Sean Hannity: “I Am Humiliated For My Country”

Remember when any expression of disrespect directed at America or it’s leaders was regarded as treasonous and unpatriotic? It was a time when blind and unfaltering loyalty was mandatory and dissent was not tolerated. Dick Cheney famously declared that “You are either with us or you are with the enemy.” And Fox News broadcast a red, white, and blue explosion of patriopathic zeal, castigating anyone who dared to diverge from the approved orthodoxy.

Sean Hannity was prominent among those who draped themselves in the American flag and scorned those who expressed dissenting opinions. Which makes it all the more contemptible that he now says on his radio show that he is “humiliated for my country,” without the slightest bit of irony or acknowledgement of his overt hypocrisy.

Sean Hannity Dumbass

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Sean Hannity was among the first to bash the Dixie Chicks when they said that they were “ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas.” That remark was hardly as anti-American as Hannity’s since, unlike Hannity, it was only directed at George Bush and not the nation as a whole. Hannity also went off on Michelle Obama for saying that “For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country. And not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change.” Obama was merely expressing pride in how far the nation has come. It was pride in a specific category of progress, not an overall impression of her feelings of being an American.

So while Hannity called the Dixie Chicks “disgraceful,” and pledged to never listen to them again, and he called Obama “offensive” and insisted that she “owes America an apology,” he has no such regrets for his own expression of disrespect for the nation. In fact, he defended his comments the next day on his Fox News program. And what was it that caused Hannity to suffer such humiliation? Here is whole commentary on the subject:

“Many Americans, including myself are, humiliated today. Take a look at the photo comparison of our commander in chief. There he is juxtaposed with Vladimir Putin [...] For the first time in my adult life, I am humiliated for my country. Just the picture of Putin swimming the butterfly, which is a real hard stroke. Yeah, big chested – and by the way, it’s in frigid water that he’s swimming across a river … so you got a picture of that juxtaposed next to Obama on a bicycle in Martha’s Vineyard with the goofy helmet on riding his bike.”

That’s it. Hannity is shamed by Russian propaganda showing a virile Putin swimming across a river, and his own comparison of that to a photo of Obama on a bike. Hannity is obviously smitten with Putin’s rugged good looks (and Caucasian features), his big chest and burly arms glistening in the sun, and his outdoorsy manliness. Never mind that he is a brutal autocrat who is presently engaged in an unlawful aggression against a sovereign nation. Or perhaps that just makes him all the more appealing since it is reminiscent of the Bush Doctrine that resulted in the U.S. aggression against Iraq. Hannity loved that too.

I’m not sure what makes swimming across a river more masculine than riding a bike. I suspect the participants in the Tour de France might object to that characterization. What’s more, Hannity might find Obama more alluring if he were ogling the pictures of him shirtless in the Hawaiian surf. But what turns on Sean Hannity most is smearing the President, even if it means feigning a rather disturbing man-crush for a Russian dictator.

Sean Hannity

The Delusions Of Sarah Palin: Putin’s Bear Wrestling vs. Obama’s Mom Jeans

Yesterday Sarah Palin demonstrated the world-class idiocy that has become the hallmark of her public persona. She pretended that she had predicted the current events in Ukraine, but her version of reality was unrecognizable to anyone who actually has a grip on it. To make matters worse, Palin popped in to Sean Hannity’s show to sop up some fawning validation from her Fox News colleague.

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Hannity jumped in with praise for the phony Palin prediction, but it was Palin herself who dragged the whole segment into a pit of pitifulness. Her moronic stammering and belching of buzzwords was almost painful to watch (video below). She often didn’t even seem to know the meanings of the words she strung together, such as when she lambasted President Obama for weakness that she imagined in “the perception of him and his potency.” This may be the first time in history that a president’s potency has been discussed in public.

It went downhill from there, if you can believe it. In a non-sequitur response to a question from Hannity about whether Putin had designs on more than just Crimea, Palin lurched into an obviously prepackaged insult that she was determined to slip in, whether it was contextually appropriate or not. The alleged punch line went like this:

“People look at Putin as one who wrestles bears and drills for oil. They look at our president as one who wears mom jeans.”

Seriously? This is what passes for foreign policy analysis on Fox News? Palin didn’t bother to identify the people who she thinks look up to Putin. Most of the world sees him as an autocratic aggressor who is violating international law. There was no mention of the complexities of the regional dispute and ethnic division? Nothing about the pending sanctions or the suspension of G8 summit activities. Both Palin and Hannity failed to note the successful unification of the western allies against Russia’s aggression. Palin didn’t offer a single proposal of her own to resolve the situation. Nor did she notice that Obama’s proposals were in line with what every knowledgeable diplomat in the U.S. and our allies have had to say on the subject.

Instead, Palin’s juvenile taunt served to aggrandize Putin in her own image – he as a bear wrestler, she as a moose slayer. And they both loves them some oil drillin. Palin, along with most of her right-wing comrades have been heaping praise on Putin as a leader, while purposefully tarnishing the reputation of their own president in the midst of a serious crisis. This is behavior they fiercely damned during the Bush administration if anyone uttered an opinion that was the least bit derogatory about George W. What was regarded as treasonous in the previous administration is now a daily affirmation from the conservative pews, without regard to the damage it does to our national interest.

WARNING: Climate Science Imposter On The Loose On Fox News

Be On The Lookout: In recent days a disreputable character has been making the rounds on Fox News claiming to be a co-founder of Greenpeace while peddling PR spin straight from the ivory tower suites of the energy industry.

Fox News

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This imposter is Patrick Moore. He was last seen on the Sean Hannity program where he continued to misrepresent his association with Greenpeace. Hannity’s introduction was typically dishonest and dripping with animus as he declared that “For years the left has been spinning their lies about global warming, all in an effort to push through their radical agenda.” And he took full advantage of Moore’s subterfuge by noting that his climate science denial was surprising “coming out of your mouth.” What is surprising is that Moore is getting away with passing himself off as a co-founder of Greenpeace and an environmentalist.

The recent sightings of Moore in the media have been exploited by conservative outlets eager to dismiss the broad agreement in the scientific community that the Earth’s climate is changing at a rapid pace, and that it is caused by human activity. In fact, 97% of the scientists in the field have affirmed this in peer reviewed publications and research.

That hasn’t stopped Moore from conducting his charade wherein he asserts that there is “zero evidence that the earth is warming because of human activity.” His persistence is understandable with the knowledge that he is a paid representative of a variety of nuclear power and energy firms. Without any credentials in the field of climatology, Moore makes broad allegations that are not supported by verified research. Then he invents a vast liberal cabal that he claims is conspiring to build some sort of holy congregation of environmental opportunists:

“It is a powerful convergence of interests among a very large number of elites including politicians who want to make it seem as though they’re saving the world, environmentalists who want to raise money and get control over very large issues like our energy policy, media for sensationalism, universities and professors for grants [...] it is a kind of nasty combination of extreme political ideology and religious cult all rolled into one.”

Contrary to his false identification as a co-founder of Greenpeace, Moore actually became affiliated with the group’s Canadian branch after it was already operating for a year. He left Greenpeace in 1991 to cash in on the lobbying fees he could collect from America’s pollution industries. And that’s what he has been doing for the last twenty-plus years. Greenpeace set the record straight about Moore a couple of years ago refuting any claim that Moore represents Greenpeace. They posted a detailed description on their website that revealed the facts of their past association and Moore’s current pro-pollution activities:

“Patrick Moore, a paid spokesman for the nuclear industry, the logging industry, and genetic engineering industry, frequently cites a long-ago affiliation with Greenpeace to gain legitimacy in the media. Media outlets often either state or imply that Mr. Moore still represents Greenpeace, or fail to mention that he is a paid lobbyist and not an independent source.”

This is just another example of how Fox News deliberately deceives their audience. With full knowledge of the false representations, and utter disregard for the truth that qualified scientists provide, Fox dispenses a litany of lies that keeps their viewers ignorant. For more information about Moore’s deceit, and the cooperation from Fox News and other rightist media organizations in proliferating his hoax, see the analysis by Media Matters.

Let Them Eat Bombs: Cheney And Hannity Favor Military Bloat Over Feeding The Poor

With the Bush wars in Iraq and Afghanistan winding down, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has proposed a new budget that recognizes the realities of the current needs of the military establishment. Since we will no longer be fighting multi-front battles it makes sense to reduce the size of the military forces, focus on cutting wasteful programs, and direct scarce resources to modernization.

However, at Fox News any proposal advanced by President Obama or his administration must be immediately criticized as an attempt to weaken the nation and surrender it to our enemies. Consequently, when Hagel came forward to announce that our current Army “is larger than required to meet the demands of our defense strategy,” Fox reached out to war monger Dick Cheney to rebuke any effort to cut spending and reduce the deficit (something conservatives usually slobber over).

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Cheney called into the Sean Hannity show with a predictable complaint that Obama’s budget would be “dangerous,” but he failed to demonstrate why. He simply asserted that Obama “would rather spend the money on food stamps than he would on a strong military.” Of course, that also happens to be the position of most of the American people.

Currently approaching $700 billion dollars, the U.S. defense budget is greater than the combined military budgets of the next ten largest spenders. And even after making the proposed cuts, we will still be allocating more money to defense than China, Russia, the UK, Japan, France, and Saudi Arabia combined. Yet somehow Cheney and Hannity believe that this would make America more vulnerable, and that it would be unpatriotic to reduce expenditures. It should be noted that neither Hannity, nor Cheney, served in the military, but Hagel is a decorated veteran.

In addition to the obvious logic of cutting spending when we have the opportunity, it is a policy that is favored by most Americans. This is particularly apparent when compared to the public’s support for programs that benefit the needy. A majority of Americans (59%) favor maintaining spending on programs for the poor over deficit reduction. But when asked about maintaining defense spending, a majority (51%) would rather cut the deficit.

And if that weren’t enough, the right-wing sheds crocodile tears over the welfare of veterans who might be impacted by defense budget cuts, but they utterly ignore the fact that “900,000 veterans nationwide lived in households that relied on SNAP [food stamps] to provide food for their families.” The conservative mindset that pictures all food stamp recipients as lazy moochers cannot comprehend the fact that many veterans are beneficiaries as well.

In the discussion with Hannity, Cheney complained that those in the administration “act as though it’s like highway spending and you can turn it on and off.” What exactly does he mean by that? Is he saying that once defense spending is turned on it can never be turned off? Or that if turned off, no new spending could ever be allocated? Obviously that’s nonsense. It is like any other allocation in the budget. It is determined by need and available resources. And right now we need more resources directed to domestic highways and infrastructure than to foreign adventures in warfare.

That’s the reality based on rational defense analysis and the priorities of the American people who are footing the bill. But leave it to Fox News to take a hard-line militaristic stance that ignores the wishes of the people in order to attack the president they hate so fiercely.

Fox News Wants Some Examples Of Tea Party Racism They Say Does Not Exist. So…

Last Saturday more than 80,000 people in North Carolina gathered to march in protest of the Republican mission to strip minorities of their civil rights and gut the social safety net for low-income citizens. It was the largest protest march since the peak of the civil rights movement in 1965.

So how does Fox News cover this news-making event? By having Sean Hannity send an African-American Tea Party leader to ambush and embarrass the marchers. How else would Fox do it?

Fox Nation

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Hannity’s “correspondent” was David Webb, founder of TeaParty365, Fox News contributor, and Breitbart News columnist. Webb landed at the protest with a bag of questions that had nothing to do with the agenda for the march. He harangued the protest’s organizers with off-topic questions (the video of which cut out most the answers). Then he asked a few participants if they thought Obama is a successful president. Most answered correctly that he has been obstructed at every turn by Republicans committed to blocking anything he proposes, even if it was originally a GOP initiative.

However, the feature of the video was Webb asking marchers to give examples of racism by the Tea Party. This is the sort of ambush tactic that serves no purpose other than to create a negative impression of the respondents. First of all, Webb’s video showed him interviewing only four people out of the more than 80,000 who attended the march. Without the uncut footage we have no idea if there were forty others who supplied Webb with bona fide examples of Tea Party racism that he left on the cutting room floor. It’s easy to splice together just the remarks that make his point and discard the rest.

Furthermore, the respondents were not official spokespeople for the protest and they did not come prepared to have answers for Webb’s loaded questions. It’s unreasonable to expect that random citizens participating in a march to protest specific policies of North Carolina’s ultra-right Republican administration will be carrying documentation of Tea Party racism to an event that isn’t related to that subject. Yet that is precisely what was expected of the four victims of Webb’s inquisition. Fox Nation even placed a story about this at the top of their website with a sensationalized headline that implied that liberals as a group were unable to cite examples of bigotry in the Tea Party. Maybe they should ask more than four liberals before making such a ludicrous assertion.

That said, I wouldn’t want Fox News, Sean Hannity, and David Webb to be disappointed by not getting a substantive response to their inquiries. Therefore, they might want to look into the Tea Party agenda for evidence of racism. For instance, their reactions to the recent commercials for Cheerios (with a biracial family) and Coke (with a multilingual rendition of America the Beautiful) revealed a thinly disguised prejudice for anything not purely of Euro-Caucasian descent. Then there were the infamous Birthers whose allegations are inherently racist. The Tea Party’s opposition to social safety net programs is often portrayed as a response to the lazy moochers in the inner city they regard as the beneficiaries. Then there is their advocacy of voter ID laws that largely impact minorities, as well as seniors and the poor. And they continue to refer to undocumented residents as “illegals,” even if they broke no laws. The Tea Party’s legislative and social agenda is rife with this sort of bigotry.

For more evidence, note the frequency with which Tea Party leaders are caught saying out loud things that are overtly racist. For instance this Arkansas Tea Partier, or this one in California, or this former chairman of the Tea Party Express.

And if that isn’t enough, take a look at these images gathered from Tea Party rallies and websites:

Fox News - Tea Party Racism

Of course, Hannity and Webb would never address these examples that they disingenuously requested. Their intent from the outset was to let the question hang out there unanswered to leave the false impression the charges of racism were unwarranted. But any paying attention knows the truth about the Tea Party, and a little research confirms it. Too bad Fox News viewers will never see it.

War On Christmas: Sean Hannity And Glenn Beck Join The Other Side

With Thanksgiving safely out of the way, it is time for Fox News to buckle down and concentrate on the ongoing (and fake) War on Christmas. Bill O’Reilly is doing his part by declaring his intention to continue his watchful policing of the secular-progressive forces who are bent on the elimination of Santa Claus and Christianity.

However, there is an ominous development in Foxland. Sean Hannity welcomed Glenn Beck to his program on Monday to discuss the rift in the Republican Party between their insane, right-wing establishment faction, and their insane, right-wing Tea Party faction. But prior to the fascinating conversation between these two deep-thinkers. Hannity greeted Beck with a hearty “Happy Holidays.” Which Beck graciously returned.


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If that isn’t a harbinger of Armageddon, what is? While the rest of the wingnut-osphere is railing against efforts to remove Christ from the pagan holiday that was falsely converted into the birthday of Jesus, Hannity and Beck are exchanging salutations that advance Satan’s mission of tolerance. Will O’Reilly condemn this atrocity? Stay tuned.

Serial Liar, James O’Keefe, Releases Another Deceitfully Edited Video: ObamaCare Edition

Some people are just gluttons for punishment. Take James O’Keefe for instance. The petulant, wannabe ambush journalist has already been exposed as a purveyor of dishonest videos that are deceptively edited in order to slander his victims. He was caught trying to execute a perverse scheme to seduce a CNN reporter. He had to pay a $100,000 to settle a defamation suit brought by a former ACORN staffer. And he was convicted of criminal behavior in a stunt he tried to pull in Louisiana.

James O'KeefeSince then his projects have been few and even many of his former allies declined to promote them. But now he has a new video that purports to expose some malfeasance on the part of some ObamaCare “navigators” who are helping people to acquire health insurance. As I’ve noted before, O’Keefe’s inner sadist assures that his projects are almost always aimed at attacking people and programs that serve the less fortunate. That’s true in this case as well.

The ObamaCare association seems to have loosened up those who abandoned him in the past, including Bill O’Reilly of Fox News. However, his reputation for producing video fiction is fully intact. In the new video he sends in a shill to pretend to inquire about enrolling in a health care plan. In the process, the shill attempts to trick his unsuspecting victims into giving bad advice. However, we can’t know for sure whether they did that because the videos are so heavily edited that there is no way to discern the actual context. Also, the people O’Keefe’s shill spoke with weren’t certified navigators, but were in fact trainees. So the prospect of them making a few mistakes shouldn’t shock anyone.

In one case, though, it is apparent that the navigators did not do what O’Keefe accused them of doing. O’Keefe alleged that the navigators advised the shill to misrepresent his income. In reality, they simply told him to report on the ObamaCare website the same amounts he reported to the IRS. It’s his responsibility to file his income taxes honestly. But the conclusions drawn in the video conceal that. That’s just one example of how creative editing can distort the true picture of what occurred.

Given that Fox News is immersed in an obsessive campaign to cripple ObamaCare, they must have given the green light to O’Reilly to readmit O’Keefe into their good graces – sort of. O’Reilly devoted most of his opening segment to O’Keefe’s video, but without ever mentioning his name. That may have been wise considering the disrepute associated with O’Keefe and his band of dissemblers. O’Reilly only identified the video as the work of Project Veritas, which he helpfully explained to his viewers means “truth,” something with which O’Reilly and O’Keefe have limited experience.

Even Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze couldn’t post O’Keefe’s video without disclaiming that “It should be noted that the video is heavily edited and employs deceptive tactics in order to catch the navigators offering the shocking advice.” When Beck’s crew is disturbed by deceptive tactics, you know you’ve crossed a line that most charlatans never see in their whole lives.

Shameless Plug: Please Get My Ebook,
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Community’s Assault On Truth

What’s worse, a United States senator, John Cornyn, Republican of Texas (where else?), also cited the O’Keefe video as evidence that ObamaCare needs to be stopped immediately. Cornyn said that “This behavior is unacceptable, and is yet another broken piece of a deeply flawed system. The Obama administration should stop this program immediately.” Obviously – if a trainee tells a dishonest, partisan shill something that isn’t quite accurate, in a video produced by a known liar and criminal, then an entire government program that was set up to help 48 million previously uninsured Americans get access to health care should be thrown out.

That’s the quality of the logic in use by Republican and Tea Party opponents of ObamaCare. And, as such, is more than ample justification for ignoring them completely. It also explains how the pathetically amateurish video fabrications of James O’Keefe get taken seriously by idiots in politics and the press.

[Update 11/14/2013] Another Fox News program is hyping the O’Keefe lies. Sean Hannity did a segment during which he also referred to Project Veritas as the video’s producer and never mentioned O’Keefe’s name. He also spewed other lies about the cost of the website, the navigators not getting background checks, and the scope of the people whose current plans will be terminated by insurance companies.

Fox Nation Asks: Did Woman Fake Fainting During Obama’s Speech? And Other Idiocies.

No matter how prepared one is for outrageous stupidity and mind-numbing paranoid delusions, Fox News still manages to come up with surprises. Today the Fox Nationalists have sprung another winning lunatic exclusive on its assembly of gullible readers. The article asked the question that every batshit crazy American is hungering to know: “Did Woman Fake Fainting During Obama’s Speech?”

Fox Nation Fainting Woman
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The item linked to the blog of the “Lady Patriots” whose intrepid detective work uncovered this dastardly conspiracy to concoct a phony medical crisis in the middle of President Obama’s speech on the Affordable Care Act. Author: “Dr.” Sharon Schuetz discloses that she “couldn’t believe how phony it was. [...] It is obvious that there are quite a few people involved in this latest fraud put out by the Whitehouse.” After admitting that she doesn’t watch a lot of television, Schuetz said in the video she narrated that she recognized the conspirators discussing the plot and their efforts to carry it out. Thank goodness we have people like Schuetz around to unravel these plots that, to everyone else, just look like some folks on a podium helping a pregnant woman in some distress.

Also today on Fox Nation, they explore the burning question as to whether ObamaCare killed the “Dollar Menu.” We could only hope. Think how many lives it would save.

Fox Nation Dollar Menu

And finally, the brain trust at Fox sought to learn what would happen if Sean Hannity called the ObamaCare hotline. What happened was that a pleasant agent answered almost immediately and was kinder to him than his obnoxious behavior deserved.

[Update: 10/24/2013 6:42pm] It turns out that Hannity got the agent fired. On his radio program today he spoke to her and tried to make amends by offering her money and saying he would try to help her get another job. Of course, none of that would be necessary if he hadn’t lured her into a conversation that violated her terms of employment.

Fox Nation Hannity Hotline

Fainting woman conspiracies, fast food menu murders, and exposes of well functioning call centers. It’s all in a day’s work at Fox Nation.

To Fox News Lying Is Just “Providing Balance To The Rest Of The Mainstream Media”

Last week a major story broke about Sean Hannity interviewing three couples who claimed to have been harmed by the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare). However, an aide to the former governor of Montana contacted these alleged victims and published his account on Salon.com. What he discovered was that not a single one of them had even bothered to look at the insurance exchange to ascertain whether or not they would be helped or harmed. The entire episode of Hannity’s program was a lie.

So this week the Fox News MediaBuzz program, hosted by Howard Kurtz, spent less than a minute on Hannity’s blatantly dishonest broadcast, but took an interesting perspective. Kurtz trivialized the deliberately false segment by asking whether “Fox News is providing balance to the rest of the mainstream media.” Of course. Bringing in six allegedly neutral Americans to lie through their teeth about a health insurance program they didn’t even bother to explore is merely an attempt to “balance” the news coverage of the plan. At least according to the ethics (or lack thereof) of Fox News.

Howard Kurtz

Kurtz introduced his segment by noting the falsehoods proffered by Hannity and his lying guests. But he ended the same introduction by asking “Could it be said that various news outlets were pushing their own agenda?” This implication that overt dishonesty is equivalent to simply advocating for an agenda reveals the crass interpretation that Kurtz and Fox have of journalistic ethics. And his insertion of blame attributed to unnamed “various news outlets” is just his way of pretending that everybody does it. Forty-five seconds later the segment was over without anyone mentioning Hannity’s name again.

For contrast, CNN’s Reliable Sources covered the same story. They spent four and half minutes on it, complete with clips from Hannity’s show and an interview of the Salon author, Eric Stern. Of course, CNN has a competitive motivation to more thoroughly examine an embarrassing episode for Fox, but the differences between these reports are still significant. CNN did what journalists do. Fox swept their dirt under the carpet.

When Howard Kurtz announced that he was leaving CNN to become a media analyst at Fox News, he said that “Fox wouldn’t have hired me if it wasn’t interested in my independent brand of media criticism.” However, Fox never hires anyone for their independence or accuracy. In fact, the further you stray from reality, the better your employment opportunities at Fox. And this segment that leaves Hannity unscathed and quickly shifts to another subject (how the media unfairly beat up on Republicans after their humiliating defeat over the government shutdown), is evidence that Kurtz has no intention of being independent.

Wingnut Media’s Lame Attempt To Prove ObamaCare Is A Failure, Proves It’s A Success

The Daily Caller (TheDC), a website run by Fox News supplicant Tucker Carlson, has published what they laughably refer to as an “investigation” into “the numbers on the hilariously sad failure of Obamacare.” Unfortunately for them, what ends up being hilariously sad is their inept attempt to malign a program that is showing objective signs of success and is gaining in popularity.

Daily Caller
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TheDC based their article on reports of the Obama administration’s estimates that about half a million people would enroll in the ObamaCare exchanges in the first month. However, the launch of the online component of the program was something less than optimal, to put it mildly. As a result, enrollment was severely hampered.

It is was on this basis that TheDC concluded that ObamaCare has failed. But their own numbers tell a different story. TheDC cites an analysis by Millward Brown Digital, a private marketing firm, who estimate that 36,000 people enrolled in a new health care plan on the federal exchange in the first week. And according to an article in The Atlantic, an additional 115,000 enrolled via the the state exchanges. That’s about 150,000 enrollees in the first week, despite the software glitches. Extrapolate that number out for 50 more weeks, or one full year, and you get 7.5 million. The Department of Health and Human Services estimated that they would enroll seven million people the first year. Therefore, these numbers suggest that they will exceed their estimates.

Of course there are stipulations that need to be addressed. For one thing, there is an open enrollment period that only goes through March of 2014, so consumers cannot enroll from April to October of next year. However, it also needs to be considered that, absent the glitches, many more people would have already enrolled. It is highly likely that when the system is more stable enrollments will increase exponentially, not only due to the system’s availability, but to the demand for high quality, low cost insurance. In fact, information published by The Atlantic, but ignored by The DC who used the article as their source, shows that where the exchanges where functional, public response was quite positive:

“[T]he data suggests what must be a welcome proof of concept for the exchanges. The demand is there and people are completing applications through the marketplaces at a solid clip where it’s possible for them to do so.”

Also not reported in TheDC’s investigation is that, while only 36,000 were reported to have enrolled, there were over nine million visitors to Healthcare.gov in the first week, and over a million of them completed registrations. A completed registration is the best indication of an intention to enroll at a later date. A more complete reporting of the Millward Brown Digital study that TheDC excerpted reveals a far more optimistic appraisal of the program. And as confirmation of that, week two enrollments increased 31 percent.

So even using the TheDC’s numbers, which were significantly reduced due to technical problems, ObamaCare appears well on its way to success. The “sad failure” hoped for by TheDC and the rest of the right-wing opponents of Americans having access to health care is clearly not going to materialize. So in order to distract from that fact, TheDC chose to flesh out their phony investigation with ridiculous comparisons to other online subscription services, beginning with a bondage and sadomasochism site. The sexual fetishism of TheDC’s reporting continued with other comparisons to sites about boobs and sugar daddies.

However, all of the comparisons mentioned by theDC were not only childish, they were irrelevant. Subscriptions to online services that have been available for years, particularly those with sexual content, cannot be reasonably compared to a brand new government site offering health insurance coverage that has only been online for two weeks.

In another example of the right-wing media’s dishonesty, last Friday Fox News aired an episode of Sean Hannity’s program that included three couples who, according to Hannity, were “feeling the pain of Obamacare and the healthcare overhaul train wreck.” However, when an aide to the former governor of Montana contacted these alleged victims, what he discovered was that not a single one of them had even bothered to look at the insurance exchange to ascertain whether or not they would be helped or harmed. In every case, as it turns out, they would have paid thousands less annually in premiums. They were simply blindly opposed to ObamaCare without any direct knowledge of it, and that’s certainly why Hannity chose them to appear on his show. This is typical of the dimwitted and deceitful brand of journalism practiced by conservative media in general, and by Fox News and TheDC in particular.

[Note: The Fox News community website and Fib Factory, Fox Nation, featured TheDC's story as their top headline news item on both Friday and Saturday]

In the end, what’s really hilariously sad is a pseudo-journalist who once said that Fox News is “a mean, sick group of people,” but now is reduced to working for them and regurgitating their flagrant falsehoods and propaganda.

Tucker Carlson

[Update] News reports now reveal that the ObamaCare exchanges have received 476,000 applications in the first two weeks. That’s just shy of the half million that the administration had estimated. And before anyone tries to dismiss this as liberal media trickery, the news outlet reporting this is Fox News.

Rachel Maddow Whomps Megyn Kelly’s Premiere On Fox News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RNC Votes To Ban CNN/MSNBC Debates – Which They Have No Power To Do

For the past couple of weeks there has been a flurry of fretful reporting about a threat by Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus to ban CNN and MSNBC from the GOP primary debate schedule. Priebus is disturbed by currently non-existent projects about Hillary Clinton that he is certain will characterize her favorably.

Today Priebus made good on his threat by shepherding a resolution though the RNC’s annual meeting that declares that they “will neither partner with these networks in the 2016 presidential primary debates nor sanction any primary debates they sponsor.”

Fun Fact: How many GOP primary debates did the RNC sponsor in 2012?
Answer: Zero
There were twenty debates held and not a single one was sponsored by the RNC. However, every debate on Fox News was sponsored by a state Republican Party affiliate. Also notable is that MSNBC held a debate co-sponsored by the Reagan Library, and CNN held debates co-sponsored by Tea Party Express, the Heritage Foundation, and the American Enterprise Institute.

There is, however, a small problem with the Priebus declaration. The RNC has no power whatsoever to prohibit any debate by an network. Sure, they can pass resolutions that make grandiose claims to authority that they don’t have, but reality trumps their hubris. The truth is that any network can announce its intention to produce a debate. They can invite candidates to participate. The candidates are free to accept or reject any offer as they see fit. Chances are, the second and third tier candidates will accept virtually any opportunity to promote themselves on national television. Subsequently, the frontrunners will be reluctant to let their competitors have the stage to themselves. So the debates will go on with a full cast of characters.

Priebus’ threat, therefore, is an impotent cry for attention. He is not empowered to force his will on the people who are vying to be the next leader of the free world. In a best case scenario he may be able to influence the number of debates, which is a goal he has previously articulated. After all, it is fairly obvious that the more Republican candidates are exposed to the American people, the more they will embarrass themselves, and the more votes they will lose. The GOP has a distinct interest in limiting their exposure, and that is what Priebus is aiming for.

The hypocrisy of Priebus’ resolution is apparent in the fact that he is only nixing CNN and MSNBC, even though there have been reports that Fox may be producing the NBC project. Priebus cannot extend his toothless ban to Fox or there would be no cable news networks available to host a GOP debate. But there is no reasonable explanation for why Fox would be given a pass (other than their role as the GOP PR division).

Fun Fact: What do you get when you remove the vowels from Reince Priebus’ name?
Answer: RNC PR BS

The full text of the resolution cites campaign donations by the head of NBC’s entertainment division to Hillary Clinton, but the head of Fox News’ parent corporation has done likewise. Also, the News Corp political PAC, News America Holdings, has given more to Democrats than Republicans in each of the last four election cycles. So if producing Clinton documentaries and donating to her campaign warrant prohibition as debate hosts, then Fox clearly qualifies.

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Rush Limbaugh

Finally, there have been recent calls for the RNC to recruit right-wing loyalists as moderators for their debates. The names mentioned most frequently include Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Mark Levin. In response, Levin has said that he is ready and willing, despite the fact that he has previously said that he will do whatever he can to prevent Chris Christie from becoming the GOP nominee. As for Limbaugh, he told his radio dittoheads that he is “too famous” and would “overshadow” the candidates. That’s a telling remark in itself, as it demonstrates just how diminutive is the stature of the GOP field. Perhaps the GOP should nominate Limbaugh.

This tussle could not be better for Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party. If the RNC is successful in limiting the number of their debates it will have effectively cut off millions of Americans from learning about their candidates (although, as noted above, that might a good thing for the GOP). But even worse is the prospect of debates led by staunchly conservative radio talk show hosts. Priebus and company think that friendly moderators will help avoid the antagonistic questioning that he presumes would occur on other networks. But to the extent that that is true, it will also result in the candidates being woefully unprepared for the full-contact combat they will eventually encounter in the general election. What’s more, the rightist Taliban, as represented by Limbaugh et al, will be more likely to force candidates to stake out extreme positions which they will be unable to “Etch-a-Sketch” away after the primaries. The wingnut media are notoriously committed to the sort of ideological purity that voters find repugnant.

So if the RNC wants to proceed with this self-defeating initiative, they will have the full support and cooperation of their pals at the DNC. Nothing would please Democrats more than Republicans digging themselves ever deeper holes of extremism. The outrageous statements and gaffes that occur at the “official” RNC events would still be broadcast on the other networks afterwards. So Priebus’ efforts to limit the damage would be futile, and even counterproductive. As would his admonition that disobedience “may include severe penalties for candidates that participate in unsanctioned debates.” That’s right – Priebus plans on giving the reprobates a good spanking. Wouldn’t that look great on a candidates permanent record?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fox Nation vs. Reality is available now on Amazon

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

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

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

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

Limbaugh And Hannity Getting Heaved From 40+ Radio Stations: Glenn Beck Nervous

Limbaugh Hannity
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Earlier this year a fierce feud broke out between Rush Limbaugh and one of his radio distributors, Cumulus Media. The Cumulus CEO, Lew Dickey, went public with his observation that Limbaugh’s vulgar misogyny and hate speech was sending advertisers fleeing. Dickey told the company’s shareholders that they were losing millions of dollars as a result of an audience and advertiser boycott that began after Limbaugh had called student activist Sandra Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute”

Limbaugh took umbrage at the suggestion that his boorishness was responsible for the lost ads and threatened to take his program elsewhere. However, it seems that Cumulus has beaten him to the punch according to sources who spoke to Politico, who say that Cumulus will drop both Limbaugh and Sean Hannity by year’s end:

“Cumulus has decided that it will not renew its contracts with either host, the source said, a move that would remove the two most highly rated conservative talk personalities from more than 40 Cumulus channels in major markets.”

There is the possibility that the parties are still posturing in an attempt to secure better deals, but Politco’s sources say that Limbaugh’s syndicator is unlikely to come down to a figure that Cumulus would accept. Cumulus, in the meantime, has been scouting new talent for replacement hosts. And when 48 of your 50 biggest advertisers have directed that their ads not be placed on Limbaugh and Hannity, Cumulus has little incentive to negotiate.

If Limbaugh and Hannity are evicted from their radio perches at the Cumulus stations they currently occupy, their distributor, Clear Channel, will likely find them new digs on their own Premier network. This move will not be without a fair amount of turbulence. The shows could go dark for some weeks or months while new stations are found and the contracts of the hosts residing there are unwound. Which raises another problem that is probably keeping Glenn Beck up tonight. That’s because Premiere already distributes Beck who broadcasts at the same time as Limbaugh. So if Limbaugh is moved to the Premiere stations it may be Beck who is shoved aside.

While there is a certain amount of schadenfreude derived from watching these rightist dinosaurs flailing in the tar pits of their own making, the end result is not much prettier a picture. Limbaugh and Hannity are likely to land somewhere eventually. And Cumulus could replace them with Mike Huckabee, Mark Levin, and/or Michael Savage. So the airwaves will end up with just as much repugnant blather. But the show will have an entertaining, if too brief, intermission.

Fox News Presents: Islamophobia On Parade

For years Fox News has been the central clearinghouse for bigoted attacks on the Islamic faith. They have featured anchors and guests who assert that all Muslims are terrorists. They openly oppose freedom of religion when it is Muslims who are seeking it (remember the Ground Zero Mosque?). They virulently assault any person or group who advocates tolerance and cooperation with peaceful Islamic representatives, including American citizens. And this week they demonstrated their repugnant hatred once again.

On Friday, Sean Hannity converted his Fox News program into a liberal bashing festival of hate and deceit. He assembled a studio panel heavily weighted to conservative extremists to take on the subject of “Saving America.”

For some reason, the task of saving America had much to do with Anthony Weiner’s troubled campaign for mayor of New York City. There was little controversy on this matter since every participant agreed that Weiner’s behavior was unconscionable. However, one participant was critical of the debate because she felt it distracted from a much bigger problem:

Brooke Goldstein: “What’s amazing to me is that we’re spending time debating ‘Shmecklegate’ when Huma Abedin, who has connections to the Muslim Brotherhood, who is connected to the chief financier of Al Qaeda, is his wife and has top security clearance.”

To which Hannity replied: “This is a great point.”

Goldstein is regurgitating, and Hannity is concurring with, a long ago debunked lunacy that was invented by noted Islamophobe, Pamela Geller. The falsehood that Abedin is a Muslim Brotherhood double agent in the Obama administration has been spread by the likes of David Horowitz, Glenn Beck, Michele Bachmann, Steve King, and more. These cretins stuck to their slander even after GOP House Speaker John Boehner called their remarks “dangerous,” and Sen. John McCain slammed them as “an unwarranted and unfounded attack on an honorable citizen, a dedicated American, and a loyal public servant.”

Later on Fox News, anchor Lauren Green conducted an interview (video below) with author Reza Aslan whose new book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, explores the historical life of Jesus. Aslan is professor of religion with four degrees (including one in the New Testament) and twenty years experience studying, teaching, and writing about world religions. Nevertheless, the only thing that Green thought was relevant to the discussion was that Aslan is also a Muslim.

Green berated Aslan repeatedly about why he would write a book about Jesus. She seemed to be unable to comprehend that a scholar with impressive credentials in the subject would concern himself with a major historical religious figure who was not of his faith. Aslan politely pointed out that it is his job as an academic to write about these things. But after numerous efforts, Green continued to question his motives.

After enduring this barrage of nonsense, Aslan addressed it specifically wondering aloud why, instead of discussing the content of his book, they were arguing about whether he had a right to write it. He also pointed out that Green’s insinuations that he would have a negative bias toward Christianity were absurd considering that his mother and his wife are both Christians. But none of this seemed to have an effect on Green’s determination to find something sinister in Aslan’s intentions.

At one point, Aslan touched on an obvious hypocrisy in Green’s questioning. He wondered whether she would have any problem with a Christian author writing a book about Mohammed. As it turns out, a colleague of Pamela Geller, and the director of the anti-Islam Jihad Watch, Robert Spencer, wrote a book titled “The Truth About Muhammad: Founder of the World’s Most Intolerant Religion.” The title pretty much gives away the perspective of the author. However, that didn’t stop Fox News from interviewing him on numerous occasions. He has appeared on Hannity, Glenn Beck, Happening Now, and Fox & Friends, among others. They even identified this obviously biased Christian on the air as an “expert in Islamic law and history.”

Fox News

So, for some reason Fox considers it OK for a Christian extremist to write a viciously derogatory book about Muslims, but they find it totally inappropriate for a respected academic, who happens to be Muslim, to write fair and balanced historical look at Christianity. If there was ever any ambiguity as to whether Fox News harbored overt religious prejudice, these incidents should put the question to rest.

[Update] Media Matters has dug into the background of Fox anchor Lauren Green and found that she has reported on Muslims on several occasions despite being a devout Christian. She even wrote that only Christians can be truthful journalists:

“Journalists’ first obligation is to seek truth, and the only way absolute truth can be found is by measuring humanity’s idea of truth against God’s standards, she said. Therefore, the only way for a journalist to achieve ultimate success is to hold to the Christian faith.”

This really helps to explain the astonishingly twisted behavior of Green during her segment with Aslan. She doesn’t believe that Aslan, or any non-Christian, is capable of telling the truth. And this is the sort of openly bigoted reporter that Fox employs.

Fox News Hires CNN’s Washed Out Media Analyst Howard Kurtz

Howard Kurtz

Chalk up another acquisition by Fox News of an outcast from some other news network. As has been noted here at News Corpse, Fox “seems to regard the discards of other networks as their richest vein of new talent.” Today it was announced that Fox has scooped up CNN’s media analyst Howard Kurtz, who was recently censured by CNN, and jettisoned by The Daily Beast, for “sloppy” reporting that disparaged Jason Collins, the newly out NBA player. So of course Fox News would leap at the chance to add Kurtz to their roster. Other recent rejects by CNN that have joined Fox include Erick Erickson, Lou Dobbs, and Tucker Carlson.

Kurtz has a spotty reputation at CNN where he has, on occasion, had some profound commentaries that expose media hypocrisy and bias. But he has just as often proven to be a tool of the Washington villagers who dismisses serious failings and neglects the shortcomings of his colleagues. He is the ultimate insider who is married to a right-wing PR consultant, a fact that he does not disclose when reporting on related matters. In statements marking the new relationship, Fox and Kurtz were typically effusive of one another:

Fox VP Michael Clemente: Howie is the most accomplished media reporter in the country.
Kurtz: I’m excited to be bringing my independent brand of media criticism to Fox News. [...] I hope to add a new dimension to Fox’s coverage and have some fun while diving into the passionate debates about the press and politics.

Not everyone at Fox has the same opinion of Kurtz as Clemente does. Sean Hannity sneered that Kurtz was a “nitwit,” and railed that “I don’t like him. He’s full of crap. He thinks he’s a sanctimonious, self-righteous, phony establishment journalist.” Bill O’Reilly, upset that Kurtz had criticized his epically erroneous analysis of the Supreme Court’s decision on ObamaCare, said “Kurtz does the bidding of Media Matters, and, I don’t know, maybe I should just ignore that and, as you say, move along down the highway, but it certainly disturbs me a little bit.” It should be noted that associating Kurtz with Media Matters is about the worst thing that O’Reilly could ever say about anyone. He regards Media Matters as “vicious, far-left, dishonest, smear merchants.” The question now is, will Kurtz provide fair and balanced coverage of those programs as a Fox News anchor?

On Fox, Kurtz will assume the anchor role on Fox News Watch, a weekend program that is distinguished by its panel of five devout conservatives against one alleged liberal. The five conservatives (Judith Miller, James Pinkerton, Cal Thomas, Richard Grenall, and host Jon Scott) are weekly regulars while the “liberal” seems to be whatever phony they can manage to scrape up that week. If they stick to this format it should be an easy transition for Kurtz who is used to covering for Fox’s biased reporting.

Full disclosure: I was once mentioned in a Kurtz column when he was with the Washington Post. Kurtz was aggregating reactions from a Laura Bush speech at the White House Correspondents Dinner:

The colorfully named News Corpse says the media should take a deep breath:

“The humor-challenged media is tripping all over itself to to praise the First Lady’s appearance before the White House Correspondents’ Association. Apparently their funny bone twitches uncontrollably at the sight of Laura being able to read from a sheet of prepared jokes. The talk in the television press has ranged from, ‘ Get this woman her own show .’ to, ‘ Maybe she should run against Hillary .’. . . .

“I suppose it’s too much to ask that the people who brought us Monica Lewinsky, Chandra Levy, Michael Jackson, Terri Schiavo, the Old Pope, the New Pope, and Jennifer ‘Runaway Bride’ Wilbanks, would suddenly chose to avoid blowing things up beyond all sense of proportion.”

Colorfully named? Maybe Kurtz will get the joke now that he is working in the News Corp empire. And just so nobody forgets, this is what Fox News thinks about their new colleague:

Rush Limbaugh Is Ashamed Of America. The Feeling Is Mutual.

In yet another example of crybaby Republicans bugging out when they don’t get their way, Rush Limbaugh is whining about how he is “ashamed” of his country.

Rush Limbaugh

This isn’t really anything new. Limbaugh has been in fits of hysteric embarrassment ever since America elected its first African-American president. And having done it twice hasn’t helped soothe his frayed nerves. So now he is ranting about how the country is sliding down a path to a hellish fiscal doom (also not new for Rushbo) even though the deficit has declined every year of Obama’s presidency. And this imagined impending apocalypse has so disturbed Rush that he has become racked with shame, poor thing.

Limbaugh’s pride deficiency has spread to infect his pals at Fox News.

Limbaugh - Fox

Over at Fox Nation they think that his tantrum is just the thing to revive the Tea Party that Americans have come to hate in droves. How appropriate that they believe that shame for America will re-energize the Tea-publicans. And at the Hannity show, the rash of embarrassment is epidemic. Hannity goes off on an extended rant about how he, too, is embarrassed. Ironically, he makes a couple of good points:

“It’s embarrassing with our wealth and all that we have, that 50 million Americans are on food stamps, one in six Americans are in poverty, it’s embarrassing we import oil.”

Indeed, that is embarrassing. Too bad Hannity and his right-wing cohorts are opposed to every initiative that would address those issues. Apparently they enjoy being mired in embarrassment.

But it was Hannity’s guest, Herman Cain that totally went off the deep end by latching on to the argument that almost single-handedly sunk the Romney campaign:

“Look, 51 percent of the voters elected Barack Obama. Forty nine percent of us are not that stupid. That’s what [Rush] was saying.”

Oh, I see. Rush was saying that the majority of the nation is stupid. What a great way to invigorate Tea Partiers and win voters over. If this a preview of their campaign strategy for 2014-16, then get ready for Speaker Pelosi and President Clinton. They can recycle leftover Romney posters that said “Believe in America” by simply editing them to read “Ashamed of America.” That’s the new GOP slogan for the foreseeable future.

Sean Hannity Taps Manic Mark Levin To Fill The Sarah Palin Void

Now that Sarah Palin has received her walking papers from Fox News,
Mark Levinthe programs that relied on her signature vitriolic commentary have been left to struggle with how to fill the air time she previously consumed with her incoherent rants. The programs most concerned are Greta Van Susteren and Sean Hannity who tied for the most Palin appearances during her tenure as a Fox contributor.

This problem appears to have been solved for Hannity. Conservative screecher Mark Levin announced on his radio show that he will soon begin to make regular appearances on Hannity’s Fox-capades. It’s a fairly reasonable programming decision since the delusional hostility exhibited by Levin is remarkably similar to that of Palin. The transition to this new sneering character should go pretty smoothly. Here are a few of Levin’s recent proclamations that might easily be mistaken for Palin’s trademark tirades:

  • The Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated our government, it’s called Barack Obama.
  • You can see the pockets of tyranny within our own country.
  • We [elect Obama] again, it’s not a mistake. It’s national suicide.
  • “[ObamaCare] sounds Hitler-esque to me.
  • What kind of uniforms will this national security force wearing? Will they be Brown Shirts? Will they be clicking their heels as they walk?
  • I’ve taken a lot of heat for calling Obama a Marxist.
  • Will that presidential library be in Kenya or Chicago?

I think Levin got almost every Obama haters slander in there: Birther, Nazi, tyrant, Muslim, Marxist, and the Apocalypse. He is nothing if not thorough. And the big bonus is that Fox is getting Levin for free. In his announcement he noted that he would not be an official Fox News contributor and would be receiving no pay for his appearances. Considering the fact that Palin was found to have cost Fox $15.85 per word (a million dollars a year) for her dimwitted dissertations, Fox really scored by dumping her for a reasonable facsimile that costs them nothing.

Hannity viewers must be relieved that they won’t miss a thing when Levin joins the show. They will continue to enjoy the ignorant bleating and crackpot references to liberal fascists and encroaching tyranny to which they have become so accustomed thanks to Sarah Palin. Mark Levin may be the most appropriate substitute Fox could have scrounged up.

Fox News Ravaged By Free Market As Viewers Flee, Primetime Ratings Dive To Pre-9/11 Lows

Continuing a downward spiral that began last September during the Democratic National Convention, Fox News primetime ratings, in the key 25-54 year old demographic, have declined to numbers they haven’t seen since August of 2001. These are numbers that revert Fox back to the George Bush, pre-9/11 era when Fox was struggling for attention.

Cable News Ratings

9/11 was an integral part of the rise of Fox News. It was the catalyst that formed their America-first persona and thrust them into a role as cheerleaders rather than journalists.

These twelve year lows for their best known programs portend trouble for Fox as their audience tires of a schedule that hasn’t changed in more than a decade. Creaky old timers O’Reilly and Hannity have been in their time slots since the network launched in 1996. Worse yet for Fox, their slump is occurring at a time when MSNBC is soaring. For most of the time since last November’s election, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell have been beating Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity in the demo. In addition to those victories, most of MSNBC’s programs are the top performers among 18-34 year olds, which means that they have a significant advantage with the next generation of television news consumers. MSNBC is also number one with African-American viewers, a status they have enjoyed for 36 consecutive months.

The graying Fox News is a phenomenon that is occurring with both their programs and their audience. While many of Fox’s shows held steady in total audience, they plunged in the younger demos. This was true across the board with primetime and all other dayparts, including their three hour morning block, Fox & Friends. Conversely, MSNBC’s audience was up in both the demo and total audience. The ratings story for MSNBC is no longer merely one of faster growth and higher percentage gains. They are now beating their Fox competition head-on in primetime and challenging them respectably in daytime.

For the most part it appears that MSNBC’s gains are coming from new, younger viewers. They certainly are not luring dissatisfied Fox viewers over to their channel. However, Fox now has to worry about a rebuilding CNN. Their new president Jeff Zucker is shaking up the roster with announcements of hirings and firings both in front of and behind the camera. Considering that the previous management at CNN was so inept and oblivious to the news marketplace, it is hard to believe that Zucker won’t produce some improvement. And with Fox viewers abandoning the network that has been lying to them so brazenly, CNN may start to look like a plausible alternative.

Of course, as the ratings race heats up, Fox may decide to stop standing around watching their lead disappear. They will need to take bold steps to keep up with the competition. While O’Reilly is still pulling in decent numbers, Hannity is ratings loser and an embarrassment in terms of credibility. He has to be the first to go. Greta Van Susteren’s claim to fame was as an O.J. Simpson groupie who has never risen out of the tabloid mold in which she was formed. Now that her best pal and frequent guest (55 times), Sarah Palin, has been dumped by Fox, Van Susteren would be wise to update her resume. The most likely candidate to fill one of those vacancies would be Megyn Kelly, who has emerged as Fox’s most stridently biased anchor in the daytime.

There are those at Fox who know that a big part of the explanation for their decline is that the audience at large is no longer interested in the vitriolic smear jobs that Fox has specialized in for most of the past decade. They just watched President Obama get reelected, along with Democratic gains in both houses of Congress, despite their fierce determination to kneecap the Democrats and prop up the flailing GOP. They did the best they could to install a Republican regime with a coordinated campaign of propaganda and hate speech, but they failed miserably even in races they were expected to win. So they are aware that the public has rejected their best arguments and lies.

The trick will be to moderate their political biases in order to appeal to a broader audience without causing their loyalist legions to pull up stakes and camp out on Alex Jones’ web site plotting a restoration of the Confederacy from their bunkers. Spurned conservative extremists of the sort that form the foundation of the Fox audience are a vengeful lot. They primary long-serving GOP incumbents and replace them with crackpots who have no chance of winning. And that’s the sort of reaction they would have to any attempt by Fox to become less wingnutty. The Fox regulars would not only stop watching a more moderate Fox, they would turn against it with the force of a swarm of rabid squirrels deranged by disease and paranoia.

That leaves Fox in the impossible position of having to cater to their faithful fringe while reaching out to more rational viewers. It simply can’t be done and they would displease both. The only sensible course for Fox would be to accept a few seasons in the cellar as they regroup with a focus on responsible journalism. But that isn’t the style of the hardcore rightists in the Fox executive suites. Neither Rupert Murdoch nor Roger Ailes would be inclined to surrender the platform they built for wealthy elitists, captains of industry, Christian evangelists, and other power mad egomaniacs who are convinced that God has selected them to rule.

The good news is that their self-centered intransigence will insure that Fox continues to slide into obscurity and the people will have a better opportunity shape a more equitable society. Of course, the people would still have to overcome the rest of the media-corporate-government complex that has long been the biggest obstacle to a truly democratic nation. But it’s a start.