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?
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.”
Aside 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.’”
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:
And the same dishonest, partisan, hackery is in full effect today.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Now, 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.”
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.
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.
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.
The 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.”
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.”
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.
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.
You would think that one thing Fox News would regard as exempt from their routine campaign of smears and lies is motherhood. You would be wrong.
On Fox & Friends this weekend (video below), the curvy couch potatoes played a video of Stacey Hessler, a mother of four from Florida who is participating in the Occupy Wall Street protest. Co-host Clayton Morris declared that Hessler had abandoned her children, a lie that was repeated on screen with a graphic that said “Mom Abandons Family to Join Occupy Wall Street.”
The truth is that Hessler made a principled decision with the support of her family to take action on a matter of great importance to her family and the nation. She did not abandon her family. They agreed with her desire to take a stand and assured her that they would take up the slack in her absence, along with sympathetic neighbors and friends. Fox could have simply reported that Hessler traveled to New York while her family remained in Florida, but to repeatedly use the loaded term “abandoned” is an obvious attempt to smear Hessler and deceive viewers.
But the abuse didn’t stop there. The on-screen graphic changed intermittently to say ‘From Mom To Mob.’” Morris made a repulsive, and utterly false, insinuation that Hessler was “living with a waiter” while in New York. Co-host Alisyn Camerota, in her role as an unqualified TV psychoanalyst, said that Hessler was “having a mid-life crisis,” and that she may be subconsciously protesting her husband who happens to be banker (and supports the movement). And co-host Dave Briggs was furious about a statement that Hessler made that he read on-air:
Hessler: “Military people leave their families all the time, so why should I feel bad? I’m fighting for a better world.”
Briggs complained about Hessler “equating what she’s doing with military service.” He charged that that was “more disgusting than any of the filth down there on Wall Street.” What Briggs fails to grasp is that there is more than one way to fight for your country. And there is more than one enemy. The damage to our nation caused by Wall Street is unprecedented. It is precisely the sort of damage intended by Al Qaeda when they selected the World Trade Center as a target. The difference is that Wall Street’s assault was far more harmful on a financial basis. Al Qaeda was probably ecstatic as they watched what our financial elite had done to this country.
The Fox gang went on to discuss an Associated Press poll that showed that 37% of Americans viewed the Occupy movement favorably. Instead of recognizing that more than a third of the country was supportive, a remarkable statistic considering that the movement is only a month old, they chose to focus on the 56% who had an unfavorable opinion. What they never addressed at all was that the same poll showed that the Tea Party fared much worse with only 28% viewing it favorably and 68% unfavorably, and that’s after two years. Another poll by CNN reports that 32% view the Occupiers favorably and only 29% unfavorably. Further noting that…
“…opinions are clear about Wall Street itself. Eight in ten say Wall Street bankers are greedy, 77% say they’re overpaid, and two-thirds say Wall Street bankers are dishonest.” [...] “54 percent say they absolutely do not trust Wall Street bankers and brokers to do what is best of the economy.”
The American people are smarter than Fox News thinks they are. And all of the propaganda and smears has not helped Fox to undermine the will of the people. Nevertheless, Fox will continue to engage in the malicious fraud they call “news.” But their desperation is becoming ever more apparent as they sink to maligning patriotic mothers fighting for a better life for their children.
[Update:] Another new poll by the Pew Center for the People and the Press shows support for the Occupiers (39%) greater than opposition (35%). However the Tea Party is more opposed (44%) than supported (32%). Even independents are positive about the Occupiers (43% for/35% opposed), while they shun the Tea Partiers (49% opposed/30% for).
The kids in the Fox & Friends Day Care spent a couple of minutes yesterday fluffing Atlas Shrugged and feigning amazement at its unprecedented success. Steve Doocy beamed that it’s “amazing” and that “it has really taken off.” Brian Kilmeade exuberantly delivered the film’s stats saying that “this is a lot of money for people in the business – they say this is staggering.” He gleefully mused that “the profit’s gonna go through the roof.” Juliet Huddy was glowing as she claimed that there was so much demand for the film that the producers “don’t have enough copies of the film.” She continued saying that “It sort of just came out of nowhere and it really blossomed.”
Wow! This must be a blockbuster in the making. I may have to retract my previous article calling the movie a bomb. Or maybe not. Because today the producer came out and spoiled the whole thing for the Foxies by saying that “he is reconsidering his plans to make Parts 2 and 3 because of scathing reviews and flagging box office returns for the film.”
“Critics, you won,” said John Aglialoro, the businessman who spent 18 years and more than $20 million of his own money to make, distribute and market “Atlas Shrugged: Part 1,” which covers the first third of Rand’s dystopian novel. “I’m having deep second thoughts on why I should do Part 2.”
Nice of him to blame it on the critics and not his shoddy filmmaking. Aglialoro also said that he is reconsidering his plans to expand to 1,000 screens by the end of this month. That decision is probably being helped along by the fact that there aren’t 1,000 theaters who want the film, despite Huddy’s giddy imaginings.
It’s all over for Atlas Shrugged. Rarely does a film’s producer go public with his project’s epitaph after the second weekend in release. All of the Tea Bag Media who were falsely claiming that the film was a surprise success are now revealed to be liars. And it doesn’t get much worse than the dishonesty exhibited by the Fox & Friends crew whose fatuous hype was deflated the next day by the film’s producer. That’s what they get for acting as the PR agents for a crummy movie.
On Fox & Friends this morning, Donald Trump displayed the vastness of his elephantine ego. The man who is so stupid that he has to keep telling people that he thinks he’s smart; so incompetent that he has to keep asserting that he would be the bestest president ever; that man is now convinced that he is the sole target of the President’s wrath.
Donald Trump: Obviously I hit a nerve because they’re fighting me. I don’t hear them talking about Mr. Pawlenty or anybody else. They’re talking only about Trump. I can tell you, I’m their worst nightmare.
The “Donald” is far too modest. He is the whole nation’s worst nightmare. Trump was reacting to comments made by Obama advisor David Plouffe regarding Trump’s polling and his obsession with Obama’s birth certificate. Of course the Fox & Friends folks clipped off the question that Plouffe was asked:
Christianne Amanpour: What do you make of Donald Trump raising this [birth certificate] issue? Do you think it’s going to be a big issue in the campaign? David Plouffe: I don’t. I saw Donald Trump sort of rising in the polls, and given his behavior and spectacle I hope he keeps on rising. Because there’s zero chance that Donald Trump would ever be hired by the American people to do this job.
So Trump had not hit any nerve, Plouffe was merely answering a question. He wasn’t the one who brought it up and his answer made it clear that he couldn’t care less about Trump, except insofar as the pleasure he would get from running against the bumbling billionaire.
For the record, the only polls in which Trump is rising are with Republican primary voters. His numbers amongst the whole electorate are near the bottom along with Sarah Palin. And if he thinks he’s going to get anywhere by designating himself Obama’s worst nightmare, take a look at some other candidates who have laid claim to that role:
If Trump is intent on joining this fraternity of losers, he has my wholehearted support.