Fox News Just Gift-Wrapped Their Primetime Schedule And Gave It To Donald Trump

It won’t surprise anyone to learn that Fox News has jumped aboard the Donald Trump bandwagon in a big way. His most ardent supporters are featured regularly to exalt the presumptuous Republican presidential nominee. Those supporters include the anchors of Fox’s most watched programs in primetime.

Trump News Channel

This past week Fox News handed over its primetime schedule to hour-long specials dedicated to Trump. Every single program set aside all other news stories for an episode of fluffing their favorite candidate. This is unprecedented even for Fox. It comes just a week after the chairman of the Fox News empire, Rupert Murdoch, was reported to have embraced Trump’s candidacy. New York Magazine’s veteran Fox-watcher, Gabriel Sherman, revealed that…

“According to a half dozen sources familiar with Murdoch’s thinking, the media mogul has signaled he plans to fully back Trump in the general election against Hillary Clinton.”

So it’s no coincidence that the following week Fox’s schedule is littered with packaged profiles of Trump that add nothing to the viewer’s store of knowledge or ability to make an informed decision. Here is what Fox’s primetime offered up last week as a gift to Donald Trump:

Greta Van Susteren’s “Meet The Trump’s”

Van Susteren devoted the whole hour of her show to interviews with Trump’s family, She spent the most time with his wife Melania whose relentless praise was reminiscent of victims of Stockholm Syndrome. She even said that she and Donald never argue. Does that sound like a normal marriage or a paid campaign infomercial?

Megyn Kelly’s Donald Trump File

This episode of the Kelly File was partly a rebroadcast of “Megyn Kelly Presents,” the widely panned special that aired on the Fox Entertainment Network. There was some additional footage included that was left out of the original broadcast and, having seen it, Kelly was right to have cut it in the first place. It contained nothing new or interesting.

Bill O’Reilly’s “The Trump Phenomenon”

Not wanting to be left out, O’Reilly cobbled together a bunch of old interviews and presented them as a package for any of his viewers who haven’t seen enough of Donald Trump on television lately. O’Reilly and Trump are old pals and the interviews are a tribute to the sort of softball journalism that you would expect between friends.

And Then There’s Sean Hannity

To his credit, Hannity is the only one of the four primetime hosts who actually bothered to deliver a significant amount of new material featuring Trump. Of course it was substantially the same as everything that Hannity has delivered in the past. He has the distinction of having provided Trump with more airtime than any other program on Television (over 17 hours). To illustrate how much time that is, Fox & Friends came in second with less than half that amount.

Since Trump just surpassed the number of delegates necessary to clinch the GOP nomination, we can expect much more of this hero worship from the folks at Fox News as the general election unfolds. The network that has been pretending to be “fair and balanced” for the past twenty years is wholly engaged in their mission to smear Hillary Clinton and elect Donald Trump.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

While Clinton has not made herself available to Fox with much frequency (she did appear on Fox News Sunday recently), there is nothing stopping them assembling a packaged piece like these ones that they did for Trump. And maybe that’s for the best because, if they did, they would likely accuse her of blowing up the Hindenburg or assassinating Lincoln.

Fox News Falsely Reports That Clinton Aide “Stormed” Out Of FBI Interview

With the market for manufactured scandals losing steam, Fox News is getting desperate for new avenues of attack against Hillary Clinton. Their already in progress effort to impeach her has been going nowhere. Trey Gowdy’s House Committee To Politicize Benghazi has wasted millions of dollars, and untold hours, but found nothing incriminating against Clinton. The accusers of Planned Parenthood have themselves been indicted. And the never-ending investigations into Clinton’s email server was recently declared to have uncovered “scant evidence” of any wrongdoing. So what will Fox News do now?

Fox News

Not to worry. Fox News will do what they always do: Invent some new controversy that they can hash around for a couple of days before everyone realizes that there’s nothing to it, and then pretend it never happened. In that spirit Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteran introduced a segment (video below) that alleged that one of Clinton’s trusted confidants was an uncooperative witness during an FBI interview about Clinton’s email.

“Long-time Clinton aide Cheryl Mills reportedly storming out of the interview over an off-limits topic,” was how Van Susteran opened the segment. The story was picked up by Fox News correspondent Catherine Herridge who got it from the Washington Post. Herridge’s lede was that this was…

“…a discussion of her conversations with Mrs. Clinton over which emails would be produced to the state department as part of the FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] request. […] This was negotiated to be off-limits because of attorney-client privilege.”

Van Susteren, an attorney before she joined Fox News, responded with a surprisingly coherent comment that should have put the matter to bed. She said “That actually would be routine that that would be off-limits, so it’s nothing surprising.” However, neither of them recanted the characterization of Mills as having stomped off in huff.

For some context, the Washington Post article that was the source of this story had an entirely different tone. For starters, their headline said only that “Clinton aide Cheryl Mills leaves FBI interview briefly after being asked about emails.” There was nothing in the article about anyone “storming” out. That was a rhetorical invention by Fox News. To the contrary, it was portrayed as a normal practice during such interviews when witnesses need to confer privately with their lawyers. In fact, it was the FBI investigator who was considered to have overstepped his boundaries:

“[A]n FBI investigator broached a topic with longtime Hillary Clinton aide Cheryl Mills that her lawyer and the Justice Department had agreed would be off limits, according to several people familiar with the matter.

“Mills and her lawyer left the room — though both returned a short time later — and prosecutors were somewhat taken aback that their FBI colleague had ventured beyond what was anticipated, the people said.”

This afternoon on Fox’s “Your World with Neil Cavuto” the subject was brought up again with Fox legal analyst Andrew Napolitano telling Cavuto that a “courageous” FBI agent asked questions that all parties previously agreed would be improper. He praised the FBI agent for violating the “baloney” agreement to honor attorney/client privilege.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

So Fox News took a rather uneventful account of the FBI meeting with Mills and transformed it into a fictional battle between valiant FBI heroes and a shady Clinton crony. Admittedly, that’s a more exciting narrative than what really happened, but it’s also patently untrue. But considering the dearth of any legitimate mud that Fox has to fling at Clinton, it’s understandable that they are resorting to these desperate measures. Expect more of the same for the next five months.

Racists On Fox News React To The Harriet Tubman $20.00 Bill

Like clockwork, all that needs to happen is for some news event to address something involving race that can be tied to the Obama administration and the bigots come slithering out from the crevices in the floor. The latest example of this is the long overdue initiative to place a woman on U.S. currency. The woman selected for the honor is the heroic former slave and abolitionist, Harriet Tubman. Oh, and she just happens to be black.

Fox News

Leading the way, Greta Van Susteren of Fox News delivered a commentary (video below) that portrayed the decision to put Tubman on the $20.00 bill as an “awful” idea that amounts to “dividing the country.” Van Susteren blasted the plan in the most insulting terms, saying that “The Obama administration went stupid, and went stupid for no reason.” Then she offered her own alternative to put Tubman on a non-existent $25.00 bill instead, saying that it would be “the smart and easy thing to do.”

First of all, what would be smart or easy about minting a new bill just for the purpose of putting Tubman on it? It would waste millions of dollars to design, produce, and maintain, despite the fact that there is no demand for a denomination that’s $5.00 more than the twenty. That would make it a pretty stupid thing to do. And the only thing that is making any of this divisive is the right-wingers like Van Susteren who insist on dredging up controversy where there need not be any.

What’s more, segregating Tubman to a new, unwanted denomination smacks of a form of the “separate but equal” philosophy that was really just an excuse to practice discrimination. Van Susteren is effectively saying that Tubman isn’t fit for the currency that the rest of us white folk use. That reasoning has also been adopted by Ben Carson and Donald Trump who have both advocated for an even more devalued denomination for Tubman: the $2.00 bill.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Not surprisingly, the response to Van Susteren’s commentary by the cretins at the Fox News community website, Fox Nation, was an avalanche of racism. This has become a predictable aftereffect of any race-related news story (see The Collected Hate Speech Of The Fox News Community). Here are just a few examples of the bigoted opinions that Fox fans are comfortable expressing when they are among their own kind:

Fox Nation Comments

The Chokehold of Liberty: How The Grand Jury Failed Eric Garner And America

This evening’s news that a New York grand jury could not find cause to indict a police officer, despite having video of him choking the victim, Eric Garner, is calling into question (again) the inadequate and unfair administration of justice as it is applied to African-Americans and other minorities.

Chokehold of Liberty:

This outcome is inexplicable. It is such a shocking miscarriage of justice that even some of the most stalwart conservatives are having trouble coming to terms with it. For starters, Bill O’Reilly said that Garner “did not deserve what happened to him.” And many of his colleagues on Fox News agreed.

Bill O’Reilly: Upon seeing the video that you just saw and hearing Mr. Garner say he could not breathe, I was extremely troubled. I would have loosened my grip.

Charles Krauthammer: From looking at the video, the grand jury’s decision here is totally incomprehensible. It looked as if at least they might have indicted him on something like involuntary manslaughter at the very least … The crime was as petty as they come. He was selling loose cigarettes, which in and of itself is absurd that somebody has to die over that.

Judge Andrew Napolitano: There was ample evidence to indict; and the grand jury made a grievous error by not doing so.

Greta Van Susteren: We don’t do the death penalty for selling cigarettes illegally on the street.

[Just added] Glenn Beck: How this cop did not go to jail and was not held responsible is beyond me.

Glenn Beck on Garner

Garner was strangled by an officer, Daniel Pantaleo, using a chokehold that violates the police department’s guidelines. His offense was selling single cigarettes, a crime on the order of jaywalking. And he cried out several times that he couldn’t breathe. It is absolutely unconscionable that a man can be killed under these circumstances without anyone being held to account by a court of law. The grand jury’s only role is to ascertain whether the evidence supports remanding the case for trial. They do not decide guilt or innocence. But if this video isn’t sufficient evidence to warrant a jury trial, then what on Earth is?

While the right-wing Fox News pundits above were moved to disagree with the grand jury’s decision in the hours following its announcement, a more recognizable Fox narrative eventually began to unfold. It took some time but they figured out ways to blame the victim as a criminal who was resisting arrest and was in poor health to begin with. Simultaneously they exonerated the cop as doing his job by confronting a much larger man and using a “safety belt” hold that doesn’t choke (in complete contrast to the video evidence). Now that’s the Fox News we know.

In the meantime, Republican pols came out of the gate swinging with New York congressman Peter King thanking the grand jury and attributing Garner’s death to his asthma. And the GOP congressman representing the Staten Island district where the death occurred also praised the obviously broken system. Rep. Michael Grimm said that…

“There’s no question that this grand jury had an immensely difficult task before them, but I have full faith that their judgment was fair and reasoned and I applaud DA Donovan for overseeing this case with the utmost integrity.”

It is fair to assume that Grimm’s opinion does not represent many of his constituents. And ironically, Grimm himself is currently under a 20-count indictment for business and campaign violations of law. When a man like Grimm is your defender, while Bill O’Reilly and other Fox News pundits have sympathy for the victim, there is something terribly wrong. Grimm was just reelected last month. Here is Rep. Grimm threatening to throw a reporter off of a balcony:

Scandal Monger Darrell Issa Returns To Fox News To Pitch New IRS E-Mail Lies

Since there is nothing else going on in the world, like terrorist armies marching through Syria and Iraq, or Russian convoys crossing into Ukraine, and since domestically the nation isn’t embroiled in controversies over unarmed black teenagers murdered by the police, or thousands of immigrant children suffering harsh conditions along the southern border, Fox News has found the free time time to entertain yet another fable about non-existent IRS emails that allegedly expose massive government corruption.

Darrell Issa Witch Hunter

Darrell Issa, chairman of the Laughing Stock Committee (aka the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform), ventured into dangerously friendly territory last night when he was interviewed by Greta Van Susteren of Fox News. Van Susteren introduced Issa and before she could even ask a question he said:

“Good evening, Greta, and thank you for covering what’s emerging to be just an amazing sequence of cover-up, delay, denial, even what now appears to be a false statement from the new IRS commissioner in which he said he moved ‘heaven and Earth’ to get us Lois Lerner’s lost emails. And now we find out from the Judicial Watch that in fact they exist, but they simply haven’t been asked for. They’re too burdensome. They do exist. And we look forward to finding how the commissioner can say they don’t exist, when, in fact, they do.”

That was Issa’s opening remarks after Van Susteren said nothing more than “Good evening, sir.” Clearly Issa feels comfortable commandeering the program and delivering unchallenged monologues. Just as clearly he isn’t reticent about deliberately lying in order to advance a phony scandal that he has been hustling for years without producing any scrap of evidence. And as for his insistence that the emails do, in fact, exist – no Darrell, in fact they do not.

The “amazing sequence of cover-up” to which Issa is referring was fed to him by the right-wing Judicial Watch, who claimed to have received a “jaw-dropping” revelation in a conversation with an administration official. Judicial Watch president, Tom Fitton, alleged that “The Obama administration had been lying to the American people about Lois Lerner’s missing emails.” However, when contacted for a response the administration flatly denied the charge saying that Judicial Watch’s statement was “off-base” and that Judicial Watch was “mischaracterizing what the government had said.” They continued…

“There is no newly divulged back-up system that was not previously known about,” the official said. “Government lawyers were simply referring to the back-up system at the IRS that Commissioner Koskinen had already disclosed.”

In other words, Judicial Watch failed to understand, or purposefully misconstrued, what they were told by the government official. Never mind that the White House had previously spoken to this issue and laid to rest any discrepancies. But that didn’t stop Judicial Watch from funneling their falsehoods to Issa, a willing participant in the Wingnut Deceit Brigade. Issa then hightails it to Fox News to insure that this lie gets the broadest distribution possible. And to make certain that it is widely dispersed, Fox also aired similar segments on at least two other programs, including their signature nightly news show with Bret Baier.

This is how the Conservative Media Circus whips up manufactured hysteria over phony scandals. The fake story is then blasted across the right-wing mediasphere with help from their partisan partners like Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze, Newsmax, National Review, Breitbart News, Townhall, NewsBusters, and the Koch brothers affiliated Washington Free Beacon. Before long a nation of gullible Tea Party waifs are refueled with high octane bullshit, destroying any hopes for intelligent, fact-based debate. Welcome to Rupert Murdoch’s America.

Fox News Doctor Opposes Legalizing Marijuana Because … Hedonism

Fox News has distinguished itself as as purveyor of extraordinarily bad advice. Just last week they offered “Eight Tips To Opt Out of ObamaCare” that would likely result in serious medical harm and/or bankruptcy were you to suffer illness or injury. Earlier this year they demonstrated that they are the nation’s premiere source for truly dreadful financial advice. And last night Fox hosted a discussion on the legalization of marijuana that was riddled with similar ignorance.

Fox News

On Greta Van Susteren’s “On The Record,” Fox’s newest wingnut crush, Dr. Ben Carson, was invited on to bash ObamaCare, which he did with relish, as expected. But as the segment came to close, Van Susteren threw in a question about Colorado’s recent legislation legalizing marijuana. This gave Dr. Carson an opportunity to reveal just how wingnutty he can be.

Carson: Marijuana is what’s known as a gateway drug. It tends to be a starter drug for people who move onto heavier duty drugs – sometimes legal, sometimes illegal – and I don’t think this is something that we really want for our society.

First of all, to argue that smoking Marijuana leads to heavier drug use is not supported by scientific study. It makes no more sense than the argument that milk leads to heavier drug use simply because everyone who uses heroin had previously been a milk drinker. Secondly, Carson fails to divulge where he got the impression that legalizing marijuana is not something society wants. A recent Gallup poll shows a large majority (58% to 39%) favoring legalization.

But Carson wasn’t finished embarrassing himself. He moved from misrepresenting the facts to dispensing pedantic philosophy by lamenting that “We’re gradually just removing all the barriers to hedonistic activity.” For the record, hedonism is the belief that life should have more pleasure than pain. It’s easy to see why the Morality Centurions at Fox would be against such a radical concept.

Van Susteren then sought to have Carson address the question from the angle of personal responsibility, free choice, and the position that government should not have the power to mandate private behavior. This is a subject that Fox’s conservatives beat to death on a daily basis. But for Carson there is an exemption allowing nanny-state regulations for things that he doesn’t like. And to make matters worse, he supports that hypocrisy with an utterly absurd analogy.

Carson: Well, do those same people argue for freedom of choice when someone says “I want to buy a gun, I want to buy an UZI, I want to buy” – you know, let’s be consistent with this thing.

Exactly. Because it is entirely consistent to compare the unregulated proliferation of deadly, military-style weapons that have produced horrific tragedies with smoking an occasional doobie while zoning out to some Pink Floyd. But what sends this completely over the logical cliff is that while Carson blasts what he regards as liberal hypocrisy, he is himself neck deep in a hypocritical bog for advocating free choice for gun fetishists but not for potheads.

Finally, Carson demonstrates that he is living in an alternate universe by asserting that the marijuana issue has not been sufficiently debated by society.

Carson: We’re changing so rapidly to a different type of society and nobody is getting a chance to discuss it because, you know, it’s taboo. It’s politically incorrect. You’re not supposed to talk about these things. […] Why can’t we talk about these things? That’s what I want to know.

Really? We haven’t talked enough about legalizing marijuana? So the decades spent debating it in state and federal legislatures, in academic research, by law enforcement professionals, in the media, and by citizens throughout the country, does not assuage Carson’s phobia of a rapidly changing society? To say the least, Carson has some pretty stiff deliberative prerequisites for untethering America from an anachronistic prohibition. And where he gets the notion that discussing marijuana is “taboo,” is a mystery only his dementia can unravel.

However, it is not surprising that Fox is presenting opposition to marijuana legalization. And it has nothing to do with the substance of the issue. Anything that happens on Obama’s watch is automatically bad and subject to vilification by the robo-critics at Fox News, whether he had anything to do with it or not. So despite public support and medical research, Carson and the Fox irregulars will stand strong against common sense and liberty and blame everything on the black guy in the White House.

Fox News Freak-Outs: How The Big Bully Of Cable News Fizzles Under Fire

In the cable news business there is one network that relentlessly boasts about its prominence and formidable presence above all others. Fox News is clearly taken with itself and is even promoted in their own ads as “The Most Powerful Name In News.” That makes it all the more curious that Fox seems to shudder when confronted with opposing arguments.

Fox News
This article was also published on Alternet.

Fox News is often the subject of well-deserved criticism due to their aversion to facts and a long record of strident bias. However, their first reaction to reasonable rebuttals is to go on the attack against their perceived enemies. It is behavior reminiscent of schoolyard bullies with marshmallow centers who struggle to mask their hurt feelings with forced bluster. What follows are seven examples of just how thin-skinned this allegedly powerful network really is, and how prone they are to whining when they get smacked down.

At a press conference President Obama astutely noted that the penchant Fox News has for punishing Republicans who dare to work cooperatively with Democrats has the effect of discouraging Republicans from such cooperation. That rather modest observation sent Fox News into a tizzy. Jumping immediately to the most absurd stretches of hyperbole, Steve Doocy of Fox & Friends fired up the outrage machine to accuse the President of attacking, not merely Fox News, but the First Amendment. Meanwhile the determinedly dishonest Fox Nation web site declared the President’s remarks to be a threat. How Obama was infringing on freedom of the press or threatening anyone was never explained.

In an interview Al Gore commented on Fox News and right-wing talk radio saying “The fact that we have 24/7 propaganda masquerading as news, it does have an impact.” Rather than try to dispute the obvious truth of Gore’s comment, Fox’s Peter Johnson, Jr launched into a harangue about Gore permitting a news enterprise based in the oil-producing nation of Qatar to buy his network, Current TV. Yes, that had nothing to do with Gore’s remarks, but it did serve Johnson’s purpose of blindly lashing out at Gore for daring to besmirch Fox.

Author and military foreign policy expert Tom Ricks was invited on to discuss his new book, The Generals. Fox host Jon Scott thought he could get Ricks to join Fox’s crusade to blame Obama for the tragedy in Benghazi, but Ricks wasn’t cooperating and told Scott that “I think that the emphasis on Benghazi has been extremely political, partly because Fox was operating as a wing of the Republican Party.” That was apparently too much for Scott who abruptly ended the interview less than 90 seconds after it began. After taking criticism from other media for that self-serving censorship, Fox VP Michael Clemente doubled down and disparaged Ricks for not having “the strength of character to apologize.”

Greta Van Susteren saw an opportunity to whimper about how mistreated Fox is when she complained that the State Department had left them off the mailing list for a couple of news briefings. She called it “a coordinated effort” to punish Fox by “denying Fox access to information.” What she failed to disclose was that the State Department had previously explained that they had only notified news organizations that had reporters assigned to cover the department and that, having none, Fox didn’t get on the list. But that explanation didn’t stop Van Susteren and others at Fox from assailing the administration for an imagined snubbing.

In a debate over whether or not NBC had ever criticized President Obama on the use of drones, Bill O’Reilly falsely claimed that the drone story never appeared on NBC. In fact, it was NBC who broke the story. The following night, after much ridicule for his egregious mistake, rather than apologize and set the record straight, O’Reilly lashed at the “loons” who were engaging in “more deceit from the far left.” As usual, any critical analysis of O’Reilly or Fox News is viewed as liberal Fox-bashing and is met with name-calling and vilification.

Fox’s Juan Williams is one of the network’s alleged lefties. When he made a disturbingly racist comment about his fear of flying with Muslim passengers, he was let go by his other employer NPR. The reaction from Fox News was swift and utterly repulsive. Fox’s CEO Roger Ailes lashed out in defense of his pet liberal saying of NPR that “They are, of course, Nazis. They have a kind of Nazi attitude. They are the left wing of Nazism.” Most people would regard that as something of an overreaction, but for Fox it is consistent with their characteristic vengefulness when they consider themselves under siege.

Perhaps the most frequent target of Fox’s vitriol is the watchdog group, Media Matters for America. By defining its mission as a monitor of conservative bias in the news, Media Matters has earned the undying enmity of Fox News. In the course of their persistent barrage of slander aimed at Media Matters, Fox has called the founder, David Brock, (without substantiation) a dangerous, self-loathing, mentally ill, drug user. Fox was so frightened by Media Matters that, in the week prior to publication of their book The Fox Effect, Fox News broadcast no fewer than a dozen derogatory pieces in a preemptive strike with segments on their most popular programs, including The O’Reilly Factor, Hannity, Fox & Friends, etc. It was the sort of blanket coverage they usually reserved for a natural disaster, a declaration of war, or a lewd TwitPic of a politician. Fox’s anti-Media Matters campaign even included solicitations on the air (more than 30 times) by Fox anchors beseeching their viewers to file complaints with the IRS challenging Media Matters’ tax-exempt, non-profit status.

These are just a few of the more notable instances when Fox has engaged in pronounced public wailing after taking flack from a critic. But it’s an almost daily occurrence for Fox to slap back at a politician, pundit, or even a celebrity, who utters something that Fox regards as unflattering. Just ask Bill Maher or Nas or Sean Penn. For a network that touts its powerfulness, Fox News behaves with the sort of tender sensitivity that is generally associated with sniveling weakness. They wildly lash out at critics and stubbornly refuse to acknowledge mistakes or accept responsibility when errors are pointed out. It is, to say the least, undignified, unprofessional, and immature, but it is the Fox way.

Sarah Palin Drips With Envy Over Obama’s Selection As Time Magazine’s Person Of The Year

Last night Sarah Palin once again appeared on her old pal Greta Van Susteren’s show on Fox News. She was asked to comment on Time Magazine’s selection of President Obama as “Person of the Year.” And, what a surprise, the ego-driven Queen of the North could only find nasty things to say about Obama, who was chosen, not as an endorsement of his agenda, but as recognition of the reelection victory that illustrated the changes in America’s identity. Time wrote…

“We are in the midst of historic cultural and demographic changes, and Barack Obama is both the symbol and in some ways the architect of this new America. In 2012, he found and forged a new majority, turned weakness into opportunity and sought, amid great adversity, to create a more perfect union.”

Sarah Palin

Perhaps Palin was upset that the article accompanying the choice never mentioned her by name, but did note that her characterization of Obama’s tenure as “hopey/changey” was passe. Her sour grapes session criticized Time Magazine’s choice due to some vague, unspecified allegation that Obama doesn’t support the Constitution. She complained that he wants to change the Constitution, which is, of course, constitutional and is provided for in the document. It has been done twenty-seven times already. But she concluded with a statement I agree with wholeheartedly:

“Time Magazine, you know, I think there’s some irrelevancy there to tell you the truth. I mean consider their list of the most influential people in the country and in the world, some who have made that list – yours truly – that ought to tell you something right there regarding the credence that we should give Time Magazine and their list of people.”

She is referring to her place on the Time 100 back in 2010. The tribute to her was composed by washed-up schlock-rocker Ted Nugent, who continues to embarrass himself in public with demented, anti-American rants. And not to be outdone, Palin also embarrassed herself with Van Susteren in a discussion about the newly released report on the State Department’s handling of security in Benghazi, Libya.

Van Susteren and Palin both complained that there was no accountability for security failings, despite the fact that three State Department officials resigned shortly after the report’s release. And they both knew of the resignations because they mentioned them in the segment. Palin also asserted without support that “Americans were lied to.” She went on to whine…

“For the President even to get out there on a national stage and tell Americans untruths about this situation in Benghazi really begs you to ask the question, what else does he say and do that would be deceptive. I believe that it’s many, many things that he would say and do being deceptive.”

Neither Palin nor Van Susteren gave a single example of anyone being less than truthful. And neither did the report, which addressed the security situation in Benghazi, not the subsequent media frenzy Fox tried to incite.

It’s a little sad to see the pathetic scratching on the screen door by Palin who has all but vanished from public view. She is probably milking these appearances with Van Susteren because there is a high probability that her contract with Fox will not be renewed when it expires next year. And who else would have her? Her books don’t sell, her reality TV shows fail, and her own party is so ashamed to be associated with her that she wasn’t even invited to the Republican convention this year.

It may be fair (and balanced) to say that Palin is over – you betcha!

Greta Van Susteren: The Obama Administration Is Trying To Punish Fox News

Poor Greta Van Susteren. Her Fox News program has lately been lagging in the ratings behind MSNBC’s “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell.” And now she is feeling neglected by the Obama administration.

In a post on her Gretawire blog, Van Sustern has resorted to copious use of BRIGHT RED FONTS WITH ALL CAPITAL LETTERS to express her dismay at being left out of all the reindeer games. She laments that Fox News was overlooked by the State Department when media briefings were held for various news organizations. She whines that this is “playing dirty” and was being done “to punish Fox” for their critical reporting.

Van Susteren: The Administration in what looks like a coordinated effort is denying Fox access to information that they are handing out to other news organizations. Why exclude Fox? That is simple – to punish — to try to teach us a lesson not to pry, not to look further for facts.

Van Susteren fails to disclose that the State Department had previously explained why Fox was not included in previous briefings and press releases. It had nothing to do with punishment. The State Department distributed their information to news organizations that had reporters who were assigned to cover the department. Fox News has no such reporters so they didn’t get on the list. In fact, Fox has a shoe-string news operation that doesn’t concentrate on actual reporting. Most of their “news” assets are allocated to anchors, analysts, and pundits, who are not doing any bona fide journalism. In short, the State Department had no one to notify and they weren’t going to send notices to everyone with a Fox News email address.

The administration would, nevertheless, be justified in bypassing Fox even if they did assign a reporter to the beat. Contrary to Van Susteren’s kvetching, Fox has not been “looking for facts” about the Benghazi attacks. Rather, they have been wallowing in speculation and wild conspiracy theories. Fox anchors and guests have dispensed absurd declarations that President Obama had deliberately allowed Ambassador Stevens to be murdered; that he personally ordered rescuers to stand down; that he refused requests for additional security (actually it was congress who voted to cut funding for embassy security); and that he could be subject to impeachment for unspecified high crimes and misdemeanors.

None of these assertions have any bearing in fact, but that doesn’t stop Van Susteren from yammering about Fox getting a cold shoulder from the administration. Fox deserves to be shunned. They are not a credible news enterprise. They are no more entitled to press passes than the UFO Gazette or the Hogwarts Herald. If Van Susteren did a little self-analysis before ripping into her imaginary slights by Obama, she might be better situated to complain. As it is, her post includes a curious admission/excuse for Fox getting the facts wrong:

Van Susteren: To the extent we get anything wrong is because the Administration is doing whatever it can to thwart us from getting the facts.

On the contrary, it would be more correct to say that to the extent you deliberately distort the facts, the administration is under no obligation to help you continue to get everything wrong. Van Susteren is, incredibly, blaming Fox’s mistakes on Obama. Nobody forced Fox to wade so far out into delusional speculation. In fact, based on their body of work, it appears to be their corporate mission. And the administration can hardly be criticized (or accused of punishment) if they should be reluctant to further that mission.

MSNBC’s Primetime Trounces Fox News Since Election Day: Maddow And O’Donnell Soar

Fox News is continuing to show weakness in its primetime schedule in the wake of President Obama’s reelection. In the eight days since election day MSNBC’s average audience for the key 25-54 year old demographic drew about 8% more viewers than Fox. [Source: TVNewser, weekday Nielsen ratings from 11/7-11/16]

MSNBC-Fox Chart

Particularly impressive were the results of the two powerhouse programs on the MSNBC lineup: Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell. Maddow won seven of the eight days against her Fox competition, Sean Hannity. For the 8-day run Maddow beat Hannity by 18% and her 544k average was second to only Bill O’Reilly in all of cable news. O’Donnell won all eight days against Fox’s Greta Van Susteren. His margin of victory over Van Susteren was 17% for the eight days.

This can no longer be considered a temporary blip on the ratings scales. With two weeks having elapsed, the MSNBC programs are showing steady strength against competition that was once thought insurmountable. Only Bill O’Reilly is holding his top position for Fox in primetime. This may indicate that Sean Hannity is wearing thin with viewers who are likely disappointed with his overly confident (and harebrained) assurances that all the polls were wrong and that Mitt Romney would emerge victorious.


Hannity is perhaps the most stridently partisan host on the Fox News network and frequently augments his analysis with that of the pundit world’s most notorious nutcase, Dick Morris. As for Van Susteren, she never had the cult-like following of her Fox comrades, but she has been closely associated with her good friend (and client of her husband), Sarah Palin. That association may also have become a drag on the ratings of her show. Hannity has been with Fox since its launch and is still a top-rated radio talker. Van Susteren, on the other hand, had better start to show some improvement or her time slot will go to daytimer Megyn Kelly, a Roger Ailes favorite whose contract is expiring next year and likely wants to move to primetime.

MSNBC has an opportunity here to expand on the progress they have made in the past two weeks. They need a stronger lead-in to the primetime block. Ed Schultz has been doing OK, but he has not kept up with his colleagues. It might be a good idea to move both Maddow and O’Donnell up one hour, find an edgy, provocative host(s) for the 10pm slot (Harry Shearer & Co.?), and give Schultz the Hardball rerun at 7pm (Harderball?). But one thing is for sure, Fox will not be sitting this out. If MSNBC doesn’t build on their momentum, Fox will dial up the heat and retake the lead they’ve had for the past decade. Hopefully MSNBC recognizes the short window they have to make these gains permanent and jump through it.