The Republican’s Dr. Strangelove Promotes Book By Nazi Sympathizer On Fox News

In the most recent polling of Republican voters, their top choices for president almost always include Dr. Ben Carson, the neurosurgeon-turned-Fox News pundit who viscerally hates President Obama and advocates Christian supremacy in America.

Carson appeared on Megyn Kelly’s Fox News program last night to warn that the United States is “going down the tubes” like the great empires of the past because we have “become enamored of sports and entertainment,” and have “lost our moral compass.” This downward spiral, Carson says, is an extremely dangerous situation that threatens to subject America to the same dreadful fate as previous historical dynasties like Greece, Rome, and Britain.

Ben Carson

The segment was mostly a paper thin discourse on vague apocalyptic generalities that provided scant insight into anything other than Carson’s embarrassingly poor grasp of history and government. His main points were cliched right-wing admonitions against progressivism and straying from Christian faith. And in the midst of this harangue, Carson made a note of the risks of divisiveness:

Kelly: To what extent do you feel divisiveness is playing a role in what we’re seeing right now?
Carson: It’s playing an extremely large role in what we are doing.

In what “WE” are doing? That was certainly a clumsy phrasing that Carson would probably like to retract. However, it is also ironically truthful. For the better part of the eight minute segment Carson was fiercely divisive, referring to his ideological foes as neo-Marxists, specifically aligning them with Marx, Lenin, and one of the right’s favorite bogeymen, Saul Alinsky. Which is why his unintended admission that divisiveness plays a large role in what “WE” are doing rings true.

Even Kelly observed that calling people neo-Marxists could cause others to view him as unpresidential and too extreme to ever be elected president. Carson’s response to that was to encourage viewers to do their own research. He then offered this as an example of the sort of troubling things they would find:

Carson: Number one rule of Saul Alinsky: You make the majority think that what they believe is no longer in vogue; that nobody with any intelligence thinks that way; and that the way you believe is the only way that intelligent people believe.

The only problem with that example is that it does not happen to be the number one rule of Saul Alinsky. Nor is it any other rule. It appears that Carson just made it up as it doesn’t even resemble any of the actual rules that Alinsky laid out in his book “Rules For Radicals”. Or, more likely, he adopted it from some disreputable source that he naively believed. [For reference I have included all of Alinsky's Rules for Radicals at the bottom of this post] But it wasn’t until Carson sought to buttress his criticism with additional girders of fringy philosophy that he went spinning off the rails entirely. And in the process he demonstrated how vulnerable he is to disreputable sources.

Carson: There was a guy who was a former CIA agent by the name of Cleon Skousen who wrote a book in 1958 called “The Naked Communist,” that laid out the whole agenda. You would think by reading it that it was written last year. Showing what they’re trying to do to American families, what they’re trying to do to our Judeo-Christian faith, what they’re doing to morality.

W. Cleon Skousen was a disgraced Mormon whackjob whom even the Mormon church repudiated. He was a rabid anti-communist who veered off into conspiracy theories and fabricated prophecy. His extreme views led him to support other contemporary opponents of communism, better known as Nazis. And for good measure, Carson shares his admiration of Skousen with another popular whackjob, Glenn Beck, who insisted that his followers read Skousen’s “The 5,000 Year Leap,” which Beck said was divinely inspired.

And so it has come to pass that Ben Carson is the darling of the Tea Party and other far-right dimwits. It is a strange love, so to speak, because despite having absolutely zero expertise in government, law, social sciences, public service, or any other study relevant to statecraft, the Republican base has embraced him and are striving mightily to persuade him to throw his hat in the ring for the presidency, a job for which he is profoundly unqualified.

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But what is truly dumbfounding is that he isn’t much less qualified than many of the other prospective GOP candidates (Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio) or candidates past (Michele Bachmann, Donald Trump, Herman Cain, Sarah Palin). Scary, isn’t it?

From Saul Alinsky’s Rules For Radicals:

  • Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.
  • Never go outside the expertise of your people.
  • Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy.
  • Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.
  • Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.
  • A good tactic is one your people enjoy.
  • A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.
  • Keep the pressure on. Never let up.
  • The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.
  • The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.
  • If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive.
  • The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.
  • Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.

FACT CHECK: ISIS Leader, Baghdadi, Was Released By Bush, Not Obama

In yet another example of journalistic malpractice, the folks at Fox News broadcast a number of reports that got the most significant facts completely wrong. In order to do so, they relied on the assertions of a single, uncorroborated account, and failed to do the most basic follow-up with the people in a position to know.

Fox News

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The latest lie-riddled reporting on Fox concerned the circumstances of the capture and release of Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the leader of the terrorist group, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Fox and other conservative media outlets are endeavoring to place the responsibility for Baghdadi’s brutal march through Iraq on President Obama. Representative commentaries include these by Fox hosts Jeanine Pirro and Megyn Kelly:

Pirro: The head of this band of savages is a man by the name of Abu al-Baghdadi. The new Osama Bin Laden. A man released by Obama in 2009, who started ISIS a year later.

Kelly: We are also learning more about the leader of the terror group, a man described as the new Bin Laden, the heir to Bin Laden. It turns out he had been in U.S. custody until 2009, over in Iraq, when he was then turned over to the Iraqi government as part of our troop drawdown. And then he was released.

On Pirro’s Saturday program she led into the subject with a mouth-foaming harangue about Obama’s “feckless” leadership and socialist designs on America. On Kelly’s primetime program she interviewed Col. Kenneth King who claimed to have been present when Baghdadi was transferred from the custody of U.S. forces to the Iraqis, who later allegedly released him to go on to form ISIS. However, an investigation by PolitiFact uncovered a very different story, confirmed by the Defense Department, and branding the Fox report as “false.”

“Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim Al Badry, also known as ‘Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’ was held as a ‘civilian internee’ by U.S. Forces-Iraq from early February 2004 until early December 2004, when he was released,” the Pentagon said in a statement. “He was held at Camp Bucca. A Combined Review and Release Board recommended ‘unconditional release’ of this detainee and he was released from U.S. custody shortly thereafter. We have no record of him being held at any other time.”

Since the right-wing is so intent on assigning blame for Baghdadi’s campaign of terror on the president who was in office when he was set free, then according to their logic it is all Bush’s fault. But don’t expect Fox News to report the facts as laid out by actual journalists. They won’t even report the comments of their own witness, Col. King, who appeared on another network (ABC) and admitted that he “could be mistaken.” It turns out that he never knew the name of the man he presumed to be Baghdadi, he just thought there was a resemblance to the man he encountered. Nor will they report Col. King’s remarks to the Daily Beast where he downplayed the threat posed by Baghdadi, saying that “He was a bad dude, but he wasn’t the worst of the worst.”

PolitiFact went on to note that, even if Col. King’s account were correct, and Baghdadi was still in custody in 2009, Obama still could not be held to blame for Baghdadi’s release. The terms of the Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq required the U.S. to turn over all prisoners to the custody of Iraq’s criminal system. That agreement was negotiated and agreed to by the Bush administration in 2008.

Baghdadi and Bush

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So virtually everything reported by Fox News was wrong. And, not surprisingly, all of the misinformation leaned toward blaming President Obama for the mistakes of President Bush. It’a pattern that is all too familiar. Now that the truth has been revealed and confirmed, we can expect Fox to issue a correction at the earliest opportunity. And if you believe that you are probably already a dimwitted, gullible disciple of the Fox Disinformation Society.

Foxettes On Parade: Is Fox News Breaking The Massachusetts Upskirting Law?

This week a Massachusetts judge dismissed the conviction of a man who was caught surreptitiously taking photographs underneath the skirt of a female undercover transit officer. The dismissal was based on the judge’s contorted interpretation of the law that found that the woman was not “partially nude” and therefore not a victim.

The Massachusetts legislature quickly drafted and passed an amendment to the law that clarified what constituted a violation. Gov. Deval Patrick signed the bill Friday, making this statement:

“The legislation makes the secret photographing, videotaping, or electronically surveiling of another person’s sexual or other intimate parts, whether under or around a person’s clothing or when a reasonable person would believe that the person’s intimate parts would not be visible to the public, a crime.”

The media was all over this disturbing story with a nearly lascivious glee. It’s the sort of sex crime controversy that starts tabloid editors salivating. So it is not surprising that Fox News, the tabloidiest channel of them all, covered the story excitedly in their broadcast. However, Fox may be exposing themselves to legal liability due to their penchant for featuring the physical assets of their female hosts and guests.

Fox News Upskirting

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The evidence that is abundantly available of Fox News videotaping “under or around a person’s clothing” could be used against them in a court of law. If one of their employees were to press charges it wouldn’t be difficult to make a case given the thousands of hours of video proof. What’s more, executives at Fox have privately admitted that exploiting the sexuality of their nearly all-blonde roster of women presenters is a key part of their corporate culture. Gabriel Sherman wrote in his biography of Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, “The Loudest Voice In The Room,” that Ailes has repeatedly given direction to his staff regarding the display of female body parts. For instance:

  • When the view of reporter Kiran Chetry was obstructed, Ailes called the control booth to demand that they “Move that damn laptop, I can’t see her legs!”
  • Ailes complained about host Catherine Crier’s attire saying that “I did not spend x-number of dollars on a glass desk for her to wear pant suits.”
  • The casting of The Five included one particular co-host because “I Need The Leg. That’s Andrea Tantaros.”

megyn-kelly-gq2
Furthermore, NPR’s media reporter David Folkenflik was told by knowledgeable sources about the Fox News “Leg Cam” that “goes directly for the legs.” And when host Megyn Kelly was interviewed by GQ (with an accompanying, and revealing, pictorial), she was asked about her own “glass table that shows off your legs.” She responded that “Well, It’s a visual business. People want to see the anchor.” That must be why Bill O’Reilly wears those low-cut blouses. Also, when Gretchen Carlson was tapped to replace Megyn Kelly in daytime, she revealed that “pants were not allowed on Fox & Friends,” and teased viewers with the prospect that on her new show “I might forget my clothes the first day.”

It would fun to see Fox News get hit with an indictment for breaking the Massachusetts Peeping Tom law. But don’t hold your breath. The Foxettes are firmly committed to the mission of their employer despite the fact that they are being exploited as sexual objects. They know that their livelihood depends on the 60+ male demographic that makes up the bulk of their audience. So if they have to suffer the indignity of catering to those perverts, they suck it up, cash their hefty paychecks, and try to remember to keep their legs tightly crossed.

Rachel Maddow Beats Fox News – Again

For the second time this year, Rachel Maddow pulled off a weekly ratings win against Fox News in the critical 25-54 demographic that advertisers prefer.

maddow-3x

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MSNBC has been enjoying a bit of boost with daily breaking coverage of Chris Christie’s BridgeGate scandal. And thanks to Christie’s determination to impede the investigation the story just keeps getting prolonged which, of course, provides more opportunities for MSNBC to rake in the ratings.

Rachel Maddow is one of the prime beneficiaries of this situation. She was the first cable newsie to report on Christie’s bullying tactics and she has consistently broken new developments. As result she is seeing her ratings spike significantly.

Megyn KellyMaking this even more significant is the fact that Maddow is beating Megyn Kelly, who was promoted to her prime time slot specifically to try to capture more of the younger audience that Maddow is drawing. For her to have another weekly win so soon may be a warning flag that Kelly isn’t appealing to the audience that Fox intended. In fact, Kelly may just be exacerbating Fox’s older skewing, predominantly male audience who tune in for the titillation that Fox deliberately exploits.

In addition to Maddow’s numbers, Chris Matthews has also been bumped up. He beat his Fox competition, Greta Van Susteren, for the week as well. It is clear that having substantive reporting that viewers find valuable is the most effective way of building an audience. And MSNBC should strive to more of that. Or they could try the Fox model of just making shit up that feeds the prejudices of low-information viewers. That seems to work too.

Republicans, Racists, And Boycotts, Oh My: And Why MSNBC Should Be Celebrating

When you preside over a political party that is the subject of frequent criticism for the racist rhetoric of its members and supporters, it might be a good idea to avoid bringing attention to that gaping wound of oozing hatred. But never let it be said that the leaders of the GOP are capable of recognizing a good idea.

The chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, went berserk today over a tweet by some anonymous social media intern at MSNBC. The comment that so furiously enraged him was a reference to a commercial for Cheerios that features a biracial family (video below). It is a sequel of sorts to a similar ad that played last year. Here is the offending tweet:

Maybe the rightwing will hate it, but everyone else will go aww: the adorable new #Cheerios ad w/ bi-racial family. http://t.co/SpB4rQDoAR

That was all it took to send Priebus into a frenzy over what he perceived as a deplorable insult directed at innocent right-wingers. His response was to announce that he would order a boycott of MSNBC unless its president, Phil Griffin, made a personal and public apology. He sent letters to Griffin as well as an open letter to “all Republican elected officials, strategists, surrogates, and pundits,” that said that he was “banning all RNC staff from appearing on, associating with, or booking any RNC surrogates on MSNBC,” and asking anyone affiliated with the GOP to join the embargo.

Fox Nation - Reince Priebus

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First of all, how would anyone know that a boycott had been initiated by the GOP against MSNBC? Most Republicans already refuse to go on the network simply because they know they will be challenged when they lie, unlike the friendly reception they get at Fox. But for the RNC chair to feign outrage over such a trivial tweet defies reason. The message conveyed by the tweet was simply that this heart-warming advertisement was likely to irk many conservatives whose intolerance for diversity is well documented. And where would the tweeter get an idea like that? Perhaps from the response that followed the release of the first Cheerios ad with the same biracial family. As reported at the time…

“A new Cheerios commercial that included an interracial family drew so many racially motivated hate comments on YouTube that the video-sharing website shut down the commercial’s comment section. [...] some of the comments made reference to Nazis, ‘troglodytes’ and ‘racial genocide.’”

With that historical perspective, why would anyone doubt that the same right-wingers who spewed such vile hatred at the ad’s charming family last year, would react any differently today? Conservatives who are offended by the tweet ought to look at their own confederates to understand why everyone else regards them as hardened bigots who would hate the Cheerios ad. It isn’t MSNBC’s fault that conservatives openly express themselves in such a thoroughly reprehensible manner. However, the behavior of the rightists when this ad’s first installment was aired justifies the sentiment in the tweet. For some additional evidence of the unbridled bigotry on the right, have a look at…

The notion that MSNBC would be a target of a boycott simply because they recognized the bigotry that is inbred into much of the American conservative movement is especially ironic when you consider that Fox News, the mouthpiece of the rightist agenda in the media, is so brazenly racist. It’s a network that regularly demonizes minorities as criminals or moochers. What’s more, Fox feverishly advocates public policies that are detrimental to minorities, such as voter suppression laws and slashing benefits for low income workers. If any news outlet should be boycotted for insulting broad swaths of the American public it should be Fox

Which brings us to the subject of hypocrisy by the infuriated right. There actually have been efforts to embargo Fox News and persuade Democrats to avoid appearing on the network. During the Democratic primaries in 2008, the Congressional Black Caucus successfully shut down a Nevada debate that was to be broadcast on Fox. The response by Republicans was that the Democrats were either misguided or cowards, and would be afraid to face our enemies if they couldn’t face Fox. Fox anchor Chris Wallace said that “the Democrats are damn fools [for] not coming on Fox News.” Do these criticisms now apply to the boycotters of MSNBC?

This isn’t even the first time that Priebus has floated the boycott balloon. Just last year he sent similar threatening letters to NBC and CNN because they had plans to produce films about Hillary Clinton. However, he didn’t make the same threat to Fox, who also had Hillary projects in the pipeline. It seems that Priebus is just itching for a boycott, unless the offender is his PR department (aka Fox News).

The pitiful part of this story is that MSNBC has already caved in to the demand for an apology. Phil Griffin issued a statement calling the tweet “outrageous and unacceptable,” which it certainly was not. Even worse, he said that he had “dismissed the person responsible.” That is a monumental injustice and overreaction. This merely proves that the network that conservatives like to demean as unfailingly liberal is just a facade that will collapse at the slightest whiff of controversy. It’s why MSNBC issues apologies every other week and fires people for little reason.

Fox News, on the other hand, is far worse when it comes to offending liberals and Democrats, but they will never apologize, nor do they correct their many “errors” of fact. But if MSNBC keeps bowing down to competitors who seek its destruction, they will remain a perennial loser and shed any credibility they hope to maintain. This silly boycott threat should be cause for celebration by MSNBC. It serves as an opportunity to remind people of why Republicans are correctly perceived to be racist. It relieves them of the burden of making excuses for why the GOP is not represented on the channel. And it allows them to focus on expanding their audience among the key demographics that are most likely to tune in.

What this all comes down to is that Priebus is throwing a tantrum to attract attention and donations. The tweet that started the whole thing was provocative, but perfectly justified. But that doesn’t stop the disingenuous onslaught of phony rage that turns into a ludicrous threat that no one will notice should it be carried out. We are witnessing a drama that is more painfully shallow than the typical reality TV tripe that consumes way too many hours of broadcast time. And, sadly, “Keeping Up With The Republicans” has even less reality in it than you’ll find over at the Kardashians place.

[Update: 1/31/2014] Fox News is cashing in on this controversy. So far they have featured it on The Five, Fox & Friends, and the Kelly File. Greg Gutfeld of The Five injected the mandatory Nazi reference by calling MSNBC a “one-stop shop for master-race-baiting.” And Megyn Kelly asserted that liberals have a “kneejerk instinct to accuse conservatives of racism.” In her segment that featured uber-rightist flame-thrower Brent Bozell, she went on to say…

“They [liberals] saw this ad and said, ‘Oh the conservatives will hate it because it’s a black man and a white woman together in a family.’

Wrong Megyn. They said “Oh the conservatives will hate it because that’s exactly the response they had to it when the first version of it came out last year.” What better evidence can you have of how someone will respond to something than their own prior response?

And this morning Fox’s media analyst, Howard Kurtz, called the MSNBC tweet “an outrageous and really disgusting message,” before excreting this BS:

“You do have to wonder about the culture there, and whether there is such a loathing for conservatives that things that are so clearly way, way, way over the line are somehow deemed acceptable.”

Once again I have to say ARE YOU FRIGGIN’ KIDDING ME? The outpouring of loathing by Fox of liberals (and African-Americans, and Latinos, and gays, and women, and the poor) is a daily – even hourly – occurrence. For Kurtz to say that with a straight face is proof of his total devotion to the dishonest promulgation of Fox’s propaganda, hate, and commitment to the corporatocracy they were invented to defend.

Megyn Kelly Lies To Jay Leno: “I’m Not One Of The Opinion Hosts At Fox News”

Last night the newest primetime attraction on the Fox News Channel ventured off the reservation to hype her program on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. In the process Megyn Kelly delivered some of the most unintentionally funny perversions of reality you can imagine.

Megyn Kelly

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From the outset, the interview was a fluff piece designed to promote Kelly and her new role as a primetime anchor at Fox News. But the conversation devolved into the absurd when Leno started to ask a modestly interesting question, but swerved midway through and turned it into an open-ended (and false) compliment.

Leno: People assume that if you’re on Fox News, just as they do if you’re on MSNBC, you have a certain bias. How do you deal with…you seem pretty straight down the line.

Kelly: I am, thank you. I’m a straight news anchor. I’m not one of the opinion hosts at Fox. But I always laugh because I’ll have a conservative pull me aside and say “I love your conservative principles,” and I’ll say “You assume too much.” And then the liberals will pull me aside and say, “I know you’re one of us,” and I’ll say, “You assume too much.” But I always say that if you assume that I’m this conservative operative, ask Karl Rove if that’s true.

It’s a pretty safe bet that, if challenged, Kelly could not produce a single liberal that ever claimed that she is one of them. It was just a line that Kelly used to feign balance. The same is true of her reference to Karl Rove. Kelly was likely harking back to the incident on election night November 2012, when Rove refused to concede defeat. But Kelly’s performance did nothing to refute Rove’s conservatism, just his obstinance in light of the polling results. Rove certainly regards Kelly as a reliable conservative and an ideological ally. She has made him a frequent guest despite his role as one of the most prolific fundraisers for the GOP, which she never bothers to disclose to her audience.

Megyn Kelly GQHowever, the real whopper of the evening was Kelly’s assertion that she’s a “straight news anchor” and “not one of the opinion hosts on Fox” Kelly has been a rabid right-winger for as long as she has had a perch at the painfully conservative network. She rudely lambastes Democratic guests and has pushed numerous fallacious stories aimed at discrediting liberals and progressive policy. In fact, her editorial bias generally produces little more than partisan tripe and manufactured outrages that have little basis in fact. For example, her near-obsession with the irrelevant New Black Panther Party was a months long excursion into fantasy. She was also one Fox’s most virulent proponents of the phoney IRS/Tea Party affair. And her stubborn attachment to a trumped up Benghazi scandal wasted hundreds of hours of valuable airtime. And then there were these crackpot diversions:

  • Kelly defended a criminal anti-Islam filmmaker as a “patsy” of the Obama administration.
  • Kelly asserted that Americans have “gotta get a little squeamish” about the prospect of being killed by drones.
  • Kelly told her colleague Bill O’Reilly that pepper spray used against student protesters was just “a food product, essentially.”
  • Kelly moderated a discussion that was based on a series of “Fox Facts” that were cribbed directly from a Republican National Committee press release.
  • Kelly featured a disreputable reporter with a history of violence (who was later arrested for sexually assaulting a four year old girl) in her frequent attacks on the funders of the Islamic Center that Fox derisively referred to as the “Ground Zero Mosque.”
  • Kelly misrepresented the results of a Fox News Opinion Dynamics poll to argue that Democrats are defying the will of the people.
  • Kelly helped to cover up the extra-marital affair of GOP senator John Ensign and failed to disclose her personal involvement in the story.

These are not the sort of stories attributed to a straight shooting, non-opinionated journalist. It is this record of partisan propagandizing that led to my article three years ago asking “Is Megyn Kelly Worse Than Glenn Beck?” More recently Media Matters conducted a survey of Kelly’s new primetime program and found that she “has hosted conservatives (56%) significantly more often than progressives (18%) and has surpassed even Fox’s Hannity in its divide between guests on the left and right.”

For Kelly to go on the Tonight Show and tell Jay Leno that she’s a straight news anchor is a blatant and deliberate lie. There is no question about her political leanings. She would not have been hired by Roger Ailes if she were anything but a rightist tool and a willing mouthpiece for the conservative agenda that Ailes, and his boss Rupert Murdoch, are peddling. And anyone who falls for her dishonest self-appraisal is terminally naive (I’m lookin at you Leno).

[Addendum:] The day after Kelly appeared the Tonight Show, this “straight news anchor” returned to her own program and, speaking to her kiddie viewers, said that “Santa Claus just IS white.” She later included Jesus as well saying that it is “a historical fact.” It’s pretty safe to say that this is how Fox sees it:

Fox News - Black Santa Claus

Rachel Maddow Whomps Megyn Kelly’s Premiere On Fox News

Last night Fox News debuted a new primetime lineup. It was the first time they had altered their schedule in more than a decade. They heavily promoted the changes and the new hosts for weeks. And on the the big night, when most new programs enjoy a ratings bump due to viewers sampling the new fare, Fox News did not get what they must have been expecting.

The top billing for the night went to Megyn Kelly, whose “Kelly File” has been eagerly anticipated by Foxophiles and received massive PR in advance of the debut. Unfortunately for her, she came in second to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow in the key 25-54 year old demographic.

Rachel Maddow
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It would be bad enough for a Fox host to lose to an MSNBC show under ordinary circumstances, but to trail on the one night that ought to have been a runaway victory is a major embarrassment for Kelly and Fox. There were no extenuating circumstances that might have contributed to an unexpected win for Maddow. For instance, she did not have an exclusive interview with President Obama wherein he announced that he really was born in Kenya after all. And Kelly’s show had booked the GOP flavor of the week, Sen. Ted Cruz (TX-Tea Party), as her first guest, so she ought to have been well positioned to draw in the Fox fanatics in bulk. But it was not to be.

What’s more, Greta Van Susteren, who had moved from 10:00pm to 7:00pm, lost to MSNBC’s Chris Matthews. And Sean Hannity, who lost his 9:00pm slot to Kelly and took over the 10:00pm time that Van Susteren vacated, could only manage a tie with MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell. The only win for Fox the whole night was by their perennial top dog, Bill O’Reilly, who bested Chris Hayes, the newest MSNBC host who has yet to find an audience.

These dismal performances by Fox programs are all the worse because the network had poured so much money and promotional muscle into the evening. It was their intent to inject new blood into the schedule in order to attract the younger, advertiser-favored demos that have avoided Fox like the plague. That goal was clearly not met – at least on the debut. And just to rub it in, MSNBC achieved their ratings victories with the same old shows they’ve had on for years and no extra promotion.

Rest assured that Fox programming executives are already huddling to figure out what went wrong and how to correct it. Kelly and the others may yet return to their perches atop the ratings tree. But they will still have little influence over the broader television audience who recognize Fox for what it is: the PR division of the Republican Party and the Tea Party cheerleading squad. Remember, Fox’s top rated programs only reach 1% of the American people, and the garbage that they ingest (see Fox Nation vs. Reality) just makes them ignorant, ineffectual, and filled with ghastly surprise when they lose elections.

[Follow Up: 10/27/2013] It is now three weeks since this article was published and I still get commenters giddily noting that Kelly’s ratings improved on subsequent nights. SO F**KING WHAT? This article is about the premiere episode and it even notes that her ratings may improve later. These FoxPods just can’t seem to focus on single topic.

REVEALED: Fox News Bumped Sean Hannity For Pro-Homosexual Megyn Kelly

Megyn KellyThe recent stories circulating about “news” anchor Megyn Kelly and her promotion to a primetime slot on Fox News have stirred much speculation as to which current primetime host would be displaced. Matt Drudge reported that insiders pegged Sean Hannity as the odd man out. Well now the truth has now been revealed by the folks at Cliff Kincaid’s “America’s Survival,” an ultra-rightist hate-group and conspiracy theory factory. (Not to be confused with the Lie Factory of Fox Nation)

“America’s Survival, Inc. (ASI) is officially releasing a new report on radical changes at Fox News that should cause great concern to pro-family conservatives. The new report is titled,’Unfair, Unbalanced and Afraid: Fox News’ Growing Pro-Homosexual Bias and the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association. ASI President Cliff Kincaid, a veteran journalist and media critic, said, in releasing the report, ‘Pushing Sean Hannity out of the 9:00 p.m. slot, to make way for pro-homosexual advocate Megyn Kelly, is another sign of the channel’s left-ward drift and decline.’

Indeed. The left-ward drift of Fox News has been all too apparent in their recent coverage of Benghazi, the IRS, Trayvon Martin, ObamaCare, etc. Fox has become a veritable cacophony of commie sympathizers. So it was only a matter of time before Fox would jettison their old-school conservative Sean Hannity, and replace him with a doctrinaire liberal like Megyn Kelly.

Kincaid’s new report (pdf) was authored by the rabidly anti-gay Peter LaBarbera of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality, an organization identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group. LaBarbera delved into the pressing calamity of the media promoting homosexuality with an introduction that warned…

“It is difficult to overstate the impact of wide-scale liberal media bias in the advancement of the pro-homosexual and pro-’transgender’ revolution in American society. In the last two decades, media imbalance (and de facto censorship) on the issue has morphed into frequent media celebration of homosexuality — thus leaving citizens starved for impartial and accurate information on this critical topic.”

And it just gets worse from there. The 92 page harbinger of doom begins by disclosing the existence of a “crusade” that has enveloped the media, including those stalwart protectors of America’s virtue.

“By effectively joining the ‘gay’ activists’ crusade, major media outlets – and even ‘conservative’ Fox News — have contributed greatly to the growing pro-homosexual political correctness in U.S. culture.”

And no one is immune to the infection of gay pridefulness.

“Some leading Fox News’ hosts, such as Bill O’Reilly, Shepard Smith and Megyn Kelly, have emerged as on-air, pro-LGBT advocates – seemingly defying Fox’s core audience demographic of staunch Republican conservatives.”

LaBarbera has astutely defined the Fox demographic as the hate-filled bigots they are. And he follows that observation with a pertinent query.

“One wonders how much of Fox’s liberal ‘message drift’ stems from it’s staff simply losing touch with churchgoing Americans and that old-fashioned, Bible-believing morality that once was the backbone of conservatism.”

Of course. Because it’s imperative that our news networks are also televangelists. But now we get into the meat of the matter as Hannity’s role is unveiled.

“Veteran pro-family activists who fight the LGBT agenda are frustrated that Hannity generally avoids discussing homosexual-related issues outside of ‘gay marriage’ — despite labeling himself as a social, ‘Reagan conservative.’”

If only Hannity had been more staunchly committed to serving the God of America like his network colleague from Fox & Friends.

“Gretchen Carlson is an assertive moral conservative of the type that Fox needs more of.”

Although, if Fox is leaning so far left, then why would they promote a good Christian broadcaster like Carlson into the daytime slot that Kelly is vacating?

It’s fair to say that not much of this makes any sense. The report touches on some other fantastical schemes such as LaBarbera’s belief that there may be “an internal edict from Fox News higher-ups to downplay or ignore focusing on the homosexual agenda.” And then there these fanciful speculations: “Shepard Smith: the next Anderson Cooper?” and “Will Glenn Beck join the ‘gay’ crusade?” America wants to know.

Now that we know the truth about Megyn Kelly’s promotion, and Hannity’s demotion, it will be interesting to see how she advances the gay agenda when her new program debuts in the fall. Likewise, we will be watching Hannity to see if his transformation into a LGBT advocate becomes complete. And we can thank LaBarbera and his sponsors at America’s Survival for keeping such a close eye on the progressivization of Fox News for us.

Megyn Kelly Nabs Sean Hannity’s Timeslot On Fox News – Per Drudge

Megyn KellyAs reported here last month, Fox News daytime anchor Megyn Kelly is set to move to primetime when she returns from maternity leave in September. At the time of the announcement there was no indication of which current primetime host would be ousted.

Today, Matt drudge is reporting that Kelly will be taking over at 9:00pm, the timeslot currently held by Sean Hannity. Drudge may not be the best source for news, but later this afternoon Fox News CEO Roger Ailes was asked about the rumor and, while declining to confirm or deny, pretty much confirmed it. When asked specifically about Hannity, Ailes only offered a vague non-reply saying, “Hannity is a brand that many of our viewers love and want to see, and, as you know, is one of the nicest guys in the building.”

Setting aside the fact that Hannity is perhaps the most despised person in the building (Bill O’Reilly won’t even talk to him), Ailes’ obvious dodge is revealing. There is still room for speculation, however. Hannity could be moved to 10:00, and Greta Van Susteren bumped out of primetime – perhaps to 7:00 where Shepard Smith is currently hosting his second hour of the day. Ailes was quoted at an investors meeting saying that “Shep and I have been working quietly on something we will roll out in September on how news is presented, a new way to deliver news.” So there is some fluidity in Smith’s future. Rolling out a “new way to deliver news” sounds suspiciously like throwing something up on the Internet.

Fox Nation vs. Reality is available now on Amazon

In a demonstration of how inept the Fox News team is, they reported the news of Kelly’s scheduling by citing the Drudge Report and noting that “A Fox News spokesperson said no official announcement would be made at this time.” So apparently Drudge has better sources about Fox News than Fox News does. And don’t expect much to change at the network. As I wrote last month

“[Fox News] will continue to be rabidly right-wing, with a clearly denoted bias for Republican Party dogma. Kelly’s entry into the club will not change that. In fact, it will congeal the conservative hackery into a younger, more alluring package. But the brain-dead zombies who watch Fox won’t have to worry a bit about whether they will continue to get a daily dose of propaganda devoid of those pesky and annoying facts that make understanding current events so difficult. For them, Kelly will be a comforting and reassuring breath of fresh lies.”

Megyn Kelly is nothing more than a younger, prettier, Glenn Beck. Her devotion to right-wing propaganda and conspiracy theories is just as strong, however her background in law and her personable presentation makes the disinformation that much more palatable to Fox’s geriatric, white, male audience. Stay tuned for more details.

[Update] Sean Hannity has commented on the programming rumors saying “Let’s just say in the end I’m very happy. That’s all I can say at this point.” That sounds like a confirmation that Kelly is pushing him aside and he is spinning it as positive for him. But unless he’s getting O’Reilly’s spot, I can’t see how getting booted out of the timeslot you’ve had since the network launched is a good thing.

Fox News Rewards Megyn Kelly’s Bootlicking Conservative Bias With A Promotion To Primetime

This just in: “Megyn Kelly will move to FOX News Channel’s (FNC) primetime lineup upon her return from maternity leave, announced Roger Ailes, Chairman and CEO, FOX News.”

Megyn Kelly GQThis was just a matter of time as Fox News has pretty obviously been grooming Kelly for a prominent role at the network from the day she was hired. Both Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes had taken a profound (and somewhat creepy) interest in her due to her pinup girl good looks, her background as a lawyer, and her eagerness to fulfill the Fox mission of slandering anyone and everything liberal without regard to honesty or ethics. (See Fox Nation vs. Reality)

Kelly fits the Fox mold to a tee, as a busty blonde presenter who would appeal to the Cialis-chomping, scooter-riding, gold-hoarding, geezers who make up such a large part of Fox’s audience and advertiser base. And Kelly is not shy about marketing her sex appeal as demonstrated by her pictorial in GQ Magazine.

As an anchor, Kelly has fashioned a more palatable version of Glenn Beck’s conspiracy-riddled wingnuttery. The stories she features are a collection of partisan tripe and manufactured outrages that have little basis in fact. From her near-obsession with the irrelevant New Black Panther Party, to her false accusations against then-Pennsylvania senate candidate Joe Sestak, Kelly has been a non-stop, gushing flow of disinformation and gossip. For more examples:

  • Kelly defended an anti-Islam filmmaker as a “patsy” of the Obama administration.
  • Kelly asserted that Americans have “gotta get a little squeamish” about the prospect of being killed by drones.
  • Kelly told her colleague Bill O’Reilly that pepper spray used against student protesters was just “a food product, essentially.”
  • Kelly moderated a discussion that was based on a series of “Fox Facts” that were cribbed directly from a Republican National Committee press release.
  • Kelly featured a disreputable reporter with a history of violence (who was later arrested for sexually assaulting a four year old girl) in her frequent attacks on the funders of the Islamic Center that Fox derisively referred to as the “Ground Zero Mosque.”
  • Kelly misrepresented the results of a Fox News Opinion Dynamics poll to argue that Democrats are defying the will of the people.
  • Kelly helped to cover up the extra-marital affair of GOP senator John Ensign and failed to disclose her personal involvement in the story.

It’s easy to see why Fox would want to advance Kelly to their primetime lineup. The musty presences of Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and Greta Van Susteren could surely use an injection of new blood. The problem is that one of them will have to be booted from their perch. The most obvious loser would be Van Susteren, whose show is the weakest performer of the lot. However, Hannity’s position is hardly safe considering that he is despised by most of his colleagues. Even O’Reilly cannot be dismissed since he has floated suggestions that he might be ready to retire.

So we will have to wait until Fox announces their new schedule to see who comes up short. But in the end it will make no difference in the content that Fox offers. It will continue to be rabidly right-wing, with a clearly denoted bias for Republican Party dogma. Kelly’s entry into the club will not change that. In fact, it will congeal the conservative hackery into a younger, more alluring package. But the brain-dead zombies who watch Fox won’t have to worry a bit about whether they will continue to get a daily dose of propaganda devoid of those pesky and annoying facts that make understanding current events so difficult. For them, Kelly will be a comforting and reassuring breath of fresh lies.

[Update: 7/10/2003] There is still no word on where Kelly will land in primetime, but one of the replacements for her daytime gig will be Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson, whose experience as a former Miss America certainly prepared her for a role as a Fox News anchor. Media Matters has prepared an exhaustive look back at Carlson’s credentials.

On Fox News GOP Rep Lies, Accuses Glen Greenwald Of Threatening To Out CIA Agents

Remember when Fox News was OUTRAGED at the possibility of the United States government prosecuting a reporter for doing his job? It was only a couple of weeks ago. At that time their own James Rosen was revealed to have been conspiring with an employee of the State Department to acquire and publish classified documents concerning sensitive operations in North Korea.

The news of Rosen’s involvement in the matter, and the government’s investigation of him, sent Fox News squawking heads into a tizzy. They complained loudly and repeatedly that it was unconscionable that a reporter would be subject to such an unthinkable burden merely for doing what any respectable reporter would do under the same circumstances. Never mind the fact that Rosen was not conducting routine investigative reporting. He was caught persuading a source to break the law in order to advance his own political agenda. He literally told his source that he wanted to “force the administration’s hand.”

Fox News

Well, that commitment to the First Amendment was decidedly short-lived. Today on Fox News, Megyn Kelly hosted GOP Rep. Peter King to discuss King’s remarks regarding Glen Greenwald, the reporter who broke the NSA story. King had previously said that he believes that Greenwald should be arrested and prosecuted for his reporting. When Kelly gave King an opportunity to clarify his position, King said…

“In this case, when you have someone who has disclosed secrets like this and threatens to disclose more, then to me yes, there has to be…legal action should be taken against him. [...] No right is absolute. Obviously, freedom of the press has to be cherished in this country, but in this case where some people are glorifying Snowden and making him a hero, and now acting as if Greenwald was a legitimate journalist.”

Kelly sought to make the connection between Greenwald and Rosen, asking King if there was a difference. King thinks there is:

“James Rosen never said he was going to release information that was going to kill Americans. He was never going to release the names of CIA agents and operatives around the world.”

Well, as Greenwald noted today on “All In with Chris Hayes,” he never made any such threat. He further insisted that he doesn’t even know the names of any covert CIA agents or operatives. King’s accusation was entirely made up. But that didn’t even matter, because when Kelly asked him if Greenwald should be prosecuted for anything he has already done, rather than something King is afraid he will do in the future, King responded in the affirmative.

Throughout this interview there was no sense of outrage, no horror that a government official – the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee no less – was advocating the prosecution of a reporter for doing his job. There was none of the indignation that Fox showed for Rosen expressed for Greenwald. There wasn’t even any push back at King’s allegation that Greenwald was threatening to take actions that would kill Americans, an allegation that if proven could result in Greenwald being executed for treason.

This is about as clear a demonstration that Fox’s concern for freedom of the press is a charade. They couldn’t care less about the First Amendment except in situations where they can exploit it for political advantage. Greenwald is a legitimate journalist (unlike Rosen who is a political operative), but when his rights are threatened by a lying congressman, Fox News thanks the congressman and moves on to their next story. Remember that the next time somebody on Fox pretends to be shocked by some scandalous event in the news.

Enough Already! Eric Holder Did Not Lie Under Oath About Leak Investigations

The media is once again demonstrating their bottomless capacity for ignorance and their utter inability to grasp simple concepts.

Fox News

Fox News and other lazy pseudo-reporters are all aflutter over an answer given by Attorney General Eric Holder at a House committee hearing. Holder was asked a question about press freedom raised by a Justice Department investigation into the leaking of classified data. Holder responded saying…

“With regard to the potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material, that is not something that I’ve ever been involved in, heard of or would think would be a wise policy. In fact, my view is quite the opposite.”

That’s a pretty straight forward answer with little ambiguity. Nevertheless, the media can’t seem to grasp the meaning. They are journeying far afield to surmise that Holder may have committed perjury because it was later found the he had approved the search warrant for phone records and emails pertaining to alleged State Department leaker, Stephen Jin-Woo Kim. Megyn Kelly on Fox devoted two segments of her program to this overtly slanderous charge, complete with her hallmark smugness and affected outrage. And of course, the prize-winning prevaricators at Fox Nation featured multiple renditions of this non-story.

The search warrant in question included records for Fox reporter James Rosen who, evidence suggests, was Kim’s accomplice. And now the witch hunters in the GOP-mismanaged House of Representatives are setting fires under Holder in an attempt to further smear the administration.

Let’s make this simple. Holder said that he was uninvolved and unaware of any effort to prosecute any member of the press for “disclosure” of classified materials. That is unarguably true according to all of the available facts. No one was being prosecuted, or even investigated, for disclosing information in the press (i.e. publishing or broadcasting). Rosen was not being investigated for any type of disclosure. He was being investigated for soliciting Kim to transmit secret documents to him.

Holder’s involvement was limited to Kim’s conspiring to give Rosen access to classified data that he did not have security clearance to receive. The search warrant specifically addressed that activity and nothing relating to the publication of such material or any other press function.

If Holder had sought to prosecute Rosen for distributing the material to others, or for the story he later published on Fox News containing the classified data, that might be a different matter. But that never occurred and there is no evidence that it was even considered. The crime here is that Kim and Rosen conspired to exchange government secrets, not that any of those secrets were part of Rosen’s reporting.

Consequently, there is nothing in Holder’s actions and testimony that are inconsistent. It would nice if the media were smart enough to figure this out. Perhaps that is expecting too much.

Fallen Hero Worship: The Double Barrel Hypocrisy Of Fox News

As the dedicated and accomplished propagandists that they are, Fox News can be relied upon to twist facts and manufacture falsehoods to advance their extreme right-wing agenda. But sometimes they jump so far over the line of decency that it’s hard to imagine how anyone can take them seriously.

Today on America Live, anchor Megyn Kelly interviewed the parents of a Navy SEAL who was killed in a helicopter crash two years ago in Afghanistan. Other than another request to launch an inquiry into the circumstances of the crash, there was no new information related to that event that might have made this interview newsworthy. It seems that the only reason that Kelly brought these grieving parents back on (they were interviewed on Fox eight months ago) was to give them, and Fox, an additional opportunity to bash President Obama. And that’s precisely what they did. The father, Billy Vaughn, began his discussion with Kelly by saying…

“Our military’s slogan – it’s called ‘relentless pursuit of the enemy.’ And I’ll tell ya, I don’t know where it came from, but it makes just about as much sense in what it’s referring to as ‘the Affordable Health Care Act.’[Insert rimshot here]

It seems inappropriate, to say the least, to inject an unrelated ObamaCare zinger during a discussion about one’s son who was killed in the line of duty in a war zone, and about whom you are supposedly grief-stricken. That sort of blatantly political jab diminishes the sobriety of the moment and reeks of disrespect. But Vaughn didn’t stop there. During the interview he repeatedly and deliberately displayed the tattoo on his left forearm reading MOAON AABE (translation: Come and Take Them), which amongst other things is the motto of the United States Special Operations Command Central, but is also a phrase that has been adopted by the radical right in America and the gun lovers of the 2nd Amendment movement.

Fox News

Lest there be any confusion as to Vaughn’s leanings, he also told Kelly that, in regard to his view of the inquiry into his son’s death, “Government is doing nothing. They sympathize with the enemy.” That’s a fanatical sentiment that was also expressed by his fellow grieving father at a press conference yesterday who said that “The U.S. government and many high-ranking military people own more credit for the shoot down than the Taliban.” This is Trutherism on a smaller scale.

The first barrel of hypocrisy from Fox is loaded with raw bullshot. While the grief of these parents is beyond question, the motives of Fox are not. For several months Fox anchors, and Republican guests, have been belittling the testimony by the families of the slain children of Sandy Hook. They have accused them of exploiting the massacre for political purposes. They have disparaged them as props of the White House. They have even sought to outright dismiss anything they might say with the outrageous claim that they are psychologically impaired by their grief and, therefore, unfit to render an opinion. Yet somehow those same mental deficiencies have not prevented a steady stream of victims from parading through the Fox News studios to deliver tirades against the President.

The second barrel of Fox-pocrisy was the blast of faux outrage over the assertion that the Obama administration’s recognition of SEAL Team 6 for their heroic mission to dispense with Osama Bin Laden was a betrayal of the unit’s anonymity. That came as Kelly prompted Mrs. Vaughn to describe how she believed the administration put a target on her son’s back. However, the White House never revealed the names of the team members, only the unit, which was not a particularly well-guarded secret to begin with. On the other hand, it was Fox News who outted an actual SEAL Team 6 member who participated in the Bin Laden raid. Afterward, his life, the lives of his family, and the lives of his SEAL comrades were threatened by Islamic jihadists.

Hypocrisy is a common byproduct of the Fox news grinder. But this feat of squeezing two hyper-hypocrisies into a single story is an accomplishment that only extraordinarily adept prevaricators should ever attempt. And that pretty much leaves the field to Fox News.

WTF? Fox Nation Ties Cleveland Kidnapper To Anti-Islam Video Maker, Benghazi, And Obama

These freakin’ slimeballs at Fox Nation continue to demonstrate that they have no morals whatsoever. Not to mention no integrity, honesty, or decency. They will take any grotesque episode, no matter how far removed from President Obama, and attach it to him by some depraved, alien logic. Take this for instance:

Fox Nation

The original article referenced by Fox Nation was from their own Fox News via the Associated Press. It reported on the arrest of Areil Castro, the charges against him, his bail, and went into some detail about the alleged crimes.

For some reason, Fox Nation focused on the one sentence in the 700+ word article that mentioned Castro’s bail. But even more baffling was their insertion of this paragraph:

“The creator of the controversial anti-Islam You Tube video, that the Obama administration used in its talking points as the motivation behind the September 11th attacks in Benghazi, was held without bail. It was later revealed that the attack in Benghazi was not a reaction to the video.”

That text was not anywhere in the original article. It was composed entirely by the Fox Nationalists and inserted into the story without any disclosure that they had fabricated it themselves. It obviously has nothing to do with the story and sticks out for its surreal irrelevance.

For the record, the filmmaker, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, was arrested for allegedly violating terms of his probation. The judge, citing probation violations including lying to probation officials, ordered him held without bail, a common occurrence under these circumstances. He pleaded guilty to four of the charges against him and was sentenced to one year in prison and four years of supervised release.

[Update: Fox News is now actively defending this filmmaker who they portray as a "patsy" of the Obama administration]

Fox News
…..

So what was the point that Fox Nation was making by embedding this extraneous content into the article? Clearly they were drawing some sort of deranged parallel between Obama, Nakoula, and Castro. Perhaps their purpose was to imply that Obama personally interceded to insure that Nakoula was held incommunicado to keep him from exposing Obama’s covert plot to promote the video and inspire a global Islamic uprising. Or maybe Fox was attempting to suggest that Obama had some sympathy for Castro and secretly engineered his bail (at only $8 million). Or maybe Fox just hadn’t written the word “Benghazi” in the past five seconds and thought this would be a good time to slip it in again.

What on earth are these imbeciles thinking? They just lost a historic election that they were convinced would be a cake-walk for the GOP. They underwent what they themselves called a “postmortem” analysis of their epic failures. They were named the “stupid party” by one of their most prominent governors. And yet they are still resorting to the sort of idiocy and extremism that has earned them the lowest favorable ratings in history.

And this wasn’t even the only incident of Castro-izing Democrats today. On Fox’s America Live with Megyn Kelly, their conservative contributor Chris Plante inexplicably said that “Ariel Castro might get the ‘hospitality of the year award’ from the Democrats in Congress.” What unholy orifice did he pull that from?

This is evidence that Fox News and their GOP pals have learned nothing from the 2012 elections. It also proves that they are a gaggle of repulsive and childish mental deficients with no discernible honor or even the common civility that would permit them to go out in public among decent people. Where the fuck does it stop with these cretins?

And not to be left out. the “Moonie” Washington Times joined in with this asinine crap:

Washington Times

Fox News Confirms Arrest/No Arrest Of Boston Marathon Bomber

It is well known that Fox News is an unreliable network for anyone interested in factual representations of current events. They will unabashedly lie in order to advance the ideological agenda of their political and corporate allies. And yet, it is still unsettling when something like this happens:

Fox News

Within the space of about half an hour, Fox News vividly demonstrated that their issuance of a “confirmation” is of no value whatsoever. After announcing that an arrest had been made in the Boston Marathon bombing, Megyn Kelly repeatedly assured her viewers that the information she was reporting had been verified by multiple sources. But it didn’t take long before the bottom fell out of her assurances.

To be fair, CNN also misreported the story and had to make an embarrassing retraction. The only cable news network that applied the rigorous standards of journalism and refrained from jumping on the erroneous story was MSNBC. Pete Williams, NBC’s justice correspondent, and NBC anchor Brian Williams, both made appearances to refute the reports that were coming out of other news outlets.

Will these people never learn? A few months ago both CNN and Fox (also Megyn Kelly’s show) misreported the Supreme Court decision on ObamaCare. And again, only MSNBC got the ruling right. On that occasion CNN acknowledged their mistake and apologized to viewers. Fox refused to do either, claiming that their analysis was justifiable at the time because they believed it was correct and, therefore, there was nothing for which to apologize. I know…it’s crazy.

Nevertheless, a prolonged discussion took place in the media about the pressure to be first butting up against the responsibility to be right. And despite the universal agreement that accuracy is the measure by which news enterprises will be judged, they continue to fall short of the professional standards they profess to hold.

News organizations can be forgiven for making mistakes from time to time because they are staffed by people and people are not perfect. But they ought ot learn from their mistakes and they ought to demonstrate that they care about the product they produce. At least CNN respects their audience enough to show some remorse. Fox News doesn’t have that kind of class. In fact, their routine abuse of their audience via fabrications and distortions suggest that Fox couldn’t care less what their viewers think they know. From Fox’s perspective, the more confused their viewers are, the easier it is for Fox to continue to deceive them.

Hilarious MoveOn.org Video Rankles Right-Wing Prudes

A new video produced by MoveOn.org with help from Michael Moore is causing some right-wingers to reach for the smelling salts. The rest are falling off their chairs with outrage and frothing criticisms. What has them so unraveled?

OMG! Old people cussing. The world has finally succumbed to Satan’s call. What better evidence is there that Armageddon is imminent?

This little video is generating thousands of views, and millions of guffaws, across the InterTubes, but in the realm of the right it is stirring nothing but anxiety and outrage. It has been featured on Fox News on at least three programs: America Live with Megyn Kelly, Hannity, and the O’Reilly Factor. All of these “news” alerts castigated the video with vitriol usually reserved for terrorist bombings or Obama sightings.

Sean Hannity and Megyn Kelly both brought Fox News “Democrat” Kirsten Powers on to fulfill her mission of pretending to be a liberal while bashing her alleged allies. As the representative of the left she responded to Kelly’s leading questions saying “I don’t know why Michael Moore would do it, but even worse, I don’t know why MoveOn.org would be associated with it.”

Far worse, however, was Bill O’Reilly’s Talking Points Memo segment that he titled “Threats From The Far Left.” In his feverish denouncement of the video he said “So now the far left is threatening violence if President Obama loses the election.” Then he charged that President Obama is “culpable” for the video because he hasn’t condemned it. Really?

Someone needs to inform O’Reilly that this video is what we humans like to call “comedy.” It is not threatening any actual violence. For a demonstration of actual threats, just visit the Fox News community web site, Fox Nation. There you will find Fox fans literally yearning for Harry Reid to die; for Nancy Pelosi to have her skull crushed; cheering Arlen Specter’s death; advocating the assassination of President Obama. Since O’Reilly has never condemned these remarks he must be regarded as culpable for them.

The zealous acrimony expressed by these puritanical louts is almost as funny as the video. They clearly have a hard time discerning the difference between comedy and reality. And that may explain why they are unable to see the humor in this video but they can take Mitt Romney seriously.

ADDENDUM: For an idea of what the Fox News crowd thinks is funny, note this item posted on Fox Nation:

Fox Nation

The rating given to this article by the Fox Nationalists is “Funny.” Apparently they regard bad news for American businesses and workers as a joke. These cretins actually celebrate the hardships of fellow citizens. For the record, Fox failed to note that GM’s earnings statement was actually better than analysts expected and the stock rose almost 10% after the release. It was an indication of an improving economy. But that didn’t stop Fox from latching on to what they could spin as bad news and lifting the hearts of their America-hating audience.

Anatomy Of A Fox News Lie

If you’ve ever wondered about the course of the obvious prevarications that eventually wind up on Fox News, a fascinating example of this process was revealed recently in an affair that involved a Montana congressman and a collection of disreputable players.

In early June, Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT), currently the GOP candidate for the senate, accused the Environmental Protection Agency of conducting spy operations with unmanned drones over Montana farmland. He sent the EPA a letter demanding that the practice be stopped, saying…

“The Obama Administration has, once again, stepped way over the line. First they wanted to expand their authority to regulate water, and now they want to use air drones to spy on American citizens. Enough is enough.”

The only problem with Rehberg’s complaint was that there was no truth to it whatsoever. He later admitted that he was wrong, but somehow managed to blame the Obama administration for his mistake. His spokesman issued this statement:

“The Obama Administration rarely reveals its secretive plans to anyone but its closest allies. Since Denny doesn’t vote with the President 95 percent of the time, he must often rely on news reports and constituent input.”

See? If the Obama administration had revealed its secret plan to not do something they would later be accused of doing, there wouldn’t have been any problem. Here is a timeline of the news reports Rehberg cited. Feel free to follow along at home…

  • One of the first references to the non-existent drones came from radio conspiracy theorist and 9/11 Truther, Alex Jones.
  • The next day the New American, a publication of the uber-rightist John Birch Society, posted their own version of the hoax.
  • On June 6, the story was picked up by The Daily Caller, which is run by Fox News contributer Tucker Carlson.
  • That was followed by a piece in Investors Business Daily.
  • And finally, the story bubbles up on Fox News, where it is subjected to even more hyperbole courtesy of host Megyn Kelly.

Megyn Kelly

Kelly: “Even an American terrorist, an American al-Qaida, was killed by a drone. So now you’re in the Midwest, and you know you’re not a terrorist, but nonetheless, you gotta get a little squeamish when you see a drone going overhead.”

The progression of lies through the conservative media is a peculiar and dangerous phenomenon. And the way it is exploited by Fox News demonstrates their overt aversion to factual journalism and objective reporting. They exist for only one purpose: To advance the interests of the Republican Party, conservative extremists, and their wealthy benefactors. They will employ any information and tactics to achieve their ends, no matter how contemptible and illegitimate.

Fox News Escalates The War On Women Out Of All Proportion

Leave it to Fox News to leap on a political molehill and start shoveling feverishly in the hopes of building a mountain.

Yesterday Hilary Rosen, who works for a democratic public relations firm, appeared on CNN and made the mistake of not parsing every single word she said before opening her mouth. The result was a firestorm of criticism aimed a short immaterial phrase that is hardly representative of her full statement. Here is what Rosen said with the part conservatives have latched onto in bold:

“With respect to economic issues, I think actually that Mitt Romney is right that ultimately women care more about the economic well-being of their family and the like. But he doesn’t connect on that issue, either. What you have is Mitt Romney running around the country saying well, you know, my wife tells me that what women really care about are economic issues, and when I listen to my wife, that’s what I’m hearing. Guess what? His wife has actually never worked a day in her life. She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school, and why we worry about their future.”

Clearly Rosen was addressing the absurdity of a wealthy housewife assuming the role of Home Economics expert and pretending that she relates to people who have to struggle to make ends meet. Nothing in her comments suggests that she was talking about the difficulty or the satisfaction of raising children. But that’s how the right is spinning this matter, and they are spinning it as hard as their little gerbil feet can spin.

Take a look at the coverage on Fox News where it was the headline story. And their wingnut affiliate, Fox Nation, has posted at least seven articles on the subject – more than any other topic including the presidential election, the Trayvon Martin shooting (and Zimmerman’s arrest), the economy, etc.

Fox News - War on Women

Fox News, the Republican PR Agency, has launched a full-blown campaign to help dig Mitt Romney out the hole he has dug for himself with his anti-woman rhetoric and policies. The 19 point deficit Romney suffers in polling for women’s votes was seen properly as an electoral red flag and the flacks at Fox jumped in to rescue the floundering candidate.

Much of the criticism has expanded from jabs at Rosen to swings at President Obama. Never mind that Rosen is not attached to the President or the campaign in any capacity, and those who are have repudiated her remarks.

Jim Messina, Obama campaign manager: I could not disagree with Hilary Rosen any more strongly. Her comments were wrong and family should be off limits. She should apologize.

David Axelrod, Obama campaign strategist: Also Disappointed in Hilary Rosen’s comments about Ann Romney. They were inappropriate and offensive.

What’s more, Rosen herself has apologized:

“I know my words on CNN last night were poorly chosen. In response to Mitt Romney on the campaign trail referring to his wife as a better person to answer questions about women than he is, I was discussing his poor record on the plight of women’s financial struggles. [...] I apologize to Ann Romney and anyone else who was offended. Let’s declare peace in this phony war and go back to focus on the substance.”

None of that has prevented Fox News from slathering their unique brand of propaganda and hyperbole over this affair in an effort to keep it bubbling up in the news cycle. Megyn Kelly spent a good portion of her program on this issue alone, interviewing several guests including former First Lady Barbara Bush (In a moment of ironic overflow, Kelly raised the issue of women who were fortunate not to have had to struggle financially, to which Mrs. Bush said “It wasn’t always that way for us.” Remember, this is the wife of the wealthy son of an oil baron and former president. Nah, they aren’t out of touch at all, are they?).

Also on Fox, they brought in their resident “Psycho” Analyst, Keith Ablow, who opined that “Hilary Rosen provided a clear psychological window on women who despise other women.” That’s the patented Ablow remote diagnosis of people he’s never met. He then projected this flaw onto Obama, who had nothing to do with any of this.

The whole point of this manufactured controversy is to lay into Obama for having the temerity to be popular with America’s women voters. And if they have to lie and distort reality to pull him down, well, that’s why Fox News exists in the first place.

Fox News Heralds Anti-Obama Marine

Let’s face it, Fox News is unabashedly opposed to Barack Obama and everything his administration represents. The network has virtually conceded that it is nothing more than a promotional vehicle for conservative Republican politics and politicians.

Now Fox News has stepped even further across the line of objectivity by taking up the case of a Marine sergeant whose adventures in social media are blatantly disrespectful to his superiors and teeter toward insubordination or worse.

Sergeant Gary Stein is the founder of a Facebook page called “Armed Forces Tea Party.” According to reports from the Associated Press, Stein had been informed that he was in violation of Pentagon policy prohibiting political activities. The policy specifically forbids military personnel from using contemptuous words against senior officials, including the defense secretary or the president. At first Stein cooperated with his commanders by taking down the Facebook page, but he later restored it based on his own conclusion that he was not in violation of any code. As a result, he is now the subject of an administrative action that could result in a discharge.

Stein is adamant that he is innocent of any infraction. he contends that he was exercising his free speech rights by posting messages in which he declared that he would refuse to follow any order issued by the President, his commander-in-chief, that he deemed unlawful.

“I’m completely shocked that this is happening,” Stein said. “I’ve done nothing wrong. I’ve only stated what our oath states that I will defend the constitution and that I will not follow unlawful orders. If that’s a crime, what is America coming to?”

Technically, I agree with Stein on the matter of a soldier’s obligation to refuse to follow an unlawful order. That is a standard set after World War II that resulted in the inadmissibility of the defense that “I was just following orders.” But Stein had better have a damn good basis (and an opinion from a legal expert) before he engages in what might constitute mutiny. Stein had no such basis when he chose to ignore the orders of his commanders or to declare that he would refuse to follow orders from the President if those orders included detaining or disarming U.S. citizens. That overly broad standard would mean that Stein would not act against Adam Gadahn, the American who is presently the media adviser for Al Qaeda.

Stein’s story was broadcast on Fox News’ America Live with Megyn Kelly. Fox News also featured the story on both the Fox News web site and Fox Nation, where Stein has been treated as a hero for standing up to President Obama. However, he has a pretty thin case to make for his patriotism when he posts comments like this: “I say screw Obama. I will not follow orders given by him to me.” That comment has since been deleted and Stein says that he later qualified his comment to reflect that he would only disobey unlawful orders. But you can still find this comment on his Facebook page without qualification: “Obama is the “Domestic Enemy” our oath speaks about.”

Armed Forces Tea Party

That goes far beyond Stein’s assertion that he was merely stating what the military code says about following unlawful orders. It is an exhibition of overt disloyalty that the military ought not to abide. In fact, it designates the President as an enemy of the state, which would make him a suitable target, in Stein’s warped view, for hostile action or assassination. And that is exactly the view that Fox News, and their audience of pseudo-patriots, are applauding. Disgusting, isn’t it?

[Update] On April 6, a military board recommended that Stein be dismissed from service with “other than an honorable discharge” (i.e. dishonorable).

“The three-member Marine Corps administrative board at Camp Pendleton found that Sgt. Gary Stein had committed misconduct by posting anti-Obama comments on a Facebook page, calling the comments ‘contemptuous.’ [...] The final decision on Stein’s status will be made by the commanding general of the Marine Corp Recruit Depot San Diego.”

[Update II] On April 25, 2012, the Marines formally discharged Stein as the commanding general of the base accepted the administrative board’s recommendation for discharge.

When Fox News Anchor Megyn Kelly Is Right, She’s Right

You have to give Megyn Kelly some credit. Today she conducted a scintillating debate about the cover of Newsweek magazine that featured President Obama and the headline, “Why Are Obama’s Critics So Dumb?”

Kelly’s razor sharp intellect immediately focused in on the most relevant question that arose from that controversial title. It didn’t have anything to do with the substance of the article. Why would that be of interest to anyone watching Fox News? Kelly quickly dismissed the fact that the author, Andrew Sullivan, was criticizing Obama’s critics from both the left and the right, although only the right seemed to take any offense They apparently know themselves so well that if somebody yells “Hey stupid.” in a crowded Walmart, only the right-wingers will turn and say “What?”

The core point of interest that Kelly recognized had to do with the credentials of Sullivan and his place on the cover of a news magazine. Without hesitation she directed this probing inquiry to her guest news analysts:

“Don’t you think that most people when they go to the store and they see Newsweek there they assume it’s like a real journalist who’s actually going to report the news in an objective way?”

Exactly! And don’t you also think that when most people turn on a television network with the word “news” in its name that they assume a real journalist is actually going to be anchoring the program? If you do then you’ve obviously never watched Fox News.

In addition to Kelly’s rank hypocrisy, the very fact that she was discussing this issue with a couple of pundits that had no inside knowledge of either the Newsweek article or the process by which the cover or headline was selected, illustrated the shallowness of Fox’s reporting standards. Sullivan happened to see the segment and issued a challenge to Fox News: If you want to trash my work, have me on to defend it. Any time, Megyn. Any time. What are you afraid of?

As a final dagger in the heart of ethical journalism, during the segment Fox displayed the Newsweek cover in a graphic. But for some reason they chose to blur out Andrew Sullivan’s name.

Fox News Newsweek Cover

Why they would do this when they were using his name in the discussion is puzzling. But I wouldn’t spend too much time trying to unravel that mystery when we still haven’t figured out why Fox thinks that Megyn Kelly is a journalist who can question the credentials of other journalists.

[Update] Megyn Kelly’s Fox sister, Gretchen Carlson, joined the parade on Fox whining about the Newsweek story. Carlson, in a fit of self-delusion, challenged her guest, Jerry Springer, on the subject of bias in the media. Springer responded that it was disingenuous for Fox to be decrying bias on Newsweek’s part:

“We’re here on Fox News. Every single day, in fairness, you guys, every single day bash President Obama. [...] Every single morning you are slamming Obama. You know you are.”

Carlson wasn’t going to take that lying down. She quickly retorted that…

“Jerry, you obviously don’t watch our show because you do not understand that there’s a reason – I’ll speak for myself. I sit in the middle as the independent on the panel – and quite frankly we present both sides of the story and we leave it up to our viewers to decide where they fall.”

If Carlson is sitting in the middle because she is the independent, then who on the Fox & Friends panel is she implying is the liberal? Steve Doocy? Her claim is so absurd it approaches surreal performance art.