Fox Nation’s Acrobatic Smear Fest: A Triple Putz

Sometimes, in the right-wing noise machine, you really need to stretch to spread your smears across as many targets as possible. It calls for a strategy that aims to cast your juvenile insults so broadly that they ensnare any of your perceived enemies within a certain proximity. In a way, it’s a conservative approach that allows you to use less tar to tarnish more opponents in one wide swipe.

To that end, the Fox Nationalists went after Matt Taibbi of the Rolling Stone for his remembrances of Andrew Breitbart. Taibbi took a particularly Breitbartian tone in saying…

“So Andrew Breitbart is dead. Here’s what I have to say to that, and I’m sure Breitbart himself would have respected this reaction: Good! Fuck him. I couldn’t be happier that he’s dead.

I say this in the nicest possible way. I actually kind of liked Andrew Breitbart. Not in the sense that I would ever have wanted to hang out with him, or even be caught within a hundred yards of him without a Haz-Mat suit on, but I respected the shamelessness. Breitbart didn’t do anything by halves, and even his most ardent detractors had to admit that he had a highly developed, if not always funny, sense of humor.”

That’s the sort of hyperbolic, attention-seeking comment that epitomized Breitbart’s existence. And that is exactly the point that Taibbi was making. It was a fitting tribute, not just to the man, but to his inner being and what he stood for; what he was most proud of. Breitbart defiantly rejected calls for civility, and when he was challenged to apologize for outrageous statements, he famously responded by barking back, “Apologize for what!” So how did Fox Nation report this news?

Fox Nation

Presumably the Fox Nationalists don’t think that Matt Taibbi is well enough known to carry a hit piece on his own. So they dressed it up with one of their favorite, and most childish insults – to refer to comedian Bill Maher as “Pig” Maher. But some pimply-faced editor still didn’t think that was enough, so they added a reference to the evil home of Donald Trump’s The Apprentice, NBC. Neither Maher nor NBC had anything to do with this story. Even the source article to which Fox Nation linked, from the uber-conservative NewsBusters, made no mention of these innocent bystanders. In fact the NewsBusters, while still incensed by Taibbi’s language, acknowledged a certain appropriateness. In their opening paragraph they say…

“I almost hate to draw attention to this incredibly sad example of the intolerant left over at Rolling Stone, but quite frankly, Andrew Breitbart probably would have eaten this up, and tweeted it back out.”

That’s absolutely true. Breitbart even tweeted back out a criticism of him that I sent just last week:

As I, and many others have noted, Breitbart would have been the first to proudly speak ill of the dead. On the day that Sen. Ted Kennedy died. Breitbart tweeted “Rest in Chappaquiddick.” He followed that up with several other disgraceful remarks that, unlike Taibbi, he could not frame as being tributes to the decedent.

Which brings us back to Fox Nation’s utterly unrelated assaults in their story’s headline. The inclusion of Maher and NBC was wholly the idea of Fox, and it really demonstrates how embarrassingly infantile the Fox Nationalists are. It’s bad enough that Fox is a netowrk that has no regard for the truth, but do they also have to embrace such brazenly immature rhetoric while they are lying?

Fox Nation: Retarded And Proud

To say that the Fox Nation exhibits the mental capacity of a six year old would be an insult to six year olds. Let’s just say that Fox News is focused on appealing to a target audience with the IQ of Fox political analyst Sarah Palin’s son, Trigg.

This morning the Fox Nationalists posted an item on comments made by comedian Bill Maher. Observe the sophisticated humor that Fox employs with their headline story:

Fox Nation

Calling the HBO humorist “Pig Maher” is nothing new for Fox. They have frequently descended to this juvenile taunt which somebody over there thinks is clever.

Fox Nation Pig Maher

And Maher is not the only victim of Fox’s childish display of pseudo-journalism. Sen. Al Franken is almost exclusively referred to as Sen. Smalley (from Franken’s Stuart Smalley character on Saturday Night live a decade ago).

The Fox Nationalists appear to be upset that Maher, a well-known atheist, performed a routine that mocked the religious zealotry of the Republican presidential field of candidates. Maher astutely pointed out that if three of them (Bachmann, Perry, and Cain) claim that God called them to run for president, then God must be fucking with two of them. Maher also noted the reverence for ignorance that is so prevalent in the GOP:

“Knowing things is seen as an affront to the all-knowing. And there’s nothing they hate more than secular eggheads trying to fix problems like poverty and health care. Honestly, doesn’t a lot of the tea party philosophy boil down to ‘Who needs the government when you have Jesus?'”

By resorting to moronic pejoratives to insult Maher, Fox is just affirming his analysis that they are populated by idiots who are serving an audience of imbeciles. At least they’ve done their market research. But are they really so devoid of self-awareness that they can’t comprehend the dichotomy in their headline? They are castigating Maher for mocking religious conservatives in the same sentence wherein they are calling him a pig.

We can expect Fox to be a feverish purveyor of lies and disinformation. That is, after all, their business model. But what on earth compels them to reveal so nakedly their puerile absence of civility – or intellect? Is it just that they know their audience well and are afraid to go over their dimwitted heads?

Tom Morello Has A Message For Barack Obama

Musician/Activist Tom Morello (formerly of Rage Against the Machine) appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher last night with a pointed message for President Obama:

“Much like the President, I am half Kenyan. Like the President, I’m a Harvard graduate. Like the President, I’m from Illinois. And, like the President, I’ve been on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine. I got a message for him. ‘Dude, it’s time to grow a pair. A lot of people who put you in office put you in office to fight for them; to fight against the Tea Party; to fight against this bullshit in Congress; to fight against those sons of bitches who are attacking the working class and the poor in this country.’ And he hasn’t done any of it.

At the same time, I’m not waiting for him. I’m with the people in Madison. I’m with the people who are occupying Wall Street. That’s what my music’s about. When progressive, radical or even revolutionary changes happen in this country, it’s come from below. When women got the right to vote, when lunch counters were desegregated, it was people you do not read about in history books who stood up in their place and their time for what they believe.”

Well said, Tom. And just to prove that this inspirational people’s advocate is also a radical shredder, listen to this rendition of “The Ghost of Tom Joad” with Bruce Springsteen:

[Update: 10/16/11] Tom showed up at OccupyWallStreet and answered a reporter’s question challenging his role as a political spokesman saying…

Tom Morello: When you pick up a guitar you don’t put down your first amendment rights. And I don’t think that you have to be a Harvard graduate in political science to comment on political matters. But I am a Harvard graduate in political science.”

Fox Nation vs. Reality: On Abolishing The Debt Ceiling

Anyone with a functioning brain stem already knows that Fox News will distort issues to advance their rightist agenda. But the worst part of their activist pseudo-journalism is when they deliberately present material that is so obviously false that it is an insult to their audience. Lucky for them their audience actually is too stupid to know they are being insulted. Take for instance this item posted today with the headline “Democrat Congressmen Call for Unlimited Federal Debt.”

Fox Nation

The article reports on legislation in the House to eliminate the debt ceiling. For the Fox Nationalists to portray the bill as a call for unlimited debt is an outright lie that any economist, even the conservative ones, would dismiss as blatantly false.

The debt ceiling has nothing whatsoever to do with the amount of debt carried by the nation. Raising the debt ceiling does not increase the federal debt by one penny. The national debt is produced by congressional spending bills. When congress spends more of the country’s money than it receives in revenue it creates debt. After that debt is incurred the federal treasury is obligated to pay the bills for the goods and services it already consumed. When those obligations exceed the amount of the debt ceiling, the ceiling must be raised in order to issue payment. Raising the debt ceiling does nothing but allow the government to honor its obligations. If the ceiling is not raised, the debt still exists, as well as the state of default as a result of welching on our promises to pay.

Eliminating the debt ceiling would insure that we do not repeat the calamitous scenario of this past summer where Republicans held the nation hostage by threatening to destroy the country’s financial reputation in order to achieve their political goals. Their actions resulted in the downgrade of America’s credit rating for the first time in history.

Unfortunately, asking Fox News and their disciples to grasp the distinction between congressional spending and payment authority for bills already incurred is a tall order. Republicans are notably averse to reality when it doesn’t fit their preconceptions or the personal interests of their benefactors. This state of denial was well demonstrated by Bill Maher and Keith Olbermann last night as they attempted to educate a typical Republican.

Fox Nation Plays To The Stupidity Of Their Audience By Mocking Bill Maher

You can tell a lot about an enterprise by the way it engages their own audience. For Fox News it is imperative that they talk down to the morons who watch in order to perpetuate the lies and disinformation. And their web site, Fox Nation, is no less bound by a confederacy of dunces. Here is how they routinely portray comedian Bill Maher:

Fox Nation on Bill Maher

Repeatedly calling him Pig Maher is the Fox Nationalist’s way of demonstrating their maturity and devotion to ethical journalism. It’s all you can expect from an organization whose audience was obsessed with idiotic notions about death panels and birth certificates.

This isn’t the first time Fox Nation has plumbed these depths of daftness. A couple of years ago the Foxies thought they were hilarious as they skewered Senator Al Franken as Stuart Smalley (the name of a character he played on Saturday Night Live ten years prior). At that time I wrote…

“I suppose that, in order for Fox Nation (and Fox News) to be successful, they have to cater to the diminished mental capacity of their audience. And after reading some of the comments posted on their site, I’d say they still have some ways down to go. Remember, this is a community that reveres ignorance, as illustrated by their adoration of Sarah Palin, and college dropout Glenn Beck. They proudly display their overt disdain for people with demonstrated intelligence.”

We can now add to the list of Fox’s idols the current front-runner in the GOP presidential primary, Rick Perry. His college transcripts reveal that he barely graduated with a 2.2 grade-point average. This presidential hopeful received C’s in U.S. History; D’s in Principles of Economics; and for someone who doesn’t believe in evolution and discounts the peer-reviewed research of hundreds of scientists affirming Climate Change, Perry failed Organic Chemistry.

Still, Perry and Fox may be too advanced for the Fox audience and Tea Partyers. It is, nevertheless, comforting to see them at least trying to communicate at a level their audience can understand.

The Top One Repulsively Conservative Hollywood Moment Of 2011 (So Far)

Andrew Breitbart’s BigHollwood web site is a notoriously puerile destination for Tea Party true believers. It generally doesn’t warrant my attention, but as this is the bottom half of a lazy New Year’s weekend, and a slow news day, I thought I’d waste some time responding to a particularly dimwitted exercise in top ten listing: The Top 10 Repulsively Liberal Hollywood Moments of 2010.

The author is William J. Kelly, a D-list conservative radio host and a failed Republican candidate for comptroller in Illinois (losing the GOP primary by 37 points). His article illustrates why his lack of celebrity is so richly deserved.

Kelly is obviously an intellectual midget with aspirations to kneel before the altar of Limbaugh. It always amuses me to read conservatives like Kelly bashing liberals in Hollywood and the creative community while ignoring their own elbow-rubbing with celebrities. The ultra-rightist magazine Human Events even produced a list of the most irritating liberal celebrities. To which I responded with a list of the most irritating conservative celebrities. On the irritating scale the conservatives win by a landslide. Now they are vying for the “repulsive” title as well.

10. Smallville’s last season. Kelly complains that the program’s new villain is a “conservative radio talk show host taken over by the supernatural forces of hate and fear.” However, that description could fit any number of real conservative radio talk show hosts starting with Glenn Beck and ending with Kelly himself.

9. Kathy Griffin attacks Bristol Palin This entry raises an objection to criticism of the children of politicians. However, Bristol is an adult, and a public figure in her own right, who willingly became a contestant on Dancing With the Stars. It was Bristol’s role on DWTS that Griffin referenced in her comedy routine. Kelly seems to think that the offspring of politicians are off-limits in perpetuity. By his shallow logic we should have refrained from criticizing George W. Bush because his father was a politician.

8. Bristol’s “Dancing with the Stars” success equals Tea Party conspiracy? Anyone who still believes that Bristol’s “success” on DWTS was not the result of Tea Party vote-stuffing is terminally naive. Does Kelly really think that her dance skills were superior to the other contestants? She received amongst the lowest scores week after week. And what is with Kelly’s obsession with Bristol that she rates two items in this list?

7. Hollywood blames Christmas. Kelly says: “Hollywood took a hike on Christmas films in 2010 and the media tried to pin the blame on lack of audience interest.” Kelly just made this up. There is simply no basis for asserting that the media placed universal blame for the absence of holiday-themed films on the audience or anywhere else. To suggest that Hollywood is somehow averse to Christmas movies reveals an ignorance of Hollywood on a massive scale.

6. Maher pushes “Politically Incorrect” witchcraft clip of Christine O’Donnell. Kelly really worked hard on this one. First he lies in saying that O’Donnell’s admission to “dabbling in witchcraft” was “comically stated.” It may have been on a comedy show, but she wasn’t joking and even reiterated the point. Then Kelly goes on to lie about her opponent, Chris Coons, saying that he was let “off the hook” for his book, “The Bearded Marxist.” Except that there was no such book, and the phrase was actually attributed to conservative friends of Coons who made it clear that they were joking. Kelly apparently has a difficult time distinguishing jokes, lies, and reality.

5. Meathead says Tea Party on par with the Nazi Movement. I might have been tempted to give Kelly this one. I do not condone any indiscriminate use of Nazi references that trivialize an all-too-real horror. However, by taking Rob Reiner to task while ignoring the king of Nazi references, Glenn Beck, Kelly discredits his criticism and exposes his outrage as phony and manipulative.

4. PBS censors Tina Fey’s anti-Palin comments at the Kennedy Center Awards. Here’s another for which I nearly sympathized with Kelly. It was indeed unconscionable for PBS to edit Fey’s remarks. But as it turns out, Kelly wasn’t upset with the censorship at all. In fact he justified it and took a swing at Fey for “lowering the bar for future Mark Twain Award recipients.” Do you think that Kelly knows that Mark Twain was a sharp-tongued political satirist who probably would have vigorously applauded Fey’s comments?

3. Obama endorses Comedy Central’s Rally to Restore Sanity. Kelly’s criticism of Obama centers on his praise for civility and common sense. What an outrage! Obama and Stewart should be hanged together. Kelly accuses Obama of “Failing to distinguish comedy from real life.” Kelly may be the last man in America to fail to recognize that satire is a valid form of speech that often informs and enlightens. And Jon Stewart is one of the funniest and most effective satirists on the scene today.

2. Filmmaker Moore posts $20,000 for WikiLeaks’ Assange’s bail. This appears to be a blind, substanceless attack on Michael Moore. Kelly doesn’t explain what’s wrong with Moore posting bail for Assange. He is apparently against it because Moore did it. Perhaps Kelly is against Assange as well, but he doesn’t say so. And if he is, then he is also against free speech and freedom of the press.

1. Whoopi & Joy’s Bill O’Reilly walk-off on “The View.” In a typical right-wing embrace of intolerance and bigotry, Kelly defends Bill O’Reilly for insinuating that all Muslims are terrorists and/or all terrorists are Muslim. And he slams Whoopi and Joy for being sensitive to that overtly prejudicial opinion. In Kelly’s world it is perfectly acceptable to smear people with minority beliefs or opinions as criminals, and to escalate hostilities based on those smears.

Conservatives will be working harder than ever this year to demonstrate their repulsive nature. Kelly is off to a strong start in the race to the bottom, but I wouldn’t put down any bets just yet. After all, Glenn Beck hasn’t taken to the air yet this year and Sarah Palin hasn’t Tweeted or Facebooked since Christmas eve.

Bill O’Reilly’s God Gets Clobbered At The Box Office

Last week Bill O’Reilly observed that two ideologically contrasting movies were about to be released. One was the liberal bashing An American Carol in which O’Reilly has a small part ( Note to BO: There are no small parts, only small actors minds). The other was Bill Maher’s docu-comedy Religulous.” O’Reilly, whose analysis of media is notoriously shoddy, couldn’t help but speculate as to the reception these films would receive:

“It will be very interesting to see which movie wins at the box office. Will the pagans score big? Or will the first conservative satire ever clobber the atheists?”

Apparently the Pagans and Atheists have prevailed. At least they didn’t get clobbered. After a week in general release the two films are virtually tied at about $4.5 million. However, Carol opened in 1,639 theaters while Religulous opened in only 568. So Religulous outperformed Carol on a per-screen basis by over 300%.

These results must surely be unwelcome news for O’Reilly (and God). As for Maher, O’Reilly advises him to “pray for a long life.” O’Reilly even takes a swipe at Oliver Stone’s precarious salvation status. Stone’s biopic of George Bush, “W.” will arrive at theaters next week.

“I’ll make a bold prediction: Many critics will love it! Can you imagine anyone sticking up for Mr. Bush at this point in time?”

I’ll make a bold prediction too: Many critics will hate it! I know, I’m really going out on a limb. The fact that O’Reilly thinks that a negative review equates to “sticking up for Mr. Bush” shows just how deeply degraded his cognitive skills have become. He can’t seem to comprehend that critics may base their reviews on their impressions of the film’s qualities. And O’Reilly has previously expressed his paranoid perspective of the film critics community as being hopelessly liberal. He arrived at this conclusion because a majority of critics whom he asked about their ideological leanings declined to answer. Therefore, in O’Reilly’s dementia, they must be clandestine socialists bent on ripping America apart.

It must be getting harder and harder to be Bill O’Reilly – an egotistical demagogue who can’t seem to win even with God on his side.

Update: After four weeks in release, An American Carol has earned $6.9 million. Religulous has earned $10.7 million. So Religulous has earned 55% more despite playing in one third the number of theaters and costing one tenth the amount to produce.