Fox & Friends Lament “The Wussification Of Popeye”

The competition for most epically stupid program on Fox News is always a thrilling spectacle. With contestants like Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Elizabeth Hasselbeck, Steve Doocy, and so many more, it’s impossible to predict who will hold the top spot at any given moment in time. However, for this week the prize has to be awarded to the weekend cast of Fox & Friends for their in-depth analysis of “The Wussification Of Popeye” (video below).

Fox News Popeye

For more dumbassisms from Fox…
Get Fox Nation vs. Reality. Available now at Amazon.

This nearly unbearable babbling by three of the most puerile pundits in television kicked off with a segment on some possible modifications to the Popeye character in an upcoming movie. Here is how the exchange began:

Clayton Morris: According to leaked photos, the new Sony Pictures version of Popeye will look like this – without the iconic anchor tattoo and the smoking pipe. Are they wussifying Popeye?

Tucker Carlson: Of course they’re wuss… Nothing is scarier to a modern liberal than tobacco. If Popeye were driving around giving the morning after pill to fourth graders, that would totally fine. But smoking a pipe – a single (sic) of freedom and masculinity in America itself – the reason this country exists – tobacco – that’s like, oh, that’s outrageous.

There is so much idiocy in that brief observation it needs to be broken down into pieces for examination.

First of all, if liberals are scared of tobacco it may have something to do with the fact that it kills 400,000 Americans every year. That’s more than a hundred 9/11’s, not once thirteen years ago, but every single year. And that’s not counting the thousands of victims who survive with debilitating health problems that devastate families emotionally and financially.

Secondly, while Carlson may not fear the epidemic of cancer, he does seem to be afraid of fourth graders who aren’t pumping out babies. His snarky hyperbole about giving out morning after pills is a deliberate trivialization of a serious problem. Nine year old girls should have options to avoid pregnancy in the event that they have engaged in sex, which at that age is often the result of an rape or incest. Apparently Carlson is fine with forcing children to become parents before they enter junior high school.

Thirdly, Carlson’s characterization of pipe smoking as a symbol (?) of freedom is best represented by a man who is a notorious pipe smoker and certainly a hero of Carlson’s – communist dictator Joseph Stalin. The notion that smoking a pipe is uniquely American exists only in his cartoon-fed brain. And by invoking tobacco as “the reason this country exists” Carlson is also reminding us that the tobacco trade was largely successful in our country’s early days because the plantation owners had the benefit of free (i.e. slave) labor. If that’s his idea of an iconic symbol of freedom, there may be several million Americans who disagree. The legacy of tobacco in America is one of bondage and brutality and suffering and death.

The truth is that Carlson and his cranky cohorts are rattling off an old wingnut whine about what they perceive as political correctness. They think it’s the PC police who demand that Popeye quit his filthy habit and stick with spinach. However, it is actually the fact that we have learned a thing or two about the health risks of tobacco and most parents don’t want their children to be exposed to positive images of a product that will kill them. Would Carlson be just as happy if his kids were influenced by an alcoholic superhero guzzling whiskey in between clobbering villains?

The video of this derpitude is proof that the Fox & Friends crew have earned special recognition for ass-holiness this week. And for extra credit, they segued from the Popeye story to one about Wonder Woman wherein they complained that her new costume wasn’t sexy enough. That’s just another example of these pathetic wretches projecting their fetishes on kids by advocating sexualizing cartoon characters.

Fox News Is Worried That American Children Are “Learning Too Much”

In troubled times, with Americans getting beheaded by terrorists, women being abused, teenage African-Americans being gunned down by police, working people struggling to lift themselves out of poverty, and all the while wealthy individuals and corporations assume ever more dominance of our social and political institutions, Fox News has managed to cast a spotlight on little-known but disturbing facet of life in these United States:

Fox News Tucker Carlson

For more shameless stupidity from Fox News…
Get Fox Nation vs. Reality. Available now at Amazon.

That’s right, American children are suffering under the burden of becoming too smart. On Sunday’s episode of Fox & Friends, co-host Tucker Carlson presented a segment (video below) wherein he suggested that an alleged reduction in homework assignments was actually a well-coordinated conspiracy by teachers unions to achieve their long-held goal of reducing work for their lazy members. And everyone knows that teachers are among society’s most notorious slackers who yearn only for longer lunches and wasteful leisure. The industrious Carlson began his hyper-rant by saying that…

“A growing number of schools are opting out of giving kids homework. They say that students should use the time to be with family and friends. But is this really about the kids, or could it be a move by teachers unions to get teachers to do less work for, of course, the same pay?”

This is a remarkable turnaround for the Fox set who ordinarily praise initiatives that bring families closer together. It is such an obsession with them that they fiercely advocate homeschooling which, of course, means nothing but homework for the kids, and much less work for teachers. And pay no attention to the fact that Carlson offers no shred of evidence that unions played any role in this alleged trend.

Carlson interviewed Whitney Neal of the Bill of Rights Institute, which was founded by Charles Koch. Undisclosed by Fox News is that Whitney Neal is also the Director of Grassroots at FreedomWorks, another Koch brothers operation. The Kochs are heavily invested in twisting the nation’s academic institutions to conform to their personal, political, social, and business interests. Neal agreed with Carlson’s unsupported insinuations, but went further to say that she believes the whole thing is “more of a ploy to keep parents out of the classroom [...] because if kids aren’t bringing home homework, the parents don’t know what’s going on.”

So by providing kids with more time to be with their parents, teachers are somehow inhibiting the interaction between kids and parents. How insidious. What’s more, Neal believes that homework is the only way that parents can have any idea of what is going on with their children in school. They certainly couldn’t go to the school, or ask the kids, or the teachers, or the administrators, or otherwise involve themselves in their child’s education. Neal’s argument is that kids should be getting more homework, not for the benefit of the student, but so that parents can see what kind of homework they get.

If you think that was stupid, just wait until you hear Carlson’s next question:

“Also, do you think the problem with American schools is just that kids are working too hard; they’re just doing too much work; they’re just learning too much? Is that a major problem?”

Well, it is if you’re Fox News. The last thing they need right now is an educated populace. That would decimate their viewer demographic (if you know a Fox News viewer, please tell them what “decimate” means). Not to mention how it would shrink the ranks of the Tea Party and the Republican establishment that feeds off of its innate ignorance.

For the record, teachers are among the hardest working, least appreciated professionals in the country. They are often belittled as nothing more than babysitters and criticized for having a truncated work schedule. See this lovely infographic for the truth. And watch this video from Fox & Friends to observe some real failures in the education system who nevertheless achieved success in television punditry (for which there are no academic requirements and requires no certification).

Feud At Fox News: Sarah Palin Slams Fellow FoxPod Tucker Carlson

Uh oh. The family ties at Fox News are being stretched to dangerously explosive levels. It appears that Sarah Palin’s ire has been aroused by her colleague Tucker Carlson. Ironically, both are losers who have been disparaged by Fox News at various times (Roger Ailes called Palin an “idiot” and, before being hired by Fox, Carlson called them a “mean, sick, group of people” for attacking him), and now they are taking swipes at each other.

Fox News Palin/Carlson

Shameless self-promotion…
Get Fox Nation vs. Reality. Available now at Amazon.

The spark for this fire came from an interview of Dave Berg, a former producer of the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Berg, who is promoting a new book, spoke with the Daily Caller’s Jamie Weinstein and told him that…

“After the campaign, she had a book to promote, and wanted to do the show, but it was difficult to work out the logistics because she didn’t like to be away from her family for long periods of time. Finally, the only way we could get her to come to Burbank was to book a charter jet from Anchorage for $35,000. The jet was big enough to accommodate all of her family members.”

The Diva from Wasilla took offense to this characterization despite the fact that there is long-standing evidence of her extravagant demands for public appearances. But for some reason, she went after the Daily Caller, which is run by Carlson, instead of Berg who made the statements to which she objected. On her Facebook page Palin launched into a tirade replete with personal insults and invective.

“Guess the boys at The Daily Caller spent a bit too much time at the frat house and not enough time in their college library. (Or maybe it’s in one of their Jr. High tree forts where their leader gathers the boys to ‘report’ their ‘conservative’ issues.) Their claims about what I supposedly ‘demanded’ of the Tonight Show are, in their frat boy terms, B.S. This is not the first time we’ve had to correct their sloppy ‘journalism.’ Paraphrasing and dramatizing sure doesn’t fit into any fair and balanced image, especially from a little fella loving his title of FOX News Channel host. Maybe those bow ties are a bit too tight, bros.”

Meow! So according to Palin the Daily Caller is not really “conservative,” nor a practitioner of “journalism” (as if the woman who couldn’t name a single newspaper that she read would know). And she just couldn’t help ridiculing Carlson’s fashion sense, albeit for the bow ties he stopped wearing years ago. What Palin did not do in her rant was to offer any proof that the claims by Berg were false. She would certainly have the evidence if she were interested in refuting what she called “B.S.” Why do you suppose she would decline to provide it?

Obviously Berg’s assertions are probably accurate and Palin, who has criticized Hillary Clinton for her contract riders, is only interested in smearing her critics. As usual, Palin is not the least bit concerned about being factual or truthful. And in this case, the Daily Caller was merely publishing what Berg said, but Palin slams the Daily Caller and thanks Berg “for the kind comments.” Huh? Her reading comprehension is even worse than her verbal “skills” that have produced the some of the most mangled (and hilarious) mutilations of the English language.

Carlson is notoriously thin-skinned, so we may have the good fortune of hearing his retort to Palin and a prolonged public quarrel. It’s notable that Palin chose to belittle Carlson with a reference to his “frat house” immaturity. Just yesterday, Carlson made a similarly insulting remark directed at the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., saying that “This is what happens when you have a foreign policy run by college sophomores like Samantha Power.” For the record, Power is a Pulitzer Prize winner with a distinguished career that puts Carlson, a trust-fund baby, to shame. More to the point, both Carlson and Palin regard college credentials as liabilities, which explains a lot about their mutual affinity for ignorance.

However, what will be truly interesting is to see if Palin is taken to the wood shed for beating up on “little fella” Tucker. After all, Fox News CEO. Roger Ailes, made it clear that he will not tolerate intra-network derision by people in his fiefdom “shooting in the tent.” So they better be careful. They don’t want to make Uncle Roger mad.

So F**king What? The ObamaCare Website Contractor Scandal Delusion

You know that things are getting bad for conservative wingnuts when they resort to complaining about President Obama for doing what they previously called for him to do.

Last October the ObamaCare website launched with an historic thud. It barely functioned and was widely deemed to be an embarrassing failure for Obama and CGI Federal, the firm that developed the site. Right-wingers from across the land were sent into a frothing ecstasy as they extended the website’s problems to all of ObamaCare and everything else the President did. One of their most often heard demands was that “heads must roll.”

So you might think that they would have been happy to learn that Obama had fired CGI for the website fiasco. They could have spun it as capitulation to their demands and a victory for their side. But if you thought that, you are not very familiar with their unique brand of psychosis and inbred hostility.

So instead, an article popped up today on the Daily Caller website, a disreputable operation run by Fox News host Tucker Carlson. The author is Patrick Howley, whose resume includes an attempt to infiltrate Occupy Wall Street groups to incite violence that he would then blame on the Occupy movement (he failed). The article was then picked up by Fox News for posting on their lie-riddled, hate site, Fox Nation.

Fox Nation

For More Fox Nation Lies, Read Fox Nation vs. Reality, available at Amazon.

Howley’s article is a monumentally silly effort to invent a scandal where none exists. The shocking revelation he exposed is that the firm hired to replace CGI had once employed someone who had also been employed by the Obama campaign in 2012. Now try to follow this, because it’s even stupider than it sounds. Rayid Ghani had first worked for Accenture where he did research on consumer behavior. Later he was recruited by Obama’s campaign to work on voter tracking. Today he does not work for either Obama or Accenture, but Accenture has been hired to do continued maintenance on the ObamaCare website. Or put another way, the Obama administration has hired a firm that no longer employs someone who is also no longer employed by Obama. Scandalous, isn’t it?

Howley’s logic is painfully idiotic. He is proposing that you take everyone who has ever worked for Obama in any capacity, find out where they worked previously, and scratch them off of any lists for future employment or contracts. That would probably disqualify most of the Forbes 500 and ten or twenty million people.

To make matters even more comically obtuse, last October Howley wrote an article for the Daily Caller complaining about tangential affiliations between Obama and CGI. In that piece he asserted a wholly unsupported allegation that there was some sort of chicanery in the relationship because Michelle Obama had attended Princeton at the same time as a woman who later became a CGI executive. He made no attempt to prove that they ever met. Once again, Howley’s perverse logic suggests that any company that employs any of the thousands of people who attended the same Ivy League universities as the Obamas is exempt from government work.

So to summarize, Howley alleged impropriety when Obama hired a firm where a Princeton classmate of Michelle was employed, despite showing no connection between them. However, he was not mollified when Obama fired that firm and replaced it with another firm that does not employ a man who is also not employed by Obama. Nice work, Sherlock.

In addition, Howley squeezed another angle into his article that claimed that there were ongoing security threats within the ObamaCare website. He did not in any way substantiate his claim, but he did provide pretty good evidence that no such security exploits exist. He referenced the testimony of an ex-con who was paraded before a Republican-controlled committee hearing to say that breaking into Healthcare.gov “would be a hacker’s wet dream.” That’s actually true. And the fact that it hasn’t happened speaks to the reliability of the security on the website given the desirability of hackers to break it.

This is just another example of what happens when right-wing extremists have nothing of substance to say about policy or process. They scrape the bottom of the scandal barrel in a desperate search for controversy, or least distraction. It is their hope that they can either tarnish their foes with mud or keep them from bringing attention to the fact that the conservative platform consists of little more than repealing ObamaCare, cutting taxes for the rich, cutting benefits for the poor, and regulating the behavior of citizens in the privacy of their homes. That platform, along with alienating women and minorities, is not going to serve them particularly well in 2014, 2016, or beyond.

So F**king What? Michelle Obama’s Princeton Classmate Is A Successful Businesswoman

When conservatives get desperate for derogatory material with which to bash President Obama, they generally make bigger asses of themselves than usual. For example, the Daily Caller, a right-wing rag run by Fox News host Tucker Carlson, just published a shocking expose that will surely topple the President and his evil cohorts.

The Daily Caller’s investigative reporter, Patrick Howley, who famously uncovered the Case of the Scandalous Hat, and the plot to Gobble Up Gun Magazines, is on the hunt again for officialdom’s dirty linen. Howley’s credentials are bolstered by his experience as a violent right-wing thug who admitted to infiltrating OccupyDC for the purpose of undermining it. And with that trophy on his mantle, he has now discovered an ominous link between the First Lady and an executive at CGI Federal, the company that built the troubled ObamaCare website.

Daily Caller
Be Sure To “LIKE” News Corpse On Facebook

It seems that Michelle Obama attended Princeton at the same time as Toni Townes-Whitley, who went on to become a senior vice president at CGI. While there is nothing in Howley’s article that proves that these two women knew one another, the accusatory tone is unmistakeable. After all, how is it possible that a graduate of a respected Ivy League university would otherwise manage to secure employment as an executive of a prominent, multinational corporation? Howley’s reporting on this, if anything, did not go far enough. He could easily have implicated the entire Princeton class of 1985 in some sort of criminal conspiracy with the Obama White House. But perhaps the most revealing part of his article is this (emphasis added):

“Toni Townes ’85 is a onetime policy analyst with the General Accounting Office and previously served in the Peace Corps in Gabon, West Africa. Her decision to return to work, as an African-American woman, after six years of raising kids was applauded by a Princeton alumni publication in 1998.”

It would have been nice if Howley had elaborated on what other options Townes-Whitley had to return to work as, if not an African-American woman. Perhaps she could also have returned as an Anglo-Prussian Hermaphrodite. Those Princeton grads can be exceedingly versatile.

In addition to ferreting out the fact that two women who may not have known each other in school, and who still may not know each other today, are linked tangentially by a company that does business with the U.S. government, Howley also managed to regurgitate an already debunked myth that the ObamaCare website cost $678 million when it actually is estimated to have run at about $70 million according to the Sunlight Foundation. So Howley was only off by 90 percent.

This is typical of the quality of journalism practiced by conservative ideologues who have no respect for the truth and spend their careers trying to slander their perceived political enemies. [Note: The story was also re-posted at the Fox News community web site and Fib Factory, Fox Nation]. Howley is an obvious hack with unresolved issues of hostility. And he works for Tucker Carlson, the most notorious loser in the right’s media echo chamber. So we can expect more of this sort of hilarity in the future. And lord knows we need the laughs.

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

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

Daily Caller
Be Sure To “LIKE” News Corpse On Facebook

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tucker Carlson

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

Zimmerman Verdict Reactions From President Obama vs. Fox News

Over the next few days (weeks?) There will be plenty of opinions expressed on the outcome of the George Zimmerman trial. Some of them will come from knowledgeable legal analysts and, unfortunately, way too many from partisan political hacks.

The latter were among the first to weigh in with ignorant and incendiary blowhards like Rush Limbaugh predicting, and even yearning for, civil unrest. And then there was wingnut Tea-publican Steve King who blamed Obama for Zimmerman being tried in the first place. But Fox News, and their corrupt cousins at Fox Nation (see Fox Nation vs. Reality for a detailed examination of their corruption), were not about to be left out of the media Wretch-a-Thon as they elevated a couple of stray episodes of minor vandalism to the front page, leaving the dishonest impression that America was aflame with rioting.

Fox News Zimmerman Riots
Be Sure To “LIKE” News Corpse On Facebook

In addition to falsely fear mongering over non-existent riots, Fox managed to insert into their article an already debunked allegation that the Department of Justice was of staging anti-Zimmerman rallies. They also dredged up phony assertions that Obama had politicized the trial last year when he merely expressed empathy for the grieving parents.

However, the best demonstration of the difference between responsible leadership and reckless provocation can be observed in the responses to the verdict by President Obama and the dour visages of Fox News.

Obama: I now ask every American to respect the call for calm reflection from two parents who lost their young son. And as we do, we should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to widen the circle of compassion and understanding in our own communities. We should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to stem the tide of gun violence that claims too many lives across this country on a daily basis. We should ask ourselves, as individuals and as a society, how we can prevent future tragedies like this. As citizens, that’s a job for all of us. That’s the way to honor Trayvon Martin.

The President gave us a call for “calm reflection” and a challenge to seek solutions for ourselves and our country. And then there was this:

Tucker Carlson, Fox News: I’m positive that people like Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton do not deserve to be called civil rights leaders. They are not. They are hustlers and pimps who make a living off inflaming racial tensions. They know nothing about this. They’re not residents of Florida. They don’t represent anybody. They’re not elected to anything. They don’t have constituencies. And the only reason they are allowed to do this is because we in the press enable them by calling them civil rights leaders. Why do we do that?

So Carlson’s morning after aphorism begins with racist epithets hurled at African-American leaders who Carlson, a white scion of wealth and privilege, doesn’t think should be leaders – as if he gets to choose. His tirade then spits out a series of criteria that he thinks ought to disqualify people from having an opinion. But, oddly enough, they all apply to him. He doesn’t know anything about this. He is not a resident of Florida. He doesn’t represent anybody. He wasn’t elected to anything. He has no constituency. And the only reason he is allowed to do this is because the press enables him. Why do they do that?

Sharpton and Jackson have actually earned the respect of the communities they serve. You may have differences with them, but they have been in the trenches for decades and the people who have chosen to stand with them have every right to do so. You do not need to be elected to have a role as an activist. Nor do you need some specific residency. Martin Luther King, Jr. was not elected and he took his campaign for equality across an entire nation.

Carlson, on the other hand, has no right whatsoever to pick and choose leaders for the African-American community or the civil rights movement. He has been more of an impediment to equality throughout his career than an advocate. And with these comments from his new perch on Fox News, he proves that he is only interested in creating hostility and division, which is probably why he got the job at Fox where racial division is a key component of their editorial agenda.

The obvious differences between the messages of Obama and Carlson are proof of which side holds the moral high ground. Carlson’s rant illustrates the ethical vacancy of Fox News and its conservative minions whose preference for prejudice and hate is all too apparent. While Obama’s words offer constructive inspiration aimed at bridging social divides. What this country needs is more of Obama’s bridge building, and much, much less of Fox’s bridge burning. Particularly the sort of burning in their news photos that are obviously meant to provoke fear and aggravate tensions.

Fox News Nitwits: Cheap Student Loans Keep People Out Of The Labor Market

If there is one thing that is not in short supply at Fox News, it’s raving, rampant, drooling stupidity. Whether expressed by their denial of science, their embrace of religious mythology, or their gullible acceptance of ludicrous conspiracy theories, Fox slathers on the dumb in thick layers. But today was one of those occasions that merit special recognition.

On Fox & Friends Sunday (video below), co-host Tucker Carlson questioned right-wing economist Peter Morici about the unemployment rate and how it is all President Obama’s fault that it isn’t lower (even though it has declined 25% since the highs produced by the Bush recession). Carlson and Morici agreed that one of the major contributing factors to the “crisis” is that Obama has artificially kept student loan rates down in a scheme to push the unemployment rate lower.

Morici: The president has been buying lower unemployment rates by essentially providing very cheap student loans and keeping people out of the labor market.
Carlson: Exactly. So, cheap student loans keep people out of the labor market. This is a dangerous spiral.

Indeed. This devious plot to help young people get an education must stop. We need to send them out into a difficult job market at the earliest opportunity so that employers can exploit their ignorance and inexperience with long hours, low wages, and few benefits. Why even bother with paying their way through high school? The last thing America needs is well-informed citizens with advanced degrees. We can get them from India at a significant discount. And if everyone were educated, who the hell would be left to watch Fox News? Other than, of course, the fine residents of southern red states:

Red State Education
Be Sure To “LIKE” News Corpse On Facebook

Ending this socialist abomination of financial assistance for students would give a huge boost to the economy. Corporations would become more profitable due to sharply reduced payroll expenses. Of course, they would also be hard pressed to find skilled workers, but they are already solving that problem by sending those jobs to China. This provides a related foreign policy benefit by forcing the Chinese to waste their money on educating their citizens.

There are other lessons in this for the bureaucrats in Washington. For instance, child labor laws are another major obstacle that keeps young people out of the labor market. And we have more than two million prisoners who could be put to work. And why should people who enlist in the military be taken off of the employment rolls? And what about all of those lazy senior citizens who so conveniently “retire,” so that they are no longer counted in the unemployment statistics (we’re on to you Obama)? For that matter, we could significantly reduce our Medicare and Social Security burden by making loafing seniors get off their butts or pay for their own heart bypass surgery and chemotherapy. For those unable to do so, America saves a fortune on health care when they die. We’d save billions on their frivolous prescription meds alone.

Thank goodness for Fox News who are the only media outlet with the courage to call out kids who are ripping off the nation by seeking to get an education. But then, Fox has long been at the forefront of the education hoax. They regularly disparage institutions of higher learning as bastions of liberal elitism. They campaign for defunding and/or privatization of public schools. They advocate home schooling as an alternative to trained and competent instruction. They oppose common sense programs to improve the efficiency of curriculum standards, even going to the extreme of portraying them as conspiracies to indoctrinate our children.

Clearly, Fox News has performed heroically in the battle against knowledge. And these remarks by privileged upper-cruster Tucker Carlson (whose parents were wealthy enough to pay for his education like the Founders intended) are further evidence of Fox’s commitment to preserving education for the rich and menial servitude for everyone else.

The First Refuge of Scoundrels: How Fox News Recruits From Reporting’s Worst Rejects

Journalism is a competitive field and the best and the brightest are highly valued assets by reputable news enterprises. And then there’s Fox News.

Tucker Carlson

No other “news” organization so aggressively hires the refuse cast off from other media employers. It must be a great comfort for wayward reporters and pundits to know that if they should violate the standards of ethics and/or decency demanded of them, they will always have somewhere to turn for sympathy and a fat paycheck, not to mention an undiscriminating audience.

For so many fallen television personalities, Fox News has been a support system that promises them a steady career path and a future that, in the past, would have meant well-deserved humiliation and disgrace. For these folks Fox was their white knight who stepped forward to whitewash their professional sins.

Pat Buchanan: The author of notoriously bigoted books like “State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America,” Buchanan was released from his contract with MSNBC after he wrote that as a result of “the rise to power of an Obama rainbow coalition of peoples of color [...] whites may discover what it is like to ride in the back of the bus.” He then complained that he was a victim of blacklisting by a coalition of blacks, gays, and Jews, before being swept up by Fox.

Juan Williams: A veteran correspondent for National Public Radio, Williams went astray when he confessed that “when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.” Williams failed to see the inherent racism in his commentary and refused to apologize. Shortly after NPR relieved him of his duties there, Fox signed him to a new multimillion dollar contract.

Judith Miller: In the lead-up to George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq, New York Times reporter Judith Miller coordinated with the administration to make the case for war. Her articles gave credibility to fabricated allegations that Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction. Eventually her distortions were revealed and the Times sent her packing. And where else but Fox would have welcomed her with such open arms?

Erick Erickson: Following the election in November of 2012, many news outlets resolved to reexamine their operations and staff. At CNN they concluded that there was no longer a place for an ultra-conservative blogger who once called Supreme Court Justice David Souter a “goat-fucking child-molester.” Fox was also undergoing a self-examination and decided that Erickson was just what they were looking for.

Rick Sanchez: Not satisfied with calling Jon Stewart a bigot in a radio interview, Sanchez elaborated by falling back on the well-worn anti-Semitic theme of Jews controlling the media. “[E]verybody who runs CNN is a lot like Stewart,” Sanchez said, “and a lot of people who run all the other networks are a lot like Stewart, and to imply that somehow they – the people in this country who are Jewish – are an oppressed minority? Yeah.” Today Sanchez is a correspondent with Fox News Latino and MundoFox. Ironically, Sanchez once castigated Latinos who worked for Fox as “sell-outs,” and Fox responded by saying that “Everyone knows that Rick is an industry joke, he shows that he’s a hack everyday. And he doesn’t have to worry about working at FOX because we only hire talent who have the ability to generate ratings.”

Mark Fuhrman: A regular crime analyst on Fox, Fuhrman may be better known as the disgraced former Los Angeles police officer who upended the O.J. Simpson trial by falsely testifying that he had never used racist epithets. That sort of behavior, however, is not a problem for the editorial bosses at Fox.

Doug McKelway: A familiar face in Washington, D.C., McKelway anchored a local news broadcast until he drew complaints for having told a gay activist he was interviewing that he wanted to take him outside and punch him in the face. That episode capped a rocky tenure during which he often fought with producers over his perception that the station’s broadcasts were too liberal. He doesn’t have that problem anymore now that he is a correspondent at Fox.

Lou Dobbs: This long-time CNN anchor was ostensibly CNN’s financial expert. Somewhere along the way he assumed the role of an immigrant basher and a proponent of the racist notion that all terrorists are Muslim. And to sweeten the pot, Dobbs joined the Birther Brigade by repeatedly demanding that President Obama produce his “real” birth certificate. In retrospect, it seems like Dobbs was positioning himself for future work at Fox News.

Oliver North: Here’s an oldie but a goodie. Col. North was convicted of lying to congress about President Reagan’s arms-for-hostages affair. While the conviction was later overturned by an appellate court that ruled that North’s testimony had been immunized, the underlying facts were not in question. North’s confession to a host of illegal acts was not a hindrance to his becoming a host on Fox News.

Don Imus: What can be said about the guy who was fired for calling a group of women on a college basketball team “nappy-headed hos?” Fox calls him the anchor of the morning block on their financial network.

Tucker Carlson: Perhaps the poster child for Fox’s Disgraced Reporter Rescue Program is Tucker Carlson, who has managed to fail on CNN, PBS, and MSNBC before receiving salvation from Fox. And like Sanchez, Carlson once held Fox in low esteem calling them “a mean, sick group of people,” after they published his home phone number on the Fox web site. But when Carlson was jettisoned from MSNBC he worked his way back into the good graces of Fox as the editor of The Daily Caller blog, then as a Fox contributor, and now the co-host of the weekend edition of Fox & Friends.

This pattern of staff development by Fox relies heavily on applicants (or, in the case of Sanchez and Carlson, supplicants) with proven histories of impropriety. They seem to regard the discards of other networks as their richest vein of new talent. And if the prospect has any lingering felonies on their rap sheet, all the better. The frequency with which Fox acquires ethically-challenged employees belies any suggestion that it is mere coincidence. They are clearly drawn to the reportorial riffraff and regard moral defects as badges of honor.

Consequently, if anyone is interested in handicapping the next batch of Fox contributors, just check to see who has been recently terminated at some other news outlet or paroled from prison. And if their offense involved an injury to a liberal policy or person, double down, you’ve got a sure thing.

Hoplophobia: Pro-Gun ‘Doctors’ Invent Psychological Disorder To Discredit Victim Activists

This may one of the most repulsive moves yet by gun worshiping extremists bent on preserving the legitimate rights of the 2nd Amendment for murderers and madmen.

The Daily Caller, a web site run by Fox News host Tucker Carlson, posted an article that posits a theory about people who have survived gun violence or the families of deceased victims. The authors propose that such people are mentally unfit to express their opinions about the tragedies that they and their loved ones endured. These committed reformers, the authors allege, are suffering from “hoplophobia,” a fake condition that is not recognized by the American Psychiatric Association or any other mental health authority.

Hoplophobia

The term was coined by the late Jeff Cooper, a former board member of the National Rifle Association (NRA), and is defined by him as “a morbid fear of guns.” TheDC argues that people who have had traumatic experiences involving gun violence cannot construct rational opinions about public firearms policy because they have been damaged psychologically. The article falsely asserts that hoplophobia is “a real, extremely dangerous, widespread, and clinically recognizable complex specific phobia.” No, actually, it is none of those things. It is the creation of a politically motivated lobbyist for weapons manufacturers. Which makes this statement from the article all the more absurd:

“Many doctors are guilty of ‘boundary violations’ when they, with some frequency, inject anti-gun political opinions or content into their clinical work as health-care providers. It is our assertion that this constitutes several serious ethical violations including at least: mixing politics and health care.”

As a representative of the NRA, and not a medical professional, it is undeniable that Cooper’s conflation of politics and medicine is an outright ethical violation that the article itself later condemns as “practicing outside one’s recognized fields of expertise.” As the article progresses interminably through its jargon-laden mush of pseudo-science, it never makes a coherent argument to support its premise that victims are not credible witnesses or activists. Yet it does glorify its own intellectual silliness with the hyperbolic claim that “Hoplophobia is far and away the most dangerous of all phobias.”

It is easy to assert that a phobia you make up yourself is the worst one ever, but it is much harder to support such a claim. In fact, hoplophobia is a cognitive disaster area that makes little sense. One of the obvious flaws of this crackpot theory is the assertion that gun violence victims have a generalized fear of guns. To the contrary, many are themselves gun owners and continue to endorse the right to keep and bear arms even after their traumatic episodes. There is nothing inconsistent (or insane) in advocating reasonable regulations for obtaining dangerous weapons and supporting legislation to keep such items out of the hands of those who will misuse them.

Which brings us to another glaring flaw. The authors attribute opposition to unfettered access to any type of weapon as evidence of hoplophobia. Were that the case it would mean that in excess of 80% of the American people are sufferers, because that’s how many support the expanded regulations currently being debated in congress. Obviously, 80% of the country has not been victimized by gun violence, so TheDC will have to come up with another theory to explain this discrepancy. And luckily, they have one handy:

“The large-scale support such a program sometimes finds, including within the media, implies a mass-hysteria or mass-hypnosis effect.”

See? We’re all hypnotized and/or hysterical. Never mind the fact that many of us own guns and happily concede that right to others in an environment that is responsible and filters out felons and other unstable individuals. And set aside the reasonable perspective that a certain measure of managed fear is appropriate when dealing with instruments that are so potentially injurious. Far too many devastating accidents have occurred when people failed to respect the inherent destructive force that guns possess.

In the end, it seems that the inventors of the phony phobia are themselves the ones who suffer from irrational fears. They consider any approach to public safety that addresses guns is a covert attempt to disarm them, enslave them, and confiscate their guns and other private property. They explicitly state in this article that hoplophobia “can compromise the U.S. Constitution and human freedom itself.” If that isn’t an expression of a hyper-phobic personality, then what is?

Right-Wing Rag Allegedly Paid Prostitues To Malign Democratic Senator

Tucker CarlsonFox News flunkie Tucker Carlson is in deep water over allegations that his web site, The Daily Caller, orchestrated a smear campaign against Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) that included paying prostitutes to make up stories about having had sex with the senator.

The story originally published by TheDC featured a pair of alleged prostitutes who claimed to have been hired by Menendez. The web site did not identify the women or most of the other sources they relied on. Subsequent to the posting of that article it was severely ripped apart by a Washington Post investigation that turned up a prostitute who confessed that her allegations were false and that she was paid to lie.

Now the already tattered reputation of The DC has been shredded further with a new report from WaPo that the attorney who represented the prostitutes in the scandal was himself paid to solicit women willing to make the false allegations, and that the source of the payments was [insert trumpet here] The Daily Caller:

“A top Dominican law enforcement official said Friday that a local lawyer has reported being paid by someone claiming to work for the conservative Web site the Daily Caller to find prostitutes who would lie and say they had sex for money with Sen. Robert Menendez.”

The lawyer making this assertion is Melanio Figueroa, who was the only named source in TheDC’s original story. Now TheDC is in the uncomfortable position of having to denounce their primary source as a liar without retracting the story that relied on his testimony. It isn’t easy for a “news” enterprise to say “The guy that we relied on for everything is a big liar, and we stand by everything he said.”

In response to WaPo’s latest revelations TheDC, not surprisingly, issued a blanket denial that they had paid anyone connected to the affair. However the article they posted containing the denial was blatantly spun to misrepresent the facts. TheDC’s Vince Coglianese wrote that…

“Figueroa blamed four news outlets — CNN, The Daily Caller, Telemundo and Univision — for allegedly encouraging him to fabricate false accusations about Menendez.”

That sentence is an artificial blending of responsibility for the dishonest reports in an obvious attempt to distribute the blame. However, a more detailed account of events appeared in the WaPo and pointed to just TheDC as the instigator.

“In comments reported by Univision, [District Attorney] Polanco said that Figueroa stated he was been contacted by four media outlets — Telemundo, Univision, CNN en Español, and the Daily Caller — that were interested in having interviews with the women. But Figueroa told police it was only ‘Carlos,’ who identified himself as working for the Daily Caller, who came to the Dominican Republic and paid him to arrange the recorded interviews, according to an interview with Polanco.”

In TheDC’s account all four media outlets were accused of encouraging false statements. But in the WaPo’s story it was only TheDC who did so, and the other three only sought to interview the women. The is evidence that The Daily Caller is scrambling desperately to extricate themselves from a web of deceit of their own making.

To be sure, the credibility of the persons connected to this affair is suspect all around. But that only affirms the careless and/or corrupt practices at TheDC. If their primary source, Figueroa, is telling the truth about receiving payments from TheDC, then they are guilty of bribing a source to lie. If he is lying about the payments, then they are guilty of publishing a story based on the testimony of a liar. It’s a lose-lose for Tucker Carlson whose own credibility is not much better than the cretins he hangs around with.

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

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

Fox Nation Smears

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fox News, Daily Caller, Admit That Fox News Is Not A Legitimate News Outlet

One of Mitt Romney’s most reality-detached comments of this campaign came when he declared that “We don’t have people that become ill, who die in their apartment because they don’t have insurance.” The Olympian ignorance of that remark says a lot about Romney’s elitist upbringing and orientation. The truth is that thousands of people die every year due to lack of health care coverage – more than 26,000 in 2010. And it isn’t just people who get sudden illnesses in their apartments, but people who have untreated and/or undiagnosed problems that lead to more severe disorders and fatalities.

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman addressed this matter in an editorial where he thoroughly demolished Romney’s preposterous theory:

“Even the idea that everyone gets urgent care when needed from emergency rooms is false. Yes, hospitals are required by law to treat people in dire need, whether or not they can pay. But that care isn’t free — on the contrary, if you go to an emergency room you will be billed, and the size of that bill can be shockingly high. Some people can’t or won’t pay, but fear of huge bills can deter the uninsured from visiting the emergency room even when they should. And sometimes they die as a result.

“More important, going to the emergency room when you’re very sick is no substitute for regular care, especially if you have chronic health problems. When such problems are left untreated — as they often are among uninsured Americans — a trip to the emergency room can all too easily come too late to save a life”

This is just common sense to everyone except Romney. But the part of Krugman’s article that is causing controversy came at the end:

Fox Nation - Krugman

“So let’s be brutally honest here. The Romney-Ryan position on health care is that many millions of Americans must be denied health insurance, and millions more deprived of the security Medicare now provides, in order to save money. At the same time, of course, Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan are proposing trillions of dollars in tax cuts for the wealthy. So a literal description of their plan is that they want to expose many Americans to financial insecurity, and let some of them die, so that a handful of already wealthy people can have a higher after-tax income.”

The outrage generated by this was expressed in a column by Daily Caller contributor, Jim Huffman. However, there is nothing in Huffman’s retort that attempts to rebut the substantive assertions by Krugman. He never bothers to counter the argument that thousands of Americans are at risk due to deficient or non-existent coverage. The entirety of his pique is aimed at a single sentence that Huffman interprets as Krugman alleging that Romney wants people to die.

First of all, Krugman’s statement actually refers to Romney’s “plan” that would have the effect of producing unnecessary deaths, not Romney’s personal bloodlust. But the more interesting part of Huffman’s article comes at the beginning where he writes…

“We all have heard, or read on the Internet, claims that President Obama is a Marxist and/or a Muslim extremist who wants nothing more than the downfall of America, and that he is willing to sacrifice American lives and prosperity to these ambitions. Maybe the few folks making those claims actually believe them, but there is not a shred of evidence they are true. In fact they are so preposterous no legitimate news outlets would report them as anything but the unsubstantiated nonsense they are.”

Apparently Mr. Huffman has never watched Fox News, or even read the web site his column appears on. Either that or he is admitting that Fox News and the Daily Caller are not “legitimate news outlets,” which would make more sense. Fox personalities from Glenn Beck to Eric Bolling to Sean Hannity, and more, have made overt references to President Obama as a Muslim, a Marxist, a socialist, a communist, a Kenyan, a racist, etc. And the Daily Caller, a web site run by Fox contributor Tucker Carlson, is every bit as bad. Huffman’s attempt to portray those ludicrous sentiments as the product of insignificant blogs backfires in the face of the truth: That the most prodigious disseminater of those vile lies is the heart of the right-wing media and the highest rated cable news network, Fox News.

The clincher is that Huffman’s article now appears st the top of the Fox News community web site, Fox Nation. So we have the unique circumstance of Fox News featuring an article that exposes Fox News as an illegitimate news source. That may be the first thing that Fox News has gotten right in sixteen years.

Rupert Murdoch’s Birthday Wish To His Staff: STFU You Wankers!

Rupert Murdoch

Congratulations are in order for Mr. Rupert Murdoch, the Chairman and CEO of News Corp, who turns 81 today. However, as he surveys the empire that he built he must be bitterly disappointed with the tunnel-blind miscreants he employs. Their obsessive, knee-jerk hostility to all things liberal has clouded their judgment in ways that harm the very interests they are being paid to serve. The result is a rash of friendly fire from within the ranks of Murdoch’s menagerie.

The first casualty is a victim in the Limbaugh-induced war of indecency. Intent on spreading blame to everyone but Limbaugh, Fox News has embarked on a crusade against any liberal (or perceived liberal) who may have said something controversial. It commenced with a Fox favorite for vilification, Bill Maher, but has now extended to comedian Louis CK. Fox News host Greta Van Susteren was so incensed that Louis CK was tapped to provide the comic relief at the annual Radio and Television Correspondents Association dinner that she publicly protested, called him a pig, and declared that she was initiating a boycott of the event. Subsequently, Louis CK dropped the gig. This is an unwelcome birthday gift for Rupert because the comedian also happens to be the star of “Louis” on his FX cable channel.

Next up is the battle between Fox News contributors. Tucker Carlson, one of said contributors, wrote an editorial on his DailyCaller blog that attempted to illustrate a hypocrisy in the media coverage of the Limbaugh controversy. Unfortunately, Carlson chose to include in his example the former LAPD officer Mark Furhman, who is best known for his use of racial epithets that was disclosed during the OJ Simpson trial. Carlson mocked Furhman as a pariah who is probably out of work, and deservedly so because “Nobody wants to be seen with a bigot.” The problem is that Furhman is actually employed by the same Fox News that employs Carlson. So not only is Carlson seen with Furhman, they are colleagues. All one big happy family of bigots. That can’t be making Rupert’s birthday any more joyful.

This is just the sort of thing that can occur when people are so blinded by their prejudices that they lose all sight of anything but their determination to harm their perceived enemies. The ultimate example of this mental defect occurred when Glenn Beck called Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal a terrorist. Alwaleed is the second largest shareholder of News Corp stock outside of the Murdoch family, and a close friend and business partner of Murdoch.

So anyway, happy birthday, Rupert. And good luck with that loathsome collection of reprobates you call a news team.

The Fox Effect: The Book That Terrifies Roger Ailes And Fox News

A new book from Media Matters was just released that chronicles the history of Fox News and explains how a small group of wealthy, politically connected conservative partisans conspired to build a pseudo-news network with the intent of advancing the right-wing agenda of the Republican Party. And that network, known for its drooling anti-liberalism, is scared spitless.

The Fox Effect: How Roger Ailes Turned a Network into a Propaganda Machine, was written by David Brock and Ari Rabin-Havt (and others) of Media Matters. It begins by looking back at the early career of Fox News CEO Roger Ailes and his role as a media consultant for Republican politicians, including former president Richard Nixon. From the start Ailes was a brash, creative proponent of the power of television to influence a mass audience. He guided the media-challenged Nixon through a treacherous new era of news and political PR, and his experiences formed the basis for what would become his life’s grand achievement: a “news” network devoted to a political party, its candidates, and its platform.

When Ailes partnered with international newspaper mogul Rupert Murdoch to launch a new 24 hour cable news channel, he was given an unprecedented measure of control to shape the network’s business and ideology. The Fox Effect examines the underpinnings of the philosophy that Ailes brought to the venture. His earliest observations exhibit an appreciation for the tabloid-style sensationalism that would become a hallmark of Fox’s reporting. Ailes summed it up in an interview in 1988 as something he called his “orchestra pit theory” of politics:

“If you have two guys on stage and one guy says ‘I have a solution to the Middle East problem,’ and the other guy falls into the orchestra pit, who do you think is going to be on the evening news?”

That’s the sort of thinking that produced Fox’s promotion of hollering town hall protesters during the health care debate and their focus on lurid but phony issues like death panels. It is a flavor of journalism that elevates melodrama over factual discourse.

This article also appears on Alternet.org.

The book exposes how Fox was more of a participant in the news than a reporter of it. Through interviews with Fox insiders and leaked internal communications, The Fox Effect documents the depths to which the network collaborated with political partisans to invent stories with the intent of manipulating public opinion. The authors reveal memos from the Washington managing editor of Fox News, Bill Sammon, directing anchors and reporters on how to present certain subjects. For instance, he ordered them never to use the term “public option” when referring to health insurance reform. Focus group testing by Fox pollster Frank Luntz had found that the phrase “government option” left a more negative impression, and they were instructed to use that instead.

There is a chapter on the Tea Party that describes how integral Fox was to its inception and development. The network literally branded the fledgling movement as FNC Tea Parties and dispatched its top anchors to host live broadcasts from rallies. The Fox Effect also details the extensive coverage devoted to the deceitfully edited videos that brought down ACORN. Fox was instrumental in promoting the story and stirring up a public backlash that resulted in congressional investigations and loss of funding. The book followed the story from Andrew Breitbart’s new and little known BigGovernment blog to Glenn Beck’s conspiracy factory to the wall-to-wall coverage it enjoyed on Fox’s primetime. This chapter is where the authors introduce what they call “The Six Steps” that Fox employs to create national controversies:

  • STEP 1: Conservative activists introduce the lie.
  • STEP 2: Fox News devotes massive coverage to the story.
  • STEP 3: Fox attacks other outlets for ignoring the controversy.
  • STEP 4: Mainstream outlets begin reporting on the story.
  • STEP 5: Media critics, pundits praise Fox News’s coverage.
  • STEP 6: The story falls apart once the damage has been done.

This is a pattern that has played out with varying degrees of success. Fox used this blueprint to engineer the career-ending slander of presidential adviser Van Jones and Department of Agriculture official Shirley Sherrod. But the strategy was less effective when used against Attorney General Eric Holder and Planned Parenthood, although not for lack of effort.

These, and other examples of deliberate bias, illustrate why most neutral observers regard Fox News as the PR arm of the Republican Party. The Fox Effect makes a convincing case to affirm that view and even offers admissions to that effect by Fox insiders. It is a damning exposé of how a political operative and a right-wing billionaire built a propaganda machine thinly disguised as a news network. The research and documentation are extensive and compelling.

For that reason, Fox News has mounted an unprecedented attack on Media Matters in advance of the book’s release. [Note: Actually it's not so unprecedented. Fox set the precedent itself last year with a sustained campaign to do tangible harm by tacking an article to the top of the Fox Nation web site with a headline that read "Want to File an IRS Complaint Against Media Matters? Click Here..."] In the week prior to publication of The Fox Effect, Fox News broadcast no fewer than a dozen derogatory segments across all dayparts and on their most popular programs, including The O’Reilly Factor, Hannity, Fox & Friends, etc. It was the sort of blanket coverage usually reserved for a natural disaster, a declaration of war, or a lewd TwitPic of a politician. The attacks never contained any substantive argument or even example of error on the part of Media Matters. However, they are brimming with the most nasty form of personal invective imaginable.

The basis for the Fox News broadcasts was a series of articles by the Daily Caller (TDC), the conservative web site of Tucker Carlson, who just happens to also be on the Fox News payroll. The gist of the story, as described by TDC, is that Media Matters is manipulating news organizations, coordinating messaging with the White House, and struggling to cope with the “volatile and erratic behavior” of Brock, whom TDC alleges is mentally ill. TDC never reveals from where they got their psychiatric credentials, nor when they had an opportunity to examine and diagnose Brock. Likewise, they never reveal where they got any of the other information for the allegations they make against Media Matters as every source is anonymous.

Media analysts have universally condemned TDC’s reporting. Howard Kurtz interviewed author Vince Coglianese on CNN’s Reliable Sources and assailed the absence of any evidence to corroborate the allegations of his anonymous sources. Coglianese could not even confirm that events alleged in the article ever occurred. He laughably argued that the absence of a denial from Brock was evidence of guilt, rather than a simple disinclination to raise the profile of a poorly written article. Jack Shafer wrote for Reuters that “the Daily Caller is attacking Media Matters with bad journalism and lame propaganda.”

Media Matters was created to document conservative media bias and work to implement reforms that would produce more balanced reporting. Yet, Fox is confused by the fact that Media Matters’ research is cited by progressive organizations and publishers. The grunt work of aggregating video and other reporting is appreciated by those who use Media Matters materials. Much of it is provided without any editorializing. The right has always been fearful of any entity that would simply record their disinformation, nonsense, and hostility, and then hold them accountable for it. But they have yet to criticize NewsBusters or their parent organization, the Media Research Center, despite the cozy relationship they have with Fox News. Brit Hume, the former managing editor of Fox News, however, was abundantly grateful:

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

Joining in on the assault is the Fox Nation web site that is engaged in a relentless barrage of critical articles with disturbingly insulting and hyperbolic headlines. For instance:

  • Is Media Matters’ David Brock A ‘Dangerous’ Man?
  • Were Media Matters Donors Duped?
  • Inside Media Matters: Founder Believed to be Regularly Using Illegal Drugs, Including Cocaine.

But even those paled in comparison to what Fox News was posting on the screen graphics that accompanied their broadcasts:

  • MEDIA MATTERS’ MONEY: David Brock is an admitted drug user
  • THE MONEY BEHIND THE MACHINE: David Brock committed to a quiet room
  • A LIBERAL INFLUENCE: Brock spent time in a mental ward

Fox News - Media Matters

Note that the subjects of the broadcasts were financial in nature. Fox was reporting on TDC’s discovery that Media Matters donors were largely progressive individuals and foundations (not exactly what one would call a scoop). However, Fox News appended assertions as to the mental stability of Brock, which had nothing to do with their topic. It was merely an opportunity for them to take swipes at a perceived enemy. And this mud-slinging occurred during what Fox regards as their “news” programming, not the evening hours that they designate as the opinion portion of their schedule.

In order to cement the impression that David Brock is a mental defective, unfit to lead any organization or to be given serious consideration, Fox News brought in their resident psycho analyst, “Dr” Keith Ablow. As a part of the Fox News Medical “A” Team, Ablow appeared on the air in a segment that painted Brock as seriously disturbed and even dangerous:

“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.”

This diagnosis was an invention by Ablow who has never examined Brock, or even met him. That in itself is a violation of the American Psychiatric Association’s Principles of Medical Ethics, something Ablow does not need to concern himself with because last year he was compelled to separate himself from the APA due to ethical “differences.”

This is actually the second time Ablow has appeared on Fox News with his absurd fantasies (or projections) about Brock. And Brock isn’t his only pretend patient. A few weeks ago he published an op-ed on FoxNews.com that praised Newt Gingrich’s serial infidelity as evidence of traits that would help him to make America stronger were he president. Seriously! And who could forget his deranged psycho analysis of President Obama?

If Fox News wants to engage in “remote” psychiatry they ought to at least be fair and balanced about it. However they pointedly make no mention of the reported paranoia of Fox News CEO Roger Ailes. No mention that he was cited as the reason that the NYPD provided police protection for the Fox headquarters at a cost of $500,000 a year to the people of New York. No mention of the obsessive fears described by Tim Dickinson in a Rolling Stone profile:

“Ailes is also deeply paranoid. Convinced that he has personally been targeted by Al Qaeda for assassination, he surrounds himself with an aggressive security detail and is licensed to carry a concealed handgun. [...] Murdoch installed Ailes in the corner office on Fox’s second floor at 1211 Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan. The location made Ailes queasy: It was close to the street, and he lived in fear that gay activists would try to attack him in retaliation over his hostility to gay rights. (In 1989, Ailes had broken up a protest of a Rudy Giuliani speech by gay activists, grabbing demonstrator by the throat and shoving him out the door.) Barricading himself behind a massive mahogany desk, Ailes insisted on having ‘bombproof glass’ installed in the windows – even going so far as to personally inspect samples of high-tech plexiglass, as though he were picking out new carpet.”

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? And the answer is that Fox News can no longer hide from their reputation as a dishonest purveyor of slanted propaganda and tabloid trash on behalf of a right-wing agenda and the political operatives who advance it and benefit from it.

The Fox Effect is a thoroughly documented investigation into the inner workings of both the organization and its principle managers and backers. It peels away the layers of the conservative cabal that has so effectively poisoned the public discourse on many significant issues. And like the fraudulent Wizard in the city of Oz, Fox wants us all to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain (Roger Ailes), or to the curtain (Fox News), or the corporation that controls it all (News Corp). And to that end Fox has embarked on a massive smear campaign to destroy the credibility of the book, its authors, and the organization that produced it. But Media Matters has already succeeded. As noted in the book’s epilogue:

“Fox News will no longer be able to conduct its campaign under the false pretense that the network is a journalistic institution. There is heightened awareness in the progressive community and in the general public of the damage Fox causes.”

And that is exactly what Fox is afraid of.

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.

Fox News Steps Up Their Anti-Media Matters Campaign

For much of this week Fox News has been engaged in a scorched earth campaign to smear the reputation of Media Matters timed to the release of a new book from the watchdog group (The Fox Effect: How Roger Ailes Turned a Network into a Propaganda Machine). They have blanketed their news properties with stories sourced from The Daily Caller (TDC), which is run, coincidentally, by Fox News contributor Tucker Carlson. Never mind that TDC’s “investigation” has uncovered nothing of significance and almost everything it has published was either old news published elsewhere, or laughably obvious and not news at all (i.e. the latest installment that jolts its readers with the surprise revelation that Media Matters receives funding from progressive donors. Shocking, I know). To date Fox has featured the story twelve times on its Fox Nation web site and at least as many times on the Fox News Channel. And all of that “news” activity occurred in just three days. You’d think this was the equivalent of the Berlin Wall coming down.

On Thursday the story made the leap online from Fox Nation to the mothership, FoxNews.com.

FoxNews.com

This promotion took the form of three articles on the same day – one in the opinion section and two categorized as “Politics.” The subject matter for the articles covered two angles that any enterprising journalist would regard as evocative of nothing but boredom. All of the articles failed to produce anything that could be considered newsworthy, and even fell short of the tabloid appeal that Fox usually exploits so well.

First up was an article reporting that Media Matters had received a $50,000 grant to scrutinize religious media. Fox framed this as some sort of attack on religion, a topic it has been hammering on recently anyway. However, the work done by Media Matters in this area has focused exclusively on religious broadcasters who feature news as a part of their programming. For example, Pat Robertson’s 700 Club. Robertson is a veteran of political activism and even ran for the GOP nomination for president. His program routinely discusses political issues and has its own news segments. The story, as reported by TDC and Fox, contained no examples of any work done by Media Matters that was critical of religious content from Robertson or any other religious broadcaster. Media Matters has remained true to their mission of monitoring bias in the news, regardless of the venue on which it appears and TDC produced nothing to show otherwise.

Secondly, there as article on FoxNews.com that sought to manufacture some controversy over an allegation that “Media Matters Took Gun-Control Money While Boss Paid A Bodyguard…Packin’ Heat.” The first point that should be recognized is that TDC has produced no evidence whatsoever that this allegation is true. It was made by a single anonymous source and is uncorroborated by any other documentary proof. But even if we accept the allegation hypothetically, so what? Advocates of gun control, contrary to the frantic hyperbole of right-ringers, are not opposed to the existence of guns. They are, as the label makes clear, advocates of “controlling” access to weapons so that they are not easily available to people who would use them to commit crimes or harm others. A gun in the possession of a bodyguard is entirely appropriate and would not be objected to by gun control advocates or the pro-gun-control Media Matters donor.

So once again, Fox News has succeeded only in pumping up their highly coordinated and self-serving campaign to misinform their audience about Media Matters and to damage their reputation. And this campaign is all taking place the week prior to the release of a book by Media Matters that pulls the curtain aside to reveal the makings of The Fox Effect. I’m sure that the timing of the Fox smear is totally unrelated to the book’s release.

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.

EXPOSED: The Reason Fox News Declared War On Media Matters

Yesterday Tucker Carlson of The Daily Caller (TDC) posted what he said was the first in a series of articles that would reveal the inner workings of Media Matters for America (MMfA). It was a pathetic little screed that proved nothing but how desperate the right-wing noise machine is to prevent the world from knowing what they are up to.

Today TDC posted a second chapter with even less substance than the first. So far as I can tell, the entirety of their problem is that MMfA revealed in a memo that they were considering…

“…hir[ing] a team of trackers to stake out private and public events with Fox News anchors, hosts, reporters, prominent contributors and senior network/corporate staff.”

In other words, MMfA was plotting to do precisely what media watchdog groups always do.

More interesting is the extent to which Fox News has been promoting this astonishingly thin expose. Yesterday they broadcast three segments with their star anchors, Steve Doocy, Megyn Kelly, and Bill O’Reilly. They also posted four separate articles linking to the same TDC piece on Fox Nation. Today they added four more items on Fox Nation, an article on FoxNews.com, and two more Fox News broadcasts, including an interview of Carlson by Doocy that featured this startling exchange:

Doocy: They [MMfA] seem to be an extension of the Democratic Party. And now for this tax exempt organization to do this, where they’re gonna hire private investigators to dig into people’s backgrounds, that seems crazy.

Carlson: It’s pretty over the top. I would use the term Nixonian, because that’s what it is. The memo compares it to a presidential campaign, but no presidential campaign, no sane politician would ever engage in something like this because in some cases it might be illegal.

So digging into people’s backgrounds is crazy? Nixonian? Yet it is exactly what Carlson is doing with his intrusive and unsubstantiated article that accuses MMfA’s founder, David Brock, of everything from drug addiction to media manipulation to mental illness. It’s pretty personal stuff. Never mind that MMfA has never done anything remotely similar. In their monitoring of Fox News they have always focused solely on the delivery of the news – or whatever it is that Fox calls news.

The massive amount of attention that Fox is paying to a single column on an Internet blog is a curious affair. What could possibly motivate this outburst of bad publicity? Well, now we know.

David Brock and his colleague Ari Rabin-Havt have written a book that is scheduled to be released next week:

The Fox Effect: How Roger Ailes Turned a Network into a Propaganda Machine

The book is “Based on the meticulous research of the news watchdog organization Media Matters for America, David Brock and Ari Rabin-Havt show how Fox News, under its president Roger Ailes, changed from a right-leaning news network into a partisan advocate for the Republican Party.”

It is further described as “Featuring transcripts of leaked audio and memos from Fox News reporters and executives, The Fox Effect is a damning indictment of how the network’s news coverage and commentators have biased reporting, drummed up marginal stories, and even consciously manipulated established facts in their efforts to attack the Obama administration.”

In other words, the book is an investigation of the overtly partisan Fox News network and its efforts on behalf of a political agenda. So far as is discernible from their own marketing copy, it is not personal. It doesn’t slander Fox principals as insane or criminals. It sticks to factual representations of a news enterprise that abandoned its ethical obligations in favor of promoting an extreme right-wing ideology.

So a week before the release of a book from MMfA purporting to unveil the biases of Fox News via leaked memos and investigative reporting from within the organization, there is a pseudo-investigation published, and relentlessly hyped, that smears MMfA using allegedly similar tactics, albeit not particularly effectively? Is it just a coincidence, or is Fox News engaging in a preventative first strike in order to shelter themselves from the coming storm?

We report, you decide.

Right-Wing Noise Machine Still Terrified Of Media Matters

Further affirming the desperation of the mavens of the conservative media, a new campaign of slander and innuendo has been launched to tarnish the reputation of Media Matters for America (MMfA), and its founder David Brock. This is reminiscent of a similar campaign orchestrated last year.

This latest barrage of defamation was initiated by Tucker Carlson’s Internet rag, The Daily Caller (TDC). Carlson is a Fox News contributor so it isn’t surprising that Fox immediately jumped aboard this effort with featured segments hosted by Steve Doocy and Megyn Kelly. They also posted the story on their Fox Nation web site, twice. [Update: Carlson later appeared on Bill O'Reilly's program as well]

The gist of the story, as described by TDC, is that MMfA is manipulating news organizations, coordinating messaging with the White House, and struggling to cope with the “volatile and erratic behavior” of Brock, whom TDC alleges is mentally ill. TDC never reveals from where they got their psychiatric credentials, nor when they had an opportunity to examine and diagnose Brock. Likewise, they never reveal where they got any of the information for the other allegations they make against MMfA.

MMfA was created to document conservative media bias and work to implement reforms that would produce more balanced reporting. Yet, TDC is confused by the fact that MMfA’s research is cited by progressive organizations and media analysts. Why that would confuse them is, in itself, confusing. MMfA makes its materials available for that very purpose. They are providing a service that other interested organizations are free to employ or ignore. They are not manipulating anybody, nor are they forcing anyone to coordinate with them. Additionally, TDC thinks it’s unusual that people and enterprises who share an ideological viewpoint might produce commentaries that have certain similarities. Of course they do. It would be unusual if they didn’t. Does TDC think it’s unusual when John Boehner and Rush Limbaugh say similar things?

TDC’s multipart series on MMfA kicks off with a personal attack on Brock:

“David Brock was smoking a cigarette on the roof of his Washington, D.C. office one day in the late fall of 2010 when his assistant and two bodyguards suddenly appeared and whisked him and his colleague Eric Burns down the stairs. [...] The threat he faced while smoking on his roof? ‘Snipers.'”

TDC then asserts that Brock is suffering from severe paranoia and believes that there are right-wing assassins out to get him. But how can Brock be characterized as paranoid when, while he was having a leisurely break, his security team took action to protect him. Perhaps the bodyguards are paranoid, but nothing in this story suggests that Brock is.

For contrast, it should be pointed out that there is no mention by TDC of the reported paranoia of Fox News CEO Roger Ailes. No mention that he was cited as the reason that the NYPD provided police protection for the Fox headquarters at a cost of $500,000 a year to the people of New York. No mention of the obsessive fears described by Tim Dickinson in a Rolling Stone profile:

“Ailes is also deeply paranoid. Convinced that he has personally been targeted by Al Qaeda for assassination, he surrounds himself with an aggressive security detail and is licensed to carry a concealed handgun. [...] Murdoch installed Ailes in the corner office on Fox’s second floor at 1211 Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan. The location made Ailes queasy: It was close to the street, and he lived in fear that gay activists would try to attack him in retaliation over his hostility to gay rights. (In 1989, Ailes had broken up a protest of a Rudy Giuliani speech by gay activists, grabbing demonstrator by the throat and shoving him out the door.) Barricading himself behind a massive mahogany desk, Ailes insisted on having ‘bombproof glass’ installed in the windows – even going so far as to personally inspect samples of high-tech plexiglass, as though he were picking out new carpet.”

The TDC article went to great lengths to expose something that ought to have been obvious – that liberal news outlets like DailyKos and Salon would utilize information compiled by MMfA. [Full disclosure: News Corpse has used MMfA materials frequently. It isn't coordinated. It's just reliable, documented content] The grunt work of aggregating video and other reporting is appreciated by those who use MMfA materials. Much of it is provided without any editorializing. The right has always been fearful of any entity that would simply record their disinformation, nonsense, and hostility, and then hold them accountable for it. But in condemning MMfA for providing such content to liberal media, they demonstrate their rank hypocrisy. They have yet to criticize NewsBusters or their parent organization, the Media Research Center. However, the former managing editor of Fox News was abundantly grateful:

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

Much of the remaining TDC article is a montage of incongruous allegations and lame assumptions. For instance, they cite a meeting between Brock and Obama aide Valerie Jarret as signaling some sort of conspiracy. It was a one-time meeting that occurred over a year and a half ago. They complain that reporters would “get a thousand hostile emails” after exposure on MMfA. But isn’t that sort of accountability the point of an enterprise whose purpose is to unmask media bias?

TDC posted a link to a video of Brock that they labeled an “odd media appearance,” but which seemed pretty restrained and composed to me. They described his aspiration to develop a political action committee to challenge Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS as “unsettlingly grandiose.” Is that just their standard put-down for anyone who would dare to take on the mighty Rove? And perhaps the most disturbing revelation of all was that “there were very harsh penalties for getting things wrong. And justifiably so.” Imagine that…Brock actually insisted that his staff pay attention to detail and accuracy. What a beast! After all, they are just an organization that monitors the detail and accuracy of other organizations. Who cares if they get some things wrong? They should adopt the attitude of Fox News anchorette Gretchen Carlson:

“When we make a mistake reading the news headlines, whereas at a [broadcast] network you’d probably get fired, instead, we’re like, ‘Eh, we screwed up.’

TDC says that there will be additional installments of this series throughout the week. I should hope so, because there was nothing in this installment that could be considered newsworthy. However, I expect that the upcoming chapters will be equally devoid of any useful information. So far the only thing that TDC has achieved with this expose is wasting their bandwidth with unsourced, anonymous gossip and personal insults. If it gets any play at all it will be due to the help they got from Carlson’s bosses at Fox News. And the only thing that any of it proves is how dreadfully afraid the conservative propagandists are of Media Matters. It is astonishing how the innocent act of recording their words can set the rightist empire to trembling.

[Update] The Fox Nationalists just posted their third fourth item about Media Matters (although all of them link to the same TDC article). Apparently the other two did not have sufficiently sensationalist headlines to stir the scandal-lust of their perverted readers, so this time they packed in unsubstantiated allegations that Brock is “believed to be” using illegal drugs.

Fox Nation

My anonymous sources have confirmed to me that Rupert Murdoch is believed to be funding the New American Nazi Party and patronizing Mistress Helga in swastika-print diapers.