Are You Braindead And Biased Enough To Work At Fox News?

This week Fox News revealed what they regard as the professional and personal attributes to secure and maintain employment at their enterprise. What it comes down to is having a commitment to distorting the news, swinging hard to the right, and focusing like a laser beam on anything negative about President Obama and the Democrats.

The example was set by Chris White, the Fox producer responsible for the now famous four minute anti-Obama campaign-style video that was broadcast on Fox & Friends. In the wake of that shoddy exercise of pseudo-journalism, White was thrown onto a roller coaster that first sent him up a steep track of praise from Fox & Friends’ idiot hosts. That was followed by criticism and ridicule from many of his peers in the press and a vaguely critical statement from his boss, Fox News EVP of programming, Bill Shine, who said…

“The package that aired on FOX & Friends was created by an associate producer and was not authorized at the senior executive level of the network. This has been addressed with the show’s producers.”

The video itself appeared and disappeared from Fox’s web sites, finally falling into an abyss from which it never returned. White was reported to have been offered a new job at CNN prior to this controversy, but that offer was subsequently rescinded. With his fate up in the air, another statement emerged from Shine saying that…

“Chris White will remain employed with FOX News. We’ve addressed the video with the producers and are not going to discuss the internal workings of our programming any further.”

So Fox pulled White’s carcass from the fire. And why not? He represents everything the network reveres. No doubt he will soon get a promotion and additional responsibility so that he can slap together some more partisan GOP propaganda in advance of the election in November. That’s what Fox pays him to do. That’s what they pay Gretchen Carlson, Steve Doocy, Sean Hannity, Neil Cavuto, Megyn Kelly, Bill O’Reilly, and the rest of their staff to do.

However, Shine’s statement was notable for more than just his support for the disgraced producer. Shine’s arrogance in declining any further discussion of this matter is emblematic of the arrogance of Fox News overall. There is much left to discuss, and Fox News would be the first to demand more discussion and transparency from their competitors were they to be embroiled in a similar scandal. For instance, White was not the only person involved in the broadcast of that video. There were others who participated in its production including the Fox & Friends gang who were so openly effusive in their praise, yet they have not commented on it at all.

Where is the accountability for this abuse of ethics? Fox is determined to keep hidden any repercussions or, more likely, rewards they may have administered. And that is true to form at Fox. They have a history of hiring disgraced rejects. For example, Juan Williams, Don Imus, Doug McKelway, and Lou Dobbs were all put on the Fox payroll after having been terminated for cause at other networks. And as for their management of in-house malfeasance, here is a list of Fox personal who ought to have been fired for their brazenly inappropriate and unprofessional behavior, but who are still cheerfully plying their partisan trade at Fox (from my article last February):

Todd Starnes: Unsurprisingly, Fox News has smeared the Occupy Movement from its inception. They have disparaged them as everything from unfocused to unclean to un-American. But it took Starnes, the host of Fox News & Commentary on Fox Radio, to equate them to mass murderers by asking, “What should be done with the domestic terrorists who are occupying our cities and college campuses?” By comparing Occupiers to the likes of Timothy McVeigh, Starnes is engaging in rhetorical terrorism and insulting hundreds of thousands of concerned Americans.

Cody Willard: This Fox Business reporter brazenly exposed his bias when he attended a Tea Party rally and feverishly barked at the camera this call to arms against the U.S. government, “Guys, when are we going to wake up and start fighting the fascism that seems to be permeating this country?”

Andrew Napolitano: The “Judge” is a notorious 9/11 Truther who believes that the attack on the World Trade Center towers was an inside job, orchestrated by agents of the United States government. That’s a position considered so crazy by Fox Newsers that it was instrumental in their campaign to get Van Jones fired from his post as a green jobs adviser to President Obama. But, in typical Foxian hypocrisy, it has no impact on the employment of Napolitano. [Note: The entire primetime schedule of the Fox Business Network, including Napolitano, Eric Bolling and David Asman, was recently canceled. But it was due to poor ratings, not content. And all remain active Fox News contributors.]

Bill Sammon: The Fox News Washington managing editor was recorded admitting to a friendly audience on a conservative cruise that he would go on air and “mischievously” cast Obama as a socialist even though he didn’t believe it himself. In other words, he lied to defame the President and rile up his gullible viewers. That would be cause for termination at most news networks, but probably earned Sammon a bonus at Fox.

Eric Bolling: Hoping to sustain Fox’s leadership in inappropriate Nazi references, Bolling accused President Obama of engaging in class warfare that was “forged in Marxist Germany.” And if that wasn’t asinine enough, he sided with Iran against the U.S. by accusing the American hikers who were held in an Iranian prison of being spies and said that Iran should have kept them.

Bill O’Reilly: Dr. George Tiller, a family physician in Kansas, was murdered by an anti-abortion extremist who may have been incited to violence by rhetoric like this from O’Reilly: “Now, we have bad news to report that Tiller the baby killer out in Kansas, acquitted. Acquitted today of murdering babies.” O’Reilly regards the acquittal of a doctor for performing legal medical services “bad news,” and the services themselves “murder.” But he never took any responsibility for fanning the flames of violent incivility that led to the actual murder of Dr. Tiller.

Col. Ralph Peters (Ret): In a rant that argued that the United States should fight back against our enemies with the same tactics they use against us, Peters turned the media into military targets: “Although it seems unthinkable now, future wars may require censorship, news blackouts and, ultimately, military attacks on the partisan media. And like Bolling, Peters also took the side of our foes by suggesting, without evidence, that a missing American soldier was a deserter and that “the Taliban can save us a lot of legal hassles and legal bills,” presumably by killing him.

Michael Scheuer: This former CIA analyst was concerned that the American people were not sufficiently afraid of future terrorist attacks. He regards that absence of fear as dangerous complacency. But he has a solution: “The only chance we have as a country right now is for Osama bin Laden to deploy and detonate a major weapon in the United States.”

Roger Ailes: The CEO of Fox News proves that a fish stinks from its head. In response to NPR’s firing of Juan Willimas for bigoted remarks about Muslims, Ailes let loose a tirade wherein he viciously attacked the NPR executives saying that… “They are, of course, Nazis. They have a kind of Nazi attitude. They are the left wing of Nazism.”

Liz Trotta: What started out as a verbal stumble became a call for assassination when Trotta said, “Now we have what some are reading as a suggestion that somebody knock off Osama, umm, Obama. Well, both if we could.” Trotta followed that up with a commentary berating women in the military for complaining that they get raped too much (she did not define what an “acceptable” amount of rape is).

Roger AilesSo if you’re looking for work at Fox News, you now have an idea of how you need to present yourself. Just go in breathing right-wing fire and hostility for liberals, along with a petulantly defiant attitude toward any criticism. Never back down, and remember that even conceding an error is a sign of fatal weakness. The CEO of Fox News, Roger Ailes, exemplified this trait masterfully when he hysterically insisted that “in 15 years we have never taken a story down because it was wrong.” Hmm. Then what happened to the anti-Obama video?

But also keep in mind that a successful career at Fox may not translate into success more generally in the media. Once associated with the disreputable network you may become tainted goods and damage your prospects elsewhere. In response to the Chris White affair, the Baltimore Sun’s television critic David Zurawik told Media Matters that…

“I wouldn’t hire anybody who worked at Fox even if I knew them, because I believe they’ve been compromised.”

It’s a safe bet to presume that he’s not alone. So work for Fox at your own risk, and only if you’re pretty sure that you’ll never want to work anywhere that isn’t a right-wing disinformation center. And, of course, be sure that you have an all-consuming passion for twisting the truth to advance conservative dogma. If you’re willing to be steadfastly dishonest, insulting, and obnoxious, you have a promising career awaiting you at Fox News. Good luck.

Fox News Produces An Anti-Obama Video – Then Scrubs It, Sanitizes It, And Scrubs It Again

This morning on Fox & Friends, the program’s hosts, two couch potatoes and one couch tomato, introduced a video that purported to examine “Four Years of Hope and Change.” What it was in reality was a four-plus minute campaign video attacking President Obama that presented a variety of soundbites by the President accompanied by ominous graphics and eerie music that falsely implied that his campaign promises were unkept. The video addresses subjects such as…

  • The national debt (which ballooned as a result of Bush’s tax cuts for the rich, bailouts for banks, and two wars).
  • The unemployment rate (which Fox failed to note has fallen from 10.1 to 8.1, and which was the result of an economic collapse precipitated by Bush’s pandering to, and deregulation of, Wall Street).
  • The price of gas (which at $3.63 a gallon is still lower (and falling) than at the height of the Bush administration when it reached $4.12).
  • And a variety of statistics that one would expect in a recession that were caused by the economic mismanagement enumerated above.

The video (which Media Matters thoroughly debunks here) could not have been a more pro-Romney, anti-Obama attack had it been produced by the Republican National Committee. When critics observe that Fox News is the PR arm of the GOP, it is precisely because of brazenly biased political activism like this. If there were ever a time for Fox News to be investigated by the Federal Elections Commission for improper political contributions, it is now.

Apparently Fox News has also recognized the gross inappropriateness of their anti-Obama attack ad. Minutes after the video was posted online it was removed from every place it had been posted. On Fox Nation a reader would have been greeted by a “Lost at Sea” page indicating that the content was no longer at that address. On the Fox & Friends site the video was replaced by an error message saying that they “were unable to play the media you selected.” What could have prompted Fox to bury their own video that had already been broadcast on the air?

Approximately an hour later the video reappeared on Fox Nation. However, it had been edited to remove all of the footage of the Fox & Friends crew introducing it and summing up at the conclusion. It’s almost as if Fox were trying to destroy any evidence of their involvement with the video.

Unfortunately for the propagandists at Fox, the evidence persists. Media Matters captured the whole production and made it available for all to see:

It was nice of the Fox Friends to credit the video’s producer, Chris White, for the fine job of partisan obfuscation he had done. Steve Doocy beamed, “No kidding. He remembered everything everybody said over the last three and a half, four years.” Well, actually he only remembered to piece together random bits from Obama’s speeches juxtaposed with negative graphics and false conclusions.

This should put an end to any talk that Fox News has been trying to moderate their bias, as some pundits suggested last year. Fox hasn’t changed at all. They are just as committed to falsifying their reporting, promoting their far-right agenda, and making imbecilic drones of their audience, as they ever were. This video would be ample evidence of that all by itself, but add to the mix Fox’s attempt to surgically excise their responsibility for it and you know all you need to know about their deceitful and dangerous intent.

Update: 2:30: The video has mysteriously disappeared again from the Fox web sites.
Update: 3:40: Now information is emerging that Fox News has been taking considerable heat for their bad behavior. It appears that the video has been disappeared by Fox. A weaselly statement was issued by Fox EVP Bill Shine who said…

“The package that aired on FOX & Friends was created by an associate producer and was not authorized at the senior executive level of the network. This has been addressed with the show’s producers.”

One has to wonder what happened to Fox’s “Zero Tolerance” policy that was instituted after a series of stupid mistakes. Now it seems that Fox is merely scapegoating an underling despite the glowing treatment that the Fox Friends gave the video and their effusive praise for the producer. The New York Times is reporting that Fox CEO Roger Ailes “was not aware of the video” even though he has previously taken a keen interest in the program. However, a lot of people were aware of this video because it was not only broadcast on air, it was posted to several sites online.

Fox News

A few weeks ago a couple of NBC employees misleadingly edited an audio tape of George Zimmerman’s call to 911. NBC fired them and announced it publicly. Don’t expect the same from Fox. They don’t bother with trivialities like journalistic ethics. All they will do is say that it’s been addressed and then probably give the producer a bonus. That’s how Roger Ailes can make the ludicrous claim that “in 15 years we have never taken a story down because it was wrong.”

There is no way that Fox can avoid responsibility for this atrociously unethical affair. By now it is so obvious that Fox exists to promote Republicans and bash Democrats that this video fits squarely within their mission. The only difference this time is that they got caught crossing a line that they obviously weren’t worried about. That’s because they are so comfortable wandering across it that they’ve lost all cognizance of the line’s existence.