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.

MSNBC: #1 Cable News Network In Primetime For Two Days Post-Election

The reelection of President Barack Obama was certainly a gratifying victory for Democrats and supporters of a moderate path forward for America. However, it also seems to have been a victory for the left-of-center cable news network, MSNBC.

MSNBC Crushing FoxFox News has been dominating the cable news ratings for about a decade. The primary reason for that is their having corralled all of the right-wing viewers while everyone else is scattered amongst the other networks. Nevertheless, that distinction gives them bragging rights and an over-sized reputation.

However, for the days (two, so far) that have followed the election, MSNBC has usurped the leader’s crown and ascended to become the number one network in cable news for primetime. In fact, on Thursday MSNBC beat Fox for the whole broadcast day. MSNBC performed well above their third quarter averages for their primetime programming, which had already outperformed their 2011 third quarter by more than twenty percent.

Almost every primetime program on MSNBC beat their Fox competition. The only exception was Ed Schultz who is up against Fox’s highest rated show, the O’Reilly Factor. Schultz, however, did increase his own ratings considerably, just not enough to surpass O’Reilly.

The standouts were Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell who trounced Sean Hannity and Greta Van Susteren, respectively. Maddow exceeded Hannity by 27% on Wednesday and a whopping 75% on Thursday. O’Donnell dunked Van Susteren on Wednesday by 64% and by 32% on Thursday.

This isn’t a one-time occurrence either. In September MSNBC bested Fox during the Democratic convention. Then they repeated their win after the release of the famous “47%” video of Romney secretly recorded at a Florida fundraiser.

It is notable that MSNBC achieved their win over Fox by growing their own audience while Fox’s audience remained fairly stable. So this isn’t a case of Fox’s viewers having tuned out the news after a depressing defeat. It remains to be seen whether this is a mere bump in the election afterglow, or a serious turnaround in the cable ratings race. But it is clear that there is room for MSNBC to grow and make a credible challenge to Fox’s dominance.

Sarah Palin Wants One Name Of A Hostile Republican. OK: Sarah Palin

Washed up GOP VP loser, half-term governor, and failed TV reality show star, Sarah Palin, appeared on Fox News last night with her friend Greta Van Susteren. The conversation turned to some of the nastiness on the campaign trail that Palin thinks is exclusively on the side of the Democrats. In a hilarious demonstration of self-delusion, Palin said…

“Name one — name one prominent Republican who even comes close to what like the Alan Graysons, the Harry Reids, the Joe Bidens come up with and spew to the American public. I can’t think of one prominent Republican who talks the way that they talk.”

Sarah Palin

Name one? OK: “Sarah Palin.” The woman who accused Barack Obama of “palling around with terrorists.” And earlier this year she said “Nancy Pelosi is a dingbat,” and that President Obama is “a tool.” And she repeatedly calls anyone with whom she has an ideological disagreement a socialist. Sarah Palin is about the most vituperative, mean-spirited, mud-slinger in America today. And she can’t think of a single name of a prominent Republican who fits that description. Well, in her defense, she did specify a “prominent Republican.” And she’s the same person who couldn’t think a single newspaper or magazine she had read.

In case Palin is interested in any other names, she might want to look into Allen West, who was her top choice for Romney’s running mate. West has called half the Democrats in congress communists and accused them of being aligned with Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels. And I would also refer Palin to Michele Bachmann, Joe Walsh, Virginia Fox, Louis Gohmert, and Herman Cain. Then there are media figures like Rush Limbaugh who called a college student a slut and a prostitute, and Glenn Beck who called the President a racist.

There are way too many instances of Republicans descending into the most vile disparagement and hate-speech to list them all. Yet Palin can’t come up with a single name. And what makes that especially disturbing is that her own name would be at the top of the list. In this same segment with Van Susteren, Palin called Obama a socialist and defended “these powerful and truthful and accurate words to describe what President Obama is running on and what he is doing to America.” And how much more insulting can you get than to call someone a pal of terrorists?

Seriously, why does anyone pay any attention to this idiot?

The Alaska Mistake Mouths Off: Sarah Palin Finally Responds To Dick Cheney

Sarah PalinIt took 72 hours, but Sarah Palin has finally responded to the blunt assessment of her by former Vice-President Dick Cheney. Palin visited the friendly territory of Fox News, and her old pal Greta Van Susteren, to swing back at Cheney who told ABC News that her selection as John McCain’s running mate was “a mistake.” Cheney does have a gift for understatement.

In the course of the interview Palin went out of her way to insult Cheney by saying that his remarks about her were the result of his having been “convinced” of a “false narrative” by “the lamestream media.” Cheney may be many things (many terrible, frightening things), but he does not tend to swallow prepackaged media presentations. Rather, he is more likely to invent them himself. Nevertheless, Palin tossed out her usual word-salad saying…

“Here’s where the mistake would have been, Greta, I believe. It’s had I not answered the call. I was honored to get to run for Vice President of the United States alongside Senator John McCain. I was honored to accept the nomination from the GOP.”

Palin seems to think that the mistake Cheney referenced was that she accepted the VP nomination, rather than McCain offering it to her in the first place. That sort of incoherent misunderstanding validates Cheney’s opinion of her. But Palin wasn’t finished. She went on to glorify herself and the sacrifice she undertook to become a major party candidate for vice-president.

“It would have been a mistake to have hunkered down, just lived that luxurious, if you will, comfortable lifestyle in Alaska.”

Of course, we now know that Palin gleefully exploited the notoriety she attained from the nomination. She peddled her books and speaking engagements. She signed a multimillion dollar deal with Fox News. She starred in laughably inept reality TV programs. She increased her net worth many times over, yet recalls wistfully her “luxurious” lifestyle in Alaska. Is anyone really buying this tripe?

Rupert Murdoch’s Birthday Wish To His Staff: STFU You Wankers!

Rupert Murdoch

Congratulations are in order for Mr. Rupert Murdoch, the Chairman and CEO of News Corp, who turns 81 today. However, as he surveys the empire that he built he must be bitterly disappointed with the tunnel-blind miscreants he employs. Their obsessive, knee-jerk hostility to all things liberal has clouded their judgment in ways that harm the very interests they are being paid to serve. The result is a rash of friendly fire from within the ranks of Murdoch’s menagerie.

The first casualty is a victim in the Limbaugh-induced war of indecency. Intent on spreading blame to everyone but Limbaugh, Fox News has embarked on a crusade against any liberal (or perceived liberal) who may have said something controversial. It commenced with a Fox favorite for vilification, Bill Maher, but has now extended to comedian Louis CK. Fox News host Greta Van Susteren was so incensed that Louis CK was tapped to provide the comic relief at the annual Radio and Television Correspondents Association dinner that she publicly protested, called him a pig, and declared that she was initiating a boycott of the event. Subsequently, Louis CK dropped the gig. This is an unwelcome birthday gift for Rupert because the comedian also happens to be the star of “Louis” on his FX cable channel.

Next up is the battle between Fox News contributors. Tucker Carlson, one of said contributors, wrote an editorial on his DailyCaller blog that attempted to illustrate a hypocrisy in the media coverage of the Limbaugh controversy. Unfortunately, Carlson chose to include in his example the former LAPD officer Mark Furhman, who is best known for his use of racial epithets that was disclosed during the OJ Simpson trial. Carlson mocked Furhman as a pariah who is probably out of work, and deservedly so because “Nobody wants to be seen with a bigot.” The problem is that Furhman is actually employed by the same Fox News that employs Carlson. So not only is Carlson seen with Furhman, they are colleagues. All one big happy family of bigots. That can’t be making Rupert’s birthday any more joyful.

This is just the sort of thing that can occur when people are so blinded by their prejudices that they lose all sight of anything but their determination to harm their perceived enemies. The ultimate example of this mental defect occurred when Glenn Beck called Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal a terrorist. Alwaleed is the second largest shareholder of News Corp stock outside of the Murdoch family, and a close friend and business partner of Murdoch.

So anyway, happy birthday, Rupert. And good luck with that loathsome collection of reprobates you call a news team.

Fox News Debuts The Rush Limbaugh Hyperbole Hour

The Fox News web site for “those opposed to intolerance, excessive government control of our lives, and attempts to monopolize opinion or suppress freedom of thought, expression, and worship,” Fox Nation, generally exhibits the same calm, thoughtful, and reasoned demeanor in its presentation of the news as its TV parent. For example, this morning the Fox Nationalists posted this headline story:

Fox Nation

For anyone who didn’t tune in to the interview of Rush Limbaugh by Greta Van Susteren yesterday (which was 99% of the country), what you missed was seeing Van Susteren turn over almost half of her program to Limbaugh. She asked a couple of questions and then let Limbaugh ramble on incessantly in his trademarked hyperbolic manner. And in all of the time he consumed he said nothing more than “Obama sucks,” over and over again.

And speaking of hyperbole, notice the Fox Nation headline saying that “Limbaugh Shatters Obama Into a Million Pieces.” Really? Because the last time I looked Rush is still hosting an AM radio program with an audience of self-described “dittoheads” and Obama is the leader of the free world. But this is typical of Fox Nation. Here is a small sampling of prior headlines that have graced this alleged “news” site:

  • Newt Obliterates OWS: ‘Go Get A Job Right After You Take A Bath
  • Allen West Obliterates Obama Official at Hearing
  • Flashback: Bill O’Reilly Obliterates Barney Frank
  • Bush Official Obliterates Code Pink Founder Over Krugman Column
  • CBO Director Obliterates Obama Budget
  • Limbaugh Demolishes Warren Buffett
  • Laura Ingraham Completely Demolishes Matt Lauer on ‘Today Show’
  • Wow! McCain Demolishes Boxer
  • O’Reilly Demolishes Liberal Hypocrisy
  • GOP Ad Destroys Obama with His Own Words
  • AP Fact Check Destroys Obama’s Libya Speech
  • FLASHBACK: Herman Cain Destroys Bill Clinton in Hillarycare Debate
  • Paul Ryan Destroys Reid Bill in Blistering Speech
  • Krauthammer Destroys Obama’s ‘Spike the Football’ Analogy
  • MUST WATCH: Gov. Christie Destroys ‘Thin-Skinned’ Reporter
  • LISTEN: Howard Stern Destroys Dem Senate Candidate
  • WATCH: Trump Destroys Mosque-Loving ‘Morning Joe’ Panel
  • O’Reilly Destroys Eminem and Media Matters
  • Politifact Annihilates Harry Reid
  • Must See! Cheney’s Daughter Annihilates MSNBC Anchor
  • O’Reilly Crushes Atheist Richard Dawkins
  • Palin Crushes TIME Magazine Over Their ‘Lies’
  • George Will Crushes ABC Panel
  • SHOWDOWN: Rubio Torches Kerry on Senate Floor
  • Risqué GOP Ad Torches Harry Reid for Vegas Blowout
  • ‘The Fact Checker’ Nukes Pelosi
  • Ann Coulter Goes Nuclear on Scott Walker
  • Mark Levin Goes Nuclear Over Obama Destroying the Country
  • Trump Goes Nuclear on CNBC
  • Levin Goes Nuclear on Trump

By Fox News standards any time someone criticizes someone else they are either obliterated, demolished, destroyed, annihilated, crushed, torched, or nuked. Particularly if the criticism is directed to President Obama or a Democrat. And I didn’t even check my thesaurus to come up with other histrionic synonyms Fox might have employed.

The one thread that runs through all of this is how overtly hostile and violent their editorial rhetoric is. Clearly Fox regards their mission as one of war against their ideological adversaries. And given the fact that their audience consists of an inordinate percentage of fairly unbalanced and well-armed individuals, this is irresponsible and potentially dangerous.

As Newt Gingrich once said, the Tea Party is “the militant wing of the Republican Party.” And Fox News is their Clarion Caller.

Sarah Palin: From Grizzly Mama To Harley Mama

The Fox News Party candidate for president and former half-term governor, Sarah Palin, did what she does best this Memorial Day weekend: Exploit others to promote herself.

Palin and Fox are playing an unethical and dishonest game to fatten their wallets. When will Fox News either admit that they know she isn’t running for president, or take her off the air until she comes clean? And more importantly, when will the brain-dead media stop salivating every time the Palin bell rings? The press has no more business hyping substanceless photo-ops for Sarah Palin than they would for Ronald McDonald.

By the way, what’s the difference between Fox News and McDonald’s? One sells cheap crap with lots of filler & seasoning to masses with no taste. The other is a fast food restaurant.

[Update] Palin spoke to Greta Van Susteren of Fox News (of course) and complained about the media saying “this isn’t a campaign tour.” and that “it’s not about me, it’s not a publicity-seeking tour.” Of course not. She is only traveling around in a massive custom bus with full exterior graphics of herself and her non-campaign logo, One Nation (stolen from the union rally last year in Washington, D.C.). Clearly she just wants to be left alone.

Palin also said “I’m like A) I don’t think I owe anything to the mainstream media.” First of all, I want to point out that there was no B or C, etc. She keeps her lists short as befits her attention span. Secondly, I agree with her. she doesn’t owe anything to the mainstream media, and they owe nothing to her. Stop following her, dumbasses!

Irony Alert: Greta Van Susteren Questions Juan Williams’ Credibility

In a recent appearance on Fox News, Juan Williams made an observation that most thinking people would regard as objectively true when he said that Sarah Palin “can’t stand on the intellectual stage with Obama.” Even most Republicans don’t think Palin has the qualifications to be president, and many are simply embarrassed by her frequent incoherent Facebookings and Tweets.

But Palin’s Fox News colleague, Greta Van Susteren, is not amongst them. In response to Williams’ comment Van Susteren took to her blog to question Williams’ journalistic credibility and to ask whether he had ever interviewed the Tea Hag, implying that if he had not his opinion is irrelevant. Says Van Susteren:

“Knowing the source of a journalist’s information helps you judge whether it is good information or just yak. […] Knowing if he interviewed (first hand knowledge) either and to what depth can help guide you as to whether you should credit his opinion or not.”

Really? Then it should be noted that Van Susteren is a personal friend of Palin and that her husband has been an advisor on Palin’s staff for years. This is something that Van Susteren fails to disclose when she defends Palin, as she often does.

What’s more, if Van Susteren is going to make the absurd contention that no one can have an opinion of a public figure without having first interviewed them, would she apply that standard to herself? Would she apply it to Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Megyn Kelly, and everyone else on Fox News, or in all of the media? (This would put a lot of pundits out of work which, come to think of it, may not be such a bad idea). Or does it only apply to people with whom she disagrees when they are critical of her friends and her husband’s clients? For Van Susteren to pass judgment on Williams in this manner says more about her own lack of journalistic standards than it does of his.

However, both Williams and Van Susteren may have bigger problems. They are both in violation of their boss’s edict to refrain from criticizing fellow Fox Newsers. Williams attacked Palin whereupon Van Susteren attacked Williams. On a prior occasion when Fox insiders were complaining publicly about Glenn Beck, Roger Ailes said

“Yeah, shut up. You’re getting a paycheck. Go on the team or get off the team. Don’t run around here badmouthing a colleague.”

You think Ailes will be having a talk with these two malcontents?

Sarah Palin’s Real American Fluff Gets Soft Reception

See the entire Malice in Wonderland

If Fox News thought they had the next big thing locked up when they signed Sarah Palin, they may be having second thoughts today.

The broadcast of Sarah Palin’s Real American Fluff Pieces, a collection of old clips that were supposed to be inspirational, probably did not inspire much excitement in the Fox News executive suites. The audience, while besting the competition, was not particularly impressive for Fox. In fact, Palin had fewer viewers than Greta Van Susteren’s On the Record, the program she preempted. There were only about 2 million real Americans tuning into Palin’s show (472K adults 25-54). That compares to Van Susteren’s 2.3 million viewers (654K 25-54) last Thursday and 2.1 million (559K 25-54) average for the first quarter of 2010.

From a critical perspective, the reviews are in, and they aren’t lighting up the Fox Towers. Most of the comments employ adjectives like “tame,” “canned,” “stiffness,” “innocuous,” and “disconnected.” If this is her out-of-town tryout, she isn’t going on to Broadway.

It’s fair to assume that Palin is well compensated for her efforts on behalf of Fox News. I haven’t seen any disclosures of her salary but she gets a minimum of $100,000 for speaking engagements, so you can bet she got a gold-plated contract from her pal Rupert Murdoch. Nevertheless, her numbers would have put her in seventh place in the cable news rankings following Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Special Report w/Bret Baier, Van Susteren, and Fox Report w/Shepard Smith. She did manage to beat Neil Cavuto and an O’Reilly rerun.

Somehow, I don’t think this is what Roger Ailes had in mind when he dropped a pile of cash on her. Of course, this is not her only duties at Fox. She also provides commentary to programs like Van Susteren’s and O’Reilly’s. Well, commentary may be too generous a description. It’s more like a litany of platitudes and cliches that she probably wrote on her palm. Even her colleague Chris Wallace dressed her down on the air – to her face – saying, “Well, you’re not a very good analyst.” Palin responded by inviting Ailes to fire her. That notion might have entered his mind this morning when he saw the overnights.

Yesterday’s program got off to a rocky start when one of the featured guests, LL Cool J, revealed that he had never spoken to Fox or Palin and that the interview was a two year old clip that he had not given permission to rebroadcast for this purpose. Fox responded by insulting him and cutting him out of the show. Shortly after, Toby Keith, another featured guest, made the same complaint as LL Cool J. Oddly enough, the white country singer was neither insulted nor edited out, as the black rapper/actor was.

Fox News is the most profitable division of Murdoch’s News Corp. Over the past few years their ratings have grown and they’ve renegotiated richer contracts with cable operators. But business decisions like the Palin signing are not going to add to the company’s future prospects. They are already suffering the embarrassment of having their second highest rated program, Glenn Beck, going to air with advertising for diet pills and gold recyclers because Ford and Wal-Mart don’t want to be associated with him.

Under the circumstances, I’m not sure that Murdoch and Ailes can possibly think that they are getting their money’s worth from Beck or Palin. But that doesn’t mean they won’t continue to carry them. Murdoch has sunk hundreds of millions of dollars into the New York Post and it has never been profitable for as long as he’s owned it. He purchased the Wall Street Journal for $5 billion and last year wrote off $2 billion of that. He has been deficit financing the Fox Business Network for over two years with still no sign of it going into the black. In short, he’s made of money and doesn’t care how much of it he loses in pursuit of his political agenda.

That ought to come as a great relief to Sarah Palin after this disastrous debut as an anchor.

All You Need To Know About Rush Limbaugh

In another in a series of Fox News PR events for Republican dickwads, Greta Van Susteren hosted Rush Limbaugh, giving him two days of airtime on her show. There is a great deal of inane banter to be mined from this auto-neurotic strokefest, but I’ll just focus on one brief segment wherein Van Susteren sought to ascertain Limbaugh’s preference for President in 2012:

VAN SUSTEREN: But not in terms of horse race. I’m looking at who do you sort of, from an ideology point of view, do you think is the smartest or best candidate in your mind now?

LIMBAUGH: Well, that’s — I don’t want to answer that criteria, smartest and best. I’m looking right now at who can win.

That about says it all. Limbaugh, and the Republican establishment, is unconcerned with intelligence or qualifications. They just want any old douchebag who can pull in some votes. That would explain George W. Bush back in 2000. It would likewise explain Sarah Palin who, as it turns out, is the candidate that Limbaugh singles out for her ability to excite audiences and frighten Democrats.

For the record, there isn’t a Republican on the horizon that would thrill me more as their candidate in 2012 than Sarah Palin. In fact, a Palin/Steele ticket would be a dream come true. I’m not sure who Limbaugh thinks is afraid of her. Every Democrat I know is praying for her to be the nominee. The only thing I’m afraid of is that she’ll flame out before the campaign gets started.

It is notable that Van Susteren specifically requested that Limbaugh answer her question “not in terms of horse race.” Limbaugh completely ignored that request and gave a response that centered solely on the horse race and his preference for a winning candidate over one who is smart or best suited for the job. Then this hypocrite has the gall to say that he cares about the United States and the American people. And to compound his hypocrisy he follows that up with:

LIMBAUGH: “It’s not about — it’s not about personalities. It’s not about horse races. It’s about the country.”

He really needs to make up his mind. First he refuses to answer a question about what is best for the country in favor of his assessment of the horse race. Then he says it isn’t about the horse race at all.

And there are people who really buy this garbage?