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.

Holy F**k! CNN Explores Joint Venture With Paranoid, Racist, Lunatic Glenn Beck

As if to prove that television news executives are lowest form of life on the planet, CNN recently held talks with Glenn Beck about forming a joint venture between the struggling network and Beck’s lame video blog, The Blaze. According to a report in Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal it would be…

“…a new venture between CNN-parent Time Warner and The Blaze that would replace HLN’s current programming with Blaze programming.”

Glenn Beck CNN

What on Earth could they be thinking? The prospect of bringing Beck back to CNN (or television) makes no sense whatsoever. When Beck left his show on CNN’s Headline News it was in the ratings dumpster. He routinely lost to his competition and was the lowest rated program on CNN’s primetime lineup. He gathered more viewers at Fox News, but only because his toxic philosophy was a better fit for the fear-mongering, right-wing propaganda channel. However, when he left Fox News just two years later he was a pariah who couldn’t keep advertisers due to his rancid rhetoric and hate-filled, paranoid tirades. Even Fox acknowledged that he was a liability. After Beck, pretending that the exit was his idea, said he told himself that “If you do not leave now, you won’t leave with your soul intact,” Fox retorted

“Glenn Beck wasn’t trying to save his soul, he was trying to save his ass. Advertisers fled his show and even Glenn knows what that means in our industry.”

So what exactly did CNN find attractive about the notion of reignited their romance with this loser? He has an even smaller audience now than he did at CNN five years ago. That’s why he is currently on a PR campaign to rehabilitate his noxious image. But despite admitting that he “has said stupid things,” and his other disingenuous attempts to cast himself as repentant for his past vulgarities, he is still the same vituperative huckster of gloom that he has always been. For example, he recently complained about not being able to use the words “fag” and “nigger,” in reference to artwork by a guest on his show. He is also being sued for defamation by a student from Saudi Arabia whom Beck falsely accused of being a key figure in the Boston marathon bombing.

Where does CNN think his advertisers would come from? A visit to TheBlaze website reveals that he has no advertising other than Google Ads. He is still anathema to the Fords, Campbell Soups, Procter & Gambels, Fidelitys, etc. So if Beck can’t produce ratings, and he can’t attract advertisers, but he is widely reviled and divisive, what could explain CNN’s interest in him?

There only two possible answers to that question. One is that CNN is desperate beyond all comprehension. They are like a drowning man grasping for the only thing in the water, even if it’s an anchor. And secondly, CNN is run by tabloid TV king Ken Jautz who was promoted from his position as head of HLN. It was while he was at HLN that Jautz gave Beck his first job in television. So perhaps it is that unique brand of insanity that causes one to do the same stupid things over and over expecting a different result.

The fact that CNN was participating in these talks says something about their health as a news organization. They would not be considering this if they had bright prospects for the future. It also says something about Beck’s media operation. His Blaze video unit is currently financed by viewer subscriptions. If that were as successful as he pretends it to be, he would not be contemplating giving the same programming away for free on cable TV. That would dry up his web subscription base. He would also have to be pretty desperate to consider returning to the network about which he said…

“I used to call it the Pit of Despair because there are all these people plunking out stories like, ‘I just want to hang myself, I just want to hang myself.” […and…]

“If you ever think that CNN is a rational, normal, non-leftist organization, look who they hired [referring to Crossfire co-host Van Jones as a ‘communist revolutionary’].”

More recently, Beck asked himself “Why is CNN in a ratings free fall?” And he gave himself the answer that it was “the unbelievable level of manufactured outrage on the network.” Actually, that may have inspired him to seek out these talks. He may have seen that as a sign that the network was the perfect platform for an outrage manufacturer like himself. But it doesn’t clear up why CNN would seek to recruit someone with such a horrible opinion of the network.

Shameless self-promotion…
Get Fox Nation vs. Reality. Available now at Amazon.

Reports on the talks indicate that they broke down over financial terms, not ideology. That makes the whole incident even worse. Apparently CNN is cool with Beck’s evangelical, ultra-conservative messaging. And it isn’t just that he’s conservative, but that he is so violently hostile toward progressives that he once said that to stop them “you’re going to have to shoot them in the head.” And despite that sort of vile discourse, CNN only walked away from the negotiations over money. Journalism, honesty, integrity, civility, etc., never entered into it.

[Update:] Brian Stelter, reporting for CNN, says that it was Beck who sought to hook up with CNN, but that from the CNN side “The talks were never serious.” This may just be CNN covering its ass so as not to be embarrassed by the disclosure of the talks, but it also confirms that Beck is scrambling to keep his head above water.

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…
Get Fox Nation vs. Reality. Available now at Amazon.

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.

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.

Guess How Fox News Covered Ted Nugent’s Hate Speech

Remember when Barack Obama was campaigning for president and Fox News tried to shackle him to anyone they thought would damage his reputation? Bill Ayres, who was barely an acquaintance, turned into a terrorist that Obama was “palling around with.” Rev. Jeremiah Wright became a daily fixture on the Fox News Channel consuming more airtime than the actual presidential candidates. And others, from Louis Farrakhan to Ludacris, were presented as villains that Obama was obligated to renounce, despite the fact that he had nothing to do with them and they were not a part of his campaign.

Which brings us to 2014 and the utterly reprehensible Ted Nugent, who recently called Obama a “subhuman mongrel.” That’s the least of the disgustingly hostile remarks that Nugent has spewed at the President and other targets of his sickly wrath. Yet Nugent was embraced by Greg Abbott, the leading Republican candidate for the governorship of Texas, who even shared the stage with him to accept his endorsement.

When this twisted relationship came to light, some in the media properly put it in context with inquiries about whether it was appropriate for a gubernatorial candidate to link arms with a vulgar, racist, misogynist, pedophile. But one network maintained complete silence, ignoring the controversy entirely. That is until after Nugent issued what may be the most starkly non-apology apology ever made:

Nugent: I do apologize – not necessarily to the President – but on behalf of much better men than myself, like the best governor in America, Gov. Rick Perry. The best attorney general in America, God, just think of America had an attorney general as great as Greg Abbott, like we do here in Texas. So on behalf of those professional politicians, and those who put their heart and soul into representing We The People so actively, like the people I just mentioned […] I apologize for using the street fighter terminology of subhuman mongrel instead of just using more understandable language such as violator of his oath of the Constitution. The liar that he is.

It can hardly be considered an apology if it expressly excludes the person who was the target of the original attack. Nugent was only sorry for the wingnut politicos who suffered due to their association with him – which was really more their fault, than his. Nobody forced them to accept his advances. Likewise, an apology doesn’t ordinarily include additional personal accusations of lying and treason.

So after ignoring the story when it first broke, and then pretending that Nugent’s apology was even remotely sincere, Fox News addressed the matter again on Howard Kurtz’s Media Buzz. It was a brief segment near the end of the program that only peripherally mentioned Greg Abbott. To Fox News the meat of the story had something to do with a dispute with CNN.

Fox News

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Notice the lower-screen graphics that label the story as “Ted Nugent vs. CNN.” It isn’t Nugent vs. Abbott, or Nugent vs. Obama, or Nugent vs. Decency. Somehow Fox squeezed out an angle that cast the story as a dust up with a competing news network. This is not an incidental point. A team of Fox editors and producers had to have had a meeting to hash out this preposterously skewed perspective. They must have begun with a determination to avoid allowing the story to negatively impact Abbot, or others with whom Nugent has been affiliated, including Ted Cruz, Scott Walker, and Rick Perry. Then they brainstormed a way to deflect the muck onto a common enemy. Lookout “liberal” media.

Once again Fox News has demonstrated that they are more interested in protecting their allies and attacking their enemies than they are in informing their viewers. The deliberation that had to have been mustered in order to concoct this nonsense illustrates just how hard they work at being deceptive and unethical. And all that hard work pays off in an audience of blindly loyal dimwits with the same ignorant incivility as Nugent.

So What’s The Big Story This Week On CNN And Fox News?

Both CNN and Fox News have Sunday morning programs that analyze the media. On CNN it’s Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter. On Fox News It’s MediaBuzz with Howard Kurtz. This morning both programs chose to lead off their broadcasts with the same story that essentially takes MSNBC to task for doing respectable journalism.

CNN, Fox News Go After MSNBC

MSNBC has been at the forefront of the Chris Christie Bridge-Gate scandal from its inception. They broke the story on television with the help of the local Bergen Record newspaper in New Jersey. Since then they have scored some significant scoops that have rattled the Christie regime. One example of that occurred last week when Hoboken mayor Dawn Zimmer told MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki that the Christie administration held Sandy relief funds hostage to force her to support a real estate project that Christie favored. Not surprisingly, Christie retaliated by dispatching his spokesman to swing back at the messenger:

Christie spokesman Colin Reed: MSNBC is a partisan network that has been openly hostile to Governor Christie and almost gleeful in their efforts attacking him, even taking the unprecedented step of producing and airing a nearly three-minute attack ad against him this week.

Notice that nowhere in that statement did Reed dispute the actual content of MSNBC’s reporting. It was just a self-serving attack on the network’s liberal reputation. The example he offered of an “unprecedented” three-minute attack ad (video below) was really just a thirty second mock video demonstrating how Christie’s opponents could use the scandal against him should he run for president in 2016. And it wasn’t unprecedented either, as Fox News actually did produce a four minute anti-Obama ad prior to the 2012 election that they deleted after it had become an embarrassment.

In a week that included a Supreme Court ruling against Network Neutrality, two speeches by President Obama, and a major book release about Fox News CEO Roger Ailes (The Loudest Voice In The Room), both CNN and Fox led off their weekly media programs with stories about MSNBC’s coverage of Christie. CNN had an on-screen graphic with the pressing question, is “MSNBC Attacking Chris Christie?” While Fox went for the more macho “Christie Declares War On MSNBC.” Of course, everything on Fox News is war (Christmas, class, liberty, capitalism, etc.). Fox also placed Christie’s war with MSNBC at the top of their lie-riddled Fox Nation website. [See the acclaimed ebook Fox Nation vs. Reality for proof of Fox Nation’s catalog of lies]

There was nothing in either program that refuted the factual accuracy of MSNBC’s coverage, but the tone was nonetheless disparaging. The real question, however, is why did they both put this story at the front of their broadcasts. Was it really more important than the other media news of the week? Or were they simply jealous that they didn’t get these scoops themselves? It may be significant that MSNBC had a rare Nielsen ratings victory for the week that featured the Bridge-Gate reporting. Could that have been what drove CNN and Fox to criticize it? Either way it makes both networks look awfully petty for attacking a rival for doing their job.

Lawrence O’Donnell’s fake Christie ad:

Breitbart ‘News’ Invents Quotes To Smear CNN

There’s an old saying that wisely counsels to leave well enough alone. Unfortunately, the Tea-guzzlers at Breitbart News have dismissed that advice and unleashed an assault against CNN and its chief, Jeff Zucker. Never mind that CNN has devolved into a nearly useless platform for right-wing propaganda as evidenced by their recent interview of Glenn Beck by Beck’s own employee, S.E. Cupp. But that’s not good enough for the BreitBrats. Now they are launching an attack on CNN that is so feeble they had to make up quotes to hammer them with.

Breitbart News

The title on Breitbart’s article is “CNN To Republicans: Drop Dead.” Of course, no one on CNN ever said or even implied that. The flimsy impetus for the citation occurred in an article that was a slobbering love sonnet to Fox News by BreitBrat Tony Lee, whose feathers were ruffled by a remark made by CNN’s Zucker at a TV convention. Zucker responded to a question about a recent Fox criticism of CNN by correctly pointing out that “I think we all know what’s going on there. The Republican Party is being run out of News Corp. headquarters [and] masquerading as a channel.” Zucker was merely acknowledging the obvious: that the cozy relationship between Fox and the GOP is a well documented fact. [Note: Fox happily reposted the Breitbart article on their own web of lies, Fox Nation]

BreitBrat Tony rushed to Fox’s defense with a quote by the Chairman of the Republican Party, Reince Preibus who denied that Fox was his party’s mouthpiece saying “Hey Jeff Zucker, we’re the Republican Party and we speak for ourselves, pal.” Sure they do. They just do it mostly on Fox News, and when they aren’t available, Fox does it for them.

Lee then gets to the point by alleging that “It’s an interesting strategy Zucker has: trash the Republican Party and, by extension, all Republicans.” Except where in Zucker’s remarks did he trash the Republican Party? He merely noted that Fox is a GOP friendly network, which no one who is paying attention would dispute. Zucker’s comments were not even directed at Republicans at all. They were characterizing Fox News’ obvious partisan bias. But apparently associating Republicans with Fox News constitutes “trashing” in Lee’s view.

The rest of the article went on interminably about how Fox is beating their competition in the ratings, as if that had some relevance to the subject or to the measure of news quality. Lee’s conclusion, therefore, was summed up in the article’s second made up quote: “These factors led The Hollywood Reporter to declare that Roger Ailes and Fox News had won the cable news wars.” The only problem with that is that the Hollywood Reporter declared no such thing. In fact, it was Ailes himself who made the declaration in an interview with the Reporter.

It takes an astonishingly low grade level of comprehension to take a quote by Ailes and attribute it to the Hollywood Reporter simply because that’s where it was published. But the quote itself was deliberately misleading and self-serving, as one might expect coming from the the CEO of Fox News about his own network. The only people who still believe that cable news quality is measured by ratings are the marketing and the PR departments. The truth is, in a point made often here at News Corpse, is that being number one is only a measure of popularity, not quality. After all, McDonalds is the number one restaurant in America, but very few people would say that it is the best quality food in the country. However, they do have something in common with Fox News:

Fox News / McDonalds

To Fox News Lying Is Just “Providing Balance To The Rest Of The Mainstream Media”

Last week a major story broke about Sean Hannity interviewing three couples who claimed to have been harmed by the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare). However, an aide to the former governor of Montana contacted these alleged victims and published his account on Salon.com. What he discovered was that not a single one of them had even bothered to look at the insurance exchange to ascertain whether or not they would be helped or harmed. The entire episode of Hannity’s program was a lie.

So this week the Fox News MediaBuzz program, hosted by Howard Kurtz, spent less than a minute on Hannity’s blatantly dishonest broadcast, but took an interesting perspective. Kurtz trivialized the deliberately false segment by asking whether “Fox News is providing balance to the rest of the mainstream media.” Of course. Bringing in six allegedly neutral Americans to lie through their teeth about a health insurance program they didn’t even bother to explore is merely an attempt to “balance” the news coverage of the plan. At least according to the ethics (or lack thereof) of Fox News.

Howard Kurtz

Kurtz introduced his segment by noting the falsehoods proffered by Hannity and his lying guests. But he ended the same introduction by asking “Could it be said that various news outlets were pushing their own agenda?” This implication that overt dishonesty is equivalent to simply advocating for an agenda reveals the crass interpretation that Kurtz and Fox have of journalistic ethics. And his insertion of blame attributed to unnamed “various news outlets” is just his way of pretending that everybody does it. Forty-five seconds later the segment was over without anyone mentioning Hannity’s name again.

For contrast, CNN’s Reliable Sources covered the same story. They spent four and half minutes on it, complete with clips from Hannity’s show and an interview of the Salon author, Eric Stern. Of course, CNN has a competitive motivation to more thoroughly examine an embarrassing episode for Fox, but the differences between these reports are still significant. CNN did what journalists do. Fox swept their dirt under the carpet.

When Howard Kurtz announced that he was leaving CNN to become a media analyst at Fox News, he said that “Fox wouldn’t have hired me if it wasn’t interested in my independent brand of media criticism.” However, Fox never hires anyone for their independence or accuracy. In fact, the further you stray from reality, the better your employment opportunities at Fox. And this segment that leaves Hannity unscathed and quickly shifts to another subject (how the media unfairly beat up on Republicans after their humiliating defeat over the government shutdown), is evidence that Kurtz has no intention of being independent.