FLASHBACK: Sean Hannity Speaks Out Against A “Government Gone Wild”

It was just four months ago that Fox News was covering the “second American revolution” at the ranch of tax-cheat Cliven Bundy. While the network was uniformly supportive of Bundy’s refusal to pay customary grazing fees, it was Sean Hannity who took the lead, featuring Bundy on his program numerous times, heralding him as a hero, and fiercely defending the militia movement’s embrace of armed opposition to law enforcement.

At that time, in the view of Hannity and other conservatives, it was the feds who were overstepping the bounds of decency and behaved like jackbooted thugs. To them it was the manifestation of a dictatorial state trampling on freedom and crushing liberty. Hannity milked the controversy for everything he could squeeze out in regular segments that he called “Government Gone Wild.”

Fox News Sean Hannity

From the right-wing perspective, the government went wild when it responded to a flagrantly delinquent white man in the cattle business who wants to mooch off of federal lands for free. Bundy has a vested interest in this as he owes over a million dollars in fees. Then, when this businessman assembles a posse of armed militia members to confront the tax collector, Hannity and his ilk line up behind the law-breaker and whine about government overreach. Here’s Hannity to Karl Rove:

“Let’s start with the Cliven Bundy situation. All right, maybe he owes grazing fees money. Do you surround his property with snipers and shooters, sharp shooters and tasers and dogs and 200 agents? Is that the way to handle it?”

“No,” says an obedient Rove. After all, it’s just a measly million dollars in grazing fees. And for the record, the federal agents of the Bureau of Land Management did not arm themselves until after they were confronted by Bundy’s militia who swore to kill those who came to enforce the law.

Jump forward to today and it’s the people going wild. The government is now believed to be acting appropriately by shooting an unarmed teenager to death. And his only crime was an allegation (unconfirmed) that he pocketed a few cigars. Then militarized police confront justifiably angry citizens who have no personal stake in the matter other than to insure that justice is brought to bear.

The presence of urban tanks, assault weapons, riot gear, tear gas, and other aggressive means of crowd control, are not considered to be indicative of a government gone wild anymore. Is it because the victim in this case is a poor, black kid, rather than a well-to-do white rancher?

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Bill O’Reilly: “These People Don’t Want Justice.” And Who Knows “Those People” Better Than O’Reilly?

The turmoil in Ferguson, MO continues as another night of confrontation between residents and police brings tear gas, arrests, and Fox News’ demeaning characterizations of aggrieved protesters. Not surprisingly, the disparaging tone is set by Bill O’Reilly who enjoys nothing more than lecturing African-Americans on the moral decline of their culture. O’Reilly, who is on vacation, called into his own show to tell guest host Eric Bolling that he questions the sincerity of the protesters.

Bill O'Reilly

O’Reilly: “No justice, no peace? These people don’t want justice. What if the facts come out and say it was a justifiable shooting by the police officer? This guy was coming at them. What if they say that? You think these people are gonna accept that? They’re not gonna accept it.”

And there you have it. The definitive analysis by a recognized expert on the psychology of the angry black man. Clearly “those people” don’t want justice. And they won’t accept the results of a fair investigation because thugs like them are unable to employ reason and conduct themselves in a civilized fashion. And who would know better than O’Reilly who personally visited a restaurant in Harlem where he was surprised to learn that African-American patrons weren’t constantly screaming, “M-Fer, I want more iced tea.”

Elsewhere on Fox News, there was a story published on their website about the emergence of a video that Fox regarded as significant. Their headline said “YouTube Video Purportedly Captures Witness Backing Police Version In Ferguson Shooting.” Fox posted a link to the video along with a summary of the parts they considered important.

Fox News Video Backs Cop

For instance, the article reports that the video shows “a possible witness saying [Michael Brown] the unarmed 18-year-old charged at the officer who fired the shots.” That’s a pretty damning allegation, except for the fact that it occurs nowhere in the video. In the actual part of the video (Warning: very graphic content) that they quoted a background voice is heard saying…

(about 6:45) “I mean, the police was in the truck [sic] and he was, like, over the truck,” the man says. “So then he ran, police got out and ran after him. The next thing I know, he comes back towards them. The police had his guns drawn on him.”

There is nothing in there about “charging” the police. That characterization was invented by Fox News. In fact, the video account is consistent with other witnesses who said that Brown ran at first, then stopped and turned toward the officer to surrender. Of course, that version wouldn’t align with Fox’s more theatrical rendition of a raging animal on the attack.

From the outset Fox News has sought to portray Brown as a dangerous, possibly drug-addled, criminal. Likewise, they have cast the protesters in the most negative light. In a remote segment from Ferguson, Fox News reporter Steve Harrigan was particularly insulting, which did not go over well with a bystander.

Harrigan: “This is right now a media event, pure and simple. This is people running towards tear gas, running away from it. The dignified protestors went home at dusk. This is just child’s play right now.”

Bystander: “Say that shit. I don’t give a damn you’re on TV, say that shit,” the unidentified man cursed at Harrigan. “We see this shit every day. This is just child’s play? Who is the child playing with toys? That’s them.”

One has to wonder how Harrigan distinguished the “dignified” protesters from the children. Perhaps he had Bill O’Reilly on his cell phone giving him advice as the night wore on. Because a common thread runs through all of Fox’s programming. Those people are immature, violent, and unreasonable. Just look at how upset they get just because another unarmed black kid was shot by a white police officer. What do they want, justice? Well, no, according to O’Reilly.

Racist Guest On Fox News Is Offended That He Might Be Viewed As Racist

This weekend’s episode of MediaBuzz on Fox News featured a segment about the press coverage of the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager, by a Ferguson, MO police officer. Host Howard Kurtz booked Joe Concha, a conservative from Mediaite, and Keli Goff, a liberal from The Root, to debate the media’s performance during the aftermath of the shooting (video below).

Fox News

Concha immediately went into a defensive posture from the comfort of his TV studio. He took the side of law enforcement against the reporters who have been exposing the realities in the field, at great personal risk, where a militarized police department was harassing reporters and tormenting the residents they are sworn to serve.

Concha’s tirade began by condemning Wes Lowery, a Washington Post reporter who was arrested for doing his job. Concha accused Lowery of deliberately provoking the arrest and backed up his assertion by saying that Lowery’s media appearances afterward proved his self-interest.

Concha: “And here’s how you know that this was all about Wes Lowery expanding his television career. Right after he was released from custody, It was all about Tweeting out, calling Maddow Now (whatever that is), going on national television, went on CNN, MSNBC after that, Fox News as well. This was a media tour, Howie, that was only rivaled by Hillary Clinton’s. All in the effort to give Wes Lowery’s byline a microphone, a future career, and nothing more.”

Zing! Concha managed to slip in a slap at Hillary Clinton while defaming a reporter who is actually engaged in the practice of journalism, as opposed to Concha who is engaged in the practice of character assassination. And not even Kurtz would abide Concha’s slander and ignorance of the profession.

Kurtz: Alright, I think that’s unfair. Wes Lowery is a good, solid reporter. He was deluged with requests to appear on TV, including from me. He only did a few of those. I don’t think this was as self-promotional as you do.”

When a reporter is arrested while covering a news story with national prominence, that is in itself newsworthy. It is not proper or ethical for the police to target journalists in an effort to prevent them from gathering and providing information about matters of public interest. Apparently Concha thinks otherwise. Keli Goff eloquently explained why it so important to have reporters on the scene covering everything that occurs, including police misconduct.

Goff: “With all due respect to Joe, I would hate to hear the kind of criticism he would have doled out about fifty or sixty years ago to the reporters who may have been a little slow to pack up their gear when they were covering another crisis, which was known as the civil rights movement.

Goff correctly pointed out that there were a lot of reporters who were assaulted during the civil rights movement and that they risked their lives due to their commitment to keep the people informed. She described Concha’s criticism of Lowery’s efforts to record the police officers as bizarre. And she went further to say that it would be irresponsible to NOT record such activity.

Next Kurtz raised the question of whether the volume of coverage was exacerbating the tensions in Ferguson. Concha quickly agreed that the television networks and the Internet were “fueling the flames” and then focused his criticism on MSNBC’s Al Sharpton, who went to Ferguson to beseech the protesters to remain peaceful. Then Concha began an exchange that reveals much about what is wrong with television news coverage.

Concha: “The bottom line is that it is now a cottage industry when a white cop shoots a black kid. Or, we saw it with Trayvon Marin last year, CNN, HLN quadrupled their ratings because of these sort of events. And ISIS and Gaza is happening somewhere overseas. This is domestic. A cheap and easy narrative. And that’s why we’ve seen the coverage go where it has.”

Goff: You call it a cottage industry, those of us who have African-American men in our family consider it a crisis, Joe. It must be nice to have an experience in this country where you can dismiss it as simply coverage.”

Concha: “You don’t get to do that to me, Keli. You’re calling me a racist on national television?”

Huh? When exactly did Goff call Concha a racist? It is telling that Concha perceived this imaginary insult and used it to flip the whole segment to one where Goff was doing something to him. After belittling the significance of the shooting of Mike Brown, Concha is now the making himself the victim. This is where Kurtz jumped in to tell Concha that Goff had not called him a racist. Concha later apologized for “overreacting” with regard to the charge of racism, but he never apologized for the underlying remarks dismissing the shooting, disparaging the reporters covering it, and referring to coverage as “cheap and easy.”

It’s a good thing that Goff was there to counter the insensitivity and aversion to ethical journalism as represented by Concha. And it’s a good reminder of why it’s necessary to not only have journalists in the field who are devoted to informing the public, but to have them in the studio as well to smackdown jerkwads like Concha.

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Note To Fox News: Rick Perry Was Not Indicted For “Veto Abuse”

Ever since a Texas Grand Jury handed down an indictment against Gov. Rick Perry, most of the Republican establishment and right-wing press have deliberately mischaracterized the nature of the criminal allegations. They all are marching lock-step in an effort to defend official abuse of power by pretending that the violation was due to the execution of a veto, something that is entirely permissable by a governor in Texas.

Fox News Rick Perry

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The problem with their defense of Perry, which he has adopted himself, is that the indictment is not for his having issued a veto. It is for his having threatened an elected public servant in an attempt to coerce her to resign.

Rosemary Lehmberg, the District Attorney for Travis County, has problems of her own. She was arrested and pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated and behaved poorly during the arrest and initial incarceration. However, a Grand Jury investigated her situation at the time and found no cause to indict her for official misconduct.. Indeed, her misconduct, while egregious, was all personal and unrelated to her duties as a D.A. All of her misbehavior occurred while she was drunk, and when she sobered up she took responsibility, paid her price to society, and promised not to run for reelection.

That wasn’t good enough for Perry. He demanded that she resign immediately and threatened political vengeance if she refused to obey his command. Lehmberg stood fast and Perry carried out his retribution by slashing funds to her department. And that is where he went wrong.

Perry defended himself against the indictment by saying that he has the authority under the Texas constitution to issue vetoes. And in this case he was taking action because he had lost confidence in Lehmberg and that the public deserved better. Perhaps. But that is not within his jurisdiction to decide. Lehmberg was elected to her office by the voters of Travis County and does not answer to the Governor. Perry has no authority to demand the removal of elected officials or to exact retribution on them if they defy his orders. Perry’s own remarks following the indictment reveal the flaw in this line of defense. He said that indictments are…

“…not the way we settle political differences in this country. We settle [them] at the ballot box.”

Exactly (and he may want to relay that message to John Boehner). And since Lehmberg had already pledged not to run, the issue was settled. Perry cannot unilaterally overturn the choice of the voters. And he cannot threaten elected officials as a means of carrying out his unlawful bullying. By vetoing the funds to the D.A.’s Public Integrity Unit, Perry was attempting to force his will on Lehmberg. Even worse, he was actually doing harm to the people of Texas who rely on that agency to keep politicians (like Perry) from engaging in corruption.

It is typical of right-wing media to absolve Republicans of any criminal wrongdoing on a strictly partisan basis. It’s the reason why every investigation of a conservative is portrayed as political. That’s how they reacted to the charges against Dinesh D’Souza (who later pleaded guilty to election fraud), and Sen. David Vitter (who later pleaded guilty to his association with prostitutes), and James O’Keefe (who later pleaded guilty to unlawful activity in the office of a U.S. senator), and more recently New Jersey governor Chris Christy who is being investigated for abuse of power himself. I could go on and on and…

Perry’s fate will rest on a jury’s decision of whether or not he exceeded his authority in threatening Lehmberg to resign, not on the veto he used as his muscle. In the meantime, the media is also on trial, and when Fox News and others misrepresent the facts in order to whitewash the crime, they must be judged guilty as well.

IMPEACH! Fox News Reports That “Obama Danced to Avoid Clintons At Party”

Adding more fuel to the Republican obsession with removing President Obama from office, Fox News invited disgraced author and unrepentant birther, Edward Klein, to reveal the results of his fantasy investigation of the alleged friction between Obama and Hillary Clinton. Klein’s latest news flash, and Fox News headline, is that “Obama Danced to Avoid Clintons at Party.”

Fox News - Edward Klein

Klein appeared on Fox & Friends with the brown haired dude who is not Steve Doocy (Brian Kilmeade) to recount his tale of presidential acrimony. The discord supposedly began after Clinton expressed her opinion that more should have been done to clamp down on ISIS when they emerged in Syria. That’s a perfectly reasonable position, although one fraught with controversy. At that time there were few Syrian rebel groups that could be trusted to pursue the interests of the United States. Indeed, many of Syrian President Assad’s opponents were associated with what became ISIS.

Subsequent to the initial media frenzy over Clinton’s alleged attempt to distance herself from Obama, Clinton denied that there was any rift between her and the President. As evidence she called Obama to assure him that she had not meant to criticize his overall foreign policy. In addition, she was already scheduled to attend a birthday party for a mutual friend that the Obamas would also be attending. The media falsely turned this into some kind of a peace summit between the once, and possibly future, presidents. Of course in the real world it was a birthday party.

This is where Klein steps in to unveil his long-squawked theory that Clinton and Obama are mortal enemies. He told Kilmeade that…

“My sources tell me that what happened there at the party is that instead of it being a hug-a-thon, it became a freeze-a-thon, and the Clintons essentially ignored the Obamas, and the Obamas got up from the table and danced almost the entire night in order to avoid having to talk to the Clintons.”

OMG! The President and the First Lady were dancing as means of politically oppressing a perceived foe. It’s a tyrannical tactic that even Hitler never tried to use against his enemies. As for Klein, one has to wonder if these are the same sources that told him that Hillary was dropping out of the presidential race; or that Obama was secretly planning on endorsing Elizabeth Warren to succeed him; or that Chelsea Clinton was the spawn of Bill Clinton raping his lesbian wife, Hillary.

Klein’s sources appear to be imaginary trolls inhabiting his otherwise vacant cranial cavity. He never authenticates his allegations or conducts even the most basic principles of journalism ethics. But what he said immediately after his shocking revelation about Obama’s dance of distraction is more informative than anything that appears in any of his lie-riddled books:

“What I’m trying to say is, in a sense, what happened there in the Vineyard was ripped from the pages of my book “Blood Feud” because the blood feud continues.”

And there you have it. This is nothing more than an advertisement for his cheesy book. And Fox News is gleefully participating in the ad campaign by hosting an author who has nothing substantive to say. Although from Fox’s perspective it is another opportunity to bash both Obama and Clinton that they couldn’t pass up.

The problem that Fox, and their Republican cohorts, have is that while they have been feverishly condemning Obama’s policies, they were thrown into a cognitive mind warp when Clinton appeared to do the same. After all, what were they to do? Embrace the position of Clinton who they are expecting to face in the presidential election in 2016? Or renounce her and effectively endorse the Obama doctrine?

In the end they are awkwardly trying to do both. Obama is wrong because, in their fetid brains, he’s always wrong. But Clinton isn’t right, she is merely being looked up to for disagreeing with Obama, but even that is only for political reasons. It’s a typical right-wing illogic-loop that can spin for eternity – or at least until the hypnotic trance that Fox has imposed on their cult members (aka viewers) has faded.

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.

Bill O’Reilly Wants To Know: Will Black America Speak Out Against Looting?

Fox News resident curmudgeon, Bill O’Reilly, has demonstrated his racial insensitivity too often to catalog here. Suffice to say that the man who was surprised that African-American patrons of a Harlem restaurant aren’t constantly screaming, “M-Fer, I want more iced tea,” is not the best example of racial tolerance.

So this week O’Reilly was promoting a segment on his program that would deal with the aftermath of the police shooting of an unarmed African-American. The promo asked a ludicrous question that sought to heap the responsibility of isolated crowd behavior unto the entire black population of America: “Will Black America Speak Out Against Looting?”

Fox News Bill O'Reilly

Is he serious? So whenever there is an incident that O’Reilly finds objectionable, he believes that everyone who bears any resemblance to the people involved are obligated to condemn it. Does that apply to the white police officer in Ferguson, MO who shot Mike Brown? Will white America speak out against officers killing unarmed citizens? Does it apply to George Zimmerman? Will white America speak out against murdering innocent black teenagers? Does it apply to governors who pass laws that subvert democracy? Will white America speak out against minority voter suppression? Does it apply to bankers who thrust the nation into near economic collapse? Will white America speak out against predator lenders and fraudulent mortgage schemes? Does it apply to judicial activists on the Supreme Court? Will white America speak out against the gutting of the Civil Rights Act?

O’Reilly and his right-wing comrades are constantly lumping their ideological foes into categories where they have collective responsibility, but he absolves white people of having any part in the actions of their ethnic fellows. Muslims, for instance, are required to condemn the terrorists acts of Al Qaeda (which they have done), but whites are not asked to do the same when innocent Muslims are killed by drones.

For the benefit of O’Reilly and his racist cohorts, black Americans have been prominently speaking out against any law-breaking in response to the Brown killing. His parents have called for people to “come together and do this right, the right way. No violence.” Al Sharpton told a rally of supporters that “To become violent in Michael Brown’s name is to betray the gentle giant that he was.” President Obama released a statement saying…

“I know the events of the past few days have prompted strong passions, but as details unfold, I urge everyone in Ferguson, Missouri, and across the country, to remember this young man through reflection and understanding. We should comfort each other and talk with one another in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds. Along with our prayers, that’s what Michael and his family, and our broader American community, deserve.”

These comments expose O’Reilly for the ignorant and deliberately race-baiting provocateur that he is. Does every black person in America have to make a public statement before he will be satisfied? O’Reilly isn’t actually interested in people taking responsibility. He is only interested in laying blame and disparaging African-Americans as thugs or supportive of thuggery.

America’s black population has no more responsibility to account for every other black American, than white Americans have to account for racists like O’Reilly. If they did, then I want to know if white America will speak out against the racist Fox News promo that asks if black America will speak out against looting?

Fox News “Psycho” Analyst: Obama Hates America And His Wife Is Fat

He’s at it again. “Doctor” Keith Ablow, a member of the Fox News Medical A[ss] Team, was the male guest on the panel show of Fox fems, Outnumbered. In the course of the hour the examples of his boorish political asininity and misogyny far “outnumbered” any commentary that approached common sense or civility.

Keith Ablow

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In the opening segment, the topic was President Obama’s foreign policy and the crises in the Middle East. Ablow’s knee-jerk hostility to even hearing Obama’s name incited a brief tirade that questioned the President’s patriotism and connection to the country that elected him twice to the highest office in the land.

“I think he has an endgame. I think he is extremely strategic. He wants to minimize the influence of America around the globe. He’s doing a masterful job. That is his primary, and seemingly sole, objective. Everyday this guy occupies the White House is a bizarre event in my experience. I can’t believe that people were so thrown by 9/11 as to elect this person who does not hold our values as his own. And we thought by propping him up we wouldn’t be attacked anymore.”

There is just too much stupid in that rant to address in full. Let’s just note that after 9/11, if the country was “thrown,” they were thrown to reelect George W. Bush, because Obama’s election didn’t come until seven years later. And Ablow unveils his prejudices by characterizing Obama’s term in office as an “occupation” by someone who doesn’t hold “our” values. That is coded birther rhetoric. Then he joins the likes of John McCain and Lindsey Graham in advocating war, but in a particularly repulsive manner.

“Of course there should be boots on the ground. Of course there should be. Because we are the chosen nation. [...] We’ll be fighting this for a long, long time. It will cost us a tremendous amount. Young people will die. It’s horrific, but these people will stop at nothing.”

What a patriot. He’s so willing to volunteer other people’s sons and daughters to die in a war thousands of miles from home. Because, after all, we are “the chosen nation,” whatever that’s supposed to mean. Apparently God wants America’s kids to be slaughtered in distant deserts. But Ablow is just getting started.

Right-wingers are fond of inventing controversies wherein they allege government intrusion into the private lives of citizens. They hate being told what to do by the feds, even if it is merely a regulation to mandate airplane safety or to keep poisons out of the water supply. Any and all regulation is, to them, a manifestation of tyranny. So in a discussion about healthy food standards in public schools, the Outnumbered panel was unanimous in support of the abdication of parental authority. They said that if their kids didn’t want to eat the healthy meals provided by a school lunch program, they shouldn’t have to. In effect they are saying that their kids should dictate what they will, and will not, eat. Adults pursuing the best interests of students should have no decision in the matter. So if your kids want to eat only candy, then parents should let schools serve that to their kids for lunch.

As ludicrous as that sounds, the conversation became even more absurd and insulting with regard to First Lady Michele Obama, who has been a devoted advocate of healthy diets, especially for children who have been exceeding historical levels of obesity. The problem has alarmed military leaders who launched a campaign in support of Obama’s initiative because the state of America’s youth is making it difficult to find physically qualified recruits. On this subject Ablow interjected to question Obama’s commitment saying…

“How well can she be eating. She needs to drop a few.”

That ignorant and irrelevant observation drew a chorus of gasps from the four women on the panel. Co-host Harris Faulkner exclaimed “You did not just say that!” They were plainly disgusted by Ablow’s misogynistic remark, but they ultimately decided to let it pass without further comment.

How this cretin got a medical license is one of the great mysteries of modern times. He is a transparently racist, hateful, narrow-minded, buffoon. And anyone who seeks his services is putting their health, physical and emotional, at risk.

The Koch Brothers Are Secretly Funding The GOP’s Latino Outreach

Ever since President Obama crushed Mitt Romney in 2012 with 71% of the Latino vote, the Republican Party has made noises about broadening their base to include more minorities. For the most part their efforts have been limited to lip service, while their actions have served only to further alienate African-Americans and Latinos.

While most Democrats have risen to the aide of child immigrants who are suffering and alone on the southern border, Republicans have responded with insensitivity that ranges from calls to deport them, to formations of armed militias to – well who knows what they intend to do with their weapons aimed at frightened kids. In the end they are behaving consistently with the long-held positions of conservatives who have never welcomed either minorities or immigrants with open arms.

So leave it to the Koch brothers to come to their rescue with a clandestine campaign to bridge the ethnic gap that threatens to make the GOP a permanent minority party. The Republican regulars would be hard pressed to suddenly flip-flop on immigration and anger their Tea Party base that is dead-set against passing comprehensive immigration reform that respects the traditional values of America as expressed on the Statue of Liberty. They won’t even pass legislation to provide humanitarian relief for children. So any effort to bring Latinos into the GOP fold has to be done without leaving any fingerprints on the party’s standard bearers.

Koch Brothers Libre

That’s where the Libre Initiative comes in. It is an ostensibly pro-Latino group that has begun offering English classes, health checkups and courses to help Spanish-speakers earn high school diplomas. The Associated Press, however, reports that it “has collected millions from the Kochs’ political network.” But its programs are served up with healthy doses of right-wing propaganda.

“Its organizers pitch conservative ideals while offering tutorials on U.S. immigration law, support for overhauling the broken immigration system that stops short of campaigning for the Senate’s bipartisan bill and collecting donations for the unaccompanied children crossing the United States-Mexico border illegally.

“In effect, it is a shadow GOP — one with a gentle emphasis on social services and assimilation over a central party often seen as hostile to immigrants and minorities.

The tactic is pure Koch Brothers. They were instrumental in creating the Tea Party, which they disguised as a “grassroots” organization despite the millions the Kochs poured into it. They created Generation Opportunity to make their fringe-right agenda appealing to young Americans. They recently donated $25 million to the United Negro College Fund, but rest assured, there are strings attached to that largess as well. The Koch brothers have a vast network of secretly bankrolled advocacy groups and think tanks that they use to advance their personal and business interests. The Center for American Progress published an extensive report cataloging their empire.

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Conservative media is playing its part also. The AP story was posted to Fox News Latino, albeit with a very small link. However, there is no mention at all of the story on Fox News. That is commonplace for the Fox editors. They have a long history of trying to pander to Latinos on their Latino-focused website, while ignoring, or reporting the same story negatively, on the Fox News mothership. That way they don’t upset their regular (i.e. racist) viewers.

GOP ‘Word Doctor’ Inadvertently Admits (And Praises) Blatant Fox News Bias

As one of Fox News’ favorite contributors J. Christ said: “Physician, heal thyself.” That would be good advice for Dr. Frank Luntz, who has dubbed himself “The Word Doctor” for his efforts to deceitfully manipulate language in order to peddle otherwise unpopular conservative policies.

Fox News Frank Luntz

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On Sunday’s episode of MediaBuzz, the Fox News media analysis program, host Howard Kurtz brought Luntz in to discuss the public’s low opinion of the media. The segment turned into a slobbering love fest of Fox News with Luntz heaping praise on the network with almost every answer. However, in one instance he may have provided a little too much information.

Kurtz and Luntz were attempting to demonstrate how “fair and balanced” the notoriously conservative network is with a clip from one of Luntz’s focus groups. Luntz began by asking the group if they trust Fox News. A distinct majority raised their hands to indicate that they did. One of the few dissenters who was asked to elaborate was a woman who said that “I really believe – I know no one wants to hear this, especially here – that Fox is an extension of the Republican Party.” Seizing on that candid opinion, Luntz heralded Fox for being “willing to challenge itself,” and took a swipe at MSNBC, who he said would not have allowed the question. Then he escalated his gushing adulation to say that…

“In 2008, when I did focus groups with Obama and McCain, all three of my sessions during the debates had Obama winning. And Fox still devoted six, seven, eight minutes to those focus groups. They have nothing to fear, and I appreciate that about this network.”

Imagine that. A Republican pollster holds focus groups that favor Obama but Fox aired the results anyway. That’s an open admission that Fox is exactly what the woman in the group said: “an extension of the Republican Party.” Otherwise, why would Luntz regard it as so extraordinary that it deserved special recognition? Luntz was praising Fox for broadcasting the segment even though it was contrary to their Republican political leanings. And of course they have nothing to fear when the other 99.9% of their programming is solid GOP talking points straight from RNC press releases.

But Luntz shouldn’t get so excited about this anomaly. Fox’s version of fairness and balance is anything but. Their oversampling of right-wing pundits and politicians has been well documented. They even provide a platform for Republican candidates to campaign while still employed by Fox as paid contributors. And just last week Bill O’Reilly did a segment that attempted to prove that Fox was ideologically evenhanded, but it backfired badly. His guest, Fox host Heather Nauert, noted that there were nineteen “liberals” on Fox “out of quite a lot” of conservatives, Nauert fumbled.

[FYI: I counted only sixteen liberals (and some of those were questionable) facing off against 121 conservatives according to Fox's website. The "liberals" are Evan Bayh, Bob Beckel, James Carville, Alan Colmes, Susan Estrich, Santita Jackson, Dennis Kucinich, Mara Liasson, Leslie Marshall, Deroy Murdock, Kirsten Powers, Ellen Ratner, Geraldo Rivera, Julie Roginsky, Joe Trippi, and Juan Williams]

Elsewhere in the MediaBuzz segment Kurtz posed this question to Luntz: “You are saying that the audience has gotten more partisan [...] Aren’t people like you in part responsible for that?” Good question, Howie. Here is Luntz’s ludicrous response which Kurtz left unchallanged:

“Well, it’s a simple question. Is the death tax an accurate description of being taxed when you die? Isn’t exploring for energy what oil companies do? Is it opportunity in education, in terms of vouchers or school choice? If you believe that the words that I’m using aren’t accurate, then you’ve got a legitimate point. I believe that these are accurate descriptions, which is why the American people seem to support it.”

Quite clearly these are not accurate descriptions. They are deliberate deceptions that Luntz carefully tested to assure that they would elicit predetermined reactions from voters. The “Death Tax” that Luntz coined is not a tax on dying. It is tax on property that is being transferred from one party to another, which is exactly what would happen if it were being done between two living persons. His “exploring for energy” dodge is meant to disguise the fact that it refers to environmentally risky off-shore drilling that the public opposes. As for “opportunity in education,” that is so vague as to be meaningless, and it dispenses with the truly descriptive phrasing of vouchers, which is what the program is all about.

Luntz is a professional deception specialist. Republicans rely on him for ways to package unpopular GOP policies so that citizens are persuaded to vote against their own best interests. In other words, he constructs lies that he sells to desperate right-wing politicos, and he supports a luxurious lifestyle by doing so.

Ebola Panic: Stephen Colbert Beats Fox News Fear Mongers At Their Own Gaminess

News Corpse just wanted to make sure that everyone saw this hilarious segment of the Colbert Report that illustrates how obsessed Fox News is with fomenting fear among their trembling, dimwitted viewers. Of course, Colbert is a good friend of News Corpse as shown by this totally “real” photograph:

Fox Nation vs. Reality - Colbert

In the segment, Colbert skewers the tendency of Fox News to make a crisis out of everything and blame it on President Obama. But the best parts are aimed at the pitiful losers who are often featured on Fox making asses of themselves. For instance, Colbert brings up a favorite of the Fox & Friends Kiddie Krew with this introduction:

“Ebola is spread only through intimate contact with bodily secretions such as vomit, blood, or feces. Speaking of vomit, blood, and feces – Donald Trump…”

Colbert also singles out the neurosurgeon-turned-Teabagger, Ben Carson, by noting that when he was offering his insane speculation about bio-terrorism he was really “just yanking shit out of his ass. But remember, that’s another way Ebola is spread.”

The ridiculous hysteria that Fox is spreading about Ebola is way out of proportion to any actual threat. There have zero deaths due to Ebola in the Untied States. Contrast that with the 53,000 annual deaths from the flu. If you’re intent on worrying about exposure to a virus, you may want to reassess which one to irrationally fear. In fact, you are even more likely to die by your own hand (39,000 annual suicides) than to be killed by Ebola. So whatever you do, don’t get on any plane that you are on.

Operation No Name – Or Whatever Obama Does Is Wrong: The ISIS Edition

Conservative critics of President Obama wasted no time in complaining about what they said was his failure to respond to the humanitarian crisis in Iraq where thousands of refugees are trapped on a mountain by ISIS militants. Never mind that only a few days had transpired since learning of the impending tragedy, the armchair generals in Congress and on Fox News had fully assessed the situation and were ready to fly off the handle.

The Senate’s preeminent news video hog, John McCain, blasted the administration for taking “no discernible action.” GOP Rep. Chris Smith said that “The president’s indifference is both numbing and enabling.” His colleague Frank Wolf joined in saying that “The administration has done nothing.” It was a steady chorus of complaints from the Republican caucus. That is, until Obama took decisive action within a few hours of the GOP outcry. From that point on the wingnuts criticized the President for doing something.

Among the complaints by the perennial war hawks are that Obama screwed up by removing American troops from Iraq in 2011 (which was actually Bush’s timetable); that Obama failed to secure a “status of forces” agreement (which actually Bush failed to secure); that Obama didn’t immediately strike ISIS when it first began its campaign, and generally that Obama has been detached, distracted, and even hostile to American interests. In short, the right blames Obama for everything that can possibily go wrong. They blame him for the acts of terrorists (rather than, you know, the terrorists). They blame him for doing what the American people want (which is to keep American ground troops out of Iraq). They blame him for Al Qaeda, for ebola, and for ants at picnics.

And the latest crackpot criticism of Obama is that his Defense Department has not assigned a name to the mission currently in progress. Seriously. There is no name. IMPEACH!

Fox News

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What could the President be thinking by failing to execute this critical function of his role as Commander-in-Chief? It is an insult to the soldiers risking their lives in defense of the American Dream that they don’t have a title to which they can refer. How can they be expected to fulfill their mission if they don’t know what to call it? If the President doesn’t correct this atrocious oversight expeditiously he will go down in history as a traitor to his nation.

There is another possibility that may have escaped the notice of the brilliant war strategists on the right. Perhaps Obama has named the mission “No Name.” This would be an ingenious tactic to confuse the enemy. They would never be able to respond to a ghostly maneuver that they couldn’t identify with a label. Operation No Name may be the shrewdest military gambit in modern times. And it may have been inspired by a uniquely patriotic piece of our cultural history:

I’ve Been Through The Desert On A Horse/Mission With No Name – by America!

It would nice if once – just once – Republicans and Fox News could find something positive in something President Obama does. Their unbroken record of outrage, whatever the issue, only marks them as tunnel-blind extremists who lack the ability to independently assess anything. And if nothing else it proves that their opinions are wholly unworthy of serious consideration.

Chickenhawk Sean Hannity Issues Lame Challenge To Stephen Colbert

Among the ranks of pseudo-patriots who lip sync to the “Star Spangled Banner” while recruiting other people’s children for every war that comes along, Sean Hannity stands out for his unparalleled hypocrisy and cowardice. This is the same torture advocate who once promised to be waterboarded for charity to prove that it isn’t torture. That was five years ago and he still hasn’t kept that promise.

Sean Hannity Dumbass

In an interview with TVNewser, Hannity is once again puffing up his chest and pretending to more macho than thou in a response to a bit Stephen Colbert did earlier this week. Colbert mocked Hannity for repeatedly using the word “literally,” apparently without any knowledge of what it literally means. That was all it took for Hannity to lose his head and attack Colbert. He started out by lobbing the stinging rebuke that “he’s not as funny as Jon Stewart,” (who will be surprised and dismayed to learn that Hannity is a fan) and it just got worse from there:

“Stephen Colbert will have the lowest-rated late night show. There are issues that just aren’t funny. Terrorism isn’t funny. I didn’t see the bit. I won’t see it. I don’t care.

“Maybe Stephen Colbert needs to come over here and get a dose of reality. He sits in the comfort of his studio, reading jokes written for him by 30 writers. So, I have a challenge for Stephen Colbert: I’ll pay for your flight. I’ll pay for your hotel, your meals. Then you sit on the border. You talk to the people. You sit across from the mother of an Israeli solider who was killed, and then make a joke about it.”

I hope Colbert takes him up on this challenge. It would not be surprising since he has previously visited other war zones, including a trip to Iraq where he spent a week with the troops. He also went through basic training and shaved his head. And while it’s true that terrorism isn’t funny, Colbert is a brilliant satirist and was able to relate to the soldiers in a way that made their hardship a bit more endurable.

As for his future ratings as the successor to David Letterman, Colbert will inherit a franchise that already has more viewers that Hannity has (Letterman: 2.2 million / Hannity: 1.5 million). And there is a good possibility that he will improve on that, especially with younger viewers. In fact, Hannity is only slightly ahead of The Colbert Report (1.1 million) on Comedy Central now. Plus, Colbert has four Emmys and two Peabody awards, surpassing Hannity’s total of zero for each.

Hannity has proven himself to be a disingenuous self-promoter by hurling childish insults at Colbert despite admitting that he didn’t even see the segment about which he was commenting. That tendency to speak with ignorance was demonstrated elsewhere in this interview when he was asked about media coverage of the Israel/Palestine conflict. On whether he thought the reporting was balanced he answered “Absolutely, positively not.” Then went on to say…

“Here’s my take on the media coverage, and I did glance around. I didn’t see — and maybe some of them did it — but I didn’t see reporters in the elaborate tunnels. I didn’t see them at the indoor playground, I didn’t see people go to the war room of the mayor of Sderot, like we did. I think there are too many Hamas representatives put on the air. I don’t think enough emphasis has been put on the lives of the average Israeli. Where’s CBS? Where is all this so-called reporting on NBC and CNN?”

He “glanced around?” Apparently his vision is literally gone. First of all, a quick search of Google Images for “Gaza tunnels” turns up dozens of actual journalists reporting from within the tunnels. And Hannity’s estimation of the number of Hamas representatives on the air is just plain delusional. There are practically no Hamas representative at all because they do not provide any (terrorists rarely do). There are more Palestinian representatives, but still far fewer than those from Israel. The fact that Hannity can blast CBS, NBC, and CNN, after confessing that he hasn’t done any actual research, says more about him than it does about any of the media he is criticizing.

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In an absurdly egocentric exchange with TVNewser, Hannity was asked about why he is suddenly hitting the road since, as TVNewser put it “You’re not one to travel for your show.” Hannity’s response was that it was something that he “always liked to do,” and cited as an example of his past road trips that “there were years I did 60 cities, in book tour years.” And, of course, that’s exactly like missions to war zones, except for the slobbering fans and personal financial gain.

When Hannity follows through on his promise to be waterboarded, and has completed the number of USO tours that Colbert and Stewart have done, then he might be able to criticize them with some credibility. But since he is mostly concerned with himself, I wouldn’t expect any of that to happen. Like his pals Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Karl Rove, Ted Nugent, Bill Kristol, and too many other right-wing chickenhawks to name, Hannity is a coward whose chief concerns are his ratings and his bank account.

Global Climate Enemy Number One: Rupert Murdoch

The perilous state of the planet’s environmental health is a continuing concern among those who know the most about it: scientists, climatologists, and environmental advocates. Indeed, 97% of the scientists who have studied the matter agree that Climate Change is a fact and that it is caused by human activity.

In the face of that overwhelming consensus, Climate Change deniers continue cling to myths and fake research that is funded by fossil fuel interests and promoted by politicians who are bought and paid for by the same. The anti-science dimwits hold steadfastly to delusional beliefs that Climate Change is a hoax, or even a scam designed to enrich researchers and activists. That absurd contention is belied by the fact that there is much more money in Climate Change denial (via the billionaires in the energy industry) than in scarce grants to universities and research laboratories.

A recent survey by Ipsos MORI asked respondents from twenty countries to indicate whether or not they agreed with this statement: “The climate change we are currently seeing is largely the result of human activity.” The country with the greatest number of respondents who disagreed with that statement was the United States (We’re #1 – in climate denialism). We were followed closely by the United Kingdom and Australia.

Hmm…What do those three countries have in common? Well, they are all English speaking countries. And they are also all countries where the media is dominated by Rupert Murdoch. Can it be a coincidence that the people in these nations have a larger percentage of anti-science views than nations where Murdoch’s influence is not as strongly represented?

Rupert Murdoch

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Murdoch has taken some brazenly contradictory stances on Climate Change. On the one hand, he has directed his corporation to meet stringent carbon emission standards and even bragged publicly about achieving a goal of carbon neutrality. But simultaneously, his Fox News Channel took a starkly contrary position. Fox News Washington managing editor, Bill Sammon, went so far as to issue a memo instructing all personnel to…

“…refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question.”

Indeed. Unqualified, politically motivated critics have called into question the overwhelming evidence that Climate Change is occurring and that it is man-made. This obvious contradiction was justified by a Fox PR flack who painfully struggled to explain that the corporate policy “doesn’t bring with it an editorial mandate.” In other words, on the business side they will behave responsibly with regard to the environment, but on the air they will lie their asses off. In fact, Fox News’ efforts to deliberately misinform their already intellectually confused audience continues unabated. The Union of Concerned Scientists did a study proving that the coverage of Climate Change by Fox News was nearly all (93%) misleading:

“The analysis finds that the misleading citations include broad dismissals of human-caused climate change, rejections of climate science as a body of knowledge, and disparaging comments about individual scientists. Furthermore, much of this coverage denigrated climate science by either promoting distrust in scientists and scientific institutions or placing acceptance of climate change in an ideological, rather than fact-based, context.”

This is what happens when a single entity is permitted to control vast swaths of the mediasphere. False perceptions of otherwise non-controversial facts can be spread widely. This is particularly problematic when a significant percentage of the media marketplace is comprised of people who are willfully gullible and easily duped. And a powerful and determined media mogul like Murdoch can produce the gullibility he requires for his message to take hold by inundating the audience with fear and promises of salvation in exchange for their loyalty.

That is pretty much how Fox News helped to create and grow the Tea Party. And now we have a nation that has the dubious honor of being the home to more science-challenged boneheads than any of twenty other surveyed nations. Thank you Rupert Murdoch. And Britain and Australia thank you too.

War On Whites? What This Has In Common With All The Other Fox News “Wars”

Yesterday Mo Brooks, an Alabama Tea Party Republican congressman, caused a stir with his remarks to conservative radio host and Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham. Brooks was in a frenzy over a statement made by the National Journal’s Ron Fournier on Fox News Sunday. Fournier made this utterly uncontroversial observation about political demographics:

“The fastest growing bloc in this country thinks the Republican Party hates them. This party, your party, cannot be the party of the future beyond November, if you’re seen as the party of white people.”

That opinion was such an accepted part of reality that it was even validated last year by Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, in his infamous “autopsy” of the GOP’s humiliating defeat in the 2012 elections. Priebus wrote…

“The Republican Party must focus its efforts to earn new supporters and voters in the following demographic communities: Hispanic, Asian and Pacific Islanders, African Americans, Indian Americans, Native Americans, women, and youth. This priority needs to be a continual effort that affects every facet of our Party’s activities, including our messaging, strategy, outreach, and budget. Unless the RNC gets serious about tackling this problem, we will lose future elections; the data demonstrates this.”

Nevertheless, Brooks took umbrage in a way that further illustrates how out-of-touch the Republican regulars are on matters of race. His commentary on the Ingraham broadcast was both ignorant and offensive:

“This is a part of the war on whites that’s being launched by the Democratic Party. And the way in which they’re launching this war is by claiming that whites hate everybody else. It’s a part of the strategy that Barack Obama implemented in 2008, continued in 2012, where he divides us all on race, on sex, greed, envy, class warfare, all those kinds of things.”

That’s right. Brooks believes that Democrats are waging a war on whites. There is so much wrong with that statement that it’s hard to know where to begin. Let’s start with the fact that it is a common refrain of the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist organizations. Brooks should be aware that aligning himself with that sort of philosophy has consequences.

Mo Brooks

On a more substantive level, Brooks is demonstrating that he doesn’t understand the issue in the slightest. Democrats have never claimed that “whites hate everybody else.” What some have claimed is that white Republicans pursue an agenda that is overtly hostile to the interests of minorities, women, youth, the poor, and other disenfranchised citizens. And his statement of solidarity with the imaginary oppressed white folk is further evidence of that. But that didn’t stop him from holding steadfastly to his insulting and idiotic remarks the next day:

“Certainly if you were to flip the coin and a white person were to say vote for me because I’m white, it would be an uproar and deservedly so. So why do we allow blacks to say vote for me because I’m black or Hispanics vote for me because I’m Hispanic?”

One question for Mr. Brooks: Can you cite any black or Hispanic candidate who ever said “vote for me because” I’m black or Hispanic? If not, your argument is a blatant misrepresentation of the minority electorate, which is just another kind of racism. It was your intent to pejoratively characterize minorities as being mindless sheep who are incapable of analytical thought and will, thus, base their decisions solely on skin color.

It is notable that all of the trumped up “wars” that Fox News features so often, have something very similar that connects them. Fox has hyped the “War on Christmas,” the “War on Oil/Coal,” the “War on Business,” the “War on Marriage,” the “War on Men,” and the ever-present “Class War.” [Jon Stewart cataloged another dozen or so Fox News wars] In every case the beleaguered victims of the battle are those who are distinctly at the top of the social order. They are either the majority, or the wealthy, or the powerful, or some combination of two or more of these privileged classes.

Fox News is predictably hostile to society’s underdogs, and just as predictably roots for the “over” dogs who don’t need any help. But that has been the mission of Fox News since its inception. And it is intertwined inseparably with the mission of the Republican Party. Which is why Brooks gets away with undisguised bigotry without either his party or Fox News taking him to task.

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IT’S OFFICIAL! The GOP Has Lost What’s Left Of Its Twisted Mind

Strolling through the muddy swamps of right-wing media often results in stumbling upon absurd allegations by disturbed wingnuts whose hatred for President Obama and liberal politics overcomes their grasp of reality. But this may be one of the best examples of outright delusion on the part of conservatives whose sanity has never been particularly stable.

Fox Nation

The Fox News community website, Fox Nation (whose rap sheet of brazen lies is a mile long) posted an article they regurgitated from the ultra-rightist, “Moonie” Washington Times. The headline is a mind-bogglingly ludicrous declaration that accuses Obama of being preoccupied with lawsuits: “The Obama Way: Litigation Not Leadership.”

SERIOUSLY? This is coming from one of the most prominent media mouthpieces for the Republican Party which, as we all know, just approved a resolution to sue the President – a lawsuit challenging his delay of an ObamaCare component that the GOP actually wants to delay. Talk about your frivolous lawsuits.

The article was written for the Washington Times by Thomas DelBeccaro, former chairman of the California Republican Party. It is a jumble of incoherence that never bothers to validate its premise. There is not a single example of Obama engaging in litigation that he or his administration initiated. Instead, DelBeccaro bleats interminably about how Obama has had to govern without the “benefit” of consensus with the unreasonable right.

DelBeccaro lists a number of examples of legislative division that range from the budget, to ObamaCare, to the environment, to trials of terrorists. But in every example the only thing that DelBeccaro succeeds in proving is that Republicans have been marching in lock-step to obstruct anything this administration has sought to accomplish. DelBeccaro wrote that…

“In fact, since becoming President, Mr. Obama has not undertaken a single effort at building consensus. Not one. For all the claims of partisanship made about President George W. Bush, Mr. Obama’s immediate predecessor, for better or for worse, Mr. Bush had bipartisan support in several key legislative victories. Mr. Bush had Senator Edward Kennedy support one of his bills, The No Child Left Behind Act, and Senator Bernie Sanders support another, Medicare Part D.”

Can DelBeccaro be so obtuse that he doesn’t even realize that he is making a case against his own party’s willingness to compromise? Indeed, Bush had Kennedy and Sanders (two of the Senate’s most liberal members) and numerous other Democrats who respected their roles as representatives of the people and were determined to work on their behalf, even in difficult circumstances. Who does Obama have? Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Mitch McConnell, Darrell Issa, Michele Bachmann, and a party that is dead set on impeaching him, despite the absence of any legal grounds for doing so.

As for Obama undertaking efforts at building consensus, how could he have been more of a consensus builder than by having adopted long-held Republican policies on the most prominent items in his agenda? DelBeccaro mentions ObamaCare, which was taken nearly in total from the GOP/Heritage Foundation insurance reform that Mitt Romney implemented in Massachusetts. He also mentions the Environmental Protection Agency, whose efforts to put in place the Republican-created Cap and Trade plan was derailed by Republicans. On the budget Obama wanted to allow the Bush tax cuts for the rich to sunset (as Bush’s bill originally mandated), but in a concession to the GOP he agreed to a compromise that drew a line at those with income over $400,000.

The evidence is clear that, contrary to DelBeccaro’s ignorant assertion that “Obama has not undertaken a single effort at building consensus,” the only thing Obama has done is compromise. That has resulted in half-way measures on a variety of issues that might have produced even better results, but for the GOP obstructionism. For instance, we might have a more robust economy, and lower unemployment, with federal dollars financing the rebuilding our nation’s crumbling roads and bridges. We might have a higher minimum wage that would lift millions out of poverty and shrink the expenditures on welfare programs. We might be more energy independent with greater access to renewable sources of energy that don’t destroy the environment – which creates massive, avoidable costs as well.

Nevertheless, DelBeccaro’s column accuses Obama of being overly litigious, without offering a single example of it. And they seem oblivious to the fact that it is the right that has been suing at every opportunity over ObamaCare, or marriage equality, or voter suppression, and culminating with their unprecedented lawsuit by the GOP-run House of Representatives.

So of course the Fox Nationalists post this hopelessly confused diatribe at the very top of their page as if it were worthy of prideful recognition. They seriously seem to have abandoned all reason in favor of projecting their own psychoses unto their ideological foes. Just as they ranted about impeachment for years and then flipped to accuse Democrats of inventing the issue, they have also obstructed the workings of government for years, even suing their opponents, and now they are claiming that Obama is the litigious one.

Is anyone buying this idiocy? Well, anyone other than Fox News viewers, Sarah Palin groupies, and the frightened cave-dwellers hugging their guns and gold and praying for the Apocalypse?

Fox Nation vs. Reality: On Abandoning Israel – Who Says Obama Has Been “Terrific”

OK, first of all this is not an article about the tragic conflict in the Middle East that has been raging for decades. There will be no taking of sides or opinionating on blame. This is about how Fox News purposefully contorts their coverage to make President Obama look bad. Of course, that isn’t exactly breaking news either.

Fox Nation

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The headline at the top of the lie-riddled Fox Nation website purports to convey a warning from Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to President Obama: “Netanyahu to White House: Don’t Second Guess Me Again.” There are a couple of problems with that headline. First of all, Netanyahu did not direct that comment to the White White House. He was on a conference call with the diplomats at the State Department. Secondly, it was not a warning. It was more of an I-told-you-so relating to the recent 72 hour cease fire that Hamas violated within ninety minutes. Netahyahu was making the point that he was correct when he expressed doubts about the trustworthiness of Hamas.

But what really stands out is that Fox News chose to feature this remark on Sunday in their most prominent position while failing to even report another comment from Netanyahu. The “second-guess” comment occurred on Friday. On Saturday Netanyahu held a news conference where he delivered a very different message:

“In a news conference Saturday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would take all the time it needs to eradicate the threat of Hamas from Gaza. He did not mention the scheduled truce talks but did say the U.S. has been “terrific and has given us tremendous support during the Gaza crisis.”

Fox News made an editorial decision to keep this statement of solidarity and appreciation a secret from their audience. It’s just another reason why their audience is so dreadfully ignorant of the world around them. But it isn’t surprising for Fox News. They have long sought to invent some sort of animosity between Obama and Netanyahu. Here are just a few of their recent headlines:

  • Fox Nation: Candidly Speaking: Obama Is Abandoning Israel
  • Greta: Is President Obama ‘abandoning’ Israel?
  • Fox News: MH17, Israel invasion: Mr. Obama, abandoning our allies isn’t a strategy, it’s a disaster
  • Fox Nation: Israeli Journalist: Obama Has Abandoned Israel, Kerry ‘Hurting Us’
  • Fox News: Why Obama has abandoned Israel and Jews should abandon Obama

This isn’t a coincidence. It’s a strategy. Fox News is so determined to demean our President that they don’t care if doing so undermines U.S. foreign policy or exacerbates the harm to victims of a brutal war. That tells you something about where Fox’s priorities lie.

FOX NEWS ALERT: ObamaCare Website Rollout Had Problems (Who Knew?)

Not too long ago, the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) dominated the political landscape in both Congress and the media. It virtually sucked the oxygen out of every other issue that didn’t involve Benghazi. But lately there has been a conspicuous absence of news about the program. And Republicans, once devoted to its demise, have all but banished it from their public communications. Until today.

Fox News

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That’s right. Fox News has brought ObamaCare back into the spotlight to announce that a Government Accounting Office report has found that “management failures” led to the botched rollout of the website. The network banged their signature gong and ran their “Fox Alert” graphics to broadcast this breaking news. After all, who would have ever imagined that a lack of managerial oversight and efficiency were responsible for the debacle that accompanied the launch of the ObamaCare exchange?

Thank goodness Fox News is here to enlighten us with their probing journalism. Such tenacity is representative of their professionalism and surely has nothing to do with trying to shove an old and obvious story into the news cycle in order to damage the President’s standing.

Perhaps they are just nostalgic for the good old days when they had a juicy drama with which they could smear the administration. Back when Congress held over fifty votes to cripple or repeal the legislation. At the same time, multiple committees were investigating everything from the faulty website, to alleged security risks, to threats of criminal navigators, to allegations of false audits, and the ever-present fantasy of death panels.

The media, led by Fox News, obsessed over the same issues as they emerged from the GOP committees investigating them. But they added their own scare mongering in an effort to frighten citizens away from the program and hasten its failure. The press falsely reported conservative assessments that claimed millions would lose their insurance, that premiums would skyrocket, and that their personal health and financial records would be compromised.

However, much of that talk has abated in light of the fact that ObamaCare has become an unmitigated success. Over eight million people had enrolled by the end of the open enrollment period. And just about every metric for measuring success has surpassed expectations. Even Republican enrollees have reported being overwhelmingly satisfied. That may explain why Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, has jammed into reverse. Just last February he told the National Review that…

“I think it’s going to be Obamacare all the time between now and November 5. If you ask me what day it is, I’m going to tell you it’s Obamacare. If you want to know what I want in my coffee, I’m going to tell you Obamacare. I’m going to talk about Obamacare all the time because I think it’s the No. 1 issue.”

Since then he has barely mentioned it. The last substantive comment he had about the program was in March. In May the RNC held their annual Spring Meeting where Priebus delivered a speech that only mentioned it once in passing while addressing a separate subject. His most recent allusion to ObamaCare was earlier this month when he tweeted “Thanks to #ObamaCare, average E.R. wait in California is 5 hours: [...] And ‘it’s only going to get worse.’” Unfortunately for him, that comment was scored by PolitiFact and rated as “False.”

So it isn’t surprising that Fox News would jump at this opportunity to re-flog an old subject that had given them so much pleasure way back in, well, February of this year. They can’t hammer away at the actual programs or services that ObamaCare is providing, because most Americans are happy with it. So if the best they can do is to hype a glaringly obvious report that draws conclusions that everyone already knows, then maybe we should let them have their little bit of pathetic fun. After all, it’s either this or Benghazi.

Stupid On Purpose: Fox News Demonstrates Willful Ignorance Of Economics

There is a very good reason why Fox News viewers have been shown in numerous studies to be less informed than consumers of other media, or even those who consume no media at all. The reason is that Fox News deliberately misreports and distorts facts in order to advance their right-wing ideology. A perfect example of this was demonstrated in an article that Fox posted today on their community website, the lie-riddled Fox Nation. The article was titled “OBAMANOMICS IN ACTION: Typical US household Worth One-Third Less Than Under Bush.”

Fox Nation

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The source for the highly inaccurate assertion in the headline was a study performed by the Russel Sage Foundation (RSF) and published by the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality: Wealth Levels, Wealth Inequality, and the Great Recession (pdf). The RSF describes itself as “the principal American foundation devoted exclusively to research in the social sciences.” The study itself is a well-researched and scholarly examination of the effects of the Great Recession on wealth inequality in the U.S. It took a fair degree of determination and willful ignorance for Fox to twist the report’s well-founded and non-partisan conclusions into a criticism of President Obama’s economic policies. And yet, Fox managed to do so, and they began by proving that they don’t know the difference between “median” households and “typical” households.

For the record, median, in this context, is referring to the dollar value of the subject’s net worth. It has nothing to do with the number of subjects in that value range. In fact, there are many more people on the lower end of the wealth spectrum than the upper end. Therefore, median does not translate to typical. As an example, if Bill Gates (net worth approx. $50 billion) were in a room with ten people whose net worth were $1 million each, the average net worth of the people in that room would be about $4.5 billion. Obviously, that is not the typical net worth of those people.

What the study shows is that wealth increased among the richest Americans throughout most of the Bush years, beginning with the GOP tax cut for the rich in 2001. That cut, along with two off-budget wars, also produced the massive deficits that sprung from the budget surplus Clinton left for Bush. During the same time period the rest of the country languished. Those in the 25th percentile actually began to decline in 2005, before the Great Recession hit. Following the Bush Debacle at the end of 2008 everyone lost money, but those at the bottom lost a far greater percentage of their net worth than those at the top.

Also, the characterization by Fox that things were so much better while Bush was president is based on measuring the difference from the beginning of the Bush term in 2001. But by using that as the starting point it diminishes his responsibility for the economic collapse over which he presided in 2008, and places more of the consequences of it on Obama. A more significant measure would start with the Great Recession in late 2008. From that point on there has been steady progress. The RSF report stated that…

“The housing, stock and job markets have all improved since 2009, but at very different rates. The stock market rebounded relatively quickly and returned to prerecession levels by the middle of 2013. The July 2013 unemployment rate of 7.4 percent was below the recession peak of 10.0 percent, but was still substantially higher than the 4.7 percent rate of mid-2007. However, the most important source of wealth for most Americans is their home, and by mid-2013 home prices were still 20 percent below their mid-2007 values.”

Indeed, it was home ownership that had the biggest impact on the wealth of the middle class because it is such a larger portion of their net worth. For the wealthy their homes represent only a portion of their total worth, and it may not even be the largest portion. They may also have millions in investments, retirement funds, and other financial assets. And since the Great Recession resulted in millions of foreclosures on the middle and lower classes, many of which were unwarranted, or even fraudulent, those on the bottom of the scale were hurt the most. This had the effect of making an already historically prominent level of wealth inequality even worse. This was also noted in the conclusions of the RSF report:

“While large absolute amounts of wealth were destroyed at the top of the wealth distribution, households at the bottom of the wealth distribution lost the largest share of their total wealth. As a result, wealth inequality increased significantly from 2007 through 2013; by some metrics inequality roughly doubled.”

Anyone giving this report a fair reading would come away with the impression that wealth inequality has risen to dangerous levels, and that much of the reason is the Bush recession. But the folks at the falsely named “fair and balanced” network brought their own biases to the table and delivered a preposterous mutation of the study’s findings. Their intention is clearly to deceive the public by persuading them of the fiction that Obama’s economic policies have failed, and that Bush’s were superior. However, you would have to be pretty stupid to buy that argument. Therefore, there are at least a couple of million Fox News viewers who will eat up with relish.

On Fox News: Religious Intolerance Is An Atrocity Unless It’s Practiced By Christians

Last week Megyn Kelly of Fox News featured a segment that was crammed full of outrage over the bigotry demonstrated by the extremist ISIS brigade that is terrorizing much of Iraq. As ISIS marches through the nation that was fatally destabilized by George W. Bush and his confederacy of liars, any religious faction that is not aligned with the ISIS brand of Sunni Islam is dealt with brutally and mercilessly. This, of course, includes the Christians in the region. And it is the Christians for whom Fox News is solely concerned.

In a delivery dripping with fear, Kelly gravely reported on an alleged directive from ISIS that Christians in the city of Mosul “could leave, they could convert to Islam, or they could die.” This is certainly further evidence of the extremist intentions of the group and Fox News is correct to repudiate the threat as an assault on religious freedom.

However, there are a couple of problems with their newly acquired aversion to intolerance (a subject they generally dismiss as political correctness). For one thing, it never bothered them when conservative firebrand, and Fox News fave, Ann Coulter said pretty much the same thing, but with a somewhat different emphasis.

Fox News

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Coulter’s doctrine on Islam that “We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity,” is just as repugnant, bigoted, and hostile as that of the ISIS ultimatum. So why does Fox News tolerate hate-speech from Coulter that is identical to that of terrorist extremists?

It may help to understand the Fox editorial philosophy by noting that the “expert” Kelly solicited to analyze the events in Iraq was Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, who immediately blamed President Obama for this rancid display of religious intolerance. In fact, Perkins and Kelly spent more time castigating the President than they did ISIS. This tells you who they really regard as their enemy.

Perkins, and the FRC, are notable for their place on the list of hate groups published by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The FRC has been one of the most vicious opponents of the LGBT community. Their opposition is based wholly on their view that anyone who strays from the Christian dogma advocated by the FRC is deviant, sinful, harmful to society, and an affront to God. In other words, it is an entirely religious prejudice that condemns those with different beliefs. The SPLC’s report on the FRC begins…

“The Family Research Council (FRC) bills itself as ‘the leading voice for the family in our nation’s halls of power,’ but its real specialty is defaming gays and lesbians. The FRC often makes false claims about the LGBT community based on discredited research and junk science. The intention is to denigrate LGBT people in its battles against same-sex marriage, hate crimes laws, anti-bullying programs and the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.”

Despite their “Vision Statement” which calls for a culture in which “religious liberty thrives,” the FRC is unarguably a practitioner of religious intolerance. It’s sole purpose for existing is to rebuke those who fail to adopt their religious views. If a culture wherein religious liberty were thriving was truly their mission, there would be a place in it for those with whom they disagree. However, in that regard they are no different than ISIS.

It is telling that Kelly chose to invite the religiously intolerant Perkins to her Fox News program to discuss the religious intolerance of others. She might have considered people who are actually involved in anti-discrimination organizations, whose opinions would be more credible. That, however, would require her to violate the gospel of Fox News which demands strict adherence to right-wing, conservative, Christian principles. As I have noted previously

Fox News is the closest thing in media to a Vatican PR office, with a roster that is heavily weighted with Roman-Catholics. They include: Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Megyn Kelly, Bret Baier, Bill Hemmer, Brian Kilmeade, Andrew Napolitano, Jeanine Pirro, Laura Ingraham, Dennis Kucinich, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and Father Morris. Rupert Murdoch, the CEO of Fox News parent News Corp was himself inducted into the ‘Knights of the Order of Saint Gregory the Great’ by Pope John Paul II. And if that isn’t enough, the current Senior Communications Adviser in the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, Greg Burke, was previously the Fox News correspondent covering the Vatican, a position he held for ten years.

So remember this the next time you hear Fox News pretending to be the champions of religious freedom. Remember that their experts are actually bigoted hate mongers. Remember that their political commentators advocate genocide and ethnic cleansing. The only freedom that Fox News supports is the freedom to plaster the airwaves with lies and propaganda in the furtherance of the right-wing theocracy they hope to foist on America.