FLASHBACK: Before Fox News Attacked The IRS, They Embraced It To Attack Media Matters

In researching the recent controversies over the IRS and its alleged targeting of conservative non-profits, I stumbled across an article I wrote two years ago that unveils yet another blatant hypocrisy from Fox News (as if more were necessary to make the point). The current programming on Fox is dedicated almost non-stop to hammering the Obama administration for the misbehavior of low-level IRS staff. The story has even supplanted their previous pet scandal, Benghazi. And despite making broad accusations of complicity by the President, they have failed to provide even a smidgen of evidence that he had any role in the way that non-profits were selected for review.

That simple fact, however, has not stopped Fox from launching a sustained campaign of outrage aimed at the IRS, which they now regard as a totalitarian agency bent on destroying America and freedom. But it was not always thus. Not too long ago, Fox News was happy to use the IRS as a cudgel against their own perceived enemies. They embarked on mission to wipe the watchdog group Media Matters off the face of the earth. It was a weeks-long effort that included dozens of broadcast segments explicitly recruiting their viewers to file falsified complaints challenging the tax-exempt status of Media Matters. In the process they brought in pundits, and lawyers, and even their in-house “Psycho Analyst” to paint a disparaging portrait of the organization and its founder.

Fox News - Media Matters

The irony of Fox using the IRS to harass a non-profit organization just because they disagree agree with it will surely be lost on everyone at Fox and everyone who watches it. Below is the article re-posted in full because it is still as relevant today as it was then. Actually more so, with the addition of Fox’s newly minted contempt for the IRS.


Media Matters Has Fox News Scared And Desperate

[July 11, 2011] In the untamed jungle that is cable news, there is a ferocious and predatory beast stalking the terrain. Anyone who has encountered Fox News in the wild can attest to the spine-chilling threat imposed by the pseudo-news network. And now Fox News has the scent of new game.

The Fox News pack is on the prowl for the media watchdog group, Media Matters, against whom they have recently initiated a sustained assault. In the past two weeks they have featured over 30 stories with the express purpose of challenging the group’s right to exist. Fox has assigned network stalwarts like Bill O’Reilly, Bret Baier, Charles Krauthammer, James Rosen, Ann Coulter, Dick Morris, and Bernie Goldberg, to the mission. This is an unprecedented, broadly distributed attack by a major media enterprise against a non-profit group they regard as an adversary.

This latest batch of complaints stem from comments made last March by Media Matters founder, David Brock. He was quoted in Politico as saying that the organization was shifting its focus toward Fox News to one of “guerrilla warfare and sabotage.” Giving Fox the benefit of doubt, one might conclude that it’s only fair that Fox defend itself from such an overt declaration of war. The only thing that might refute that perspective is – reality.

If this is war, it is one wherein Fox is the aggressor. Fox News initiated their attacks long ago with aggressive and false assertions that cast Media Matters as hacks, anti-American, violent, and communist. They alleged that George Soros was pulling their strings long before Soros ever made any contributions the group. Fox stalwarts like Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck engaged in rhetoric so hostile that it inspired actual physical attacks against Media Matters and their progressive allies. This video (courtesy of Media Matters) was posted two years ago and illustrates the hostility harbored across the Fox platform long before Brock’s recent comments:

The new and highly coordinated offensive by Fox asserts that Media Matters has violated the terms of their tax-exempt status by setting their sights on Fox. They quote from the IRS rules governing non-profits that state that…

“…501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.”

On the basis of that criteria, Fox News argues that Media Matters is in violation and should have their tax-exempt status revoked. However, in order for that to be valid, Fox would have to admit that they are a political operation so that attacks on Fox News would qualify as opposition to political campaigns and/or candidates. Without that stipulation there is no violation on the part of Media Matters. So Fox is, in effect, conceding their role as a Republican mouthpiece. Shocking, I know.

Contine reading

Fox News Makes Shameful Attack On MSNBC’s Touré

In a Fox News op-ed, Dan Gainor, of the uber-conservative Media Research Center, hurled some disparaging and nearly incoherent insults at Touré, one of the hosts of MSNBC’s The Cycle.

Gainor took issue with a commentary Touré delivered (video below) about the GOP’s unfounded and politically-motivated attack on UN ambassador Susan Rice. Touré made some rather cogent points about the spectacle Rice’s critics, particularly Sen. John McCain, were making over a manufactured controversy. McCain and others seem feverishly obsessed with Amb. Rice’s comments on a number of Sunday news programs regarding Benghazi. Any fair observer would have to recognize that what Rice said was provided to her by intelligence authorities and was the best information available (or permitted to be disclosed) at the time. But fair observation is not the business that Gainor and the MRC are in.

Gainor’s tirade was topped with a headline that read “MSNBC Anchor Touré makes shameful attack on McCain.” What constitutes shamefulness to Gainor is hard to figure. His specific complaints were that Touré was playing the “race card” in his remarks. But Gainor’s examples were not the least bit focused on race. For instance, Gainor cited Touré saying that McCain…

“…gave us the horrible optics of he and Lindsey Graham as old, white, establishment folks wrongly and repeatedly attacking a much younger black woman moments after an election in which blacks and women went strongly blue.”

Gainor’s shallow grasp of the English language resulted in his interpreting that as a racial criticism of McCain. However, the rest of the English speaking world would notice that Touré was speaking about the “optics” of the criticism, not whether there was any actual racism involved. Touré was plainly addressing the potential harm for the Republican Party in being perceived as insensitive to racial and gender issues by repeatedly attacking minorities and women. That’s not an accusation of racism or sexism, it is an acknowledgement that the subjects of such attacks might be less likely to support those who make the attacks. That’s not only common sense, it is precisely what occurred on election day a couple of weeks ago. And to affirm how cognitively-challenged Gainor is, he added this as further evidence of Touré’s alleged race-baiting:

“Never one to ignore a chance to paint all Republicans as racist, he added one more dig: ‘Looks like the GOP is already laying the foundation for losing in 2016.’”

How is that one more “dig” that paints anyone as racist? If anything, it is one more affirmation that Touré was speaking only about political matters. Nevertheless, Gainor is determined to turn this into a “shameful” racial affair. With that purpose in mind Gainor reached back to a September column wherein Touré wrote “Part of my job when I speak about politics is to speak up for black people and say things black people need said.” If Gainor thinks that that is shameful, he needs an EKG EEG stat, because there is good reason to suspect that there is no brain activity going on his head. The reason that it is important to have diversity in the media is precisely because it provides perspectives that otherwise would not be represented. Our media is enhanced by the inclusion of minorities and women who say the things that these previously excluded members of society need said.

Notwithstanding the fact that Gainor’s tantrum over Touré’s commentary was ridiculous and he failed to identify anything remotely racial about it, Fox News is demonstrably racist and the evidence of that is in its coverage. While it may be too broad to say that Fox’s attacks on Amb. Rice alone constitute racism, take a look at some of the most prominent targets of Fox’s smear machine and ask yourself what they have in common:

Fox News Racism

That pretty much says it all. If Touré had wanted to make an issue of racism, he would have plenty of evidence.

Succumbing To Desperation: Fox News’ Loony Last Days Of The Election

As hard as it seems to believe after an interminably long and divisive campaign, election day is upon us in just four short days. And with momentum shifting toward President Obama, Fox News is pulling out all the stops to find something – anything – to smear the President and grease the skids for Oily Mitt Romney. But this is getting ridiculous…

Fox Nation Smears

These articles are bordering on Dadaist absurdity in their wild flailing about for subjects of attack. If anything, this only makes Fox look more desperate and childish than they usually do.

For Fox to note that there are New Yorkers who are still struggling with the devastation of Superstorm Sandy is not exactly news. Every projection of the impact of the storm prior to its arrival made it clear that there was going to be severe damage and that recovery would take weeks, if not months. But to ask “Where’s Obama,” as if he should be delivering cans of soup from the back of a van is ludicrous. The truth is that Obama’s federal response is managing a variety of agencies working on restoration of power, cleanup, rebuilding, and rescue and medical attention. On top of that, CNN reported that…

“The federal government shipped one million meals Thursday to New York, where National Guard troops were distributing them to people in need, [New York Governor Andrew] Cuomo told reporters.”

Obama has cut red tape to declare disaster status and accelerate aid. And he has been universally praised by the local authorities, including political adversaries like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Where’s Obama? Right where he should be – in charge and showing leadership.

The other daft article by Fox was a reporting of a column from the Daily Caller, a right-wing rag run by Fox News contributor Tucker Carlson. The headline snidely asks if Obama had a grade-point average of 2.6 while at Columbia University. But as if to refute their own brash slander, the second paragraph of the story says…

“The 2.6 grade can’t be confirmed, is contradicted by some evidence, and it doesn’t say anything about the courses, professors and associations Obama was immersed in during his two-year stay in Columbia.”

They why fu heck print it? This is the lengths that the right will go to tarnish the President on the eve of the election. It has nothing to with his record, his leadership, or his vision for the future. It reaches back twenty years to speculate about something that they admit they have no evidence of. However, if they are determined to bring up Obama’s academic history they could just mention that he graduated from Harvard Law Magna Cum Laud. That’s verifiable and a clear indication of his scholastic excellence. It’s interesting that Fox continues to be obsessed with Obama’s decades old school files but isn’t the least bit interested in Mitt Romney’s tax returns, which are far more relevant to the question of fitness to serve as president.

Fox News NewsBustersThis sort of reporting brings Fox down to the level of the broadly ridiculed “challenge” by Donald Trump to ransom Obama’s academic records in exchange for five million dollars. The tone of Fox’s reporting just keeps getting sillier. That may be because they have handed off their editorial duties to the uber-conservative Media Research Center and their comically inept NewsBusters. Recently Fox stacked their op-ed page with content exclusively acquired from MRC/NewsBusters. Fox seems to have outsourced their opinion pages to one of the most partisan GOP flacks in the nation. The four articles featured were by Noel Sheppard, Tim Graham, Clay Waters, and Dan Gainor, all MRC/NewsBusters hacks.

This actually isn’t too surprising considering that Fox’s former chief anchor, Brit Hume, effusively credited MRC when he retired from the anchor desk saying…

“I want to say a word, however, of thanks to Brent and the team at the Media Research Center [...] for the tremendous amount of material that the Media Research Center provided me for so many years when I was anchoring Special Report, I don’t know what we would’ve done without them. It was a daily buffet of material to work from, and we certainly made tremendous use of it.”

Just four more days. Thank God. How much more preposterous do you think Fox can get in that brief window of opportunity? Will we see articles blaming Obama for extreme weather catastrophes? Will they charge him with murdering American ambassadors? Will they find his Kenyan passport in a shoebox along with love letters from Hugo Chavez? Don’t rule it out. Desperation causes strange and deranged behavior. And Fox is already exhibiting symptoms of Obama Dementia Disease (ODD).

A Pictorial Presentation Of The Polling Schizophrenia At Fox News

It may seriously be time to have the folks at Fox committed to an institution for evaluation. They have become utterly unhinged, particularly with regard to election polling which is notoriously volatile. So without further ado, here’s a graphic illustration of the depths of their dementia.

First, Fox News loves polls and posts them abundantly when Romney is ahead:

Fox Nation Polls - Romney Ahead

Then Fox News hates polls and banishes them when Obama surges into the lead:

Fox News Polls - Obama Ahead

Then Fox News loves polls again when Romney gets a post-debate bump:

Fox Nation Polls - Romney Bump

They are leading their audience on a roller coaster ride of propaganda and censorship as they shift from celebrating positive electoral news to suppressing the negative. Fox is so determined to shut out anything that might challenge their delusions that they even fail to report their own Fox News polls if Obama is ahead.

Fox Nation Polls - Except Fox

That’s how important it is to them to make sure their audience remains ignorant. And all the while they seem to think that it’s liberals who are fooling themselves.

Fox News Polls Liberals

The article above was written by Dan Gainor of the uber-conservative Media Research Center. The MRC recently launched a campaign to get people to stop watching what they call the “mainstream” media which, of course, doesn’t include Fox News, the highest rated cable news network. That’s really just a campaign to put blinders on the eyes of their right-wing disciples to keep them from being tainted by honest journalism and diverse opinions.

It’s ironic that Gainor is criticizing liberals for disparaging a poll when conservatives are the ones that are totally blocking out any polls they don’t happen to like. They spent hours on the air alleging that the media is deliberately skewing the polls. But what’s worse is that Gainor is making up his allegation that liberals attacked the Pew poll. There is nothing in his article that supports that charge. In fact, quite the contrary. While Gainor cited the Daily Beast’s Andrew Sullivan and the New York Times’ Nate Silver, neither of them criticized Pew’s survey. And Gainor thoroughly misrepresented the column by Joshua Holland of Alternet saying that Holland’s column “could be summed up in one word: disbelieve!” For the record, here is what Holland had to say about whether the Pew poll should be dismissed:

“No. That’s making the same fundamental error as the “poll truthers” on the right. [...] Good polls using industry standard methodology can and do find wide variation in party ID – leave the trutherism to the nutjobs at Fox News.”

At no point did Holland say to “disbelieve” Pew or any other poll. In fact, his column is a great resource for understanding and evaluating polling in their proper context and is highly recommended reading. It offers a calm and sane approach to analyzing news, as opposed to the feverish ravings of the FoxPods who accuse all of the media of skewing all of the polls – that is, until the polls favor their candidate.

The only thing Gainor’s article does is affirm the dishonesty of the right and their obsessive determination with controlling the thinking of their cultish followers. His fabrications are surely part of the reason that readers and viewers of Fox News are so lost in a muddle of conflicting fantasies. Generally when someone is this detached from reality they are taken somewhere where they cannot present a risk to themselves or others. Unfortunately, these deluded souls are still allowed to drive automobiles and, worse, to vote.

Conservative Leaders Urge Their Followers To Become Even More Stupid

It has been proven in multiple studies that consumers of conservative media (particularly Fox News) are significantly less knowledgeable about current affairs than those who favor other media or even those who consume no news at all.

Nevertheless, it is conservatives who whine incessantly about an illusionary liberal media bias. It is astonishing how they can convince themselves that these giant, international, multi-billion dollar, conglomerates are somehow aligned to a socialist ideology that would rob them of their wealth and independence.

As if the present ignorance of the right-wing masses were not already disturbingly severe, a group of conservative organizations and authorities just issued an open letter calling on their minions to “Tune out the Liberal Media” and cease their exposure to the evil leftist press. The letter enumerates a set of perceived grievances and concludes with this desperate appeal:

“We the undersigned – representing millions of Americans from our respective organizations – are now publicly urging our members to seek out alternative sources of political news in order to make an intelligent, well-informed decision on November 6.”

Oh great. Now the least informed segment of society is being coerced to voluntarily make themselves even more stupid by constricting their media access to a narrow and partisan assemblage of right-wing propaganda and blind conservative boosterism. That’ll help.

The aforementioned list of grievances in the letter is a tired collection of debunked conspiracy theories, misrepresentations of news events, and Republican talking points. Certainly the audience to whom the letter is directed has already been sufficiently misinformed on these matters. So what goal do the letter’s co-signers have in beseeching their readers to abstain from watching a more diverse selection of media? The only plausible purpose is to insure that they remain untainted by alternative viewpoints so that they can be more easily manipulated by their conservative masters. Obviously there is some lack of confidence in the ability of conservatives to digest broad-based information and make up their own minds.

The signers of the letter are a who’s who of right-wing disinformation, starting with the head of the uber-rightist Media Research Center, Brent Bozell. Other notables include Gary Bauer, President of Campaign for American Values; Matt Kibbe, President and CEO of FreedomWorks; Laura Ingraham, National Radio Host; Amy Kremer, Chairman of Tea Party Express; Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council; and, of course, Rush Limbaugh. These are the people who are complaining about bias in the media? And their appeal was posted as a news story on the front page of the Fox News web site where there has never been a hint of bias.

Fox News Bias Alert

I think it’s a great idea to sequester the lunatic fringe to an asylum inhabited by their own kind. Then they won’t bother the rest of us with their delusions of Kenyan usurpers, climate science deniers, and fables of Jesus riding on dinosaurs. They can amuse each other with their shared distortions of reality, listen to Ron Paul books on tape, and swap stories about their gold coin collections and dehydrated survivalist dinner packets.

We’ll be here taking care of things while they’re gone, and tending to the problems of the real world. Should they ever decide to rejoin us they will find history, and diversity of opinion still in tact.

Showing Their True Colors: Fox News Embraces Incivility

Pray for Fox NewsLast week the results of a study were released that measured the public’s perception of incivility in the media. Not surprisingly, Fox News had the honor of being viewed as the most uncivil news network.

This in itself is hardly news. What is immensely more interesting is that Fox News is actually proud of their exceptional rudeness. Today Fox News published an editorial by the uber-rightist Media Research Center’s VP of Business and Culture, Dan Gainor. The article took exception to remarks by President Obama’s political adviser, David Axelrod, who came out in opposition to hecklers and other rude behavior intended to disrupt campaign speeches. Axelrod said…

“I strongly condemn heckling along Mitt’s route. Shouting folks down is their tactic, not ours. Let voters hear both candidates and decide.”

Axelrod was speaking to fellow Democrats and admonishing them to refrain from the sort of vulgarities that too often mar appearances by candidates from either side. He even went so far as to say that, even if Republicans employ these tactics, polite Democrats ought not to. So how was this plea for civility received by Gainor?

He immediately mocked the left as “the party of Occupy Wall Street fanatics [and] gay glitter bombers,” and assailed them for their “Alinsky-esque tactics.” He embarked on a rant blaming Democrats for every instance of poor behavior, while dismissing any rudeness by Republicans, including the recent episode where a Daily Caller “reporter” interrupted a presidential address.

Then, inexplicably, Gainor went off on a tangent where he seemed to cease to understand what heckling is. Amongst those he accused of being hecklers were Occupy protesters who objected to police abuse, journalists who complained when they were prohibited from covering a public event, and audience members who expressed disapproval of a speaker’s comments.

In conclusion, Gainor asserted that “Axelrod and the left are scared. They saw that Romney fought hard against opponents in the primary,” and he promised that Republicans would fight back. He growled that “if Obama can’t cage his lefty animals, the GOP will respond in kind. You’d think Axelrod would like it.”

That’s the right’s response to a top Obama adviser declaring that all of the childish heckling and rudeness, no matter what side, is inappropriate and should stop. Axelrod even used the word “condemn” to describe his feeling on the matter. Yet Gainor comes away from that statement with the impression that Axelrod “likes” public vulgarity.

It is that sort of incoherent reasoning that makes it nearly impossible to deal with narrow-minded ideologues like Gainor. And it explains why most people surveyed view Fox News as the most uncivil network in the news business. What was unexpected was that Fox would publish an editorial essentially bragging about being more repulsive than any other kid on the block. OK, Fox…you win. Congratulations.

Right-Wing Racists Ask: Where Da White Women At?

If you think that’s funny, you should hear the remarks made by Tim Graham, the Director of Media Analysis for the uber-conservative Media Research Center. In an interview with NRA News, Graham was curious as to why the press refrained from reporting a particular aspect of President Obama’s past:

“…they talked about his white girlfriends in college. Which again you would think that would be a story that a news media that is so conscious about race seemed to not think that was an interesting development, that Obama had these white girlfriends.”

Really? Why exactly would that be an “interesting development?” Is there something wrong with interracial relationships? Was Graham disturbed that the purity of his white sisters was being defiled by a young black man? How would he have the media report this scandalous revelation? And what relevance does he think it has to the presidential election today?

Graham has outted himself as a most vile bigot. He pretends that there is some social significance to the fact that Obama had white girlfriends, but the reality of it is that he’s just plain racist. And this is a theme that right-wingers have attempted to sneak into the campaign ever since Obama emerged as a national figure. Last year Fox Nation posted this thinly disguised racial attack on Obama.

Fox Nation White Women

It’s five months before the election and already the conservative haters are loading their attacks with overtly racist themes. And then they complain when people correctly point out their flaming prejudice. Well I have one message for them: If you don’t like being called racist, stop being racist.

The Fox Effect: The Book That Terrifies Roger Ailes And Fox News

A new book from Media Matters was just released that chronicles the history of Fox News and explains how a small group of wealthy, politically connected conservative partisans conspired to build a pseudo-news network with the intent of advancing the right-wing agenda of the Republican Party. And that network, known for its drooling anti-liberalism, is scared spitless.

The Fox Effect: How Roger Ailes Turned a Network into a Propaganda Machine, was written by David Brock and Ari Rabin-Havt (and others) of Media Matters. It begins by looking back at the early career of Fox News CEO Roger Ailes and his role as a media consultant for Republican politicians, including former president Richard Nixon. From the start Ailes was a brash, creative proponent of the power of television to influence a mass audience. He guided the media-challenged Nixon through a treacherous new era of news and political PR, and his experiences formed the basis for what would become his life’s grand achievement: a “news” network devoted to a political party, its candidates, and its platform.

When Ailes partnered with international newspaper mogul Rupert Murdoch to launch a new 24 hour cable news channel, he was given an unprecedented measure of control to shape the network’s business and ideology. The Fox Effect examines the underpinnings of the philosophy that Ailes brought to the venture. His earliest observations exhibit an appreciation for the tabloid-style sensationalism that would become a hallmark of Fox’s reporting. Ailes summed it up in an interview in 1988 as something he called his “orchestra pit theory” of politics:

“If you have two guys on stage and one guy says ‘I have a solution to the Middle East problem,’ and the other guy falls into the orchestra pit, who do you think is going to be on the evening news?”

That’s the sort of thinking that produced Fox’s promotion of hollering town hall protesters during the health care debate and their focus on lurid but phony issues like death panels. It is a flavor of journalism that elevates melodrama over factual discourse.

This article also appears on Alternet.org.

The book exposes how Fox was more of a participant in the news than a reporter of it. Through interviews with Fox insiders and leaked internal communications, The Fox Effect documents the depths to which the network collaborated with political partisans to invent stories with the intent of manipulating public opinion. The authors reveal memos from the Washington managing editor of Fox News, Bill Sammon, directing anchors and reporters on how to present certain subjects. For instance, he ordered them never to use the term “public option” when referring to health insurance reform. Focus group testing by Fox pollster Frank Luntz had found that the phrase “government option” left a more negative impression, and they were instructed to use that instead.

There is a chapter on the Tea Party that describes how integral Fox was to its inception and development. The network literally branded the fledgling movement as FNC Tea Parties and dispatched its top anchors to host live broadcasts from rallies. The Fox Effect also details the extensive coverage devoted to the deceitfully edited videos that brought down ACORN. Fox was instrumental in promoting the story and stirring up a public backlash that resulted in congressional investigations and loss of funding. The book followed the story from Andrew Breitbart’s new and little known BigGovernment blog to Glenn Beck’s conspiracy factory to the wall-to-wall coverage it enjoyed on Fox’s primetime. This chapter is where the authors introduce what they call “The Six Steps” that Fox employs to create national controversies:

  • STEP 1: Conservative activists introduce the lie.
  • STEP 2: Fox News devotes massive coverage to the story.
  • STEP 3: Fox attacks other outlets for ignoring the controversy.
  • STEP 4: Mainstream outlets begin reporting on the story.
  • STEP 5: Media critics, pundits praise Fox News’s coverage.
  • STEP 6: The story falls apart once the damage has been done.

This is a pattern that has played out with varying degrees of success. Fox used this blueprint to engineer the career-ending slander of presidential adviser Van Jones and Department of Agriculture official Shirley Sherrod. But the strategy was less effective when used against Attorney General Eric Holder and Planned Parenthood, although not for lack of effort.

These, and other examples of deliberate bias, illustrate why most neutral observers regard Fox News as the PR arm of the Republican Party. The Fox Effect makes a convincing case to affirm that view and even offers admissions to that effect by Fox insiders. It is a damning exposé of how a political operative and a right-wing billionaire built a propaganda machine thinly disguised as a news network. The research and documentation are extensive and compelling.

For that reason, Fox News has mounted an unprecedented attack on Media Matters in advance of the book’s release. [Note: Actually it's not so unprecedented. Fox set the precedent itself last year with a sustained campaign to do tangible harm by tacking an article to the top of the Fox Nation web site with a headline that read "Want to File an IRS Complaint Against Media Matters? Click Here..."] In the week prior to publication of The Fox Effect, Fox News broadcast no fewer than a dozen derogatory segments across all dayparts and on their most popular programs, including The O’Reilly Factor, Hannity, Fox & Friends, etc. It was the sort of blanket coverage usually reserved for a natural disaster, a declaration of war, or a lewd TwitPic of a politician. The attacks never contained any substantive argument or even example of error on the part of Media Matters. However, they are brimming with the most nasty form of personal invective imaginable.

The basis for the Fox News broadcasts was a series of articles by the Daily Caller (TDC), the conservative web site of Tucker Carlson, who just happens to also be on the Fox News payroll. The gist of the story, as described by TDC, is that Media Matters is manipulating news organizations, coordinating messaging with the White House, and struggling to cope with the “volatile and erratic behavior” of Brock, whom TDC alleges is mentally ill. TDC never reveals from where they got their psychiatric credentials, nor when they had an opportunity to examine and diagnose Brock. Likewise, they never reveal where they got any of the other information for the allegations they make against Media Matters as every source is anonymous.

Media analysts have universally condemned TDC’s reporting. Howard Kurtz interviewed author Vince Coglianese on CNN’s Reliable Sources and assailed the absence of any evidence to corroborate the allegations of his anonymous sources. Coglianese could not even confirm that events alleged in the article ever occurred. He laughably argued that the absence of a denial from Brock was evidence of guilt, rather than a simple disinclination to raise the profile of a poorly written article. Jack Shafer wrote for Reuters that “the Daily Caller is attacking Media Matters with bad journalism and lame propaganda.”

Media Matters was created to document conservative media bias and work to implement reforms that would produce more balanced reporting. Yet, Fox is confused by the fact that Media Matters’ research is cited by progressive organizations and publishers. The grunt work of aggregating video and other reporting is appreciated by those who use Media Matters materials. Much of it is provided without any editorializing. The right has always been fearful of any entity that would simply record their disinformation, nonsense, and hostility, and then hold them accountable for it. But they have yet to criticize NewsBusters or their parent organization, the Media Research Center, despite the cozy relationship they have with Fox News. Brit Hume, the former managing editor of Fox News, however, was abundantly grateful:

Hume: I want to say a word, however, of thanks to Brent [Bozell] and the team at the Media Research Center [...] for the tremendous amount of material that the Media Research Center provided me for so many years when I was anchoring Special Report, I don’t know what we would’ve done without them. It was a daily buffet of material to work from, and we certainly made tremendous use of it.

Joining in on the assault is the Fox Nation web site that is engaged in a relentless barrage of critical articles with disturbingly insulting and hyperbolic headlines. For instance:

  • Is Media Matters’ David Brock A ‘Dangerous’ Man?
  • Were Media Matters Donors Duped?
  • Inside Media Matters: Founder Believed to be Regularly Using Illegal Drugs, Including Cocaine.

But even those paled in comparison to what Fox News was posting on the screen graphics that accompanied their broadcasts:

  • MEDIA MATTERS’ MONEY: David Brock is an admitted drug user
  • THE MONEY BEHIND THE MACHINE: David Brock committed to a quiet room
  • A LIBERAL INFLUENCE: Brock spent time in a mental ward

Fox News - Media Matters

Note that the subjects of the broadcasts were financial in nature. Fox was reporting on TDC’s discovery that Media Matters donors were largely progressive individuals and foundations (not exactly what one would call a scoop). However, Fox News appended assertions as to the mental stability of Brock, which had nothing to do with their topic. It was merely an opportunity for them to take swipes at a perceived enemy. And this mud-slinging occurred during what Fox regards as their “news” programming, not the evening hours that they designate as the opinion portion of their schedule.

In order to cement the impression that David Brock is a mental defective, unfit to lead any organization or to be given serious consideration, Fox News brought in their resident psycho analyst, “Dr” Keith Ablow. As a part of the Fox News Medical “A” Team, Ablow appeared on the air in a segment that painted Brock as seriously disturbed and even dangerous:

“If you are filled with self-loathing you will see demons on every street corner because you project that self-hatred. [...] He’s a dangerous man because having followers and waging war, as he says, or previously being a right-wing hitman, this isn’t accidental language. It’s about violence, destruction, and he feels destroyed in himself.”

This diagnosis was an invention by Ablow who has never examined Brock, or even met him. That in itself is a violation of the American Psychiatric Association’s Principles of Medical Ethics, something Ablow does not need to concern himself with because last year he was compelled to separate himself from the APA due to ethical “differences.”

This is actually the second time Ablow has appeared on Fox News with his absurd fantasies (or projections) about Brock. And Brock isn’t his only pretend patient. A few weeks ago he published an op-ed on FoxNews.com that praised Newt Gingrich’s serial infidelity as evidence of traits that would help him to make America stronger were he president. Seriously! And who could forget his deranged psycho analysis of President Obama?

If Fox News wants to engage in “remote” psychiatry they ought to at least be fair and balanced about it. However they pointedly make no mention of the reported paranoia of Fox News CEO Roger Ailes. No mention that he was cited as the reason that the NYPD provided police protection for the Fox headquarters at a cost of $500,000 a year to the people of New York. No mention of the obsessive fears described by Tim Dickinson in a Rolling Stone profile:

“Ailes is also deeply paranoid. Convinced that he has personally been targeted by Al Qaeda for assassination, he surrounds himself with an aggressive security detail and is licensed to carry a concealed handgun. [...] Murdoch installed Ailes in the corner office on Fox’s second floor at 1211 Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan. The location made Ailes queasy: It was close to the street, and he lived in fear that gay activists would try to attack him in retaliation over his hostility to gay rights. (In 1989, Ailes had broken up a protest of a Rudy Giuliani speech by gay activists, grabbing demonstrator by the throat and shoving him out the door.) Barricading himself behind a massive mahogany desk, Ailes insisted on having ‘bombproof glass’ installed in the windows – even going so far as to personally inspect samples of high-tech plexiglass, as though he were picking out new carpet.”

I really have to wonder if even the Fox News audience is so intellectually comatose that they wouldn’t recognize the feverish anxiety gushing from Fox in advance of the Media Matters book. A tree stump would notice that they are laying it on awfully thick. So the obvious question is what are they so afraid of? And the answer is that Fox News can no longer hide from their reputation as a dishonest purveyor of slanted propaganda and tabloid trash on behalf of a right-wing agenda and the political operatives who advance it and benefit from it.

The Fox Effect is a thoroughly documented investigation into the inner workings of both the organization and its principle managers and backers. It peels away the layers of the conservative cabal that has so effectively poisoned the public discourse on many significant issues. And like the fraudulent Wizard in the city of Oz, Fox wants us all to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain (Roger Ailes), or to the curtain (Fox News), or the corporation that controls it all (News Corp). And to that end Fox has embarked on a massive smear campaign to destroy the credibility of the book, its authors, and the organization that produced it. But Media Matters has already succeeded. As noted in the book’s epilogue:

“Fox News will no longer be able to conduct its campaign under the false pretense that the network is a journalistic institution. There is heightened awareness in the progressive community and in the general public of the damage Fox causes.”

And that is exactly what Fox is afraid of.

Fox News: The Most Powerful Propagandist Since Goebbels

Fox News waited until the last day of 2011 to publish the most absurdly hyperbolic piece of journalistic comedy/trash of the year. And that’s a high bar for Fox.

Dan Gainor is a VP for the Media Research Center, an ultra-conservative operation that exists to bash Democrats and advance the myth that the media is liberal. In an op-ed for Fox, Gainor breaks all records for overstatement and ironic tunnel-blindness. He begins the unintentionally hilarious article by declaring that the…

“Huffington Post, HuffPo, as it is sometimes called, has evolved from a simple news aggregator into one of the most sophisticated propaganda operations the world has ever seen. [...and that Arianna Huffington is...] the most powerful propagandist since a guy named Goebbels.”

That’s the kickoff to Gainor’s Fox News article that castigates Arianna Huffington and the Huffingtong Post as left-wing missionaries of fascism. [This just in: The CEO of Huffington Post/AOL, Tim Armstrong, has contributed the maximum donation this year to the presidential campaign of Mitt Romney.]

It doesn’t get much better after that. Gainor carelessly contradicts one of the primary edicts of conservative free marketing: that Fox News and talk radio are so abundantly successful because the media consuming public prefers the conservative message. He says of Huffington that…

“The site was started by political chameleon Arianna Huffington, who used to be conservative before she discovered it was far more lucrative to be liberal.”

There you have it. Apparently the people do want liberal media. From there Gainor goes into a diatribe against HuffPo that would make a much better tirade were it directed at Fox’s own Fox Nation. It’s astonishing how oblivious he is to the twisted irony of his words. For instance, he wonders aghast that “Everywhere you look on the site, Republicans and conservatives are doing something bad.” Replace “Republicans and conservatives” with “Democrats and liberals” and you have a perfect description of Fox Nation. Then he continues his HuffPo rant…

“The few stories that mention Democrats at all are such puff pieces that most journalists would be embarrassed to be associated with them. One shows a baby putting his hand in Obama’s mouth: ‘Obama Gets A Mouthful,’ readers are told in this thoroughly silly story.”

Fox Nation - Obama Eats Baby HandIndeed. A thoroughly silly story that most journalists would be embarrassed to be associated with. Which must be why Fox Nation featured it for six days running as their “Pic of the Day.” And their version was adorned by a mocking headline that evokes child abuse and cannibalism. Would they have chosen that imagery for a white president?

But Gainor is clearly unaware that he is insulting the journalistic integrity of his pals at Fox. Just as he is unaware of the similarity of the following invective aimed at HuffPo to the Fox Nation business model:

“Of course, they don’t write it all themselves. The HuffPo staff is masterful at combing the internet for stories and digging through them for one nugget that makes their point. They write a couple graphs about the nugget, package it with a sometimes huge headline and a stock photo and, voila, their work is done.”

That’s Fox Nation in a wing-nutshell. Except that they write none of it themselves. Every single article on Fox Nation is merely a reference and a link to some other (usually brazenly biased) source. And often its presentation is overtly dishonest as demonstrated here. And Gainor isn’t through yet.

“But the site doesn’t work if it doesn’t generate traffic. After all, Americans aren’t forced to read Arianna’s propaganda. So it’s filled with sex, more sex, comedy and enough other trash to keep people visiting.”

You mean like this? I took a look at Fox Nation’s “Pic of the Day” for just this year and found an abundance of evidence that they are obsessed with naked women, particularly their breasts.

Fox Nation - Sex

And being a young blonde in a short skirt appears to be a prerequisite to be a female reporter on Fox News. Just ask Megyn Kelly, Martha MacCallum, Shannon Bream, Gretchen Carlson, Monica Crowley, Ainsley Earhardt, Courtney Friel, Alisyn Camerota, Molly Line, Molly Henneberg, Julie Banderas, and Steve Doocy. [Oops. I have to scratch one of those. Julie Banderas is not a blonde].

For Gainor to use an editorial on Fox News as a platform to gripe about the Huffington Post being a liberally-slanted web site is an Olympian feat of hypocrisy. But for him to venture off into Nazi references is offensive in the extreme. Arianna Huffington is not responsible for the slaughter of millions of innocents and the comparison to Hitler’s regime trivializes the horror that was the Holocaust. Furthermore, his assessment of HuffPo as biased is an affirmation of acute self-delusion. He is so altogether unaware of his perversion of reality that he can utter this phrase about HuffPo without meaning it sarcastically: “It’s also unmatched on the right.”

Unmatched on the right? Certainly Gainor has read Fox Nation. He is also presumably aware of The Daily Caller, The Blaze, BigGovernment, Townhall, National Review, Weekly Standard, Drudge Report, RedState, WorldNetDaily, Washington Times, NewsMax, and many more.

Gainor’s editorial is typical of the ignorance-inducing disinformation that is the hallmark of Fox News and his own Media Research Center (publisher of the reprehensible net newsrag, NewsBusters). He launches odious insults, accuses his targets of improprieties that he engages in himself, and ignores obvious information if it contradicts his predetermined conclusions. And all of this intellectual mendacity comes together at the start of a new year as if to christen 2012 for a journey to new and more loathsome states of dishonesty and thought control.

Happy New Year, America.

Fox Nation Uses Deceptive Editing To Smear Media Matters

For more than a month now, Fox News has been engaging in a smear campaign directed at Media Matters. The obvious takeaway from their obsession is that Media Matters Has Fox News Scared And Desperate. Why else would they devote so much air time and web space to falsely disparaging them?

Fox Nation vs. Media Matters

The latest episode involves a posting on Fox Nation with the headline: Media Matters’ Salaries Exposed. The post links to an article on Mediaite which references data from the Poynter Institute. Both of those sources used the headline: What it pays to monitor the media. The data includes salary information of five principles at Media Matters. However, it also includes salary information of five principles at the conservative Media Research Center.

The Fox Nationalists copied the text from the Mediaite article verbatim except that they skipped over the Media Research Center data completely and posted only the Media Matters data. Since their purpose was to cast Media Matters in a negative light, they were only concerned with revealing what they imply is inordinately high compensation. Here is the Media Matters data:

David Brock; chairman/CEO; $286,804
Eric Burns; president; $240,579
Tate Williams; chief of staff; $162,812
Eric Boehlert; senior fellow; $115,000
Ari Rabin-Havt; VP-communications and strategy; $134,484

What they left out was the data from the Media Research Center. So in the spirit of fairness and balance, here is that data:

Brent Bozell; president/director; $422,804
Brent Baker; vice president; $126,300
David Martin; executive vp/asst. treasurer; $215,000
Dan Gainor; Business & Media Institute vice president; $122,400
Terry Jeffrey; CNSNews.com editor-in-chief; $122,400

As you can see, the folks at Media Research Center earn significantly more than their Media Matters counterparts. Brent Bozell earns about 47% more than David Brock. The average for all five at Media Matters is about $188,000, while the average for all five Media Research Center execs is over $200,000.

What’s more, the Media Research Center, with an annual budget of $11 million, receives far more funding, mostly from from radical right-wing sources affiliated with the John Birch Society, the Koch brothers, and the Scaife family foundations. Media Matters has a more modest budget of $2.7 million and funding from reputable patrons like cable executive, Leo Hindery and Esprit founder, Susie Tompkins Buell. In addition, they just received their first donation from the conservative’s favorite bogeyman, George Soros, despite claims from Beckian conspiracy theorists that Soros has been pulling the strings from the beginning.

This is another example of Fox distorting the information they present because the truth would only make them look bad. It’s a pathetic exercise that reveals just how unethical and dishonest they are. Sadly, their audience just keeps getting misinformed, which means they just keep getting dumber. It makes it difficult to maintain a democracy when a major so-called news enterprise simply doesn’t care about the truth.

Media Matters Has Fox News Scared And Desperate

This is a compilation of several previous News Corpse articles that I put together for Alternet.com.

In the untamed jungle that is cable news, there is a ferocious and predatory beast stalking the terrain. Anyone who has encountered Fox News in the wild can attest to the spine-chilling threat imposed by the pseudo-news network. And now Fox News has the scent of new game.

The Fox News pack is on the prowl for the media watchdog group, Media Matters, against whom they have recently initiated a sustained assault. In the past two weeks they have featured over 30 stories with the express purpose of challenging the group’s right to exist. Fox has assigned network stalwarts like Bill O’Reilly, Bret Baier, Charles Krauthammer, James Rosen, Ann Coulter, Dick Morris, and Bernie Goldberg, to the mission. This is an unprecedented, broadly distributed attack by a major media enterprise against a non-profit group they regard as an adversary.

This latest batch of complaints stem from comments made last March by Media Matters founder, David Brock. He was quoted in Politico as saying that the organization was shifting its focus toward Fox News to one of “guerrilla warfare and sabotage.” Giving Fox the benefit of doubt, one might conclude that it’s only fair that Fox defend itself from such an overt declaration of war. The only thing that might refute that perspective is – reality.

If this is war, it is one wherein Fox is the aggressor. Fox News initiated their attacks long ago with aggressive and false assertions that cast Media Matters as hacks, anti-American, violent, and communist. They alleged that George Soros was pulling their strings long before Soros ever made any contributions the group. Fox stalwarts like Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck engaged in rhetoric so hostile that it inspired actual physical attacks against Media Matters and their progressive allies. This video (courtesy of Media Matters) was posted two years ago and illustrates the hostility harbored across the Fox platform long before Brock’s recent comments:

The new and highly coordinated offensive by Fox asserts that Media Matters has violated the terms of their tax-exempt status by setting their sights on Fox. They quote from the IRS rules governing non-profits that state that…

“…501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.”

On the basis of that criteria, Fox News argues that Media Matters is in violation and should have their tax-exempt status revoked. However, in order for that to be valid, Fox would have to admit that they are a political operation so that attacks on Fox News would qualify as opposition to political campaigns and/or candidates. Without that stipulation there is no violation on the part of Media Matters. So Fox is, in effect, conceding their role as a Republican mouthpiece. Shocking, I know.

Contine reading

News Corpse Part Of Soros-Funded Echo Chamber?

The ultra-rightist Media Research Center has just completed its four part series purporting to reveal the truth about the George Soros domination of the media. The series was authored by the MRC’s Boone Pickens Fellow, Dan Gainor. The first three parts of Gainor’s project were laughably muddled dissertations on an imagined world ruled by the omnipotent Soros.

The allegations submitted thus far put Soros at the helm of a network of dozens of “major media organizations” with a reach of over 300 million people worldwide. The only problem with Gainor’s theory is that he never proves any it. The entire series is based on phony assumptions, ludicrous extrapolations and tangential associations. For instance, Gainor’s idea of a major media organization is the Center for Investigative Reporting, which is not exactly the New York Times or CNN. What’s more, it is also supported by Rupert Murdoch, whose Times of London is a CIR affiliate. Gainor also lists NPR as beholden to Soros despite the fact that his total contribution to the radio network amounted to a mere fraction of 1% of NPR’s receipts.

The fourth chapter of this faulty thesis runs farther off the rails than the three that preceded it. It focuses almost entirely on Fox News as a victim of leftist hostility. The opening paragraph attempts to belittle criticism of Fox News but actually defines it pretty well.

“To hear the left tell it, Fox News has a ‘history of inciting Islamophobia and racial and ethic animosity’ and tries to ‘race bait its viewers.’ One staffer is called a ‘hit man,’ while his network is accused of ‘attack politics.’ A highly questionable study is hyped by numerous outlets claiming that it ‘confirms that Fox News makes you stupid.’ Fox is called simply: ‘The Liars’ Network.’”

That’s all pretty much true. Fox does have a history of lying, inciting racism, and engaging in attack politics. But one of the items enumerated above hits close to home here at News Corpse. Gainor’s reference to the study that “Fox News makes you stupid” was linked to an article I wrote that was re-published by Alternet. It reported the results of a University of Maryland survey that showed that Fox viewers were significantly more misinformed than consumers of other news sources.

Consequently, Gainor is now alleging that I am part of the Soros-Funded Echo Chamber. To that accusation I would just like to say: “I Wish!”

As usual, Gainor’s logic is riddled with nonsense. His attempt to tie me to this supposed Soros plot demonstrates how far he has strayed from reality. And because he cannot produce an actual link between me and Soros (because there are none), he settles for the connection to Alternet. Then he attaches Alternet to the Soros empire by virtue of their membership in The Media Consortium, which has received donations from Soros. However, the Consortium is a trade association whose members are not beneficiaries of Soros. To the contrary, they pay to belong. Gainor’s argument against my article is summed up in a “disclaimer” he extracted, minus the context, from the study:

“This suggests that misinformation cannot simply be attributed to news sources, but are part of the larger information environment that includes statements by candidates, political ads and so on.”

That statement affirms the integrity of the study that Gainor, nevertheless, disputes. However, the study’s researchers did not insert it to refute their own findings. Whatever effect the statements of candidates and political ads had on viewers, that effect would have been produced across the board, not just at Fox. Yet the study’s results unequivocally show Fox viewers as being the most misinformed even considering the “larger information environment”.

Gainor cites as further evidence of the Soros-left’s assault on Fox News that the blog ThinkProgress “slammed Fox more than 30 times in six months.” No, really? When you calculate that down it comes to one slam per week. If you ask me, that’s a fairly restrained schedule of slamming because Fox broadcasts dishonest, partisan attacks on Democrats and progressives numerous times every day. If ThinkProgress reported on Fox smears only once a day that would come to 180 times in six months. How on earth did they keep it down to 30? I’m gonna have to call them on the Soros Hot Line we’ve all been issued and ask them why they’ve been slacking off.

There is a sublime irony in the primary objective of Gainor’s poorly reasoned treatise. While harboring a compulsive obsession with Soros as a left-wing financier of partisan media (which he never proves), he exhibits a severe blindness to his own rabid partisanship. The media analysis organization for whom he produced this paper is itself funded by right-wing media barons like Richard Mellon Scaife and the Koch brothers (through their Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation). His articles were dutifully re-published by Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News and Fox Nation. And his position at the MRC was endowed by oil billionaire T. Boone Pickens.And let’s not forget that it was Murdoch who donated a million dollars to the Republican Governor’s Association and another million to right-wing Chamber of Commerce.

What Gainor imagines to be a leftist cabal determined to bring down Fox News and advocate on behalf of progressive ideology is nothing more than like-minded authors and activists pursuing an agenda in which they believe. The left doesn’t need Soros to slam Fox. We are fully capable of recognizing unethical journalism on our own and taking action independently.

Much of the rest of America is starting to take action as well. The results of the latest Nielsen ratings book for May 2011, show that viewers are turning off Fox News in growing numbers. That isn’t Soros’ fault – or mine either (though I like to think I played a role). It is the result of Fox’s repeated deceptions and overt advocacy of GOP doctrine. Their decision to flaunt an editorial bias rather than engage in honest journalism is the cause of their problems in the ratings and amongst critics.

So despite Gainor’s delusional paranoia, there is no Soros-funded echo chamber. We are not a zombie horde prowling the conservative mediasphere. Nothing like that exists. You can’t prove it. We are a figment of your demented imagination. However, we are coming to get you, Dan. And your little Fox News too. Be afraid.

George Soros Triggers Rightist OCD

The uber-conservative Media Research Center has been fixated lately on a pathetic “study” of the media reach of George Soros. The author, Dan Gainor, may be one of the most ineffectual researchers to ever publish on the InterTubes. The product of his research seems more like a symptom of the debilitating syndrome that hobbles many of his ilk, OCD: Obsessive Conservative Disorder. The latest chapter is the third of a four-part series. Let’s re-cap:

In Part One, Gainor introduced his premise that George Soros “has ties to more than 30 mainstream news outlets.” He never documented any ties other than some donations to charitable organizations, none of which were major news outlets. There were some non-profit institutions that focus on journalism, but even in those examples Gainor didn’t explain how Soros’ donations would have given him any control over them. Neither did he cite any evidence that the organizations were influenced by Soros’ donations.

In Part Two, Gainor claimed to expose millions of dollars of influence peddling by Soros to media enterprises. For the most part it was a rehashing of Part One. The new information turned out to reveal that the organizations Gainor disparaged for their connection to Soros were also connected to right-wing billionaires like Rupert Murdoch and T. Boone Pickens. Gainor himself is the Boone Pickens Fellow at the Media Research Center.

Now, in Part Three, Gainor asserts that Soros-funded media “reach more than 330 million people around the globe.” Again, he never reveals how he arrived at that calculation. He merely cites a few examples that figure into the total without actually adding it up. And his examples are hysterically misconstrued. For instance, Gainor cites a $1.8 million contribution to NPR. That would represent a fraction of 1% of NPR’s funding, not exactly enough to wield much influence. And then Gainor frantically reports that…

“Soros funds nearly every major left-wing media source in the United States. Forty-five of those are financed through his support of the Media Consortium. That organization ‘is a network of the country’s leading, progressive, independent media outlets.’”

Did you get that? Nearly every major left-wing media source in the United States! Really? The forty-five that Gainor mentions as receiving funding via their membership in the Media Consortium actually receive nothing for their membership. In fact, they pay the Consortium to belong.

However, I think I discovered the real reason Gainor has been hammering on this. The Media Research Center is now featuring an ad that asks “Help us expose George Soros.”

“Left-wing billionaire George Soros has undertaken a war on conservative media to make it easier to spread his anti-American views, and the liberal media are his willing accomplices.”

The MRC says that if you make a donation today your donation will be matched dollar-for-dollar. Will those matching funds come from a right-wing billionaire who has undertaken a war on liberal media? I don’t know. They don’t say where the money will come from. But we do know that the MRC is funded by Pickens and another media billionaire, Richard Mellon Scaife. We also know that they have partnered with Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News whose former managing editor, Brit Hume, considered them indispensable.

So perhaps this is just a symptom of another sort of OCD: Obtain Conservative Donations.

FOX News Invents Another George Soros Conspiracy

On the Fox News web site today, Dan Gainor, a VP at the ultra-conservative Media Research Center, wrote an op-ed that asked, “Why Don’t We Hear About Soros’ Ties to Over 30 Major News Organizations?” The answer, as it turns out, is because there aren’t any such ties. In the opening paragraph Gainor writes that Soros…

“…has ties to more than 30 mainstream news outlets – including The New York Times, Washington Post, the Associated Press, NBC and ABC.”

Then Gainor fails to provide a single piece of evidence that Soros is connected to any of those enterprises. The article is a hodge-podge of guilt-by-association assertions that are held together by the thinnest of threads.

Rather than support his headlined accusation, Gainor offers as examples of Soros’ omnipotent influence the fact that he has donated to a few independent, non-profit institutions that focus on journalism. The organizations he chose to pick on are ProPublica, the Center for Public Integrity, and the Center for Investigative Reporting. These groups have indeed received donations from Soros, as well as many other donors. Soros has no executive control of any of them. But more to the point, these groups hardly qualify as being “major news organizations.”

Gainor’s problem with these groups, other than that they were beneficiaries of Soros’ generosity, is that they have some working journalists serving as board members or advisors. Perhaps Gainor would prefer that media foundations put more banking and oil executives on their boards. The wild-eyed players that Gainor is so disturbed by include rabid partisans like David Gergen and Christiane Amanpour. And, again, Soros has no influence over these individuals or whether they accept invitations to serve on foundation boards.

Gainor has utterly failed to support his thesis. Not only does Soros have no control over these organizations, but they aren’t even the big media powers Gainor describes them as. However, Gainor’s column appeared on the web site of a bona fide major news organization: Fox News. And the owner of Fox News, Rupert Murdoch, also has control over an empire of media enterprises including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, Dow Jones NewsWire, and BSkyB, Europe’s biggest satellite television provider. What’s more, Murdoch is also on the board of directors of the Associated Press, another bona fide big media player.

Finally, it should be noted that Gainor’s own employer, the Media Research Center, is funded by foundations run by right-wing media baron Richard Mellon Scaife. It is also closely tied to Murdoch’s Fox News. When former Fox anchor and managing editor, Brit Hume, accepted an award from the MRC, he thanked them

“…for the tremendous amount of material that the Media Research Center provided me for so many years when I was anchoring Special Report, I don’t know what we would’ve done without them. It was a daily buffet of material to work from, and we certainly made tremendous use of it.”

So, as usual, the allegations levied by the right turn out to be the very same improprieties they are guilty of themselves. Some things never change.

[Update] Media Matters reveals that Dan Gainor is “the Boone Pickens Fellow” for MRC, and that Pickens himself is an MRC trustee. Pickens is also a major player in the natural gas industry, which ProPublica has reported on and exposed for its grim environmental record. Funny that Fox News failed to disclose the conflict of interest in which Gainor is engaging by attacking ProPublica for its coverage of Pickens’ business.

Also, Glenn Beck referenced this article on his television program today and completely misstated its contents. He said that Soros funds ABC, CBS, and the Koch brothers. Not only is that not what the article says, it’s downright insane. Or in other words, typical Beck.