The rants of Lewis Black are brilliant because they say so much that so many of us wish we could scream. Just watching him is cathartic therapy that brings near instant relief from the insanity of the day.
So it was fortunate that I stumbled upon one of Black’s most ferocious meltdowns on The Daily Show. It was back in March of 2011, and Donald Trump was making noises about running for president. Only Black could see the merit in having Trump lead our nation with his ignoramus, third-world dictator, ego-soaked persona.
This being a slow news Saturday, I thought people could use a little uncontrollable laughter to top off the evening. The news was so slow in fact that even Fox News completely ignored Trump’s stump speech in Iowa this morning. While both CNN and MSNBC aired significant portions of The Donald live, Fox aired none of it. What do you suppose they were trying to hide? It really says something when CNN and MSNBC are more interested in exposing people to Trump’s blathering than Fox is.
“When is Donald Trump going to stop embarrassing his friends, let alone the whole country?”
An excellent question. Especially coming from the potentate of Fox News. Of course the answer is “Never!” Trump has no ability, much less intention, of ceasing to embarrass himself, his party, or the country that he calls a “Hell Hole.” So without further ado, here is Lewis Black throwing his full support behind Trump. Enjoy.
It’s no wonder that both David Letterman and Jon Stewart have expressed deep regrets at leaving their programs just as Donald Trump has announced his pretend campaign for the Republican nomination for president. It seems that every day there is another gift to comedy emanating from The Donald. Today Trump is testing the totally insane conspiracy theorist waters and, in the trademark Trump fashion, he is making a HUGE splash.
With the news that Joaquin Guzman (aka El Chapo), the leader of Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel, has engineered an elaborate escape from prison, Trump is conspiracy theorizing that “Corrupt Mexican officials obviously let him go.” Of course they did. Why wouldn’t they after just having spent years and untold sums of money to capture him only last year? Trump’s theory goes on to surmise that Guzman is “possibly” in the U.S. because naturally a fugitive Mexican drug lord who Trump says was released by friendly Mexican officials would hightail it to a country that would love to put him away for two or three hundred years, rather than stay in his homeland where he has allies, hideouts, and, according to Trump, cooperative government accomplices who will spring him from prison should he get nabbed again?
But it gets even more bizarre. In the same statement, Trump veered off to accuse American politicians of being responsible for El Chapo’s jailbreak, even though he just finished blaming it on the corrupt Mexican officials.
“I respect Mexico. They can’t help it if our politicians are so incompetent that things like this can continually take place.”
So all of a sudden his amigos in Mexico are merely the unfortunate victims of some unnamed cabal of American politicians. No doubt President Obama is the kingpin of this gringo crime syndicate that is now harboring El Chapo in a San Fernando Valley safe house. [Hmm, isn’t San Fernando Spanish?]
Glenn Beck and Alex Jones had better watch out. Trump is rapidly moving in on their delusional, tin-foil hat territory. He has even earned the enmity of the boss of the world’s biggest media family. When Fox News Godfather Rupert Murdoch got around to paying attention to the Frankenstein monster that he and his network created he tweeted…
“Mexican immigrants, as with all immigrants, have much lower crime rates than native born. Eg El Paso safest city in U.S. Trump wrong.”
That’s actually true. And furthermore, cities like New York and Los Angeles, where the undocumented immigrant population is the highest, also have declining rates of crime that are lower than cities with fewer immigrants. But these are not the sort of facts that Fox News regards as newsworthy. Geraldo Rivera tried to report it as a fill-in guest on The Five, but was quickly shouted down by the other four goons who were busy exploiting the murder of a San Francisco woman whom they they felt it necessary to shamelessly politicize before she was even buried.
The Trump Show is certain to keep getting better and better. Here’s hoping he stays in the race long enough to participate in a debate or two. He still has not filed his financial reports which are due in four days. He could request an extension (which he swore he would not do) and that would permit him to continue running, but it would exclude him from the first debate that is on Fox News. So stay tuned kiddies. The fun is just beginning.
Bonus Addendum: Trump Tweets: “When will people, and the media, start to apologize to me for my statement, “Mexico is sending….”, which turned out to be true? El Chapo”
Trump continues to think that Mexico has an official policy of organizing undesirables and arranging for their transport to the U.S.
“The U.S. will invite El Chapo, the Mexican drug lord who just escaped prison, to become a U.S. citizen because our “leaders” can’t say no!”
Just like all the other drug lords that have received invitations to visit America – mostly from red-state drug addicts who dominate the the demand in this country for illegal narcotics.
“Can you envision Jeb Bush or Hillary Clinton negotiating with ‘El Chapo’, the Mexican drug lord who escaped from prison?”
After previously saying he would negotiate with ISIS, Trump now adds El Chapo to the list of criminals he thinks should be negotiated with.
“Sleep eyes @ChuckTodd is killing Meet The Press. Isn’t he pathetic? Love watching him fail!”
This is Trump’s typically personalized and insulting (and oh-so-presidential) response to the devastating “Trump vs. Trump” segment Todd did on Meet the Press yesterday.
Republicans just got a jolt of reality smashed in their faces by a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showing that Hillary Clinton is wildly popular among Democrats (92%) and is beating the GOP front-runners by substantial margins (Jeb Bush by eight points, Marco Rubio by ten, Scott Walker by fourteen). This is after much of the right-wing media has been crowing about how Clinton is supposedly damaged goods due to the manufactured scandals that have been aimed at her. Fox News in particular has been almost giddy reporting that Clinton’s reputation for trustworthiness has allegedly been tarnished by Fox-generated stories about emails and charities and Benghazi.
The new poll results indicate that the glee in the imagineering suites at Fox may be premature. So something in the realm of Rupert Murdoch must be done to churn up the Clinton-loathing and cheer up the Fox viewers. And they apparently have settled on their plan.
The Murdoch-owned New York Post just published a story by Peter Schweizer, author of “Clinton Cash,” the the widely debunked book from Murdoch’s HarperCollins publishing subsidiary. The Post article then became the topic of a segment on Murdoch’s Fox News program “Fox & Friends.” The article was also re-posted on the Fox News community website, Fox Nation. This is obviously an effort to flood the zone with as many Murdoch-run outlets as possible. The article features a headline that will likely score the Delusional Headline of the Week Award: “Clinton Cash Author Demolishes Hillary’s Self-Defense.” That headline is completely accurate – as long as your definition of “demolish” is “to utterly fail to rationally impair.”
Schweizer attempts to rebut some recent comments made by Clinton in response to a reporter’s inquiry. She was asked about her role in approving the sale of a uranium mining company to a Russian enterprise. She answered clearly that she had no role in the decision as it does not fall into the purview of the Secretary of State. Schweizer seems to have been incapable of understanding that response and set about to “demolish” it in three steps. Here is what Post readers and Fox viewers are supposed to think is a demolition of Clinton’s defense in Schweizer’s own words:
“First, nine investors who profited from the uranium deal collectively donated $145 million to Hillary’s family foundation … But Hillary expects Americans to believe she had no knowledge [of it].”
The issue of donations to the Clinton Foundation is old news that has been extensively analyzed and dismissed for lack of any trace of wrongdoing. There are thousands of donors to the Foundation which, unlike similar groups, fully discloses who their donors are. And with all of that information available, there has not been a single proven allegation of the Clintons trading favors for contributions. Furthermore, Clinton has never said that she had no knowledge of these affairs, just that the decisions were made at a lower level within the State Department. Therefore, there could not have been any influence peddling.
“Second, during her Sunday interview, Clinton was asked about the Kremlin-backed bank that paid Bill Clinton $500,000 for a single speech delivered in Moscow. Hillary’s response? She dodged the question completely.”
What makes this assertion interesting is that the paragraph following the one in which Schweizer accuses Clinton of dodging the question completely, includes her explicit answer to the question. Some dodge. Clinton said plainly that “The timing doesn’t work.” because the speech, and the compensation for it, came “before I was Secretary of State.” So having failed to make any sense, Schweizer shifts gears to point to an entirely different financial transaction about which Clinton was not asked. Even so, without having been asked, her prior response stating that she could not have traded any favors since she was not making the decision applies to this transaction as well.
“Third, Clinton correctly notes in the interview that ‘there were nine government agencies who had to sign off on that deal.’ What she leaves out, of course, is that her State Department was one of them.”
Not only did Clinton correctly note that nine agencies are required to sign off on the deal in question, she has repeatedly noted that the State Department was one of them. In fact, it was Clinton’s staff that corrected the error in Schweizer’s book that omitted this fact. So Clinton did not leave out the State Department’s role, but Schweizer did leave out the role of the other agencies. What’s more, he continues to suggest that there are some financial shenanigans on Clinton’s part, even though she could not push through any favors for donors because without the other agency head’s approvals there would be no deal.
In the end, Schweizer failed to coherently rebut a single thing that Clinton said in her interview. His only recourse was to incredulously ask whether Americans can believe Clinton’s version of events. Well, according to the poll cited above, the answer seems to be an enthusiastic “yes.” And all of the effort, investment, and deceit that went into this full-court press by the Murdoch media against Clinton seems to have been wasted. Unfortunately, that is not likely to deter these unethical, pseudo-journalistic cretins from doing more of the same for the next year and a half. So settle in for a campaign season of viciousness and lies, because that’s all the right has to work with.
Tuesday saw the official release of Peter Schweizer’s latest foray into sloppy and dishonest pseudo-journalism, Clinton Cash. Even before the book hit the shelves it was widely debunked by more reputable analysts who found numerous errors, unsupported speculations, and outright inventions. Even Schweizer himself was forced to acknowledge that some of his allegations were untrue and that none of them could be proven.
The clear purpose of the book is to smear likely Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Despite Schweizer’s feeble attempts to characterize his book as an impartial examination of Clinton’s finances, he has been a long-time Republican operative including stints as a speechwriter for George W. Bush and advisor to Sarah Palin. In addition, he is closely affiliated with ultra-conservatives like the Koch brothers and Breitbart News. However, there is another highly motivated player in this well-coordinated attack campaign that is getting less attention.
Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corp and 21st Century Fox, commands a vast empire of media businesses that share a determined leaning toward activist, far-right politics. So it is not surprising that a committed conservative like Schweizer would integrate himself into the Murdoch machine. As a result, the opportunities for propaganda and profit become plentiful.
Schweizer’s book was published by HarperCollins, which is owned by Murdoch’s News Corp. So making the book a bestseller puts cash directly into Murdoch’s wallet. To that end, Murdoch has exploited his own Fox News which has gone into overdrive promoting the book. Schweizer has become an almost daily fixture on the network, and when he isn’t there himself, the network hands those promotional duties to their anchors and guests. All told, Fox News has donated the equivalent of more than $107 million to the marketing of the book, according to an analysis by Media Matters.
And speaking Fox News, the network produced and aired its own hour-long special (The Tangled Clinton Web) that served as an unabashed infomercial for the book. And rather than assigning a political personality like Sean Hannity to the brazenly partisan project, it was hosted by Fox’s chief news anchor, Bret Baier. The program was repeated several times. So while running PR for the book, Fox News is also chasing ratings and advertising dollars from the book’s rollout.
In addition, Murdoch’s print news operations joined in the Clinton Cashing in fest. The Wall Street Journal ran a feature editorial parroting the unsubstantiated claims in the Schweizer book and labeling the work of the Clinton’s foundation as “dishonest graft.” The New York Post devoted its cover to hawking the book and mocking the Clintons as money-hungry opportunists. A charge that reeks of irony coming from the realm of Rupert Murdoch.
Since when did free-enterprise loving right-wingers become so hostile to people achieving success through hard work and entrepreneurial ability? This ideological flip-flop was so pronounced that veteran Clinton-basher, Christopher Ruddy, CEO of the uber-rightist Newsmax, wrote an editorial denouncing Schweizer’s book and Fox’s role in selling it. The article was titled “In Defense of the Clinton Foundation,” and went to great lengths to criticize both the shoddy reporting in the book and the blatant exploitation of Murdoch’s own tangled web.
There is no doubt that Schweizer’s book is intended to damage Hillary Clinton’s White House aspirations. It was planned and executed by people with long-standing animosity for both the Clintons and Democratic politics. But the evidence that it is also a profit-making vehicle for Rupert Murdoch is unavoidable. And that is the true meaning of the title. Murdoch is orchestrating this whole fraudulent scheme because he wants to be rolling in Clinton Cash.
One of the most frustrating features of our time is just how oblivious some people are to the advances in knowledge that our times provide. What could be more annoying than having to suffer fools who think that facts are debatable? And it’s bad enough when those encounters are with ignorant Tea Party clods, but the annoyance factor soars when the idiocy emanates from someone who is considered to be accomplished, intelligent and/or educated.
Which brings us to the CEO of the media empire that controls (and distorts) much of the world’s news. It would be hard to portray Rupert Murdoch as an ignorant man. He is a billionaire who built a small Australian billboard advertising company into an international news and entertainment conglomerate. So what would possess him to tweet this chunk of hogwash yesterday?
“Just flying over N Atlantic 300 miles of ice. Global warming!”
The inherent stupidity of that thought transcends reason. Murdoch, it is assumed, knows that it is currently winter, a seasonal phase that generally produces icy conditions in the northern hemisphere. The fact that some portion of the ocean is frozen over in February is not particularly surprising to most people with an IQ higher than the temperature. Murdoch is seriously expressing a concept that Stephen Colbert brilliantly articulated as a joke:
“Global warming isn’t real because I was cold today! Also great news: World hunger is over because I just ate.”
But the dumbness factor is not even over for Murdoch. His observation of an icy Atlantic Ocean was made without any context whatsoever. Why does he think it is significant that there is 300 miles of ice? His inference is that there is more than enough ice to disprove the overwhelming scientific consensus that the planet is warming. But he doesn’t seem to grasp the notion that the ice he is witnessing is actually far less than there was a few short years ago. What’s more, the global climate could increase incrementally but still be low enough for ice to form. If the sea temperature went from 28 degrees to 30 degrees there would still be ice in the sea, and the climate would still be warming.
So what could lead a presumably intelligent person to make such an obviously idiotic statement? Especially when the same person has previously taken positions on climate change that were far more reasonable. Is it hypocrisy, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s? Murdoch has warned that Climate Change poses “a catastrophic threat,” but also bragged about his companies achieving carbon neutrality. Simultaneously, his Fox News, and other international media outlets, have produced the most highly misinformed populations on this subject and many others. [See Global Climate Enemy Number One: Rupert Murdoch]
The glaring contradictions in Murdoch’s public stance on these matters is cause for alarm. Not only is he doing immense damage to the gullible members of the public who ingest his propaganda, but he is exhibiting signs of mental failure that should worry his family. Of course, the problems associated with his personal health are limited to those who care for him. However, his poisoning the minds of millions of people around the world is dangerously irresponsible. And just as troubling is the fact that he can do that in a manner that casts him as an imbecile, but so many people still buy into it. We are in big, friggin’ trouble if this keeps up.
Sunday morning’s media analysis program on CNN, Reliable Sources, aired a segment (video below) that exposed the overtly partisan promotion of Republican candidates on Fox News. The obvious biases that infect the network’s programming have long been known to anyone paying attention, and the necessity to win the favor of the Fox Politburo is unquestioned.
Host Brian Stelter introduced the segment saying…
“Will those two guys, Fox News president Roger Ailes and his boss Rupert Murdoch, be picking your next president? It may sound ridiculous. It may sound like some liberal conspiracy theory. But there’s no disputing that they have real power in the GOP primary.”
That’s an understatement. Not only is Fox News a real power in the GOP primary proper, they often launch candidates from among their own employees. Just looking at the 2016 presidential cycle, Fox vets Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, John Bolton, Rick Santorum and John Kasich have all indicated an interested in running. And most of the other prospective candidates (i.e. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, and Paul Ryan) have staked out territory on Fox’s air on a regular basis. This led Stelter’s guest, Gabriel Sherman, author of the Ailes bio The Loudest Voice in the Room, to say…
“Without a question Roger Ailes controls the largest block of reliable Republican voters. They watch Fox News. They turn out in large numbers on primary day. And the candidates are already kissing the ring.”
For some evidence of the influence imposed by Fox, News Corpse reported this week that Mitt Romney’s departure from the race likely received more than a little push from Rupert Murdoch, whose anti-Romney stance was expressed publicly on more than one occasion. Stelter also noticed Murdoch’s remarks and coyly called it “purely coincidental.” Nevertheless, when the Fox News media analysis program, MediaBuzz with Howard Kurtz, reported on Romney bailing out, they laughably portrayed it as being the result of some ambiguous, negative media coverage, with an on-screen graphic reading “Did The Media Sink Romney?”
Yeah right. No mention of Romney’s negative coverage on Fox. Likewise, no mention of the disparaging comments by Murdoch, or Sean Hannity, or numerous other Tea Party mouthpieces on Fox. Not surprisingly, a conservative guest on Reliable Sources, the Daily Caller’s Matt Lewis, dismissed any talk of influence on the part of Fox News. He would have to be seriously oblivious to reality in order believe that or to say…
“In terms of them having some sort of conspiracy to help boost one candidate or another – I mean look, if they had their way the Republican Party would be a pro-immigration reform party right now.”
Lewis must not watch very much Fox News if he hasn’t seen the Republican fluffing that goes on hour after hour. And to suggest that the network that continues to use the word “illegals” in reference to undocumented residents, even after most reputable news organizations have abandoned it (including the Fox Latino website), shows just how warped his view of the network is. Fox News is unashamedly hostile to immigration reform, as well as to immigrants, and so are most of the GOP candidates.
For the next year and a half Fox News will continue to work on behalf of the Republican Party. They are already in league with the Republican National Committee’s plans for primary debates. And during the general election Fox will openly promote the GOP candidate and lie shamelessly about the Democrat. It’s what they do. And the parade of GOP hopefuls kowtowing to Ailes and Murdoch know all too well how important it is to kiss their rings, and other body parts as required.
The first casualty of the 2016 Republican presidential primary has been revealed to be the winner of the 2012 Republican presidential primary, Mitt Romney. Having only expressed his interest in running about six weeks, the prospective campaign crashed and burned in record time. What might have caused this flame-out?
It is notable that just two weeks ago Rupert Murdoch, the overlord of the Fox News media empire, made public his opposition to a Romney candidacy. Murdoch said of Romney that “He had his chance,” and that he was “a terrible candidate.” Murdoch also was upset at Romney “for failing to deflect criticism that he was ‘super rich.'” That seems like a rather personal complaint by another member of the “super rich” society.
Subsequent to Murdoch’s public letting, some of his minions began to pile on. Fox News contributors Karl Rove, Sarah Palin, and Donald Trump all commenced to bashing Romney. And many of the Fox primary pundits are already lining up behind Jeb Bush, who Murdoch virtually endorsed. The conventional “wisdom” on the right is that Bush will benefit most from the Romney withdrawal. That, however, is far from certain as a flurry of other “establishment” GOP governors (Walker, Jindal, Kasich, Christie, Perry) are still competing for support and particularly donors.
It is also notable that Romney’s announcement came just one week after he met privately with Bush in Utah. It is inconceivable that there was not a decision made at or about the time of that highly secretive tryst. Did Bush make Romney an offer he could not refuse?
Romney’s statement outlining his reasons for dropping out reads more like a declaration of candidacy. He says that he is “convinced” that “we could win the nomination,” and that “I would have the best chance of beating the eventual Democrat nominee.” So obviously he’s quitting. It’s a unique position to take since most politicians who actually believed that they would win the nomination and the general election would stay and fight. But not Romney. He went on to deliver what appears to be an anti-Bush sentiment saying…
“I believe that one of our next generation of Republican leaders, one who may not be as well known as I am today, one who has not yet taken their message across the country, one who is just getting started, may well emerge as being better able to defeat the Democrat nominee. In fact, I expect and hope that to be the case.”
Who might Romney be talking about? Bush is certainly not one of the next generation, being a veteran Republican pol who would be 64 years old at the start of his first term. And as a member of one of the nations’s most prominent political dynasties, he also could hardly be described as less well known than Romney. Neither is the two-time governor of Florida “just getting started” in politics. So Romney has, in effect, dismissed Bush as the next Republican nominee. And worse, Romney has previously disparaged Bush as facing many of the same obstacles that he faced as a candidate – namely his wealth and elitist status. Romney once said of Bush “You saw what they did to me with Bain [Capital]. What do you think they’ll do to [Bush] over Barclays?”
And that’s it in a wingnut shell. The GOP is cram-packed with rich, privileged insiders who advocate on behalf of their fellow upper-crusters. They will all face the question of allegiance to their high society class to the detriment of the vast majority of Americans. Romney’s absence from the fray doesn’t change any of that. But we know at least one of the fat-cats applauding today’s news is Rupert Murdoch, who is one step closer to crowning his own favorite.
Update: The Ego-tastic Donald Trump is giving himself “full credit” for Romney’s bailout. What a shocker.
It’s official. The Fox News primary has declared a winner as dictated by its captain and CEO, Rupert Murdoch.
Speaking at a forum by the ultra-right-wing Manhattan Institute (a Koch brothers funded, climate change denying, free-market “think” tank), Murdoch made his preferences for president publicly known for the first time. He was interviewed by his employee, disgraced former New York Times reporter, current Fox News contributor, and Manhattan Institute fellow, Judith Miller.
According to Politico, Murdoch dismissed the latest speculative entrant to the race, Mitt Romney saying that “He had his chance,” and that he was “a terrible candidate.” Murdoch also was upset at Romney “for failing to deflect criticism that he was ‘super rich.'” That seems like a rather personal complaint by another member of the “super rich” society. But it is totally in keeping with Murdoch’s position from 2012 when he announced that he wanted Romney to win and “save us from socialism” but was not impressed by his campaign.
Murdoch went on to lavish faint praise on several other prospective candidates, while taking it back in the same breath. He said that he liked Rand Paul very much, but was skeptical about his foreign policy. He granted that he “wouldn’t write off Chris Christie,” which is a way of conceding that Christie was already written off by many others. He called Scott Walker “an interesting candidate” who lacked charisma. And he saved his harshest remarks for Ted Cruz about whom he said meeting him was “quite an experience,” but that he had “a record of very questionable political judgment.” The one candidate whose compliments were not offset by criticism was Jeb Bush, about whom he said simply that “I like Jeb Bush very much.”
Having spilled his guts to the media, Murdoch has once again demonstrated his utter disrespect for his role as the baron of a massive journalism empire. His ethical lapses have an impact that transcends this little gathering of wingnut colleagues. It is impossible for his minions at Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, and the rest of his fiefdom, to ignore his choices. Indeed some of them are already falling in line. Fox News contributor Karl Rove warned that Romney’s “reticence” would do him in as a candidate. And Sarah Palin was adamant that Romney sit it out because the party needs “new blood. Fox’s alleged Democratic pollster (who always seems to find fault with Democrats), Doug Schoen, said that Bush “gives the Republicans their strongest candidate.”
So when the campaigns begin in earnest later this year, what will we make of reporting from Fox News and other Murdoch properties that skewer Romney, Cruz, etc, while promoting Bush? Would that be cast as mere coincidence, or direction from the boss? Time will tell.
Subscribers to the Dish Network woke up this weekend to find that the level of ignorance and dishonesty that is pumped into their homes by their television provider had dropped precipitously. Due to a contract dispute between Dish and Fox News the network pulled their programming depriving the Dish subscribers of the feast of lies and propaganda that dominate Fox’s schedule.
For many viewers it is a Christmas wish come true. Of course, for many others it is like being unable to connect to their supplier of wingnut crack.
Fox is mounting a campaign to denigrate Dish and blame them for the stalled contract talks. But what Fox isn’t tell you is that they are using the negotiations to add new Fox networks to Dish’s service and triple the fees for their sports channels (which would likely result in higher rates for customers as those increases are passed on). Neither of those issues are a part of the current contract that is up for renewal. So this is a case of Fox attempting to strong-arm Dish into capitulating to their demands and using Fox News as the cudgel. Further evidence of this is that Dish offered Fox a short-term extension to keep the network on the air while negotiations continued, but Fox turned them down.
Unfortunately, this holiday good news has been tempered by an utterly boneheaded decision by Dish to temporarily replace the blacked-out Fox News channel with Glenn Beck’s The Blaze. That’s a little like pulling a fork out of your eye and replacing it with an ax. And you can rest assured that Beck will take full advantage of this accidental good fortune to escalate his lunacy to much larger and dumbfounded Fox audience. That oughta be fun.
Still, the notion of a Fox-free Christmas holds some appeal. It means that Dish subscribers will have to look elsewhere to be indoctrinated into the latest Fox scams. The result for many families is that their holiday gatherings may be free of Fox-itized relatives dampening the festivities with their conspiracy theories, hoax peddling, and hate mongering. It’s a prospect that was brilliantly imagined by the comedy team of Fry & Laurie (yes, that was Hugh Laurie of TV’s “House” fame). They produced a hilarious short film inspired by the classic “It’s A Wonderful Life,” that had a look at the world if Rupert Murdoch had never been born.
The upcoming release of Ridley Scott’s epic film adaptation of the biblical story of Exodus has generated some controversy due to the all-white casting of the movie’s principle players. While creative endeavors are entitled to exercise license in the pursuit of effective storytelling, it is reasonable to observe a certain measure of fidelity to reality. For instance, an actor playing the part of Ray Charles does not have to be blind, but he sure as hell better be black. Consequently, the complaints about Exodus are justifiable and a worthy subject of debate.
Enter Rupert Murdoch, the Chairman and CEO of the film’s distributor 21st Century Fox (as well as Fox News). Murdoch took to Twitter to defend the film from the criticism that its casting was insensitive to race. But his comments escalated the problem from mere insensitivity to outright racism.
The tweets that Murdoch posted said, in sequence…
5:07 PM – 28 Nov 2014: “Moses film attacked on Twitter for all white cast. Since when are Egyptians not white? All I know are.”
5:22 PM – 28 Nov 2014: “Everybody-attacks last tweet. Of course Egyptians are Middle Eastern, but far from black. They treated blacks as slaves.”
It is astonishing that someone who runs an international media corporation is oblivious to the offensive nature of his comments and that he manages to make things worse with every subsequent utterance.
First of all, it requires a rather perverse and racist logic to conclude that just because every Egyptian that Murdoch knows is white, it is therefore true that all Egyptians are white. What’s more, Murdoch has revealed information about himself that says something about his personal relationships. He confessed that he doesn’t know any Egyptians that are not white. Of course, the narrowness of Murdoch’s network of acquaintances does not define the diversity of a nation.
Secondly, Murdoch’s first defense is based on a distinction between Middle Easterners and blacks. However, it is Murdoch who is introducing the notion that the problem with the movie is an absence of blacks. In fact, the critics have mainly addressed the exclusivity of whites. That doesn’t mean that more blacks should have been cast, just more people who are not white, including Middle Easterners.
Furthermore, while artificially making this a black/white issue, Murdoch supports his bigotry by noting that Egyptians “treated blacks as slaves.” Is that supposed to mean that, therefore, there are no black Egyptians? Americans also treated blacks as slaves. So by Murdoch’s logic there are no black Americans. Additionally, someone should inform Murdoch that Egyptians also treated Jews as slaves, which is the whole theme of the film. So what exactly is his point?
Finally, having exhausted all of the tortured logic he could summon, Murdoch condescendingly instructs his critics to “calm down.” It’s as if his blatant prejudices are excusable because he is Rupert Murdoch and no one is allowed to question him. And those who do are over-excited and their complaints are unwarranted. He seems to believe that he has some moral superiority to tell other people how they should feel and respond to his hateful biases.
If anyone is curious as to why there is so much expression of racism on Fox News, and other Murdoch properties like the Wall Street Journal, they can fairly conclude that the source emanates from the top. It is people like Murdoch who influence those he employs, who then influence their audience of dimwitted followers, that results in the repulsive editorial bigotry that is so rampant in conservative media.