Fox News Wants IRS To Strip Media Matters Of Its Tax-Exempt Status

For much of the past year Fox News has devoted huge chunks of airtime to a phony scandal alleging that the IRS improperly targeted Tea Party groups for extra scrutiny with regard to their applications for tax-exempt status. In fact, recent discoveries prove that progressive groups actually received an even greater amount of scrutiny. But for Fox News to then turn around and solicit scrutiny from the IRS in order to strip tax-exempt status from Media Matters, an organization that Fox viscerally hates, is more than a little hypocritical and unethical.

Fox News

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Nearly three years ago, News Corpse documented the obsession Fox News has had with Media Matters and the well orchestrated campaign to destroy them. Fox spent countless hours across multiple programs lambasting Media Matters and its founder David Brock. They alleged that Brock was insane, and a drug addict, and dishonest, and corrupt, and not very nice either. During that offensive, Fox News tried desperately to get the IRS to revoke Media Matters’ tax-exempt status, even enlisting their viewers into a campaign to file false complaints with the agency. Fox anchor Steve Doocy made several announcements on his morning show Fox & Friends like this one:

“Somebody has set up a web site and we have linked it, actually, at FoxNation.com. If you go down about half way down you’ll see that logo. If you want to file a complaint with the IRS against Media Matters because you feel they have gone political, they have abandoned their initial quest, then go to that site and go ahead.”

Now Fox is reviving that campaign with a new thrust at their perceived enemies at Media Matters. Once again Steve Doocy took to the airwaves to ask if it is “Time To Revoke Media Matters’ Tax-Exempt Status?” During the course of this segment Doocy interviewed Fox contributor, and bitter subject of Media Matters ciriticisms, Juan Williams. Both of them blasted Media Matters for having the audacity to actually document what they say. And both were incredulous that Media Matters managed to maintain their tax-exempt status despite the best efforts of sabotage executed by Fox. Doocy summarized his displeasure saying…

“Media Matters, which famously declared war on Fox News, continues to keep their tax exempt status. Media Matters CEO, David Brock, makes no attempt to hide his political views, even calling himself a Democratic political activist on his official Twitter profile. So should Media Matters tax exempt status be revoked just like a conservative group?”

What makes this reprise of their assault particularly disturbing is that just last night Sean Hannity hosted Brent Bozell, the president of the extremist right-wing media smear outfit, NewsBusters. During his segment Bozell angrily demanded that anyone who appears on a television news program must disclose their political leanings or recuse themselves. Apparently caught off guard, Hannity had to interrupt and insert an exception for himself:

“Well, you do and you don’t. As long as you identify – - I would argue I am the only conservative that says he’s a conservative that has a nightly news cable show.”

Pfew. That was close. So Hannity established that it’s OK to engage in commentary and analysis if you reveal your political biases. However, when Media Matters’ Brock did so it was characterized by Doocy as justification for punishment by the IRS. Note that Brock’s admission that he is a Democratic activist applies only to his personal activity on Twitter and not to his work at Media Matters. He says so explicitly on his Twitter profile. So when Brock discloses his Democratic activism he is confessing to a crime, but when Hannity discloses his conservative activism he is exhibiting an honorable honesty.

The main topic of discussion for the Hannity/Bozell segment was the contention that there were numerous people who cycled in and out of media and the Obama administration. That’s actually true, but it is also true of every administration. Hannity and Bozell chose to highlight the person they regarded as the worst of the lot, Obama’s press secretary, Jay Carney, about whom Bozell said…

“When Barack Obama needed a press secretary in 2011 he also chose Jay Carney, who was the Washington bureau chief of ‘TIME’ magazine. What does that tell you about the politics of ‘TIME’ magazine?”

Indeed! What does that tell you? And does it tell you anything similar about the time when George W. Bush needed a press secretary and he chose Tony Snow, an anchor on Fox News? What does that tell you about the politics of Fox News? Does it tell you what Steve Doocy actually told viewers during his segment with Juan Williams when he said that at Fox…

“We’re simply in the business of showing the other side. We balance out mainstream media.”

That’s a pretty straight forward admission that Fox is not a news network at all, but a partisan mouthpiece for Republican politics. Not that that wasn’t already apparent to anyone paying attention. In fact, the whole argument that Media Matters should lose its tax-exempt status due to the positions it takes on Fox News is an admission that Fox is a political enterprise. That’s because the laws governing tax status state that…

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

Therefore, Fox is admitting that they are a political operation since the IRS rules only apply to political organizations. If Fox were a media company Media Matters would not be in violation of any rules. But none of these facts and associated logic will have any impact on the efforts of Fox News to get the IRS to do something to Media Matters that, for most of the last year, Fox has insisted was not proper for the IRS to do. Like everything else though, it’s outrageous for the IRS to scrutinize conservative groups for political behavior, but it’s perfectly OK to do it to liberals (IOKIYAR).

Right-Wing Media Feeding Frenzy Over False Story About White House Press Secretary

There is a strain of faith that intertwines everything that emanates from the conservative media pulpit. They are so fiercely intent on believing any bad news about President Obama and all things liberal that they will suspend common sense entirely in order to preserve their dark fantasies.

Right-Wing Media Circus

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Such was the case when Catherine Anaya, a local reporter with the Phoenix CBS affiliate KPHO, aired a segment introducing her interview with the President. She made some startling comments that reverberated throughout the right-wing mediasphere:

Anaya: We started here shortly after 8 o’clock with a coffee with press secretary Jay Carney inside his office in the West Wing. And this was off-the-record so we were able to ask him all about some of the preparation that he does on a regular basis for talking to the press in his daily press briefings. He showed us a very long list of items that he has to be well-versed on every single day.

And then he also mentioned that a lot of times, unless it’s something breaking, the questions that the reporters actually ask-or the correspondents-they are provided to him in advance. So then he knows what he’s going to be answering and sometimes those correspondents and reporters also have those answers printed in front of them, because of course it helps when they’re producing their reports for later on. So that was very interesting.

First of all, Anaya’s report began with the statement that her meeting with press secretary Jay Carney was “off-the-record,” and then proceeded to report it anyway. That’s the first sign that we are dealing with a spurious story. But the core of the controversy concerns her assertion that White House correspondents are required to supply their questions to Carney in advance. That nugget of pseudo-news set off a flurry of outrage from the usual right-wing media hacks. For instance…

  • Glenn Beck: Did a reporter just admit the daily White House press briefing is a sham?
  • Truth Revolt: WH Press Secretary Gets Questions from Reporters Before Press Briefing.
  • NewsBusters: Ariz. Reporter: Carney’s Briefing Questions ‘Are Provided to Him in Advance’
  • Weekly Standard: Reporter: WH Press Secretary Gets Questions from Reporters Before Press Briefing
  • Newsmax: Phoenix Reporter: Carney Gets Questions In Advance
  • Rush Limbaugh: Local Phoenix Reporter Reveals Jay Carney’s White House Briefings are Scripted with Questions Submitted in Advance

Needless to say, the story was not true. Anaya later corrected the record and apologized for her “bad reporting.” She admitted that “I made two major mistakes: I reported an off the record conversation and what I reported was not accurate. [...] The White House never asked for my questions in advance and never instructed me what to ask.”

The Weekly Standard is the only one of those listed above that placed a correction in their original story. Truth Revolt, a side project of Breitbart News editor Ben Shapiro (whose name candidly suggests a revolt against truth), went to the trouble of posting an update that only reported denials of the story by Carney and Fox News correspondent Ed Henry, but not Anaya’s retraction. NewsBusters, a website that purports to hold media accountable, just deleted the whole article with no acknowledgement of their error.

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None other than Fox News recognized the shoddy practices of news enterprises that fail to confirm the authenticity of their reporting. Howard Kurtz wrote for his Media Buzz column that…

“…even as this tale caught fire across the web, the only thing it proved is that a local CBS reporter mangled the facts —and has finally retracted her charge. [...] Bad reporting. Muddied. Incorrectly applied. And the apology took too long.”

Not exactly. It also proved that conservatives with partisan agendas will believe anything that fits their preconceived vision of an evil and calculating president. It also proves that they will disseminate their dishonest delusions even after they have been documented as false. The professional missteps of Anaya were unfortunate and embarrassing, but the blindness and persistence of those who continue to flog her mistakes even after she apologized is far worse because they have knowledge their deceit and engage in it anyway.

NewsBusters Asks: Is Bank Robber Wearing An Obama Mask Racist?

For those not familiar with NewsBusters, it fancies itself as a conservative media watchdog whose mission is “Exposing and Combating Liberal Media Bias.” It is a subsidiary of the uber-rightist Media Research Center. And it is also one of the most prolific apologists for radical right-wingers and racists like Ann Coulter and Pat Buchanan.

Last week they outdid themselves by posting an absurd item about a bank robber in New Hampshire who wore a mask of President Obama during the robbery. NewsBuster’s Noel Sheppard made the Olympian leap from that incident to the Missouri rodeo last month when a rodeo clown wearing a similar mask went on a racially offensive rant.

NewsBusters
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This is a perfect demonstration of how clueless right-wingers are about their own racist tendencies. Sheppard clearly has no idea how offensive it is to perform an allegedly comical routine before hundreds of spectators that calls for grievous harm to befall the president of the United States. His organization ran numerous columns defending the rodeo buffoonery, just as racists of a previous era defended black-face performances.

However, where Sheppard really steps off the plank is when he attempts to draw a comparison between an obnoxious and insulting rodeo act and the criminal behavior of a bank robber. Sheppard seems to think the media has some responsibility to analyze the mind of the criminal for racial insensitivity. The problem is that Sheppard is apparently too stupid to grasp that the crook wasn’t making any kind of a political statement. He was merely trying to conceal his identity (in a spectacularly dumb way). Contrast that with the rodeo clown’s routine that openly baited the crowd to cheer for the President getting gored by a bull.

So what does a bank robber wearing an Obama mask have to do with a brazenly offensive performance by an entertainer? You’ll have to ask Noel Sheppard, because no one in their right mind could possibly connect those dots.

Hack Producer Of Anti-Obama Crockumentary To Motion Picture Academy Board: Dump Michael Moore

In the annals of Hollywood crybaby sagas, none climb to heights as high as those by the right-wing hissy-fitters responsible for 2016: Obama’s America. This alleged documentary starred, and was based on the book by, conservative shill Dinesh D’Zouza. It had some success at the box office due to the gullibility of Teabagging moviegoers, but was universally panned by objective critics, and its standards for accuracy and honesty were of the toilet bowl variety.

Nevertheless, the producers were so convinced of their own brilliance that they fumed when they did not get recognition from the documentary branch members of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences – who obviously know better. And now producer Gerald Molen has formalized his objections in a letter to the Academy that asks them to remove Governing Board member, and respected documentarian, Michael Moore from his post.

Fox Nation - Newsbusters

Unfortunately, this vacant bleating is nothing more than a lame cry for attention that fails to take into consideration that Moore has only one vote out of 172 members of the Academy’s documentary branch. He has no other role in choosing the winners or even selecting the nominees.

Molen’s letter made some rather egregious errors in enumerating the reasons for his pique. In addition to his ridiculous charge that Moore was among “the gatekeepers in charge of which films get nominated,” he repeatedly notes that the box office returns for his film count in some way toward whether it should be nominated for an Oscar. However, there is no correlation between financial success and creative merit. In fact, last year the next two highest grossing documentaries were “Chimpanzee” and “Katy Perry: Part of Me,” but neither of them received Oscar nominations either. Even Moore’s last film, “Capitalism: A Love Story,” was not in Oscar contention despite being one of the biggest moneymakers of all time. Yet you didn’t hear any of these filmmakers whining about bias.

Molen complained in his letter that he was the victim of political bias saying, “Like many who enjoyed and commented on the film, I find myself wondering if it was excluded for ‘other’ reasons.” Indeed, it was. However the ‘other’ reasons had to do with how badly it sucked, as well as how poorly it adhered to the standards of truth-telling that determines the quality of a documentary feature. These reasons were articulated more diplomatically by the Academy in their response to Molen:

“We’ve discussed your letter and the concerns you raise. First of all, I want to assure you that 2016: Obama’s America was treated the same as all the other 125 films that were submitted in the Feature Documentary category for the most recent Academy Awards. Your film definitely received consideration and it was not ignored. It merely didn’t get the votes it needed to move onto the short list.”

Molen’s bitchfest was predictably taken up by Fox News on their lie-riddled Fox Nation web site. In an article sourced to the ultra-rightist NewsBusters, they regurgitated Molen’s complaints and expressed their disapproval that the documentary that won last year’s Oscar, “Searching for Sugar Man” was an undeserving winner because “’2016′ sold ten times as many tickets.” Once again, they are mistaking money for merit, a common logical flaw suffered by conservatives.

This sort of unseemly sniveling by right-wing losers is nothing new. Specifically with regard to ’2016,’ the principle character, Dinesh D’Souza threw a similarly distasteful tantrum just prior to the Oscar program last February. Instead of demonstrating some class and an appreciation for his fellow filmmakers, D’Souza rudely insulted them saying…

“I join most Americans in leaving them in deserved obscurity. I haven’t heard of any of them, and like most people, I haven’t seen them.”

How he determined that the nominees deserved obscurity without having even seen them is a mystery and says more about him than it does about the films. But the juvenile consistency shown by Molen and D’Souza is evidence of just how low these cretins will sink to unfairly disparage other artists in pursuit of their own ego-soaked self-interest.

NewsBusters Nutcase Ties George Soros To “Gun Control” Groups

Monitoring right-wing media is a full time job that offers innumerable opportunities to expose blatantly dishonest bias and manipulation. But sometimes you encounter something so monumentally stupid that it defies adjectives sufficient to express the depths of depravity to which these cretins will sink. And when that happens it is usually something produced by NewsBusters (and disseminated by Fox News).

Fox - NewsBusters

The conservative obsession with portraying billionaire philanthropist George Soros as an omnipotent overlord of every liberal activity would be comical were it not for the fact that it reveals an acute psychosis on the part of those afflicted. NewsBuster Liz Thatcher is one of the sufferers as indicated in her posting titled “Soros Spends Nearly $7 Million to Push Gun Control.”

The article lists five groups to which Thatcher alleges Soros has made donations. Of course, it could simply be that some organization that received funds from Soros subsequently donated to the groups without his knowledge (which occurs often), but right-wingers consider that the same as if Soros donated to them personally.

However, the real disconnect from reality here is the definition that NewsBusters applies to a “gun control” group. These are the five entities cited in Thatcher’s article:

  • The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence
  • The American Bar Association
  • The Children’s Defense Fund
  • The League of Women Voters
  • Physicians for Social Responsibility

Any mentally coherent person would quickly recognize that there is only one group in that list that is affiliated with gun safety and regulation. The others may have expressed an opinion on the issue, but it is obviously not their core mission and most of their activities and expenditures are spent on other matters.

What’s more, of the $7 million that NewsBusters is so disturbed by, only $50,000 went to the Brady Center. The largest chunk ($4 million) was donated to the American Bar Association, which certainly has a busy agenda concentrated on other totally unrelated issues. Apparently NewsBusters realized that a measly 50k was not enough for a good Soros bashing, so they scoured his extraordinarily generous records of philanthropy for eleven years in order to artificially inflate the dollar amount that they could falsely connect to gun safety issues.

This indicates how desperately fixated NewsBusters is on disparaging Soros and gun safety advocates. But, sadly, it also reveals how pitifully idiotic the right can be when their phobias and fetishes outflank their ability to twist the facts to fit their preconceived positions.

Lamestream Humor: NewsBusters Doesn’t Get That The Joke Is On Them

Conservative pundits and personalities have been a rich source of material for satire and mockery. However, there are times when their glassy-eyed incoherence inspires more sympathy than ridicule. And this may be one of them.

NewsBusters

Noel Sheppard, the Associate Editor of the uber-rightist media monitor NewsBusters, posted an item yesterday that was virtually ecstatic over a new commercial for Volkswagon. He notes that it “has put a smile on a lot of conservative faces.” In the ad an envious man (Gary) discusses his intention of getting a new Passat just like the one his neighbor (Brian) owns. Then Brian tells Gary that he bought the last one, but Gary isn’t falling for it and cites a Passat ad in the newspaper as proof. Whereupon Brian says “You can’t believe the lamestream media, Gary.”

What has delighted Sheppard so much is his view that Volkswagon has validated the disparaging dig at the press that Sarah Palin popularized. He is giddy with satisfaction that the word “lamestream” was uttered in the ad. He calls it “delicious” and says it “will surely put a smile on Palin’s face.”

Perhaps so, but that is indicative of the larger problem. This ad is more ridicule than reverence, but Sheppard can’t see past his glee to notice. The clear message in the ad is that Brian’s attempt to discredit the media was an obvious ruse. The ad portrays Brian as the fool for trying to deceive his neighbor by falsely impugning the press. After all, Gary’s newspaper was correct, there are more Passats available. So, if anything, this ad illustrates how dimwitted Palin’s criticisms are.

Just like Brian, Palin’s attempts to discredit the media are an obvious ruse and few people outside of her congregation of teabaggers are fooled. Yet somehow Sheppard regards this as complimentary and evidence of the nation’s adoption of Palin’s reproach, rather than a dramatization of how silly it is. He simply doesn’t get that the joke is on him and his comrades on the right. And it’s so glaringly obvious that it’s a little sad to see him so befuddled.

NewsBusters Trolling: Imagine If A Fox News Host Had Said…

Please be sure you are seated before reading this. The shock that will sweep over you may rival Hurricane Sandy in its sheer, raw power. Are you ready? OK…..

Last night on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, his guest Rachel Maddow called Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia…..a TROLL!

Oh lawdy, where’s the smellin’ salts? I dare say I may faint. And I’m not alone. Noel Sheppard of NewsBusters was so appalled that he penned an op-ed for Fox News to unleash his umbrage at this scandalous effrontery. How dare this wanton trollop deign to insult such a virtuous citizen with so foul a curse. And because every spasm of faux outrage requires a racial reference, Sheppard managed to find something in Maddow’s comment that was analogous to the use of the “N-word.” The editorial begins innocently enough by asking us to…

“Imagine for a moment a Fox News host calling one of the liberal Supreme Court justices such as Sonia Sotomayor a ‘troll.’”

Indeed. Just imagine it. Oh wait. You don’t have to imagine it because on April 30, 2009, Erick Erickson said this about retiring Supreme Court Justice David Souter:

“The nation loses the only goat fucking child molester to ever serve on the Supreme Court in David Souter’s retirement.”

Erick Erickson

Now that’s the way to express respect for our judiciary. I hope Maddow is paying attention. Erickson was not working for Fox News when he said that, although it does sound like something that would have been posted on the fib-infested Fox Nation. However, Erickson was just hired by Fox in January, and I’m sure that having that comment on his resume helped him to land the job.

Rachel Maddow - Erick Erickson

I’ll be waiting to see Sheppard’s op-ed castigating Erickson and Fox for behaving so disrespectfully to a justice of the high court. And then they can all join Megyn Kelly on her Fox program where she also took a swipe at Maddow. Perhaps they will eventually recognize that calling someone a troll is not nearly as bad as calling the landmark Voting Rights Act a “racial entitlement,” which is what Scalia said that inspired Maddow’s criticism in the first place.

FoxBusters: Right-Wing Media Seek To Disown GOP Crooks

On several notorious occasions Fox News has “accidentally” labeled dishonest or scandalized Republicans as Democrats. It seems to be a strategy on their part to protect the GOP from bad publicity while tarnishing their opponents. And despite their “zero tolerance policy” for such errors, they never air corrections or apologies.

Consequently, it should not come as a surprise that Fox, in tandem with the uber-rightists at NewsBusters, have ratcheted up a phony controversy concerning the party affiliation of former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin, who was just indicted by a federal grand jury on 21 counts of conspiracy, bribery, money laundering, tax fraud and filing false tax returns.

Ray Nagin

The right’s panic over whether or not the media should have identified Nagin as a Democrat ignores the fact that his association with the Democratic Party was a matter of political opportunism. Nagin had been a registered Republican for most of his adult life. He only switched parties when he decided to run for mayor of the heavily Democratic city of New Orleans. Even after his election he associated with, and behaved as, a Republican. As mayor he routinely favored the interests of his business constituents over the people. He was an avid supporter of George W. Bush prior to his election, and GOP governor Bobby Jindal afterwards. The most damning evidence that Nagin is, and always has been, a Republican is the nature of the crimes for which he was indicted.

“Nagin used his public office and his official capacity to provide favorable treatment that benefited the business and financial interests of individuals providing him with bribery or kickback payoffs.”

That’s pretty much the hallmark of Republican politics. Were he a Democrat there would have been charges connected to union malfeasance or public works projects. But Nagin was acting on his nature as the life-long Republican he truly is. Neither Fox nor NewsBusters bothered to point out these facts.

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

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

Fox Nation Smears

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fox Nation’s Phony Outrage: Somebody Think Of The Kids!

Exploiting children for partisan political purposes is something with which Fox News is well acquainted. They frequently try to corral kids into political controversies for the benefit of a conservative agenda. Sometimes that doesn’t work out so well for them. But they soldier on with overtly biased reporting that exhibits a rampant hypocrisy. Here is the story they have been flogging this weekend:

Fox Nation - Children Singing

What the Fox Nationalists find so outrageous is that a group of patriotic kids who are concerned about their country would dare to express themselves in a manner that indicts the right-wing extremism that imperils their future. The video was produced by The Future Children Project, and it is an admirable display of the sort of civic participation that should be encouraged in our society. Take a look at the video:

What a travesty! Young people with knowledge, awareness and an opinion. The conservative martinets of virtue think this must be stopped. Along with Fox, Noel Sheppard of the uber-rightist NewsBusters, posted a comically hyperbolic critique of this video, comparing it to the famous “Daisy Ad” produced by President Lyndon Johnson’s campaign nearly fifty years ago. That ad connected the election of Barry Goldwater with a visual of a nuclear bomb exploding. See…the two videos are exactly the same. Sheppard went completely off the deep end in his analysis saying…

“The advertising agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners has just released a pro-Obama commercial eerily reminscent of Lyndon Johnson’s controversial Daisy ad featuring children singing about a variety of horrors including an America – supposedly under President Romney – where ‘sick people just die’ and ‘oil fills the sea.’

“But more importantly, it’s one thing to write such disgusting lyrics. It’s quite another to get children to sing them. If the folks at this agency possess such a thing, they should be ashamed of themselves for involving youngsters in this project. Or do they believe like Goebbels did that it’s okay to involve children in spreading propaganda?”

So according to Sheppard, this video of children singing is not only analogous to a nuclear holocaust, but also to Hitler’s Nazi Minister of Propaganda. Coming from someone who works for NewsBusters, that’s pretty darned ironic.

To top it off, no one at Fox is cognizant of their hypocrisy in that they had no problem with kids singing an anti-Obama song. When a group of kids decided to protest Michelle Obama’s school lunch program that advocated for healthier food and providing for underprivileged students, they produced a Glee-like video complaining that the new standards left them unsatisfied.

Fox Nation - We Are Hungry

While I don’t agree with the content, the production is really quite good and I commend the students for their involvement. The video expresses the feelings of these kids, and that’s a good thing. The problem is that the hypocrites at Fox News, NewsBusters and elsewhere in the conservative world are so myopic that they only see value in children when they can be exploited to advance right-wing themes. Kids who have a different opinion are “outrageous” little Hitlers and should shut the hell up. That’s the pattern of thought that produces a robotic, incurious, ignorant society. And it’s also a pretty good description of the Fox News audience.

HA! NewsBusters Gets Blustered Over News Corpse Article

This is rich. NewsBusters, the uber-rightist attack dog for the conservative media, is very unhappy about my analysis of the cable news ratings earlier this week. I reported that MSNBC had scored a rare ratings victory over Fox News and that Rachel Maddow, in particular, had not only crushed her time period competition (Sean Hannity), but also beat Bill O’Reilly in the key 25-54 year old demographic. It was a newsworthy milestone and an important trend to keep an eye on.

Tim Graham, the Director of Media Analysis at the Media Research Center, could not contain himself and penned a column that took issue with my fanciful speculation about adding a new program to the MSNBC schedule with former Rep. Anthony Weiner as the host. Never mind that I explicitly offered the suggestion as a “long shot” and a “curiosity,” Graham built his whole column around the musing. In the meantime, he had nothing whatsoever to say about the the principle subject of my article: the fact that Fox was getting its butt kicked.

Graham and his glassy-eyed followers at NewsBusters really think that Weiner would be a lousy choice to host a new program. Maybe so, but he has a lot more intelligence and personality than most of the Fox News lineup. What’s more, he isn’t even the biggest perv in this group. Bill O’Reilly paid a huge settlement to a former producer for sexual harassment. Dick Morris was caught with a hooker who he paid to suck his toes. And Charles Leaf, a correspondent who reported for Fox, was arrested for having sexually assaulted a four year old girl.

Weiner, of course, did nothing illegal. Although it wasn’t very smart to tweet risque pictures of himself amongst consenting adults, it was a lot less repulsive than assault, harassment, and solicitation. Yet Graham and the FoxPods have forgiven O’Reilly, Morris, et al, but still think Weiner should be banished from the airwaves and, perhaps, from all public life.

That’s so typical of the sanctimonious, judgmental, conservative mindset that claims to revere family values but who elevate deviant freaks like Newt Gingrich, Donald Trump, John McCain, etc, whose multiple marriages are in stark contrast to the values they pretend to hold. They might want to hang on to their stones until they have vacated their glass houses.

The Faux Conservative Outrage Over Jon Stewart’s Vagina Manger Routine

Once again the selective fury of the right has conservatives aghast over a comedy bit by Jon Stewart, despite their silence, and even defense of, far more revolting remarks by Ted Nugent that were made in all seriousness.

Last night Stewart performed a routine (video below) mocking Fox News for both their neglect of the GOP “War on Women” and their abundance of wars on just about everything else. Fox declares war whenever there is an topical story that they believe they can twist into a harangue aimed at Democrats or President Obama. Here are just a few of the actual “wars” Fox has declared:

  • A war on Hanukkah.
  • A war on Easter.
  • A war on fall holidays.
  • A war on Halloween.
  • A war on fossil fuels.
  • A war on the constitution.
  • A war on ladies’ night.
  • A war on Fisherman.
  • A war on salt.
  • A war on chocolate milk.
  • A war on sugary drinks.
  • A war on food.
  • A nanny state war on spuds.
  • A war on conservative women.

Today Newsbusters has come out swinging with a critique that illustrates how desperately poor their comprehension skills are. They seem to have missed the obvious fact that this was a satire directed at Fox News and jumped straight to a conniption fit over Christians who must now be sorely offended. The more obvious explanation is that the Newsbusters couldn’t really find any fault with Stewart’s hilarious analysis of Fox News so they had to find another avenue for their umbrage. They latched onto the Christian angle for which they got support from the uber-rightist, political operation (disguised as a religious civil rights group), the Catholic League. The League’s leader, Bill Donohue, is taking the war on Jon Stewart to another level:

“We are asking Stewart to apologize. If he does not, we will mobilize Protestants, Jews, Mormons and Muslims to join us in a boycott of his sponsors. Moreover, we will not stop with a boycott; there are other things that can be done to register our outrage. We are prepared to spend the money it takes to make this a nationwide issue, and we are prepared to stay the course..

I must admit that I’m curious as to what other things Donohue has in mind in addition to his boycott threat. Perhaps he is plotting a nationwide prayer vigil to beseech God to smite all comic apostates. And Donohue’s willingness to throw cash at the controversy can only be creating anxiety over at Comedy Central. I’m sure that Jon Stewart is shaking in his clown shoes at the thought of the wrath that is about to come down on him.

Breitbart’s Campaign Against Obama At Harvard Is Pure Racism

Yesterday was the day that the video Andrew Breitbart promised of a racially divisive Barack Obama in his days as a student at Harvard was released. It was almost universally panned as a pathetic and desperate boatload of nothing. After first yammering that the video posted by Buzzfeed (scooping Breitbart) was “selectively edited,” the Breitbartians posted what they said was the “uncut” video. Their version contained about two seconds more that consisted entirely of Obama hugging Prof. Derrick Bell, whom he had just introduced at a rally.

Since the video itself was proven to have no material evidence of anything the least bit detrimental to Obama, much less the cataclysmic data that would doom his career, the Breitbartians resorted to Plan B: Demonize Prof. Bell and tie him around Obama’s neck. This was a coordinated plot that began with Breitbart editor-in-chief Joel Pollak robotically repeating the mantra that “Derrick Bell was the Jeremiah Wright of academia.” Pollak even went on CNN and admitted that the video was irrelevant, and when Soledad O’Brein asked him “Then where’s the bombshell, I don’t see it?” Pollak responded that “The bombshell is the revelation of the relationship between Barack Obama and Derrick Bell.” But that wasn’t any revelation at all.

The argument that the Breitbartians are making rests on their assertion that Bell’s writings on Critical Race Theory define him as a racial radical. In fact, CRT is an aggregation of legal concepts that bring together law, politics, economics, etc., in a broad-based study of race and power in society. It posits that there are institutional barriers to eradicating racism that must be addressed at the root level. Those barriers are evident in things like employment practices and school admissions. Another example is the judicial system that incarcerates a higher percentage of African-Americans than their representation in the population. Affirming that example is the fact that crack cocaine, used by more African-Americans than whites, is punishable by sentences ten times more severe than powder cocaine, for which you find more white offenders.

Nevertheless, the Breitbartians are deliberately misinterpreting the legal theory in order to condemn its proponents, including Bell. In this way they can assert that Obama, as a result of his having studied at Harvard, is also a racial radical. The object is to incite fear among those who are ill-informed that Obama aspires to threaten their status in society. He is coming after your jobs, your schools, your churches, all the trappings of your comfortable, privileged lives.

In the wake of the initial flop of the video’s release, the right-wing media has been redoubling its efforts to stir up a phony controversy. Fox Nation has posted multiple stories on the subject (it has been at the top of their page for two days running). Fox News has featured it on their broadcasts, notably the video “exclusive” presented by Sean Hannity. Ironically, Fox Nation posted a video of a debate about Bell between Michelle Malkin and Juan Williams, but edited out Williams entirely.

Note the edit at about 2:20 where Hannity says that Juan’s gonna disagree, but then fades to Malkin saying “No, no. no.”. What Williams said in between was…

“Well, first of all, I must say, I thought this was going to be so much more. I thought this was going to be the smoking gun, as you describe it. But it really didn’t come too much. I mean, I just don’t think that there is.”

And that’s all that Williams was permitted to say in the entire segment, but they even cut that out when they put it online. And then they have the nerve to complain, falsely, that others “selectively edited” video.

Pollak and his Breitbart colleague Ben Shapiro have been making the rounds on the lamestream media. On CNN they argued with Soledad O’Brien over the meaning of Critical Race Theory, but spoke very little about what any of it had to do with Obama, despite O’Brien’s attempts to steer them back to the topic. That’s a tactic designed to keep the focus off of substance and aimed squarely at innuendo and slander. For good measure they threw in a bashing of the media for trying to suppress the video (for what reason, they never make clear), and to silence them (even while they are speaking on the air).

For its part, the Breitbart web site has been piling on with articles that reek of racism. One article was authored by J. Christian Adams, a notorious race-baiter who has accused Eric Holder’s Justice Department of coddling civil rights violators if they happened to be black. He wrote that…

“Both Obama and Bell demanded that Harvard hire professors on the basis of race. [...] The Obama-Bell connection is the latest in a pattern of Barack Obama’s associations with individuals who promoted a racially divisive America.”

That’s an open assault on affirmative action, which was not developed to produce hiring on the basis of race, but to put an end to it. Adams also repeated the lie that Obama had appeared with a member of the New Black Panther Party. In fact, Obama attended a civil rights rally that was attended by thousands of people, one of whom happened to be an NBPP member. Obama had no control over who came to a massive, public rally. Adams also characterized cases of civil rights abuse as “crackpot racial grievances.” That pretty much reveals his personal bias.

Another story posted by the Breitbartians alleged that “Obama Forced His Students To Read Bell at the University of Chicago Law School.” Their evidence was a document describing a course that Obama was teaching. The course was “Current Issues in Racism and the Law.” It would be difficult to teach such a class without the textbook materials by one of this generations most respected scholars on that subject. But the allegation is made even worse by that use of the word “forced” as if it were under duress. By that measure isn’t every student forced to read something? In fact, many of the references to Bell’s writings specifically said that they were optional reading.

Meanwhile, over at NewsBusters, there was an article that alleged that the non-event video was being suppressed as part of a conspiracy orchestrated by George Soros (Isn’t it always?). The evidence of that was that Soros’ foundations had made donations to Harvard (where the video took place) and WGBH (the public TV station that owned the video). Using their logic I can surmise that the Koch brothers are behind this whole phony video scandal because they have made contributions to NewsBusters.

And, believe it or not, they even have a Plan C: It’s a Cover Up! The video was a bust. The racial attacks could backfire. So if all else fails, blame it on a massive cover up. The Breitbartians took on another black Harvard professor, Charles Ogletree, by posting a video wherein he said that “We hid this during the 2008 campaign…” He was referring to the video of Obama at Harvard. Of course there would have been no reason to do that since, if anything, the video shows Obama in a positive light. The truth is that Ogletree was joking. He even laughed immediately after, which proves that he was humorously dismissing the throw-away line. but, not surprisingly, the humor-challenged righties didn’t get, even though Ogletree’s audience did.

The absence of any substance on the video has led to a redirection by the right to their usual stance against Obama – he’s black. His associates are black. And they advocate for radical concepts like equal justice under the law. They support fairness in hiring and other social contracts. They oppose discrimination.

If anyone is advancing a racialist philosophy, it’s the right-wingers who are peddling this repulsive nonsense. And if there is anything positive to take away from this, it is that they have once again shown their true colors. It isn’t about a video of a young future president. It isn’t about health care or oil prices or deficits. It is, and always has been, about one thing for these meatheads. They just can’t accept a black man in their White House.

Fox Nation’s Acrobatic Smear Fest: A Triple Putz

Sometimes, in the right-wing noise machine, you really need to stretch to spread your smears across as many targets as possible. It calls for a strategy that aims to cast your juvenile insults so broadly that they ensnare any of your perceived enemies within a certain proximity. In a way, it’s a conservative approach that allows you to use less tar to tarnish more opponents in one wide swipe.

To that end, the Fox Nationalists went after Matt Taibbi of the Rolling Stone for his remembrances of Andrew Breitbart. Taibbi took a particularly Breitbartian tone in saying…

“So Andrew Breitbart is dead. Here’s what I have to say to that, and I’m sure Breitbart himself would have respected this reaction: Good! Fuck him. I couldn’t be happier that he’s dead.

I say this in the nicest possible way. I actually kind of liked Andrew Breitbart. Not in the sense that I would ever have wanted to hang out with him, or even be caught within a hundred yards of him without a Haz-Mat suit on, but I respected the shamelessness. Breitbart didn’t do anything by halves, and even his most ardent detractors had to admit that he had a highly developed, if not always funny, sense of humor.”

That’s the sort of hyperbolic, attention-seeking comment that epitomized Breitbart’s existence. And that is exactly the point that Taibbi was making. It was a fitting tribute, not just to the man, but to his inner being and what he stood for; what he was most proud of. Breitbart defiantly rejected calls for civility, and when he was challenged to apologize for outrageous statements, he famously responded by barking back, “Apologize for what!” So how did Fox Nation report this news?

Fox Nation

Presumably the Fox Nationalists don’t think that Matt Taibbi is well enough known to carry a hit piece on his own. So they dressed it up with one of their favorite, and most childish insults – to refer to comedian Bill Maher as “Pig” Maher. But some pimply-faced editor still didn’t think that was enough, so they added a reference to the evil home of Donald Trump’s The Apprentice, NBC. Neither Maher nor NBC had anything to do with this story. Even the source article to which Fox Nation linked, from the uber-conservative NewsBusters, made no mention of these innocent bystanders. In fact the NewsBusters, while still incensed by Taibbi’s language, acknowledged a certain appropriateness. In their opening paragraph they say…

“I almost hate to draw attention to this incredibly sad example of the intolerant left over at Rolling Stone, but quite frankly, Andrew Breitbart probably would have eaten this up, and tweeted it back out.”

That’s absolutely true. Breitbart even tweeted back out a criticism of him that I sent just last week:

As I, and many others have noted, Breitbart would have been the first to proudly speak ill of the dead. On the day that Sen. Ted Kennedy died. Breitbart tweeted “Rest in Chappaquiddick.” He followed that up with several other disgraceful remarks that, unlike Taibbi, he could not frame as being tributes to the decedent.

Which brings us back to Fox Nation’s utterly unrelated assaults in their story’s headline. The inclusion of Maher and NBC was wholly the idea of Fox, and it really demonstrates how embarrassingly infantile the Fox Nationalists are. It’s bad enough that Fox is a netowrk that has no regard for the truth, but do they also have to embrace such brazenly immature rhetoric while they are lying?

Fox Nation Only Likes Their Own 9/11 Truthers

Yet another example of the unique tunnel-blindness of Fox News and their rightist colleagues.

Fox Nation Touré

The Fox Nationalists are clearly disturbed by the conspiracy theorists who believe that the truth about the 9/11 attacks has not yet been told. Consequently they use that as an excuse to dismiss remarks by MSNBC’s Touré regarding global warming. The Fox Nation item links to an article by their pals at NewsBusters:

“On Friday’s Dylan Ratigan Show, MSNBC contributor Touré, who is also a 9/11 truther, wondered if Hurricane Irene is an example of global warming. He speculated, ‘When you talk about an unusual weather event happening in New York and this sort of thing, is this really evidence of global warming to see this sort of a massive storm happening here?’

“Touré is routinely featured on MSNBC, despite his tendency to tweet in support of 9/11 conspiracy theories.”

What a travesty! Hosting a 9/11 Truther to give commentary about unrelated news events? The only thing that could be worse would be to give a 9/11 Truther his own daily show. Like…um…Fox did with 9/11 Truther, Judge Andrew Napolitano

The Fox Nation/NewsBusters gang whines that “It’s a bit much to blame this hurricane on global warming. It’s even weirder when a conspiracy-minded 9/11 truther does it.” I wonder why I haven’t yet seen Fox post an article dismissing everything Napolitano says because of his conspiracy theorism.

And, by the way, Touré is factually correct in his questioning about hurricanes and global warming. The science is pretty well established that the impact of climate change will include more frequent and more severe weather events. But Fox won’t let facts interfere with their bashing of anyone with whom they disagree. They don’t even care if their bashing happens to snag one of their own.

Fox News Escalates Its War On Media Matters

Fox News has been engaging in a relentless campaign against Media Matters for more than a month. They began in June with allegations that Media Matters had violated their tax-exempt status by factually covering Fox News broadcasts as well as other right-wing media. The Fox campaign included frequent solicitations on the air (more than 30 times) by Fox anchors beseeching their viewers to file complaints with the IRS challenging Media Matters’ non-profit status. Amongst those participating in the onslaught were Bill O’Reilly, Bret Baier, Steve Doocy, Charles Krauthammer, James Rosen, Ann Coulter, Dick Morris, and Bernie Goldberg.

The latest salvos come from two fronts: 1) An official filing of an IRS complaint against Media Matters by a Fox crony (more on that later), and 2) from the Fox Business Network which has just completed a three-part series on the subject.

The arguments presented by Fox Business were pitifully weak and often contradictory. For instance, the article stated that some of Media Matters’ activities were “not found in the scope of nonprofit tax law.” That’s a contorted argument because the tax law was never meant to include every imaginable activity that might occur. There is nothing in the law that says that an exempt organization can provide Italian food during meetings, but that doesn’t mean they are in violation of the law if they send out for pizza.

The article also quoted Marcus Owens, a former IRS official, as saying that his remarks in defense of Media Matters were misconstrued. The only problem with that is that the article itself quoted Owens explicitly defending Media Matters saying that their activities are “generally protected by the first amendment,” and that they are “not going to jeopardize its tax-exempt status.” So the article is disparaging its own source. It further points out that…

“Media Matters says in its tax returns that it has not engaged in political campaign activities or lobbying. But Media Matters has run items that advocate for legislation, which would violate the tax law if it became a substantial part of the nonprofit’s activities.”

And what does the article regard as “substantial?” A single 2004 posting on the Media Matters web site in support of the Fairness Doctrine. That’s it. Compare that to the Media Research Center’s NewsBusters, a conservative mirror image of Media Matters. NewsBusters conducts persistent campaigns including one in opposition to the Fairness Doctrine. They also have campaigns against immigration, George Soros, and in support of the Tea Party. These are not years-old, isolated efforts. They are current and ongoing. Yet Gray has not filed a challenge to the tax-exempt status of the Media Research Center. Or the Heritage Foundation. Or the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Or the Tea party’s own Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks.

The remainder of the series consists of an abundance of nonsense. It suggests that having tax-exempt status is equivalent to having a government endorsement. It cites an IRS ruling that “a nonprofit will lose its tax-exempt status if, among other things, a significant portion of its communications consist of viewpoints or positions ‘unsupported by facts.’” Of course, Media Matters is notoriously stringent about providing factual support for everything they post.

In addition to Fox News and Fox Business, the Murdoch propaganda family continued piling on Media Matters with articles on Fox Nation that still retain the first position in their “New Stories” section, despite being more than a month old. The Fox Nationalists posted links to a pre-filled-in form that could be printed out and mailed to the IRS. News Corpse has requested information from the IRS on the volume of complaints, if any, they have been receiving in the past month. That request is still pending. However, it may be safe to surmise that the response of the Fox audience was not particularly impressive, because they had to resort to filing their own complaint indirectly via former George H.W. Bush counsel, C. Boyden Gray.

C. Boyden GrayIn filing this complaint, Both Fox and Gray asserted that they are unaffiliated with one another. Gray insisted that he is not representing Fox and is not on the payroll. What they neglected to disclose is that Gray was previously identified as a both a Fox News Supreme Court Analyst and a Fox News contributor. This puts in doubt their claims to being unaffiliated, and it destroys any pretense of transparency.

Gray’s obviously biased perspective is well represented in the letter he sent to the IRS. The core of his complaint is the allegation that Media Matters has “declared war” on a television news channel [Fox News]. Of course the truth is that Fox News had long before declared war on Media Matters. Consequently, Media Matters may just be regarded as defending itself from a powerful, international, media megalith.

Gray’s complaint began with a claim that “Media Matters’s efforts to harm Fox News are intended to weaken the Republican Party.” Gray offers no support whatsoever for that claim. The truth is that Media Matters is merely attempting to demonstrate the bias on the part of Fox News for the GOP. And despite Gray’s charge, every example he cites of Media Matters allegedly attacking Republicans actually show that they are reporting on what others in the media are saying about the party.

Gray also makes a rather incoherent argument that the IRS is somehow violating the free speech rights of Fox News by granting Media Matters tax exempt status. The tortured case he makes seems to be that such status somehow punishes Fox News. Suffice to say that he never explains how, or establishes that Fox News’ rights have been violated in any way.

But the height of Gray’s Inanity is his contention that Media Matters has embarked on an “unsupportable attempt to tie Fox News to the Republican Party.” However, tying Fox News to the Republican Party is about as difficult as tying your shoelaces. The support is overwhelming and includes surveys that show the extreme imbalance of Republicans to Democrats on Fox News. It includes the rampant utilization of talking points directly from GOP sources on one program after another throughout the broadcast day. It includes memos from executive editors directing their anchors and reporters to frame stories favorably to right. It includes the overt hostility and racism that Fox Nation publishes repeatedly.

Setting all of that aside for the moment, it would interesting to hear how Gray would reconcile his assertion that Media Matters is trying to “weaken the Republican Party,” with his assertion that any attempt to tie the party to Fox News is “unsupportable.” If the party and Fox News are unconnected, then how could one be harmed by attacking the other? Gray’s arguments are an endless loop of contradiction. They can’t both be true.

Given a full examination, Gray’s complaint to the IRS is amateurish blather. He fails to prove a single point in his letter. But he does manage to prove that Fox News, and the Murdoch-led News Corp, is a deceitful and unethical enterprise for endeavoring to partner with Gray on this puerile exercise. they are exhibiting their proclivity for bullying their perceived enemies and using their media perch to smear those with whom they disagree. They are a criminal enterprise and should be treated as such. Hopefully the investigations just getting underway will put these gangsters where they belong.

Shameless Right-Wing Hypocrisy On Media Funding

There has lately been an excess of rage expressed over a couple of charitable donations by George Soros. Both NPR and Media Matters were beneficiaries of Soros’ generosity. These are both media-related entities that play no direct role in politics.

But the same rightist critics of donations don’t seem to have any problem with Rupert Murdoch giving millions of dollars to overtly political enterprises: the Republican Governor’s Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. That money is used to buy ads against Democrats on Fox News, so the money Murdoch donated ends up right back in his pocket. And another big difference in these donations is that Soros was open and honest about announcing his largesse, while Murdoch gave in secret and even remarked that he had anticipated that his donations would remain secret.

A fair observer would have to wonder why the munificence of Soros is problematic but the fact that Right-wingers are just as generous to their ideological allies isn’t worthy of discussion. They will never mention, for instance, that uber-rightist Richard Mellon Scaife has given millions to the conservative Media Research Center (which runs several right-wing operations like NewsBusters). And while Soros remains outside of the organizations to which he contributes, Murdoch has moved inside as a board member of the Associated Press.

The hypocrisy demonstrated by the right is world-class. While the left is taking heat for being totally transparent, the right takes pride in enforcing silence about its clandestine activities. Since they have admitted that they aspire to fund their friends in secret, we have no way of knowing what other donations have been made by folks like Murdoch and his billionaire comrades. Murdoch confessed that he gave the RGA money due to his friendship with John Kasich, a candidate for governor in Ohio and a former employee of Fox News. Karl Rove is presently an employee of Fox News. Is he also receiving financing from Murdoch? We don’t know because they are not required to disclose it and they keep it obsessively private.

What we do know is that Fox News has a record of shilling for the right. Their daytime anchor Jon Scott (who, ironically, is also the host of their Fox News Watch) once read an RNC document on the air as if it were his own research. He even displayed a graphic on screen that contained the same typo that was in the original RNC memo.

We also know that Fox News relies heavily on the work of the Media Research Center and NewsBusters. We know this because their top news anchor at the time, Brit Hume, said so in public:

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

The left has nothing to compare with the media domination of the right. Only the right has their own cable news network. They rule talk radio in part because of conservative broadcasters who deliberately shut out liberal programming. Independent studies show that even the supposedly liberal segments of the press actually lean more to the right in their editorial positions, their guests and sources, and their staffing.

So it seems curious that all of sudden we have right-wingers going bonkers over a couple of donations that will certainly help those organizations, but will have little impact on the broader media landscape. It just proves that the right is focused on maintaining their competitive advantage, that they know the value of “working the refs,” and that they have no shame when it comes to acting out their hypocrisy.

NewsBusters Lies About Howard Dean Lying

It may be time to start a regular feature about the recurring episodes of stupidity on the part of NewsBusters’ associate editor, Noel Sheppard. The latest example comes from his analysis of a debate between Liz Cheney (Dick’s spawn) and Gov. Howard Dean.

The NewsBusters column asserts that “Liz Cheney Exposes Howard Dean In Lie About His Connection To George Soros and MoveOn.org.” Sheppard helpfully provides video of the exchange and a transcript. The only problem is that these documents show that Dean was entirely truthful and that Sheppard and Cheney were the liars. Here is the relevant portion of the debate:

HOWARD DEAN (overlapping): We don’t want anybody buying elections.
LIZ CHENEY (overlapping): I mean George Soros started all of this with MoveOn.org–
HOWARD DEAN (overlapping): I know McCain-Feingold, they weren’t able buy elections.
LIZ CHENEY (overlapping): –which was a big backer of yours, Governor Dean. So I think that, you know–
HOWARD DEAN (overlapping): Who was a big backer of mine?
LIZ CHENEY: George Soros, MoveOn.org.
HOWARD DEAN (overlapping): No he wasn’t. No he wasn’t a big–
LIZ CHENEY: Governor Dean, I think that the notion–
HOWARD DEAN (overlapping): –neither– neither was MoveOn.org, as a matter of fact, just to set the record straight.

As we see in this exchange, Cheney asserted that George Soros and MoveOn were “big backers” of Dean. The Governor denies that. And this is where Sheppard barges in to declare that. “This was a flat out lie by Dean on national television.” Sheppard backs up his claim by revealing that Soros had contributed $1,000 to Dean’s presidential campaign in 2004, and that MoveOn had hosted a web page where Dean solicited donations.

Gov. Dean raised about $50 million for his 2004 primary campaign. Soros donated only $1,000 of that (or 0.002%), which is less than half the amount allowable ($2,500). As for MoveOn, Sheppard admits that they donated nothing at all to Dean. They merely permitted him to solicit their members for donations. Those donations would have been made by the individuals choosing to donate, not MoveOn, and there was no accounting for how much the members may have donated, if anything. But MoveOn donated $0.00.

It is on the basis of this that Sheppard asserted that Dean’s contention was “100 percent false.” However, Dean was actually 100 percent truthful because the facts, even as Sheppard told them, show that Soros and MoveOn were not “big backers” of Dean by any stretch of the imagination. Unless you define “big” as infinitesimally small. So, as it turns out, it’s Sheppard who is lying.

The remainder of the Dean/Cheney debate gave Sheppard additional opportunities for him to make a fool of himself. Cheney kept trying to put words in Dean’s mouth, to the effect that he and President Obama were saying that the Chamber of Commerce was paying for domestic campaign ads with foreign money. However, neither of them said that. The issue was whether the Chamber was receiving money from foreign entities (which they admit), and that because there is no disclosure of those receipts or how they are spent, there is no way to know whether the foreign funds were included in the campaign financing. It is a question of disclosure and transparency. There is a big difference between accusing the Chamber of using foreign funds in the election, and merely criticizing them for not disclosing their financing. It was the latter that Dean was asserting.

Sheppard and Cheney are either too dense to grasp that distinction, or too politically dishonest to acknowledge it – or perhaps a little of both. Cheney, of course, is a political operative and can be expected to spin arguments in her favor. But Sheppard fancies himself a media watchdog and, thus, reveals himself to be utterly disreputable and without credibility.

NewsBusters: The Most Powerful Name In Stupid

You know that you’ve reached new lows in stupidity when you make it necessary to defend CNN/Washington Post media columnist Howard Kurtz. But Noel Sheppard, NewsBusters’ Associate Editor, can hang his head in pride at having achieved just that feat.

In an article “analyzing” a segment of Kurtz’s Reliable Sources, Sheppard manages to demonstrate an astonishingly deficient ability to comprehend simple English. In this segment Kurtz correctly criticized Fox News in general, and Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity in particular, for falsely asserting that Democratic Delaware senatorial candidate Chris Coons had “admitted” to being a Marxist. The basis for the assertion was this excerpt from an article Coons wrote 25 years ago in college:

“I spent the spring of my junior year in Africa on the St. Lawrence Kenya Study Program. Going to Kenya was one of the few real decisions I have made; my friends, family, and professors all advised against it, but I went anyway, My friends now joke that something about Kenya, maybe a strange diet, or the tropical sun, changed my personality; Africa to them seems a catalytic converter that takes in clean-shaven, clear thinking Americans and sends back Bearded Marxists.”

It’s plain from reading this that it was Coons’ friends who raised the subject of his being a Marxist, and even that was clearly stated to be a joke. There is nothing there resembling an admission of Marxism, and there is no way a person with a functioning cerebrum could arrive at that interpretation. Which neatly explains how Beck and Hannity managed to do so. Kurtz, for whom I rarely find anything worthy of commendation, deserves credit for calling out the pair of Fox News hacks for their blatant and deliberate deceit.

Here’s where NewsBusters steps in to lather themselves in shame. Sheppard begins with an inquiry as to why Kurtz didn’t mention a previous article that appeared in Politico and referenced the Coons article. Sheppard asks…

“Why didn’t Kurtz scold Politico? After all, [Politico author Alex] Isenstadt appears to be the first national reporter to bring this article to light.”

The answer, of course, is that Isenstadt never alleged that Coons confessed to being a Marxist. There is nothing wrong with drawing attention to prior writings by political candidates. The problem comes when someone dishonestly portrays the contents of it, as Beck and Hannity did. Isenstadt didn’t do that so there was no reason for Kurtz to scold him.

Next Sheppard quotes a line from Isenstadt’s article that cites Coons’ campaign spokesman calling the “bearded Marxist” reference a joke. Sheppard then asks…

“Is this where Kurtz got the idea that the whole article was a joke? From Coons’s campaign spokesman? That doesn’t seem like good journalism, does it?”

Sheppard wouldn’t know good journalism if it reached out of his monitor and slapped him. The first idiotic hokum in this question is the premise that Kurtz held that “the whole article” was a joke. Kurtz never said that, nor did Coons or his spokesman. But where Sheppard goes off the rails is by suggesting that Kurtz got the idea that it was a joke from the campaign spokesman’s comment rather than from the actual text of Coons’ article that said explicitly, “My friends now joke that…” It was right there in black and white, in the original article, that Kurtz, and everyone else who can read, got the idea that it was a joke. It couldn’t be more clear if you pasted a picture of Henny Youngman above it. I guess it’s that clarity that accompanies reality that confused Sheppard.

And yet Sheppard persists in making a fool of himself. He concludes his analysis by complaining that Kurtz has a double standard because he criticized the coverage of Coons but not that of his GOP opponent, Christine O’Donnell. However, Kurtz was criticizing the Coons coverage because it was wrong. The coverage of O’Donnell was merely replaying video of her own performance on television. Nobody mischaracterized what she said, they just broadcast it as it was. If there was something wrong with it, even Sheppard didn’t bother to point it out. But he did take one more swing at the debunked smear that Coons was a self-avowed Marxist:

“As such, an autobiographical article by Coons in which he referred to himself as a bearded Marxist is all a joke while comments O’Donnell made concerning her religious faith are somehow relevant to this campaign.”

Once again, Coons did not refer to himself as a “bearded Marxist,” and his friends who did so were joking. And both candidates’ histories are relevant to the campaign, but they must be presented accurately. Unfortunately, Sheppard prefers the lying gasbag approach.

~~~

On a separate matter from the same program, Kurtz earned himself another commendation by calling out his own network, CNN. They declined to broadcast a story of war atrocities by Michael Ware due to graphic imagery. Kurtz observed that a story of this importance should still have been aired, and if the images were deemed too disturbing they could have simply left them out of the broadcast. He also took the network to task for refusing to make anyone available to discuss the matter. Kurtz deserves credit for that position. I hope we see more of this sort of media criticism going forward, but I’m just a cockeyed optimist.

On Letterman: Donald Trump Declares War On Islam

Joining many ignorant and intolerant right-wingers, Donald Trump has taken the position that all Muslims were responsible for the World Trade Center terrorist attack. Appearing on The Late Show with David Letterman, Trump responded to a question about the non-mosque that is not at ground zero:

Letterman: Does this suggest that we are in fact officially at war with Muslims?
Trump: Well, somebody knocked down the World Trade Center. [...] Somebody’s blowing us up. Somebody’s blowing up buildings, and somebody’s doing lots of bad stuff.

Somebody knocked down the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma too. Are we therefore at war with all Christians? Somebody bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in Alabama killing four girls. Somebody shot and killed a doctor in Kansas. Somebody’s doing lots of bad stuff in the name of Christ, so no more churches should be built in America. Right, Donald?

The Fox Nation (via NewsBusters) carried this story with a headline that asserted that Trump had “schooled” Letterman. They noted twice that Trump received applause from the audience for his remarks on the mosque. What they left out was that Letterman was also applauded when he disagreed with Trump and stood up for religious freedom. Letterman received more applause later when he explicitly said that we are not at war with Muslims, but that segment was cut out of the NewsBusters video. (The video above is not from NewsBusters. It contains the full exchange).

Even worse, the Fox Nationalist’s completely deleted the exchange where Trump said that we should never have gone into Iraq. He called the Iraq war a “bad move” and “incompetent,” for which he received additional applause.

What this proves is that Fox News, Fox Nation, and their pals at NewsBusters, are no more credible than the notoriously dishonest Andrew Breitbart. They will deceptively edit their videos to produce whatever conclusion best fits their agenda. Anyone who continues to believe what they see there is simply ignorant by choice.