What Conservatives (And Politico) Still Don’t Understand About Fox News

Earlier this month Bruce Bartlett published a paper titled “How Fox News Changed American Media and Political Dynamics.” Bartlett is a veteran conservative operative who worked in both the George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan White Houses. His paper’s premise is that Fox News has had a harmful effect on the Republican Party’s electoral appeal by herding its already right-wing flock into an even fringier parish where it is shielded from differing views. Bartlett appeared on CNN’s Reliable Sources this morning and said…

“I think many conservatives live in a bubble where they watch only Fox News on television, they listen only to conservative talk radio, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, many of the same people. When they go on to the Internet, they look at only conservative websites like National Review, Newsmax, World Net Daily, and so they are completely in a universe in which they are hearing the same exact ideas, the same arguments, the same limited amount of data repeated over and over and over again, and that’s brainwashing.”

Fox News Bad For GOP

Brainwashing is not too strong a word. Fox News has become the central authority in a cult-like cabal of rightist true-believers who envelope themselves in the scripture as preached by Fox. This has been proven by in-depth studies that show how conservatives have drastically constrained their news sources to a narrow collection of like-minded, far-right outlets. There’s an implicit belief that exposure to a contrary ideological creed would be a breach of faith and a mortal sin.

It is encouraging, therefore, to see a conservative with an open mind and the ability to recognize the toxic role that Fox has played in the media and in politics. Bartlett’s paper is an interesting and well-documented read. However, it took him long enough to come to these conclusions. News Corpse published an analysis of how Fox News Is Killing The Republican Party six years ago, with an update expanding on the theme last year. I wrote in part that…

Fox has corralled a stable of the most disreputable, unqualified, extremist, lunatics ever assembled, and is presenting them as experts, analysts, and leaders. These third-rate icons of idiocy are marketed by Fox like any other gag gift (i.e. pet rocks, plastic vomit, Sarah Palin, etc.) […and that…] Fox is driving the center of the Republican Party further down the rabid hole. They are reshaping the party into a more radicalized community of conspiracy nuts. So even as this helps Rupert Murdoch’s bottom line, it is making celebrities of political bottom-feeders. That can’t be good for the long-term prospects of the Republican Party.

Conservatives, of course, are appalled by the treasonous utterings of Bartlett. A good representative example of the reaction comes from Politico’s Jack Shafer who wrote a column that seeks to reveal “What Liberals Still Don’t Understand About Fox News.” However, in his attempt to rebut Bartlett he fails to even grasp the logical concepts being discussed. Nowhere is that more evident than when he writes that…

“Fox in its current incarnation is neither a help nor a hindrance. Fox News — and its Svengali Roger Ailes — aren’t the Republican kingmakers they’re made out to be. […] the network is better at employing presidential candidates than electing them.”

Let’s set aside the fact that this alleged rebuttal actually agrees with Bartlett’s core thesis that Fox is having an adverse effect on Republican politics. Where Shafer really goes off the rails is arguing that Fox’s failure to succeed in electing Republicans is not a negative for the Party. If creating a field of losers is not a hindrance, what is?

Shafer goes on to correctly note that Fox’s power is often exaggerated. What is bragged about as ratings dominance is, in reality, a rather minor victory. Shafer notes that “Fox’s most popular program, The O’Reilly Factor, pulls in about 3.3 million viewers on its best nights.” Once again, Shafer is late to the party. That is something News Corpse pointed out six years ago with some additional perspective:

“[S]uccess in the Nielsen ratings has no correlation to public opinion polling […because it is…] focused on consumers, not voters […and that…] There are many reasons people choose to watch TV shows, the most frequent being its entertainment value. So any attempt to tie ratings to partisan politics is a foolish exercise that demonstrates a grievous misunderstanding of the business of television.”

O’Reilly’s 3 million viewers is less than 1% of the American population. It’s also fewer viewers than World Wrestling Entertainment, SpongeBob SquarePants, and the CBS Evening News (the lowest rated broadcast network news program).

So what ever power Fox has is not vested in its audience. And this where Shafer, and most other conservative media pundits, fall off the wagon. Fox’s viewers were not turned into conservatives by watching Fox. They watch Fox because they are conservatives who need to have their preconceptions validated. Then, by being exposed to the bias and disinformation that makes up Fox’s programming, they become ignorant, radicalized conservatives.

The real power that Fox wields is with Republican office-holders, candidates and party strategists. They have been fooled into believing that Fox’s ratings are an indication of the nation’s political mood. Consequently, they believe that taking positions aligned with the extremist right-wingers on Fox will advance their electoral goals. That has cost the party dearly in the last two national elections. In fact, they were so befuddled by Fox that the election results, which most Americans could have predicted, were a shock to many Republicans and Fox pundits (recall Karl Rove’s tantrum on election night?).

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

All of this should make the next few weeks oodles of fun as GOP candidates seek to please the Fox-gods so that they win a spot on the debate stage. Fox announced that only the top ten candidates in an average of certain polls (that Fox will decide) will be included in the debates. Therefore, between now and then the candidates on the edge will have to take aggressive measures to appeal to the people who they think are likely to be polled.

That means more chest-beating about war with Iran, more hate-speech about gays, more talk of bigger, stronger fences on the border, more promises to slash taxes and government programs, and much more bashing of President Obama and Hillary Clinton. And that competition to become the most extreme wingnut will filter into the campaign strategies of the rest of the GOP field as they struggle to become the Fox favorite.. All of which will result in making them completely unelectable in the fall of 2016.

Bill O’Reilly Joins Delusional Deniers To Attack Obama On Climate Change

This week President Obama gave the commencement address at the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. The speech devoted significant time to the issue of climate change and the problems it creates for the military. He said in part that…

“I’m here today to say that climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security. And make no mistake, it will impact how our military defends our country. And so we need to act — and we need to act now.”

To no one’s surprise, Fox News bristled at the notion that the potential harmful effects of climate change would be a topic of discussion at a military graduation ceremony. And among those flustered by the President’s message was pathological liar Bill O’Reilly (video below) who began his reproach by claiming that “that theory surprised a lot of military people.”

Bill O'Reilly

Then, as evidence of the many surprised military people, O’Reilly played a clip of Sen. John McCain (who has not been in the military for 34 years) saying that he is, indeed, worried about climate change, but wonders whether “we give a damn about what’s happening in the streets of Ramadi.”

McCain was attempting what many intellectually vacant demagogues do by implying that it’s impossible to care about more than one thing at a time. Even so, he undermined O’Reilly’s point by admitting his worries about climate change. But more importantly, that soundbite from McCain was the only proof O’Reilly offered of his assertion that the military are surprised by Obama’s speech. Had he actually done any research on the subject he would have found that the Pentagon has expressly cited climate change as a “threat multiplier” that can “aggravate” conditions that lead to conflict and terrorism. As stated in the Pentagon’s 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review:

“The pressures caused by climate change will influence resource competition while placing additional burdens on economies, societies, and governance institutions around the world. These effects are threat multipliers that will aggravate stressors abroad such as poverty, environmental degradation, political instability, and social tensions – conditions that can enable terrorist activity and other forms of violence.”

What’s more, sixteen retired Generals and Admirals writing for the Center for Naval Analyses’s Military Advisory Board published a report that warned that…

“…developments in scientific climate projections, observed climate changes (particularly in the Arctic), the toll of extreme weather events both at home and abroad, and changes in the global security environment have all served to accelerate the national security implications of climate change.”

So as usual, Bill O’Reilly doesn’t have the foggiest notion what he is talking about. Not only do 97% of scientists who study climate agree that climate change is a real concern and is exacerbated by human behaviors, but the military has repeatedly affirmed the geo-political risks. Which makes it all the more disturbing that O’Reilly can say with a straight face that…

“It’s fine to want a cleaner planet. I do. And it’s good to explore ways to eliminate harmful emissions. Every sane person supports that. But to tell a group of military graduates that climate change is a defense priority borders on delusion.”

Apparently O’Reilly believes that America’s military leadership are suffering delusions with regard to climate change. Then again, if anyone knows about being delusional it’s O’Reilly. And he isn’t alone. His contention that every sane person supports exploring ways to eliminate harmful emissions would put congressional Republicans in the insane category. Just last year GOP members of the House voted overwhelmingly to prohibit the Defense Department from using funds to implement the recommendations of the science institutions best qualified to assess climate change.

This is just another example proving that the last thing the GOP wants is for experts to be contributing their expertise to policy. And the last thing O’Reilly and Fox News want is for facts to get in the way of their rightist propaganda.

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Donald Trump’s Campaign Slogan: This Country Is A Hell Hole

Failed businessman and birther, Donald Trump, has not yet announced whether he will run for president in 2016. Of course his failure to make a decision isn’t exactly leaving anyone wondering about what it will be (or caring). He has been down this road too many times and now everyone pretty much knows that he’s just a publicity-seeking fraud. However, last night on Fox News Trump did reveal his fake campaign slogan: “This Country Is A Hell Hole.” [Video below]

Donald Trump Hell Hole

What better way to endear himself to an electorate of Fox pods who are similarly unpatriotic and harbor hateful feelings about an America that elected Barack Obama twice. These pseudo-patriots pretend to be loyal flag-wavers while constantly maligning the country and their fellow citizens who happen to disagree with them. They pretend to support the troops unless they are conducting training exercises in Texas, in which case the same soldiers are invaders bent on imposing martial law. They pretend to adhere to Christian tenets of charity and loving thy neighbor unless their neighbor is black, Muslim, or on welfare (you know how Jesus despised the poor).

And now Trump tells Megyn Kelly how he really feels about America. He’s not alone. A couple of years ago Rush Limbaugh admitted that “I am ashamed of my country.” Not long after that Sean Hannity confessed that “I am humiliated for my country”

Someone should tell these cretins that we’re not exactly bragging about them, either. As for Trump, he will never run for president for at least one unavoidable reason: Candidates have to produce financial statements. Trump won’t do that because he doesn’t want everyone to know what a loser he is (he declared bankruptcy four times). He says that he will announce his intentions next month and everyone will be surprised. Even Megyn Kelly said that she would only be surprised if he runs.

Most Americans are surprised that anyone takes him seriously – or that he takes himself seriously. In the Clown Car of the Republican Party, Donald Trump is riding in the trunk, but he thinks he’s driving.

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

And by the way, here is Trump’s campaign theme song:

Goodbye Dave, And Thanks For This: Top Ten Signs There’s Trouble At Fox News

Maybe the funniest top ten list ever – and still as profound as when it aired on October 6, 2010.

David Letterman

Letterman: The category tonight, the top ten signs there’s trouble at Fox News. Yesterday Fox News reported that the city of Los Angeles spent one billion dollars on jet packs for its police department. One billion dollars on jet packs for the LAPD. The story turned out to be a hoax first reported by the World Weekly News. Fox picked it up and ran with it.

Of course, the jet pack story was no more absurd and dishonest than the rest of the lies on Fox News.

Best wishes Dave. And now I can’t wait for Stephen Colbert to premiere in September.

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Ignored By Fox News: Christian Terrorist Pleads Guilty In Plot To Massacre American Muslims

Whenever there is an act of terrorism that conservatives can attribute to Muslims, they jump at the chance to condemn the entire Islamic faith as inherently violent. And at the same time, they advance their ingrained superiority by asserting that only Muslims would ever engage in such behavior. They insist that Christians would never resort to violence in response to a perceived insult or political disagreement.

Never mind the ample evidence of Christian attacks on those with whom they disagree, including the murder of Dr. Tiller, the Atlanta Olympic bombing, the extremist in Norway who murdered dozens of children, or the tragedy in Oklahoma City that killed 168 innocent people. The Christian defenders simply don’t see what they don’t want to see. Although, to some extent they also don’t see what is deliberately kept from them. That’s because Fox needs to reinforce the racist theme that all terrorists are dark-skinned foreigners.

Fox News Terrorist Color Chart

The media often fails to publicize acts of Christian terrorism in the manner they do with Muslims. An example of that occurred this week when court records were revealed describing Robert Doggert, an ordained minister in the Christian National Church, who pleaded guilty to plotting a massacre of the citizens of an upstate New York community of Muslims known as Islamberg. The records showed a detailed plan to kill people and destroy buildings, churches and schools. Doggert was quoted as saying “We will offer [our] lives as collateral to prove our commitment to our God.” In other words, it was a suicide mission not unlike those committed by Islamic extremists, and for the same reason.

In keeping with the right-wing media determination to insure that their audience remains biased and ignorant, the Fox News Channel failed to report the story. This failure is all the more egregious considering the complicity that Fox News has in Doggert’s scheme.

Doggert, who was working with right-wing militias that share his view that President Obama was guilty of treason, told the FBI in his confession that he “justified his attack on lslamberg by claiming that the residents of Islamberg were planning a terrorist attack.” And where did he get this groundless notion? In January Bill O’Reilly hosted, Ryan Mauro, a “national security analyst” who claimed that Muslims were forming “no-go zones” in the United States where they would train and launch domestic attacks. These claims were never substantiated by credible sources in law enforcement, and the organizations to which Mauro belonged were well known anti-Islamic propagandists.

That didn’t stop Fox News from inviting Mauro back numerous times to spread his false and inflammatory smears. It is that sort of disinformation that gives Doggert, and so many other Fox News viewers, the wrong impression of Islam along with an unwarranted fear of peaceful fellow citizens. It is the same sort of dishonest “journalism” that prevents Fox News, and other conservative media outlets, from reporting the other side of the terrorism story that reveals the criminal activities of Christian extremists like Doggert.

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Fox News has a long history of fear mongering about Muslims while neglecting news stories involving right-wing extremists. A couple of years ago another Christian terrorist was arrested – and ignored by Fox. Earlier this year Fox became hysterical about a study produced by the Department of Homeland Security that warned of right-wing domestic terrorists. They believed that this demonstrated the government’s anti-conservative bias. What they never told their viewers was that a similar study had also been produced previously that addressed the same sort of threats from radical left-wingers.

That’s the sort of deceptive biases that Fox engages in routinely. And it’s why people like Doggert become radicalized on behalf of insane conspiracy theories. Should any of the crackpots who buy into this nonsense succeed in carrying out one of their plots, Fox News should share in the responsibility for the damage done.

Free Speech At Fox News: Offensive To Muslims OK – Critical Of Police No Way

A few weeks ago a well known Islamophobe and professional instigator, Pamela Geller, held what she pretended was a contest to “Draw the Prophet Muhammad.” In reality the affair had nothing to do with art or free expression, but was a deliberate attempt to incite violence.

Geller’s hate-fest was praised as a courageous expression of liberty by sympathetic bigots at Fox News. They regarded her repugnant message as patriotic and celebrated the death of the two idiots that Geller was successful in provoking into senseless violence. But if you want to know what the same Fox News blowhards who revere Geller really think about free speech, just keep watching and they will reveal their true disgust for the First Amendment when it protects speech that they don’t like.

Fox News Free Speech

Last week Eric Bolling delivered a commentary about an art exhibit by students at a New Jersey high school. The exhibit was called “Law Enforcement – Police Brutality.” It was a subject chosen by the students and was open to, and included, opinions from all sides of the debate. Bolling, of course, focused solely on the work that was critical of the police, and he was not shy about expressing his desire for censorship.

Bolling: OK, I get the idea of free speech but … hey, teachers at Westfield would you put up an art exhibit showing teachers abusing students? I don’t think you’d do it. Nor should you have done this. I’d like to see that thing taken down.

Judging by this comment it is not particularly clear that Bolling really does “get the idea of free speech.” These students have every right to express their own opinions of significant current events that affect their communities. Suppressing the artwork they produce is a clear breach of those rights. But hypocrites like Bolling continue to expose themselves as having variable principles that permit freedom only to those with whom they agree. This is illustrated best by what Bolling himself said a couple of weeks prior in defense of Geller and her hate exhibit.

Bolling: Free speech is protected no matter how inciting it may be. We’re becoming too politically correct. We worry that offending Muslims somehow overrides our won Constitutional rights.

It should surprise no one that Bolling never suggested that Geller’s exhibit should be “taken down,” nor that he never stood up for the students’ free speech “no matter how inciting it may be.” To Bolling and his Fox News cohorts, Geller’s anti-Muslim bigotry makes her a standard bearer of American virtue, but the students’ concerns about abuse of power by law enforcement makes them snotty little delinquents who should be neither seen nor heard.

On a side note, why is Fox News so obsessed with demeaning high school students? Check out this previous attack on students in Vermont after they defended their state from disparaging remarks by a Bill O’Reilly producer.

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Icing on the flake: The following day, Bolling responded to criticism he received for his overt hypocrisy. In his whiny, self-defense he insisted that he is a stalwart proponent of free speech and all that he meant to convey was that he also had the right to say that he didn’t approve of the student art show. However, there a couple problems with that “clarification.” First, he didn’t say that he didn’t approve, he said that he would like to see it taken down. Second, he never acknowledged that critics of Geller’s phony exhibit also have a right to disapprove. He still regards them as anti-free speech, once again proving that his rights are legitimate and everyone else should shut up.

Sunday Funnies: Marco Rubio And Chris Wallace Reenact Iraq Version Of ‘Who’s On First’

Last week the nation marveled to the spectacle of Jeb Bush fumbling what must have been the most highly anticipated question that he could possibly have been asked in his nascent campaign for the Republican nomination for president of the United States of America: Knowing what is known now, would you have authorized an invasion of Iraq?

Bush responded that he thought his brother George had made the correct decision given the available intelligence. That, of course, was not the question he was asked. So in the days following the flub, Bush claimed to have misheard the question, but still gave multiple different answers before finally admitting that he would not have ordered an invasion if he knew what he knows now.

Marco Rubio

For Marco Rubio, that ought to have been an object lesson in tackling this otherwise softball question. But for some reason, the freshman senator managed to do in three minutes what it took Bush five days to do: make an utter ass of himself. In an exchange on the decidedly friendly territory of Fox News Sunday (video below), Rubio engaged in a painfully comical routine with host Chris Wallace wherein he repeatedly failed to grasp the nature of the question he was being asked. Here is just a portion of that train wreck:

WALLACE: Was it a mistake? Was it a mistake to go to war with Iraq?
RUBIO: It’s two different — it wasn’t — I —
WALLACE: I’m asking you to —
RUBIO: Yes, I understand, but that’s not the same question.
WALLACE: But that’s the question I’m asking you. Was it a mistake to go to war?
RUBIO: It was not a mistake for the president to decide to go into Iraq, because at the time, he was told —
WALLACE: I’m not asking you that. I’m asking you —
RUBIO: In hindsight.
WALLACE: Yes.
RUBIO: Well, the world is a better place because Saddam Hussein is not there.
WALLACE: So, was it a mistake or not?
RUBIO: But I wouldn’t characterize it — but I don’t understand the question you’re asking, because the president —
WALLACE: I’m asking you, knowing — as we sit here in 2015 —
RUBIO: No, but that’s not the way presidents — a president cannot make decision on what someone might know in the future.
WALLACE: I understand. But that’s what I’m asking you. Was it a mistake?
RUBIO: It was not a mistake for the president to go into Iraq based on the information he was provided as president.

Well, that clears that up. Is Rubio really that dense or was he he just desperate to avoid criticizing George Bush? Wallace gave him ample opportunity to craft a response that included support for Bush as well as the obvious acknowledgement that no president should invade a country without airtight justification. Rubio kept trying to answer a question that Wallace had not asked, despite Wallace repeatedly restating his actual question. And it isn’t as if this were a surprise, gotcha question (like what magazines do read read?). It is a question that has been in the news for a week.

Why is it so hard for Republicans to concede that wars should not be started unless there are provable threats to our national interest? This sort of obtuse defiance of common sense is what makes people convinced that the GOP is a party of war mongers who will launch into battle on the slightest whim. It reinforces the widespread impression that they are lackeys to the defense industry and others who profit off of war, including those whose profits are political rather than financial.

Elsewhere in the interview, Wallace raised Rubio’s campaign theme of “21st century ideas” and asked him to talk about them. That would ordinarily be a perfect opportunity to drop a campaign ad into an interview. However, Rubio dodged any reference to new ideas saying only that “the balance of power in the world has shifted” because of “autocratic governments in Russia and China” and “rogue states like North Korea and Iran.” Right, because none of them were around in the 20th century.

When Wallace pressed him to reveal his actual new ideas to address those allegedly new problems, Rubio eventually complied saying that “we need to cut [tax] rates” and improve the education system. Those, of course, address only domestic problems that have no bearing on the foreign affairs he had just raised. Not to mention that neither of those “ideas” can be coherently described as “new.”

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

If this is a taste of what Rubio’s campaign will be offering in the coming months, it can be safely assumed that he isn’t going far. But then Bush has already flubbed some of the same questions and the rest of the GOP pack has even less foreign policy experience than these two flounders.

This election cycle promises to be an entertaining romp with plenty of twists and turns. It should be serialized as a reality TV show a la The Amazing (Presidential) Race. I, for one, can’t wait for the debates to see who is voted out of the clown car next.

Good News: No Boobs On Fox News

When I first heard that Fox News was taking steps to insure that there would be no boobs on their network, I was excited at the possibility that Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Steve Doocy, etc., would soon be fired. To my disappointment, I later learned what the real story was that Fox News Blurs the Boobs on a Picasso Painting.”

Fox News Picasso

It turns out that it was the Fox News affiliate station in New York that so virtuously protected viewers from the sinful display of geometric breasts. But that doesn’t let Fox News off the hook entirely because the same man, Roger Ailes, runs both the cable news channel and the affiliate group. To its credit, the morning show on Fox5NY did their own bit of ridiculing the night crew that went too heavy on the blurring.

This is not the first time that overzealous conservatives took it upon themselves to sanitize the smutty, or otherwise inappropriate and dirty world, from decent Americans. Back in 2011 News Corpse documented a series of occurrences wherein free expression was not permitted by right-wingers:

A few years ago, Secretary of State Colin Powell was scheduled to give a speech at the United Nations to make the case by the Bush administration for going to war against Iraq. Prior to the speech he had aides cover up a tapestry depicting Picasso’s painting, Guernica. Powell was not going to make an argument for war in front of such a powerful and iconic anti-war statement.

Bush’s Attorney General, John Ashcroft, held press conferences in the Justice Department in a hall where the statue “Spirit of Justice” had stood for decades. In 2002 he ordered that the statue, a female representation of justice with one bare breast exposed, be covered by a drape. It’s not clear whether he was worried more about this being embarrassing or arousing.

Earlier this year, Paul LePage, the governor of Maine, had a mural removed from the Maine Department of Labor. The mural depicted scenes of Maine’s working citizens and the history of labor in the state. Obviously it has no business taking up space in the Labor Department.

And just this week, Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin removed a painting from the governor’s residence. The painting was of children from diverse backgrounds and was meant to remind the residents of that home, which belongs to the people of Wisconsin, of the impact their work has real families. Now Walker won’t have to be concerned with that unless he runs into some in person, in which case he’ll have much more to be concerned about.

As you can see, this is a recurring theme among the sanctimonious wingnuts who believe that their morality trumps yours. And while conservatives went out of their way to defend the free speech rights of hate mongering Islamophobes they aren’t the least bit hesitant to deny those rights to rap artists, the Dixie Chicks, Michael Moore, or even Picasso.

All things considered, I would prefer that boobs like Hannity were subject to censorship rather than those in the great paintings of history. But sadly, some boobs are more equal than others.

Poor-Shaming On Fox News: Jon Stewart Is “Starting To Lack A Richness Of F*cks

Last night Jon Stewart delivered a segment that is destined to become classic among the Daily Show archives (video below). The brilliantly produced nine minutes of insight and comedy began with a montage of Fox News squaking heads doing what comes naturally to them: Complaining about President Obama.

On this occasion, the topic of the complaint was that the President did not talk enough about poverty, a subject that Fox News generally regards as a scam run by moochers and Democrats who are either trying to enslave them or are fishing for their votes. But since Fox’s mission is to denigrate Obama at all times, when he talks about poverty he is pandering and when he doesn’t he is heartless and hypocritical.

Fox News Jon Stewart

It quickly became apparent that Fox must have been watching a different President Obama than the the one that inhabits reality. Stewart noticed that divergence saying that Obama has indeed “been addressing those issues his entire presidency,” and that Fox ignored that fact in favor of obsessing over Obama making an unarguably true observation about Fox.

“Yep, just like college students at a four hour commencement, Fox basically paid no attention until they heard their own names. It turns out at one point during this incredibly thoughtful and productive session on poverty, the President made the easily provable and decidedly true point that the Fox News narrative is that poverty is not a function of economic condition, but of character.”

For the record, this what Obama said about Fox:

“If you watch Fox News on a regular basis, it is a constant menu, they will find folks who make ME mad. I don’t know where they find them. They’re all like ‘I don’t wanna work. I just want a free Obamaphone.’ And that becomes an entire narrative that gets worked up. And very rarely do you hear an interview of a waitress, which is much more typical, who’s raising a couple of kids, and is doing everything right, but still can’t pay the bills.”

Stewart accurately noted that the President has a “remarkably firm grasp” on the Fox business model and mocked Fox anchor Stuart Varney’s assertion that they are “honest messengers.” He then laid into what he called a “rich buffet of bullshit” when Varney claimed that Fox never characterized the poor as lazy. What followed was another montage of Fox News callously demonizing the poor in direct contradiction of what they had just claimed.

This caused Stewart to wonder “How fucking removed from reality” is Fox of their own coverage. That is, I assume a rhetorical question. Obviously Fox does not factor reality into their coverage from the outset. Otherwise, how could people like Varney say that the poor “have a richness of things, what they lack is a richness of spirit,” in one breath, and then pretend that he would never say such a thing in the next? Stewart’s response…

“Are these glaring contradictions a product of lack of self-awareness, or cynicism, or stupidity, or evil? I don’t know anymore, and I’m starting to lack a richness of fucks.”

It is easy to understand the sense of exasperation that Fox’s hypocrisy can incite. But the truth is that they have been doing this for years. Take for example this account of how the poor just have things way too good; or this one; or this one. And the funny thing is that all three of those stem from the same source that Fox keeps recycling for years on end. It’s a mantra that surely brings them the inner peace of a Bizarro World Buddha who lusts for ever more material possessions, while condemning anyone who is struggling to survive for wanting just the bare necessities of life.

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Book By Fox News ‘Liberal’ Uses Free Speech To Claim Liberals Are Killing Free Speech

The network that markets itself as “fair and balanced” has spent years proving their commitment to that slogan by balancing their right-wing infused “news” delivered by GOP mouthpieces with right-wing infused “news” delivered by people they falsely claim are liberals. The roster of fake Democrats on Fox News is extensive and includes rabid rightists like Pat Caddell, Doug Schoen, Mara Liasson, Juan Williams, and Kirsten Powers, all of whom freely express their contempt for the Democratic Party.

Kirsten Powers has long been a member of the Fake Democrat Society. She invariably agrees with her Fox News colleagues whenever she engages in a so-called debate on current events. Fox will predictably call on her to discuss issues that they know will reflect poorly on other Democrats. So if there is bad news for President Obama or Hillary Clinton making the rounds, Powers will get extra airtime to pile on. And she can be relied upon to make incendiary comments like the time she accused Obama of sympathizing with terrorists. Plus, she gets the benefit of the Fox marketing machine when she has a liberal bashing book to promote.

Fox News Kirsten Powers

This new book by Powers, The Silencing,” has the not-at-all derogatory subtitle of “How the Left is Killing Free Speech.” What could be more appropriate for the network that daily exercises its free speech to disparage lefties while complaining about being victims of official censorship? And what better message for a supposedly liberal pundit to devote to an entire book? And while we’re at it, how dumb is it for someone exercising her free speech in a book (and daily on Fox News) to complain about free speech being killed?

The truth is that this book is a petty and self-serving response by Powers to the derision she endures for her conservative activism while pretending to be a liberal. For some reason she thinks that she can get away with wearing a Democratic label and bashing Democrats, but never be criticized for it. So she wrote a book to further hammer away at those with whom she professes to be aligned. What better way to demonstrate loyalty than to accuse your so-called friends of “killing” free speech?

In some respects this book is just the sequel to Muzzled: The Assault on Honest Debate,” the book her fellow fake Dem, Juan Williams, wrote a couple of years ago on pretty much the same subject. Both books attack what they regard as political correctness as exercised by a liberal establishment that objects to Fox News passing off right-wingers as Democrats.

As evidence of the rightward ideological slant of Powers, her book was published by the uber-conservative Regnery Publishing, the literary home to Dinesh D’Souza, Ed Klein, Michelle Malkin, Laura Ingraham, Newt Gingrich, Mark Levin, Ann Coulter, Ted Nugent, and Patrick Buchanan. That is not the sort of company kept by real liberals. However, Powers’ book fits right in with the other tomes lambasting liberalism and chronicling the exploits of our allegedly treasonous and foreign-born president.

Additionally, Powers has been lauded by the ultra-rightist Breitbart News on numerous occasions, even as they joined the charade that Powers is not one of them. And the first excerpts of her book were published by the house organ of the Heritage Foundation, now led by former GOP Senator and Tea Party icon Jim DeMint. These are associations that expose the ulterior motives that Powers is pursuing with her partisan diatribe. Those motives are further revealed on the inside flap of her book:

“Free speech and freedom of conscience have long been core American values. Yet a growing intolerance from the left side of the political spectrum is threatening Americans’ ability to freely express beliefs without fear of retaliation.”

First of all, the notion that free speech comes with a shield from retaliation is contrary to the definition of free speech. What conservatives like Powers want is the ability to say all the nasty, dishonest things they like without being subject to rebuttal or criticism. It’s free speech for them, but no one else.

From a broader perspective, however, this book just reveals an effort to take down liberals for perceived intolerance, while completely ignoring the same from conservatives. If Powers were the least bit concerned about representing a progressive worldview, she would have authored a more balanced assessment of the matter. The fact that she limited her inquiry to the alleged crimes of liberals shows exactly where her heart lies.

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Furthermore, the inside flap also declares that the reader will “learn how the illiberal left is obsessed with delegitimizing Fox News.” And that, in the end, is its whole reason for existing. It is a flagrantly self-serving attempt to promote Fox News, excuse their blatant biases, and restore the credibility she and Fox have lost due to their rampant dissemination of lies, which PolitiFact has found is the majority of their reporting.

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