Just As I Predicted, Fox News Hated Obama’s Speech (Surprise)

Just as I predicted this morning, Fox News, and their Republican comrades, marched in lock-step opposition to President’s Obama speech on dealing with the threat of ISIL.

Republicans

Immediately following the speech, Fox News spent the next couple of hours picking it apart with sometimes ludicrous logic. They began with commentary from their White House correspondent Ed Henry who asserted his opinion that Obama, by calling for decisive action to destroy ISIL, had reversed himself on his prior foreign policy which, of course, was to destroy ISIL.

Megyn Kelly, who anchored the post-speech discussion, led with a series of poll results that cast the President in a negative light. She then approached her guests with blatantly leading questions, such as her wondering whether Obama’s heart was in his stated intention to take out ISIL. She also asked whether Obama’s policy to leave Iraq in 2011 caused the situation now where we have to go back “in a way that is even more dangerous.” That question ignores certain facts, such as the date for the departure of U.S. troops which was set by George W. Bush. Also, it can hardly be characterized as “more dangerous” when Obama’s plan will result in about 1,500 American soldiers in Iraq, as opposed to the 140,000 that were there previously. As for what caused the situation that allowed ISIL to emerge, that was solely due to Bush’s plundering of the government of Saddam Hussein (based on lies) and banishing his generals and other military personal, who went on to form ISIL.

Dana Perino, Bush’s former press secretary, said that she liked Obama’s line “If you threaten the United States you will have no safe haven.” But she said that the reason she liked it was because she had heard the same thing before from her old boss when he said “You are either with us or you are against us.” How is that even remotely the same?

However, the most idiotic commentary came from Brit Hume who said…

“If the threat is sufficiently great to American interests and to America itself, then it seems that one would do whatever it takes to eliminate the threat. [Obama] didn’t quite go that far. He said he was determined to destroy ISIS, but you heard at the end when he was talking about what we do in these situations. He said “We do what it takes.” He didn’t say we do whatever it takes.

Are you FRIGGIN’ kidding me? I would love to know what Hume thinks is different about those two statements. Obviously, these cretins are so consumed with finding fault that their cranial synapses are misfiring.

Every guest during the remainder of Kelly’s program was an Obama opponent, including Hume, Perino, General Jack Keane, Chris Stirewalt, and Sen. Ted Cruz. Cruz launched his tirade by saying that Obama’s speech was “fundamentally unserious,” and was representative of the “failed Obama/Clinton foreign policy.” That was his way of injecting politics into the discussion by invoking the name of the women he hopes to challenge in 2016. Kelly’s show was followed by Sean Hannity who added John McCain and Rand Paul to the bitchfest.

Not a single Democrat or pundit supportive of the President or his policy was allowed on the air during the post-speech analysis. So much for the “fair and balanced” network. This is why the prediction I made earlier was so easy. The same prediction can be made for pretty much any event that involves Obama or any progressive politician or policy. Fox News single-mindedly follows the philosophy of Marx (Groucho, that is):

Whatever it is, I’m against it.

Convert Or Die: Tea-Publicans Embrace The ISIS Doctrine

The American conservative movement has been crystal clear about their devotion to religious intolerance, racial bigotry, and political obstinance. They have honed an ideology of hatred and obstructionism that is unprecedented in our nation’s history. And in the wake of an escalation of brutality by our terrorist enemies, the right-wing only affirms their hard-line views and, even worse, adopts the rhetoric of our foes.

Convert or Die

The latest whack job to jump on the hayride is Duck Dynasty’s patriarch, Phil Robertson. Sean Hannity brought the Duck Dick onto his program to contribute his expertise in national security matters. However, the segment devolved into a sermon with Robertson spending most of his airtime reading from the bible. In one of the few off-the-cuff analyses of current affairs, Robertson offered this bit of wisdom about how to deal with ISIS:

“I’m just saying either convert them or kill them. One or the other.”

Well then, that certainly justified giving him twenty minutes to pontificate on a cable news program. Although it does coincide with previous Fox News pundits like Ann Coulter who said about Muslims generally:

“We should invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity.”

If this rhetoric sounds familiar it’s because we’ve heard from none other than ISIS operatives themselves. As Fox’s Megyn Kelly noted, they invaded towns in Iraq telling the residents that they had to “convert, die, or leave.” So Coulter, Rpbertson, et al, are now cribbing their speeches from the terrorist set. If you’re going to engage in plagiarism, it might be better to follow the Herman Cain model and stick to ripping off Pokemon movie theme lyrics.

Not one to be shut out of the circus, Dr. Ben Carson raised the issue of the “convert-or-die” doctrine in an op-ed for the uber-rightist National Review. But he took a somewhat unique approach in that he wasn’t explicitly advocating it. No, the doctor was citing it to demonstrate the similarities between other Americans and marauding armies of terror.

“Their convert-or-die doctrine parallels some of the social philosophies enforced by the political-correctness police in this country. Either you accept their interpretation of what is moral and correct, or the name-calling starts. We despise the Islamic State but do not see the same ugliness in our own tactics.”

See there? The PC police in America are just like extremists who behead people. And decapitation is no worse than name-calling. How could we not see these same ugly characteristics of our own tactics without Carson’s visionary guidance? No wonder he is such a darling of the Tea-jadist community. And don’t forget, he’s the same guy who said that “ObamaCare is really, I think, the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery,” and that “America is very much like Nazi Germany.”

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So what we have to learn from these folks is that America is already in the same moral cesspool as our terrorist enemies, or that we ought to be. And it is this philosophy that has enraptured so much of the Republican base. If that doesn’t motivate you to vote this November, well, then the terrorists have already won. So there.

Faux Pas: Fox News Video Gaffe During ISIS Segment Was Ironically Appropriate

During last night’s episode of The Kelly File, Megyn Kelly was having a discussion about the ISIS murder of Jim Foley with Pete Hegseth, CEO of the Koch brothers financed Concerned Veterans for America. Just as Hegseth was getting to the core of his comments, the control room queued up a video to accompany the dialog. But it may not have been the video that Kelly was expecting. Hegseth told Kelly that…

“At this point this is a terrorist army that believes that it controls a state.”

Fox News

However, instead of showing militants in Iraq, the video was of the unrest in Ferguson, Mo. Specifically it showed police officers racing through the protest-clogged streets of the St. Louis community. For those images to be juxtaposed with the words spoken simultaneously by Hegseth was jarring, but it inadvertently transmitted a message that the protesters, and many Americans, would have found apropos to the situation.

Apparently the video was live, breaking news from Ferguson that the producers thought took priority over the Foley issue, but Kelly disagreed and interrupted the discussion to tell them so. Then she and Hegseth continued the segment. They did not appear to have grasped the irony of the video gaffe.

CONSPIRACY: President Obama Is Trying To Impeach Himself

You can’t make this stuff up, folks. Well, unless you are an acutely delusional Tea Party Republican or work for the wingnutty press. In that case you can’t help but make up crap like this. It’s in your DNA.

Impeach Obama

Ever since the first inauguration of President Obama, right-wingers have been trying to undo the people’s decision to make him America’s chief executive. They declared that their top legislative objective was to make Obama a one-term president. In pursuit of that goal they have blocked most of his policy initiatives, judges, and government reforms. At the same time they have been hyper investigatory on everything from Fast and Furious, to the IRS, to ObamaCare, to his birthplace. All of this was squarely aimed at crippling or revoking his presidency.

This year Obama’s critics came out of the impeachment closet and began openly advocating for that legal nuclear option despite not having any legal basis for it. While many Tea-Publican whack jobs were earlier to the gate, Sarah Palin burst onto the scene a couple weeks ago with her own demand that Congress do their duty and trump up some phony articles of impeachment. It got so absurdly intense that Obama addressed it himself with fitting mockery.

So of course the next shoe to drop in this melodrama is that, along with everything else in the world, Obama is to blame for this too. In fact, according to some in the rightist crackpot community, it was all part of his nefarious plot to embarrass the GOP. Here is what Texas Republican Steve Stockman had to say about it when interviewed by the ultra-fringe rightists at WorldNetDaily:

“President Obama is begging to be impeached. […] He wants us to impeach him now, before the midterm election because his senior advisers believe that is the only chance the Democratic Party has to avoid a major electoral defeat. Evidently Obama believes impeachment could motivate the Democratic Party base to come out and vote.”

There you have it. The evil genius in the White House orchestrated the whole Obama-hate campaign from its earliest days in 2008 just so that he would be able to use impeachment, which is every president’s dream, as an election strategy six years into his presidency. He had the foresight to anticipate that his anti-America agenda, developed in concert with the Muslims and Marxists in his inner circle, would make the 2014 midterms so difficult that he would need something positive, like having himself prosecuted before Congress for high crimes and misdemeanors, in order to stem the tide of opposition that would rise up.

And Rep. Stockman is not alone in seeing through Obama’s scheme to impeach himself. Rush Limbaugh caught on and told his dittoheads that…

“[Obama] is really trying to goad the House Republicans into impeaching him. Really trying, I mean, very hard. It’s become obvious. It’s so obvious, he’s not fooling anybody.”

Indeed. He certainly isn’t fooling Steve Scalise, the new GOP Whip in the House of Representatives. Scalise was interviewed on Fox News Sunday by Chris Wallace who repeatedly sought to make Scalise commit to whether or not Republicans would advance impeachment. The best that Wallace could extract from Scalise was that…

“[This] might be the first White House in history trying to start the narrative of impeaching their own president.”

What’s fascinating about Scalise’s criticism is that, despite trying to blame the impeachment talk on Obama, he flatly refused to take it off the table. This is, in fact, consistent with all the other impeach-truthers. They accuse Obama of being the source of the attacks, while simultaneously keeping the controversy alive. It’s like accusing a firefighter of being an arsonist while you’re hiding in the bushes with a lighter and a pile of dry twigs. And speaking of fire-starters, Glenn Beck weighed in on this too.

“The president is going to change the subject and he’s going to make it about impeachment. […] So who wants it? The president does, because then he’ll be able to say ‘I demand justice.'”

[Update] This evening Megyn Kelly joined the Obama Self-Impeachment Loons with a segment devoted solely to her theory that the President and Democrats really want impeachment hearings to proceed. She introduced the segment by saying that there has been “a drumbeat of impeachment talk from the Democrats.” Like her fellow screw-loosers, she appears to be oblivious to the long record of conservatives who have been fanning these flames, including Allen West, Mark Levin, and even her Fox colleagues Jeanine Pirro and Andrew Napolitano. Kelly’s guest was Fox regular Chris Stirewalt who absurdly claimed Obama was “trolling the other party in hopes that they will impeach you.” And Kelly herself recently interviewed Andrew McCarthy, author of the new book “Faithless Execution: Building The Political Case For Obama’s Impeachment.” Has she forgotten already?

At one point in the segment Kelly sought to prove that Republicans had no incentive to push impeachment because a Fox News poll showed that 61% of all respondents were opposed to it. What Kelly conspicuously left out, even though she had prepared on-screen graphics, was that the same poll showed that 56% of Republicans say they support impeaching the President. And a whopping 68% of the Tea Party favor impeachment. That could be a significant partisan incentive. Now why do you suppose Kelly failed to divulge that data from her own poll?

It seems that whenever conservative blowhards get tired of defending their irresponsible overreaching into fruitcake-ville, they downshift to try to pretend that they never held those psycho positions in the first place. Then they attempt to blame the victim (Obama) for the whole messy affair. They did this recently when the birther foolishness was making them look even more dimwitted than usual. So they alleged that it was Obama who was the only one talking about his birth certificate. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

This is behavior that is familiar from the lunatics in the Republican Party. They can’t seem to make any arguments that don’t contradict reality. They accuse Obama of being a socialist, even though capitalism has thrived during his term (record corporate profits, stock market soaring, unemployment down). They fret over his fiscal irresponsibility without noticing that he cut the deficit in half. They complain about the vacation time attributed to him, which is far less than his predecessors. They’re suing him for executive overreach, apparently unaware that he has issued fewer executive orders than any president in nearly a hundred years.

This a president who is seen by his foes as both a lazy, incompetent, bungler, and a brilliant, determined, tyrant. They bitterly complain that he is disengaged and not doing enough – of the things that they hate him for doing so relentlessly. And now they are trying to peddle the notion that all along impeachment was a part of his grand plan to steal the 2014 elections. At what point can we have these nut cases put on a psychiatric hold for observation? Seriously, they need help.

On Fox News: Religious Intolerance Is An Atrocity Unless It’s Practiced By Christians

Last week Megyn Kelly of Fox News featured a segment that was crammed full of outrage over the bigotry demonstrated by the extremist ISIS brigade that is terrorizing much of Iraq. As ISIS marches through the nation that was fatally destabilized by George W. Bush and his confederacy of liars, any religious faction that is not aligned with the ISIS brand of Sunni Islam is dealt with brutally and mercilessly. This, of course, includes the Christians in the region. And it is the Christians for whom Fox News is solely concerned.

In a delivery dripping with fear, Kelly gravely reported on an alleged directive from ISIS that Christians in the city of Mosul “could leave, they could convert to Islam, or they could die.” This is certainly further evidence of the extremist intentions of the group and Fox News is correct to repudiate the threat as an assault on religious freedom.

However, there are a couple of problems with their newly acquired aversion to intolerance (a subject they generally dismiss as political correctness). For one thing, it never bothered them when conservative firebrand, and Fox News fave, Ann Coulter said pretty much the same thing, but with a somewhat different emphasis.

Fox News

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Coulter’s doctrine on Islam that “We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity,” is just as repugnant, bigoted, and hostile as that of the ISIS ultimatum. So why does Fox News tolerate hate-speech from Coulter that is identical to that of terrorist extremists?

It may help to understand the Fox editorial philosophy by noting that the “expert” Kelly solicited to analyze the events in Iraq was Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, who immediately blamed President Obama for this rancid display of religious intolerance. In fact, Perkins and Kelly spent more time castigating the President than they did ISIS. This tells you who they really regard as their enemy.

Perkins, and the FRC, are notable for their place on the list of hate groups published by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The FRC has been one of the most vicious opponents of the LGBT community. Their opposition is based wholly on their view that anyone who strays from the Christian dogma advocated by the FRC is deviant, sinful, harmful to society, and an affront to God. In other words, it is an entirely religious prejudice that condemns those with different beliefs. The SPLC’s report on the FRC begins…

“The Family Research Council (FRC) bills itself as ‘the leading voice for the family in our nation’s halls of power,’ but its real specialty is defaming gays and lesbians. The FRC often makes false claims about the LGBT community based on discredited research and junk science. The intention is to denigrate LGBT people in its battles against same-sex marriage, hate crimes laws, anti-bullying programs and the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.”

Despite their “Vision Statement” which calls for a culture in which “religious liberty thrives,” the FRC is unarguably a practitioner of religious intolerance. It’s sole purpose for existing is to rebuke those who fail to adopt their religious views. If a culture wherein religious liberty were thriving was truly their mission, there would be a place in it for those with whom they disagree. However, in that regard they are no different than ISIS.

It is telling that Kelly chose to invite the religiously intolerant Perkins to her Fox News program to discuss the religious intolerance of others. She might have considered people who are actually involved in anti-discrimination organizations, whose opinions would be more credible. That, however, would require her to violate the gospel of Fox News which demands strict adherence to right-wing, conservative, Christian principles. As I have noted previously

Fox News is the closest thing in media to a Vatican PR office, with a roster that is heavily weighted with Roman-Catholics. They include: Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Megyn Kelly, Bret Baier, Bill Hemmer, Brian Kilmeade, Andrew Napolitano, Jeanine Pirro, Laura Ingraham, Dennis Kucinich, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and Father Morris. Rupert Murdoch, the CEO of Fox News parent News Corp was himself inducted into the ‘Knights of the Order of Saint Gregory the Great’ by Pope John Paul II. And if that isn’t enough, the current Senior Communications Adviser in the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, Greg Burke, was previously the Fox News correspondent covering the Vatican, a position he held for ten years.

So remember this the next time you hear Fox News pretending to be the champions of religious freedom. Remember that their experts are actually bigoted hate mongers. Remember that their political commentators advocate genocide and ethnic cleansing. The only freedom that Fox News supports is the freedom to plaster the airwaves with lies and propaganda in the furtherance of the right-wing theocracy they hope to foist on America.

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

And of course Fox Nation made this their top story.
Read Fox Nation vs. Reality for more tales from the loony side.

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.