Fox News Imagines Another Covert Plot Against Rick Perry (And America) By George Soros

The folks at Fox News are on the case of yet another scheme by super-villain George Soros who seems to be at the helm of every evil deed that Fox stumbles over. This time they have dispatched Brent Bozell, founder and president of the uber-rightist media watch-mongrel, Media Research Center (MRC), to pull the curtain aside on the Soros machine and reveal that he is the puppet master behind the indictment of Texas Governor Rick Perry.

Fox News Rick Perry

For more delusional nonsense from Fox News…
Get Fox Nation vs. Reality. Available now at Amazon.

Bozell’s op-ed for Fox News is titled “Mainstream media censors Soros’ connection to Rick Perry indictment.” He begins his bill of peculiars by alleging that the media has suppressed the truth about Texans for Public Justice (TPJ), the group that originally filed the complaint against Perry. Bozell claims that “the group responsible for that indictment had received a half million dollars” from Soros. However, there is a very good reason that the press failed to disclose this information: It isn’t true.

First of all, TPJ is not responsible for the indictment. They merely filed a complaint that would have been dismissed if it were without merit. It was the Grand Jury, impaneled by a Republican prosecutor who was appointed by a Republican judge, that brought the indictment. As usual, if Republicans are alleged to have broken a law it is always the fault of Democrats. That includes GOP governors Perry, Chris Christy, Scott Walker, Bob McDonnell, and Rick Scott. Detect a pattern there?

Secondly, TPJ never received $500,000 from George Soros. Since Bozell failed to cite his source for that allegation, I had to track it down myself. As it turns out it was reported by the Business & Media Institute (BMI), which just happens to be a division of Bozell’s MRC. Fancy that. BMI describes their mission as being “devoted solely to analyzing and exposing the anti-free enterprise culture of the media.” Searching further I did find a $500,000 donation from the Open Society Institute, which was founded by Soros, to a coalition of groups that came together to ensure that stimulus funds were well spent. From their press release

“The Open Society Institute today announced a $500,000 grant to groups in Texas to monitor stimulus spending, encourage public participation in state-level decisions, and advocate for an equitable distribution of recovery funds. […] The coalition includes Texas Impact, Texans Together, the Sierra Club, Texas Legal Services, La Fe Policy Research and Education Center, Public Citizen, the Center for Public Policy Priorities and Texans for Public Justice.”

OK then, TPJ was the beneficiary of some amount of largess from Soros, but certainly not half a million dollars. Even if the donation was divided evenly among the members (unlikely because groups like the Sierra Club and Public Citizen are so much larger than TPJ), it would have amounted to only $62,500. It was intentionally dishonest for Bozell to imply that TPJ received the whole amount. Another detail that he left out was that this donation was made five years ago (November 2009). That was long before TPJ had filed its complaint against Perry and even before any of the issues cited in the complaint had occurred.

No objective person could conclude that an organization that received a small portion of a donation five years prior was still beholden to that donor. But Bozell implausibly proclaims that he “wasn’t in the least bit surprised to learn the Soros machine’s fingerprints were all over this brazen, partisan ploy. It’s what they do.” How Soros’ fingerprints got all over an event that took place many years after he made a donation can only be attributed to his well-known omnipotence and clairvoyant powers. Either that or Bozell’s well-known paranoia and aversion to the truth.

Bozell closed by saying that “In this case, the media have gone beyond mere bias and are complicit in the Soros machine’s scheme to take down a conservative leader.” And with that he comes full circle to branding the entire controversy as a Soros scheme. No longer is it a just a partisan ploy by democrats. Bozell has named the perpetrator and his accomplices in the media. And with the help of Fox News this delusional fabrication will become a fact in the minds of wingnuts across America.

IDIOCRACY: Fox News Is Aghast That Media Watchdog Does What Media Watchdogs Do

On CNN’s Reliable Sources this weekend, host Brian Stelter interviewed David Brock, the founder of Media Matters, to respond to an accusation made by disgraced former CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson on last week’s program. Attkisson alleged that Media Matters might have been paid to target her for criticism. It was an irresponsible and paranoid allegation for which she offered no evidence or any details on who would have offered the payment or to whom. In effect, Attkisson demonstrated why her reporting is regarded as hackery.

In the segment on Reliable Sources (video below), Brock was asked about the nature of his business and his relationship with other media enterprises. He candidly replied that “We do work with reporters. We’re a media watchdog group.” That seems pretty obvious. It is precisely what media watchdogs are designed to do. They monitor various journalism outlets, analyze their content, and communicate their findings to the public and other members of the press. It’s a valuable service that helps to keep the media honest and accurate. But that’s not the way Fox News sees it.

Fox Nation

AT&T and Verizon users: Stop funding the Tea Party.
Switch to CREDO Mobile, the progressive cell phone company, today!

In a desperate attempt to further smear an organization with which Fox is obsessed, Fox News posted an article on their Fox Nation website with the shocking disclosure that Brock “Admits to Working with Media Outlets on Stories.” That’s more of a definition than an admission. It’s perfectly acceptable for Brock to provide his reports to the media, just as it’s acceptable for the media to receive and evaluate them.

Nevertheless, the Fox Nationalists portrayed this activity as if it were criminal, saying that he “did not deny the allegations today.” Again, that’s more of a job description than an allegation. And it’s a job that is done by many organizations including some with conservative views. One of the most notable is the Media Research Center and its NewsBusters website. Run by ultra-rightist Brent Bozell, the MRC is a major source of information for the conservative media circus including Fox News. Former Fox anchor Brit Hume even lauded the MRC 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.”

Given the close relationship between the MRC and Fox News, it is blatantly hypocritical for them to assert some sort of malfeasance on the part of Media Matters. When Fox’s primary anchor and managing editor confesses to making “tremendous use” of the MRC’s data, and not knowing what he would have done without them, it seems somewhat overblown and self-serving to criticize Media Matters for simply documenting the flagrant bias and inept inaccuracies of the conservative media.

It would not be too much of a stretch to observe the jealousy of the right who have a much harder time fabricating their fake outrages and phony controversies like the one presented here. Whereas Media Matters, sadly, has an abundance of right-wing distortions and lies to catalog. Brock may have said it best on Reliable Sources when he noted that conservative watchdogs…

“…seem to be particularly incensed about Media Matters’ relationship with the media. Maybe we’re just doing a better job than they are.”

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.