Days Of Our Lies: This Means Warren – The Clash Of Hillary And Elizabeth

The saga of the Clinton Dynasty continues on Fox News as they deliver a new episode of their blithering soap opera, Days of Our Lies.

Days of Our Lies

In the last chapter, you will recall that disgraced author Edward Klein laughably asserted that he had access to private conversations between Hillary and Bill Clinton. In those intimate liaisons it was revealed that Hillary was sinking into despair and losing her enthusiasm for public service. That despite the fact that she is handily out-polling all of her potential Democratic and Republican rivals.

The story continues with another excerpt from Klein’s new book wherein he is still managing to get insider scoops that any rational person would know are unavailable to the likes of him. He again cites sources who we are supposed to believe are among the closest confidants to the Clintons, yet are betraying them by blabbing to the right-wing media’s most vociferous and vicious Clinton enemy. Klein’s account of the private world inside the Clinton fortress includes these unlikely scenarios:

“President Obama has quietly promised Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren complete support if she runs for president — a stinging rebuke to his nemesis Hillary Clinton.”

“Obama has authorized his chief political adviser, Valerie Jarrett, to conduct a full-court press to convince Warren to throw her hat into the ring.”

“The Obamas believe that Warren sees things from the same ideological point of view as they do. She is a committed progressive who, like Obama, wants to transform America into a European-style democratic-socialist state.”

“Both Valerie and Michelle Obama have convinced the president that Elizabeth Warren is his Mini-Me.”

Warren, of course, has said repeatedly and emphatically that she is not running for president. She pledged explicitly to finish her term in the senate which ends in 2019. She even signed a letter, along with fellow senate Democrats, urging Clinton to run for President. These are not typical actions by someone plotting to mount an opposition candidacy in pursuit of a shared dream of European socialism.

Nevertheless, Fox News, along with their partner in melodrama, the New York Post (which is also their partner in the notoriously dishonest Murdoch media empire) are providing a platform for Klein’s delusional chronicles. Not only is there no evidence that any of Klein’s ravings are true, there is no conceivable way that he could have had access to the encounters that he is pretending to describe. And to top it all off, Fox illustrates the article with a deceptively edited photo that makes it appear that Obama and Warren are about to lock lips in a heated embrace.

Shameless self-promotion…
Get Fox Nation vs. Reality. Available now at Amazon.

However, like the soap operas that are broadcast on other daytime television programs, the audience of gullible wingnuts is woefully undiscriminating and will believe whatever is put in front of them by the yarn spinners at Fox. Stay tuned for the next episode of Days of Our Lies, brought to you by Fox News, when Hillary reveals that she is hopelessly in love with daughter Chelsea’s husband, who has gone missing after stumbling unto a mysterious Kenyan birth certificate.

Shaking In Their Boots: The Texas GOP Is Scared Witless Of Wendy Davis

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis must be terrifying to Texas Republicans. Why else would they be resorting to some of the most asinine tactics and ludicrous lies in order to defeat her?

In recent days Davis has been attacked by Republican opponents and the conservative press for a variety of manufactured pseudo-scandals. Among them is a claim dug out of a profile of Davis that appeared in the Dallas Morning News. Apparently her official bio said that she was a teenage single mother who struggled to make a better life for her family through hard work and education, eventually graduating from Harvard Law School. The newspaper noted, however, that Davis was not divorced until she was twenty-one years old and thus not a teenager when she became a single mother. Wingnut media immediately jumped on that discrepancy and howled with outrage that Davis was a liar who fabricated her life history.

Setting aside the fact that the difference between nineteen and twenty-one has no relevant bearing on anything, Davis’ critics also ignore the possibility that she and her husband were separated and living apart for a couple of years prior to their divorce being finalized. This is the sort of trivialities that Texas Republicans find it necessary to distort and exploit in order to smear their foes.

Another example of the GOP’s desperation was displayed in Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post where a headline declared that “Wendy Davis has no future in politics.” The article’s author came to this conclusion after learning that Davis’ second husband was granted custody of their children when that marriage ended.

New York Post

The Post falsely wrote that Davis had “lost custody of her children to her ex-husband.” The truth is that Davis agreed to the custody arrangement for the benefit of the kids to minimize any disruption to their lives. What’s more, the media’s characterization of this made Davis out to be an uncaring mother who abandoned her suffering little babies. For the record, her daughters were 23 and 17 at the time. And they apparently were not scarred for life because they are currently working on her campaign for governor and have appeared in commercials supporting her (video below).

[Update: Davis’ daughters are speaking out against the lies, negativity, and hatred that has been directed at their family.]

One of the most ridiculous assaults on Davis came when she was responding to these phony attacks on her character. She released a statement saying…

“I am proud of where I came from and I am proud of what I’ve been able to achieve through hard work and perseverance. And I guarantee you that anyone who tries to say otherwise hasn’t walked a day in my shoes”

Unbelievably, the right-wing outrage machine fired up a charge that Davis was mocking her prospective opponent for governor, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, for the disability that put him in a wheel chair. It seems that old cliches about experiencing things from the perspective of others are too harsh for the tender sensitivities of the American Wingnut. No one with a functioning brain could interpret Davis’ comment as a slap at Abbot’s disability. Thus it says something about Abbott that he ran (well, he didn’t actually run) to Fox News where he whined about how wrong it is to belittle someone for their handicaps. Of course, not only did she not do that, she didn’t even refer to Abbott in her remarks.

Is this really all they have? Has the Republican Party of Texas exhausted every other means of communicating with their constituents? In Texas, of all places, you would think they would have a stronger case to make for their conservative brand of politics. If they will sink this low in Texas in order to defeat a liberal Democratic candidate, they are clearly frightened in a major way. They must be aware on some level that they are a dying breed. They have alienated so much of their base that they are finding it difficult to succeed in territories they used to take for granted. And with the demographic shifts taking place in Texas, and the rest of the South, there isn’t much that they can take for granted anymore. And that’s why we’re seeing this sort of desperation play out in a state where not many expected there to be much of a contest.

Good luck, Wendy. You clearly have them on run.

GIRLY MEN: Conservatives Insult America’s Women In The Military

Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post published an exclusive report on alleged changes to the uniforms of the United States Marines. The story claimed to unveil plans to rollout new caps that the Post said would “take the hard-nosed Leathernecks from the Halls of Montezuma to the shops of Christopher Street.”

NYPost: Thanks to a plan by President Obama to create a “unisex” look for the Corps, officials are on the verge of swapping out the Marines’ iconic caps – known as “covers” — with a new version that some have derided as so “girly” that they would make the French blush.

To begin the parade of errors in this article, President Obama had nothing to do with the “plan.” The proposed uniform changes were the result of decisions made entirely within the military. Secondly, the decision has nothing to do with creating a unisex look. Only female uniforms are being considered for any changes. Male uniforms will remain the same. Finally, this is not a plot to feminize the military. The decision was driven by the fact that the company that made the women’s covers went out of business and the Corps had to find a new manufacturer. They took this opportunity to update the cover based on one worn by a two-time Medal of Honor winner from World War I.

So the New York Post got almost everything wrong in their story. They apparently did no research whatsoever to confirm the highly suspect information they claim to have received in the form of an internal memo that did not identify the source. The story then worked its way to Fox News where Fox & Friends co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck regurgitated the error-filled article despite the fact that the Corps had already debunked it. A real reporter contacted a spokesperson for the Corps and got this statement:

“The President in no way, shape, or form directed the Marine Corps to change our uniform cover. We’re looking for a new cover for our female Marines for the primary reason that the former manufacturer went out of business. The Marine Corps has zero intention of changing the male cover.”

However, there is a bigger problem with the substance of this report than just the fact that it is completely false. The tone of the complaint is overtly disparaging toward women in the service. Why is the New York Post and Fox News using language to insult our troops by associating them with female characteristics? What is it about being “girly” that they find so derogatory? Do they regard women as inferior or substandard soldiers? Are they afraid that they will throw grenades like a girl? The whole tenor of the article is that it is bad to be female and any affiliation with that gender is presumed to be negative.

Girly Marines
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Somehow I suspect that the menfolk at the Post and Fox News would be at a significant disadvantage in a confrontation with any female Marine. Perhaps it would be a constructive lesson for the sexist cowards who spew this garbage to be placed in that situation.

Hypocritical conservatives like to boast about their support for the troops, but this is the sort of deliberate smear that exposes just how disingenuous and self-serving their hollow praise is. They are simply exploiting America’s warriors for their own political purposes. And nothing is more disrespectful than that.

Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post Prints Racist, Pro-Assassination Cartoon – Again

OK, so the New York Post is a puerile, dishonest, sensationalist rag. But how on earth could anyone have approved this cartoon for publication?

New York Post Racism

You might think that a cartoon depicting President Obama as the bug-eyed prey fleeing fearfully from a stallion-mounted Romney, who is armed to the teeth, would have given a major metropolitan newspaper editor pause. You would be wrong, particularly if the newspaper is owned by Rupert Murdoch, an ultra-conservative propagandist who will do anything to manipulate an election.

The racist overtones of that cartoon should have been noticeable to anyone who even glanced at it. It practically shouts recollections of slave owners chasing runaway slaves. And even setting aside that repulsive message, the cartoon presents a wholly unsavory theme of violence directed the President.

What could have possessed the editors of the New York Post to publish this offensive garbage? And why hasn’t it stirred more of reaction from the public? If this were an isolated incident it would be bad enough, but three years ago a similarly themed cartoon made it into the pages of the Post:

New York Post Stimulus

And by the way, it was the same cartoonist, Sean Delonas, who did both of these racist, pro-assassination, pictorial diatribes. It is just inconceivable that this sort of thing is considered appropriate and that a paper like the Post can get away with it. There ought to be consequences and, hopefully, the people of New York will impose them.

Press Pussies? Fox Nation Resorts To Profanity To Attack Obama And The Press

A story today on Fox Nation featured a headline that other news organizations might have considered obscene: Press Pussies Soft on Obama.

Fox Nation Press Pussies

For the Fox Nationalists, obscenity is no barrier to another opportunity to smear the President. Anyone who doesn’t believe that Fox deliberately chose to use profane language that is a pejorative allusion to vaginas in order to emasculate their targets doesn’t know Fox very well.

The story linked to an article on Fox’s sister newspaper the New York Post by right-wing hack Michael Goodwin. The underlying article was a lame effort to disparage Obama’s press conference yesterday. Goodwin filled the column with nonsense attacks and ad hominem insults. He began by comparing Obama’s presidency with the scandal-plagued administrations of Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton. Of course, Obama has not had any scandals attributed to him, much less those with serious consequences like criminal break-ins and sexual misconduct.

What Goodwin thinks are equivalent controversies consist of the President having held fundraisers. Saints preserve us – a politician has engaged in soliciting donations! Then Goodwin is shocked – SHOCKED – that the President made a few references to his political opponents. That must be a first. Then, just before accusing Obama of lying “virtually every time he appears in public,” Goodwin outright lies by asserting that Obama leaked classified information for political gain. He made no effort to document that falsehood.

Goodwin went on to refer to the President as grubby, but then said that it was Obama who was taking the low road. He faulted Obama for “capitaliz[ing] on the nutso ‘legitimate rape’ comments of a GOP Senate candidate,” even though Obama was answering a question from a reporter. But in Goodwin’s delusional mind the reporter was a White House plant.

It should come as no surprise that when an ultra-right-wing enterprise like Fox News decides to employ profanity to attack their perceived enemies, they would choose one that is a derogatory reference to women. Yet somehow they still complain when they are criticized for engaging in a war on women.

For Goodwin to publish this column so soon after the lunatic ravings of Todd Akin demonstrates just how tone deaf the Republican machine is, and how insensitive they are to sexism and prejudice and the suffering of its victims.

New York Post Columnist Tells Fox News That Obama Might Kill Biden

Michael Goodwin is a notoriously uber-conservative writer for Rupert Murdoch’s wingnut tabloid, the New York Post. This morning he ventured over to Murdoch’s Fox News studios to be interviewed about the presidential election. When the subject turned to vice-presidents, Goodwin couldn’t resist making a Mafia association with President Obama caste as the Godfather. His prediction is that Joe Biden will be disposed of to make room for Hillary Clinton on the Democratic ticket.

“Joe Biden is the Fredo of the Obama family and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him sent out on a little fishing boat one early morning. […] If it comes close in the summer, if the polls show Obama trailing, he will make the switch. Hillary Clinton will be on the ticket and Joe Biden will be sleeping with the fishes.”

Twice in Goodwin’s remarks he refers to Biden being assassinated in order to reassign Clinton. The “little fishing boat” and “sleeping with the fishes” are both Mafia-speak for mob hits from the iconic Godfather movies.

The outlandishness of Goodwin’s assertions are nearly matched by his incoherent analysis. If Obama were going to ditch Biden he would have done so before having produced warehouses full of Obama/Biden campaign paraphernalia. And making such a switch later in the season would only reek of desperation. What’s more, Clinton has absolutely no incentive to leave her post as Secretary of State, where she is a dominant player on the world stage, for a demotion to vice-president, where she’d be relegated to attending funerals and other ceremonial duties. And the cherry on the top of Goodwin’s nuttiness is that he actually aligns himself with the political analysis of the deceased leader of Al Qaeda:

“Even Osama Bin Laden, in those letters, said that Biden is woefully unprepared to be president.”

When right-wingers praise Bin Laden as an ideological ally something has gone terribly wrong. But the right’s obsession with hostile rhetoric is well documented. They frequently engage in assassination fantasies featuring Obama, and they openly yearn for violent ends to their political adversaries. So it is not surprising to see them project their psychotic behavior onto the President and suggest that he would off his own VP. That’s how the right thinks about these matters, and they assume that everyone else is as emotionally perverse as they are themselves.

Sarah Palin: An Excruciating Combination Of Bombast And Whining

Sarah PalinThe upcoming Sarah Palin crockumentary, hilariously titled The Undefeated, has been screening before selected audiences. The reaction hasn’t been particularly encouraging. For the most part conservatives are swooning over its unabashedly reverential treatment of the former half-term governor and defeated VP candidate, while liberals note the historical revisionism that excises all of her missteps and muddle-headedness.

The most surprising critique comes from an unlikely source. Kyle Smith is the film critic for the New York Post. The Post is not only a notoriously right-wing, tabloid rag, it is also owned by Rupert Murdoch, the same person who employs Sarah Palin at his Fox News Channel. So here is what is being said about the movie from its friendliest faction:

“Its tone is an excruciating combination of bombast and whining, it’s so outlandishly partisan that it makes Richard Nixon look like Abraham Lincoln and its febrile rush of images – not excluding earthquakes, car wrecks, volcanic eruption and attacking Rottweilers – reminded me of the brainwash movie Alex is forced to sit through in ‘A Clockwork Orange.’ Except no one came along to refresh my pupils with eyedrops.”

In other words, the movie is a painstakingly accurate representation of its subject. It will be premiering in Iowa next month, followed by New Hampshire and other early primary states. And Fox News still keeps Palin on the air as if she were not campaigning. The producers hope to launch a limited release in mostly red states later in the year. Expect it to achieve success similar to that of the Tea Party-promoted Atlas Shrugged. Which is to say that it will fail miserably. And like Atlas Shrugged, the free market-loving, Randian, Tea Partiers will blame everything but the film’s shoddy production and tedious, predictability for its failure.

The prospects for this project are conspicuously weak. Despite the Pavlovian frenzy on the part of the media, Palin is actually a marginal figure with approval ratings in the twenties. That is not the sort of product that fills seats in theaters. Her books have sold successively worse, and her TLC cable show lost viewers just about every week it was on the air. So where is the audience for this outside of the waning Palin Appreciation Society?

The one potentially positive outcome of this film is that, after it bombs, perhaps the media will grasp that Palin is nothing more than a political pet rock – a gag gift that does not deserve the attention that is showered on her. And since she hates the press so much, and refuses to interact with it, maybe they will stop following her around like lost puppies.

Fox Alert! The Taliban Is Recruiting Monkey Mercenaries

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp has been giving the World Weekly News some pretty stiff competition. With Fox News making up stories about ClimateGate and the New Black Panther Party, and Fox Nation trying to spark fears of Boob Bombs and armed IRS ObamaCare enforcers, the Murdoch empire is not much more than a right-wing fantasy factory.

Today they have upped the lunacy by passing along a ridiculous story about the Taliban training monkeys to do battle with American soldiers. The story, sourced to the People’s Daily in China, was published by at least two Murdoch properties, Fox Nation and the New York Post. And if you weren’t frightened by the prospect of terrorists sneaking into the country with explosive breast implants, then maybe the thought of radical Islamic macaques and baboons armed “with AK-47 rifles, machine guns and trench mortars in the Waziristan tribal region near the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan” will set you to squirming. And both the Post and the Fox Nationalists featured an obviously doctored “photo” of a menacing Monkey Mercenary, along with this foreboding video:

Ordinarily I would dismiss this sort of rightist horror story without much consideration. After all, even the video supplied doesn’t show a single rhesus recruit, just some suspicious still photos. But upon reflection, I couldn’t entirely cast off the theory after observing the quality of Murdoch’s “news” operations. I mean, if the monkeys working for Murdoch can be reporters and publishers, then why couldn’t they be soldiers?

Fox Nation Gives Birth To Christmas Bomber Truthers

Establishment conservatives have long assailed fringe groups who believe that there has been a cover-up of government involvement in the attacks on 9/11. The “Truthers” have been ridiculed as conspiracy theorists who are something less than patriotic. The very act of implying a government role was viewed as misguided and disrespectful at best, treasonous at worst. So why is Fox Nation featuring this as their top story?

U.S. Knew of Airline Plot Before Christmas

The story linked to by the Fox Nationalists doesn’t actually allege that anyone in government knew of a plot to bomb an airplane on Christmas. It merely restates what was previously disclosed in the press, and by the President, that there had been a “systemic failure” to correlate information from multiple sources that might have raised warning flags. That’s a far cry from knowing the identity of a specific Nigerian individual who had conspired with Yemeni members of Al Qaeda to blow up a plane on Christmas day.

Fox: US KnewThe glaringly misleading headline, that was also featured on Fox News and Foxnews.com, is identical in form to the Truthers’ claims regarding 9/11. So where is the outrage at this blatant promulgation of anti-American propaganda? How does Fox get away with espousing such repugnant disloyalty? Is it because the difference this time is that it is the Obama administration about which there is an insinuation of shared guilt?

New York Post: Bush KnewBefore we presume that there is a partisan nature to this story, we need to take note of another Rupert Murdoch “news” vehicle that in May of 2002 was supportive of the 9/11 Truther movement. Just eight months after the attack on the World Trade Center, the New York Post published a story that charged then-President Bush with having prior knowledge of those attacks.

So maybe it is just that Murdoch is an equal opportunity accuser of the U.S. government with complicity in terrorism. Remember, Murdoch is a native Australian who moved to the U.K. before eventually applying for U.S. citizenship so that he could take control of the Fox network. So it’s difficult to ascertain to whom he has allegiance. Strike that. It is clear that Murdoch’s allegiance is only to himself, his rightist agenda, and his bank account. Any assessment of Murdoch’s motives as they are revealed by his media enterprises must be seen in the context of his obvious disdain for the United States, its people, and their welfare.

The Goal Of The New York Post: Destroy Barack Obama

On the heels of reports that Rupert Murdoch’s sensationalistic tabloid, the New York Post, is severely wobbling financially and bleeding circulation, comes this report from the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein about a fired NY Post employee’s lawsuit against the paper.

Sandra Guzman was terminated by the Post after she had leveled criticism of an overtly racist cartoon that portrayed President Obama as a chimpanzee. Guzman’s allegations cover a broad sweep of misconduct by the paper and its editor, Col Allan. Stein writes…

“As part of the 38-page complaint, Guzman paints the Post newsroom as a male-dominated frat house and Allan in particular as sexist, offensive and domineering. Guzman alleges that she and others were routinely subjected to misogynistic behavior. She says that hiring practices at the paper — as well as her firing — were driven by racial prejudices rather than merit.

And she recounts the paper’s D.C. bureau chief stating that the publication’s goal was to ‘destroy [President] Barack Obama.’

The lawsuit alleges that the environment at the Post was a hotbed of salacious innuendo, undisguised racism, and open political partisanship. Read Stein’s article for the juicy details. He has also posted a copy of the full complaint.

This is just another embarrassing episode for the Murdoch family of pseudo-news operations, and should further lock in Murdoch’s legacy as a disreputable purveyor of filth and lies.

New York Post: Next Stop FAIL

The New York Times is reporting some bad news for Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post:

“Three years ago Col Allan, the editor of The New York Post, pumped his fist and waded into a cheering crowd at a Midtown restaurant, celebrating The Post’s overtaking its rival, The Daily News, in weekday circulation. The Post trumpeted the news on a Times Square billboard and in its pages.” […] “Mr. Allan, who called it ‘a joyous occasion’ when The Post took the lead, now takes a more subdued view of the competition, saying in an e-mail exchange that ‘whether we are a little in front or a little behind has no impact on our forward business plan.'”

This turnaround in attitude is the result of a 30% drop in circulation for the Post in the past two and a half years. That is a bigger and faster decline than most of his competitors in a time of difficulty for the entire industry. This loss of readers comes on top of the paper losing approximately $50 million a year for the past ten years. Sources for the Times put the figure this year at $70 million. One must wonder how long Murdoch will tolerate such losses. He has shown in the past great patience for money-losing operations. He deficit financed Fox News for five years. He has been losing money on both MySpace and the Fox Business Network for two years. He doesn’t seemed to be the least bit phased by Glenn Beck’s loss of some 80 advertisers.

What this demonstrates is that Murdoch is not just the greedy media baron some think. He obviously is committed to his ideologies and the “news” enterprises that disseminate them. And if it costs him a few tens of millions of dollars, so be it.

The Hateful Slander Of The New York Post

Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post has a long history of shameless bias and insensitivity. This is, after all, the paper that published a cartoon portraying President Obama as a monkey being shot to death.

Now the post has moved their repulsive imagery onto the front page.

What first drew my attention to this was the utterly disgusting reference to the death of David Carradine. What Post editors must have thought was a cutesy play off of “Kung Fu,” the TV series in which Carradine starred, was entirely inappropriate and shockingly lacking in sympathy for the deceased’s family and friends.

But upon further examination, I noticed that the image at the top was no less repulsive. It depicts a couple of quasi-terrorists lounging on the sofa, caressing their assault weapons, waiting for a TV dinner, and watching Obama deliver an address to students at Cairo University in Egypt. They are wrapped up all snugly in their fatigues and wool caps and, if we could see their eyes better, I’m sure they would be glassy with admiration for what the Post describes as their “friend” who wants to “woo” them.

The obvious intention of the Post is to cast Obama as one of “them” – as a fellow Muslim speaking directly to his extremist comrades in the warmth of their secret lairs. Notice the rapt attention they give to their Manchurian leader. The juxtaposition of these hooded barbarians, serenely embracing Obama’s electronically glowing presence, with the superimposed text that speaks of friendship and wooing, can have only one purpose: To insinuate that the televised Obama in the background is just as much a threat to America as the fearsome subjects in the foreground.

This is propaganda in its most advanced and destructive form. It is a deliberate attempt by Murdoch and Co. to exploit his media megaphone and smear the image of the President. The Post, and everyone affiliated with it, should be embarrassed by this forsaking of journalistic principles. Of course, the Post, being what it is, probably feels only pride for its lack of ethics.

And what is it with the repeated use of the nickname “Bam” for the president? Is that supposed to create an association with an explosive device (by removing the beginning “O” and the concluding “a” from Obama’s name, the phonetic remainder would be pronounced “bomb”)? The Post has been using this label for some time. At least as far back as January 2008, in a hilariously stupid article suggesting that Obama could be the first woman president because he is slim, attractive, and well-dressed. By that measure, the Jonas brothers would be next Supremes.

It is time to let the Post know that their readers will not tolerate this sort of manipulation and dishonesty. This is a paper that loses about $50 million a year, but is kept afloat by Murdoch’s deep pockets and sustained evil. But that doesn’t mean that our complaints will go unheeded. After the controversy regarding the monkey cartoon, Murdoch personally apologized – sort of. So for anyone who is outraged at this demonstration of hate and slander…..

Letters to the Editor

News Blights: The SPINCOM Edition

Item 1: The Fox Network has announced that it will not carry President Obama’s press conference on Wednesday, the 100th day of his presidency. ABC, CBS, and NBC have all committed to carrying it. Note that this is the Fox broadcast entertainment network, not the cable news channel, which has declined to air the presser. Still, there is some irony in that Fox has chosen to air an episode of the series “Lie To Me” instead. That’s something with which Fox should be familiar. Note also that the Fox News network has previously declined to air several Obama press affairs, even when the other cable news nets carried them.

Item 2: Newspaper circulation data for the six months ending March 2009, shows that Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post suffered the worst decline (-20.55%) of all of the top 25 papers measured by the Audit Bureau of Circulation. That does not compare well to the New York Times that declined only 3.55%. The New York Daily News fared worse (-14.26), but still not as bad as the Post. The Wall Street Journal was up a fraction.

Item 3: A study by the Center for Media and Public Affairs found the nightly newscasts devoting nearly 28 hours to Obama’s presidency in the first 50 days, about twice as much as Bush and Clinton. Of course, they weren’t facing the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression when they entered office. The study went on to report that 58% of the Obama stories on ABC, CBS and NBC, contained some positive elements. That’s a little more than half, so it could be regarded as fair and balanced. But the network that turned that phrase into a logo had only 13% positive analysis. Slanted much?

Item 4: Speaking at the Milken Global Institute Conference, Rupert Murdoch articulated a position that may come as a surprise to many, including the clowns on his news network. As reported in his own Wall Street Journal: “He said complete nationalization of the biggest banks might have been a good thing; it would have allowed the government to break up the banks’ businesses and sell them as smaller entities. That way, ‘there would be no more too big to fail firms,’ he said.” But Glenn Beck said that that way there would be Socialism!?! Rupert’s in big trouble now.

Item 5: Last year the New York Times published a story about the media using retired military analysts that were provided and trained by the Pentagon to speak approvingly about the war in Iraq and other war on terror operations. In addition, some of these allegedly neutral analysts were also on the payroll of defense contractors with vested interests in the war effort. None of these associations were disclosed by the media. Subsequent to the story in the Times, the same media virtually blacked out any reporting on the controversy. Last week the author, David Barstow, won a Pulitzer prize for the article. Guess what? The media somehow failed to report on Barstow’s award, even when reporting on the Pulitzer’s announcement of other winners.

Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post Attacks Jon Stewart

In another example of Rupert Murdoch using his financially disastrous New York Post to whip people with whom he disagrees, the Post’s Page Six published a ridiculous hit piece on Jon Stewart.

The article points an accusatory finger of shame at Stewart for the sin of talking to his brother:

JON Stewart, the scourge of Wall Street and bane of CNBC, may have had a secret weapon in his corner to help him prep for his grudge match with “Mad Money” host, Jim Cramer – his older brother.

As the Wall Street Journal recently pointed out, Stewart’s brother, Larry Leibowitz, is head of US Markets & Global Technology at NYSE Euronext.

In effect, the Post’s Richard Johnson is criticizing Stewart for conducting research. You know, the sort of thing that reputable journalists are supposed to do. If you have a big interview coming up, you study the subject so that you are prepared to address it intelligently with your guest (assuming your guest is intelligent). Johnson, not surprisingly, wouldn’t know anything about this because it is, as I said, done by “reputable” journalists.

What’s more, Johnson’s assertion that Stewart was coached isn’t even borne out in the article. He simply states that Stewart has a brother in the financial business, but offers no proof that they ever discussed Cramer. However he does attack the brothers for engaging in some sort of undefined conspiracy:

“What a routine they have. One brother pretends to kick Wall Street’s butt by crucifying Cramer on his show, while the other brother is down on Wall Street kissing it.”

For good measure, Johnson closes the article by disparaging Cramer’s ratings, without bothering to mention the conflict of interest that he has as an employee of a corporation that also runs Fox News, a competitor to Cramer’s CNBC.

Rupert Murdoch Won’t Apologize For Racism

The overtly racist cartoon published last week in the New York Post stands as evidence of the intractable racism that still infects the right-wing media.

Today, Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of the Post as well as its parent News Corp, issued what he regards as an apology:

“Last week, we made a mistake. We ran a cartoon that offended many people. Today I want to personally apologize to any reader who felt offended, and even insulted.”

“Over the past couple of days, I have spoken to a number of people and I now better understand the hurt this cartoon has caused. At the same time, I have had conversations with Post editors about the situation and I can assure you – without a doubt – that the only intent of that cartoon was to mock a badly written piece of legislation. It was not meant to be racist, but unfortunately, it was interpreted by many as such.”

So Murdoch spoke to a number of people and now he understands the hurt that was caused. But he still is only apologizing to those who “felt offended” – as if they were responsible for the pain. What’s more, he characterizing those who were hurt as simpletons who misinterpreted the intent of the cartoon.

What Murdoch does not do is apologize for racism. His new found understanding doesn’t include a grasp of the hatred that is embodied in the insults and violence expressed in the Post’s cartoon. He doesn’t comprehend that his so-called apology has little meaning when it exists in a vacuum unsupported by his actions. After all, he has done and said nothing about his editor’s defense of the cartoon. Col Allan, in his response to the controversy, complained that…

“…there are some in the media and in public life who have had differences with The Post in the past — and they see the incident as an opportunity for payback. To them, no apology is due […and that the cartoon…] is a clear parody of a current news event.”

Apparently it was not so clear as Mr. Allan thinks. If Murdoch has to emerge from his lair a full week after publication, what is clear is that there has been public repulsion to the cartoon that is not going away quickly enough for the media mogul. But he probably won’t have to worry about business at the Post (Well, not more than usual since it has lost millions annually for over a decade). His readers have risen to the occasion to support the cartoon and its message. The vast majority of the comments attached to the online apology either defend the cartoon or berate Murdoch for apologizing. And amidst this rush to embrace hate are comments like this one:

New York Post Cartoon Comment

That comment is representative of many of the comments posted on the paper’s web site. Who will apologize for that?

Murdoch’s bully boy, Bill O’Reilly, has repeatedly hammered web sites like Daily Kos and the Huffington Post for what he says is hate speech. He attributes every comment on those sites to the name at the top of the page. In reality it is just an open forum where people speak for themselves. More often than not, objectionable content is quickly smacked down by other commenters. But in O’Reilly’s mind it is still the site’s responsibility. So I wonder if he will show some consistency and condemn the New York Post for comments like the one above. Especially since it is not an aberration, but the consensus.

Actually, I don’t wonder at all. In fact I wouldn’t be too surprised if Osinko turned out to be O’Reilly himself. After all, it was O’Reilly who ventured into Harlem and…

“…couldn’t get over the fact that there was no difference between Sylvia’s restaurant and any other restaurant in New York City. I mean, it was exactly the same, even though it’s run by blacks, primarily black patronship […] There wasn’t one person in Sylvia’s who was screaming, “M-Fer, I want more iced tea.'”

Osinko – O’Reilly / O’Reilly – Osinko — Hmmm…..

New York Post Cartoon

Racist New York Post Continues A Murdoch Theme

In today’s New York Post, and on their website, is a cartoon that shows two cops shooting an ape and saying “They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill.” I’m not going to help the Post out by linking to it. You can find it on your own if you’re interested. But here’s my response:

New York Post Parody

I suppose there will be apologists for the Post who will deny the obvious racist intent, but it’s hard to find another interpretation when the Stimulus Bill is so closely associated with President Obama and the cartoon depicts the author as a dead ape. In the best light, it is still an overtly hostile response to the serious issues facing our nation.

It is not however the first time a Rupert Murdoch property “joked” about assassinating Obama. Last year Fox News contributor Liz Trotta said:

“…and now we have what some are reading as a suggestion that somebody knock off Osama …uh… Obama … well, both if we could.”

Very funny, huh? And then there was the time Bill O’Reilly declared that he didn’t want to “lynch” Michelle Obama. That was considerate of him.

Bill O'Reilly's Lynching Party

This recurring theme of racism and violence directed at the President and his family is just more proof that News Corp is not a legitimate news enterprise and should not be taken seriously or supported by consumers.

Does Rupert Murdoch Despise Bill O’Reilly?

The question of Rupert Murdoch’s relationship with his top-rated TV blowhard, Bill O’Reilly, has come up before. Now, courtesy of Michael Calderone at Politico, an excerpt from Michael Wolff’s upcoming biography of Murdoch is asserting that:

“It is not just Murdoch (and everybody else at News Corp.’s highest levels) who absolutely despises Bill O’Reilly, the bullying, mean-spirited, and hugely successful evening commentator, but Roger Ailes himself who loathes him. Success, however, has cemented everyone to each other.”

If Murdoch and Ailes “absolutely despise” O’Reilly, I can only hope they come to despise me as much. The apparent reward for such hatred is endless fawning, copious perks, and a brand new multimillion dollar contract renewal. But I wouldn’t get too excited. Wolff provides very little support for his conclusion, and what he does provide is weak and contradicted by past comments and behavior.

Wolff suggests that Murdoch’s purchase of Dow Jones, publisher of the Wall Street Journal, was in part to distance himself from the tenor of Fox News. Though why he thinks that the famously conservative newspaper is a departure from the obvious partiality of Fox is a mystery. Wolff seems to think that Murdoch finds the more sedate bias of the Journal preferable to the loudmouth variety at Fox. However, he doesn’t consider the more likely scenario that Murdoch will turn up the volume at the Journal. He has already said publicly that wants the Journal to publish shorter, punchier stories, with less business and more general news. And Wolff, at least in this excerpt, doesn’t consider that a major factor in purchasing the Journal was to beef up resources for Murdoch’s recently launched Fox Business Network.

Politico’s Calderone curiously opines that Murdoch’s political views are “difficult to pin down.” In support of this he cites Murdoch’s backing for Thatcher, Reagan, Blair, Koch, and McCain. That seems pretty easy to pin down to me. They are all notable conservatives with the exception of Tony Blair, who started out as a progressive Labour Party leader, but ended up as a Bush lapdog. And rumors have it that Murdoch and Blair made a pact early on that if Blair did not interfere with Murdoch’s business aspirations, Murdoch would see to it that News Corp. enterprises (including the London Times, the Sun, and the Sky News satellite network) would stand behind Blair.

As further evidence of Murdoch’s squishy liberalism, the article cites the New York Post’s endorsement of Obama over Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary. But the endorsement from the Post reads like an outright condemnation. Here are some highlights from the Post’s column endorsing Obama:

  • “…an untried candidate, to be sure…”
  • “Obama is not without flaws.”
  • “For all his charisma and his eloquence, the rookie senator sorely lacks seasoning…”
  • “Regarding national security, his worldview is beyond naive…”
  • “His all-things-to-all-people approach to complicated domestic issues also arouses scant confidence”
  • “…he is not Team Clinton…That counts for a very great deal.”
  • “…we don’t agree much with Obama on substantive issues.”

With friends like that, who needs enemas? The Post eventually endorsed McCain in the general election. And unlike the Obama endorsement, it was enthusiastic and complimentary.

I don’t for minute believe that Murdoch has become disenchanted with O’Reilly or Fox News. His views are as consistent as ever. In September he lashed out at Obama saying that he is a naive, 60’s style Socialist, and that his administration would worsen inflation, ruin America’s relationships with other nations, and drive companies to leave the country. All achievements for which George W. Bush can already claim credit.

Shallow analysis like that of Wolff and Politico has been asserted before. In the end, Murdoch is who he has always been: an irredeemably conservative corporatist, consumed with lust for money and power. As long as O’Reilly contributes to those goals, Murdoch’s love for him will endure.

Hilarious Update: Kara Swisher at All Things Digital has dredged up a laughably appropriate example of Michael Wolff’s deficiency of insight. In 1998 Wolff said:

“I think the myth of the Internet is that it is going to come into everybody’s home.”

Good call, Mikey.

New York Times Goes Soft On New York Post

In a New York Times column today by Richard Perez-Pena, the case is made that the New York Post’s owner, Rupert Murdoch, has gone soft on Barack Obama and liberals in general. The evidence cited for this ideological tectonic shift is a shallow observation that the Post has not published its usual brand of slander in the few days that have passed since the election. The Times writes…

“Starting the day before the voting, the paper’s coverage of Mr. Obama turned positive, even admiring, sprinkled with gauzy bits about his family life, even urging him at one point to adopt a particular puppy for his daughters. A few days after the election, The Post published a 12-page special section about Mr. Obama, wrapped in that two-page photo of him.”

Anyone who regards this as anything but a convenient post-election holiday from their customary hostility has thoroughly lost perspective. Murdoch is a businessman and the Post is a money-losing rag in the heart of the Democratic haven of New York City. What was the Post supposed to do in the wake of this historic election, publish pictures of Obama in Hip-Hop gear with his arm around Osama Bin Laden? (That’s for next month’s issue).

For the Times to project from that that Murdoch is a secret Obama fan suggests they are taking their own holiday from sanity. Fox News is as vitriolic as ever. As a national network, they are not confined to a single market that is in disaccord with their views. So folks like Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, and Neil Cavuto, are still free to brutally disparage Obama and all Democrats and other liberals. Gary Ginsberg, a Fox News spokesman, made an effort to disguise Murdoch’s prejudice against Obama by saying that…

“Rupert met him, spent a good deal of time with him, and I think he’s been very taken by his intellect, by his ability to inspire and by the opportunity that he has to truly take America in a positive direction on education issues, social issues and others.”

That, of course, flies in the face of Murdoch’s own words. The Post endorsed John McCain and Murdoch admitted publicly that he “had something to do with it.” It is extremely unlikely that he has changed his anti-Obama positions from those expressed just last month, and hardly represent an endorsement of Obama’s inspirational abilities:

Murdoch: [Obama’s] policy is really very, very naive, old fashioned, 1960’s socialist.”

In the same commentary, Murdoch also said that an Obama administration would worsen inflation, ruin America’s relationships with other nations, and drive companies to leave the country. That’s funny, I thought that George W. Bush had already done all of that. Perhaps that’s what Murdoch means when he talks about “tak[ing] America in a positive direction.”

The Times went on to mention a meeting held with Murdoch, Obama, and Fox News CEO Roger Ailes. It is characterized as “a bid to moderate Fox’s coverage of Mr. Obama,” but that’s just more PR manure. In truth, it was a transparent bid to persuade Obama to appear on their network. For most of the campaign Obama had snubbed Fox News. They were was missing out on the most exciting political story of the year because of their overt bias. Obama reportedly let Ailes have it during the meeting:

“Obama lit into Ailes. He said that he didn’t want to waste his time talking to Ailes if Fox was just going to continue to abuse him and his wife, that Fox had relentlessly portrayed him as suspicious, foreign, fearsome – just short of a terrorist.”

This is the real Murdoch, and the one who will endure over time. The notion that he has grown fond of Obama is naive in the extreme. And the fact that the Times would suggest such nonsense ought to bring them much embarrassment. It is not just poor analysis and shoddy journalism, it is delusional. Yet somehow it is in sync with the media conclusion that despite Obama’s overwhelming victory we are still a center-right country. That’s our liberal media talking.

Fox News Cancels New York Times

This past weekend, the New York Times published a profile of John McCain’s wife, Cindy. Included in the article were facts relating to Sen. McCain’s adulterous relationship with his future second wife, as well as Ms. McCain’s troubles with drugs. These are simply factual episodes that any responsible biographical piece would have to address.

Predictably, the McCain campaign was outraged and immediately began shouting about media bias and tabloid journalism. Whereupon the masters of tabloidism, Fox News, came to McCain’s aid by parroting his complaints and even helping to punish the Times by providing viewers with a telephone number they could call to cancel their subscriptions. This all occurred during a “news” broadcast, not the O’Reilly Factor.

The hubris of Fox News never seems to find it’s peak. It would be one thing for them to report on the controversial article and McCain’s response. They might even follow that up with their own views as to the presence of bias in the article. At this point everyone knows that Fox shamelessly inserts their opinions into their reporting, and since McCain has already declared war against the Times, it’s only natural that Fox, the network of the Republican National Committee, would follow suit. However, by participating in a effort to encourage the cancellation of subscribers to the paper, Fox is crossing a new line that is much further out in the sand than was previously drawn.

Aside from the obvious advocacy on the part of Fox News for the McCain candidacy, and their staking out a position on the paper’s coverage, Fox News has a vested financial interest in harming the Times. Fox News is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. which also owns Times competitors the New York Post and the Wall Street Journal. So this partisan interference in political affairs is also a brazen attempt to damage a competitor in the marketplace.

The many tentacles of the Murdoch empire continue to raise questions about monopolies and anti-trust. Is it proper for one News Corp. property to openly advocate that customers abandon a competitor of another property? If so, could NBC, which is owned by General Electric, broadcast appeals to their viewers to stop purchasing light bulbs or refrigerators made by their competitors? Could ABC, which is owned by Disney, run stories that advise people not to attend Six Flags Amusement Parks in an effort to boost attendance at Disneyland?

These are some of the easily anticipated problems with the sort of unregulated consolidation that has been rampant in the recent past, particularly in Republican administrations. If anti-trust laws aren’t taken seriously and vigorously enforced, the corporate chieftains end up controlling and manipulating markets to the detriment of competition and consumers. Barack Obama is on record in opposition to the Bush policy of ignoring, or advancing, corporate collusion, consolidation, and other anti-competitive activity:

“We’re going to have an antitrust division in the Justice Department that actually believes in antitrust law. We haven’t had that for the last seven, eight years.”

If Obama follows through on that pledge, we might begin to see some progress toward a truly open, diverse, and fair marketplace in the media and elsewhere. Regulations will need to be refined and some conglomerates will need to be broken up. Real reform in this area will be difficult to achieve, but it is essential if we want a system that provides a level playing field for everyone.

The Fox News War On News

David Carr of the New York Times seems to finally have noticed what has been obvious for years to any objective news analyst. Fox News has a long-standing scorched Earth policy when reacting to other media who dare to report on Fox News.

In his column titled, When Fox News Is the Story,” Carr confesses that just the thought of having to deal with Fox News as a subject in a story makes him and his peers nervous:

“Once the public relations apparatus at Fox News is engaged, there will be the calls to my editors, keening (and sometimes threatening) e-mail messages, and my requests for interviews will quickly turn into depositions about my intent or who else I am talking to.”

The key tactic in Fox’s PR strategy is to intimidate reporters and editors, and by Carr’s own admission, it’s working. Carr goes on to profile the Fox news PR machine as an operation modeled on political warfare, as directed by CEO Roger Ailes, a veteran of campaigns going back to Richard Nixon. He describes it as “a kind of rolling opposition research” effort intended to cause material harm to their perceived enemies. Carr cites the recent example of the hosts of Fox & Friends taking out their revenge on two Times reporters who wrote about how the competition is gaining on Fox. Brian Kilmeade and Steve Doocy displayed altered photographs of the reporters that were at best unflattering, at worst anti-Semitic.

While Carr’s revelations are interesting, they don’t go nearly far enough to provide an historical context for Fox’s behavior. This is not a recent phenomena. Three years ago David Folkenflik wrote about how Fox bears its fangs when it doesn’t like what’s being said. And the AP’s David Bauder documented what has become known as Fox’s “Wishing Well,” a back-handed slap at anyone who says anything about Fox News that isn’t complimentary:

  • Because of his personal demons, Keith [Olbermann] has imploded everywhere he’s worked. From lashing out at co-workers to personally attacking Bill O’Reilly and all things Fox, it’s obvious Keith is a train wreck waiting to happen. And like all train wrecks, people might tune in out of morbid curiosity, but they eventually tune out, as evidenced by Keith’s recent ratings decline. In the meantime, we hope he enjoys his paranoid view from the bottom of the ratings ladder and wish him well on his inevitable trip to oblivion.
  • Ted [Turner] is understandably bitter having lost his ratings, his network and now his mind. We wish him well.
  • Tim [Russert]’s sour grapes are obvious here, but at least he’s not using his father as a prop to sell books this time around. That said, we wish him well on his latest self-promotion tour.
  • We are disappointed that George [Clooney] has chosen to hurt Mr. O’Reilly’s family in order to promote his movie. But it’s obvious he needs publicity considering his recent string of failures. We wish him well in his struggle to regain relevancy.
  • We wish CNN well in their annual executive shuffle. We wish Jon [Klein] well in his battle for second place with MSNBC.
  • We can understand David [Shuster]’s disappointment in being let go by Fox News Channel, but he’s too young to be so bitter. We wish him well in getting his career back on track.

It’s not just PR flacks volleying in this debate. The big dogs at News Corp. are fully engaged. Rupert Murdoch’s spokesperson delivered an ultimatum to GE, saying that if they reined in Keith Olbermann, Fox would call off Bill O’Reilly. Roger Ailes stepped into the fray personally, threatening…

“…that if Olbermann didn’t stop such attacks against Fox, he would unleash O’Reilly against NBC and would use the New York Post as well.”

In the weeks that followed, Ailes made good on his threat. Bill O’Reilly, Steve Doocy, Neil Cavuto, Sean Hannity, Gretchen Carlson, and others at Fox News all laid into NBC/GE with renewed vigor. O’reilly even has his own Media Hall of Shame. The New York Post’s gossips on Page Six initiated a week-long assault on Olbermann’s personal life, alleging tax evasion, calling him unstable, and even publishing his home address – a vile act whose only purpose could be to cause him harm.

The risks faced by reporters who merely want to do their jobs is very real. Fox News will throw whatever they can at you to derail your reporting and/or tarnish your reputation. Carr relates horror stories from his colleagues who have dared to cross Fox News:

“…they have received e-mail messages from Fox News public relations staff that contained doctored photos, anonymous quotes and nasty items about competitors. And two former Fox employees said that they had participated in precisely those kinds of activities but had signed confidentiality agreements and could not say so on the record.”

~

“…few were willing to be quoted. In the last several years, reporters from The Associated Press, several large newspapers and various trade publications have said they were shut out from getting their calls returned because of stories they had written. Editors do not want to hear why your calls are not being returned, they just want you to fix the problem, or perhaps they will fix it by finding someone else to do your job.”

That’s an old tactic practiced by political operatives and office holders. They know that if they deny you access, your editor is going to have to get someone else who doesn’t have that problem. In effect, they get you fired. It is unprecedented, however, for a media company to employ such hardball tactics against other media companies. But that is the way Fox does business, and their peers had better develop strong stomachs if they hope to endure.

The impression left by Carr is that many in the media have already given up fighting. They will either decline to report on anything having to do with Fox News (if it’s critical), or they will simply adjust their reporting to be more positive. That is the danger of letting bullies get away with their bad behavior. Once again, it will be up to the people to insist that they get honest, responsible journalism from the Conventional Media. It is up to us to force them to do their jobs. If we succeed then it won’t matter what Fox’s attack dogs do. Their vacant yelping will disperse like a fading echo. We wish them well as they collapse from the fatigue of chasing their own tails.

Gawker has more on Fox News PR Priestess, Irena Briganti.