Delusional Fox News Host Says It’s Government Policy To Give Welfare To Terrorists

On the morning when tragic news that another America hostage was executed by radical ISIL terrorists, Fox News exploited the tragedy to fabricate a ludicrous allegation regarding immigration and national security.

On Fox & Friends Sunday (video below), co-host Tucker Carlson, possibly the stupidest man on Fox (and that’s saying something) responded to remarks by a former Navy SEAL who thinks that terrorists are on their way to the United States where we will “take [them] into our warm embrace” and get them lawyers to “get [them] off of these charges.” For Carlson that mouthful of madness was not only reasonable, but he agreed and added “Or give tons of social welfare benefits, which is exactly our policy now.”

Fox News Tucker Carlson

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If the other two blockheads on the couch next to Carlson had any functioning brain matter they might have asked Carlson to point out precisely which policy grants “tons of social welfare benefits” to migrating terrorists. Since it is “exactly” our policy now, that shouldn’t be difficult to do.

Carlson, however, wasn’t through disgorging his nearly hollow cranial cavity. in addition to his deranged notion that ISIL is dining on lobster and champagne courtesy of American food stamps, and lounging by the poolside of a subsidized penthouse apartment, Carlson also has the impression that their fighters are being granted free admittance into America without so much as a sideways glance. He dissembled that…

“We have no policy that I’m aware of that restricts immigration from countries where ISIS is popular into the United States. Why wouldn’t we be doing that? I mean, this is more dangerous to us than Ebola. And yet, I’m not aware of any public debate about restricting movement from those countries where ISIS is, you know, a group of folk heroes into the United States. Why?”

Why? Because just the fact that you are not aware of something doesn’t make it so. The truth is there are laws that restrict immigration into the U.S. from nations that are state sponsors of terrorism, including Syria where ISIL is from. There are also similar laws restricting those associated with Foreign Terrorist Organizations. They specifically declare that “representatives and members of a designated FTO, if they are aliens, are inadmissible to and, in certain circumstances, removable from the United States.”

A quick note on Carlson’s assertion that migrating terrorists are “more dangerous to us than Ebola.” Among other things, being sucked into a black hole is more dangerous to us than Ebola; getting carried off by Bigfoot is more dangerous to us than Ebola; and mostly watching Fox News is more dangerous to us than Ebola. But that didn’t stop Carlson from fretting last month that “In light of the seriousness of this [Ebola] problem, it’s inexplicable that the president dismisses almost with the wave of his hand the notion that you would restrict air travel from the places afflicted.”

So Carlson has demonstrated that he is wholly ignorant of the subject he is blathering about on the air. That in itself should not surprise anyone. It is the standard state of affairs at Fox News. It is in keeping with their mission to spread fear through ignorance and disinformation. What’s surprising is that propagandist mouthpieces like Carlson are not even trying to disguise their idiocy or hide their lies in plausible rhetoric. They have obviously determined that, given the intellectual retardation of their audience, subversive tactics are unnecessary.

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Hillary Clinton Smeared By Fox News For Correctly Analyzing Trickle-Down Economics

During the 2012 presidential campaign President Obama gave a speech wherein he paid tribute to the American people who collectively created an environment for business to prosper. That environment included paying for the roads, bridges, water and electricity facilities, and other infrastructure necessities without which the economy would whither.

However, one sentence fragment was lifted out of context from that speech by Mitt Romney’s campaign, and his friendly media cohorts, and used to unfairly clobber the President. That sound bite, you may recall, was when Obama reminded the proprietor class that “You didn’t build that,” meaning that every business has benefited from the investments made by our society and government.

Well, here we go again. Yesterday on Fox News the curvy-couch potatoes of Fox & Friends hosted a segment that focused solely on a sentence fragment that was part of a speech by Hillary Clinton.

Fox News Trickle Down

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Clinton was speaking at a rally in support of Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley. The comment in its sliced-up form was “Don’t let anybody tell you, that, you know, it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs.” In essence it is barely different than Obama’s comment two years ago. But it is just as deceitfully excised from its original context. Here is what Clinton actually said:

“Don’t let anybody tell you that raising the minimum wage will kill jobs. They always say that. I’ve been through this. My husband gave working families a raise in the 1990s. I voted to raise the minimum wage and guess what? Millions of jobs were created or paid better and more families were more secure. That’s what we want to see here, and that’s what we want to see across the country.

“And don’t let anybody tell you, that, you know, it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs. You know, that old theory, trickle-down economics. That has been tried. That has failed. That has failed rather spectacularly.

“One of the things my husband says, when people say, what did you bring to Washington? He says, well I brought arithmetic. And part of it was he demonstrated why trickle down should be consigned to the trash bin of history. More tax cuts for the top and for companies that ship jobs over seas while taxpayers and voters are stuck paying the freight just doesn’t add up.”

It’s plain as day that Clinton was referring to the discredited sham known as trickle-down economics. She also hammered Republicans for opposing a pay raise for America’s workers while simultaneously pushing for a tax cut for America’s wealthy. That is exactly the reverse of what is needed to stimulate the economy. When the middle class has more money in their pockets they spend it, increasing profits for businesses and creating the demand that spurs employers to hire. Conversely, when the rich get more money it is typically directed to Wall Street or retirement accounts which have no productive impact on job growth.

Particularly disturbing were the comments by Fox’s business maven, Maria Bartiromo. For someone who should know better, she offered an ignorant appraisal of how the job market works. She accused Clinton of calling business evil, which never happened, and turned the whole debate into a political drama saying…

“Everybody knows that businesses create jobs. I mean, this is not brain surgery. We know that businesses, people that run business actually create the jobs. And I think Hillary knows that as well. […] Here we are a week away from the midterms, she’s gearing up for 2016, she’s firing up the base.”

Apparently Bartiromo knows even less about economics than she does about brain surgery. Businesses do not create jobs. They create products and services. But there are no jobs until there is consumer demand. That means people have to want the products and have the funds to pay for them. If a company has such demand for their product they will hire new employees. If there is no demand they will not hire anyone, no matter how many tax breaks they get.

[For a deeper look into who the “Real Job Creators” are, see this article and infographic]

The big fallacy about business is that it focused on creating jobs. But that isn’t true and the proof is that no business sits around trying to figure out ways to increase its expenditures on staff. To the contrary, they spend a great deal of time trying to find staff they can cut. Since their mission is to increase profits, their goal is to reduce expenses, and personnel are generally first on the list of cost-cutting measures. That’s one of the reasons that businesses are so drawn to outsourcing to foreign labor.

So businesses, rather than being job creators, are more often job destroyers, trying to operate with the fewest number of employees possible. And when Clinton says not to let anyone tell you that corporations and businesses that create jobs, she is spot on. It is, and has always been, consumers that create the demand that creates jobs. Trickle-down economics was a fat-cat scam from its inception. Fox News and other right-wing deceivers will perpetually mislead their ill-informed flock, but the truth is available for those clear-eyed enough to want to see it (which means no Fox News viewers or Tea Partiers).

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Fox & Friends Lament “The Wussification Of Popeye”

The competition for most epically stupid program on Fox News is always a thrilling spectacle. With contestants like Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Elizabeth Hasselbeck, Steve Doocy, and so many more, it’s impossible to predict who will hold the top spot at any given moment in time. However, for this week the prize has to be awarded to the weekend cast of Fox & Friends for their in-depth analysis of “The Wussification Of Popeye” (video below).

Fox News Popeye

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This nearly unbearable babbling by three of the most puerile pundits in television kicked off with a segment on some possible modifications to the Popeye character in an upcoming movie. Here is how the exchange began:

Clayton Morris: According to leaked photos, the new Sony Pictures version of Popeye will look like this – without the iconic anchor tattoo and the smoking pipe. Are they wussifying Popeye?

Tucker Carlson: Of course they’re wuss… Nothing is scarier to a modern liberal than tobacco. If Popeye were driving around giving the morning after pill to fourth graders, that would totally fine. But smoking a pipe – a single (sic) of freedom and masculinity in America itself – the reason this country exists – tobacco – that’s like, oh, that’s outrageous.

There is so much idiocy in that brief observation it needs to be broken down into pieces for examination.

First of all, if liberals are scared of tobacco it may have something to do with the fact that it kills 400,000 Americans every year. That’s more than a hundred 9/11’s, not once thirteen years ago, but every single year. And that’s not counting the thousands of victims who survive with debilitating health problems that devastate families emotionally and financially.

Secondly, while Carlson may not fear the epidemic of cancer, he does seem to be afraid of fourth graders who aren’t pumping out babies. His snarky hyperbole about giving out morning after pills is a deliberate trivialization of a serious problem. Nine year old girls should have options to avoid pregnancy in the event that they have engaged in sex, which at that age is often the result of an rape or incest. Apparently Carlson is fine with forcing children to become parents before they enter junior high school.

Thirdly, Carlson’s characterization of pipe smoking as a symbol (?) of freedom is best represented by a man who is a notorious pipe smoker and certainly a hero of Carlson’s – communist dictator Joseph Stalin. The notion that smoking a pipe is uniquely American exists only in his cartoon-fed brain. And by invoking tobacco as “the reason this country exists” Carlson is also reminding us that the tobacco trade was largely successful in our country’s early days because the plantation owners had the benefit of free (i.e. slave) labor. If that’s his idea of an iconic symbol of freedom, there may be several million Americans who disagree. The legacy of tobacco in America is one of bondage and brutality and suffering and death.

The truth is that Carlson and his cranky cohorts are rattling off an old wingnut whine about what they perceive as political correctness. They think it’s the PC police who demand that Popeye quit his filthy habit and stick with spinach. However, it is actually the fact that we have learned a thing or two about the health risks of tobacco and most parents don’t want their children to be exposed to positive images of a product that will kill them. Would Carlson be just as happy if his kids were influenced by an alcoholic superhero guzzling whiskey in between clobbering villains?

The video of this derpitude is proof that the Fox & Friends crew have earned special recognition for ass-holiness this week. And for extra credit, they segued from the Popeye story to one about Wonder Woman wherein they complained that her new costume wasn’t sexy enough. That’s just another example of these pathetic wretches projecting their fetishes on kids by advocating sexualizing cartoon characters.

Fox News Feminism: A Lot Of Hotness On The Couch This Morning

In recent weeks Fox News has been promoting a new book by a trio of conservative women who purport to have an inside track into “What Women Really Want.” The authors, Gina Loudon, Ann-Marie Murrell, and Morgan Brittany, comprise the Internet video non-sensation, Politichicks.

Fox News

The PolitiChicks contend that modern feminism is hurting women and does not represent their interests. But it’s hard to take them seriously when they appear on Fox & Friends with an introduction by co-host Anna Kooiman saying that there are “A lot of ladies, a lot of hotness on the couch this morning.” Not a lot of wisdom, or a lot of dignity, or experience, or intelligence, but that all-important component of feminine identity, hotness. Now try to imagine three men promoting a book on the male agenda in American politics being described that way. Kooiman went on to assert that “Feminists claim they help empower women, but are they really suppressing them? Our next guests say yes.”

The whole segment, and a similar one on Fox’s Huckabee program, conveyed much of the same offensive attitude. Their basic contention is that a women’s movement is no longer necessary because “We earned the right to vote. We have equality in the workplace.” Well, one out of two is pretty good for a Tea Partier. But despite the book’s title claiming to reveal what women want, the discussion on these programs was primarily about what they don’t want, most of which, according to the PolitiChicks, was the liberal brand of feminism. For instance, Murrell said that…

“[Feminism] has nothing to do with empowering women anymore. Everything they’re about now is from the head down. It has nothing to do with women’s brains or their hearts.”

First of all, Murrell might want to take a refresher course in anatomy, because the heart happens to below the head. As for her assertion about the focus on issues that involve women’s bodies, there is some truth to that. But that’s only because the men in power have been so insistent on forcing their decisions on them with regard to their health care and reproductive freedom. It is a proper area of concern for women’s advocates. Continuing to enumerate the things women don’t want, Loudon offered that…

“Women don’t want to be objectified, and what the feminist movement has successfully done is sexualize women instead of feminizing women.”

Indeed, objectification is a dehumanizing act, but it’s one that feminists have fought against from the start. What Loudon means by “feminizing” women sounds very much like a contradiction that would result in further objectification. Particularly when you pair it with her later comment that…

“It’s time for women who really want to be women, who want to be feminine, who want to be what God designed them to be.”

Apparently Loudon has a fixed notion of what women are and what God intended when he built them from Adam’s spare rib. That sort of intransigence conflicts with her accusation that it’s “old feminism” that puts women in shackles. What could be more confining than a divinely dictated state of being? And if that weren’t bad enough, Murrell added that…

“[Feminists] are like cave women waiting for a caveman to bonk them on the head and drag them into the cave by the hair.”

With that comment you have to wonder if Murrell has ever met a feminist. These authors keep going back and forth between advocating choices for women (including forsaking a career to stay at home and raise kids), and confining them to narrow gender roles that have long ago been discarded as sexist. And they don’t seem to recognize the irony in their positions as they advance choice, but not in all things. As an example, Brittany correctly noted that…

“Women want less government in their lives, they want to make their own decisions, they want freedom to choose for their children, for their families.”

However, that doesn’t apply to reproductive choice. In that case the PolitiChicks defend big government’s role in making the most personal of decisions for women, who cannot be trusted to decide for themselves with the counsel of their doctors and their family. They even support forcing women to undergo unnecessary and invasive procedures and endure arbitrary waiting periods and patronizing lectures. That is not a position in accord with small government or free choice.

The hypocrisy and disrespect that is represented by these so-called feminists does nothing to improve the status of women in America. It does not end discrimination, or wage disparity, or harassment, or the welfare of children. What it does is advance the agenda of extremist, right-wing Christianists who seek to impose their beliefs on the nation’s women, and men too, for that matter.

The PolitiChicks are being aided and abetted by Fox News who are providing them with a platform to deliver their partisan sermons. But if they think that this is the way to appeal to women voters who have been staunchly supporting Democrats, they will be sorely disappointed. Their method of reaching out to voter constituencies by advocating positions that are detrimental has not worked for Latinos or African-Americans, or seniors, or students. And it won’t work on women either. They are all much smarter than Republicans give them credit for, and they won’t fall for this wingnut propaganda.

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UNWATCHABLE: GOP Senator Says Fox News Is Not Fair, Not Balanced

You know things are getting bad when your closest allies don’t want to be associated with you. That’s the message today to Fox News from a formerly loyal comrade who no longer regards the network as being true to its slogan “Fair and Balanced.” Sen. Tom Coburn told a town hall meeting of his constituents in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that…

“There are certain shows on Fox I can’t watch because they’re totally not fair and totally not balanced.”

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Coburn didn’t identify the shows to which he was referring, but it wouldn’t be difficult to speculate considering nearly the entire Fox schedule is packed with blatantly biased opinions masquerading as reporting. From Fox & Friends’ smiley-faced smackdowns of anything relating to President Obama or progressive politics, to Neil Cavuto’s obnoxious liberal interruption festival and GOP candidate promotion hour, to the primetime trio of diehard right-wingers Bill O’Reilly, Megyn Kelly, and Sean Hannity, the entire day on Fox is a barrel of conservative propaganda and hype.

Perhaps Coburn was referring to the sort of segment that Fox & Friends ran this morning where they chopped up Obama’s remarks about the protests in Ferguson, Mo. to make it appear that he was “Choosing Sides” against the police. The obvious jump cut eliminated a critical portion of the President’s statement. Here is what Obama said with the part that Fox quoted in bold:

“There is never an excuse for violence against police, or for those who would use this tragedy as a cover for vandalism or looting. There’s also no excuse for police to use excessive force against peaceful protests.

The Curvy Couch Potatoes excoriated the President for what they said was his one-sided criticism of law enforcement. Although their blissfully ignorant audience will never know that the quote was butchered by Fox in a deliberate attempt to deceive.

Coburn isn’t the only Republican in recent days to express disappointment with the network’s phony claim to fairness. Former Sen. Bob Smith is currently running in the GOP senate primary in New Hampshire against Scott Brown. Brown, you may recall, just left his job as a Fox contributor to seek the senate seat. Fox has been promoting Brown’s candidacy even before he left the network. That hasn’t sat well with Smith:

“They’ve totally ignored us,” Smith said. “They’ve shut us down. We’ve made every effort to get on any of the shows, or at least have a comment. We’ve tried with [Fox host Sean] Hannity, we’ve tried with Baier, we’ve tried with, you name it … we’ve just been totally shut down. And I mean shut down. I mean we don’t even get call backs.”

This is the sort of journalistic malpractice that occurs every hour of every day on Fox News. It’s surprising that Coburn, a beneficiary of that partisan bias, would speak out so candidly. But then he has already announced that he is not running for reelection, so he is no longer reliant on Fox’s beneficence and can be more honest in his appraisals.

A few conservative pundits have also taken Fox to task. David Frum criticized Fox on CNN’s Reliable Sources. He told then-host Howard Kurtz that “people who watch a lot of Fox come away knowing a lot less about important world events.” Interestingly, Kurtz himself is now contributing to the ignorance of world events as the host of MediaBuzz on Fox News. Another pundit takedown of Fox was from Tucker Carlson, who after hammering Fox as “a mean, sick group of people,” has joined the cult and sworn allegiance to his new masters.

But my favorite right-wing attack on Fox News was from a Tea Party group who organized a boycott of the network to protest its liberal slant. These “Tea Party Fire Ants,” as they call themselves, have a list of demands that they insist be heard and obeyed:

  1. We want FOX to become an active, investigative news organization serving the needs and wants of the “far right” audience.
  2. We want FOX to have at least one segment on Benghazi every night on at least two of the three shows in prime time.
  3. Yes, the BIRTH CERTIFICATE. Obama’s birth certificate. You know, that thing you mocked and the people you mocked who turned out to be right when they said it was a fake?
  4. We’re not interested in “Fair and Balanced”.

I’m sure that would make Fox News more watchable for Sen. Coburn. It would certainly make it more watchable for me, for the comedic value alone.

Fox News Champions Right-Wing Bigots Protesting Against Immigrant Children

The American conservative, as represented by the Republican/Tea Party, is so consumed with hatred that they are now forming blockades to prevent busloads of children from being transported to safe and secure facilities while waiting to be processed by immigration authorities.

Fox News Children Bus Protest

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After weeks of media reports showing severely overpopulated facilities in Texas, where young children and even infants are housed in prison-like conditions, sleeping on concrete, lacking air-conditioning, federal officials are attempting to provide some relief by dispersing the thousands of child immigrants to various locations so that they can be processed faster and under more humane conditions. And this act of compassion and responsibility is being met with opposition by right-wing, bigoted protesters who favor mistreatment of kids simply because of their immigrant status.

The protesters literally blocked the roads preventing the buses from arriving at their destination in Murrieta, California. The kids had already been traveling for hours, and now were forced to remain in the buses for an additional two hour trek to a different facility. They chanted “USA,” “Impeach Obama,” and “Deport,” with a hostility that could only have exacerbated the kids anxiety and fear.

This unconscionable behavior was reported on Fox News in glowing terms, elevating the protesters to heroes and patriots who had simply “had enough.” It was reminiscent of the Fox News glorification of the criminally deadbeat rancher Cliven Bundy and his militia thugs. On Fox & Friends Steve Doocy introduced the segment saying…

“Now some people in one city in California have had it. There was a plane full of people flown from Texas to California and they were then put on a bus and they were taken up to Murrieta, California where they were gonna be processed. That was the plan. It did not go as planned.”

Notice that his intro left out entirely the age of the people on the buses. He and his co-hosts later acknowledged that these were children, but disparaged them as disease-ridden carriers of scabies, lice, Ebola, dengue virus, and Tuberculosis. To the extent that any of that were true it would be further justification for more humane treatment, not less. The Fox & Friends Krew seems to think that sick kids should be thrown back across the border to die.

Fox News continues to use repulsive language like their on-screen graphic that likened the kids in this relief effort to garbage by calling it a “Federal Dumping Grounds.” They also use the insulting term “illegals” even though almost every other media enterprise has banned its use. Note that wingnuts justify using the term because laws were broken. But they never call burglars, or rapists, or bank robbers, or bank presidents, illegals.

It takes a special kind of bitter soullessness to protest children who are being brought to safety. These cretins apparently prefer that the kids remain corralled in hazardous conditions where they will suffer and be vulnerable to greater harm. And, ironically, the effort to transport the kids to other facilities is not only meant to ease their suffering, it is also necessary to expedite their processing. That would result in many of them being reunited with their families in their native countries, something the protesters ostensibly favor. But their actions, born of hate and ignorance, actually delay that. What a sad picture of American goodwill these vile protesters paint for the rest of the world to see and judge us by.

Is Dick Cheney Inviting Terrorists To Attack Fox News With Havoc-Wreaking Gizmos?

Former Vice-President and grimacing cyborg, Dick Cheney, has once again made news with his unrelentingly pessimistic vision for America. Emerging from his bunker in an undisclosed location in order to raise money for his new SuperPAC, Cheney joined the Curvy Couch Potatoes on Fox & Friends to elaborate on a foreboding prediction issued last night on Hugh Hewitt’s radio program:

Cheney: “I think there will be another attack. And the next time, it’s likely to be far deadlier than the last one.”

Uh oh. How many thousands of victims does Cheney foresee in his apocalyptic prophecy? How many towering infernos will crumble to the ground? And how imminent is this catastrophe? Well, if the past is any indicator of the future, America can breathe a sigh of relief, because Cheney has been predicting doom for many years with a profound measure of inaccuracy. His unfulfilled prognostications escalated after the election to the presidency of an African-American, Muslim, socialist from Kenya, back in 2008. Cheney was met on the couch by the stupendously imbecilic Steve Doocy who seems to think that the terrorists are targeting Fox News:

“And your worry is even though that what’s going on with Iraq is way over there that they bring it here because a lot of those people, the terrorists, have American passports. You know, in a couple of months one of them could be walking in front of our building with some sort of gizmo to wreak havoc.”

Fox News - Dick Cheney

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Gadzooks! Al Qaeda has acquired havoc-wreaking Gizmos that they plan to detonate in front of the Fox News building. Impeach Obama! Where Doocy got the idea that there are terrorists in Iraq with American passports he never bothered to say. It’s just another one of those dangling fear-sicles that Fox deploys to keep their audience in a constant state of the shivers.

The problem with Cheney’s misfortune-telling is that it is a thinly veiled message to America’s enemies. And Cheney might be the first to agree if he weren’t a lying scumbag with ulterior motives aimed at defaming liberals and fattening his wallet. Recall that it was Cheney who said that…

“Terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength; they are invited by the perception of weakness.”

While intended as a swipe at the newly inaugurated President Obama, that peculiar remark was actually a de facto admission that Al Qaeda perceived weakness in the Bush administration nine months after it had assumed power and, thus, took it as an invitation to attack on 9/11. Cheney has spent the last six years exploiting every opportunity to disparage America’s defenses. He was joined in this pursuit by what I called “The Republican Advance Team For Terrorism.” The question is “Why?” As I wrote in that 2009 article…

If you were a terrorist, what would you make of all of this talk? Would it embolden you? Would you view it as an invitation? What point are Republicans trying to make? If they really believe that America’s defenses are weakening, is there a strategic purpose to broadcasting that to our enemies? […] How does announcing to the terrorists that they believe our nation is becoming weaker make us safer? Do they even care? Are they just pasting a big bulls eye on America and hoping for an “I told you so” moment?

It remains true today that Cheney’s public maligning of the ability of the United States to ward off its enemies is irresponsible in the extreme. It reflects a not-so-latent desire to inspire the very sort of attack that he is pretending to warn against. His own words regarding “the perception of weakness” affirm his intentions. Cheney is virtually advertising that America’s guard is down so now would be good time to attack. And even though he’s wrong, the consequences could still be disastrous, because even an aborted terrorist attack could produce casualties.

If Cheney and his associates at Fox News really cared about this country, they wouldn’t be openly soliciting harm. So that tells us all we need to know about their pseudo-patriotism.

Banned In Fresno: Veterans Demand Fox News Be Turned Off – Fox News Whines

A local TV station in Fresno, California did a rather trivial story about a waiting room at a Veterans Administration pharmacy. The story concerned an allegation that Fox News had been banned from the televisions at the facility. So the reporter sent one of his veteran buddies into the pharmacy to pretend to want to view Fox News. Whereupon they discovered that the channel was not accessible.

That set off a flurry of outrage over at the Fox News mothership. They aired panicky segments on this massive censorship plot on multiple programs, including America’s News Headquarters, The O’Reilly Factor, and Fox & Friends. In each case they characterized the situation as a blatant attempt to silence Fox News due to their reporting on the scandalous backlogs and corrupt management at some V.A. hospitals. The only thing wrong with these reports was – well – everything.

Fox News

First of all, there was no attempt to censor Fox News. A spokesperson for the facility made it clear that that the channel was removed because of patient concerns. At least some of the patients explicitly objected to Fox News and the resultant controversy created an uncomfortable environment.

“It was just a misunderstanding. We’ve had a lot of veterans with diverse personalities. A lot of veterans complaining about one news station or the other, so the intent was really to be fair and equitable and take all stations off. […] We’ve had several incidents of veterans actually arguing, fighting over the different news stations. Some wanted to watch news, some did not. Others wanted to watch specific stations.”

In addition, while Fox News did air reports on the V.A. scandal, so did every other news network. Fox had no more coverage of the affair than their cable news peers. Although they certainly had more spittle-inflected animosity directed at President Obama than some of the others. However, It was CNN that originally broke the story, so if there was an intent to censor the source of bad news about their operations, the pharmacy would more likely have banned CNN. Here is how Politico reported the evolution of the story:

“The slow-burn story at the Phoenix VA went from a largely ignored congressional hearing and a local news report before it landed on CNN and then exploded in the national media and seized the White House.”

Particularly disturbing was the framing of this phony whining about censorship by the Fox & Friends crew, where co-host Brian Kilmeade packaged the segment as “Abandoned Brothers.” They actually employed language generally reserved for prisoners of war or fallen soldiers on the battlefield to describe people waiting to get their prescriptions filled in a downtown Fresno drug store who weren’t able to watch a gaggle of Fox News blondes in short skirts mutilate journalism.

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It’s pretty nauseating that Fox regards not being able to watch their network for a few minutes as comparable to being abandoned in wartime. Especially so soon after their repulsive coverage of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, whom they defamed as a deserter, a traitor, and a jihadist, before any hearing or even getting his version of events.

Some Fox commentators literally advocated for Bergdahl to be abandoned to his Taliban captors. So Fox hardly has the moral authority to use rhetoric about “abandoned brothers” in their programming. But you can always expect them to make themselves a part of every story with an emphasis on how victimized they are by the rest of the media. That’s the sort of behavior generally exhibited by crybabies who can’t accept not getting their way.

Fox News Terror Alert: Muslims Girls Are Learning To Swim At YMCA

The hyper-alarmists at Fox News can’t go a single day without manufacturing a new horror over which to panic. If it isn’t Obama’s Peace Corps operatives coming to collect your guns, or immigrant farm workers selling crack to your children, it’s identity thieves laying in wait for people buying health insurance. And now there is a new fear causing the curvy couch potatoes on Fox & Friends to cower in their studio/bunker.

This morning Fox News reporter Heather Nauert reported that a YMCA in St. Paul, Minnesota has succumbed to Sharia Law in an attempt to promote Islamic terrorism. Well, more precisely, they have set aside one hour a week to offer basic swimming lessons to Muslims girls in an environment where they can observe the modesty dictated by their faith. But it’s really the same thing, isn’t it?

Fox News

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Nauert whipped up the standard Fox News fear machine to frighten their dimwitted viewers over something that most people would regard as a practical safety measure and a fun leisure activity. But to Fox it’s a foreboding preamble to catastrophe. Says Nauert…

“Well the minority becoming the majority at one community pool. Sharia law is now changing everything. A YMCA in Minneapolis-St. Paul is starting a swim group for Muslim girls but special considerations have to be made to keep with their religious beliefs. Now this means during the one-hour class, the pool is being shut down, the men’s locker room is being locked, and female lifeguards are being brought in. Similar classes are now starting at towns across the Midwest. We’ll keep watching this story for you.”

Boob BombsAside from the fact that learning to swim in Minnesota, the land of a thousand lakes, is practically a mandatory public safety measure for all residents, especially children, Fox News is escalating the fear factor by injecting the specter of Sharia Law “changing everything.”

However, this swimming class has nothing to do with any law. The program is being offered by a local, non-profit, Christian organization and no one is required to participate. It may, in fact, prove popular with girls from other faiths whose parents would prefer that their daughters be separated from boys while learning to swim.

True to form, Fox News turns anything they can into a reason for outrage and dread. It is their purpose for being. And it is particularly noticeable when they can combine it with overt racism and anxiety over terror. This episode may not rival Fox’s idiotic story about terrorist Boob Bombs, but it comes close, and it strikes a sadder note when it is directed at harming kids.

OBAMA SCARE: Fox News Fears ACORN Is Back To Push ObamaCare

Fox News has been engaged in a massive disinformation campaign against the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) for going on three years now. After all that time, and having exhausted the considerable creative resources that came up with twelve “Pants on Fire” lies about the program, Fox’s desperation is showing.

Recently Fox News went apoplectic over a phony allegation that millions of Americans will be victimized by hackers if they try to enroll in a new health care plan. Then they fear mongered over the horror of Americans voting due to the Affordable Care Act website providing users with an opportunity to register. And now Fox is trembling at the thought of ACORN zombies helping people to get health care coverage.

Fox News Obama Scare

The Curvy Couch Potatoes over at Fox & Friends had a jolly old time resurrecting their fear of a community organizing enterprise that no longer exists. ACORN was hounded out of business by right-wing opponents after pseudo-journalist and convicted criminal, James O’Keefe, distributed some deceitfully edited and libelous videos. But that hasn’t stopped conservative media from exhuming the corpse whenever they are in need of a sensationalistic story as demonstrated by this morning’s broadcast:

Elisabeth Hasselbeck: We’re getting information that ACORN operatives are trying to sign people up for the Affordable Care Act.
Brian Kilmeade: Good luck. Let them try.
Hasselbeck: They’re banking on the American people forgetting what had happened in terms of voter fraud. So we need to ring the bell a little on this one.

As previously noted, there aren’t any ACORN operatives, and multiple investigations never found any evidence of wrongdoing by ACORN or their former staff. Despite their innocence, the Foxpods think that anyone affiliated with the former ACORN must retire to caves in Antarctica rather than resuming their vocation of helping the American people to navigate the complexities of government services. Fox just hates it when any organization aspires to help people for any reason. They continue…

Steve Doocy: Remember back in the old days, we used to show this video when we would show ACORN locations back in 2009. Famously they were caught in a sting operation by a journalist that showed they were showing people how to break the law. […] After the scandal, and they were exposed, ACORN was banned from getting taxpayer money. So if they’re getting some of this navigator money in that kind of serpentine way — still illegal.

That’s cute. Doocy called O’Keefe a “journalist.” As for his allegation of illegality, there is nothing in the law that prevents organizations with former ACORN staff from getting federal grants. In fact, there isn’t even any law that prevents ACORN from getting grants as the previous ban was not included in the latest Continuing Resolution. Doocy is brazenly misrepresenting the facts, just as Hasselbeck does when she implies that ACORN will be getting $67 million. Actually, that’s the total amount of the ACA navigator program for all grantees. But then Hasselbeck introduces a new irrational fear:

Hasselbeck: The American people have great cause to be concerned about their personal information, medical information, financial information, being handed over – not just in terms of the money the government is giving out, but your information that is being given to an organization that will most likely be used against you at some point, politically.

Yowsa! ACORN using this information against us would be bad enough, but the prospect of such use being “most likely” really ought to scare the bejeezus out of the Teabaggers who watch Fox. Hasselbeck never explains how this info can used to politically harm anyone, but then again, she never offers any proof of her allegations in the first place. It is simply an attempt to dangle a ominous sword over the heads of her dimwitted audience.

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To recap, Fox has so far announced that ObamaCare enrollees are subject to financial ruin due to hackers, political strife due to ACORN, and some unspecified horror due to access to voter registration forms. They never mention the fact that they will also be covered by an affordable health care plan that may preserve their medical well being and prevent an illness-rated bankruptcy. No wonder Fox News viewers are so clueless about this and pretty much every other issue.

Um, Nope: Fox News Reports That Obama Paid To Keep Muslim Museum Open During Shutdown

The brain trust at Fox News has done it again. Their crack team of intrepid reporters (or is that insipid team of reporters on crack?), have uncovered another brewing scandal erupting from the Obama White House. The latest atrocity attributed to President Obama concerns an appalling decision on his part that unmasks the anti-American streak of hubris that Michele Bachmann has been warning us about for years.

During the current shutdown of the United States government (or “slimdown” as Fox News has deemed it), a wide variety of government services have been curtailed. This Tea Party driven abandonment of federal responsibilities has resulted in serious repercussions for many Americans including 800,000 workers who have been thrown off the job. Recipients of benefits for child nutrition, victims of natural disasters, and people seeking home loans, have also been adversely impacted by the GOP intransigence and obsession with crippling ObamaCare, no matter the cost to innocent citizens.

Amidst these hardships, Fox News is now reporting (video below) that the President has come to the aid of one particular national entity in order to keep it open to the public. It is the Museum of Muslim Culture that will be the beneficiary of Obama’s generosity as, according to Anna Kooiman of Fox & Friends, he will pay out of his own pocket to keep it operating. This revelation is just the sort of thing that will agitate the Tea Party crowd into fits of fury. And it affirms their long held beliefs that Obama is a secret Muslim who is bent on oppressing America with Sharia law.

There’s just on little problem: it isn’t true. The apparent source for Kooiman’s ludicrous story is a well known and highly entertaining satirical web site, The National Report. Their “news” item included obviously fabricated quotes from the President like…

“The Muslim community deserves our full acceptance and respect,” Obama said. “We have killed millions of Muslims overseas since the September 11th attacks. They are not all bad. In fact most of them are good. So during this shutdown, now is a great time to learn about the faith of Islam. I encourage all of you to celebrate the Muslim community, the ‘Sunnah’ and the magic of the ‘Quran’. All of this can be found at the newly re-opened International Museum of Muslim Cultures.”

Fox News
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There is indeed an International Museum of Muslim Cultures located in Mississippi. However, it is not a federal property and, therefore, not subject to closure. Furthermore, the picture posted by the National Report was of the Milwaukee Art Museum in Wisconsin. Apparently the folks at Fox & Friends are not art aficionados.

Equally inane reports have been circulating that President Obama is deliberately seeking to create unnecessary harm by terminating services that will negatively impact the most people. Of course there is no evidence supporting that allegation, but that hasn’t stopped Fox News from reporting it or Rep. Darrel Issa (R-Tea Party) from announcing that his scandal-fixated, congressional witch hunt committee will investigate it.

Amongst the purposeful annoyances Obama has been accused of is the closing of the World War II memorial in Washington, D.C. Like the other accusations, there is no proof that the White House had anything to do with that decision, nor would it make any sense from a political standpoint. But the same GOP representatives who voted to shut down the government, and the memorial, are now hypocritically pretending to defend the rights of the people who want to visit it. This perfectly illustrates the priorities of the right-wingnuts whose sympathies lean more toward old soldiers who want to look at statues than to hungry children or suffering tornado victims.

The National Report has fooled ignorant Tea Party types before. Their story alleging that “Obama Says Tea Party Members Fit Profile of Domestic Terrorists” was widely disseminated through the right-wing funhouse media despite the obvious satirical fakery. When you are unable to discern the validity of a news source whose other articles include “New CDC Study Indicates Pets Of Gay Couples Worse At Sports, Better At Fashion Than Pets Of Straight Couples,” there is something seriously wrong with your cognitive functioning. But I guess that goes without saying when referring to Fox News and, especially, the kiddies at Fox & Friends.

[Update] Anna Kooiman tweeted an apology saying “Just met w producers- I made a mistake yday after receiving flawed research abt a museum possibly closing. My apologies. Won’t happen again.” But that’s not nearly sufficient. She needs to apologize on-air, where she made the “mistake.” Fox media analyst Howard Kurtz ignored it entirely on his Sunday Media Buzz program.

And just as a reminder, Fox News isn’t particularly concerned with mistakes. Kooiman’s Fox & Friends colleague, Gretchen Carlson (who just got a new daytime show on Fox) once remarked that one of the things she likes best about working for Fox is that “When we make a mistake reading the news headlines, whereas at a [broadcast] network you’d probably get fired, instead, we’re like, ‘Eh, we screwed up.’”

Dumbass Doocy: Fox News Still Doesn’t Understand What The Debt Ceiling Is

As the nation approaches another showdown over the raising of the debt ceiling, Fox News continues to prove that either they don’t understand economics or they are dedicated to misinforming their gullible viewers – or more likely, both.

On Friday’s episode of Fox & Friends, Steve Doocy and his couch potato pals reacted with surprise to President Obama’s remarks about raising the debt ceiling. The President correctly described the function of this routine economic procedure by telling the Business Roundtable what it actually entails.

Obama: Raising the debt ceiling, which has been done over a hundred times, does not increase our debt; it does not somehow promote profligacy. All it does is it says you’ve got to pay the bills that you’ve already racked up, Congress. It’s a basic function of making sure that the full faith and credit of the United States is preserved.

Concerned that a succinct and coherent explanation might make Fox viewers aware of a small bit of reality (something Fox works diligently against), Doocy stepped up to make sure that his audience remained blissfully ignorant. He played two videos of Obama, one talking about the risks of high debt and the other advocating raising the debt ceiling. Doocy then said that Obama was talking about the same thing and had flipped his position. However, the debt is not the same thing as the debt ceiling. But this is a subject that is apparently way over Doocy’s head.

Doocy: So the first sound bite was from the president a couple of days ago at the Business Roundtable where he really got people thinking, “Did he just misspeak?” because he said essentially that raising the debt ceiling does not increase our debt. I know he studied law, and not economics, but increasing the debt ceiling indeed raises the debt.

Well, I know Doocy studied journalism at the University of Kansas and not economics, while Obama got a B.A. in political science from Columbia University and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard Law School, but Doocy clearly knows nothing about either economics or journalism. Raising the debt ceiling does not raise the debt one penny. Just as the President said, it merely authorizes the government to pay bills that Congress has already incurred.

Allow me to spell it out. Let’s say the national debt is $10 trillion and the debt ceiling is $9 trillion. If the ceiling is raised to $11 trillion so that it can accommodate the outstanding obligations, the debt is still $10 trillion. There is no change except for the fact that bills can now be paid which, ironically, would have the effect of lowering the debt. Failing to raise the debt ceiling would result in default which would cause the ratings services to lower the nation’s credit worthiness. That would increase the interest that we pay on the debt which, of course, increases the debt. Which is exactly what happened last year.

So Doocy, and most of the Tea Party right, have everything exactly backwards – as usual. There is only one real reason that Fox and the GOP are obstructing the debt ceiling increase, and that is to harm Obama by attempting to blame him for the economic debacle that would ensue following a default. And they regard the devastation that the American people would suffer as merely collateral damage. As evidence, take a look at this chart that I created a couple of years ago illustrating the Republican support for raising the debt ceiling until a certain event occurred:

Debt Ceiling

And the same dishonest, partisan, hackery is in full effect today.

SlayStation: Fox News Pushes Regulation Of Video Games – Not Guns

Fox News has been a reliable advocate on behalf of the National Rifle Association and its mission to insure that even the most lethal types of guns are readily available to just about anyone. They even opposed legislation that would prohibit people on the terrorist no-fly list from buying firearms. Let’s face it, they love them some guns, and any attempt to interfere with their fixation is sacrilege.

Gun Nutz
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Today Elisabeth Hasselbeck, the newest member of the Fox & Friends crew, proposed what she regards as an alternative solution to the tragic mass murders that have plagued the nation (video below). Her suggestion had nothing to do with background checks, or limiting access to dangerous individuals, or barring military-style weapons and magazines that hold dozens of bullets. She and her curvy-couch potatoes think that video games, and the people who play them, are the crux of the problem.

Hasselbeck: “What about frequency testing? How often has this game been played? I mean, I’m not one to say get in there and monitor everything, but if this indeed is a strong link to mass killings, then why aren’t we looking at frequency of purchases per person, and also how often they’re playing. Maybe they time out after a certain hour on this.”

So according to Hasselbeck and her pals, the government must never engage in responsible registration of firearms, or keep databases to alert authorities when someone has amassed a dangerous stockpile of munitions, or check to see if a prospective buyer is guilty of a violent felony or has a record of mental health problems. However, the government ought to keep track of video game purchases, as well as the amount of time individuals spend playing the games. She is actually proposing databases of game buyers and some sort of control mechanism on every game that measures the time it is used. Get ready for the nanny state to shut down your XBox after an hour or two in order to insure that you don’t murder a few dozen people. What’s next? Access to books, web sites, felafels? And none of that seems to intrude on their right-wing aversion to Big Government.

The Fox panel also displayed a graphic showing some of the perpetrators of mass shootings and alleged that they were all video game aficionados. Wow – what a startling revelation that young men in America were found to be fond of electronic gaming. Who knew? What they did not mention is that all of the same people were also obsessed with the guns that they actually used to, you know, actually kill actual people. But Guns couldn’t be part of the problem, could they?

Al Gore Hurts Fox News’ Feelings, So Fox Bashes Current TV Sale Again

This morning on Fox & Friends, the kindergarten crew welcomed Rupert Murdoch’s personal attorney, Peter Johnson, Jr. (the man with three euphemisms for penis in his name), to engage in yet another round of bashing Al Gore for selling his Current TV network to Al Jazeera.

Fox News

In this episode, Johnson demonstrated an embarrassingly poor ability to make a cogent argument, which should worry his client Rupert who is engaged in numerous legal entanglements related to the News Corp hacking scandal in the UK.

Fox’s Gretchen Carlson introduced the segment with a video clip of Gore commenting on Fox News and right-wing talk radio, saying “The fact that we have 24/7 propaganda masquerading as news, it does have an impact.” It was that swipe at Fox that prompted this rehashing of old news. And rather than try to dispute the obvious truth of Gore’s comment, Johnson launched into his harangue about Gore permitting a news enterprise based in the oil-producing nation of Qatar to buy his network, thus affirming Fox’s status as The Whiniest ‘News’ Network Ever:

Johnson: This is the ultimate Lear Jet liberal who’s lost his mind. He is richer though. They made a half billion dollars on it. And you know the reason he said it’s a good sale? “I’m not gonna sell to Glenn Beck. I’m not gonna sell to American media folks. I am gonna sell to Al Jazeera. You know why? Because they’re the best at discussing climate change.” That’s like saying “I’m gonna sell it to the NRA because they’re the best at discussing gun control.”

Setting aside the fact that Johnson thinks Gore, who just made $100,000,000, has lost his mind, the case he is making defies logic. If it is, as Johnson says, like selling to the NRA who cannot report objectively on guns because they are proponents of guns, then Johnson is asserting that Current cannot sell to Al Jazeera and expect objective reporting on climate change because Al Jazeera is a proponent of climate reform measures. Except that Johnson just got finished criticizing the sale because Al Jazeera’s oil-rich Qatari base would oppose such measures.

So which is it? Is Gore a hypocrite for selling an environmentally conscious network to a bunch of fossil fuel fanatics? Or is he handing off his company to a news outlet that is going to advocate for alternative energy rather than cover the issue objectively? Johnson wants to characterize Al Jazeera as beholden to oil interests and biased against them at the same time. And he has the nerve to say that Gore has lost his mind?

It’s bad enough that Fox News is the public relations arm of the Republican Party. And it’s all the worse that they brazenly lie to fulfill that role. But do they have to be so staggeringly stupid while they’re at it?

Fox & Friends Bashes NBC’s Sandy Telethon: Is It A Hurricane Benefit Or A Concert For Obama?

The compassionate cast of petulant pundits on Fox & Friends bashed the efforts by NBC and a collection of celebrities to raise money to benefit victims of Hurricane Sandy. Their complaint is that the program might have a positive effect on the campaign of President Obama. And to prevent any possibility of that, Fox thinks the benefit should be called off or delayed.

Great idea. Let’s just forget about the millions of people struggling to provide for their families without power or clothes or food or homes. They can wait another week or two until we’re certain that the President won’t get any ancillary afterglow from the charity program. After all, what’s more important? Taking care of people whose lives have been turned upside down by a natural disaster, or placating heartless Republicans who are against helping people in the first place?

These weasels turn my stomach. And in case you thought it might just be limited to the imbeciles on one Fox News program, Fox also published a story saying much the same thing on their web site. That story quoted only a right-wing PR executive and a VP of the uber-conservative Media Research Center. No one from NBC or any artists representatives were allowed to comment. However, Fox did include comments from anonymous Tweeters who shamefully advocated boycotting the benefit. Seriously, they want to boycott a charity event for hurricane victims. What’s next? Picketing cancer survivors? Tripping blind people? And all of this unsympathetic bombast is being spewed prior to the event when none of these critics know what will take place, or who will participate.

Typical right-wing, knee-jerk opposition to any project that might help people. Brought to you by the same folks who opposed Social Security and Medicare, and now want to see those programs scrapped in favor of vouchers and private sector solutions so that businesses can profit from other peoples misery. Which, by the way, is precisely how Mitt Romney proposed to deal with disaster relief.

Fox & Friends Gets Punked – But That’s Not The Real Story

This morning on Fox & Friends (the stupidest ensemble, pseudo-news team on American TV), a prankster convinced the show’s producers that he was a college graduate who voted for Barack Obama in 2008, but who is now disappointed and intends to vote for Mitt Romney this November. The video of this train wreck appears to be the work of a stoned slacker who got a kick out of outsmarting the bigwig TV producers. And that may be true.

However, It was not my intention address this prank at first because it doesn’t really appear to be particularly well thought out or executed. What’s more, Gretchen Carlson seemed to quickly pick up on the fact that something was amiss. However, new information has emerged that is far more interesting than the event itself.

It seems that Fox News was determined to invent a story about disillusioned young people who were abandoning the President. This was not a “fair and balanced” study of attitudes among recent college grads, it was a deliberately biased piece of propaganda that jettisoned all journalistic principles in order to deliver their preconceived result.

Max Rice, the aforementioned prankster, spoke with various reporters after the fact and revealed the shoddy quality (or lack thereof) of Fox’s research. Rice told the bookers that he was a college graduate, but that could easily have been debunked by a Google search that would have found a video from his high school graduation only two years ago. Rice also gave contradictory answers to biographical questions, telling them at first that he was an English major, and later that he majored in Engineering.

Fox News let all of this go by because Rice fit the profile of a disaffected former Obama supporter. That was all they cared about. But even worse, Rice says that Fox coached him on what to say during the interview.

“They gave me a paragraph full of bullshit talking points. … They basically gave me a speech and they thought I was supposed to have it memorized.”

Rice is not a very good prankster, but his antics have allowed us to peer into the Fox machinery and see how their phony sausage is made. And that’s worth something all by itself. The news emanating from this episode should have less to do with the stunt that was pulled on the Fox & Friends crew, than with their dishonest attempt to fabricate a story with the intent of damaging Obama’s reputation.

Fox’s determination to manipulate their viewers and spread false information was clearly more important to them than doing proper research and fact-checking. And when all is said and done, this was not a story about a news team getting punked. It’s a story about a news network punking their audience.

Allen West On The Conspiracy To Sap And Impurify Our Precious Bodily Fluids

Stanley Kubrick’s brilliant cinematic satire, Dr. Strangelove, produced one of the most enduring characterizations of the dangers posed by paranoid crackpots in positions of power. His profoundly disturbed Gen. Jack D. Ripper is an object lesson in the risks we face when lunatics are granted authority.

Allen WestNow, the Congressman most likely to be committed to a mental institution has spoken up again. Allen West appeared on Fox & Friends (Ignoramusi Televiso) this morning to pontificate on the deadly and clandestine “stealth jihad” that is percolating through our nation. West has already distinguished himself as a commie-phobic, Nazi-baiting extremist who engaged in mock executions against innocent Iraqis before leaving the Army and running for congress. He proudly serves on the board of a known hate group. And now he has come to Fox News to express some eerily familiar comments in response to an NPR report that the FBI has investigated cases of alleged radical Islamists in the military:

Col. Allen “Ripper” West: You are witnessing an infiltration of not just the defense systems, but our financial systems, our cultural, religious, political, systems. So this is a whole-hearted stealth jihad type of attack.

First of all…what attack? The FBI’s report has not confirmed a single case of an Islamic extremist infiltrating the Army. Yet West is already speaking in terms of current attacks on a vast array of our national institutions, even though the FBI is not even investigating anything relating to finance, politics or religion. That’s a paranoid escalation of the story hatched in West’s demented imagination. The story by NPR speculates that the FBI’s action may just be an over-cautious response to the deadly shootings at Ft. Hood that caught the Army and law enforcement by surprise. However, Fox portrays it with graphics that state as a matter of fact that there are presently “100 Muslim extremists in the U.S. military.”

Fox News on Muslims in the Military

Leave it up to Allen West (who thinks the Congress has been infiltrated by communists) and Fox News (who hype phony scandals 24/7) to push the panic button and raise the level of hysteria to its limits. They are shamelessly hyping threats that do not exist in order to stir up fear in the hearts of their dimwitted audience. They might as well bring back Gen. Ripper. He’d make a good host to follow the O’Reilly (Fear) Factor.

Idiocracy: The Fox News War On Intelligence

There’s one thing you can say about Fox News, and that is that they know their audience. They know that they are serving an intellectually lazy group of rightist zealots who, more than anything else, just want their prejudices to be affirmed. And Fox News is more than happy to accommodate them.

This morning on Fox & Friends, home of the most prideful ignoramusi in television, Brian Kilmeade interviewed David Gelernter, the author of “America-Lite: How Imperial Academia Dismantled Our Culture (and Ushered In the Obamacrats)” The discussion centered on the assertion that those darn kids today just aren’t as super-spectacular as previous generations. Gelernter, a Yale professor, castigated universities and disparaged American students as “learning nothing, apart from how to play with their iPhones.”

The dialogue continued with both Kilmeade and Gelernter insulting President Obama, and liberals in general, as airheads. He even questioned the President’s patriotism saying, “I think he has no sense of obligation to the country. I think he has a vivid sense of what the country owes him.” That’s a veiled reference to the racially incendiary subject of reparations, which Obama has never supported. Talk about dog whistles. The segment also featured a couple of definitions that exist nowhere but in the minds of devoted right-wing demagogues:

Obamacrat: A new generation of politicians who don’t think very much and aren’t concerned about their country.
Airhead Liberal: Accepts liberal political ideas religiously, but never questions them.

And Fox News is not coy about their aversion to being smart. The graphic below explicitly belittles knowledge and Americans who “rely on IQ instead of common sense.” Heaven forbid anyone with actual, demonstrated intelligence be given a role in the affairs of state.

Fox News on Knowledge

The notion that knowledge is a toxic virus that infects elitist liberals and must be exterminated, is a recurring theme on the right. They are overtly hostile to education and regard people who have excelled academically as out-of-touch and even threatening to the their conception of American society. And while there is, of course, a place for common sense, the thing about it is that it is “common.” What ever happened to American exceptionalism and the idea that we can aspire to greatness? Such talk is now considered to be an abandonment of the common man.

Conservatives, through their Fox News mouthpiece, are openly advocating for ignorance. And the reason for that is that they know they can manipulate an incurious, ill-informed population far easier than one that is educated. That is why they denigrate Obama’s achievements at Harvard Law (even though they ignore Romney’s two Harvard degrees). It’s why they oppose legislation that makes higher education available to more Americans. It’s why they even advocate eliminating the Department of Education.

It is no surprise that several studies have shown that Fox News viewers are significantly less informed than consumers of other sources of news. And while pseudo-patriots chant “We’re number one,” the international rankings put the U.S. at 14th in reading, 17th in science and 25th in math. That is not a foundation from which viable competitiveness is likely to emerge. And bashing education is not a path to resolving these problems.

President Homer SimpsonThe GOP is practicing something I call Elitistism: the practice of discriminating against those who are perceived to be elite. The goal of Elitistism is to drive from public life anyone who diverges from the sacred visage of American Averagism. Because everyone knows that the guy you’d rather have a beer with is the best qualified to be president. Although the cold brew may have been replaced by the tea bag, and the barfly by the Tea Hag™ (i.e. Sarah Palin). And whatever you do, don’t exhibit any qualities of excellence or intelligence. As I have previously written, in today’s politics those are flaws that separate you from the masses:

“Education is a key component in this new paradigm. It is absolutely critical that you not have too much of it. And never, ever use the word paradigm. Once the American people get the impression that you know more than they do about issues like economics or foreign policy, you’re disqualified from service. Achievement and expertise only spotlight how different you are from ordinary Americans.”

Today’s segment is further evidence that Fox News not only promotes ignorance, they actually celebrate it, as they pander to their audience that wallows in it. Pretty soon we can expect to have parades of idiots inspired by Fox proudly marching down Main Street chanting “We’re dumb. We’ve come. Get used to it.”

Politico Reporter Suspended For Telling The Truth: Romney Is More Comfortable Around White Folks

Yesterday on MSNBC’s Martin Bashir program, Politico reporter Joe Williams participated in a discussion about Mitt Romney’s tendency to restrict his public appearances to carefully choreographed events and friendly media outlets. It was noted that he has appeared on the widely reviled Fox & Friends 21 times in the last year. Fox & Friends is an avowedly right-wing mouthpiece for the GOP and a program about which even Fox reporters, producers and executives “roll their eyes” when asked about.

Williams noted that Romney’s preference for Fox & Friends, and similarly partisan settings, was interesting because it was “unscripted and it’s the only time they let Mitt off the leash.” He made the point that for Romeny to be successful he needs to broaden the range of people with whom he interacts.

Williams: Romney is very, very comfortable, it seems, with people who are like him. That’s one of the reasons why he seems so stiff and awkward in some town hall settings, why he can’t relate to people other than that. But when he comes on Fox and Friends, they’re like him, they’re white folks who are very much relaxed in their own company.

That is an objectively true statement. Fox & Friends are indeed white folks and they appear to be very relaxed with one another. It is also true that Romney does appear to be more comfortable with people like himself, and he does exhibit noticeable awkwardness when he tries to connect with average Americans. It is that discomfort that has resulted in his embarrassing himself by saying that he likes to fire people, that his friends are NASCAR team owners, that his wife drives two Cadillacs, that corporations are people, and that he’s not concerned about the poor.

Nevertheless, Politico has suspended Williams for these comments. This is another example of the media punishing people for telling the truth about conservatives. It seems that the only people that are ever held to account are those to whom conservatives object. Earlier this year I documented a list of the “10 People Fox News Should Fire, But Haven’t.” Media suspensions have been handed out liberally (so to speak) to Roland Martin, David Shuster, Mark Halperin, and many others. While right-wing malfeasance is ignored or even rewarded. People like Liz Trotta, Juan Williams, Don Imus, and Lou Dobbs, have managed to escape any repercussions from their bad behavior.

A recent incident involving a reporter from Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller illustrates this blatant unfairness perfectly. Neil Munro rudely shouted out questions in the middle of a presidential address. His inappropriate behavior was widely condemned, even by some staunch conservatives. However, rather than suspension, he was defended by Carlson and held up as an exemplary model of journalism. That’s the difference between the right and the left in the media. The right admires and rewards rudeness and dishonesty, and pays tribute to those who engage in it. The left punishes any hint of impropriety, even when there is no substance to it. All that has to happen is for some right-winger to complain.

As for Romney’s reputed comfort amongst his own people, I defy you find a person of color in this photograph taken from his website (click to enlarge), and then explain who he means by “us.”

Romney's White Folks

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.