure and simple. This is people running towards tear gas, running away from it. The dignified protestors went home at dusk. This is just child’s play right now.”

Bystander: “Say that shit. I don’t give a damn you’re on TV, say that shit,” the unidentified man cursed at Harrigan. “We see this shit every day. This is just child’s play? Who is the child playing with toys? That’s them.”

One has to wonder how Harrigan distinguished the “dignified” protesters from the children. Perhaps he had Bill O’Reilly on his cell phone giving him advice as the night wore on. Because a common thread runs through all of Fox’s programming. Those people are immature, violent, and unreasonable. Just look at how upset they get just because another unarmed black kid was shot by a white police officer. What do they want, justice? Well, no, according to O’Reilly.

Bill O’Reilly Wants To Know: Will Black America Speak Out Against Looting?

Fox News resident curmudgeon, Bill O’Reilly, has demonstrated his racial insensitivity too often to catalog here. Suffice to say that the man who was surprised that African-American patrons of a Harlem restaurant aren’t constantly screaming, “M-Fer, I want more iced tea,” is not the best example of racial tolerance.

So this week O’Reilly was promoting a segment on his program that would deal with the aftermath of the police shooting of an unarmed African-American. The promo asked a ludicrous question that sought to heap the responsibility of isolated crowd behavior unto the entire black population of America: “Will Black America Speak Out Against Looting?”

Fox News Bill O'Reilly

Is he serious? So whenever there is an incident that O’Reilly finds objectionable, he believes that everyone who bears any resemblance to the people involved are obligated to condemn it. Does that apply to the white police officer in Ferguson, MO who shot Mike Brown? Will white America speak out against officers killing unarmed citizens? Does it apply to George Zimmerman? Will white America speak out against murdering innocent black teenagers? Does it apply to governors who pass laws that subvert democracy? Will white America speak out against minority voter suppression? Does it apply to bankers who thrust the nation into near economic collapse? Will white America speak out against predator lenders and fraudulent mortgage schemes? Does it apply to judicial activists on the Supreme Court? Will white America speak out against the gutting of the Civil Rights Act?

O’Reilly and his right-wing comrades are constantly lumping their ideological foes into categories where they have collective responsibility, but he absolves white people of having any part in the actions of their ethnic fellows. Muslims, for instance, are required to condemn the terrorists acts of Al Qaeda (which they have done), but whites are not asked to do the same when innocent Muslims are killed by drones.

For the benefit of O’Reilly and his racist cohorts, black Americans have been prominently speaking out against any law-breaking in response to the Brown killing. His parents have called for people to “come together and do this right, the right way. No violence.” Al Sharpton told a rally of supporters that “To become violent in Michael Brown’s name is to betray the gentle giant that he was.” President Obama released a statement saying…

“I know the events of the past few days have prompted strong passions, but as details unfold, I urge everyone in Ferguson, Missouri, and across the country, to remember this young man through reflection and understanding. We should comfort each other and talk with one another in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds. Along with our prayers, that’s what Michael and his family, and our broader American community, deserve.”

These comments expose O’Reilly for the ignorant and deliberately race-baiting provocateur that he is. Does every black person in America have to make a public statement before he will be satisfied? O’Reilly isn’t actually interested in people taking responsibility. He is only interested in laying blame and disparaging African-Americans as thugs or supportive of thuggery.

America’s black population has no more responsibility to account for every other black American, than white Americans have to account for racists like O’Reilly. If they did, then I want to know if white America will speak out against the racist Fox News promo that asks if black America will speak out against looting?

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.

Fox News - Bill O'Reilly

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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.

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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.

Koch/Fox News

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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.

CBS News David Rhodes

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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.

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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.