Former FOX NEWS Anchor Reveals That Roger Ailes Demanded Submission Sexually AND Politically

The culture of sexual harassment at Fox News has been well documented in the past few months. The most notorious consequences have been the staggering dismissals of Fox’s CEO Roger Ailes and its ratings leader Bill O’Reilly. However, the whole story has still not been told. More women are said to be coming forward with more allegations aimed at more of Fox News’ abusive personnel.

Roger Ailes Fox News

Sunday morning on CNN’s Reliable Sources another victim of Fox’s depraved work environment told her story. Alisyn Camerota, currently an anchor on CNN, worked for sixteen years at Fox News. She was interviewed about her experience by Brian Stelter. Her story was disturbing, but not unlike the stories of many other women who suffered harassment at Fox. [Video below]

Stelter began the segment by noting that “The culture of harassment at Fox News came from the top down. It came from Roger Ailes.” Then he pointedly asked Camerota if Ailes had ever sexually harassed her. She replied “Yes. Roger Ailes did sexually harass me.” She continued:

“He was often grossly inappropriate with things that he would say. And I think that many of us experienced that. He would talk about body parts. He would say ‘give me spin.’ He’d want to be greeted with a hug.”

Then Camerota unveiled a more salacious incident in detail. She said that Ailes told her that in order to advance her career she would have to “work with him.” They would have to get to know each other better, and that would have to be done away from the office in a hotel. Then he asked suggestively, “Do you know what I’m saying?” Of course she did.

Camerota then goes on to describe what happened following her refusal to comply with Ailes’ sexual demands. And while not as personally repulsive, his behavior illustrates something else that makes Fox News a wholly disreputable source of journalism. Camerota confirms that the network’s “fair and balanced” pretense is a sham. “In Roger’s world view,” she says, “there was no other side. Liberals were always wrong, conservatives were generally right, and that’s what he felt that we should be reflecting on the air.” Ailes aimed his insistence on political bias directly at Camerota:

“Roger Ailes ruled with an iron fist. He wanted us all to fall in line and have his world view and say the things that he wanted us to say on Fox News. And he targeted me because he sort of figured out early on that I didn’t share his world view. He said, ‘You’re not saying the conservative things that I want you to say. You could be a real model and you could be a real star if only you could sound conservative.'”

The evidence of the ultra rightist slant at Fox News is readily visible on the air everyday. But there aren’t very many personal accounts of the pressure people were under to conform to its conservative orthodoxy. Camerota’s first-hand account is a valuable contribution to the case against Fox News. And the fact that her experience transverses from the lurid to the professional makes it that much more compelling.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

FINALLY: CNN Calls Out Trump For ‘A Presidency Shaped By Fox News’

From the beginning of Donald Trump’s candidacy he was fawned over by adoring anchors and pundits on Fox News. They rushed to defend him at every turn and praised whatever lame-brained or hateful scheme he would propose. The network turned over so many hours of valuable airtime they should have been designated as campaign contributions. He had a long-running regular segment on Fox and Friends called “Mondays with Trump.” And Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity kept the door open for him to appear, or call in, at his convenience.

CNN Brian Stelter

Since becoming president, Trump has made a habit of harvesting topics from his obsessive viewing of Fox. There have been numerous instances of him tweeting about something that had aired shortly before on his favorite network. He clearly relies more on conspiracy theories from Fox than he does on the intelligence agencies that work for him. It’s a perverse and frightening state of affairs.

Sunday, on CNN’s Reliable Sources, host Brian Stelter delivered a commentary about this titled “Welcome to the Fox News Presidency.” It was a long overdue examination of the incestuous relationship between Trump and Fox. Stelter began by noting that:

“Five of his seven sit-down TV interviews since taking office have been with Fox News. Trump watches Fox. He tweets about Fox. He uses Fox graphics to advance his agenda. He’s hired Fox talking heads. He promotes Fox as fair while denigrating its rivals as fake. All of this amounts to a Fox News presidency. What I mean by that is a presidency shaped by Fox News in all sorts of ways, big and small.”

Indeed. Trump has exhibited an abject fear of taking questions from any news organization other than his pals at Fox. His assaults on the free press are frequent and biting (as well as childish and false). But his compliments for Fox are effusive and unrestrained. Meanwhile, anyone critical of Trump often finds themselves locked out. Just ask Megyn Kelly and George Will. Independent thought is not a value favored by Fox executives. Perhaps Shepard Smith should watch his back.

In addition to the Trumpification of Fox News, there has been a simultaneous Foxification of the Trump administration. Former Foxies on the White House payroll include K.T. McFarland, Ben Carson, Sebastion Gorka, Heather Nauert, and Jonathan Wachtel. Fox’s Monica Crowley was also hired by Trump, but she was forced to resign after the rampant plagiarism in her book was revealed. This is an unprecedented migration of media hacks to political flacks.

Stelter’s commentary is an encouraging, albeit late, beginning for the media honestly characterizing the formation of Trump’s Ministry of Propaganda. More of this reporting will be necessary as Trump continues to steamroll the First Amendment and blur the lines between media and politics.

Trump recently told Fox’s Tucker Carlson that “When I have close to 100 million people watching me on [social media…] I have my own form of media.” Someone should tell him that another term for a president with his “own form of media” is “state-run media.” The press is not supposed to be a tool for the president’s communications. That’s how it’s done in dictatorships, but not in America. Maybe Trump has been consulting too much with his BFF, Vladimir Putin.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Trump Floats Yet Another Crackpot Conspiracy Theory: Bernie Sanders/Fake News Edition

Sunday morning Donald Trump was once again up early playing with his Twitter machine. Despite the best efforts of his handlers, they have failed to wrest his phone away and prevent these embarrassing episodes. The problem is that they are not just embarrassing for Trump, but for America.

Bernie Sanders Donald Trump

The latest tweet-bleat from The Donald concerned an interview on CNN with Sen. Bernie Sanders (video below). The subject was Trump’s National Security Advisor, Gen. Michael Flynn, and his recently disclosed communications with Russia. In particular, Flynn’s having allegedly told Russia not to worry about the sanctions imposed for interfering with U.S. elections. Erin Burnett asked Sanders about Trump’s dubious claim to not know anything about the matter. That led to this amusing exchange:

BURNETT: He says says he doesn’t know anything about it. Hasn’t seen any of the reports. Is that a problem?

SANDERS: Well, I don’t know. Maybe he was watching CNN’s fake news. What do you think. [adding] That was a joke.

BURNETT: I know it was a joke.

Whereupon, the signal was lost and CNN went to a commercial. On the basis of that, Trump contrived a nefarious plot to silence Sanders and any talk of CNN’s “fakery.” He tweeted:

How Trump concluded that Sanders was “cut off for using the term fake news” is a total mystery. As usual, he provided no evidence of his outlandish accusation. In the Trump mind, all that’s necessary is to spout off random thoughts and pretend they are factual. Of course, his delusions are generally easy to refute. In this case, CNN came back from the commercial break and began by apologizing for the technical difficulties and resuming the conversation with the very words that Trump thinks were censored:

BURNETT: Sen. Sanders is back with me, and I want to apologize to our viewers for that technical issue. And Senator, you had just been talking, joking about CNN’s fake news, but there were reports about … go ahead.

If CNN were trying to scrub any discussion about Trump’s juvenile fake news slur, they surely wouldn’t have led with it upon resumption of the interview. So how could Trump have concocted this nonsense? Well, as Brian Stelter reported, Fox & Friends had made the same phony characterization of the interview just half an hour before Trump tweeted it. As happens frequently, Trump was just regurgitating something he saw on Fox News. And we all know how reliable that is.

For the President of the United States to blindly parrot falsehoods he saw on TV sets a new low for the intellectual honesty of the office. But then Trump does that every day. The one silver lining that may emerge is that the attention Trump brings to this interview may cause a few of his supporters to watch the entire segment. Bernie is absolutely on fire and makes an outstanding presentation of Trump’s authoritarian tendencies and hypocrisy. He even defends referring to Trump as delusional and questions his mental health. Watch and enjoy (or shudder).

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Former Fox News Watch Host: The People Who Watch Fox News Are Cultish

This morning on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter interviewed the former host of the Fox News program “News Watch.” That program was canceled in 2008 and its host, Eric Burns, was fired. It’s replacement, “MediaBuzz,” is now led by a more reliable hack, Howard Kurtz, who isn’t troubled by having to peddle the partisan garbage that Fox spews.

Fox News

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On Reliable Sources, Stelter raised the ever-expanding controversy over Bill O’Reilly’s diuretic flow of lies about his past adventures as a news superhero. Stelter opened with with statements from the order of nuns who lost four of their members to death squads in El Salvador. They were disturbed by O’Reilly’s false assertion that he had personally witnessed the executions. O’Reilly later admitted that he had only seen photographs, but failed to apologize or even acknowledge that his prior claims were false.

At the top of the interview segment, Burns told Stelter that he had experienced the extraordinary effect of the audience loyalty at Fox News, saying that “The people who watch Fox News are cultish.” [a condition that News Corpse documented a few months ago] and that “O’Reilly, as the head of the cult, is not held to the same standards as Brian Williams. Burns went on to give credit to MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann who had frequently pointed out O’Reilly’s predilection for lying, with evidence proving it. Then Stelter asked Burns to comment on the shift by Fox News to ever more right-wing slanted programming. Burns said that…

“I thought that as Fox got more and more popular that Roger Ailes, who runs the network, would say ‘Well, the right has nowhere else to go, so if I move a little more to the center I can get a bigger audience and not lose my core audience.’ He did just the opposite. He went more to the right.”

It’s important to note that Burns hosted a program that was already severely slanted to the right. He had four panelists that included a single “liberal,” pretty much setting the model for every other panel on Fox (i.e. MediaBuzz, The Five, Special Report, Cashin In, Fox News Sunday, etc.). So Burns is no progressive mole. However, he was astute enough to recognize the downside of being associated with Fox News and replied to inquiries after his departure by expressing relief that…

“I do not have to face the ethical problem of sharing an employer with Glenn Beck.”

On Fox’s MediaBuzz this morning, host Kurtz completely ignored the O’Reilly affair, choosing instead to focus on negative stories about Hillary Clinton’s email, Obama’s speech in Selma, AL, and Netanyahu’s speech before Congress. Throw in a suck-up profile of Rand Paul and all of the criticisms expressed by Burns begin to be obvious. But don’t tell that to the cult members who watch Fox. They threaten to throw another Tea Party.

And Speaking of Cults: Get the ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Killing Bill O’Reilly: The Fox News Bloviator Calls Everyone Who Is Against Him Poopyheads

The case of the Bill O’Reilly war mythology is continuing, and even heating up, as O’Reilly embarks on a take-no-prisoners mission to exonerate himself and crush his enemies. [Read this if you need to catch up] Unfortunately for him, he is shooting blanks that make a loud noise but fail to inflict any injury on those he is targeting.

Fox News Bill O'Reilly

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On CNN’s Reliable Sources Sunday morning, host Brian Stelter reported that he has statements from six other reporters who covered the Falklands war for CBS and not a single one corroborated O’Reilly’s self-aggrandizing accounts. To the contrary, they repudiated O’Reilly’s ludicrous embellishments entirely.

Stelter interviewed Eric Engberg who was a CBS News correspondent stationed in Argentina at the same time as O’Reilly. Engberg flatly denied O’Reilly’s claims that there was gunfire and people dying all around him in Buenos Aires, which is 1,200 miles from the actual war zone in the Falklands. Engberg also said that O’Reilly lied when he claimed that he was the only CBS correspondent courageous enough to leave the hotel during the demonstrations that followed the Argentine surrender to the UK. According to Engberg and others, there were as many as five reporters with camera crews in the field.

So O’Reilly phoned home (aka Fox News) to defend himself on Howard Kurtz’s MediaBuzz. He immediately set off on a mouth-foaming rant castigating his critics with childish insults and accusations of political and personal motives to destroy him. In his tantrum he called Engberg a coward and even browbeat his colleagues (Kurtz and media critic David Zurawik) interrupting them frequently to belligerently press his case, for which he provided no factual basis other than that his critics were left-wing meanies and thumbsuckers who just don’t like him. This exchange is typical of the tone O’Reilly set during the interview with his Fox associate and defender as represented in this exchange:

Kurtz: [David] Corn has been a Washington reporter for a long time and some people respect his work.
O’Reilly: Who? Name one. [Kurtz giggles] You can’t. He is a hatchet man. You know he is. He’s an aparatchnik (sic) from the far left and all of this is driven … Stelter from CNN … you don’t get more far left than this guy.

No one will be surprised that O’Reilly resorted to name-calling and politically inspired McCarthyism to attempt to demean and dismiss anyone who says something about him that is less than worshipful. But his allegations about Engberg and Stelter are outright delusional and blatantly self-serving. What’s more, his hostility toward Kurtz, who has taken his side during this sordid affair, shows just how desperate he is. For his part, Kurtz was obviously cowed by O’Reilly’s assault. His furtive giggling and acquiescence to O’Reilly’s assertion that, because he wasn’t prepared with a list of Corn’s admirers there must not be any, was almost painful to watch. As was O’Reilly’s blustery defense of himself and conviction that he would do everything the same if he had it to do over:

Kurtz: Seems to me, in my analysis of this, that the Mother Jones piece ultimately, if you boil it down, comes down to this semantic question. You have said you covered a “combat situation” in Argentina during the Falklands war. You’ve said “war zones of Falkland conflict” in Argentina. Looking back do you wish you had worded it differently?
O’Reilly: No! When you have soldiers, military police, firing into the crowd as the New York Times reported, and you have people injured and hurt and you’re in the middle of that, that’s a definition, alright? This is splitting hairs, trying anything they can to bring down me because of the Brian Williams situation.

Yep, as always, it’s all about him. Never mind the facts. And his “definition” of a war zone makes no sense. Policing a demonstration is completely different from combat, even if the demonstration turns deadly. And there is no corroboration of that from his CBS colleagues. O’Reilly cannot produce a single person to validate his story. He is utterly alone in his pompously boastful memories. That makes judging his veracity pretty easy. The one piece of written evidence he cited was a story in the New York Times that described the protests in Buenos Aires. However, the author of that article points out that O’Reilly deceptively edited the portion of his story that he read on the air.

As an example of O’Reilly’s hilariously twisted recollection, he told Kurtz that Engberg’s dispute was due to the fact that “he wasn’t there.” And O’Reilly knows this because when he left the hotel Engberg was still there. And when he returned in the evening Engberg was also there. Obviously, therefore, Engberg never left the hotel. In O’Reilly’s shrunken brain Engberg could not possibly have left after O’Reilly, spent the day reporting in the field, and returned before him.

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

In the end, this latest episode in O’Reilly’s media campaign to exonerate himself fell flat. He offered no proof of any of the controversial remarks he has made and they have all been refuted by others on the scene. He launched a shock and awe attack on his critics who have no ax to grind. All he did was cement the impression of him as a bully and a blowhard who demands that the world love him as much as he does. This isn’t going to go away any time soon, and O’Reilly can’t pay off his accusers as he did with Andrea Mackris, the O’Reilly Factor producer he sexually harassed. You can read more about that in this 2004 Washington Post article written by – – Howard Kurtz.

UPDATE (2/24/2015): Obviously O’Reilly thinks this a potentially damaging issue. For the second consecutive day O’Reilly spent much of his program defending himself. He played segments of the original video provided by CBS from Buenos Aires in 1982. Nothing he aired corroborated his account of people dying or his reputed acts of heroism. And his latest defense never addressed his false claims to have been in an “active war zone.” But one thing the video did do is prove that O’Reilly lied when he said that he was the only CBS correspondent courageous enough to leave the hotel to report the demonstrations. The video shows three other reporters doing remotes: Eric Engberg, Charles Gomez, and Bob Schieffer.

In other news, O’Reilly had an exchange with a reporter from the New York Times that ended with him threatening her saying that if he was unhappy with the story “I am coming after you with everything I have. You can take it as a threat.” And that’s a perfect illustration of how O’Reilly, and Fox News generally, deal with criticism.

The Fox News Primary: CNN On Kissing Rupert’s Ring And Other Body Parts

Sunday morning’s media analysis program on CNN, Reliable Sources, aired a segment (video below) that exposed the overtly partisan promotion of Republican candidates on Fox News. The obvious biases that infect the network’s programming have long been known to anyone paying attention, and the necessity to win the favor of the Fox Politburo is unquestioned.

Fox News Primary

Host Brian Stelter introduced the segment saying…

“Will those two guys, Fox News president Roger Ailes and his boss Rupert Murdoch, be picking your next president? It may sound ridiculous. It may sound like some liberal conspiracy theory. But there’s no disputing that they have real power in the GOP primary.”

That’s an understatement. Not only is Fox News a real power in the GOP primary proper, they often launch candidates from among their own employees. Just looking at the 2016 presidential cycle, Fox vets Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, John Bolton, Rick Santorum and John Kasich have all indicated an interested in running. And most of the other prospective candidates (i.e. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, and Paul Ryan) have staked out territory on Fox’s air on a regular basis. This led Stelter’s guest, Gabriel Sherman, author of the Ailes bio The Loudest Voice in the Room, to say…

“Without a question Roger Ailes controls the largest block of reliable Republican voters. They watch Fox News. They turn out in large numbers on primary day. And the candidates are already kissing the ring.”

For some evidence of the influence imposed by Fox, News Corpse reported this week that Mitt Romney’s departure from the race likely received more than a little push from Rupert Murdoch, whose anti-Romney stance was expressed publicly on more than one occasion. Stelter also noticed Murdoch’s remarks and coyly called it “purely coincidental.” Nevertheless, when the Fox News media analysis program, MediaBuzz with Howard Kurtz, reported on Romney bailing out, they laughably portrayed it as being the result of some ambiguous, negative media coverage, with an on-screen graphic reading “Did The Media Sink Romney?”

Yeah right. No mention of Romney’s negative coverage on Fox. Likewise, no mention of the disparaging comments by Murdoch, or Sean Hannity, or numerous other Tea Party mouthpieces on Fox. Not surprisingly, a conservative guest on Reliable Sources, the Daily Caller’s Matt Lewis, dismissed any talk of influence on the part of Fox News. He would have to be seriously oblivious to reality in order believe that or to say…

“In terms of them having some sort of conspiracy to help boost one candidate or another – I mean look, if they had their way the Republican Party would be a pro-immigration reform party right now.”

Lewis must not watch very much Fox News if he hasn’t seen the Republican fluffing that goes on hour after hour. And to suggest that the network that continues to use the word “illegals” in reference to undocumented residents, even after most reputable news organizations have abandoned it (including the Fox Latino website), shows just how warped his view of the network is. Fox News is unashamedly hostile to immigration reform, as well as to immigrants, and so are most of the GOP candidates.

For the next year and a half Fox News will continue to work on behalf of the Republican Party. They are already in league with the Republican National Committee’s plans for primary debates. And during the general election Fox will openly promote the GOP candidate and lie shamelessly about the Democrat. It’s what they do. And the parade of GOP hopefuls kowtowing to Ailes and Murdoch know all too well how important it is to kiss their rings, and other body parts as required.

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

CNN’s Horribly Bad Suck-Up Interview Of Congenital Liar Glenn Beck

There’s a pretty good media analysis program on CNN called Reliable Sources. Its host, Brian Stelter, is generally a thoughtful guide through some of the week’s exercises in modern broadcast journalism. But for some reason he was transformed into a grinning, sycophantic, waste of flesh in the presence of Glenn Beck, whom he allowed to pander, lie, and promote his deceitful Internet hate-site, unchallenged in an interview that offered nothing new or revealing.

Glenn Beck

Shameless self-promotion…
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Beck assumed an increasingly familiar pose that he undertakes whenever appearing on the mainstream media for which he has nothing but contempt. First, he tries to present himself as remorseful for the division that he has caused by way of his bitterly hostile representations of those with whom he disagrees. Then he seeks to persuade that he has changed and now wants only to form bonds of harmony and unity.

The problem with Beck’s new-found desire for brotherhood is that it is utterly dishonest. He will plaintively insist that he is now dedicated to being a uniting voice during these interviews, then he will return to his Internet/radio platform and revert to the name-calling and slander that has become his trademark. For some reason Stelter didn’t know this and seemed as if he were interviewing someone he had never heard of or researched. It was downright painful to watch.

In the course of the interview, Beck said that he has always hated politics and has been moving away from it on his radio program and his Internet site, The Blaze. To drive home the point he asserted that “I don’t have time for politicians anymore.” However, if you go to The Blaze now you will see that all of the top stories are political. And on his radio program he has been actively supporting politicians including Matt Bevin (who lost the GOP senate primary in Kentucky to Mitch McConnell), Chris McDaniel (who lost the GOP senate primary in Mississippi to Thad Cochran), and David Brat (who defeated GOP House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the Virginia primary). Beck recently enthused about his choice of Texas senator Ted Cruz as “Man of the Year.” And just prior to the presidential election in 2012, Beck said that

“…if America reelects Obama then God’s response must be that ‘we have to be destroyed because we will be a remarkable evil on this planet.'”

It’s one thing to express opposition to a political candidate. It is something entirely different to call on God Almighty to destroy a country for making a free democratic decision. But that is typical of Beck’s extremist rhetoric that he seeks to disguise when appearing with people like Stelter. A prepared journalist would have held Beck accountable for his hypocrisy when saying things like…

“I think we’re a country in a civil war – a cold civil war. Shooting hasn’t started, but somebody stupid is going to do something stupid and it will escalate unless we talk to each other.”

Stelter did make a weak effort to have Beck respond to the inherently violent nature of that suggestion, but immediately let him off the hook. And Stelter never mentioned the fact that the shooting has actually begun in places like Nevada where a couple of Tea Party terrorists murdered two police officers after spending a few days with deadbeat rancher Cliven Bundy and his revolutionary militia brigade who aimed their weapons at agents of the Bureau of Land Management.

Beck took this interview opportunity to absolve himself of responsibility for the divisiveness that he has infected our culture with. And not satisfied with denying his own culpability, he laid the blame on “everybody else.” No, seriously. He actually pointed his bony finger of incrimination at the whole world, with the possible exception of one notable peacenik.

“I look at the things that I’ve done that have been good, and I look at the things I’ve done that, unintentionally… I feel I’ve added – we all have, all of us – have added to the situation that we’re in right now. Not a single member of our society – maybe the Dalai Lama – but everybody else has played a role in this.

Bullshit! It is YOU, Glenn. You have spent years feeding the raw meat of hatred to your dimwitted disciples knowing full well that they would eat it up and reward you handsomely for their feast. The vast majority of this Earth’s inhabitants are not hostile bigots like you, and they have not contributed to the situation we’re in. They are the victims of the situation that you purposefully created. And it doesn’t do any good to seek forgiveness by admitting to Stelter that you have “said stupid things” if you follow that up by saying that, given the chance, “I would do exactly the same thing.”

That isn’t remorse. It’s arrogance and pride, and conceit. And you should be ashamed for the singular role you have played in exploiting peoples prejudices and fears, and inciting them to violence. You haven’t changed. You are just pathetically pushing a phony rebranding of your destructive message in the hopes of broadening the base of suckers willing to make you an even wealthier hate monger. And it’s too bad that Stelter, a normally astute observer of the media, got sucked into the black hole of your promotional campaign.

IDIOCRACY: Fox News Is Aghast That Media Watchdog Does What Media Watchdogs Do

On CNN’s Reliable Sources this weekend, host Brian Stelter interviewed David Brock, the founder of Media Matters, to respond to an accusation made by disgraced former CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson on last week’s program. Attkisson alleged that Media Matters might have been paid to target her for criticism. It was an irresponsible and paranoid allegation for which she offered no evidence or any details on who would have offered the payment or to whom. In effect, Attkisson demonstrated why her reporting is regarded as hackery.

In the segment on Reliable Sources (video below), Brock was asked about the nature of his business and his relationship with other media enterprises. He candidly replied that “We do work with reporters. We’re a media watchdog group.” That seems pretty obvious. It is precisely what media watchdogs are designed to do. They monitor various journalism outlets, analyze their content, and communicate their findings to the public and other members of the press. It’s a valuable service that helps to keep the media honest and accurate. But that’s not the way Fox News sees it.

Fox Nation

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In a desperate attempt to further smear an organization with which Fox is obsessed, Fox News posted an article on their Fox Nation website with the shocking disclosure that Brock “Admits to Working with Media Outlets on Stories.” That’s more of a definition than an admission. It’s perfectly acceptable for Brock to provide his reports to the media, just as it’s acceptable for the media to receive and evaluate them.

Nevertheless, the Fox Nationalists portrayed this activity as if it were criminal, saying that he “did not deny the allegations today.” Again, that’s more of a job description than an allegation. And it’s a job that is done by many organizations including some with conservative views. One of the most notable is the Media Research Center and its NewsBusters website. Run by ultra-rightist Brent Bozell, the MRC is a major source of information for the conservative media circus including Fox News. Former Fox anchor Brit Hume even lauded the MRC saying…

“I want to say a word, however, of thanks to Brent and the team at the Media Research Center […] for the tremendous amount of material that the Media Research Center provided me for so many years when I was anchoring Special Report, I don’t know what we would’ve done without them. It was a daily buffet of material to work from, and we certainly made tremendous use of it.”

Given the close relationship between the MRC and Fox News, it is blatantly hypocritical for them to assert some sort of malfeasance on the part of Media Matters. When Fox’s primary anchor and managing editor confesses to making “tremendous use” of the MRC’s data, and not knowing what he would have done without them, it seems somewhat overblown and self-serving to criticize Media Matters for simply documenting the flagrant bias and inept inaccuracies of the conservative media.

It would not be too much of a stretch to observe the jealousy of the right who have a much harder time fabricating their fake outrages and phony controversies like the one presented here. Whereas Media Matters, sadly, has an abundance of right-wing distortions and lies to catalog. Brock may have said it best on Reliable Sources when he noted that conservative watchdogs…

“…seem to be particularly incensed about Media Matters’ relationship with the media. Maybe we’re just doing a better job than they are.”

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.

Why Fox News Is Racist

For the past few weeks Fox News has been ratcheting up the racial content of their tabloid fare. Megyn Kelly’s obsession with a trumped up story about the New Black Panther Party and their dozen or so members is a perfect example of the race-baiting that Fox passes off as journalism. They follow that up with the promotion of an Andrew Breitbart video that was blatantly edited to tar USDA employee Shirley Sherrod as a racist even though the opposite was evident when the video was viewed in its entirety.

Glenn Beck Deploring HonorBut these recent events are not aberrations. They are representative of an agenda that cannot be anything but deliberate. Recall Fox’s use of offensive rhetoric with reference to President Obama and his family like “terrorist fist jab” and “Obama’s baby mama.” Then there was the time that Bill O’Reilly tried to explain his reluctance to be critical of the First Lady by saying that he didn’t “want to go on a lynching party.” Or the time he attempted to praise patrons of Sylvia’s Restaurant in Harlem by noting that they didn’t shout for their “mother-fucking iced teas.” And who could forget Glenn Beck calling Obama a racist with a deep-seated hatred for white people? Beck is escalating his racial insensitivity by holding his self-glorifying rally in DC on the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech next month.

Some people might wonder why Fox News would risk alienating a potentially significant portion of their audience. Well, we have the answer now. According to Brian Stelter of the New York Times, the African-American segment of viewers of Fox News in primetime this season is only 1.38%. That compares to 19.3% for MSNBC, and 20.7% for CNN, numbers that are much closer to the 14% of African-Americans in the population at large. These numbers also suggest that the black audience that might have been watching Fox have split evenly between MSNBC and CNN causing those networks to be over-weighted by about 6% each.

It is apparent that Fox News has little to lose by offending a segment of the television universe that doesn’t watch their programs anyway. Combine that with Fox’s political incentive to suppress Democratic votes and the strategy of inflaming racial animus doesn’t seem so bad in their warped perspective.

At the very least this explains why Fox persists in airing obviously offensive stories and why they think they can get away with it without adverse consequences. They have nothing to lose in financial terms, and much to gain by pandering to a prejudice demographic. It may be reprehensible to decent folks, but to Fox it’s just good business, and more importantly, good politics.