COVER-UP: Fox News Reveals Shocking Malaysian Jet Passenger Conspiracy

The story of the missing Malaysian jet continues to fascinate and confuse the world as we enter the third week without a definitive explanation of what happened. The vacuum that forms in the absence of knowledge often leads to wild speculation and conspiracy theories.

Leave it to Fox News, though, to engage their masterful journalistic skills to bring bona fide facts to the issue and to ensure that their viewers are always kept apprised of the latest verified details.

Case in point, this morning the kiddie crew on the curvy couch at Fox & Friends reported on a shocking revelation that the mainstream media has been suppressing. Their investigation, that mainly consisted of reading the UK’s Daily Mail (the National Enquirer of England), turned up photographs of the two passengers who were thought to be traveling on stolen passports. Now, even though everyone who dug into this concluded that the passengers were Iranians seeking to escape the oppressive regime and find refuge in Europe, Fox News believes something nefarious was afoot – or more accurately – a leg. They even got the lie-riddled Fox Nation to repost the article. Fox anchors Steve Doocy and Elizabeth Hasselbeck brought up the budding scandal with an ominous tone:

Doocy: Meanwhile, Fox News Alert: New questions about those two Iranian men who boarded flight 370 with stolen passports. Did somebody Photoshop this picture of them, because they both appear to have the same legs. That’s leading many to believe there is a cover-up happening. [...] The Malaysians are saying ‘No, we didn’t Photoshop or anything like that. They had a Xerox copy and part of the guy on the left was put on top of the duplicate of the guy on the right. Do you buy that?

Hasselbeck: And you can tell he’s carrying a duffel bag. But if they say that this is a mistake, why don’t they correct it? Why don’t they send us the good pictures?

Indeed, the pictures (posted below) show the two men with similar lower bodies. However, the explanation by the Malaysian authorities appears to make perfect sense. Especially because there doesn’t seem to have been any attempt to disguise an alteration of the photos. The obvious line dissecting the man on the left is consistent with what would appear on a Xerox copy with another photo beneath it. If there were some secret plot in the works it would have easy to conceal the line or even supply a different set of legs. But to Doocy and Hasselbeck, the fact that Malaysia hasn’t sent them “good pictures” is evidence that they are hiding something.

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If we, for a moment, take the ravings of these FoxNuts seriously, what exactly would be the dastardly scheme that is allegedly being perpetrated? For what possible reason would the Malaysian government deliberately (and ineptly) hide the legs of a passenger in a security photo? Would the exposure of his real legs have given away a classified government pants-related secret? We may never know.

Nevertheless, Fox is cranking up the conspiracy machine to titillate their already on-the-edge audience who are all too happy to swallow whatever moronic feast of crackpottery that Fox serves up. And if they think that these pictures are suspicious…..

Fox News Cover Up Passengers

Just wait until they get a look at this…..

Fox News Cover Up Obama

OBAMA SCARE: Fox News Fears ACORN Is Back To Push ObamaCare

Fox News has been engaged in a massive disinformation campaign against the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) for going on three years now. After all that time, and having exhausted the considerable creative resources that came up with twelve “Pants on Fire” lies about the program, Fox’s desperation is showing.

Recently Fox News went apoplectic over a phony allegation that millions of Americans will be victimized by hackers if they try to enroll in a new health care plan. Then they fear mongered over the horror of Americans voting due to the Affordable Care Act website providing users with an opportunity to register. And now Fox is trembling at the thought of ACORN zombies helping people to get health care coverage.

Fox News Obama Scare

The Curvy Couch Potatoes over at Fox & Friends had a jolly old time resurrecting their fear of a community organizing enterprise that no longer exists. ACORN was hounded out of business by right-wing opponents after pseudo-journalist and convicted criminal, James O’Keefe, distributed some deceitfully edited and libelous videos. But that hasn’t stopped conservative media from exhuming the corpse whenever they are in need of a sensationalistic story as demonstrated by this morning’s broadcast:

Elisabeth Hasselbeck: We’re getting information that ACORN operatives are trying to sign people up for the Affordable Care Act.
Brian Kilmeade: Good luck. Let them try.
Hasselbeck: They’re banking on the American people forgetting what had happened in terms of voter fraud. So we need to ring the bell a little on this one.

As previously noted, there aren’t any ACORN operatives, and multiple investigations never found any evidence of wrongdoing by ACORN or their former staff. Despite their innocence, the Foxpods think that anyone affiliated with the former ACORN must retire to caves in Antarctica rather than resuming their vocation of helping the American people to navigate the complexities of government services. Fox just hates it when any organization aspires to help people for any reason. They continue…

Steve Doocy: Remember back in the old days, we used to show this video when we would show ACORN locations back in 2009. Famously they were caught in a sting operation by a journalist that showed they were showing people how to break the law. [...] After the scandal, and they were exposed, ACORN was banned from getting taxpayer money. So if they’re getting some of this navigator money in that kind of serpentine way — still illegal.

That’s cute. Doocy called O’Keefe a “journalist.” As for his allegation of illegality, there is nothing in the law that prevents organizations with former ACORN staff from getting federal grants. In fact, there isn’t even any law that prevents ACORN from getting grants as the previous ban was not included in the latest Continuing Resolution. Doocy is brazenly misrepresenting the facts, just as Hasselbeck does when she implies that ACORN will be getting $67 million. Actually, that’s the total amount of the ACA navigator program for all grantees. But then Hasselbeck introduces a new irrational fear:

Hasselbeck: The American people have great cause to be concerned about their personal information, medical information, financial information, being handed over – not just in terms of the money the government is giving out, but your information that is being given to an organization that will most likely be used against you at some point, politically.

Yowsa! ACORN using this information against us would be bad enough, but the prospect of such use being “most likely” really ought to scare the bejeezus out of the Teabaggers who watch Fox. Hasselbeck never explains how this info can used to politically harm anyone, but then again, she never offers any proof of her allegations in the first place. It is simply an attempt to dangle a ominous sword over the heads of her dimwitted audience.

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To recap, Fox has so far announced that ObamaCare enrollees are subject to financial ruin due to hackers, political strife due to ACORN, and some unspecified horror due to access to voter registration forms. They never mention the fact that they will also be covered by an affordable health care plan that may preserve their medical well being and prevent an illness-rated bankruptcy. No wonder Fox News viewers are so clueless about this and pretty much every other issue.

Dumbass Doocy: Fox News Still Doesn’t Understand What The Debt Ceiling Is

As the nation approaches another showdown over the raising of the debt ceiling, Fox News continues to prove that either they don’t understand economics or they are dedicated to misinforming their gullible viewers – or more likely, both.

On Friday’s episode of Fox & Friends, Steve Doocy and his couch potato pals reacted with surprise to President Obama’s remarks about raising the debt ceiling. The President correctly described the function of this routine economic procedure by telling the Business Roundtable what it actually entails.

Obama: Raising the debt ceiling, which has been done over a hundred times, does not increase our debt; it does not somehow promote profligacy. All it does is it says you’ve got to pay the bills that you’ve already racked up, Congress. It’s a basic function of making sure that the full faith and credit of the United States is preserved.

Concerned that a succinct and coherent explanation might make Fox viewers aware of a small bit of reality (something Fox works diligently against), Doocy stepped up to make sure that his audience remained blissfully ignorant. He played two videos of Obama, one talking about the risks of high debt and the other advocating raising the debt ceiling. Doocy then said that Obama was talking about the same thing and had flipped his position. However, the debt is not the same thing as the debt ceiling. But this is a subject that is apparently way over Doocy’s head.

Doocy: So the first sound bite was from the president a couple of days ago at the Business Roundtable where he really got people thinking, “Did he just misspeak?” because he said essentially that raising the debt ceiling does not increase our debt. I know he studied law, and not economics, but increasing the debt ceiling indeed raises the debt.

Well, I know Doocy studied journalism at the University of Kansas and not economics, while Obama got a B.A. in political science from Columbia University and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard Law School, but Doocy clearly knows nothing about either economics or journalism. Raising the debt ceiling does not raise the debt one penny. Just as the President said, it merely authorizes the government to pay bills that Congress has already incurred.

Allow me to spell it out. Let’s say the national debt is $10 trillion and the debt ceiling is $9 trillion. If the ceiling is raised to $11 trillion so that it can accommodate the outstanding obligations, the debt is still $10 trillion. There is no change except for the fact that bills can now be paid which, ironically, would have the effect of lowering the debt. Failing to raise the debt ceiling would result in default which would cause the ratings services to lower the nation’s credit worthiness. That would increase the interest that we pay on the debt which, of course, increases the debt. Which is exactly what happened last year.

So Doocy, and most of the Tea Party right, have everything exactly backwards – as usual. There is only one real reason that Fox and the GOP are obstructing the debt ceiling increase, and that is to harm Obama by attempting to blame him for the economic debacle that would ensue following a default. And they regard the devastation that the American people would suffer as merely collateral damage. As evidence, take a look at this chart that I created a couple of years ago illustrating the Republican support for raising the debt ceiling until a certain event occurred:

Debt Ceiling

And the same dishonest, partisan, hackery is in full effect today.

American Exceptionalism = American Supremacy

There has been a mini-furor swirling around part of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s op-ed in the New York Times. It was mostly a fairly tame composition that called for reflection and diplomacy. However that didn’t stop right-wing blowhards from waxing apoplectic, seemingly outraged that Putin had the audacity to express himself publicly. And the height of his hubris, in the view of conservative thought-nannies, was his criticism of that stale symbol of superiority, American Exceptionalism.

Putin: It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.

How can the theo-con rightists take issue with that? By doing so they abandon principles they ordinarily regard as core to their philosophy. Neither their spiritual idols nor their nearly spiritual fixation on the “Founders” can live harmoniously with the concept of exceptionalism. What would Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and its assertion that “all men are created equal,” have to say about this?

The truth is that American Exceptionalism is another way of saying American Supremacy. The campaign for such a concept is as repulsive as Hitler’s doctrine of a Master Race. The notion that one group of people, on the basis of their nationality, are better than others, is as odious as one group asserting superiority on the basis of skin color. The original meaning of the phrase had more to do with defining Americans as an “exception to the rule.” It was modern bigots who perverted it into an expression of overarching greatness.

Fox News

Not surprisingly, Fox News is leading the parade for American Supremacy, as they have done for years. This morning, Fox & Friends aired a segment that touched on Putin’s remarks (The segment was also featured as the lead story on the Fact-Free Fox Nation web site). But Fox legal analyst Peter Johnson, Jr., and host Steve Doocy were barely coherent as they slid over to a more general discussion of a Syrian intervention and how Putin’s commentary makes it more likely:

Johnson: What’s happening, and I don’t know if Mr. Putin wants to do it or not, but he’s provoking a lot of Americans into a position that maybe, maybe they should be in agreement with the President’s decision to strike Syria. [...] If they keep it up, then they will push America to the brink of a Syrian attack. I don’t know if that’s the intended consequence or not, but that will be the effect.

If you had trouble making sense of that, you’re not alone. Johnson has somehow formed the opinion that Putin might want the U.S. to attack Syria. How he comes that conclusion is puzzling, to say the least, and is nowhere in his comments. Putin, of course, has no incentive to support a strike on Syria and, in fact, has been vociferously against it. Indeed, his opposition was the central theme of the New York Times op-ed that Johnson and Doocy were discussing:

Putin: The potential strike by the United States against Syria, despite strong opposition from many countries and major political and religious leaders, including the pope, will result in more innocent victims and escalation, potentially spreading the conflict far beyond Syria’s borders. A strike would increase violence and unleash a new wave of terrorism. [...] Syria is not witnessing a battle for democracy, but an armed conflict between government and opposition in a multireligious country. There are few champions of democracy in Syria.

The one thing Putin left out of that passage was that amongst the many countries having a strong opposition to a strike is the United States. Polls show the American people want no part of another conflict in the Middle East. Putin’s words might just as easily come out of the mouths of Republicans like Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and any random Tea Party pundit. And to top it off, lefties like Sen. Bernie Sanders, Rep. Alan Grayson, and MoveOn.org are just as adamantly opposed.

To recap, before President Obama had responded to Syria’s chemical weapons attack, Fox and the right complained that he wasn’t doing anything. After Obama threatened to punish Assad with military force, Fox and the right complained that he was overstepping his role and violating the Constitution. When Obama announced that he would seek congressional approval for a strike, Fox and the right called him weak vacillating. After the threat produced a new diplomatic course that would rid Syria of its Chemical weapons, Fox and the right accused Obama of following in Putin’s footsteps. In the end, a diplomatic solution that avoids military force, the outcome preferred by Fox and the right, is now achievable through the joint efforts of Obama and Putin. Therefore, obviously, Fox and the right have come out against it and are castigating both presidents for having succeeded in averting a new war.

Warning: Any attempt to find any logic or cognitive consistency in any of the above summation could result in a severe brain hemorrhage, loss of consciousness, and permanent cerebral disability.

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FLASHBACK: Before Fox News Attacked The IRS, They Embraced It To Attack Media Matters

In researching the recent controversies over the IRS and its alleged targeting of conservative non-profits, I stumbled across an article I wrote two years ago that unveils yet another blatant hypocrisy from Fox News (as if more were necessary to make the point). The current programming on Fox is dedicated almost non-stop to hammering the Obama administration for the misbehavior of low-level IRS staff. The story has even supplanted their previous pet scandal, Benghazi. And despite making broad accusations of complicity by the President, they have failed to provide even a smidgen of evidence that he had any role in the way that non-profits were selected for review.

That simple fact, however, has not stopped Fox from launching a sustained campaign of outrage aimed at the IRS, which they now regard as a totalitarian agency bent on destroying America and freedom. But it was not always thus. Not too long ago, Fox News was happy to use the IRS as a cudgel against their own perceived enemies. They embarked on mission to wipe the watchdog group Media Matters off the face of the earth. It was a weeks-long effort that included dozens of broadcast segments explicitly recruiting their viewers to file falsified complaints challenging the tax-exempt status of Media Matters. In the process they brought in pundits, and lawyers, and even their in-house “Psycho Analyst” to paint a disparaging portrait of the organization and its founder.

Fox News - Media Matters

The irony of Fox using the IRS to harass a non-profit organization just because they disagree agree with it will surely be lost on everyone at Fox and everyone who watches it. Below is the article re-posted in full because it is still as relevant today as it was then. Actually more so, with the addition of Fox’s newly minted contempt for the IRS.


Media Matters Has Fox News Scared And Desperate

[July 11, 2011] In the untamed jungle that is cable news, there is a ferocious and predatory beast stalking the terrain. Anyone who has encountered Fox News in the wild can attest to the spine-chilling threat imposed by the pseudo-news network. And now Fox News has the scent of new game.

The Fox News pack is on the prowl for the media watchdog group, Media Matters, against whom they have recently initiated a sustained assault. In the past two weeks they have featured over 30 stories with the express purpose of challenging the group’s right to exist. Fox has assigned network stalwarts like Bill O’Reilly, Bret Baier, Charles Krauthammer, James Rosen, Ann Coulter, Dick Morris, and Bernie Goldberg, to the mission. This is an unprecedented, broadly distributed attack by a major media enterprise against a non-profit group they regard as an adversary.

This latest batch of complaints stem from comments made last March by Media Matters founder, David Brock. He was quoted in Politico as saying that the organization was shifting its focus toward Fox News to one of “guerrilla warfare and sabotage.” Giving Fox the benefit of doubt, one might conclude that it’s only fair that Fox defend itself from such an overt declaration of war. The only thing that might refute that perspective is – reality.

If this is war, it is one wherein Fox is the aggressor. Fox News initiated their attacks long ago with aggressive and false assertions that cast Media Matters as hacks, anti-American, violent, and communist. They alleged that George Soros was pulling their strings long before Soros ever made any contributions the group. Fox stalwarts like Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck engaged in rhetoric so hostile that it inspired actual physical attacks against Media Matters and their progressive allies. This video (courtesy of Media Matters) was posted two years ago and illustrates the hostility harbored across the Fox platform long before Brock’s recent comments:

The new and highly coordinated offensive by Fox asserts that Media Matters has violated the terms of their tax-exempt status by setting their sights on Fox. They quote from the IRS rules governing non-profits that state that…

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

On the basis of that criteria, Fox News argues that Media Matters is in violation and should have their tax-exempt status revoked. However, in order for that to be valid, Fox would have to admit that they are a political operation so that attacks on Fox News would qualify as opposition to political campaigns and/or candidates. Without that stipulation there is no violation on the part of Media Matters. So Fox is, in effect, conceding their role as a Republican mouthpiece. Shocking, I know.

Contine reading

Fox News: The Whiniest ‘News’ Network Ever

Earlier this week President Obama correctly noted that the penchant Fox News has for punishing Republicans who dare to work cooperatively with Democrats has the effect of discouraging Republicans from such cooperation. That rather modest observation has sent Fox News into a tizzy that all but validates the President’s point. They are simply incapable of processing anything this president says in a rational manner. In this case, all he said was this:

“One of the biggest factors is going to be how the media shapes debates. If a Republican member of Congress is not punished on Fox News or by Rush Limbaugh for working with a Democrat on a bill of common interest, then you’ll see more of them doing it.”

Fox News/Nation

That fired up the outrage machine at Fox. Fox Nation declared it to be a threat. Steve Doocy cast it as an attack on the First Amendment. Of course, any reasonable reading of it would find nothing approaching either of those wild overreactions. A threats implies consequences which were never articulated by the President. Nor was the First Amendment infringed upon because the free speech rights of Fox were never in any danger.

Doocy also lamented that Obama has some “scared Republicans in his camp.” By characterizing Republicans who have found some common ground with the President as “scared,” Doocy has also validated the President’s point that Fox punishes such agreement. In Fox’s world compromising with Democrats to move the country forward is evidence of cowardice. That sort of derision is exactly what Obama was referring to.

And it gets worse. Fox’s Peter Johnson, Jr. visited his kiddie pals at Fox & Friends to say that the First Amendment is now “seriously in doubt.” He interpreted Obama’s remarks to mean that the President regards anyone who disagrees with him as “an enemy of the state.” Where does he get this stuff? Johnson was so apoplectic about Obama expressing his opinion (which is also permitted by the First Amendment) that he wedded Fox News to the very concept of freedom saying “Without a free Fox, there is not a free America” Apparently, therefore, there was not a free America prior to 1996; there was not a free America during the entire Reagan Administration.

On the Fox News web site, fake Democrat Kirsten Powers wrote a scathing editorial bashing Obama as waging a war of terror on Fox News. She complained that “President Obama was back to his grousing about the one television news outlet in America that won’t fall in line and treat him as emperor.” Powers has gulped down massive quantities of the Fox Kool-Aid. But she is representative of the so-called Democrats that appear on Fox only to criticize other Democrats. The Fox version of fairness and balance is when Republicans and Democrats hate Democrats equally.

Ironically, the claim that the President makes about Republicans being vulnerable to Fox’s criticisms is one that Fox makes about itself. They consider themselves the last stand against the socialism they imagine is emanating from the White House. As Johnson said, they regard themselves as “the bulwark of our democracy.” Fox’s CEO Roger Ailes once assured Glenn Beck that he would have a free hand because “I see this as the Alamo. If I just had somebody who was willing to sit on the other side of the camera until the last shot is fired, we’d be fine.”

Fox freely admits that their intent is have an impact on government. They actually boast about the influence they have over representatives in Washington. Then, when the President notes that that is occurring, they explode with indignation over his alleged assault on freedom. It’s a cognitive disconnect that could span the Grand Canyon.

Most of all, it is whining of the highest order. No network bitches more about how they are perceived than Fox News. They spend innumerable hours complaining about their treatment by politicians, other pundits, and the whole of what they call the “mainstream media.” Sean Hannity has devoted whole programs to it. Fox & Friends denounces every media analyst as corrupt or even crazy. Bill O’Reilly has made the destruction of these scoundrels his life’s ambition, saying…

“[T]here is a huge problem in this country and I’m going to attack that problem. I’m going to attack it. These people aren’t getting away with this. I’m going to go right where they live. Every corrupt media person in this country is on notice, right now. I’m coming after you…I’m going to hunt you down [...] if I could strangle these people and not go to hell and get executed…I would.”

Setting aside O’Reilly’s insane vigilantism, the thing that Fox fails to understand is that the First Amendment applies to everyone, including the President. Fox seems to think that free speech is a one-way street and that if they express their brazenly biased views, anyone who who disagrees with them is trampling on their Constitutional rights. It’s a perspective that reeks of the censorship they pretend to be disturbed by.

Fox News Covers the Obama Inauguration: ‘Saddest Day Of The Year’

Seconds after the first inauguration of President Obama, Chris Wallace of Fox News speculated that he wasn’t really president because the oath was flubbed by Chief Justice John Roberts. That suggestion that Obama was not a legitimate president foreshadowed what would become a cacophony of Birthers and Republicans determined to reject any and all of what Obama put forth.

On this morning’s broadcast of Obama’s second inauguration, Fox News continued their dismissive coverage of the President. They led it off with the kiddies at Fox & Friends who exhibited their respect for this historic day by reporting what an awful day it is.

Steve Doocey: “As if a cold Monday in January wasn’t dreary enough, today has been dubbed ‘Blue Monday’, the most depressing day of the year.”

I’m quite sure that the day of Obama’s inauguration is decidedly depressing for the these remedial, right-wing buzzkills. But Fox was not through casting aspersions on this day and the President. Immediately following the inaugural address, Fox’s panel of sourpuss pundits picked apart the speech, which they universally agreed was a partisan screed aimed at bashing the GOP.

Chris Wallace: “This was an unyielding, uncompromising espousal of a liberal agenda.”
Brit Hume: “This is utterly bereft of an outreach to the opposition.”

Never mind that the President repeatedly spoke of how the nation’s greatest accomplishments were achieved by working together and how that was a necessity for moving forward today in light of the difficulties that lie ahead. Fox is positioning itself for another four years of blind opposition to anything that might help this president – or this country while this president is in the White House.

Fox Nation

Their community web site, Fox Nation, went to even further extremes to disparage the President with at least five derogatory articles by virulent Obama adversaries, including their headline piece featuring Mark Levin who was quoted from a Breitbart interview where he ripped the President in the most repulsive terms.

Levin: “I think there’s a lot of perverse thinking that goes on in Obama’s mind, radical left-wing thinking. He was indoctrinated with Marx and Alinksy propaganda.”

And this is how Fox News covers Obama on the day of his inauguration, a day usually set aside to celebrate America’s democratic principles and offer best wishes for the new administration’s efforts to meet the challenges facing the nation. We can hardly wait to see what Fox is dreaming up for tomorrow, or the next day, or the next four years. And Fox wonders why they are shunned by the White House.

Fox Nation vs. Reality: Obama’s Imaginary Foreign Fundraising

A new report released by a right-wing organization is receiving a great deal of attention from the conservative media circus. The Government Accountability Institute’s report alleges that President Obama is unlawfully soliciting and receiving donations from foreign nationals.

Fox Nation

At Fox Nation the headline is a sensationalistic “Foreign Fundraising Scandal Rocks Obama Campaign.” But it appears that their idea of “rocking” is something like the Eagles on Valium. Others in the anti-Obama press posted stories blaring that “Obama bundler tied to Chinese government? (Hot Air);” “Is the Obama Campaign Being Financed by Foreign Donations? (Examiner);” “How Much of Obama’s $181 Million September Haul Was Illegal? (Breitbart);” “Corruption: Exposing Barack Obama’s Illegal Foreign Campaign (Townhall);” “Obama Campaign Receiving Illegal Donations from Foreigners (Media Research Center).” And of course, the kiddies at Fox & Friends chimed in with an interview of the study’s authors that began with Steve Doocy asserting that “the Obama campaign is breaking the law.”

There’s just one little problem with all of this frothing outrage. There isn’t any evidence that any of it is true. The study doesn’t cite a single example of a foreign donation to the Obama campaign. The authors admitted to Doocy that there is no such evidence. The study’s premise is based entirely on their discovery of the Obama.com domain, which is not owned by or affiliated with the campaign or the President. The domain is registered in Shanghai and redirects to the official Obama web site (BarackObama.com). Donations cannot be made at Obama.com.

So the whole scandal consists of a foreign registered web site that cannot receive donations and links to President Obama’s campaign web site, but offers no proof that any non-American citizen made a donation. SHOCKING!

What the articles reporting this study leave out is that its authors are rabid right-wingers with long histories of bashing Obama and Democrats. Stephen K. Bannon, the co-founder and Executive Chairman the Government Accountability Institute (GAI) is also the Executive Chairman of Breitbart News and the director of disreputable and unsuccessful films such as Sarah Palin’s “The Undefeated,” and the anti-Obama diatribe “The Hope and the Change.” Steve Doocy of Fox News has interviewed Bannon before in connection with his films, but today introduced him only as the co-founder of GAI.

The failure to disclose the true identity of the study’s authors is another example of the utter lack of ethics on the right. But the most brazen dishonesty is that Breitbart News ran this story in an article by Mike Flynn asserting as fact that Obama had taken illegal donations and stating that “details about Obama’s fundraising windfall and a new report this morning from the Government Accountability Institute (GAI) raise troubling questions.” But Flynn never disclosed that the GAI he referenced in his story is run by his boss, Stephen Bannon.

This is a common tactic on the right. They create a bunch of shell organizations that release versions of the same propaganda and then refer to each other for verification of the things they already said. Eventually they cast the net wider to include friendly media like Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, and the circle of disinformation keeps spinning their lies. Then they complain that their fake news items are ignored by legitimate media. I wonder why.

Fox News Asks: Can the Chevy Volt Help Win the War on Terror?

For the past year or so, Fox News has been mercilessly bashing Chevrolet’s new electric vehicle, the Volt. They have derided it as an unsafe, unpopular, taxpayer-funded boondoggle, that was foisted on the auto industry and the public by President Obama as part of his socialist agenda.

This well-coordinate media assault encompassed conservative television, radio, newspapers, and Internet, and was an unprecedented effort aimed squarely at an American made product. They disparaged the company, the car, and the American workers who produced it. This vilification of the Volt has been most prominently featured on Fox News properties, where it has been the subject of withering criticism, despite the fact that it is also the North American Car of the Year and the European Car of the Year for 2011, the first time a car has won both honors.

This makes this morning’s segment on Fox & Friends, with media consultant Lee Spieckerman, all the more curious. Host Steve Doocy introduced his guest for a segment titled “Can the Chevy Volt Help Win the War on Terror?” by saying that, “It’s a great car that’s gotten a bad rap, all because of President Obama’s record, perhaps.”

Fox News - Volt

For Doocy to suggest that the Volt has gotten a bad rap because of Obama’s record is absurd. It has gotten a bad rap because people like Doocy, and his comrades at Fox, have endeavored to malign the car because President Obama has expressed support for it. It has less to do with Obama’s record than with the Obama Derangement Syndrome that results in right-wingers hating anything that Obama likes. If Doocy wonders where the hostility toward the Volt comes from, he might trying looking at the Fox Nation web site, whose recent headlines illustrate just how committed they are to trashing the Volt and tying it to Obama:

  • Obama’s Chevy Volt Gets ‘Worst Product’ Award
  • Obama’s Chevy Volt Recalled
  • Obama Hikes Failing Chevy Volt Subsidies
  • Obama Still Supporting Chevy Volt
  • Obama’s Favorite Car, Chevy Volt, Under Investigation
  • More Problems For The Chevy Volt
  • Forbes: Maybe It Should Be Called the Chevrolet ‘Vote’
  • GM Suspends Volt Production, Lays Off 1300 Workers
  • Chevy Dealers Reject Volt
  • Each Chevy Volt Costs Taxpayers $250000
  • Newt: ‘You Can’t Put a Gun Rack In a Volt’
  • More Ridiculous Leftist Propaganda: The Chevy Volt Song
  • Chevy Volt Sales Fail
  • Two Chevy Volts Catch Fire in One Week!
  • Chevy Volt is Automotive Version of Solyndra
  • Taxpayers Getting Scammed by Chevy Volt?
  • Gov’t Motors’ Chevy Volt Battery Fire Sparks Probe
  • Sales of Chevy Volt Plummet
  • FAIL: Sweater, Gloves Required When Driving Volt in Cold
  • The Chevy Volt is a Disaster

Hmm. I wonder how the Chevy Volt got such a bad rap.

Nevertheless, this morning Doocy’s tone had changed. He spent the entirety of the segment agreeing with his guest who sought to dispel the myths associated with the Volt. Spieckerman’s enthusiasm sounded like it could have come from an ardent environmentalist, which is why he had to keep qualifying his comments with affirmations of his conservative credentials.

Spieckerman: You know, I’m a Texan. I’m a “drill baby drill” guy. And, unfortunately, I love Fox News and I feel like I’m kind of attacking my own family because I love O’Reilly, I love Neil Cavuto, I love Eric Bolling, but like a lot of my fellow conservatives, they seem to have kind of a fetish for demonizing the Volt. And they’re perpetuating this myth that the Volt was some kind of Obama administration green energy fantasy that was forced on General Motors during the bailout. It had been in development two years before Obama was elected. It had been championed by one of the greatest car executives in American history, Bob Lutz, who is a conservative and a climate change skeptic. So it’s a myth. You know the tax break for buying the Volt was implemented by the Bush administration. That was not something that occurred under the Obama administration.

Spieckerman described the Volt as “an anti-terrorist weapon” because of its potential to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. He pointed out that in ten years we could be saving almost 700 billion barrels of oil a year. He called it the iPhone of the automobile industry. And all the while Doocy was grinning and nodding and even called the Volt “a cool vehicle.”

Something obviously occurred to shift the direction of Fox’s perspective on the Volt. It is a 180 degree turnaround that was sprung without explanation or any acknowledgement of their previous position (“We have always been in love with the Volt.” ~ Paraphrasing Orwell). Perhaps they recognized that bashing American workers was not a particularly good idea in an election year. Perhaps they were worried about whether it might impact GM’s advertising expenditures on Fox. Or maybe it was just an anomaly and they will return to assailing the car and its builders tomorrow.

There is one thing for which we can be certain, if they continue with their new found admiration for the Volt, they will soon be publishing stories about how Obama never liked it and has been working to kill it ever since he came into office. For Fox News, Orwell’s 1984 was not cautionary fiction – it was a handbook.

The Psycho Analyst: Fox News Quack Analyzes Media Matters Founder

The Abominable “Doctor” Keith Ablow, part of the Fox News medical “A” Team, published an article on FoxNews.com with his insights into the mind of Media Matters founder, David Brock. Suffice to say that ducks would be offended by referring to this character as a quack.

Keith Ablow

The article sported the headline: What’s Eating Media Matters’ Founder David Brock? It purported to be a psychological profile of Brock and an attempt to explain what Ablow perceived as Brock’s hostile motivations. Ablow, whose dubious ethics resulted in the severance of ties with the American Psychiatric Association, began his column with a disingenuous disclaimer saying that…

“David Brock is not one of my patients. I have not interviewed him, and I would never hazard a diagnosis of him.”

First of all, it needs to be noted that Ablow frequently “hazards” diagnoses of public figures despite never having examined, or even met, the subject. And hazard is just the right word for it. He has offered an utterly deranged psycho analysis of President Obama, as well as perverse praise of Newt Gingrich, specifically citing his history of serial adultery as a positive character trait that would make him a better president.

However, Ablow’s disclaimer falls flat when just a few paragraphs down he says this:

“A sailboat adrift, in danger of capsizing, looks for the strongest wind to keep it moving. Direction matters little or not at all when drowning is the other option. Brock would seem to be captaining such a ship-of-self. [...] his own self-loathing might be unbearably palpable.”

Somehow Ablow doesn’t consider that to be a diagnosis. Neither does he regard his later comments comparing Brock to “despots and dictators and even cult leaders” to be outside the bounds of remote analysis. And to top it off, Ablow concludes his unprofessional and ethically offensive ravings by prescribing advise to Brock that he…

“…take those steps necessary to uncover those demons from the past he has denied, for they are now quite visible to those of us who have the proper lens to see them, and they will not be denied forever.”

So while Ablow began by declaring that he wouldn’t “hazard a diagnosis” of Brock, by the time he finished he had delivered not only a diagnosis, but a prescription as well – a prescription replete with demons who will not be denied. Frightening, isn’t it?

This article is just another episode of Fox News’ week-long campaign to smear Brock and Media Matters. It is their attempt at a preventative first strike in advance of the book Media Matters is releasing next week: The Fox Effect: How Roger Ailes Turned a Network into a Propaganda Machine

Fox News has launched a massive effort to counter what they must fear is an effective, critical examination of the network and its principles. They have already aired more than a dozen stories so far on their most popular programs, including the O’Reilly Factor and Hannity. Friday morning’s broadcast of Fox & Friends featured a Steve Doocy interview of Tucker Carlson. Doocy could not even mention Brock’s name without appending a pejorative. For instance, “David Brock, an admitted drug user…” or “David Brock, an admitted liar…” And take a look at the on-screen graphics they used

Fox News - Media Matters

Note that the subject of this interview was an alleged expose of the donors to Media Matters. So it was a financial story that had nothing to do with Brock’s mental status. But even from a financial perspective, the story was a bust. Apparently Doocy was astonished by the shocking revelation that a liberal media watchdog group was supported by liberal donors. It must have taken a pretty sharp reporter to uncover that scoop. But the really good news was disclosed by Doocy himself when he revealed at the end of the segment that…

“Finally, this has been such an explosive series that you’ve had at the Daily Caller, exposing what these people at Media Matters are doing, and yet, aside from a few blogs and the Fox News Channel, it really hasn’t gotten much traction in the mainstream media, which floors me.”

Poor Steve and Tucker. Nobody likes their hollow and brazenly biased smear campaign enough to help them to disseminate it. They must be awfully depressed. Maybe they could schedule some time with Dr. Ablow to try to get to the root of their depression. Actually, it wouldn’t require much of a commitment in time because of Ablow’s unique ability to diagnose patients without even having to meet with them.

The Fox News Media Matters Obsession Intensifies

As I documented yesterday, Fox News is maniacally desperate to destroy the reputation of Media Matters before their book, The Fox Effect, is released next week. The latest evidence of their desperation: Four more articles on Fox Nation for a total of twelve in just three days.

Fox Nation

There have also been four more segments broadcast on Fox News (two on Fox & Friends, one discussion on Happening Now with Jon Scott, and one featured on America Live with Megyn Kelly) for a total of nine in three days. This may be the most reported story on Fox News. That shows that the priority of crushing Media Matters far outweighs little things like the just-released White House budget, Iran’s nuclear program, the presidential election, or the turmoil in Syria and the Middle East. Fox can’t be bothered with any of that when there is a book coming out that is about to blow the lid off of their pseudo-news, GOP PR scam operation. And speaking of the GOP, according to Steve Doocy they have their priorities twisted as well:

“Some congressional Republicans are now looking at Media Matters tax-exempt status – that’s right, they get it – more specifically, why [Media Matters founder] David Brock’s liberal web site is allowed to use your tax dollars to attack Fox News Channel.”

It’s nice to know that Republicans in congress are working hard on the issues that matter to the American people. And, of course, none of this is coordinated. The congressional activity, the investigation by The Daily Caller (run by Fox News contributor, Tucker Carlson), the massive coverage of the story by Fox, and the imminent release of an anti-Fox book. It’s all just an incredible coincidence. It must be – Fox News said so:

A Fox News spokesperson told Mediaite on Tuesday afternoon that, “there is absolutely no coordination with the Daily Caller,” and they have “no idea what Tucker’s motivation is in on the timing of this.”

Well that settles it. Because Fox News wouldn’t lie. They might construct totally fabricated stories that advance their ideological agenda, but they wouldn’t lie. They would spread rumors that smear their perceived enemies, but lie? Never. They would even host disreputable psychiatrists whose ethical lapses precipitated their separation from the American Psychiatric Association as they did with Keith Ablow, who managed to invent a diagnosis of David Brock without ever having met him:

“If you are filled with self-loathing you will see demons on every street corner because you project that self-hatred. [...] He’s a dangerous man because having followers and waging war, as he says, or previously being a right-wing hitman, this isn’t accidental language. It’s about violence, destruction, and he feels destroyed in himself.”

Keith Ablow

This is actually the second time Ablow has appeared on Fox News with his absurd fantasies (or projections) about Brock. It is Ablow whose character is questionable. A few weeks ago he published an op-ed on FoxNews.com that praised Newt Gingrich’s infidelity as evidence of traits that would help him to make America stronger. Seriously! And who could forget his deranged psycho analysis of President Obama?

I really have to wonder if even the Fox News audience is so intellectually comatose that they wouldn’t recognize the feverish anxiety gushing from Fox in advance of the Media Matters book. A tree stump would notice that they are laying it on awfully thick. So the obvious question is what are they so afraid of? I guess we’ll find out next week.

Fox News On Hacking Scandal: Move Along, Nothing To See Here

This morning on Fox and Friends, Steve Doocy interviewed PR flack Bob Dilenschneider in an attempt to whitewash the devastating scandal that has been roiling News Corp, the parent company of Doocy’s employer, Fox News. The discussion was strikingly self-serving, hypocritical, and dishonest. It began with Doocy asking Dilenschneider this question:

Doocy: What do you make of what…this particular hacking scandal with the News of the World?
Dilenschneider: Well, the News of the World is a hacking scandal, it can’t be denied, but the issue is why are so many people piling on at this point? We know it’s a hacking scandal, shouldn’t we really get beyond it and deal with the issue of hacking?

Rupert MurdochOf course! Move along people. Nothing to see here. Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers were caught hacking into the phones of politicians, celebrities, murdered schoolgirls, and victims of terrorist attacks, but that’s no reason to dwell on on it for a week or two. To continue this inquiry is just more “piling on.” Especially since we don’t even know the depth to which this scandal will eventually sink. After all, Murdoch has shut down his largest circulation paper in the UK, canceled his planned takeover of BSkyB (his largest attempted acquisition ever), and accepted the resignations of his top executives at News International and Dow Jones (the parent company of the Wall Street Journal). Surely that’s proof of how unimportant this is. Shut up already.

Dilenschneider goes on to equate incidents of hacking that took place at industry and government sites with the News Corp affair. This is an awkward effort to conflate the victims of industrial hacking with the victimizers and criminals at News Corp. Then Doocy offers this bit of commentary:

Doocy: The company’s come forward and they said, “look, this happened a long time ago – at a tabloid – in London.” Somebody did something really bad and the company reacted. They closed that newspaper. All those people got fired. Even though 99% of them absolutely had nothing to do with it.

Exactly! They fired a bunch of people who had nothing to do with it. What more do you want? And it was just a tabloid, so that hardly matters. But most importantly, it was a long time ago, so drop it already. Dilenschneider told Doocy that it was “a decade ago,” which is not true. The hacking was about six years ago and was effectively covered up. However, the most recent and disturbing revelations just came out a couple of weeks ago and are still coming out by the hour. You don’t see Fox News hammering away at old stories like that, do you?. Well, except for their highly coordinated attack on Media Matters which they have been pushing for three weeks. Doocy and his Fox and Friends pals have not let up on it for even one day. They even have an article on Fox Nation telling readers how to file a complaint with the IRS which they keep bumping up to the top of the “New Stories” list despite its non-newness.

Bob Dilenschneider, it should be noted, is a celebrated PR flack and crisis consultant. He specializes in rescuing the reputations of scoundrels. He is well known for working on the rehabilitation of Richard Nixon’s image post-Watergate. And he was the spokesman for Lou Dobbs as Dobbs was being pummeled for his anti-immigrant rantings.

In this matter Dilenschneider is conducting a textbook resuscitation procedure for News Corp and Murdoch. He tries to change the subject to unrelated incidents of hacking. He insists that his clients have done “all the right things,” despite having issued false reports and engaging in a steady drip of resignations. He declares that there are more important problems for people to focus on and should therefore ignore this one. In short, who cares, look away, we’re innocent.

He’s got his work cut out for him. Luckily, he also has the Fox News platform to implement his campaign of diversion and disinformation. Expect Fox to behave like a wounded mama bear. They are likely to strike out at someone or something in order to divert attention from their own nefarious dealings. Don’t be surprised if Fox News reports this weekend that President Obama was caught sacrificing children to Lucifer.

Media Matters Has Fox News Scared And Desperate

This is a compilation of several previous News Corpse articles that I put together for Alternet.com.

In the untamed jungle that is cable news, there is a ferocious and predatory beast stalking the terrain. Anyone who has encountered Fox News in the wild can attest to the spine-chilling threat imposed by the pseudo-news network. And now Fox News has the scent of new game.

The Fox News pack is on the prowl for the media watchdog group, Media Matters, against whom they have recently initiated a sustained assault. In the past two weeks they have featured over 30 stories with the express purpose of challenging the group’s right to exist. Fox has assigned network stalwarts like Bill O’Reilly, Bret Baier, Charles Krauthammer, James Rosen, Ann Coulter, Dick Morris, and Bernie Goldberg, to the mission. This is an unprecedented, broadly distributed attack by a major media enterprise against a non-profit group they regard as an adversary.

This latest batch of complaints stem from comments made last March by Media Matters founder, David Brock. He was quoted in Politico as saying that the organization was shifting its focus toward Fox News to one of “guerrilla warfare and sabotage.” Giving Fox the benefit of doubt, one might conclude that it’s only fair that Fox defend itself from such an overt declaration of war. The only thing that might refute that perspective is – reality.

If this is war, it is one wherein Fox is the aggressor. Fox News initiated their attacks long ago with aggressive and false assertions that cast Media Matters as hacks, anti-American, violent, and communist. They alleged that George Soros was pulling their strings long before Soros ever made any contributions the group. Fox stalwarts like Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck engaged in rhetoric so hostile that it inspired actual physical attacks against Media Matters and their progressive allies. This video (courtesy of Media Matters) was posted two years ago and illustrates the hostility harbored across the Fox platform long before Brock’s recent comments:

The new and highly coordinated offensive by Fox asserts that Media Matters has violated the terms of their tax-exempt status by setting their sights on Fox. They quote from the IRS rules governing non-profits that state that…

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

On the basis of that criteria, Fox News argues that Media Matters is in violation and should have their tax-exempt status revoked. However, in order for that to be valid, Fox would have to admit that they are a political operation so that attacks on Fox News would qualify as opposition to political campaigns and/or candidates. Without that stipulation there is no violation on the part of Media Matters. So Fox is, in effect, conceding their role as a Republican mouthpiece. Shocking, I know.

Contine reading

WTF: Fox News Is Now Psychoanalyzing Media Matters Execs

To anyone who thought that Fox News would become a more responsible and sane journalistic enterprise after the departure of Glenn Beck, your expectations have been dashed against the jagged rocks of reality (I told you so).

For the past couple of weeks Fox News has been engaging in a dogged effort to discredit the media watchdog group, Media Matters. They have sicced their most vicious attack poodles on them and openly beseeched their viewers to file complaints with the IRS to challenge Media Matters’ tax-exempt status. Every day they bump this two week old story to the top of their rabidly partisan web site, Fox Nation, above other more recent news. Their Saturday “News Watch” program devoted fully half the show to this one subject. But today they have taken a running leap off a cliff that leads to a Grand Canyon of stupidity, hilarity, and jaw-dropping shame.

Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy, perhaps the stupidest man on TV, brought in Glenn Beck’s co-author and “doctor” Keith Ablow for an interview that careened off into the surreal. Ablow pretended that he could psychoanalyze someone whom he has never examined or even met. That is a sign of certain quackery reminiscent of “doctor” Bill Frist’s pathetic attempt to diagnose the terminally ill and vegetative Terri Schiavo. Here is a portion of the exchange:

Steve Doocy: I understand you’ve done a psychological profile of [Media Matters founder] David Brock. What did you find?

Keith Ablow: Well, look, I looked at him from a distance, but you don’t have to look very hard to see into the man’s mind apparently. This is somebody who seemingly has such low self-esteem, Steve, that he’s lurching from one group to another. Whoever will embrace him and reassure him that he’s a decent guy and be his cheerleader in a dramatic way, that’s who he’s gonna be with. [...] You can’t believe this guy because he’s full of self-hatred which he then projects on the world around him in order to get love. So he’s gotta have somebody to hate because he thinks that’s the way, the best way to galvanize the love in his direction. So yes, it’s always about being a hit man, you know, exposing someone. There’s very sexual connotations here too.

That is about as idiotic an appraisal as has ever been articulated aloud. I pity anyone who actually has this fraud as an analyst. Ablow has no basis whatsoever to arrive at his conclusions. He is merely taking obviously hostile swipes at someone he is being paid to disparage. He should have his license revoked. And with all of his brazen, personal animosity he fails to provide a single example of anything that Brock has done that is incorrect or unsubstantiated.

This attack is purely personal. Ablow’s notation of “lurching from one group to another” references the fact that Brock was once a conservative, but is now a liberal. However, Brock was a conservative for many years and, after evolving more to the left, he has remained liberal for the past decade. That behavior is hardly what any rational person would describe as “lurching.” In fact, it’s rather stable. Would Ablow also regard Andrew Breitbart, David Horowitz, Rick Perry, and Michele Bachmann as lurching, self-haters? They are all former Democrats or liberals.

Ablow neglects to explain what the “sexual connotations” are. He probably only raised that issue to remind his audience that Brock is openly gay, a factor that the Fox audience will regard as negative. At one point Ablow tried to inject that Brock’s having been adopted had some part in this absurd analysis, as if adoption is a precursor to the alleged self-hatred Ablow is inventing. And he signed off the segment by telling Doocy, in a declarative tone, that Brock is “A very dangerous man, my friend.”

Ablow is a very disturbed and unprofessional little weasel (I can’t bring myself to call him a man). His medical credibility is identical to the journalistic credibility of Fox News – Zero. No wonder he is their resident psychiatric expert. The prerequisite to becoming an expert on Fox News is to demonstrate that you have little knowledge of your professed field, and that you’re willing to use your ignorance to advance the Republican agenda.

In addition to this psycho-circus, Fox News also called upon faux-liberal Juan Williams to pile on Media Matters. In an interview with Doocy’s co-host, Brian Kilmeade, Williams said that Media Matters is “about ruining people and trying to take a company down – to destroy a company.” There was not even a hint of irony as he said this while he was trying to ruin people and destroy a company. Then Kilmeade closed the interview with this verbal and graphic appeal to viewers:

“If you want to file a complaint about Media Matters I want you to do this. Go to FoxNation.com and click on the “Justice”>/em> tab. We’ll take it from there.”


This is just the latest attempt to drive viewers to a web page where they can file their own complaint to the IRS. As I’ve noted previously, there is no merit to the argument that Media Matters is in violation of their tax-exempt status. To be in violation they would have to be engaging in substantial political (i.e. campaign) or lobbying (i.e. legislative) activities. Media Matters does neither. However, the instructions as presented in the graphic above advise Fox viewers to lie in their complaint. Let me repeat that: Fox is advising their viewers to LIE to the IRS! This is because the instruction to check the boxes for political campaigning and lobbying activities amounts to falsifying the form.

I defy anyone to supply an example of Media Matters either engaging in a political campaign or lobbying any member of any legislative body. Since no such examples have been supplied, the form would be a false representation. The only way that Media Matters can be construed as being in violation of their tax-exempt status by virtue of their attacking Fox, is if Fox is itself a political operation. Of course, Fox denies that. Were they to admit it we might have a different story. In the meantime, if these complaint forms required the complainant to sign under oath, then Fox would be guilty of suborning perjury. As it is they are merely guilty of attempting to flood the IRS with frivolous and phony paperwork. Which for conservatives seeking to reduce the cost and oversight of government is pretty hypocritical.

At the risk of being accused of psychoanalyzing Fox, I must observe that they are obviously scared. They are so afraid of Media Matters that they have become obsessed with destroying it. While most Americans have probably never heard of Media Matters, Fox is elevating them to the top of the news pile, even above Casey Anthony. They know that any organization that shines the light of truth on Fox News is going to make things difficult for an enterprise like Fox whose mission is to disseminate disinformation and keep viewers ignorant.

If you haven’t done so already, this would be a good time to join Media Matters.

Atlas Sucks As Fox & Friends Suck Up

OK, this has got to be embarrassing.

The kids in the Fox & Friends Day Care spent a couple of minutes yesterday fluffing Atlas Shrugged and feigning amazement at its unprecedented success. Steve Doocy beamed that it’s “amazing” and that “it has really taken off.” Brian Kilmeade exuberantly delivered the film’s stats saying that “this is a lot of money for people in the business – they say this is staggering.” He gleefully mused that “the profit’s gonna go through the roof.” Juliet Huddy was glowing as she claimed that there was so much demand for the film that the producers “don’t have enough copies of the film.” She continued saying that “It sort of just came out of nowhere and it really blossomed.”

Wow! This must be a blockbuster in the making. I may have to retract my previous article calling the movie a bomb. Or maybe not. Because today the producer came out and spoiled the whole thing for the Foxies by saying that “he is reconsidering his plans to make Parts 2 and 3 because of scathing reviews and flagging box office returns for the film.”

“Critics, you won,” said John Aglialoro, the businessman who spent 18 years and more than $20 million of his own money to make, distribute and market “Atlas Shrugged: Part 1,” which covers the first third of Rand’s dystopian novel. “I’m having deep second thoughts on why I should do Part 2.”

Nice of him to blame it on the critics and not his shoddy filmmaking. Aglialoro also said that he is reconsidering his plans to expand to 1,000 screens by the end of this month. That decision is probably being helped along by the fact that there aren’t 1,000 theaters who want the film, despite Huddy’s giddy imaginings.

It’s all over for Atlas Shrugged. Rarely does a film’s producer go public with his project’s epitaph after the second weekend in release. All of the Tea Bag Media who were falsely claiming that the film was a surprise success are now revealed to be liars. And it doesn’t get much worse than the dishonesty exhibited by the Fox & Friends crew whose fatuous hype was deflated the next day by the film’s producer. That’s what they get for acting as the PR agents for a crummy movie.

The Stupidest Man On Fox News Is Spooked By George Soros

Steve DoocySteve Doocy, unquestionably the stupidest man on Fox News (which is no easy achievement), expressed his astonishment that George Soros might be executing an insidious plot to Jiu-Jitsu Fox News by turning its own wealth against them. Here are excerpts of an exchange this morning between Doocy and right-wing crank/author Ron Arnold:

Doocy: Did you know that George Soros made over $2.3 million by investing in News Corp, which is our parent company? So, is he using those profits to attack Fox News? Some people are wondering that.

By “some people” Doocy means himself and his producers. Arnold took up Doocy’s question and responded precisely as he was expected to when they invited him into the studio:

Ron Arnold: That’s absolutely true. Over a period of about four years the Soros Fund Management had about $4 million at one time, ended up with about $2.3 million when they sold it off. And now they’re simply using the cash to try to get rid of News Corp’s Fox News. And that’s exactly what’s happening.

Just to be clear, Soros is being accused of parlaying a $4 million bit of a $20 billion fund (that’s 0.002%) into a windfall with which he could blow away Fox News. That’s not much more than a rounding error. The accusation also implies that the fund itself is bankrolling the Fox attacks and not Soros personally (who could write a million dollar check on his own account like most of us pick up a Venti Latte with extra foam). There is no evidence that Soros’ Quantum Fund, or any other investment, has engaged in any such partisan expenditures, and probably would not be permitted to do so. What’s more, the $2.3 million cited as the proceeds from the sale of News Corp stock appears to represent a loss of principle, not a profit as Doocy stated. But Doocy’s Fox & Friends have no use for trivialities such as facts while they are trying to fabricate a scandal. Doocy continues…

Doocy: It looked like George Soros was trying to control the media.

Saints preserve us! An international billionaire financier might actually be trying to wield tyrannical control over our free press. I wonder if Doocy has ever met his boss, Rupert Murdoch, an international billionaire who actually does run a media empire and sits on the board of the Associated Press. Soros, on the other hand, has no management interests in any media concern. He has made some charitable donations to NPR and Media Matters, but has no executive role or even a seat on their boards. However, even if he did, is it Doocy’s contention that NPR and Media Matters constitute a mortal threat to News Corp, AP, and the rest of the Corporate Media cabal? Apparently so.

Arnold: Well, he certainly was. And you’ve got to remember he’s got a very good friend in the Tides Foundation’s CEO whose name is Drummond Pike. They go back a long way, Soros and Pike. And I’m pretty sure that the only reason that that million dollars went to Media Matters was because Drummond Pike stepped in. Because Media Matters has been trying to get money out of Soros for years. He said no.
Doocy: It just seems incredulous [sic] that he would be making money in News Corp stock and then turning around and taking the money to try to run a division of News Corp out of business.
Arnold: Yes, it does seem incredible but you have to remember, cash trumps hypocrisy. It’s all about the money as far as he’s concerned.
Doocy: That is a crazy story.

Now follow this logic: Soros didn’t even want to fund Media Matters. He was persuaded to do it by his pal Drummond. Yet he is still portrayed as seeking to control the media despite his lack of interest. And while Doocy and Arnold find it incredible, they explain it away by asserting that “It’s all about the money,” which contradicts their whole theory as to Soros’ obsession to dominate the media. That is indeed a crazy story.

Of course I didn’t expect any of this to make sense from the beginning. Doocy’s Olympian ignorance pervades every subject he approaches. The truth is that this just a teaser for Glenn Beck’s upcoming “Puppetmaster” special on Soros. Fox News is a focused and effective marketing machine and they always go to great lengths to promote their own phony stories. Doocy is like the teaspoon of Aspertame before the full-on dose of poison that Beck will dispense tomorrow.

First Do No Harm: Jane Hamsher On Fox And Friends

Color me disappointed. Jane Hamsher is a first-rate blogger/analyst and an admirable advocate for progressive causes. Her web site, FireDogLake, is a must read. That is why what took place this morning on Fox News is all the more disturbing.

Steve DoocyIn a segment titled “First Do No Harm,” Jane engaged in an interview on her opposition to the Senate health care bill. It’s bad enough that Jane would appear on any program on Fox, but her decision to submit herself to Steve Doocy on Fox & Friends is just baffling. Doocy is the poster child for ignorant disinformers of the world. He makes Sean Hannity look like a Rhodes Scholar. For Jane to be subject to an interview by this evolutionary throwback to cave-dwellers is unconscionable.

For the record, I happen to think this bill should pass. Mainly because I am pessimistic that we can get anything better on this go-round. I think there are too many people in Congress who are compromised by their association with Big Pharma and that the process is dreadfully dysfunctional. The best political approach appears to me to be an incremental one. That said, I completely agree with Jane’s criticisms of the bill, and I respect her opinion.

Hamsher: People on the right, people on the left are looking at the Senate and they’re saying, “Nobody’s there representing us.” Nobody’s representing the people. It’s just a matter of who’s in power and who’s taking Pharma’s money.

Exactly. Jane and I have the same goals for health care reform. We just differ on whether to scrap this bill and start over, or pass it and push for more later. But she ought not to have sunk this low. Is she really this desperate for a platform? It doesn’t help her cause in the least to fraternize with the goons at Fox. They have just one agenda: Destroy Democrats and progressive reform. And there was a time when Jane recognized that (h/t pontificator):

Hamsher: Fox is not a news outlet, it’s an openly partisan opinion factory and the Democrats should not be legitimizing them (and allowing them to recruit Democratic viewers to propagandize to) by doing this.

Exactly. What happened Jane? The only purpose served by appearing on Fox is to validate them as a legitimate news enterprise. It permits them to persist in their dishonest claim to being “fair and balanced.” It lends credibility to a network that has not earned any on its own. And there is no benefit to promoting a progressive point of view on Fox, even if well stated, because their audience is not just unreceptive to it, they are overtly hostile.

What’s more, Fox will aggressively exploit your appearance to their advantage. They will either make you look stupid or portray you as supporting their agenda. In this case, Fox is using Jane to bash the health care bill. They are positioning her as another reason to defeat the evil, socialist Democrats in Congress. Fox looks upon this as, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Fox is opposed to the health care bill. Since Jane is also opposed to the bill, in its current form, let’s have her on to beat up the people on her own side. It’s a win/win for Fox. Bash the bill and Democrats in general too. And Fox will replay slanted excerpts of this interview over and over for the rest of the week. Jane ought not to empower that sort of cynical exploitation.

Doocy began the segment by shamelessly exploiting Jane’s past experience as a breast cancer survivor. This is a typical ploy by Fox to tug at heart strings and to imply that this gives her opinion more weight. Jane’s contribution to the debate lies in her analytical ability and insight, not her medical history. But Fox doesn’t care about Jane, her health, or her position of the issues. They only care about disparaging their perceived enemies. At the close of the segment Doocy announced that…

Doocy: If you would like to sign her petition to try to kill the Senate bill, go to our web site at FoxandFriends.com

So Jane didn’t even get the benefit of a plug for her site (although it did appear on screen). Fox used the whole piece to promote themselves and drive traffic to their own site. Any Fox viewer who happens to click through to Jane’s petition will see a list of reasons to oppose the bill with which Fox viewers will fiercely disagree.
Starve the BeastFox conservatives oppose the bill for completely different reasons than Jane and other progressives do. Consequently, they would never sign her petition. Once again, Jane has achieved nothing of benefit by appearing on Fox.

There is some irony in the title of Jane’s segment on Fox: First Do No Harm. She should take that advice and stay the HELL off of Fox News! Such appearances only do harm to Democrats and progressive reform.

For a complete analysis of why it is pointless, and even harmful, to appear on Fox News, see my Starve The Beast series.

Update: Jane responded to criticism of her Fox gig on her own web site addressing the content of her remarks, saying…

“I stand by that message, and I think it’s important for both people on the left and people on the right to hear.”

The thing is, I have no problem with her message. My problem is with the platform she chose to dispense it. I still admire Jane and her commitment to changing this country for the better, but appearing on Fox does not serve that end. And for the record, I have also criticized others who appeared on Fox, including Obama:

Obama Capitulates To Fox News Barack Obama Falls Into Fox News Sunday Trap

Jill Greenberg’s Extra-Real Photos Of John McCain

On assignment for Atlantic Monthly Magazine, photographer Jill Greenberg took a series of pictures of John McCain. In the course of the photo shoot she asked McCain to pose for a set that she had deliberately designed to light him in manner that produced a more sinister, some might say more realistic, appearance. She later delivered the commissioned pictures to the Atlantic and took the others back to her studio for some Photoshop fun. Here are few of the results (and here are the rest):

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Needless to say, this caused an uproar in conservative circles amongst a bunch of hypersensitive hypocrites who oppose freedom of expression.

First of all, Greenberg is a superlative artist with a unique and evocative voice. She has a long record of quality work and a portfolio brimming with inspired imagery. She is also an avowed liberal and has produced work in the past that has attacked Republicans, particularly George W. Bush. That’s not a crime. That’s a civic duty. I myself have quite a collection of political graphics that are sure to offend somebody. The photographs presented in this series are akin to the political cartoons and editorial graphics that have long been a part of our political culture.

However, she is now coming under assault by elements of the right wing media who fault her for “deceiving” the hapless Republican nominee for president of the United States. The fact that he can be so easily duped is perhaps another argument that he is unfit to serve in the White House. Fortunately, he does have the media machine of Rupert Murdoch to run interference for him.

Murdoch’s New York Post (which endorsed McCain) published an article on the photos with a headline that declared Greenberg a “Mac Hater” and criticized her for not airbrushing McCain’s weathered skin and reddened eyes enough. Since when is it a photographer’s responsibility to sweeten a subject’s image, particularly when used as photo-journalism? Ironically, the Post is complaining that Greenberg failed to manipulate the photo in a column where they are chastising her for manipulating photos.

The Atlantic’s editor, James Bennet, appeared on Murdoch’s Fox News to disassociate himself from Greenberg, to threaten that he may sue her, and to announce that he has drafted a letter of apology to McCain. The FoxNews.com article on Bennet’s TV segment took a similar approach to the Post’s, but with an even more tortured spin on what constitutes photo manipulation:

“Greenberg said that the cover shot for The Atlantic article was manipulated to leave McCain’s eyes red and skin looking bad.”

It seems to me that “…manipulated to leave…” alone is another way of saying “not manipulated.” It’s a little like saying, “The appendectomy was performed to leave the appendix where it was.” In other words, there was no appendectomy.

This rhetorical device is a staple of conservative thinking. The notion that something can be altered in order to keep it the same can be observed by anyone following the 2008 presidential election. You hear it every time McCain says “Vote for me if you want change.” Translation: Vote for me if you want another four years of Bush – if you want more of the same.

The hypocrisy of the Murdochites is glaringly present in their selective outrage. Just two months ago Fox News was itself embroiled in a Photoshop controversy. During a segment of Fox & Friends, co-hosts Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade mocked Jacques Steinberg and Steven Reddicliffe of the New York Times, and featured photos of them that had been digitally altered to create humiliating caricatures. What makes this far worse than the Atlantic incident is that Fox News broadcast their mockery on national television, while Greenberg reserved her pieces for her personal website. None of the Murdoch items, in print or on air, mentioned their own history of photo manipulation.

The big, unmanipulated picture here is that Greenberg is a courageously outspoken artist who is yet another victim of the Dark Agists who seek to stifle free speech. For her trouble she has been dropped by her agency (she says she quit), and is facing litigation. In my view she should be admired for her talent and applauded for her efforts on behalf of creative freedom for all artists and those who love art and, of course, freedom. Remember freedom?

Update: Jill Greenberg has some new photos of Glenn Beck.

It’s Best When Everybody Thinks Alike

In this administration, as in the halls of Fox News, it’s best when everybody thinks alike – No matter how much they pretend otherwise.


The White House held it’s annual “Holiday” (that’s right, holiday) Party for the media last night and the guest list was, to no one’s surprise, heavily weighted to the right-wing regurgitators of whom the President is so fond.

This morning Dana Perino, the President’s press secretary, visited with a regurgitator on Fox News and had the following exchange:

Steve Doocy: [H]ow weird is it to have, Dana, people who appear on other channels, who bash the president all the time, and then, one night a year, they come into the White House, they bring their kids, and they say, Hi, how are you, as if they haven’t been bashing the president all year long?

Dana Perino: It’s a little awkward. And it was amazing to me, being in charge of taking the requests for invitations this year, how audacious some people are to call and ask to be invited to the president’s Christmas party.

It was nice of Doocy to so openly reveal that it is the “other channels” who bash the President, and not Fox, the President’s Cheerleading Squad. That sort of honesty has been more in view since Rupert Murdoch admitted that he tried to shape the agenda on Iraq. And Perino’s discomfort with reporters who are critical of the President says something about her lack of professionalism and her immaturity in the role of press secretary.

And speaking of lack of professionalism, another Fox regurgitator, Neil Cavuto, interviewed his boss Rupert Murdoch yesterday. The conversation covered Murdoch’s acquisition of Dow Jones (and the Wall Street Journal) and the launch of the Fox Business Network, for which Cavuto is the Sr. VP. Have they really sunk this low? A senior Fox News executive interviewing his boss on air. That would be like Dana Perino interviewing the President for broadcast (maybe I shouldn’t give them any ideas). What exactly would we expect to learn from that?

I guess we’ll just have to get used to Fox News employees interviewing other Fox News employees. And we’ll have to accept that the White House is no longer the people’s house, but an office for partisan business and gatherings.