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.

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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

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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.

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.

RNC Votes To Ban CNN/MSNBC Debates – Which They Have No Power To Do

For the past couple of weeks there has been a flurry of fretful reporting about a threat by Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus to ban CNN and MSNBC from the GOP primary debate schedule. Priebus is disturbed by currently non-existent projects about Hillary Clinton that he is certain will characterize her favorably.

Today Priebus made good on his threat by shepherding a resolution though the RNC’s annual meeting that declares that they “will neither partner with these networks in the 2016 presidential primary debates nor sanction any primary debates they sponsor.”

Fun Fact: How many GOP primary debates did the RNC sponsor in 2012?
Answer: Zero
There were twenty debates held and not a single one was sponsored by the RNC. However, every debate on Fox News was sponsored by a state Republican Party affiliate. Also notable is that MSNBC held a debate co-sponsored by the Reagan Library, and CNN held debates co-sponsored by Tea Party Express, the Heritage Foundation, and the American Enterprise Institute.

There is, however, a small problem with the Priebus declaration. The RNC has no power whatsoever to prohibit any debate by an network. Sure, they can pass resolutions that make grandiose claims to authority that they don’t have, but reality trumps their hubris. The truth is that any network can announce its intention to produce a debate. They can invite candidates to participate. The candidates are free to accept or reject any offer as they see fit. Chances are, the second and third tier candidates will accept virtually any opportunity to promote themselves on national television. Subsequently, the frontrunners will be reluctant to let their competitors have the stage to themselves. So the debates will go on with a full cast of characters.

Priebus’ threat, therefore, is an impotent cry for attention. He is not empowered to force his will on the people who are vying to be the next leader of the free world. In a best case scenario he may be able to influence the number of debates, which is a goal he has previously articulated. After all, it is fairly obvious that the more Republican candidates are exposed to the American people, the more they will embarrass themselves, and the more votes they will lose. The GOP has a distinct interest in limiting their exposure, and that is what Priebus is aiming for.

The hypocrisy of Priebus’ resolution is apparent in the fact that he is only nixing CNN and MSNBC, even though there have been reports that Fox may be producing the NBC project. Priebus cannot extend his toothless ban to Fox or there would be no cable news networks available to host a GOP debate. But there is no reasonable explanation for why Fox would be given a pass (other than their role as the GOP PR division).

Fun Fact: What do you get when you remove the vowels from Reince Priebus’ name?
Answer: RNC PR BS

The full text of the resolution cites campaign donations by the head of NBC’s entertainment division to Hillary Clinton, but the head of Fox News’ parent corporation has done likewise. Also, the News Corp political PAC, News America Holdings, has given more to Democrats than Republicans in each of the last four election cycles. So if producing Clinton documentaries and donating to her campaign warrant prohibition as debate hosts, then Fox clearly qualifies.

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Rush Limbaugh

Finally, there have been recent calls for the RNC to recruit right-wing loyalists as moderators for their debates. The names mentioned most frequently include Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Mark Levin. In response, Levin has said that he is ready and willing, despite the fact that he has previously said that he will do whatever he can to prevent Chris Christie from becoming the GOP nominee. As for Limbaugh, he told his radio dittoheads that he is “too famous” and would “overshadow” the candidates. That’s a telling remark in itself, as it demonstrates just how diminutive is the stature of the GOP field. Perhaps the GOP should nominate Limbaugh.

This tussle could not be better for Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party. If the RNC is successful in limiting the number of their debates it will have effectively cut off millions of Americans from learning about their candidates (although, as noted above, that might a good thing for the GOP). But even worse is the prospect of debates led by staunchly conservative radio talk show hosts. Priebus and company think that friendly moderators will help avoid the antagonistic questioning that he presumes would occur on other networks. But to the extent that that is true, it will also result in the candidates being woefully unprepared for the full-contact combat they will eventually encounter in the general election. What’s more, the rightist Taliban, as represented by Limbaugh et al, will be more likely to force candidates to stake out extreme positions which they will be unable to “Etch-a-Sketch” away after the primaries. The wingnut media are notoriously committed to the sort of ideological purity that voters find repugnant.

So if the RNC wants to proceed with this self-defeating initiative, they will have the full support and cooperation of their pals at the DNC. Nothing would please Democrats more than Republicans digging themselves ever deeper holes of extremism. The outrageous statements and gaffes that occur at the “official” RNC events would still be broadcast on the other networks afterwards. So Priebus’ efforts to limit the damage would be futile, and even counterproductive. As would his admonition that disobedience “may include severe penalties for candidates that participate in unsanctioned debates.” That’s right – Priebus plans on giving the reprobates a good spanking. Wouldn’t that look great on a candidates permanent record?

RNC Threatens NBC, CNN: Cancel Hillary Projects Or Lose GOP Debates

The Republican National Committee is flexing its acutely atrophied muscles this morning with a nearly impotent threat aimed at their foes in the mainstream media.

RNC Debates
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This is just too funny. RNC chair Reince Priebus has sent letters to the heads of CNN and NBC to protest their plans to produce projects about Hillary Clinton, who is a possible candidate for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016. Priebus is very upset and is issuing an ultimatum to the networks that will surely cause them to lose sleep – due to their uncontrollable fits of laughter.

What isn’t so funny is a political party that thinks it has the right to demand that entertainment producers bend to its will. In fact, it’s an open assault on freedom of expression. It would be one thing for the RNC to decline to work with a network that it believes has a partisan slant against them. But it is something else entirely to threaten a network in order to force them to alter specific programming.

Priebus begins his missive by whining about the perceived bias that has been a part of the GOP gospel for decades:

“It’s appalling to know executives at major networks like NBC and CNN who have donated to Democrats and Hillary Clinton have taken it upon themselves to be Hillary Clinton’s campaign operatives.”

Appalling indeed! I’m sure that Priebus is just as disturbed by the million dollar gift that Fox News (News Corp) gave to the Republican Governor’s Association, and all the other right-wingers at Fox who have donated to Republicans, including News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch. And there is no network that has so brazenly acted as a partisan campaign operative than Fox News, the PR division of the GOP. Priebus’ letter to Fox must still be in the mail. In the meantime, he is making his position to CNN and NBC crystal clear:

“If they have not agreed to pull this programming prior to the start of the RNC’s Summer Meeting on August 14, I will seek a binding vote stating that the RNC will neither partner with these networks in 2016 primary debates nor sanction primary debates they sponsor.”

Oh my. If CNN and NBC were unable to acquire any of the GOP primary debates they might be forced to schedule interesting and entertaining programs instead. That’ll show ‘em.

Let’s face it, the RNC has never been thrilled about putting their candidates in situations where they might face fair questions about their records and policy positions. They herd them onto Fox News where they can expect softballs and gushing praise. During the 2012 campaign right-wingers like Hugh Hewitt and Breitbart’s John Nolte were counseling the RNC to ban debates hosted by what they believed to be unfriendly media. Sarah Palin was advising Republicans to “speak through Fox News.”

The best thing that could happen to the Democrats is for Republicans to sequester themselves in the bosom of Fox News. It would limit their exposure to the broader electorate and the independents they need to win. It would also insure that their candidates were unvetted and unprepared for the real-life battles of a campaign. If they spend the primary season being fluffed by Fox, when they eventually face the general election they will be surprised by sharp criticisms from which they were shielded in their chummy primary.

One positive aspect of this strategy is that fewer voters, and a more narrow, conservative subset, would see the primary telecasts. Considering how often the GOP candidates in 2012 embarrassed themselves, that could be a benefit. Of course, those segments would still be looped on every other news broadcast the following day, so the benefit would be short lived.

By giving CNN and NBC the cold shoulder, the RNC increases the likelihood that only voters who have already decided to vote Republican will see the debate in its entirety. And while that limits their exposure to gaffes, it also limits their opportunity to make an appeal to undecided voters. Since Priebus has already promised to hold fewer debates in the future, the GOP’s visibility to anyone outside their circle shrinks considerably. The result is that GOP primary voters will be more partisan, more extreme, and more out of pace with the general population. That’s a recipe for a Republican nominee who will lead the party to a massive defeat.

Ironically, the motivation for the Priebus ultimatum is the prospect of a couple of Hillary Clinton projects being released several months prior to the 2016 election. That was precisely the issue that sparked the Citizen’s United Supreme Court ruling that now permits corporations and individuals to make unlimited, anonymous donations to political campaigns. At the time, Republicans were fiercely supportive of the Citizen’s United production and its release just a few weeks prior to an election. Now they are just as fiercely opposed to it.

What’s more, Priebus accuses the networks of producing a “political ad masquerading as an unbiased production.” How he arrived at that conclusion he doesn’t say. He has not seen either production or spoken with the producers. He has no idea whether they will be complimentary, derogatory, or neutral representations of Clinton. He is making a wholly uninformed assumption and using that as the basis of his attempt to bully the networks.

So let the RNC snub CNN and NBC and any other “lamestream” media that they are afraid of. Let them take their balls and go home to Fox News where their cult-like disciples will embrace them with enthusiasm. It will only result in there being less of their obnoxious blather littering the television landscape and a better chance of them losing in November of 2016. Nice work Reince.

[Update: Priebus took his whining to (where else) Fox News last night and reiterated his silly ultimatum. Meanwhile, both CNN and NBC have refused to cave saying that it is “premature” to judge the projects that are not even in production at this time. Priebus gave an 8/14 deadline for the networks to comply. Here’s hoping he is dumb enough to follow through.

Fox News Hires CNN’s Washed Out Media Analyst Howard Kurtz

Howard Kurtz

Chalk up another acquisition by Fox News of an outcast from some other news network. As has been noted here at News Corpse, Fox “seems to regard the discards of other networks as their richest vein of new talent.” Today it was announced that Fox has scooped up CNN’s media analyst Howard Kurtz, who was recently censured by CNN, and jettisoned by The Daily Beast, for “sloppy” reporting that disparaged Jason Collins, the newly out NBA player. So of course Fox News would leap at the chance to add Kurtz to their roster. Other recent rejects by CNN that have joined Fox include Erick Erickson, Lou Dobbs, and Tucker Carlson.

Kurtz has a spotty reputation at CNN where he has, on occasion, had some profound commentaries that expose media hypocrisy and bias. But he has just as often proven to be a tool of the Washington villagers who dismisses serious failings and neglects the shortcomings of his colleagues. He is the ultimate insider who is married to a right-wing PR consultant, a fact that he does not disclose when reporting on related matters. In statements marking the new relationship, Fox and Kurtz were typically effusive of one another:

Fox VP Michael Clemente: Howie is the most accomplished media reporter in the country.
Kurtz: I’m excited to be bringing my independent brand of media criticism to Fox News. […] I hope to add a new dimension to Fox’s coverage and have some fun while diving into the passionate debates about the press and politics.

Not everyone at Fox has the same opinion of Kurtz as Clemente does. Sean Hannity sneered that Kurtz was a “nitwit,” and railed that “I don’t like him. He’s full of crap. He thinks he’s a sanctimonious, self-righteous, phony establishment journalist.” Bill O’Reilly, upset that Kurtz had criticized his epically erroneous analysis of the Supreme Court’s decision on ObamaCare, said “Kurtz does the bidding of Media Matters, and, I don’t know, maybe I should just ignore that and, as you say, move along down the highway, but it certainly disturbs me a little bit.” It should be noted that associating Kurtz with Media Matters is about the worst thing that O’Reilly could ever say about anyone. He regards Media Matters as “vicious, far-left, dishonest, smear merchants.” The question now is, will Kurtz provide fair and balanced coverage of those programs as a Fox News anchor?

On Fox, Kurtz will assume the anchor role on Fox News Watch, a weekend program that is distinguished by its panel of five devout conservatives against one alleged liberal. The five conservatives (Judith Miller, James Pinkerton, Cal Thomas, Richard Grenall, and host Jon Scott) are weekly regulars while the “liberal” seems to be whatever phony they can manage to scrape up that week. If they stick to this format it should be an easy transition for Kurtz who is used to covering for Fox’s biased reporting.

Full disclosure: I was once mentioned in a Kurtz column when he was with the Washington Post. Kurtz was aggregating reactions from a Laura Bush speech at the White House Correspondents Dinner:

The colorfully named News Corpse says the media should take a deep breath:

“The humor-challenged media is tripping all over itself to to praise the First Lady’s appearance before the White House Correspondents’ Association. Apparently their funny bone twitches uncontrollably at the sight of Laura being able to read from a sheet of prepared jokes. The talk in the television press has ranged from, ‘ Get this woman her own show .’ to, ‘ Maybe she should run against Hillary .’. . . .

“I suppose it’s too much to ask that the people who brought us Monica Lewinsky, Chandra Levy, Michael Jackson, Terri Schiavo, the Old Pope, the New Pope, and Jennifer ‘Runaway Bride’ Wilbanks, would suddenly chose to avoid blowing things up beyond all sense of proportion.”

Colorfully named? Maybe Kurtz will get the joke now that he is working in the News Corp empire. And just so nobody forgets, this is what Fox News thinks about their new colleague: