Poor-Shaming On Fox News: Jon Stewart Is “Starting To Lack A Richness Of F*cks

Last night Jon Stewart delivered a segment that is destined to become classic among the Daily Show archives (video below). The brilliantly produced nine minutes of insight and comedy began with a montage of Fox News squaking heads doing what comes naturally to them: Complaining about President Obama.

On this occasion, the topic of the complaint was that the President did not talk enough about poverty, a subject that Fox News generally regards as a scam run by moochers and Democrats who are either trying to enslave them or are fishing for their votes. But since Fox’s mission is to denigrate Obama at all times, when he talks about poverty he is pandering and when he doesn’t he is heartless and hypocritical.

Fox News Jon Stewart

It quickly became apparent that Fox must have been watching a different President Obama than the the one that inhabits reality. Stewart noticed that divergence saying that Obama has indeed “been addressing those issues his entire presidency,” and that Fox ignored that fact in favor of obsessing over Obama making an unarguably true observation about Fox.

“Yep, just like college students at a four hour commencement, Fox basically paid no attention until they heard their own names. It turns out at one point during this incredibly thoughtful and productive session on poverty, the President made the easily provable and decidedly true point that the Fox News narrative is that poverty is not a function of economic condition, but of character.”

For the record, this what Obama said about Fox:

“If you watch Fox News on a regular basis, it is a constant menu, they will find folks who make ME mad. I don’t know where they find them. They’re all like ‘I don’t wanna work. I just want a free Obamaphone.’ And that becomes an entire narrative that gets worked up. And very rarely do you hear an interview of a waitress, which is much more typical, who’s raising a couple of kids, and is doing everything right, but still can’t pay the bills.”

Stewart accurately noted that the President has a “remarkably firm grasp” on the Fox business model and mocked Fox anchor Stuart Varney’s assertion that they are “honest messengers.” He then laid into what he called a “rich buffet of bullshit” when Varney claimed that Fox never characterized the poor as lazy. What followed was another montage of Fox News callously demonizing the poor in direct contradiction of what they had just claimed.

This caused Stewart to wonder “How fucking removed from reality” is Fox of their own coverage. That is, I assume a rhetorical question. Obviously Fox does not factor reality into their coverage from the outset. Otherwise, how could people like Varney say that the poor “have a richness of things, what they lack is a richness of spirit,” in one breath, and then pretend that he would never say such a thing in the next? Stewart’s response…

“Are these glaring contradictions a product of lack of self-awareness, or cynicism, or stupidity, or evil? I don’t know anymore, and I’m starting to lack a richness of fucks.”

It is easy to understand the sense of exasperation that Fox’s hypocrisy can incite. But the truth is that they have been doing this for years. Take for example this account of how the poor just have things way too good; or this one; or this one. And the funny thing is that all three of those stem from the same source that Fox keeps recycling for years on end. It’s a mantra that surely brings them the inner peace of a Bizarro World Buddha who lusts for ever more material possessions, while condemning anyone who is struggling to survive for wanting just the bare necessities of life.

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Pure Idiocy From Fox News On The Stock Market

OK, just about anyone with a functioning brain already knows that Fox News is a biased player working on behalf of the GOP. But their analysis of financial matters and stock market activity is not just biased, but astonishingly stupid. Yesterday on Fox Nation they posted this “news” item: Romney Rally? Stocks Close Higher One Day After Debate.

Fox Nation Romney Rally

Any time someone makes projections based on a single day of activity it is regarded by professionals as naivete and/or ignorance. So it goes without saying that Fox did just that. On the Fox Business Network, Stuart Varney dropped this mind-numbing stupidity: “Some will say this is a Romney Rally.” And Fox’s Lou Dobbs said “This is the beginning of what will be an even bigger Romney rally as the days unfold.”

Of course, any credible economist knows that market activity is based on a variety of financial data. Yesterday there was an abundance of factors to which the market’s movement could be attributed, including better than expected economic data and the European Central Bank’s freeze on interest rates at 0.75 percent.

Fox has a long history of making idiotic assessments of the stock market. In May of 2009, Brenda Buttner gushed, “Call it a tea party rally. Wall Street’s sure partying, up six weeks in a row.” In September of 2011, Fox Nation reported “Stocks Tumble Worldwide After Obama Speech.” Then in June of 2012, they fantasized that “Stock Market Drops After Obamacare Upheld.”

This tendency of the right to misinterpret all market activity as being the result of Obama (if stocks go down) or some conservative (if stocks go up), extends all the way back to Rush Limbaugh’s nutty commentary on February 8,2009, a mere two weeks after Obama’s inauguration, when he said “The Obama recession is in full swing, ladies and gentlemen. Stocks are dying, which is a precursor of things to come.” Since then stocks have died to the tune of doubling from about 6,600 to over 13,500. Nice call, Rush.

Even Mitt Romney got into it a few days ago saying that “If it looks like I’m going to win, the markets will be happy. If it looks like the president’s going to win, the markets should not be terribly happy. […] Without actually doing anything, we’ll actually get a boost in the economy.” Romney, who considers himself an expert in finance, thinks the markets will advance by doing nothing. His magical name alone will rescue the economy.

What they commonly miss at Fox is that markets traditionally perform better under Democratic administrations than Republicans. And note that that link is to an article on the Fox Business Channel’s web site.

The one lesson that people can take away from this display of ignorance, is that anyone who relies on Fox News for economic advice deserves the economic ruin they suffer.

The Phony Fox News Course Correction

A couple of months ago Fox News CEO Roger Ailes told the Daily Beast that his network was undergoing an editorial realignment that he called a “course correction.” The implication was that Fox would cease to be the fiercely partisan propaganda outlet for which it has become so well known.

Well, that didn’t last long.

This morning Fox Business Network anchor Stuart Varney appeared on Sean Hannity’s radio program and candidly announced his political biases while discussing the upcoming presidential election:

“We must win. I say ‘We’ – I’m a conservative, I’m a Republican. I say we must win”

Varney went on to declare that if Obama is reelected the country will be bankrupt in four years. Of course, Hannity agreed with everything Varney said. This is a pretty good example of the actual course that Fox intends to pursue. And the political beneficiaries of Fox’s agenda know full well what they can expect from their favorite network. Mitt Romney was interviewed by Neil Cavuto yesterday and testified on behalf of the network saying…

“I’ll be on Fox a lot, because you guys matter when it comes to Republican primary voters.”

Indeed they do. In just the past two months since the alleged course correction, Fox News has hosted Liz Cheney to accuse Obama of wanting the economy to fail. They invited Victoria Jackson to present her shrill theory that Obama is a communist. They have relentlessly broadcast numerous phony stories in an effort to tarnish the administration (i.e. fast and furious, climate researcher’s emails, a Christmas tree tax, etc.) And they have gone out of their way to misrepresent Obama’s public remarks, such as the fuss they made out of his using the word “lazy.” This week Fox didn’t even bother to broadcast all of Obama’s major economic speech in Kansas. They cut away from the speech about half way through in order to air an interview with GOP loser Michele Bachmann.

So if anyone has fallen for the fairy tale that Fox is moderating their extremist right-wing activism, they clearly are not paying attention to the barrage of hostility that continues to emanate from Murdoch’s media. The Fox empire has never been more offensive and unethical, even when they still had Glenn Beck’s ravings blasting the airwaves. If they have made any course correction at all, it is further to the right and in support of the GOP primary candidates. And given the sorry nature of that bunch, you would think that they’ve suffered enough embarrassment for the remainder of this year and next.

Megyn Kelly Spins Fox News Poll Out Of Control

A couple of weeks ago I wrote that Megyn Kelly was arguably as bad as her Fox News colleague Glenn Beck. Today she added weight to that theory.

In a discussion with Stuart Varney, Kelly introduced the results of a Fox News Opinion Dynamics poll to argue that Democrats are defying the will of the people by advocating the expiration of Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy. Kelly displayed this graphic from the poll:

In her discussion with Varney, both of them asserted that these poll results revealed the public’s opposition to letting the the tax cuts expire. However, the poll actually says the exact opposite. While 44% did say to keep all the tax cuts, a plurality of respondents (50%) said to let them expire either entirely (14%) or at least for those earning more than $250,000 (36%). So, contrary to Kelly’s distortion of the facts, respondents actually favor taxing the rich more by a 6 point margin.

Kelly was forced to mischaracterize the results of this poll even though Fox News made a valiant effort to skew the poll in order to return numbers that favored her bias. The question asked (pdf) by the pollsters inquired as to whether the respondent would…

  • 1. Continue the tax cuts for everyone.
  • 2. Continue the tax cuts for everyone except families earning more than $250,000 dollars a year.
  • 3. Allow the tax cuts to expire and let taxes go back up to their previous level.

The first problem with this construction is that it divides, and thus dilutes, the responses of those favoring expiration of the tax cuts. But more egregious is the phrasing. The first two choices offer options to “continue the tax cuts.” The third option inexplicably changes to allowing the tax cuts “to expire” and prejudicially adds “let taxes go back up.” A fair and balanced poll would have maintained a consistent tone and left out the commentary.

Of course, we know that Fox News has never really been interested in fairness or balance. But no matter how often I see it, it is still astonishing to watch these propagandists assert conclusions that are diametrically opposed to reality, even when the truth is right there on their own screen.

Rupert Murdoch Running Criminal News Enterprise?

The Guardian has a story that simply must be read:

Rupert Murdoch’s News Group Newspapers has paid out more than £1m to settle legal cases that threatened to reveal evidence of his journalists’ repeated involvement in the use of criminal methods to get stories.

The payments secured secrecy over out-of-court settlements in three cases that threatened to expose evidence of Murdoch journalists using private investigators who illegally hacked into the mobile phone messages of numerous public figures and to gain unlawful access to confidential personal data including tax records, social security files, bank statements and itemised phone bills. Cabinet ministers, MPs, actors and sports stars were all targets of the private investigators.

Today, the Guardian reveals details of the suppressed evidence which may open the door to hundreds more legal actions by victims of News Group, the Murdoch company that publishes the News of the World and the Sun, as well as provoking police inquiries into reporters who were involved and the senior executives responsible for them.

The rest of the story just gets more lurid. This is a shocking look into the way that Murdoch and his accomplices operate.

[Update 7/9/09] Rupert Murdoch appeared on his own Fox Business Network today where Stuart Varney, who is notorious for aggressively challenging (i.e. interrupting) liberals, attempted to ask him a question:

Varney: The story that is really buzzing all around the country, and certainly right here in New York, is that the News of the World, a News Corporation newspaper in Britain…
Murdoch: No, I’m not talking about that issue at all today.
Varney: OK. No worries, Mr. Chairman. That’s fine with me.

That’s fine with you? Way to suck up to your boss, Stuart.